Home > Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2)(2)

Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2)(2)
Author: Richelle Mead

I haven't had much luck in getting over him, and I'm pretty sure he still feels the same about me. Part of what makes it so difficult is that he and I got pretty hot and heavy when we got hit with the lust spell. Victor had wanted to distract us while he kidnapped Lissa, and it had worked. I'd been ready to give up my virginity, and Dimitri had been ready to take it. At the last minute, we broke the spell, but those memories are always with me and make it kind of hard to focus on combat moves sometimes.

By the way, my name's Rose Hathaway. I'm seventeen years old, training to protect and kill vampires, in love with a completely unsuitable guy, and have a best friend whose weird magic could drive her crazy.

Hey, no one said high school was easy.

One

I DIDN'T THINK MY DAY could get any worse until my best friend told me she might be going crazy. Again.

"I... what did you say?"

I stood in the lobby of her dorm, leaning over one of my boots and adjusting it. Jerking my head up, I peered at her through the tangle of dark hair covering half my face. I'd fallen asleep after school and had skipped using a hairbrush in order to make it out the door on time. Lissa's platinum blond hair was smooth and perfect, of course, hanging over her shoulders like a bridal veil as she watched me with amusement.

"I said that I think my pills might not be working as well anymore."

I straightened up and shook the hair out of my face. "What does that mean?" I asked. Around us, Moroi hurried past, on their way to meet friends or go to dinner.

"Have you started ..." I lowered my voice. "Have you started getting your powers back?"

She shook her head, and I saw a small flash of regret in her eyes. "No ... I feel closer to the magic, but I still can't use it. Mostly what I'm noticing lately is a little of the other stuff, you know...I'm getting more depressed now and then. Nothing even close to what it used to be," she added hastily, seeing my face. Before she'd gone on her pills, Lissa's moods could get so low that she cut herself. "It's just there a little more than it was."

"What about the other things you used to get? Anxiety? Delusional thinking?"

Lissa laughed, not taking any of this as seriously as I was. "You sound like you've been reading psychiatry textbooks."

I actually had been reading them. "I'm just worried about you. If you think the pills aren't working anymore, we need to tell someone."

"No, no," she said hastily. "I'm fine, really. They're still working...just not quite as much. I don't think we should panic yet. Especially you - not today, at least."

Her change in subject worked. I'd found out an hour ago that I would be taking my Qualifier today. It was an exam - or rather, an interview - all novice guardians were required to pass during junior year at St. Vladimir's Academy. Since I'd been off hiding Lissa last year, I'd missed mine. Today I was being taken to a guardian somewhere off-campus who would administer the test to me. Thanks for the notice, guys.

"Don't worry about me," Lissa repeated, smiling. "I'll let you know if it gets worse."

"Okay," I said reluctantly.

Just to be safe, though, I opened my senses and allowed myself to truly feel her through our psychic bond. She had been telling the truth. She was calm and happy this morning, nothing to worry about. But, far back in her mind, I sensed a knot of dark, uneasy feelings. It wasn't consuming her or anything, but it had the same feel as the bouts of depression and anger she used to get. It was only a trickle, but I didn't like it. I didn't want it there at all. I tried pushing farther inside her to get a better feel for the emotions and suddenly had the weird experience of touching. A sickening sort of feeling seized me, and I jerked out of her head. A small shudder ran through my body.

"You okay?" Lissa asked, frowning. "You look nauseous all of a sudden."

"Just...nervous for the test," I lied. Hesitantly, I reached out through the bond again. The darkness had completely disappeared. No trace. Maybe there was nothing wrong with her pills after all. "I'm fine."

She pointed at a clock. "You won't be if you don't get moving soon."

"Damn it," I swore. She was right. I gave her a quick hug. "See you later!"

"Good luck!" she called.

I hurried off across campus and found my mentor, Dimitri Belikov, waiting beside a Honda Pilot. How boring. I supposed I couldn't have expected us to navigate Montana mountain roads in a Porsche, but it would have been nice to have something cooler.

"I know, I know," I said, seeing his face. "Sorry I'm late."

I remembered then that I had one of the most important tests of my life coming up, and suddenly, I forgot all about Lissa and her pills possibly not working. I wanted to protect her, but that wouldn't mean much if I couldn't pass high school and actually become her guardian.

Dimitri stood there, looking as gorgeous as ever. The massive, brick building cast long shadows over us, looming like some great beast in the dusky predawn light. Around us, snow was just beginning to fall. I watched the light, crystalline flakes drift gently down. Several landed and promptly melted in his dark hair.

"Who else is going?" I asked.

He shrugged. "Just you and me."

My mood promptly shot up past "cheerful" and went straight to "ecstatic." Me and Dimitri. Alone. In a car. This might very well be worth a surprise test.

"How far away is it?" Silently, I begged for it to be a really long drive. Like, one that would take a week. And would involve us staying overnight in luxury hotels. Maybe we'd get stranded in a snowbank, and only body heat would keep us alive.

"Five hours."

"Oh."

A bit less than I'd hoped for. Still, five hours was better than nothing. It didn't rule out the snowbank possibility, either.

The dim, snowy roads would have been difficult for humans to navigate, but they proved no problem for our dhampir eyes. I stared ahead, trying not to think about how Dimitri's aftershave filled the car with a clean, sharp scent that made me want to melt. Instead, I tried to focus on the Qualifier again.

It wasn't the kind of thing you could study for. You either passed it or you didn't. High-up guardians visited novices during their junior year and met individually to discuss students' commitment to being guardians. I didn't know exactly what was asked, but rumors had trickled down over the years. The older guardians assessed character and dedication, and some novices had been deemed unfit to continue down the guardian path.

"Don't they usually come to the Academy?" I asked Dimitri. "I mean, I'm all for the field trip, but why are we going to them?"

"Actually, you're just going to a him, not a them." A light Russian accent laced Dimitri's words, the only indication of where he'd grown up. Otherwise, I was pretty sure he spoke English better than I did. "Since this is a special case and he's doing us the favor, we're the ones making the trip."

"Who is he?"

"Arthur Schoenberg."

I jerked my gaze from the road to Dimitri.

"What?" I squeaked.

Arthur Schoenberg was a legend. He was one of the greatest Strigoi slayers in living guardian history and used to be the head of the Guardians Council - the group of people who assigned guardians to Moroi and made decisions for all of us. He'd eventually retired and gone back to protecting one of the royal families, the Badicas. Even retired, I knew he was still lethal. His exploits were part of my curriculum.

"Wasn't... wasn't there anyone else available?" I asked in a small voice.

I could see Dimitri hiding a smile. "You'll be fine. Besides, if Art approves of you, that's a great recommendation to have on your record."

Art. Dimitri was on a first-name basis with one of the most badass guardians around. Of course, Dimitri was pretty badass himself, so I shouldn't have been surprised.

Silence fell in the car. I bit my lip, suddenly wondering if I'd be able to meet Arthur Schoenberg's standards. My grades were good, but things like running away and getting into fights at school might cast a shadow on how serious I was about my future career.

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)