“He's dead...”

I'm beating at the door of the physician's door. Sinclair is standing at the door. I don't know who told this motherfucker to stand at the door but I am not with it. Behind the door Nero is getting treated for his wounds and my father's body was dragged in there as well.

“He can't be dead...”

“I'm sorry,” Sinclair explains, “I have strict instructions to protect the prince as he heals...”

“Santos calm down,” a voice is saying from behind me.

It's Aiden. He's standing there attempting to calm me down but it's not working. I just watched my boyfriend impale my fucking father. I don't care what vampire rules were right now. I don't give a shit about any of that. I'm freaking out. Aiden doesn't try to physically hold me back though. My other friends are next to me as well. I've been here going off for a while now. None of them are dumb enough to hold me back right now.

Sinclair is the only thing keeping me from going into that physician's ward.


My voice is deep. It's dark. It's something I don't even recognize.

I swear at that moment I am going to attack Sinclair when he doesn't move. The door opens though interrupting my stare down with Sinclair and someone walks out. I don't recognize the woman. The woman is shaped more like a Whirlpool fridge than a female. She barely fits out of the door as she approaches me.

“Is there a problem here?” she says.

“I want to see Armando.”


The silence isn't good. My heart is racing. Why the fuck is she so silent?

“Were you a friend of his?” she asks.

It's painful to have to say that I was his friend and not his son. I'm looking at this woman and I'm wanting answers but I can't be completely honest.

“Can you just tell us where the fuck Armando is?” Geneva is screaming at the top of her lungs next to me, “We saw his body dragged off the sands.”

“My name is Countess Livia, the new Captain of the King's guard and Armando...your father is indeed dead,” the heavyset woman tells us.

I fall to my knees. Geneva is crying so hard beside me that Camille has to come over and sweep her away. I don't know how to react. Tears aren't enough. The tears won't help right now. There is so much pain. There is so many angst.

As if her word isn't enough Countess Livia opens the door for us and tells Sinclair to step aside. When we walk into the room I see Nero sleeping on one side of the room and a pile of ash under silver armor on the other side of the room.

Armando really was dead.

I'm back at the dorm. I'm crying. Geneva is up there with me. The tears are streaming down her face. It's a strange thing that is able to bring friends really back together like this. I am packing my bags realizing that I can't stay in the dorms right now. I can't be here.

That's when he comes in.

Nero looks beaten up but he's standing in spite of his scars. It must be his vampire blood that caused him to heal up so quickly. His eyes stare at me when he walks into the room. I feel so much resentment right now. This man that I loved just killed my father.

“Can I talk to you?”

“I don't have anything to say to you.”

He notices the tears running down my face, “Please. You don't understand. I had to prove to my father that I was worth it. I had to defend my honor. I had to prove I had what it took to be the vampire king.”

I don't care if he's a prince. I don't care if he's the next in line. I take a glass and chuck it at him. It barely misses him and smashes into the wall behind him. I can tell Nero is upset.

“Get the fuck out,” I warn him.

“What did you think?” he asks me, “You can't blame me for this. Raul put me in a corner where the entire city was looking to see what I was going to do. Vampires don't let shit roll off their backs like that. I had to prove I was strong.”

“You proved a lot more than that motherfucker,” I tell Nero.

He isn't used to me talking like this. It's clear by how his face twists up at that moment. He's not used to me being this upset. He's not used to me being this resentful. Nero seems honestly confused about why I'm this upset. Sure, he didn't know Armando was my father but even if Armando wasn't Nero didn't have to fight him. Nero decided to kill him.

“I hurt you didn't I?” Nero asks.

It's almost as though he didn't realize it until he's looking down at me right now. What makes a vampire? What made a strong vampire? The questions of how he was perceived was all Nero cared about. He didn't put my feelings into it.

“He asked you to leave,” Geneva butts in.

The two of us look at him. Geneva's makeup is dirtying her cheek. She cared about him. That much is clear. Geneva genuinely did care about Armando.

Nero looks over at me. He's speechless. It looks like there is a regret building up on his face but no matter how much I feel bad for him at this moment---it's too late. Armando is dead and he did it. I hoped his new found pride it comfortable for him to sleep better at night.

“I'm sorry,” Nero tells me one last time.

He looks like he wants to come over to me. He looks like he wants to hold me and tell me everything is going to be ok. I can see it in his eyes. He doesn't do that though. Nero turns around and he walks the other way. He makes his way out of the room without looking back. The regret is chiseled on his face and there is a sadness that has filled the room. We all feel it.

