AN: Hello guys. I'm back. I am really sorry that I haven't updated in forever. In the last month I have had tonsillitis twice and I get really affected by it, so I have been seriously poorly. In between getting tonsillitis my laptop started smoking and died. I was unable to get it back on and lost all my work on it. I bought a new one but had to start my chapters all over again.
So that means I also don't know when the next update is because it isn't started yet. I need time to catch back up. I haven't had time to proof read this chapter, so I apologize now for any mistakes, but it's late here and I'm really tired.
Thank you to all my wonderful reviewers, you make my day. Let me know what you think.
Disclaimer as always.
"Well I'll read next," Liss said.
Karolina handed the book over to Lissa, who then cleared her throat and began.
I angrily pushed through the double doors that led into the Moroi dorm.
"She's definitely not happy," Adrian smirked.
"And do you want to know what happens to the person that makes me unhappy?" I asked Adrian, a dangerous tone to my voice. All he could do was gulp and shake his head.
Snow swirled in behind me, and a few people lingering on the main floor glanced up upon my entrance.
"Oh boy," Mia noted. "I don't think she'll like this."
"'She' happens to have a name," I pointed out.
Not surprisingly, several of them did double takes. Swallowing, I forced myself not to react.
"I'm so proud of you," Dimitri and Lissa said at the same time.
"Thanks guys," I smiled. I loved it when I was able to make those two happy.
It would be okay. No need to freak out. Novices got injured all the time.
"Yes they did," Eddie admitted. "But never you. It was the talk of the school."
"I knew it would be," I groaned.
It was actually rarer not to get injured. Admittedly, this was a more noticeable injury than most, but I could live with it until it healed, right?
"I think that was the only time I wished you could heal me," I admitted, speaking to Lissa.
She sighed, "Believe me, Rose, I really wanted to."
And it wasn't like anyone would know how I'd received it.
"That's just wishful thinking," Vika said.
"Hey, Rose, is it true your own mother punched you?"
"Do we even need to ask who that is?" Karolina asked, looking directly at Mia.
I froze. I'd know that taunting soprano voice anywhere.
"Definitely Mia," Chris stated.
Turning slowly, I looked into the deep blue eyes of Mia Rinaldi.
"I'm gonna be sick," I announced and left the room as quickly as my feet would allow. I made it to the bathroom just in time. Not two seconds later there was a hand holding back my hair and the other was rubbing a soothing motion on my back. Dimitri's voice then sounded out, murmuring comforting things in Russian.
Once I was done, I stood to rinse my mouth and brush my teeth. I then turned to Dimitri. "You shouldn't have had to see that."
"Of course I should have," he argued. "You happen to be carrying my beautiful baby inside of you and it's my job to look after the two most important people in my life, that baby and you."
My eyes started to water without my permission. "Hey, don't cry," he murmured, wiping away the tears that had fallen.
"I'm sorry," I managed to get out. "That was so sweet and I just couldn't help it. It's the hormones."
"It's okay," he pulled me to him. "Just know that I am not going anywhere. I love you, Roza."
I pulled back to look at him. "I love you too, Dimitri." We stayed like that for a few moments, just holding each other.
"I think Lissa is getting a bit impatient," I smiled at Dimitri. He gave me a knowing smile.
"When are you going to tell her about the bond?" he asked me.
I shrugged. "I'm not sure, but I'll have to do it soon for the safety of the baby."
"Yes," he answered. "She would be most disappointed if she realized she had caused harm to the baby."
"Maybe once we get out of here I can take her out and talk to her." He nodded, kissed me lightly on the lips and lead me towards the rest of the group.
"You okay?" Liss asked.
"Yeah. Morning sickness, even though it's not morning," I noted.
"Do you want me to carry on?" she asked.
Curly blond hair framed a face that might have been cute if not for the malicious smirk on it.
"I'll take the half compliment," she smiled.
A year younger than us, Mia'd taken on Lissa (and me by default)
"Obviously," Christian stated.
in a war to see who could tear apart the other's life most quickly – a war, I should add, that she started.
"For unnecessary reasons," she sighed.
It had involved her stealing Lissa's ex-boyfriend – despite the fact Lissa had decided in the end she didn't want him – and the spreading of all sorts of rumors.
Admittedly, Mia's hatred hadn't been entirely unjustified.
"You never cease to amaze me, Rose," Mia informed me. "You know fine well it was completely unjustified. What Andre did to me had nothing to do with Lissa and so I should never have been such a bitch."
Lissa's older brother, Andre – who had been killed in the same car accident that technically "killed" me –
"Do you have to keep reminding us?" mom asked me.
"Can't help it," I shrugged.
had used Mia pretty badly when she was a freshman. If she weren't such a bitch now, I would have felt sorry for her.
"Nobody deserves to be used like that," I mumbled. My mind wandered to Mason. I hadn't used him like Andre had with Mia, but I had gone into a relationship with him thinking it would take my mind from Dimitri.
It had been wrong of him, and while I could understand her anger, I don't know that it was fair of her to take that out on Lissa in the way she did.
"It wasn't," she admitted.
