I held my hand tightly against my chest as I tried to regain my breath.
"My god Chance! You just scared the life out of me! When did you get here?"
My eyes wandered over to the sight of the handsome man lounging across my bed. His posture was relaxed with his feet hanging off the other side and he comfortably twirled a loose string around his finger.
"Sorry, I thought you knew I was here. I was here ever since you walked in."
"B-but how did you get in?" I asked surprised thinking back to the past few minutes.
I most definitely would have heard him climb in, right? And I would have seen him if he had walked in through the front door, I was in the kitchen for God's sake! No one could get past without me seeing him!
"The door was open," he shrugged carelessly.
"Yes, but I would have seen you," I said, leaning upon my desk.
"Well, you never," he grinned.
"I hate you," I joked and began to come and sit over by him. "So why are you here?"
"I have something to tell you," he admitted.
"You know, you really need to learn how to have some patience. I saw you like, what, a half an hour ago? And before that a couple of hours? Couldn't you have waited to tell me whatever it is?"
"I'm not used to waiting," he grinned and brought a cigarette to his lips.
My eyes trailed over the smoking drug for the first time since I had first seen him in my room and I coughed as the smoke made its way to me. My breath caught in my throat and started to come out in quick, short breaths.
"Okay you can stay and throw that out the window or, you can leave. Your choice," I said after my coughing fit was finished.
Chance sighed and took one last drawling puff. Quickly, he made his way over to the window and opened it, leaving the room filled with fresh air. I watched as the toxic smoke dissipated before my eyes and the cold breeze surrounded me.
"Why do you do that?"
"Bad habit," he grinned.
"What? Cigarettes are toxic to vampires?"
"No, they're not toxic, but they are addictive."
Vampires, addicted to cigarettes? But I thought vampires were supposed to be ultimate? The most powerful? I had already witnessed Chance's speed and strength, yet, nicotine could deter him?
"Well they don't hurt us but they are addictive, just a less powerful effect than on humans, not even addictive I guess, just sort of like chocolate. Our bodies work in similar ways to yours, ours just never die. We can easily get weak, just not in the same way as humans."
"You can't die?" I asked shocked. My blue eyes opened wide as I took in the information and scanned his body from head to toe.
"Nope," he said popping the 'p'. "Well we can die but only one way."
"How?" I said awestruck.
"You aren't going to kill me are you?" he smiled.
"No!" I quickly protested. "I was just curious, besides I doubt that I could kill you anyways."
"You're right," he smiled. "It's quite simple actually. The only way we can die is decapitation. Nothing else works, so you can imagine what kind of mess it is when two vampires get in a fight. Swords and all."
"Huh," I grinned. "That would be sort of cool though, sword fighting. Then, it could be all prince charming, you know? And the knight in shining armour," I said picturing Chance riding up on a white horse in a metal suit with a long sword tucked neatly inside his belt.
"Well in my opinion people getting killed isn't really cool, but I suppose the concept is sort of, neat. To you maybe."
"So why did you come here?" I asked, now that my need for vampire knowledge was fulfilled.
"I wanted to, well, I wanted to ask you to get to know each other better. I know earlier I wasn't exactly, well, nice but I do want to get to know you. If you give me the chance. Plus, you did promise me."
"I didn't even read the note yet!" I exclaimed.
"Remember? I'm pretty sure I heard something along the lines of 'I promise I'll try'?" Chance teased.
"Oh right, that," I muttered looking down at my hands while I fidgeted nervously with the blanket.
"Yeah, that. So what do you say? I could take you out to supper, or what do you like to do? God. I'm so bad at this I don't even know the first thing about you," he gripped his hair between his hands as he bent his neck.
"That's not true," I teased. "You know my name, that's the first thing."
"Okay so where should we start?" he grinned leaning back onto the pillow that lay on my white duvet.
"Favourite color?" I suggested, unable to think of anything else. I had a lot of questions to ask Chance, I needed to. But on the other hand did I want to get into the serious subjects right when we had finally come to a truce?
"Red," he answered immediately.
