The Danning Beginnings – Chapter Nine

*Jacob’s POV*

Well. That was a good example of why yelling isn’t the best thing to do when you’re upset. I had the feeling Kay really didn’t mean for me to hear that and assumed Cal had heard it as well. I lay in bed hearing them in the other room go on for quite a bit, arguing back and forth. I didn’t hear everything that was said, just a few words here and there. Something about the potion and then something about me, which I didn’t pick up, and then–

I strained to hear, sitting up a bit to lean a little nearer the door. Something about Calcifer. Doctor Redding was talking. “–ttached to him–not your–longs to Jacob–agreement.” Now what was that about? ‘Not your’? Not Kay’s business? Not Kay’s responsibility? I leaned even more and then stupidity happened. I felt a jolt of pain so I automatically threw my hand up to my mouth to cover it and stop myself from yelling, and that movement caused me pain. I squeezed my eyes shut and lay back, trying not to yell. My middle felt like it was on fire and so did my backside for some reason, not my butt really but somewhere in that vicinity was aching.

I heard the Reddings say something about the vampire and Kay’s wound. Something about Kay moving? And then movement, coming close to the bedroom. I quickly dropped my head and closed my eyes, forcing myself to breathe slowly. Kay came into the room, paused, then went into the bathroom. When the door shut, I peeked open one eye. I wanted to ask him what he had meant, or rather what his sister meant. But if he found out I had overheard that, he’d know I had overheard the other part and I had the feeling he’d be very uncomfortable knowing I heard him say he wasn’t a slut, he was a virgin.

When he finally emerged from the bathroom, he looked startled to see me awake. “I th-thought you w-were asleep,” he said, going red.

“I’ve been drifting in and out,” I muttered.

“Did–” he started but then blushed and quickly said something else. “My s-sister will be away f-for four days, she’ll b-be leaving soon so if you n-need anything before she g-goes…”

I shook my head. “I’m fine. Maybe some pain medicine, if I can.”

“We d-don’t have much but I’ll get you some,” he promised, and when he brought some pills back in with him I gladly took them. The pain in my body lessened and I was able to fall back into sleep.

*

At one point I heard more arguing but I didn’t hear anything, and then when I woke up completely the house was very quiet. I really needed to use the bathroom but didn’t know what to do since I had no way to call for Cal or Kay. Perhaps I needed a bell or something to ring when I needed help. I called out but nobody came.

I shifted my hips, trying to ease the pressure on my bladder. Fire-hot pain made its way through my body and I knew I’d never be able to get to the bathroom on my own. I pushed back the blanket and inched my way towards the edge. Just doing that was hard enough, I couldn’t imagine bearing any weight on my legs without help.

“Calcifer!” I called, fingers bunching up the sheets beneath me. “CALCIFER!” I felt ready to burst. Looking at the clock I noticed I had been asleep for several hours. “PROFESSOR! CAL!” I pushed myself into a sitting position and slowly, very slowly, moved my legs until my feet met the floor. “CALCIFER, PLEASE! PROFESSOR? KAY?”

I tried, and gasped in pain as I partially stood. The pain was too intense for me to deal with. I was just about to try again when the door opened. “J-Jacob!” Kay rushed over, putting his hands on me. “Wh-what on earth d-d-do you think you’re doing? You c-could seriously hurt yourself! What if you f-fell?”

“I need to go to the bathroom,” I protested as he put me back into bed. “I yelled but nobody came in.”

“I did,” he said. “You sh-should have waited longer th-than three minutes. C-Cal is asleep and I w-was doing d-dishes.”

Oops. “Sorry. I didn’t think anyone heard me.” I felt very sheepish and silly. It had felt like fifteen minutes between when I started calling and when he showed up but when I looked at the clock again, I saw he was right. Barely any time at all. “Calcifer is asleep?” I asked and he nodded. “Are you sure?”

“Yes, I’m p-positive,” he said, then offered his hands.

I just stared up at him. I didn’t want him to help me. It was embarrassing enough for my son to help me go to the toilet, but worse was the thought of Kay helping me. “Sound asleep?” I asked, not taking his hands.

Kay blinked and lowered his head, looking down at the floor. He didn’t take his hands away though. “Yes,” he answered so softly I barely heard it. “Do… d-do you want me to go wake him?”

