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Chapter 16: Dark Gifts
Chapter Sixteen: Feelings
"Bye Maxx!" I called to him the next morning as he disappeared into the horizon. I walked into my house hovering a few inches off the floor so that I wouldn't wake up my parents. After flying up the stairs- which was more difficult than I would have expected with my long dress snagging on everything- I opened my bedroom door, twisting the silver chain of my necklace around my finger. Standing in front of me a shadowy figure chuckled as I jumped back gasping. The dark features were ones I knew well; long jet black hair and piercing green eyes. Phoenix.
"Well hello my darling, I've missed you." He greeted with a devious grin.
"W-what are you doing here?" I stuttered.
"What kind of a welcome is that?" His eyes scanned over me. "My, my Chloe, you look just luscious in that gown." I had the urge to punch his face in and throw him out the window, although, to my dismay, I had other urges too. "And this necklace is just exquisite." he complemented, touching my skin where the necklace hung. I watched his fingers as they traced around my necklace and stopped, lingering far longer than they should have. My pulse quickened and brought on a feeling very much like the one I had experienced the night we met in the coffee shop.
"Y-you didn't answer my question."
"Chloe, get out of the door way, you wouldn't want your parents to see us would you?" He led me inside my room, closing the door quietly behind us. "I think you know very well why I have come. You never did tell me if you would join my coven." He whispered into my ear. Standing straight once again he pushed my hair back out of my face, his fingers brushing my neck as his hands went back to his sides. He laughed as I fought against whatever was pulling me towards him.
"I already said no."I said, hoping that I sounded more confident then I felt.
"Yes, but I am all for second chances." with wicked grin still in place he plopped down on my bed.
"Well I am sorry that you wasted this second chance on me because I am afraid that the answer is still no." I walked sharply over to the window and opened it to show him that I wanted him to leave. He walked up behind me and put his hands on my shoulders, inhaling deeply, breathing in the scent of my hair. A trickle of thrill ran down my spine, clouding my thoughts and making it very hard to think.
"Ahh. You won't reconsider?" He chuckled.
"No, now please leave." I stepped out of the way so that he could get to my window.
"I'm not leaving without you my dear."
"What?" As soon as the word left my mouth I was scooped up into his arms. He jumped out the window, taking me with him. "Put me down or so help me!" I struggled against his hold. Wriggling and kicking my feet with all of the strength I had. But I couldn't break free.
"Chloe dear, I wish you would stop struggling." he said. Maxx help! Already on my way, hold on! I tried to pull Maxx to me harder although I kept getting distracted by the feeling of Phoenix's arm around my waist. Suddenly Phoenix dropped to the ground. "Sorry querida, we'll have to do this another time." he whispered in my ear. And just like that he was gone, as Maxx came running around the corner with a concerned expression.
"Chloe!" He bent down to pick me up off the floor where Phoenix had set me. "Chloe are you okay?" I shook my head slightly and suddenly his look turned to pure fury."Where is he?" he growled.
"He left as soon as he heard you coming."
"That stupid coward, I'll tear him limb from limb!" he shouted. This was definitely not the kind of reaction someone got out of Maxx. "If he ever so much as says your name again I swear-"
"Maxx don't do anything stupid, I couldn't bear to lose you."
"Chloe, do you have any plans for the weekend?" he asked abruptly, becoming concerned again.
"Can you ask your parents if you can go to a ski resort with some friends for the rest of the weekend so that you could stay with me?"
"I guess, but-"
"Chloe after that I can't leave you alone." He looked at me pleadingly as worry flooded my mind.
"Yeah. Okay, but you are going to need to walk me home because I don't know where we are." We walked home silently although my mind was more active than ever. Ugh WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME?! Why do I keep feeling this way around phoenix? I don't love him! I don't even like him! I loathe him so entirely so why is this happening? Oh poor Maxx, he probably felt everything that went on, it must have crushed him!
