Craved (Book #2 of the Vampire Legacy) (2 page)

BOOK: Craved (Book #2 of the Vampire Legacy)
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CHAPTER TWO

 
 
 

Scarlet burst into her room, hysterically crying, and slammed the door behind her. She’d run all the way home, from the river, and had not stopped crying since. She didn’t understand what was happening to her. That moment kept flashing in her mind when she saw the pulse in Blake’s neck, when she felt that feeling, that urge, of wanting to bite him. Of wanting to feed.

What was happening to her? Was she some kind of freak? Why had she felt that way? And why then—of all moments? Just as they were having their first kiss?

Now that she was far away from the scene, it was harder for Scarlet to summon exactly how her body felt at the time—and with each passing moment, it was growing more distant. Her body felt normal now. Had it just been a fleeting moment? Was it just some weird, one-time thing that had overcome her, that would never come back again?

She desperately wanted to believe that. But another part of her, a deeper part, felt that wasn’t the case. The feeling had been so strong, it had been something she would never forget. If she had succumbed to it, and stayed there one more second, she felt certain Blake would be dead right now.

Scarlet couldn’t help but think back to the other day. Coming home sick. Running out of the house. Forgetting what had happened, where she had been. Waking up in the hospital. Her mom being so worried, so freaked out….

Now, it all came to the forefront of her mind. Her mom had wanted her to see more doctors, to get more tests. And then, to see a priest. Did her mom suspect something? Was that what she was hinting at? Did she think that she was becoming a vampire?

Scarlet’s heart was pounding as she sat there, in her room, curled up in her favorite chair. Ruth stuck her head in her lap, and Scarlet leaned down and stroked her. But there were tears in her eyes as she did. She felt shell-shocked, in a daze. She was terrified at the idea that she was sick, that she had some kind of disease—or maybe, something worse. Deep down she thought it was ridiculous, of course, where her mind was going. But she dared to wonder. Her wanting to bite his neck. The feeling she’d had in her two incisor teeth. Her craving to feed. Was it possible?

Was she a vampire?

Did vampires really exist?

She reached over, opened her laptop, and googled it. She had to know.

She pulled up the Wikipedia entry for “vampire” and began to read:

“The notion of vampirism has existed for millennia; cultures such as the Mesopotamians, Hebrews, Ancient Greeks, and Romans had tales of demons and spirits which are considered precursors to modern vampires. However, despite the occurrence of vampire-like creatures in these ancient civilizations, the folklore for the entity we know today as the vampire originates almost exclusively from early 18th-century southeastern Europe, when verbal traditions of many ethnic groups of the region were recorded and published. In most cases, vampires are revenants of evil beings, suicide victims, or witches, but they can also be created by a malevolent spirit possessing a corpse or by being bitten by a vampire.”

 

Scarlet quickly shut her laptop and put it away. It was all too much for her to take.

She shook her head, trying to physically put it out of her mind. Something was definitely wrong with her. But was it that? It terrified her.

Making all of this even worse were her feelings for Blake, and her thinking of what had just happened between them. She couldn’t believe she had run away from him like that, especially at that moment. They had been having such an amazing time, a dream date. And now this. Finally, just when their relationship was starting to take off. It was so unfair.

She couldn’t even imagine what he was thinking right now. He must be thinking she’s some kind of freak, some kind of absolute psycho, for her to just jump up like that, in the middle of a kiss, and take off, sprinting into the woods. He must think she was totally out of her mind. She was sure he’d never want to see her again. He’d probably go back to Vivian.

She desperately wanted to explain herself. But how could she possibly? What could she possibly say? That she had a sudden urge to bite his neck? To feed on him? To drink his blood? That she had to run away to protect him?

Sure, that would really set his mind at ease
, she thought.

She wanted to make things right. She wanted to see him again. But she had no idea how to explain. Not only that, but she was also afraid to be near him; she didn’t trust herself now. What if the urge overcame her again? And what if, next time, she actually hurt him?

She burst into tears, thinking about it. Was she doomed to never be around boys again?

