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Chapter two

"Oh man." I whispered, looking ahead at the swarming students.

It was Tuesday, my first day of school as a senior, and I had just gotten here, as Rivera had dropped me off. I had a backpack full of school supplies that she'd so kindly bought for me (she told me I could work off the payment by helping around the apartment) and I had my school schedule in hand. I was set for war.

But I didn't have the first clue how to start.

I felt as if this was all new to me. Sure, I remembered stuff like Algebra and Science and English, and I didn't know how I knew it, but I knew that I'd learned it all. I felt though, even despite that, that I hadn't ever been in a school before, but I knew what one was and how it functioned. This not having a memory thing was starting to get a bit old.

"Um, excuse me---" I tried to tap on the shoulder of a guy passing by me, but he was rushing, along with everyone else, and didn't even notice me. I swallowed, as I looked back down at my schedule and then back at the lobby.

"You look a little lost."

I recognized the voice before I even turned to look at him. "I'm not lost." I said stubbornly. "I know where I'm going."

"Are you sure about that? You don't look so sure." his voice was filled with patronizing amusement.

"I'm sure." I said flatly, and started forward, fists clenched, to the staircase.

"That's not where English 12 is."

"How do you know that's my first class?" I demanded, eyes narrowed as I whirled to face him. Today he wore a dark blue shirt with long sleeves that made his hair even more brown, and his eyes stand out.

"Your schedule." he nodded to it, as if I were a child that was stupid at learning a lesson. "I was leaning over your shoulder."

I hadn't known that he'd been that close behind me. "Well . . . whatever! Then where is English 12?"

He smirked. "Maybe I'll tell you. Maybe I won't."

"I'm not in the mood for games. Tell me where it is." I ordered, glaring at him.

"But my dear, you're never in the mood for games."

"You're talking as if you know me." I said irritably, crossing my arms over my chest and tapping my foot impatiently. "Tell me."
"Maybe I'm hoping that the more I talk to you as if I know you, it'll soon be that way."

"That didn't make any sense." I snapped.

"I know." His tone was almost cheerful, as if annoying me brought him some kind of pleasure. "Fine. I'll tell you . . . for a price."

"And what's that?" I asked distractedly.

"If you tell me about yourself."

I stared at him, my mouth slightly opening. I'm sure it was a very attractive face. "You're kidding, right?"

"I am very serious, I assure you." he stated dryly, lifting an elegant brow as he watched me.

"No. I'll just ask someone else." I turned away from him, searching for my next victim.

"Good luck with finding anyone who's actually willing to help you." He commented, sounding smug.

I was about to ask someone else, when I realized that he was right. I really didn't want to ask anyone else and it didn't seem like there was anyone who was very willing to help me, even though I was clearly new. I sighed, defeated, and turned back to face him. "What do you want to know?" I grumbled.

He smirked. "We'll worry about that later. First of all, you're going to be late to class if I don't show you where it is. So just follow me." He started heading for the stairs.

"I thought you said English 12 wasn't that way!" I said angrily.

"I lied, because I wanted to talk to you some more." he replied simply, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. If looks could kill, he'd be six feet under, I reviewed, as I followed behind him, trying to keep my eyes off the rather nice behind in front of me.

He led me past the lockers (I would check them for mine later) and down the hall, past the library, to a classroom on the right, right beside the library. I watched, confused, as he headed inside.

I followed him, and said, "You have this class too?"

He looked over his shoulder at me. "Yeah. Lucky me, huh?"

"I don't know whether or not that was sarcastic, and I'm not sure I want to know." I muttered. By the soft laughter behind me as I moved past him, I was sure he hadn't been sarcastic.

I had a slip that I was supposed to have all the teachers sign, and I went up to the desk where a young, pretty brunette sat, wearing nice work clothes. She smiled up at me. "You're the new student that I heard about yesterday, I'm guessing. Alice Brooks, correct?"

I smiled back politely. "Yes. I'm supposed to get you to sign this, Miss . . ."

