“What?!” Charlie was looking from me to Gabriel to me to Tess over and over again. He finally caught on to what I had ব্যক্ত five minutes. I had a hand on Gabriel’s shoulder as a soothing gesture and to restrain him. Instinct had completely taken over him, I saw that when I read his mind. If he হারিয়ে গেছে control now, especially when he hadn’t fed, it could be catastrophic.
I could see Charlie’s mind working hard to figure out why I wasn’t defending Tess. Hadn’t I ব্যক্ত just five মিনিট পূর্বে how much I trusted and liked her? Well, that was before I knew. I looked at Lexi for confirmation to tell Charlie everything. She nodded.
Uncle Charlie deserves to know what she did to Gabe.
“Charlie.” Tess laid a hand on his shoulder.
Charlie, confused, turned to Tess. He stared into her eyes for a few সেকেন্ড and then shook his head.
“No,” he said, still shaking his head. “No, no, no. No.”
He turned back to me.
"Michaela, come over here right now," Charlie said, pointing at the মহাকাশ beside him.
I raised my eyebrows. I was waiting for Charlie to snap his fingers and call me Fido. Instead he just shook his head sadly and stepped away from Tess.
“Dad,” I reached out for him but he dismissed me with a wave of his hand.
He shook his head again.
“What happened?” he asked. Whether it was to Tess অথবা to Gabriel অথবা to Lexi, no one answered. No one wanted to answer. I didn’t. I know I was going to like thirty সেকেন্ড পূর্বে but I couldn’t now. Not after looking at Charlie. He was devastated. আপনি could see it clearly on his face even though he was trying his hardest not to let it show. I suppose it was worse for Tess. She would be able to sense his feelings, not to mention his thoughts which weren’t exactly fluffy and light at the moment.
“Someone tell me!”
Tess cleared her throat unnecessarily.
“I wasn’t always on a diet of animal blood,” she began, uncertainly. “Even though I could sense the emotions and thoughts of my victims, I still drank human blood. It thrilled me to sense their fear when they knew what I was. What I was going to do.”
I heard a low snarl and my grip tightened on Gabriel’s shoulder. Tess tensed. All her muscles locked into place when she heard Gabriel snarl, preparing for an attack.
“Calm down,” I whispered to him.
Tess didn’t relax but she continued to speak.
“I was looking to feed again when I came across Gabriel and Lexi. Lexi wasn’t much to my taste but Gabriel was. His blood was very sweet, like honey, and so seductive and irresistible. Of course he didn’t know what I was. He was very easy to lure. A bat of my eyelashes, a smile and he was mine. Lexi didn’t notice he was gone until he shouted. I had only just bitten him, not even a taste, when she threw me off him.”
“I would have done আরো if আপনি hadn’t ran!” Lexi snarled. I saw her eyes flash dangerously but she didn’t attack.
“I’m sorry,” Tess said, her golden eyes touching on me. “I didn’t…I was different back then…I…”
I looked away from her. I couldn’t look at her. At her eyes. Pleading with me to understand. I was silly to think that she was like the Cullens. Why didn’t it ক্রুশ my mind that she might have been exactly like a vampire? Why didn’t I think that she might not have always been on animal blood?
I looked up again and she was gone. I looked at Charlie and he had his eyes fixed on Lexi.
“Why was he even with you?” he asked her. “Why would আপনি take him with you?”
Lexi looked shocked. আপনি had to admit, it was a fair point. Why would Lexi take Gabriel with her? He wasn’t an Azdi অথবা else he wouldn’t be a vampire. So therefore he must be human. অথবা some other humanoid creature.
“That was my fault.” Gabriel spoke quietly. He wasn’t tensed up and ready to fight no more. His shoulders were slumped and he looked almost tired.
“No,” Lexi had recovered from her shock. “He’s right. It was stupid of me to take আপনি along. I should have known better. I should have sent আপনি home.”
“Why didn’t you?” I asked.
“I was on my way to you, ready to kick some Jenzi ass,” she smiled. “When I heard shouting. I go to this alleyway and who do I find? Gabriel being beaten up দ্বারা this group of twenty-somethings. So I step in, kick their asses and Gabriel stands up and starts shouting at me.”
“I was handling the situation,” Gabriel said. “You didn’t need to butt in.”
“Says the guy who was lying on the ground curled into a ball while them arseholes kick the crap outta you.”
