I felt my face snap to the side. “. . . Did you just hit me?” I asked, just to make sure I hadn’t imagined it.
“Yeah, I did hit you. But you deserved it.” He said, his voice so throaty and wicked. It was a voice that was completely unfamiliar to me. I turned my head so that I was now facing Bryan. The face that I used to think was so divine and beautiful, now looked twisted and evil.
“What did I ever do that could give you the right to hit me?!” I asked, my voice sounding strained in my ears.
“Don’t play dumb! I know you’re cheating on me, and you know you’re lying when you deny it!” The stinging sensation on my cheek quickly faded away. I felt new tears coming down my cheeks. But they weren’t tears of sadness, or tears of pain. They were tears of anger.
“You can never hit me again. Because I’m breaking up with you.” His face grew red, and he thrust his arms out, connecting them with my shoulders. Being caught off guard, I fell back hard and landed strangely on my ankle, hearing a sick crack.
Pain surged through me, but I couldn’t give Bryan the pleasure of seeing me hurt. So even though sobs built up inside me, I swallowed them. And even though the pain was so intense I was on the verge of unconsciousness, I was determined to look strong.
Bryan advanced towards me before he kneeled down on one knee, staring down lovingly into my eyes. “We are not breaking up. I love you, Darcy. I’m not letting you go any time soon.” He then leaned closer to my face, his eyes fluttering closed.
“Don’t touch me!” I shouted, pushing him back. His face became pinched with anger again. He clenched his fingers into a fist and made a move to punch me in the stomach, probably to knock the air out of me, but instead I tried to dodge it and his fist landed painfully on my ribs.
Indescribable pain tingled from my ribcage, and it only took a split second for it to travel to everywhere else in my body. My eyesight became fuzzy, and as much as I wanted to scream and slap Bryan or to just run away, my body was too hurt and honestly, I was too afraid.
But Bryan shoved me, causing me even more agony. It hurt too much to breathe. It became evident to me that I was sobbing, and the sharp inhales I was taking wasn’t helping my injuries in the slightest.
“What happened to you standing up for yourself?! You asked for a fight, so fight me!” Bryan yelled, shoving me once again. I just lay there, because eventually he had to stop. Eventually he would just walk away. Maybe I would actually live.
“Do something about it, stupid bitch!” Bryan yelled, slapping me across the face again. That’s what caused me to finally snap. I couldn’t let him keep talking to me like that. So as much as it hurt, and as pathetic as I may have looked, I began to stand up. First I rolled onto my belly and propped my torso up on my elbows. I then pushed myself up to where I was on my knees. Getting on my feet was the hardest part. I used the mahogany podium of the stage to brace myself as I stood up, looking Bryan straight in the eye. He looked a little surprised, but he regained his composure rather quickly.
“Leave. Me. Alone!” I shrieked, pushing him back with so much force that he stumbled back a few steps, but he didn’t fall.
Suddenly a guy about my age ran onto the stage, staring at me and Bryan in bewilderment. It was Saturday, so I didn’t understand why the boy was at school, but I was glad he was.
“What the hell are you doing?!” The guy yelled, running towards me and Bryan at a strangely fast speed. Bryan turned around and sneered at the guy.
“Leave us alone. We’re just having a little fun.” Bryan said, his face back to being perfect and beautiful, and his voice getting silky again. The mysterious guy hesitated, but he took one look at me and shook his head.
“No. I’m taking her out of here.” He said, proceeding towards me. Bryan took a step closer to him, his façade of beauty instantly dissolving, leaving behind the hateful underside.
“You want to fight for her?!” Bryan yelled. I took a step forward, and agony screamed through my body.
“Bryan, stop!” I pleaded. But despite my begging, Bryan came at the poor guy.
Everything happened so fast after that. The mysterious boy dodged Bryan’s punches and kneed him in the crotch. Bryan grunted in pain, but he came back at the boy and tackled him. Even though Bryan practically had the guy pinned to the ground, they began punching each other blindly, not seeming to care where the punches landed, just as long as they made some sort of contact.
