A/N: Welcome to Chapter Five! You. Are. Legendary. *claps and tosses confetti your way*

No. Seriously. The fact that you've read this far makes me want to cry. (Yes, I'm that kind of overly emotional girl, y'know?) Of course, you could just be one of those people who just reads the latest chapter to see if the story is worth reading from the beginning (yeah, I know there's a few of you out there...and I'm on to your dastardly deeds!). xD

But I digress. This is kind of where the plot starts to get its funky shape. Three new characters are introduced and all that good stuff. Most of this chapter will definitely be rewritten when I go into Revising Mode, so if there's anything you want to nitpick or point out that doesn't make sense (which is probably a lot of it, not gonna lie), feel free to say so. I realize I stumbled into the "I" trap in quite a few places, but eh.

Once again, thanks SO SO SO much for reading. :]


CHAPTER FIVE

I sank to the ground, hands smacked over my nose, eyes squeezed shut. I think I whimpered.

A singer. This guy was a goddamn singer. Not in the musical sense, of course. (Though it was totally ironic he was lugging around a guitar.) This was more like the every vampire's worst nightmare sense--a human whose blood was so alluring, it was irresistible.

I swallowed a mouthful of saliva and tried to calm myself, but my body wouldn't stop shaking.

Not again, I thought. Not this again.

My head started to pound.

Keep it together, Stella. Stay calm. You're stronger than this.

But…No, no, no. No, I wasn't stronger than this. Nobody was stronger than this.

The last time I'd run into a blood singer, Charlie was with me. Charlie had held me back. Talked me down, before I could do anything stupid. Now I was alone. Alone and craving some breakfast and this human's blood was practically screaming my name.

I felt Toto's wet nose on my check, as if he were trying to comfort me. All it did was spur the hunger inside me. The dog was too close. My heightened senses were focusing on its heartbeat, its pulse. Right there. The neck. "Leemealone," I mumbled, shoving the dog away roughly.

It growled in answer. At me? I wondered, mind floating in a haze of thirst and irrational thoughts. Had the stupid dog finally wised up and realized I was a threat?

But then I heard the soft crunch of dead leaves beneath feet and the sound of someone taking in a sharp breath. Something heavy hit the ground next to me. An explosion of tropical fruit punch hit me like a tidal wave, and I was drowning in it.

"Hey…" A boy's voice. Low, uncertain. Toto went crazy yip-yapping. "You…you okay?"

I groaned in answer, unable to spit out the witty comeback stuck in my throat. I mean, it was obvious I wasn't okay. What, was I just lying here on the ground, curled up in the fetal position and shaking uncontrollably because I felt like it?

"Hey--" Hands as hot as fire brushed against my arm.

"Don't touch me," I snarled and shoved him away.

"Shit. You're freezing." Then--

The sound of a zipper. The tantalizing scent of fruit and roses. A tightening in my stomach. Rushed rustling of a jacket. Mouth watering. Fire on my arms--

My eyes snapped open. "Leggo of me!" I whined. I couldn't seem to focus to get a good look at him. It felt like he was moving too fast. Or maybe my brain was just moving too slow.

"Hey, calm down--" The boy was trying to get me in the jacket. His fingers wrapped around my arms, burning. I flailed. Toto was growling. "Stop--hey!" The boy let out a frustrated grunt and kicked the dog away.

A whimper spilled from my mouth and I ran my tongue along my teeth, fighting back the urge to jump up and bite him.

The white room. I needed the white room. But I couldn't get there. It seemed to be at the end of a long hallway. Ridiculously long. I was running. Running, running. Getting nowhere. I couldn't concentrate enough to escape.

The boy had my arm halfway in one sleeve and he was struggling to keep me down. "People are going to think I'm trying to rape you or somethi--STOP IT!"

He managed to pin me to the ground and I growled, unable to wriggle away. I stared up at him, my vision finally settling. The boy stared back at me with big, mournful eyes, wearing the most worried expression I'd ever seen on anybody. The moonlight against his dark skin made him look strange, more frantic. I could feel his pulse racing, the scent of fruit practically dripping off of him. His heartbeat was close, too close. Hovering above me. Pounding quick and loud. A drum in my ears.

