Silent Crush (Anne Ross) Part 2


It's almost been a week since Lestat has arrived, and my heart is glad for the distraction. Everyone asks if we are dating, and we don't deny it. Even though my heart longs for Lorcan, it's good to have someone to care for. We are in our fighting class early and are sparring.

"…You're pretty good for one so young," he declares, blocking one of my kicks. I laugh.

"You're just trying to—..." I gasp as he grabs me by the waist and flips me over, pinning me to the ground. In the position he has me in, my hands are trapped in one of his above my head and his other hand is stroking down my face and the side of my body.

"Distract you, I did," he whispers to me and I wink at him. He laughs and kisses me. I ache to run my hands through his hair and he releases them to hold my waist. I pull his hair not so gently as we kiss, feeling some sort of whole, even though I wish I could kiss Lorcan.

Lestat knows my feelings for Lorcan, and I know Lestat's feelings for the human he had to leave behind in London. Her name was Jesse; shortly after Lestat left, she mysteriously 'died', but even I know that someone killed her just so she wouldn't be with him. And since we cannot have the one we desire, it is a nice companionship.

A throat clearing to the right of me makes me break our kiss. Lestat pulls me into a standing position, but never takes is hands from my waist. I look over and see Lorcan staring at us with an expression I cannot describe. His gaze flickers to me and, showing him how much it's killing me not to be with him through my eyes, I grab Lestat and kiss him somewhat desperately. When we part, he takes my hand in his and leads me to a seat near the back of the class and takes his usual routine of kissing my neck the whole time.

I feel the envious stares and somewhat heated glares from the others in my classes. But, I do my best to ignore them. Every so often, I will catch Lorcan looking at me as if wanting to talk but at the last second, he turns away. It is because of this that I also took to slipping out past curfew to have a couple drinks with Lestat. I never drank too much, just enough to dull the pain.



It's almost been two months since Lestat has been here, and a month since Bellatrix came back. She says that she found a distant relative of hers, and that he will be arriving in a few days. I am happy for her. She has a new glow to her eyes, and she doesn't frown as much. She too questioned me about my relationship with Lestat and I ended up sobbing in her arms for almost two hours, telling her about what happened between Lorcan and I.

Ever since, she's been one of my closest friends, since all the other girls I used to call friends hate me. On the outside, I am a carefree smartass who is dating the hottest guy at school. But on the inside, my heart is screaming for Lorcan to be mine.

Lestat said he would help me to get Lorcan, if that's what he even wants. I told him, when I was drunk once, that if he could get Lorcan to admit he cared for me than he could have at it. So, now I am sitting on one of the benches waiting for Lestat to come back.

"Wait here for me," he had said. I sigh, shaking my head in the process. Just then, I hear voices and I look up to see Lorcan, Keith, and Nathan walking. They're about 30 feet away from me, but are close enough that they could hear me. I feel a tap on my shoulder and look up into Lestat's mischievous eyes. He smiles and makes me stand up, kneeling in front of me. He winks at me and glances at Lorcan and back at me. I gasp, understanding. I pretend to be anxious and bite my lip.

"Anne Ross," Lestat says formally, and slightly louder than he should. I see Lorcan and his friends look over at us through the corner of my eye and I smile.

"Yes, Lord De Lioncour?" I ask him in the same tone.

"Will you do me the honor or accepting these roses as a token of my love?" He pulls out a dozen red roses from behind him and I gasp for real at the gesture. I smile wistfully and nod.

"Of course, but whatever are they for?" I ask him. I see Lorcan and his friends are closer to us now and I smirk at that. Lestat stands up and takes my face in his hands.

"Because," he says kissing me on the lips gently. "My beloved Anne Ross…I am in love with you!" He winks at me to let me know he's just kidding and I wink back. Out of the corner of my eyes I see Nathan and Keith pull Lorcan back and I gasp at that. I bite the inside of my cheek to make tears pool in my eyes and I blink so that they fall and smile at Lestat.

"I'm in love with you as well," I tell him, kissing him desperately. I pull away slightly and say in a louder voice, "will you let me give myself to you…fully? I wish to make passionate love to, my love!" I tell him, pretending to be excited at the possibility. He nods fervently and I hear a growl.

"Of course, my love. We shall go at once! And do not fear, for I will give you a pleasure you will never forget," and with that, he picks me up bridal style and carries me away theatrically. When we are far enough away, he pulls me behind a corner and tells me to be quiet for a couple of minutes. I don't understand until I hear angered voices.

"…How could she do that?" I hear an angry male's voice. I gasp and look at Lestat. It is Lorcan's.

"Why do you even care?" I hear Keith retort. "You said yourself you wanted nothing to do with her, but yet when she falls for someone else, you get all pissy."

"Yeah, dude," Nathan chimes in, "you didn't want anything to do with her. She had a major crush on you for the longest time, but you didn't even acknowledge she existed…" Real tears form in my eyes at their words and Lestat cradles my head in his chest.

"Do not worry, my love," he whispers to me, "give him a few days. He will realize that he is in love with you and then he will do everything possible to try to get you. But do not fear, I will make him work very hard for your love because even if I do not love you as I did my Jesse, I still love you. You are a sister and companion to me, and he is an idiot for letting you slip away. Here's a plan: tomorrow we shall get into a fight and then in a couple of days, we will make up from it but we will 'break up', allowing Lorcan to come into play. But, I will be the protective brother and will make it extremely hard for him."

"Sounds like a plan," I say to him. "Hey, why don't you go after Bellatrix? She could use someone in her life, and even though she is still a little hesitant with you, she likes you as an almost-friend. Besides," I say as we begin walking to my dorm, "you both are hurting over something deep and tragic that has happened, and maybe that pain will bring you together, healing you both?" He laughs beside me gently and kisses my forehead.

"I appreciate your attempt, but I would rather remain friends with her, and you starting in a couple of days," he says and I smile, kissing his cheeks before walking away, into my dorm room.

As I lay in my bed, about twenty minutes later, I look at the roses in the vase next to my bed. After a few minutes, I hear a knocking at my door.

"Yes?" I ask, and the door opens to reveal Bellatrix. "Oh, hey Bellatrix," I tell her, sitting up. She smiles and sits down on the bed across from mine. "What's up?"

"I have a proposition for you," she says, smiling hugely.

"What is it?" I ask.

"How would you like it if I moved into your room, or you moved into mine? Yours is bigger, but mine has a better view of the mountains and the campus. You don't have to, if you don't want to," she says quickly when she sees the frown on my face.

"No, no, it's not that," I tell her, meeting her eyes. "It's just that I've been in here on my own for so long that it would be weird if another living person was in here with me. I don't mind if you move into my room, that's not the issue. I'm just worried that we'll get in each other's way. And don't you already share a room with Saffron?" I ask her, mentioning the name of her best friend. She laughs softly.

"Saffron and I never shared a room, ever. She was always put with Melanie or Natasha," Bellatrix said simply. "I'm alone in my dorm room as well, but since there are going to be some new students coming in the next couple of months, I just think it would be easier, you know?" I nod my head and smile.

"Well, have you talked to Head—.."

"Yes, I've talked to her already," she says laughing. "She said if I could get you to agree, that it would be all right."

"Well, what are we waiting for?" I ask her. "Let's get busy!" I say, throwing the covers off and grabbing her hand to lead her out of the room. We both laugh and run down the hallway to the stairs where we slide down the railing to the second floor. We run to her room, laughing the whole time. Surprisingly, she has as few things as me.

When we're cleaning out the final things, I see something shiny sticking out of the mattress. When I pull it out, I find a razor blade. Feeling in the hole in the mattress, I feel what feels like rubber bands; I open the hole and look inside of it and see some vials and needles, as well as a couple packets of razor blades and a small glass bottle of alcohol.

"Bellatrix," I say, pulling the stuff out, "what's all this for?" She looks over at me and turns two shades paler than what she normally is.

"It's no-nothing," she says, putting all of the items into a bag, throwing away the used razor. I take her arm in my hand and push up her sleeve, seeing faints lines across her wrists. She swallows nervously and I pull her into a hug.

"Oh, Bellatrix," I whisper and she starts to shake with silent sobs. She wraps her arms tightly around me, crying silently. I wish I could do something, but nothing comes to mind. I stroke her hair and whisper what I hope are comforting words. "Tell me what happened to you," I whisper and she pulls back from me to tell me her whole sordid story.


By the time she finished her story, we were both blubbering messes of tears.

"I'm so sorry," I tell her for the hundredth time. She doesn't say anything back to that but just smiles so sadly that I feel my heart break even further.

"Don't worry about me," she says, as we begin to make our way to our new room, "I'll be fine, in my own way. It's been this long and I've been somewhat fine. And now I find out a still have family; even though he's not a pure blood like me, he's still family and I'll love him as one. Now, I heard about your little love performance today, and I want to know all the details." I laugh.

"Pretty much, he declared that he was in love with me and gave me a bouquet of red roses. Of course, Lorcan, Nathan, and Keith were walking by at the time, so it made it even more hilarious," I say, chuckling. "Anyways, I told him that I was in love with him as well and that I wanted to give myself to him fully, that I wanted to make love to him. He whisked me off but we hid behind a corner and we waited for Lorcan and his friends to walk by.

