Home > Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy #5)(7)

Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy #5)(7)
Author: Richelle Mead

Christian turned back to me. "Well, looks like she's got plenty to keep her busy."

I rolled my eyes. Lissa wasn't the only one who was jealous. Just as she grew angry whenever he hung out with other girls, Christian became prickly when she spoke to other guys. It was infuriating. Rather than admit they still had feelings and just needed to patch things up, those two idiots just kept displaying more and more hostility toward each other.

"Will you stop already and actually try to talk to her like a rational person someday?" I groaned.

"Sure," he said bitterly. "The day she starts acting like a rational person."

"Oh my God. You guys are going to make me rip my hair out."

"It'd be a waste of nice hair," said Christian. "Besides, she's made her attitude perfectly clear."

I started to protest and tell him how stupid he was, but he had no intention of sticking around to hear a lecture I'd already given a dozen times.

"Come on, Jill," he said. "Rose needs to mingle more."

He quickly stepped away, and I had half a mind to go beat some sense into him when a new voice spoke.

"When are you going to fix that?" Tasha was standing next to me, shaking her head at Christian's retreat. "Those two need to be back together."

"I know that. You know that. But they can't seem to get it through their heads."

"Well, you'd better get on it," she said. "If Christian goes to college across the country, it'll be too late." There was a dry--and exasperated--note in her voice when she mentioned Christian going to college.

Lissa was going to Lehigh, a university near the Court, per an arrangement with Tatiana. Lissa would get to attend a bigger university than Moroi usually went to, in exchange for spending time at the Court and learning the royal trade.

"I know," I said in exasperation. "But why am I the one who has to fix it?"

Tasha grinned. "Because you're the only one forceful enough to make them see reason."

I decided to let Tasha's insolence go, mostly because her talking to me meant that she wasn't talking to Abe. Glancing across the room, I suddenly stiffened. He was now talking to my mother. Snatches of their conversation came to me through the noise.

"Janine," he said winningly, "you haven't aged a day. You could be Rose's sister. Do you remember that night in Cappadocia?"

My mother actually giggled. I had never heard her do that before. I decided I never wanted to again. "Of course. And I remember how eager you were to help me when my dress strap broke."

"Dear God," I said. "He's unstoppable."

Tasha looked puzzled until she saw what I was talking about. "Abe? He's actually pretty charming."

I groaned. "Excuse me."

I headed toward my parents. I accepted that they'd once had a romance--one that led to my conception--but that didn't mean I wanted to watch them relive it. They were recounting some walk on the beach when I reached them. I promptly tugged Abe's arm away. He was standing way too close to her.

"Hey, can I talk to you?" I asked.

He looked surprised but shrugged. "Certainly." He gave my mother a knowing smile. "We'll talk more later."

"Is no woman safe around here?" I demanded as I led him away.

"What are you talking about?"

We came to a stop by the punch bowl. "You're flirting with every woman in this room!"

My chastising didn't faze him. "Well, there are so many lovely women here.... Is that what you wanted to talk to me about?"

"No! I wanted to talk to you about threatening my boyfriend. You had no right to do that."

His dark eyebrows shot up. "What, that? That was nothing. Just a father looking out for his daughter."

"Most fathers don't threaten to disembowel their daughters' boyfriends."

"That's not true. And anyway, that's not what I actually said. It was much worse."

I sighed. He seemed to delight in my exasperation.

"Think of it as a graduation gift. I'm proud of you. Everyone knew you'd be good, but no one knew you'd be that good." He winked. "They certainly didn't expect you to destroy their property."

"What property?"

"The bridge."

I frowned. "I had to. It was the most efficient way. God, that was a bitch of a challenge. What'd the other grads do? They didn't actually fight in the middle of that thing, did they?"

Abe shook his head, loving every minute of his superior knowledge. "No one else was put in that situation."

"Of course they were. We all face the same tests."

"Not you. While planning the trials, the guardians decided you needed something... extra. Something special. After all, you'd been out fighting in the real world."

"What?" The volume of my voice caught the attention of a few others. I lowered it, and Meredith's earlier words came back to me. "That's not fair!"

He didn't seem concerned. "You're superior to the others. Making you do easy things wouldn't have been fair."

I'd faced a lot of ridiculous things in my life, but this was pretty out there. "So they had me do that crazy bridge stunt instead? And if they were surprised I cut it, then what the hell else did they expect me to do? How else was I supposed to survive that?"

"Hmm." He stroked his chin absentmindedly. "I honestly don't think they knew."

"Oh, for God's sake. This is unbelievable."

"Why are you so mad? You passed."

"Because they put me in a situation they didn't even know how to get out of." I gave him a suspicious look. "And how do you even know about this? This is all guardian business."

An expression I didn't like at all came over his face. "Ah, well, I was with your mother last night and--"

"Whoa, okay. Just stop," I interrupted. "I do not want to hear what you and my mother were doing last night. I think that'd be worse than the bridge."

He grinned. "Both are in the past, so no need to worry now. Enjoy your success."

"I'll try. Just don't do me any more favors with Adrian, okay? I mean, I'm glad you came to support me, but that's more than enough."

Abe gave me a canny look, reminding me that underneath that swagger he was indeed a shrewd and dangerous man. "You were more than happy to have me do you a favor after your return from Russia."

I grimaced. He had a point, seeing as he had managed to get a message into a high-security prison. Even if it hadn't led to anything, he still got points.

"Okay," I admitted. "That was pretty amazing. And I'm grateful. I still don't know how you pulled that off." Suddenly, like a dream you recall a day later, I remembered the thought I'd had just before my trials. I lowered my voice. "You didn't actually go there, did you?"

He snorted. "Of course not. I wouldn't set foot in that place. I simply worked my network."

"Where is that place?" I asked, hoping I sounded bland.

He wasn't fooled. "Why do you want to know?"

"Because I'm curious! Convicted criminals always disappear without a trace. I'm a guardian now, and I don't even know anything about our own prison system. Is there just one prison? Are there lots?"

Abe didn't answer right away. He was studying me carefully. In his business, he suspected everyone of ulterior motives. As his daughter, I was probably doubly suspect. It was in the genes.

He must have underestimated my potential for insanity because he said at last, "There's more than one. Victor's in one of the worst. It's called Tarasov."

"Where is it?"

"Right now?" He considered. "In Alaska, I think."

"What do you mean, 'right now'?"

"It moves throughout the year. Right now it's in Alaska. Later, it'll be in Argentina." He gave me a sly smile, apparently wondering how astute I was. "Can you guess why?"

"No, I--wait. Sunlight." It made perfect sense. "Alaska's got almost nonstop daylight this time of year--but nonstop night in the winter."

     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)