"Stewart. Ok, I'll just sign this for you then, and, then I'll assign you a seat." she took the slip from my hand and signed it in a pretty, elegant script, before handing it back and pointing to an empty desk in the back row. "There you go. That's the only empty seat, I'm afraid. If you have vision problems I might be able to switch you, but for today, just sit there and try to take some notes. I'll get you caught up through this week. Is that fine?"

"Sure." I liked her, because she was so nice so far. I put the slip back in my backpack and went to sit at the desk in the back. I noted that he was only a few rows away on my right, and that he sat in the very last desk of his row as well, since there were five vertical rows of desks in the classroom.

I set down my backpack, and pulled out a notebook and a pen, turning it to the first fresh page. I dated it and titled it, before I set my pen down and waited for class to start. Discreetly, I looked around at all the students, noting that a lot of them were now staring at me. Some of them were trying to be sneaky, and others were just blatantly obvious. I tried not to notice, and not to be self-conscious. I wore a light green sweater and a pair of blue jeans, nothing special, and I seemed to fit in just fine. I ran a hand nervously through my stick straight, pale blond hair.

"So you're the new girl?" the redhead sitting in the desk to my left inquired, and I would have thought it was just a question if there wasn't a nasty look in her eyes. She wore a low cut gold shirt that revealed way too much bronzed skin, and a black mini-skirt with possibly very expensive high heels. Her red hair was styled to perfection, and her makeup was perfect. She was what men would classify as 'beautiful', and I felt my ego drop quite a bit.

"Yes, I am." I said, a bit shortly.

"I saw you with Tobias when you came in. So, are you two like a thing?" she smiled at me, like she was only trying to make polite conversation, but I could tell she only wanted to know for one of two reasons. Either she wanted some gossip, or she was interested in Tobias herself.

"Oh no, definitely not." I replied.

"But you like him, right? I mean, he's only the hottest thing in this school. How could you not like him?"

"Well, pretty easily right now, since I don't really know him." I answered honestly. "Don't worry, I'm not interested."

"Well, if you aren't now, you will be soon." she assured me. "Every girl likes him here. But he doesn't seem interested in any of the girls . . . except for me, of course." She smirked, as if proud of herself. "Sorry if I came across as rude. I'm Mita Thompson." She held out her hand.

"Alice Brooks." I returned, shaking her hand, and seeing her perfectly manicured nails.

"Well, what a cute little name." she smiled again at me. "If Tobias decides to talk to you again, could you tell him that I decided I want to go on that date with him Friday?" I somehow got the feeling she was only telling me to tell him that so I got the idea that I needed to back off, even though I wasn't interested in Tobias. I knew Mita's type. She thought I was in her territory, over what she wanted, so she was making it clear that Tobias wasn't available. Well, she wouldn't have to worry about me.

"Sure. I'll let him know." I knew I should have told her to tell him herself, but a part of me was too chicken to really stand up to her. And it was my first day. I didn't want any trouble.

"Thanks, Alice. Don't worry, you're just going to love it here at our school." she flashed me another one of her beautiful, honey-sweet smiles, and I smiled weakly back, before I looked down at my notebook paper, praying she would just leave me alone now.

When I was sure that Mita's attention was on the girl in front of her, and they were talking, I risked a glance at Tobias, seeing that he was watching me, his expression unreadable. "What?" I mouthed at him.

He just offered me a smirk and looked away, shaking his head. I glared at him, wondering what that was supposed to mean, but when I determined he wasn't going to look back, I looked away as Miss Stewart stood up to begin the lesson.

* * *

"So she's the one you were babbling about yesterday?" Ethan inquired dryly, watching the blond girl 'Alice' attempt to serve the volleyball, but only succeeding in making it hit the net, as she didn't hit it high enough.

"I only mentioned her. I'm not actually interested." Tobias assured him, his eyes never once leaving Alice, which almost seemed to directly contradict his statement.

Ethan rolled his brown eyes, flicking his black hair out of his face. "You may be able to lie your way out of situations with everyone else, but you can't lie to me. I know you."

Tobias sent a dark look Ethan's way, but didn't comment. "It's not like it matters, either way. She's a curious case, nothing more."