When he leaves it doesn't make the feeling go away. It doesn't make it any better.

Geneva looks over at me and crosses her arms, “He's a murderer...”

“I still love him, it's just...complicated,” I explain.

“Love? You love someone like that?” Geneva asks shaking her head, “Him and his father are both cowards if you ask me. You telling me you don't think it's weird that the King put his thumb down and let Armando die?”

I think about it. I can't get it out of my mind.

“Something's going on.”

Geneva sits on the bed next to me, “Armando was strong. He was a champion of Eden. When the rogues attacked Eden who did Eden turn to as a beacon of hope. They didn't look to King Arie. They were trying to get hope from Armando.”

Geneva is smart. As she talks to me my suspicion starts to mount up. Could this have been bigger than just a jealous boyfriend making a stupid mistake? Could this all have been some sort of deep plot? Could this had been something bigger?

“What could this mean though?” I ask Geneva, “What could King Arie want?”

“It's not what he wants. It's what he doesn't want,” Geneva explained, “They are all afraid of something strong. They are afraid of the true vampires...”

I shake my head, confused, “What's a true vampire?”

“The vampires outside of Eden. The ones aren't scheming political puppets like everyone here. Tell me you haven't noticed it. The politics and the side talk. People manipulating situations to get ahead. A real vampire doesn't need to manipulate. You know what a real vampire does?”


“He takes what he wants. Like Armando. That's what was so sexy about him,” Geneva responded, “That was a real man. That was real vampire. Not like Arie. Not like Nero...”

I'm struggling with this. Even though I'm upset right now with Nero I don't like the way Geneva is talking about him. I don't like the fact that she is blaming all this on Nero.

“Maybe Nero didn't know about this. Maybe we're just thinking too much into all this. Maybe it's all one bit ass mistake.”

Geneva shrugs, “You might be right. But why would Arie have his son kill Armando? Not just kill him but kill him in a Combat Sanglant in front of the whole city. Think about it. Look how strong Nero looks now. If anyone had any doubt about him that is gone. My father told me a million times. Arie was jealous of Armando. He was jealous of the fact that Armando was the strongest fighter in Eden. When you have the respect---how necessary is the crown?”

Geneva must have been thinking like this for a long time. Her words puncture me as she gets up from beside me and starts making her way out of the room. As she moves I start thinking. Maybe she was right. King Arie did give Nero the idea to fight Armando. God knows what other advantages he gave Nero for the fight. Maybe his plan was always to take my father out.

I stop Geneva, “Wait.”


“Can you help me?”

“How so?”

“Can you help me become stronger Geneva?” I ask, “If they thought Armando was strong. If they thought he was a threat. I want to be 10X that.”

Geneva was the top of our class in all around studies. Sure Nero and Raul were good at Combat. Sure Coco was pretty good at Art of the Kill. Lucca was top of the class when it came to Vampire history. Geneva was different though. She did well in everything. I wanted to be like that.

She nods still drying her tears, “We'll start tomorrow. I'll do it for Armando.”

His dick enters me. Weeks have passed since Armando has died. Four weeks to be exact. The pain is still fresh though and I feel a distance about this. I find myself struggling to breathe as he pins me to the bed. I am breathing heavily. It feels so good.

Sooner or later I roll over and whisper in his ear, “Let me do you now.”

“Wait are you sure?”

I nod.

He's nervous. He's never let me fuck him before. I'm pretty sure that he's never gotten fucked before. I grab him by the ass. His ass is tight and slim. He doesn't have a volumptious ass. He has a slim, toned ass like the rest of his body. His hole is tight when he lays me down on my back and climbs on top of me. He presses down letting his ass slide up and down my dick. He pants letting out a deep moan.

“Damn Santos,” he responds, “You're so big....”

His voice is deep, dark and full of passion. He's so tight that I feel him clenching against my dick as he sits. He slides down deeper on my dick. He smiles. His dick is hard the entire time. I can't believe this is happening. It's just sex but it feels so...good.

“Bounce on it. Harder faster.”

He is gaining momentum. He is so tight and it's been so long that I have had someone on my dick. The sensation is too much to hold back. I deliver a stream of nut up his asshole prematurely. My face is red with embarrassment when I realize I just nutted after just a few minutes.

He doesn't care.

He leans forward and kisses me, “I love you Santos.”

