“You okay now?” asked Phoenix.
“Yeah. I ran into Ben on the way home.”
“Ben’s your brother, right?”
“One of them.”
“It’s much easier when your entire family’s dead.”
Phoenix kissed me quickly and I tried not to feel guilty about being kissed by Faron only a minute before. I took Phoenix’s hand and pulled him into my room.
I shut the door. He pushed me onto the bed. A little giggle escaped from my lips. I pulled him down with me. He lay next to me, stroking my cheek and kissing along my jaw.
He kissed my lips and slipped his tongue into my mouth. He gripped my waist with one hand and played with my hair with the other.
“Don’t mind me.”
We broke off the kiss and looked to where the voice had come from. Cordelia was lying down in her bed on the other side of the room, reading a magazine.
“Hey, Cordy,” said Phoenix awkwardly.
“Hey Phoenix,” she replied.
“I’ll go now,” he said.
I kissed him quickly. “Okay, bye.”
“See you, babe.” He got up and went to the door. “Bye Cordy.”
“Bye,” she said.
And Phoenix left. Cordelia threw her magazine on the floor and propped herself up on an elbow. I sat and crossed my legs.
“You’ve been here six nights and your boyfriend’s dying to get you into bed, you’ve got Bladen wrapped around your finger and you’ve already had an argument with Faron... How the hell do you do it?” she asked.
I looked down at the mention of Faron. Cordelia noticed.
“What’s up?” she asked caringly.
I paused before telling her. “This goes no further than us, okay?”
She jumped up and sat next to me. “Cross my dead heart and hope to burn.”
“Don’t say that,” I scowled. “Well, I went to apologise to Faron and he kissed me, on the cheek. And when I was leaving, he winked at me.”
“When was this?”
“About five minutes ago.”
“Vein’s got an admirer,” she teased before turning serious. “Does he know that you have a boyfriend?”
“Fai saw to that the other day.”
“Fai likes him? So that’s why she hates you.”
“Yeah. But I don’t know what to do.”
“Well, do you like Phoenix?”
“Do you like Faron?”
“Well... Sort of.”
“’Sort of’? Either you do or you don’t.”
“Which do you like more?”
“I don’t know.”
“Ah,” she said.
“I need your help, Cordy.”
“I’m here for you. Come on, let’s go for a walk.”
She stood up and went to the sash window. She pushed it open and turned expectantly towards me.
“Why do we need to go out the window? There’s a perfectly good door downstairs,” I said.
“And risk Faron being there? I don’t think so, Vein. Come on.”
I sighed but got up anyway. By the time I was stood, Cordy was no longer there. I walked to the window and stepped out onto the ledge. I looked down and stepped off.
I landed on the damp grass in a crouch. I straightened up and set off after Cordelia who was already walking. I easily caught up to her.
“Lovely night, isn’t it?” she asked.
“Hm. Shame that in a few nights the moon will be painted red,” I said.
She chuckled darkly. “Yes, but it’s for self-defence.”
“When have the Neonians ever attacked a vampire?”
“We don’t know. Vampires go missing and we can never find the Neonians. You do the maths.”
“Full moon. The time when they’re strongest and also the time they’re in the most danger,” I contemplated.
“You pity them.”
“I fear them. They have more powers than us, and they’re stronger.”
“That doesn’t stop us slaughtering them. The Coven of Blood is always prepared.”
“They weren’t prepared for me.”
“You weren’t initiated. Faron just brought you home one night.”
I didn’t respond. The grass crunched under my boots. There was a rustle in the bushes. We stopped. We exchanged a worried look and moved forward silently. The air was heavy with a scent I recognised but couldn’t quite place.
Cordelia darted into the undergrowth and dragged out a human boy. He looked about my age, if a little older. I hissed and crouched down slightly. I realised who the human was and straightened up. My lips peeled back in anger, baring my teeth and making the human flinch.
“What the hell are you doing here, Tyler?!” I shouted.