The Gathering Darkness Looking to the Day

Chapter 1 To Whom It May Concern, My name is Amber Flames, at the start of this story i will be fifteen years old and I’ll live in England. This is the story of my life starting from yesterday, please read and enjoy. When your one of us you tend to know when you meet the person you're meant to be with because, well, you just know. Soul mates exist. Of course, you date before them but no matter what, they're whom you were meant for. Our God Rondolph decided this. He basically made up our world. Everything we feel, we see, we love, him. My soul mate (I think anyway) as we call them was a boy called Lawrence Shandon. A name like his was very basic for our kind, unlike my older sister and youngest of our kind Krad Luos (confusing I know!). Yes, we have noticed that her name is Dark Soul backwards, very cool. As i mentioned earlier, my name is Amber Flames, also an awesome name! I have a best friend called William Logan. William has rather long brown hair. We both have basically the same taste in.well... everything really he likes rock, I like rock. I am one of the more, rocker...ish? Of our kind as is he. We are not all rockers. I really do need to explain what we are. I thought I’d get to that bit last because everyone of you…human…types always assume the worst of us. We are what the legends call, vampires. You always assume we are blood crazed maniacs but may I ask you how many times a day you need a drink of water? Three or four? In a month we drink a smaller ratio of blood than you do with water. For every drink you have in a day we have half of that in a month. If you drink four glasses in a day we feed twice in a month. When I feed I knock my victim unconscious with a strong poison (but none lethal) from deep in my stomach. Then I drink from the wrist. The wrist has the warmest blood in it. However, I only drink enough to sate my thirst, never the lethal amount or the amount that it is noticeable when the person awakes. Vampires like me have this incredible power to heal four hundred times faster than humans so I risk half of my speed to heal my victim before they awake. 1

Doesn’t my method of dealing with my thirst sound flawless? It’s not. I slipped up, once. It was an accident. She lost her life... Not literally, sorry, she lost her life, as in her human life. Chapter 2 Her name was Sophie-Olivia Reynolds. One day I dropped through someone’s sky light with just the average prospect on my mind I had to do unfortunately. It was that time again, time to feed. My timing was beautiful, my landing perfectly executed, breathing stopped for maximum agility (vampires don’t necessarily have to breathe). Something went wrong though. I heard her coming; she was coming upstairs, why? She was having a meal, this was completely against fate (vampires can also see fate’s path) and yet here she was. I desperately tried to break the skylight. Sophie walked into the bathroom and stopped dead. Just as she went to scream I was there. Right arm around her neck left covering her mouth. “I swear to your God if you scream it will be the last noise you will ever make ok?” She nodded. “Now you’re going to listen to me and me only never mind what they’re doing down stairs, still with me?” Again she nodded. “Good, right what you are going to do is stand very still, when I let you go you will do exactly as I say. You are going to flush the toilet. Next you will walk down stairs while neatening your shirt. You will sigh when you get to the bottom and say ‘right where were we’ and laugh I removed my hand from her mouth and whispered “what do you say?” “Ok?” She whispered, I nodded. “I wasn’t going to scream but are you going to kill me? I mean you are a vampire and everything, just don’t let it hurt, please?” “I…What?” I questioned, bewildered. “Drinking my blood.” She stated quite simply. It was as if she came across our kind all the time and knew us well. “How…I…mean…how did you…know?” I stammered. “The skin, the cold, dead, eyes, the amazing agility. The key signs of a vampire.” She shrugged. “You’ve been reading up.” I sighed and took another step forwards towards her. “But you’re wrong I’ll not kill you, nor drain your blood, it’s not what I do.” I smiled. “You don’t drink blood? You weren’t here to…” She trailed off, rolling her hand as if to say ‘go on…’ “Well I do and yes I was here to…you know. But I didn’t know you’d be here, not now I mean.” “By that you mean you would have done had I not known you were here, is that it?” She interrogated. 2

“Um...yeah but listen.” As I proceeded to explain myself she began to give me increasing looks of ‘yeah I’ve heard it all before’ in the end I stopped and asked her what was so damn obvious. “My mother was…one of you. I know, startling. Recently I read up on it and…I want to become one of you.” She said suddenly child-like and pleading. “I…can’t. I’ve never…I only ever changed my sister and it killed me. I love her and I never wanted to do that to her.” I apologized. “I don’t care, please, for my mother.” She begged and I sighed when I failed to find anything in her face that even suggested insincerity. “I understand, a vampire killed my mother. I chose to avenge her. This is your decision not mine and yes I will do it.” I did understand I knew what it was like. The late Christianio Ménage killed my mother. “But not yet. Before you shout listen to me. You have a surprise coming. It will fit in wonderfully with your turning so go down and enjoy your meal.” Before she could object I flew up through the skylight like a reversed jump through it. When I landed it was dark and the moon was bigger and more platinum than ever before. There it was, the eerie blood red cloud circling the moon. Symbolizing either impending doom or… the prophesized forthcoming of the great. One vampire to end all vampires. I knew it wouldn’t be her, she didn’t have it but the impending doom could have been the suicide I had just committed by agreeing to turn a teenager. It didn’t see why William should be mad though. I was turned when I was a teenager. I was fourteen. Much younger than her, it was her sixteenth birthday, what a gift. Chapter 3 “I’m not mad” William said calmly as I strolled into his room. “So you shouldn’t. Who the hell do you think you are?” He laughed at my poor attempt at disguising how pleased I was to see him. “I missed you!” I said swinging my arms around his neck. “Someone’s excitable.” He smiled. As fell onto his bed. “I don’t think so.” “What?” I cried “No, you are not sleeping over and I don’t mean to have made that sound like an innuendo by all means not.” He said disgusted as if I had even gestured at that. “Anyway, someone wants to see you.” “Who?” I questioned suspiciously. He rolled his eyes as I ran from his room panicking. Who had I upset? Had it been about Sophie-Olivia? Why wasn’t it coming to me yet? Why were my visions being blocked? Unless… “Hi Amber.” He stood very quietly, very still, frozen. “Hello Lawrence. What is it?” 3

“I just wanted to tell you I love you." He stretched out his arms to hold me like normal; i loved coming back to him. Maybe I was lost in dream but something had happened. I had changed. This wasn’t real. I knew it, the room had fallen silent. Lawrence looked confused. I pulled my gun out as quick and agile as ever. It was my favourite gun, it was a black P2K it was only small but it meant business. I shot him dead. Every one of the vampires came running. “WHAT THE HELL?!” Shouted Jaret, right in my face as crowds of spectators and rubber-neckers stood behind me. I sighed and did what I was famous for, I ghosted through the crowd to the front. Marilyn, the shocking blonde, came directly in front of me screaming and crying before I could say anything. “What are you doing!? Are you insane?!” She broke down on insane and grabbed my black shirt in a vein attempt to punch me. “CHILL! He is not real.” I said sounding the letters out slowly and perfectly whilst holding her. I bent down into where the hot led had gone into the centre of his chest. I put my finger straight into the wound and pulled it out revealing to the crowd the dust on the end of my finger. “So, who was it then?” William whispered as his eyes circled the room. Everyone begun to panic and shudder, especially the youths (young vampires). He snorted from his perched position and floated down from one of the scaffolds above of us. “Jaret, go and get Rondolph.” I said calmly whilst flying in front of the crowds with my arms outstretched blocking them. Jaret nodded with his mouth open and walk-ran away. Not one person dared breath except him and I. “Distraction, very funny, very clever, for a youth who's that bit too full of himself.” I smirked unable to take this seriously. He used to be one of our groups but he was too obsessed with watching human deaths. He was executed. Unfortunately our kind cannot die until we have completed our life’s goal. His was to kill me. I was going to take ‘his place as leader’ “Look neither of us are going to be leader anyway so just give up ok? They’ll only mutiny you if you do become leader after killing me. You know what happens then don’t you. It’ll be goodnight Christopher; you’ll have completed your goal. They can kill you.” Jaret returned with a dear friend of mine, Rondolph and interrupted my sarcastic rant. “Back so soon Christopher? She’s protected. Kill her.” He shrugged calmly. “Kill me? What will that accomplish?” "Shush" he said and pointed a finger at me, “I’m in control.” He sealed my mouth. I couldn’t scream or demand not to be killed!

4

“Thank you Randy. Do you not mind that name?” Rondolph sent an angry leer his way. Christopher had pushed his boundaries. “Sorry sir, Rondolph.” He swooped down and took my throat in his hands. Rondolph had paralyzed me. Christopher would die though, on the bright side, bit of a dreary bright side I know but what else am I to think about? Will, I turned to him with sad eyes, I didn’t want him to see this. Christopher’s claw like fingers dug deep into my throat drawing water (we have oily-sickly-water with a small percentage of blood). I squeaked with pain as burning seared in my throat. I could squeak and make noise, therefore I could talk! “Will, leave, I don’t want…you…to…see this…” I croaked he shook his head releasing a tear down his cheek. “Oh no stay, I’ll kill her now and get it over with…just for you” He grinned and then squeezed my neck so hard water spurted from under his fingers. The next thing I felt was fire burn in my stomach. All this time Christopher’s arm had been by his side. Now a knife covered in mild droplets of blood was in his hand. I held my stomach and dropped to my knees. I felt no pain for myself, only for Will. Will had to see his best friend die. “Am…ber…” He trailed off as he charged at Christopher; he had always been so much faster than Christopher, than most of us for that matter. He took him by the throat and the next thing we saw Christopher was on the floor. “You’ve done what you came here for, you completed you life’s mission,” He whispered as Christopher turned to dust beneath him. This was very true he had, I was dead. I hadn’t completed mine though; hence why I could do this, I rose to my feet and wiped away the water on my shirt. A low growl built in Will’s throat as he sifted the ash through his fingers. I put my hand on his back and told him it was ok he looked up “I know I over reacted.” “Nonsense, I would have acted the same if it was you.” I sighed, “Neither of us knew what my goal was, for all I knew I could have already done it.” I smiled as I pulled him to his feet. “I have to go now, my new project is waiting.” I rolled my eyes. Will was still speechless. Chapter (/) Up until now Sophie-Olivia had been the last thing on my mind, I’d made her a promise though, things like that can haunt you and them for as long as you and said person live. I was tired, fatigued you could say, making what I was about to do even riskier. When I arrived a huge smile had appeared all over her face. “You get your gift?” “Yes. I won’t be needing it though, I’ll pretend to go though.” “Barcelona is nice this time of year you know….” “I’ve made my choice Amber.” 5

I nodded,” Let’s just do this.” I picked her up and put her on the bathroom counter top. “You’ll feel cold go through your veins and a slight pain in your neck ok?" Or would you rather be out for this?” I paused as she shook. “Changed my mind, go to sleep.” I said punching her with all my force. Her eyes closed when the blood came, I drank the blood that poured out, this was to stop myself feeding accidentally during the operation. I got a needle out of my pocket and gently injected it into my canines. I jumped with the searing pain. I closed my eyes and found the spot on her neck and pushed my teeth through. I felt a bit bad as I kept her pulse and shivered every time the ice pulsed through her arteries and veins. Two hours later she awoke. “I expected it to hurt.” She mumbled “It won’t honestly go and tell your parents you fell asleep.” As she walked away I grabbed her arm and said “Convincingly. Tell them you fell sick too, you look pale, remembering the key word…?” “Convincing yeah I get it, I feel sick anyway.” She smiled and she did look unsteady on her feet. “Don’t ask for paracetemol or anything just say it’s passing as it should.” I warned. “You’ll know where to go ‘the airport’ meaning outside on my bike ok?” She nodded. When she finally got outside I told her to jump on my bike, it was a ‘black blade’ my favorite of all my vehicles. As we drove I realized something, Lawrence’s love for me was fading and I his. His love was growing for my friend, Vicerine Night. We were pulling up outside the castle. I told Sophie Olivia to do what she wanted after we took her to the council, Evangeline Minerva was her new name. So I let her go as I found Lawrence. “I know you love Vicerine and that doesn’t matter because I don’t really like you sorry.” I laughed and so did he “The council want to see you, don’t worry we weren’t soul mates.” I smiled. He ran to find her. The next I would hear, they would be married that was what was destined to happen. I truly and honestly didn’t bother me. There’s someone for everyone. I followed Loz to the council purely out of intrigue. He had requested a name change. Moldovia Flight. I didn’t want to be renamed but it appeared something grave had happened and therefore we must change our names (excuse the grave pun not funny really, not true either) I loved my name that made me suitably miserable. William was called next, apparently Logan wasn’t a good enough last name but it was probably because of this unseen threat, London was the new one, I mean what’s the point? 6

“William London my ass.” “Not impressed?” I said forcing myself not to grin. “Don’t you dare smile, ok get it out now.” He said as I shuddered with the laugh I was holding back. I fell on the floor laughing quite literally. “Finished?” He questioned cocking his head to one side like some confused Labrador. He took another stride side ways so the lunch servers could pour more slop on his plate. I took and deep breathe and nodded. “Good.” “It’s all for the best Will.” I assured him. “I know but it sucks dude.” He sulked. I understood why Will was suitably upset; Will loved that name he said It was 'bad-ass' I thought as I strode along. While I walked, I saw many faces smile and pass me by until I saw Vicerine (Vicerene to her friends, Lord knows why.) she smiled and ran to me. “Thank you.” She screamed as she threw her arms around my still sensitive neck. “For him, for us, how can I repay you?” “You genuinely don’t have to. Anyway I really have to run. I didn’t get my blood earlier and I’m parched.” I smiled. “Mmm yeah I heard about that, Evangeline right?” I nodded. “Nice name, nice girl, whatever.” She said snapping back to reality. “Anyway go get a drink we’ll speak later yeah?” I smiled and laughed, “I do hope so.” “Hey! Don’t mess up this time huh? You’re showing us up. Elegant and agile my…” She trailed off laughing as she walked away. “ Rondolph! Dude.” I shouted looking to the sky. “Shush idiot.” He hissed angrily with a hint of amusement. I snarled and bared my teeth. He slowly paced towards me from around the corner forcing me to adjust me line of sight from the roof (Where i excepted him to be). “Sorry, I was meditating.” He calmly stated. “Why would a God need inner piece?” I said tipping my head to one side like another bloody confused puppy-dog. “With you around anyone would.” He sighed. “What then?” “Where can I hunt? I’m really thirsty.” I coughed (this WAS a sore point given what I’d recently done); I was oddly feeling under the weather, mainly blood loss (excuse yet another pun).

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“ Hmmm… Kid about your age about yay high and hmmm… black hair… emo kid.” He laughed. “Why must you have such names?” I sneered. “Never mind, he lives in Nightfield.” I nodded and took to a sprint. When I arrived there was blatantly a party going on, there was VERY loud rock music coming from the house. I hung upside down to look through the frosted window. My breath wasn’t doing much to shift the ice but why would it? My breath was just as cold as the ice I was trying to remove. So I rubbed my hands together to generate heat and quickly put them on the glass. It worked. There were teenagers making out and some kids in the corner dancing. That’s when I saw him. He was the one sat on the step with a bottle of blue liquid in his hand (I wasn’t human long enough to see too much of this stuff). He had his head hung down. Revealing to tips of red in his chin length hair. I crawled onto the roof, enough gawping. I decided I could just come through the door, by the confused look on his face I could tell he barely knew anyone anyway. I dropped to floor and walked in through the open door. I slipped through the crowd with ease and almost invisibly. I knocked out a drunken kid and stole his drink. This was where my year in acting school would come in handy. I fell onto the step acting drunk as hell. I asked him his name. “Doesn’t surprise me you don’t know, half of them don’t know either… Demetrius.” He smiled holding his hand out. I took it and smiled. “Amber, Demetrius what?” “Demetrius O’Connell.” He was so beautiful; it was unbelievable he was human too. How could he be so…and so…him. It was him. "Rondolph, what a dick." I laughed to myself. “What?” It was him, it was fate. I just shook my head. The music slowed down and the kissing kids tugged their partners to the dance floor. "Dance?" I smiled holding out my hand, "Really?" He asked sincerely. "Why not?" I whispered. I put my head on his shoulder as we danced. The rouge lights really set the scene. The song we listened to was so beautiful. Mental note: Buy song once home. Home, that's where i didn't want to be; I only wanted to be here forever. From his sigh, so did he. I was so thirsty but it didn't matter. "Do you want some beer or something?" I said suddenly pulling away.

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"Erm…Yeah we have some in the fridge, lets go." he smiled offering his hand. We held hands walking to the kitchen. When we got in he held out a beer for me. I guessed it couldn't hurt, I’d never seen a vampire get drunk before, i supposed in theory i could drink human drinks too. I opened it and drank leaning against the counter top. "Amber… What? I never asked." "F…F…Flames. Changed it by law." I sweated. "That is so cool! With a face like yours and a name like that… who's the boyfriend?" "Hint Hint!" I laughed. "There isn't one oh and i can see this coming…16." "I am too! Awesome, so i know it's like soon and everything but would you like to see me again like as a…girl…friend?" He stuttered. What would Rondolph say? Didn't care, not anymore he had destined this. "Sure." I giggled. "Damn was that a giggle I haven’t done that like ever." I laughed. Next i felt the bottle fall from my hand and smash on the floor and his arms around my waist. I locked my arms around his neck and fell with him. I loved a human. So wrong. Didn't care. I took a sharp intake of breath as I took my lips from his. “I have to go." I said miserably. "Really, you could sleep here; God knows most of these will anyway, they're too drunk to drive." He pleaded. But I had to feed. "I'm sorry." I kissed him lightly and walked REALLY slow almost humanly away. As I walked out onto the porch I found a drunk and dragged him into the bushes and fed. Chapter (?) 24th of December 2007. Too many people began bugging me with mistletoe and crackers, I loved Christmas so much but I didn’t really care this year. It bugged me so much that I wouldn’t get to be with Demetrius, great. All of a sudden Will came running over with a black sparkling Christmas hat on. “Drink?” He said pointing champagne at me. “You’ve discovered we can drink…well done.” I sighed sarcastically and pushed him away. “I say go for it. You won’t be happy ‘til you see him again will you? So do it.” He put his arm around and kissed my cheek. “Hey perk up, Merry Christmas.” He smiled. “I should write the letter?” I said confused. “Yeah…I’m sorry I can’t wait when can we exchange gifts?” He shouted enthusiastic.

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“When it actually is Christmas.” I smirked walking away. I went to my dormitory and found it lavishly decorated with shocking Christmassy trinkets and tinsel and trees and whatnot. I found some paper and a pen, covered with tinsel, obviously. “Thanks guys.” I called only slightly amused. I began to write: Dear Demetrius, I hope to see you again soon but in the idea that I may not see you before the holidays, I wanted to write. For a start…merry Christmas! I hope you get nice stuff. You should get my gift with this letter. Erm… I’m no good at writing letters. I really like you, I promise to see you again soon, and things are just getting the best of me right now Love Amber XOXOXOXO ‘I really meant each of the few words I wrote’ I thought as I lept through the window I rolled as I hit the floor to cushion the blow. I took the bike and rid down to the closest shop. As I walked in a man double-took when he saw me, I got it all the time. I pushed him out the way and cleared my throat. “What’s the most expensive thing her?” I smiled “’Ere? Not much you’re in the wrong shop big spender.” I walked out thinking of obscene remarks I could have said to him. When I finally did find a shop I went in and asked the same question. The woman grinned politely under her big red Santa hat. “Right this way madam.” She ushered me down the escalators. When we got to the bottom floor she pointed a finger towards a set of shelves. I thanked her and walked over. It was a beautiful platinum watch with a blood (I know sorry) red dial and it was stunning. I really hoped it didn’t get stolen from his porch. I found some wrapping paper and paid at the desk. Another one those looks.

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When I stepped out side I perched on my bike and quickly wrapped the watch. I kicked the bike into action and drove to Demetrius ’s. I knocked the door, placed the gifts on the floor and jumped onto the roof. Demetrius came out dressed in black as usual. He took the gifts in his hands and read the label. I’d written ‘Dearest Demetrius ’ on the tag. He smiled and took the paper off the box slowly. He gasped when he realized what it was and I stifled a laugh. “It’s gorgeous.” He mouthed and shook his head in disbelief. I wanted so badly to be the one who had hand given it to him. It made me cry to think of that. He walked in and I outstretched a hand towards him uselessly and gave up. I decided to go home. As I hung from the balcony of one of the windows I saw Demetrius. I let go of my instincts and went through the window, “Demetrius!” I shouted and through my arms around his neck. He picked me up and spun me around. “Come to take credit for the watch?” He laughed. “Nope! Just came to be with you.” I smiled pulling him closer. That settled it I couldn’t be without him this Christmas. He pulled me too sit on his bed. I did so and he put his arm around my waist. “I missed you.” Even though it had only been two days it felt like a lifetime. “I missed you too, what do you want to do?” He wondered to himself making me wonder if he was talking to himself or me. Until he looked at me with questioning eyes. “I have to ask you, since I met you’ve had this weird sort of…aura I can’t put my finger on it.” He thought. “You can’t exactly put your finger on the pulse?” Little in-joke to myself there. “No it’s like…” I put my finger on his lip and stopped him along with my breathing. “Put two fingers on my writs and try and fell my pulse.” He did so and looked confused. “I…can’t.” He said puzzled. “Exactly. I don’t have one. Don’t be scared. I’m not what you think.” He looked aghast then settled to look depressed and my forehead creased with fear and confusion. “Then it’s true. I have to die to be one of you.” WHY DID EVERYONE KNOW ABOUT US!

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“No, you just have to be…different,” I settled on different. "Look, life can change for the better or the worse and in many cases that's your own decision. Just don't take this whole realization of the vampire thing as something that means you have to turn into one too." He looked confused, I sighed,” Make up your own mind. We can still be together regardless of your choice." "Can i be human?" He smiled hopefully. "Yeah of course. Look I have to go, parents and friends and people to look after once they get pissed." I laughed "Vampires can," "Yes Yes." I stopped him, "they didn't know either until today and now they can’t stop, and I have a whole colony of alcoholic vampires to care for." He smirked. "Have a nice time." He kissed my cheek like an old married couple should. "I'm sure I will dear." I grinned putting on a 'voice' as I waved over my shoulder and left through the window. When i got home every one was very Christmassy and festively stereotypical. "Hi Amber!" Dad shouted and put an arm around my rather insanely blowing a squeaky thing that you get from crackers in my ear. "Thanks for that dad i was deaf before you so generously helped me." "Cheer up its Christmas." "You're not Christian! You're...Rondolphian?" He smirked at my attempt to make up a religion. "No I’m not…I’m festive and you're not. Go and give your mum a hug." He pushed me in her general (i assumed) direction. I turned back to him and he gestured 'Go!' at me. As i walked i passed Will. "Merry Christmas as much as it pains me to say it." He laughed. "Chadwick Lattice said Kyla Lattice wants to talk to you." He over enunciated. "Must you say Kyla and my dad's full names?" I sighed

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"No not technically but i have an excuse." He said pointing a finger at me. "What?" "I'm drunk." "Oh good for you." I smiled walking away. "Don't pretend it doesn't just turn you on." He joked. "Yeah drunken idiots really do it for me." I called back to him. Strolling around i saw so many of my dearest friends, people i liked, people i didn't like, people i trusted, people i didn't until I reached Kyla. I liked Kyla but dad had remarried after my mum's…passing (God rest her beautiful soul). He had married Kyla at the age of 31. It is true what they say in books. You don't age but you watch people you love die. I loved my mum, her name was Sammy. She was so young in her self and in her age. She was just twenty when she died my father was there right until the end she smiled lightly up to him as my dad, Chadwick, held her hand. Her hand was covered in blood. Christianio Ménage had attempted to make it look like suicide by slitting her wrists. My dad held her wrists tightly, an attempt to close them? The blood seeped through his hand however defying him. He loved her so much I remember the scene so well. "Who was it?" Dad shuddered to my mum. "Christianio Ménage, he did it because i wouldn't let him have Tyler,” said my mum completely the antithesis of what would happen in the movies. In the movies they die just as they'd go to name their killer. Mum was intent on telling him. I blamed myself despite her next words. "Don't let Tyler ever believe it was her." She could see my watching so i ran around the corner and flung myself into her. I suppose i thought i was holding her together be squeezing her so tightly, it didn't appear to matter. "Mummy why are you bleeding?" I said naively even though i knew damn well why she was bleeding.

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"Because mummy is going to heaven." She smiled calmly because she was so brave. And just like that, she was gone. Dad took her hand in his and kissed it while desperately holding her head against his chest whilst rocking back and forth and shushing her. Her ran his fingers through her hair and kissed her forehead repeatedly. He loved her so much and some complete arse had taken her from him. Dads has often said that he would have rather had her leave him and go off with Christianio than to have lost her. At least if she'd left him she'd still be here. Dad's tears covered her forehead. Eventually I put my hand on his back and told him that mummy had left with the Angel Gabriel. He nodded and knelt in front of me. "You be a good girl. It'll just be you and I for a while ok sweet heart?" He held my hand and then hugged me and rubbed my shoulder with one hand as i began to cry. I was just five. He was 22. I loved my mum just about as much as he did. Until then dad and i had never had a 'father-daughter' relationship. We became so close over the next nineteen years or so. He didn't know that by the age of fifteen i would become a vampire and kill Christianio. I bought a gun and a fake license from a near by antiques dealer (not the license i bought that off a drug addict for forty quid). It was old hand gun thing that they'd use in pirate movies or something. I found him feeding and i put the metal to the back of his head. He had blood drenched blonde hair. The gun was cold but there was a burning feeling of vengeance in my soul. I pulled the trigger four times. I watched every bullet leave through the same spot on the front of his disgusting pale forehead each time. Dad came around the corner as i pulled the last shot but i shot Christianio anyway. Dad tore the gun from my hand and threw it to the floor. It hit the floor about the same time as Christianio did. He shouted obscene remarks at me and said something like 'Do you have no soul?!' to me. At which point i pulled my lips back over my teeth revealing my newly formed fangs. "What have you done?" He gawped stepping back. "I got revenge." I cried and i dropped to my knees and cried. To my surprise he walked away from me. "Dad?" I struggled. He carried on walking. "Go home Tyler." He called back. I was in such a state of shock that i just nodded and began to run home. 14

When he got him that night he looked unsteady on his feet. I ran to him and sat him down. "Are you ok dad?" I asked. This time he was the one to bare his fangs. Vampirism didn't really bother me that much at this point. Maybe murder had driven me insane but from some odd reason i started laughing he soon followed and we sat there like a couple of drug addicts for a while. Laughing. Laughing at nothing. Oh and by the way if you're wondering why i said that my dad is now 31 when he clearly should be 32. Ugh…he noticed he had a gray hair so he had age reversed one year. Lame I know try telling that to him though, he'd batter you. "Hey Kyla." I sighed "Hiya honey, how are ya?" She had this amazingly pissing annoying American accent. Still, she made dad happen so i figured i could live with it. Kyla was blonde haired and blue eyed. She had strange blue eyes almost…too blue i suppose! "Fine thank and you?" I said grudgingly with my arms behind my back. My response was almost Ichabod Crane-ish from the legend of Sleepy Hollow. Sleepy Hollow was after all my favorite film and i would constantly find myself unconsciously reenacting it with my movements and facial expressions. "I'm sweet thank you!" Everything was always a blood big party to her for some odd reason. I suppose she was very cheery sounding because she came from California, apparently they all spoke like that. I myself am from a place…near the midlands. Unfortunately i cannot tell you where as I am supposedly dead in the real world. This is the same as all of my other friends and relatives as with all my enemies, everyone here, all vampires. That's probably the preconception about us sleeping in coffins, just like the dead. Legally we are. The area we all lived in now was just like Sleepy Hollow but with less decapitations and hot inspectors. Sorry I’m backtracking. I rolled my eyes Ichabod style again and sighed. "Kyla, you wanted to talk to me." I prompted "I did." She smiled.

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"Your father has told me that there happens to be a man. He must be a man as you are now a fine young lady." My eyes questioned this new intellectual approach to the words she was choosing. "Chadwick and I do believe you are getting older." "I'm a vampire?" I half questioned "Yes but in your mind you are older." She clarified. "Your point being?" "This young man, you are serious about him Bad things happen to those who wait." She said puzzlingly. "What? What do you mean? What have you foreseen?" I said steeping forewords. "Nothing. However, you aren’t turning him vampire. I know that but why ever not. There is some reason. Perhaps you are unsure. Unsure of the consequences. You may get it wrong. He may change his mind. You may fall out of love." She inspected to herself. "Calm down Sherlock we happen to be soul mates." I smiled reassuringly. "Really?" She said pulling away from my arm around her neck. "Is that why he didn’t want to be a vampire? Soul mates want the same things." "That's not true. Everyone is different." I defended. "You're so different. The other day, as i gazed through your window and watched you return from your little turning session of dear Evangeline. The moon was circled. By the red blood mist. You have brought doom to those you love it is fate. Fate that you met Evangeline, fate that you turned her, fate you were then thirsty, fate you met that little I won’t even say the word... Demetrius.” "Leave him alone!" "HE HAS DOOMED EVERYONE." "How so?" "People will be harmed Tyler and its all little Romeo and Juliet's fault." "WHAT HAVE YOU SEEN I WILL ASK YOU FOR THE LAST TIME!" i screamed pinning her to the wall.