We listened to Lorcan as he cursed Lestat for doing what he did. His friends simply told him that he shouldn't care because he had claimed for so long that he wanted nothing to do with me. The whole thing was actually pretty funny," I tell her as we sit down her stuff on the floor and bed. We begin placing her things around the room, and we have it all done in about 45 minutes. After that, we both just go to bed.

When we wake up, it's almost weird. For so long, we had both lived in solitary, and now there's another living person in the same environment. We laugh nervously, not knowing who should get dressed first.

"I have an idea," I say and construct a makeshift wall between our sides of the room using a blanket. Bellatrix nods at my handiwork.

"This could work," she says and we both laugh. "Oh, and I want you to wear this," she says, handing me a skirt and top. I look at her like she's crazy and she laughs. "Trust me, if this doesn't get Lorcan's attention, nothing will!" Nodding, I begin to get dressed.

After we get dressed, we grab our school stuff and head down to the cafeteria for some breakfast. When we are outside the doors, however, I freeze.

"I…I can't go in there," I tell her and she peers through the half-open door and sees Lorcan and his friends. "Not like this," I say, motioning to the short skirt ensemble she loaned me. I look down.

What Bellatrix loaned me is not only challenging the dress code, but a first for me. The skirt is a short red and black plaid skirt with a black belt and chains attached to it. The top she loaned me is an ebony black tank top that is just low cut enough to show some cleavage, but not so low that my breasts pop out of it. With it, she pinned my hair half up so that some of it was tied in a ponytail, and the rest was laying down my back, making my hair seem longer. I borrowed black stockings from Bellatrix, as well as some black heels.

Looking over at Bellatrix, I see that today she has chosen a purple and black silk corset with silver inlays, along with black Tripp pants with purple lining. To complete her look, she is wearing black converse and her hair is perfectly straight, flowing down her waist. In the light, her hair is taking on a purple sheen. She has a choker necklace on and she has a smokey eye makeup. Bellatrix doesn't realize it, but she's very beautiful… She grabs my hand and squeezes it.

"You can do this, Anne," she says. "I believe in you." I look at her and she gives me a reassuring smile. Taking a deep breath and gearing up for battle, I smile and nod. As if an air user was with us, the doors fly open at our entrance, slamming against the walls. All eyes fall on us and the cafeteria falls silent. We tilt our heads up slightly higher and continue walking. My heels clack against the floor and I cast a glance at Lorcan. His eyes are nearly popping out of his head and I stop to look at him head on.

"What's that, Lorcan?" I ask him, cocking my head to the side, "a new fighting move called The Fly Catcher?" A few people who heard the joke laugh and Lorcan looks away, his jaw tensing up.

"There you are!" I turn at Lestat's voice and a huge smile erupts on my face.

"Lestat!" I cry out and almost run to him. He picks me up in a swirl hug and kisses me on the lips. I wrap my arms around his neck as we kiss and peek at Lorcan once to find he's glaring at Lestat.

We pull away and he entwines our hands together, walking us over to where Bellatrix sits, a look of pure disbelief and humor evident on her face.

"That was quite an exhibition for so early. Might I ask what you have planned next?" She asks, a mischievous glint in her eyes.

"You'll just have to wait and see," Lestat tells her. She merely laughs. Lestat wraps an arm around my waist and I scoot closer to him. "So, when is your family member coming?"

"He is delayed because of the snowstorm he had where he's at," she says. "And because of Christmas break coming up, he'll be delayed even longer. So it'll be at least three weeks before he can even think of coming here." I feel for Bellatrix on that.

"Actually," I begin, an idea forming in my mind, "Bellatrix might be able to help." Lestat looks at me, the question in his eyes. I laugh and shake my head. "I'll write it out for you," I tell him. Grabbing a piece of paper, I scribble:

What if we get into a fight because I 'found' you both making out hardcore?

He laughs loudly and shows Bellatrix the paper. She gets a wicked smile on her face and nods fervently.

"This should be awesome," she says. "But, it would have to be in a place where some of your friends are, Anne. So that you can get the gossip of it, and when you just so happen to come and demand to know the truth, BOOM!" She says, making gestures with her hands. I giggle quietly and nod.

"I'm game if you are, Lestat," I tell him sweetly and he smiles, kissing me helplessly on the lips. I kiss him back eagerly and before long, I'm in his lap. A loud throat clearing makes us separate and I look over to see Bellatrix restraining laughter. "Sorry," I say. "Okay, let's do this. Just remember that whatever I say isn't true. I love you both," I tell them. I give Bellatrix a hug and Lestat a kiss before leaving to go 'get some more practice in before class.'


When class actually begins, Bellatrix makes it just as the bell rings and she is faintly flushed. I faintly wonder why but brush it off, knowing why. She glances at me and looks away quickly. It's confirmed but I pretend to let it bother me. I wait until our class is over to 'confront' her.

"Hey, Bellatrix," I tell her and she looks back at me, faking a wince.

"Yeah?" She asks and I pretend to look affronted. I see a glimmer of amusement in her eyes.

"I meant to ask you why you were flushed coming in to class before," I say and she laughs nervously.

"Oh, I was just, um…I got into an argument with someone," she says and she bites her lip. "Look, I gotta go," she says and walks away quickly before I can get another question in. I wait patiently for someone to come up to me.

In 5th Period, it happens. I'm sitting in my usual seat when a few girls walk in and are whispering animatedly about something, glancing over at me occasionally. I pretend to be bothered about it, but try to ignore it. My friend Amanda comes in and she has a regretful look on her face.

"What's up, Amanda?" I ask, concerned. She sighs and sits down beside me. I can see out of the corner of my eye that the girls who were just talking about me are now listening intently.

"It's…It's about Lestat," she says sadly and I look up at her.

"Why, what's wrong? Has…Has something bad happened? Is he okay?" I ask, pretending to be the worried and oblivious girlfriend.

"He…He was talking to Bellatrix in the library, and I was there, you know? Well, they were having some sort of deep conversation about something when he grabs her hand and they looked at each for five minutes I swear," she says. "Then, he entwined their hands together and led her away from the teacher's eyes. I didn't want to pry, but I was curious so I kinda followed them, you know? Anyways, when I followed them, I found them making out in one of the back shelves. And they were really into it, you know? And I knew I had to tell you because a friend wouldn't not tell another friend, right? And so then when things were getting pretty heated I – Oh my God, I didn't mean…I mean, Anne…" During her tirade, I had bitten the inside of my cheek hard enough to draw tears to my eyes and now I let them fall. I pretend to take a deep cleansing breath that comes out shaky, and shake my head.

"There's no way. I don't believe that," I tell her, shaking my head. "They wouldn't do that to me. I-I know them…" Amanda cuts me off.

"Are you sure about that?" I look at her, begging to know more but hating what might be said. "I mean…He only moved here, what, a month ago? And you two only started talking around then as well. What if they were both, I don't know, lying to you?" At that moment, real tears decided to form. I knew the truth, but what if I was hurting a possible relationship? I made my lower lip quiver and sniffle. I blink away the tears and take a deep and shaky breath. I sniffle again, wiping away the tears.

"I'll confront them about it at lunch," I say. Lunch is after 5th so it will be easier. Amanda looks worried for me, but gives me a reassuring smile.

"I'm here for you, Annie," she says, using the nickname she gave me. I smile at her and thank her.

I turn to the board and copy down notes. When the bell rings for lunch, Amanda walks with me to the cafeteria. When we get there, I see Bellatrix and Lestat sitting across from each other, but still very close. I pretend to be offended and look scared and angry at the same time. Amanda gives me a reassuring shoulder squeeze and I stalk to the table.

"Is it true?" I demand of them, scaring both of them. They look at me, confusion on their features. "I said, is it true?" I ask again, my voice raising.

"Is what true, love?" Lestat asks, trying to reach for my hand. When his fingertips touch me I wrench my hand back and slap his hand away.

"I know you're lying to me!" I yell at them, and am glad to see that I've caught some people's eyes. I give them the signal that says I don't mean it, which is for me to put my hair behind my ear. Bellatrix does the same, and Lestat ruffles his hair.

"Look, Anne…" Bellatrix begins, "It's not what you think…"

"Oh, so you're saying it's true?" I yell at them. "How could you do this to me? I trusted you both! Especially you," I say pointing a finger at Bellatrix. I belatedly notice that I've caught the attention of everyone in the cafeteria and hide a smirk. I bite my tongue this time and cause tears to form. "How could you both betray me like this? I gave myself to you!" I screech at Lestat and he winces. He gets up to stand in front of me but I backhand him, sending him into the table. He gasps, and even I'm surprised I hit him. But apparently he thinks good of it because he ruffles his hair again.

There are gasps around the whole cafeteria and I know that this is becoming huge.

"I don't know how to explain this," Bellatrix says, standing up but staying away from me. "There's really no way of explaining it. All I can say is that I'm sorry, Anne. Please forgive me?" I gasp incredulously.

"Forgi…You want me to forgive you? How can I forgive you for making out with my boyfriend?" I screech, the tears falling from my face.

"Please, just let us explain," Lestat begins but I silence him.