Yes, I thought, but just took his hand. It was very warm and slightly damp. “No, that’s all right.” He helped me to my feet, sliding an arm around me and moving my arm over his shoulders. He lifted up, bearing a lot of my weight. “Thank you,” I said as we made our way slowly to the bathroom. “I appreciate… everything.”

“N-no problem.” He opened the door and twisted his body a bit to take my weight against his hip as he got us through the doorway. His body felt solid against my own, stronger than I imagined he’d be. His arm was firm around me, his hands sure. He helped me get to the toilet and stumbled over the words of how I wanted to do this.

“I can stand,” I said. “I’m all right.”

But he didn’t let go. He held me from behind, carefully helping me balance as I tugged open the front of my boxer-briefs then peed. It felt so strange and a lot more uncomfortable than I thought it’d be. His legs were against mine, his arms across my chest, and his cool cheek brushing very slightly against my bare back as he adjusted his weight a bit. It made going very awkward and it took several seconds to finally be able to start.

This is so embarrassing, humiliating. There was so much pain I had no choice but to lean against Kay. When my body moved against his, he made a strange sound and jerked back slightly. “Sorry!” he said, hands sliding on my chest to keep me from falling over as the sudden lack of support. “S-sorry, I–sorry!”

“It’s okay. I’m all right,” I promised. There was fire in one of my hips but I decided not to tell him that. I finished my business and then we were making our way back to the bed. His hands were sweatier than before but he didn’t lose his grip as he got me onto the mattress again.

“Now d-d-don’t try to g-get up by yourself again,” he said with an amused smile.

“Yes sir,” I answered meekly.

Red flushed across his face and he began rubbing the back of his head. “J-Jacob, can I ask you s-something? It’s… a bit personal and k-kind of important.” He grabbed a chair so he could sit near the bed. There was something with the way he said it that made me think he was trying to change the subject–but from what? We hadn’t even really been talking.

“Of course,” I said, settling down into the bed.

“It’s… n-n-not something easy to say,” he mumbled as he began wringing his hands. “It’s actually very… d-difficult. And a b-bit awkward. I–I’m just babbling, s-s-sorry.” His eyes met mine and now I felt myself flushing red. Suddenly the moment seemed very personal while all sorts of ideas ran wild through my brain. There was something on the very tip of it, something that made a shiver go down my spine. Something… something unknown, foreign. Alien, though considering who this was about that seemed like the most ironic word to use.

“No, it’s fine,” I said. “Ask away.”

Kay looked even more nervous now, and something deep in my stomach began twisting around. There was something I almost wanted him to say–but I didn’t know what it was. I also didn’t know whether it was something good, or something bad. “Jacob,” he said, leaning in close.

There it was. Something important. Something strange. It was on his lips, about to reveal to me what this feeling was. “Yes?” I gulped.

His eyes met mine. When he opened his mouth to speak, my body tingled with anticipation. “C-could I use some of C-Calcifer’s blood to help heal the v-vampire?”

I stared at him, confused at what he actually said. That wasn’t what he was going to say–was it? “Um, wh-what?”

“I want to help the v-vampire,” he said, twisting his hands and looking rather helpless. “I’ve given her s-s-some of my blood and I would ask you b-but you’ve lost so much already I don’t th-think it’d be safe, and I was wondering if–if I could use some off Calcifer’s blood. I would only d-do so if both you and he agree to it. And if n-not I understand completely. See, my sister–“

“Blood,” I said. He jumped but then nodded. “You want Calcifer’s blood. That… that is the question you wanted to ask me. The important… personal question…” I felt as though I had been on a ride then suddenly it stopped without warning. I was thrown from the car, hit by the train, drenched by the rain. What had just happened? The tingling in my body was gone. The fleeting feeling of wanting him to say–(say what?)–had disappeared. I felt so confused.

“My sister w-wants to study her,” Kay said in a low voice. “I don’t th-think that would be a g-good thing. My sister is going b-back to her l-lab to get some tranquilizers th-that work on vampires, and wh-when she comes back she is going to t-take the vampire to the lab. To lock up. To… study.” He closed his eyes for a moment then opened them again, looking towards the window. “My sister is p-passionate about her studies and her w-work but sometimes sh-she goes overboard. That’s why I wanted to lea–” He stopped, hands on his mouth.

