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|Blood Forever(Blood Coven Vampire,book 8) by Mari Mancusi|
Oh God. I rise from my seat and flee the inane conversation, purposely leaving my inedible lunch behind me. Was this really what my friends thought was important? Had I once thought it was important, too? Then I remember the ridiculous amount of lip gloss I’d pawed through this morning in my bathroom drawer trying to find a tube of toothpaste. Evidently so.
But not anymore. Try as I might, I can’t seem to bring myself to care about lip gloss or field hockey games or cute boys with no personalities. I can’t care about English or math or getting good grades. All these things that once took priority in my so-called normal life now seem flat and dull and ridiculous.
I have to face it: I’m not that girl anymore. That innocent, naive creature who flitted through life without a care in the world for anything but her own well-being. And I can’t go back to being her, no matter how hard I try. Not when I know what’s out there, under the surface of our world. The battles, the chaos, the intrigue. And most important, the most beautiful, sweet, loving vampire in the entire universe.
The one who no longer knows I exist.
I scan the cafeteria, catching sight of my sister, sitting and laughing with her best friend, Spider, as if no time at all has passed between them. My hackles rise. How can she be adjusting so nicely when I’m feeling like I’m in the freaking Twilight Zone? I stomp over in her direction.
“But Rayne, there’s no such thing as a level eighty mage!” I hear Spider protest as I approach. “And I’ve never heard of that spell…”
“Oh. Right.” Rayne looks suddenly flustered as she sees me approach. “Well, I think it’s…um, in the next expansion pack?” She looks up at me and smiles nervously. “Hey, Sunny!” she cries. “How’s it going?”
“I don’t see anything listed here about a new expansion pack,” Spider mutters, staring down at her phone while my sister shoots me a Save me! look.
“Rayne, I’ve got to talk to you,” I butt in, now realizing that perhaps my sister isn’t fitting in quite as well as it first appeared. I shouldn’t be happy about that, but I kind of am. “Alone.”
“Sorry, Spider,” Rayne says quickly, a look of relief washing over her face. “Can I catch you later?” She leaps up from her seat and follows me to an empty table. Once we’re seated, she wipes her brow. “Thank God,” she says. “I had no idea how hard it was to remember which game updates happened when.” She presses a few buttons on her phone. “I could have sworn the two-point-three patch had come out by now…”
I roll my eyes. “Um, can you review your game history on your own time?”
“Oh. Sorry.” She looks up, stuffing her phone in her pocket. “What’s going on? Are you having fun in your old life? Did you get to see some of your friends? Have you found Jake Wilder yet? Is he as hot as you remember him? Maybe you should ask him to prom. I mean, since this time around you don’t have that magical vampire scent to attract him and get him to ask you—”
“Rayne,” I interrupt. “I can’t take it anymore. It’s all too vapid and boring. I mean, no one here cares about anything but dressing up and hooking up—and not necessarily in that order.”
“Well, evidently a few people are interested in the nuances of game patch releases…”
“Rayne! I’m serious,” I cry, giving her a pleading look. “What’s wrong with me? I should be overjoyed to spend long hours discussing the benefits and drawbacks of various lip glosses.”
My sister raises a skeptical eyebrow.
“Don’t mock! I used to love that kind of thing,” I confess. “And yet now all I want to do is take a tube of it and shove it up my best friend’s nose—to get her to stop talking!”
“You’ve come a long way, young grasshopper.”
“I used to love high school.” I sigh. “Everything about it. Even the homework wasn’t so bad. But now, just sitting in my classes, knowing I’m wasting my life away…” I look up sadly. “I can’t take it.”
My sister laughs bitterly. “You can’t!” she exclaims. “What about me? I didn’t like it the first time around. That’s half the reason I went and got my vampire certification to begin with. To get the hell out of this place.” My twin shakes her head. “By all rights, I should be going to my vampire-in-training class tonight, getting ready for my undead transformation. Not stuck arguing video game semantics with a fire mage who evidently has the entire Vampires vs. Zombies wiki memorized.”
I look at her thoughtfully. I’d forgotten all about that little three-month training class she took to first qualify to become a vampire. I guess that would be going on right about now, one month before her graduation.
“And you’re not going to go this time?” I ask curiously.
Rayne shrugs. “What would be the point? It’d only start the badness all over again. And we’d end up right back where we started. Let’s face it, our best bet is to forget the whole vampire thing altogether and learn to live as mortals in this brave new world.”
“Boring new world, more like,” I say with a moan.
“Normal new world,” Rayne counters. “The kind of world you said you always wanted to live in, I might add. A world with no crazy, death-defying adventures. No super-secret conspiracies. A world where Mom lives at home and Dad isn’t dead. And neither are you. I mean, you have to admit, being stuck in algebra class is still better than being stuck in Hades. At least you have a chance to pass algebra and move on.”