Fledgling (The Vampire Manifesto, Book Two)
for his girlfriend, I’m going to vomit.”
    “Come on Connor, it can’t be that bad.”
    “I almost punched him.” He explained. “Twice. Not to mention the Judas…”
    “Don’t call Girard that.” I calmly made my way towards Dakota, squarely placing myself between her and Connor.
    “Her scent…it sickens me, but that’s not the real problem.” He admitted. “It’s your brother’s girlfriend. That blonde chick.”
    “You mean Abigail?” I didn’t understand. “There’s nothing wrong with her.”
    “She keeps asking me questions about our…you know…car accident. Just finding all the little plot holes in it, then driving a Mack truck through them.”
    I came to her defense. “She’s just overprotective.”
    “Tell me about it.”
    “Why didn’t you just tell her to leave you alone?” It was that simple.
    “You think I didn’t try?” He was in front of me now. I carefully pushed Dakota further back from him, putting a greater distance between the two.
    “Well I did.” He finished. “Multiple times.”
    “And?” I was missing something.
    “That’s the point Madison.” Connor threw up his hands in frustration. “I told her multiple times, in so many words, to just leave me alone and you know what, she didn’t. That woman is impervious to compulsion.”
    “Really?”
    “I’ve never met anyone who was impervious to compulsion.” He thought hard. “Nope. Nobody.”
    “So what does that mean?”
    “I don’t think she’s human.” He admitted.
    “Oh come on Connor, its Abigail.”
    “I didn’t think Goodwin was human.” He made a gun motion with his index finger and thumb. “That’s why I shot him. I was testing my theory.”
    “You’re not shooting Abigail.” I insisted.
    Connor walked off towards the house. “We’ll see.”
    Then he was gone.
    I turned to Dakota. “You get all that?”
    She inhaled. “You have lots of enemies, one of whom murdered my mother and tried to kill me. A chick that nobody trusts, an emo boyfriend, a psychotic, jealous booty call with super powers who wants to like, murder, hmmm, I don’t know, everything maybe? Also there’s the anemic brother who I’m pretty sure you just tried to murder, on accident mind you, so at least that’s a thumbs up. Then we have the brother’s girlfriend who seems to know that you and psycho dad are lying about something, but nobody can understand why, because like, psycho booty call seems so trustworthy to begin with…hmm…I think that’s it.”
    “Yeah, I think you got it all.” I laughed.
    “Oh...” Dakota held up one finger. “And apparently I’m under mind control. Can’t forget that, it’s the most important one.”
    “Wow.” I’ve never heard it broken down quite like that before. “You still wanna come with me?”
    She took hold of my hand again. “When I change my mind Madison, you’ll know it.”
    I led her down the street, my house just there in the middle of the cul-de-sac. When I opened the door, everything hit me all at once, my parent’s death, what I did to Aiden, the blood of everyone in the room, the peril that we now face. It was all there, just waiting for me.
    Everyone that I cared about was here in this house, everyone that I wanted to protect. How I was going to do it, I wasn’t sure, but I would sacrifice myself before I let any person in this home come to harm.
    “Who’s your pal?” Girard asked. She was sitting in the living room next to Abigail on the couch eating something I’m sure she shouldn’t be. Ethan was on the chaise lounge chair and he got up when he saw me. I crossed the living room and collapsed into his arms kissing him with all the passion that I could muster.
    “Hey baby.” He smelled so good, his touch a consoling blanket of serenity that I didn’t feel with anybody else. Connor made me feel protected, Dakota made me feel loved, but Ethan, he made me feel at peace.
    I slipped out of his embrace, not because I desired to, I could escape

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