My eyes trailed to his neck.

The boy's face fell. "You're not…breathing," he said, eyes widening.

Shit.

I sucked in a deep breath. Through my mouth, so I wouldn't have to smell him. "I'm fine," I wheezed.

The boy scrambled off of me and fumbled for something in his pants pocket. Seconds later, he had a cellphone in his hands.

Double shit.

"Wh-what are you doing?" I demanded, knowing perfectly well what he was planning to do. I took in several more really loud breaths. "I'm fine. I'm fine, see?" Toto jumped into my lap and barked happily up at me. "Ugh! Get off me, you stupid dog!" I started to get up.

"Stay there!" He waved the phone at me, threatening. Then he flipped it open.

"Look, I'm fine! I was just cold." Hurriedly, I finished putting on the jacket and wrapped it around me, pretending to be thankful. The jacket, I realized too late, smelled like him, and I shivered involuntarily. "I fell asleep here," I lied, trying not to look at him. If I looked at him, I'd be more tempted. "And I must not've realized how cold it was…" I dug my nails into the ground.

"You need a doctor."

"I'm fine."

"You weren't breathing--" His hands were shaking as he dialed the numbers. "And you were--"

"Fine! Please, I'm okay!" I climbed to my feet, ignoring Toto, who was trying to bite the heels of my shoes as I half-ran, half-stumbled over to the boy. My fingers curled tightly around his wrist and he jumped.

"Don't call," I begged. His thumb hovered over the SEND button. "I'm fine. Really."

Slowly, he turned to look at me, a bit reluctant. Our eyes locked and, after a long, awkward totally-unromantic-stare-down, something behind his expression melted. "You're…" He licked his lips nervously. "You're okay?"

I smiled weakly. No. No, I was far from okay. I was standing too close to him and his blood was singing like a canary in the paws of a cat. I was going to kill him if I didn't get out of here soon.

And enjoy every minute of it.

"I'm okay," I said, unsure of where I found the words. My stomach growled.

He tilted his head slightly, his eyes searching my face for some kind of give away.

I looked away, hating how he was scrutinizing me. "Thanks for the coat," I mumbled, loosening my grip on his arm.

Toto ran circles around us, barking like mad. "Shut up," I muttered and kicked him gently. He let out a loud "Yrrrrap!" and turned around, fleeing into the darkness of the graveyard.

Another awkward silence enveloped us, only broken by the distant yipping of the dog. It was obvious neither one of us knew what to say. Eventually, the boy cleared his throat and said, "You're welcome." Though he didn't sound so sure. He cleared his throat and bent down, picking up his guitar case. "That your dog?" He nodded in the direction Toto had fled.

"No," I said, crossing my arms. I took a not-so-subtle step away from the boy and watched as a look of confusion played across his face.

"Um..." He cleared his throat again and scratched the side of his neck, nervous, unable to think of anything to say after that.

"I'm sorry," I said, quickly hating the turn this conversation was taking. "I must've…scared you shitless, huh?" I faked a laugh.

"No kidding." The boy smiled, revealing a set of slightly crooked teeth. "Um…" He patted the side of his guitar case. "I…play here…" Was this some kind of invitation?

"Um. I…gotta go," I said, taking another step backward.

The boy kicked at the ground. "Right." He nodded.

"Here's your jacket--" I started to shrug it off.

"Keep it." His eyes widened a bit, and he muttered something under his breath. His expression clearly said, "Did I just say that?" even as his mouth continued, "It's no big deal."

"My house isn't far from here. I'll be okay--"

"Keep it." The force in his voice surprised me.

"O-okay," I said, blinking.

"'S no problem," he said, though he had to be lying.

But I didn't argue. This was just going to get worse, the longer I stayed. My head was already spinning with horrible, bloody fantasies. So I just nodded and turned to leave.

And was instantly reminded of the wall.

God. Damn. It.

"Um." I spun back around and fixed the boy with a sheepish look. "Could I…maybe…?" I gestured towards the wall, my new arch nemesis.

"You need help?" It looked like he was trying not to smile.

I laughed nervously and nodded. "I need help."