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"Tyler. If you would please," She sighed moving my hand away with ease. "Tyler is dead." I hissed "You will be joining her if you don't tell me what the hell is going on." "Amber, just be careful. Do not tell your father of our conversation. Simply tell him that we have spoken…woman to woman…that will put him off. As will I later." "I shudder at the thought. Dad doesn't love you." I said bitterly as i walked away even though both of us knew full well he did. Chapter (/) I sat on the edge of my bed until Will walked in. He sat next to me and blatantly tried to make me laugh as he copied me. He slumped his head into his hands looking wistfully out of the window and i sighed, so did he i growled, as did he. "Look stop ok." I hissed stifling a laugh. "What's up?" He said looking genuinely concerned. "Nothing just…nothing." I fought. "Come on." He said grabbing my face in a vein attempt to make me smile. I viciously slapped his hand away. "God calm down." "Shut up. Go away William." He looked offended and then his face straightened to a frown. "You always need me in the end. In the end you'll want me. You had better hope I’m forgiving." He spun on his heel and left. "Don't hold you breathe!" I called angrily after him. After that i just sat there and cried. I let everything come out. The years i had let myself be angry about my mother's death, my father turning himself, feeling no pity after i had murdered just overwhelming relief, the unsupported hatred i held for my best friend, the woman my father loved threatening me. I loved my father too much to tell him. I decided to do something i hadn't done for many years. I slapped my hands onto my knees and stood up. I ran down to where i knew my father would be, outside next to the birch tree opposite the murky pond, smoking. "Father. I protest." "Oh for God's sake Amber. I won't die." "It's hideous." 17

"I'm sorry." "You're not even addicted. Our brains do not become addicted, absolutely not, only to blood. Will you stop?" "I shall." He sighed looking at his feet, then to his watch. "Oh come off it you're not six years old get over yourself,” I said slapping his arm. "Owwww!" He smiled childishly. He also had a very sort of south English accent, as this is the general area we lived in, between the midlands and south England. I missed this dad. I loved him. I began to weep. "What ever has happened?" "We have spent our lives together. My life has happened. Dad look at me." "I do, you're beautiful." "No dad. I mean really look at me. I'm a vampire. I drink blood i take people's lives." "But you don't. You don't even make it noticeable." "Even worse!" "Why? He said pulling me closer into his embrace. Just like the day my mother died. "I deceitfully drink their blood." "AND HOW ELSE WOULD YOU SURVIVE?" he said suddenly holding me as far away as his arms would let him. He squeezed my arms tightly and shook me as he spoke. "I love you. No matter what you are. Do you not know I am the same beast as you? That's why I changed myself. So I could always be here for you." He pulled me close again as i cried. "It's going to be ok." "Daddy?" I whispered. "Yes sweetheart?" He whispered back. "I feel faint and sick." All i remember next is my dad carrying me to his bed. He lay next to me for a while and smiled; he then tapped my shoulder and kissed my forehead before leaving. As i awoke my dad was on the edge of the bed facing the window, motionless. "Why were you afraid to be a dad?" He jumped as he heard my voice, quiet and croaky. "Amber you have awoken." He gasped. 18

"I have. Why were you?" "You were unexpected." He sighed guiltily. "Oh thanks." I smirked. "Best mistake I ever made actually." He laughed. "You know when you married mum?" "Yes?" "What were you thinking about? At the Exact moment you said 'I do' what were you thinking about?" I questioned tilting my head to one sighed as much as i could, as it rested half on my pillow half on my forearm. "Erm…Hmmm…" He thought for a while until he looked up and me and laughed, it was the first time he had looked up at me and he looked haggard. He obviously hadn't slept for at least a day. "About being the first to die," He laughed, "ironic really." "Next question, how long have i been out?" I enquired. "A couple of days." "Da…DAYS?" I gasped. "Yes you were out pretty good." He snickered. "You were awake by my side all that time weren't you?" "Indeed i was. I love you. You are my daughter. I must look after you. I was a bad dad. Right up until your mother died. I'm sorry." He said standing to his feet. I pulled him down. "Forgive yourself." "I should. I really must leave. Kyla has requested my company." "Ugh thanks for the metal image." I shuddered. “Amber, don't be disgusting you know full well what i mean. Now who's childish?" He said smugly and left the room in his long black coat that flowed behind him. Leaving the room after he did. I smirked. I decided enough moping had been done and stood to my feet. I felt mildly dizzy from arising so quickly after two days of sleep. I'd forgotten what it was like to sleep properly. Just then my phone rang. "Hello?" I answered dizzily. "Hi is that Amber?" "It is. And this is…?"

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"It's Krad!" A happy voice called down the phone nearly deafening me. "We haven’t spoken for so long. I called yesterday but dad said you were out cold." "Yeah well…" "Oh well who cares? Let's go out! Bring dad! Oh but don't bring that conniving cow Kyla." "Oh i wouldn't be in a rush to bring her anyways." I laughed, as did she. "Bring Demetrius!" She called. "Will you please stop shouting I’m just the other end of the phone." I giggled. "And now just the other side of the door!" I looked to the door and there she was sure enough waving madly at me slamming her phone shut. I continued to talk to the dead phone line "No, i can't quite see you." I laughed. "Oh it's so good to see you up and about! I came to see you about ten this morning and you looked like death, excuse the pun." I smirked to her. She came and wrapped her arms around my neck and kissed my cheek. "Let's go get Demetrius!" She shouted excitedly, "May I call him Demetrius?" "You may." I groaned. "You get Demetrius I’ll get dad." She called in her shrill manner whilst running away with the speed she was gifted with. I turned Krad just before dad and I left for the vampire councils the day after dad's turning. We couldn't leave her. Chapter (/) By the time i got to my dear Demetrius ’s it was nightfall. I knocked the door like a normal date. I was dressed in my favorite outfit it was like a purpley-fuchsia colored corset and gray skinny fit jeans and red baseball trainers. His father came to the door, eyed me up and down and called upstairs, "Demetrius your bird's here!" I didn't appreciate the bird comment; I cringed as he said it. He ran to the door and smiled as he saw me. He put his arms around my neck and kissed me as usual. "My dad and sister want to meet you. Get in the BMW." I joked. He sniggered as he took my hand and walked with me to the car. 20

"So, where we going to see them?" He said as we got in. "Just around…Erm…actually i don't know give me a moment of silence please." Just then I briefly looked into my mind, into destiny, something i mustn’t necessarily do in front of humans and naturally righteous old Rondolph stopped me. 'Must you?' I thought to him. 'I must.' He sounded to me cheerfully. 'Why? He knows everything about us anyway. What possible reason must you have?' I angrily thought. 'Look just come back here take the boy straight to your room. Most of these vampires can't be arsed to feed. They're dying for fresh meat.' He whispered in my ear spine chillingly. As we arrived back at 'Wilfort Academy' I did as i was told and off to my room i sent him with clear instructions. "Good afternoon, I expect you're well?" Dad smiled putting an arm around me as we walked to the large Tudor Villa in which we lived. "I am and you?" I said pulling my head away. "Fine… tired but fine, you pulled away when you asked?" He summarized questioningly. "Thirsty? We aren't just taking him out for just any drink are we?" I became suspicious. "Well, if he is to become," I stopped him, "He will not." "He will not?" He repeated. "It is his decision to make and his alone. I shall not influence his decision, it's his soul father." I reasoned. "And his soul he will keep however do you not think he needs to know how you feed? That is if you are to be…" He rolled his hand as if to say 'well, you finish my conclusion.' "We may not; i mean he may not want to." I declared. "You're right." He grinned walking through the church designed doors. "Changing the subject, didn't Christmas go fast?" He hinted I hadn't been there; I’d slept through Christmas day. "I'm so sorry dad." I sighed honestly. "No no. Don't be. No anyone did really. Just drank." He snorted. "And you didn't?" I raised my eyebrows in disbelief at the thought. 21

"I did. I can hold it." He said in his pigeon chested manner that he got when he knew his right and proud of it. I was satisfied with his judgment however, my dad knew when he was right, as did I in my own circumstances, something i inherit from him. I also inherited his blackish/dark hair, his black eyes and pale complexion. Come to think of it, i only really inherited my facial structure from my mother. "Dad, may we go to mother's bed?" I suddenly thought. "Why do you ask?" He said almost startled. "I just, i wanted to read it. I'd often looked at her stone but never read it." "Yes, ok we will go, briefly don't forget Demetrius. Whilst we are there i must tell you something." He said quizzically. "Sure…" I muttered walking with him. When we arrived we both stood looking down at it. Until dad breathed heavily and said, "Shall i read it? It is rather…moss…covered." I just nodded sorrowfully with the guilt that i had never cleaned it. "Here lies the body of Amy Lattice," Dad never had to change his name, in the human world everyone thought i had gone insane and killed him, then myself, what a nice thought! He continued, "In life Amy was kind, generous and loving. She cared for her daughter Tyler so much and her husband Chadwick James Lattice. Forever may God love and protect her soul. Amy Lattice 1978-1998." My mother Amy had been a lot younger than my father when they had married. Love however, has no age. "It's nice." I lightly smiled. "It is." He said before he cuddled me. "You have something to tell me." I reminded him.

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"Oh Yes! That i do. Come, sit down with me." He said taking my hand and guiding me to the old bench that had been a memorial to my mum. "For many years, i have searched for what had kept me alive. My life's goal. Many times i have very nearly died and yet have dodged the metaphorical bullet with a yawn. Now I know, there is a way of finding out. It got me thinking the other day when you mentioned my thoughts at my wedding. I have discovered what it is that keeps me alive. Amber, my dear i…don't know how to say this to you." He struggled and his eyes filled with tears that spilled from his cheeks. What ever could it have been? He had to kill me or kill Kyla or kill…anyone. "Who is it dad?" I panicked muttering. "It…it's your mother." He sighed, ashamed "My mother? What?" "I cannot die until your mother is returned to me." "Oh dad." I began to weep onto his chest and he ran his fingers through my hair and shushed me. "Then, i found out yours, I'm sorry." "Prey tell me father,” I begged. "You may not die until you meet your soul mate. I then visited Rondolph. I asked him who your soul mate was. You need to be careful of yourself my dear Tyler." He kissed my forehead whilst muttering 'I’m so sorry.' under his breath. "It's Demetrius." I muttered. "It is." He stated simply. "What's me?" Demetrius enquired from behind me. I gasped, as did dad. "Demetrius!" "This girl erm…Vicerene told me where you were you'd been a long time. She seemed disappointed when i said your name. Hey! I think she likes me you know." He elbowed the air and winked. "But you're mine." I smiled and kissed him. I turned around and dad winked. I just laughed. Dad suddenly interrupted. "Your BMW awaits." Chapter (/)

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Dad took us out for a marvelous dinner we had a really nice time. Krad had greeted us with one of her signature elated attitudes and spent the evening in such a mood as did dad and I. Demetrius seemed to get on really well with dad. It was really fun. We were at a bar called The Black Horse. It was always my favorite pub when i was a student i used to go out like every night to that pub with Will. We had some awesome times there; it's where i met my first boyfriend Johnny. He was cool, i liked him and everything but…you know what? That's a story for another day; besides today i was holding a different hand and a hand i will be holding for the rest of my life, Demetrius ’s. Just then Demetrius walked in. I grinned up at him. He was wearing black drainpipes, a studded belt and a t-shirt that with a panda with an eyebrow piercing on it. He has black spiked up, gunshot wound style, hair. On the 'gun shot wound' there was a splash of red die to add effect. His look ROCKED! He sat next to me on my bed and took my hand. "So what do YOU want to do tomorrow?" He said emphasizing the YOU. "Ugh…I don't care. Not much." I snickered. "Really? The date was THAT great?" He laughed. "Nooo!" I laughed back punching him, "I don't mean it like that. I mean I just keep being so tired lately i don't know what it is." I said lying back onto my bed. He copied me and turned his face to mine and smiled. "Tiredness is a sign of age." He grinned sarcastically. Even so i took fake offence and sat up with my arms folded. He pathetically attempted to remove my arms from my chest without hurting me and i juts laughed and pushed him off. I fell on top of him and kissed him. He smiled and sat up. "I'm bored of you now, bugger off!" I shouted and cleared him out of my room and closed the door behind him. I lent against the door smiling and biting my bottom lip. I briefly turned my head left to right and moved away from the door giggling. As i slumped back onto the bed there came a loud banging at the door that scared the living sh… hell out of me! "Who is it?!" I shouted.

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"Honey! It's Kyla!" And with that my evening was ruined. "Open up! I gotta talk to ya!" She was American and so was Demetrius and yet why was her voice so pissing annoying and Demetrius 's was so charming? "Coming Kyla!" I called back behind clenched teeth. I sighed and slowly opened the door. I outstretched a hand to the dusty chair in the corner of the room next to my bedside table. She wasn't worthy of the bed. "Close the door wills ya? There's a draft." "I will." I said walking to the heavy wooden door. From the second the door was closed i was up the wall with a cold hand around my throat. "Oh my God! What the hell?" I croaked/shrieked. "You told him didn't you? You little ...! I knew we should have had you adopted." She accused. "What?! You're insane put me down! Let me go! I demand you let me go! I'm warning you!" I screamed. "I won't put you down until you tell me the truth! You told him of our…meeting didn't you?" "I told him nothing as requested." I whispered low on oxygen 'wait i don't have to breath.' I thought. So i stopped. "I kept it to myself. But we spent the day together yesterday, dad likes him, you’re screwed." I laughed "Am not." She muttered childishly. "You are too." "AM NOT!" She shouted squeezing my throat. "Put me down and we may talk." I reasoned. She did so and exhaled heavily. She sat back down with a flick of my wrist pushing her downwards. I brushed my shoulders and said, "Now, what is it you wish to see me about?" "Your daddy hasn't spoken to me for a couple of days, why?" She tilted her head. "I honestly don't know." "Come to think of it, where is your good friend Will nowadays." I remembered when I had shouted at him. "He's…gone…away." I said guiltily, i out my head in my hands and she looked content that she'd upset me. 25

"Oh so it was you. Oh that's a bit mean. And he's not coming back you know." I looked at her puzzled. "You upset him good. He's left." He had always been there for me except this time i just threw it back in his face and I’d been ignoring him lately for Demetrius. "You should be ashamed of yourself." "That's quite enough Kyla." Dad walked through the door. Thank God. "Oh hiya sweetie." She called throwing her arms around his neck. "Oh drop it Kyla i heard you." He spat bitterly. I hadn't heard him so angry in a long time, his words were like acid. "Amber had been naughty." She justified. "Leave it out dear she's fifteen." He groaned shaking his head. "Now," He said turning back to me, "Is this is what has been bothering you?" Finally a chance for revenge. "Yes mainly, she has been threatening me. Prophesizing the downfall of my friends and family as a result of Demetrius. She hates you I and him." I felt so proud i could just jump around the room making whooping noises! I just smiled bitterly to Kyla instead. "Is this true." He said his voice more pleadingly. "Of course it's not." She said forcing her disgusting self upon him. He pushed her of himself with such force it looked like abuse. Except it was awesome. "Yes it is! Now who's the lying little..." I shouted angrily in self-defense. "Quiet Tyler! However, she makes a good point. Stay away from me Kyla!" And just like that, their relationship was over. Another failed marriage. Except the first wasn't his fault. From then Kyla was banished from the institution. I went off to find Will straight after dad and Kyla's argument. "Hey." I said sadly as i walked into his room and he just continued to take down the tinsel over his bed, he never was one for the twelve days of Christmas, neither was i. "Look I’m sorry i was under a lot of pressure but it's ok now so can we be friends?" I half smiled hopefully. He turned around. "I won't even dignify that with a response." He sighed and turned around, back to the tinsel. "But you did." I said bewildered. "I di…Shut up!" He hissed almost laughing at his mistake. This presented a window of opportunity. 26

I went up behind him and pulled his face into a smile as he did to me before i batted his hand away and said, "Come on." "Oh stop it you know that's not fair." "Why? It’s what you did to me." I smirked. "Oh alright then." He said angrily and about 3/4 amused. He spun around and bear hugged me. "Damn you Amber flames." He shouted sarcastically. When he finally let me go i gathered myself and breathed, "Do you want to go out then?" He suddenly looked uneasy, "Erm…I sort of…can't, and I’m expecting a friend of mine to pop round." He rubbed his bicep in discomfort. "Don't beat around the bush, you're awful at it." "But you'll be pretty peed of if I tell you who it is." He shrugged. "Who?" I said cautiously. "You're very close friend erm…" He muttered something indecipherable. "Who?" I repeated my tensely this time. "Krad?" He said as if asking whether it was ok. "KRAD?!" I shrieked. He dived on me and covered my mouth pinning me to the bed. When I relaxed he lifted one eyebrow as if 1 to say 'calm?' I nodded. "Good." He panted. "I could get used to this position." He said while still pinned on top of me. "Oh bugger off!" I shouted flinging him off. "You said you were calm!" He shouted back. "BOTH OF US SHOULD STOP SHOUTING!!!" I yelled. "Agreed." He spoke normally. We smiled at each other. "So you are dating my sister?" I said to him as well as myself. "Look level with me oright?" He said which came out like 'look level wiv me auwite?' because he came from Sussex. I'm allowed to tell you where he comes from for some odd, unexplained reason. "I like her." He smiled proudly. "Hmmm…I can see how that would be quite an achievement for you." He raised his eyebrows in acceptance and agreement. He had his arms folded in self-defense. "I give you three days." "Any money says i can make it four." He held his hand out. I shook it and said, "You’re on." And with that i left the room looking 27

Smug but I was also feeling the smallest bit bad that i had just betted on My sister's love life. To be fair she had no idea what she was letting Herself in for. It was funny really. All of a sudden a familiar face came running up to me with and expression of shear panic. "Amber come quick help!" Screamed Evangeline formerly Sophie-Olivia. "What ever is the matter?" I had my hands on her shoulders trying to calm her down. "It's Lawrence." She spoke the name clearly and my stomach churned and my heart sank. Chapter (/) Somewhere along the lines of ten to fifteen people stood gathered some crying so gasping but the one that stood out the most was Vicerene. There she knelt on her own the whole world could have come down around her and she wouldn't have noticed. Maybe she stood out to me because was in the same position my father was when my mum died. She was holding Lawrence's hand. "Did ANYONE see what happened?!" I shouted demanding order. Jaret looked up tears brewing in his eyes "No…not unless…Vi… Vicerene." He stammered lightly tapping her shoulder. When she turned around she was as pale as an apparition. Tears bled down her face and her mouth was held perpetually open. "I just saw him fall." She whispered soullessly. It was like talking to an apparition too understandably too her mate was dying. "Right, i want three people to get him up the hospital actually no, they might discover something we don't want them too," I shuddered, "Anyone here a doctor in their previous life?" I sighed hopelessly until Jaret slowly and shakily raised his hand. I pointed straight at him, "You. What were you?" "I was an intern." He said with mild dread in his voice.

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"Get him up to his room, get him in his bed, and tend to him starting now. GO!" He ran with three others grabbing Loz and taking him away. "Will! You really fast and agile as are Marilyn and dad do you guys think you could make it to a hospital and steal a couple of things morphine, antibiotics, painkillers and some sort of antidote, i fear he's been poisoned." "We got it." Nodded Marilyn. "Will." I said grabbing his shoulder. "Yeah?" He said dying to get away. "Be careful and make sure dad's ok he won't let me tell him to be careful. Just watch him ok?" "Will do." He smiled and i smiled back and hugged him. I left. I took dad's BMW and went to the hospital a distance away from where the other three capable vampires were going. When i arrived it was pretty much deserted, still i had to be careful. I jumped onto the roof and broke one of the skylights. I jumped into the small, bleak office. "He'll come through that door." I said to myself. I hid behind the door in wait. Sure enough in walked a young doctor, paramedic actually, on his lunch break, he was VERY handsome. I just laughed to myself and kept repeating 'you have a soul mate' in my head. I slipped behind with a knife drawn with my name inscribed in the blade. I put it to his throat and one hand in his back. "Unless you know how to bring yourself back from the dead i suggest you listen to me carefully yeah?" I murmured in his ear as i had done to Evangeline, except this time more threatening. More emotional. "I've killed before ok?" He nodded carefully avoiding the blade. "Please can you come with me? This is a matter of life and death for you or a friend of mine, possibly both if things go badly and you decide to be a hero." He said 'ok' behind my hand that I had moved up to his mouth. "And one more thing, I’m so sorry." I took my hand briefly of his mouth, "It's ok, who's dying?" He questioned. "My friend, let's go." Chapter (/)

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Eventually we got back to Wilfort Academy, the traffic had been unbelievable, i didn't really talk on the way there, and I was too busy thinking about Loz. We ran together through the rows of Victorian dormitories until we reached Lawrence's room. I was stopped at the door. They let the paramedic in. My dad blocked me, "What?" i suddenly realized something was wrong. The paramedic left the room and Wilfort Academy fourteen million pounds better off. "Dad just tell me, what?" then it hit me. "Oh no…" Chapter (/) I sat on the edge of my bed with my dad's arm around my waist; He looked up at me and kissed my cheek, "I'm so sorry." He mumbled. I leant against him and he held me closer. Will had taken off; he had decided to go on holiday to get over the loss and for once not be a vampire and live a normal life. "You and I should do something together." Dad said trying to perk me up. "Like where." I whispered emotionlessly. "Erm…I don't know. We could try our old house." He smiled. "I guess so." I sighed and half smiled. "Good, well, I’ll go pack my things and you," he made a hand gesture as if to say 'potter along then!' "Go do what ever it is you do." I laughed at his attempt to remember the words. "Pack you mean?" I helped. "Just go!" He laughed embarrassed, as he had forgotten the words as they were coming out. Chapter (/)

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I hadn't really packed much just essentials and clothes. I knew dad felt how i did. Neither of us wanted to be around while an investigation was carried out. Lawrence had been poisoned. I would still keep in touch with Vicerene and my other friends; i still wanted to know who killed him. That was the truth, i thought as we drove one of my best friends and one time boyfriend had been murdered. He had been mercilessly slaughtered, meaninglessly, for the shear hell of it. The most spine-chilling thing was the knowledge that there was a coldblooded killer walking among my friends and family. I swallowed hard and blocked out the thought. Suddenly dad stopped the car, did a one hundred and eighty degree turn and drove back at over one hundred and twenty miles per hour. "Dad?" I said panicking. "Amber, when we get back stay in the car." He shouted sternly. "What is it?" I said covering my heart as if protecting it from further harm. "I…don't know, but you must stay here." I looked up to see that we were already back. "Stay here." He shouted jumping from the car. I'd never seen him run so fast. The next thing i heard was the loudest swear word I’d ever heard in my life, Rondolph would NOT be pleased. It was bad. So i defied dad, i jumped from the car and ran as fast i possibly could until my knees screamed with pure pain. I ran through the doors and knocked my shoulder out of place on the doorframe. I was knocked to the floor. I looked across the room to see blood covering the shag carpeting. I stood up and fought against the searing pain. I ran flat out all the way to dad. He pushed me back as hard as he could once again i met the floor. I stood back up undefeated. "AMBER STOP IT!" "No dad! I won't! You can't protect me forever!" I screamed. "Rondolph take her!" Dad called. Naturally Rondolph over-powered me and pulled me back to my room. He locked me in so i jumped through the window. When i hit the ground i woke up. After i found out i hadn't got back on time to save Lawrence i had gone to my room. I had cried myself to sleep. I lay there on my bed weeping over my lost friend. Chapter (/) 31

When I finally came around to eating and walking around again, i decided most of my energy needed to go into helping Vicerene. She had turned into basically human jelly. I helped her dress for the funeral. Lawrence was to be buried at the churchyard he used to stroll in, in his human years. I had loved Lawrence but never as much as Vicerene had. Vicerene was prepared to kill or be killed for him. Her eyes were empty like there was no soul behind them. "Vicerene?" I whispered softly whilst focusing my face to hers, eyes to eyes. She stared blankly. "Viss?" I gently uttered to wake her up. She attempted to smile but failed and metaphorically fell face first crying. I put here head on my shoulder and stroked her hair and shushed her calmly. I wasn't feeling anything because…well i don't know really. I was in love Lawrence still but we weren't right for one another. I loved Demetrius more but i figured that Vicerene feelings were could have been my own had we not our painful but mutual agreement. I know i wouldn't have wanted someone to cry all over me if he was my soul mate. I'd want support. I took her cold shaking hand and we walked to the church. There were shockingly few people at the funeral considering how popular Loz was. A couple of months ago Lawrence's parents were killed in a car accident. Loz was gifted and cursed with emotional numbness with the exception of the feeling of love. He loved Vicerene. Those two could have worked. I glanced over at Will. He had come back for the funeral, Krad had her head resting on his shoulder while her tears soaked through his blazer, he couldn't afford a tux. I looked to the other side of the churchyard while the priest read from the Bible, which i found interesting but fictitious nonetheless, I saw Demetrius. I gestured him to stand by my side and he did. I allowed myself to cry and he held me I gazed over his shoulder, my vision was glazed over but i could see my dad mouth 'oright?' I just nodded and gathered myself. "Are you ok?" Demetrius whispered. "Yep." I sniffed and looked back to his glistening coffin. It was a blinding day and i looked at the tulips on his newly dug grave they were beautiful. They lowered the coffin. 'Amen' we said in chorus. "Would you like to come back to my house for a little while?" He breathed in his beautiful accent. 32

"Yeah." I sighed and looked to dad who nodded. We strolled back to his car with his arm around my waist. Chapter (/) I didn't think I’d ever get used to the odd homely ambience in Demetrius 's house. I wouldn't matter when we had our own place. We sat down at the birch table and he made me a cup of tea. I just sat there and stirred it to get rid of my own reflection. In the end i stood up, put my arm around his shoulders and kissed his cheek. As i left his house i pulled out my gun, a black p2k and loaded it. I strode back to Wilfort Academy and went to Will. "Anyone suspected?" I hissed. "There is one." He slowly said with fear in his eyes when his eyes met the gun. "Who? I don't have time for messing around tell me." I looked at him dead in the eyes. "It's…Amber, it's Kyla." He stated slowly full of dread. "It IS her or she's suspected?" "Everything points to her…we just have no evidence." "So YOU suspect her." "Yes." "As do i." I walked away back to my room to find her on my bed. "If you’re thinking of accusing me i could start making your life a living hell now or later." "Damn off." I pushed her out of my room. "I've got you’re daddy back." She said through the door. "What?" I stopped. "Oh yeah obviously daddy loves me more than he cares about you and your feelings." "No he doesn't. Could you just leave me alone? In case you haven’t noticed my best friend has just died."