“What do vampires have to do with aliens?” I pressed my hands down against the bed. I still felt dizzy, but the strangeness was going away like the tide. Washing away whatever it was I had wanted.

“I don’t know exactly,” he admitted. “Sh-she likes to know all sh-she can about the unknown. The occult. The s-s-s-supernatural. She’s attracted to it all. Aliens, v-vampires, werewolves, psy-psychic. Aliens are especially…” He trailed off and began picking at his fingernails. “I w-want to help this vampire escape. I s-sent my sister off, I only have th-three nights now. I think the v-vampire is almost h-healed but she needs more blood.” He spread his hands out and I saw the bandage around his wrist.

“That wasn’t from knocking your arm, was it?”

“No. I c-c-cut the wound open.” He pulled his wrist close to his chest, holding it carefully with his other hand. “She just needs a l-little bit more, I think. I would give her it from m-myself but I’m worried about g-giving too much. It w-won’t be much. I promise.”

I looked up at the ceiling, trying once more to get just the tiniest of hold on what I felt earlier but it was completely gone now. “Yes,” I said. “As long as he says it is fine, then it’s fine. I trust you.”

Kay thanked me then left me to the quietness, after making sure I didn’t need anything. I lay in the bed, glancing around the room. There didn’t seem to be much in here. It was awfully bare for someone who had lived her for a long time, but maybe that’s how Kay was. The rest of the house seemed more lived-in. But not this room. Then I remembered hearing something being said the other day between Kay and his sister. Something about him moving. But I couldn’t remember, so I closed my eyes and tried to sleep.

*Cal’s POV*

“You want… my blood…” I squinted at Kay, wondering if I had even woken up or if I was still asleep. I rubbed my eyes and then pinched myself, wrinkling my nose as the little bit of pain. “My blood?” I asked again.

“Yes,” he said. “To help–“

“The vampire,” I finished and he nodded. “I have to let her…. feed on me?” I tried to imagine what that would be like. What it would feel like to have fangs sink into my skin and suck out the blood. Ew. There was something that felt so wrong about it.

“N-no, we’ll p-put it in a cup,” Kay said, sitting up a bit. “Just a l-little bit, not much. She’s doing a lot better, so…” His fingers twitched at the bandage around his arm. “Your dad s-says it’s okay. As l-long as it’s okay with you.”

Penny was next to me, her cloth fingers against my arm. “I think it would be a good idea, Calcifer.”

“You want a vampire to feed off me?” I asked. “You want… a vampire… to take my blood.”

“Blood will help her, will it not? Shouldn’t we help someone in need?” She tugged at my sleeve, light reflecting off her button eyes. “Besides, she makes you nervous and if she is healed she will not be here. Is that not good?”

I brushed her hand away, annoyed at her logic. It was pretty freaky that there was a vampire staying in the house but my blood? I hugged myself, shuddering a bit. My blood, my life force being sucked into someone’s stomach. Part of me going into part of them. That wasn’t helping someone in need, that was–was like sex! Besides, if she got a taste of my blood wouldn’t she want more? Wouldn’t she want to hunt me down and take the rest? I opened my mouth to protest but someone else spoke before me.

“That isn’t how it works.”

I turned to look at the door, at this unknown voice, and stared. She was standing in the doorway, leaning against the frame slightly. I was shocked. I had expected something–something completely different. Even after the glimpse when I went in the bathroom. This girl was… so young. Barely older than me. Eighteen, at the most. Blonde hair, smooth skin, and her body–her body–

“Y-you sh-sh-shouldn’t be out of the bathroom!” Kay said, looking panicked.

“I’m feeling better,” she said, not taking her eyes off of me. I was rooted to the spot, unable to look away from her. I was dimly aware of Penny’s fingers working at my sleeve again but I ignored it. This wasn’t a vampire, no way could she be a vampire. She was too young. Too… too… beautiful. Vampires were–were older, hardened, sneering. Not my age. Not so… beautiful. Dracula in a cape and caked makeup, not…

“Are y-you healed?” Kay asked.

