Undead and Unappreciated

Undead and Unappreciated by MaryJanice Davidson Read Free Book Online

Book: Undead and Unappreciated by MaryJanice Davidson Read Free Book Online
Authors: MaryJanice Davidson
he would have let Jess ride in the passenger seat if she’d threatened his best Gucci.
    So it was crowded, but almost nice. If it weren’t for where we were going.
    â€œIt’s just a word,” Marc was insisting. Oh, not this again. Jessica hated “African American,” but she wasn’t too crazy about the N word, either. “It’s lost all meaning. This isn’t the nineteenth century. Or even the twentieth.”
    â€œI don’t think we should be talking about this,” Tina said, shifting so Marc’s elbow wasn’t on her eyebrow. She was teeny, but it was a tight fit back there.
    â€œNo, it’s fine,” Jessica replied.
    â€œOf course it’s fine, we’re all civilized ad—well, we’re all adults. Tina, I swear, you’re the most politically correct dead person I’ve ever known.”
    â€œI just don’t think this is an appropriate discussion for—for us.” Tina had been born around the time Lincoln freed the slaves, so she had perspective the rest of us didn’t. She was pretty closemouthed about the whole thing.
    â€œNo, no, no,” Jessica said, and I curled my fingers around the door handle, just in case. I knew that tone. “In this day and age, there are quite a few more important things to worry about. It is just a word. It’s totally lost its meaning.” Sinclair was looking up at her in the rearview, and Tina was edging away. Only Marc, who couldn’t smell emotions, was oblivious. “Now go ahead,” she continued calmly. “You just call me that once .”
    Silence. Followed by Marc’s meek, “I didn’t mean we should go around calling other people that. I just think—I mean I don’t think—not that anyone should call you—or call anyone—”
    â€œWill you stop already before one of us has to knock you unconscious?” I asked.
    Jessica snickered, and that was the end of the discussion for that week.
    We pulled upside my dad’s Tudor (four thousand square feet for two people!) and piled out of the car. It was full dark, about nine o’clock at night. My dad had left town that afternoon for a business trip, and the Ant would be alone.
    This information was helpfully provided by my mother, who supported my vampiric pursuits and helped me out whenever she could. Sometimes it’s like that, I’ve noticed…one parent is almost too great, and the other one’s a shit. I had my mom so high up on a pedestal, the poor thing probably got oxygen deprived.
    I rapped twice, then opened the front door. Unlocked, of course…it was a pretty nice neighborhood. Very low crime. My dad didn’t even lock his BMW when he left it in the driveway. As far as I knew, they’d never been robbed. Of course, if my funds ever ran low, that might change.
    â€œHelloooooo?” I called. “Antonia? It’s me, your favorite stepdaughter.”
    â€œAnd by favorite,” Marc added, stepping into the foyer behind me, “she means hated.” He seemed to be bouncing back nicely from his humiliation in the car…but then, he was pretty irrepressible. Once you overlooked the whole attempted-suicide thing. Come to think of it, it was an attempted suicide…
    â€œYou haven’t even met her,” Jessica said as we all crowded into the small hall.
    â€œNo, but I’ve heard the legend. Frankly, I’m skeptical. Can she live up to the hype?”
    â€œI have to admit,” Tina said, “I’m curious, too.”
    â€œShe knows you are a vampire, but the front door was unlocked.” Sinclair sniffed. “Either she’s unbelievably arrogant or unbelievably dim.”
    â€œYou can’t be here!” my stepmother said by way of greeting, running down the stairs like Scarlett O’Hara with a blond wig and frown lines. “I didn’t invite you in!”
    â€œThat only works on black

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