“LIAM! OMG!” Sarah almost deafened me with her scream. I gave the phone a quick glare, wincing. Sure enough, inside the class room, was Liam, standing in the middle and waving his arms. Porsche sat on a desk, glaring at him.
“She’s my sire, Porsche, darling, she’s the one who made me. You expect me to just forget she even existed?”
“I’m just saying be careful,” She replied. “You’re splashing your face all over the media again, and if she wants to find you, she’s going to find you and then this is going to start all over again.”
“What are they talking about?” Sarah hissed in my ear. I glanced at her video and angrily put a finger to my lips.
“Let her,” Liam shrugged. “There isn’t anything that blood sucker can do to me that she hasn’t already done. Not with you around anyway.”
The conversation made little sense to me, and made me lean in further, trying to understand exactly what they were talking about. My head crossed a light, and my shadow played strongly against the wall. The change in light was what gave me away. In an instant, they both turned to look at me. I felt the color rise in my cheeks, and I yanked my head phones out.
“Sorry!” I said, quickly. “I was just showing my friend around,” I held up the video call on my phone which showed Sarah gaping. Quickly, I ended the call, without saying goodbye.
“Amy!” Liam said, a bit too loudly. He looked different from this morning; paler, and more defined in the face and his voice sounded different as well, although I couldn’t place it. However, with one whiff of the air in the room, it was probably a safe bet to assume he was drunk. I recognized the smell of brandy from the kitchen … sweet and potent. “It’s ok, the more the merrier.”
“Liam,” Porsche growled, from her place on the desk. “I think Amy should head back to her dorms, right now.”
“Why?” He turned to her, a bit unsteadily. “She’s the best student in the school. She’s the only one that gives a damn about acting. The rest of them are after fame and fortune. Why shouldn’t she stay and join us?”
My mouth hit the floor at his words, which had no trace of sarcasm or untruth in them. He spoke them from his heart, obscured by alcohol as they were. And then he stumbled, reaching to a nearby desk for support. Without thinking, I moved forward, even though I was too far to catch him. I heard it before I felt it; the crunch of glass beneath my feet that speared right through my thin sandal and into my skin. It pierced deep, and I cried out from the pain, stumbling forwards myself in alarm. I put my arms out to catch myself, but panicked when I realized there was broken glass everywhere.
Liam grabbed me before I fully hit the ground, pulling me out of harm’s way before I could do too much damage to my skin. He had moved across the room at seemingly inhuman speed, grabbing me around the waist and pulling me to the left, so we both fell.
For a moment, I was in his lap, his strong arms around me, and I didn’t want to move, my heart beating so fast I thought it might explode. But then I felt the rush of blood as my muscles recovered from the fall, and I twisted, trying to get out of his grasp.
“Let go. Let Go. Please let go,” I cried, trying to assess where the blood was, and whether any of it had gotten on him. If he had even a drop of blood in any wound, in his face, there was a good chance he could be infected. Liam looked shocked at this, and released me, but soon, I had another problem.
Porsche was in front of me then, grabbing my wrists to get me to stop struggling.
“Please,” I said, surprised as tears sprung to my eyes. I had to make her understand. “Please, don’t touch me, NO!” I moved my arm away as she reached for it, sprouting blood from broken glass. “I’m HIV positive, my blood is infected. You can’t be anywhere near me. You need gloves!”
“Ssh, Honey,” her voice was gentle as she met my eyes. “Me too.”
That stopped me, and I stared at her. She was so beautiful, so healthy, and strong. How could she possibly be infected as well?
“Yep,” she said, with a sad smile, as she reached to examine my arm. “Years ago. Dirty needle.” She winced as she looked at the wound. “This is going to need the first aid kit. I’m going to get it.” She stood up, looking at Liam, who had backed up a bit to lean against a desk. “You alright? I’ll be fast.”
“Sure,” he seemed a bit more sober now, although his eyes weren’t as intense as they normally were. “Go ahead, Porsche, I’m not going to eat her.”
“Uh huh,” the dancer seemed un-amused, and headed off down the hallway, breaking into a jog as she got a few feet away. Curling my knees against my chest, I turned to look at Liam. He was looking right back at me, sympathy playing across his face.
“Are you alright?” he asked me, and I nodded.
