Stargazer Page 60

“I don’t especially want to,” Balthazar said. His voice was low.

“I’m—I’m going to get some blood, okay?” I got shakily to my feet and went to the corner of the room that held the twenty-first century kit-chenette. Several vampires stored a bit of blood in there for snacks between classes, as this was the only classroom no humans used, and I felt like I could use some blood to strengthen me about now.

I couldn’t pretend that I didn’t know what he was talking about, or that he had surprised me. Lucas and I—we weren’t together anymore, and it seemed impossible that we ever could be again. Balthazar had given me time to handle the loss, and now he wanted to know if things could be different between us.

Always I’d told myself that Balthazar was just a friend. I knew that I didn’t love him like I still loved Lucas; I didn’t know if I could ever love that completely again.

But I also knew that I’d come to rely on Balthazar this year. To trust him. At this point, he was probably one of my closest friends. And I’d never even pretended that I didn’t find him attractive. That would’ve been impossible.

No, I’d never felt anything for Balthazar that came close to the rush of passion that Lucas awakened in me, every time. But if I gave Balthazar a chance—

I remembered Lucas kissing me beneath the stars at the observatory, the longing for him so sharp it hurt. The memory overcame me at the same moment I reached in the cabinet for a glass and, in my distraction, I dropped it. The glass shattered with a crash, and something sharp jarred into my hand. “Owww,” I whined, pulling a shard from my bloo-died finger.

Balthazar was at my side in an instant. “Ouch. But it doesn’t look too nasty.” He quickly collected the broken pieces of the glass and dropped them in the trash.

“No, I just need a bandage.” Then I thought—wait.

We stood close together, near enough that our bodies almost touched.

Instead of turning on the faucet and holding my finger beneath the running water, I hesitantly held my hand up so that I nearly touched Balthazar’s face.

I’d caught him off guard; it seemed to take him a second to realize what I was doing. Then Balthazar wrapped his hand around my wrist and took my finger in his mouth, tasting my blood. He closed his eyes.

The brush of his tongue against my skin made something inside me turn over, and my breath caught in my throat.

After only a second, Balthazar pulled my hand from his lips. The cut was only a pink line now. “Okay?” he said.

“Yeah.” I felt incredibly exposed. My blood had given Balthazar a glimpse into my mind; he would have just felt some of the emotions I was now feeling. I wondered if they were less confusing to him than they were to me. “What did you see?”

Balthazar still held my hand in both of his, his broad fingers enclos-ing my wrist. “Just some curiosity, that’s all. I didn’t taste nearly enough blood to really know you.” His voice was strangely rough. “When you finally share blood with someone, you’ll understand the difference.” I remembered how I’d only gotten a hint of Balthazar’s emotions when I licked his finger the night of the Autumn Ball. There was more to it, so much more that I could hardly guess—the true mysteries of being a vampire.

This is what it means to be a vampire.

There had been moments I’d questioned whether I had to ultimately become a vampire, even if it was what I wanted. Now that I’d lost Lucas, I didn’t ever want to consider those questions again. I was sick of not knowing exactly what I was, how to behave, what to think. If I could make myself understand what it meant to be a vampire, maybe all those questions would just go away.

I looked up at Balthazar and whispered, “Drink from me.” He didn’t move, but I felt the change in him—a kind of tension that electrified the air between us. “You mean, now?”

“Nobody else is coming in here tonight. We’re alone. We can do whatever we want.”

“That’s not what I meant.” The eagerness in Balthazar’s eyes made me feel weak, sort of scared but in a good way, like the moment before the roller coaster drops. He brushed two fingers against my cheek. “Bianca, are you sure?”

“I already told you. Yes.” But then my boldness seemed to desert me, because I didn’t have any idea how to go about this. “Do we just—do you—” Should I pull the neck of my shirt down my shoulder and just let him bite? Would he bite my hand instead? I didn’t know and felt stupid.

“You’ll want to lie down. Sometimes it makes you dizzy.” Balthazar squeezed my hand. “Couch?”

“Okay,” I said, tossing my hair like it was no big deal. Which was stupid, because it was a huge deal—and Balthazar and I both knew it—

but I couldn’t seem to help myself.

My legs felt wobbly as we went, hand in hand, toward the sofa. Balthazar rummaged around in one of the cabinets and grabbed a couple of dark towels. The computer’s screen had gone into holding mode, so it was darker in the room now, but I didn’t turn on any lights. It was easier, I thought, having some shadows between us.

“You might want to—I don’t want to ruin your shirt,” Balthazar said, his voice hard and tight. He was already unbuttoning his cuffs.

“Oh. All right.” Fortunately I had a camisole on beneath my lacy blouse. I turned away from Balthazar as I unfastened it and lay it neatly on a nearby chair. Even though the camisole and skirt were more modest than anything I’d have worn to the beach, I felt incredibly undressed.

When I turned around, Balthazar’s shirt was off. I’d never seen his body before, and just looking at him—broad chest, sculpted shoulders, muscled waist—made me want to touch. In my nervousness I imagined that he was almost twice as wide as I was, that he could cover me completely.

I didn’t touch him; I didn’t do anything. Balthazar laid the towels on the couch. “Here. Lie back.” I did, adjusting my neck so that the towels would catch any blood, but I felt like I was moving in slow motion.

Then Balthazar lay next to me, his body alongside mine. My heart was beating so hard I thought it could burst.

Balthazar brushed one hand through my hair and smiled gently. He sounded more like himself as he said, “Are you nervous?”

“Kind of,” I admitted.

“Don’t be. I’ll take good care of you, I promise.”

Source: www_Novel22_Net

Prev Next