As soon as I got in the hall I stopped breathing so I wouldn’t start hyperventilating. That was such a handy trick! It was arguably the best part about being undead. At least now I didn’t have to deal with the physical symptoms of a break down before I could really dig in on the mental anguish.
What the hell happened to me? I flashed back on the fantasy of breaking Emma’s arm and twisting until the bone tore her flesh. It made me want to puke, but the realization that all I’d had to eat today had been cold cut sandwiches and blood made me gag it back.
My stomach roiled. How did that work? Was I actually digesting stuff? Did I stop when I started getting vampire-hungry and more dead than alive?
I hadn’t used the restroom yet today, so… maybe?
Everyone knows vampires drink blood. Does anyone ever wonder how it gets from their stomachs to their veins?
Was my heart currently pumping Hans’ blood and Emma’s blood and chunks of sandwich?!
I giggled despite myself. I didn’t know how I felt about that. Except that it probably didn’t matter and I was only thinking about it to distract myself from the things that did.
Like the fact that going vampy turned me into a stone cold psychopath. The only reason I hadn’t killed Emma was that I knew what I would have done when I came to my senses.
If I ever hurt anyone while I’m hungry like that, I swore to myself, I am going to have Hans make the Directors lock me up forever.
But the crazy thing was – the creepy, fucked up, insane thing – was that I’d done more to insure Emma’s safety when her life and wellbeing meant nothing to me than I had in my entire day of being alive-ish.
Sure, I was a soulless bitch when I was dead. And I fantasized about things that would give me nightmares when I was alive. But I couldn’t just always feed before I got hungry, because hungry Abby got shit done. Hungry Abby was competent.
I was so screwed.
I was used to thinking of myself as a fractured individual. When I’d been alive – really alive – I’d frequently found myself in deranged panics. Part of me would be trying to figure out what to say, what to do; what the people around me were thinking. And part of me would be saying things and doing things on autopilot. This was like that, only worse because when I was hungry and only technically in control of myself I was completely aware of what the ‘autopilot’ was basing her decisions on. I couldn’t claim they were some sort of unconscious knee jerk reaction, because my consciousness was clearly engaged in being as fucking scary as possible.
I took a deep, shaky breath. It was harder not to breathe right after I’d fed. And I still didn’t know if ‘not breathing’ was something that would make me get hungry faster. Would that really be worth it?
By the time I got to the basement I was hyperventilating and dizzy. I managed to get to the couch, where I collapsed. I buried my face in my hands and choked on my sobs. So I was a monster. I was not going to cry.
I wasn’t going to cry.
I refused to cry.
When I’d gotten myself together I sat up and wiped at my eyes. Yes, I was a monster. So what? So was Hans, and I didn’t see him moping around about it. Besides, it couldn’t be helped and I had other things to freak out about, anyway. I had a whole queue of things to freak out about! ‘Being a monster’ could just wait its damn turn.
I took a steadying breath. I wasn’t quite ready to go back upstairs yet. I wasn’t sure how I was going to face Hans and Emma. Not after making out with both of them, in front of each other.
I was so turning into one of “those” girls.
That was definitely in the queue.
I took another deep breath and tried to turn it into the slow, measured breathing Megan had tried teaching me for calming my nerves. Megan was one of “those” girls, and I loved her to bits. She was my best friend. So it stood to reason that despite whatever knee jerk horrified reaction I had over the prospect, it wasn’t actually a bad thing.
And it wasn’t like my mom ever had to find out. Our pastor wasn’t going to come crashing through a window like a commando paratrooper armed with shame and salvation while I was mid-coitus. Right?
I choked on a giggle. God, that would be horrible. Especially since I was apparently kinky. I couldn’t help it if I liked it when Hans pinned me down against a wall or door or bed or floor! Even if that meant an outside observer would think I needed to be rescued.