She finally looked away from me, like strings being cut. “Not completely. I’m doing better.” She rubbed her side and then stepped back, her face showing pain.

“Don’t vampires heal quickly?” I asked quickly. I sounded too loud, too clumsy. Like a stupid teenager. That’s all I was. The girl just lowered her eyes, not answering. “Do you need blood, then? More blood? I can give you some blood.”

“I thought you didn’t like the idea of a vampire feeding off of your blood,” Penny said.

“We should help someone in need,” I replied, not looking at her. “And obviously you’re in need, um, ma’am. So, um, if you need–need some. Then, um. Yes. Well.” I stuck out my arm, and she just stared at it. “Feel free.”

“C-Calcifer–” Kay began but the girl stepped forward, taking my hand. It was a jolt straight to my heart. Her skin felt so smooth, her touch too gentle to be a vampire. Her finger touched my wrist and then her lips were there. It was at that point I realized I had just agreed to something I shouldn’t. I had never–never been in a moment so… intimate… And in front of Kay and Penny…

I gasped as her fangs sunk in. Her teeth were in my body, her tongue against my skin. She was sucking in my blood, the skin where her lips were rubbing against getting wet. I felt my legs going weak but I couldn’t even sink down, I couldn’t move at all. This was something from… nothing I ever imagined… even in my dreams. My dreams that always wound up with messy boxers and a wish Penny didn’t sleep in my room.

But it was so nice. So very nice. I liked the feeling spreading in my body. The happiness. It had been a long time since I felt happy. A very long time. It was replacing the feelings I usually had, the anger, the bitterness at being a monster. I didn’t want it to end but then I felt her tongue caressing the spot she had just bit. I looked down at her and she stared right back into my eyes. Everything was rushing into me all at once, I was again aware of my surroundings–and the fact I had a major boner.

The vampire pulled back, licking her lip and giggling. I had the distinct feeling she knew. Kay and Penny were staring at us, which made me want to crawl into a hole to disappear. As there was no hole I opted instead to dive for the door, throwing it open and running over to my dad’s unused room. I slammed the door shut behind me and sank down onto the floor, covering my face. Oh Watcher.

The Danning Beginnings – Chapter Eight

*Kay’s POV*

My sister was engrossed in her book, all her attention seeming to be on the book. Except I knew she was well aware of every movement I was making. She could be dead asleep and know what I was doing. Reading certainly wouldn’t stop her. She said nothing, though, as I went past her into the kitchen. I made lots of noise as I got a glass for Jacob and then bent down, hunting a plastic container out of the cupboard. My hands were shaking so hard I thought I might drop it.

“D-do you w-w-want anything t-to drink?” I called out as I grabbed a clean dish towel from the drawers.

“Yes,” she answered, not telling me what she wanted but I knew what she wanted.

“It w-w-w-will be a few–” I started but she cut me off with a ‘fine’. I was glad to have an excuse to stay in the kitchen longer. I started up the coffee then reached for a knife. Now my hands were even shakier and I did drop the knife. Twice. I got a better grip on it and then tried to figure out the best place to cut. The wrist would be the easiest to get into the container but… I… I could… Noooooo, not the wrist. Maybe the shoulder? The hand? Would the leg be better?

“Brother…”

I yelped and dropped the knife. My head jerked up but she was not in the room, it had come from the living room. I put the knife and dish towel in the container, snapping the lid shut, and then filled the glass for Jacob. “Y-yes?” I asked, going into the living room.

“Did you yell?” she asked, peering up at me.

I blushed, trying not to drop the glass of water. “Y-y-y-you startled me. Wh-when you c-c-c-called for me. What do you n-n-need?” She adjusted her glasses and looked curiously at the glass. “It’s f-f-for Jacob,” I explained.

“You’re up to something,” she stated.

I gulped. “N-no. Why would you s-say that? I w-was just getting Jacob some water and–and m-making coffee for you. I h-have your favorite, and your f-favorite creamer. I… I’m going to go give him the w-water.” I ran back to my bedroom and was rather glad to see Jacob had fallen asleep. I set the glass down on the bedside table, trying not to wake him. I did not want him trying to get out of bed again. I had the feeling it was going to take some effort to keep him in bed.

