Home > Some Girls Bite (Chicagoland Vampires #1)(7)

Some Girls Bite (Chicagoland Vampires #1)(7)
Author: Chloe Neill


A picture of Jennifer Porter, a small shot from an ID card, filled the screen. Dark brown hair, blue eyes, just like me.

We shared a moment of silence.

“And speaking of heinous people,” Mallory finally said, “how was the visit home?” Mallory had met my parents only once, when I couldn’t hold off an introduction any longer. She’d just adopted the blue-hair regimen. Needless to say, they weren’t impressed. Creativity, even if benign, was not tolerated in the Merit house. After the one visit, during which Mal had barely avoided socking my father in the jaw, I decided not to force them on her again.

“Not great.”

“I’m sorry.”

I shrugged. “My expectations were low going in, just not as low as they should have been.” I took a long look at the giant leather Canon on top of the coffee table, then reached out and pulled it into my lap. “They were concerned, I guess, but mostly I got a lecture about embarrassing the family.” I put my hands in the air, waggled my fingers for dramatic effect. “You know, the Chicago Merits. Like that means anything.”

Mallory snorted softly. “Unfortunately, it does mean something. You only have to look at the Trib to know that. Did you go see your grandpa?”

“Not yet.”

“You need to.”

“I will,” I quickly replied, “when I’m up to it.”

“Bullshit,” she said, grabbing the cordless phone from its cradle next to the couch. “He’s more of a father to you than Joshua ever was. And you know he’s always up. Call him.” She handed the receiver over, and I clutched it, stared down at the rubbery blue buttons.

“Damn it,” I muttered, but punched in his number. I lifted the phone to my ear, clenching my hand to control the shaking, and silently prayed that he could be understanding. The phone rang three times before the machine kicked on.

“Hi, Grandpa,” I said at the beep. “It’s Merit. I wanted to let you know I’m home and I’m okay. I’ll come over as soon as I can.” I hung up the phone and handed the receiver back to Mallory.

“Way to be an adult,” she said, reaching across the couch to return it to its cradle.

“Hey, I’m pretty sure I can still kick your ass, undead or not.”

She snorted disdainfully. She was quiet for a moment, then cautiously offered, “Maybe something good could come from this.”

I slid her a sideways glance. “Meaning?”

“Meaning, maybe you could get laid?”

“Jesus, Mallory. So not the point,” I said, but gave her points for the hit on my nonexistent dating life. Mallory blamed the cold spell on me, said I “didn’t put myself out there.” What was that supposed to mean? I went out. I hung out in coffeehouses, went to English department FACs. Mallory and I went out almost every weekend to catch bands, Chicago being a hub for touring indies. But I also had to focus on finishing my dissertation. I’d assumed there’d be time for boys after. I guess I had an (undead) eternity for it now.

Mallory put an arm around my shoulder, squeezed. “Look. You’re a vampire now. A vampire.” She looked me over, took in the Cadogan makeover. “They’ve definitely improved your fashion sense, and pretty soon you’ll have this whole goth-chic-undead thing going on.”

I lifted brows.

“Seriously. You’re tall, smart, pretty. You’re like eighty percent legs.” She cocked her head and frowned at them. “I hate you a little for that.”

“You’ve got better boobs,” I acknowledged. And just as we’d done each time we’d had this boobs-versus-legs conversation, we looked down at our chests. Ogled. Compared. My boobs were fine, if a little on the small side. Hers were perfect.

“So I do,” she finally said, but waved a hand dismissively. “But that’s beside the point. The point is, you’re great-looking, and although it personally irks you, you’re the daughter of Joshua Merit. Everyone knows his name. And for all that, you haven’t had a date in, what, a year?”

Fourteen months, but who was counting?

“If you’re out there doing your hot new vampire thing, it could open up a new world for you.”

“Right, Mal. That’s a phone call home I’m gonna make.” I raised my hand, arched my fingers to mimic a telephone receiver. “Hi, Dad. It’s the daughter you barely tolerate. Yeah, I know you’re disappointed I’m the walking undead, but vampire guys are seriously hot.” I mimicked hanging up the phone. “No, thanks. I’m not going to date a vampire.”

She put her head on my shoulder. “Hon, you are a vampire.”

I rubbed my temples, which were beginning to throb. “I know, and it sucks. I don’t want to talk about this anymore.”

Mallory sighed impatiently, but didn’t say anything else about it. She pushed back into the couch cushions and tapped the cover of the guide to vampire life, still closed in my lap, with a finger. “So, you’re going to read it?”

“I should probably understand the ground rules. And since I have all night . . .”

“Well, I don’t have all night.” She rose and stretched. “I’ve got to get some sleep. I’ve got an early meeting. Have fun with your vampire book.”

“Night, Mal. Thanks for waiting up.”

“No problem. I’ll call U of C tomorrow and let you know what they say about reenrolling.” She walked out of the room, but peeked back in, her hand wrapped around the oak doorframe. “Just to review, you’re pissed about being made a vampire, and we hate this Ethan Sullivan guy, right?”

I thumbed through the Canon’s thick, ancient-looking pages, scrolling through the acknowledgments and table of contents, my drifting gaze stilling when I reached the title of chapter two: “Servicing Your Lord.”

“Oh, yeah,” I assured her. “We hate him.”

 

 

I slept on the couch, book in my hands. I’d spent the final hours of the evening, long after Mallory had dragged herself upstairs, pouring through the Canon. I was wide-awake for the review, the transition to vampire already reversing my sleep schedule, at least until the wave of exhaustion hit me at sunrise. As dawn approached, I could feel the sun creeping up, preparing to breach the horizon. As it rose, so did the weighty drowsiness. What was it that Carl Sandburg had said about fog? That it crept in like a cat? That was how the exhaustion came. It crept in, silent but assuredly there, and covered me like a heavy velvet blanket.

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