Lastly and most ghastly was his midnight blue king-size bed with a soccer-goal headboard.

I almost gagged. I could see Trevor's golden blond hair sticking out from underneath his comforter.

As much as I would have liked to short-sheet his bed or stick his hand in warm water, I decided to open his computer desk to search for any hidden clues. All I found were unsharpened pencils, a school lock, and loose batteries.

I opened two shutter doors, which led to something more like a sporting goods store than a teen's closet. A few feet away a glass bookshelf was adorned with a million soccer trophies and medals, and on the wall hung ribbons, a half dozen framed soccer pictures, and Dullsville High Chatterbox articles. I glided my finger across a dust- free gold trophy when I noticed something dust-filled hidden behind it--a decade-old Dracula action figure.

For a moment I almost felt a warming sensation filter through my icy veins. Then he stirred.

I quietly tiptoed over to him. I stood frozen. The normally sun- kissed soccer snob looked like one of the undead. But even when he was sick, Trevor was gorgeous. It almost made me ill that he had gotten so much by having a pretty face and a fast kick to midfield.

I wondered why this conservative snob was so attracted to the gothic Luna. Was it because she was pursuing him? Was it to get back at me? Or had my nemesis found the true love of his life? The major issue that perplexed me was why I cared.

I opened my purse and pulled out Ruby's compact. My fingers quavering, I angled it toward Trevor. All at once, he turned over and knocked it out of my hand. I scrambled on the floor to find it.

"What's going on?" he asked, his voice hoarse.

I curled up alongside his bed, breathing the shallowest of breaths.

"Jasper? Is that you?" he asked. I lifted up his blue duvet so I could squeeze underneath his bed. Instead of an open space to hide, I found a handle to a king-size trundle drawer--as if he didn't have enough closet space.

I had nowhere to escape. I'd have to switch to plan B.

"Hi, Trevor," I said, popping up.

Startled, the soccer snob let out a scraggly yell. "What the hell are you doing here?" he shouted, sitting up.

"I just--," I stammered, fumbling with the compact and trying to shove it back into my purse.

"How did you get in?"

"Your nanny let me in," I teased. "I'm not surprised you still have one."

"What are you doing in my room?" Trevor wondered, fingering his tousled blond hair.

"I heard you were sick."


"I wanted to know if you needed anything."

"Are you insane?"

"I'm fulfilling my health class assignment: Help someone in need."

"But I'm not in need, especially from you."

"I'll be the judge of that. I think you should start with some sunshine," I said, like a gothic Mary Poppins. "I'm the only one who likes it this gloomy." I went to his window and pulled back the heavy drapes.

"Stop!" he said, shielding his eyes. But I continued to draw the curtains as far as they could go.

"Get out of here, freak!" he hollered, squinting.

I waited to see if there was any reaction. He could recoil. Maybe he'd melt.

I got a reaction from Trevor all right, but it wasn't what I expected. He got up, his pale face now flushed with anger.

"Get out already," he ordered. "Go back to the troll hole you live in. You've contaminated my house enough already."

I grabbed the garlic container from my purse and held it out to him.

"What's that?" he asked.

"Garlic. It helps clear out the system. Why don't you breathe it in," I said, stepping closer.

"Get that away from me, you freak."

Trevor didn't recoil like Alexander had when I accidentally exposed him to garlic powder. Instead, Trevor got madder.

I pulled out a pen and a Hello Batty paper pad. "Now," I said like a nurse filling out a patient's records, "have you kissed anyone in the past forty-eight hours?"

"What's it your business?"

"I have to fill out a communicable diseases questionnaire. You don't want your new girlfriend, Luna, to get your diseases, do you?"

"Why, are you jealous?"

"Of course not," I replied with a laugh. "That's what this is really about," he said, his raspy tone suddenly brightening. "Why you are here, in my house. In my room-- ," he said, stepping closer.

"Don't flatter yourself--"

"You couldn't handle seeing me with Luna--," he said with a smile.

"Frankly, I can't handle seeing you at all."

"I knew it. I saw it in your eyes at the carnival," he said, taking another step toward me.

"That's not what you saw in my eyes."

I tried to get a quick glance at both sides of his neck. But he mistook the reason for my gaze. He stepped toward me and leaned in to kiss me.

I held him at bay with my pad of paper.

"Get off!"

"But I thought that's why you came--"

I rolled my eyes. "I need to know--have you been bitten by anything or anyone?"

"Of course not. But I won't tell if you don't tell," he said with a clever grin.

"Then my work is complete," I said, racing for the door. "Now take two dog biscuits and don't call me in the morning."

Trevor stood still, weary and confused.

"And most important," I offered as I opened the door, "stay away from the cemetery."

"I'm sick," he said. "Not dead." I hopped on my bike. Coasting back home, I was relieved that Trevor wasn't a vampire--for the town's sake and for mine.

As the sun set, I lay in bed under the covers.

"I hate to leave you again," my mom said, "but they are honoring your father at the country club. It's been such a busy day, I feel like I'm neglecting you."

"I feel tons better. I took a nap and I'm totally recovered."

"Well, Billy is over at Henry's. We'll pick him up after the ceremony."

As soon as I heard my dad's BMW pull out of the driveway, I jumped out of bed, fully dressed, and headed over to the Mansion.

I found Alexander in his attic room. He was staring pensively out the window. When I tapped at his door, his mood quickly changed. He gave me a long hello kiss, and for a moment I forgot all about my childhood nemesis and a lurking vampiress named Luna.

"We have to do something," Alexander said suddenly. I was quickly pulled from a heavenly cloud nine and back into the threat of the Underworld.