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"Sorry." For a moment i thought you were serious. Any hint of sincerity was soon vanquished by her crooked twist of a bitter smile. "Still gonna though." She laughed holding her knees while perched on the end of my bed rocking with laughter, mocking me. I growled and pulled my lips back over my teeth. "HEY! WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR'E DOING?!" She shouted with a slight shade of panic. "Let's make you sweat." I pounced on her and seized her throat in my hands. I squeezed tightly with tears of adrenaline and anger flying down my cheeks. "I WILL KIIL YOU FOR THIS!" She struggled and flung me off the bed and onto the wood floor with a painful slam. She landed over me straddling me and put a gun to my forehead. "Try it again." She smiled with the upper hand AND the higher ground. "Go ahead." She growled. "I can do it too. I'm a vampire!" She shrieked piercingly whilst pulling her lips back with a deep throaty growl. "Are you ok in there Amber?" I think it was Jaret who called. Kyla took her hands from around my throat but kept the gun at my sweaty head. "As good as i can be." I said sarcastically. "Good girl." Kyla grinned menacingly. "Ok call me if you want support." Jaret said generously. We waited for his footsteps to fade. Kyla pistol whipped me and stood up brushing herself off. I writhed in agony. "Pathetic." She left the room shaking her brownish blonde hair and straightening her clothes as if she had committed some sort of sex crime. I stood up now that the agony had passed and loaded two sleek black guns and placing them in two cargo pockets in my trousers and ammo in the back pockets. I walked out off my room casually out for revenge. I caught Kyla on the way and asked her to walk with me. "Rondolph!!!" I screamed with absolute bitter anger. He walked towards me with a look of serenity. "Hello dear." He pleasantly smiled in his grandfatherly way. "Don't you dare. What the hell is she doing here? I thought she was banned." I was hysterical. "She has a name." Kyla hissed. "Oh piss off." 34

"What's going on?" Said my dad strolling in to join the three of us. "What is she doing here?" I said spinning on my heel to face him. "Kyla didn't mean it, she loves you." "HAS EVERYONE GONE INSANE!?" I yelled. "Calm down." Rondolph put a hand on my shoulder which I batted off with hast. "I WILL DO NOTHING OF THE SORT UNTIL SOMEONE TELLS ME WHAT'S GOING ON!" "Kyla didn't do it!" Dad and Rondolph said in chorus. "I didn't what? Oh my dear, you don't think that i…killed you…friend." She whimpered with fake tears rolling down her cheeks and my dad put his arm around her, i gawped at them all with pure horror. "Well yes i do! And i intend to prove it! YOU DID IT KYLA STOP CRYING DAMN CROCODILE TEARS!!! YOU'RE LYING! I CAN'T BREATHE!" i fell over breathlessly. My dad tried to catch me. "WHY WON'T YOU LISTEN TO ME? SHE'S A LIAR! Rondolph how can you call yourself a God? Dad how could you do this to me? After all we've…" I took a deep breath and said quietly, "Just, give me a chance." "OH STOP PRETENDING YOU KNOW WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT AMBER! You haven’t got a clue what's going on, you're heads full of stress cos you're friend has died." I just stared at him with shock and pointed a finger at him half laughing, "No, no he wasn't. He was murdered, BY HER!" i stormed out moaning with resentful misery. My dad wasn't with me; for once he wouldn't stand with me. He wouldn't believe me; i wiped away my tears and told my self 'revenge, revenge' over and over. "Vicerene. I know how you're feeling right now but i have to ask you some questions, it's pretty obvious Lawrence was murdered," Her bottom lip quivered even so I continued; "Lawrence was murdered by someone, who had a motive? Who disliked Lawrence? Anyone he annoyed?" "No." She uttered simply.

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I waited for any further explanation but soon it became clear i wasn't getting anything else. "Sure?" I asked. She just nodded. "Right well, back to square one." I sighed walking out just then i stopped 'will had a theory.' i said to myself. 'Wait if Kyla was the killer and he's the only one who can think why she would have done it…damn.' i thought and my fast paced walk turned to a frantic run. I remembered what she had done to me when she thought I’d told my dad of our conversation about Demetrius. "Wait!" I heard a shrill voice behind me. I turned, it was Vicerene. "Viss?" I was surprised to here her voice again, strangled as it was. "I want to help you. If Kyla killed him, i want to know." "What would lead you to believe it was her?" I cocked my head to one side. She swallowed, "I think Kyla wants to hurt you by hurting others." I swallowed back. "Why?" I hesitated. "There's no time we have to help Will, just in case she gets to him first, and he has a theory." "You got a gun?" "Lock and load." She said pulling out a sword edition night. "I love you Vicerene night." I laughed as we ran. "And i you Amber Flames." She grinned relieved to be normal again. Chapter (/) We couldn't find him. Luckily Vicerene had her mobile handy and called Will. "Hiya! Is this Will? Hey! It’s Vicerene…look there's no need to worry…no don't worry, look, where are you?" There was a brief silence. "Oh…well can you meet us in Amber's room? We just wanted to talk to you…nothing just hurry up and watch yourself." She laughed fretting. "He's on his way." Vicerene turned to me. "Cool, is he worried?" "Despite me telling him not to be? Erm…just a lot." She laughed panicking again. We ran to my room. Will was already there. "Hi Will sit down please." She gestured to my bed. "Will I’m worried about you." I just came straight out with it. "Oh…may i ask why?" 36

"You may," "Why?" "We think Kyla may kill you." They both looked stunned about my not wanting to 'beat around the bush'. "I'm sorry. Look, tell us what your motive for accusing her was." "Well she the only one with an incentive to," He froze mid sentence and studied Vicerene's face for weakness, she nodded for him to continue with her arms crossed, "kill Loz." He finished. "Why?" "Because she wants to get back at you for splitting her and your dad up and for dating Demetrius.” "Can you keep interrogating him please? I have to go." I didn't wait for a response i just ran. Chapter (/) "DEMETRIUS! Hey it's me! It's Amber! Are you here?" My eyes darted around the room. "Yeah I’m upstairs, come on up!" Demetrius was blatantly smiling. I ran upstairs grinning uncontrollably. "Hey!" He wheezed as i dived into him with my arms locked around his neck. He spun me around laughing and gave me a kiss on the cheek whilst spinning. "HI!" i was screaming because i had strange butterflies attacking my stomach. I really loved Demetrius and I had been denying it and keeping myself under control. It was only Vicerene's melancholy that showed me life isn't long enough to restrict your love for someone. "What's got you so worked up?" He criticized but not so that it seemed he wasn't overjoyed by it. "NOTHING I JUST REALLY HEART YOU!!!" I smiled showing my fingers in the shape of a heart. "Now you're just being silly." He snickered.

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"I'm just not though." I tried to look serious before cracking up. We flopped onto his bed and kissed for a while and then we lay down and cuddled for a while before i sighed when my phone rang. "Sorry." I said gloomily. "Hello…what did you get from him?" i said straightening up. "Oh, right ok see ya there." I smiled and brushed myself off, "i have to go, and I’ll be back." "Promise?" "I promise." The tears welled up in my eyes. He stood up and put my head on his shoulder and rocked slightly from side to side. "I have an idea." He pushed me away nonrejectingly. "What?" I whispered bewildered. "Marry me." He simply said. "I will." I said without hesitation. "Just like that?" He looked confused. "Yeah." I assured him. "I have to go." I left through the window to save time. Chapter (/) "Tyler stand still stay here." Dad's face was solemn. "Oh ok." I stood still. Dad ran off, it was my dream, oh great i was having recurring dreams. In my dream, just as i stepped forewords i tripped over and drew bloodish water, it really hurt, i wasn't dreaming. Just then Vicerene ran out screaming and crying, hysterical. "Amber! I'm so sorry." She was absolutely terrified and gasping for air. "Whoa whoa what's happened?" I said pulling her close so she could cry on my shoulder. "I TRIED!" I nodded for her to carry on and i was pretty sure i was going to win the wet t-shirt contest. "I really tried she was there and then she saw him and then…" "And then what? What? Who?" I let her go and ran into Wilfort Academy, I hit my shoulder and fell to the floor. I looked up and saw the linoleum covered in a trail of blood. I stood up and kept going until the blood stopped… "Will?" I looked to the floor. He didn't look up. He was gray. "Will?" I said again. I dropped to my knees. "Amber." said Marilyn from behind me. I didn't turn around. "I'm sorry."

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I stood up and walked towards him. I dropped down and put his head on my knee. "Don't do this. We've been best friends for the last eleven years. Will?" I ran my hands through his hair. "Will?" I must have said Will for about the next ten minutes until my dad picked me up and tried to pull me away, i shook him free. "NONE OF THIS WOULD HAVE HAPPENED IF YOU HADN'T TRUSTED HER!" i shrieked and punched poor Jaret in the face; he was trying to carry Will away. "I won't let them hurt you, you're safe." I whispered as they carried him away. What should be the end Will was buried the next day. When i saw Kyla i beat her half to death relentlessly before i was caught. I was banned from Wilfort Academy, with Kyla. Everyday i would call my dad but not once did I say sorry, what did i have to be sorry for? My own father had been an accessory to the murder of a boy who was practically my brother. Kyla had owned up to all the murders in front of Rondolph. She narrowly escaped death heaven only knows how. I lived with my fiancé Demetrius. One day I went for a walk with him. Hand in hand we strolled on the winter day. We stood beside a frozen lake and looked at our own reflections. "We can start again; pretend none of this ever happened." He didn't look up; he was still warming my icy hand with his. He kissed me passionately when he looked up and i lightly smiled. "Or you could just let it burn you up inside, eat up your soul LIKE IT SHOULD DO!" Someone declared from the other side of the pond. My eyes lost Demetrius 's and all of a sudden he wasn't by my side. He was on his knees at the other side of the pond. I looked to Kyla with my mouth held open with devastation in my eyes. “You’ll kill me.” I paused to swallow what ever was making the tears well up in my eyes, “and you won’t stop there. Next you’ll,” I cried slowly “Take Demetrius, slit his throat? I know eeevil isn’t it. Funny though.” She smirked, “oh don’t look like that I’m not completely merciless.” I thought I may have hope, “I’ll bury you close together.” Hope officially dashed. “In the movies the bad guy always does her little speech and for some odd reason whilst the person on the receiving end sits there they don’t consider killing them during their incoherent rant.” I muttered. “Do something then.” She suggested impatiently. “I killed you dear friend William, I killed 39

your one time lover boy Lawrence.” She shot in front of me like a bullet and paused. “Why didn’t you help him?” She questioned looking truly bewildered. I just shook my head forcing the tears from my lower eyelids. “It’s because you’re sick.” She appeared on my left, “Selfish” She appeared around my back and placed her head on my shoulder like two lovers destined to be together, “and most of all messed up.” I broke down. “Please stop.” Demetrius wept. “And wow!” She laughed turning her attention to Demetrius. “Even to the end the guy who caused all this has his own two cents to put in for debate. Isn’t that ironic…the killer doesn’t want to be killed. Oh my God!” She threw her head back laughing. “I didn’t mean to, I didn’t even want a birthday party. I didn’t intend for any of this to happen.” “And yet it did.” Growled Kyla. I was in a state of terror, shock and pure melancholy. I was terrified because I knew there was no getting out alive. I was shocked because I just could not believe my eyes. This was really happening. I was facing death and she was an ugly cow who had stolen my dad’s heart, the person who I cared about most. Finally melancholy, this was because I loved Demetrius, I would sell my soul for Demetrius and yet here he was and I was unable to save him. I was going to witness his death, just as Will nearly witnessed mine. Now Will was gone too. I had lost everyone, Will, Lawrence and my mum. Everyone but my dad and he didn’t even know he was bout to lose me he would hear that Demetrius and I had done a suicide pact and Kyla would get away with it. She would be free to ‘comfort’ my dad. I knew it was going to happen so I just said it aloud, “Can we get this over with please?” I half pleaded but really I wanted to die fighting on my feet. So why not? I stood up with what little strength I had and drew a knife from my back pocket. To my devastation I just collapsed, fear had all but paralysed me and I had just used my last ounce of strength. “I miss my daddy.” Was all I said and I started to cry. I didn’t even care about the circumstances or how childish I sounded. My tears only seemed to enrage her further. She kicked Demetrius to the ground followed by a scream bursting forth from my lungs. She took the old antique pistol I had once used to kill her father and put it to the side of Demetrius ’s beautiful inky-black hair. I pleaded and screamed things along the lines of ‘please stop’ over and over again until I was talking gibberish, as did Demetrius except he was saying ‘I love you,’ and ‘I ‘m sorry I didn’t become a vampire. I’m sorry for all this. I’m sorry for everything.’ Over and over again until he fell silent and I gasped. “Demetrius?” I whispered. I knelt with my mouth open and tears flooding down my face. I was just empty. If this were a movie it would be in slow motion now. I watch one drop 40

of blood turn into two and two into three until I flood of blood poured onto the snow. He fell face first into the snow, covered in blood. His gorgeous hair ruined his corpse looked like Christianio’s had. Kyla dropped my gun into the frozen ground and walked to me smiling. “Remind you of anything?” She hissed he smile turning to pure hatred. I just sat there already dead. “Hmmm… need a reminder?” She shouted louder almost piercingly. “My father!” She screamed hitting me in the cheek. Her fists were as powerful and as cold as steel. “You killed him. I’ll take pity on you. I’ll be merciful. I won’t kill Chad.” “You call him Chadwick.” I finally said. “I call him whatever the hell I want!” She cried. “Because he’s my husband.” “And I can’t see what he sees in you. You’re ugly manipulative…cow, He’s not stupid; he’ll piece our deaths together. You won’t have a leg to stand on then literally.” I yelped like a wounded animal pausing between sentences of hate to pant heavily through pain and stress. “Oh I don’t think that’ll happen.” She grinned wildly and that’s when I saw it in her eyes. She was insane. She had quite literally lost it, she had nothing left and it had driven her to insanity. “You’re dad will never, ever know the truth.” “Oh I think I will.” He said darkly. Both of our eyes darted to the other side of the frozen field until they landed on him. My father. He had never looked so magnificent. “Goodbye Kyla.” He said raising his gun. “It’s been real.” He muttered bitterly before pumping four hot pieces of led into her chest. Kyla put her hands to her breast and spoke softly but powerfully none-the-less, “You don’t know what you’ve done.” She collapsed. Dead. Dad saw the blood on my arm where the bullet had skimmed me and ran over wrapping his arm around me and finally I had my daddy and nothing could stand between us. Even though I had lost so much to be here in his arms, it was such a relief. He picked my up in his arms and carried me away. “Chadwick! You’re divorced!” Dad spun around to see Kyla stood up with my gun in her hands. And just before dad had time to protect me…

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End of Story By Chadwick Lattice There we all stood in black in the rain next to my dear wife, Amy’s resting place. I stared down at my daughter’s and would-be son in law’s graves. Their coffins were black with red and white flowers on top. Lilies and roses. The droplets of rain slid down the coffins. I could see my reflection in the coffins. I was wearing a black water bejewelled hat, circular rimmed glasses, and a black suit to match my heart and black trousers. A few solitary tears fell down my cold cheeks. All I ever had really was my daughter Tyler. I loved Tyler and as I stood there all I could think was ‘what now? I’ve lost everything I ever loved and now all I’ve got left to do is watch everyone I ever knew and loved die.’ I could see Tyler and Demetrius ’s wedding in the back of my mind but whenever I saw them link hands at the alter all I saw were their bodies side by side. I could see fate. I saw, before it happened, Demetrius ’s death. So I ran as fast I could until my knees filled with agonizing pain until I got to the BMW, I’m not as young as I used to be, no matter how much I want to be or how much I reverse my aging out of pure vanity. The BMW would be the last car those two would ever ride in. Two of us, Vicerene Night, Tyler’s friend and I sat in the front seats, the coffins in the back, on the way here. I decided Tyler would have loved to be next to her mother in death. Roses now grow on the grave where Tyler’s ashes were scattered which is rather coincidental given her birth name, Tyler-Rose Lattice. “I love you Tyler.” I murmured and let a tear drop fall 42

onto her grave before I walked away and listened to my footsteps on the gravel. As I walked I thought of all the things I’d done in my life and I decided that going out with my friends on the day of my dear sweet Amy’s murder was the most terrible thing I could have ever done though I didn’t know what would happen. I walked all the way to the O’Connell residence to sit with them and explain how it happened. There was no more hiding the vampire secret. It only caused too many deaths. For the rest of what felt like eternity I sat with Rondolph talking about love and family and whatever came to our minds. I also spent time with my other daughter Krad. Krad’s real name was Rachel Lattice many years ago. She didn’t go to funeral she had her own conversation with her sister beside the graves and has decided to move on, to be like Tyler was, Amber Flames would be strong she would carry on because she had to. (Leave out all the rest- Linkin Park)

My name is Krad Luos. Three years or so I lost my sister and her fiancé, Amber Flames and Demetrius O’Connell. After the deaths my dad just wandered around, lost and confused. I didn’t. I had moved, that was until I saw my sister. I was sleeping and everything was white in my dream and there she was wandering around she was trapped. I didn’t know where but she was panicking. In my dream she sees me and tries to run to me shouting ‘help I’m trapped!’ I can’t reach her. Then I knew what had happened, Rondolph had got it wrong for once Amber hadn’t completed her life goal! She wasn’t dead she was trapped, down below, buried. That’s why I’m here today, today is overcast one and I am standing above my sister’s grave shovel in hand. Just then my dad came outside with his usual bunch of flowers so I hid, he’d never believe me if I told him. After he had left I moved back to my original position and dug. As I got lower and lower down the screaming and crying got louder until it was audible “OH PLEASE SOMEONE HELP! I’M TRAPPED!” I really didn’t know how she went for three years, the only times she was spoke was in my recurring dreams. Vampires, however, can go into a state on hibernation but that girl could sleep through an atom bomb and she was in a silent box below ground. I hit the coffin with my shovel, “OH PLEA…. hello?” Everything went silent, “Is that you Demetrius?” That’s when I realised she couldn’t remember anything, it happens to some of us after we have had a near death experience, our mind just blocks it out so we don’t have a breakdown. She had gone into a state of blissful, serene oblivion. 43

“No it’s not Demetrius, its Krad!” I shouted, my happy spirit had been crushed when Amber died, hope was not vanquished though, I could be happy again. “Krad help!” Amber called back. I ripped the lid off the coffin to reveal a very pale Amber. She was frantic, “KRAD! WHAT HAPPENED? WHAT’S HAPPENED? WHERE AM I? Where’s Demetrius?” This was going to take a lot of therapy. I just hugged her and screamed for help until my lungs bled. Dad was the first to come and he just stood there with his mouth open. “Tyler?” He said just standing there. “I’m not talking to him Krad.” She solemnly swore. “Why ever not?” I stood looking puzzled. “Because of KYLA! SHE’S STILL HERE AND SHE KILLED LOZ!” We all looked bewildered. Marilyn stood at my side, “Kyla has been dead for three years. So have you and Demetrius.” She quietly stated. “What?” She struggled. “It’s true.” Dad finally spoke. Amber’s story For the next couple of days I read through a book given to me by Krad. It was all the things that had happened three years ago. Dad and Krad sat with me the whole time I read it without drinking or eating. Surprisingly my cravings weren’t that bad; in fact I think I lasted about a week longer before I began to question that. I read all about how Will had died and everyone thought I was dead and Loz and... Worst of all Demetrius. After reading about Demetrius ’s death I stopped. I read that page over and over again, how he pleaded for me before himself, how he died apologizing to me, how dad buried us together. For the next five days I just lay on the floor of my dorm embracing my legs. On the seventh day dad left the room for the first time and I saw a woodlouse walk across the floor and stalk across my hand, it should have tickled but I was numb. When dad came back he brought Rondolph with him, “And she hasn’t wanted to drink since was found?” “No, never.” “This is most unusual Chadwick, why did you not consult me sooner?” “I was interested.” “Interested? Actually yes I can see why.” I watched his feet walk across the hard wood floor and he knelt down to put a warm hand on my shoulder. “Amber? Can you hear 44

me?” I wanted to nod “How long have you not wanted to drink?” “Si...Since I woke up.” “And you know you’ve been asleep for three whole years yes?” “Yes sir.” “Right well do you want to eat anything?” “I feel weak.” “You must be hungry. Have you eaten since you woke up?” “No sir.” “Do you want to eat is more the question Tyler?” Dad said gently. “No dad.” “Is that because of the book?” “I…” I didn’t know. “I think it is.” Krad said raising herself finally from my bed. “She read about her friends?” “Yes Rondolph.” Dad said “Why? You should have waited until she’d eaten or drank!” He was more amused than angry and then looked at me with pity. “Are you thirsty as in not for blood?” “I…Yes…sir” I struggled. “Ok well shall we get you something to drink that’s not blood?” “Please.” I said unable to say yes. Dad left the room. “How about put you on the bed instead of the hard floor?” Rondolph muttered. “I can’t move.” I whispered back, he picked me up and wiped my dark hair from my eyes and perched on the edge of the bed. “Here.” Dad handed me a drink of water. I tried to move my arm with pathetic effort. “I can’t” I began to cry with emotional stress. Dad left again taking the water with him. “You’ll be ok soon Amber.” Krad said stroking my arm. “I’ll never be ok.” I wept. “Isn’t there a way?” Krad whispered to Rondolph. “Not one that would be good for me to use.” “But there is a way?” “Technically yes.” “What? What is it?” They both glanced at me and left the room at the same time and closed the door. Dad came back in with a bendy straw and laughed. “Is this better?” “Maybe.” I said emotionless. 45

“It’s going to be fine.” “Dad it won’t.” Dad perched where Rondolph had in my bleak room. “Have you seen all the flowers?” He said puzzlingly “What flowers?” “Look around you.” I did and there were hundreds, memorials and get well soon ones. “Why memorials?” “Did you not guess that we all thought you were dead? We missed you…I missed you.” “Thank you dad.” “Yeah well…just don’t play dead again ok?” “I won’t.” I didn’t want to PLAY dead I wanted to BE dead. Krad walked back in but Rondolph had already gone. “Hi, how is she doing.” she said first looking at me then looking at dad to direct her question to a more competent mind. “I don’t think so.” He glanced at me pitifully; I shook my head to confirm his view. Suddenly his head shot up at Krad and they nodded to one another, “Amber we’re going to leave you for an hour or so, so you can sleep.” I nodded. I spent three hours staring at the ceiling and the cobwebs that had gathered over the years, the room that time forgot. I watched ghosts of my memories swim across the peeling wallpaper. Dad walked in gently tapping the door with two fingers first. “Heya.” He smiled. “Hey.” I said dismally back. “I was whether you would like a present to cheer you up so I bought you something.” I forced myself to sit up and look confused at whatever he was struggling to keep behind his back. “What? What did you buy?” I croaked. “THIS!” He shouted gleefully pushing a large black greyhound in front of him, “Call him whatever you want but his name used to be Dingo, he’s an ex-racer.” “Dad honestly, why did you do this?” I said coming oh so close to genuine happiness but failing. “Because I love you sweetheart I miss you.” “Can I call him Stretch?” He laughed, “Call him what you want, I told you.” He walked to my side and I stroked his neck. “Thank you dad.” I was more genuine this time I outstretched my arms to him; dad came over and hugged me. For the rest of the evening Stretch lay by my side content with the icy temperature, even so I put a towel 46

across him to keep him warm. I cried hysterically at two o’clock in the morning because the numbness had worn off and I could see Demetrius again. I had flashbacks: “Demetrius?” I whispered. I knelt with my mouth open and tears flooding down my face. I was just empty. If this were a movie it would be in slow motion now. I watch one drop of blood turn into two and two into three until I flood of blood poured onto the snow. He fell face first into the snow, covered in blood. I watched his death over and over like a broken record. When I finally stopped crying I choked, “I love you Demetrius.” Why had it been so hard to say? Just to admit I loved him when he was alive. I fell asleep. In my dream everything was white, there was nothing until a single ruby drop fell onto the white snow beneath me Kyla was dead Demetrius and I were alive, I killed her. Demetrius and I lay in the snow together knowing it was all over, no more fear but then I woke up. I moped about my bedroom for a while, I was dizzy but I could stand, I felt incredibly sick. “Hi.” I stopped moping with terror, the American voice scared me, and it was Kyla. I spun around to reveal her hideous…black hair? I screamed not with fear but with shock and then I landed on the floor with a thud and wept, but it hurt, hitting the floor couldn’t hurt if it was a dream. I screamed with pain and shock. I felt sick, I was going to be sick everywhere I could see it happening and that would just be THE most unattractive thing ever. The figure that I had immediately made out to be a ghost or a mirage ran over and picked me up panicking. “WHOA WHOA WHOA! What are you doing?! Are you ok?” This American accent was soft, not shrill like Kyla’s. He was comforting. “You’re dead.” I wept and I weakly tried to punch his chest and force him off me. “And yet I have my arm around you?” He sounded confused I couldn’t see his face; it was blurred behind a mask of tears. “Everyone said you’ve been all messed up.” “Don’t swear, it’s not pretty.” I half laughed I didn’t care if it was a ghost anymore I pulled him back beneath my head and there I slept on Demetrius ’s chest beside my bed. I slowly opened my eyes to check everything was real and I wasn’t still in the coffin. Demetrius wasn’t behind me. He wasn’t real. I reached for Stretch and touched a woollen jumper. I jumped. “Hey, hey, calm down. It’s ok, I’m here and I’ll always be here.” For the first time in three years I grinned really widely and threw my arms around him and we kissed for roughly thirty seconds, I stopped and pulled away. “What’s up?” He was confused. “Open your mouth.” “I thought I did.” He laughed. 47

“This isn’t a joke Demetrius.” His smile immediately dropped. “O…K?” He pulled his lips back over his teeth. “That’s how you came back, when did this happening?” “When I was lying on the floor after I was shot I was clinging to life, I watched your dad put you down dead I screamed,” He paused as if pained, he stroked the dog and carried on, “Your dad heard me just about, your told me about life goals I decided that I might want to be a vampire so I thought of something impossible. Your dad saw me do it; he foresaw it so he bit me.” He shrugged. “Dad thought it didn’t work though.” “Yeah.” “So you’re a vampire?” “Yeah.” “What was your goal?” “You really wanna know?” He looked amused, I nodded, “I wanted to be a cow.” “What?!” I said through hysterical laughter. “Well at least we can live forever.” “Wait, mine was to meet you, why aren’t I dead.” “Does it matter? We’re together.” “Yes it does. Just not right now.” This night he slept in my room, in my bed so I didn’t wake up screaming, I was sure my recurring dreams would go away now. “Morning.” I opened my eyes and saw Demetrius ’s lips pressed on my forehead. “Good morning Demetrius.” “Sleep longer if you want.” He suggested “No thanks I’m starving, I haven’t eaten since,” I fought back the memories and Demetrius saw it. “It’s ok.” He kissed me. “Let’s go.” We walked together hand in hand to the breakfast buffet laid out in the main hall. The room was of an old design, it had low arches and wooden post around the room to decoratively support the roof, and there were rows of wooden tables with stools underneath. On the left and right of the room there were more modern small, high tables with stools around them like you’d see in a coffee bar (that’s because this place was a coffee bar in the afternoon). There were mainly teenagers sat around the tables talking and eating blueberry muffins and such. I looked around trying to see Jaret trying to ‘score’ with Marilyn again like every other day but no Jaret. Demetrius turned to me, “You ok?” 48

“Yeah, just remembering, things haven’t changed.” “I haven’t been here before.” ”I know…I never took you.” “Afraid I wouldn’t fit in?” “No…just haven’t…I was busy back then.” “A lot on your plate?” “Oh shut up!” I laughed pushing him away jokingly. I walked away but he caught up. He rammed a muffin in my face, “Stop Demetrius!” I giggled. “Sorry Amber!” He joked imitating my pathetic attempt to tell him off. We slid our trays across the counter top and paid our £3.50 out the end. We walked together to an empty coffee table. We sat and chatted for a while, about getting a house together, taking Stretch on holiday (at this point Krad was out walking him), just a life together. “Heya Amber how are you?” I shot up and threw my arms around my dad. “I’m great dad I love you!” I shouted gleefully. “I suppose Demetrius told you what happened?” “Yes he did. Thank you so much dad we will take you out for a meal.” “Just give me four pounds for some breakfast and we’re even.” Dad said looking at Demetrius, Demetrius laughed and smiled at dad, dad smiled back. I passed dad the four pounds and kissed him as he left. “Where were we?” I said turning to Demetrius. “Dunno, do you wanna go see whether Krad’s back?” “Ok.” The rest of the day was pleasantly boring, it seemed everything was normal and not much was going to happen. Over the next couple of weeks Demetrius and I went to the beach, saw films and did anything really that came to mind. That was his parents showed up. We were sat in the bedroom of this old room in his abandoned house, and then we heard some people come in. We tried to hide but it was too late and there facing them was there son who had been ‘dead’ for three years. After that I didn’t see him again. Sure, we could speak on our computers but that’s not the same. Everyday I missed him more and more, we texted until eventually Demetrius told he wasn’t grounded- so long as he didn’t see me; we had to meet in the middle. Fate stood our way though, we searched for another for hours until eventually he had to go home. I sat under a shelter and cried all through the night. What hurt the most was that he was near me and I couldn’t touch him. I waited another week until suddenly my life ended. I got a text off Demetrius ’s old friend Shaun from school. The message read: 49

Hey. My name is Shaun. I’m really sorry to tell you that Demetrius has been in a car accident on the way to school with his dad. His dad was tragically killed. Demetrius is in a critical state in hospital. His mother is not allowing visitors. I will keep you informed. I am so sorry. Shaun xoxoxox For a while I just sat there, I just stared into space and let the days pass me by. That was until I received word from Shaun, the message read: Hey. Demetrius is out of hospital but unfortunately he has a VERY severe case of amnesia. I can’t tell you how sorry I am. I don’t think he remembers you. Text back soon. Shaun Xoxoxox I looked at that text forever. However I got a phone call from a withheld number on my new phone, given to me by Demetrius. “Hello…Sarah?” It was his mother, I tried to apologize but she stopped me. “You will? Oh thank you. Oh right yes I understand. I won’t…I ca…yes Mrs O’Connell…ok…see you soon.” I slammed the phone down. I was allowed to see him but not to remind him of ‘us’ but to remind him of ‘me’ all I was, was his life and he mine. I grabbed my new jacket, bought on a shopping spree with Vicerene, Demetrius and Shaun to Birmingham, and ran for the door with some pictures of us together and got into the BMW. Once I reached the house I didn’t ring the bell I just ran upstairs I saw him in his bed, barely awake, barely alive. I perched the bed and rested my hand on his, he lifted his eyelids and revealed his gorgeous oceanic eyes. His black and red hair lay gently across his pillow in his dank bedroom. “Hi.” I said with a weak smile. “Erm…hello?” He coughed moving his hand from beneath mine with an almost disgusted look on his face. “Demetrius, you have amnesia. My name is Amber; I’m your…friend. We met at your birthday party last year.” That last part was a lie but I wasn’t going to bloody well tell him he had been dead for the past three and a bit years was i? “Oh. That’s why I dunno where the hell I am right?” He laughed his perfect laugh and pronounced his words with that sweet American accent. 50

“Yeah,” I paused. “You gonna tell me about us then?” He smirked, I didn’t, and he said ‘us’. “We’re best friends; we have been for about a year, you’re funny, we used to have such good times, your parents don’t like me too much for some reason. Most of the time you keep to yourself. You don’t get to close to people except maybe me and Shaun.” He tilted his light head to one side at ‘Shaun’. “Who’s that?” He said. “Shaun’s been your best friend since you were eight.” “Oh, sorry.” He said and it made me smile, “What?” “You usually have quite a problem saying sorry.” I laughed and so did he. “Sorry about that.” “Enjoy that while you can, apparently your memory could partially come back at some point.” “Partially?” “Yeah, apparently you won’t remember people so much, just yourself. Could be today, could be tomorrow.” I shrugged. “Oh. I’ll remember you.” He smiled. “Will you now?” I said turning to the window and leaving my sarcastic question hanging in the air behind me. “Huh?” He said behind me and coughed. “Part of me says you won’t” I sighed. “I will.” He was defiant. I laughed with the tension and said, “Do you remember this.” I kissed his forehead.” He wiped it off laughing thinking it was a joke. “Thought so.” “His mum barged in and said, “Time to go now Amber please.” With a ‘cos if you don’t…’ tone in there somewhere. “Thank you for letting me comes over Sarah.” “Ok bye.” She practically forced me out the door. “See you Sarah, Demetrius ” We spoke for a couple of days until one day on instant messenger this happened: Demetrius says: AMBER! I HAVE GR8 NEWS! Amber Flames says: Wat is it?

