Pretty When She Dies (Page 10)

“No! No! This-” his gaze moved to the mirror and his sole reflection again. “This isn't real!”

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“Don't go, please,” she said again.

Please tell me you love me and that the house is for me and we can pretend that we're happy.

“You're not real,” he said again, his eyes so wide he looked crazed.

In a flash, she was across the room and pinned him to the door. Amaliya was startled at how the room had seemed to slide sharply toward her when she moved. She had Pete firmly in her grip and she dismissed the weirdness of her movements. She concentrated her gaze on him.

“I need you to believe I'm real,” she said softly. “Please, believe that I'm real.”

He wouldn't even look at her. He just gazed at the mirror over her shoulder.

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“Look at me,” Amaliya hissed. “Look at me and believe I'm real.”

He shook his head. The horror in his eyes was beyond anything she had ever seen and his body was violently trembling.

“Look at me!” Her voice rose sharply and he struggled to get away from her. Holding him easily to the door, she sobbed with desperate need. “Please. Please. Look at me.”

“No! No!”

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With a growl of anger, she flung him toward the bed they had just spent two glorious hours on and leaped onto him. His eyes flashed even wider as she hissed in his face. The throbbing in her teeth let her know her sharp little teeth were now visible. “I'm still me! I'm still me!”

“Let me go! Let me go!” He was slobbering. Bits of saliva struck her face.

The dark need inside of her began to unfurl. She could feel it spreading through her like ice water.

“Stop, please stop,” she sobbed, but he kept pushing at her. He was beyond fear now. He was mad with terror.

He pushed at her desperately, trying to pry her off, but her naked body was stronger than his now and she shoved him down. Not even speaking words anymore, his hands scrabbled at the bed as he tried to twist away from her.

The terrible, wonderful power of her need filled her totally and her voice growled out, “Stop.” He abruptly stopped grabbing at the mattress and lay still. Acting on purely instinct, she turned his face toward her and hissed, “Sleep.”

She should have been surprised, but she wasn't when he closed his eyes and his body went limp.

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Sliding off, she sat trembling next to him. Her body was covered in his sweat and her blood tears. Licking her lips, she pushed away the desire to dominate him and feed from him, sitting in silence instead.

She didn't move for hours.

Chapter Five

Amaliya woke up with a start. Confused by the furnishings in the dimly lit room, it took her a few moments to collect her thoughts and remember where she was. Squeezed into the narrow walk space between the bed and wall, she was covered in a scratchy blanket. On the bed lay Pete. His eyes were closed. He did not seem to have moved since she ordered him to sleep hours before. If not for his steady breathing and occasional snort, she could almost believe he was dead.

Beyond the bed was the big window with its ugly curtains. Light was seeping in around the edges of the thick fabric, where a sunbeam played along the top of the air-conditioning unit under the window. She had remembered to put the “Do Not Disturb” on the door before the sun rose. She had also barricaded the door with the cheap table and chairs that had been tucked into a corner of the room. Rubbing her eyes, she felt the crusty remains of her tears and frowned.

After Pete had fallen under her spell, she had sat in a chair watching him until she began to feel heavy and sleepy. At last she had showered. She had then curled up in the corner of the room, afraid to lie on the bed beside him. If he woke up and saw her, it could cause trouble quickly. She could imagine him screaming and someone busting in the door. The sun would pour in and she would be set on fire.

If she could actually catch on fire.

Could she?

Well, considering that she could leap long distances, manhandle big men like nothing, and bespell someone to do her bidding, catching on fire seemed about the right sort of payback. It all had to balance out somehow, didn't it?

Sliding to her feet, she tugged her panties down over her butt so they weren't hitched up anymore, then stretched. She felt lethargic, almost drugged, but she had woken up for a reason. Leaning over, she checked Pete's pulse. A tight pull of desire slipped through her as she felt Pete's pulse beating under her fingers. Drawing back, she licked her lips and tried not to think of his delicious skin.

