Evernight Page 50

He wanted what I wanted. The hunger blazed inside me, and there was no reason to stop. I pushed Lucas down against the floor and bit deep.

“Bianca—” Lucas struggled for only the first second as the rapture caught up with us both: my pulse flowing into him as his blood flowed into me, more powerful than the most passionate kiss, weaving us both together. The taste of his blood was familiar to me now but even more irresistible. I swallowed it down, relishing the heat and life and the salt against my tongue. He shuddered beneath me, and I knew that the bite felt just as amazing for us both.

Lucas gasped, and I forced myself to stop. Slowly I pulled back from Lucas. He was dizzy and weak but still awake. He put his hands on both sides of my face, and suddenly I felt self-conscious. My lips were stained with his blood, and my fangs were still sharp. How could Lucas look at me as a vampire with anything but revulsion?

Instead he kissed me, blood and all.

When our mouths parted, I whispered, “That’s all it is. I promise. Is that okay? Can you take that?”

“I want to be with you, Bianca,” he said. “No matter what you are. No matter what.”

Chapter Fourteen

“CAN YOU SIT UP?”

“Not yet.” Lucas held his hands over his eyes, then let his arms sag back onto the floor. “I need another second.”

“I tried not to take too much blood.” I really, really did not want to have to go to Mrs. Bethany for help again. “You gave me permission, right?”

“I did. I’m not sure I was thinking straight, but that’s my fault, not yours.” Something in me that had been strung too tight finally relaxed, and I could breathe deeply again. As long as Lucas felt that way, everything would be all right. “Did your parents or Mrs. Bethany tell you to do this?”

“To bite you?”

“I know better than that. I meant, to tell me about the school?”

“The exact opposite. They wanted me to lie to you, which is why I did at first.” This part still made me feel ashamed. “I’m sorry, Lucas. I thought it would be safest for both of us if I went along with the story Mrs. Bethany made up to cover the hours you forgot.”

“It’s weird. I remember you biting me this time—but it’s hazy. Like how sometimes you can’t quite remember a dream five minutes after you wake up. If you hadn’t been here with me the whole time and kept me awake, I probably would have forgotten that, too. You’d think being bitten by a vampire would be one of those things that would stick in your memory. You know, stand out from the usual?”

“The forgetting is part of the bite. I don’t know why. Maybe nobody knows why. It’s not like there are scientific explanations for vampires.”

Lucas breathed in deeply, then slowly pushed himself up on his elbows until he was sitting. I braced his shoulder with my free hand, but he shook his head. “I’m okay, I think.”

“Now you know why, when we kiss, sometimes I have to, well, hold back.”

“I understand now.” His smile looked a little funny. “That part is sort of a relief. I was starting to think I needed to switch to a new mouthwash or something.”

I giggled and kissed him on the cheek. “Don’t worry. I didn’t turn you into a vampire.”

“I know. I mean, my heart’s beating. So no vampire.” Lucas took the handkerchief from his pocket and held it to his neck. As he dabbed at the wound, he winced. “I still can’t believe you were born a vampire. I’ve never heard of that.”

“How could you have heard of it before you ever knew that vampires were real?”

“Good point.”

“I’ll never bite you again, unless you ask me to.”

“I believe you.” Lucas laughed, and it was a strange sound—like he was laughing at himself for some reason I didn’t understand. “I believe you completely. Even now.”

I hugged him tightly. For Lucas to say that after he’d learned how I lied to him, well, it was as much as I could ever have asked for.

We bandaged Lucas so neatly that nobody would notice while he wore his uniform shirt, went back downstairs, and just managed to avoid missing curfew. He kissed me easily at the entryway to the guys’ dorm and then walked away, giving no hint that tonight was different from any other.

“You’re acting weird,” Raquel said that night as we brushed our teeth at the sinks. “I know things have been tense with you and Lucas. Is everything okay?”

“We’re great. We kind of had a misunderstanding over the holiday, but everything’s all right now.” What she’d perceived as me “acting weird” had been me trying to angle myself so that Raquel couldn’t see that the toothpaste I was spitting out was pink with Lucas’s blood. “How are you?”

“Me? I’m awesome.” She said it with real relish, which made me stare at her in surprise. Raquel laughed. “Sorry. Now that Erich’s gone, Evernight seems halfway bearable.”

“Really? Listen to you. By next year you’ll be Evernight’s one and only cheerleader.”

“One, if you ever call me a cheerleader again, I will wipe the floor with you,” Raquel said around her toothbrush. “Two, it wouldn’t be very exciting to cheer for a school whose only sports are equestrian events and fencing. Seriously, talk about being stuck in the Dark Ages.”

“More like the early eighteen-hundreds.” I turned off the cold water tap and gave her a smug smile. “And I notice that you didn’t say you wouldn’t come back next year.”

This earned me a wet washcloth thrown at my head, but I managed to duck.

That night, as I lay in bed and Patrice slipped out the window for a late snack, I tried to evaluate how I felt. Once again, I knew that almost mystical closeness to Lucas, but this time it was even better. He knew now; he understood everything. I didn’t have to lie any longer, and that alone was a vast, soaring relief. Nothing else really mattered.

Or so I thought, until the next morning.

I awoke with the same heightened senses I’d felt before. My parents had said that I would get used to the sensations, but I certainly hadn’t yet. I tugged my pillow over my head in a futile attempt to muffle the sound of Genevieve singing madrigals in the shower, the birds cawing outside, and someone downstairs who was already sharpening pencils. The pillowcase felt coarse against my skin, and the smell of Patrice’s nail polish was almost overpowering.

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