Alana ran upstairs trying to forget the words she’d just heard; the scene she’d just watched unfold. No matter how many times he said it she couldn’t believe it. She didn’t want to believe it.
“It’s a dream,” she told herself. She slammed her door shut and locked it. “You’re gonna wake up in a few minutes and see it’s just a dream.”
“It’s no dream,” Nicholas whispered suddenly appearing by her side. “This is reality. Your reality.”
“Thanks to you!” she screamed. He reached out to touch her face. She jerked away. The hate burning in her eyes threatened to bring Nicholas to his knees. “It’s your fault he’s here. Thanks to you I get to live the rest of my life like this.”
“Alana that was not my intension.” He tried to make eye contact, but she flatly refused to meet his gaze.
“Intensions are a lot like assumptions,” she spat. “They’re worthless and they always cause more harm than good.” Her eyes finally met his. “What gave you the right to decide what was in my best interests? I was fine with Ben being behind bars. At least there he couldn’t hurt me. Now…”
“He will not hurt you,” Nicholas said firmly. “I will not let him. My mistake was not making sure he was dead.”
“Your mistake was going there in the first place!” God, he had some nerve. “I don’t know you from Adam yet you attach yourself to me. You know nothing about me yet you take it upon yourself to-” She stopped, unable to say the word.
“Kill the man who hurt you so bad.” He reached out to her again. This time she jumped off the bed and huddled into the corner. “You have nothing to fear from me. I’m here FOR you. I’ll make sure no one, not Ben, not Thomas, nobody will ever hurt you again.”
“There’s another one?” she asked.
Her knees buckled. One vampire in her life had been enough. Two was pushing it. Now that he’d mentioned another, it was simply too much. She’s been perfectly happy living her life ignorant to the creatures of the dark. Now, thanks to him everything has changed.
“There are many more,” Nicholas told her. “But Thomas is the one who turned Benjamin. He followed me, waited for me to leave and gave him the blood he needed to survive.”
“Why?” she asked weakly.
“Because he knows I want you,” he answered. Nicholas knelt down beside her and stroked her hair. “He saw what you mean to me the night after I met you. He wanted to make winning you over a game.”
“A game?!” She knocked his hand away and stood up. Ben yanked on the window trying to get in. Nicholas jumped in front of her. “My life is not a game!”
“I never said it was,” Nicholas said through clenched teeth. Ben had stopped pulling at the window, but he hadn’t gone away. “Thomas has a twisted sense of humor. Everything is a game to him. He simply wants what everybody else has and he’ll do whatever it takes to get it.”
“I’m not yours,” she told him. She rolled over the bed and hurried to the door. “I’m not Ben’s. I don’t belong to anybody and I never will.” Alana threw the door open to see Matt standing on the other side. “Tell me something. How in the hell could you keep this from me? How can I trust any of you?”
“Lana, I swear I wanted to tell you.” She pushed past him. He grabbed her arm and forced her to look at him. “Look, when Carly told me I didn’t want to believe it. She took me over to Thomas’s house. Made me see everything for myself.” He looked at Matt finally realizing where he’d seen him before. “You came home with her that night, didn’t you?”
Nicholas sighed. He knew it was time to come clean, but this was not how their relationship was supposed to play out. His plan had been to let her heal. Introduce himself and slowly begin a meaningful life together. Human or vampire he had planned to love her the rest of his life.
“I did,” he finally said. “I brought her home. She invited me in. Though we shared an attraction nothing happened.”
“I think I’d remember if I let a man in my house,” Alana said breaking Matt’s grip on her arm. She bolted down the stairs and back into the kitchen. She wanted to run away. Leave them all here to plan her life, but she couldn’t. She was a prisoner in her own home.
“Not if I erased your memory,” Nicholas said sadly.
Alana spun around to face him. Her eyes full of hate. The anger inside her had come to a boiling point and she wasn’t going to hold it in anymore.
“Get out! Get out and never come back again!” she yelled. “You have no place in my life. I could never be with a man like you. I don’t want to be with a man like you! You’re cold, heartless. You never thought about what I might want. I was an easy mark for you, wasn’t I?” Nicholas knew the words were coming, but he wasn’t prepared for the pain they caused. “Poor, scarred girl. Let’s see what kind of fun we can have with her. Hell, let’s bring in friends. Let’s bring in her worst nightmare and see what happens.” He stepped closer to her. “Don’t. I said leave. I mean it. If I never see your face again it will be too soon.” Matt stepped into the room and motioned the vampire to the door. “No Matt. I meant all of you. You’ve all kept things from me. Important things.”
“But Lana, I-”
“No! I want you all to go,” she said. “Obviously I can’t trust anybody.”