"No," I say so coldly it shocks me. "You should have thought of this before sticking each other's tongues down your throats! THERE IS NO WAY IN HELL I AM FORGIVING YOU! I want you out of my room by the time I get there after practice, do you understand? Take these back while you're at it," I aim at Bellatrix, whilst tossing her shoes at her, and she nods mutely. "As for you," I say going up to Lestat. "I want you out of my life. Don't talk to me, don't call me, and don't even look at me. We are through!" I screech at him before turning and running out of the cafeteria, tears streaming down my face. I run out into the cold November air, my feet touching the freshly fallen snow. My breath fans out in clouds of vapor, and my hair blows behind me as I run.

With each stride, I feel my muscles loosening up, making me go faster and able to take longer strides. "What I've Done" by Linkin Park pours through my mind as I run, and I don't notice how far I've actually run until I notice that I've come across an old Guardian cabin. I look around it and decide to head back to campus. I skip 6th and 7th Period, instead going into the old gym to practice.

I practice until my hands are bleeding, and my feet are throbbing, but even then I continue until both are almost numb. When my actual practice time is over, I walk outside and wrap my arms around me, feeling numb inside and out. Whenever I pass a couple of people who saw the fiasco in the cafeteria, I sniffle and hunch over.

I finally collapse against the fountain that's hidden behind some trees and bushes. I sob and stick my hands in the frigid water. I hear a twig snap and look up to see Lorcan.

"What do you want now?" I ask, making my voice numb and sad. "Come to gloat? Maybe show some fake sympathy, stitch me up, then walk away from me some more?" I can see how much my words affect him, and I feel real tears pool in my eyes at the fact that Lorcan will never be mine. He might care somewhat, but I will never be with him. I sob harshly at that realization and he kneels in front of me, placing his jacket around me before wrapping me in his arms as well. I shiver from the contact, despite my cries, and he buries his face in my hair.

"I'm sorry," he whispers to me. "You heard us that day, didn't you?" He asks and I nod. "I'm sorry for that as well. Anne, there is so much that needs to be said bu—…"

"I know," I say, interrupting him. "You care about me, and are fond of me, but it's merely that. You're no good for me and I am better off with someone else. You don't want to be with anybody, let alone me, and you're comfortable being the eternal bachelor. You have to focus on becoming a guardian, you can't have any distractions. But most of all," I say, crying because of what's next, "You would rather be acquaintances with me because that's easier than even being friends. You say you wish to be friends, but yet you will make no move to do so. And now I bet you're going to say 'let's get you out of this cold weather and inside so we can fix you up,' just because that's how you are," I tell him.

"Anne…" he says and I know that every word I spoke is true.

"I'm fine, Lorcan," I say, using his name to him for the first time. I pull myself out of his arms, noticing how the cold suddenly fills me. I take his jacket off and hand it to him. "Thank you for…I don't know and I don't care at this point," I say walking away, but stop to turn and glance at him over my shoulder. "Bye, Lorcan," I whisper and know that this will be the last time I speak to him. I wrap my arms around me and walk back to my dorm, letting the tears fall freely and not caring that everyone I pass stares openly at me.

When I get back to my room, I see that Bellatrix's stuff is out, just like I told her. But, the finality of it makes me sob harshly, and I grab the vase of roses and throw it against the door, the water, roses, and glass going everywhere. I slide down to the ground and curl my knees up to my chest. My phone buzzes in my pocket and it's Lestat texting me. I sniffle and text him back.

It's over…I don't want to try to get Lorcan anymore; I meant what I said, partially. I need to think and be alone for a few days…I'm sorry and I love you both…

Sending the text, I slide my phone across the floor, ignoring it when I hear it go off. I eventually get up and make my way to my closet, grabbing a tank top and a pair of sweats and some clean underwear and a bra before shedding the outfit Bellatrix loaned me.


Once I'm dressed again, I pull on my boots and walk downstairs, knowing it's almost curfew. I tell the lady at the desk that I need to see the nurse because of my hand and she obliges, giving me a pass. I make my way to the nurse and she patches me up, tsking at my hands. I tell her I did it when training, that I skipped 6th and 7th period to train more.

I asked her if she could write me a note, allowing me to go see my teachers. She writes one for me, as well as what to do for my hands. I give her my thanks and head out. When I go to my 6th Period teacher, she's understanding and lets it slide since we didn't do anything in that class. My 7th Period teacher lectures me for 5 minutes before softening up slightly and giving me a couple worksheets to do. I make my way back to my dorm finally and take a shower before doing the worksheets and heading to bed.

After I wake up and get dressed, I don't go to breakfast, instead get Amanda to buy me something from the vending machines. She brings it to me and I thank her. When I enter my fighting class, everyone quiets at my entrance. I try to ignore their stares as best as I can, but after five minutes of nonstop staring, I snap.

"Okay, seriously? What the hell is so enchanting about me today? Stop looking at me or I'm gonna punch each of you in the freaking face," I threaten, and they all look away. Guardian Sanders begins class then, and whenever I'm called to spar, everyone fidgets in their seats, knowing I'm ticked off. Each person who is called to spar on me is nervous. They don't hold back, and neither do I.

When Lestat is called to spar with me, I first put on a surprised look, which slowly turns into a saddened one, followed by a look of sheer hatred. When we begin to spar, it shows how skilled he is. Of course, my 'anger' gives me edge and I soon am beating the living crap out of him.

I flip him over my shoulder and punch him square in the nose, hearing a snap of it breaking. Blood spurts out of his nose and he looks at me incredulously. I pant lightly, a bead of sweat trickling down the side of my face. My hands are raw and bloody, but yet, I stand up straight and look at Guardian Sanders who nods at me, before walking back to my seat.

The rest of the class continues in this fashion. When class is dismissed, I'm the first one out of it, and ignore Bellatrix and Lestat's calls after me. I don't see either of them until 6th Period when I have Bellatrix in my class. She tries to talk to me, but I ignore her. Occasionally, I'll put my hair behind my ear, letting her know it's all for show. It continues like this for a couple weeks.


I eventually 'made up' with Bellatrix but now we don't really talk much. Lestat switched his 1st and 2nd Periods around so he would have a fighting class 2nd instead of 1st. I try to be normal for Amanda, but it just doesn't happen. I've completely fallen for Lorcan, and it's killing me because there'd be no future for us if we ever dated. I catch him staring at me in the few classes that we both have and I pretend to ignore them. When 6th Period ends, I make a mad dash to my next class, hating that stare.

And when 7th Period ends, I make my way to the old gym to practice like always. When I exit from the locker room, however, I gasp when I see Lorcan waiting for me. He looks up at my entrance and I can see a look in his eyes that makes my heart race and a fluttery feeling sink into the pit of my stomach. I swallow and look down before looking back up.

"Yes?" I ask, feigning indifference. I make my way over to the weights to begin stretching. He doesn't answer, and after five minutes, there's still no answer. "What do you want, Lorcan?" I ask him, turning to face him. He was looking at the floor, but now he looks up and I see a pain in his eyes I've never seen before.

"When Keith and Nathan told me that you'd had feelings for me, I was shocked," he says, shaking his head sadly and looking away. He gazes at the wall as he speaks, "But I was even more shocked to realize that you'd fallen for someone. It shouldn't've bothered me at all, but it did to a disturbing degree. I never understood why it did until I saw you by the fountain that day," he says, speaking of the day in which Lestat and I broke up.

"And why did it bother you?" I ask, doing leg stretches.

"Because I realized that I liked you," he says and my gaze flickers up to his and I can feel the shock and incredulity pouring off of me in waves. He grimaces at my expression and nods. "Yes, I can see why you would doubt it so much. But, it hardly matters now," he says sighing. "Seeing as you fell in love with Lestat." Oh how wrong you are! You are my love, no one else! I scream at him in my head and heart, but he doesn't hear.

"Why are you telling me this now?" I ask him, a sense of dread filling me.

"Because I'm leaving in a few days for Christmas break," he says, and I get a look of confusion on my face. "My parents might be enrolling me into another Academy," he says, gauging my reaction. I'm thankful for having looked away because a pain like no other shoots through me and I close my eyes as a sharp pain goes through my heart.

"Why would you want to leave St. Vladimir's?" I ask him and he shakes his head.

"I guess…I guess because I didn't get what I wanted. Besides, there are other Academies in the US that are warmer than here. Not so warm that a Moroi couldn't go there, but warm enough that you could feel the sun and enjoy it. It'd be a nice reprieve," he says and I gasp, realizing something.

"You don't speak…" I tell him, my voice drifting off at the end. "I mean, you don't talk at all in class, and you talk to your friends but…You talk to me, and I'm not really a friend at all," I tell him, looking up at him. "Why? Why do you talk to me, but no one else? You've said more to me in the past month than you have in the past year to both Nathan and Keith," I tell him and gasp at what I just let slip.

"You've been watching me?" He asks and I sigh. I meet his curious eyes and sigh again.

"Yes, because once upon a time I had the biggest crush on you, Lorcan Donskoy," I tell him, looking away so he won't see the tears in my eyes. "It was a stupid schoolgirl crush, but I had one on you. I would watch you, see how silent you always were, but how almost alive you would seem when with your friends. I always wondered why you were so silent, if there was any medical reasoning. I've watched you for almost 5 years," I tell him and close my eyes tightly. "Don't worry, though," I begin, "I've gotten over it. After all, crushes only last so long right?" I tell him, lying.