I grabbed a large bath towel and then waited by the door, listening in for the beeping of the coffeemaker. I bundled the towel up when I heard it, and ran into the kitchen. I quickly made my sister coffee how she liked it, then hid the plastic container inside the towel, scrunching the towel up to try and make it look like nothing was there. I could do this. I just needed… to stay… calm. I put the bundle under one arm and grabbed my sister’s coffee before venturing out. Staycalmstaycalmstaycalm. I set the coffee next to her then tried to go to the bedroom.

“What is that?” my sister asked.

I flinched and turned, my hand automatically shooting up to the back of my head. “Wh-what’s what?” I hoped I didn’t sound too nervous, I felt like throwing up.

But my sister held up her coffee cup. “This isn’t the creamer I like.”

“S-sorry.” I took the cup and returned to the kitchen, noticing that I had grabbed the wrong creamer. I set the towel bundle down and began remaking a cup for her, trying to breath. I couldn’t come across as fearful. She’d zero in so quick and I… I couldn’t… hide it. I just hoped she was distracted enough that I could get into my own bathroom. I gave her the fixed coffee and went back to my bedroom without her saying anything. As I gave a sigh of relief, I wondered how I even managed that.

“Kay?”

“Waah!” I dropped the towel, the container popping open. “J-Jacob, did I wake you?” I asked, scooping up everything.

He was sitting slightly up against some pillows. “No, I woke up a moment ago. I guess I dozed for a moment. Thanks for the water… was that a knife?”

“N-no,” I lied, wrapping it in the towel. “Well… yes… I uh… I need to… H-how are you?”

He looked in pain as he shrugged. “I really can’t get out of bed?”

“No, p-please don’t. If you need anything I w-will get it f-for you,” I said, wondering if I was going to have to tie him…. down… in… the bed… Jacob took a sip of the water and didn’t answer me. I set the stuff down by the bathroom door then went closer to him. “Do you need s-something? I’ll be happy to get you anything.”

He avoided looking at me. “Could you get Cal?”

Not what I was expecting, but I nodded. “Y-yes, j-just a moment.” I moved the knife, container, and towels into the bathroom then went to knock at Cal’s door before remembering he was in Jacob’s room. I heard a grunt, and assumed that meant I could come in. I just poked my head in. “Your f-father n-needs you.”

His face pinched up and I wondered if he’d complain. But he set aside his bowl of ice cream and went with me back to the bedroom. I was about to head into the bathroom, but Jacob asked me not to. I thought this meant he needed me but he just stayed quiet while Calcifer looked annoyed. Jacob stared wide-eyed at me. After a moment of this, I turned back towards the bathroom but Jacob whimpered and then cried out, “I need to go, okay?”

Ohhhhhhhh. “S-sorry,” I said and left the room. I waited outside, hoping it wouldn’t take too long. Hoping they wouldn’t ask me about the knife. After what felt like an hour, Cal opened the door and I darted past him towards the bathroom. Jacob started to say something but I closed the door before he could finish. I knew if I didn’t do this quickly, I would be too scared to try it again at a later point.

Okay. Where… do I do this… I picked up the knife and examined my arm. After a few seconds I pressed the knife against my skin, then pulled it away. I can’t do this! I thought, my stomach doing somersaults. I… can’t let her do this. Biting my bottom lip, I positioned the knife over the wound that the vampire had given me. Here goes nothing. I cringed and gasped loudly as I dug the tip of the knife in. Bright red welled out and I quickly put my wrist over the container. Only a few drops dripped in. Nooooo! I needed to cut properly.

Wincing and trying not to yell, I got a small cut opened. Blood splashed into the container, though there wasn’t as much as I’d like. I managed to get in enough to form a very shallow pool then wrapped the dish towel around my wrist, letting some of the blood soak in as I awkwardly got the lid on with one hand. I did it. I leaned back against the counter, letting some blood get into the towel before taping gauze over the spot. Part one, finished. Part two… Oh how was I going to pull off part two?

I opened the door and Jacob looked over. “Is everything okay? I heard something that sounded like you were in pain.”

I stiffened, trying desperately to think of an excuse. “I, uh, b-b-b-bumped my arm. It, um…” I held up the wrist with gauze. “It c-c-cut me.”

Jacob studied it carefully then raised his eyebrows. “What did you bump into?”