"Maxx?" I said finally as we neared my house. "I am so sorry; I promise I feel nothing for him. I love you and you only."
"It's okay. I understand that it's out of your control." he said with a calm expression although his feelings betrayed him. His emotions were a fierce mixture of fury, although I was pretty sure that it was toward Phoenix, jealousy, and sadness.
"Maxx, I'm so sorry, I-"
"We should finish this conversation when you come over." he said ending the conversation. He kissed my cheek, soaring off into the wind. I entered the house and searched for my mom, finding her sitting in her kitchen.
"Wow Chloe, where did that dress come from? And that necklace? Oh you look gorgeous." She asked amazedly as she took in my new outfit.
"Maxx got it for me for my birthday."
"My my you certainly picked a boy with good taste." She had moved on to my diamond barrette.
"Mom while I was at Hope's she asked if I could spend the weekend with her at her uncle's ski resort, can I go please?" I batted my eyelashes and puffed out my lower lip.
"I suppose, as long as you wear three layers of clothing and never stay out for more than an hour." I chuckled as I ran to my room to pack. Oh mom, she's so funny. "I'm serious! Frostbite can cause the loss of a limb!" I ran to my room, throwing the first clothes I could get my hands on into an old backpack. I reached over to my nightstand to grab some drawings I wanted to show Maxx and out of the corner of my eye I saw Phoenix, smiling his wicked smile. I screamed, dropping my bag and then tripping over it as I backed away. I looked back up to my window after I recovered but he was no longer there. Liz! What if he has Liz!
I ran up to Liz's room and peeked in. She was half lying on her bed, asleep. Safe and sound, right where she should be. Closing the door I left the house with my bag. Maxx I'm coming! Okay Chloe, hurry up. I love you. I love you too Maxx, more than anything. I dashed to Maxx's house, going as fast as I possibly could.
When I got to his house I dropped my bags and jumped into his arms. "Maxx, I am so so sorry!" I cried, tears pouring down my cheeks. "I don't know why this is happening! I don't even feel any of that right now, I hate him so much Maxx, please believe me. I love you. I don't- don't love him." He held me as I cried, stroking my hair and giving the top of my head an occasional kiss.
After I couldn't cry anymore we just sat there in each other's arms. "Chloe." Maxx said, finally breaking the silence. "Please, don't beat yourself up so."
"K." I whispered. He carried me up to his lounge room and put me down on his leather couch.
"I'll be right back, stay here." He told me, leaving the room quickly. I'm horrible. How can he understand, granted I can tell that he isn't happy, but he still understands. But I don't. I hate Phoenix. And I hate me for these feelings. Maxx then reentered the room, carrying two bottles of blood. "Here." he gave me a bottle and a straw, sitting beside me on the couch.
"Thanks." I replied, sipping at the blood. It wasn't until the sweet red liquid touched my tongue that I realized how hungry I was. I consumed the whole bottle within seconds, ripping out the straw and just gulping it down.
"My goodness you were hungry." He laughed, giving me his bottle, which I sipped slowly. "Chloe what you are feeling with Phoenix, I know it will be hard to believe, but it is completely normal." Even as he said this he looked pained. Normal? How is that normal? "You see, this happens to every vampire, but it is different for each situation. If a man turns a man they will have a sort of brotherly bond, and if a girl turns a girl they will be like sisters. Unfortunately though when a man turns a girl its more romantic. Most people think it's to help mating between vampires or something like that. That's why, when he turned me, I felt like we were brothers again, and why now you… well…" He was so distraught that he couldn't finish the sentence.
"Maybe that is why Scarlet loves Phoenix." I threw in.
"But why doesn't it work when I am not near him?" I asked, twirling my finger mindlessly in my hair.
"Nobody knows really. It's just been that way forever; when you're not by them it just disappears." I could tell he desperately wanted to change the subject; it was killing him to think about it.
"Do you want to watch TV?" I asked. Jumping up and grabbing Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. He smiled, thankful for the diversion.