51

Demetrius: I REMEMBER U! Amber Flames says: REALLY? That’s great lol! Demetrius says: Well not everything but some things! Amber Flames says: …Like wat? Demetrius says: I remember us meeting and when we talked until about 2 AM on Valentines Day and u asked if I had a girlfriend. Amber Flames says: Oh, cool Demetrius says: I g2g now sorry Amber Flames says: :’( Demetrius says: Sorry it’s mum. Amber Flames says: Oh ok see ya xoxoxox Demetrius says: Bye!

The next day we spoke for a while until my feelings took over, we had a huge argument 52

until I ended up telling him I loved him. He signed out immediately. He hated me. I apologized on my birthday and everyday for a week until he finally replied he just said ‘I don’t care.’ And that was that. After one more week I gave up. I couldn’t do anything else cos I was a coward. I went to see Rondolph; “I mean I don’t understand how he could be the one for me, a soul mate, if he does this?” “When the simple answer is, he wasn’t. You’re right he could he have been if he does that? Your young, a teenager, your just average, he was an arse and you’ll learn to get over him because he was just a boyfriend.” “Oh…but I was so sure…we were so the same.” “WERE being the operative word, it happens. You’re a child; your hormones are playing mean tricks on you. Is there anyone you ‘fancy’?” “Well, when I moved in there was a boy.” “Ah yes. I have determined a way of finding ones soul mate and once you lost yours I decided I would find out who yours REALLY was.” “Really? Who was he…it…them?” “He.” “Who was HE?” “Well I didn’t say the thing was completely accurate.” “How many results?” “Three… no…four…. defiantly four.” “And they are….” “Demetrius, Luke Beterine, Matt Granite, and erm…. Another boy but you wouldn’t like him.” “Who? I don’t really like Matt that much.” Rondolph laughed, “Christopher.” I was in hysterics. “I told you.” Rondolph nodded smiling. “Hello Amber. How are you feeling today?” Dad put an arm around me and kissed my cheek as he walked in. “About…erm…weird I think, I don’t know how to feel.” “At least you’re not in your dead state again.” He was genuinely grateful. I missed Demetrius so much, I wanted him back, I don’t care what happened or why. More than anything I was so sorry. I was so in love with him, his boyish good looks, his laugh, his accent, him. “Dad, Rondolph, I’m going on the pull.” I acted a laugh and left. I turned up at Demetrius ’s house with nothing left, absolutely nothing…but hope. I 53

through a rock at his window, “Demetrius!” I half whispered and half shouted. He slammed the window open and looked disappointed to see me. “What?” He said. “Please forgive me, I can’t take back what I said because I do love you. I love you so much. I’d rather die than give up on you. It seems I have no other choice but to die. I love you Demetrius, if you can’t see why then obviously you haven’t remembered yourself at all. WE WERE HAPPY. Do you remember when we spoke on the phone until like half two in the morning? You can’t tell me you didn’t feel anything for me? I think I’ve earned the right to your honesty. Please talk to me.” I had unconsciously begun to cry. “Whatever.” He went to close his window. “PLEASE!!! Forgive me.” I screamed at the closing blinds. “You’re forgiven, please stop apologizing.” “I WON’T! Not until you tell me how you feel! How do you look at me?” “Huh?” “How much do you like me?” I said in a more reasoning tone. “As much as my other friends, who I keep at a distance. I do remember. I remember I’m not a good person. YOU KNOW THE REASON I DIDN’T HAVE A DAMN GIRLFRIEND WHEN YOU MET ME?!” Tears of anger welled in his eyes. “No, no I don’t. I don’t care.” I looked at my feet. “I HIT HER. I felt no remorse either. The same could happen to you.” “I DON’T CARE WHO YOU WERE! I CARE WHO YOU ARE! I LOVE YOU!” “Oh shut up! Get over me! Get on with your life. Act like you’d never met me. Things could be good for you.” “Why did you stop texting me? Why haven’t you been on instant messenger? IT’S COS YOU WANT TO FORGET YOUR PAST! YOU WANT TO RUN AWAY!” “I do, I want to run from you. Leave this place tonight and don’t look back. Just keep running to the sunset and let go of this.” I wept at his command. “Don’t leave me.” I whimpered, “I’m so alone.” “Find friends then.” He closed his window. “NO! NO! YOU CAN’T!” I threw rock after rock at his window and then I slumped to the floor and wept bitterly, I lay in the rain and shivered. I felt sick with emptiness. The stars were there to mock me and I had ‘leave this place tonight and don’t look back’ echoing through my spirit and blowing cold air into the hollows in my soul. I looked up and saw Will’s ghost. “You have to go now.” He said sadly and tried to pick me up but his hand went through me. I think now that it was just loneliness driving me to insanity that made me see Will because I always fell back on him. 54

“I know.” I croaked and weakly stood up. I listened to my feet crunch on the floor and squelch onto the waterlogged leaves, I heard the rain splash heavily into polluted puddles beneath me, oil swirling in beautiful patterns beneath my drenched basketball trainers. My feet were so numb with cold and all I did was walk facing straight ahead, eyebrows forcing themselves up in the centre out of melancholy and shock, eyes brimming with salty, liquid pain. The wind whipped around me and threw my hair around my hair which had once been straight now it would just be an untameable mass on my head, my hair was an unusual rusted colour with hints of gold in it, it was gorgeous if I do say so myself. I had pale…ish skin getting whiter with the biting wind and rain. My eyes were emerald green but they had become bloodshot with the lack of sleep and tears that had filled them for the last couple of days. I didn’t know where I was going or why I was going there I knew I was going there though and that sums up my life: not knowing why it was happening but knowing that it was happening. I heard footsteps desperately running towards me and a voice screaming my name but I had gone into a state bewilderment and gormlessness. “AMBER!” it came closer, screaming as if pained. “WAIT! AMBER!” Eventually they caught me spun me around and held me. I was to dead to stop them but I hoped it was Demetrius. Who else could it be? It was dark and I was crying and lonely and lost. “Stop, stay here, with me, cover your hair up, your ruining it.” His voice was different to Demetrius but it was as calming and relaxing so I listened, they covered my hair and attempted to dry it until I collapsed. I wondered why they didn’t pick me up but I looked ahead of me and saw their head, horizontal, lying next to me. “We’ll lie here if you want or do you want me to carry you somewhere warm.” I was confused, he didn’t say Wilfort or home he said ‘somewhere warm’ I just nodded and let them scoop me up. He sighed as he carried me, I reached up and felt their hair, and it was sodden but medium length and curly…sort of. I pulled my mobile phone out of my black denim pocket of my skinny fit, drainpipe, jeans. I switched the flash on and pointed it up at his face, it was Luke. He was there; his soft tanned skin was covered in jewels of water but it only made him more beautiful. I’d NEVER properly spoke to Luke, never even looked at him for longer than about five seconds but I’d always liked him His curly…sort of, hair was now transformed from brown to black from the rain. “I love you Luke.” I yawned as I went to sleep. As I woke up I looked around the white room, the curtains swayed with the gentle breeze. Luke slowly walked through the door assuming I was asleep probably. When he saw I 55

was watching him he walked in normally, not smiling I loved his smile. I had always thought Luke was breathtaking even when I first saw him. My sister had hated him though, he had once told Krad’s boyfriend that he loved him out of confusion the once. Luke was going through a rough patch and was really emotional, he had a crush on my sister’s boyfriend and the worst came to the worst. Oh at this point is should point out that Luke is bisexual. He perched on the bed like my dad had done the first time I was heart broken and brain dead. He breathed and said, “I love you too.” We both laughed. This was the first time either of us had ever really spoken in the time we had known one another had existed. “I brought you some orange juice.” “Oh that’s helpful.” We both laughed again and I tried not to spit out the orange juice all on him. “Are you ok?” He looked concerned. “Yeah, I’ll be fine; I was just a bit…you know.” “He’s no good. He shouldn’t do this to you, you’re better than to take this to heart.” “I know it’s just difficult.” “Don’t worry, he’s just a teenager, he’s a newbie and he’s scared, leave him. Forget about him.” “I’m a teenager.” I stated simply. “Yes but he’s a loser.” He joked I laughed genuinely, he WAS right. “Does dad know where I am?” “Yeah don’t worry. I said I’d look after you.” I smiled at him and he smiled his stunning smile with bright white teeth, he had such highly defined cheekbones for a fifteen year old, going on sixteen. He had oak-coloured eyes and black brown hair with no particular style. It was just mildly curly and medium length. He was slim and average height. He caught my staring eyes and laughed mildly uncomfortably. “What?” He grinned. The word took me back until I shook it off and said something along the lines of ‘nothing’. “Silly girl.” He smirked and left the room. “WAIT WAIT! Where are you going?” I said on the edge of tears. “Oh hey, hey! Don’t cry I was just going to get a coffee or tea or something. Do you want anything?” “No thanks.” I felt better now that he wasn’t leaving me. I closed my eyes and drifted off. I think that’s my way off coping with problems, sleeping. When I awoke about five minutes later I glanced around the room and Luke was on the computer ahead of me. “Hello?” I laughed “Oh hi! Sorry I thought you’d be asleep longer.” “It’s ok.” 56

“May I ask you something?” I nodded. “May I ask, do you have instant messenger?” “Oh yeah!” I giggled. “May I have your email address?” “You may.” I challenged his ‘may I’s’ I scrawled it on a piece of paper with shaky handwriting. “I’ll write it if you want?” “No it’s ok.” I struggled persistently. “GOT IT!” I shouted. “Cool!” He shouted out of polite happiness. My smile turned to a frown of discontentment. “Hey don’t start.” He said sadly putting an arm around my shoulders as I broke down. “Do you want me to ‘ave ‘im?” He joked, by ‘ave ‘im he means beat him up! “No.” I half smiled during my floods of tears. “Don’t be sad, I’ll look after you, I’ll always stay, I promise.” “That’s would…D…Demetrius said.” I struggling to say his name but swallowed hard and continued to choke back tears through sharp intakes of breath. “Do you want me to leave you for a little while?” “No!” I screamed stretching a hand out at him who had stood up and begun to head for the door. He assured me it was ok and allowed me to lie down while he sat next to me and stroked my hair. I just kept dreaming of Demetrius, the first was of him and I walking together next to Hayle Harbour hand in hand and every so often just turning to smile at one another, the radiant sunlight lapped gently at his cheeks and made him look even more astounding than normal. He wore a white linen shirt that flowed in the light breeze, he was an angel. I couldn’t even here his footsteps; it was like he was just levitating above the ground. We stopped by the harbour for a while on a bench dedicated to an old couple had passed away together and we imagined our bench, as dark as this thought maybe it was romantic. I was rudely awoken however by the sound of my ring tone, which was a screamo band, blaring loudly from my right pocket. “Hello,” I croaked dazedly from my sleep. Dad was on the phone asking me whether I would like to know why I hadn’t needed to feed in the last like…three years or so. I just said ‘obviously’, he carried on saying that it was because it was like giving up smoking. Blood drinking was an addiction and if you go without that addiction for long enough it is less likely that you want to sate that thirst. So basically what he was trying to say was that I didn’t want to drink blood anymore, he said that it so infrequently that it just wasn’t necessary for me to do it anymore. In one sense I was grateful but I wondered whether I was still a vampire or not. I didn’t WANT to have to drink blood but now that I didn’t have to it made me wonder whether I was a vampire, when I asked dad he just matched what I had said 57

previously which was ‘obviously’ in my same sarcastic tone too. I pursed my lips. Even when dad had assured me constantly that I was still a vampire that same idea nagged in the back of my brain. When I eventually did purposefully go back to my private paradise that was my dreams, I realised that my illusory idealistic life with Demetrius had been polluted by the memories of his hatred towards me when I begged his forgiveness. Instead of making me cry when I woke up, however, for once I was just REALLY angry and unfortunately the miniature glass ornament beside me got the brunt of that anger when I threw it against the wall and watched it smash in front of me into billions of crystal shards. It was like it had happened in slow motion and all of those shards were of pent up rage, fear and sadness together. They burst into a firework before me and it was beautiful. I wasn’t going to cry and I wasn’t going to be treated like a damn mental patient. I flung off my sheets and stormed downstairs. I relaxed slightly and looked at Luke, “Luke thank you so much for looking after me…I will be back I promise you but now I have to go, things have to be sorted out.” “That’s ok, don’t worry I understand.” I could tell by the look in his eyes that he did and it was ok so I picked up my things, threw on my now dry clothes and left. I sprinted all the way to Demetrius ’s house hand jumped onto the ledge of his windowsill. I broke the window and jumped through. “WHAT THE HELL?!” he shouted at the broken glass on the floor. “SHUT UP! DON’T TALK! JUST LISTEN FOR ONCE!” I grabbed his throat and pinned him against the wall. “For you I have lost two of my best friends, I died for you I stayed with you through thick and thin and promised to you I would follow you to the edge of the earth and you say you need time, I’ll give you time, I’ll give you all the time in the world because I NEVER WANT TO SEE YOU AGAIN! Do you understand? I have ruined my life for you and the best you can offer me is a broken heart? Well I hope you realise what you’re missing. YOU ARE NOT MY SOUL MATE AND YOU NEVER WILL BE MY SOUL MATE. I don’t care whether you want to call me; I’ll change my number. If you want to write to me, I’ll move, IF YOU SO MUCH AS THINK ABOUT TALKING TO ME I WILL TEAR OUT YOUR DAMN VOICE BOX OK?” He nodded whilst his heartbeat went to the point were he was going to rupture something so I let go. “I will not kill you now but if you so much as think about seeing me again, I won’t be so fair. That is closure.” I closed the door and stormed out of his house shattering the panes in the door. “WAIT!” he shouted through the window. I spun around on my heel and said, “Do you even value your voice box?” And with that I 58

left. I cried but only out of adrenaline. At this point I knew I didn’t have to hunt but I wanted to and I owed Demetrius a bite so to he’s house I went and knocked him onto the bed. I punched him so hard he feel unconscious immediately and bit him as hard as possible and drained more than the usual amount of blood out of spite. I left, never to return. I knew it was unnecessary but revenge seemed the best thing for him at the moment. I stood in a clearing for a while. You see Demetrius ’s house had been surrounded by a dank would and then he lived in this bleak run down cottage in the middle of it. While I stood there looking at the battleship grey sky I pondered what to do next. I decided to go back to Wilfort Academy and walk Stretch. Once I got back the weather was much nicer, brighter as if some god was shining down on me for making the right decision. I walked casually to my room without fear or regret and saw this huge load of useless greyhound piled on my bed. “Hello there.” I smiled whilst staring at him. “COME ON STRETCH!” I shouted to which my dad came running in and shouted my name at me. “Yes?” I spun around to him. “You’re back!” He hugged me wildly and I just said that I was and nodded with my arms folded. “Can I walk him with you?” He said rather naively. “He’s a big dog.” He stuck his bottom lip out in a pathetic attempt to look sarcastically sad. “Ok.” I laughed because he was so annoyingly funny…and lame. I put my bright red basketball shoes on whilst balancing on the bed and listening to my favourite band on my MP3 player. Dad put on my dogs strange rust coloured greyhound coat, collar, black leather lead and blue muzzle. I looked up at dad and smiled until I saw Stretch’s muzzle and my smile dropped to shock. “DAD?!” “What?” “Why is he wearing a muzzle?” I said stroking Stretch’s snout, which was surprisingly icy. “Because when they start playing with other dogs sometimes they…nip them.” “Nip?” I laughed “Bite lightly; sometimes people don’t take kindly to that stuff, you know what I mean.” He snickered sarcastically. “Oh. That’s ok I suppose.” I cuddled Stretch’s woolly neck and kissed the side of his face, where his temple would be. I took Stretch’s lead and dad took me left hand, it took me by surprise and I snatched my hand away. “Sorry.” He said looking at his feet. So I reached out and took his hand. Stretch hopped along beside us gracefully and stopped dead to shake every now and 59

again but holding dad’s hand was nice I loved my dad. Then I starting feeling weird, usually when I’m walking I start going off in my own head and this time when I went off in my head all I could think of was Luke but in the back of my head was Demetrius nagging at me I didn’t love him anymore but did I love Luke? I didn’t know that either. Luke was lovely, nothing like Demetrius, so nice, so laid back and apologetic. He cared when I was sick. He bothered to show up when I needed him, without asking him. I kept fantasising until I met something that wasn’t a fantasy, it was a vision of the future. As soon as I opened my eyes and saw the car coming towards to me the dream smashed into millions of pieces like that poor glass ornament I obliterated. It was lost and I shouted out about it. Dad slapped me, “WAKE UP AMBER! I had the vision, I shook it off, and why would I want to envision that? But I remember that you and Luke were together. Don’t do anything rash because you’re ‘on the rebound’.” “Shut up dad!” I laughed and pushed him off me and he smirked. As we approached the brook I heard someone talking and I recognised the voice as Luke’s, dad let me go and said ‘be careful’ I nodded and ran over to him and then I saw him with his girlfriend. I was gutted; he was perfect it should have been obvious. She looked sad, he looked indifferent. I creased my forehead and watched through the hedges. After a while they stopped talking, kissed one another on the cheek and left. Luke walked away strangely grinding his teeth and I realised I’d seen enough so I left. Dad was gone with Stretch so I walked home on my own. I slammed myself onto the office chair in my room and went onto instant messenger. Low and behold Luke was online so I played the whole ‘I don’t know you’re online’ game until he said hi, at which point I said something ‘oh hi! I didn’t know you were on sorry!’ pathetically. These are our messages: Luke: It’s ok! Lol Amber: What u been up 2? Luke: I went to see my gf grrr she does my head in lol! Amber: Y? Luke: I can’t dump her she threatens 2 kill herself all the time  Amber: Ugh! That is so annoyin! Luke: I don’t know what I wanna do though Amber: As goes what? Luke: If I leave her Amber: As in goin out wiv someone else? 60

Luke: Yeah Amber: u don’t ave 2 ave another gf Luke: … Amber: Is there anyone you like Luke: Not sure Amber: Ah right, it’ll be ok *hugs*  Luke: Anyways I g2g babes ly xxxxxxxxx Amber: Awwwwww  ok see ya Luke xxxxxxxxxxxxx That conversation left me thinking, is there a chance? I shook the thought off when I saw Demetrius ’s face in my minds eye. I blinked away tears of melancholy, fear and anger. I heard a light tap at the door; I gasped and spun around, gun in hand. He sighed and placed my hand over my chest to calm my beating heart. “I didn’t say where I had to go but I wish I had now!” He laughed pulling the gun out my hand and away from my chest. “You ok? You were thinking about him again weren’t you?” I shook my head slowly but my head defied me and began to nod and I burst into tears. Luke rushed over and held me close and I cried on his shoulder. “He’s gone Amber, I’m so sorry.” “NO!” I croaked trying to scream, “Take it back!” I wept as I tried to punch him in the back with an embarrassingly pathetic amount of strength. “Hey! Shhh.” He whispered whilst gently rocking me from side to side. “I’m sorry.” I sniffed and wiped my eyes with the back of my hand and gently pulled away from him. “It’s getting easier, I promise.” I smiled shuddering. “I know, I know,” He said peacefully. I sat on the bed with my arms behind me and Luke balanced next to me and put his arms around me. I lay down and placed my head on the pillow, Luke lay down with his arms still fixed around me and I out my right leg over his and rested my head on his stone chest. I knew he had a girlfriend. I knew it was wrong. I knew what it was like to be cheated on but that’s when it dawned on me, this was either love or dependence, or both. He put his soft hands in my autumn leaf-coloured hair and smoothed it gently. “I love you Luke.” I sighed not with actual intention of making him believe I genuinely loved him. He just laughed once and shushed me. I just lay there. I didn’t sleep. I was thinking of Demetrius and how I’d almost killed him on purpose, and how I’d do it again. “Class tomorrow Amber.” “Huh?” “Back to school, you’ve been off long enough.” “Oh…right yeah.” 61

“It’s review day too.” “Review day? But I haven’t done anything this year.” “I know but they assess your progress from before…you know.” “Oh.” “Who’s your form tutor?” “Mr.Lakefield.” ”Gutted.” He laughed at me. “OH YEAH WELL WHOSE YOURS?!” I said sitting up at him out of amusement and fake annoyance. “Mr.Way.” “GUTTED!” I shouted back genuinely because I truly did hate Mr.Way. After that we just walked around Wilfort Academy together for the rest of the day, talking about…well everything really. We had an unnecessary hour to do review day so I walked around in the forty minutes or so I had after my session. Of course my form tutor didn’t know I’d gone on the wander but he didn’t know what time of day it was half the time. That was until I saw him I was delighted, my friend Vicerene was walking with me and I completely forgot her when I saw Luke. He pushed his bottom lip out in fake sadness and put on his classic puppy-dog eyes and held his arms out gesturing for a hug to take place! So I ran and skipped over to him and grabbed him. He spun me around laughing asking how I was. It was like we hadn’t seen one another for years. He called over to Vicerene telling her he had something important to tell me and asking her to go and get a history book from his form tutor, of course Vicerene agreed dazzled and overwhelmed by his beauty. “What is it?” I questioned. He took my hand and pulled me around the corner so his friends were out of sight. I was chewing my favourite flavoured bubblegum at the time and he could see that but what he did next took me COMPLETELY off guard. He put his hand to the back of my head and made out with me very passionately. I couldn’t believe what was happening but I didn’t stop it, quite the contrary actually, I pushed him against the wall and accidentally chewed my gum a bit. He pulled away and commanded me not to do so. Alas I did unconsciously so he took to a drastic measure and ate it. “WHAT?!” I shouted angrily. “Chewing gum or me?” He said with his hands still entwined in my hair I shrugged and we carried on. I pushed him off me and said ‘NO!’ like he was some sort of recalcitrant hound. “What?” 62

“I saw you! You have a girlfriend!” “I know, Cathleen. It’s just…we never see each other anymore, she’s so far away, emotionally and geographically.” He said sorrowfully and he out his hand to his brow and wiped away imaginary fear sweat. “Oh Luke.” I said sadly and put my arms around him briefly. “It’s ok. At least marry me.” He joked, everyone in our school joked about that kind of thing. “You already have, like four hundred wives anyway.” I laughed “I leave ‘em all for you.” He smiled with genuine honesty.” “Ok.” I smiled and he pointed his elbow at me to link arms with me. I did until we reached my food room. He cuddled me goodbye. “Alright, see you later Luke.” I smiled and tapped his forearm lightly. The rest of the day dragged and I was so gutted to find I had to stay behind for almost half an hour after school in the food block. I thought I’d rush off and see Luke but I had stuff to do. Even so, as soon as I could, I ran from the food block straight down to his dad’s room; where he’s usually waited for a ride home. My knees hurt from running so hard and fast, I charged through the maths block and saw his smiling face and crossed arms at the end of the corridor. “Wait!” I screamed breathlessly. I outstretched my hand towards him, oh to touch him again, just to feel his rough black military jacket against my cheek again. This was getting ridiculously loving. “Luke!” I jumped at him. “AMBER!” He shouted back seizing me in a spinning embrace. “I thought you’d left, gone back to your dorm for the evening.” He let me go and looked at his worn shoes. Shoes that didn’t really suit his magnificence, the way his jacket complimented his subtly muscular body, his dark skin, his deep dark eyes, his night-black military jacket (which I loved) and his black gloves. “I’m so sorry, it was Miss Oakley she held me back.” I frowned as if I was looking at her reflection instead of mine on the shiny linoleum floor. “Fair do, don’t worry.” He smiled and picked my chin up on his finger. He leant against the wall, one foot placed on the light blue paint. I leant with him. We spoke for about an hour until Krad walked by. I cried out a greeting to her but she ignored me and kept walking, much to my dismay. “That’s me.” Luke sighed as if in mourning. “No, no it isn’t, it really isn’t.” He fake smiled briefly and stared at his unsuitable shoes, tattered and torn, his shoes and his soul. “Luke, please, it isn’t you, she usually ignores me, and she’s only joking.” 63

“Hmmm….” He muttered under his breath he knew i was lying, “And you say you’re a drama student?” “Sorry, she’s just being stupid. She doesn’t take relationship advice off me, and I’m right.” “This isn’t a relationship.” “I know.” I said with a single tear dropping to the floor. That was it, we were exactly the same, he was perfect, so the same. We WERE soul mates and he knew it. “You know don’t you?” “Yes.” He stated simply. “But Cathleen.” “It’s not fair.” I meant Cathleen and that we were the same person. “I know.” “Amber?” He suddenly said looking up. “Yes?” I said bewildered. “May I ask you something?” It was the ‘may I ask you?’ that made me swoon. I nodded. “I know Cathleen wouldn’t stay with me when...” He sighed. “Amber. My band’s been signed. We’re due to tour America for four months. She won’t stay with me if I do. I don’t expect you to want to wait that long.” “When do you leave?” “In like three weeks.” He shrugged. “Oh.” “That’s why I’m holding onto this for as long as I can.” “I’d stay with you.” I said, and I meant it. I would. If we had to be apart forever we could still call each other and just the sound of his voice would keep me going. Demetrius was gone. There was no feeling there. “I’d be gone so long…you’d find someone.” “Luke,” I took his hands in mine. “I’ll never give up on you.” “Why though?” “Because…I can’t say.” I could here Vicerene shouting ‘NO! DON’T SAY THAT ARE YOU INSANE?!’ in my mind and she was right. “You can. I won’t laugh.” “I’m not expecting you to laugh.” I sighed. “What. Tell me. I’ve been so open with you, told you everything. We’ve shared feelings I’ve never told Cathleen and yet I feel I can trust you, why?” “I don’t know, because I can trust you?” I said dropping his hands. “No because I know you haven’t told me everything, tell me your everything Amber.” “No.” I smiled sadly and I told him I had to leave. 64

