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Episode 6

(Vampire Queens Aren’t the Only Ones with a Nasty Bite)

Determined not to let this staring contest that feels a little like a show of dominance go on any longer, I cast around for something to break the tension. And settle on a response to the only thing he’s actually said to me so far.

“Who’s got a nasty bite?”

He reaches past me and picks up the piece I dropped, holds the queen for me to see. “She’s really not very nice.”

I stare at him. “She’s a chess piece.”

His obsidian eyes gleam back. “Your point?”

“My point is, she’s a chess piece. She’s made of marble. She can’t bite anyone.”

He inclines his head in a you never know gesture. “‘There are more things in heaven and hell, Horatio, / Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.’”

“Earth,” I correct before I can think better of it.

He crooks one midnight-black brow in question, so I continue. “The quote is, ‘There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio.’”

“Is it now?” His face doesn’t change, but there’s something mocking in his tone that wasn’t there before, like I’m the one who made the mistake, not him. But I know I’m right—my AP English class just finished reading Hamlet last month, and my teacher spent forever on that quote. “I think I like my version better.”

“Even though it’s wrong?”

“Especially because it’s wrong.”

I have no idea what I’m supposed to say to that, so I just shake my head. And wonder how lost I’ll get if I go looking for Macy and Uncle Finn right now. Probably very, considering the size of this place, but I’m beginning to think I should risk it. Because the longer I stand here, the more I realize this guy is as terrifying as he is intriguing.

I’m not sure which is worse. And I’m growing less sure by the second that I want to find out.

“I need to go.” I force the words past a jaw I didn’t even know I’d been clenching.

“Yeah, you do.” He takes a small step back, nods toward the common room Macy and I just walked through. “The door’s that way.”

It’s not the response I’m expecting, and it throws me off guard. “So what, I shouldn’t let it hit me on the way out?”

He shrugs. “As long as you leave this school, it doesn’t matter to me if it hits you or not. I warned your uncle you wouldn’t be safe here, but he obviously doesn’t like you much.”

Anger flashes through me at his words, burning away the last of the numbness that has plagued me. “Who exactly are you supposed to be anyway? Katmere’s very own unwelcome wagon?”

“Unwelcome wagon?” His tone is as obnoxious as his face. “Believe me, this is the nicest greeting you’re going to get here.”

“This is it, huh?” I raise my brows, spread my arms out wide. “The big welcome to Alaska?”

“More like, welcome to hell. Now get the fuck out.”

The last is said in a snarl that yanks my heart into my throat. But it also slams my temper straight into the stratosphere. “Is it that stick up your ass that makes you such a jerk?” I demand. “Or is this just your regular, charming personality?”

The words come out fast and furious, before I even know I’m going to say them. But once they’re out, I don’t regret them. How can I when shock flits across his face, finally erasing that annoying smirk of his?

At least for a minute. Then he fires back, “I’ve got to say, if that’s the best you’ve got, I give you about an hour.”

I know I shouldn’t ask, but he looks so smug, I can’t help myself. “Before what?”

“Before something eats you.” He doesn’t say it, but the obviously is definitely implied. Which only pisses me off more.

“Seriously? That’s what you decided to go with?” I roll my eyes. “Bite me, dude.”

“Nah, I don’t think so.” He looks me up and down. “I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t even make an appetizer.”

But then he’s stepping closer, leaning down until he’s all but whispering in my ear. “Maybe a quick snack, though.” His teeth close with a loud, sharp snap that makes me jump and shiver all at the same time.

Which I hate…so, so much.

I glance around us, curious if anyone else is witnessing this mess. But where everyone only had eyes for me earlier, they seem to be going out of their way not to glance in my direction now. One lanky boy with thick red hair even keeps his head so awkwardly turned to the side while walking across the room that he almost runs into another student.

Which tells me everything I need to know about this guy.

Determined to regain control of the situation—and myself—I take a big step back. Then, ignoring my pounding heart and the pterodactyls flapping around in my stomach, I demand, “What is wrong with you?” I mean, seriously. He’s got the manners of a rabid polar bear.

“Got a century or three?” His smirk is back—he’s obviously proud of getting to me—and for a moment, just a moment, I think about how satisfying it would be to punch him right in the center of that annoying mouth of his.

“You know what? You really don’t have to be such a—”

“Don’t tell me what I have to be. Not when you don’t have a clue what you’ve wandered into here.”

“Oh no!” I do a mock-afraid face. “Is this the part of the story where you tell me about the big, bad monsters out here in the big, bad Alaskan wilderness?”

“No, this is the part of the story where I show you the big, bad monsters right here in this castle.” He steps forward, closing the small distance I managed to put between us.

And there goes my heart again, beating like a caged bird desperate to escape.

I hate it.

I hate that he’s bested me, and I hate that being this close to him makes me feel a bunch of things I shouldn’t for a guy who has been a total jerk to me. I hate even more that the look in his eyes says he knows exactly how I’m feeling.

The fact that I’m reacting so strongly to him when all he seems to feel for me is contempt is humiliating, so I take one trembling step back. Then I take another. And another.

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