Home > Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy #6)(10)

Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy #6)(10)
Author: Richelle Mead

Instead, Dimitri gave me one of those rueful looks that said he thought I was being utterly ridiculous. We could have been back in class at St. Vladimir's Academy.

"Rose, I can't really get in any more trouble. Someone has to be responsible for helping you, and I'm the best choice.' I wasn't so sure of that. If Tatiana really had made progress in convincing people Dimitri wasn't a threat, this escapade would ruin it all.

"Go,' said Eddie, surprising me with a quick hug. "We'll be in touch through Lissa.' I realized then that I was fighting a losing battle with this group. It really was time to leave.

I hugged Mikhail too, murmuring in his ear, "Thank you. Thank you so much for your help. I swear, we'll find her. We'll find Sonya.' He gave me that sad smile of his and didn't reply.

Adrian was the hardest to leave behind. I could tell it was difficult for him too, no matter how relaxed his grin seemed. He couldn't be happy about me going off with Dimitri. Our hug lasted a little bit longer than the others, and he gave me a soft, brief kiss on the lips. I almost felt like crying after how brave he'd been tonight. I wished he could go with me but knew he'd be safer here.

"Adrian, thank you for--'

He held up his hand. "It's not goodbye, little dhampir. I'll see you in your dreams.'

"If you stay sober enough.'

He winked. "For you I just might.'

A loud booming noise interrupted us, and we saw a flash of light off to my right. People near the other garages screamed.

"There, you see?' asked Abe, quite pleased with himself. "A new gate. Perfect timing.'

I gave him a reluctant hug too and was surprised when he didn't pull back right away. He smiled at me ... fondly. "Ah, my daughter,' he said. "Eighteen, and already you've been accused of murder, aided felons, and acquired a death count higher than most guardians will ever see.' He paused. "I couldn't be prouder.'

I rolled my eyes. "Goodbye, old man. And thanks.' I didn't bother asking him about the "felons' part. Abe wasn't stupid. After I'd asked him about a prison that had later been breeched, he'd probably figured out who was behind Victor Dashkov's escape.

And like that, Dimitri and I were in the car, speeding off toward Abe's "new gate.' I regretted not being able to say goodbye to Lissa. We were never truly apart with the bond, but it couldn't take the place of face-to-face communication. Still, it was worth it to know she would be safe and free of any connection to my escape. I hoped.

Like always, Dimitri drove, which I still thought was totally unfair. It had been one thing when I was his student, but now? Wouldn't he ever give up that wheel? This didn't seem like the time to discuss it, though--particularly since I didn't plan on us staying together much longer.

A few people had come out to see where the wall had blown up, but no one official had surfaced yet. Dimitri raced through the gap as impressively as Eddie had when he'd driven through Tarasov Prison's gate, only the Civic didn't handle the bumpy, grassy terrain as well as the SUV in Alaska. The problem with making your own exit was that it didn't come with an actual road. Even that was beyond Abe.

"Why is our getaway car a Civic?' I asked. "It's not really great for off-roading.'

Dimitri didn't look at me but continued navigating over the rough ground toward a more drivable area. "Because Civics are one of the most common cars out there and don't attract attention. And this should be the only off-roading we do. Once we hit a freeway, we're putting as much distance between us and Court as we can--before abandoning the car, of course.'

"Abandon--' I shook my head, letting it go. We reached a dirt road that felt like the smoothest surface on earth after that jolting start. "Look, now that we're out of there, I want you to know that I mean it: you don't have to come with me. I appreciate your help in the escape. Really. But hanging out with me won't do you any favors. They'll be hunting for me more than you. If you take off, you can live somewhere around humans and not be treated like a lab animal. You might even be able to slink back to Court. Tasha would put up a fight for you.'

Dimitri didn't answer for a long time. It drove me crazy. I wasn't the kind of person who handled silence well. It made me want to chatter and fill the void. Plus, the longer I sat there, the more it hit me that I was alone with Dimitri. Like, really and truly alone for the first time since he'd become a dhampir. I felt like a fool, but in spite of the dangers we still risked ... well, I was still overwhelmed by him. There was something so powerful about his presence. Even when he made me angry, I still found him attractive. Maybe the adrenaline pounding through me was addling my brain.

Whatever it was, I was consumed by more than just his physical aspects--though they were certainly distracting. The hair, the face, his closeness to me, his scent ... I felt it all, and it made my blood burn. But the inner Dimitri--the Dimitri who'd just led a small army through a prison break--captivated me just as much. It took me a moment to realize why this was so powerful: I was seeing the old Dimitri again, the one I'd worried was gone forever. He wasn't. He was back.

At long last, Dimitri replied, "I'm not leaving you. None of your Rose-logic arguments are going to work. And if you try to get away from me, I'll just find you.'

I didn't doubt he could, which just made the situation more confusing. "But why? I don't want you with me.' I still felt a lingering attraction for him, yes, but that didn't change the fact that he had hurt me in breaking things off between us. He had rejected me, and I needed to harden my heart, particularly if I wanted to move on with Adrian. Clearing my name and leading a normal life seemed far away right now, but if it happened, I wanted to be able to return to Adrian with open arms.

"It doesn't matter what you want,' he said. "Or what I want.' Ouch. "Lissa asked me to protect you.'

"Hey, I don't need anyone to--'

"And,' he continued, "I meant what I said to her. I swore I'd serve her and help her for the rest of my life, anything she asks. If she wants me to be your bodyguard, then that's what I'll be.' He gave me a dangerous look. "There's no way you're getting rid of me anytime soon.'

Chapter Five

GETTING AWAY FROM DIMITRI WASN'T just about our rocky romantic past. I'd meant it when I said I didn't want him getting in trouble because of me. If the guardians found me, my fate wouldn't be that much different from what I'd already been facing. But Dimitri? He'd been making baby steps toward acceptance. Sure, that was pretty much destroyed now, but his chance for a life wasn't over. If he didn't want to live at Court or with humans, he could go back to Siberia and return to his family. Out there in the middle of nowhere, he'd be hard to find. And with how close that community was, they'd go to a lot of trouble to hide him if someone ever did try to hunt him down. Staying with me was definitely the wrong option. I just needed to convince him.

"I know what you're thinking,' Dimitri said, after we'd been on the road for about an hour.

We hadn't spoken much, both of us lost in our own thoughts. After a few more country roads, we'd finally made it to an interstate and were making good time toward ... well, I had no idea. I'd been staring out the window, pondering all the disasters around me and how I alone could fix them. "Huh?' I glanced over at him.

I thought there might be the smallest hint of a smile on his lips, which seemed absurd considering this was probably the worst situation he'd been in since being restored from his Strigoi state.

"And it won't work,' he added. "You're planning how to get away from me, probably when we eventually stop for gas. You're thinking maybe you'll have a chance to run off then.'

The crazy thing was, I had been thinking very much along those lines. The old Dimitri was a good partner on the road, but I wasn't so sure I liked having his old ability to guess my thoughts back as well.

"This is a waste of time,' I said, gesturing around the car.

"Oh? You have better things to do than flee the people who want to lock you up and execute you? Please don't tell me again that this is too dangerous for me.'

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)