“I won’t force you into a corner; tell me if you have to Amber. Don’t let it tear you apart.” “I won’t.” I held him close and felt my cheek against his breast pocket. I left and I knew he was watching me leave. The next day I just felt worse that was until I saw his breathtaking face come from out of nowhere and smiled in my direction and I grinned uncontrollably back. My heart skipped a beat and my stomach lurched whilst the butterflies laid continuously hatching eggs. “Oright?” he shouted in my direction, I tried to say something but choked and spluttered and tried not to scream. “Amber?!” He shouted again and strolled over in his demigod way. “Hello.” He smiled. I could predict everything he’s say in the next thirty seconds this would be it: 1. Hello 2. How are you 3. Good, good 4. I’m fine thanks 5. Random conversation ensues that is usually about nothing that takes about fifteen minutes, and I love it. Obviously you can fill in the blanks as to what I would say. “My dad and I beat you here today again Amber. You said you’d laugh at ME when YOU got here first!” He laughed. “Go on then.” I sighed whilst smiling. “Can’t be arsed, too tired.” He yawned. “Awww bless.” I beamed. “What’s up?” he said detecting my inane grinning as a sign of…love? “Nothing, you’re just like dead cool.” “Oh now you’re lying to me?” He smiled unconvinced. “No.” I said. I wasn’t lying. ‘Oh thank God! Saved by the bell!’ I thought as soon as it rung. “See you later?” “Yeah.” He said outstretching his arms and welcoming me for our last embrace. I heard a single stilted heart beat and pulled away. “You’re heart is beating strangely.” He looked concerned. “It’s ok.” I said and smiled a tearful smile and began to turn away. Every Single Lesson Dragged 65

All of I thought of was ‘only so many hours and minutes until I see him!’ After chemistry I rushed to the sandwich rooms and slammed my behind into a seat next to Vicerene and her friends. Shortly Luke followed me in; I pretended not to see him. I felt his finger trace along my shoulders and behind my neck as he walked past. I stood up and smiled at him seeing that there were no more empty seats, I offered him mine; he politely declined and sat on a desk as usual. When we got outside Vicerene’s friends left so Vicerene and I stayed with Luke. I was really happy about this because out of all of the friends I only really liked Vicerene; she understood how I was feeling. Then Luke started acting…well…weird really. He started talking about not fitting in with us and finding new friends. I cried out ‘DON’T LEAVE!’ with the strong intensity of love, alas he left. Within five minutes he was back to see a heart broken me slumped on the floor with Vicerene’s arm around me. He sat next to me and held me telling me he was stupid and sorry. I forgave him and we went outside. Today Luke looked gorgeous the top button of his black shirt was open to reveal his tanned chest and he was wearing blue jeans and baseball shoes, his hair looked different but I didn’t care. We were having so much fun especially when Luke stole Vicerene’s bag and ran off with it and I had to chase him. When we finished running, he looked extraordinarily pigeon-chested, “Oh come on just admit it, you’re knackered.” I said relaxing and beginning to breathe heavily with exhaustion. He burst out laughing and panting and I laughed too. “You’re bizarre!” I laughed again. “Don’t…you just…love it?” He said with his hands on his knees whilst still panting. I just nodded and the bell rang for next lesson. Luke sighed and looked sad and straightened up. “I have maths now.” “Oh, I have food tech again.” I smiled. “Well, I guess, see you then.” He turned to leave and I felt miserable again. “WAIT!” I shouted when he reached the steps. I ran over. “Hug?” I said with my arms out. He rolled his eyes and walked over and hugged me. At the end of the day I strolled in the direction of my dorm before completely out of the blue I saw Luke. He ignored me at first, talking to Vicerene and her friends, his brother was there too. His brother was explaining that he wouldn’t give Luke a lift home tonight just to be bitter. Vicerene and her friends left without noticing me. “I better go Luke.” I said beginning to hurry off and suddenly feeling inexplicable de JA vu. Luke grabbed my arm and spun me around, “Stay.” He said like I was a dog or something, he pointed a finger at me and left, into his dad’s room. A couple of minutes later he popped back out followed by Mr.Beterine and Mr.Carr. Mr. Carr pointed to my 66

food tech and asked what it was, I told him it was macaroni cheese and he said that that was his favourite food and added an unnecessary ‘no honestly’. I blushed when Luke’s dad smiled at me and left with Mr.Carr. “Erm so do you need help carrying your stuff?” He said with the most non-violent/violent approach that I didn’t think possible. “No I’m ok thanks.” I said scooping my stuff up to leave. He touched my hand and said, “I insist.” “Erm…ok…the macaroni please.” I handed it to him. We walked together in silence and watched all of the staff go to their meetings and go about their business as if they had much to do. I had walked this route many times, dreamt about this so many times but now it was reality, Luke was walking me to my room and I didn’t have to imagine anymore. That was a lie actually, I did have to imagine, I had to imagine we were together; no one could stop us, invincible. He looked up and interrupted my thoughts, “Where are we going then?” he said. “Just up here.” I said looking at the set of stairs in front of us. “You know when you make a cake?” He asked on an unrelated note. “Yep?” “Will you give it to me?” He laughed. “Sure.” I smiled. I sighed as we reached my solid oak door. “Here we are.” I moaned unenthusiastically. “Yeah...so...erm,” He looked at his hands. “Bye Luke.” I half smiled to help him without being romantic. “Bye…Amber.” He said as if he was remembering my name. “Hug?” He suggested just as I had earlier. “Hug.” I smiled and held him close. “Why did you walk me up here?” I said to break the silence. “Why, to know where to come to see you.” He said grinning with a dark look in his eyes as he spun on his heel and left. I sat in my candle-lit bedroom and watched the flicker of the flames dancing on my bleak walls. I thought about many things, mainly Luke and then I decided to look under my bed. I’d not looked at this forgotten wasteland for a couple of years. I just saw lots of bits of paper and one drifted out and landed on my lap. It was a diary entry from 2003. It looked like the last one I ever wrote. It read: Friday March 2003: I gazed at him across the playground, he was standing there, military jacket on…as 67

usual, and long brown hair flowing in the wind…as usual and yet there’s something so unusual about him. His name is Luke something, all of my friends fancy him, and so does everyone else. I think he’s beautiful but I’ll never talk to him. He looks popular. He looks like this boy called Stephen in ninth grade. Luke ran off to his friends and his mate put him in a headlock, Luke laughed. I think Luke is in eighth grade, he’s not in my year, I’m in year seven I’ve just started upper half. Upper half is the vampire equivalent of high school. There’s a girl called Vicerene stood with Luke at the moment and she is really pretty, she’s in my year but she’s on a different half of the timetable so I don’t know her. In tenth grade I’ll probably meet her because that’s when the two halves will come together. She looks cool, so does Luke. He just looked at me, I’m embarrassed. I’ll write more on Monday. Monday March 2003: Today I’m going with my friends after school to this organised rock concert in the school hall. It’s called Academy Rock. Luke’s dad runs it I think, Luke’s band are playing, he’s really good but we like Standard Judgment better, that’s Stephen Candia’s band, everyone loves their band. Saw Luke today, my stomach went funny so I hurried past. The concert: WOW! Stephen’s band rocked! So did Luke’s, after Luke’s band finished I walked out of the hall for the interval, Luke was sat outside the double doors with his brother as I looked to my left. He made me jump out of my skin and his brother asked if I was ok, I said yes. Then Luke smiled at me nervously so I grabbed my coat and scurried off with my head down. Tuesday March 2003: Today I was walking about after school and I walked past Mr.Beterines room (Luke’s dad) and Luke was stood outside looking at the floor wearing his black military jacket he wore every other day, he looked up at me so finally I said something. “Hi Luke, erm… your band’s dead cool.” I said with my face going tomato red. “Oh…” He stuttered. “Thank you.” He smiled shakily. He seemed just as nervous as I was so I stumbled and ran off cuddling my maths book. Wednesday March 2003: Didn’t see Luke all day so I went about my school work as usual, Will was making me 68

laugh because he knocked a Chav over other than that everything was boring. Reading this I went through many emotions and thoughts. I felt sad, I missed Will. I was shocked at my premonitions about meeting Vicerene. The things about Luke scared me most, that diary was written five years ago and still my feelings for Luke were the same, that’s a lie, they were stronger. At the point my phone rang, nearly giving me a heart attack. It was Krad she asked me to come see her, she was feeling lonely. I turned up at Krad’s room only to be faced with a very disgruntled looking sister standing in the doorway. I looked her up and down and she just stood there and eyed me suspiciously. We stared at each other for a while and I tilted my head to the left slightly to look at her from a different angle, she mimicked my movement. I stretched my hand cautiously towards her, as did she. We touched hands and held them there; our hands were both ice cold, matching our eyes. We looked at each other with pure resentment, why I had not yet figured out. I tilted my hand downwards to make our palms flat against each other’s. I began to breathe again, “What?” I hissed, I was uncontrollably angry, I was going to hit her, and I clenched my fist tight beside me. My fingers dug so hard into my hand I drew bloody water. She took my stressed hand with a movement so fast I didn’t see it happen until I felt her hand against mine. She wiped away the bloody gunk. “That’s why.” She suddenly said letting both of my hands go and walking into her room. I felt my anger disappear and I followed her in and sat on the chair in the far right corner of the dank room. “What’s why? I don’t understand. What just happened?” “I can pass on my emotions to you, I can receive emotions off other people, and I can remember other people’s feelings. That’s how Demetrius feels when people fall in love with him.” “Demetrius.” I winced at his name when I suddenly remembered. “Yes, Demetrius. Remember? Remember everything, make it come back, make it hurt again like a salted wound.” “Why Krad? Why should i?” “Because that is the closest you have EVER come to love. YOU DO NOT LOVE LUKE. There is a difference between love and lust.” “There’s a difference between love and infatuation too and I crossed that line a long time ago.” 69

She grabbed me around the throat and slammed my back against the wall. “YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT LOVE IS.” She dug her fingernails into my throat; I genuinely thought she was going to kill me. “Kill me now Krad. Especially if this IS about Luke because there is no way on ‘God’s’ green earth I am going to fall out of love with him.” “I will kill you.” She looked sincere and I panicked. I grabbed a candlestick from behind me and with one swift swing to the head she dropped with me to the floor like a bag of bricks. Why was my family always trying to kill me? Part of me wondered whether all that was some sort of sick, unfunny joke. I stayed with her for three hours until she came to. “Where am I?” She croaked. “The floor of your bedroom.” I said blankly. “Why?” She looked really confused and dazed. “In short you tried to kill me and I knocked you out.” I laughed. “Why? Why would I try to kill you?” She became stressed half remembering what she’d done. “Because I love Luke.” I exhaled. “You don’t love Luke.” She said going to sleep with her head on my lap as if I’d just said ‘guess what Krad? I’m a chicken!’ “Krad! Wake up! I DO LOVE LUKE WITH ALL MY HEART!” “No you don’t you’re just being naïve.” She yawned as if I was just being a child insisting that I was, in fact, a chicken. “You know what, touch my hand and I’ll remember how I feel whenever I see him.” She sat up straight and messed with her hair. “Ok, go for it.” I leant over and felt her hand, I tried desperately to think of him but it wasn’t coming. I recalled that I had a video of him on my phone; Vicerene and I were trying to convince him to admit he was a waster on camera but it wasn’t happening. So I reached into my pocket and got my phone out, found the video and watched it on repeat, my heart was swelling to the point of bursting forcing tears from my eyes. Krad cried too, she felt how I felt as she clung to her stomach to try and kill those invincible butterflies I got whenever I saw him. She suddenly stopped and tore my hand from hers, “UNCONTROLLABLE INFATUATION!!!” She burst out laughing because of the butterflies tickling her immensely. She exhaled heavily and said, “Uncontrollable infatuation that’s all it is, you’ve pushed it too far because you’re ‘on the rebound’ as it were. Just drop it ok?” “No Amy.” I stopped her walking away. She froze dead in the door way and stopped breathing. “Amy.” She thought without turning to me. “That’s it.” She knew it was her name, I had forgotten myself. 70

“Amy. I love Luke and there’s nothing you can do, you never took relationship advice from me, why should I take it from you? I’m sorry. This is real. I am so deeply in love with…without him.” With this Krad turned around to face me, confused. “Without? How do you mean?” “He doesn’t love me back Krad.” “Oh I’m so sorry Amber.” She looked apologetic and placed an arm around me sympathetically. “If there’s anything I ca…” “No,” I stopped her. “There’s nothing.”

The next couple of days…well...nothing really happened; my friends and I discovered that the next Academy Rock would be on Tuesday. Vicerene, Jodie, Alice and I went up to the reception to get tickets for it. So here we are, Tuesday night. I’d been looking into the mirror for about fifteen minutes now pointing out to myself all of my facial faults, I decided I wasn’t good enough for Luke. Nevertheless, I put on my best outfit, I was wearing a black bandana with skull and crossbones on it around my neck, I was wearing a black band t-shirt with black drainpipes and a fluorescent pink belt. I didn’t look that bad and tonight I was to meet Luke’s girlfriend the first time. I stared out of the window at the trees swaying with the unseasonably warm...ish breeze. I put on my favourite trainers; they had a crowd, in red, jumping around enjoying a concert, in white, on them. I tapped the side of one of my shoes, slipped my mobile phone, five pounds (which I did not intend to spend) and my ticket, into my phone. I took a final glance into the mirror, lifted up my shirt to look at my, getting-fatter, stomach and realised I truly hated my appearance. I began to stroll down to the school, I crossed the concrete outside and perched on a wall outside the main hall, I recognised some people laughing, and I stood on the wall and grinned widely when I saw my friends: James, Laura and Jodie. I ran over and hugged each one of them and we caught up quickly, James smiled after he hugged me and told me Luke was probably in there (there being the common room) with his brother, they were practicing. Laura ran over and elbowed me, “Eh up Amber, here comes Luke, pretend you haven’t seen him.” She giggled. I glanced quickly to my right and saw him walking my way. I couldn’t help but try to crush those darn butterflies in my stomach but then they all disappeared when I remembered his girlfriend was coming tonight. “You ok?” Laura looked sympathetic. I nodded. “Hello.” Luke beamed still ambling towards me. “Hi!” I shouted choking back tears and going into false happiness mode. “How are you?” He said without breaking out of his usual route of conversation. 71

“I’m very well thank you how are you?” I said following MY usual route of conversation. “Excited!” He shouted barely containing it. “You’ll be wonderful.” I smiled reaching out to hold him, he held me tightly and then heard the beeping of a car behind him; we both let go and spun around. There she stood, short, jet-black hair, she was surprisingly unattractive. In my mind, she got out of the car, blonde hair flowing lusciously in the wind behind her, a white linen dress fluttering behind her, a picture of a heart breaker. Here she stood though however. Looking angry for some odd reason, she just stood there staring my dear Luke out. “Hi! How are you?!” He shouted from where he was stood next to me, with more enthusiasm that necessary. She stormed over and held him in passionate, yet angry, kiss. Every one of my friends behind my friends sat, mouths wide open in horror. James rose up from the concrete steps he was resting on leading up to the main hall, “Oh Amber I’m so sorry.” He whispered gently in my ear. I just stood with my mouth wide open, my soul had drifted from my body, and Jodie took my arm and pulled me to face her. “Amber? I’m sorry.” She repeated and pulled me into her embrace. “It’s ok. She seems like a bit of an ‘S’ word.” She said hopefully with a hint of a joke. The doors opened behind us and we were walking in until Vicerene came running over and was only stopped by the view of Luke and my new nemesis locked within one another’s kiss. “Come on Vicerene.” I said pulling myself together; I went to get my gormless friend from their line of view. Luke dropped his arms and pushed her off. He stared at me as if he’d just realised I was there, I just shook my head at him, turned on my heel and walked through the doors to get a seat at the front. No matter what had happened, I would still be there, right at the front, supporting him. I spun around, “NOW VICERENE.” I dragged her with me. We slumped down onto our chairs at the front; Vicerene turned to face me and held my hands. “Are you ok?” She said looking into my eyes. “Yes.” I said unable to break out of my state of shock. The first two bands dragged, right up until the interval. “Let’s get a drink.” Vicerene smiled. We were shortly joined by Jodie who grinned at me and then pulled me close to hug her, she was facing Luke’s girlfriend over my shoulder, and the intensity of her hugged stopped abruptly. “What?” I panicked; I thought they’d be all over each other again. “Look over your left shoulder, look at his girlfriend.” She cautioned. I spun around to see her giving me the harshest evil look I had ever seen, daggers, my 72

friend called them. Vicerene asked me what was wrong and I told her. Vicerene began to storm off in her direction, fists clenched, back into the hall. “VICERENE!” I pleaded. “NO AMBER! IT’S NOT FAIR! YOU’VE NEVERE EVEN SAID TWO WORDS TO HER.” She shrieked. She began to run over. “VICERENE NO!” I screamed. “What’s going on?” Luke jogged over from hearing us backstage. “NOTHING LUKE LEAVE IT!” I shouted at him. “AMBER YOU ARE NOT STOPPING ME.” She pulled at my arm viciously. I got down on my knees and begged her. She stopped but went off on a drunken rampage, muttering to herself as she went. Ten minutes later I went looking for her. I strolled around aimlessly until I got the common room and tripped over something. I looked down and saw a drunken mess of teenagers slumped on the floor. From the left they went: Luke, Vicerene and Laura. “Can I join in? “ I smiled down at them seeing Vicerene’s arm linked through Luke’s right arm. “YEAH, YEAH!” Vicerene shouted, as over enthusiastic as Krad was on a good day. “Sit,” She hiccupped, “on my lap.” She laughed. “No, no, I’ll just sit here, next to Luke.” I reasoned giggling at her. “Guess what we’ve just done Amber.” Vicerene looked at me and I shrugged, “GUESS!” she shouted. I shrugged again. “We had our pictures taken together!” She beamed at me. “Yay! Can I have one?” “NO! We will make another one won’t we Luke? With all of us.” Luke drunkenly nodded. We had our pictures taken; Luke and I were a safe distance apart. “Luke, why are you drunk? You have a set to do in like five minutes.” I reminded him. He looked shocked. “I have to go like right now!” He called, already half way down the dimly lit corridor. “OH WELL DOWN AMBER! You scared away the eye candy!” Vicerene cackled. “Right, well there was unnecessary amount of evil in that statement so no more vodka for you.” I said snatching the bottle and she reached from it. I took her arm and led her back into the hall, “Is she looking at me?” I kept my head down whilst I asked her. “Yes, that COW is giving you daggers again!” She shouted audible enough for my nemesis to hear it. “I mean really. Has she ever even said two words to you?” “No, no she hasn’t.” Viss just rolled her eyes as we took our seats. “I officially hate her.” Those were Vicerene’s last words as the curtains opened. 73

Luke’s set was fantastic. Once it was finished we had to wait for five minutes before the next band came on, in those five minutes Luke strolled in and let me congratulate him, but he was too distracted by looking for, her, I was upset when he mindlessly walked away to sit next to her and her ugly friend. I walked back up to Vicerene and she apologized to me for his behaviour. “Never mind.” I sighed as we looked at them while Vicerene bitched about them and how hypocritical he was being, he was always saying how much she blagged and then now he was all over her. It sickened, aggravated and crushed me all at once. “He’s a teenager; he doesn’t know what he wants.” I sighed again. The next band really bored us so we looked over to Luke’s missus again and saw a window of opportunity, “Amber, I’ll go stand with Luke and we’ll see how ‘under thumb’ he is and then we can prove it to Luke.” “How?” “You go sit with him, I’ll hug him and talk to him like normal and you sit with her and talk about her to me and record what she says.” “She blatantly hates me, why don’t I go over?” I suggested. “GOOD IDEA!” Vicerene snickered. “Here, my phone has a voice recorder.” I said darkly handing her the phone. We left in our opposite directions. No one had yet tried tonight to hug Luke, not even his best friends probably because of her. “Hi Luke.” I smiled harmlessly. “Hiya Amber.” H smiled back completely blanking his friends. “Like I said, great set, can I have a hug? I am your wife after all.” I grinned. “Yeah.” He said quickly sparing a glance at her and then swallowing hard; I did too and saw Viss working her magic, like a charm too. I held hi for longer than necessary. “Why aren’t you with your girlfriend?” I asked carefully, I could’ve been stepping on thin ice. He had a feeble excuse though, something like ‘she’s over there’. This did leave me slightly confused but whatever. “Anyway I should go see her. Nice talking to you again.”

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I nodded to Viss and she left, back to our seats. “Got it?” “Got it.” “Was she bitter?” “HELL…. YEAH!” She laughed. “Let’s go then.” My eyes followed Luke out of the double doors and we chased after him. “You go on your own; it won’t look like such a plan then.” I bitterly snarled. She scampered off. A couple of minutes later I walked casually around the corner. Luke confronted me, “Have you heard this?” He panicked. “Heard what?” Drama student mode engaged. “What Lucy said about you?” “Who’s Lucy?” I looked at Viss and she shrugged. “My girlfriend.” Luke stated. “No.” Luke played it back to me; I was shocked how shrill her voice was. The other thing that infuriated me was what she had said; she called my every name under the sun. “OH IT IS ON!” I stormed off like Vicerene had. “No Amber!” Luke called, like I had. “Or what?” They both froze. “Exactly.” I stamped away. Luke spun me around to face him and demanded I didn’t go after her, “Amber! How could you ever even slightly care about me if you are going to do this?” “What?! I cannot believe what I’m hearing; you’re forcing me not to tell her because you want to stay with her? Vicerene cover your ears!” She covered her ears so I continued, “What about us? Huh? Review day?” “I told you why that happened.” “Oh right well that’s ok then isn’t it? God!” “Amber I’m sorry but i…l…love…” “What Luke? Why is it so hard to say you love her?” “I want this to work.” “WELL THEN…” I exhaled heavily and relaxed, coming to my senses, “Oh ok, I guess it’s your choice, you make it work, you deserve a…good…I suppose, girlfriend.” “Thank you Amber.” “Don’t mention it.” I sighed looking at my basketball trainers. “You ca take you your hands off your ears now Vicerene!” I shouted at her lifting one hand off.

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I left early because I couldn’t stand her daggers anymore; I stood on my tiptoes and gave Luke a light kiss goodnight, just friendly. I turned around to leave and was faced by Lucy. “Bye Luke.” I said dodging out of her way, I got outside the double doors and counted back from five to one and the shouting began. I stood outside in the dark for a while to calm down with my friend Richard. We were talking nicely about love and life when all of a sudden I was slammed to one side by brute force nearly knocking me to the ground. I looked around to see the culprit and saw a VERY angry girlfriend and her friend storming towards their car, Lucy. I didn’t see Luke for a whole day on the last day of term, I new I wouldn’t see him for a couple of weeks so I waited outside his dad’s room, his brother said ‘hi’ and then passed me by. I waited for about three quarters of an hour and looked around, no sign of the angel. I sighed with melancholy and wiped away a solitary tear, straightened up and left, his dad held the door open for me. “Thank you sir.” I half smiled. “You’re perfectly welcome Amber, who were you waiting for?” He was intrigued; he knew very well the answer. “Erm…Luke sir.” I felt overwhelmingly embarrassed, I got embarrassed easily. “Oh he’ll be here in a second if you wait.” He smiled warmly, blatantly approving of me whether Luke would ever listen to that would be a different matter. “I really can’t stay sir, sorry sir, I’m late already.” I had to go see my dad, he would be angry. “I’ll tell him you waited.” He pushed the door open for me and I jogged away.

Luke avoided me on instant messenger. I was so confused, what had I done? I called Vicerene to see what was going on. “Oh erm… I kind of spoke to him about how harsh he was to you at Academy Rock.” I contained my fury well. “I see. What exactly did you say?” “I just said ‘you were super harsh to Amber’ and stuff.” “You realise he doesn’t know I’m in love with him.” “I know but…He was mean Amber!” We had a quick chat for a little while until I had to go. The next day I went on instant messenger again, alas he made his excuses and left. So later that night I snuck onto the computer (its lights out at about eleven). Luke was

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Online, I spoke to him normally but he seemed cagey, you know what computers are like at understanding your mood though. Then he asked me something about…ugh it was so late I can’t even remember but it was just silly and I made a joke about it but somehow he took it the wrong way and a huge argument ensued. He officially hated me he said he leaving and I begged him to stay because I just kept thinking of how this exact same thing had happened with Demetrius, except it had been Demetrius who started our argument. Luke didn’t start it, I did. I’m stupid and he’s perfect. He left telling me we would sort it out tomorrow; he listened not to my pleading. I stared at a picture of him for hours, until three o’clock. I lay in bed restlessly all night I couldn’t sleep. Vicerene came to pick me up in the morning for breakfast shortly joined by Laura; they saw my bloodshot eyes when we sat down with our omelettes in the dining hall. “Amber, I’m worried about you.” Laura whispered. “Good to know.” I said without taking my eyes off my omelette. I squeezed some ketchup onto it. “Amber listen, we love you ok? You’re our friend, we’re not saying get over him, we’re just saying…” Vicerene paused to think. “That you need a break!” Shouted Laura. “Look over there.” I pointed to Marilyn and Jaret, “Jaret has been coming in here for the past five years trying to woo Marilyn, never has it worked but he keeps trying, all because every time he gets a response off her, he feels that she’s a little bit closer to him, on the same wavelength. I never understood until now, it’s because he loves her.” I smiled at him and he smiled back I gave him the thumbs up as if to say ‘keep trying, you’ll do it’. “Awww!” Vicerene held me and I felt safe. “It’s going to be ok.” Richard came across with his eggs and slumped beside us. “Amber it makes you do stupid crazy stuff, they might not be telling you to give up but I am, you don’t wanna be like Jaret, still trying to get with her until his forty do you?” “Yes Rich, yeah I do. I don’t care how long it takes, if it takes that long to make him get even the slightest but closer to me then so be it, I don’t care.” I contradicted him. “Amber, give up now, ok?” I couldn’t believe how he was being, he’d never been like this, he’d always been supportive and now he was being…mean. “NO! No Richard I won’t!” I took my omelette, scraped it in the bin and left.

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I was storming down the corridor towards my room, when Vicerene, Jodie and Laura stopped me. “Hey Amber!” Jodie shouted hugging me. “Would you like to come with us to Birmingham? We’re gonna go shopping!” She laughed and I smiled and nodded. “We could get coffee and…erm…shop and shop so more oh and I have to get tickets to the electro-rock concert next month!” She was so excited; I remembered what it was like to be like that, what I used to be like before I fell in love. Before Demetrius and before Luke everything was nice but even then I was all over Lawrence, I was perfectly happy before I even decided to try and find my soul mate. Since then all I did was think EVERYONE was my soul mate. “Ok Jodie, is everyone coming?” “Yep! Come on!” They said in chorus and they linked arms with each other and seized mine and skipped away to the bus stop. I sat on the floor with them and decided to forget about boys, I had a really good time just sat there. The bus came quicker than we thought, we didn’t recognise it but when we got on I must have asked about forty times whether this bus was the one going to the station and forty times he said yes. We ended up four miles away from the stop when the driver pointed out he wasn’t going today. We ran for twenty minutes before reaching the station and we could not stop laughing about nothing, just this stupid situation. I was panting when we reached the train station; we perched on benches waiting for the New Street train. Jodie looked at me and then looked at some really cute emo boys on the benches about twenty meters from us and she giggled covering her mouth. “Those boys are checking us out Amber!” She giggled again. “Oh my goodness they totally are!!!” Shrieked Laura. “That one is hot!” Eyed Vicerene. “Shush! Yeah actually they are cute.” I laughed at them. Jodie started scrawling something on the back of her spare ticket. “What are you writing?” I half smiled.