I look over at him, “Aiden...I told you I'm not ready for that.”

It's Aiden that I've been fucking. I go take a shower and come back into the room to see him swaddled in the sheets. When I get back after the shower he's not alone. Milan has come into the bedroom as well. I wonder if they've just been talking about me. Maybe Aiden's been telling his brother about the fact that we've been having sex for a month and I'm no closer to really wanting to be with him. I'm sure they've been talking about something by how abruptly Aiden's mouth hangs open when I walk into the room.

It's silent and awkward in the room.

There was once a time in my life where I wanted to commit suicide. There was a time in my life that I felt like there would never be any light after the endless night. For some reason I assumed becoming a vampire would change all of that. Vampires thrived in the night. They lived in the night. They adapted to the night. They didn't need rainbows and sunshine. They were able to deal with the darkness head first.

So why come this darkness was so unfamiliar?

Why was I so empty?

“You have to drink...you have to drink something...”

I spend time in Armando's apartment with Aiden. I just can't go back to the school. Geneva brings me my lessons. She trains me so I am not falling behind in class. I realize that I'm actually learning better one on one. With the death of Armando a lot of people are given 'grievance' excuses.

A month has passed. Aiden spends most of the time with me but Milan is here as well. Milan stands by the door crossing his arms as Aiden tries to give me blood.

I throw the blood on the floor watching it clang on Armando's wooden floors.

“I don't need it.”

The brothers look at one another.

“I'm worried about you,” Aiden tells me, “You're...changing...”

This isn't the first time he's mentioned it. He's worried because all I care about is training with Geneva. I spend all my time doing that. I guess he expects me to be the same weak individual that I was before, but that's not what I want.

I want to be a true vampire.

It's the term that Geneva used. I want to be stronger...fiercer...

“I'm just getting ready for midterms,” I tell him.

“School isn't everything,” Aiden argues with me before adding in, “You haven't dealt with Armando dying. You haven't dealt with your issues with Nero. I don't like the kid. Trust me I don't like the guy at all but you can't just sweep those issues under the rug. It's effecting you more than you know. I think you should take your mind off of school and focus on fixing your personal life.”

Aiden thinks he's Mr. Fix-it right now. I can't stand it. He's looking at me like I'm some type of wounded bird. It's annoying that there is this authentic look of concern on his face as he stares at me. Withing the last month I've grown muscle definition. Within the last month I'd been able to study. I knew more about vampire history than ever. I was able to name important vampires in vampire history. I was able to name all major arteries in a human body to get the most blood for the Art of the Kill. I was able to do flips now and was more agile than ever.

Aiden should have been proud of me.

Luckily his brother seems just as annoyed with Aiden as I am.

“He's going to have to come back to school,” Milan tells Aiden as though I'm not even in the room, “Midterms are coming up. If he misses them the dean will kick him out of the program.”

“I'm not sure I'm ready yet,” I explain.

“I'm not trying to make things worse. I'm saying fix your self and then you can also go back to class. Your father would want you focused in school,” Aiden explains.

“So I should just get over it?” I ask.

Milan shakes his head, “My brother isn't saying that. But Eden is more vulnerable than ever with the best fighter dead,” Milan explains, “The soldiers aren't sure about Livia yet. If there is a traitor in Class O now is the time that they'll reveal themselves”

“That's your mission---not mine.”

“Maybe you can help us,” Milan explains, “You have closer relationships to people. I spend most of my time with Raul and he gets jealous if I spend it with anyone else.”

“That's your problem, not mine,” I respond, “You go deal with Raul. You go find your rogue snitch.”

Milan lets out a deep sigh. I could give a fuck less. I just wanted to lay in this bed. I didn't want to go anywhere.

Aiden's voice is gentler than his brother's when he says, “The Dean has been lenient because people needed time to grieve. They've grieved. Including Geneva who was obsessed with Armando. Nero needed time to heal. He's healed.”

“Nero is back?” I ask.

Aiden raises an eyebrow.

“Yeah. Yeah he is.”

My heart races. I needed to see him. I needed to tell him how I felt.

“Fine. I'll go back,” I say.

“I'll come with you,” Aiden explains.

“We can't switch out,” Milan argues all of a sudden, “Aiden, Raul is getting really suspicious by how close you are with Santos. We have to keep things peaceful.”

“I'm not going to fuck Santos in front of Raul if that's what you're worried about,” Aiden barks back.

