#2 What have I gotten myself into?
“Seriously?” I exclaim angrily, trying to push Hunter off me again. “Stop it!”
He finally breaks away from me, his bright blue eyes boring into mine. A drop of blood makes its way down his chin and drops onto my bare chest. Hunter’s stare is so intense it’s hard to remember why I want him off me.
“You fucking idiot!” I complain, touching the puncture marks on my neck. I wince at the stinging sensation. I thought I was done with this shit. That was the only plus side to Jeremy leaving me - no more puncture wounds, no more blood on my sheets, and no more feeling weird after feeding him. Although I have to admit I even miss that part of our relationship. I miss every single part of what we had.
“Shh,” Hunter murmurs, his eyes smoldering. “Don’t scream. I’m not hurting you.”
“Yeah, you are.” I’m getting more and more irritated with every passing second.
His eyes widen and he seems at loss for words. That’s right boy. Your mind games don’t work on me.
“W-what – you-”
“Get off,” I tell a stammering Hunter sternly. “Now!”
He complies, unable to speak. I grab his shirt from the floor and pull it on to cover myself up. I have no clue where my own clothes ended up. “How old are you?” I stare at him, no longer happy with my decision to take him home with me.
“Twenty-two,” he replies dully. His lips are stained with my blood and his pupils are so wide there is hardly any white left in his eyes.
“And how long have you been a vampire?” I raise a hand to my neck to assess the damage he’d done.
“How do you know?” He sounds almost panicked. A few seconds later, he pulls himself together and leans forward so he can capture my angry stare. “Tell me the truth.” His voice has a dreamlike quality to it now, but it’s obvious he’s new to all things vampire. How did I not realize what he is earlier? It’s so fucking obvious.
“Yeah…” I laugh without humor. “That doesn’t work on me, vamp boy. I’m a witch.”
“You’re a-” He shakes his head and buries it in his hands. “Shit.”
“Shit seems pretty accurate,” I agree sourly. My wound is starting to ache now. “Would you mind closing me up again?” I offer him my neck, hoping I’m right in my assessment of him and that he indeed won’t bite me again.
Luckily for me, he seems too flustered to do anything but obey. His tongue flicks over the puncture marks, healing them almost immediately. I sigh in relief. It makes a world of difference to no longer be bleeding and in pain. “Thanks.”
We stare at each other for a long, tense moment. When it becomes clear he’s not going to speak up, I sigh and look around to find his pants.
“Cover up,” I order, throwing it at him.
He gets dressed like I told him too, but he keeps his eyes on me the entire time. I shift uncomfortably under his stare. I’ve come to my senses enough to know I could call upon my magic if needed, but I don’t like using it. I’m proud to live like a regular human most of the time, and I’m about to let some vampire nobody force me to resort to magical protection.
“What?” I ask at last.
“My shirt,” he explains, embarrassed that he’s still half-naked.
Glancing down, I realize that I’m indeed still wearing his shirt. “Too bad,” I say nastily. “You shouldn’t have bitten me.”
He grimaces and sits down on one of the chairs, resting his elbows on his knees. “I had no idea you were a witch,” he says lamely. “Sorry – I never would have come with you if I’d suspected.”
“Gee, thanks.” I’m truly pissed now. “I was about to sleep with you and all you care about is my blood. It’s always the same with you vampires – although most of you don’t bother with my kind at all.”
“I didn’t mean to offend you.” Hunter sounds honest enough. “I didn’t mean to say you’re not hot or anything. ’Cause you are. I would’ve still slept with you, obviously.”
“After the blood-loss?” I shake my head at him. How stupid is he? “You can’t be more than a few months old if you really believe that. Even I know that you should always take blood after sex and I’m not even a vampire!” When I notice his confused expression, I decide to explain against my better judgment. “Unless you’re into having sex with an unconscious girl – which I hope isn’t the case – you don’t wanna take her blood first. Trust me, I wouldn’t have been much fun if I’d let you drink much more from me.”
