“Of course you can.” He patted the bed.
She walked across the small room and plopped down into a chair next to the bed. She felt sick to her stomach that they even had to be here. Of course she knew they were tremendously lucky to be alive, but it didn’t assuage the ache in the pit of her stomach. Life shouldn’t be like this. The dark shouldn’t hold these fears. Even back home where it was supposedly more dangerous, she had never feared something like this happening.
After an awkward moment, Reyna broke the silence. “I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have ever put us in that position.”
“No one knew the vampire was going to be there,” Everett reminded her.
“That’s true, but I didn’t want anything to happen to you.”
“Luckily, I’m safe now. All thanks to you.”
“Well, thanks to Beckham,” she told him. “He saved us both.”
She picked at the covers and kept her head bowed. After hearing his friend’s views on vampires, she didn’t know how he would react to bringing Beckham up. Even though he worked at her building, where vampires lived, it didn’t mean he liked them any more than his friends.
“Wow,” Everett said. Surprise was written on his face. “A vampire saving humans. I’d never have guessed. What was he even doing there anyway?”
“He was following me, I guess. I have a tendency to find danger…or danger has a tendency to find me.”
“Maybe you should have warned me about that ahead of time,” Everett said, but he was smiling.
She breathed out a sigh of relief that their friendship didn’t seem irrevocably broken after the traumatic experience from last night. Even though Everett had seemed interested in her and she didn’t feel the same that didn’t mean she had wanted him to die. Nor did she want to lose her only friend thus far.
Just as she was about to say as much, all of his friends bustled into the room. Mara was ahead of the pack. She rushed over to Everett, looking stricken. Her face was puffy and her eyes red as if she had been crying much of the night. Maybe she had been.
Reyna felt a pang of guilt. She had been locked away in Beckham’s apartment sharing a kiss with him while her friend was at the hospital getting a blood transfusion. His real friends had waited around for him to wake up and cried hoping he would make a quick recovery. She tried to rid herself of the guilt, but it was difficult. She felt responsible for her insensitivity.
“Hey, guys,” Everett said with a smile.
“Oh Everett,” Mara cried dramatically. She wrapped her arms around his waist and gave him a big hug. He laughed at her and patted her twice on the shoulder.
“I’m okay, Mara.”
“What the hell happened to you? We thought you guys split.” She gave Reyna an accusatory look.
Reyna had a feeling this was more about the fact that she had thought Everett and Reyna had left alone together than to find out the details. It was pretty obvious that she liked him. It was strange that Mara was threatened by her. She had never been that girl before, and honestly she shouldn’t be now. She liked Everett as a friend, but that was it. Her heart was careening in a completely opposite direction. A direction she shouldn’t even be considering.
“Yeah. Are you all right?” Lauren asked, nudging Coop forward into the room.
It was starting to get very crowded. Reyna felt conscious of the fact that she was seated close to Everett in that moment.
“We’re both okay. We were attacked by a rogue vampire,” Everett explained.
Mara gasped. Her hands flew to her mouth. Everyone else looked stricken at the prospect.
“He fed from me. Drew enough blood I passed out, and if I hadn’t been immediately transported to a hospital, I would have died.”
Reyna nodded solemnly. “He came after me next. Threw me against the dumpster and I suffered a head injury, but uh…another vampire came and saved us.”
“What?” Lauren asked, confused.
“Another vamp?” Tucker asked. “A bloodsucker fending off his own kind?”
“Yeah,” she said softly.
Mara narrowed her eyes. “What the hell, Everett? Why would a vamp interfere?”
Reyna blushed and kept her eyes firmly fixed on the sheet. Everett remained silent. It would be hard to lie about this one. Lying about where she worked had been easy, but this was something else entirely. Vampires didn’t act like this without motive.
“Oh my God, I knew it!” Mara shrieked. “You’re a filthy blood whore!”
Reyna’s mouth dropped open in shock. She stood indignantly. “I am not!”
“Mara!” Everett cried. “That’s out of line.”
“How can you even bring her around us knowing what she is?” Mara turned her nose up at her.
Lauren took a step away as if Reyna had something contagious. Tucker and Coop were looking anywhere but at Reyna, caught in the crossfire.