She looked hurt at that, but nothing I had said wasn’t true. We barely saw each other, and she didn’t know anything about me. The only one that would be hurt was Milo, and I’d still see him.

“Go. Go ahead,” Mom said evenly. I started walking towards my room, and she held up her hand. “Don’t even think about! That room is full of my stuff. You never paid for a damn thing in your life. So when you leave, you take what you got on your back, and that’s all.”

“Fine, whatever.” I tried to act like it didn’t bother me that I’d be leaving all my personal belongings behind. Like CD’s, diaries, underwear, and everything I had ever owned. But I had made up my mind, and that was it. “I’ll see you… maybe never.” Then I turned and waltzed out of the apartment.

“Alice!” Milo burst out of the apartment after me before the elevator even came. He dragged his half unzipped backpack and raced towards me. “Why did you do that?”

“It just seemed really pointless to stay there any longer.” I tried not to look over at him, so I wouldn’t have to see the pained expression his face. Leaving home meant that I was leaving him, too.

“You’re really gonna go live with Jack?” He sounded simultaneously surprised and resigned by the idea.

“I don’t see what choice I have.” The elevator doors opened and there were several passengers on it, which I was kinda grateful for. Milo would be less likely to press me for answered, so it’d be easier for me leave details out.

“You definitely have a choice!” Milo insisted, ignoring the crowd in the elevator. “I know Jack and his family are super amazing, but you haven’t really known him that long. I mean, they’re almost too good to be true. There’s got to be a dark secret hidden there.”

“You just might be right.”

I bit my lip to keep from smiling, and I realized with the surprise that it didn’t hurt. Running my tongue along my bottom lip, I searched for any bump or scratch from when I had bit it earlier, but there was none. Jack’s saliva must’ve healed it.

“Come on, Alice,” Milo pleaded when the doors opened. “Be reasonable.”

“When have you ever known me to be reasonable?” I shot him a look while stepping out of the elevator, and he just rolled his eyes.

We walked outside into the cold, and I wrapped my sweater more tightly around me. All I had on me were the clothes on my back and my cell phone in my pocket, and there was a very good chance that my only rides anywhere were a pair of vampires that had just gone to bed.

“So what?” Milo was walking to the bus stop, and since I had nothing better to do, I walked with him. “This is it? This is like the last time I’ll see you?”

“No, of course not!”

“Be serious.” He had pulled his bag onto into his back, and he readjusted the straps. “You’re going to move in with him and have all these fabulous adventures and completely forget about me.”

“You’re my brother, Milo. I can never forget about you.” And I wouldn’t, but I had a sinking suspicion that he probably wasn’t that far from the truth. “Look, I’m not saying things won’t be different or that I won’t see you less. But that doesn’t mean things will be bad.”

“Maybe you can just stay there for a night or something,” Milo suggested hopefully. “Give Mom a chance to cool down, and then you can come home.

“But she’s not completely off base, Alice. You have school and you stayed out until seven in the morning. I don’t care what you were or weren’t doing with Jack – well, okay, I do, and you’ll totally have to tell me later. But it doesn’t matter. You’re still in high school. You should be coming home before the sun comes up and getting an education.”

“I am way too tired for you to lecture me about school, okay?” I groaned.

“Just think about it, alright?” Milo asked as the bus came towards us. I didn’t want the bus driver to try to make me get on, so I started backing away from him. “And turn your phone on! If you don’t come home tonight, maybe you could at least get some of your things while Mom’s at work.”

“Okay!” I waved at him, then turned and walked down the block, away from my apartment, away from my brother, away from my life.

- 19 -

For a long time, I just walked around the tree lined streets. Spring edged ever closer, with warm temperatures and longer days. The nights would get shorter, too, and I wondered how Jack contended with that.

I was definitely cold and tired, but I was way too wired up from everything that had happened. My lips still tingled from kissing him, and I wondered dully if I’d ever be able to kiss him again.

Moving out of my mother’s had been rash, I’ll admit it, and she was justified in her anger. I just didn’t have the strength to deal with stuff that didn’t matter anymore.

Maybe I would’ve reacted a little better if I hadn’t had the reminder of Jack’s nearly-forgotten words ringing in my mind. When I asked what it was like to bite a vampire, he’d responded with, “You’ll understand when you’re a vampire.”

It would only be natural that I eventually segued into vampirism. Even if I didn’t move in with them today, I would some day. They were welcoming me into their folds for a reason, and as Jack had so ominously pointed out before I understood what they were, they wanted me to be one of them.