"Yes, of course," he says, but I sense that something has gone from him. A light of sorts. "Well, I must be going I guess; I just wanted to tell you goodbye ahead of time."

"But why would you want to?" I ask him.

"Because I knew you would be upset if you had to find out from someone else," he says.

"So, are you going to come back?" I ask, begging him to with my soul and eyes. He gives me a small sad smile before answering.

"I don't know," he says before turning around to walk away from me for the second time. I feel my heart break into pieces even further and throw myself into training.

When I see Lorcan in class the next day I'm almost relieved. My mind is always on him, every second of the day. I'm glad when I see his glum face in my classes. It almost gives me hope.

But one day, something changes… I walk into my fighting class three days after my conversation with Lorcan and see that he's not in his usual spot. I look for him, but he's nowhere to be found. Guardian Sanders begins to call his name, thinks better of it, and continues with roll call. And by the time 5th Period comes around, still no Lorcan. I decide to skip practice today and just head to my room. When I get there, however, a single red rose with a black silk ribbon tied to the stem is lying on my bed with a note attached to it. I pick up the note, seeing my name scrawled on the outside of it in a beautiful hand. I open the piece of paper and see two lines written:

You have my whole heart, you always have. I never realized what I had in you, and I'm sorry.

Feeling tears form in my eyes, for some unknown reason, I let out a small sob.

There is no signature, not even an initial. I almost figure it to be Lestat, but I know it's not. It couldn't have been Lorcan because that's both stupid and unrealistic. So who could it be? I ponder that thought all night and the next day.


When students begin leaving, I begin spending all my free time practicing. Bellatrix flies off with Saffron to spend break with her parents, and Lestat goes off with some of his friends. Amanda wanted to stay behind, but I told her not to. So now, I'm spending the next two weeks training and alone. Of course a few other students stayed behind, Like Delila Daschkow and Leanna Bloodthorn and her Guardian Alexio, but I never saw them anyways so it doesn't really matter.

A thought that always crossed my mind was about Lorcan possibly not coming back. I hoped for all I was worth that he would, but a feeling in my stomach told me that he wasn't.

When there was three days left of Christmas break, I took a look in the mirror. It had actually been a while since I last looked at myself and I was almost shocked. My once shoulder-length hair is now a little shorter than Bellatrix's. The waves in it aren't as striking, and they accent with my slightly paled skin. Having had little sun in the past few months paled my skin out a little, but my tan is still there. I flex my arms and see that I've built up quite a bit of muscle. I lift up my tank top and see, if I was a guy, I would have manly abs. I'm skinnier than I used to be as well and I grimace. A knock on my door makes me look up and I unlock it and open it to reveal a Guardian.

"Yes?" I ask him.

"I'm sorry to bother you but there's been an accident and I've been asked to escort you to a private area," he says looking around. I grab my jacket and follow him downstairs and outside. In human world it is almost 1:00 pm and I faintly consider how lucky humans can be at times. I follow the Guardian I don't know over to the buildings by the old gym and the infirmary and notice that he takes me around back to a secret entrance. I raise my eyebrows in question but he shakes his head. "Later," he says and I nod.

"Can I ask what has happened that is causing me to be here?" I ask him and he stops to look at me. "You said there was an accident…?" He sighs.

"There has been an accident. There was a Strigoi attack," he says murderously and I gasp.

"Where?" I demand, preparing to be sent out early to fight or something.

"A couple of states over, but too close for our comfort. What was weird about this Strigoi attack is that the Strigoi in question didn't attack Moroi or humans…They attacked—…"

"Dhamphires?" I add in and he nods. "But why would they do that?"

"Apparently, a family of Dhamphires crossed a Strigoi, made a deal and at the last second backed out. One of the family members managed to get away but…It's not a pretty sight. He was almost dead when he came to us," he says and a cold fear rushes through me.

"What…What family?" I ask, hoping it's not…

"The Donskoy family," he says and his look turns sympathetic when he sees my pained face.

"So, who's here? And why must I be here?"

"Their only son, Lorcan," he says and I feel tears pool in my eyes. "And you must be here because you are the only one who can be trusted with this. He seems to be closest to you, and he's…" the Guardian trails off, unsure if to continue or not.

"What? What is it?" I demand of him and he sighs.

"He's been asking for you since we brought him here," he says and I feel like dying.

"Let me see him," I tell him and he motions to a door. I go through it and I see Lorcan hooked up to machines and tubes everywhere. He appears to be sleeping but when I make a small cry, he opens his eyes.

"Anne," he gasps out and tries to lean forward but winces in pain. I go over to him, shushing him. "Anne, I'm so sorry…"

"It does not matter," I tell him, stroking his face gently. "Shh, I'm here; everything's going to be okay, I promise. I'm here," I tell him again and he looks into my eyes with an expression I've never seen before. I do my best to ignore it and turn to the Guardian. "So how long do wish me to stay here?"

"We would like for you to check on him daily and have allowed you to replace one of your classes and come here instead. Which one would you like to get rid of?" He asks me and I answer without hesitation.

"7th," I tell him. "After that I have free period which I use to train in the old gym. Seeing as the old gym is only about 100 paces away, it'll be easy to come back and forth." He nods at my decision.

"Very well, but you must go back to your room now and get some sleep. You've been up for quite some time," he tells me and I grimace.

"Yeah, I know. Hey, what is your name?" I ask him and he smiles at me.

"It's Fork," he says, "Fork Matthews." I smile at him.

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Guardian Matthews," I tell him, casting one last glance at Lorcan before kissing his forehead and leaving.

"You are kind to do this," he tells me when we are walking. I shrug my shoulders.

"I've known him for 5 years," I tell him. "I would hope that if something like this were to happen to me, he would do the same…" Guardian Matthews merely smiles secretly and we stay silent the rest of the way back to my room. When we get there he bids me goodnight and disappears. I sigh and enter my room, falling asleep instantly when I lay down.

When I wake up, I go to Lorcan. He is still asleep when I arrive, so I sit down on a chair next to his bed and watch him. He looks so peaceful when in sleep but…doesn't everyone? I sigh and shake my head. After about 20 minutes, Guardian Matthews enters the room and smiles at me.

"Good morning," I tell him and he nods at me. He hands me a cup of coffee and I gladly accept it.

"So how long until he fully heals?" I ask him, watching Lorcan's even breathing.

"He's healing exceptionally well considering the wounds he received. I would say no more than a week," he says and I hide my disappointment.

"Oh, I see," I tell him and take a sip of my coffee. "Well, what am I supposed to do after he heals? Do I just go back to my class or am I going to be given something else?" Guardian Matthews traces the rim of his cup with his tan fingers and watches Lorcan's machines like they're fascinating. "Guardian Matthews?" He sighs and looks at me.

"After he fully heals…We'll deal with it when the time comes." I sense there is a lot that everyone isn't telling me and I narrow my eyes at him. He laughs softly. "I can see why he would be crazy enough to try and make his way back here, even if it meant dying, just to see you again."

"I'm sure I don't understand what you mean," I tell him, taking the chance to look at Lorcan.

"You mean you don't know?" He asks incredulously. I sigh, annoyed.

"You know, it's very irritating for people to ask me questions about things I have no clue about! You tell me I have to come here to watch over him, but yet I don't know what good I'll do that the nurse hasn't done already! You won't tell me what is going to happen when he heals, and yet you expect me to just be able to take your word! And now you want me to know something about Lorcan that I can't even begin to fathom! You're all hiding things from me, and until I get the truth…" I say, standing up and throwing my cup in the trash can, "You all can watch over him your own damned selves!" I loud enough to waken Lorcan. I cast a glance at him before running out of the room, ignoring his cries for me to come back.

I don't stop running until I've reached the opposite side of the campus. But even then I don't stop. Not when I see the old Guardian cabins, or when I feel the wards falling behind me. I keep running until I can't run anymore. When I finally stop running, I'm in the true woods. I'm in what could be Strigoi territory. But strangely, that thought doesn't bother me as much as it used to. I hear a twig snap behind me and know enough about Strigoi to not turn towards the sound. Instead, I back up against a tree and look around me. I calm my breathing down and close my eyes to listen.

I strain my ears and I hear them. At least two other bodies moving in the trees. I force myself to be calm, while mentally kicking myself. I wait for the attack, but nothing is coming. They appear to be talking. Cautiously, I step away from my tree and towards them. I hide behind trees until I can hear what they are saying clearly.

"…So you mean we didn't get the son?" I hear one ask. His voice sounds so cold it sends a shiver through me.

"No, he managed to get away. But, they have him and are watching over him. They have this pretty little thing watching over him too. She's a Dhamphire," I hear the other one say. His voice becomes almost dreamy when he talks of…I gasp when I realize he's talking about me.

"Oh, really?" The leader asks. I peer around the tree and creep closer until I can see them. Two pale as death figures are standing by a cave entrance with a small fire about ten feet away from them.