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“Just your number and Vicerene’s.” Vicerene just smiled cheekily, I thought of protesting but to hell with it. All I thought about was…well nothing. I wasn’t usually into silly girly flings but I thought maybe I should just get over it and stop reading into soul mates all the time and just be a teenager. “Quick! Give it to them the train’s here!” Jodie beamed. Vicerene took the ticket and skipped over to the boys, she smiled and pointed to hers and pointed to me, then the ticket again, I blushed bright red. We hopped onto the train followed by the lads. Just then I felt my phone shake in my pocket, I took it and realised my mobile instant messenger had signed itself in, Luke’s window had popped up, he had signed in, I didn’t tell anyone. I sat down with the girls at a group table and began to message him, the conversation started normally, for me anyway. Amber says: Hello Luke says: Hello Amber says: Do u still want 2 talk? Luke says: Bout wat? Amber says: Wat happened a couple of nights ago :S Luke says: Oh…erm…yeah. Listen, I’m really sorry Amber, that was out of line, I don’t wanna talk bout wats goin on ok? Amber says: Oh kk, I really sorry Luke Luke says: KK Amber says: So R we ok? Luke says: Yep Amber says: YAY!!! The conversation stopped for quite a while, I was talking to my friends. “Hey guess what guys?” “What?” They said in chorus, I swear they have that down to a fine art now! ”Luke’s talking to me again!” I screamed. I was ecstatic. I was so glad to be ok with him again; I forgot what it was like to be his friend! They all cheered. “You on instant messenger Amber?” Vicerene smiled. “Oh darn you’ve rumbled my game!” I grinned sarcastically. She just laughed and tuned back into the conversation about what shoes they were going to buy, I mean why avoid stereotypes girls? After about fifteen minutes Luke’s window popped up again making my phone fall off the table from the vibrations. 79

Luke says: Bak Amber says: Oh thanks 4 telling me you was goin’ lol! Luke says: lol! Sorry  Amber says: Don’t worry  Luke says: How r u? I couldn’t believe everything was so normal again, I couldn’t have been happier, I wasn’t even mad that everything had blown over so easily after I had been so distraught. Amber says: Ecstatic lol! U? Luke says: Fine thanks Amber says: Wuub2? (If you don’t know what this means, it means ‘what u been up to?’) Luke says: Nothing much u? Amber says: Going to Brum with my mates Luke says: Cool! Av a gud time!  Amber says: Will do  see you *hugs* xxxxxxxxxxxxx Luke says: Byeeeee x I had a really good time in Birmingham, we went shopping and saw a really good film, I had so much fun, even better now I knew Luke and I were cool. I’m going out sometime next week so I’ll probably describe more in detail next time and compare the two trips… ugh! I’m such a nerd! I sat slumped on the floor with Jodie and Vicerene outside, bottle of lager in hand. “Hey Amber! Check it out! Luke’s coming over!” Jodie slapped a hand over Vicerene’s mouth, “Shut up Viss or he’ll hear you!” She hiccupped. I turned to face Luke; unfortunately I met his eyes so I couldn’t childishly look away as if I hadn’t seen him. “Hello!” He shouted with his gorgeously velvet voice. I blushed and tried to cover my stupid, gormless smile. “May I talk to you?” His face suddenly turned concerned, my stomach still tickled though because he said ‘may I’ how pathetic… “Of course!” I outstretched my hand and suddenly spun around one hundred and eighty degrees to face Vicerene. “Did you tell him?” I said acidly. “Not a word.” She smiled cheekily and winked, damn it she’d told him. 80

He took my elbow and walked away with me, “Hello, how are you?” He sighed softly. “I’m wonderful now thank you. How are you?” I didn’t lie, I felt even happier with Luke than I did with anyone else. I’d sacrifice a million excellent trips to Birmingham to be with him. “I’m…concerned.” He stopped and turned to face me, I never realised how far we’d walked until I saw the dots that were my friends. I frowned. “Treat it as practice for ten days time.” “It? Oh my God, I know what you’re talking about; you’re leaving in ten days.” I flopped onto the floor like some sort of sick jellyfish getting thrown to the floor. He flopped next to me, “I’m going away for a week to get ready for when we leave. You are still ok with staying with me aren’t you?” He placed his arm around me. I felt like crying, the tears were burning my heart. I did promise I’d stay with him; I would, to the end of the world and beyond. It clicked right then. I spun my head around to face his, my mouth was wide open. I put the words together that he’d just said ‘staying-with-me’. “Staying…with…you?” I felt fireworks burst into beautiful rainbows in my mind as I realised what he was saying. HE wanted ME. “Well…yeah…but as my best friend.” Fireworks extinguished. “Oh…Lucy…she’ll stay with you.” It wasn’t a question. “Yeah! Isn’t that great!” Yeah bloody great Luke, wonderful. Not to him it isn’t Krad texted me. What? I said back. Yeah he was like ‘damn!’ when he spoke to her about it. You might as well go for it. I nodded. “Hmmm…” I said making him doubt himself. “What?” He looked worried, exactly what I wanted. “I was wondering, how are you going to make me want to hang onto the idea of you?” I was cheating; technically, all she did was give me daggers. Want me to situation change for you? Krad texted spontaneously. What? I didn’t know what the hell she was on about this time; maybe she’s lost it. Yeah check this out, no girlfriend; well actually, there is a girlfriend…you. Don’t get too attached it only last an hour…when the clock strikes twelve! She put a little ghost picture on her phone, I loved this idea. Ok, there you go, DON’T GET TOO ATTACHED! You have literally got until about…two minutes past twelve, make sure he’s sat exactly how he is now when you get him back here. I won’t talk to you. She texted me finally. 81

I slid my hand onto his hand; he gripped my hand tightly and pulled me onto his lap, we held each other for ages! Then we walked up to his room, we stayed together until twelve and then we ran back to our spot, I pretended we were playing kiss chase, I know its lame. Back to reality. “How do you mean?” He said bewildered, it took me a minute to grasp what he was saying; I’d asked him to make me want to hang onto him. “Oh, doesn’t matter.” I smiled and hugged him. “So we’ll have like three days together before…” I choked on the last word. “Yep, you ok?” He bent down to look into my eyes. “Yes Luke, I am, don’t worry.” I fake smiled. “When…” I cleared my throat and made my voice stronger. “When is it that you leave?” He looked worried again. “Erm…I’m packed.” He bit his lip. “Don’t do that, you’ll hurt yourself.” I said motheringly but I stumbled on the last word and fell over into tears, I put my head in my knees, I was so embarrassed. “Why didn’t you tell me?” I shuddered. “Because…well I guess that’s why I started the argument, so it would be easier for you, but I couldn’t leave with that image of you. You were crying, I’d hurt you.” He pulled me close to him; I snuggled into his warm chest and snuffled a bit so I didn’t get snot all over him, so attractive. “Oh.” I couldn’t say anything else, a whole week. “Look, I’ll be on instant messenger ok? You’ll be ok. Go to Birmingham again.” He smiled hopefully, it didn’t touch his eyes, and I glared up at him. “For a week, I can’t do it.” I sobbed. “But what about when it’s four months Amber?” He looked slightly annoyed but then it moved to pain. “I will wait, it will be hard I won’t lie to you, be I will wait, always.” I straightened up. “See erm…that’s the thing, Lucy may wait a week for me but she said she won’t wait for four months.” He said sadly. “Oh I’m so sorry.” He stopped me. “So she’s coming with me, she doesn’t want you to text me, she’s suspicious.” WHY WOULDN’T HE BREAK UP WITH HER? She hated me so much, she knew I was a threat, she didn’t deserve him, no one did but I deserved her more than her! “Oh…right, oh well that’s wonderful, four months without a single but of contact, don’t worry…I’ll still wait.” “That’s great.” He cuddled my hard and then let me go and stood up. He took my hand and pulled me up. “Goodbye Amber, I’m leaving at four o’clock so that’s about…three hours now. That hour flew by fast!” 82

“I know Luke.” I held him tightly and kissed his cheek. “I’ll miss you so much…I really wish you didn’t have to do this…but I am so happy for you.” I assured him and took his hands, I daydreamed about him and I doing this forever, just standing and holding one another. “I’m so sorry.” I flicked my eyes up to his. “For what? Oh…Lucy…” He looked to his shoes, which were, today, black basketball trainers. “Hey,” I placed my fingers under his chin and forced him to focus on me, “It’s not her… it’s me…I’m sorry we met…. but I wouldn’t have it any other way. We both know we’re soul mates but…it just wasn’t to be, don’t blame yourself.” “Don’t say you’re sorry.” He looked apologetic himself. “You daft thing.” I said softly and I held him tightly knowing this would be the last time we would speak. “Sorry I can’t do that finger heart thing you do but I would f I could, it’s cos my hands are stupid.” He smiled “Don’t say that, come here.” I took his hands and did ‘the finger heart thing’. “Lucy!” He said shocked. I spun around. “I came to say goodbye, but I see someone’s already doing it.” She snarled in her shrill voice. She jogged up and grabbed his cheeks and went to perform an oral assault on him but just as her lips touched his he pushed her off with more force than necessary. “What?” “This Lucy! Look this isn’t fair, just because I’ve had a conversation with Amber,” I smirked at conversation ’…it went further than a conversation when you were in love with me’ I thought. “And we’ve had physical contact,” ‘you can say that again’ I thought and smirked again, “doesn’t mean I’m suddenly having an affair, you don’t have to make her jealous. SHE DOESN’T LIKE ME. Ok?” Oh yeah right, of course I didn’t, idiot. “I am so sick of this Luke. I am so sick of you. I don’t wanna go to this stupid tour you’re doing…you suck anyway.” She stormed off. Luke slumped onto the floor, furrowing his brow and making stilted puffing noises, I slumped with him and put an arm around him, I sort of knew he wanted to shrug it off but I kept it there so he would be safe. “Love you Luke.” I whispered, he didn’t know the half of it. “I’ll miss you Amber, I guess you’ll be the one to wait for me then huh?” I noticed he didn’t say he loved me back. “Do you want to go out, for one last time?” Even though we’d never been out together. 83

“Yeah of course if you want me to come.” He smiled looking slightly better, less stressed. Every facial expression suited him though, even if he was pulling a ridiculous face he would look breathtaking, I’d never seen anything like it. He was annoying! I stretched out an arm for him. We strolled around for a while before Luke met my gaze, “Hey, how’s your dad lately?” “Oh we haven’t spoken for a little while.” “Why?” “I dunno, sometimes we just drift, dad has his own life, and sometimes he goes on his holidays without breathing a single word, sometimes he just doesn’t talk. He’s only just started to realise his responsibilities, he was with me for ages after my breakdown, and he deserves a break.” I thought for a couple of seconds before Luke clicked in front of my face to wake me up. We reached the old water well and perched on the stonewall behind us and looked at the moon, there was an ominous blood cloud surrounding it. I shuddered. “Luke…how long do you have left?” I worried; I’d just die if anything happened to him. He looked at his watch, “Oh, a good couple of hours.” He stared at the moon, “You feel cold.” He said as his arm brushed my bare skin, his military jacket was placed over his arm. He glanced at my unmoving body. “Here.” He handed me the jacket, “Ignore how cliché this seems.” He laughed. “Thank you.” I smiled and quietly sighed. “Will you always wait?” He looked lonely. “Of course, I’m not lying, I’ll always be here, promise.” I lent against him and he put his arm around me. “Hmmm…” “What you thinking?” “Just…are you lying?” “No!” I sat up straight and grinned at him, “I mean it.” “You look tired.” I think he was satisfied that I was not flexible with the whole ‘waiting for him’ thing. “I am.” “Go to bed then come on.” He scooped me to my feet. “NO! We have like two hours left, I won’t waste it.” I nearly burst into tears. “I have to feed, that’ll take an hour.” He suggested. “I’ll come along.” “You don’t feed anymore do you?” “No but I’ll do it with you, a final drink.” I giggled. 84

He stretched his arm out and rolled his eyes, I took his elbow and we walked to the local pub, it was a Friday night they’d be plenty of drunks hanging about waiting to be bitten. When we reached the pub there was a drunk sleeping in the gutter. Whilst Luke fed I looked at the reflection of the orange streetlights glowing, on the wet stone slabs beneath me. Luke elbowed me, I spun around, he had some blood clasped in his hand, I drank some. “Non-lethal amount, don’t worry.” He smiled. “We should be headed back now sweetheart.” He reasoned and I nodded sorrowfully. We walked all the way back to Wilfort Academy and we had about half an hour left but Luke knew he had to go. “Let’s not make this hard. Let us just hug and leave yeah?” I nodded again and accidentally knocked tears from my eyes. “Come here.” He held me close and swayed slightly, “What are we going to with you?” He talk down to me a bit cos I was younger than him by a year. “In response to what you said earlier: Love you too Amber. Get some sleep.” “Ok, keep in touch?” “I will goodnight.” “Goodbye Luke, goodnight.” I squeezed him hard and then waved at him and watched him walk away. “Don’t look back.” I shouted to him. “Keep the jacket! Then you’ll know I’m coming back.” I nodded. That night I went to sleep holding the jacket, holding Luke. When the sun finally bathed my pillow, my phone rang, Vicerene told me to meet her and the rest of the group at the Saturday Kitchen in the dining hall this morning, in about fifteen minutes. I looked down at my stereo and put on a good waking up song. I took off my blue pyjamas and replaced them with a black sweater vest, a white shirt and black skinny fit jeans. I quickly pulled the straightners through my hair and put on some mascara. I looked out of the window, stretched and took a deep breath. This left me the necessary five minutes to get my stuff together, get to the dining hall and get a bagel and orange juice. However, as I glanced at my phone when I was waiting for the others to arrive, at my table at the back of the hall, I realised I had a message. One Message Received Luke (1) Heya, half way to America Text you when I get there Hope you are ok, don’t worry yeah? 85

Don’t message me back, its expensive lol! Love yaaaa! Luke X I laughed at the text, he seemed ok. I thought he was probably excited, bless him. I put my phone away and sat with my arms folded waiting for them. I turned to where Jaret and Marilyn would usually be and could barely contain my shock when I saw them. Something I never expected had happened, I glanced around to see everyone doing the same as me, gawping. I looked at Evangeline, formerly Sophie-Olivia, and she just shrugged, laughed and carried on eating her scrambled eggs. We all stood up together, all of the vampires united, and cheered and clapped at Jaret. Jaret had finally got her; there they were, kissing each other like they’d been together forever. Vicerene made me spin around with her cries of ‘OMG! CONGRATS!’ Everyone sat down and settled back into their breakfast. I beckoned my group over; they all sat down and asked what had happened. We gossiped about it for ages until Vicerene pointed out she’d seen an argument between Luke, Lucy and I. She asked what it was about and I just told her Luke finally stuck up for me, “So are they over then?” Jodie said curiously. “Think so…not sure. You never know what he’s like don’t you?” I smirked. “Yeah, I suppose, he’s weird, bless him.” Joked Vicerene. “You know that’s what I said.” They all laughed with me in chorus. “So, next trip to Brum then girls. When shall we do it?” Jodie said slapping her hands together in the prayer position. “I dunno, I mean, do we have to go to Birmingham necessarily?” Vicerene said tilting her head to one side, a bad habit to get into. “What d’you mean Viss?” Jodie asked, only vaguely defensive. “I mean like going out to a restaurant or something, what do you wanna do Amber? You’re the one who got left behind.” Left behind, sounds about right. “Thanks Viss,” I laughed, “Hmm… I guess we could go to a concert or something.” I suggested but adding strength to the ‘go to a concert’ part. “OH YEAH! Who’s on at the Rock Room Arena though soon?” Jodie exclaimed. I should explain that the Rock Room is our local Arena; there aren’t many others around. “Well, according to this mag’ Grenade Arcade are playing soon.” Viss had got up and left whilst Jodie had spoken, she stole the magazine of Jaret’s table. “Mint! Let’s go. How much?” I shouted, Grenade Arcade were my favourite band, and yet still they remained unsigned. “Twelve fifty.” Viss sighed. 86

“Well we all have twelve fifty don’t we? Why you sighing Viss?” I wondered, hoping she could go with us. “Yeah, sorry I just thought you and Jod were too cheap to go!” She laughed. “Shut up!” We both said and knocked her off her stool. We all finished our breakfast and walked to put our trays away before patting Jaret and giving him low fives as we left. We chatted about nothing and laughed at nothing all the way to the bus stop, the bus got here just as we arrived, just in time. We hopped on and Viss showed our travel passes. We sat at the back because the most seats were there. I sat in the middle with two seats to spare beside me. At the next stop two boys hopped on and sat next to me, the one sat closest was the cute one. Soon his arm was around me and even sooner off me. Vicerene suggested making Luke jealous would influence him to pursue me, I suggested, childishly, that she shut up. I sat next to Jodie and soon his arm was around Vicerene who smiled smugly to me and I rolled my eyes. When we arrived at the Rock Room Arena we strolled to the ticket office and got our money out, “Amber, do not look up. Keep your eyes fixed to the floor.” She held my neck in place. “Why?” I hissed. “You don’t want to know.” Jodie hissed back. “Can I hit him?” Vicerene said, her lips were pulled back over her teeth; you could hear it in her voice, like you can hear a smile. “No.” Jodie said firmly. I slapped Jodie’s hand away and looked up, Demetrius. Anger swelled in my stomach and then fear, I began to sweat cold water. My fists clenched into balls unconsciously. ‘Remain calm’ I told myself repeatedly, my legs began to shake. I felt nauseous and I went dizzy. I thought of Luke and everything began to go black. I awoke to a room full of people staring down at me; I held the back of my head and sat up. “Are you ok Amber?” Demetrius asked and held an arm out to help me stand up. “Get away from me!” I screamed out of fear not anger, I crawled to the wall and scrambled to stand up. “Dad!” I shouted and looked around, I was still in the R.R.A. “DAD!” i shouted louder. “I’m here.” He sat down next to me with Stretch on a leash beside him. Stretch snuffled at my face and it made me laugh.

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“GO AWAY DEMETRIUS!” I screamed at him. “Disappear like the coward you are again! Vicerene you can hit him!” I looked at her with anger burning in my eyes. Vicerene hit him square between the eyes. “Thanks for looking after Stretch, I’m not cut out for looking after him, you can keep him.” I smiled to dad, still a little bit dazed. “Oh thank you Amber!” He said like a little kid, it made me laugh. “Jodie is buying your tickets to that concert.” Dad said. “Oh ok. Dad, why have you been gone so long?” I said thinking of Luke. “Amber, I wanted to tell you, I’ve been finding my life of loneliness…harder, and I’m moving away, I’ll still see you when I can. Please understand?” He begged. “Of course I do,” I hugged him. “Dad, you mean the world to me and if this is what it takes to make you happy then I say go for it, as long as I’m aloud to visit?” “Yes Tyler of course you are.” He smiled and told me he had to go, so we hugged goodbye and he left. “You ok Amber?” Vicerene said offering me a hand up before rubbing the other, reddened, hand. “Yeah thanks, I guess it was just an emotional build up topped off by a huge jerk!” I laughed with the girls, Jodie handed me my ticket. My phone rang loudly in the smalldarkened reception area; I seized it quickly to end my humiliation at my screamo ring tone. I looked at it, yet again, one message. One Message Received Luke (1) Hey, I said I’d message you when I got here. This is the second from last text I’ve got No credit. The other text is for my girlfriend. This place is great, can’t wait for when I’m here properly, I’ll miss you and Vicerene and a few others. Have a nice time. Oh! By the way, Grenade arcade are playing the Rock Room Arena Enjoy! Love Luke x “Oh Amber I’m so sorry.” Vicerene said softly and pulled me into her embrace. “He is such an idiot for going back to her.” She said swaying gently, still holding me. “No, he never left her.” I said and walked home.

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10:00pm To: Luke_b@wilfortacademy.co.uk Subject: Hey, hope you’ve got your laptop on you! Message: Hey Luke, I know you said not to text so I’m emailing you lol! Hope you have a great time in America, my dad is jealous cos he’s never been. I miss you, still holding on don’t worry. I’m glad you and Lucy are ok  You better bring me something back lol! Have a good one Love Amber xoxoxox I wasn’t going to hold my breath waiting for a response but somehow I felt closer to Luke, just knowing that soon he would read what I’d typed made me feel safe. I sat at the head of my bed holding his jacket tightly; it still smelt like him, like cheap aftershave from a catalogue. I sat and thought about all the times he’d made me laugh, like when I asked him why he stank of an array of perfumes one day, he said he’d rubbed a catalogue on himself cos he was out of his favourite aftershave. When I was in Birmingham and I’d had to wait for fifteen minutes for Jodie to try on jeans and it was boiling, I texted Luke to save me and he said he couldn’t because he was naked. When I asked why he told me it was because he was about to have a bath, shortly after he texted ‘man bath obviously’, that made me laugh too. I flopped backwards and lay down on my back still cuddling the jacket. ‘If only he knew how I felt…of course he would have to feel the same too’ I thought to myself. At that moment I would’ve loved to have what I had with Luke when Krad manipulated our little situation, except this time…longer, forever it was so fun, we just lay together hand in hand on his bed, looking out of the skylight. I’m not one to kiss and tell but when I kissed Luke on review day, I could’ve stayed there forever, died on his lips. Now that bitch was in the picture, I would never know what it was like to be in love WITH someone. You have to be loved back to be in love with someone, I find. I decided to put my mind to rest and go to sleep, after all then there would only be six days to wait. Six

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Morning, this was the day that I realised everything I did was what I did every other day, routine basically. I’ve always liked the security of routine though, still, this morning when I got up I stretched and listened to some different music and I felt relaxed, I put it on my mp3 player and strutted down to the dining hall for a laugh. I saw my group sat at the back table, I gestured for them to come onto the outside patio with me, why not? It was a warm day; it’d be nice I assured them. We sat on the deck and I observed everything they were wearing today, I was wearing a black and white stripy top and, yet again, black skinny fits. Vicerene was wearing a black tank top with a fish net tank top over it; she was wearing a black miniskirt with a studded belt over the top. Her hair was bobbed and gelled to be spiked at the back again. Jodie in comparison though was wearing a denim skirt with black leggings underneath, she was wearing a white neck t-shirt and her blonde hair was pulled back with a hair band. Laura was wearing a grey top with an ‘urban’ design all over it; she was wearing sky-blue denim jeans with a silver belt draped over them. “You guys look dead cool.” I smiled and various choruses of ‘awww’ and ‘so do you!’ broke out. Vicerene stood up to take our trays away so we left to wait outside by the BMW. Vicerene joined us shortly and we all hopped into the car, Jodie took the roof off so we could go as Vicerene said in her usually innuendo style ‘let’s go topless!’ “Where are we going then?” I asked them turning around to Jodie and Laura in the back, Vicerene joined me in the front. “Just a drive?” Laura suggested. I agreed so we began to…well…just drive. That was until my in car videophone begun to ask me whether I would like to accept a video call from California, “Oh!” Laura shouted, “It’s him it’s him!” “Shut up Laura,” I demanded, “Yes I accept.” I said turning back to the flashing screen. “Hello?” Luke said looking around the screen for a camera. “Luke dear just look into the middle of the screen.” Vicerene laughed. “Hi Luke.” I smiled “How d’you know we’d be driving?” I pondered, trying to answer my own question. “Oh, I called your phone, your dad answered.” “Eh? Did I leave my phone back at Wilfort?” I asked Jodie. “No, I didn’t see you with it at all today.” She looked confused. “Your dad said you lost it yesterday, he said you had a fall. I was ringing to see if you was ok?” He said in his usual confused yet grammatically incorrect way that was the dopiness I loved in him. “Yeah, yeah I’m fine. I just saw…someone.” “Demetrius you mean.” The words still burned, that wasn’t a question.

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“Luke were just gonna put you on hold a sec.” Vicerene said politely but assertively. She pressed the hold button, “What are you doing?! Tell him you’ve met a boy, tell him you have a boyfriend and I’ll hook you up with my mate.” “YEAH THAT’S A GREAT IDEA!” Jodie shouted enthusiastically. I sighed but agreed and pressed the screen again, to see Luke biting his nails obliviously. “Luke.” I clicked in front of the screen. “Oh, hi!” He dropped his hand to his side immediately. “So, what have you been up to?” “I had a great time yesterday with he girls.” Vicerene elbowed me in the side like a knife, I jolted, “Oh and I met someone, I have a date tomorrow.” I smiled. “Oh…right…cool, well have a good time.” He looked pathetic. “Now you know what it feels like.” Jodie muttered, I threw a bottle cap at her. “Well I gotta go, six days left until I see you again, maybe I’ll see your…” He swallowed as if repulsed, “Boyfriend.” “Yeah hopefully.” I smiled again, “See you Luke, have a good time.” “Will do, oh and you too.” He pressed the ‘end call’ button. Vicerene looked smug but said nothing. “Thank you…I suppose.” I laughed, I was a little bit worried about him but Jodie was right, he deserved to know what it felt like. As soon as I got home Jodie and I walked to my dorm, we changed my instant messenger name to ‘Amber + Ross’. I was uncomfortable with the whole situation so we began telling people that I was breaking up with him and asking people for advice on instant messenger. That was, everyone except Luke, I wanted to Luke to hurt. It wasn’t that I wanted to upset him…well…actually it was. I wanted him to know what it was like; maybe jealousy would drive him to want to be with me. It was then, when I was talking about leaving Luke, Luke signed in. He ignored me, I felt weird, he used to be…I dunno but he always spoke to me first. Amber + Ross says: Hello? Luke says: Hello! Amber + Ross says: What u been up 2? Luke says: GUESS WHAT??? Amber + Ross says: WHAT???! Luke says: LUCY TURNED UP! She actually came to America to try and make this work! Amber + Ross says: Oh…great…well…great. I’m going now bye x 91

I sign out and then sign back in because Luke is saying something. Luke says: Oh look…you’re NOT gone I signed out quickly, I couldn’t face Luke, how did I get to this point? My life never revolved around anyone but my friends and I. Grave Some days later, everything seemed normal, except today was not a normal day. Today I walked down to the pond, picked some lilies, roses and bluebells and strolled down to the lake. I sat on the wooden bench and look straight ahead, I know in some way you can hear me, I’ll find a way I promise, one day we’ll be together again. Oh God I miss you, I love you so much, I thought and tears spilled down my cheeks. I’m so alone. I sniffed and placed some of the bouquet down onto the floor, I think today I might stay right here and talk to you, you remember when we used to sit on the bench and talk for hours? Remember when we found those frogs here when I was so much younger? I wasn’t even a vampire then, I doubt just how vampire I am now. Remember Luke Beterine? Remember how scared I was of him? Well now we’re like best friends, I’m in love with him. He has a girlfriend though, she’s a total cow and she hates me. How’s Loz? I trust you two are up to your usual tricks? I love you Will, I miss you. I flopped onto the grave and began to cry. “Hi.” Vicerene sat cross-legged next to me. I sniffled and sat up wiping my eyes, “Hello.” “You ok?” She said. “Viss, its four years today.” I cried out like an injured animal, I was an injured animal, I was emotionally scarred and I was an animal because I was still drinking blood even though I didn’t need to, I was sick. “I know it is Amber.” She pulled me into her chest and cried on my shoulder with me. “We’ll find a way, there has to be a way.” I demanded. “Have you asked Rondolph?” She sniffed. “No…not yet. I don’t want him to see me like this, I will when I’m better.” “Ok.” She took my hand and led me to the decaying bench. “Viss? How did you know you loved Lawrence?” I looked at her. “Hmm… that’s a tough one. I don’t know, he was just the most beautiful person I’d ever seen, you don’t care what anyone else thinks, you never feel lonely and it always hurts, it’s like the best agony you’ve ever felt.” She stared off into space as if imagining it. 92

I put my arm around her, “That won’t be it, you’ll be with him again, I promise.” I held her close. “Did you get that thing where you have like invincible butterflies in your stomach whenever you saw him?” “Yeah, yeah!” She laughed. “I get that.” I laughed back. And I woke up That night I slept well knowing when I woke up it would only be three days until I saw him again. However, my dreams disturbed me; it was the best and worst dream of my life. It was the worst because I would wake up and the best…well…you judge, this is the earliest I can remember: I looked into his eyes. “I can’t tell you.” I sighed looking at my feet like the first time we were alone together, only this time it hurt to be with him. “Do I have to?” “I would hope you’d tell me.” The most aggressive form of emotional reasoning. “It’s just…” I stopped to sniff and wipe the tears from my eyes. “What? What is it Amber?” He said softly as he put one arm around me, I both wanted this moment to end and last forever. “Call me Tyler. That’s who I really am.” “Tyler?” “Tyler Rose Lattice.” “It’s a beautiful name, can I call you Rose?” “Call me anything you want.” I said with the same bleak tone in my voice. I sighed heavily and met his gaze with tears brewing, which he helpfully wiped away. “You have no idea how hard it is to say it and not hear it said back.” “What?” He said sympathetically. “Luke I…” “What?” He said with the same tone and held my cold hands. “It’s ok. I won’t laugh.” “You said that before and I told you I didn’t expect you to.” “What is it?” “I can’t lose you. I won’t.” “You’ll never lose me. Do you want me to make it easier for you?” He stopped. “Yes, please do.” He placed a finger under my chin and pulled my head up to face his and kissed me. I know it was wrong, again. I didn’t care. I still don’t. “Lucy.” I choked pushing him off me. He spun around in panic, “She’s your girlfriend.” “Rose.” He froze and looked at me dead in the eye like he was watching my heartbeat through my pupils. “Your heart is beating wrong again.” 93