No. She had to try. She had to at least
try
to make things right. She had to try to explain herself, in some way. If for no other reason so that he didn’t hate her. Even if he never wanted to see her again, she couldn’t just leave things like this. And deep down, a part of her still dared to hope that maybe this was just a one-time thing, a freak episode, and that maybe they could get over this and still be together. After all, if they could get over this, they could get over anything.

Scarlet was beginning to feel a little better. She wiped away her tears, grabbed a tissue, blew her nose, and took out her cell. She pulled up his number and began to text him.

Then she stopped. What should she say?

I’m so sorry for what happened today.

She deleted that. It was too generic.

I don’t know what came over me today.

She deleted that, too. It didn’t sound quite right. She needed the perfect balance, the perfect mixture of apologizing and yet being hopeful that things had not changed forever. She also needed to emphasize what a great time she had up until that point.

She closed her eyes and sighed, thinking hard.
Come on, come on
, she willed herself.

She began to type.

I had such an amazing time with you today. I’m so sorry it ended the way it did. There was a reason I had to leave like that, but I can’t explain it to you. I know it’s hard to understand, but I hope you can. I just want you to know that I had an awesome time, and I’m sorry. And I hope we can see each other again.

Scarlet stared at her draft for a long while, then finally reached out, and hit send.

She watched it go through.

Her text wasn’t perfect. She already thought of how she could have re-written it in a million ways. And a part of her already regretted sending it. Maybe it sounded too desperate. Maybe it was too cryptic.

Whatever. It was off. At least now he knew that she still liked him, and that she wanted to see him again.

She knew that Blake had his cell on him every second of the day. She knew he’d get it right away. And that he always answered his texts within seconds.

Scarlet trembled as she waited to hear.

She placed her cell on her lap and closed her eyes, breathing slowly, waiting for a vibration. Willing it to vibrate.

Come on
, she thought.
Text me back.

She sat there, waiting, for what felt like forever. She kept refreshing her phone. After a few minutes, she even powered it off then back on, in case somehow it was jammed. She then watched the clock tick. Two minutes passed.

Then five.

Then ten.

She slammed her phone down on the table, and could feel tears welling up inside again. He clearly wasn’t texting her back. How could she blame him? She probably wouldn’t text herself back either.

So that was it. It was over.

Then, suddenly, her phone vibrated.

She reached over and snatched it off the table.

But her heart fell to see that it wasn’t Blake. It was Maria.

I can’t believe u cut class like that. So…how was ur date with Blake?

Scarlet sighed. She had no idea how to respond.

Don’t worry. I’m not cutting again. It’s over between us.

Really? OMG. Why? Vivian?

No. Not her. It just…

Scarlet stopped, wondering what to say.

…didn’t work out.

Tell me.

Scarlet sighed. She really wanted to change the subject.

Nothing to tell. What’s up with u?

OMG, I can’t stop obsessing about new boy. Sage. Heard fresh details today.

Scarlet was exhausted and really didn’t want to continue this texting conversation. She didn’t want to hear more gossip and innuendo about the new kid—or about anyone. She just wanted to disappear from the world.

But Maria was her best friend, so she had to humor her:

Like what?

He has a sister, and a cousin. They don’t go to our school though. He’s a senior. He transferred from a private school. I hear he’s rich. Like super-rich.

Scarlet didn’t care. She just wanted to end this.

Luckily, before she could type, she got another text—this one from Jasmin.

OMG, what’s happening to your Facebook wall?

Scarlet read it in surprise.

What do u mean?

Before she could respond, she grabbed her laptop, opened it, and pulled up her wall.

Her heart plummeted. Vivian had posted on it:

Nice try stealing Blake. It didn’t work. After he dumped you, he came back to us. I knew he’d dump you. Just surprised it happened so soon.

Scarlet breathed sharply, completely taken aback. She saw various friends of hers comment on the post, and saw that it had spread to many people’s walls. She also saw that Vivian had posted it to Twitter, and that it had been re-tweeted by all of Vivian’s friends.

Scarlet was aghast. She had never felt more embarrassed. She deleted the comment from her wall, blocked Vivian, then went to her settings and changed them so that only her friends could post. But it was barely a drop in the bucket—clearly, the damage had already been done. Now the whole school thought that she was stealing other people’s boyfriends. And that she was dumped.

