My Vampyre Sociology 415 text was exactly where I left it in the bookshelf over my computer desk. It was a senior or, as they're called here, sixth former level book. Neferet had given it to me shortly after I'd arrived when it was obvious that the Change going on within my body was happening at a different rate than what went on with normal fledglings. She'd wanted to pull me out of my third former Soc class and move me into the upper level section of Soc, but I'd managed to talk her out of it, saying that I was already different enough, I didn't need anything else to make me more of a freak to the rest of the kids here. Our compromise was that I would go through the 415 level text, chapter by chapter, and ask her questions along the way.
Okay, well, I'd meant to do that, but what with one thing and another (taking over the Dark Daughters, dating Erik, regular schoolwork, and whatnot), I'd done little more than glance at the book on my shelf.
With a sigh that sounded almost as tired as I felt, I took the book to bed and propped myself up on a mound of pillows. Despite the horrible events of the day, I had to struggle to keep my eyes open as I turned to the index and found what I was looking for: bloodlust. There were a whole string of page numbers after the word, so I marked the place in the index, wearily flipped to the first page listed, and started reading. At first it was stuff I'd already figured out for myself: as a fledgling gets farther into the Change, she develops a taste for blood. Blood drinking goes from being something abhorrent to something delicious. By the time a fledgling is well advanced in the Change process, she can detect the scent of blood from a distance. Because of changes in metabolism, drugs and alcohol have increasingly less effect on fledglings, and as this effect dissipates, they will find that the effects of drinking blood correspondingly increase.
"No kidding," I said under my breath. Even drinking fledgling blood mixed in wine had given me an incredible buzz. Drinking Heath's blood had been like fire exploding deliciously inside me. I flipped ahead in the reading. I already knew all the stuff about blood being yummy. Then my eye caught a new heading, and I stopped at that page.
<SEXUALITY AND BLOODLUST>
Though the frequency of need differs depending upon age, sex, and general strength of the vampyre, adults must periodically feed on human blood to remain healthy and sane. It is, therefore, logical that evolution, and our beloved Goddess, Nyx, have insured the blood drinking process is a pleasurable one, both for the vampyre and the human donor. As we have already learned, vampyre saliva acts as an anticoagulant for human blood. Vampyre saliva also secretes endorphins during blood drinking, which stimulate the pleasure zones of the brain, human and vampyre, and can actually simulate orgasm.
I blinked and rubbed a hand across my face. Well, hell! No wonder I'd had such a slutty reaction to Heath. Being turned on while I drank blood was programmed into my Changing genes. Fascinated, I kept reading.
The older the vampyre, the more endorphins are released during blood drinking, and the more intense the experience of pleasure for vampyre and human.
Vampyres have speculated for centuries that the ecstasy of blood drinking is the key reason humans have vilified our race. Humans feel threatened by our ability to bring them such intense pleasure during an act they consider dangerous and abhorrent, so they have labeled us as predators. The truth, of course, is that vampyres can control their bloodlust, so there is little physical danger to human donors. The danger lies in the Imprint that often occurs during the ritual of blood drinking.
Completely engrossed, I hurried on to the next section.
An Imprint between vampyre and human does not occur every time a vampyre feeds. Many studies have been performed to try to determine exactly why some humans Imprint and some do not, but though there are several determining factors, such as emotional attachment, relationship between the human and the vampyre pre-Change, age, sexual orientation, and frequency of blood drinking, there is no way to predict with certainty whether a human will Imprint with a vampyre.
The text went on to talk about how vampyres should take care when drinking from a live donor, versus getting blood from blood banks, which are highly secretive businesses very few humans are aware exist at all (apparently those few humans are extremely well paid for their silence). The Soc book definitely frowned on drinking blood from humans and there were lots of warnings about how dangerous it is to Imprint a human, how not only is the human now emotionally bound to the vampyre, but the vamp is tied to the human, too. This made me sit up straighter. With a sick feeling in my stomach. I read about how once the Imprint is in place a vamp can feel the human's emotions, and in some cases can actually call and/or track the human. There the text went off on a tangent about how Bram Stoker had actually been Imprinted by a vamp High Priestess, but that he had not understood her commitment to Nyx had to come before their tie, and in a fit of jealous anger had betrayed her by exaggerating the negative aspects of an Imprint in his infamous book, Dracula.