“C-corner of th-the… counter… Um, are you f-f-feeling much pain? I th-think my s-sister should take a look.” I dove for the door, clutching the towel with the bloodied objects inside. Jacob was protesting but I was out in the living room. Sorry, Jacob, I thought. “S-sister! Jacob is n-not feeling well.”

“He’s just had extensive surgery that altered the positions of his womb and other organs,” she answered, not looking over. “I imagine he will be in pain for quite some time.”

“C-could you check on him?” I asked, trying to smile.

“No.”

Oh, Watcher. “Please? Just… for a moment…” I shifted my weight and tried to think of something that might get her to go into the room. “Isn’t it y-y-your responsibility as his d-doctor?”

She slammed her book shut. “Fine,” she snarled and stormed into the bedroom. I mentally apologized to Jacob yet again as I took a few leaping steps towards the bathroom. I opened the door and threw in the bloodied dish towel, then shut the door. I heard a snarling sound and a thump. Hoping she was attacking the towel, I opened the door and put the container inside and gave it a light push towards her. I saw her glowing eyes watching me and then they were closer, right near the door. I shut the door quickly and fell back, heart about to leap out of my throat. Vampires… moved so fast…

I heard the pop of the lid and I got to my feet, leaning in close. “I’ll g-g-g-get you more when I c-can,” I whispered. Then I leaped to the other side of the room as my sister was coming out of the bedroom. I was panting, and sweat dripped down my forehead. My sister didn’t look happy.

“He was not hurting any more than what should be expected,” she said, glaring at me. “You are too soft! If he had a splinter you would probably take him to the ER!”

“I w-was just worried,” I said, wiping my sweaty hands on my pants. “He’s th-the only man to b-be going through this, I w-want to make sure everything is okay.”

She just stared at me then slowly walked over. I yelped as she grabbed my collar, yanking me close. “What the hell are you playing at, Brother?!”

“Wh-wh-wh-what?!” I panicked, thinking she knew what I just did.

“I was not going to say anything but after your actions today I am starting to wonder!” she hissed.

“Ab-b-b-bout what?” I squeaked, struggling against her strength.

“HIM!” She pointed towards my bedroom door. “Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about!”

“B-b-b-b-but I d-d-don’t know wh-what you’re t-talking about!” I wailed, grabbing her wrists. “P-please let go!”

“I want you to live somewhere else while he is here,” she said, still not letting go. “I am not having that happen again.”

“Have wh-what…?” I squirmed a bit and went red, realizing what she meant. “N-n-n-n-no! It’s not… it w-won’t… it–no!” Finally she loosened her grip and I stumbled back, rubbing my throat. I felt like a teenager again, hoping she wouldn’t give me a lecture.

But all she did was point at the door. “Nothing good can come of this.”

“P-please… s-stop… it’s n-n-not…” I shook my head, wishing I wasn’t so easily tongue-tied. “Calm d-down.”

She narrowed her eyes, eying me suspiciously. “Calm down? Calm down? How do you expect me to calm down when you are acting this way and have done… THAT!”

“D-d-d-d-d-d-done what?” I shrieked back. “I haven’t d-d-done anything!” What on earth was my sister thinking I did?!

“You have! You cannot deny it! I know you did it!” she snapped right back.

It dawned on me what she was talking about and I went dark red at the accusation. How could she think such a thing? “I AM NOT A SLUT!” I yelled. “I’m st-still a virgin, you know!”

My sister looked like I had hit her. She reeled back, looking a bit disgusted. “I was not referring to sex, I was referring to the fact you gave him the youth potion!”

“P-p-potion.” I swayed a bit and covered my face. I had just… yelled… out like… oh watcher… I reeeaaalllly hoped Jacob and Cal hadn’t heard me. “I thought… I th-thought…” I didn’t want to speak anymore. I shouldn’t. I had just–oh watcher, I wanted to hide somewhere.

“Yes, the potion. Your potion, if I recall,” she added with a snort. I didn’t answer, I just buried my face even more into my hands. They had to have heard me. Slut! Why did I have to yell that word? I rarely yelled. Maybe I was feeling disoriented from the loss of blood. Why did I have to yell? “You give him your youth potion, you act like a worried hen… If I didn’t know better I’d say–“

“N-no,” I said before she could say it. “I th-thought he d-deserved the p-potion, that’s all. We put him th-through a lot, I thought it would b-be good to give him another ch-chance.” I peeked through my fingers at her. She still looked mad. “What?”

