Home > Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2)(6)

Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2)(6)
Author: Richelle Mead

I hadn't thought about the ramifications of an attack like this. We were only a week or so away from Christmas. Usually, there was a huge wave of travel in the Moroi world this time of year. Students went home to visit their parents; parents came to stay on campus and visit their children.

"This is going to keep a lot of families separated," I murmured.

"And mess up a lot of royal get-togethers," said Christian. His brief seriousness had vanished; his snide air was back. "You know how they are this time of year - always competing with each other to throw the biggest parties. They won't know what to do with themselves."

I could believe it. My life was about fighting, but the Moroi certainly had their share of internal strife - particularly with nobles and royals. They waged their own battles with words and political alliances, and honestly, I preferred the more direct method of hitting and kicking. Lissa and Christian in particular had to navigate some troubled waters. They were both from royal families, which meant they got a lot of attention both inside and outside of the Academy.

Things were worse for them than for most Moroi royals. Christian's family lived under the shadow cast by his parents. They had purposely become Strigoi, trading their magic and morality to become immortal and subsist on killing others. His parents were dead now, but that didn't stop people from not trusting him. They seemed to think he'd go Strigoi at any moment and take everyone else with him. His abrasiveness and dark sense of humor didn't really help things, either.

Lissa's attention came from being the last one left in her family. No other Moroi had enough Dragomir blood in them to earn the name. Her future husband would probably have enough somewhere in his family tree to make sure her children were Dragomirs, but for now, being the only one made her kind of a celebrity.

Thinking about this suddenly reminded me of the warning scrawled on the mirror. Nausea welled up in me. That dark anger and despair stirred, but I pushed it aside with a joke.

"You guys should try solving your problems like we do. A fistfight here and there might do you royals some good."

Both Lissa and Christian laughed at this. He glanced up at her with a sly smile, showing his fangs as he did. "What do you think? I bet I could take you if we went one on one."

"You wish," she teased. Her troubled feelings lightened.

"I do, actually," he said, holding her gaze.

There was an intensely sensual note to his voice that made her heart race. Jealousy shot through me. She and I had been best friends our entire life. I could read her mind. But the fact remained: Christian was a huge part of her world now, and he played a role I never could - just as he could never have a part of the connection that existed between me and her. We both sort of accepted but didn't like the fact that we had to split her attention, and at times, it seemed the truce we held for her sake was paper thin.

Lissa brushed her hand against his cheek. "Behave."

"I am," he told her, his voice still a little husky. "Sometimes. But sometimes you don't want me to...."

Groaning, I stood up. "God. I'm going to leave you guys alone now."

Lissa blinked and dragged her eyes away from Christian, suddenly looking embarrassed.

"Sorry," she murmured. A delicate pink flush spread over her cheeks. Since she was pale like all Moroi, it actually sort of made her look prettier. Not that she needed much help in that department. "You don't have to go...."

"No, it's fine. I'm exhausted," I assured her. Christian didn't look too broken up about seeing me leave. "I'll catch you tomorrow."

I started to turn away, but Lissa called to me. "Rose? Are you...are you sure you're okay? After everything that happened?"

I met her jade green eyes. Her concern was so strong and deep that it made my chest ache. I might be closer to her than anyone else in the world, but I didn't want her worrying about me. It was my job to keep her safe. She shouldn't be troubled about protecting me - particularly if Strigoi had suddenly decided to make a hit list of royals.

I flashed her a saucy grin. "I'm fine. Nothing to worry about except you guys tearing each other's clothes before I get a chance to leave."

"Then you better go now," said Christian dryly.

She elbowed him, and I rolled my eyes. "Good night," I told them.

As soon as my back was to them, my smile vanished. I walked back to my dorm with a heavy heart, hoping I wouldn't dream about the Badicas tonight.

Three

THE LOBBY OF MY DORM was abuzz when I sprinted downstairs to my before-school practice. The commotion didn't surprise me. A good night's sleep had gone far to chase away the images from last night, but I knew neither I nor my classmates would easily forget what had taken place outside Billings.

And yet, as I studied the faces and clusters of other novices, I noticed something weird. The fear and tension from yesterday were still around, certainly, but something new was there too: excitement. A couple of freshmen novices were practically squealing with joy as they spoke in hushed whispers. Nearby, a group of guys my own age were gesturing wildly, enthusiastic grins on their faces.

I had to be missing something here - unless all of yesterday had been a dream. It took every ounce of self-control I had not to go over and ask somebody what was happening. If I delayed, I'd be late for practice. The curiosity was killing me, though. Had the Strigoi and their humans been found and killed? That would certainly be good news, but something told me that wasn't the case. Pushing open the front doors, I lamented that I'd just have to wait until breakfast to find out.

"Hath-away, don't run-away," a singsong voice called.

I glanced behind me and grinned. Mason Ashford, another novice and a good friend of mine, jogged up and fell in step with me.

"What are you, twelve?" I asked, continuing on toward the gym.

"Nearly," he said. "I missed your smiling face yesterday. Where were you?"

Apparently my presence at the Badica house still wasn't widely known. It wasn't a secret or anything, but I didn't want to discuss any gory details. "Had a training thing with Dimitri."

"God," muttered Mason. "That guy is always working you. Doesn't he realize he's depriving us of your beauty and charm?"

"Smiling face? Beauty and charm? You're laying it on a little thick this morning, aren't you?" I laughed.

"Hey, I'm just telling it like it is. Really, you're lucky to have someone as suave and brilliant as me paying this much attention to you."

I kept grinning. Mason was a huge flirt, and he liked to flirt with me in particular. Part of it was just because I was good at it and liked to flirt back. But I knew his feelings toward me were more than just friendly, and I was still deciding how I felt about that. He and I had the same goofy sense of humor and frequently drew attention to ourselves in class and among friends. He had gorgeous blue eyes and messy red hair that never seemed to lie flat. It was cute.

But dating someone new was going to be kind of difficult when I still kept thinking about the time I was half-naked in bed with Dimitri.

"Suave and brilliant, huh?" I shook my head. "I don't think you pay nearly as much attention to me as you do your ego. Someone needs to knock it down a little."

"Oh yeah?" he asked. "Well, you can try your best on the slopes."

I stopped walking. "The what?"

"The slopes." He tilted his head. "You know, the ski trip."

"What ski trip?" I was apparently missing something serious here.

"Where have you been this morning?" he asked, looking at me like I was a crazy woman.

"In bed! I only got up, like, five minutes ago. Now, start from the beginning and tell me what you're talking about." I shivered from the lack of movement. "And let's keep walking." We did.

"So, you know how everyone's afraid to have their kids come home for Christmas? Well, there's this huge ski lodge in Idaho that's exclusively used by royals and rich Moroi. The people who own it are opening it up for Academy students and their families - and actually any other Moroi who want to go. With everyone in one spot, they're going to have a ton of guardians to protect the place, so it'll be totally safe."

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)