She chose me because of my power in Hollywood, my influence around the world, because she knew I would do anything to protect my image, and she was right. I knew how to cover up media stories and press releases. I knew how to spin a tale to make it seem innocent or accidental. Soon, whether I wanted to or not, it was me who was making phone calls, spinning tales, protecting vampires around the world whenever they did anything that could reveal what they really were. There was even a photo of me released one night, taken from God knows where, when I was in vampire form. It was an easy spin. I just claimed it was a makeup test for a new theater role, but it scared me. I became more of a recluse; throwing myself into the theater, pushing everyone but Peter and Porsche away. I increased security and never left the grounds. I protected the school and myself every way I could.
Eventually, Selene stopped showing up and I currently was 8 months without her presence - which scared me even more. Either she had grown tired of me, or she was biding her time, waiting for a moment whose perfect reason was unclear to me. But whatever the reason, she wasn’t here and hadn’t been for months.
As I neared the end of my story, I felt my fangs begin to recede.
“What time is it, Amy?” I asked, jerking her out of the trance that she had settled into. It had broken my heart to not see a flicker of reaction on her face as she listened and I was becoming increasingly anxious to hear her thoughts. But like a good actress, she hid the emotions she did not want me to see.
“5 AM,” she replied, glancing at her watch. Her voice was dead too, and it nearly killed me. I knew I was transforming back. I could already feel my breath coming stronger and the familiar stirring in my chest as my heart began to beat.
“You must be tired,” I said, gently, but she still didn’t move. “You should get some rest. It’s been a long night.”
“It has,” She said, unfolding herself and slowly rising.
“Amy,” I called, when I finally couldn’t take it anymore. She glanced at me, her eyes heavy with fatigue. “It doesn’t change anything. I ... I ... love you. And I’ve never said that to anyone before. Ever. Amy, there’s a million things that we don’t know about each other, although I would be happy to spend a life time telling you everything. But the thing you need to know right now, is that I spent my whole life alone. I was a teenager in Hollywood and I made stupid mistakes, of course. I played the big roles in the movies, but I didn’t for one second believe in star crossed lovers. I didn’t believe two people were meant to be together, or even could possibly want each other beside one night in the darkness. But then I met you, Amy, and everything changed. My whole world fell upside down, even though I was not searching for it. I thought I wanted the darkness, and I found the light instead. I need you, Amy.” I meant it, desperately trying to search her eyes for some flicker of hope. But I saw none. She shook her head, taking a few steps back.
“I need to get some sleep, Liam,” she replied. “I have class in a few hours.”
“You can … not go to class?” I offered. “We can talk some more. Anything. Anything you want.” The last thing I wanted was for her to back away and leave.
“No,” She shook her head. “I don’t want to talk some more. I don’t … I don’t want to talk to you again.”
“I can’t do this, Liam,” she said, and I could see the tears in her eyes. “I can’t do this. I’m sorry. You’re immortal...and I’m too mortal for this.”
“No. Your heart is cursed, Liam; cursed and belonging to someone else. That much is clear.” She was almost at the door now. I shook my head, wanting to cry out that none of this was true, but words escaped me. “Please leave me alone. Please just leave me alone.”
And then she was gone, the door slamming behind her. I heard her footsteps run up the stairs, as if the devil was behind her. And I guess he was.
The sadness hit me like a rock. Tears pricked my eyes and turned into hysterics. I was so tired and hurt. Emotion was controlling me like Selene often did. I couldn’t lose Amy. Not this way, not like this.
A million horrible thoughts poured into my mind, none of them logical. The only one that made sense was a fact: I was alone in this room, and in this world. Utterly and truly alone.
I don’t think I slept for two days straight. I went to the school nurse as soon as I escaped Liam. I needed an excuse to get out of class. Luckily, having infected blood is apparently a reason to get out of class anytime. The one obstacle that stood in my way, however, was my father.
“Please don’t call him,” I said to her, as I got my coat, a note clutched in my hand. “I’ll tell him myself. But really, I just need a day or two to rest. It’s scarier to him if someone else calls him. If I can do it myself, it shows I’m ok. He’s under a lot of stress right now.”
