Thirst
afraid to look too deeply in his eyes. He scared me. I had to
be on my guard around him.
    Peter was looking
at me warily, but I had no time for his problems. Night was coming.
We had to leave quickly. I shook myself, aware that heavy magic had
finally lifted.
    “We have to get
going. Is there anything else I need to know?”
    “Possibly. Peter,
wake Carl up, and take him outside for a few minutes. Ava and I
need to chat about something a bit more personal.”
    Peter reluctantly
dragged Carl up out of his seat.
    “No, I’m staying
with Ava,” Carl said. His hesitation made me even more suspicious
of Eddie.
    “It’s okay. I’ll
be out in a minute.” I watched him follow Peter outside, my heart
sinking at the emptiness in Carl’s eyes.
    Afraid of being
alone with Eddie, I acted snappy.
    “Can we hurry
this up? I want to get all of this over and done with as quickly as
I can.”
    Eddie smirked at
me. “I know you don’t like to be around people, but if you were
used to it then Carl wouldn’t bother you so much.”
    “I was used to it
before. Didn’t help my ex much.”
    “A mistake. We
all make them.” He confirmed my suspicions. He knew more about me
than he should.
    “Some mistake. I
bit him and drank his blood, Eddie. I could have killed
him.”
    “But you didn’t.
Stop thinking about what you might have done, and concentrate on
what you have done. You’ve helped out a few humans, right? Carl
can’t be the first. I’d say that balances out an indiscretion or
two.”
    I shook my head
in disgust. “That isn’t how it works.”
    “Isn’t it? We’ll
see. Hold on for a second. I want to show you
something.”
    He left me alone
and was gone long enough for me to get scared. The persistent cold
gasp of air on the back of my neck kept me on edge. I couldn’t see
anything, so I searched with my other sense and noticed a faint
wisp of pale white energy right next to me. There was definitely
something with me, but I had no idea what it could be.
    Eddie returned
with a small velvet box in his hand. “This is for you,” he said,
handing it to me. “It might help.”
    I opened the box,
revealing a silver filigree cross. I touched it hesitantly,
half-expecting it to burn me after the things I had been thinking
about recently concerning Carl. But it felt cool against my
fingers. I started, almost certain I saw a flush of crimson cross
the surface for an instant. I glanced at Eddie
quizzically.
    “It’s okay,”
Eddie said. “It won’t hurt you, although it might hurt a real
vampire. Poor little mix that you are. You have it bad, don’t you?
The thirst?”
    I nodded, my eyes
welling up with tears. He patted my shoulder
sympathetically.
    “You know what I
am?” I asked, almost hesitant to hear his answer.
    “I know more than
that, petal.”
    “So what am
I?”
    “You’re neither
vampire nor human, that’s for sure,” Eddie said.
    I bit my lip. “Do
you know my grandmother? Is that how you know about me?”
    “Nancy? I know
her well. She came to me some years back and told me all about her
little Ava. She’s not the woman you once knew. May I?” he asked,
unclasping the necklace.
    I let him drape
the chain around my neck. It was long enough to be covered by my
clothes if I tucked it in. Its touch was surprisingly cool.
Refreshing. I felt it lean against my skin as if it were sinking
in. Calm drifted over me almost immediately. The dry ache in my
throat subsided. Relief.
    “Oh, wow,” I
murmured, stretching lazily.
    “Feeling
better?”
    “Are you doing
that?” I asked.
    “No, it’s the
cross. It’s a talisman of sorts. It’ll help you with the thirst.
Keep your mind focused long enough to get Carl out of your
way.”
    “And you just
happened to have this lying around?”
    His smile was
sudden but genuine. “Something like that.”
    I was
overwhelmingly grateful, but even as the cross dispelled my thirst,
I realised I hadn’t craved Eddie’s blood for a second.
Curious.
    Aside from

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