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“Yeah? What about hi-Oh,” Sergio said, his eyes widening. He thought this over, then said slowly, “Well, at least you didn't kill him. ”

Amaliya stood up and wiped her cheeks with the back of her hand. “I just wanted to come and tell you that I love you and I don't understand what is going on. ”

“Professor Sumner made you??

?? Her grandmother was clutching what looked like a rosary tight to her chest. It made Amaliya's head hurt.

“Yeah. He did. And then he just left. Told me to figure it out. So, I plan to go to Austin and try to find someone like me. And if that doesn't work, New Orleans, and maybe New York. I have to find out how to deal with this. I'm not even sure of what all I can or can't do. ”

“How are you going to get there?” Sergio asked.

“I guess the bus,” Amaliya said, and looked down at her hands stained red from her tears. “I better go. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have come here. ”

“No, no! You should come here!” Her grandmother grabbed her arm tightly and pulled her into the kitchen. “We are your family and we love you even if you are-is Dracula real?”

Amaliya laughed, then shook her head. “I don't know. I don't know anything!” She flung up her hands, then collapsed onto a kitchen chair. “That is the problem! I don't know anything! It's all been by instinct. ”

“So, maybe you can get fixed!” Her grandmother rushed over to the kitchen counter and began to fuss with the flour jar. “You can go talk to another vampiro and ask them how to get back to normal. ”

“Grandmama, I don't think it's that easy. He killed her! And all those people in the frat house. ”

Amaliya looked at her nails and tried not to look guilty.

“Look at her! He did this to her. Killed her and left her for dead. She just happened to come back as a. . . hey, can I see your teeth?”

“No,” Amaliya said firmly, and shook her head. Sighing, she covered her face with one hand. This was not going the way she expected, but when did thing's ever go the way she planned? Her luck was notoriously bad. The last few days had proved that over and over again.

Sergio looked a little hurt by her refusal, but, by the way his body was tensed to flee, it was obvious his fear was the overriding emotion.

“Here, take this. ” Grandmama thrust a wad of cash into her hands. “It will help you. Buy food--um. . . what you need. And take this. ” She grabbed up a cellphone from the counter and unplugged the charger as well. “You buy minutes to put on it with a card and I don't think the policia can track it. ”

Amaliya took the cash and the phone with a stricken look on her face. “Grandmama, I can't. ”

“Hey, I gave you that phone,” Sergio protested.

“I never use it,” Grandmama said, dismissing his comment with a wave of her hand. “Take it, Amal, and call me when you find out something. ”

“Here, keep the money,” Amaliya said. She tried to hand it back to her grandmother, but was quickly rebuffed.

“Look, nieta, I know that something bad happened to you. I am sad that you aren't a ghost, because I think we could have fixed this a lot easier. But you are right. You need to go find answers and get this curse taken off of you so you can be at peace. ”

“I don't know if it can be fixed,” Sergio said softly. “All the movies and the books-”

“I never watched those movies!” Amaliya shook her head with frustration. “I was terrified of vampires growing up, remember?”

“Oh, yeah. I remember that Felipe and I scared the crap out of you by wearing big plastic fangs that one time,” Sergio said with a laugh, then saw her expression and stopped. “Sorry. ”

“So you go to Austin and you find a vampiro. Make them tell you everything, and then fix it. And if that doesn't work, maybe you should go to the Catholic church. ”

“They might stake her. ”

“Would that kill me?” Amaliya looked horrified.

“A stake through the heart would kill anyone,” Sergio responded.

“No one stakes no one, okay? So you take my car and you go to Austin and you find a vampiro to help you. ” Grandmama shoved her car keys into Amaliya's hand. “You go find a way to find peace. ”

“I can't just take your car and your money and go to Austin!”