Craved (Book #2 of the Vampire Legacy) (3 page)

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

 
 

Still shaken from her encounter with Sage, Scarlet walked into her house lost in her own world.

She was snapped out of it rudely as she walked right into the middle of her parents’ arguing. She couldn’t believe it. In all her life, she never remembered them arguing and now that was all they did; she felt a pang of guilt, wondering if it had to do with her. She couldn’t help shake the feeling that something bad had started in all of their lives, something that wouldn’t go away, and which seemed to be escalating, day by day. And she couldn’t help feeling as if it were all her fault.

“You’re taking this way too far,” Caleb screamed at Caitlin behind the closed door. “Seriously. What’s gotten into you?”

“What’s gotten into
you
?” Caitlin shot back. “You were always in my corner, always took my side. Now, it’s like you’re in denial.”

“Denial?” he shot back.

Scarlet couldn’t take it anymore. As if her day wasn’t bad enough—having to listen to this was putting her over the edge. She just wanted them to stop arguing. She just wanted their lives to go back to normal.

She took a few steps in and pushed open the door to the dining room, hoping her presence would make them stop.

They both stopped in mid-argument, as they wheeled and stared at her, like deer caught in headlights.

“Where were you?” her dad snapped at her.

Scarlet was taken aback: her dad had never yelled at her before, and had never used that kind of tone. His face was still read from arguing, and she barely recognized him.

“What do you mean?” she said, defensive. “I was just outside, with Ruth.”

“For an hour?”

“What are you talking about?” she said, wondering. “I was only outside for a few minutes.”

“No you weren’t. I went up and checked your room, then I saw you going outside, and that was an hour ago. Where did you go?” he insisted, walking around the table towards her. “Don’t you lie to me.”

Scarlet felt as if he’d totally lost his mind. Not only was her mom going crazy, her dad was, too. She felt her world caving in.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she snapped back, her own voice rising. But she was starting to wonder if somehow she’d lost track of time. If something was happening to her. If she had again gone somewhere, and not remembered. The thought of it made her heart pound, as she started to silently freak out. “I’m not lying. And I don’t appreciate your accusing me of it.”

“Do you have any idea how worried sick we were about you? I was about to call the police again.”

“I’m sorry!” she yelled back. “I didn’t do anything!”

She was shaking inside at the brunt of his anger, and couldn’t stand it a moment longer. She turned and stormed out of the room, bursting into tears as she did. She ran up the steps.

She’d had it with her parents. It was just too much. Now, even her dad didn’t understand her. And he had always, her whole life, been on her side, through everything.

“Scarlet, get back here!” he shouted.

“NO!” she screamed back, through her tears.

She could hear her dad’s footsteps, following her up the steps, and she went faster. She hurried down the hall, to her room, and slammed the door behind her.

A moment later, his fist banged on the door.

“Scarlet. Open the door. I’m sorry. I want to talk to. Please. I’m sorry.”

But Scarlet turned off the lights and jumped into bed, curling up. She sat there, crying and crying.

“Go away!” she screamed.

Finally, after what felt like forever, she heard his footsteps disappear.

It was too early to sleep, and Scarlet felt too numb to do anything else. After a long while, she reached over and picked up her phone. Her alerts were going crazy—her Facebook page blowing up with new posts and messages. It just made her feel worse, and she shut it off.

After a long while, she lay there, on her side, looking out through the window at the trees, at all the different colors, shimmering in the final light of day. She watched as several leaves fell off the trees before her eyes, swirling down to the ground.

She felt overwhelmed with sadness. Blake didn’t want to be with her; Vivian had turned the whole school against her; her own friends didn’t understand her; her parents didn’t trust her; she didn’t know what was happening to her body. And most of all, she messed up her chance to talk to Sage. Everything was going so wrong. And she couldn’t stop flashing back to that moment between her and Blake, down by the river. She couldn’t stop thinking about what was happening to her. Who was she, really?

She reached over and grabbed her journal and her favorite pen, leaned over and began to write.

 

I don’t understand my life anymore. It’s surreal. I just met the most amazing boy ever. Sage. I don’t want to admit it, because Maria likes him, but I can’t stop thinking about him. I feel like I’ve known him somehow. We barely spoke, yet I felt such a connection to him. Even more than with Blake.

But he left so quickly, and I stupidly turned him down. I wish I hadn’t. There are so many questions I’m dying to ask him. Like who he is. What he’s doing here. And why he was in front of my house. He said he was just walking by, but somehow I don’t believe it. I think he was looking for me.

I don’t know who my parents are anymore. Every day, everything is changing so much. I don’t know who I am either. It’s like the whole world I once knew, the world that was so familiar and safe is gone, replaced by another world. And I feel like tomorrow, it will all just change again.