“I don’t like the idea of you staying in this house, with him.” She leaned in close. “I’m worried about what will happen to you.”

“I’m n-not a kid!” I protested. “I’m–well, t-twenty-one now. Or almost f-fifty. Depending.” I lowered my hands, giving her a pleading look. “Please st-stop treating me like this. I’m not a child, and–and what happened b-before–won’t happen again.”

“Can you promise me that?” she asked, sounding more concerned than angry.

“I r-r-r-really don’t think J-Jacob is that type,” I said and she just stared. “I promise.”

“You have a habit of getting into trouble when it comes to situations like this,” she said and I frowned.

“Wh-when have I ever b-been in a situation like this?” I asked, tired of her assumptions that Jacob would be like that. “You’re th-the only person I’ve ever lived with. Th-those times before were accidents and I barely knew them. I certainly w-wasn’t living with them, and J-Jacob needs s-someone to take care of him right now, he’s not even allowed out of b-bed for a few days without help.”

“He has that thing of his to help him,” my sister muttered.

I blinked and then tried not to get annoyed. “You m-mean his son?” I asked and she shrugged. “Calcifer is a t-t-terrific boy. I r-really like him.”

She looked cross again. “You’re not getting attached to him, are you? He’s not your son. He belongs to Jacob. We signed that agreement.” I bowed my head, sniffling a bit. I wanted to say he was my son too but I just nodded. Calcifer was off-limits. I would never–never be what I would like to be. I rather wished I could tell Jacob but that, too, was off-limits. Though there had been a couple of close calls, like the principal at Cal’s new school. “I suppose I cannot just take you away from here. So just… be careful. He has to leave as soon as he is well enough.”

“Y-yes, Sister,” I said and started to go past her when she grabbed my arm. What now?

“What happened to your wrist?” she asked, holding it up.

“Er, the w-wound–I, uh, it–it–yeah, from the v-vampire…” I stammered.

“Vampire bites heal,” she said.

“Yes, uh, I bumped it against s-something and it b-broke open.” I gave her a small smile, hoping she’d believe me. I was clumsy enough that it could be feasible.

She just kept staring and I began to sweat, scared she would figure out what I had done. I couldn’t trick her, why did I ever think I could? But just as I was about to beg her for forgiveness, she let go of my arm. “I want him moved out of your bedroom. Tonight.”

“B-but it’s better if he h-has a bathroom s-s-s-so close, and the vampire is in the one n-next to his room.” I licked my lips and used that as an excuse to ask something I was curious about. “Are you st-staying long? W-with the vampire? I th-think you sh-should keep her here. It w-wouldn’t be s-safe to transfer her. Y-you should g-go back to your lab and g-get those tools, the tranquilizers th-that work on v-v-v-vampires.”

My sister didn’t even blink and I put my shaky hands in my pockets. Pleasepleaseplease, I thought over and over. Her hand raised and she pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose. “You are correct. Will the bathroom stand up as a holding pen while I am gone?”

“Yes,” I said swiftly. “It’s a v-v-very sturdy house.”

“Is that why you moved?” she asked. “Your old house was inadequate?”

I blushed and looked away. “Yes.” Another lie, sort of. I just needed more bedrooms than my old house had–but I wasn’t going to tell her that. “I l-like this house. How l-long will it take you?”

“I will leave in the morning, to make sure Mr. Danevbie is not in need of my skills. I should be back before long.”

That didn’t tell me anything. “I j-just need to know how l-long that bathroom w-will be out of c-c-c-commission,” I pressed.

My sister rolled her eyes and sat down on the sofa. “Four days.”

I nodded and went into my bedroom. Jacob was asleep again, or looked it. I went into the bathroom, happy I had pulled everything off. Four days. That would hopefully be long enough to get the vampire fed enough to be able to leave. I couldn’t let her go off with my sister, though knowing it would mean facing my sister’s wrath… But no, I would do my best to get her out of here. Four days? It was enough time. Right?