Her face turned red. She was so mad, she wanted to reach out and strangle Vivian. She didn’t know what to do.

She slammed down her laptop, and burst out of her room. She tore down the steps, not knowing where to go or what to do. All she knew was that she needed air.

“Come on Ruth,” she said.

She grabbed her leash and Ruth jumped excitedly, following her out the door and down the porch steps.

Scarlet ran down the steps, looking at her feet, and it wasn’t until she was out on the sidewalk that she looked up, and saw him, standing there.

She stopped cold.

He stood there, staring back at her, as if he was waiting.

It was the new boy.

Sage.

 
 
 

CHAPTER THREE

 
 
 

Scarlet stood there, at the end of her walkway, staring. She could hardly believe it. There, standing on the sidewalk, just a few feet away, staring back with his intense grey eyes, was the new boy. Sage.

What was he doing here, in front of her house? How long had he been standing here? Had he been watching her house? Had he been about to head up her walkway? Or had he just been passing by?

But passing by where? She lived on a quiet suburban street, and hardly anyone ever walked around here. Then again, she was only two blocks to town, and conceivably, he could be heading somewhere. But that was unlikely.

The thought of him standing there, watching her house, or about to walk up, freaked her out. On the other hand, she couldn’t deny that she was excited to see him. Excited wasn’t the right word. It was more like…transfixed. She could not take her eyes off of him. His smooth skin, his strong jaw, his proud cheekbones and nose, his gray eyes, long eyelashes—she had never met anyone remotely like him. So noble, so proud. He seemed so out of place here, like he’d dropped down out of a sixteenth-century palace.

She also couldn’t help noticing that she felt butterflies in her stomach when she looked at him. And it was a feeling she did not want to have. After all, Maria, her best friend, had made it clear that she was obsessed with him. How wrong would it be for Scarlet to take him away? Maria would never forgive her. And she would never forgive herself. Besides, she had Blake. Or did she?

She thought again of Vivian’s post, about Blake dumping her. Had Blake really told her that? Or had Vivian made it up? Either way, she felt pretty sure that Blake was gone from her life for good.

“Um…hi,” she said, not knowing what else to say. After all, they had never even been introduced.

“I didn’t mean to startle you,” he said back.

She loved his voice. It was soft, gentle, yet powerful the same time. He was soft-spoken, yet there were something authoritative in his tone. She could listen to that voice forever.

“I’m Sage,” he said, extending a hand.

“I know,” she said, as she reached out and took it.

The touch of his skin was electrifying. It sent a thrill up her harm, as he held her freezing hand in his warm one.

“Small town,” she added, by way of explanation, but then felt embarrassed. That was stupid of her; she shouldn’t have admitted she knew his name. It made her seem desperate.

But wait, she thought. Why was she even thinking this way? After all, he was Maria’s man. Wasn’t he?

“Your hand is so cold,” he said, as he looked down at her palm.

Scarlet withdrew it, self-conscious.

“Sorry,” she said, shrugging.

“You didn’t tell me your name,” he said.

“Oh, sorry, I just figured you knew it,” she said, then added, “not that I’m famous or popular anything. It’s just…well, small town, you know?”

She was already stumbling, making things worse with each sentence. She always did this when she got nervous in front of guys.

“Anyway, my name is Scarlet. Scarlet Paine.”

He smiled.

“Scarlet,” he echoed.

She loved the sound of her name in his voice.

“The color of many things. Wine, or blood, or roses. Of course, I prefer the latter,” he added with a smile.

Scarlet smiled back. Who talked like this? she wondered. It was as if he were from another time, another place. She was dying to know more about him.

“What are you doing here?” she asked, then figured that sounded too harsh. “Not to be rude or anything. But I mean like, what are you doing in front of my house?”

He momentarily looked flustered.

“Yes,” he said. “Peculiar timing, isn’t it? I was just in town, and thought I’d do a bit of exploring. I’m new here, and thought I would see where these roads lead. I had no idea they led to you.”

Scarlet felt better. At least he wasn’t stalking her house or anything.