The one who had first spoken about me is tall, pale, with red eyes, and I can tell he used to be a Dhamphire. His hair is a shaggy brown that fans around his face. Judging from his build, I would say that he is extremely strong. The other one, the one who spoke about me, is extremely pale as well, with the red eyes, but his hair is deep black and down his shoulders and half way down his back. He too used to be a Dhamphire before turned. I name the one with the brown hair Shaggy, and the one with the black I name Shadow. Shadow looks at Shaggy.

"Yes," Shaggy says, "she's a cute little thing. Very stubborn and cocky sometimes. She's kind of tall, maybe 5'6" or 5'7". Her hair is so dark brown, it's almost black. It's now just above her waist from not cutting it lately. She trains excessively. And for a while she was dating the ex boyfriend of that girl who mysteriously died," Shaggy says and I gasp because they're talking about Jesse.

"What was that?" Shadow asks and I curse myself. I hold my breath and watch them. "Hmm, probably nothing. Jesse, would you and Annabeth come here for a moment?" I watch as out from the cave, two scary-beautiful Strigoi come out of the darkness. One of them has striking ginger red colored hair that's pin straight and to a little below her shoulders. She's sleek and gorgeous, but there's an underlying sadness behind her dead red eyes, and I sense that she was turned forcefully.

The other one makes a weird feeling weave around my stomach. The other woman was clearly turned by choice, but that's not what has me feeling weird. Her hair is the same shade of brown as mine, only her hair is an endless amount of curls. They accent with her red eyes and pale skin and I feel like I should know her. I know the red head is Jesse, so I give the one who looks like me almost Curly, before I remember her name is Annabeth.

"You asked for us," Jesse asks Shadow and he nods.

"It would appear that the Guardians have a Dhamphire girl watching over the boy," he says looking between them. "We need that boy, do you understand?"

"But surely, Roman," Annabeth says to Shadow, "we don't need him. What is so special about the boy?" I look over at the one she called Roman and I anxiously await his answer.

"That boy, Annabeth," Roman says to Curly, "that boy was promised to us. He has a rare blood disorder that makes him valuable to us. I will say no more on that issue. I have a job for both of you, however," he says looking at Jesse and Annabeth. I look back to Shaggy and he still looks dreamy thinking about me. "I want you to keep an eye on the girl. I have a message for her," he says and looks into the woods in my direction. "We are coming, and no one, not even her precious Guardians, will be ready."

"May I ask, who she is, Roman?" Annabeth asks and Roman gets a sick grin on his face.

"Her name is Anne Ross," he says and Annabeth, if possible, turns two shades paler. "Yes, you remember her, don't you? You must also remember then, the family you helped to destroy almost 10 years ago?"

"Of course I remember," she snaps at him. "I also remember that it was your son who ended up getting caught by Guardians with that girl in his arms. For 6 years we had that girl, and if it wasn't for Gregory, we would still have her!" I bite back a gasp and realize they're talking about Bellatrix. I don't know how much more I can listen to, but when I take a step back, a twig snaps beneath my foot. All four pairs of eyes flicker up and before I realize what's happening, Roman is in front of me. I scream and try to run.

"Where do you think you're going?" He asks and grabs me by the arm, dragging me back to the cave. When I am closer to the cave, I suddenly see at least 30 more pairs of eyes just in the surrounding woods alone.

"Let me go," I tell him and he merely smiles.

"Oh, but you see I don't think I can do that, seeing as you've been listening in on our conversation. However, I do wish for you to pass on that message…" he says, and strokes my face and hair absently. I shiver at the coldness of his skin and he bares his fangs.

"Roman, don't," Annabeth says and I look over at her. "She's my daughter, you know that!" Roman laughs.

"Shane," he says to Shaggy, "hold Annabeth." I watch as Shane goes over to her and grips her arms behind her. Roman turns back to me and releases me. "I will give you to the count of 20 to run as far and fast as you can," he says and I wait five seconds to see if he's serious, before turning and running back. I make it to a little creek when I feel someone grab my waist and neck in each hand and I feel the piercing pain of fangs sinking into my neck.

One thing people were wrong about is that a Strigoi bite can be painful if the one biting wishes. And painful it is.

"AAARRRGGGHHH!" I screech and try to pry his hands off me. He merely grips me harder and I feel the beginnings of life drain from me. Before I can get weak, however, he releases me.

"Tell them my message," he growls to me and I stumble away from him and look back. "Tell them that all their precious wards and Guardians can't keep them from me. Tell them that Roman Vladislov is coming to say hello," he says and disappears into the night. I don't waste any time in trying to run back to the school. When I reach the outside of the borders, though, it happens. Three Strigoi appear in front of me and I scream loudly. I try and fight them away from me, but they each sink their fangs into me. One goes for my wrist, one goes for the other side of my neck, and one goes for the other wrist.

I try and keep screaming for help, but with each passing second, the life begins to drain from me. And then, like magic, 6 Guardians come racing towards us. The Strigoi drop me and I fall to the ground in a limp pile. I watch as the Guardians take down the Strigoi and then come over to me. I hear them asking me something, but I can hear nothing over the ringing in my ears.

They carry me to the infirmary where I'm immediately hooked up to an IV and my top is ripped to reveal the bites. I muster enough strength to raise my hand. They look at me and I whisper to them:

"You have to know…There's a message…I must tell you th…" I try to finish, but everything goes black.


When I come to, I gasp when I see Guardian Matthews face above mine.

"How are you feeling?" He asks and I look at my bandaged wrists and feel the bandages around my neck.

"I've been better," I whisper to him. He smiles at me but looks serious again.

"What message did you have to say?" He asks and I suddenly wonder why he's the only one in here with me.

"Why are there no other Guardians in here?" I ask and he looks concerned.

"You don't trust me?" He asks and I can tell he's hurt.

"I do, it's just…" I sigh and sit up, ignoring the soreness in my neck and wrists. I begin to take the IV out and all the other tubes and look at him. "I want a conference with all the Guardians at this school, right now." He nods and leaves me to get dressed. I meet him in the hallway and we make our way to the big conference room. He calls on his walkie-talkie for all the Guardians to come here for I have something of grave importance to share with them. In about 10 minutes, about 50 Guardians are in the room.

"Last night, when I ran from campus," I tell them, shaking my head and licking my dry lips, "I didn't know where I was headed. I eventually made it to a Strigoi camp. I can tell you that there are at least 40 Strigoi there," I say, hearing some scoffs. "You might not believe me, and that's okay. But," I say, ripping off the bandages on my wrists and neck, "these bite marks don't just come from a hungry Moroi, and you all know that. I was told last night that Lorcan Donskoy is one of the keys to their plan. They want to take over this school, and the leader wished for me to pass along this message," I take a deep breath and look at each of them in the face.

"They are coming, and no one, not even all of you will be ready. Your wards and yourselves will not be enough to keep him out…"

"Wait, who is he?" Asks one of the Guardians. I grimace.

"He wanted me to tell you that he himself is coming to say hello. That, Roman Vladislov is coming to say hello," I tell them and show them the worst bite on my neck. "He bit me here and never before have I ever experienced something as painful as that bite. We were wrong about Strigoi in some aspects. Last night, I saw at least two Strigoi that were turned forcefully and still had a semblance of their old self. One of them was a Dhamphire who was mysteriously murdered in London; she went by Jesse. Another one…Another one was someone who, even though turned by choice, had guilt and remorse for doing it."

"You sound as if you sympathize with these demons," another Guardian said. "Just because you don't know your mother, or the whereabouts of your father, it doesn't mean you can become a Str—…"

"My mother is a Strigoi!" I scream at him and I hear gasps all around. "She tried to stop Roman from biting me, but he had one of his minions, Shane, hold her back. And Jesse? She didn't want that life. She was happily in love with someone who goes to this school now, but can't even consider being with him because of what she is forced to be. All Strigoi are not as evil as we make them out to be! How many Strigoi have been killed that could have had that conscious part of their old self? How many could have been hating that life and wanted an escape from it? How many innocent Strigoi have been killed because we all believe that every single one of them are evil? Have you ever thought that maybe, there might be a way to reverse it? Or are you all so damned convinced of, what I was up until last night, what you've been taught your whole lives?

"You don't have to believe me on the not-so-evil part, I don't care. But we have to protect Lorcan from them. It's not just Strigoi banded together. I felt the presence of Moroi and Dhamphires, and even humans. It's not just the creatures of the night we must worry about, it's the humans who can walk during the day and night and not be bothered by it. I'm not going to stand by and let them try to take us over. But, I know that no matter what we try to do, they can have humans break the wards and we'll be powerless."

"so what do you propose we do, Miss Ross?" I look over at Guardian Sanders and smile at her.

"Put at least three Guardians in each old watch cabin again. That's where the wards are, actually. Take away a couple of the Dhamphires classes and turn them into fighting classes. We need to be taught more than we are. Train us to use a silver stake, so that in the event of an emergency, we can at least try to help. And let Moroi who wish to, take fighting classes as well. Let them fight alongside us like they used to. Find some of the old Moroi who still know the fighting spells and let the Moroi learn how to defend themselves. This is the only way we can even be ready. Please," I beg them, "think of what would happen if Roman got through our wards and destroyed this school! It would be the beginning of the end! And even if I die trying, I will not let that happen," I tell them strongly and they all nod.