“You sure about that?” Milan asks, “Because you can't help but to put your hands all over him even though we agreed I'm dating Raul.”

“I'm still in the room...” I remind them.

I wonder it's always been like between the two of them or if it's just gotten worse because Armando isn't there to guide them. It can't be easy pretending to be the same person. I can't imagine how complicated it is when one person has feelings for someone and your twin brother has feelings for another.

Aiden shakes his head, “Santos needs me. Raul is an asshole. I'm sorry---but he is. No offense. Santos is the priority right now.”

Milan looks like he's getting pissed off.

“Well no fucking offense when I tell you that Santos is your priority. He's not fucking mine. My priority is Raul,” Milan responds, “And I'm not going to let you fuck up my relationship any more!”

“Like you fucked up my relationship with Santos?” Aiden asks standing up at that moment, “Me and Santos would still be together if you kept your dick out of Raul just a little while longer!”

The rage in Aiden's voice is disturbing at that moment. This shit is escalating. I'd like to say it was just a brother's squabble but honestly I wasn't sure. I hadn't been around this shit anymore and Milan was really starting to get irritated. He walks in Aiden's face and there is a thick anger and resentment there. I wonder how long this emotion had been bottled up.

How many times had they argued about who would pretend to be Milan?

“He's right there---he didn't go anywhere. If he wanted to be with you...he would have been with you...” Milan argues.

Aiden shakes his head and sarcastically laughs in Milan's face, “You sound so jealous right now. You were always jealous of my relationship with Santos. That's why you pursued his best fucking friend because you wanted what Santos and I had. I wouldn't be surprised if you tried to pretend to be me and fuck Santos when we were dating.”

“You really think that?” Milan asks.

I raise an eyebrow. The idea that Aiden is throwing out there is dangerous. I don't even want to think about it. It was all quite confusing. I was dating Milan who was really Aiden pretending to be Milan. But what if I was really sleeping with the real Milan?

“I'm not doing this right now,” is what I come up with, “Aiden if you let Milan and Raul be together, I'll help out with finding out who the traitor is.”

Milan raises an eyebrow at me, “You'd do that?”

“Like you said...I don't need anymore drama. Not right now,” I respond, “I have enough of my plate besides this twin bullshit. And Armando...wanted you guys to pretend to be one person. He wanted to find out who the traitor was. Milan you can distract people while Aiden works behind the scenes.”

Aiden and Milan look at each other. Milan nods at me, ignores his brother and storms out of the room. I can tell there is tension but I just hope I was able to make peace with this little situation before shit completely exploded all over us.

There is more of a difference with Armando gone than just Aiden and Milan arguing. When I get to class my mouth drops when I see exactly who is filling in for Armando as our homeroom teacher. He's standing at the front of class and smiles...mischievously.

“As many of you know, I am Dean Caesarian,” he states, “As you all know we lost Captain Armando in an honorable battle a month ago. I will continue to fill in until we find a replacement.”

I turn over to Coco. She's smiling. He must have been covering it this entire time. That means the others knew that he would be doing this. Maybe that's why the Dean didn't kick me out of the program yet. Maybe he wanted to see my reaction when I walk in to him being my homeroom teacher. Coco isn't hiding her expression. She's loving the fact that her father is in the room. I am sure that things could not get any worse for me at this point. This man hated my fucking guts and now he the head of my first class every morning. Now I had to see him every fucking day. The Dean is staring me down but luckily I'm distracted. I'm distracted by Nero. Nero is in the room. He's staring at me. I'm staring at him.

There is clearly something we need to talk about.

“He did this...” Geneva whispers in my ear.

She says it as though I forget. Maybe I do forget. After a month I realize I miss him. I miss sleeping in the same bed as him. I miss being next to him.

“I won't forget...” I tell Geneva, “I won't forget what he did to Armando.”

Homeroom goes by fast and when it ends Nero looks over at me one more time. He looks like he wants to say something. He makes his way over to me. My heart is thumping in my chest. I want to hate him. I want to tell him not to talk to me but why the fuck am I so excited that he's walking over to me. Instead of looking away or even playing him off...I'm staring directly at him as he slowly walks towards me.

Just as he is about to approach me. He's cut off.

It's Milan.

Milan grabs me and pulls me aside. I don't think he notices that he just cut Nero off. Nero stops walking towards me. Stands there for a second giving me awkward eye contact and decides against interrupting Milan and I.

