Chapter Fifty-Six

It's been two weeks since the last full moon.

In this time I've been stitched up and sent on my way to healing. Blue has regained his usual strength and had his blood cleaned from the floor of the Cranes home. As well as paying for my hospital bill, Avery has stuck by my side almost hourly, never taking her eyes off me as if I'll miss my next breath if she does. Rhys often recedes to his study to immerse himself in research these days. We'd had a talk on the way back to my house after I'd been discharged from hospital about the importance of finding his parents again, for both him and Avery. It seemed to have been the reminder he needed. Dad has relapsed back into old habits he's refusing to shake. Jeremy, Jennifer, Tori, Micah and Maylin have proved their okay after the fight with the Werewolf gang by visiting regularly, harmlessly arguing with each other, and practicing their ability to punch bare-knuckled in our backyards. Merida is still missing. I haven't spoken to my mother in weeks.

Sometime during this silence she managed to send out the information that she'd obtained Raina's body from the shed that lay outside of town and disposed of it along with all evidence that could track back to me or any of my people. I should be grateful but I can't seem to find that feeling in the rest of the mess when I think of her.

Slowly, all the trouble of the last few months plateaus. But even that balance feels temporary.

I have Become. Whatever this power is that I have, I can feel it getting stronger. It's not under my proper control yet but I'm trying to teach myself. I've accepted who I am, what I am, and I know what I want to do. And that is to no longer be a victim.

So on one particularly cold autumn night at the beginning of a new month, I go to the tattoo parlor in Lochton and get my amplecti symbol. It doesn't hurt as much as I thought it would. The tattoo is rather big, too big to fit entirely on the back of my neck. It also takes a considerable chunk out of my most recent pay check to get. A chunk meaning it leaves behind a few spare dollars.

“Do you like it?” Rhys asks. He's standing behind me in the mirror, arms folded, face wearing an easy smile.

In my reflection, I touch the edge of the tattoo. It's a Blue Jay; head turned to the side, wings laid out to break over the ring surrounding it. The point of it's feathers are as sharp as daggers, beautifully adorned with rosy pink flowers and verdant leaves. It's my dream of an open field and a clear sky and that one flying bird touched down on my skin. It's hope and balance, both of which I want to keep.

I look forward at Rhys, smiling hugely, and nod.

I thank the tattoo artist, gather my stuff, and walk out with Rhys to the sidewalk. A chill breeze catches my hair and rises goosebumps over my bare skin as I shrug on my coat. Rhys is taller and warmer at my side, as if he carries a piece of the sun inside himself.

Hidden in the folds of our two coats, he takes my hand.

“I will admit,” he says. “I wasn't too certain about the design but now that I see it on you, I actually don't mind it.”

“Don't mind it?” I ask him. “You better learn to like it a lot more than that, buddy. It's here forever now.”

He laughs and reaches up, brushing his fingertips across the nape of my neck where the tattoo sits. A hot little shock dances through my nerves at his touch.

But, as usual now, that's as far as it goes. Because even if we've decided that what we are is better together that doesn't mean we can be that way out in the open. We're still being watched.

Rhys lets his hand drop back down by his side.

In my pocket, my phone begins to ring. I take it out and bring it to my ear.

"Parker?" Avery's voice is frantic with that single word.

I turn away from the tattoo parlor and towards the street. "What's wrong?"

"I'm sorry." she says as if whatever she's about to tell me is her fault, or maybe that it's just something she wishes she didn't have to tell me at all. She takes in a shaky breath.

"Lara's missing."


The demon queen of cliffhangers has struck again. Whoops.

Where do I even begin with this?

Thank you all so so so much for reading Bitter Blood and taking the time to comment, vote, and fan. I've loved all the support you have given me throughout it's development and I can't possibly thank you enough. I can't believe it reached number 3 in the Werewolf category and number 5 in Teen Fiction. I never dreamed it would become as popular as it has. Everyday I came onto Wattpad to discover another person voting for the story, commenting or adding it to their reading list. It's because of you that Bitter Blood reached those ratings and I love you all so much for it.

I've probably gotten about seven hundred comments asking if there is going to be a second book. Many of you will be very happy to finally hear that there is going to be a SEQUEL with Parker Kingsley as the protagonist! The second book in this trilogy is titled BITTER BEASTS and has already been posted on my profile. Updates will begin early 2015. New mythology, new characters, new relationships. It's gonna be lots of fun.

More than anything, I would love for you guys to write an honest review of this entire book. What you liked, what you didn't like, your over-all thoughts on the ending. I'd love to hear what you have to say.

Post any questions you have in the comments below and I'll try to answer them, too.

Once again, a big thank you to all you beautiful souls for everything you've done.

Much love, grace.

P.s. Blue misses you already.


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