After we talk strategy for some time, I'm allowed to go back to my dorm. I take a detour however, needing some closure on the whole Lorcan issue. I need him to know where I stand…Even if I don't tell him the whole truth.

So, here I am, standing outside his door. The nurse is giving him a sponge bath and I see his sculpted chest. Although he has three gashes going across it, he is still beautiful. I knock on the door and the nurse and Lorcan look up. At my entrance, a big smile spreads across his face. I feel a wave of guilt rush through me at his genuine joy at seeing me. Under different circumstances, I would be just as overjoyed to see him.

"Can we have a moment?" I ask the nurse and she must see something in my expression because she smiles comfortingly and nods. I turn to Lorcan and see the light begin to fade in his eyes.

"What's wrong?" He asks and I feel tears weld up in my eyes.

"I won't be coming by to see you anymore, Lorcan," I tell him and his mouth falls in that way when you hear extremely bad news and it hurts. He shakes his head.

"No, you…you have to come back to see me! You have to see me, you can't…Why would you say that?" He has begun to ramble and I sniffle. I shake my head at him.

"I just can't, Lorcan. You don't have to act anymore. I know you are only glad to see me because you know I'm the only friend you have here. But, you're not glad that me personally is here. I know you, Lorcan, and I know that it's not for me that you smile…It's because you know that a friend is here…"

"No, you've got it all wrong," he begins again and I can see the pain in his eyes as if it were glowing in his ebony orbs. "I want you here, Anne. I'm glad that you are here, not because you're a friend, but because you are here. Anne, I wouldn't want anyone else here," he tries to explain to me and I let the tears fall. He tries to get up, but I go over to him and keep him lying down.

"You mustn't try to get up," I tell him through the tears, "You're not fully healed yet. And I told you before Christmas break goodbye. Why, if you've said enough that you are only fond of me as a friend, why do you insist on coming back to me? Why?" I beg him, falling to my knees and resting my head on the bed whilst a sob escapes my lips. I try to take a deep breath and calm myself but it only makes more tears fall. I feel Lorcan stroke my hair and I don't try to stop him.

For so long, I wished for him to do this, to show compassion…to care. And now, when he actually does, I can't accept it because loving him whilst he doesn't love me in return is killing me.

"Anne, I…" Lorcan tries, but is at a loss for words. After a few minutes, I pull back and wipe away the tears, sniffling.

"I'm fine, I've just had a lot going through my mind," I say, flipping my hair behind my ears. I hear Lorcan gasp and I remember the Strigoi bites on my neck. I gasp and cover my neck back up.

"Did you…Did you let someone feed off you?" He asks and I can hear how furious he is at the idea. I wonder whether a lie or the truth would be better. Instead I go for plan C.

"Ask Guardian Matthews," I tell him, standing. "Now, I'm really leaving. This is goodbye for real, Lorcan. If you call for me, I won't come. I can't do this anymore," I tell him, knowing he won't understand the last statement. I kiss his forehead and feel my heart break completely. As I pull away, he grabs my wrist.

"Is that really the goodbye I'm going to get?" He asks and I have a weird feeling in my stomach.

"What kind of goodbye do you want?" I ask him. He pulls me closer to him and I kneel so I'm at eye level with him. I feel my heartbeat pick up when he takes my face in his hands and leans closer to me.

"A proper one, at least," he whispers and his words fade as he presses his lips against mine gently. My eyes close helplessly as we kiss. An electric shock jolts through me, and a fluttery feeling buzzes in my stomach, whilst a knowing warmth spreads through my soul. Finally, my mind whispers. I feel tears leak behind my closed eyes, knowing that this is really goodbye, and that it is only a friendly thing. When we pull away, I see tears in Lorcan's eyes as well. I swallow and smile sadly at him.

"Goodbye, Lorcan," I whisper to him. I stand upright and walk away. When I get to the door I hear him whisper to me.

"Goodbye, Anne," he whispers sadly and it takes all my strength not to run back to him. I bolt for the outside door and when I open it, I run right into Guardian Matthews' chest.

"I'm…I'm sorry," I get out and he gives me a knowing look.

"We give the Strigoi a month," he tells me and I nod mutely. I begin to walk away when he calls to me.

"Anne," he says and I turn to look at him. "You know that boy is crazy about you, right?" I feel more tears weld up in my eyes and he looks apologetic. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't've said anything. But, if it's any consolation, I know how it feels…"

"Know how what feels, Guardian Matthews?" I ask him, feeling even more broken.

"To be in love with someone and to believe that there's no way they could ever love you back," he tells me. I let a sob escape and he looks so pitiful. "Her name was Isobel," he says, taking a step towards me. "I had been in love with her for years, but not once did I ever suspect she loved me too. So, I left, thinking it was for the best. She married of course, because she was a royal Moroi," he tells me and I gasp. "I was going to be her Guardian, but I couldn't take the pain of being near her every day, knowing I loved her but she was only fond of me.

So, I left and she ended up getting married. Her husband was abusive and he put her on her death bed in the hospital. I went to see her and her last words were, and I quote: if I would have only told you the truth about my feelings, I wouldn't be here now; I should have told you from the start I loved you, Fork, I know that now…Just know that I never once stopped loving you. She died five minutes later," he tells me. I see the pain in his eyes as he speaks of her and I realize how much alike we both really are.

"I'm so sorry, Guardian Matthews," I tell him and he nods.

"I just wanted you to know that you're not alone, Anne," he says and I nod, the tears falling from my eyes. "It's okay to love someone and be afraid of telling them." I nod again and turn around to continue towards the old gym.


I work out in the gym for what feels like days. I try to distract myself of everything. I feel the soreness in my wrists and neck and that only makes myself push my body to its limits. The only thing in my mind is to learn to defend myself more so I can kill Roman.

When it's almost curfew, Guardian Matthews comes to the gym to teach me how to use a silver stake. At first, it's difficult. After almost 3 hours, I manage to hold it steady and to stake the dummy. Guardian Matthews nods his approval and we continue to practice for another hour or so before he tells me to go to bed. I nod and head to my dorm, explaining that I was with a Guardian to the lady at the desk. She allows me to be excused and I make my way up to my room.

When I get there, I grab my toiletries bag and head to take a shower. After I finish there, I finally go to my room, but lying on my pillow is another rose with a black silk ribbon tied around it. I feel my heart tear further and I feel tears fall from my eyes. There is no note attached but I have a feeling I know who it's from…

I have a mental breakdown and I start yelling and throwing things around my room. I don't know how long I did this but I only stopped when someone grabbed me by the waist and put me against the wall.

"Stop this," hissed a familiar voice. I stiffen and crane my neck to see the one person I never thought I would: Guardian Sanders. All throughout my breakdown, not once had a single tear fallen. Her presence seemed like the catalyst for the floodgate of tears. "Oh, Anne," she whispers sadly and I look at her, feeling like a child again.

"I'm at a loss," I tell her brokenly. "I'm in love with someone who is only fond of me, and I found out that my mother is a Strigoi, along with my ex-boyfriend's ex-girlfriend." She looks confused so I explain further. "I was dating Lestat De Lioncour. His girlfriend, Jesse, mysteriously died and so he came here. But, she's a Strigoi who was forcefully turned…Remember, at the meeting I called for?" I ask her and she gasps, nodding in remembrance. Then her face becomes shocked and concerned.

"Your mother is a Strigoi?" She asks and I nod. "My God, all these years we thought that she had just died. But, she has been undead for this whole time! I am so sorry, Anne," she tells me and I nod sadly.

"When will the other students be arriving back?" I ask her.

"Tonight," she says and I look at the clock. In 8 hours this place will be crawling with happy students back from wherever they were. I nod at her. "Are you all right, Anne?" She asks and for once, I shake my head.

"I am a mess. I'm in love with this guy, I just found out my mom's a Strigoi, I got marked by a Strigoi and bitten by three others, I just kissed the guy I'm in love with goodbye, I wasn't prepared when the Strigoi bit me, and in less than 8 hours this place will be crawling with happy students and I just want to scream," I tell her and she nods sympathetically.

"Go to sleep, for one," she says, "and when you wake up, I'll have someone clean up this room for you. Then, I want you to come see me. You can skip class today and help me or help Guardian Matthews if you wish," she tells me and I nod in appreciation. She leads me to the bed and once I'm tucked in, kisses my forehead and strokes my hair. Before she leaves, I grab her hand. She looks back at me and I feel the need to tell her something.

"Guardian Sanders," I begin and she turns towards me. "I just want you to know that, despite everything, you've been the closest thing to a mom to me ever since I've been here. I know that my mother is still here, but she can't show the compassion that you do, nor can she ever make up for abandoning me to turn willingly. I'm not the best person in the world, but I want you to know that I really do appreciate everything you've done for me. So thank you," I tell her and I see a glimmer of tears in her eyes. She nods and turns from me, leaving the room. It doesn't bother me, though; it's a normal reaction for Guardians. Sighing, I roll over, throwing the flower onto the floor. I close my eyes and let sleep take over.