‘Wrong’ I thought, ‘not as wrong as what we’re doing now.’ “So is yours!” I laughed in defence. He grinned the grin I loved and forced me to do it back. “I adore you. I worship the ground you walk on and if you can’t see that then you’re blind or something.” “I’m not clever. I can’t do that weird heart thingy you do with your hands but I can give you my heart and you can keep it. I’ll leave Lucy.” He said hypnotized. “I care for you and if you can’t see that in my soul then you are lacking one. I want to see you every morning. I want you to be the first thing I see in the morning and the last thing at night. I’d kill to spend every waking moment I live proving how much I love you and wishing you were with me right now. Just say you feel the same?” I looked at him and burst into tears of relief and joy, when he nodded, “I do.” I put my hands up in front of him and did the weird heart thingy and shouted ‘how hard is that?’ at him laughing. I picked me up with an ecstatic look on his face and spun me around in his arms and kissed me. And I woke up. That was the best dream I had ever had and my alarm clock woke me up screaming. I looked at my computer, my instant messenger was flashing, Luke…and Demetrius. Amber says: Hello? Luke says: Hiya! Demetrius says: Hi! Amber says: Demetrius why are you talking to me again? Amber says: Hi Luke! How are you? Can’t wait ‘til Thursday! Demetrius says: Dunno Amber says: What changed? Luke says: I’m fine tar u? Y can’t u w8 til Thursday? Demetrius says: I dunno Amber says: COS I SEE YOU AGAIN SILLY! Amber says: Ugh…fair dos, I don’t even care anymore, I don’t love you ok…but I do like u…sort of. Luke says: Oh kk, cool! Amber says: Ly Luke! Luke says: Ly2 Amber! Demetrius says: whom do you love? Amber says: a boy Demetrius says: does he even love u back? 94

Amber says: ye he does. I’m going now bye Amber has blocked Demetrius Luke says: I’m bored Amber says: I’m knackered do you have any idea what time it is over here? Luke says: Nope Amber says: It’s 4:30 dear lol! I’m going to sleep yeah? Luke says: Yeah ok night, night Amber  Amber says: For whatever time it is in Luke land, goodnight Luke  xoxoxox Luke says: xoxoxox I slumped on my bed and wriggled under the covers, I dozed for a while until I fell unconscious. This dream was far more unsettling. “NO!!!” I screamed as loud as I could until my lungs filled with blood. I saw Luke fall and the knife fall beside him. “NOW WE CAN BE TOGETHER!” Demetrius screamed back and hit me to the floor. “I DON’T WANT YOU!” I stood up and punched the air but Demetrius was gone, I dropped to my knees in front of Luke, I tried to stop the blood. I drank the blood, I sucked the wound. The blood kept coming and all I could hear was Demetrius crying out for me. “LUKE HANG ON!!!” I shrieked, “Oh God…oh please, Luke? Please…please, please, please.” Luke went ice cold and fell through the snow. Demetrius turned to Kyla and I was begging for Luke’s life again. “LUKE!” I shouted, wounded. Vicerene shook me violently and I woke up breathing heavily, I looked at the clock, it was ten in the morning and I’d got nearly the whole of the academy up to help me by accident. Everyone left when they saw I was ok. “Amber!” Vicerene called in my face. “Yes! Vicerene yes! I am awake!” I laughed. “Guess who’ll you’ll see again in two days?” She beamed. “I know yeah!” I laughed again. “Anyway, I can’t come out today I’m looking after Mary.” Mary was Vicerene’s younger sister. “Can Jodie come out?” I yawned as I rubbed my eyes. “Nah…she’s helping me sorry.” She looked guilty. “Ok, see you in a bit.” I hugged her and she left. I got dressed like normal and did everything except today at breakfast. Richard, Checkers and Jessica joined me. These people were three of my oldest friends; we 95

barely talked any more though. When we got outside, sun swept the courtyard. We decided to go to Goursemoor Park; we sat on the swings for hours and talked. I got bored after a while though and by a while I mean after six hours. I began to walk home before I saw Demetrius, we walked together, I was cagey but he was ecstatic to see me, unfortunately. We realised we were both going to the same concert in December, this annoyed me slightly but nevertheless we still spoke normally. Pretty soon Demetrius was talking about how much he’d missed me and lots of other mindless, boring information I didn’t care for and then he admitted he still loved me and wanted me back, I just laughed and I felt rage building in him but I didn’t care. I just acted uninterested until he took my forearm, pulled me to face him and he forced himself upon me in a violent kiss, I slapped him as hard as o could and he let me go. Anger burned in his eyes and he clenched his fists tightly and hit me harder than I’d hit him. I fell back slightly and put the back of my hand up to my bottom lip. I looked down to see bloody-water all over my hand. I stared at Demetrius dead in the eyes, “Did you just…hit…me?” I whispered. Demetrius stared at me and panicked, he ran. I Just went home, I wanted to tell Rondolph but I realised that would drag on for ours filling out paperwork to warrant an arrest. I sat on a bench to think for a while to work out how long I could sleep to pass the time. In the end when I got home, I found that I could sleep for a good few hours, twenty-three whole hours. When I awoke it was twenty past nine with just one day to go. I sat up and typed on the computer for a while, there weren’t many people on instant messenger, Luke wasn’t there, and his status was set to ‘packing’. I was so excited about seeing him tomorrow that my butterflies had come back so if you wouldn’t mind I’d like to skip to Luke’s return. Luke’s Return It was the first day back in education and everyone was fatigued, most people had partied and drank non-stop through the holidays including me so everyone was zombiefied when we got back! In the morning I went about my business as normal, saying hello to my friends just generally having a chat. I walked outside to meet Jodie and saw the beauty of Luke in the corner of my eye, my heart pounded and the blood rushed to my head, I stumbled and gathered myself. I strolled over to Jodie, pathetically and immaturely ignoring Luke. He ignored me back and I was quite offended actually. He ignored me right up to the bell and beyond, I was quite depressed and I told Vicerene 96

about it in second period. When the bell went, Vicerene dragged me down to the Hollow, where Luke and his friends usually hung around at break time. Vicerene and Luke spoke for a while whilst I stood there wondering what to say first, every now and again he would glance at me and look back to Vicerene. I pulled my blazer right under my eyes to make myself invisible but unfortunately it didn’t work, in fact it drew attention to me, “Hello Amber you ignoramus!” Smiled Luke and I remembered why I was in love with him, not that I’d forgotten but from that smile I had further reason to live. “Hi.” I croaked simply. We spoke very little all break until the bell went. I can’t even what I remember what I had third period, I just remember running to the meeting room at dinner time to see him, he was really late and Laura left because she didn’t like him anymore because of some bizarre but bitter argument over instant messenger. It turned quarter to one and Vicerene stood up, “Come on Amber, he’s not coming.” She said pulling me up, I grudgingly agreed and pulled my bag on. “Where you going?” Said a familiar voice. I happily turned around to see a…sad face? Luke was never sad, he was always inanely happy and it was annoying. “Luke?” I said walking closer to him with sympathy and concern in my eyes reflected from my soul. “Yeah but I’m not here for long, I’m going to see other people.” He said with the same bleak tone. “Wait, sit down.” I said pointing to the table. We both sat next to each other, quite close together as usual. “Are you ok?” I said putting my arm around him and dipping my head down to reach his. “Yes.” He lied. “You call yourself a drama student? You should be ashamed of your awful acting! What’s up?” I started laughing but ended abruptly when I saw him laugh once and it didn’t touch his eyes. “You wouldn’t understand.” He said bleakly...again. “Oh thanks, at least credit me that I can understand YOUR problems. Is it family stuff?” “Nope.” “You problems?” “Yep.” “You personally?” “Not technically.” “AHA! Relationship.” I blurted out but controlled myself. For the first time he looked up and met my eyes, he looked tired and depressed, as if he’d been up all night trying to 97

resolve his problems; he nodded and looked back down. “Oh Luke come here.” I said pulling him close. “I’m really starting not to like this Lucy of yours, look if all you do is argue why are you still together? It’s not rocket science dear, if it seems the majority of the time you’re fighting then you just have to ask yourself ‘is it worth it?’ There are so many girls who would die to be yours,” I should know, “So go find one.” I encouraged thinking ‘please don’t look any further than sat by your side’. He nodded again. “I have to go.” He stood up to walk away but I surprised myself by seizing his arm. “Don’t leave.” I whispered, just like I’d done when he took me in. “I’m going Amber sorry, it’s not you, I came to see you because I’d missed you, but I have others to see.” He finished his justification speech and saw I was unsatisfied so he took me in his arms and…rubbed my back? I looked over my shoulder to Vicerene, whose eyes lit up when she saw that the hug was lasting much longer than normal and saw the whole ‘back-rubbing’ thing. She ran over and whispered for me to start a conversation with him. I let him go before he did and I started a less than meaningful conversation with him to stop him leaving so Vicerene could work out whatever it was she was trying to work out. Soon she was at my side and muttered ‘Look into his eyes’ into my ear. I followed her advice and looked into his beautiful eyes, she was right, they were dilated, hugely. “One second Luke.” I said stopping him. I turned to Vicerene, “His eyes?” I said. “It’s scientifically proven that if you look into a boy’s eyes and they are dilated, they like you.” She jumped up and down delightedly. “Really?” I was gob smacked. “Yep, and with dilated pupils like those I think ‘like’ may well be an understatement and if I heard right ‘relationship problems…’” She hinted. I looked back to Luke who was looking uncomfortable. “I really must go.” He said beginning to turn away, I couldn’t fight it anymore, if he had to go then he had to go, I’d see him again soon anyway, even though soon wasn’t soon enough. “Ok.” I sighed and held him once more and let him go, I waved and said, “Love you Luke!” As he left, he turned back and smiled. Vicerene and I picked up our bags and left to the outside world, we began to climb the stairs and we saw Luke walking our way, “PLAY IT COOL.” Vicerene suggested threateningly. “Ok.” I said agreeing with myself I wouldn’t go and raw attention to myself before realising I was waving at him. “I drew you a picture.” He laughed randomly. 98

“Why?” I smirked. “I was bored in third period so I felt like drawing, not specifically for you.” “I feel so special.” I sighed sarcastically but light-heartedly. “What’s it meant to be?” I laughed turning it in every direction trying to work out which way it went because I couldn’t make head or tail of it in its current rotation. “An alien.” He said naively. He corrected me in its rotation. This is the drawing to show you what I mean:

“Quite crude isn’t it really Luke?” I giggled. “Oh fine!” He said sarcastically snatching it back. “Oh be fair it does look like it was drawn by a three year old on drugs!” I laughed again. He outstretched his arm and pulled back the sleeve of his jacket, he revealed a hand bandage. “Ouch! What did you do?” I said holding his arm gently. “Just fell that’s all.” He said elusively. “I could show you how I write, I busted up my writing hand so I’ll showy you how bad I am. Give me a piece of paper.” He pulled a pen from his bag while I found some paper; he leant against a wall and scrawled something onto the paper thoughtfully. “I tried my hardest.” He said childishly presenting me with the paper. It said:

Translation- Luke Beterine + Amber Flames. “That’s cute.” I smiled softly. “Well, I have to go now. I must go find my friends, I couldn’t find them so I was thinking of coming back to you, but now I think I need to talk to them.” He reasoned. He tried to walk past me so I dodged in his way, “I can see this is going to be a challenge.” He muttered, “Sorry.” He hugged me and picked my up by the shoulders and physically moved me to one side. 99

“No! That’s not fair!” I cried out. “Hey, what are you so upset about?” He rushed back over, “You’ll see my tomorrow.” “Tomorrow!? I haven’t seen you for a week and the best you can offer me is tomorrow? Why not tonight?” I whimpered. “I can’t tonight after school I think I’m busy, not sure. Look I haven’t seen my friends for an entire week Amber.” “You haven’t seen me for that long either!” “…Touché!” He laughed. “See you Amber.” “See you…Luke.” I whispered as he walked away into the rain, which seemed to fall right on cue. “Sorry Amber.” Vicerene said appearing by my side. After school I walked passed Mr. Beterine’s room anyway just to make sure Luke wasn’t there. I thought of walking round again but I thought ‘is it worth it?’ That was until I saw the figure of him leaning against the wall on the phone. He saw me and finished up. “Yeah ok…bye.” He put the phone away, “Hiya!” He smiled. “Hi how are you?” I said getting straight to the point. “Bit better, you?” “Fine thanks…well I’ve just had science so I could do with being woken up a bit!” We laughed. “Sorry Amber I do have to go see someone,” He said when we got to the end of the corridor, “I’m really sorry, see you tomorrow?” He enquired offering a free hug as a bribe, I nodded and took it. Lucy In fact he didn’t see me tomorrow, or the next day, or the next day. He was ill. He was on instant messenger but we didn’t really talk because he was busy. All I got from him was that he was ill and that he and Vicerene had had a huge argument and they were no longer talking or for that matter seeing. Vicerene herself told me I would not have to pick between her and Luke because she’d ‘never dream of putting me in that situation’. I didn’t really care, I secretly hated Laura anyway. My thoughts were rudely interrupted by the noise of my screamo ring tone. The voice on the end of the line was shrill and unfamiliar. “Hello?” I said with irritation. “Hello, listen I haven’t got much time but would you mind meeting me and the bridge next to The Dark Moon pub? I really need to talk to you; I believe you may be in 100

danger.” Her voice was rushed towards the end, it sounded like poor acting to me but I didn’t care, I was bored. “Yeah ok. What’s your name?” I said pulling out a pen and paper. “No time!” She said putting the phone down, why was there always ‘no time!’? I slipped on my new jacket; I bought it when I went to Birmingham with Jodie and the others so it is relatively new, and put on my basketball trainers. I quickly ran a comb through my hair and checked my appearance in the mirror, dull as always, very plain. I quickly jumped out of my window and climbed down the fire escape and fell onto the floor beside Vicerene’s purple BMW, she always left her car unlocked and today she’d borrowed mine so I took hers. She had one of her favourite CDs in the drive; it wasn’t one of mine so I put my mp3 player on instead. It was quite a nice afternoon, sunlight washed the road and you can smell summer in the air. The gravel crunched under the wheels of the car and I stepped out. I stretched and smelt the air; it was a typically picturesque summer scene. I glanced around for the mystery caller, nowhere to be seen but to be fair I didn’t know what she looked like. I sat on the front seat of the car with the door open and my legs dangling out. I decided to draft how I would Luke that I loved him on my phone, all I got was ‘Luke, you reached for my hand and touched my heart’ when I hear footsteps crunching towards me. My head shot up and I saw Lucy, she looked unusual, I could never put my finger on it, was she ugly or was she…I didn’t know. “Hi.” She said quite normally. “Hello. Would you like to sit down?” I shifted along one place on the seat of the car. “No, no. I won’t be here long.” I gently pressed voice record on my phone so she wouldn’t see it. “Oh ok then. What was the problem? Why did you want to see me? Assuming it was you how called me?” “Oh yes, yes it was.” Her look turned dark and I sat bolt upright. “I understand you’ve met my boyfriend Luke?” Suspicion crept into her eyes. “Yes I have, lovely lad, really like him.” I smiled light-heartedly. “Oh do you now? Oh well that’s wonderful. I really like him too, will that be a problem?” She tipped her head to one side. “No,” I elongated to ‘no’, “Why would it be?” I said genuinely. “It’s just, he and you seem to be getting very close, now, I’m not a suspicious girl,” You could of fooled me, “but it seems he really likes you too, you two seem to have more than he and I do in common.” Her voice became mildly threatening. “Oh well I’m sure that’s ok.” I suggested. “But it’s not though.” She said louder and stepped forwards. “Luke is my boyfriend and 101

without him I would just die.” She stressed the ‘die’. Translation- if he dumps me its bye bye Lucy. “I’m not saying I love him, by all means not but all my friends want him, he’s more of a trophy. I only have to do one thing to make him stay with me, not threaten suicide, not threaten him at all, soon I’ll be sixteen though, get where I’m coming from?” Her eyes said it all. “Yes I do, I don’t love him though.” I laughed. “This is no laughing matter Amber Flames. Tell me something, have you ever been in love?” The word love burned me. “I…no…not him…I didn’t love him, I needed him. I didn’t love Demetrius.” I decided, it was the first time I could say that, it felt good. “Are you in love?” She whispered walking closer. “No, am I supposed to be?” I was a little confused. “Amber, give me your phone.” She reached for it and I yanked it away. “No.” I stated simply, I switched off voice record. “Give it!” She seized it and looked at my notes folder. “Aha.” She muttered satisfied. “What?” I became edgy. “Luke, you reached for my hand and touched my heart.” She looked into my eyes. I snatched the phone back and pressed record again. “Care to answer my previous question again? Are you in love?” She spaced out the words dramatically. “Without him.” I mumbled. “Oh is that right, he talks about you all the time, I think he does.” She suddenly sounded human. ‘Huh?’ Was all I could say. “Luke loves you.” She whimpered. “I have to go.” I said and turned around fully in the car and drove away hastily. Blank The next day when I saw Luke he blanked me. I was slightly disappointed being as I’d spent the past four days missing him, I was stood with Vicerene while she spoke to him, and not one word did he say to me. The day after that I was even more depressed, I felt his eyes grazing across me as I passed him but when I looked his way he looked away. Vicerene took my hand at break and dragged me to where he hung around at break she and he spoke for a while and he glanced at me once and met my gaze, we held our glance for precisely three seconds and he dropped his glance first. He walked away and Vicerene called out for him to come back, he politely did as he was told and Vicerene 102

told him to talk to me. I tried to be normal but he didn’t, I started to cry shamelessly. I stormed away followed by Vicerene and Richard he spun me around and hugged me, Luke shouted my name sympathetically but I paid no attention, I just ran and kept running. Luke ran after me and grabbed my arm “Get off!” I shrieked trying to sound threatening but I just sounded hurt and scared. I yanked my arm away and Vicerene yelled for him to leave me alas he did not listen and continued to follow me. I was exhausted, covered in tears and red faced. “Leave me alone Luke.” I struggled in hysterical tears. “No, tell me what’s up.” He said sitting next to me on the cold wet wall. “No. You don’t understand.” I demanded. “Yes I do though, you understand me.” He reasoned. “Half the time I bloody well don’t.” I muttered. “Please tell me.” He begged taking my hands. I looked up and Vicerene, who left, and then I looked at our hands and broke down, “Oh Luke I’m so alone.” I finally admitted it, Demetrius had left a painful scar than had just healed and the Luke tore the plaster off and made it bleed fresh blood. “Why? You have the best friends anyone could ever ask for and-“ “No. I don’t want friends, I’d leave all of my friends, and I’d give up everything and anything if I could just…just…” I burst into tears again after cutting him off. “Just…” He rolled his hand and raised his eyebrows, beckoning me to carry on. I wouldn’t, I shook my head. “I feel like *&%$ and you made it worse by being so closed and not being there for me.” I cursed. “How did I make you feel like *&%$? How was I not there for you?” He repeated me. “Because, I told you, you weren’t there for me. You weren’t there for me because when have you even talked to me over the last couple of days, you haven’t even come to see me at dinner times or anything, I mean what the hell? You weren’t there for me when I needed you most and that’s all that matters.” I said and I stood up to leave. “Amber, I care about you. How was I supposed t-“ “No you don’t how could you care about me? I kiss me and then tell me you love Lucy, you see what Lucy did to me and looked the other way; you ignore me, you-“He stopped me as I did to him. “How was I supposed to no you were sad? How was I to know you needed me?” He shouted. “I always need you.” I whispered. “What?” He said unnervingly leaning forwards to look directly into my teary eyes. 103

“I need my friends?” I suggested. “No, no. That’s not what you meant.” He made me carry on. “Yes it was.” I insisted childishly. “This is all about Lucy.” It wasn’t a question. “Ok. I’ll tell you why I’m ignoring everyone, it’s because I think this might be it for her and I, I can’t hang on any more, I’ve grown to loathe her. Are you happy now?!” He said with tears welling in his eyes. “No.” My voice cracked, “I’m never happy any more.” I broke down all my barriers and just let go, I cried harder than if I’d told him I loved him and he didn’t feel the same way. He pulled me into his arms and we cried together, I got his jacket all wet. “I love you Luke.” I said without genuine meaning. “Ok.” He said. It was always heart breaking when he didn’t say it back; I was dreading the day when I had to say it for real. “Amber, I’m alone too.” He wept. “I know, I know how you feel. To have to tell someone you don’t love him or her back. What’s worse is when you love someone and they don’t love you back though.” I said sitting back down and sniffing. “Who is it?” He guessed. “Just a boy but I can’t live without him, he stops my blood when I see him, my heart skips a beat and I feel pained and overjoyed together, I’m so in love with him.” I cried injuredly. “If you love him that much then you have as much right as anyone to tell him.” Luke said. “It’s not fair though, he has a girlfriend.” “Amber, I have two words for you- Krad’s girlfriend.” He laughed. “Yes but…well, you know how hard it is to tell someone you love them and not have them say it back don’t you?” I knew he did and he looked hurt. “Yes. At least I knew how he felt though and then I could let him go.” “Yeah but…what if I like being in pain because of those couple of seconds of blissful serenity I feel with him, aren’t those moments worth the pain? I don’t want to give him up.” I sighed. “You’re weird.” He laughed and stood up straightening his trousers. “Ok.” I put my bag on, awkwardly hugged him and left. Clearing A few days later I didn’t see him all day, I was crushed, I realised he wasn’t coming back. I cried for about five minutes before Vicerene shouted a curse word at the top op her voice and rung him. She shouted for a couple of minutes before a very indifferent 104

looking Luke turned up and looked at me. “You wanted to talk to me.” It wasn’t a question that he said as he looked me dead in the eyes. “Come over here.” My stomach spun, ‘Right.’ I thought, ‘I’m telling him, right here, right now.’ “Ugh. Do I have to?” He said looking rather lazy. “No.” I sighed vaulting over the wall that separated us. “Right,” I said, “let’s get down to business,” I sounded disappointed. He laughed and then looked slightly confused when I didn’t say anything. “Erm…you may begin?” “Oh thanks, I’m glad I have your approval.” I said sarcastically and rolled my eyes at him. “This is so hard.” I dropped my head into my hands. “Oh God.” I half gasped. “I don’t want to lose you.” I whimpered. “You said it wouldn’t be bad news.” He was puzzled, as was i. When did I say anything? I didn’t even remember asking him to see me. I went along with it anyway. “It depends what kind of person you are.” I said looking up to meet his wondering gaze. “Meaning…” He rolled his hand gesturing me to carry on. “Meaning…you’re not like him at all.” I thought about that dreadful day when it had happened, when I gave Demetrius my heart and he threw it away. “Demetrius?” He guessed. “Yup.” I sighed again. “You aren’t. You’re the complete opposite. I just…I can’t lose you. Just in case you decide that this changes everything. Can you guess what I’m on about?” I looked up at him again; he seemed to be clinging onto my every word. He muttered something, “Huh?” I said. He muttered again, this time it sounded more like a question, I took out my earphone, I’d been half listening to music, “Huh?” I said again. This time he rolled his eyes and muttered the question with more force and is still didn’t get it, it made me laugh. In the end I just pretended I’d heard him and shrugged and said I didn’t know. Now that I think back to it I think he might have been asking me whether it was something to do with going out with him. “Luke, I…I thought I was ready, I’m just not. I’m so sorry.” I stood up and glanced over at my friends who had all stopped dead and were staring at us, Luke stared back and laughed, they pretended, poorly, that they hadn’t been looking. “Hey, hey take it easy.” He said looking back to me and noticing my shaking. “You don’t have to tell me yet, just promise you’ll tell me?” He said taking my hands. “Yes, yes I will, soon, I promise.” I looked into his eyes, they were no longer dilated. I really loved him and it was doing what Richard had said, it was making me do stupid things, crushing my soul. If he rejected i was sure I’d never love again, I couldn’t even 105

look at him ever again. At about quarter to six I decided it was a warm enough evening to take a stroll. I put on my jacket and my basketball shoes, again, and left. I walked down to The Brook. The Brook was what all the kids called it; it was actually Shropshire Brook Road. It was a place that, at first glance, you’d dismiss it for a dank hole and a load of green but if you go around the side you can see a putrid moat and loads more green. If you kept walking however, you’d discover a little overgrown path and that path led to a clearing where Handsacre Hall used to stand. It was a gorgeous little area about one hundred by one hundred meters. I sat on the rectangle of bricks in the middle and looked at the clear blue sky. I thought of how this place was just the antithesis of my mind, it was quite serene and empty. My mind was rushing, full and my thoughts were rioting. I lay back on the grass and tried to make my mind as clear as the sky but it was just like the tangled bracken ahead of me. All of a sudden my phone broke the tranquil serenity with a piercing ring tone. “Hello?” My voice sounded dry as I sat up and straightened my clothes. “It’s four weeks Amber. Not five, we’ll be on a week long trip to America when Luke leaves.” Jodie sounded distraught and it sunk in, she felt bad for me. “Damn.” I whispered. Infatuation It was four weeks Jodie was right, I wouldn’t get to say goodbye to Luke and if he didn’t decide to stay instead of leaving with his band that would be it. “Oh my God.” I whispered to myself I whispered with tears of sudden realisation bursting down my cheeks. I had to tell him and soon. That night Luke asked me on instant messenger what it was I had half wanted to tell him, he’d asked because he felt we could no longer hang around together because he’d fell out with Vicerene and Laura for good this time. I didn’t tell him. I really was in love this time. This time I meant it. This time it was true. Even now when I’m writing this ahead of all that’s happened, I still know I love Luke. I will always love Luke no matter if I never get him. Apparently Luke was all excited about moving away though. He was pretty much oblivious to the fact he’d never see any of his friends ever again. 106

On Monday I decided to tell him, “Luke do you realise how much time you have left with us?” I said quietly looking him in the eyes. “Us?” He looked baffled even though it was pretty obvious I meant his friends, I’d included myself as his friend. “Oh! You mean my friends, right!” He shouted with realisation and then his face dropped and the colour left his face. “I’m leaving you guys.” He whispered. He knew if he left he’d leave his entire past behind, his family, his friends, his old life. “How much time do I have?” He whispered again. “Luke, you have four weeks.” I stressed the ‘weeks’ part. “Oh God yeah, yeah I have.” He said flopping onto the wall beside me. “Are you ok?” I said trying to put my arm around his shoulders but dropped it when I remembered ‘I’d just die if I lost him’. “What am I gonna do Amber?” He looked at my pleadingly. “What am I gonna do Luke?” I looked upset at him. “I don’t know. Tell me what to do.” He begged. “Pack.” I whispered. “That’s all you can do, spend time with all your old friends and never take your time for granted.” How could I even say that? I’d be taking my last weeks for granted. I wouldn’t tell him. “I guess.” He sighed, “you still gonna stay with me?” He looked a bit stressed. “Yes.” I stated. “Yes I will, I’ll never let you go. Not even if you wanted me to.” I half laughed and my lip quivered, “Luke you’re leaving for good aren’t you?” I gasped stopping the tears coming. “Yes.” He nodded. He looked at me and wiped my tears away like in my dream. “Please tell me.” He half suggested. “I will.” I looked at my shaking knees. “My leaving present?” He asked sadly. I shook my head and stood up. “No.” I said as I had a revelation, I wouldn’t waste our time not telling him; it could only tear us apart or bring us together. “Luke, I’ll tell you now.” “Ok, you sure you’re ready?” He looked up at me. “No,” I laughed, “but I’m never sure of anything.” He laughed too. “I’ve done some really, really stupid things but nothing was more ridiculous than when I told someone I loved them and I wasn’t sure. I didn’t love Demetrius; I was taken with him but not in love with him. I always had a crush on you,” I laughed and he could half see where I was going but the other half was too dopey to understand, “The stupidest part of giving Demetrius my heart then was that all that time I could have had a chance with you and now I don’t 107

because of Lucy. So, here it is…Luke…I love you. I’ve never felt like this before, I can’t live without you and I’m not even ready to be telling you this but I’m glad I am. So…what do you say?” I held my own hands and bit my bottom lip and I was suddenly aware of how annoyingly pale I was, all my bad points were coming to the surface. I looked at Luke who looked back at me. “Luke, I didn’t want to tell you because you know what it’s like to tell someone you love them and not have them say it back and I know what it’s like to have it said to you and not be able to say it back.” I reasoned. Everything remained silent. I sighed and looked at him dead in the eyes and he did the same, apparently he hadn’t moved nothing had. ‘Damn it Krad!’ I shouted in my mind realising what had happened. Krad walked around the corner. “Alright are ya?” She walked around to me cheerfully. “No I am not Krad! You come swanning in when I just-“ “I know, I know,” She interrupted, “you told him and everything and that’s just wonderful and that but I just went for a drink and now I wanna know how it pans out.” She shrugged. “A drink is that what you call it now?” I glared at her wiping blood from her mouth. “Oh get over it. Anyway, do you wanna know how he’s feeling?” She sighed. “I’d prefer to find out the normal way.” She looked at me suspiciously. “Oh ok go for it.” I moaned. “I’m dreading this.” I sighed. “Why? Even I dunno how he’s feeling yet, I have to manipulate it and find out at the same time so don’t look at me like I know and I’m just being cocky.” She was still smiling. “Ready?” She raised her eyebrows and then scowled at him, not forgiving him for what happened. I just nodded. She reached out a hand towards me and I took it, she closed her eyes and opened them slowly, Luke mode. I felt my nerves shake and my veins swell like they had before. I felt strange my stomach was turning over like what it did when I was with Luke normally but these were his feelings. My heart hurt and tears welled in my eyes, I loved…well me I suppose, Amber but I was worried about Lucy. I felt sympathetic and then I remembered what had happened with Ian, Krad’s boyfriend, and I felt awful. I was speechless and I half wanted to tell her I loved her back, me sorry, I half wanted to tell myself, Amber, I loved her back. I felt lonely I so wanted to touch her hand and tell her ‘I love you’ but... That’s when those dreadful words came into my head to tell her. Amber had heard those words so many times it physically hurt to say them. Amber tore her hand away. “Oh God.” I whimpered back in my own body, the Amber body. “What?” Krad hadn’t seen what I had. “Let me go, go away! I want to hear him say it. It’s the best for him and me to hear it 108

normally.” I shouted. “Ok but look maybe you should take this.” She handed me a fortune cookie and walked away without looking back. I looked at the cookie in my hand and played with it; I tore a corner off in my hand and split the cookie in half. I couldn’t be bothered with the cookie but I took the message delicately between my two fingers. I unfolded it and read it. We know the least about whom we love the most. Luke looked up and said my name quietly. I looked at him.