"But you also saw her in the cemetery a few nights ago." Ethan reminded him.

"Completely naked, I might add." Tobias murmured, and for a brief moment, the image went through his mind again, making his blood boil just a bit warmer. He shook off the feeling, feeling a bit uncomfortable thinking such thoughts with Ethan right by. "But she was lying there when I was coming through. So I stayed in the bushes and watched until that redhaired woman found her. I believe her name was Rivera? Either way . . . I know they're not related. I heard their conversation. Apparently this girl has no recollection of who she is or where she's from. She's lost all of her memory. Except that her name is Alice."

"Now that you failed to mention." Ethan replied. "Do you think it was a work of magic, that erased her memory?"

"Mmm . . . it's possible." Tobias replied thoughtfully, after a moment. Alice was now a bit red faced as she apologized fervently to the girl she'd hit in the back of the head with the volleyball. Tobias smiled slightly with amusement as he watched the pretty blond.

"I know what that look means." Ethan muttered. "You'd best get it out of your head, Tobias. Your kind and her kind don't mix."
"And yet, here I stand, mixing with all of them." Tobias countered, looking at Ethan. "Besides, with what I've seen of her so far, what makes you so convinced that she's so normal herself? She could very well not be a human."
"No, she's human. I can smell it from here." Ethan replied. "But I'll admit that there's something that's not quite right about her. She's different, that much I can tell. But I don't know what it is. Normally I can tell, but this is something I haven't sensed before. Vampires, werewolves, witches . . . I can sniff them all out in an instant . . . but this . . . it's something very strange. There's no doubt about that."

"I think she's hiding something." Tobias said quietly. "She says she doesn't remember anything, and yet, she's so mistrustful. Like she's got something to hide."

"Maybe she does. We all have something to hide, Tobias. If I stood here, listing all the things you have to hide, we'd be here all day." Ethan retorted. "I think you should just leave it alone."

"It's more than just that, though. She's attractive." Tobias admitted, though he wouldn't have admitted it to anyone else. "More than in just a physical way."
"I thought you wanted Mita."

Tobias snorted. "Maybe for when I'm bored, but Alice? No, that's an entirely different story. Alice is a whole other ballpark. She plays hard ball." Another secretive smile curved his lips.

"And we all love the feisty ones." Ethan agreed with a wolfish grin, elbowing Tobias. "Fine, I'll give. She's hot, but . . . just be careful, Tobias. Don't bite off more than you can chew."

"Very funny, pup. Same to you."

Ethan just winked. "I never bite off more than I can handle, Tobias. Don't worry."

* * *

"You're not very athletic, are you?" The nurse asked, as she bandaged a long scrape on my knee that I'd gotten while playing volleyball just earlier.

"Not really." I admitted. "I didn't really want to take gym, but I got it anyway. So I'll just deal with it."

"Well, try to be a bit more careful in the future, so you don't get worse than this. It's seventh period now, so just go ahead and head on out. Watch your knee, all right?" The nurse patted my leg and I rolled down my jeans before I hopped off the crackly plastic covering the bed before leaving the office, my knee burning slightly.

I had managed, somehow, to memorize my schedule sometime during the day, so I knew that my last class was study hall, and it was in the library. I moved down the hall, hoisting my backpack over my shoulder, and into the library.

Nobody paid me any attention as I entered, and I moved behind some of the book shelves to where there were tables set up, looking for somewhere to sit. All of the round tables seated four, and all of them were filled up, except for one. And at the last table, sat Tobias, reading a book. I sighed quietly under my breath, before I headed over.

I had just reached the table and opened my mouth to ask him if I could sit down when he beat me to it. "That seat is not taken and I would be very pleased if you would join me, Alice." he said charmingly, glancing up at me from underneath his thick, long lashes. I felt my breath catch for a moment, before I forced myself to look away and plopped down ungracefully into the chair across from him.

"Thanks." I mumbled. So far, I only had three classes with him. English 12 in the morning, gym at sixth period, and apparently seventh period study hall. I also had lunch with him, but I didn't count that as a class.

