Summer seemed to fly by once the secret of the boys was known to me. They swore me to secrecy, not that I was going to tell anyone, but Damian and I began spending every day together. I even blew off Lissa to see him. She was not pleased about that, in fact, she told me that we couldn't be friends if I was choosing a boy over her. I found that ironic.

"Another text?" Damian asked peering over my shoulder as I sat in his desk chair texting Lissa.

"She doesn't know when to let go," I said. "Besides, she's mad that a freak like me ended up being friends with both you and Lucian," I explained.

"Parker, you're not a freak," Damian said. I shrugged and typed a quick response to Lissa. Damian spun the chair around so I was suddenly face to face with him.

"You aren't a freak!" He said.

"If you say so," I mumbled. "I see the way people look at us when we go out together, especially other girls my age."

"Silly, they are jealous because you are the only person in town that Lucian and I have bothered to get to know," Damian said.

"That's a kind of self involved thing to say," I said.

"You know that as vampires Lucian and I are more attractive to mortals than regular humans, helps us hunt," He said.

"Have you done all your back to school shopping?" I asked to change the subject.

"Yes," Damian said with a heavy sigh, not that he needed the breath. He hated when I changed the subject like that.

"Why do you even attend school?" I asked. "You're immortal, you could do whatever you want."

"Well, when you've traveled as many places as I have, and when you have exiled yourself, it is nice to mingle with people, get to know them. We forget how to be human sometimes." Damian paused in his explanation. "Vampires don't generally stick together, they get annoyed with each other quickly and need separate territories, a lot like tigers. But we still have some social needs."

"But high school?" I asked. "The same torture over and over again?" I asked.

"When you have the face of a seventeen year old for eternity, there isn't much you can do in the world, even with all the degrees we have accumulated, high school, bachelor's, master's, even some phd's.

"That is crazy!" I said. "If you and Lucian aren't tied for valedictorian, I will be mad," I said with a cute smile.

"We can't show how smart we are, they might try to excel us through the school system, which means we'd have to move sooner," Damian said.

"So you move every time you think that your age has become suspicious?" I asked. Damian nodded.

"That's why I'd like to just settle somewhere!" He took a step back from me and paced the room once.

"You know, there are parts of the world where you could get away with that," I said.

"Yes, I know plenty of them," Damian said. "But it is a bit more complicated than that."

"How so?" I asked.

"When I said vampires have social needs, they have a need for companionship," He said. "A mate, for lack of a better term, someone they can share their territory with not rival over it."

"Weird," I said.

"It is an animalistic thing," Damian said.

"So you and Lucian have been searching for your said mates?" I asked.

"I don't think it works quite like that," Damian said. "Love and attraction is more complicated than just meeting someone."

"Yea, I guess you are right," I said. I had never been in love, and I had never really been attracted to anyone, Damian and Lucian aside. No one could resist their attractiveness.

"You've never had a boyfriend?" Damian asked. I looked at him pointedly.

"I'm only sixteen," I said defensively. "Not to mention a pariah at school. You'll see on Monday how everyone treats me, you know, if they aren't trying to use me to get to you and Lucian." I smiled so that Damian knew I was joking around with him. He smiled back. We looked at each other for a long moment, across the room from one another. His dark eyes were endless with memories.

As I watched him, his eyes began to get darker and glaze over with a bright sheen. I could also see the tips of his fangs showing at his lips. He looked away from me, embarrassed. I stood up and walked over to him quietly, and I placed a hand on his back, his long black hair falling over my skin.

"Don't turn away," I said.

"I'm so sorry," He said.

"For what?" I asked. Damian shook his head. "So you are hungry, big deal! I'll go get you some blood."

"That's not...thank you," He said. I left him, dragging my arm and hand to keep in contact with him for as long as possible. I ran down the stairs to the kitchen. Malakye was playing Wii golf.

"Hello Parker," He said. I was there so often he was used to me just appearing.

"Hello Malakye!" I said. "Just getting a blood bag," I added. Malakye had not been happy when Damian had told him that I knew what they were, but Lucian had threatened to kill him, so he dealt with it.

"Parker, come here a minute," Malakye said pausing his game. I had just grabbed the blood bag from the refrigerator. I went into the living room to see him.

"Can I help you?" I asked.

"I hope Damian and Lucian aren't running you around doing things like getting blood for them," He said avoiding pleasantries and getting right to the meat of the subject.

"Of course not," I said smiling. "I offered."

"I want you to be careful. I grew up surrounded by vampires, and I have seen some of the things they can do. They are dangerous and unpredictable." He gave a small sigh.

"I know," I said. "I'm just happy that they see beyond my freakish looks and actually like me," I said.

"They have always been interested in the unique," Malakye said. "Run along." I turned and left the living room. When I got back upstairs, Damian was lying on the bed with his eyes closed.

"He forgets sometimes," Damian said.

"Forgets what?" I asked.

"How well we can hear," He said opening his eyes and sitting up. I handed him the blood bag.

