“You should have been there with her,” Alana sobbed. Matt cradled her, stroking her hair gently. “You should have been there, not here.”
“I never thought he’d go there,” Matt admitted chocking back the tears. He and Jennifer had been roommates for years; friends for longer. He felt her loss just as deeply. “There was just no reason for him to go after her like that. None.”
Alana pushed off his chest and glared at him. “No reason?” she asked. Her throat was raw from a day’s worth of crying. Her eyes red and puffy. “How about to get my attention? He knows what y’all mean to me. I’m sure he’d kill you if he gets the chance. There’s no stopping him now.” Her angry gaze fell on Nicholas. “He’s a damn monster that can’t be stopped thanks to him.”
“That’s not-” Matt stuttered. Nicholas held his hand up and approached the couch.
“Fair?” Nicholas finished. Matt nodded. “No, it is fair. Benjamin is a monster. I did, in a way help create him. I may not have given him blood, but I did give Thomas an opportunity he obviously could not pass up. I only hope it backfires on them both.”
“Backfires?” she snorted. “How does anything backfire on y’all? You have the world at your fingertips. You can bend anyone to your will. Live through things humans can’t.” Her eyes filled with tears again. “Kill whoever you want and get away with it.”
“Know this; I have never killed at will. There have been times when my hunger gets the best of me and accidents have happened, but I have never killed just to kill.”
“Killing in any way is enough,” she said. Nicholas nodded curtly knowing there were no words that could comfort her.
“Lana,” Matt said, forcing her to look at him. “You gotta stop blaming everything on him. It’s not his fault Ben’s a crazed psychopath. It sure as hell isn’t his fault some other vamp decided to make him his dog.” Her lips moved but he quickly covered them with his finger. “The pity party we’ve been wallowing in all this time? Sis, it’s time you grew up. I know he did some pretty bad things to you, but staying locked up inside this house all the time. Being scared of your own shadow. Girl, it ain’t good.”
“So what? You want me to just walk out there and challenge him?” This was too much! He’d been there. He saw what Ben was capable of.
“No, I want you to live again. I want my sister back.”
Alana sunk to the floor, her hands in her hair, tears running down her face. She wanted to be normal. She wanted to get up every morning and go to work like everybody else does. She even wanted to go to a nightclub now and again. Meeting a man was out of the question, but a little contact with someone other than her brother would be nice. The only thing stopping her was the paralyzing fear that her past would become her future.
Thanks to the blood he’d been feeding her, Nicholas felt the fear running through her mind. A peek inside let him know how much Matt’s words had affected her. He knew then there was hope. Maybe, just maybe he could give her the life she wanted.
He knelt down beside her. Matt mouthed good luck and left the room. Something told him he didn’t want to know what the vamp had to say. Carly had already warned him Lana could possibly be killed or worse; turned during all this. In fact she was sure Ben had every intention of turning her himself.
Nicholas took a deep breath and sighed. His future with her hinged on her reaction. “I can’t make all this go away. I can however make it easier.”
She looked up at him. For the first time there was no hate in her eyes. Only exhaustion, grief and curiosity lived there now.
“How? I’m only human. I’m no match against any of you.”
“As a human, no. As a vampire you’d be a strong as any of us. You’d have abilities you don’t have now. If I turned you, you’d belong to me. No one, not even Ben could touch you unless I said so.”
Stunned didn’t even begin to describe her feelings. Had she heard him right? Had he just proposed a fate worse than death? Did he seriously think she’d fall at his feet and beg to be drained? The anger rose out of the confusion, but then she saw his face. The sincerity there touched her. Suddenly she realized he was only doing what he thought was right. Suddenly she knew she could trust him.