"Yeah, thanks." We watched about half the movie in each other's arms, trying, and failing to not think about the events of the day. Why does everything have to be so hard as a vampire?!?! You have to carry garlic just to keep from killing people, you can't tell anyone, you have to be careful whenever you touch anything and YOU HAVE TO BE LINKED TO THE PERSON WHO DID IT TO YOU!!!! I seethed with anger. Chloe, calm down. Please, I want to have a happy time the rest of the night, before all of this gets harder. Sorry.
I tried to remain calm, though it was a struggle, and I could tell through our bond that it was a strain for Maxx too. "Maxx?"
"Yeah Chloe?" He asked, turning his beautiful eyes to me.
"I am going to go change into something more comfortable okay?"
"Okay, but hurry." He answered, picking up the remote and pausing the movie.
"Just keep it on, I won't be long."
"I've seen it like a million times. It's okay, just let it play." I stayed until he switched the movie on, even though I knew that he paused it as soon as I left, then sprinted downstairs to where I had left the bags earlier. After opening the bag I promptly picked a pair of sweats and a large t-shirt that said Hershey Pennsylvania with a large Hershey kiss in the background. I ran to the nearest hall, searching for the bathroom. I strained to remember the directions to the bathroom that Maxx had given me the first time I came to his house.
While I was thinking I stumbled into the very bathroom I was looking for and quickly changed. After washing my face and putting my hair up in a sloppy ponytail I folded my dress and tucked it carefully into my bag. Again I turned, seeing Phoenix in the window, and let out a blood curling scream. Chloe what's wrong?
I ran from the bathroom, not knowing particularly where I was going until I found the stairs. I ran up them, tripping every few steps. I stopped at a balcony to listen to the pull towards Maxx so that I could make it to the lounge room. Suddenly he appeared at my side again, chuckling at the great fun he was having. I bolted up the stairs, bursting into the room.
"Maxx I saw him again!" I shrieked. I told him what happened, and how I had seen him in my bedroom window earlier. And as I told him I started to tremble. "What is he doing? Why is he following me?" I asked frantically. Maxx put his arms around me, shielding me as if his arms alone could keep out the world. I love you Maxx, more than I ever knew I could love someone you know that right? Yeah Chloe, I know. I love you too. It's just this whole situation is very trying. I've also overreacted, and I'm sorry. I would've acted the same way. Wait no I already did. You threw me a party and I accused you of cheating on me. Please understand though, when I get angry, it's not at you. This is something I know that you can't control. It's him.
"When is it going to end Maxx? Will it ever go away?" I inquired.
"It depends, for some time makes it stronger, and for some time takes it away."
"When did this thing end for you?" I asked, not bothering to ask if it had ended, because I knew it had.
"It ended when I thought about my sister, when I realized, or started caring that what I was doing was evil, and when I realized that Phoenix was too. It just went away and I knew that we would never be like brothers again." His face grew sad and he hugged me tighter to him. It seemed that any time Phoenix came up it caused such confusion and sadness. And I hated him for it.
"I'm so sorry Maxx that must have been very hard for you."
"I've gotten over it" he stated, playing with my hair although I could tell that the wound was not completely healed. I could see it in his eyes and I could feel it coursing through him
"Shall we watch the movie?" I asked, needing a distraction. I can't take much more of this, what if it grows stronger instead of fades away? I don't know if Maxx can take much more either.
"We shall." he agreed, picking up the remote dramatically and switching the movie back on.
"Why thank you sir." I said as he turned down the lights. Well tonight was certainly exciting. I thought sarcastically. Why does everything have to be so complicated? I wish Phoenix would just leave us alone! He has enough vampires in his coven, he can afford to let two go. I hate Phoenix and I hate what this is doing to me and Maxx's relationship, we're both sad, and everything we talk about ends up turning akward. Although I have a feeling that It's all about to get a whole lot worse.