Chapter Sixteen

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Ethan stood just a couple of feet away, arms folded across his chest. And the look on his face...it was anger, disbelief, and something I couldn't identify, all rolled into one. 

I swore.  

"What's up?" Riley said. She followed my stare to Ethan and understanding darkened her face. "Will he tell your dad?" 

"I don't know. Probably." 

Riley looked like she wanted to say something reassuring but she couldn't think of anything to say.  

Ethan strode towards us, brushing past a cluster of children clutchingSpongebob Squarepants-shaped balloons. 

"I didn't expect to see you here, Kiara." His voice was cold. 

A fortnight or so ago he'd mentioned the funfair was coming to town, but I hadn't said I definitively was or wasn't going. Ethan hadn't actually asked so I hadn't said. 

"She came with me," Riley jumped in. "She wasn't going to, but I badgered her until she gave in. I can be very persuasive." She flashed Ethan a winsome smile, but he didn't even look at her. All his attention - and his anger - was focused on me.  

Luke glanced questioningly at me. I could feel the tension radiating off him and realised I needed to establish that Ethan wasn't a threat. 

"You remember I told you about my...cousin, Ethan," I said. 

Luke's eyes flicked to Ethan. He didn't relax. I might have told him how important Ethan was to me, but at the end of the day Ethan was a vampire hunter. I couldn't blame Luke for being cautious.  

"Ethan, this is Luke." 

Ethan didn't even try and mask his hostility when he looked at Luke. His eyes were flat and hard, his mouth a thin line. I was acutely aware of Riley and Alex hovering behind me, obviously not sure what to do.  

"Kiara, can I talk to you?" Ethan looked Luke up and down, and his lip curled slightly. "Alone?" 

"Just give me a minute," I whispered to Luke. 

"Are you going to be okay?" he whispered back. 

I tried for a smile but it came out more of a grimace. 

"I'm right here if you need me." Luke brushed my hand with his fingertips, too subtly for Ethan to see. 

I followed Ethan away from the Ferris wheel to a secluded spot behind a food-stand selling doughnuts. The sickly smell of frying dough and sugar made my stomach clench. 

"What the hell do you think you're doing?" Ethan hissed as soon as we were alone. 

"What do you mean?" I fought to keep my voice calm, wondering how I was going to get out of this mess. 

"Don't play dumb with me. I knew something was up with you. You've been so distant lately," Ethan accused.  

Inwardly I swore. I'd tried so hard to maintain a normal façade and apparently I'd failed. I prayed Ethan was the only one who'd noticed 

"Who the hell is that guy?" 

"Luke. He's just...a friend." 

Ethan snorted. "A friend, sure. That's why you had your tongue down his throat just now." 

His anger took me by surprise. Ethan was like a brother to me and, like siblings, we bickered over silly things from time to time. But we rarely fought and I couldn't remember the last time he'd raised his voice to me. I did know that he'd never looked at me the way he was now. It was like he was seeing me for the first time and he didn't like what he saw. In fact, he was disgusted by it. 

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