Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language and mature content.
Previously: Nathan told Katie about everything and went to his Guardian, Jim, to explain the sudden events concerning her and Zander's connection.
It was about eight-thirty by the time Jen headed for school and I was left alone; with a sleeping Nathan downstairs. Mrs. Borden had to go get groceries and have a “visit” with Jim. I assumed by the way she talked about him that he knew everything that was going on.
I sighed, not knowing what to do with myself.
I wandered downstairs and into the kitchen. I looked at the counter where I had spent most of the night and then behind me at the chair I sat in when all of it was explained to me. I felt like I was taking it all way too well. I mean, come on, who learns that the monster under your bed is real?
I’m going to need some clothes so let’s go home. I thought to myself.
I shuddered at the thought of my house but I pulled my shoes on anyways. I was about to leave when I realized that they would probably freak if they didn’t see me in the house. I slipped my shoes off and ran into the kitchen to find a piece of paper and a pen. A little note to tell them where I’d gone was good enough for me. I put it on the counter in big letters so that it wouldn’t be missed.
On the way to my house, I watched every alley and every bit of shade that I could see. The sun was shining brightly despite the signs of rain last night. The musky smell was gone and had been replaced with the smell of spring. The trees swayed slightly in a light breeze, showing off their blooming buds.
I took a deep breath of the fresh, cold air and let it out slowly. There was nothing like a bit of air to help wake me up.
It wasn’t far to my house from the Bordens’. The ten minute walk was an enjoyable one but I especially dreaded it to end today. Yellow caution tape was put up around my front yard and the tire marks on the driveway reminded me of how the ambulances had crowded it.
An image of my dad lying face down in his own blood flashed in my head. I winced. That wasn’t at all what I wanted to remember right now. If anything, I needed to keep a level head. Being in the house meant being away from sunlight and who knows, maybe something sought refuge in my house last night.
I chuckled to myself. Why was that a valid thing for me to worry about now?
I ducked under the caution tape and opened the door with my key. I glanced around the living room and had to cover my nose as the smell of old, dried blood hit it. I looked away quickly and ran up the stairs to my room to get away from the blood that stained the carpet.
It took me no more than fifteen minutes to have a small suitcase filled with everything I needed. Toothbrush and all.
Dr. Adams said mom had to be in the hospital for at least a week and maybe longer. I didn’t know how long I would be staying at the Bordens’ but I figured I should pack enough for a week. If I had to stay longer, I could just use the washing machine.
I got out of the house as soon as possible with my suitcase and walked quickly back to the Bordens’.
I groaned mentally when I saw James, with his blonde hair hanging messily to the nape of his neck, standing on the porch as I came up to it. I did not want to do the whole sympathy thing right now. Especially with him.
He turned around as I got closer and said, his voice giving away how awkward he was, “Katie! Hey, uh, sorry to hear about what happened. You holding up okay?”
I smiled and pushed the hair out of my face as I answered him, “I’m doing alright, thanks.”
He nodded his head and I noticed he was biting the inside of his lip. It was something he did when he didn’t know what else to say.
I smiled again and decided to help him out by saying, “I think Nate’s still sleeping but do you want to come in?”
I pushed past him and opened the door. Being inside felt like a relief even though it was technically in a shaded area. It was a shaded area surrounded by sunlight. That was actually a comforting thought.
I threw my suitcase at the bottom of the stairs and then went back to the kitchen where James was. It was strange being around him. He was such an ordinary guy compared to everything I had learned. It was strange yet oddly nice. It felt good to be around something that was normal to be around.
Not really knowing how to make it not awkward, I asked, “Are you hungry? I haven’t eaten yet so I could make you something while I’m at it.”
He took a deep breath and said, “Yeah, sure.”
“Okay, eggs alright with you?” I asked. I didn’t really care if it was okay or not because that was what he was going to get. It was basically the only thing I knew how to cook half decently.
“Yeah, that’d be good, thanks. Hey, can you bust mine?”
I looked at him funny. Who liked their eggs busted? What a weirdo.
He rolled his eyes and said, “I’m going to make a fried egg sandwich.”
I looked at him funny again. I’ve never heard of that before.
He looked at me, mouth wide open with disbelief and exclaimed, “You’ve never had a fried egg sandwich before? Layered with melted cheese!?”
I shook my head with a guilty look plastered on my face.
“Wow…you know what, you’re gonna try it today,” he stood up and walked over, a big grin on his face while saying, “Go sit down, m’lady and I’m going to cook you your very first fried egg sandwich.”
I smiled at him playfully, pretending to be a damsel, “Why thank you, good sir.”
He chuckled as he took the egg pan from my hand and brought it to the stove. I sat down on the stool by the counter and smiled to myself, not sure what really just happened. My imagination was trying to find some way that he was “flirting” with me but I didn’t really think that’s what it was. That’s the way I am when I like a guy. I see things that aren’t actually there.
Don’t be an idiot, you dolt. He’s making you breakfast which means he’s obviously flirting with you. Trying to show you how good he can cook.
I flinched at Zander’s voice and forced myself not to answer. Answering to the compelling, annoyingly attractive vampire was bad. Bad, bad, bad.
I felt Zander scoff, Is that really true or is that what that dumb Hunter told you? Don’t believe him just because you like him, Katie.
“Are you okay?” James asked. He was looking at me and he looked really concerned.
“Yeah, yeah I’m okay.” I said, throwing a fake smile on my face in an attempt to make my lie believable.
