Page 52

“I’m not messing with you, Grace.”

“Are you sure? Like…really sure?”

She leans over and hugs me. “I’m really, really sure.”

“Yeah, I was afraid of that.” I just sit there for a minute, trying to absorb what she’s telling me. “And my dad was okay with that? Losing all his powers?”

“From what my dad says, he really loved your mom. So yeah, he was.”

“He did love her. They loved each other a ridiculous amount.” I can’t help but smile a little as I remember. “They were totally the parents who couldn’t keep their hands off each other. I used to tell them how gross they were. But honestly, it was kind of nice, you know? To see that two people could love each other that much after so many years.”

“I bet.” Macy sighs wistfully.

“So,” I say, trying to act like I’m okay with everything I’ve just learned. “I’m related to witches, huh?”

“Yeah. Bizarre, right?”

“A little bit.” I eye her speculatively. “So…can you fly around the room or something?”

“To prove I’m not messing with you?” she asks with an arch of her brow.

“Maybe.” Definitely.

“No, I cannot fly around the room.”

“Why not?” I ask, strangely disappointed.

“You know this is real life and not a book, right? Things like that don’t actually happen.”

“Well, what kind of witch are you if you can’t do something an eleven-year-old kid can do?”

“The kind that doesn’t come from J. K. Rowling’s brilliant imagination.” She waves a hand toward the electric teakettle that always sits on top of the fridge. It starts steaming and whistling instantly.

I try to tell myself that she had it turned on the whole time, but a quick glance reveals that it’s not even plugged in. Because of course it isn’t. Why would it be?

She doesn’t stop with the teakettle, though. She waves her hand again, murmurs something under her breath, and I watch in fascination as she makes a cup of tea without ever leaving her spot on the floor.

“That’s a real cup of tea?” I ask her as it comes floating across the room toward us.

“Of course it is.” She snatches the cup out of midair, then holds it to me. “Want a sip?”

At this point, I’m pretty sure I’d rather drink rat poison. “I think I’ll pass, thanks.”

She shrugs, then lifts the tea to her own lips and blows a few times before taking a small sip.

“Why didn’t you tell me about this when I got here? Why didn’t your dad?”

For the first time, she looks shamefaced. “I think he was planning to, but you kept getting hurt, and it never seemed like a good time.”

“I’m not sure there’s ever a good time to tell someone that monsters are real.” I shake my head, try to remember how to breathe. “I can’t believe this is happening. I just…can’t believe it.”

“Sure you can,” she says with a sly smile. “Otherwise you wouldn’t be so freaked out.”

“I’m not freaked out. I mean, yeah, I’m on the floor and I can’t feel my legs, but other than that, I think I’m handling the whole thing fairly well.”

“Of course you are.” She grins. “Except for the fact that every word that’s come out of your mouth for the last ten minutes has squeaked.”

“That’s—” I pause and clear my throat because maybe, just maybe, I’m a little high-pitched. “What do you expect? You and Mekhi are trying to convince me that I’m living in the middle of a less bloody version of Game of Thrones. And winter is already here.”

Macy laughs, then raises a brow. “You don’t actually believe high school is a less bloody version of Game of Thrones, do you? I mean, how many times have you almost died since you got here?”

“Yeah, but those were accidents. I mean…they were accidents, right?”

“Probably.” She inclines her head. “Yeah, they were. But Jaxon’s freaking out, and he never freaks out, so…”

“He’s freaking out because someone bit me! Someone who isn’t him, I mean.” I pull off the bandage for a second time and turn my head so she can see the puncture marks just below my cut.

“Oh! Is that what this is all about?” She sounds way too relieved, considering I just told her some vampire sunk his or her teeth into me without my permission.

Then again, do they ever ask permission before they bite? And if so, who would be foolish enough to say yes? One more question to add to the tally of about a hundred or so I have waiting for Jaxon.

“I can explain everything,” Macy adds flippantly.

“Oh, well, okay then.” I make an expansive go-ahead gesture, then continue. “Please feel free. Explain away.”

“Marise did that to you.”

