XII. DATES AND CRUSHES
The rest of the week had passed by in a blur. Christina and I had surprisingly gotten closer than ever and I prayed that I didn’t have to regret the decision. Even Cameron would sometimes tag along with us. However, it was only a few times because mostly he was exceedingly shy and the rest was because of him remaining aloof with Taylor. Neither Christina nor I liked it one bit, but then again, it wasn’t our place to say anything. Besides, Christina believed that whatever was going on, Cameron had a reason to do it. So I didn’t give much thought to it either.
Carter and I, on the other hand, had kept our cold war going on. We didn’t even acknowledge each other, except for a few nods in the breakfast table and him driving me to Leslie’s regularly after my shift at Holly Heads was over. Sometimes, when I had free time I would hang out with Christina and some of my co-workers there, but Carter had never joined us. And I was inexplicably glad about that.
Another good thing that resulted was Leslie Adams. Throughout the week, I realized she wasn’t as bad as I had initially thought of her. In fact, the more I knew about her, the more respect grew within me for her. She had been an assassin, which explains her marvelous fighting skills. However, her life hasn’t much been easy either. Her parents had abandoned her for being a daughter and she somehow shared a horrible past with the hunters. I didn’t know the details, nor would I want to until she was comfortable enough to tell me. Leslie and I were not buddies. In fact, we were not even close to being friends but somehow, within all these days, I think we’ve both established a relationship of mutual respect towards each other. And I was content with it.
I think being the key to their doom had one advantage though. I didn’t have to become a part of their food chain.
I laughed internally at the thought.
Never did I once think that I would have to worry about being literal food. But then again, never did I also think that I was born to trigger an apocalypse. So that’s fair I guess.
My train of thoughts came to a halt when Christina nudged me with her elbows. Our school had ended an hour ago, but I had cheerleading practice and so did she. So we both decided to walk home since neither Carter nor Cameron was there to pick us up and I didn’t get the time to go back to my place to retrieve my motorbike.
“You okay?” Christina enquired as her serene features morphed into one of those concerns. The dim lights of the hallway cast a dark shadow on her face making her olive skin look darker and her rosy cheeks look pinker. Her long brown hair was left open at the sides and her plump red lips were turned down in the corners as she peered at me, through her long lashes.
I nodded at her and then chuckled, “Why won’t I be?”
“Well let’s see,” she started ticking off her fingers.
“Finding out horrendous truths, leaving your home, enduring the death of your best friend,” her tone darkened slightly, before getting back to its normal shine as she continued, “doesn’t exactly make you feel okay.”
She linked her arms with mine and the smell of jasmine and incense enveloped me.
“I have strong sustainability,” I grinned at her and she visibly seemed to relax as her shoulders deflated.
“I bet you do. By the way, who’s your crush?”
I was surprised by the change of topic as I wiggled my eyebrows at her.
“Where’s this coming from all of a sudden?” I asked with a ghost of a smile playing on my lips.
A small redness crept up her cheeks as she shrugged.
“Just like that,” she mumbled and averted her eyes.
I laughed and shook my head.
“No. I don’t have one at the present moment,” I replied truthfully.
“Really?” astonishment filled her features as she continued, “I thought you had a crush on Carter.”
“Ew. No. Why would you think that? Besides, I think you forgot how much I hate him,” I grimaced at the thought of me having a crush on him.
Christina shrugged her shoulders.
“Well, everybody does,” she replied, her eyes fixed on the path ahead.
The images of me being pushed up against him on the wall, his lips almost brushing mine, our breaths intermingling and his eyes boring into mine, filled my head as sudden hotness crept up my body. My breathing quickened and I could not decide whether it was from rage or something else entirely.
I discreetly pushed the images away.
“No. No, I don’t,” I breathed out.
She glanced at me and something unreadable crossed her features as she smiled at me.
“What about you though?” I asked trying to divert the focus from me.
She laughed, her brown orbs glimmering with warmth.
“I do. But I know she doesn’t feel the same,” Christina mumbled as she looked down at her feet, the smile disappearing from her lips.
I didn’t want to ask her who she was, cause she already felt bad for not having her feelings reciprocated. So, instead, this time I nudged her with my shoulder and she looked up at me.
“Gaah! You’re young and there are plenty of other fishes in the sea. So chill,” I said, my lips twitching at the corners.
She momentarily gaped at me. Then probably getting my hint, her cheeks and ears turned a deep shade of crimson.
She smacked my arm.
“Ow! What the hell was that for?” I whined as I unlinked my arm from her.
She huffed and I laughed at her.
“You look cute when you blush,” I teased.
“No I don’t,” she argued.
“You do,” I retorted back, pinching my lips to prevent the huge grin from spreading on my face.
“Shut up,” she scoffed at me and I burst out laughing, causing her to join me as well.
Right at this moment, I’m pretty sure that both Christina and I looked like normal teenage girls. Discussing crushes, laughing and blushing at the smallest of things, and not at all worrying about the impending apocalypse that’s looming over both of us. That’s how our lives should have been. But unfortunately, that’s not at all how it turned out to be.
