Home > Vampireville (Vampire Kisses #3)(5)

Vampireville (Vampire Kisses #3)(5)
Author: Ellen Schreiber

"Thanks!" I said sarcastically.

I wasn't planning on appearing so convincing.

"I'm sorry, Raven," my mom said as she pulled our SUV into the driveway. "I feel terrible leaving you alone, but I have an off-site meeting that's been scheduled for months."

She walked me to the front door and gave me a quick hug as I stepped inside. "Funny," I began. "I'm feeling better already." I closed the door, and as soon as I saw my mom drive down the street, I grabbed my usual vampire detectors--garlic powder and a compact mirror belonging to Ruby White of Armstrong Travel--and headed straight for Trevor's.

No wonder vampires didn't venture out in daylight. I hungered for the safe haven of shade from trees and hovering clouds and thirsted for the warm blanket of nightfall. The hot sun began to bake my pale skin as I rode my bike up the Mitchells' driveway and passed a Ferguson and Son's Painting pickup parked in front of their four-car garage. I laid the bike against the side of the screened-in porch and rang the Mitchells' bell. Their dog began to bark from the backyard.

When no one answered, I rang the bell again.

Suddenly a small, elderly white-haired man carrying a ladder came out of the garage. "Hi, Mr. Ferguson," I said, running over to the familiar painter. "Is Trevor home?"

The elderly worker looked at me oddly.

"It's me, Raven," I said, pulling down my shades.

"Hi, Raven. Shouldn't you be at school?" he wondered.

"I'm on lunch break," I replied.

"I didn't think they let kids go home for lunch anymore. In my day, there was no such thing as school lunch," he began. "We had to--"

"Really, I'd love to hear all about it, but I don't have much time--"

"I just dispatched my sons for takeout. If I'd known you were coming...," he began politely.

"That's very sweet of you, but I just need to see Trevor."

"It's probably not a good day for a visit. He's been in his room since sunrise."

Sunrise? I wondered.

"Well, I'll just be a minute," I said, walking past him toward the garage.

Mr. Ferguson put down the ladder.

"Raven, I can't let you in."

"But why? It's only me--," I whined.

Didn't he know I was on a mission to save Dullsville?

"Not when I'm on a job. It could cost me my contract." More rules to be broken.

I plastered on my best puppy-dog face, the one I used with my dad when I wanted to stay out late. But the old man was steadfast. "The Mitchells should be home after five."

"I'll come back later then," I responded. "It was nice seeing you."

I walked over to my bike as Mr. Ferguson awkwardly carried the ladder to his truck. With his back to me, I knew I had only seconds. I dashed into the garage, snuck past a vintage Bentley, and opened the door to the laundry room. The smell of fresh paint wafted through the house as I raced over the plastic drop cloth, past the newly painted sunflower yellow kitchen. I would have complimented Mr. Ferguson on his paint job if it wouldn't have given away my dubious location.

I ran toward the front hall.

I'd been to Trevor's house only once, for his fifth birthday party, and that was only because he had invited everyone in our kindergarten class. My parents always told me that when they grew up and returned to their childhood homes, the houses looked smaller. Well, if Trevor's house seemed like a castle when I was in kindergarten, then as a sophomore, it had only downsized to a mansion. Mr. Mitchell owned half of Dullsville, and Mrs. Mitchell made her living by serial shopping. And it showed.

The entranceway alone seemed three stories high. A marble balcony was accentuated with two descending bleach white wooden staircases forming a semicircle around an indoor fountain. A grand dining room sat off to the left with a white diamond teardrop chandelier and a glass table with twelve beige linen-covered chairs. It was almost the same style as the living room at the Mansion--but without the cobwebs. On the right, a sitting room the size of my house was decorated in African art and adorned with enough fertility statues to impregnate an entire country. I remembered standing in this exact spot when I was five, just after my mom dropped me off. For what seemed like hours, my classmates were running past me, giggling as if I weren't even there.

Finally we were called outside to the Mitchells' football-size backyard where a clown, a merry-go-round, and a pony were awaiting us. Watching my classmates dance, sing, and ride, I sat alone on the patio until Trevor opened one perfectly wrapped present after another containing Hot Wheels, LEGOs, or Nerf footballs. Then Mrs. Mitchell handed him a black box complete with a black bow, wrapped by yours truly.

Trevor ripped the package open and pulled out a brand-new mint-condition Dracula action figure. His eyes lit up and he exclaimed, "Wow!"

Mrs. Mitchell cued him to "show and share."

Wide-eyed, he proudly passed it to the pigtailed partygoer sitting next to him.

"That looks like Raven!" the girl shouted.

"Gross. It probably has cooties," another warned, returning it to him.

Trevor's gorgeous smile turned into a hideous frown. He glared at me and threw my gift back in the box.

I remained alone on the patio steps for the rest of the party while the other kids ate cake and ice cream.

My stomach turned as I remembered that day. I paused for a moment and wondered if instead of running up to Trevor's room and warning him about Luna's intentions, I should sneak back out the way I came in.

I heard the laundry room doorknob turn. I quietly raced up the pristine staircase and past more doors than were in the MGM Grand Hotel. After peeking in a million guest bedrooms and bathrooms down a hallway the length of an international runway, one final door awaited.

I'm not sure what I expected to find-- Trevor had been sleeping since sunrise. It had been confirmed by several sources that he was sick and pale. If Trevor had already been bitten, I was putting myself in danger.

I had no other choice. I double-checked the garlic stashed in my purse.

I knocked gently.

When I didn't get a response, I slowly twisted the handle and opened the door. I took off my glasses and my hood. I crept inside.

Light from the hallway shined softly through the bedroom. The dark curtains were drawn closed--one sign Trevor could already be turned.

The soccer snob must have had his own personal interior decorator. His bedroom could have graced the cover of Architectural Digest Teen.

Next to the curtains, a giant flat-screen computer sat on a white modular desk. On one side of the room was a wall-mounted gazillion- inch plasma TV. Underneath it was a teen's dream lounge--a red futon couch, a soccer-themed pinball machine, and a foosball table.

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