"Huh. I had no idea," I said. Ironically, Dracula had been one of my favorite books since I read it when I was thirteen. I skimmed through the rest of the section until I came to a part that had me chewing my lip as I slowly read it.
As discussed in the previous chapter, due to the possibility of Imprint, fledglings are prohibited from drinking the blood of human donors, but they may experiment with each other. It has been proven that fledglings cannot Imprint one another. However, it is possible for an adult vampyre to Imprint a fledgling. This leads to emotional and physical complications once the fledgling completes the Change that are often not beneficial for either vampyre; therefore, blood drinking between fledgling and adult vampyre is strictly prohibited.
I shook my head, appalled all over again by the blood drinking I'd witnessed between Neferet and Elliott. Setting aside the whole issue of Elliott being dead, which still confused the hell outta me, Neferet was a powerful High Priestess. No damn way should she be letting a fledgling drink from her (even a dead one).
There was a chapter about breaking Imprints, which I started reading, but it was just too depressing. Apparently it involved the aid of a powerful High Priestess, a lot of physical pain, especially on the part of the human, and even then the human and the vampyre had to be careful to stay away from each other or the Imprint could reestablish.
I suddenly felt overwhelmingly weary. How long had it been since I'd really slept? More than a day. I glanced at my alarm clock. It was 6:10 A.M. It would be getting light soon. Feeling stiff and old I got up and put the book back on the shelf. Then I pulled open one side of the heavy curtains that completely covered the one large window in our room and blocked out all light from the outside. It was still snowing, and in the hesitant light of predawn the world looked innocent and dreamy. It was hard to imagine that such horrible things as teenagers being killed and dead fledglings being reanimated could have happened out there. I closed my eyes and leaned my head against the cool windowpane. I didn't want to think of either of those things right now. I was too tired ... too confused ... too unable to come up with the answers that I needed.
My sleepy mind wandered. I wanted to lie down, but the cool window felt good against my forehead. Erik would be getting back later that day. The thought gave me equal pangs of pleasure and of guilt, which, of course, made me think of Heath.
I'd probably Imprinted him. The thought scared me, but it also drew me. Would it be so awful to be emotionally and physically tied to a sober Heath? Before I'd met Erik (or Loren) my answer would most definitely have been no, it wouldn't be awful. Now it wasn't the awfulness that I was worried about. It was the fact that I'd have to hide the relationship from everyone. Of course I could lie ... the thought drifted like poison smoke through my overstressed mind. Neferet and even Erik knew that I'd been put in a situation a month ago where I drank Heath's blood—before I knew anything about bloodlust and Imprinting. I could pretend like I'd Imprinted him then. I'd already mentioned the possibility to Neferet. Maybe I could figure out a way to keep seeing both Heath and Erik ...
I knew my thoughts were wrong. I knew that seeing both of them was dishonest to both Erik and Heath, but I was so torn! I was really starting to care about Erik, plus he lived in my world and understood issues like the Change and embracing a totally new way of life. Thinking about breaking up with him made my heart hurt.
But thinking about never seeing Heath again, never tasting his blood again ... that made me feel like I was having a panic attack. I sighed again. If this was bad for me, it was probably a zillion times worse for Heath. After all, it'd been a month since I'd seen him, and all that time he'd been carrying around a razor blade in his pocket just on the outside chance he might run into me. He'd stopped drinking and smoking because of what had happened between us. And he'd been eager to cut himself and let me drink his blood. Remembering, I shivered, and not because of the coolness of the window I was still pressing my forehead against. Desire made me shiver. The Soc textbook had described the reasons behind bloodlust in logical, dispassionate words that didn't begin to represent the truth of it.
