That was just what I needed myself. I got out of bed with Corrine’s permission and, before heading off, donned a dark cloak and pulled the hood over my head so that it cast most of my face in shadow. Then I stepped out into the moonlit courtyard outside.
The last thing I wanted right now was to see anyone. Even my closest friends. So I headed through the woods, staying in the shadows, and walked toward our penthouse.
As I walked, I thought of all that had happened in the past forty-eight hours. I thought of the man my sister had returned with. The traitor we had all welcomed as a guest. I remembered shaking hands with him, thanking him. And I thought of how distressed my sister had appeared when my parents had told her that he was responsible for Anna’s disappearance. The way she’d tried to argue against the only possible explanation. The way she still seemed to hold on to a shred of hope that it wasn’t him.
At first, I’d understood her shock. Caleb had seemed to genuinely want to save us. But my father and mother’s words were undeniable: there was nobody else who could have done it.
It made me worry that Rose might have held deeper feelings for him than I had imagined. I found myself thinking about her account of the time she was away. She’d said she was mostly locked up in a room in the castle, with some time spent in Caleb’s quarters. Now I shuddered to think of her being in such close proximity to that man.
It was past midnight by the time I arrived back in our penthouse. I poured myself a glass of water in the kitchen, then headed straight to my bedroom. When I pushed open my door, I almost dropped the glass.
Sleeping in my bed was a girl. Yasmine.
A girl I’d stopped dating almost nine months ago.
I groaned, placed my water on the bedside table and sat down on the edge of the bed. I reached for her shoulder and nudged her. She came to a few seconds later, sitting bolt upright.
Her light brown hair hung messily around her face, her blue eyes blinking at me. Her face broke out into a shy smile. “Hi, Ben,” she said.
“What are you doing here?” I asked, frowning at her.
“I’ve missed you. Corrine didn’t want anyone but family visiting you, so I figured I’d just wait here in your room.”
I rubbed my face with my hands. Yasmine was the last person on this island I wanted to be seeing right now. I wasn’t even the mood to be with my sister.
“How are you?” Yasmine asked, reaching for my shoulder.
I sighed and looked at the wall opposite me. “I’m all right,” I muttered. “But I still need time to myself.”
I was hoping she’d take the hint, but she didn’t move. I stood up and stared down at her hogging my bed. She had a deliberately blank expression on her face.
“Yasmine,” I said, trying to behave like a gentleman even though I was feeling less like one each second that passed. “As much as I appreciate your well wishes, we broke things off almost a year ago. What are you doing in my bed?”
“You broke things off.” She finally sat up and swung her legs off the edge of the bed, a hurt expression in her eyes.
I ran a hand through my hair. I really don’t need this right now. “Okay, I broke things off.”
It wasn’t like there had been much to break off. We hadn’t been dating long—a few weeks at the most—and it had never gone any further than a few kisses.
Still glaring at me, Yasmine stood up and crossed my room toward the exit.
“Why did you break up with me? I never did understand.”
I thought back to the day I’d ended things with her. Yasmine was gorgeous, but after our first kiss she’d gotten so clingy, I could barely go to the bathroom without her asking where I was going. I’d felt suffocated around her and found myself finding excuses to avoid her.
“You’re great, Yasmine. And I’m just an immature jerk who’s not ready for a relationship yet. Least of all with you. I don’t deserve you. So stop pining after me and find a guy who does. There are plenty of them on this island.”
She smiled slightly, seemingly satisfied with my flattery. “Thanks, Ben,” she said, and floated out of the room.
I lay back and breathed out as the front door to our apartment slammed shut. I stretched out, staring up at the ceiling.
I thought again of Kristal. It wasn’t like I’d had much time to get to know her. So it was hard to say if anything could have worked out between us.
I closed my eyes.
To my surprise, there was a loud knock.
I groaned and got up, heading toward the front door. Please don’t let this be Yasmine back for more drama…
But it wasn’t. On opening the door I found myself standing face to face with a pretty blonde vampire with baby blue eyes: eighteen-year-old Abigail Hudson. Or Abby, as we called her.
I’d never been that close with Abby—we knew each other, of course, but Abby was the reclusive type. When she wasn’t working in the school, she kept to herself. And when she did come to visit she’d speak mostly to my sister or my mother. Which was only natural, I supposed. I often blamed it on my name. It must have been strange for her looking at a young man named after her dead brother.
“Ben,” she said. “Has Rose returned yet?”
“Hm?” It was late. I had assumed that Rose would already be in her bed. “Come in, Abby,” I said, swinging the door open. “I’ll check now.”
I jogged to my sister’s bedroom and knocked.
There was no answer.