“You know, in our days, this whole dating thing used to be so different,” Christina continued without noticing my internal monologue.
I was about to tell her that she made herself sound too old, but realizing that she was probably a three hundred and something-year-old vampire, I decided against it.
So instead, I raised one of my brown eyebrows.
“Yeah. We used to steal glances, and there was so much intimacy even in the smallest eye contacts. Love used to be so pure during those times,” she gushed, her eyes glazing over as if a pleasant memory had resurfaced in her mind.
I smiled at her.
“And what about this generation?”
She gave me an appalled look before speaking up.
“This generation? It’s disgusting. I don’t like it. Everyone is so sex-driven,” she complained as she scrunched up her nose, her facial expression turning sour.
I laughed while shaking my head.
“It’s true, but it’s fun. Maybe you should try it sometime too,” I winked at her, causing her cheeks to flush and her ears to turn a deep shade of pink.
“No thank you. Your definition of fun doesn’t match with mine,” she gave me a tight-lipped smile, causing me to burst out laughing.
“Krystal,” a deep resonating voice made us halt in our steps.
I turned around to find Latan leaning against one of the pillars in the hallway, the dim lights playing with his sharp jawline and casting a dark shadow. He was wearing a blue t-shirt that highlighted the prominent abs of his body and his long brown hair was tied into a ponytail, leaving a few strands open that brushed his peach-colored forehead. His full lips were stretched into a thin line and his jet black eyes gleamed with something raw and undefinable.
“Can we talk?” there was a hint of insecurity in his deep voice as he glanced at me furtively.
“Uh. Well,” I started unsure of what to reply. I was still mad at him for that day.
Suddenly Christina broke up the air of awkwardness.
“Hey, Krystal. I really need to go home right now. I forgot something,” she chuckled at me awkwardly as I quirked an eyebrow at her pathetic excuse of giving us alone time.
“Sure,” I retorted.
She swept a curious glance at Latan and then looked at me. Her eyes glinting with mischief.
“Okay then. I’ll catch you later,” the corners of her lips twitching as she sauntered away.
After her departure, both Latan and I stood there awkwardly for a few minutes until he took a tentative step towards me. His eyes holding an unknown emotion and there was almost a defeated look on his face.
“Look. I know why you’ve been avoiding me and I know I’ve been a dick. I’m sorry,” he apologized while the confusion of me ignoring him bubbled within me. That’s when I remembered, that I barely talked to him these couple of days because of everything that happened. It wasn’t exactly because of his behavior, but I wasn’t going to admit it to him.
So, instead, I glared at him and tried to leave when he caught hold of my wrist and pulled me towards him. I stumbled into his body and the scent of cheap bourbon filled my nostrils.
“Latan, let me go,” I gritted through my teeth as I scowled at him.
Shooting me an apologetic look, he immediately let go of me and I threw him a bored look as I leaned against the opposite pillar.
“What do you want Latan?” I drawled lazily.
He took a deep breath as he straightened himself, his arm muscles rippling beneath the thin fabric of his t-shirt.
“I want to take you out on a date,” he replied while fidgeting with his fingers as he glanced at me.
I took a full moment to process his words and then raised an eyebrow.
“You want to take out the girl, you thought was boring a week ago? That’s hilarious,” I chuckled mockingly at him.
“I know. I’m sorry,” he looked up at me and I could see the guilt ballooning within him. He took another cautious step forwards, decreasing the space between us.
“The truth is I’ve had liked you for a year now. But my dumb ass couldn’t tell you. But that day when I wanted to, you just didn’t even let me kiss you. So, I just got frustrated. Not with you, but with myself,” he groaned as he raked his fingers through the golden brown strands of his hair.
“That’s a weird way of showing frustration,” I frowned while he heaved an exasperated sigh.
“But I...Latan I can’t. I don’t see you in that way,” I said as politely trying not to hurt his emotions.
“Yeah, I also know that. Do you have a crush on somebody else?” he gazed at me quizzically and I groaned.
“What’s with everyone today asking me about my crush?” I huffed and glanced at him to see him staring at me with narrowed eyes.
“No, I don’t. Jesus,” I snapped.
“Then why can’t you give me a chance? I promise I’ll do it right this time,” he pouted jutting out his lower lip.
“I can’t,” I started walking away when his fingers wrapped around my arm possessively.
“Why not?” he whined.
“I just can’t,” I deadpanned.
“What’s the problem?”
The problem is that I’m a walking talking weapon of mass destruction and deadly hunters are trying to kill me. Oh, and everybody close to me is potentially dying. Maria is also technically dead. But that’s nothing to worry about, cause now she should wake up as a bloodthirsty vampire, which is totally cool by the way. But I still can’t take the risk of you getting hurt and, truth be told, I’m still not over that insult.
However, I didn’t say any of these things to him.
Instead, I turned around as a wicked grin curled my lips.
“Work for it. Do something special to make me feel that you’re worth it,” I shrugged as I waited for him to back away.
