The thing is, she hates feeling stupid.
When Jeremy reveals his true reason for wanting to be a turned, that's exactly how she feels.
It's bad enough she's stuck looking like a girl who can barely pass for sixteen, the age and the maturity it used to represent slowly declining as the years ticked by. Everyone treats her like a petulant child because to their eyes, that's all there is to see.
Stupid because the circumstances and situations are not at all what she thinks them to be, cold reality snapping her thoughts like and oncoming storm. An intense remorse burns into her stomach, makes her eyes go dark, because she let herself get close and honestly believed it's what he wanted too.
He liked her, despite everything, or maybe because of it. And she liked him back.
Of course the universe had to go and prove mom right again. Yes he's a boy, something a woman trapped under a church for a couple of decades is going to object to not matter how much the times may have changed in her absence, but a Gilbert to top it off is just asking for trouble.
Irony or tragedy, it's kind of hard to choose.
Still, the Gilbert family she remembers never would have asked what Jeremy did, and there is something to be said about different generations even if mom will refuse to see it. She hates thinking about it, how serious he was when telling her what he wanted. How it makes her second guess herself.
Cutting himself that night, offering, blood so sweet she didn't want to stop. Almost grateful that his Aunt came home because she wouldn't have stopped, she would have drained him dry right there in his kitchen.
So clever he turned out to be, all this time she thought she was still playing him, even if she was slowly starting to admit there might be, some possibility, of something more. But being asked to turn him? Didn't see it coming.
What else she didn't see, him wanting to be a vampire because he thought someone else, someone he truly cared for, might be one.
Like she could compete with feeling like that? Like she'd even attempt to try?
What really pisses her off is that some small part of her, one she thought died long ago, wants to. Being a vampire is lonely enough. Even with mom being back, things are not how they used to be, still feeling so alone.
Mom keeps her busy.
Sent out on missions of intelligence gathering, subterfuge, or simply charming local businessmen for future social contacts all for some master plan she still doesn't quite understand.
Her role as the doting daughter fitting just as well as it had a century ago, even if she hadn't particularly missed it. The fact that she survived so long on her own should, at the very least, offer the very freedom she'd gotten used to. Or course mom doesn't see it that way, treating her as if no time has passed at all, laying out stern orders but always following with a soft touch.
Being sad about Jeremy isn't helping things, and mom can always tell when she's thinking about him no matter how much she tries to disguise it. Like now for instance, absently staring at her phone before the hand on her shoulder shakes things back in focus.
Supposed to be charming with her part of some quaint back story for… Wait, where are they? A quick look around, some kind of real estate office, okay they're a mother and daughter looking for a little corner of the world to call their own. She can do this. Be all smiles and sunshine even though the light never quite reaches her eyes.
Jeremy sends a single text a few days after she jumped out his window.
It's almost refreshing that he appears smart enough not to push for more, but really, that's it? Doubt makes her believe that he never really cared in the first place, only wanted to use her, and despite that fact her using him is how they met in the first place, it still pisses her off.
Something mom notices again, which leads to a not so subtle argument, which leans to her storming out the front door at a speed any vampire would have difficultly keeping up with. She's sick and tired of the same conversation. She's sick and tired of everything.
It would be easy to say she ended up at his house on auto-pilot, that her thoughts unintentionally lead her here, but lying to herself isn't going to take away from the fact that she is standing under his window in a Cusack-esque fashion, hoping to catch a glimpse.
It's hard making friends. Even harder to keep them being what she is, a number of people in the past never accepting her for what she was when they found out, always ending up fleeing the torches and pitchforks.
She hates this, herself, so sad and pathetic mooning over a boy she barely knows and basically lied to the entire time.
The windowsill is under her palm before she realizes, lifting herself up with another swift movement, she's in his room in the blink of an eye.
"Wondered if I'd see you again," he says after the shock of her sudden appearance wears off.
There's no snappy comeback on the tip of her tongue though the urge for one is there. Instead she's looking at him, trying to figure out just when the transition from victim, to friend, to possibly more happened. How he became someone she looked forward to spending time with, instead of a simple mean to an end.
Sitting on the edge of his bed, noting the hint of anticipation on his face as he watches, curious as to why she's here or what she might do, but still not afraid. Hard pressed to recall a time when someone could stand within five feet of her, knowing what she is. There's not so much as an increase in heartbeat from him.
Jeremy, she's learning, is an exception to many of her rules.
Calmly perched on his desk chair, waiting for her to speak, she almost wants to scare him just to see if she could. A quick flash of fangs, or speeding across the room to close the gap between them, maybe a quick taste to see if he's still as sweet as she remembers.
"I should hate you," she says instead, finding her boots suddenly more interesting than meeting his eyes.
A quick shake of the head, hair cascading into her eyes, while her stomach burns with the shame of feeling vulnerable. Stupid.
"I'm sorry I wasn't honest with you."
"Yeah, I got your text."
He chuckles softly looking like he's about to say more but she throws up a hand.
"Let's not do this, okay?"
"You tell me that, yes, you did like me all along even if you really wanted to be a vampire for her. And I say, oh I was being a total drama queen, and we both laugh like the teenage cliché's we try not to be."
"Wouldn't want that," he replies with grin.
Their eyes meet.
"I do like you."
She shrugs, trying to play it off like it's no big deal, and he laughs again leading her to smile softly.
"Why did you come here tonight?" He wonders aloud. "Not that I'm objecting," adjusting off her look.
Looking down again, she thinks of being alone, lonely. "Maybe I missed you," comes out quietly.
The chair squeaks as he stands, closing the gap between them, and taking a seat next to her on the bed. His arm wraps around her shoulders, lips brushing against her temple in an unintentional kiss, and the animal inside wants to fight against the feeling but it's affection she could just melt into.
A feeling, true feeling, stirs inside for the first time in... Ever.
"You should be afraid of me."
Not a lie, his tone and pulse as steady as she goes.
"I could kill you."
Her head rests between his neck and shoulder, temptation so accidentally on purpose, she smiles that the proximity alone is practically another offer.
No matter what other vampires may say, there's something just as fulfilling from being offered as there is from taking. Feeling the shift, she leans in closer, his continued lack of resistance a good a yes as any.
Blood spills across her tongue, so much better than the small trickle she'd taken from his hand, flowing down her throat so warm and sweet. Arms tighten around her as muffled gasps push past his lips and against her hair. She knows he's enjoying this almost as much as she. His taste fills her mouth, she doesn't want to stop, but somehow manages to make it happen before she takes too much.
Pressed against each other, just breathing and taking a second to recover, his hand winds its way under her chin and tries to get her to look up. Not wanting him to see her this way, she resists at first, but he persists until finally she lifts her head to meet his gaze.
He doesn't flinch at the sight of black eyes and a bloody mouth, just takes it in before surprising her by pressing his lips against hers. The kiss instantly deepened by the shared taste of him.
If he asked now, she'd turn him.
There isn't a doubt in her mind.
It's why she winds her hands in his hair and keeps him close, when it seems like he's about to pull back. She wants to hang on to this feeling as long as she can. Nearly two hundred years, and she's never been in love. Nothing close to the truly, madly, deeply she's always read about.
Maybe the cynic inside, bred from years of fending for herself, will always keep it from happening. But for now, with Jeremy kissing her back fangs and all, she figures this is close enough.
A sucker for guys like him.
Perfectly suited for lonely girls like her.