Chapter Twenty Four: Kiss Me.

THERE WAS A SMALL LIST in my mind of people I never wanted to be in any way ‘stuck’ with. Aleks, unsurprisingly enough, was on that list. Whatever my body was doing, it was not listening to me. No, these days, my body had a mind of its own. Gabe had made it quite clear that he knew ‘little to nothing’ about this strange bond, which meant that we were on our own. We needed to figure this out on our own.

“I’m sure it will pass,” said Aleks, as we drove back toward The Vampire’s Guild. “For all we know, it’s just that temporary one-off attraction our kind sometimes experiences. We probably accidentally fuelled that flame by letting each other in and feasting together. What I’m trying to say is that this will pass.”

Right now, it didn’t feel that way. I sighed, focusing on the road ahead of us.

“We just need to figure out what you’re doing wrong,” he added swiftly. “That’s our first step toward recovery—admitting we have a problem.”

I rolled my eyes, pulling into a free parking space. “We don’t have a problem,” I chimed in. “As per usual, I have a problem . . . as in me – and me alone. Guess what, Helena? You’re probably going to die! Oh, great!” I faked a pleasant smile, looking somewhat neurotic as I flapped my hands about. “It must be Tuesday again!”

An awkward silence followed my semi-insane, almost-breakdown. Aleksandr twiddled his thumbs, clearly unsure of what to say. There was a thickness in the air. My voice was scratchy and un-pitched, still echoing throughout my mind, reminding me vividly of nails on a chalkboard. There was a lot of tension filling this car, the same tension that sky-rocketed through the roof when he slowly reached over and grabbed my hand. Meeting my gaze, he trailed his thumb around my palm.

“I’m with Darien!” I ripped my hand away, a little confused as to why I felt the need to scream that at him. “I mean, er—like, officially . . . with . . . him.”

“Oh,” Aleks straightened up in his chair. “That’s good—really good.” He smiled a tightly, placing his hand back on his lap. “You two looked happy on TV.”

“We were,” I replied quickly, my eyebrows pulling together when I heard my words. “Are,” I corrected. “I don’t know why I used past tense just then, but we are—happy—very much so.”

“Good,” he nodded, looking eager to change the topic. “What about the cravings?” asked Aleks, gazing over at me curiously.

I averted my gaze, almost sheepishly as I muttered, “They’re worse when you touch me. It’s like a rush or something. I don’t know. But you really shouldn’t touch me, like, ever . . . because I’m not always certain I can control these urges—”

“Uh, Helena,” he cleared his throat. I peeked up at him from behind my hair. “I was referring to the bloodlust. The same bloodlust I was experiencing earlier. You know . . . the kind that was so severe that it made me sick.” He raised one brow.

“Oh, right, that,” I pursed my lips. “Yeah, that’s normal bloodlust for me.”

He nodded quickly. “Okay, well, we should probably start on that. It shouldn’t be that extreme. It’s not normal. I’ve never experienced that before.”

“So,” I met his gaze. “We need to find something to fulfil my hunger?”

Aleks gulped, visibly, nodding more slowly this time as he opened the car door. “First is first,” he started climbing out. “We need to free ourselves from this tiny little car.” Truth be told, Noah’s car wasn’t that small . . . but with him sitting next to me in the passenger’s seat, it was almost suffocating. ‘This will pass,’ I reminded myself firmly. ‘It’s just lust—nothing more, nothing less. It will go away.’

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