She sighed and then put down the contact book she was flipping through.
“Alright. You’re old enough to make your own choices, Amy. But if things get worse you need to come to me right away.”
“Of course,” I nodded, zipping up my coat and then heading out of the office. Now, I was safe. Liam wouldn’t come looking for me for days, I knew that, and an official record of an excuse from class meant no one else would either. As long as I still met my Dad for lunch, he wouldn’t suspect a thing.
I didn’t want to do anything but shut myself in my room for days. Even though it was impossible to believe, I knew what Liam told me was true. There was no other explanation for what I had seen. The way his face had changed in the darkness and then changed again in the light; the fact that I never saw him after dark; the way he ran off as soon as the sun was setting. All the facts began to add up and I wondered why I didn’t see it before.
I couldn’t deal with this. I couldn’t handle it. It was almost like, wordlessly, he was mocking me. My mortality loomed with every beat of my heart … with every beep of my watch to remind me to take my AZT. Without them, the disease would descend and I’d be dead in less than a few years. They kept my death at bay but reminded me that the Grim Reaper was constantly looming over me.
I spent a good part of the day angry at him. He didn’t think it was something important to tell me when we first got involved? And still, even the fact that he had been cursed and made immortal didn’t seem so bad to me. Liam didn’t need to sleep. He was only a vampire at night. He had gone from one incredibly successful career to another without so much as lifting a finger. Everything had been handed to him. He had never known struggle or poverty, and yet he thought he had the right to complain about his troubles.
I paced the room, resisting the urge to throw something. How could I trust anything that came out of his mouth, now? All those things he had promised me - parts, help, fame, schooling - I wondered if any of it was true. Or was I simply a relief for him; a potential snack that didn’t tempt him?
How could I have been so stupid to even think I was talented? I smelled terrible to him and that’s why he wanted me around. He would rather have me, for his own selfish reasons - to be able to kiss and touch and be around a warm human he didn’t want to eat - than choose someone who actually deserved this scholarship and would be good for the school.
I wasn’t about to give it up, of course. No, I decided that late on the second day as I sat on my bed, furiously typing away at my laptop. My disease had given me nothing but trouble, but for one miracle moment it had actually helped me. This was my dream and it didn’t matter what the reason was for it happening. I mean, Hollywood was all about whom you knew, not what you could do. Everyone knew that. So if this was the reason I got here, so be it. Liam wasn’t going to take it away from me.
Angrily, I slammed my laptop shut and got up, stalking to my bedroom door to check the schedule I had taped there. I had rehearsal first thing in the morning and I decided I was going. He wasn’t going to take away anything more from me. If my blood got me here, so be it, but my talent was going to keep me here. I was going to try as hard as I could because I knew another shot like this would never happen again. Even if I had to do it alone.
I picked up my phone and sent an email to my instructors, informing them I would be resuming classes in the morning. There were several messages from Sarah. I knew I had ignored her over the past two days. Two days was the longest we’d come without ever speaking. I couldn’t do it any longer, even if I couldn’t tell her exactly what was happening.
With a sigh, I glanced in the mirror, making sure I didn’t look too upset with the world. And then, I pushed the video call button. She answered immediately.
“Amy, where the hell have you been? Are you ok? I was worried! What’s going on, girl?”
“Nothing,” I said, settling back on my bed with what I hoped was a bored sigh. This was probably my greatest acting challenge to date. And if I was going to keep being an actress, then I’d better get used to it. “I’ve just been really busy. Rehearsal and all. I’m tired, tell me about you!”
She grinned, sitting down on her own couch. “I went to this audition today…” As Sarah babbled on, I settled my head back against the pillows, listening. Normal life had to resume, or at least what was left of it. It had to or I wouldn’t survive. It just had to resume without Liam.
The next morning, my alarm pierced through the silence at 6am. It was the earliest I could manage to get up and still feel half decent. The dancers often got up at 5am, used to having to go to rehearsals before and after normal schooling. Now they were here, they used every waking moment to practise.
I knew, however, that I would be the first awake in the drama wing. My fellow actors were the ones who were rushing down the halls to class with less than a minute to spare, on a daily basis.