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She was a vampire now. Fuck it. Let them come after her. She must have some sort of superpowers. Besides, maybe if she left her clothes here, they would think she was dead.

Tears were threatening again, but she fought them.

Time to go home. Time to get help. Time to-

She hesitated as she picked up her keys.

“Time to sort this shit out,” she decided, heaving the bag over her shoulder.

She walked out of her dorm room for the last time.

Chapter Three

The road was nearly empty of cars. It was still early; people weren’t heading home from their Easter festivities. It would be a late night for a lot of families, as they enjoyed barbecues and family time.

Sweeping her hair back from her face, her gaze flicked to the rear view mirror. A sole car followed behind her. Biting her bottom lip, she drew her bag a little closer to her. The possessions shoved in her bag were all she owned in this world. She felt fragile and afraid.

You're a vampire, the professor's voice taunted.

Her tongue slid over her teeth for the hundredth time. The sharp teeth she had felt earlier were now gone. Maybe they only came out when she was hungry.

The steady hum of the road was soothing to her frayed nerves. She resisted the urge to turn on the radio. The wind pouring in through the rolled-down windows tossed her hair into disarray around her face, but was effectively blow-drying her tresses.

The car tailing her flipped a turn signal on and disappeared down a side road. The road was barren ad dark behind the truck.

The night was so dark. She couldn't remember it being this foreboding before, but maybe she was just working herself up again. Now that she thought about it, she could see very well. In fact, she could see perfectly into the velvet darkness surrounding her, but at the same time the world seemed-

“More ominous,” she decided.

It's him. He makes it like this. So horribly dark and wrong.

How could she have been so stupid? How could she have given into him like that? And now her life was gone, just like those students at the frat house, she was dead, too. Nothing she had worked for mattered anymore. Her hard work, her sacrifices, her triumphs, her failures, everything she had ever done, was now wiped out. Years of saving for college swept away. The years she spent working at crap jobs, with hardly any pay and bosses' roving hands, were for nothing. The time sitting at her sister’s side, nursing and loving her as she slowly faded from the world didn’t seem worth it anymore. And her friends, having gone off to get married and have children, seemed like a cruel joke. She had sacrificed her own happiness, but for what?

“He owes me,” she hissed.

She realized as soon as the words left her lips that she was talking about her father. Not Professor Sumner.

He had guilt-tripped her into going home from Austin when her sister had been diagnosed with cancer. Her brave little sister had actually insisted that Amaliya stay in Austin and finish her schooling. Despite her sister's urgings to remain in school, Amaliya had been so devastated by her father's berating that she had come home.

What followed was three years of sheer hell. She watched her sister struggle to win a battle that she seemed destined to lose from the moment she was diagnosed. It had been the hardest thing Amaliya had ever done. Throughout the ordeal, she had told herself that she would one day go back to the University of Texas and get her degree in psychology, but her sister's illness hung on and her scholarship expired.

Amaliya had stayed out of love for sister, but also because her father had made it damn clear that it was her responsibility to take care of her sister. After losing his first wife to cancer, Samuel had wanted nothing to do with his youngest daughter's treatment. He had staunchly avoided even dealing with the illness and rarely visited his sick daughter. In the end, little Rachel had died wondering if her father loved her.

Wiping a tear away and letting out an angry noise, Amaliya set her jaw. She would go home, tell him to sign over the truck, tell him not to say he had seen her if the police asked, then instruct him to forget she existed.

Cold tears began to flow down her cheeks. It had always been like this with her family. Tense and coarse. They both had little or no tolerance for each other and lived in an uneasy truce. She believed he loved her, but hated who she was. She had always been different from everyone else in the family. It wasn't just because she was the only girl until her sister Rachel had been born; her entire being just seemed at odds with her family's culture.

“Spic blood,” someone had once said to her father. “It just made her lazy and weird. ”

Amaliya hadn't understood what the neighbor had meant. It wasn't until her teen years that she finally understood that her grandmother's Hispanic heritage was blamed for a lot of what was wrong with her. Her beloved mother was revered, but Amaliya was considered off. What no one seemed to realize was that it was Marlena who had encouraged her daughter to embrace her uniqueness. Her mother had sacrificed her own dreams to marry the man she loved. She spent her whole life playing the role he had determined for her. It wasn't until her death that Amaliya had understood how her mother had subjugated her hopes and dreams to her handsome, East Texan husband.

That lesson had stayed with Amaliya. It had spurred her to aspire to an education and take risks in her life.

Maybe too many risks, she thought.

She had been enthralled with her secret date with Professor Sumner, but now her life was over.

The highway began to fill up as other cars began to turn off country roads as people began to make their way home to the bigger towns and Houston. The landscape, even at night, was familiar. It made her weary. Going home was never a pleasant experience for her.

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