When I wake up, my room is in spotless order. I look over to see that everyone is going to be here in an hour for class. I sigh and grab my toiletries bag, heading to the bathroom to brush my teeth and to take a shower. Once I finish with that, I head back to my room to pick out some clothes for the day.

I decide on white wash flare jeans, wearing a black and red striped long-sleeved shirt with it. I pair it with a black necklace and my converse. I throw on a hoodie over top of it in case it gets cold. I pull my hair back into a braid, letting two strands hang forward. I put on some chap stick and head to the cafeteria, knowing it will be open. I grab water and a yogurt and head to see Guardian Sanders. I find her in deep conversation with Guardian Matthews. They both look up at me coming towards them and give me a small smile.

"We have some news," they tell me as I sit down in between them and eat my yogurt. I motion for one of them to continue.

"It's about Mr. Donskoy," Guardian Matthews says and I spit out my water.

"What about him?" I ask, trying desperately to keep my hands from shaking.

"He's healed much faster than we anticipated and is getting ready as we speak to head back to his dorm," He continues and I grip the bottle tighter in my hands. I clench my jaw and look out towards the sun. "Also, there is to be a ball tomorrow night," he says and I openly gape at him.

"A what?" I ask and he smiles softly. Guardian Sanders pats my hand gently and I furrow my brow.

"A Christmas ball," he says, "it will be a way to ease the tension that will be flying around the school my tomorrow. We were wondering if, today, you would help us prepare for it."

"I would be glad to help, seeing as if there's a ball, I will not be attending," I tell them and I hear them gasp.

"Why ever would you not go?" They ask at the same time and I grimace.

"Guardian Matthews?" I hear a voice call out. "Where are you?" I wince painfully and close my eyes hard.

"He's the reason why," I whisper to them and she rubs my shoulders affectionately. She strokes my hair and squeezes my hand.

"Oh, there you are," Lorcan says as he comes up to us. When he is close enough, I stand up.

"I think I'm going to go practice some before I come to help you, Guardian Sanders," I tell her, bowing my head slightly. She does the same. "Guardian Matthews," I say, repeating the process. He gives me a half smile and I walk away from them, ignoring Lorcan. I can feel his eyes boring into the back of my head, and I pick up my pace.

When I get to the gym, I practice with the stake again. I don't feel up to it today for some reason and sigh before getting dressed once more and heading out to find the Guardians.

I find them with Lorcan, of course with Lorcan, and I smile at each of them, still ignoring Lorcan. We all talk about some of the things we need and how we are going to decorate.

"Okay, Anne and Lorcan," Guardian Sanders says and I bite back a groan, "I need you two to go see the Headmaster about leaving the school campus for a few hours tomorrow so we can go shopping for these supplies. Can you do that?" She asks and I nod. I head off in the direction of the main office and Lorcan follows.

"So," he begins and I shake my head.

"Don't," I tell him and am surprised at how sharp my voice sounds. He backs off for the moment, but I can tell this isn't the last time he will try to speak to me.

We go to the Headmaster and she grants us our request. I thank her and we head back to the Guardians. Every chance he had, Lorcan tried to talk to me, and every time he tried, I shut him down. Before we got to where we were meeting the Guardians, he grabs my wrist.

"Look," he says and I stop and look at him. "I've thought every second about what you said," he tells me and I look down. I try to pull my hand away but he merely holds it tighter. "No, I'm not letting you go anywhere until you listen to me!" He says and I look into his eyes. My own betray what I'm feeling and his brow furrows. "I don't understand you at all, Anne. I've never tried to understand anyone before, but you…You understand me, I mean the real me; and I've never felt so vulnerable. Ever since I was younger, I took a vow of silence. But you bring out my voice, Anne," he takes a step towards me, "you bring out a me I never realized I had," another step, "and it makes me wonder about if anyone can really see who you are," he takes one more step and we are mere inches apart.

"You said before that you couldn't do it anymore. I never thought about what you could mean, instead thought about what you probably meant," he pauses and I take a step back.

"What are you getting at, Lorcan?" I ask him, "because we have to get back to Guardian Sanders and Matthews."

"Do you ever take time for yourself?" He asks and I ignore him.

"Just say whatever you were planning on saying. If you're through, then I would like to get going," I say, wrenching my wrist out of his grasp. He looks affronted and then angry.

"Nevermind, Miss Ross," he says sarcastically. "Please, let us continue to where we are needed. I wouldn't want to prevent you from being the snarky bi—…" His face turns with the force of my slap. He looks at me stunned, but that weird emotion crosses his features when he sees the tears in my eyes.

"Go to Hell, Lorcan Donskoy," I whisper to him and run away from him. I run past Guardian Matthews and Guardian Sanders. I hear them calling after me, but ignore them. I run until I get to the borders of the school. I take a breath and begin to run alongside it, around the whole school. I run past the gates where students are beginning to arrive, I run past the dorms and the cafeteria, and I slow to a jog when I hear Fork and Keira's voices.

"This is the second time you've made her run," Guardian Sanders says in a disapproving tone.

"But I always come back," I say, coming out from the tree line. I walk up to them and they look shocked.

"What happened to you?" Lorcan asks and I glare at him.

"What do you care?" I retort but look back to the Guardians. "I'm sorry I ran off, I just needed a breather; running helps. And I was running alongside the borders of the school, that's why I have twigs and leaves in my hair, and my jeans are muddy. The Headmaster approved our request by the way, so we can go shopping tomorrow, as you wish," I tell them, plucking the twigs and whatnot from my hair. Seeing that my hair is messed up now, I take it out of its braid and shake my hair out. Lorcan watches my hair with an odd expression. "By the way, Lorcan," I tell him and he meets my eyes, "the next time you go to call me a snarky bitch, I will hit you harder and I will make your next turn at sparring a living hell," threaten gently and he sighs.

"I'm sorry about that," he says and I shake my head.

We talk some more and Lorcan has to go to class. I help the Guardians some more, talking strategy, and then I go and practice. I do this until curfew and then I head to my room to sleep.


I wake up and see a red rose with the damned black silk ribbon tied to it lying next to me. I toss it in the trash and get dressed, throwing on a pair of black sweatpants and a dark purple swoop neck tank top. I put on a golden necklace and leave my hair down. I put my converse on and head out to see Guardian Sanders. We talk some more before she tells me some news.

"Another Dhamphire is coming with us," she says and I cock my head to the side. A pair of hands covers my eyes.

"Guess who?" A voice whispers evilly and I gasp, turning around.

"Bellatrix!" I scream and she laughs, hugging me tightly. "I am so so so sorry about what I did, ignoring you and everything! Please forgive me, move back into the room, be my friend again, I'm sorry!" I tell her and she laughs.

"I forgive you, my stuff is ready to be put back in, of course I'm still your friend, and it's okay. Now, get your butt in that car and let me buy you a nice dress for the ball tonight that you are going to," she says and before I can object, she raises an eyebrow at me. I sigh and nod. We all pile into the car and head off to the mall to buy the necessary items.

When we get the stuff we need, Bellatrix announces that we are going to go look for dresses, and that the Guardians are welcome to stay behind if they wish.

"I'll come along," Guardian Sanders says, and I smile. She could be our mother…

We all walk side by side and no one gives us questioning glances. I look at each of us and realize how much we could all pass as a family. We head into one store that doesn't really have anything worth trying on, but then Bellatrix sees a really expensive store and demands that I go in. She says she "has a feeling" that the dresses we want will be in here. So, we go.

We are looking around before I hear Bellatrix gasp. I go over to her and she's holding up two dresses: one a deep red that is strapless with diamond lining the chest area, and it's knee length, but has a flowy look to it. The other dress is black and has a halter, but is floor length with a slit up the side of it, revealing red silk underneath; it has a ring in the chest area, giving it a sexier look.

"These are way too expensive," I tell her and she pouts. Just then, Guardian Sanders takes the two dresses and tells us to try them on. She hands the red one to Bellatrix and the black one to me. I try the dress on and feel like I'm worth a million dollars. It's so beautiful…

I walk out to see Bellatrix in her dress and she looks gorgeous. We gaze at ourselves for a few more minutes and get our clothes back on. We go to put the dresses back and Guardian Sanders tells us to wait in the Bath & Body Works, that's next door, for her. We give her a look, but go anyways. We end up buying a whole set for each of us, and one for Guardian Sanders. I buy the Dark Kiss set, Bellatrix gets the Twilight Woods set, and we buy Guardian Sanders the Secret Wonderland set. We exit the store and Guardian Sanders smiles at the gift we bought her.

We leave then and head back to the Academy. When we get there, Bellatrix and I are excused from classes. We go up to her room and clean it out, bringing the stuff into mine. When we get there, we start to put her things away.

"I'm gonna put my clothes in the closet," she says and I nod. She opens the closet doors and I hear her clothes drop to the floor.

"Bellatrix?" I ask and look back at her. She's staring at something in the closet and I go over to see what. I gasp when I see the two black dress bags hanging in my closet. There are notes attached to each of them, both from Guardian Sanders. I pick up mine and read it aloud: "Every princess, no matter how hurting and pained, deserves to shine." Bellatrix picks up hers and reads it aloud as well.