“I have to talk to you,” Milan whispers.

Milan pulls me into the hallway at that moment. It's away from everyone else. He's being secretive and it's something that I hate.

“What is it?”

“Aiden's been looking around the dorms when we were asleep. He's been keeping an eye on us. He says Coco waits until we are all asleep and she sneaks off in the middle of the night.”

“Where is she going?”

He shrugs.

“Not sure. All we know is that it's suspicious as hell...”

I sigh a little bit. This was Eden. Everyone had their secrets. I don't want to jump to conclusions but then I think that this is Coco. If there was anyone else in Eden that I didn't trust it would be her.

“Do you think she's the rogue spy?” I ask.

“She might be. Caesarian wants power so badly. He could be using his daughter to do some shiesty stuff for him. Who knows what he might have been promised?” Milan asks at that moment, “We have to keep an eye out for her.”

I shake my head. It's hard to believe. The only person I can really trust are the twins though. They are the only ones that Armando trusted. I have to trust their judgement in this. But still...

“What about Sextus? It just doesn't make sense. If she was really the rogue she wouldn't have killed Sextus.”

“Aiden looked into it. Sextus's family got a huge amount of money from Caesarian after he died.”

“He could have just been helping his family out because Sextus was so close to his daughter.”

“Or Sextus could have sacrificed himself...to ensure that his family was taken care of after he was gone and take any suspicion off of Coco. If Sextus dies no one would think that Coco was the rogue.”


It made sense.

“And she can play the victim...all she wanted,” I finish.

He nods, “Exactly.

Milan and I stare down the hallway. Coco is walking away. Maybe the twins were onto something. I had to keep an eye on Coco. She wasn't the type to be trusted. I'd seen the things she was capable of and it scared the living fuck out of me...

Midterms seem to be going smoothly. Geneva came onto my side at the right time. Studying is one thing though for the non-physical classes. I'm doing decent with those tests.

Constantine is at the front of the class. We are all in tights and honestly my nerves are getting the most of me. I want so bad to focus but with Nero in the room it makes it so difficult. I've been training hard with Geneva. Armando wanted me to do good in school. It's the most that I can do for him.
I made the decision a month ago that I wasn't going to be the victim anymore. I wasn't going to try to jump over anymore bridges. Armando wouldn't have wanted that for me.

Constantine speaks in front of the class, “You will be paired up in sets of two where you will have a non-stop sparring match. If you tap out. You fail. If you give up. You fail. Each person will be scored on their technique, execution and overall style of combat...”

“Remember your strengths,” Geneva whispers in my ear.

I nod. I was ready for this. I had trained. I was READY!

Constantine looks over at me, “Santos. You're teamed up with Nero.”

I was not ready for this.

Everyone else gets their pairs. I'm standing on my mat. I have my gloves when Nero walks over. He has on these tights that look sexy as fuck on him. They show off his powerful legs. He has a tight compress t-shirt. It is so tight that I can see his rippled abs. I can see his strong powerful chest. His biceps protrude. My mouth waters.


That's all he gets out before Constantine alerts the class in a loud voice to “BEGIN!”

I don't waste anytime. I don't want to hear what Nero has to say to me. I don't want to listen to the bullshit that he has going on. Before I know it I attack him. Two punches to the face. He blocks both of them. Nero staggers backwards.

“I miss you...” Nero tells me.

I bare my fangs, “Shut the fuck up and fight.'

I'm running forward...faster than any human can. He tries to stop me by reaching out but I move, slipping through his extended hands. I quickly jab him in the side of his hard abdomen. His abdomen has so many hard muscles that I damn near hurt myself. Looks like I am not the only one whose been working out. I watch Constantine walk past right when I nail Nero. He scribbles on his notepad.

Nero takes a few steps away from me. He doesn't seem concerned about this midterm or about fighting me.

“I don't give a shit about this,” Nero is telling me, “I care about you. I can't sleep anymore. I want you to know that. All I do is think about you next to me. I think about you in my arms and when you aren't there I can't sleep. I stay up. I rollover. I think about why I let Raul's interview get to me the way it did.”

“Now you're blaming Raul?”

“I'm blaming myself. Raul's interview was just the trigger. This kills me.”

“Other things can kill you too...” I respond.

I deliver kicks at him. Sparring is the only time that I can attack the prince without getting in trouble for it and I'm not holding back. I jump kick him to his face. He blocks it. I attempt to go for his jugular with my hands. He grabs my hands, forces them towards his chest, twists my body around and grapples me from behind.