Finally the boy got out from under Bryan and head-butted him in the nose. Bryan yelped in pain, and when he raised his head I saw blood. I looked away quickly, feeling queasy.
One last punch was made, and then there was nothing but unnerving silence. Then I felt someone touch my shoulder.
“Stay away from me, Bryan!” I yelled, balling my hands into fists. I turned around, more than ready to strike, only to see the boy standing in front of me. I looked across the stage to see Bryan lying in an unconscious heap at the corner of the stage.
I looked up at the boy with terrified eyes, noticing how pale and sickly his face looked against his unusually bright eyes. And that’s when I realized I knew those eyes. I had seen them many times before.
“. . . Collin Woods?” I stuttered, squinting my eyes and tilting my head to the side. Collin gave me a quick shrug, and then suddenly I was in his arms, weeping into his shoulder. Collin stayed perfectly still, and I wasn’t sure whether it was out of shock or patience.
After minutes of crying, he gently broke away from me. “We’ve got to get you to the hospital. Do you feel like anything’s broken?” I nodded, looking down at my leg.
“My ankle. I heard it snap.” Collin shook his head, as if pitying me.
“Tell me if I’m hurting you.” He said softly. He picked me up gently in his arms as if I were weightless. I felt a sharp pain in my side, and I winced.
“I’m sorry! He must have broken one of your ribs too.” He said, gently shifting me in his arms so it didn’t cause my ribs pain anymore. I stifled another sob, hating that I felt so weak.
He began walking into the empty hallways. “Is this the first time he’s done this to you?” He asked, regarding me with a startling amount of importance. After a moment of hesitation I nodded my head truthfully.
He let out a sigh of relief, bobbing his head a little. “That’s good. Well, not good, but- you know what I mean.”
He shoved open the school’s front door with his shoulder, and the harsh sunlight seemed to make everything hurt more. I shielded my head into Collin’s chest, thankful that he was wearing such a dark shirt.
There were only a few cars in the parking lot, and he walked towards a beat up black mini-van with a picture of the Grim Reaper spray-painted onto it.
He managed to slide open the door of the van and lie me down in backseat without hurting me or even causing me to move much.
“Sorry about the mess, but it will get us to the hospital a hell of a lot faster than walking would.” He said, not even attempting to move the old sports magazines and notebook paper that was scattered all along the car.
He then jumped into the driver’s seat of the van, jabbing the keys in the ignition. He stamped on the gas pedal and the engine groaned in protest, but within a matter of seconds the battered van flew was flying down the road at a surprisingly rapid speed.
“Thank you.” I murmured, my voice wavering slightly. He laughed weakly, his eyes flickering back to me before darting back to the road. “It’s the least I can do.”
I lay back against the seat a little bit more, satisfied with his answer. I thought idly that many girls in my school would kill to be lying in the backseat of this van, but it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. It smelled heavily of rust . . .
I woke up lying in a hospital bed, with my parents, my older brother Liam and my best friend Gabby staring at me with forlorn faces. When my mom saw me with my eyes open, she rushed to my side, ragged sobs pouring out of her chest.
“Oh sweetie, I’m so sorry. But you’re going to get better, and Bryan will never hurt you again.” I winced at his name. The memories all came flooding back to me at an unimaginably fast pace. God, it had all been real.
“Brie, leave her alone, she doesn’t need that right now.” My father mumbled, placing a gentle hand on my mom’s shoulder. Mom nodded sadly, and touched my cheek before sitting back down.
I had only been awake for a few moments, but I was already so drained. I lay back on the hospital bed, attempting to fall back asleep, when I remembered something.
“Wait, where is he?” I said, looking around the small room. My parents stared at me with confused, and slightly frightened expressions on their faces. Thankfully Gabby’s eyes brightened before she piped up and said, “It was Collin Woods!” She looked over at me, with a brilliant, yet forced grin stretching across her face. “Collin Woods totally saved you!”
My mother’s eyes softened at this, and with a sigh she said, “He left when we came into the room. He said he hopes you get better.” I sat up, but my ribs cried in protest, so I sunk back down, muttering a curse under my breath.
