I went back to my room, fighting the wave of tears until the moment my door was closed. I buried my head in the pillow, trying to sort through my emotions. I couldn't be a vampire, I didn't want to be one. I couldn't drink blood, that was insane. When the tears finally stopped coming I was able to gulp a few shuddering breaths. I decided to shower to clear my head.
As I was drying I caught my reflection. How had I not noticed how many bruises I'd gotten? When I had decided to leave home and come to this big city I'd wanted a newer, more exciting life. But this was too much. I got dressed and took a calming breath. Then I walked back out, joining the fresher's week festivity. As I walked someone handed me something. I glanced at it and saw an invite to one of the local bars. I stuffed it in the nearest bin. My last party hadn't exactly gone well so I had little interest in going to another. I met Poppy at the student bar.
“Where's Jeremy?” I asked. The sound of bustling students and glass clicking surrounded me. I looked around, wondering how many were in the know. How had things like vampires and shifters gone unnoticed?
“He said something about needing to meet up with someone,” Poppy replied with a shrug. She stared at me for a few seconds before signing.
“I don't agree with Jeremy's idea either. But just in case it is true, we can't risk someone getting hurt. I'm going to try and convince Rhys to help us-”
“Really? I think I've seen enough of the jerk, thanks,” I cut her off. She laughed, shaking her head.
“I know he isn't very … easy to talk to. But he'll be able to establish if you really are or aren't one,” Poppy explained.
“That was an understatement,” I said dryly. “Fine,” I gave in. Poppy smiled and stood up.
“Ready to go?” she asked. I nodded. We headed to Kings college to meet up with Isabella. Kings college was similar to Emmanuel in that it shared the medieval architecture of all the university buildings. Poppy sent Isabella a text while we sat and waited on a bench in the college grounds.
“So … rather than be surprised. Is Isabella like you?” I asked. Poppy appeared surprised by the question before she burst out laughing.
“Maybe you should ask her yourself?” Poppy suggested. Pretty much confirming my suspicion that anyone connected to them was in the know in some way. Just then I saw her fiery red hair appear along with the three others I recognised from the party. Harry sent me a big grin that told me he remembered me. The third one was a girl called Suzume who had delicate Asian features and long flowing black hair. The fourth was called Marcus, Isabella's twin brother. The only difference between them was that Marcus was taller and his hair a darker shade of red.
“Heya,” Isabella said, sitting down next to Poppy. She sent me an odd look and I wondered just what Poppy had said in her text.
“Hey, ready to show us King's?” Poppy asked.
“Actually, me and Marcus need to talk to you about something. Since Jeremy isn't here,” Isabella said, her eyes flicking to me again. I looked at Marcus and while he appeared pleasant enough I got a very unfriendly vibe from him. Had I done something wrong? It definitely wasn't aimed at Poppy.
“Oh, sure. I'll be right back,” Poppy said, saying the last part to me.
“Actually, this might take a while,” Marcus added, his voice deep and tightly-controlled. Poppy sent me an apologetic look.
“Don't worry about it,” I said with an offhand wave. But even as I acted at ease I had gut feeling they were going to be talking about me. Harry took Poppy's place opposite me, big grin still in place. Suzume sat on his right sending me a tentative smile.