His cheeks are flushed now. It’s nice to know I have the upper hand here, even though he’s stronger than I am. I can do some serious damage with my magic, but if he snaps my neck before I can call upon the earth for power, I will be lost. He’s fast enough to do that for sure, even though he’s still so young and uncoordinated. Luckily, he doesn’t seem to realize that. He hardly seems like the killing type anyway.
“How old are you?” I ask again, truly curious.
“I was awakened three months ago,” Hunter confesses.
I let out a low whistle. “You’re green, boy.”
“I know,” he sighs. “Tonight was supposed to be my first time hooking up with a human.”
I snicker. “And yet you chose a witch. Good job. Your maker must be laughing his ass off.”
From the way Hunter’s mouth twists when I say that, I know I’m right. Most makers have their vampire apprentices seduce human girls, drink from them and erase their memories. It’s how they learn. I’ve seen it before, yet I’ve never been confused for a human before. Not since Jeremy, that is.
“I should’ve known, I should have smelled it on you,” Hunter complains. “I can’t believe this… of all the girls I could have picked…”
“Why did you pick me?” I’m curious about that. I’ve never been the kind of girl that got picked up at bars. Jer always told me I’ve got a defensive air about me that scares most guys off. Not him though, not my Jeremy.
“You looked the most desperate.”
My head snaps up and I meet Hunter’s open and honest expression head-on. I can tell he’s telling the truth and I hate that he’s right: I am desperate.
“Nothing like some good rebound-sex to get over a vindictive ex-boyfriend,” I bluff. I’ve never had sex with anyone but Jeremy and this is the first time I ever needed a rebound. Hunter doesn’t need to know that, though.
“If you don’t want to look desperate, you shouldn’t go out drinking on your own,” Hunter tells me. I expected him to leave once he was dressed, but I guess he’s going anywhere without his shirt. “It makes you look sad and pathetic.”
“You’re a real sweet talker, aren’t you?” I grit my teeth and pick up my bra. My shirt is nowhere to be found, so I open the closet to get a new one. With my back to Hunter, I quickly toss his shirt in his direction and cover up. When I turn around, I find him fully dressed and staring at me. “What?” I shoot at him. “Never seen a girl dress before?”
“You’re really hot.” He studies me like I’m his eighth grade science project. “Why did the boyfriend leave you?”
I rather like that he calls Jeremy ‘the boyfriend’. It sounds cold and detached – just the way I should be thinking about Jeremy. Instead, I find myself still pining after him after two months on my own.
“None of your business,” I snap at Hunter. “Besides, who says he left me? Maybe I dumped him.”
“You’re too sad for that,” Hunter reasons. “You looked like you were drowning your sorrows in that bar.”
“That’s because I was,” I admit. “But boy – you really need to learn when to keep your mouth shut. You’re kinda rude.”
Hunter grins, raking a hand through his messy brown hair. It was still carefully styled when I first spotted him in the bar, but after our little escapade it’s in a quite cute disarray. It looks good on him.
“Miguel always tells me I’m too honest,” Hunter says. “I need to work on that, I guess.”
“Miguel?” I repeat dumbstruck. “Please tell me you’re not talking about Miguel Bustillo.” Miguel and I go a long way back and he’s far from my favorite person. He is the second-in-command to the head of the vampire mafia that runs all vampire affairs in New York. I’m on semi-good terms with the current head of the mafia, Antonio Bustillo. Miguel always gets under my skin, so when my coven has business with the vampires, I usually get to speak with Antonio directly. He’s a terrifying man who looks to be in his late forties. He’s been a vampire for over three-hundred years and he took a liking to me for some unknown reason. I’m lucky to have him on my side – it makes the contact between my coven and the vampires much easier.
“No, his name’s not Bustillo,” Hunter says, much to my relief. Miguel is a common enough name. “Miguel Gutiérrez.”