Well, that was interesting. Was it because it was the color of blood and gore? Or the color of love and roses? Of course I couldn't really imagine Chance being that sentimental but weirder things have happened, especially recently.
"I don't know," he shrugged. "I just always have loved it. Ever since I was little, I'm pretty sure it was because my favourite baseball team was the red socks."
"You grew up watching baseball?"
"Yeah, what did you expect? Although I have to say that hockey is my favourite sport."
"So how old are you?" I asked.
"Nineteen," he said looking down into my eyes, where I now lay comfortably next to him.
"Really?" I said suspiciously, narrowing my eyes. Could he really be nineteen? Not just appear to be nineteen, it seemed impossible that any vampire could ever start off to be young.
"Yep, I was born nineteen years ago. Okay not exactly, nineteen years and a few months, give or take a few."
"Oh," I said. "So you're actually like nineteen? Not like a hundred and forty seven or something outrageous like that."
"Nope, just nineteen."
"So vampires can have kids," I said, not a question at all.
"Yep, vampires can have kids. You learn something new every day, huh?"
"So do you have any siblings?" I asked before I realized my mistake.
Of course he had siblings; for god's sake his brother had almost murdered my own brother and raped me. I shut my mouth quickly and stared out the window. I watched a small blue robin land on the branch of a maple tree and scurry over to her nest. The robin fed the smaller birds, newly hatched a worm as I watched quietly. God, how I wished life could be like that. Sleep, eat, survive. Why did humans have to be so complex?
"Hey, you okay?" Chance said silently. He tipped my head up when I refused to look him in the eyes and his gorgeous eyes poured into mine.
"Yeah, just a little sore," I admitted.
His eyes flashed red as I mentioned this and his hands, which were now being extremely careful, traced patterns onto my arms.
I shivered while he continued his examination. Chance maintained his inspection for several minutes, on both arms and finally looked up at me.
"Where, where are you hurt?"
"No, I'm fine Chance. Sort of. Just a sore subject you know?"
He nodded, his head bopped like a cartoon character and I had to use all of my composure not to laugh.
"So your siblings, have any others?"
"Yeah, I have two older brothers; they're great. A little sister too, you would love her."
"So not all vampires are bad?"
"Depends what you mean by bad," he admitted.
I started at him and cold shivers went up my spine. Did this mean that all vampires were bad, just some worse than others? I thought about how Chance had admitted to killing people. He had told me that he still did. I shivered, how could I be friends with a killer? I would have to start avoiding him, it just wasn't right. The word killing sparked a fuel in my memories as I recounted what Mrs. Sparks had told me this morning.
Since Friday I believe there have been two killed and five injured, six now, in the area around Union City and Manhattan.
"Chance?" I asked my voice wavering.
"Yes Liv? Why are you scared?" he asked, automatically sensing the fear rolling through my body.
"Uh, well you wouldn't happen to know about an increase in homicides in the past few days, and, uh, injuries."
"No," he growled. "But I'm willing to bet my brother played a big part in it."
"So your brother is bad?" I guessed.
"To the core," he spat.
"Wait," I stopped. "Didn't you say that you killed?"
"Yes," he said looking down at the comforter. Apparently the lumpy design was suddenly a very interesting topic. "But I'm not proud of it. I don't like it Liv, but like I said I have to."
"Why do you have to Chance? I don't understand. You said you don't need to kill for blood, yet..."
Chance sat up and encouraged me to do the same.
"No, we don't need to kill for blood, although we do need it. If we don't then we become very weak, like I had said earlier."
"Okay, so why do you kill?"
"Our bodies work in similar ways than yours – chemical wise. However our strength and speed come from our blood source. Not the human blood, the vampire blood."
"Wait what?" I looked at him confused.
If the human blood didn't make them powerful, and the vampire blood did. Then wouldn't they take vampire blood instead?
"Our vampire blood needs human blood to keep pumping through our body. The more human blood we take the faster our vampire blood goes, so the more powerful we are."
"Oh, so why do you kill?" I asked once again.