Drinking Heath's blood was an incredible turn on. Something I wanted to do again and again. Soon. Now, actually. I bit my lip to keep from moaning as I thought about Heath—the hardness of his body and the incredible taste of his blood.
And suddenly it was as if a part of my mind lifted, like a string thrown out of a big ball of yarn. I could feel that piece of me searching ... hunting ... tracking ... until it burst into a dark room and hovered above a bed. I sucked in my breath. Heath!
He was lying flat on his back. His blond hair was tousled, making him look like a little boy. Okay, anyone would think the kid was totally cute. I mean, vamps were known for being stunningly beautiful and gorgeously handsome, and even a vamp would have to admit that Heath scored high on their own scale of good-looking.
As if he could sense my presence, he stirred in his sleep, turning his head and restlessly kicking off the sheet that covered him. He was naked except for a pair of blue boxers that had fat little green frogs all over them. The sight of them made me smile. But the smile froze on my face when I noticed that I could now see the thin pink line that ran down the side of his neck.
That was where he'd cut himself with the razor blade and where I'd sucked his blood. I could almost taste it again—the heat and the dark richness of it, like melted chocolate, only a zillion times better.
Unable to stop myself, I moaned, and at the same instant Heath moaned in his sleep.
"Zoey ..." he muttered dreamily, and shifted restlessly again.
"Oh, Heath," I whispered. "I don't know what to do about us." I knew what I wanted to do all too well. I wanted to ignore my exhaustion, get in my car, drive directly to Heath's house, sneak in the window of his bedroom (it's not like I hadn't done that before), open the freshly closed cut in his neck, and let his sweet blood flood my mouth while I pressed my body against his and made love for the first time in my life.
"Zoey!" This time Heath's eyes were fluttering open. He moaned again and his hand moved down to the hard lump in his pants and he began to—
My eyes sprang open and I was back in my dorm room with my forehead pressed against the window, breathing entirely too heavily.
My cell phone bleeped with the tone that said I had a text message. My hands were shaking as I flipped it open and read: I felt u here. Promise you'll meet me Friday.
I took a deep breath and answered Heath with two words that made my stomach flutter with excitement. I promise.
I closed the phone and turned it off. Then, forcing away the image of Heath with the unhealed cut on his neck, warm and desirable, obviously wanting me as much as I wanted him, I moved from the window and climbed into bed. Incredibly, my clock told me it was now 8:27 A.M. I'd been standing by the window for more than two hours! No wonder my body felt so stiff and crappy. I made a mental note to look up more info about Imprinting and the connection between the human and the vamp next time I was in the media center (which had better be soon). Before I turned off the little table lamp I glanced over at Stevie Rae. She was curled up on her side and her back was to me, but her deep breathing told me that she was definitely still asleep. Well, at least my friends didn't know what a bloodlust-filled, hornie freak I was turning into.
I wanted Heath.
I needed Erik.
I was intrigued by Loren.
I had no damn idea what I was going to do about the mess that my life had become.
I smushed my pillow into a ball. I was so tired I felt like someone had drugged me, but my mind still wouldn't shut itself off. When I woke up I'd see Erik again and probably Loren. I'd have to face Neferet. I'd perform my first ritual in front of a group of kids who would probably be happy to see me fail, or at least embarrass myself miserably, and there was always the possibility that both would happen. Then there was the weirdness of knowing that I'd seen what could only be Elliott's ghost behaving in a very unghostlike way. Not to mention another human teenager was dead and it was looking more and more as if a vamp had something to do with it.
I closed my eyes and told my body to relax and my mind to concentrate on something pleasant, like ... like ... how pretty the snow was .. .
Slowly, exhaustion took over and I finally, gratefully, fell into a deep sleep.
14 more chapters to the end of Betrayed!!!
I will be stopping this novel here as I've reached 100,000 words for Author Badge.... and will only resume if there are more than 10 people that express their interest for me to continue to finish this 14 chapters.
Bye bye ~
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