My heart sinks when he says that name. Miguel has been a vampire for about ten years and my father knew him back when Miguel was still a corrupt human instead of a corrupt vampire. His last name used to be Gutiérrez, but vampires who are in the mafia use the last name of their Godfather, Bustillo. If Miguel is using his own name again, that can only mean one thing.
“What happened to Antonio?” I’m dreading the answer.
I feel like punching someone. “Antonio Bustillo, the head of the gang? Miguel’s boss?”
Hunter shakes his head. “Miguel doesn’t have a boss. He is the boss.”
Fuck – this is even worse than I thought. If Miguel is running things, that means Antonio is dead. It’s been four months since I last saw him, and I’m surprised that word of his death hasn’t reached me until now. As far as I know, no one in my coven has a clue that Miguel is now leading the mafia. That is beyond bad - it’s a downright disaster.
“Wait,” I breathe, realizing something. “You’re not Spanish.”
Hunter frowns. “Erm… no… my dad’s French, my mother’s American.”
“Oh God,” I breathe, rubbing my temples to will an upcoming headache away. Most members of the mafia are Spanish or Portuguese. Some of the lower henchmen are Greek, Italian or maybe African, but white men and women hardly ever make it through the ranks. And they certainly wouldn’t be high enough up to get face time with Miguel, even back when he was still been Antonio’s second-in-command.
“What’s wrong?” Hunter asks, sounding genuinely worried.
“Who’s your maker?” I demand to know. “Please tell me it’s not Sergio.” Lower recruits are usually turned by Pablo, but when an important asset gets turned, it’s up to Sergio.
“How do you know Sergio?”
Well, this is just great. “You’re the new white guy,” I tell Hunter. “Oh God, I almost had sex with Miguel’s new white guy…”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Hunter looks just as annoyed as I feel. “You’re acting really strange.”
“Get out,” I tell Hunter sternly. I can’t risk Miguel finding out that I’m sort of involved with his newest white guy. The mafia always has one white-skinned high-upper. Some of the covens refuse to do business with the crude Spanish men that run the vampire community and a few werewolf packs are downright racist. That’s why Antonio always has a guy at hand who looks like the perfect all American poster chill. He used him mostly for negotiations. The so-called ‘white guy’ has to do a lot of dangerous tasks, usually resulting in his death about a year into the job. Every few months, a new white guy will be turned and trained, to make sure he’ll be ready to take over the workload when another man gets killed. If Sergio is Hunter’s maker, that means Hunter is next in line. He’ll probably be dead less than a year from now.
“Look, I’m sorry if I offended you earlier.” Hunter still looks like he has no idea what to do with any of this. Neither do I. “I shouldn’t have bitten you, I know that. But I need to know why Miguel freaks you out so much.”
“Don’t tell him we talked about him,” I order Hunter, opening the door to let him out. “In fact, don’t tell him about me at all. And now please leave me alone.”
I’m done. So fucking done. I reach behind the couch to pick up a bottle of garlic water. I flung its contents at Hunter. He screams in pain and blisters appear on his face and hands.
“What the hell!” he exclaims. “Why would you do that?”
“Leave!” I order once more. “Before I move from garlic to cursing you. Trust me, you don’t want to mess with a witch.”
Hunter finally complies and rushes down the stairs. A moment later, I hear the front door slam shut behind him. I feel like I can finally breathe again. With a heavy sigh, I lean against the wall, drained of all my energy.
It looks like I might just have to visit my family on Sunday… I’d hoped I wouldn’t have to see them until Christmas or something, but this can’t wait. I need to let them know all hell has broken loose with the vampires. Now that Miguel is in charge, everything is different. He hasn’t contacted me yet, and that can only mean one thing: he’s up to something.
I fervently wish I hadn’t gone out this Friday night. I should have stayed in and watched sad movies like I have done every evening since Jeremy left me. Ice cream would have made a much better companion than Hunter, no matter how cute he looked or how great a kisser he was.
What have I gotten myself into?