“Like he said,” I smiled. “He was handling the situation.”
There was a flicker of a smile on Gabriel’s face before Lexi continued.
“He was messed up. Bleeding, bruised, face cut up. I couldn’t send him প্রথমপাতা like that.”
“Yeah, mom would have beaten up for it,” he laughed dryly.
“So I tell him to come along, but to do exactly as I say. Stay outta the way. Don’t get yourself caught. Run if they even look like they’re coming your way. But as we were going through the forest she came along. Practically seduced Gabe. He didn’t see it coming. All he knew was that there this gorgeous woman wanting him and so he went. I couldn’t stop him. Then she was all vampire and grabbed him. Bit him on the neck before I could stop her. She didn’t get to drink his blood as I had already lunged at her. Then she through me off her and ran. Gabriel was on the ground screaming as the venom coursed through his veins. There was nothing I could do. I couldn’t stop him becoming a vampire. I didn’t want him to be one but I couldn’t do anything.”
“We need to go now,” Alice spoke. I jumped. I had forgotten she was still there.
“Why?” I asked her. “I’ve only just got here.”
Alice stared pointedly at me. I saw her glance shift from my eyes to my stomach.
“Yeah, we’re gonna go now,” I said., realising what she was meaning. “I’m sorry, Dad.”
“We should go to,” Lexi said, nodding at Gabriel. “I’m sorry too, Uncle Charlie.”
“Yeah, Uncle Charlie,” Gabriel said. “Sorry.”
Lexi immediately smacked Gabriel across the back of his head. She then looked at me, a worried expression on her face.
“Uncle Charlie?” I looked at Gabriel.
“Yeah,” he said, looking confused. “Didn’t আপনি know I was Lexi’s brother?”
I glanced at Lexi.
“Well, I do now. Dad?”
Charlie put his hands up defensively.
“Don’t look at me,” he said. “I didn’t know she had a brother until last year.”
“But he can’t be,” I said, looking for Gabriel to Lexi. “He wouldn’t be sitting here if he was. Azdis can’t be turned into vampires.”
“That’s true but I wasn’t an Azdi,” Gabriel smiled. “I’m only Lexi’s half brother.”
“My mom was human too,” Lexi said. “Gabriel is my mom’s son from some other guy she met after Uncle Ted.”
“Oh well that makes sense,” I nodded. “I thought আপনি looked familiar. আপনি look like your mum.”
Now that I knew who he was, I knew how he looked familiar. He looks like Auntie Emily, who is their mum. I wondered if she knew he was a vampire.
“Yeah I’ve been told,” Gabriel smiled but it didn’t reach his eyes.
“We’ve got to go now,” Alice was পরবর্তি to me, her cold hand on my wrist. She tugged gently.
“We’ve got to go,” I said.
Charlie walked over and awkwardly hugged me. It was difficult because I was so big but he managed it.
“She is a vampire,” I whispered in his ears. “It’s what they’re like.”
“I know,” he whispered back.
He let me go and Alice practically dragged me out of the house. I only just managed to shout ‘bye’ at Lexi and Gabriel before she shut the door.
“Jesus Christ, Alice,” I said, when she lifted me into the car so fast I almost হারিয়ে গেছে my head. “I’m pregnant. Be careful.”
“I am being careful,” she said, quickly. She slammed her foot on the accelerator.
I looked out the window and saw nothing. She was going that fast.
“Alice,” I said, feeling uneasy.
“That baby is going to kick আপনি so hard আপনি will need medical treatment,” Alice said, her eyes trained on the road. “We need to get home.”
“Slow it down,” I said. “You are going to crash.”
“You’ll be pulled over if anyone sees you.”
“I’m looking out for that.”
“Alice!” I practically shouted at her. “Don’t আপনি dare look into the future while আপনি are driving at this speed! I’m not as fast as I usually am!”
“Don’t worry,” she smiled.
“Believe me, I’m worrying. I’m-”
Absolute agony tore through me. From one little kick it felt like I’d been hit in the stomach with a car going 100mph. I cried out in and doubled over in the seat. I clutched at my stomach while mentally scolding my baby girl.
I looked up to see Alice looking at me, worried and scared.
“Alice! The road!”
We both looked at the same time. We both saw the blinding white lights heading towards us. And then I saw no more.