"Your demons cannot hurt you any longer, especially not tonight. Prove them that you are stronger." We look at each other and unzip the bags, revealing the black and red dresses. We glance at the clock, and see that we only have a few hours before the ball. We rush to the showers and back to our room where we begin to get ready. I decide to curl my hair with a curling iron and leave it hanging down. I brush the curls gently and then watch as Bellatrix leaves her hair pin straight, but pins half of it up and away from her face. She lets two strands on either side of her face hang down and she looks like a goddess. She uses some cover up and covers her scars up. I can see how embarrassed she is about them, but that she is better at seeing them. When we do our makeup, she decides to do a silver smokey eye, with white lip gloss. Me, on the other hand, do an almost black smokey eye and put on a red tinted lip gloss on. I pull out two necklace boxes and give one to her. Inside is a simple necklace with a diamond hanging off the end of it. Mine is the same, only instead of a white diamond, I have a black one.

She loans me a pair of black heels that have jewels on them, and she herself wears a dark red pair that match her dress perfectly. When we look to see the time, we see that we have just made it. I grab a black trench coat thing and she does the same.

When we arrive, standing at the top of the small staircase, everyone looks up at us. Two Dhamphires offer to take our coats and we let them slip the coats off of us. Everyone gasps at us and we look around us as we descend the few steps into the Grand Room. In the corner of the room, I see Lorcan in a tuxedo. He looks over at us when Keith points in our direction and his eyes almost bug out of his head when he sees me.

Bellatrix and I make our way over to Lestat and when he sees us, he gives us both pecks on the cheek.

"You two look beautiful," he says and winks at Bellatrix. She punches him in the shoulder and smiles back. "Care to dance?" She looks over at me and I smile at her. He takes her hand in his and leads her to the dance floor. I watch them dance, enthralled by how amazing they both are.

The rest of the dance continues by and I soon begin to tire of watching all the couples dance. Oh sure, Lestat offered to dance with me a time or two, but I could see how happy he was to dance with Bellatrix. After a while, I decide to head out to the balcony (the Grand Room is a whole new building; it is two stories and so Anne is going up to the second floor where the balconies and bathrooms and feeders are). I open the door and the wind rushes in, blowing my hair back off my shoulders, exposing my creamy skin.

I step over to the railing and gaze out at the surrounding forests. The moon is big and bright, the stars shining amazingly. In the distance, I can see the smoke from the Strigoi camp's fires; I grimace and subconsciously rub my neck where Roman bit me. Tears form in my eyes as I remember what happened afterwards, and I bring my other hand to my lips. I can still feel the searing of Lorcan's kiss and close my eyes on a wave of pain.

"Am I interrupting?" I gasp and turn around at Lorcan's entrance. Up close, his black hair and pale skin look even starker in the night, his tuxedo playing up his features. He has a red rose on the lapel of his jacket and I look up at him, the question in my eyes.

"Was it you?" I ask and he nods, smiling sadly. "You put those notes on the roses, and tied black silk ribbon onto them?" He nods again. "But why?" He goes to take a step closer to me, but decides against it and goes over to the railing, leaning against it.

"Because I wanted you to know the truth," he says and I look up at him. The wind decides to blow gently, and my dress flows with the wind. Lorcan's hair blows gently in it as well and I'm mesmerized by its beauty. I close my eyes and imagine a different world, a world where we're both human and at prom, a world where Lorcan was as in love with me as I am him. I open my eyes to my reality. The smile falls from my face and I look down and around just to make sure I'm not dreaming. I feel tears prickle in my eyes and I look out to the horizon, swallowing harshly. "What is wrong?" He asks and I smile sadly, still looking.

"For just a second, I imagined that we were both human and at prom…And that you were in love with me, like I always dreamed," I tell him, the smile still on my face. "Of course, nothing like that would ever happen in reality," I say, motioning around us. "In reality, humans have no idea how lucky they are. Night and day, they don't have to worry about protecting another's life, or worrying about killing someone else to protect. They only need to worry about petty human needs, like food and clothing. I envy them sometimes," I tell Lorcan, and feel a single tear fall. "What I wouldn't give sometimes to be human, even if just for a day, so I could live out my dreams." I feel a hand wiping against my cheek and jump. Lorcan smiles sadly at me and wipes away the other tear as well. "My mom is a Strigoi," I tell him.

"When I ran from you in the infirmary, I ran out of the borders. Those smokes from fires," I say motioning to them, "they're the Strigoi camp. I found my way there and listened to what they were saying. They need you, Lorcan, for their plan of mass destruction. But one of them has taken a fancy to me," I say with a grimace, remembering the look on Shane's face. "But then I saw two Strigoi who still had their old selves. Whilst one of them turned willingly, it doesn't change the fact that they both had their own minds. My mother tried to protect me from Roman," I say, remembering. "He marked me on my neck. He sent me back with a message and I ran until I was just outside the borders. There, three Strigoi jumped me and bit me on my neck and wrists.

Afterwards, I was hurting and I didn't know what to do. I wanted something I couldn't have," I whisper, my eyes closing.

"What did you want?" Lorcan asks me in a whisper and I feel the wind start to blow again. I open my eyes and look him in the eye as I answer.

"You," I whisper to him and I feel my lower lip quiver. "You're all I have ever wanted, Lorcan. I know you can't give me what I want, that you're only fond of me in a friend way. But," I say, looking down at the ground, "if you could just tell me that, I would be okay, I think."

"What do you want me to tell you?" He asks me in a whisper.

"That you're only fond of me, that you just want to be friends, that you're sorry but you just don't like me that way. That you hope it doesn't change things between us and ruin our friendship, but that you'll be here for me if I need you," I tell him.

"No," he says and I look back at him.

"Wh…Why?" I ask in a quiet voice. Oh God, what if he wants to say that he wants nothing to do with me? I can't take that! Don't say it, Lorcan…Please, I love you…

"Because I'd be lying if I did," he says simply and I lose it. Tears form behind my closed eyes and fall. I open my eyes and shake my head at him before turning to run. "No, I didn't mean like that!" He says, grabbing my wrist. I look back at him and see that weird emotion in his face again. As if he can tell by my stance and the look on my face, he understands immediately what I was thinking only moments ago.

"Then what did you mean, Lorcan?" I ask him.

"I mean, that I can't tell you I only want to be friends, I can't tell you that I'm only fond of you, I can't say I'm sorry and that I don't like you that way. If I said those things, I'd be lying, Anne," he whispers, and grabs my face in his hands. We stay that way for some time before he sighs. "Dance with me?" He asks and I nod.

The music from downstairs is loud enough that we can dance and not have to worry about keeping time. I wouldn't care if there wasn't any music, just the fact that I'm in his arms is enough…

I sigh happily and lay my head on his chest as we dance. His arms tighten around my waist, bringing me closer to him. The song Cut by Plumb begins to play and I sing along softly.

"…A fragile frame aged, with misery; and when our eyes meet, I know you see. I do not wanna be afraid, I do not wanna die inside just to breathe in…I'm tired of feeling so numb; relief exists I find it when I am cut…I may seem crazy, or painfully shy…" Our dance becomes more extravagant as the song continues, and I feel like I can fly. I stop and look into Lorcan's eyes as I sing the ending of the song to him.

"I'm not a stranger, no I am yours…With crippled anger and tears that still drip sore; but I do not wanna be afraid, I do not wanna die inside just to breathe in; I'm tired of feeling so numb; relief exists I found it when…I was cut." We look at each other for two heartbeats before his head begins to descend. I find myself reaching up to him. When the song Hear You Me starts playing, we look into each other's eyes before shutting them and closing the distance.

His lips press gently against mine and I feel that same shock once more. I wrap my arms tighter around his neck, and he does the same to my waist. He parts my lips with his and deepens our kiss. Suddenly, as the song reaches a crescendo, he twirls me around, never taking his lips off mine. I smile against his lips and when we break the kiss, he takes my face in his hands and kisses me again. We kiss for sometime before he pulls away again.

I open my eyes slowly, my breathing slightly heavy.

"Why did you stop?" I whisper to him, touching his lips with my fingertips. He kisses my hand and then takes it in his own hand. He pulls a rose from behind my ear and I gasp. He smiles softly and hands it to me.

"To tell you that I love you," he says, smiling hugely. My heart does cartwheels in my chest and I drop the rose to the ground and throw myself at him. He catches me and kisses me again. After sometime, we break away again.

"I love you, Lorcan Donskoy," I whisper against his lips.

"As I love you, Anne Ross," he whispers back. We kiss once more before he walks us over to the railing and turns me so my back is pressed against him. He wraps his arms around my waist and sways us back and forth.

We watch the stars and the moon and as a meteor shower begins, we kiss once more.

When we must return to our own dorms, I don't want to part, and neither does he. He strokes my face before kissing my hand goodnight. I walk up the steps to mine and Bellatrix's room and when I enter, Bellatrix is just lying down.

"Where have you been?" She asks and I smile wistfully. She smiles back at me. "Nevermind, tell me tomorrow," she says. I undress and get my pajamas on.

When I'm lying in my bed, I look at the darkening sky, hating how dawn will separate me from Lorcan. Until the night, I think to myself. And with that thought, I fall asleep to the face of my love. And for once, I know in my heart that no matter what, everything's going to be okay.



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