“If anyone was careless tonight, it was me,” he said, sitting down beside me.
“Are you alright?” I cocked my head at him. “You look…sorry, you look terrible.”
He laughed, glancing up at the clock.
“It’s just time for me to go to bed,” he said, and I raised an eyebrow at that.
“A former Hollywood party boy, wanting to sleep at 9pm?”
His face darkened at that again, and I saw his mouth twitch. I blinked twice, trying to clear my head. His teeth were white and perfect inside his mouth, but tonight they looked almost menacing.
“There are things the darkness does to me that you don’t know, Amy. Things that you don’t want to know.”
I would have laughed at that, but there was something about the tone in his voice that made me lean closer, my chest tight with empathy.
“We all have our demons in the dark. I’m sorry that you have to…see me like this. The booze helps, believe it or not. But then, you’re 18 and young, you should believe it,” he gave me a wry smile, and I shrugged.
“I’ve lived a pretty boring life.” I said, quietly, pulling at a thread on my shirt. “But Liam…” There was something about his face, the way he was almost folded in on himself, looking so vulnerable, that made me continue to speak. “You’ve given me so much help while I’ve been here. You’ve given me everything. A year ago, I never would have even dared to dream my life would be like this. So…” I trailed off, meeting his dark eyes. “If there’s anything I can do to help you…I know it’s not my place, but...” What stopped me this time was what I thought I saw in his eyes; the tears welling up as he spoke, shaking his head.
“You’re a good kid, Amy. You shouldn’t be mixed up in all this.”
“I’m not a kid,” I said, immediately, and he met my eyes, a tender smile on his face. He raised a hand to my cheek, and I let him touch it gently.
“Indeed you are not.” He said. “You are a beautiful young woman, and any man would be blind to refuse you.”
I was lost in his eyes, their watery depths flooding into my soul. I had seen his face a thousand times, on the screen and in the magazines, and I couldn’t believe it was now inches from mine. Slowly, his other hand rose to my other cheek, and he dipped his head. Without even realizing what was happening, I kissed him.
His lips were soft, and gentle, our tongues chasing each other as our kiss deepened. It seemed to last an eternity, and yet when we broke apart, it wasn’t long enough. I gripped onto him and our lips met again, our breath now coming in gasps. I felt things I had never felt before, my skin lit up and a warm glow ignited between my legs. Liam seemed equally entranced, his eyes closed, and his hands began wandering my body. I didn’t have time to think, to consider what was happening. All I knew was that I wanted more, and I pulled myself closer to him, remaining careful to keep my wounds away. He tasted of brandy and sweetness, and the way he sucked on my lower lip made me moan.
Finally, we broke apart, our eyes darting over each other, playing the old trick of pretending not to look. My head was reeling as I tried to make sense of it. His hand took mine and squeezed it gently. Neither of us said anything for almost a full minute, until I heard footsteps from down the hall.
“Are you dating her?” I asked, under my breath. I had to know. Forget the implications of the fact that I had just kissed my headmaster in a fiery passion that would have burned the school down - if his girlfriend was coming back as well, I might as well slit my wrists now.
“No,” He laughed at the silliness of my question, and I felt he wasn’t lying. “Porsche and I have a different story but romance doesn’t have any part in it.”
“Oh,” I replied, looking away, as she returned to the room, first aid kit in hand.
“You’re probably going to have to see a doctor, Amy,” she said, crouching to my level. “But let’s see if we can get the biggest shard out, hmm?”
“Uh huh,” I extended my arm, glancing back at Liam. Our conversation ended abruptly, and I felt like a piece of me was unfinished.
Pulling a pair of tweezers from the first aid kit, she squinted in the light, examining the glass before clamping down on it. I braced myself, closing my eyes. The sun was almost gone now, setting fast, and I could practically see the last rays of light disappearing from behind my eyelids. I took a deep breath as I felt her brace my arm, and then she pulled.
It didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would. When you grow up with IVs, needles and endless amounts of drugs and tests, you don’t grow up squeamish. From behind me, however, I heard Liam grunt.
“Get out,” Porsche said to him, quickly slapping some gauze on my wound, which had begun to ooze blood. I couldn’t turn around, she had me gripped tightly, but I could hear him stand up. “Before you cause any more damage. You need to go. I already called Peter.”