It was the night of parent-teacher conference at Des Pontonniers High, and everyone in the school parking lot was panicking. A wild super-human was racing up and down the rows of parked cars. Max Blake could hear it growling; when he focused his vampire vision, he could see flashes of it as it slunk along, stalking a warm and fleshy prey. People ran, leaped into their cars, didn't look where they were going. Someone backed into Sheriff Joe and he fell down, hard enough to make it impossible for him to get to his ankle holster.
Then Miley's father shot twice.
And it was over.
Max kept Miley in his sight as they joined the circle forming silent witness of the execution. On the ground lay a white pale muscled human beast— the blood sucking human that everybody had been blaming for all the brutal deaths in Des Pontonniers, a small Strasbourg town. But Max knew it had done nothing to deserve this. It hadn't wandered onto the school grounds on its own accord. It had been lured.
And the deaths would not end, and the real culprit is somewhere out there watching. Gloating. The Alpha Vampire, the vampire that had bitten Max and cursed him, was still at large, free to kill.
Miley looked up at Max, her big blue eyes wide, lips pressed together. Her long black curls hung over the shoulder of her brown leather jacket as she wrapped her arms around herself. Then she gave another pitying look at the pale human, the folds of her white and black scarf brushing against her chin. No one was cheering the death of the human, least of all her. Max smelled her dismay, heard her heart pounding. He would have done anything to keep her safe tonight. He was relieved beyond telling that he hadn't transform in all the stress.
She was still safe from his terrible secret.
Narrowing his eyes at Max, Miley's father put a hand on her shoulder. Buck Evelyn was the leader of vampire hunters, and he had shot Max a silver bullet the very first night Max had transformed. Ryan had rescued Max and told him about the hunters. It had been a terrible shock when Max had discovered that Mr. Evelyn was also Miley's father. So far, though Mr. Evelyn hadn't realised that Max was the vampire he had nearly caught just a few short weeks before.
Now, in the parking lot, Miley took one last look at Max, as if she was memorising what he looked like, and then father and daughter walked toward Miley's car. Mr. Evelyn opened the passenger door and Miley got in. Obviously, he was going to drive her car home, and Miley's mother would take their LEXUS back to their house. As Mr. Evelyn shut the door, he turned and gave Max a last, long, hard, so-pissed-off stare. But it was only the look of a protective father angry with a boy for encouraging his daughter to ditch school.
“We are so busted,” Max thought.
It was not the perfect ending that he had imagined for the perfect birthday for Miley. It was just that she'd looked so stricken when all those balloons from Amelia had floated out of her locker this morning. Max hadn't even know that it was her birthday. Turned out that she hate celebrating her birthday at school. Max hadn't know Miley was sixteen, a year younger than the other kids in their class—younger than him and didn't want anyone to know. It was because of all the moving around. But people in other towns had assumed all kinds of things— that she was dumb, that she'd had a baby.
He'd wanted to protect her from a day like that. So they'd taken off. And the day had been magical. Once darkness had fallen, she'd said she never wanted it to end. And then she'd told him that she wished she could spend the night with him.
“With me,” Max thought, his own heartbeat picking up, a thrill rushing through him even now, as his mom gave him the evil eye and muttered, “In the car. Now.“
He let her march on ahead, like a hangman leading him to the gallows. Her back was ramrod straight, her shoulders raised. Everything about her spoke of her intense disappointment in him. She was really mad, and he didn't blame her.
In addition in skipping school, he had blown off the parent-teacher conference, so blissed out to be with Miley that he'd forgotten all about it. Just as he'd been forgetting about school, too. He was flunking chemistry and had a grade not less than grade C. Finding out he was a vampire and being with Miley took all of the attention.
His mom got behind the wheel and he buckled up. Unlike so many other drivers, she was careful starting the car and pulling out of the lot. As they merge up to the street, it started to rain and she flipped on the windshield wipers. One of the wipers sqeauled against the glass. They needed to be replaced. Their car was falling apart like their house. He knew his dad was keeping up with the child support payments. Not that his mom has never mentioned it.
Having vampire enchanced senses was a mixed blessing. Sometimes you'd hear Somethings you'd rather not to know.
At the moment, he was listening to his mother's heartbeat. It hadn't slowed. Maybe tomorrow people would be relieved that the blood sucking human had been killed, but tonight, the freakiness of having a supposedly man-blodd sucker slinking up and down the maze of cars was just too much.
“I'm so angry at you Max, how could you do this?“ she said as they pulled up Infront of their house and the car rolled to a stop. Then she sighed, turn off the car, and gave him a look. Before he could say anything, she got out of the car. The rain poured down on him heavily as he got out too. Walking quickly, he looked around, wondering if the Alpha Vampire had followed them, lurking in the shadows. Stalking him. Creeped out, soaked to the skin, he dashed into the house.