“Well, there’s not much to see. This town is only a few blocks in each direction. A few more blocks that way, and it’s done.”

He smiled. “Yes. I was beginning to see that myself.”

Suddenly, Ruth ran up to him and jumped up and licked his hand.

“Don’t jump,” Scarlet chided.

“It’s okay,” he said.

He knelt down, and petted Ruth gently, stroking her mane with his palm, scratching behind her ears. Ruth leaned in and licked him on the cheek. She started whining and Scarlet could tell that she really liked him. She was shocked. Ruth was always so protective of her, and she’d never seen her take to a stranger like this.

“What a beautiful animal. Aren’t you, Ruth?” he said.

Ruth leaned up and licked him again, and he kissed her on the nose.

Scarlet was stunned.

“How did you know her name was Ruth?”

He suddenly stood, caught off guard.

“Um…I read it. On her neck tag.”

“But the tag is faded,” she said. “I mean, I can barely read it.”

He shrugged, smiled.

“They always told me I had good vision,” he said.

But Scarlet was not convinced. The tag was faded down to almost nothing, and she couldn’t possibly see how he could have read it. It freaked her out. How did he know her name?

Yet, at the same time, she felt comfortable being around him. And given the state she was in, she liked having company. She didn’t want him to go. But at the same time, she thought of Maria, and how upset she would be if she drove by and saw her standing here with him. She would be so jealous. She would probably hate her for life.

“You’re quite the mystery around here,” Scarlet said. “The new kid. No one really knows much about you. But a lot of people are dying to.”

“Are they?” he shrugged.

Scarlet waited, but he didn’t offer anything more.

“So…like…what’s your story?” she asked.

“I guess everyone has one, don’t they?” he asked.

He turned and looked off at the horizon, as if debating whether to tell her.

“I guess mine is boring,” he said. “My family…recently relocated here. So here I am, finishing out my final year.”

“I heard you had like…a sister?”

A smile formed at the corner of his mouth.

“Word gets around here, doesn’t it?” he asked with a grin.

Scarlet blushed. “Sorry,” she said.

“Yes, I do have one,” he answered, but didn’t offer any more.

“Sorry, didn’t mean to pry,” she said.

He looked at her, and as she looked up her eyes locked with his—and for a moment, she felt her world beginning to melt. For the first time that day, all her worries drifted far from her mind. She felt transported.

She wanted to stop staring, to put her feelings in check, wanted to summon thoughts of Maria and force herself to push him out of her mind. But she couldn’t. She was frozen.

“I’m flattered that you did,” he said.

He continued staring, then after a moment, he added, “Would you like to take a walk with me?”

Her heart started to pound. She
did
want to walk with him. She wanted that more than anything in the world. But a part of her was scared. She was still reeling from her time with Blake. She still didn’t trust herself, her own feelings, her body, her reactions. And she was scared to betray her best friend—even if, in reality, Maria had no claim on Sage. Most of all, she didn’t trust herself. Whatever had happened between her and Blake, that impulse to feed, might still be there. As much as she wanted to know more, she felt the need to protect him.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I can’t.”

She saw disappointment in his eyes as he nodded back. “I understand.”

Scarlet suddenly heard the banging of doors inside her house, along with the muted sound of voices rising. It was her parents, arguing. She could hear it even from here. Another door slammed, and she turned and looked to the house with concern.

“I’m sorry, but I have to go back inside now—” she said, as she turned back to say her goodbyes.

But as she turned back, she was utterly confounded. There was no sign of Sage. Anywhere.

She looked both ways, turned up and down the block, but there was nothing. It was unfathomable. It was as if he’d just vanished.

She wondered how he could have possibly run away that quickly. It was impossible.

She wondered where he went, and if there was still time to catch up to him. Because now, she felt an overwhelming urge to be with him, to talk to him. She realized, in a flash, that she had just made the stupidest mistake of her life by saying no. Now that he was gone, every ounce of her ached for him. She’d been such a fool. She hated herself.

Had she lost her chance for good?

 
BOOK: Craved (Book #2 of the Vampire Legacy)
12.57Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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