“I didn’t even get to thank him . . .” I said absently to no one in particular, staring out the window of the room, although I didn’t know what I expected to see out there.
Dad patted my hand, causing me to jump slightly. “Get some rest, sweetheart. You need it.” Gabby gave me a reassuring smile, but her eyes were seemed a bit scared and worried. How bad did I look right now? I squirmed to get comfortable, and then was out almost instantly.
She had been staring at me the entire concert. I suppose she wasn’t bad-looking, for a human. She was tall and lean, like a Norwegian super model. She had high cheekbones and intense green eyes that had been centered on me ever since I walked onto to the stage.
A girl that looked around her age stood next to her, bobbing her head along to the music. I assumed that was her close friend, they couldn’t possibly be related. The friend had short chocolate-colored hair, as opposed to the girl’s long blonde hair. The friend was short and very full-figured while the other girl was slender to the point of looking nearly starved.
Starved. My vision went fuzzy as I thought of the word. Maybe I should go for the brunette. Would she have more blood in her? No, just because she had more fat in her body did not change her blood mass. Besides, she seemed to hold no special interest towards me. The blonde was a better option. She would be an easy target. Maybe I would even be able to have a little fun with her beforehand.
The song ended along with my thoughts. I winked at the blonde, earning a smirk in return. Huh, at least she didn’t grin like a schoolgirl. I mused, my interest the slightest bit piqued now.
I walked off the stage with the boys, not giving her a second glance. But after just a few minutes she somehow showed up backstage. What a surprise. She walked towards me elegantly enough, but her pace was rushed. She wasn’t as unruffled as she was trying to appear to be.
“How did I know you’d end up here?” I asked truthfully, smirking at the girl. She smiled in response, placing her long fingers on her hips.
“Intuition, I suppose.” She murmured, her voice low and breathy. She sounded identical to every other woman that attempted to seduce me. Sometimes I wish I could get some variety, but in this game, you have to let them come to you.
I walked over to her, keeping my strides slow and leisurely. Her emerald eyes scanned me up and down as if she could see through my clothes.
When I was close enough I wrapped my arm around her waist, pulling her close to me. She was bony, fragile. But then again I supposed all humans were brittle creatures.
“What’s your name, beautiful?” I murmured in her ear, adding just a bit of age to my voice. This would both unsettle and intrigue her. A foolproof combination. She giggled softly, a lovely smile forming on her face, but because my arm was snaked around her waist I could feel a shiver travel down her spine.
“Joan.” She answered, her voice just as low as mine, though it was not nearly as composed. I bet she loved her name. She probably thought it was alluring and sophisticated. I however was not impressed.
Despite the indifference I was feeling inside, I smirked and whispered, “That’s my favorite name. Would you like to go someplace quieter?” I had a feeling she wouldn’t be put off by my being so forward, and my suspicions were confirmed when she nodded, a light blush surfacing her bony cheeks. I laced my fingers through hers, knowing this slightly protective display of affection would appear endearing to her. However I was merely playing a role to get what I desired, nothing more.
We soon enough were at the door of my dressing room. I paused for a moment and scanned her eyes. I could hear her ever-quickening heartbeat, and her breaths were coming out in quiet pants. I placed my hand on her cheek, savoring the warmth for a quick moment before placing my lips on hers.
Hunger instantly clawed at my insides. I didn’t have time for much foreplay. I opened the door to my dressing room, struggling to not break it off the hinges.
And then I let myself go. I kissed her with what she probably thought was passion, but in reality, it was just sheer hunger. My tongue probed the inside of her mouth, relishing the flavor. I could taste her already.
I led her to the couch and roughly placed her on the cushions before I was on top of her. It wouldn’t be long before I found sweet relief.
I lowered my kisses to her jawline, and then to her neck. A string of moans left her lips and I sucked the sweet flesh of her neck and palmed her breasts gently.
And then, without any sort of warning, I sunk my fangs into her jugular. Her moans quickly turned into screams as I pulled large gulps of blood from her neck. Of course, no one came to poor Joan’s rescue. Everyone backstage knew what happened after a Bloodstained concert.
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