I dread tomorrow. Will everybody hate me? Will Blake ignore me? Will I see Sage?

I can’t even imagine what the next day will bring.

*

Scarlet opened her eyes, awakened by a doorbell. She looked out and was shocked to realize it was already late morning, the sun flooding into her bedroom. She realized she’d fallen asleep in her clothes, on top of the covers. She grabbed her clock and turned it: 8:30. Her heart fluttered with panic. She was late for school.

The doorbell rang again, and Scarlet jumped to her feet. Given the time, she assumed her parents had already left for work, so she had to answer the door. Who could be ringing it so early in the morning?

She was tempted to ignore it, to just hurry up and get ready for school, but it rang again.

Ruth barked and barked and finally, Scarlet let her out and followed her down the stairs, through the living room, and towards the door.

Ruth stood before it, barking like crazy.

“Ruth!”

Finally Ruth quieted as Scarlet walked to the door. She slowly pulled it open.

Her heart stopped.

Standing there, staring back at her, was Sage. He held a long black rose, in both hands.

“I’m sorry to drop by like this,” he said. “But I knew you’d be home.”

“How?” she asked, totally confused.

He only stared back.

“May I come in?” he asked.

“Um…” Scarlet began.

A part of her desperately wanted to invite him in, but another part felt freaked out. What was he doing here? Why was he bringing her a black rose?

But then again, she couldn’t just send him away.

“Sure,” she said. “Come in.”

Sage smiled wide, as he took a single big step across the threshold.

As he did, to her amazement, suddenly he sank into the floor. He sank and sank, as if into quicksand, and held up a hand, shrieking for her.

“Scarlet!” he shrieked. “Help me!”

Scarlet reached down and grabbed his hand, trying to pull him up. But she suddenly went down the hole, too, diving down face first. She screamed at the top of her lungs, as she went flying full speed, heading towards the bowels of the earth.

Scarlet woke screaming. She looked all around her room, her heart pounding. The first rays of the day came through her window. She looked over at her clock. 6:15.

She had fallen asleep in her clothes. She breathed hard as she realized it had all just been a dream.

Her heart was pounding. It had felt so real.

She got up, headed into her bathroom and splashed cold water on her face several times, trying to wake up. As she stared back into the mirror, though, her fears were compounded: her reflection. It was different. She was there, but her reflection was translucent, as if she were a ghost. As if she were fading away. At first she thought the light was playing tricks on her. But she turned up the light, and it was still the same.

She was so freaked out, she felt like crying. She didn’t know what to do. She needed something to ground her. Someone to talk to. Someone to tell her that it would be OK. That she wasn’t going crazy. That she wasn’t changing. That she was the same old Scarlet.

For some reason, Scarlet thought of her mom’s offer, of the priest. Now, she felt like she really needed him. Maybe he could help her feel better.

She walked out into the hall and as she did, saw her mom walking down the hall, getting dressed for work.

“Mom?” she asked.

Caitlin stopped and turned, looking surprised.

“Oh honey, I didn’t know you were awake so early,” she said. “Are you okay?”

Scarlet nodded, afraid she would cry, and walked down the hall and gave her mom a hug.

Her mom hugged her back, tightly, and rocked her, and it felt so good to be in her arms.

“I miss you honey,” her mom said. “And I love you very much.”

“I love you too,” Scarlet said over her shoulder, and began to tear up.

“What’s wrong?” her mom asked, as she pulled back.

Scarlet wiped a tear out of the corner of her eye.

“Do you remember your offer the other day? To see the priest?”

She nodded back.

“I’d like to go. Can we go together? After school today?”

Her mom smiled wide, seeming relieved.

“Of course we can, sweetheart.”

She gave Scarlet another hug. “I love you. Don’t ever forget that.”

“I love you too, mom.”

 
 

CHAPTER FIVE

 
 

Scarlet got to school early, for the first time in ages. The halls hadn’t filled up yet, and it was a ghost town as she walked to her locker. She was used to coming in late, to the place being packed, but today, after her nightmare, she felt too antsy to sit around the house and wait. She’d also checked her Facebook and Twitter and saw the ridiculous amount of activity as a result of Vivian and her friends posting about her, and was so anxious about how the school might react, she felt coming in early might somehow help fend it off. At least by getting here early, she felt somewhat grounded, somewhat prepared.

Although of course she knew that would do no good. Soon these halls would fill with an overwhelming number of kids, and they would cluster in groups, outnumber her, and look and whisper. Including, maybe, Blake. She wondered what he might have told everyone about their date. Did he tell them everything that happened? Did he tell them that she was some kind of freak?