"It is hard for us not to kill. It is not painful to not feed, like you might have heard in myths or legends. However once we start it is hard to stop. The blood lust takes over our minds and that's all we can think about. The only way we can stop is if someone makes us, well for me. There is another type of vampire, they are much the same as me except they have more self restraint. Luck of the draw, I suppose. There is no sure fire way to be one or the other although genes sometimes plays a major part in it."
"So did you kill any of those people?"
"No, I never. That was my brothers doing."
"And when he stopped?"
"That was me, he had to follow me here because I am supposed to 'baby-sit' him. He is the trouble-maker and I can't say in a good way," he growled. "When he stopped? Yeah that was me interfering."
"So why does he drink so much?"
"To become, more and more powerful."
"You said that you don't kill as much as your brother does, or at least not as much."
"Yep," he agreed. "I try not to."
"So how come you are more powerful?"
"That's where this conversation stops. I have told you a lot more than I ever intended to tell anyone, and that is one of the most important things about my life."
I sighed but didn't push it. I had found out a lot more about Chance tonight than I had ever thought possible. It had been so easy and simple. I hadn't had to push it the conversation had just wandered as if we were talking about what movie we last saw and then the book behind it.
"So what about your brother?" Chance asked as if nothing has happened.
"He's great," I smiled. "The best you could ever ask for."
"You're really protective of him," Chance stated, no question burned behind his words.
"Yeah," I smiled thinking about him and his now teenage face in my mind. I pictured his blonde hair and blue eyes – characteristics he had inherited from my mother. "I am."
I thought back to when I watched my brother this morning, and the two small bite marks on his neck.
"Chance, can I ask you something?"
"I don't know, don't you think I get another question before it's your turn again?"
"This is serious though, and it's about vampires," I warned him.
"Liv," he groaned, tipping his head backwards and looking up at the design on my ceiling.
"Come on Chance, this is important. I swear last question of the day about vampires."
"Will Tyler remember anything about last night? I saw two bite marks on him this morning, and I want to know did it hurt? Will he be in pain?"
Chance smiled. "This I can answer. No to answer your questions, he won't hurt or remember anything. In fact I would think that the bite mark is already healed. When vampires stop feeding, if they do, their saliva is already into the victim's blood stream. The saliva contains endorphins which makes the victim feel pleasure. Another chemical in our saliva is unique – Onylsia. Onylsia makes the victim forget everything about the feeding, from how he got there, and to how he got home and what's going on. Finally vampires heal amazingly fast and when they feed a bit of their DNA gets into the blood stream and causes the victim to heal pretty fast as well."
I nodded. I was easily able to follow his small chemistry lesson with my high grades. Grades...
I glanced over at the clock to see that it was 4 O'Clock already. Where the hell does the time go? My head swarmed with frantic thoughts and my breath caught in my throat as I pounced over to my desk.
"Chance can we continue this later? I have some major study to catch up on," I repeated, I scanned over my books once again.
He grinned and chuckled.
"Yeah sure nerd. Just call me whenever." He continued to laugh as he walked normally out of my room and down the stairs.
"Wait, what's your phone number?" I called from my desk, where I was now seated comfortably.
"It's already programmed into your phone."
I was about to ask another question but already I heard the front door slamming as he closed it and the house shaking. And I thought vampires were graceful. I pulled out my black cell phone out of my pocket and sure enough there in contacts was Chance and his number. He didn't even say his last name. God, I had missed second on my list. Oh right, as well as first.
I groaned and slipped the small phone back into my pocket. I opened up my heavy text book and started to review for my test tomorrow. God, I hope I don't fail.
• • •
Mark passed the test behind me and grunted as he leaned down and started to read the questions on the Chemistry test. Mrs. Lilly, the chemistry teacher, was ahead of the class and was pacing back and forth slowly.
"Okay, you can begin when you get your paper. You have exactly fifty minutes."
I nodded my head as if to agree and looked down at the paper. I had reviewed all last night, until at least 12:00, which was late for me considering I usually go to bed early when I have a test. My eyes were weary from my late night and my leg kept up a constant beat, a result from all the caffeine.
