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|Bad Blood(Blood Coven Vampire,book 4) by Mari Mancusi|
“Are you sure you’re only eleven?”
She giggles. “I take it you like my idea?”
“It’s brilliant. I bet he’ll totally fall for that.”
“Okay, then I’m hitting SEND.” She clicks the mouse. “Done.”
I’m impressed. “Brilliant!” I cry. I give her a high five. “You rock, Stormy,” I tell her. “Thank you so much.” I stare at the computer screen. “So now what?”
“Now we have to wait until he accesses his e-mail and hopefully downloads the file.”
“Okay.” Darn, I was sort of hoping for instant feedback. Not that I can go find her trailer tonight anyway, but still. It’d be nice to know I have something to look into tomorrow. After all, it’s my last day to investigate before the biting ceremony at midnight. The night Jane/Sasha will become one with Magnus forever. And no matter what ends up happening between Magnus and me personally, I would never, ever want to see him hurt.
“So why do you need this address?” Stormy asks, curiously. “I mean, not that I mind doing it, but why can’t you just ask the guy himself?”
I sigh. Even though she’s precocious, she’s still only a little kid and I don’t want to drag her into this mess any more than I have to. “I’m trying to find a girl who used to work on the show,” I say, purposefully vague. “She’s gone missing and I want to make sure she’s okay.”
“Cool. You’re like Veronica Mars or something.”
“Or something.” I snort. My detective skills so far have been decidedly amateur. “I think if anyone’s Girl Detective around here, it’s you, Ms. Hacker.”
She looks pleased. “I like doing it. It’s fun.”
“So’s Hannah Montana to most kids your age.”
“Ugh. Don’t even go there,” she cries, swatting me playfully. I grab a pillow off her bed and get her back. Squealing, she dives for cover, retrieving a large stuffed bear as her weapon. Soon we’re in a full-fledged pillow fight, screaming and laughing.
A voice at the door makes me pause. Stormy takes advantage and whacks me good one last time, still giggling. Then she sees who’s watching and her arms drop, the stuffed bear falling to the floor. The smile fading from her face. Rayne’s standing at the door, arms crossed over her chest and a sour, disapproving look on her face. She’s wearing a long black dress, complete with black gloves that go up to her elbows. An elegant look, save for her mussed-up hair and the black raccoon makeup bleeding from her eyes.
“We were just playing around,” I say, feeling my face heat as I replace the pillow on the bed. I suddenly feel super guilty, even though I know I did nothing wrong. My twin has a knack for making me feel like that.
“Can I talk to you for a moment?” Rayne says. Then she adds, “Alone?”
I turn to Stormy, who’s glaring at Rayne. “Thanks for your help,” I say, ruffling her head. “I really appreciate it.” Then I turn to my twin. “Sure. Let’s go take a walk.”
I tell Heather where we’re going and then we leave the apartment and head downstairs to the lobby and out the door. Only when we’re well clear of the building does Rayne finally speak.
“You’re looking pretty cozy up there,” she snarls. “All adopted by the new family.”
“They’re nice,” I defend, not liking her tone. “I like them.”
“You just hate them because of the Dad situation. You haven’t even given them a chance.”
“Why should I give them a chance?” Rayne demands. “She hooked up with Dad when he was married to Mom and had a baby with him. The girl in there you were pillow fighting with is an evil spawn of Satan as far as I’m concerned.”
“Give me a freaking break, Rayne,” I growl back at her, no longer content to let her bash the people I’m really starting to care about. “You have no idea what the deal was between Mom and Dad back then. Maybe they had an open marriage. I mean, they were both hippies, right? Or maybe their marriage was already over by that point and they were just staying together for us kids. You don’t know. You’re just guessing. And you’re making these people out to be monsters. Even Stormy. I mean, my God, it’s not as if she asked to be born.” I shake my head in disgust.
Rayne looks upset. I guess she’s not used to me fighting back. Well, tough luck
’cause I’m not done. Not by a long shot.
“Look, I know all of this has been a pretty big shock. Coming here and finding out Dad’s not even around and that we have a sister we didn’t know about. It sucks. But you can’t just keep hiding from it all, in the casinos all day and night, just to avoid them. These people are in your family, whether you like it or not, and someday you’re going to have to accept this and start dealing with it.” I reach over and touch her arm, trying to comfort her. It’s then that I realize she’s trembling.
“How come it’s so easy for you?” she asks, her voice choked. “It’s not like I want to feel like this—all knotted up inside, being eaten away by my hate.”
“You just have to let it go,” I tell her. “Stop being so proud. Stop walling yourself off in fear of getting hurt. Let them in. I promise they won’t hurt you. They’re not evil. They’re not out to destroy you. In fact, Heather has been bending over backward to make sure we’re okay. She’s really nice. I know it’d be easier if she really was a home-wrecking bitch, but she’s not.”