“The school nurse?” I don’t know why that shocks me so much, but it really, really does. “Marise is a vampire, too?”

“She is. And she didn’t have a choice. She had to bite you if she had any hope of repairing your arterial tear.”

I narrow my eyes at her. “I thought it was a nick?”

“It was a tear. And you almost died. You would have died, in fact, if Jaxon hadn’t been there and done what he did to save you.”

“You mean running me to the nurse’s office?” The squeak is back.

“I mean sealing your wound so you wouldn’t bleed out while he got you to the nurse’s office.” She puts her cup of tea aside and reaches for my hands. Then, as she’s squeezing tight, she continues. “Vampire venom has a lot of different properties, depending on what the vampire intends. Jaxon didn’t bite you, but he did use his venom to seal your wound. And from what I understand, he was a little too thorough, and Marise couldn’t get through it to actually suture the wound.”

“So she bit me and got through that way?” I try not to shudder at the thought of her teeth sinking into my neck. When I believed it was Jaxon, it freaked me out but didn’t gross me out. I can’t say the same about having anyone else’s teeth in me, though.

“She bit you and injected her own venom, using the anticoagulant properties instead of the coagulant ones. It was enough to break down what Jaxon had done and let her heal you properly.”

“So vampires can just do that? Just…override each other’s venom?”

“Keep in mind, I’m not a vampire, but—”

“Right. You’re just a witch.”

She ignores my interruption. “I don’t think they can. At least, not normally. But she’s an older, more mature vampire and she’s also a healer, which gives her extra abilities in times like that. It’s why she’s the school nurse. But from what my dad said, it still took a lot of skill and venom to undo what Jaxon had done. That boy was determined to save you.”

Not going to lie, hearing that feels good. But I’m still mad at him, even though right now, I’m not sure why. Except… “So what you’re saying is that I have two vampires’ venom running through my blood right now?”

Macy settles back with a laugh and an eye roll. “Trust you to focus on that.”

“I’m sorry, but it’s pretty hard not to focus on it when every vampire movie I’ve ever seen is playing in the back of my head. I mean, I’m not going to…” I mime getting fangs.

She cracks up. Like full-on, rolling on the floor, laughing her ass off.

“That’s not a no!” I whine.

She sits up, wiping tears from her eyes even as she continues to giggle. “No, Grace, you’re not about to sprout fangs and start sucking people’s blood. You’re fine. In fact, the only reason you’re alive is because a vampire was with you. And not just any vampire, but Jaxon. Most of the others would have had a really hard time stopping themselves from…”

“Drinking me dry?” I finish the thought she very obviously didn’t want to.

She rolls her eyes. “Yeah, that’s not how I would have put it.”

“Doesn’t make it any less true, though, does it?”

Macy doesn’t answer, just grabs her teacup and stands.

I follow her, unwilling to just let her walk away right now when I still have so many questions. About vampires. And witches. And dragons, for God’s sake. How can dragons exist and the rest of the world not know about it?

Speaking of which… “There aren’t any other creatures here that you forgot to mention, right? No zombies, no unicorns, no—”


“Exactly. No werewolves.”

“I wasn’t saying no, Grace. I was answering your question.”

“Oh.” I swallow. “So…vampires, dragons, witches, and werewolves.”

“Well, if you’re going to get technical, they’re wolf shifters really, more than werewolves.”

By all means, let’s get technical at this late date. “And the difference is?”

“Werewolves need the full moon. Wolf shifters can shift anytime. Same with the dragons.”

“So Flint can be a dragon anytime he wants?”

“Flint is a dragon, all the time. He can shift between his dragon and human form whenever he wants.”

“I have so many questions.” And most of them start and end with how is this possible?

“I know.” She leans over and gives me another hug.

“Marc and Quinn?” I think about the guys who tried to throw me out in the snow the first night. “Wolf shifters?”

“Yeah. Who apparently do get a little extra wild around the full moon.” She shakes her head, obviously still annoyed. “The jerks.”

“No argument here. They really were douches.” I pause as something occurs to me, then say, “But they listened to Jaxon, even though he’s a vampire.”