"You heard that?" I asked. "We were a floor down on the other side of the house!"

"Vampires have heightened senses, very heightened," He said. "And Malakye is right, he grew up around vampires, yet he still manages to forget that Lucian and I are those vampires." I smiled.

"He is only looking out for me," I said. "I think he feels obligated, since he is dating my mom and all." Damian nodded and looked down at the blood bag in his hands.

"It is never satisfying enough," He muttered as his eyes grew dark and shiny again, and his fangs elongated. I watched as he bit into the top of the bag and drank from it. I had seen him feed before, we had passed that awkward stage of our friendship fairly early on.

When he was done he threw the bag into a trash can and stood up.

"Better?" I asked.

"Some," He said.

"You don't have to be ashamed of being hungry," I said. "Not around me."

"It isn't that I was hungry," Damian said.

"Then what?" I asked.

"It was that I was hungry for you," He said softly. He wasn't looking at me again.

"For a five hundred and eighty four year old vampire, you seem awfully sensitive about that sort of thing," I said.

"Parker, I'm serious, I could have hurt you," He said.

"You didn't," I said. "I'm not afraid of you, Damian."

"You should be," He said. I took a step towards him. He was still looking at the floor. I reached out and cautiously entangled my fingers with his.

"I trust you," I said.

"Parker, don't," He said.

"Don't what?" I asked. I gripped his fingers tighter until he finally looked at me. Damian finally stopped complaining and took my hand gently in his. I knew he could crush every bone in my hand in one squeeze if he wanted to, but I also knew he wouldn't.

"You're my best friend, Damian, I know all of your darkest secrets, and I know a lot of the terrible things you have done, but I still care for you. Nothing about you frightens me, nothing about you makes me uncomfortable." I finished my small speech and looked up at him. Damian was smiling. I bit my lip, looking at him with half lidded eyes.

"I've never been someone's best friend before," Damian said giving a small chuckle and running the thumb of his free hand over my bottom lip. I smiled at this. His skin was cool and hard, but it was always so warming when he touched me.

"Let's get out of here," I said. "We can go to the Drive In, they are playing a double feature, the two newest Batman movies!" I said.

"I could use a good movie," Damian said. We left his room and found his car keys. In the garage next to Damian's house, hidden from prying eyes, Damian had a dark green Jaguar, and Lucian had a re Viper. They liked fast cars apparently, because these cars had been completely customized, and Damian had told me they would be illegal on the streets, if the cops knew about them. When you are around for over five hundred years, you really acquire some wealth, even though they didn't flaunt it.

I slipped into the leather passenger seat, and my whole body vibrated as Damian started the car, and the engine roared to life. I loved going for drives with Damian, he always drove fast enough to be thrilling, and he never got pulled over!

We were out on the street now. I rolled my window down to catch some of the evening air. Summer was almost over. The days would soon be shorter, and the air would be too cold to wear shorts. I would miss it, like I did every year.

"You look like you are deep in thought," Damian said breaking my peace.

"Just thinking about how I'm going to miss the warm weather," I said. We lapsed into silence again. It was so easy being with Damian. I never had to try, or to mind what I said.

Monday arrived and so did school. My mom allowed me to ride to school with Damian and Lucian. I hadn't hear from Lissa in two days and I was nervous about confronting her. In the car both vampires sensed my agitation.

"Why are you sweating bullets?" Lucian asked in his crude way of speaking.

"I don't really want to have a dramatic showdown with Lissa on the first day of school," I said. "I just know she is planning something."

"I could eat her," Lucian said.

"No!" Damian and I said together.

"What is wrong with you!?" Damian asked.

"Ever hear of a joke?" Lucian asked.

"Your joking voice and your regular voice sound the same," I said with a giggle to defuse the situation.

"I've been told," He said moodily sinking into the back seat and staring out the window. He crossed his arms and refused to talk to either Damian or me for the rest of the ride.

Damian parked his car, and the three of us headed into the school building. After homeroom we all went separate ways. In between two of my classes, I was walking down the hall when I saw something fairly odd. Lucian was talking to Lissa, and not just talking, but it looked like they were flirting! When he reached up and pushed some of her dark hair behind her ear, my suspicions were confirmed. I became so suddenly angry and I wasn't even expecting it. As I walked down the hall, I made a point to brush up against Lucian as I passed him. I didn't look back to see his reaction and went to my next class.

Damian was in my next class. I sat next to him feeling oddly relieved to be in his presence.

"You are tense," He said even though I had relaxed a lot.

"Lucian is out in the hall flirting with Lissa," I said.

"You sound jealous," Damian said.

"So not! But he knows how much trouble I'm in with her, he's just feeding the fire," I said.

"That is what Lucian does," Damian said. "He will take every opportunity to make a bad situation worse."

"I just thought that he was my friend," I said crossing my arms and leaning back against my chair.

"Lucian doesn't have any friends," Damian said. "He has enemies and he has other people." I let myself smile slightly. The way Damian spoke made me giggle sometimes.

