“Shhh, relax,” Christofer said soothingly as he suddenly found himself being held like a child in the large Pyte’s arms.
“I’m fine,” he tried to tell him, but the only thing that came out were choked sobs as he embarrassed himself by crying like some little kid.
He wasn’t a little kid. He was a man now. He had responsibilities. His little brothers, his nephew, Jessica, his mother and Izzy were all counting on him to take care of them. He shouldn’t be losing it like this. He should be manning up!
“Let it go,” Christofer said, holding him tightly.
He stubbornly shook his head, desperately trying to get himself under control. He needed to stay in control, needed to keep a level head, especially with so many people counting on him. He needed to-
“Let go,” Christofer whispered again and just like that, he did.
“Please don’t tell anyone,” Marc said, looking miserable as he sat across from them, absently playing with a French fry.
“There’s nothing to tell,” Christofer said, gesturing for Marc to eat. She was glad to see him so relaxed. He’d given her quite a scare earlier when he’d lost it. She’d been about to wrap him in his arms when Christofer had swooped in and taken over. She’d been amazed at how great he’d been with Marc. No matter how hard Marc cried or shook, Christofer had been patient with him, listening to him and reassuring him that everything was going to be okay. She’d never thought of Christofer as the fatherly type, but the way he’d handled Marc had warmed her heart.
Reluctantly, Marc took a large bite out of his French fry before dipping what was left in ketchup while she sat there, trying not to pout. She missed food, real food, right now more than ever as she was forced to sit there on the hard plastic bench in the diner filled with mouthwatering scents. What she wouldn’t give for a double cheeseburger, fries and a triple chocolate milkshake with-
“Why aren’t you eating?” Marc asked her, looking curious as he shoved the rest of the fry in his mouth.
“I can’t eat food,” she explained, almost positive that he’d been told that she was a Pyte.
“Except when you’re pregnant,” Marc said with a shrug as he grabbed another fry off his plate.
“She can eat real food?” Christofer asked, resting his arm along the top of the bench behind her.
“Mmmmmhmm,” he answered around another fry. “It will help with the morning sickness, but she still needs,” he paused to look around the diner and make sure that no one was listening, “blood.”
“But I can eat?” she asked, trying not to get her hopes up.
As soon as the word was out of his mouth, she stole one of his fries, shoved it in her mouth and closed her eyes, grimacing at the memory of what had happened the last time she’d tried to eat food only to moan in pleasure. It tasted so good, so damn good. She opened her eyes to steal another fry, but Christofer beat her to it by placing a fry against her lips as Marc gestured for the waitress. As she sat there, savoring fry after fry, she decided that perhaps being pregnant wasn’t going to be so bad after all.
“Kill me,” she whimpered, holding her stomach as she leaned against the tree, her eyes closed as she tried not to lose the rest of her dinner.
“We should get going before it gets any darker,” Marc said, shifting nervously by the road.
“Call your father or brother to come get you,” Christofer said, standing beside her as he rubbed her back.
“Kill. Me,” she stressed, wondering why he wasn’t putting her out of her misery.
“She needs blood,” Marc said, shifting the shopping bag that she’d asked him to carry for her to his other hand so that he could pull his phone out of his back pocket.
At the mention of drinking blood, her stomach rebelled. Just the thought of drinking or eating anything was too much to handle. She was starting to think that she may have overdone it a bit at the diner. She hadn’t planned on eating so much, but the moment that she’d been able to swallow that fry without wanting to puke her guts up, she’d sort of lost it.
Not that it was her fault. It wasn’t, at least not as far as she was concerned. It was Ephraim and Christofer’s since they’d convinced her that she’d never be able to wash down a juicy cheeseburger with a thick chocolate milkshake again. Once she’d discovered the loophole, an unexpected pregnancy, she’d decided to indulge herself……just a bit.
Two double cheeseburgers, fries, onion rings, chicken tenders, three chocolate milkshakes, two large Pepsis, one ice cream sundae, and four different slices of pie later and she was regretting a few of her choices tonight. At the time, she’d been relieved that Christofer had been too lost in his own thoughts to comment on her dining choices, but now she really wished that he’d bitched about that second burger that was threatening to make another appearance.
“How far away is the house?” Christofer asked Marc as he rubbed her back.
“About a mile,” Marc answered as he searched through his phone for a number. “Half a mile if we go through the woods.”
“Do you know the way through the woods?” Christofer asked quietly, his hand stilling on her back as she registered an odd note to his tone.
“Why?” Marc asked, looking up from his phone the same time that she looked past Christofer towards the road, both of them spotting the large beast from her nightmares standing on its hind legs at the same time. Her heart skipped a beat as the beast turned its large, black head in their direction, its silver eyes narrowed on them as it bared its teeth.
“Because I think you’re going to need to take that shortcut through the woods,” Christofer said, keeping his eyes on the large black beast as he slowly moved forward, grabbed Marc by the back of his shirt and pulled him back just as the large beast released a howl that sent shivers down her spine.
“Run,” Christofer ordered, keeping his eyes locked on the large beast as he shoved Marc towards her.
“I can’t run,” Cloe said, bending over and clutching her stomach as the sounds of snarling grew louder.
“You have to run, Cloe,” Marc pleaded, throwing a frantic look over his shoulder as he grabbed her hand and tried to pull her to her feet, but the cramp tearing through her stomach had her pulling back and shaking her head.
“Go, Marc,” she said, licking her lips as she struggled not to lose consciousness as another cramp tore through her stomach, followed by another one and another one. “Go home and get your father,” she said, pulling her hand from his and blindly pushing him away as another cramp tore through her, dropping her to her knees with a muted cry.