“If I still want the pigs too?” I asked, grinning up at him.
He chuckled and shook his head.
“No, actually. I mean, you can have them too if you want but… I-I wanted to ask if you–”
I whirled around to see Ben emerging from the woods.
“Just a moment, Griff,” I said, looking at him apologetically.
“O-okay. Yeah. Sure.”
I ran over to my brother.
“Now’s the best time to do it,” Ben whispered hurriedly. “Almost everyone has gone, but Corrine is still there with Ibrahim.”
“Okay,” I said, casting a glance back at Griffin. “Just let me say good bye to Griffin.”
I left Ben and ran back over to my friend.
“Griff, I’ve got to go.”
I wrapped my arms around his neck and drew him in for a tight hug. As I placed a kiss on his cheek, I felt taken aback to see him blushing.
Feeling awkward, I took a step back. It’s not like I’ve never hugged him before. What’s up with Griff? I didn’t have time to ponder over it, however, since Ben was waiting impatiently for me.
“I’ve really got to start, uh, packing for my trip. But thank you again for such a stunning and thoughtful gift. You’d better keep up the handiwork though, because I’ll expect a crown next year…”
“All right, princess.” He smirked, slipping his hands into his pockets. “The necklace does look beautiful on you.”
“Thank you…” There was an odd silence between us as he stared at me. “Oh yeah, what was it that you wanted to say to me?”
“Oh, it was nothing,” he said quickly. “Really, I’ve even forgotten what I was going to say.”
His cheeks were still a bright red color.
“Oh, okay. Well, if I don’t manage to see you again before I leave, I guess I’ll see you when I get back in a couple of months.”
I patted him on the shoulder and ran back over to Ben. We rushed through the woods together until we arrived at the lawn.
I scanned the area for my parents. They appeared to be deeply engrossed in a conversation with Vivienne and Xavier.
Certain that they wouldn’t notice me, I left Ben’s side and walked over to Corrine, who was still sitting on the grass next to Ibrahim. I took her hand in mine and tugged on her to get up.
“What is it?” she asked.
“I need to talk to you in private,” I said.
Corrine looked surprised, but followed me. I led her away from the field and into the woods. I didn’t stop walking until we’d reached the Sanctuary, and refused to offer any explanations along the way.
Once we were safely inside her bedroom, I reached into my coat pocket and pulled out two passports, laying them on the table in front of her.
She raised a brow at me. “Rose, what?”
I cleared my throat.
“I told you to wait before giving me a birthday present this year, because I had something specific in mind.”
I flipped open Ben’s and my passports and pointed to the date of birth inscribed on each of them.
“I want you to work a little magic on these dates,” I said.
Her eyes widened.
“I want you to change them. Set them back.”
“My mom keeps saying that this will be our last summer away. Our last summer as normal, human teenagers. Well, if that’s the case, I don’t want to spend it wallowing around in mud.”
“Rose.” She looked at me sternly. “Nobody is forcing this to be your last summer as humans. You don’t have to turn into vampires.”
“I know, Corrine. I know. But we do want to turn into vampires. We just really wanted this last summer to be special before we do.”
She frowned at me, biting her lower lip.
“Well, what exactly do you want to do?”
“This place we’re going is off the coast of Scotland. And we’ll likely be the youngest there. If we make friends, we want to be able to go to the mainland and stay out late partying. We’ll need ID to get into clubs. I was reading in the brochure that people above the age of eighteen are allowed to come and go as they please.”
“That’s all you want these passports for?”
“All you need to do is change these dates,” I said. “Oh, and don’t tell my parents about it because I doubt they’d approve.”
“What age do you want to be?”
She looked at me dubiously.
“It’s the legal drinking age in the UK,” I lied, praying Corrine wouldn’t know any better or verify my statement.
“Hm. You don’t exactly look twenty-one.”
“Maybe not,” I said, “But they’re not going to question it if they see it on our ID.”
“Hmm… And this is really all you want for your birthday?”
I nodded vigorously.
A small smile curled at the corner of her lips as she reached for the passports and slid them across the table toward her.
“You’re making me into a criminal by asking me to tamper with these, you do realize that, don’t you? Wait here.”
I waited as she left the room. When she returned a few minutes later, she handed me the two passports—the dates changed and looking as though they had been that way all along.
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