“Scarlett?” Shit. Shit shit shit shit shit… Jay emerged from the room. I knew I couldn’t outrun him. Instead, I pulled out the knife.
“Go away.” My voice was shaky.
“I don’t want to kill you.”
“I don’t want to.” He stepped forward, making me step back. My back was flat against the wall. “You are very impressive.” He congratulated me. “It takes a lot to do what you did.”
“I’ll kill you too, I swear I’ll do it.” Could I, though? Not just physically, I mean yes, I had lost the element of surprise and all, but could I really kill this man? The man I thought I loved? The love wasn’t healthy, I knew, but it didn’t care. I raged through me like the venom from his fangs, and I was completely powerless to them both.
“Scarlett, neither of us has to die. You’re not thinking straight.” He was right, on some level. I wasn’t thinking straight. But not in the way he assumed.
“I have a proposition for you.” A plan had sprung ingot my head, perhaps just crazy enough to work.
“Oh?” He raised an eyebrow, looking almost entertained.
“Let the little girl go, that’s all. If you do that, I’m completely yours.”
He sighed. “I’m not making deals with you.”
“Then you won’t be doing anything else with me, now will you.” I snapped.
“I have the power to take you by force.”
“I have a knife.”
“That doesn’t matter to me. I’ll get a few scratches, at most.” He was right, and he knew it. But I wasn’t giving up.
“Just let her go, you can have me.”
“Why do you care so much?” He was still skeptical, I could tell.
“Because she’s an innocent little girl, and I don’t want her to get hurt any more than she already has.” I was close to tears, but I knew it was the only good thing I could do. I couldn’t save myself, not at this point. But Charlotte had a chance.
“Fine.” He put his hands up. “She can go. I have no use for her, and we’ll be gone before she can tell them where we live.” He smiled, grabbing my arm and pulling me out the back door.
“Why do you want me so much?” The tears were flowing now, as we stumbled through the brush and into the depths of the woods.
He didn’t answer at first. We stopped abruptly, and he turned to face me.
“Because you’re beautiful. Because no one else would be the same. Because I miss you when you’re gone.” Tears flowed down my cheeks faster and faster as his words did. They cut what was left of my heart, piercing it through with what could only be lies. I wanted desperately for them to be true, and yet there was no way they were.
“Stop.” I sobbed. “Just stop.” Stumbling forward, I tried to avoid his gaze. Those ice blue eyes would kill me before his fangs did.
“Scarlett.” He yanked me back. “I know you have no reason to believe me. Hell, even I don’t believe me. But I’m not letting you go, and that’s a fact.” His hand never released me as we ventured deeper and deeper into the sylvan scene. There was no sound, and the silence was oppressive. I had to say something.
“Where are we going?”
He shrugged. “A clearing somewhere, I guess.”
“You don’t know?” I asked dubiously. He didn’t reply. He didn’t need to. We walked right into a small clearing. Jay looked smug.
“Pretty good, huh?” I refused to honor that with a response, and instead watched as he removed a huge bag from his shoulder. And when I say huge, I really do mean half my height and twice my thickness.
“Is there food in there?” I inquired, my stomach growling as if to prove the point of my hunger. He ripped it open and I peered inside. It was actually mostly filled with food; blankets, a flashlight and a few other supplies were shoved in between.
“Take your pick.” he gestured to the food and I pulled out a bag, delving right in.
“When do you need to…eat?” I asked hesitantly, grimacing at the thought.
“Not for a while. I had a…big meal before I left. And then there was that lady. So I think I’m set for a day.” Well that was the best news I would probably hear for the rest of my sure to be short life.
“Good.” I finished the food, leaning back on my arms and looking up through the trees. The light was fading, and the sky was transforming with streaks of vibrant color. If I concentrated, I could almost pretend I was on that camping trip with mum, dad, and Jenna last summer.
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?”
“Yeah.” I muttered, trying desperately to slip back into my memories. I began to cough, quietly at first but they turned violent in a moment. Through the fit, I could see Jay’s concerned expression as he pulled out the blankets.
“Are you okay?”
“No.” I managed to choke, dropping to my hands and knees.
“Maybe you should lie down.” I glared at him. It was clear he had no experience with his, though, so he backed off. My coughing subsided somewhat, and was taken over by a massive headache and burning fever. Now I was lying on a makeshift bed if leaves and blankets.
“I grabbed some stuff from that lady’s house. You know, besides food.” Digging around, Jay pulled out a bottle of Advil and plopped two into my hand. I swallowed them quickly.
“Ugh, what the hell was in that food?”
“Um…Scarlett, it wasn’t the food.” I looked at him, confused. “It’s the…the venom. Maria warned that it might have some side effects.”
“Are you shitting me?” My use of profanity had greatly increased since this experience. “What kind of side effects?”
“Coughing, headaches, fever, dehydration, weakness, stiffness, soreness, vomiting, internal bleeding, bruising, and possibly but very rarely…death.”
“You bastard!” My head swam as I screeched at him, creating a pause in my rant. “I hope you realize that I would much rather be dead than here with you! Which, considering the situation, is probably happening very soon, either due to you draining the life out of me or the poison rushing through my bloodstream.”
“You’d probably rather me drain you. I imagine the alternative would be very painful.”
“You are so not helpful!”
“No you’re not.”
“Yes, Scarlett, I am.” He sighed. “Do you think I enjoy watching as you lay there in pain?”
“Well, I don’t.”
“Then don’t! Then bring me to a fucking hospital!”
“I already told you, I can’t.” His voice wavered slightly with sadness. It didn’t reach me this time, though. Something about the situation had turned me to stone, blackened my heart. I couldn’t find compassion.
Thanks to the Advil, my pain was dulled just enough for me to slip into a much needed unconsciousness.
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