"So what brings you to this lovely library?" he asked me dryly, reading his book and no longer looking at me.

"Study hall." I sighed. "Oh, and by the way, Mita said to tell you that she decided that she wanted to go on that date with you, or something like that . . ."
"Oh, that." Tobias didn't seem pleased. "Well, thank you for passing along her message. I'll get back to her on that . . . eventually."

"So . . . are you two dating, then?" I asked. A part of me was curious to know, but I wasn't sure what was fueling that curiosity, and I didn't want to stop and think to find out.

"Why does it matter?" his eyes returned to mine, searching my gaze, and I felt the heat filling my face.

"It doesn't."

"That's why you're blushing." a slight smirk began to curve his lips.

"I'm not blushing!" I turned away from him, angry and mortified, refusing to look at him.

"I believe you are. Actually, I know you are." Tobias set down his book, focusing all of his attention on me. "Alice, you are quite a mystery, you know that? One minute I think I've got you figured out and the next . . . you're surprising me again."

"I don't know what you're talking about."

"Well, for example, if you really want one. One minute you're telling me that if I want a 'conquest' I need to look elsewhere, and the next you're blushing because you're interested to know whether or not I'm dating another woman." Tobias kept that taunting, slight smile throughout his entire speech, and my face burned with embarrassment, because a part of me knew he was right and hated him for it.

"I'm not interested! I just asked!" I said defensively.

"Shh, Alice. We're in a library, remember?" Tobias raised his eyebrows at me, ever the innocent gesture, and I felt an urge to wrap my hands around his pale throat.

"That's it. I'm going to go sit somewhere else." I stood up, snatching up my backpack, and moved past his chair. My foot caught on the leg of a chair on the side of the table, however, and I went flying face first to fall right into Tobias's lap.

My hands rested on his broad chest, and I was practically laying on him. If I thought my face was red before . . . I looked up into his eyes slowly, horrified at what I'd done.

He held my eyes, and his were half-lidded, as if he were trying to seduce me or something. And a part of me admitted he sort of was, and another part admitted (though grudgingly) he was succeeding. Our faces were only inches apart.

"You really should be more careful." he murmured. "You already hurt your knee in gym."

"It's just a scratch." I lied. Why wasn't I moving? Why am I not moving?

"Yes well, it would have been worse if that girl you knocked into didn't intercept your fall." Even as he said these words, he was leaning slowly down toward me.

A part of my mind registered what he was trying to do, and another part questioned why he was trying to do it. He barely knew me. We'd only known each other for a day, so why? Then, a third part registered that his lips were getting even closer to mine and I hadn't moved yet.

My mind was unfocused, and dizzy. I tried to concentrate on moving away, but his eyes were holding mine, an intense, blazing silver, and it was preventing me from moving. But I noticed something else. There was something in his eyes that was so captivating, so entrancing, and drawing me in. It was almost. . . inhuman.

I blinked, and in that split second that I broke the eye contact my mind cleared. I whipped my head to the side and the force of my action caused me to lose my balance and I fell flat on my butt. I sat there for a moment, dazed, aware that I felt extremely tingly all over.

Infuriated, I looked up at Tobias, who looked a bit irritated. "You just tried to kiss me!" I accused.

"It seemed appropriate."

My eyes widened so much that I believed I would probably scare someone into thinking they were going to pop out of my head. "Appropriate!? I don't know you! You don't know me!" I stood up, aware my face was burning, and scrambled to grab my backpack. "I'm leaving. To have the audacity to do something like that . . ." I swallowed past the lump in my throat, my heart pounding, and stormed past him.

* * *

At least Tobias didn't come after me. I thought with a sigh, as I kicked a pebble by the toe of my shoe.

I was seated on a swing in the park, the moon high in the sky above my head, and I was alone. There was hardly anybody walking along the streets across from me, and Rivera was at home, fast asleep.

When I'd gotten home I hadn't told her about what happened with Tobias, but I'd given her some short crap about how I'd had a wonderful day and all that, though I really hadn't. It hadn't been a very good first day at all. After dinner, Rivera had gone to bed and I'd done the little bit of homework that I'd had before I snuck out, wandered the streets, and ended up here, not too far from the apartment.

