What’s up, you big badass, you?!! I have to say, I’m impressed. In less than 24 hours, you’ve gone from just another geek pining after Finn to a Buffy-tastic hoss who just hit Mr. Popular in the stomach with a TREE BRANCH. Go on with yr bad self!!!!
But now the shizz has REALLY hit the fan, and it’s time to make some tough decisions. Last week, you collectively chose: B. Stay with Jacob and Kayleigh. You can’t abandon your friends.
With Heather and Finn confident in their victory, and Neil freaked out about “the transformation” (whatever that is!), you better hope you can hold on to yr inner Xena…
Chapter 15: Cue the Dramatic Music and Turn To Page 82
You silently vow to wipe that smirk off of Heather’s face, although unfortunately, punching is beyond the range of your athletic abilities, which currently hover around a decent jog (if chased).
Turning to Neil, you say, “Look, I have no idea WHAT is going on, but I’m not about to leave Kayleigh here. And since you seem to have some kind of insight into this vampire… this… WHATEVER this is, I could really use your help.”
Neil’s gaze sweeps over Jacob as he attempts to pick up Kayleigh, who is so pale and vein-y, she could sweep the Goth Queen 2010 awards. His blue eyes return to you and plead with a ferocity that, frankly, makes you a little weak in the knees, even though now is SO not the appropriate time. “Believe me, I want to help you. In fact, I’ve been trying to help you since I got here.”
“Oh really?” That’s it. You have HAD IT with this enigmatic shizz. “And what exactly are you helping me with, here? My move to crazytown? Cos guess what, Neil? I’M ALREADY THERE!” Neil takes a quick step back, and you realize you still have the branch in your hand, the same hand that has begun gesturing wildly in his direction.
“Look, I realize there’s a lot that I haven’t told you. And I’m going to tell you everything, I promise. But we need to get out of here NOW.” Neil cautiously moves towards you and then stops as you raise the tree branch. Buffy would be proud (well, until she got a look at your lackluster ensemble).
“Neil, we ARE getting out of here. With Kayleigh. And then YOU are going to tell us exactly what’s going on and how we can save her.” You look over at Jacob, who has successfully picked up his sister (guns be praised!). “Jake, let’s get her to the car.”
Heather softly giggles. “You guys are so gonna regret this.”
Before you can swing your tree branch in her direction, Neil is suddenly right in front of Heather (um, whoa?), his pleading eyes now filled with a fury of such ferocity, it makes you drop the homemade stake. “Listen up, you little idiot,” he breathes, his face just inches from hers. “You have no idea what you’ve started. You think this is just a game to play at? A way to make your pathetic Edward Cullen dreams come true?”
Heather rolls her eyes and spits back, “I KNOW who I’m dealing with, you freak. And I’ll keep my promise, just like He will keep His.”
The words are barely out of her mouth when Neil grabs her face, pulling it even closer to his. “Do you actually think He cares about some little prom princess?” He utters a short laugh so devoid of humor, it makes your skin prickle. “Let me be perfectly clear, Heather. He does not give a flying fuck about you. He’s coming for her.” Neil’s head turns as his eyes come to rest… on you.
You stare back at him, unblinking, as Heather shrinks away from Neil’s grip and quickly stumbles back to Finn. The tension in the night air is suffocating, and your mind slows to the whirring rhythm of the robotic pool cleaner swishing through the water. None of this is real, you think. I’ve fallen asleep after watching True Blood and soon Eric is gonna show up shirtless and then I’m gonna wake up right before it finally gets good and it’ll be just another school day and… Except the pool cleaner continues to hum and no one seems to be morphing into Eric or Bill or even your junior high P.E. teacher (although that’s one dream you’d rather not repeat). Kayleigh finally breaks the silence with a soft moan. “Who is… He?”
Before Neil can respond, your brain shakes itself awake. “Wait a second,” you blurt out. “Is this why there’s a picture of me in your box?”
Neil’s eyes widen as he walks towards you, breaking your trusty branch under his feet and grabbing your arm (so, maybe you’re more of the Willow type?). “You have the box? Where is it?” he asks, his fingers pressing into your excuse for a bicep. “Um,” you look away, unable to hold his gaze, and spot Heather and Finn exchanging a look you can’t quite read. What you can see is that Heather’s smug smile has already returned, and you’re filled with such a burst of anger, you push back at Neil. “Since you wouldn’t tell me anything, I had to find the answers myself, ok?”
Jacob’s voice cuts in between you and Neil’s (literal) face off. “Guys, we don’t have time for this. Kayleigh’s getting worse. I have to take her to…” He trails off, eyeing Heather and Finn, then looks back at Neil. “You know where.”
Neil sighs. “I told you, it’s too late, Jacob. I’m sorry, but…”
“NO!” Jacob yells. “It’s not too late!” He stops and takes a breath. “Look, I’ve been working on some…” he takes another look at Heather and Finn, “…things. Grinnald found some new manuscripts and I think… I think I can do something.”
Neil stares at Jacob for a second, then looks back to you. Thankfully, he’s released your arm, and you rub it while shooting what you hope is a death stare (but probably looks more like indigestion) in his direction. “If Jacob can do something to stop whatever’s happening to Kayleigh…” you pause. “Wait, what IS happening to Kayleigh?”
“We don’t have time for this!” Neil’s annoyance is beginning to sound, to your surprise, like desperation. He looks back at you and seems to resist the urge to grab your arm again (hey, maybe your death stare’s not too shabby after all). “There’s a place we need to go. Right now. I swear I’ll be more specific later–” You start to interrupt but he leans in closer, his voice lowering to a whisper. “I know I’ve done nothing to earn it, but you need to trust me. I promise, I’ll tell you everything when we get there.”
His eyes hold yours for an instant until you hear a footstep in the grass. You look up in time to see Heather and Finn slowly inching away, heading for who knows where (or who?!). “Oh HELL. NO.” you mutter, as you break into a sprint and head straight for Heather, who is in the process of turning towards you when you hit her like a mothercussing linebacker and send her flailing… straight into the pool.
As she shrieks with rage, you allow yourself a mental high five (and, ok, maybe a “SUCK ON THAT!”) before turning back to Jacob and Neil to say…
A. “Ok, Jake, where are we taking Kayleigh?”
B. “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Neil, I’ll go with you.”
C. “Kayleigh, WHAT THE EFF HAPPENED?!!”