Laura stared at her. Her mouth opened and closed, but no words came out.
“I meant to tell you this earlier.”
Laura’s mouth snapped shut, and her right hand flew across Helena’s cheek.
Stinging warmth spread along her skin as she cradled the affected area with her palm.
“You said he was studying abroad. You lied to me for months. Andrew, our best friend, is dead and you only tell me this now? You’re a bitch, Hel, a real, complete, and utter bitch!” She shot up.
Before Helena could provide some defence to her statement, Laura countered her with a sizzling glare. “You are not the same person anymore. This whole scenario with guns and vampires and everything is not my scene.”
“Please, let me explain. I didn’t mean—”
“Didn’t mean to get Andrew killed? Didn’t mean for me to be trapped in a room with two hunters pointing a gun at my face? Or didn’t mean to hide this shit from me?” Laura yelled.
Lucious’ head turned in their direction, and Helena shook her head at his silent question. His voice soon travelled through the soul-bond. “Should I try calming her?”
Helena shook her head again and tentatively took Laura’s trembling hand into hers. Her eyes watered at the possibility of losing another friend. She couldn’t let Laura get hurt. No, she had to get her to safety before the hunters returned. The demon would stop at nothing. He would even use Laura against her if he needed to. “You should stay with your parents until I can sort this out…”
Laura tore her hand out of Helena’s grasp. “This is my dad’s building. I am not letting you sully it with your freak show without me.”
With a deep-set frown, Helena glanced up with renewed hope that perhaps her friendship wasn’t entirely ruined by the mistakes she had made to this day. “Does that mean you’re staying?”
“Of course I am, Thorn,” Laura’s expression softened, and she hugged Helena. “I can’t leave you with vampires… What if they turn you into one of them and you show up on my doorstep wanting to take a chunk out of me?”
Helena snorted. “Yeah, I bet you would toss garlic bread at me or make crosses with your knife and fork.”
Both of them burst into laughter. Laura sat next to her and indicated towards Hans and the others. “What about the guy who looks like he’s already dead? Is he also a vampire?”
“Hans works for the Council. Long story short, he and Perri are here to keep an eye on me because the boss lady who runs the show has it in for me.”
Laura’s mouth formed into a silent ‘o’, and she playfully slapped Helena on the shoulder. “When I told you to make friends, I didn’t mean to go out of your way to meet the undead. Not to mention make an enemy out of the hotshots.”
“Helena,” Perri called out in a shaky voice, “we must do something about Hans. I fear he might die.”
Helena’s humour perished in her throat, and she ran over to the others. She heard Laura’s footsteps close behind her as she knelt between Lucious and Perri.
He shrugged out of his torn shirt and pressed the material to Hans’ bullet wound in his stomach.
“Is he… Is Hans going to die?” Perri asked meekly, not looking anywhere but Hans’ pained face.
Helena shot Lucious a nervous glance, seeking help, but he didn’t notice it and laid Hans flat on the floor. She did her best not to study the curve of his naked muscular back. It was wrong to do that in this situation, yet the link vibrated with her interest, and she shuffled closer to Perri.
“Let us see the damage dealt by the hunters first.” He tore Hans’ shirt open. There were two raw bullet entries. The blood pooled in them, creating small lakes that overflowed and raced down his sides like rivers.
Averting her gaze, she discovered Perri’s tortured expression. To distract the girl, Helena caught her hands and tugged Perri out of Lucious’ way.
“Leave him to do this,” Helena murmured.
Perri briefly scanned her and Lucious. Her eyes settled on Hans once again. “Can I trust him to make Hans better?”
“Get out of the way,” Lucious snapped at both of them.
Helena guided Perri away. The three girls sat on the sofa, staring at Lucious’ back while he dug the bullets out of Hans with his fingers.
Faint groans escaped Hans’ blue lips.
Perri kept on shaking. Helena and Laura both wrapped their arms around her, silently willing her to remain strong.
“It’ll be alright,” Laura whispered.
“Yeah, he’ll make Hans better,” Helena added.