"You know, it's not wise for a pretty little thing like you to be out here, all alone at this time of the night."

I looked over my shoulder at the cool, sensual voice, seeing a man standing a few feet away. He was tall, blond, and handsome, but his baby blue eyes were cold, and dead, and the look he was giving me made me feel like I was just something to eat.

My heart skipped a beat, but I said boldly, "It's not wise for a tall hulking thing like you to be out here either, but yet, here you stand."

He smirked at me. "You've got some courage, to be talking to me like that. Tell me, why are you out here?"

"Why are you?" I countered.

For a moment, the amusement dropped from his face and there was a flicker of anger. "Watch how you talk to me, girl. It's no business of yours why I'm out here, but you'll soon find out."

"I'd rather not, actually." I didn't know why, but just like sometimes when I was with Tobias, I could sense danger, something primitive inside me, whispering through my veins, warning me that I was in trouble. It was a hidden instinct, something as old as time, and I knew that this man was very, very dangerous. My heart started to pound, and I slid off the swing, facing him and trying to back up surreptitiously. "You know, I'd love to continue this chat, but I really should be getting home. Nice talking to you, creepy hulking man." I turned around to leave, and gasped as a felt a short burst of wind flap around me, and then he was right in front of me. I stumbled back.

"This isn't a game. All of you humans are the same. Thinking you can just wise talk your way out of any situation, thinking you're invulnerable. Well, you're not." He took a step toward me, and I was frozen in place by fear, wanting to run but unable, held rooted to the spot by his eyes, which wouldn't let mine go. Though this was what had happened with Tobias, it was different. His eyes were malevolent, even if captivating, and they seemed to grasp a hold of my mind. I couldn't move.

Soon he was a hair's breadth away, and his hand raised up, cold and dry as it touched my neck, and brushed my hair aside. "You really are so pretty, with those big, dark blue eyes." He murmured. "It's such a waste, really, but . . . a vampire's got to eat."

"V-vampire?" I whispered, trembling, now.

He smiled at me, and my eyes widened as his canine teeth lengthened, until they curved over his bottom lip, glittering and razor sharp in the moonlight. "Let me show you the difference between predator . . . and prey." And then his face was transforming into a feral, feline like hiss, and he struck, his fangs sinking deep into the soft flesh of my throat.

I only vaguely registered my sound of pain, but the scream had caught in my throat. Flames of agony went up and down my body, as I felt him sucking my blood from me, and now my mind was clear. I clawed at him, pulled his hair, struggled, but his strength was inhuman, as he was vampire and I was human.

Soon I was on the ground, and he was supporting me, and the world above me began to spin. I wondered, distantly, if I was going to die. I wondered if he would just kill me off, and leave my dead corpse there, to be found in the next few hours.

Just when I was beginning to accept my fate, I heard another hiss, and the man was yanked off me by some dark figure. I fell back against the ground, but the pain of that was nothing compared to how my neck felt. I watched dizzily as the figure who'd saved me moved towards the vampire man, and grabbed him by the scruff of his neck before flinging him through the air with impossible strength, to slam into the metal bars of the swing set, leaving huge dents with the impact.

"Touch her again . . . and I will make this far more painful than it's already going to be." The voice of the figure was quiet, and deathly, but there was underlying rage that frightened me. I recognized the voice faintly, but I couldn't quite place it.

My vampire attacker snarled and lunged at my savior, but apparently it anticipated the move and darted out of the way. The blond man let out a yelp as the dark figure, impossibly fast, seized him from behind by the throat and very quickly, snapped his neck, breaking it as easily as one would break a twig. The blond man slumped to the ground, seemingly dead.

The dark figure stood over the blond vampire for a moment, before making its way slowly over to me. When I could see the figure's piercing silver eyes, I knew who my savior was.

"Tobias?" I whispered, weakly.

"Alice. Let's get you somewhere safe." he said quietly, and bent to pick me up.

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