After class, Damian and I walked together towards the cafeteria. I noticed Lissa approaching us rapidly as if she were really trying to get my attention. My stomach dropped. I did not want to talk to her right now. When I saw her my anger flared up again.

"Parker!" Lissa's voice shouted as we almost passed each other.

"Lissa, hi," I said turning to face her. My teeth were clenched in frustration.

"I just wanted to say I'm sorry," She said. My shock almost knocked me backwards!

"I'm not hearing things correctly, can you repeat that?" I asked.

"I said I'm sorry," Lissa said. "I should have seen that I was pushing you away, right into Lucian and Damian, instead of blaming you for going behind my back and being sneaky." My eyes must have been as big as tennis balls, and my mouth was visibly dropped open. This was not the scene I had been expecting. I had pictured yelling, drama, hair pulling, and maybe a punch or two.

"Um, thanks?" I said it more as a question, so unsure of what was happening. This had to be a trick of some kind!

"I should really get going, Team Meeting, but I will call you later, okay?" She asked.

"Sure?" I said still as if I were asking questions. I was stunned as Lissa walked away. I turned to look at Damian. "What just happened?" I asked.

"I don't know," Damian said. He looked worried, but I couldn't comprehend why. I couldn't comprehend anything at the moment.

"Can we go eat before I pass out from shock?" I asked. Damian smiled a half smile and gave a small chuckle. He rested his hand in the small of my back as we found a table to sit at. I was glad for his presence, and the comfort he provided. He really was my best friend.

When lunch was nearing an end, I saw Lucian out of the corner of my eye. He was leaving through a fire exit.

"Hey, I'm going to grab some fresh air really quick," I said getting my bag and standing up.

"Want me to come with?" Damian asked.

"No, I'll be fine. I don't want you to be late for class because of me," I said insisting that he remain behind.

"All right, do you want a ride home after school?" He asked.

"If you're offering," I said smiling at him.

"Of course," He said. I touched his shoulder as I strode past him and headed for the front door. I didn't want to go out the same exit as Lucian, just in case Damian had seen him too, and I wanted a word with Radu alone.

I found him behind the school near the dumpsters.

"I was wondering how long it would take you to come find me," He said. He was leaning against the brick wall of the school and looking down at his feet.

"I saw you with Lissa in the hall," I said.

"I know. You made sure I knew, remember?" He asked. I nodded.

"Damian told me you always like to make bad situations worse," I said.

"He's not wrong," Lucian said.

"I thought you were my friend," I said. He looked up at me now. His piercing blue eyes shocked me as I found myself lost in them.

"I don't have any friends," He said with a half grin.

"Damian said that too," I said. "But Lucian, please, don't try to get between Lissa and me anymore than you have without trying."

"Get between you two, is that what you thought I was doing?" He asked. "All this time I was thinking you were mad at me for making her apologize."

"You what?" I asked struck by shock for the second time that day.

"Parker, you know vampires have lots of little powers, I used one of mine to keep Lissa from starting a fight with you, actually, I made her accept what had happened this summer and be okay with it." He gave me a very sly look this time.

"I can't believe you!" I said, but I couldn't hide my smile for very long. "Thank you." I took a few steps forward and hugged Lucian before I even had time to consider what I was doing. He seemed as surprised as I was by my action and held still not knowing what to do. I released him and took a step back. Lucian cleared his throat.

"Sorry," I said looking down, flushed. I was still standing close to him. Lucian tipped my face upward by putting a finger under my chin. He made me look at him, and I blushed even more. Lucian gave a very slow and secretive smile. He leaned forward and pressed his lips to mine. I didn't know what to do! Not only was this my first kiss with a vampire, but my first kiss ever! I didn't even know if I wanted this! I didn't have to do anything apparently, because Lucian's lips left mine. He bent his head to the crook of my neck. I felt him inhale as he tangled one of his hands in my silver hair. My eyes began to close. I had always wondered what it would be like to be bitten by a vampire.

"Lucian!" Damian's voice called loud enough to make us both turn in surprise. I took a quick step away from him, feeling embarrassed again, and feeling like I had betrayed Damian somehow. Lucian sighed heavily, but look somewhat happy to see his brother, something I had never seen before.

"I'm skipping the rest of the day," He said to Damian, not even giving me a second look. Damian nodded, and Lucian got in a running stance until he vanished.

"Where did he go?" I asked.

"We can move faster than the human eye can see," Damian said. "Why didn't you tell me you were going to come look for Lucian?" He asked. I shrugged. I picked up my bag, noticing it was on the ground for the first time, and walked beside Damian back to the school.

"I needed to speak to him alone, and I didn't think you would let me," I said.

"Just be careful," Damian said. "Lucian is the master of lies, deception, and seduction."

"I am careful," I said. "Besides, I have my big brother vampire protector if anything goes wrong," I said nudging him with my elbow. Damian smiled at that and nudged me back. His nudge was much lighter than he could do, but it still made me stumble slightly. He caught my arm before I hit the ground though and set me back on my feet.

"Thanks," I said.