Perri said nothing for the duration of the operation. And, fifteen minutes later, Lucious stood up, swaying on his feet. The link shook with his pain, and Helena rushed to his side, ignoring the mirrored piercing pains in her stomach and knees.
She draped his arm over her shoulders and guided him to the available sofa where she helped him stretch out across all three seats.
“Call Alexander,” Lucious said.
Helena paled. “Wouldn’t that add more fuel to the fire? The hunters are about to return…”
“My dear, I could not give a damn about the hunters. If I do not feed properly and that guy doesn’t feed after I’ve removed three silver slugs out of him, we’ll turn to dust or attack you. Neither option appeals to me. So, pick up the blasted phone and call him.”
“I could let Hans feed on me,” Perri piped in.
Lucious raised a brow at her. “Unless you want to die, I suggest getting two donors.” He shot Helena an expectant look. “Hurry up, my dear. We do not have all day. Tell Alexander to send some women, but he shouldn’t come here in person. It is too dangerous.”
“Alright, I’ll call him.” Helena ran to the phone in the hallway and froze. I forgot his number… She leant backwards, enough to see Lucious’ annoyed face. “What’s his number again?”
He grumbled and rose from the sofa with obvious difficulty. Striding to her, he grabbed the receiver from her hand. His fingers pressed the buttons in quick succession, and he raised the phone to his ear.
Helena tried shifting away from him. He caught her by the shoulder and pressed her into his bare side, trapping her in place. His mirth drifted through the link, and she pouted. The bastard was enjoying this too much. Maybe the hunters didn’t hurt him enough.
“While you’re on the phone, I should clean up,” she said.
Lucious feigned a pained expression, and his hold on her increased. “It takes everything I have to stand straight. Please permit me to use your body for the brief time to make this call.”
She gaped at his audacity. Her cheeks flushed bright red, and she crossed her arms over her chest in mock defiance, brushing his side with her elbow. She heard him chuckle before Alexander answered.
Lucious’ humour was gone in an instant. “Alexander, I need your help with something. There are hunters here, hovering around Helena and the apartment. They’ve wounded me and the hound.”
His thumb traced circles on her hip. She glanced up. Is he doing this knowingly? He seemed too absorbed in the conversation with Alexander to be doing that intentionally. She closed her eyes, secretly revelling in his touch as it sent delightful tingles through her. She couldn’t place when she began to feel this way or why she was reacting the way she did to his touch, but there was undeniable attraction she would never be able to confess with a sober mind.
Lucious ended the conversation and separated from her.
Immediately, a sense of longing invaded her as she fought against the urge to wrap her arms around him and bury her face in his bare sculpted chest. Even with the bullet wounds closing, for some reason, she couldn’t tear her eyes away. She hugged her sides, clamping her fingers around the material of her T-shirt. This is ridiculous.
“What did he say?” she asked.
“He’ll arrange for the donors to come by. He also said I should pick you up, throw you over my shoulder, and carry you out of here while I can.”
Helena swallowed. She couldn’t fight against him if he chose to go against her will. What she wanted most was some peaceful rest in her room with the distractions gone.
“Helena!” Perri called. “Hans is waking up.”
She ran past Lucious, and they both paused at Hans’ side.
“How do you feel?” Perri asked.
Hans gave her a tight-lipped smile and glanced at Lucious. “I cannot be near them. The thirst is overwhelming.”
“I understand.” Lucious pushed Helena and Perri back. “Stay away. Your blood is calling to him. Until he feeds, he is dangerous.”
“I will let him feed on me,” Perri said, extending her wrist.
Past Lucious, Helena couldn’t see Hans’ face, but she heard his growl. “Do not joke about such matters, Perri. Master Vincent will kill me for taking blood from you.”
“You needn’t tell him. Drink,” she pleaded.
Helena’s eyes met Lucious’ for a split second. There was that blue glow in place again. His attention returned to Perri’s wrist as well. He had to be refraining from biting into her. Noting this, Helena cupped his face and forced him to look at her.
“Let her do it,” she whispered.