A narrow band of light cut across the carpet not too far from the bed. She gazed at it fearfully. A part of her desperately wanted to reach out to touch the sunbeam and watch the tiny motes play over her skin.

Or watch her skin burst into flame.

She wondered which would happen.

Rubbing her stomach, her gaze slid to Pete again. He had been so sweet and passionate last night, and for what? It had gotten so fucked up so fast. He had said such wonderful things to her, things she had craved her whole life to hear and then it had all gone to hell.

She cast a dark look at the mirror and stuck her tongue out at the emptiness of it. She had not even thought about the mirror last night when they had entered the room. It had betrayed her and that horrible look on Pete's face when he saw he alone inhabited the reflection was something she would never forget.

The long strip of sunlight beckoned to her.

Seriously, would she really get burned? Was it possible?

Of course, she had crawled out of her own grave, slaughtered a room full of innocents, and thrown her Dad across his living room. At this point, anything seemed possible.

Slowly, she stepped toward the swatch of sunlight and watched it flicker as the curtain swayed in the currents of the air conditioning.

“I won't know if I don't try,” she mused, then took another step forward.

She could now feel the heat of the sun pressing against the glass of the window tucked behind the ugly curtains. Timidly, she edged toward the wavering line of sunlight. Sinking to her knees, her fingers twitched with anticipation. Just her fingertips. That was all. She would just slide the very tips of her fingers into the sunbeam and see what happened.

“How bad could it hurt?” she pondered. “After all, I've already been killed.”

After taking what she now knew was an unnecessary deep breath, she slid her fingers into the light.

A second ticked by and nothing happened.

“Ha!” She grinned triumphantly.

Searing, terrible pain made her cry out as her fingers blackened and cracked. Falling back, she grabbed her wounded hand close to her and shoved herself backward with her feet. The pain was nearly unbearable as she pushed herself back to the vanity.

“Dammit,” she hissed through gritted teeth. She tried to fight off the waves of agony flowing up her hand. “Heal, dammit,” she muttered, and willed it to happen. She could almost feel her chilled blood churning through her veins sluggishly, trying to heal her. She had noticed as she was falling asleep in the early hours of the morning that her heart was barely beating, and now she felt as if it was completely stilled.

“Heal,” she muttered in an agonized voice. Slowly, the blackened skin began to peel and ooze. Biting her bottom lip, she grimaced as the crisped flesh fell off and fresh new skin knitted itself into existence. It was not until the skin was pink and smooth once more that the pain at last subsided.

The hunger hit her in a wave of desperate need. It knocked her back and left her gasping as it churned to life inside of her. In a split second, she was on the bed and crouched over Pete. She could feel her veins contracting as they yearned for blood to flow through them again. Her gut clenched and her mouth ached as her long teeth descended. She needed to eat now and Pete's heartbeat sang in her ears.

“Sorry,” she whispered and, without hesitation, she fed.

The second time Amaliya woke, the room was dark with only an edging of light around the window. Pete still lay on the bed, his eyes closed, his chest rising and falling in shallow breaths. His pale skin and waxy looks frightened her. She knew she had taken far too much of his blood. To her disgust, she wanted to take more. She was growing hungry; the need was beginning to claw at her. How she had managed to tear away from his throat, she wasn't too sure. Through the red haze of her feeding, she had managed to grasp hold of her desire not to destroy Pete. She had pulled herself away from the killing droughts she had desperately wanted to take.

Climbing to her feet, she stood next to the bed, pale in the darkness in her tank top and panties. Her black hair fell over one shoulder in a tumble of waves. She rubbed her brow with one hand. He looked so quiet and so sweet lying there. His words from the night before still whispered through her, stirring the false hopes of a normal life.

“Shit,” she muttered, and turned away. She needed to get the hell out of here.

Grabbing her bag, she headed into the small, white bathroom. She was anxious to get away now that the sun was setting. Pete needed medical attention. She would have to call 911 and get the hell out of the motel as fast as she could. Besides, she needed to feed again. The great need gnawed at her insides and she knew instinctively that it would only grow more demanding.

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