I felt myself flush. Hell, feeling like I needed to be rescued seemed to be one of the things that did it for me. And I wasn’t interested in outside observers, anyway. That was Emma’s thing.
And that was going in the queue, too. I’d silently accused Emma of being an exhibitionist before, but I hadn’t realized that she actually was. I’d agreed to taste her blood so that I could get some insight into how she felt about being my donor. I’d gotten a lot more than that.
The link between us was thankfully gone now. I hadn’t noticed when it had gone out, but I could remember it clearly enough. Emma had enjoyed kissing me, but she’d also felt a distinct thrill about the fact that Hans was watching.
My girlfriend was an exhibitionist.
I was pathologically afraid of crowds, strangers, and being embarrassed.
Yeah, that was going to get awkward.
I stood up and got the drinks I’d come down for. Hopefully I hadn’t been gone long enough for Hans or Emma to wonder what was taking me so long.
I probably hadn’t been. They’d probably distracted themselves with flirting. It probably should have been weird that I was intimately aware of the fact that my girlfriend thought my boyfriend was attractive. She’d been a little jealous of me when I’d been kissing him, after all. I’d felt it.
But that wasn’t weird. In fact, it made perfect sense to me. Hans was hot. What was weird was that I was intimately aware of the fact that my girlfriend was attracted to me.
Emma had been a little jealous of Hans when he’d been kissing me, too.
I wished there was a mirror down here so I could look at myself and try to see what Emma saw. All my life I’ve known I was scrawny, neurotic, twitchy and sexually unappealing. But Emma liked my lips and eyes and smile. She thought I was dashing when I took charge, and sexually dangerous, and when I looked at her it gave her a thrill that I could only compare to how I felt when Hans trapped my arms and his lips wordlessly informed me that I was going to be ravished.
I’ve never felt attractive before. Not really. But now I had to, because I was attractive. Because Emma was attracted to me, and I knew it in a way that I couldn’t just write off by claiming she was just being nice; just ‘saying so.’
And that was weird. That was ‘magic is real’ weird. I was going to have to reevaluate something I’d believed my entire life.
I added it to the queue.
Was Hans genuinely attracted to me, too? I’d been working under the assumption that he was just responding on an instinctual level to the knowledge that I was attracted to him. That it was just pheromones or something. But if he actually thought I was his type… I had no idea what to do with that.
I was starting to think that if my mom’s pastor really wanted to save me from pre-marital shenanigans he was going to need a bigger Bible. And maybe a bucket of holy water.
Maybe the really weird thing was that I’d come downstairs to run away from Hans and Emma and to not cry about being a monster, but when I went back upstairs I was smiling and doing my best not to giggle or blush too much.
When I was back in the front room I put the drinks and cups down on the table. I added a third chair to my list of necessities. Then I smiled at Emma until she blushed and had to look away.
It only took a few seconds. I felt oddly good about that.
Then I shifted my gaze to Hans. He smiled back at me, took another bite from his slice of pizza, and waggled his eyebrows suggestively while chewing.
I blushed. “I’m, um, going to get another chair,” I blurted. Then I ran away.
I was still blushing when I got back to the basement and claimed one of the folding chairs. I bit my lip and covered my mouth so I wouldn’t laugh.
Emma thought I was attractive. So did Hans. I knew that now because Hans – on purpose – made me feel the way I made Emma feel, and I was attracted to Emma.
It was still beyond weird that I had a boyfriend and a girlfriend, but for the first time in the past two days I wasn’t confused about why for either of them. Of all the things in my queue of things to freak out about, ‘what are Hans and Emma thinking?!’ weren’t among them anymore.
So that was two off the list. The rest: being a monster, being a kinky slut, being John Salvatore’s involuntary adopted little sister, being introduced to Hans and Emma’s friends, being dependent on the kindness of others for housing and food and clothes – all that stuff. I could worry about it later. For now, for the first time all day, I actually kind of felt like things might turn out okay.
When I went back upstairs again, I was even still smiling.