But surprisingly, a huge lopsided grin curved his lips as his jet black eyes glinted with delight.
“Done?” I quirked an eyebrow.
“Yep. It’s going to be a surprise. At your home. So be prepared,” he replied enthusiastically whilst I rolled my eyes and restrained myself from saying ‘whatever’.
“Cool,” I shrugged with indifference.
I smirked inwardly at the thought of him not knowing about my new residence at the Harveys’. I didn’t tell him nor I was I planning to. Ever.
I swaggered away with a smirk plastered on my face when I heard him shout, “Get ready Krys!”
By the time I reached their house, the sky had already turned into an inky shade of black covered with dark clouds that were threatening to spill drops of rain, creating an ominous and brooding atmosphere.
Walking into the house, I realized that it was completely dark inside and there was almost something creepy in the air. I shuffled in the entrance as my hands roamed on the wall beside me till I found the switch. Flicking it on, it took me a moment to register that the house was empty. There was a deafening silence in the house that seemed to have sucked every single noise into an everlasting void.
A dreadful coldness stuck me as the fear of something bad raced through my veins.
Fishing out my phone from the pocket, I immediately scanned through the contact list until Christina’s name flashed on it. Dialing the number, I paced around the room impatiently all the while biting my already ragged nails. My hands were slightly shaking and my heart was beating wildly in my chest.
She didn’t pick up. Not even after fifteen tries.
My patience was thinning down with every passing minute as panic settled in the pit of my stomach full-fledged. Instead of waiting around, I decided to check around the house. However, I discarded the idea when I remembered about their super-hearing ability. Surely they would have heard me by now if they were here.
So instead, I decided to move outside because if something was potentially wrong then staying here might not be the best of ideas.
But before I could make my move towards the door, a rattling sound echoed in the silence of the night.
It was coming from the front door.
I stood there frozen for a minute until two familiar figures entered the house. On realizing my presence, both Christina and Carter gave me a quizzical look and I realized that I was standing in a weird position, facing the door.
My right leg was stretched out in a way of initiating a movement, and my left hand, which was currently clutching the phone, was raised halfway in the air. My mouth was open and my eyes were widened to the size of saucers. Realizing that I probably looked like a lunatic, I straightened myself.
Christina looked like she was trying to suppress her grin while Carter outright smirked at my embarrassment. I tried to scurry away when Christina called out.
“What were you doing here like this?” she asked and I could tell that she was struggling to contain her laughter.
“I...uh...I actually thought that something was wrong. There was this eerie quietness and nobody was home,” I replied while trying not to embarrass myself any further.
“Where’s Cam?” Carter asked but I’m not sure whether it was directed towards me or Christina.
Nonetheless, Christina shrugged her shoulders while I remained quiet. My eyes momentarily flicked towards him when he removed his leather jacket, revealing quite the body underneath. His black t-shirt hugged his body tightly, outlining the defined ridges of his abdominal muscles, and his arms flexed through the thin fabric of his sleeves as he hung the jacket over the chair. His tousled black hair was sticking to his damp forehead and I fought the urge to run my fingers through it.
I didn’t realize I was bashfully ogling at him until Christina cleared her throat.
“Wasn’t Cam supposed to stay?” Christina enquired and suddenly all my previous embarrassment flew away.
“Hold on if Cam isn’t home, then it means that...,” Carter trailed off.
“There’s no one watching Maria,” I finished his sentence as our eyes met briefly before we both looked away.
“I need to go see Mare. Right now,” I glanced pleadingly at Christina and she nodded as she started walking towards the back of their house.
“What? Seriously? All these troubles-” Carter stopped when I glowered at him.
“Fine,” heaving an exasperated sigh, both of us followed Christina into the back wing of their house.
The dark and enormously long corridor was faintly illuminated by the moonlight seeping through the transparent windows, and I tried not to stumble in the dark. The vintage structure and decorum of the building weirdly made me wonder, what lives were for the Harveys’ when they were human.
Memories of my and Christina’s conversation during our last time here intruded through my head.
Their father wanted to kill them. Their mother died protecting them and Carter had to kill their father to protect themselves. They had also suffered a lot and unknowingly I let myself sympathize with them. None of them deserved that, not even Carter.
A gush of wind hit us as Christina opened the large double doors to the basement. The moonlight leaked through the open window, illuminating the room partly, and the coffin situated in the middle of the room shimmered under its glaze.
However, when Christina turned the lights on, my gaze immediately fell upon the coffin and my blood turned cold. My heart stopped beating and I stood there frozen. My limbs seemed to have the lost ability of locomotion and my breathing had quickened as terror and dread paralyzed every organ of mine. I could hear my accelerated heartbeats and the fast flow of blood rushing through my veins.
For a moment I thought that I was hallucinating. That is until I heard a loud gasp from Christina and I instantly knew that this was in fact very much real.
Lying in the center of the room was the coffin just as the way we had left it a week ago.
Except for this time, the lid was open.
And Maria wasn’t there.