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|Blood Forever(Blood Coven Vampire,book 8) by Mari Mancusi|
We can’t let him do that.
Pyrus says something randomly inspirational, everyone claps again, and the video fades to black. The doors open up and blood donors start wheeling out plastic torsos to each vampire, like it’s a CPR class or something. I guess you practice on dummies before you start on the real dummies. The ones who think becoming one of Pyrus’s people is actually a good idea.
But I have no time to play these reindeer games. I have to find my sister. I rise from the pew, turning to Magnus with a regretful smile. “I’m sorry,” I say. “Can we take a rain check on the bite? There’s something I have to do.”
I should probably stay home and play video games tonight. After all, I no longer have my vampire-certification class to go to. And Sunny’s not home, probably off celebrating her team’s field hockey victory or something. So it stands to reason that I should stay home and load up my computer, right? Maybe offer up some futuristic video game leetness to my fellow players of the past? I can just imagine their faces when I totally rock that World of Warcraft dungeon no one in this time period has been able to master yet. And maybe I’d even score that amazing one-handed fire sword that the last boss ends up dropping sometimes.
Or I could always hang out with Mom, I suppose. Spend some quality time with her and take advantage of the fact that she’s lazing around on our couch in flannel pajamas instead of off in another dimension, playing high queen to the Fairyland Light Court. It might be nice, actually, to curl up with her under the afghan, diving into a carton of dairy-free ice cream with an extra large spoon and watching the latest episodes of our favorite TV shows.
I should do either of those things. Or, you know, something else completely normal and ordinary and vampire free. I made a promise to Sunny, after all. And besides, what good is a second chance if you start doing the same things you did the first time around?
But try as I might, I can’t seem to bring myself to turn on the computer and search for a party. Or plop down on the couch and content myself with television. Maybe it’s because I know that the so-called amazing one-handed fire sword I might score will be practically worthless in a few months after the powers-that-be update the game. Or because while spending time with Mom is always nice, everything on TV is bound to be a repeat for me.
So instead, against my better judgment, I find myself opening up my closet and rummaging through, selecting a red-and-black Goth Loli dress with matching red cape and black platform boots. After donning the outfit, I head into the bathroom to make up my face with my favorite white powder, kohl eyeliner, and bloodred lipstick. Gothing it up to go out.
I have to say, it’s so weird looking at my reflection in the mirror and seeing a blond girl staring back at me. I look so much like Sunny, even with the makeup on—no wonder Magnus wasn’t able to tell us apart on that fateful night. I vow to swing by the twenty-four-hour drugstore on the way home and buy a bottle of black dye. Mom will kill me all over again for doing it, but it’s a punishment worth undergoing twice if only to stand out again.
I ask Mom for the keys to her Prius, as Sunny took the Volkswagen Bug we share, and then head outside to start the car. My hands are already shaking when I turn the key in the ignition and I have no idea what kind of shape I’ll end up being in when I reach my forbidden destination.
Yes, I’m heading to Club Fang. A venue I should definitely not be spending quality time at, seeing as it’s totally a vampire hangout and I’ve just finished lecturing Sunny about how we must strive to live a vampire-free existence from here on out.
But how can I stay away? As much as I know I should. How can I go back on the promise I’d made to Jareth down in Hades after admitting I had to leave him? I’d promised to find him again and make him fall in love with me, no matter what I had to do. And I wasn’t about to break that promise, even if the current Jareth in this time period has no idea I’d made it…or even who I am to begin with.
But whatever. I’ll make it work. Someway. Somehow…
After parking in back, I pay my five dollars to the man standing at the door and head upstairs to the club itself. By day the space serves as a meeting spot for the Knights of Columbus, but you’d never know it now. The smoke machines work overtime and the strobe lights flash around the room as the walls reverberate from the heavy bass blasting from the speakers. The DJ is sitting behind a black cage, spinning my favorite Sisters of Mercy tune, “Temple of Love,” and the dance floor is packed with a mixture of mortals and vampires, all swaying intently to the beat. High above, TV screens soundlessly replay old vampire movie clips and the walls are draped with white sheets, flittering over strategically placed fans. God, I missed this place. It’s like a real-life Fangtasia from True Blood, except for the absence of hot Sheriff Northman holding court in the back.
Which is fine by me. I’ve got another vampire in mind tonight.
I scan the crowd, my heart pounding wildly in my chest. It feels weird to have a beating heart at all, never mind one so active. I’d kind of forgotten what it was like to be human, after spending so many months undead. To feel so frail and weak. Even when I was a gimped vampire, because of the blood virus in my veins, I still felt a lot more, well, immortal, than I do now. At the moment I feel like a light wind could blow me over and a vampire could take me down with his little pinkie. It’s a good thing I’m only here to flirt, not slay.
Speaking of flirting…My gaze falls upon a solitary figure in the center of the dance floor, illuminated by a single spotlight. My breath catches in my throat. Could it be?