“I made a mistake. I know you probably won't forgive me but I'm not going to do the same thing that I did a month ago and give you an excuse. I was wrong. I am going to have to live with the fact that I was wrong. I shouldn't have listened to my father and I shouldn't have challenged Armando. I shouldn't have done any of that.”

I break out of the hold. I toss Nero over my shoulder. I use all my strength and then some. There is strength that I don't think I have.

Nero's body is on the ground. He looks up at me. Constantine scribbles in his notebook.

“It's too late...”

“For us?”

I look down at Nero. This is the hardest thing I've done. I spent time having sex with Aiden this whole time. Now I was letting Nero know that I can't get back with him after what he did with Armando. I can't forgive. Aiden was right. I had changed.


I pass the combat Midterm with an A. It's worth it to see the look on Caesarian's face when he give me my report card. Looks like I won't be getting kicked out of school anytime soon and he looks pissed about it.

We are back in the dorms.

“You better be coming,” Lucca is telling me after a while.

“Coming where?” I ask.

“We're going out into town. Schools out for winter break. We're going to celebrate the fact that we got through half of the semester. One more to go and no one's gotten kicked out. Sure we lost a student and hell...we even lost our homeroom teacher, but everyone's here.”

Lucca, Camille and Geneva are standing around my bed. I look at them and the idea of going out into Eden for a drink definitely seems to appeal to me. I had a hard time with all of this. If anything I deserved a night out on the town. If anything I deserved a good time.

That is when I see Milan walk into the room. He gives me a slight wink.

“You guys go on ahead,” I respond to them, “I'll meet up with you in the lobby.”

They are joking amongst themselves as they walk away. I wait until they leave until I get off my bed and walk over to the lounge area where Milan is sitting.

“Have you talked to Aiden?” I whisper as soon as I see Milan.

“He's going to follow Coco tonight if she leaves and find out where she's going,” Milan explains to me.

Good. I feel better about this. We were going to get some answers to who the rogue was and we were going to get some answers soon. I am finally realizing the benefits of having twins spying on Class O. Coco wouldn't get suspicious and think Milan was following her because Milan was asleep in bed. Meanwhile Aiden could easily just follow her instead. She wouldn't know the difference.

I find myself feeling a little relieved about all of this, “Thank you Milan.”

He raises an eyebrow, “For what?”

I shrug, “Just for...being there and for watching over me when I was young. I know you and Aiden were tasked to do it but it doesn't matter. I appreciate it.”

Milan smiles, “Aiden loves you. You know that don't you?”

The idea of Aiden scares the fuck out of me. There were feelings there. There would always be feelings there. I just didn't know if I could get over the pain.

“I just can't do it with him...” I explain, “When I thought he was sleeping with Raul my heart broke...”

“Me and my brother argue...we fight like cats and dogs,” Milan explains, “But that boy would never have cheated on you. I was the one sleeping with Raul. He was so crazy about you. Honestly he was right about one thing. I was jealous of your relationship with him. I wanted something like that for myself. You guys would spend hours talking. Everytime we switched out, he went into a deep depression. He always wanted to be with you. I wanted something like that.”

I sigh, “You have something like that now...with Raul.”

He shrugs, “Yeah. And I guess I have to thank you for that. If I weren't tasked to watching you I would never have met the love of my life.”

It's a strange situation.

“And now Raul hates me and has singlehandedly sabotaged my relationship with Nero,” I respond.

Nero was right about that when he said that Raul's interview was the trigger for all of this. Raul did what he could do to hurt me. He did what he could do to make me feel pain because he felt like I was sleeping with someone I wasn't sleeping with. The thing about Raul though was that he was never my friend...not really. He didn't know about the twins.

Raul was actually thinking he was sleeping with the love of my life.

Now he wanted to play the victim?

That shit didn't fly.

“Hopefully this ends tonight. Hopefully we find out what Coco is up to,” he explains, “Then we can tell Raul everything.”

“It's too late for a friendship between me and Raul.”

He sighs, “It's never too late. Not for a friendship and not for love.”

“What do you mean?”

“Aiden wanted me to give you this. Hold your hand out...”

I hold my hand out at that moment. It's a pendent. It's half of a heart. I look at the golden heart at that moment and my heart flickers in my chest.

“What is this for?”