He took a few strides over to me and laced his fingers together, then got down on one knee, and waited, patiently, for me to stick a foot in his hands so he could hoist me up. It reminded me of a scene you'd see out of an old cowboy movie or something. Chivalric stuff like this didn't happen in real life. Though, I don't know what I was expecting otherwise. I doubted that boy could lift me, Superman-style, over the wall. Not with those skinny arms of his.

"No peeking," I joked, wrapping my dress around me and carefully setting my foot into his hands.

He didn't say anything, but laughed in answer. I grabbed the edge of the wall and winced, my fingers reminding me never to do this again. Ever. Unless I wanted them to fall off. The boy gave me a boost and I easily pulled myself over, hitting the ground on the other side with much more grace than I had before. And on both legs, to boot.

"Thank you!" I called hesitantly over the wall.

"Sure," the boy answered.

I opened my mouth--to say what, I had no idea--but quickly shut it as another burst of the fruit smell filled my nose. My brain could only think of one thing: Blood.

I need blood.

And the jacket--

I hastily pulled it off. Have to get rid of this goddamn jacket.

I tossed it up, hoping it would go over the wall, but it fell off, crumpling to the ground in a heap. I thought about going back, making sure he actually got it. But, no. There were more pressing matters to tend to. And I was being such an idiot for even considering it.

I couldn't stay for something as stupid as getting some kid back his jacket. He wouldn't need it anyway, if I hung around much longer. On wobbly legs, I broke into a run. This time with a clear destination in mind--the church. It was funny. I never thought I'd willingly want to go back there, yet here I was, running like the Hounds of God were on my heels.

Halfway there, I tripped over something. Something that let out a loud "Yip!"

"Toto," I groaned, pulling myself up from the ground.

He wagged his tail and looked up at me. I stared down at him, swaying on my feet. I swallowed a mouthful of saliva. In my head, Toto quickly became Food.

And in that moment, I lost it. The thirst broke through my senses, the vampire bloodlust in me shattering my logic.

I grabbed him, digging my nails into his fur. He yelped. I aimed for the neck. He jerked, hitting me in the face with the side of his head. Jaws snapped. I tried to hold him down.

Difficult. It was all so difficult. He had too much strength for such a tiny dog…

Legs kicking. Hissing. Snarling. Growling. A whimper. I couldn't snap his neck--he was moving too much and I couldn't keep a grip on him…

Something was wrong. His coat felt slick. Too slippery. Maybe it was just me. Losing my mind, in the heat of the moment and all. But…he felt like he was growing.

Toto snarled and sank his teeth into my arm. "Shit!" I lost my hold and fell forward, clutching my bleeding arm to my chest.

There was a growl, a sound that resembled the rumble of a building crumbling to the ground. I snapped my head up, coming face to face with the bright, amber eyes of a wolf. It pulled back its lips slowly in a snarl, revealing rows of sharp teeth that glinted like tiny knives in its mouth. Holy Mother Mary, I was so screwed.

"Vampire," the beast said, though it didn't sound exactly menacing, since the word came out more like "Vampiahhhh…"

I made to bolt, but the wolf pounced on me, snapping its jaws in my face. "Stay," it ordered.

You don't have to tell me twice, I thought.

There was a rustle somewhere off to my left, and I turned just in time to see a figure burst from the shadows. A woman decked in black and wearing a pair of sunglasses ridiculously big for her face. She looked like some kind of bug. Clutched in one hand was a stake, an aerosol can in the other.

"Light Patrol!" she yelled, bounding toward me and the wolf, shaking the can like crazy. She skidded to a halt right in front of us and sprayed me right in the eyes.

I screamed. Or tried to. The wolf pressed a massive paw over my mouth.

Garlic. Fucking garlic. She might as well have pressed needles into my eyes.

"You're in violation of the Law," the woman carried on, matter-of-factly. "Article Seven-Six-Three-dash-B, Section Two-point-Five: Willfully and hereby, unLawfully, hunting within a Patrol Sanctioned area without an identification band and-slash-or a license."

I could no longer feel my eyeballs beneath my eyelids. "Ohgimmebreak," I whined into the wolf's paw.

"Quiet, leech," the overgrown canine threatened.

"Oh, yes. And assaulting an Officer of the Law," the woman added, a hint of a smile in her voice. "That's punishable by death, of course."