Mara leaned over Reyna and tapped Everett on the arm. “You got her a bloodsucker?” She gave him a drunk pouty face.
“It’s cool, Mara. Don’t worry about it.”
She pulled her hand back and rolled her eyes. “Whatever.”
Lauren came up for air. “Ohhh a bloodsucker. So delicious. You can’t even taste the blood in them.”
Reyna paled. “What?”
Mara laughed hysterically. “Nice one, Lauren.”
Everett just shook his head. “She was kidding. No blood. Just alcohol.”
“Oh.” God, she felt dumb.
“Speaking of fucking bloodsuckers,” Lauren said, nodding her head out to the dance floor.
Everyone turned to look. Reyna had no clue what she was looking for. She didn’t see any vampires. Granted the only ones she knew were rather wealthy and probably wouldn’t frequent a club like this.
“She’s hot,” Tucker said.
“Ew, Tucker. Have standards,” Mara spat.
“What’s the fun in that?”
“Who?” Reyna asked.
“Her,” Mara said, turning Reyna’s head until she found the girl in the center of the room. She was blond, with her hair pulled over one shoulder. Her clothes were skintight and revealing, her lips blood red, and she was so thin, her collarbones protruded.
“What about her?”
“Can’t you tell?” Mara asked with disgust. “She’s a blood whore.”
Reyna swallowed and reassessed the girl. “How can you tell?”
“How can you not? She’s totally flaunting it. Red lipstick? Milky white skin? Her neck exposed? Can she be any more obvious?”
Reyna wished her hair were down. Even though Becks hadn’t fed on her, she still felt like her neck was on display tonight. Like everyone knew.
“Why do they flaunt it like that?” Reyna asked. Everett reached down and squeezed her hand as if he could feel her spike of anxiety.
“Gives you a high,” Coop said.
“What?” Reyna asked, her head snapping to him.
“No, it doesn’t!” Lauren snapped, smacking him on the back of the head.
Mara rolled her eyes. “Technically it kicks your adrenaline into overdrive. Like a flight-or-fight response. So endorphins flood your system to try to counteract it. Kind of like sex,” she said with a wink.
“Let’s dance,” Everett whispered into her ear. He squeezed her hand and then pulled her onto the dance floor. “You should ignore Mara. You look pale as a ghost.”
“I’m fine,” Reyna lied. She wrapped her arms around Everett’s neck and leaned into his chest to quiet her racing heartbeat. “Do I look like her?”
“No. Just calm down. Mara likes to get under people’s skin.”
“But she doesn’t even know.”
He sighed. “I’m sure she suspects.”
“Come on, Reyna. There’s no one who works at my building who looks like you.”
She pulled back to look at him in surprise. “How?”
The music shifted to a slow hypnotic beat and their movements adjusted with the rhythm. His hands gripped her hips, pulling her closer against him.
“Like a blood whore?” she asked defensively.
She laughed and shook her head. “That’s such a weird thing to hear. Where I grew up, I’m pretty sure I was considered adequate at best. No job. Just another mouth to feed. My nicest dress was…oh wait, I didn’t wear dresses because it wasn’t practical.”
Everett reached up and brushed a stray lock of hair out of her eyes. “Whoever that girl was before she came here, no one sees her anymore.”
Something in the way he was looking at her made her feel like all the air had been sucked out of the room. She had come here to have friends. She hadn’t anticipated him looking at her like this. For a split second, his eyes were replaced with ones as dark as onyx and instead of his boy-next-door features were ones cut out of marble. Her mind conjured up Beckham out of nowhere. A vision she should not be thinking about. She pulled away abruptly.
“I need to get some air.”
And then she dashed away from him as fast as she could. She couldn’t breathe. No. This was all wrong. Shouldn’t she want to be looked at like that by a nice cute boy? But she didn’t. And what was that vision of Beckham? Sure he was handsome and she liked the way he looked at her, but she shouldn’t be thinking about him like that…or wondering how he would react to blood on her lips.
Reyna found the back emergency exit and pushed through the door, praying the alarm didn’t go off. When nothing happened, she walked outside and took in a few deep calming breaths. She needed to get it together.
A minute later, Everett busted out the back door. She whirled around and pressed her hand to her chest.
“God, you scared me!”
“Why did you leave?” he asked.
Reyna looked away from him. How could she explain? “I just needed some air. I felt so claustrophobic.”
“I didn’t mean to push,” he apologized, stepping toward her.
“No. You’re fine. Just so many changes in my life all at once.”
“Sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you off.” He looked sheepish.