The thought of it made her so sick, she’d skipped breakfast this morning. She would have to face the music, and wondered how many hundreds of kids had been following the posts—and what they all thought about her. A part of her wanted to curl up and die, to run away and leave this town, and never come back.

But she knew neither of these were an option, so she figured, better to just be brave and get it over with.

As she opened her locker and collected her books for the day, she realized how far behind she was in all her homework assignments. This, too, was so unlike her. The last two days had been so crazy, everything so different than it had ever been. Making matters worse, she was squinting at the morning light coming in through the windows, and noticed she had a terrible headache she’d never had before. She found herself shielding her eyes at a particularly bright hallway, and wondered again if something was wrong with her. Was she still sick or something?

She spotted her old sunglasses sitting up there, on the top shelf of her locker, and felt like grabbing them and wearing them indoors, throughout the day. But she knew that would only attract more negative attention.

Like a tidal wave, the halls began to fill with kids, pouring in from every direction. She glanced at her phone and realized her first class would start in a few minutes. She took a deep breath and closed her locker.

She’d noticed on her phone that there were no new texts, and her thoughts turned again to Blake, to yesterday. Her running away. She wondered again what he must have told the others. Had he really said all those harmful things? That he’d dumped her? Or had Vivian made them up? What did he really think of her? And why hadn’t he answered any of her texts?

She assumed, of course, that his silence was a response. That he was freaked out, and no longer interested. But she wished, at least, that he’d respond, as she checked her phone yet again, just in case—even if just to say he wasn’t interested. She hated not hearing.

As if all that were not enough, she could not stop thinking about Sage, either. Their meeting, in front of her house, had been so mysterious. She regretted walking away from him, and wished she had a few more moments to talk to him, to ask him more questions. Her dream freaked her out, though, and she could not understand why he was stuck in her mind, even more so than Blake.

She felt so confused. With Blake, it was like she consciously thought about him; with Sage, it was like she couldn’t help it—she thought about him whether she wanted to or not, and she didn’t understand her strong feelings for him. Strangely enough, even though she’d known Blake for years, she already somehow felt closer to Sage. What bothered her more than anything was that it didn’t make sense. She hated not understanding—especially when it came to love.

“Oh my God, Scarlet?” came the voice.

As she closed her locker she saw Maria standing there, looking back at her as if she were looking at an infamous celebrity.

“You’re never here early! I texted you like a million times last night! What happened? Where were you? Are you OK?”

Scarlet felt a pang of regret; she’d been too overwhelmed to reply to all her texts. She also felt a new feeling of nervousness around Maria, given her feelings for Sage. After all, Maria made it clear that she was obsessed with Sage. If she found out Scarlet had talked to him the night before—especially in front of her own house—she feared Maria would freak out. Maria was so possessive and territorial when it came to boys. She always thought that whoever she laid her eyes on was hers—whether the person knew of her existence or not. And if anyone even remotely got in the way, they were her instant enemy. She could be very spiteful like that—and she would never forgive and forget. She was that kind of person: either your closest friend, or your mortal enemy.

“Sorry,” Scarlet replied. “I crashed early. I wasn’t feeling well. And I couldn’t deal with the whole Facebook thing.”

“OMG, I hate her,” Maria said. “Vivian. What a snake. Who does she think she is? I posted on her wall, and on her friends’ walls, too. I put them all in their place for bashing you.”

Scarlet felt so appreciative towards Maria—which made her feel even more guilty for having talked to Sage. She wished she could just tell her, just explain to her what happened with Sage—but she didn’t really understand herself what had happened. And she feared that if she even mentioned it, Maria would lose it.

“You’re the best,” Scarlet said, as she put an arm around her in appreciation.

The two of them walked side-by-side, down the halls, which were quickly filling up, the noise getting louder and louder, as they began the long march down towards the other end of school, for their first class together.

“I mean, the nerve of her,” Maria said. “First, stealing your man. Then, posting all about it. She’s just threatened. And jealous. She just knows you’re the better girl.”

Scarlet felt a little bit better, yet still felt a twinge of sadness at the idea of losing Blake. Especially under these circumstances. All she wanted was a chance to explain to Blake, to tell him that, whatever happened down at the river, that wasn’t her. But she didn’t really know how to explain. What could she say to him? She guessed she’d laid it out well enough in her text. And he never even replied.

“Hey guys,” came the voice.

Walking up beside them were Jasmin and Becca. Scarlet sensed them looking her over, and was beginning to feel paranoid about all the attention.

“Hey,” Scarlet said, as they all walked together, heading as a small group down the halls. “So are you going to like keep us in suspense?” Jasmin asked. “What happened with Blake?”