“Half of a heart. Half of his broken heart. He said to tell you that when you fall in love with him again he'll give you the other piece of the heart. And that way you'll make his heart whole again.”

“I can't accept his heart...”

I still had feelings for Nero no matter how much I didn't want to.

“It was always yours to begin with.”

He leans forward and Milan hugs me. Just at that moment I hear something with my vampire ears. It's the slightest movement but I can tell someone is spying on us. I turn to my right to see Raul. He's standing there with the same look on his face that he's been giving me for months now.

“Really Milan?” Raul asks with this madness in his eyes, “REALLY!”

“Raul---calm down,” Milan explains, “Stop tripping.”

“What did you just give him?” Raul asks.

Milan looks at me. I look at Raul. There is no hiding the pendant. Raul sees it almost immediately. He sees the half heart in my hand. At that moment I know that Milan's half heart isn't the only heart that is broken.

This is awkward and I need to get away.

“Milan...you should probably...deal with your boyfriend right now,” I explain, “I'll excuse myself.”

I was trying to walk away. I really was. I don't make it far when I feel Raul's hand on my arm. He's holding me tightly. It hurts.

“You piece of shit. You are my best fucking friend and you're doing everything you can to try to sleep with the love of my life.”

This guy has to be joking.

“Do you understand how ironic you're being right now?” I ask him.

Even if there were twins perception was everything. Raul didn't know there were twins. He intentionally tried to get with Milan thinking that me and Milan were in love.

“He doesn't want you. He never wanted you,” Raul explains.

I rip my arm away, “Then why are you worried.”

“Raul stop it. Santos walk away.”

“No fuck walking away,” I say at that moment, “Raul I. Do. Not. Want. Milan. Get it through your fucking head you dumb piece of shit. You've ruined everything I had with Nero because of your own insecurities!”

That's when I feel the slap across my face. I have to admit. Raul slaps the dog shit out of me. A long haul of spit comes out of my mouth when he slaps me. I'm on the floor. My face burns. I'm so angry. I did nothing to this man. I did absolutely nothing to this fucking man and he was making it his life mission to destroy me.

It wasn't fair.

It wasn't fair!

“Armando died because of you. Because of your greed. I refuse to let Milan end up like you...”

He says other things. I don't know what he says. Milan is trying to calm him down. It doesn't matter what Milan says. Right now something is happening to me. There is a rage in my eyes. There is something coming out of me. I don't know what triggers it. Maybe it is Raul's slap across my face. Maybe it is him opening his mouth to mention Armando in a negative way.

All of a sudden I see black.

The darkest shade of black.

And then I see the reddest shade of red.

I don't know how long passes. A moment...or maybe ten but when I wake up back up I look down at my hands. They are covered in blood. I have claws where there were once just fingernails. Veins outline my arm.

And there is blood. Oh yes! There is a lot of blood...

“What the fuck did you just do?” Milan is saying, “What the FUCK did you just do?”

I don't know who he's talking to until he turns to me. Milan is holding something. When I look over at him I can see what it is.

It's Raul.

At least it's part of Raul...

“Oh my god!” I scream.

Milan is holding Raul's head. His abdomen is on the trailed off onto the balcony. His legs are on separate sides of the room.

And blood is splattered all over me and all over the body.

Then I hear someone behind me.

“Oh my god...”

I turn to see Geneva. She is standing there.

“I didn't mean to do it. I didn't mean to...”

Geneva grabs my hand, “Come with me...”

I take her hand and we take off. I'm running after Geneva as fast as I can. I'm running through the hall of my school. I'm taking the back exit of the school onto the street. I'm taking side streets. Then I realize something. Geneva's knows an escape route of the school that I've not noticed before. And why is she trying to run away with me.

I stop midway.

“I just killed Raul,” I tell Geneva, “I have to go back. I JUST KILLED him. I just KILLED RAUL!”

She doesn't seem surprised. We are in an alley in Eden right now. She seems far too comfortable running through these alleys. She knows where she is going. She has done it before. She has snuck around before and it's all very suspicious that she had an escape route from the high school planned so throughly. We were able to get out of the high school within a matter of minutes.

It begins to click before she opens her mouth.

She smiles, “Doesn't it feel good? This is what they are afraid of. A true vampire. The way we were intended. Lilith would be proud...”

My mouth drops.

It's Geneva. It's been Geneva this entire time. Geneva is a rogue.

To read the next chapter in advance go to www.crushedcrown.com