Evernight Page 53

“It’s not for me,” I began. “It’s for you.”

Appalled, he retorted, “No way.”

“Lucas, let’s face it. When I bit you the second time, something changed, down deep, maybe forever. If I’ve made you part vampire, or a vampire-to-be like me, then we have to know.”

He looked pale and drew his long coat more snugly about him. “You really think that’s what happened? Because—Bianca, I can’t face turning into a vampire. Not ever.”

His blunt rejection of the idea hurt; I’d already begun to dream about us going through the centuries together, vampires forever young and beautiful and head over heels for each other, just like my mother and father. Lucas obviously hadn’t gotten that far yet. It was disappointing, but I remained focused on the test. I wore fingerless gray gloves, so I was able to unscrew the lid on the thermos easily. “We have to find out how you react to blood. You know it’s true. Just take a drink and get it over with.”

“This isn’t, like, from a person, right?”

“No! It’s cow blood. Superfresh.”

Lucas looked like he would rather have stripped naked in the freezing night air. But he took a deep breath, accepted the cup, and managed not to make too much of a face as I poured a rivulet of blood. I only gave him a sip; that would be enough to tell. With a grimace, Lucas lifted the cup to his mouth, slowly tilted it back, and drank—

—and then spat blood all over the ground. “Ugh! Jesus Christ, that’s disgusting!”

“That answers that.” Grimly I screwed the thermos cap back on. I’d heated the blood and sampled it myself, so I knew it was delicious. If Lucas didn’t like that, then he still had no appetite for blood at all. “You’re not what I am. You’re something else.”

“How are we supposed to figure that out?” Lucas was busily wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, trying to remove every last trace of the blood. “We don’t have reference works; and it’s not something either of us has ever run into before. And before you ask, no, they don’t have anything on this on Wikipedia. I got so desperate, I checked. Nothing. There’s just…nothing.”

I wished Lucas would stop talking like he knew something about vampires; it was sort of annoying. Still, he’d just tasted something really gross, so I figured I’d let him off this time. “I have a suggestion. You won’t like it, but I think that if you consider it, you’ll realize it’s the best thing to do.”

“Okay, tell me this suggestion I won’t like.”

“Let’s ask my parents.”

“You were right about my not liking it.” Lucas ran his hands through his hair, like he wanted to rip it from its roots in frustration. “Just…tell them? Tell the vampires what’s wrong with me?”

“Stop thinking of them as ‘vampires’ and think of them as my parents.” I knew it would take Lucas a while to make this transition, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t going to push. He’d learned to see me for myself, given time. Eventually he could do the same for Mom and Dad. “They’ll hear you out, and if they can help, they will.” Lucas shook his head. “If they’re going to be mad at someone, that’s going to be me. I’m the one who bit you again and started all this.”

“Then we shouldn’t get you into trouble.”

“If you need help, then that’s what’s important. Nothing else.” I faced him squarely. “Think about it, Lucas. Once they know, we can talk openly. Get answers to all your questions and mine, too. If you’re destined to be a vampire—”

He shuddered. “We don’t know that.”

“If, I said. You need to know all about us, don’t you? Even the history and powers that I don’t know about yet. We could learn all about it together.” And perhaps Lucas would like what he heard and decide to join me as a vampire forever. I could hope, couldn’t I? “Once you’re one of us—in whatever way—then they can talk to you openly. You can ask whatever you want. And maybe this will make my parents realize that I’m old enough to hear the whole truth now. We won’t be confused or lost anymore. We’ll learn what we need to learn; we’ll learn everything. Don’t you see?”

Lucas froze. For the first time, he seemed to understand what I’d been saying—that whatever had happened to him would, in some way, let him become a part of Evernight. Despite his dislike of the school, I sensed that he wanted to know more about it, so much so that it surprised us both. Maybe Lucas needed to belong to something after all.

Or maybe he was starting to think about becoming a vampire and staying with me forever.

“Don’t ask me to do this,” Lucas said quietly. “Don’t give me that chance.”

“Are you afraid you’ll like what you hear?” I challenged him.

Lucas didn’t answer. Finally, slowly, he nodded. “Let’s talk to them now.”

I’d predicted that Mom and Dad would be upset with me, but I hadn’t guessed the half of it. First Mom read me the riot act about ignoring all their warnings. Then Dad wanted to know just what Lucas was thinking taking a young girl to the top of the north tower alone.

“I’m almost seventeen!” I shouted at one point. “You keep telling me to make mature decisions, and when I make one, you yell at me!”

“Mature decisions!” My father was so outraged that I half expected him to grow fangs any second. “You reveal all our secrets because you like a boy and you want to talk about mature decisions? You are on thin ice, young lady.”

“Adrian, calm down.” Mom put both her hands on his shoulders. I thought she was sticking up for me until she added, “If Bianca wants to spend the next thousand years looking too young to get a job or rent a car or do any of the basic things that make life manageable, then we can’t really stop her.”

“That’s not what I want!” I couldn’t even imagine getting carded for all eternity. “I didn’t kill him. I didn’t change. Okay?”

Dad retorted, “You came damn close to it, and you know it.”

“I don’t know that at all! You never explained to me what would happen if I bit a human and didn’t kill him! You never explained to me what humans would or wouldn’t know the next day! There’s a whole lot you never explained to me, and now I finally realize how stupid you’ve kept me all these years!”

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