Scarlet could feel the eyes on her, and felt flustered. As they walked, she also saw the glances of all the kids. She wanted to think that she was just being paranoid—but she knew she wasn’t. There were definitely a ton of people looking at her, stealing side glances, as if she were some kind of freak. She wondered again how many kids had been online, had read all the posts, and what they believed. Was she going to be known as the girl who got dumped by Blake? Who lost Blake to Vivian? She burned at the thought of it.

“Is it true?” Becca asked. “Did he really dump you?”

“If he did,” Jasmin said, “just tell us, and we’ll slam his Facebook wall.”

“Thanks guys,” Scarlet said. She thought about how to best respond. She didn’t really know how to explain.

“So?” Maria prodded. “Are you really not going to tell us?”

Scarlet shrugged.

“I’m not sure what to say. There really is nothing to tell. We went down to the river, and like…” She paused, debating how to phrase it. “…Blake kissed me.”

“And?” Jasmin prodded. “You’re killing us here!”

Scarlet shrugged.

“That’s it. Nothing really happened. I mean, I like him. I still do like him. But…I left. I mean, I started feeling like really sick, so I had to leave, kind of abruptly.”

“What do you mean sick?” Becca asked.

“Like my stomach started killing me,” she lied, not knowing what else to say. “And I had this really bad headache.” At least it was partially true, she thought. “I think I was just still sick from the other day. So I rushed out of there. Bad timing, I guess.”

“So did Blake like bring you back? Or was he like a total jerk?” Jasmin asked.

Scarlet shrugged.

“It’s not his fault. I didn’t really give him time to, I guess. I kind of just left. I felt bad about it. I wanted to explain it to him. But he never answered my text.”

“What a jerk,” Maria said.

“What a loser,” Jasmin added. “Seriously. So you got sick—so what, he doesn’t answer your texts? What’s his problem? So you were sick. Big deal. I mean like he’s not going give you a chance to explain?”

“Totally,” Maria chimed in. “And then, what, he goes running back to Vivian, and like dumps you for her? Just because you were sick? What’s his problem? He totally doesn’t deserve you. It’s for the best.”

Scarlet really appreciated all the voices of support, and it made her feel better. She had never thought of it that way. She guessed she had been her own worst critic. The more she thought about it, the more she realized they had a point. Maybe Blake should have been more sympathetic; maybe he should have followed up, asked her how she was feeling; maybe he shouldn’t have been so quick to run to Vivian.

But had he really? Or had Vivian made it up?

“Thanks guys,” she said. “I really appreciate it. Though honestly I don’t really know what happened after. I don’t know if he went back to Vivian or if she just made it all up.”

“So I guess that means you’re not going with him to the dance?” Maria asked. “So then who are you going with? I mean, are you like not going?” she asked, her voice rising as if that were the most horrible thing in the world.

Scarlet shrugged. That stupid dance—it couldn’t have come at a worse time. She really didn’t know what to say.

“I doubt Blake’s taking me,” she said. “As far as going alone….”

For a moment, Scarlet couldn’t help but think of Sage. She realized how much she’d actually like to go with him. She hardly knew why. His face just stuck in her mind.

At the same time, she thought of Maria, what she would think—and the thought of going with Sage felt like a betrayal. She quickly tried to push it out of her mind.

“If I don’t go, I don’t go,” she finally said. “It’s okay. Maybe next year.”

“There’s a huge pre-game party tonight at Jake Wilson’s house. His parents are away. We’re all going. You
have
to go. Maybe you’ll find a date there.”

Scarlet gulped. Sneaking out and searching for a date tonight was the last thing she wanted to do.

“Well anyway don’t feel bad,” Maria said. “I don’t have a date yet either.”

“What about Brian?” Jasmin asked her.

“We’re over, remember?” she said.

“But he’s not dating anyone else.”

Maria shrugged. “He didn’t ask me. And I really wouldn’t want to go with him anyway. Sage is the one I really want to go with. The new boy.”

Scarlet gulped.

“So why don’t you ask him?” Becca asked.

“Yeah, you keep talking about him, but you’re not doing anything about it,” Jasmin said. “Stop being chicken.”

“I’m not chicken,” Maria snapped back.

“Chicken chicken!” they taunted her.

Maria’s face turned beet red, and Scarlet could see how mad she was.

“I’m not chicken. In fact, I have class with him next period. I’m going to ask him then.”

“No you’re not,” Becca said.

“You’d never do that,” Jasmin said.

“Watch me,” Maria said.

BOOK: Craved (Book #2 of the Vampire Legacy)
13.37Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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