Afterlife Page 92

My parents also said nothing when I went to Lucas’s room with him. My mom even checked Lucas’s bandage before we walked away and she told him she’d put some Neosporin on it in the morning. He swallowed hard as he nodded, and I could tell he was missing his mother, and the way she 238 had cared for him.

Mom and Dad probably thought we were just going to fall into each other’s arms. I liked the idea, but I knew that Lucas and I had to make a lot of decisions tonight — decisions that would shape our whole futures.

When we were alone in the room together, I helped him ease out of his jacket and shirt. Every mo·ve made him wince. I said, “You know .. . now that you’re human again… if you wanted to call Kate — ”

“I don’t.” He looked up at me, and although his eyes were sad, I knew he truly meant what he said. “I still love Mom. I always will. But I know now, she has . .. limitations. She can’t see past her own fear. There’s no way for her to be a part of our lives. Maybe someday, I might — I don’t know, let her know what happened. It would be a load off her mind, knowing I’ve been changed back. But I’ll never see her again.”

l sat on the hotel bed next to him. “Are you sad?”

“No. I’ve known we’d never be together again for a while now.” He brought his hand up to the curve of my jaw and smiled. “And how could I be sad today? God, Bianca, You’re a — miracle.”

I caught his hands in mine. “You’re alive again,” I said, my voice shaking. “You can have any kind of life you want. So I just want you to know that you’re free, okay? You’re free to make your own decisions. Even if — even if that means leaving me.”

“What?” Lucas stared at me like he couldn’t believe a word I’d said. “Why would I ever want to leave you?”

“You don’t have to fight vampires or wraiths anymore. You told me how much you always wanted a normal life, and now you can have one. Lucas, you could go to college, like you used to dream about. Meet some girl who’s alive and well and never — never had to attack anyone, or to learn how to kill.” I couldn’t quite meet his eyes anymore. “Someday you could get married. Have children. That’s something I can never give you.”

Lucas stared at me, shocked into silence. He had to be weighing what I’d just said. I didn’t expect him to agree right away, but he had to see the truth of it on some level. Given time, he would choose to fulfill his oldest dream: to live like other people lived. To have a house, a job, a family. To 239 set aside the old battles forever.

Then he said, “How do you know?”

“How do I know what?”

“That we can’t have children.”

It caught me up short. Honestly, I’d never thought I’d be able to have children; most vampires never did, with my mom and dad as a rare exception. Becoming a ghost had only confirmed its impossibility. “Lucas, I’m dead.”

“So were your parents.”

“I don’t have a body.”

He cupped my face in his hands, so tenderly it made me shiver. “Feels like it to me.”

I could have a body if I wanted one, couldn’t I? There didn’t seem to be any limit on how long I could keep it. “We don’t know that it’s possible,” I protested. “We can’t be sure.”

“That means we can ‘ t be sure what’s impossible, either.” Lucas smiled at me, his dark green eyes shining. “Bianca, before tonight, nobody ever dreamed that you would be able to bring me back to life like that. You made that happen. And now we’ll find a way. I’m not talking about kids, or at least not just about kids. I mean, no matter what’s ahead of us. We’II make it work. Because I love you too much to ever let you go.”

Joy rippled through me. “Are you sure?”

“Are you?” For a moment, hesitation flickered across his features. “You’re the most amazing supernatural creature in the world, and I’m just some guy who’s going to get old eventually.”

““ll make my hair gray to match yours,” I promised. “I’ll add wrinkles when you do.” I hadn’t known that I could feel like crying and laughing at the exact same moment. “But, Lucas — what about having a normal life?”

“Forget normal.” He grinned. “We’re going to be extraordinary.”

We kissed, and for the first time since he’d been changed, there was no barrier between us, no hesitation.

It turned out, with a little bit of concentration, I no longer had to take my clothes off. If l wanted them to be gone, they were, so that only my silver and coral bracelet shone on my wrist.

It felt different, being with him now that he was alive and I was not. Somehow, it felt even better. When we were together, I could sense 240 everything he sensed, be aware of his pleasure along with my own. And his touch was no longer a simple connection of nerves and neurons, no longer creating a merely physical response. Instead, I felt his touch as what it was — an expression of the love between us — and that excited me as nothing else ever had or could.

“Bianca,” Lucas whispered against my throat, his breath once again warm, the scent of his skin again all around me. “You’re my life.”

“And You’re mine.” It was true. His heartbeat, his muscles, everything that made him human resonated within me as strongly as my own life ever had. Within myself I held everything that was wonderful about being supernatural, and everything that had been wonderful about being alive. This was what it meant to be anchored — to be loved.

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