Or do you like James? I must say love, you’re a confusing girl. You have feelings for Nathan, James and Austin? Tsk, tsk. It must be so difficult having them all be friends, isn’t it?
Zander, please just leave me alone. I pleaded silently. I shouldn’t have given in to his taunt but having him throw my life problems in my face was truly aggravating. Not that the boys were really problems. They were more of a personal teenage drama.
Oh, she talks!
“Are you sure you’re okay? You’re really pale and you look like you just saw a ghost.” James asked again, waving the egg flipper in the air. The concern in his blue eyes was tender and genuine and I couldn’t lie to him.
Trying to ignore Zander’s rambling in the back of my mind, I answered James truthfully, “I could be better, honestly. A lot better.”
“I can’t imagine this is easy for you. Or your mom,” he looked down to flip the eggs but kept talking as soon as he was done, “If it makes you feel any better, you’re taking all this a hell of a lot better than I ever could.”
“Thanks. I should be getting a call from the hospital soon. They said they would call when mom wakes up and is ready for visitors.” I said, hoping to give us something to talk about. James may have been cooking me breakfast but it was still weird being with him alone.
“That’s good. I hope she recovers fast,” he paused and smiled widely before saying, “I can’t imagine what it must be like having to live in the same house as Nate. That’s gotta’ be awkward for you.”
Did he seriously just bring up my past with Nathan? How awkward is that? James, the guy I like, brought up how I was childhood “sweethearts” with one of his best friends.
I felt a rush of amusement run through me and I seriously had to physically stop myself from screaming at Zander.
I chuckled nervously before answering, “It’s not too bad actually. You know, when something terrible happens in life, everyone just kind of huddles together I guess. I haven’t really been awkward at all to tell you the truth.”
I made sure to sound like my usual sassy self for the last bit. Just to let him know that I “don’t” think of Nathan that way anymore.
He smirked and squinted his eyes as he said, “How closely are you guys “huddling”?”
Oh my gosh…SERIOUSLY?
I rolled my eyes but stopped myself before he could see. I was going to play this cool.
I tucked my shoulder into my chin seductively and batted my eyelashes playfully while answering his query, “Why? Are you jealous?”
He laughed, “Wow! I never thought I’d see that in my life!”
I laughed with him for a minute but it turned into a chuckle as Nathan walked in from the living room and asked, “What’s so funny?”
James looked at me with a smirk and said as innocently as possible, “Nothing.”
Nathan was still trying to rub the sleep out of his eyes as he wandered up the couple steps to where James was making breakfast. He glanced down at the almost ready sandwiches and then looked at James with a questioning look on his face.
“What? We’re hungry and you guys have nothing in your fridge.” James declared, trying to defend himself. He picked up the two plates and brought one over to me.
He pushed the plate in front of me in a bowing motion and said, “Breakfast is served, m’lady.”
I smiled at him, this time a bit embarrassed that Nathan was there and said, “Thank you again, sir. What a fine gentleman.”
He smirked and I slyly peeked over his shoulder to see what Nathan was thinking about it. I did not expect the feeling of jealously that swept over me when I looked at him. Despite what Mrs. Borden told me last night about him really caring about me, I didn’t know what to think about him being jealous of James.
I put my attention back on the sandwich trying to get rid of the heat in my cheeks.
James watched me as I picked the egg, cheese and lettuce sandwich up. I felt a bit self-conscious as I took the first bite. It was delicious.
“So…? What do you think?” James asked, his mouth full of his own sandwich.
I nodded my head and finished my bite before answering him, “It’s good. Surprisingly.”
He frowned at me and asked, “What’s that supposed to mean!?”
Nathan chuckled from where he stood at the fridge and answered for me, “It means she’s surprised that you actually know how to cook, you dolt.”
James whipped his head towards Nathan and glared at him before turning his attention back on me to say, “You’re supposed to be the nice one!”
I chuckled and looked down at my sandwich, pretending to be sheepish about it.
Nathan snorted and started laughing, “You don’t know this kid James. She’s anything but nice.”
I glared at Nathan, pretending to be offended by his remark and exclaimed, “Ouch! That’s hurtful!”
The three of us chuckled together as James and I finished our sandwiches.
How cute. The three of you sitting together like everything is normal. Nothing will ever be normal again, Katie. I hope you realize that.
Zander’s words made me wince involuntarily. I knew Nathan caught the expression because he just looked at me, concern evident in his eyes.
“Katie?” Nathan exclaimed, his voice laced with worry.
I felt suddenly light headed.
He took a step forward, away from the open doors of the fridge just as pain wracked my mind like it was nothing. I heard myself cry out and felt gravity take my body to the floor but I couldn’t see anything. The pain was blinding, with a high pitched scream ringing in my ears. I threw my hands to the side of my head, squeezing it in hopes that it would go away.
I couldn’t hear anything other than the intense ringing but I felt someone take me gingerly off the ground. I knew I was being carried but by who, or where, I couldn’t tell. Although, I could feel the urgency in their step.
I was laid down on something soft and through the repetitive pain of a knife being jabbed into my head, I felt someone slip underneath my body, supporting my head with their shoulder.
Suddenly, I had no consciousness of my body and found myself standing before a barren land. Any vegetation I could see was dead or dying. The trees sagged with an invisible weight. No breeze could be felt and no birdsong could be heard. I looked around anxiously, my breath coming in ragged gasps. The pain had subsided but a steady throb still ached in my mind and my body trembled.
Where am I?