Personalities Emerge “Amber?” He suddenly whispered. “What did you say?” “I love you.” My voice quivered, I wanted to throw my arms around him. “Oh wow but…I don’t feel the same way.” He searched through his mind for a better thing to say. “I’m sorry.” “I’ve gotta go.” I pointed my thumb behind me and walked as fast as I could away from him. I just felt…weird…I didn’t feel empty but I felt cold, it was like being awake in a grave (and I should know). The funny thing was though; tomorrow at school it wasn’t like Demetrius, this time I did want to see Luke again. I wanted seeing him to hurt like hell, I wanted agony, and I thought it might make it better in the long run. I did love Luke…enough to let him go. I wouldn’t ever let it go but I had to tell myself something: ‘No matter how much I want him, I may never have him.’ I thought when I realised that fact it would make everything easier, it would make misery easier. Luke hadn’t tried to call me back and I didn’t look back but I could feel his agonised sighs burst from his lungs. I knew he hadn’t wanted me to say it and somehow, bizarrely, I’d caught him off guard, I whimpered for a while as I walked and cried briefly but then it was gone and I felt relaxed. I’d made my peace and that was all I could do. When tomorrow finally did arrive, I was still bizarrely relaxed, that was until Luke walked over looking unsettling sad. I pretended I hadn’t seen him, quickened my pace and kept my head down but as soon as he called my name, I spun around and said ‘yes?’ holding my heart. “Hey, I have something to tell you.” He stopped as if he was waiting for me to say whatever was on his mind. After a short pause I finally took a breath, gathered myself and said ‘yes?’ again. 109

“I…I left Lucy.” He looked at his annoyingly unmatching shoes. What did I have to lose? I put my arms around him and held him close for precisely eight seconds whilst telling im I was ‘so sorry’ and ‘he’d be ok’ and ‘I’m here for you.’ He finally looked up and took a deep breath whilst gently pulling away. “Thanks Tye.” The ‘Tye’ alarmed me until I realised he knew my name; it just surprised me that someone as dopey as him would remember. “That’s ok.” I said pulling him closer for a final embrace before first period. The day dragged as it always did, I missed the days we spent together at dinner. At the end of the day my friends and I decided in a split second that we’d go to a rave in Birmingham. I hopped on the first train with Vicerene, Jodie, Marilyn and Christen. Christen was a youth, arrived this morning, I decided to introduce her to our world. As soon as we slammed the club doors open the air around us surrounded us with heavy drum and bass, we grabbed some glow sticks and jumped around/danced to the blaring music. Vicerene and Jodie went off to ‘pull’ as they put it. They returned in five minutes with sixteen numbers between them, the rest of us just laughed in astonishment, Vicerene handed one to me and said ‘this one’s for you, thank me later.’ Within an hour we had left, sweaty and tired, we went to a near by public toilet to clean our faces of running mascara and eyeliner and got on the train. I stared out of the train window into the rainy gloom; I was pending my next action and just generally going off in my own head. I had a snap revelation and looked up at Vicerene, “What?” She said looking up from her mp3 player. “I’m going to find him, as soon as we get off this train.” I grinned wildly. “Let it go Amber.” Vicerene sighed. “No.” I could tell she knew I wasn’t kidding and there was no changing my mind.

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The train pulled up and my new little Birmingham Crew stood up with me. “Go Amber.” Jodie gave me a reassuring push in the back. “Don’t even think about it.” Hissed Vicerene I spun around to see a gun pointed directly at me. “What the hell Vicerene?!” Screamed Jodie from behind me. “Oh shut up Jodie!” Shrieked Vicerene. “Get behind me Jodie.” I said calmly pushing her to one side. “Vicerene, this is what’s going to happen, you’re going to put the gun down and I am going to go to Luke’s house before it’s too late, he leaves in like two minutes so you’re going to let me go.” I said edging towards her with my arm outstretched for the gun. “NO! I’ll tell you how this is going to happen. You are going to put your God damn hands up or I’ll shoot the shit out of you.” She said with a demented look in her eyes, suddenly tears brewed in her eyes, “Why should you have Luke when I can’t have Lawrence?” She wept. Suddenly Jodie yelled out from behind me, “NOW!” She batted the gun from her hand and we ran to Luke’s house but just as we reached the crossroads we saw his car vanish out of sight. Fully packed with every family member inside. I stood beside the road mouth wide open with shock and horror. “I’m so sorry Amber.” Said Jodie breaking the silence. However the first noise to snap me out of my heart broken trance was the bitter sound of laughter from beside me, I turned slightly and saw Vicerene holding the gun and cackling because she had won. Jodie screamed with blind rage yanking the gun from her hand ad firing two single shots. They both hit Vicerene directly in the stomach. She looked up at me whilst holding her abdomen, the blood pooling around her hand, her face was crooked and broken, not the beautiful girl I had once known. She collapsed, knees hitting the wet concrete first. I watched her die. I wasn’t angry with Jodie I was strangely relieved. Catherine The next few months were a blur, I spent most days in the far corner of my room hugging my knees and weeping silently. Then one day my phone rang. I answered it having not spoken to anyone, literally, for a whole month. “Hello?” I croaked quietly, “Luke?” “Yes Amber it’s me. Some people texted me and told me you’d turned into a total wreck because of me, I wanted to know what I’d done.” “They lied. You did nothing.” “Is that the problem?” 111

“Not really.” “I miss you Amber.” His voice cut off. “Luke?” “Yes?” “Do you…” “Do I what?” “Do you really miss me?” “Yes.” We spoke for about two hours, the best two hours of my life I decided, towards the end of our conversation I asked him the question that had been whirling around my mind for the month he’d been gone. “Luke?” “Yes?” “May I ask you something?” “Yeah go ahead?” I could hear the smile in his voice but I did not smile back. “I’ve met you, and you’re my soul-mate, does that mean if I did something stupid I would die?” “Don’t. You. Dare.” He said firmly and put the phone down. I sighed and put my head in my hands. Months passed with no contact at all from Luke, it took me a while but eventually I realised something…Luke and I were different people, we weren’t made for each like I’d thought. How could we be? We couldn’t even stop from arguing for more than three seconds. While I changed, I watched Jaret and Marilyn do the same. Jaret got more confident; Marilyn became less egotistical and more relaxed. I however, became more on edge and hate filled. I began to see Evangeline more frequently. She acted as a type of therapist when things got too much. One day I was out in the garden, it was a beautiful day, picturesque. I sat on the floor next to Marilyn and Jaret. They didn’t talk to me much anymore…nobody did. I listened to there conversation to turn a deaf ear on my bitterness. "I just wondered..." she trailed off "What?" he said untangling his fingers from her hair and supporting himself on his left elbow. “What?” I repeated.

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“Was it really necessary?" was the only thing she could force through her chattering teeth. "I didn't drain them dead,” he reasoned. "And why don't the police ever look for you?" she mused. “What are you guys talking about?” I said light-heartedly as if they hadn’t ignored me. He arched one of his eyebrows at her, as if it was obvious, he half smiled. "Really?" she whispered, gaping still ignoring me. "Yep, all of them, all vampires," he laughed darkly and went back to kissing her I tuned out. Evangeline had been right, my growing loneliness was causing me to be increasingly hateful of everyone who had someone. Tears slid from my unwilling eyes. I decided to go and find my dad. As I walked I pondered how the distance between my dad and I had made us grow apart slightly. I really wanted to see stretch, my dog. I missed him I felt awful that I’d abandoned him not so long ago. As I reached my dad I saw stretch bounding around on the meadow, dad had let him off his lead to see him run. He was so graceful, I knelt down and held my arms out, he charged towards me and knocked me to the floor, I laughed and pulled myself to my knees and hugged his neck. "Hello Tyler," dad smiled surprised by my visit. "Y'alright dad?" I grinned. "Fine thanks Tye. How’ve you been?" he said squeezing me tightly, I was glad he was happier than he was when he left. "Ok, I’m just on my way out, thought I’d take advantage of the beautiful sunshine before it chucks it down. ” British weather. "Ah, ok thanks for coming to see me and the dog then." he smiled. "Are you kidding? I love my puppy," I beamed, "and you're ok too dad.” He looked unsatisfied, "I love you dad." I cuddled him. "Love you too Tye. At least now you're the upside of down" he kissed my parting. I half laughed that he felt the same way I did about him as he did about me.

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I took my hummer and just drove, by the evening I was in porthcurno, random I know. It was breathtaking; the sea was an aquamarine colour. I sat on the sand though I’ve always been afraid of the beach for reasons that sound pathetic in comparison to what I’ve been through. I sat and, just to keep up with the cliché, watched the pink sun go down. Just as I stood up to leave I glanced around to see if I had really been alone tonight. To my dismay I found that I had. Utterly alone. Just like my heart. I had to go, I thought the beach would make me happier and to some degree it did…just not enough. I walked towards the front door of Wilfort only to see a large crowd gathered just under one of the archways. "Marylyn what's going on?" "Luke." she smiled. The crowd cleared just like in a film, making a path towards Luke just for me. "Luke?" I whispered. "Hey Amber." he said almost as quietly as I had. "How was it?" the crowd watched us talking with a little more tension than necessary. "Not as good as home." he said with a contagious grin. I swung my arms around his neck and his went around my waist. I squeezed him tightly and he squeezed me back and spun me around like he used to, the old Luke I’d missed so much. "I missed you!” I said, my breath shortened by his bear hug and I laughed a choking laugh. "Ok put me down.” I wheezed Slapping his arms playfully. He dropped me laughing. "Well, no more bitchy girlfriend, no more strings attached, we could be together." he suggested. I must admit it was hard to resist his offer. "Luke, I love you. I always have but...well...no." I half laughed. "What? Why?" he coughed. Because I don't need a soul mate yet and to be honest I don't think you is my soulmate. We're not the same you and I. You abandon me and expect me to take you under my wing when you come back? Use me? No. I want a friend. Not a soul mate." I said my arms dropping to my sides "I’m so sorry Luke. We would have been good." I laughed. He didn't say anything so I half-smiled, patted him on the bicep and walked away.

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I stared at the ceiling trying to sleep but found no matter how hard I tried I couldn't force myself to. So I leapt from my window onto the hood of my new hummer. Scratching it quite badly. "Sugar!" I hissed to myself. Opening the door the blue LEDs shone in my face, more hissing. "Where to sat nav?" I said as I slipped onto the seat. I put my hands on the steering wheel only to rip then away at the sight of a note sticky taped to it. I hadn't noticed the door had already been unlocked right up until now. Cautiously I peeled the note from the wheel and read: Don't bother trying to go anywhere Tyler. From now on you're under my control. Best regards. Xx My mouth fell open when I read. I was terrified. Whoever they were, were they watching me right now? Or was I alone with just my fear for company? That's when I heard it. Steady breathing. Not like my ragged intakes of breath. This was very calm, very in control. I stopped breathing and turned as slowly as I could manage to face them, to delay the inevitable. Just then it dived onto me, it's cold arms around my neck in an embrace. For a moment I was confused and in shock, I tried to lift my arm to touch the LEDs on again. "Amber!" it shouted with...happiness? I tapped the lights on and froze as I saw the face. "WILL!" I shrieked, I pulled him closer and squeezed him and pushed him away suddenly. "You’re dead." I whispered. "Well clearly I’m not,” he laughed. "I’ve been away Amber. I told you." he suddenly sounded worried, "WHO have you buried?" he sudden giggled and I joined him, I didn't even care about that anymore, I was ecstatic. "Wait," I said hitting his arm, "how come you didn't even said bye to me, and you WERE dead cos you were all bleeding and stuff. I SAW you. I HELD your body in my arms." "Yeah you did, I was ok though. Life goal and all that. They put me in the bloody morgue! That was awful, all cold n'that. Got up and walked away in five minutes, obviously no one noticed I was gone, I’m offended you know." he laughed. "You scared the life out of me, you and your bloody note." I said ignoring his rant. "What note?" he laughed oblivious

"The one on my steering wheel." I rolled my eyes, "this isn't a horror movie you know." I snickered.

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He lifted the note from my lap and read it, his mouth moving while he did. Finally he looked up; he was even paler than usual. "Amber, I didn't right this. This isn't even my writing, mate." I knew what I had to do. "You have to get out the car. You have to go.” I said as I blinked a tear away. He just stared at me bearing his teeth in protest. In the darkness I could only see his white teeth. He words a black shirt, black drainpipe jeans and a bright green belt. "Please go." I whimpered. He made no movement." I WILL NOT LOSE YOU AGAIN WILL!' I shouted. "I’ll leave. But remember, you're my best friend and I love you and I’ll be waiting here for you when your back." he promised "You’re setting yourself up for a fall." I whispered when I finally opened my flooding eyes. "I know, love." he smiled and hopped out the car. I slammed my foot on the accelerator, what could they have done? Break cables? So what? I'd survive that. I decided to go back to porthcurno, I’d be safe there...unless-. I stopped the car suddenly. If they'd been watching me they'd know I’d been there. Darn it. I'd loved Cornwall. Ok plan B. I thought for a long time sat at the side of that road. Ok, first thought: if they'd been watching me all this time, why had they not made a move yet? To torture me? Most likely. Second thought: where was I meant to go? Ok, so I’d been told not to go but since when did I listen to the enemy? I was Tyler rose lattice. So that was decided, I was going somewhere but then, as I’ve said before, where? Ok forget about where, I’d just drive. Go where the road took me. I pulled out into the deserted strip of road and pushed the car to just over one hundred miles per hour. My headlights flooded everything ahead of me, brought colour back to the black and white world. I began thinking about all of my best memories. A good one was when I thought for a while that Luke wanted me and just me. And right at the back of my mind there was a memory, faded but smile inducing nonetheless.

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It was a warm Friday afternoon two years ago. Back when there was no Luke and I was young and naive. I'd just learnt to drive and it was the Friday before the six weeks holiday. I had a new silver Aston Martin and Will had a red convertible Mercedes, a woman's car by anyone's standards. We were driving to Cornwall for a holiday. It was one of the few weeks where it had been sunny for the whole two weeks. As we set off up the empty stretch of road I switched our communicators on. They connected us so we could speak to one another between cars. I pressed down hard on the accelerator leaving the other cars standing, "show off." I heard Will mutter, I laughed quietly. The drive took a good five hours. We all sung together to old songs on the radio, lame oldie's songs you'd hear your mum humming while she did the ironing. Those days were good; you just did without thinking and laughed without looking around to see who stared. The blinding red light from the traffic lights brought me swiftly back to reality. I glanced quickly at my phone only to stare back at it two seconds later, four new messages. Message 1 Jodie Hey Amber can I borrow your straighteners? X Message 2 Jodie I borrowed your straighteners x Message 3 Will Did you ever meet your SM by the way? And are you ok? Text back soon. Message 4 Unknown number what.did.i.tell.you.NO LEAVING. Oh I warned you. For you own good. You think Will was setting him up for a fall? Ha. You have no idea. Jodie borrowed your straighteners by the way and Will's sat on the front of your BMW at the minute. Text back soon. X x

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I froze. I was in the middle of the road. Frozen. 'I haven't done my goal yet'. Even my thoughts were muted; I sat staring into the darkness, pure terror spread across my face. A knock on the glass next to me scared me into screaming, I stared at the face for a second or two...and then longer..."hey, are you ok?" he shouted, "wind the window down." he said gesturing. I did as I was told, "hi." my voice come out weak, he was the type of boy who would make beauty jealous. He had dyed black, short, spiky hair obviously gelled, he wore a black neck jumper, black drainpipe jeans and red baseball trainers and a welcoming smile. So plain, so astounding. "Evening, I was just wondering, are you ok? People don't tend to just stop like that on the road," he laughed. "I’m amber." I said ignoring his question. "Seth." he smiled as he angled his hand through the glass to shake mine. "Hey um... I hope you don't mind me asking, this might seem a little weird but do you believe in soul mates?" he queried. "Yes." I said simply. "Do you believe in va-" I stopped, how many people had I revealed out secret to now? This was against the rules. "Sorry?" he said confused. "Never mind," I shrugged and then became abruptly aware of the traffic jam surrounding us." I’ll meet you at the next rest stop ok?" I suggested hurrying to find the accelerator. I wound the window up as he disappeared into the darkness. After a long tedious, six miles we finally came to stop. We walked together sharing our basic details, until we came to a burger place. We talked until it closed and we were 'politely' asked to leave. We sat on a wall outside looking at the moon until I looked out of the corner of my eye. He looked so depressed that it hurt to see, he sighed suddenly. "What?" I whispered gently. "This cannot and WILL not work." he muttered. "Why not?” I half pleaded. "I’m not what you think." he said louder. "What...what are you then?" "Look at my eyes, amber." he said mildly frustrated as he took at a pair of contact lenses. They were red, glowing like rubies, the eyes of a youth...a newborn. "You’re a vampire." it wasn't a question. "I can't let you live, you know to much,” he suddenly growled viscously 118

"But you can. Don't you see?" I said taking his hands in mine. "No. That's the rule. Die or become one of us." he snarled tearing his skeleton-white hands from mine. "You can't become what you already are." I smiled and suddenly it clicked. "You’re a vampire!" he shouted jumping to his feet as agile as I would have done. He took my face in his hands and stared into my eyes. "You’re a vampire,” he breathed, more settled. He kissed me and replaced his hands so they were around my waist and there was no moon, no car park, no wall, nothing but Seth. He pulled away against my will, "where's your coven? I’ve never heard of an amber flames in any coven." he looked bewildered. "Wilfort," I said breathlessly, "sorry," I cleared my throat, "wilfort academy." "How come I’ve never heard of you? That's where I go." he grinned. "I’m not very popular." it came out jokingly but I was serious. "Why ever not?" he was suddenly enraged, though clearly not at me. "I’ve had a lot of 'soul mates' that turned out to be ar-" "Never mind them." he cut me off before I said something unintelligible. "I’ve never met anyone like you before." I was honest, I hadn't, he wasn't a Luke or a Demeter, and he was perfect. I struggled to think he was my soul mate though. I'd thought that before now. In the cars we connected up the communication devices and he spoke about all of his, so called 'soul-mates’ and I told him of mine. He thought the whole idea of drinking human blood was 'grisly' and so fed in the same way as myself. "Oh shoot!” I shouted remembering I couldn't go home. "What? Did you forget your jacket?" he wondered, I hadn't even known I was wearing one. It was my black cargo jacket; my phone was in the front pocket. "No, it's just that, I sort of...CAN'T go home." He didn't ask why he just said it was ok and we'd go elsewhere. I liked him, he never asked unnecessary questions and picked on it if I didn't want to answer. I took my phone from my pocket, one message from will. Did you get my text? I went back and read it, skipping past the text that made my heart miss a beat, in a bad way. Did you ever meet you SM by the way? And are you ok? Text back soon. 119

I breathed a single quiet laugh. "What’s so funny?" Seth’s voice came amused through the speakers. "Just this text I got." I laughed. "May I ask what it says?" he enquired. The use of the words 'may I ask' took me back to a painful time but they made my heart rush just the same. "It asks whether I’ve found my soul mate yet." "I hope you have NOW." "That’s literally tempting fate." I said grimly. "Why? Oh wait, of course, you're goal is to find you soul mate isn't it?" there was a short pause, "I wish I’d never met you amber." "What? Why?” I said suddenly scared. "We’re TOO the same." I grasped what he was talking about, his goal was the same. 'I guess I’ve made my choice then, death.' I thought. Just wanted to stop the car, get out and hold him. "Let's go to the beach,” he suggested. "We can't go to our friends so let's bring out friends to us." I was excited "Sure! I'll call mine you call yours." Seth and I had slept on the beach that night and arranged to meet our friends here at six. By seven the whole beach was full and music was blaring from will's speakers. I didn't care that the note writer had probably stalked me, he could bring it on I had loads of allies with me now, me and MY army. Porthcurno, more beautiful than ever before. Some people danced next to fire lanterns some played volleyball in the sea, some kissed and some were drunk. Typically. Cliché. Seth and I danced together to a rap-rock song that I’d always loved, well; of course we WERE listening to my music. Jodie came to cut in so we all partied together, pretty soon our crowd included will and his new girlfriend, Clare. She had long hazel hair and red eyes that made me wonder if will had turned her. Naughty vampire. Soon we got bored of dancing and went cliff diving, we hiked to the point at the top.” You first will." I laughed nervously, they laughed with me, Jodie, will, Seth and Clare. Will shrugged and dived, fully clothed into the water, somehow bluer in the moonlight. "Come on! Vampire BABIES!' He yelled from the water below and tried pathetically to splash us. Clare jumped in next followed by Jodie. Will met Clare’s lips at the bottom and floated together holding each other. Jodie soon separated them, splashing then with water. Seth laughed quietly beside me, I’m sure she heard it. 120

"Wanna jump together?" he said putting his arms around my waist. "Nah, that's ok. I sort of... Hate the sea." what an understatement. The sea was nice until you got in it. Then you were under its control. "I’ll hold you, you'll be safe.” I couldn't help trusting him, though the water was surprisingly deep. "You only live once.” I sighed. "Actually you live twice if you’re us but yeah." his smiled turned mischievous as he took my hand and we jumped. It was exhilarating, I laughed and screamed on the way down as did he but his screams were more like 'woo!' we hit the water with a huge Splash. For the expected to seconds we floated so we could surface. This was different. I was still under the water. I stopped breathing and looked around panic-stricken I searched for Seth, I screamed when I saw blood pouring from his arm "Seth!" I shrieked but to no avail, he could barely hear me. I was in the sea. I screamed and screamed, terror poured through my dry veins. It was cold. It was dark. I realised I needed air, I was half human now and so was Seth. I yanked on Seth's arm, his red eyes were wide with fear, he was going slowly to sleep, and I put my mouth to his and forced as much air as I could, into his lungs. I pulled him to the top but it was like ice I couldn't break through. I waved my arms frantically, pounding the surface; Seth was running out of his human blood and going onto to his vampire blood. Suddenly a hand broke the glass that suffocated us. I took in a massive breath; it stung so I used the adrenaline to rip Seth from the water. Seth choked and forced the salt from his body, as did I. "What happened?" will cry. "We...couldn't...break...through." I coughed. "What do you mean?" he said anger poured from him. "Get us out of the water, then I’ll explain." When we were out, we lay next to each other on the fine sand. "It’s him." I gasped. "Christopher." everyone whirled to look at him, he waved from the cliff where we had all just shared a laugh before we plunged to our near death experience. "But he was ASH in my HANDS!" Will was confused...and scared. "Yeah? And you were dead, get over it." I hushed him. "I don't under-" will began to whisper. "He’s a shape shifter. He's not a vampire that's just his desired form." I clarified. "Correct. He hissed and floated down to us. "And I suspect you're also the phantom note writer?" I suggested. He nodded, "and texter." he looked smug.

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"Leaving just one question," I shot in front of him, naturally faster than a bullet; I stared into his eyes, boring into his soul, "how. Did you. Get. My. Number?" I said through clenched teeth. "You left the woman I loved lying dead in the snow." he growled pushing me backwards, Seth darted to my side protectively. "Kyla," I hissed, "you stole it from her phone." it was instantly clear. She did all those things to me as revenge. She wouldn't let me have a soul mate because I took hers, supposedly. "So where does that leave you Juliet?" I grinned with bitterness. "Don’t you mean Romeo?" he said patronisingly. "No because Juliet woke up to realise Romeo was dead. You came back to realise I’d killed Kyla. How does that feel? I KILLED HER." I Laughed. "You’re father killed my Kyla, I’ll be coming for him next." he smiled. "Oh you can, OVER MY DEAD BODY." I shrieked. "That was the plan,” he said staring at his nails implying his disinterest. I ran towards him, rugby tackling him to the floor. He got up and flung me off easily, the impact pushed air from my lungs as it winded me. "AMBER!" "NO SETH! Don't give him what he wants!" I wheezed. "Oh amber I an disa-" "Oh SHUT UP!" I moaned and stood up. "Amber," he said like a parent telling their child to drop the bloody hamster for the fifth time, "how do you expect to function in the real world if you keep talking while other people are?" he continued to rant. "Oh I don't function in the real world." He sighed impatiently, "What ARE you talking about?" Seth pushed a gun into the hand I’d placed conspicuously behind my back. "I have my own world, bitch." I shot three bullets into his forehead and he dropped to the floor. I turned to Seth, "well that was surprisingly easy," I sighed almost upset by that fact, "fat lot of use you were! And all of you for that matter. MY ARMY? Ha! You're rubbish!" I laughed. "Shut it." he smirked and took me into his arms. I turned to talk to the shocked but satisfied, spectators, "he wasn't a vampire, he has two chances at life and we killed him twice, his life goal can't have been to kill me because he wasn't a vampire so he COULDN'T have a goal." I cleared up quickly so we could all go home. "I always hated him!" Seth laughed calmly.

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"I really love you, you know." he smiled picking up one of the innumerable beer cans, I could tell he meant it. I half laughed, "it's really hard for me to say Seth, it's just that." I gave up with a groan. I didn't really have a good enough reason not to pledge my love to him, he was different. "That’s ok, it doesn't matter, I know you care about me and that's it ok? It's ok." he hugged me just to reassure me of his point. "You know what Seth? I do love you, I love you Seth." I whispered, we shared another kiss; I knew he felt better than he did before, as trustworthy as he was. I saw a flash of childish delight in his red eyes. I noticed that his ruby eyes were beginning to dull to an orange, "hmmm, not as newborn as I thought, maybe you are old enough for me." I smirked. "Maybe," he smiled back, the glee hadn't faded judging by his upbeat tone, "now, let's go home and get your hair all...amber, again.' he joked. 'Sure.' he took his hand in mine as we walked to his car, will took mine home, it seemed most people had travelled together. As we walked I thought, on the one hand I had my soul-mate right here in my hand, that meant I also, for once, had to watch myself. I could die now, ok, I wouldn't age or anything but I COULD be killed in the same way as anyone else, ugh so human. In a world this big I was sure to have more enemies on the horizon, it was all just a matter of time. There's a little bit of vampire in all of us, even humans. It's that impulse you get when you cut yourself, by accident or on purpose as it may be, the one that tells you 'the best way' to clean the blood off your skin. You could just suck the blood off, just taste it for a second, that's the vampire thirst. We all have it in us, just not that strong...yet...

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21/08/2008 09:36:00

21/08/2008 09:36:00

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