Chapter Twenty-Five

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My knees actually buckled. Horror slammed into me with the force of a train and it was all I could do to keep from collapsing. I couldn't seem to suck in enough breath. How? How could he possibly have found out?  

"How many times have I told you I don't want you dating?" Noah snapped. 

I almost wept with relief. Noah only knew that Luke was my boyfriend. He didn't know Luke was a vampire.  

Anger spiked my chest, cutting through the fear. Sophie would never have told Noah and besides, she didn't know Luke's name. That left only...Ethan. My hands curled into tight fists. Ethan had betrayed me.  

"I don't know what Ethan's been telling you -" 

"Ethan?" Noah turned to look at me. "What does any of this have to do with Ethan?" 

I faltered. If this wasn't Ethan's doing then how did Noah find out? And I had probably landed Ethan in major trouble by revealing he knew about Luke but had kept quiet. In Noah's eyes that was as bad as lying and Noah didn't like to be lied to.  

Noah scrutinised me. Maybe he was expecting me to deny it, to protest my innocence. "I saw you together at the funfair," he said when I didn't offer up any excuses.  

I closed my eyes. I'd been so happy that night but it had led to first Ethan and now Noah finding out about Luke. If I could go back in time I'd never have gone to that stupid fair. But then Luke and I could never have even pretended to be normal. It had felt so good to pretend and now various members of my family were systematically ruining everything.  

"What were you doing there?" I asked. It wasn't the question I'd been expecting to ask; somehow it just slipped out. 

"Canvassing for vamps. An event like that attracts a lot of attention. It would have all too easy for vamps to hide out in the woods and pick people off as they left the fair." 

There'd been a vampire under his nose the whole time and he had no idea. He genuinely didn't believe that vampires could blend in with regular people. He saw them as killers, nothing more. 

A heavy blanket of despair settled over me. How was I supposed to change such an intolerant mindset?  

"Don't you have anything to say for yourself?" Noah asked. 

"What do you want me to say?" 

"You can tell me what the hell you think you are doing." Noah's voice rose into a shout. A woman walking her dog at the other end of the street glanced over at us then started walking faster in the opposite direction. 

I couldn't suppress a sigh. I was sick of hiding, sick of living a dual life, sick of Noah and his rules and his cruelty, sick, sick, sick of everything. My whole world was turning grey and Luke was the only bright spot. "I'm being a teenager. I'm doing things kids my age are supposed to." 

"I don't care what other kids are doing. You are a hunter and it's about time you started acting like one. I didn't raise you to waste your life with boys." 

No, you raised me to a killing machine, Daddy's good little soldier

"Can we get this in perspective?" I said. "I'm not out drinking and doing drugs; I'm not sleeping around and getting myself pregnant -" 

"You're damn right you're not," Noah snarled. His face was livid, specks of spit on his lower lip. I was treading on thin ice here; I could practically see the cracks spreading out beneath my feet. Maybe I should have kept my mouth shut like I usually did but there was too much frustration building up inside me. I couldn't hold it all back. 

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