I quickly scribbled my name on top of the paper and started to read the questions. I whizzed through them quickly, thank god, and I was worried about failing. I looked around the classroom to observe my other fellow 'nerds' as Chance had called me. I saw that a few had their eyebrows furrowed in concentration while others like Amanda, one of my friends, looked like she was going through it almost as easily as me.
I looked down at the paper again and finished off the few questions that I had left. I tapped my pencil nervously as I reviewed through my answers. Once. Twice, three times. Finally the buzzing of the bell which signalled end of day rang and I gathered my books slowly before making my way to homeroom.
I walked towards the front of the class and passed in my test. I smiled genuinely to Mrs. Lilly as I passed. Mrs. Lilly was probably my favourite teacher, she was funny and kind. Plus she had a charismatic way to her when teaching or just talking and she definitely didn't give any boring lectures. Personally, I think she should have been an actress but she always laughs when I bring this up.
I started to turn towards the door before I heard my name being called.
"Liv!" It was Mrs. Lilly.
"Yes?" I said starting to walk back towards her desk, on the other side of the white board, near a window.
"Did you hear from Harvard after?"
I looked up at her and smiled.
"Oh yeah I got their letter on Friday, I was accepted!" I declared excitedly.
She rushed quickly around her desk and leaned down to embrace me in a tight hug.
"Oh Liv, I'm so proud of you!" she squealed, with happiness for me.
"Thanks Miss that means a lot, coming from you," I promised her looking up into her warm brown eyes. Mrs. Lilly was tall for a woman, she towered over me. She was thin and all curves and her long black hair fell strait to her waist. She was like an Egyptian, and I was always mesmerized by her. Like I said, should have been an actress.
"So do you know what you are going to major in yet?"
"Not yet, no. I haven't really thought about it," I looked down at my feet while I tried to hide my heavy blush which was no doubt about to show.
"Don't worry about Liv, you still have time. Make sure to give it some thought so, it could really help you in the long run and you know where to go if you ever need help."
"Thanks, I'll be sure to keep it in mind."
"Good, now you best be off to homeroom – I am sure Mr. Green will be on with the announcements in any moment and you know how Mr. Noel gets when you are late," she chuckled heartily.
"Yeah, I guess I should go," I smiled again and turned away from her and towards the door.
I imagined the whoosh of her hand as it speared the air as she waved goodbye and I walked slowly away. I walked through the now empty corridors towards my homeroom class for the day. I reached for my cell phone which was in my pocket to get the time but instead of feeling cold metal against my fingertips by hands brushed something frail, papery.
I pulled the object out of my hand to see that it was paper, the note that Chance had given me. My face set into a mask of confusion as I pondered how on earth that had gotten in there, I was wearing new jeans, obviously. I brushed it off that maybe it had gotten stuck in my cell phone or something as I unfolded the tiny piece of paper.
The paper was cool in my hands as I read for the first time what Chance had given to me more than twenty four hours ago. It was a confession, as he had said but it was not in direct meaning. It was a poem. I groaned; could Chance not be mysterious for once.
I reread the words in my head as I tried to understand what it could mean.
The wave envelops me and drags me down
Fight is useless;
All I can do is not drown
It changes abruptly;
Now sucking me under
No intention is played
It's all so natural
Fight is easy;
I don't try to stop it
It's wonderful and glorious
Got me wrapped around in its movements
The wave will come around
With more power than before
That much is certain
But am I strong enough?
I reread the poem again and again as I tried to make sense of it. Obviously he wasn't actually talking about a wave and a whirlpool, I was positive that a vampire wouldn't be hurt by that. I groaned – I never was good at poetry. I looked over the poem again as if the hidden meaning would jump out at me if I read it again but it was the same as ever. Just a bunch of confusing words. He had said it was a confession...
Mr. Green's voice sounded through the hallways over the intercom, chasing me away from my thoughts as I scurried faster towards homeroom where, no doubt, awaited a tsking from Mr. Noel. Sad to say, that was the least of my problems.