Home > Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1)(11)

Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1)(11)
Author: Richelle Mead

Still, he'd pissed her off, and she wasn't about to feel sorry for him.

"Wait - is this your pity party now?"

He laughed, almost approvingly. "This room has been my pity party for a year now."

"Sorry," said Lissa snarkily. "I was coming here before I left. I've got a longer claim."

"Squatters' rights. Besides, I have to make sure I stay near the chapel as much as possible so people know I haven't gone Strigoi...yet." Again, the bitter tone rang out.

"I used to always see you at mass. Is that the only reason you go? To look good?" Strigoi couldn't enter holy ground. More of that sinning-against-the-world thing.

"Sure," he said. "Why else go? For the good of your soul?"

"Whatever," said Lissa, who clearly had a different opinion. "I'll leave you alone then."

"Wait," he said again. He didn't seem to want her to go. "I'll make you a deal. You can hang out here too if you tell me one thing."

"What?" She glanced back at him.

He leaned forward. "Of all the rumors I heard about you today - and believe me, I heard plenty, even if no one actually told them to me - there was one that didn't come up very much. They dissected everything else: why you left, what you did out there, why you came back, the specialization, what Rose said to Mia, blah, blah, blah. And in all of that, no one, no one ever questioned that stupid story that Rose told about there being all sorts of fringe humans who let you take blood."

She looked away, and I could feel her cheeks starting to burn. "It's not stupid. Or a story."

He laughed softly. "I've lived with humans. My aunt and I stayed away after my parents...died. It's not that easy to find blood." When she didn't answer, he laughed again. "It was Rose, wasn't it? She fed you."

A renewed fear shot through both her and me. No one at school could know about that. Kirova and the guardians on the scene knew, but they'd kept that knowledge to themselves.

"Well. If that's not friendship, I don't know what it is," he said.

"You can't tell anyone," she blurted out.

This was all we needed. As I'd just been reminded, feeders were vampire-bite addicts. We accepted that as part of life but still looked down on them for it. For anyone else - especially a dhampir - letting a Moroi take blood from you was almost, well, dirty. In fact, one of the kinkiest, practically  p**n ographic things a dhampir could do was let a Moroi drink blood during sex.

Lissa and I hadn't had sex, of course, but we'd both known what others would think of me feeding her.

"Don't tell anyone," Lissa repeated.

He stuffed his hands in his coat pockets and sat down on one of the crates. "Who am I going to tell? Look, go grab the window seat. You can have it today and hang out for a while. If you're not still afraid of me."

She hesitated, studying him. He looked dark and surly, lips curled in a sort of I'm-such-a-rebel smirk. But he didn't look too dangerous. He didn't look Strigoi. Gingerly, she sat back down in the window seat, unconsciously rubbing her arms against the cold.

Christian watched her, and a moment later, the air warmed up considerably.

Lissa met Christian's eyes and smiled, surprised she'd never noticed how icy blue they were before. "You specialized in fire?"

He nodded and pulled up a broken chair. "Now we have luxury accommodations."

I snapped out of the vision.

"Rose? Rose?"

Blinking, I focused on Dimitri's face. He was leaning toward me, his hands gripping my shoulders. I'd stopped walking; we stood in the middle of the quad separating the upper school buildings.

"Are you all right?"

"I...yeah. I was...I was with Lissa..." I put a hand to my forehead. I'd never had such a long or clear experience like that. "I was in her head."

"Her...head?"

"Yeah. It's part of the bond." I didn't really feel like elaborating.

"Is she all right?"

"Yeah, she's..." I hesitated. Was she all right? Christian Ozera had just invited her to hang out with him. Not good. There was "coasting through the middle," and then there was turning to the dark side. But the feelings humming through our bond were no longer scared or upset. She was almost content, though still a little nervous. "She's not in danger," I finally said. I hoped.

"Can you keep going?"

The hard, stoic warrior I'd met earlier was gone - just for a moment - and he actually looked concerned. Truly concerned. Feeling his eyes on me like that made something flutter inside of me - which was stupid, of course. I had no reason to get all goofy, just because the man was too good-looking for his own good. After all, he was an antisocial god, according to Mason. One who was supposedly going to leave me in all sorts of pain.

"Yeah. I'm fine."

I went into the gym's dressing room and changed into the workout clothes someone had finally thought to give me after a day of practicing in jeans and a T-shirt. Gross. Lissa hanging out with Christian troubled me, but I shoved that thought away for later as my muscles informed me they did not want to go through any more exercise today.

So I suggested to Dimitri that maybe he should let me off this time.

He laughed, and I was pretty sure it was at me and not with me.

"Why is that funny?"

"Oh," he said, his smile dropping. "You were serious."

"Of course I was! Look, I've technically been awake for two days. Why do we have to start this training now? Let me go to bed," I whined. "It's just one hour."

He crossed his arms and looked down at me. His earlier concern was gone. He was all business now. Tough love. "How do you feel right now? After the training you've done so far?"

"I hurt like hell."

"You'll feel worse tomorrow."

"So?"

"So, better to jump in now while you still feel...not as bad."

"What kind of logic is that?" I retorted.

But I didn't argue anymore as he led me into the weight room. He showed me the weights and reps he wanted me to do, then sprawled in a corner with a battered Western novel. Some god.

When I finished, he stood beside me and demonstrated a few cool-down stretches.

"How'd you end up as Lissa's guardian?" I asked. "You weren't here a few years ago. Were you even trained at this school?"

He didn't answer right away. I got the feeling he didn't talk about himself very often. "No. I attended the one in Siberia."

"Whoa. That's got to be the only place worse than Montana."

A glint of something - maybe amusement - sparked in his eyes, but he didn't acknowledge the joke. "After I graduated, I was a guardian for a Zeklos lord. He was killed recently." His smile dropped, his face grew dark. "They sent me here because they needed extras on campus. When the princess turned up, they assigned me to her, since I'd already be around. Not that it matters until she leaves campus."

I thought about what he'd said before. Some Strigoi killed the guy he was supposed to have been guarding? "Did this lord die on your watch?"

"No. He was with his other guardian. I was away."

He fell silent, his mind obviously somewhere else. The Moroi expected a lot from us, but they did recognize that the guardians were - more or less - only human. So, guardians got pay and time off like you'd get in any other job. Some hard-core guardians - like my mom - refused vacations, vowing never to leave their Moroi's sides. Looking at Dimitri now, I had a feeling he might very well turn into one of those. If he'd been away on legitimate leave, he could hardly blame himself for what happened to that guy. Still, he probably did anyway. I'd blame myself too if something happened to Lissa.

"Hey," I said, suddenly wanting to cheer him up, "did you help come up with the plan to get us back? Because it was pretty good. Brute force and all that."

He arched an eyebrow curiously. Cool. I'd always wished I could do that. "You're complimenting me on that?"

"Well, it was a hell of a lot better than the last one they tried."

Books
     Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1)
     Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2)
     Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3)
     Blood Promise (Vampire Academy #4)
     Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy #5)
     Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy #6)
     The Meeting (Vampire Academy 0.9)      Homecoming (Vampire Academy #6.5)