Lissa and I had technically won the war in the end, but Mia had inexplicably bounced back.
"That's one of the things I admire about you," I told her.
"What?" she asked.
"The fact that after all that stuff with Jesse and Ralf got out, you held your head high and didn't let it get to you, much," I smiled at her.
"Well thanks, but that's what you do too."
She didn't run with the same elite that she once had, but she had rebuilt a small contingent of friends. Malicious or not, strong leaders always attract followers.
"That's true, look at Victor," Lissa noted before continuing to read.
I'd found that about 90 percent of the time, the most effective response was to ignore her.
"Something which our Rosie here finds difficult," Christian smirked. As much as I wanted to retort, I didn't want to prove him right so I ignored him, much to his annoyance.
But we had just crossed over to the other 10 percent, because it's impossible to ignore someone announcing to the world that your mother just punched you – even if it was true.
I stopped walking and turned around.
"Did you have a death wish?" Karolina asked Mia. She only shrugged in response.
Mia stood near a vending machine, knowing she'd drawn me out. I didn't bother asking how she'd found out about my mother giving me the black eye.
"I was around when your mom took you to the clinic," she informed me.
Things rarely stayed secret around here.
"Apparently some things did," Abe noted, looking pointedly between Dimitri and me.
When she caught full sight of my face, her eyes widened in unabashed delight. "Wow. Talk about a face only a mother could love."
"You've got quite the mouth," Adrian observed.
Ha. Cute. From anyone else, I would have applauded the joke.
"Well, you're the expert on face injury," I said. "How's your nose?"
"Thanks for the reminder," she muttered.
Mia's icy smile twitched a little, but she didn't back down. I'd broken her nose about a month ago – at a school dance of all places –
"I doubt the whereabouts would stop you," mom smiled.
and while the nose had since healed, it now sat just the tiniest bit askew.
Mia's hand went straight to her nose, covering it from view of those that turned to check.
Plastic surgery could probably fix it up, but from my understanding of her family's finances, that wasn't possible just now.
"It would never be possibly," she stated.
"It's better," she replied primly. "Fortunately, it was only broken by a psychopathic whore and not anyone actually related to me."
"You should seriously learn to shut up," Vika said.
I gave her my best psychopathic smile.
"Which I'm sure wasn't too hard for her," Eddie smirked, earning a death glare from me.
"Too bad. Family members hit you by accident. Psychopathic whores tend to come back for more."
"That's a warning to back off," Jill smiled.
Threatening physical violence against her was usually a pretty sound tactic, but we had too many people around right now for that to be a legitimate concern for her.
"Everyone knows you don't care about who's around you," Eddie stated.
"But your forgetting I have to be a good girl in order to stay," I answered. "Or mostly good." I added on.
And Mia knew it. Not that I was above attacking someone in this kind of setting – hell, I'd done it lots of times – but I was trying to work on my impulse control lately.
"And you were doing brilliantly," Dimitri smiled proudly. "You improved so much."
"Doesn't look like much of an accident to me," she said. "Don't you guys have rules about face punches? I mean, that looks really far out of bounds."
I opened my mouth to tell her off, but nothing came out. She had a point. My injury was far out of bounds; in that sort of combat, you aren't supposed to hit above the neck. This was way above that forbidden line.
"I bet Mia just jumped at that hesitation," Sydney noted.
Mia saw my hesitation, and it was like Christmas morning had come a week early for her. Until that moment, I don't think there'd ever been a time in our antagonistic relationship in which she'd rendered me speechless.
"I feel proud to have done so," she smirked.
"Don't get used to it, it doesn't happen often," I warned her.
"Ladies," came a stern, female voice. The Moroi attending the front desk leaned over it and fixed us with a sharp look. "This is a lobby, not a lounge. Either go upstairs or go outside."
"I was glad of the interruption," Mia admitted. "I could see how much you really wanted to hit me again." This caused a laugh to go around the group.
For a moment, breaking Mia's nose again sounded like the best idea in the world – to hell with detention or suspension.
"I'm sure you were used to them by now," dad pointed out.
After a deep breath, I decided retreat was my most dignified action now. I stalked off toward the stairs leading up to the girls' dorm. Over my shoulder, I heard Mia call, "Don't worry, Rose. It'll go away. Besides, it's not your face guys are interested in."
"Whoa," Vik said. "That was just harsh."
"I know," Mia agreed. "Especially knowing now that she was a virgin throughout all that. It just goes to show that gossip shouldn't be listened to."
Thirty seconds later, I beat on Lissa's door so hard, it was a wonder my fist didn't go through the wood. She opened it slowly and peered around.
"I thought there was an army outside my door ready to kidnap me," she joked.
"Is it just you out here? I thought there was an army at the – oh my God." Her eyebrows shot up when she noticed the left side of my face. "What happened?"
"I'm surprised you hadn't heard already," Karolina smiled.
"You haven't heard already? You're probably the only one in the school who hasn't," I grumbled. "Just let me in."
Sprawling on her bed, I told her about the day's events. She was properly appalled.
"Of course," she smiled. "I have to be. You're my best friend."
"I heard you'd been hurt, but I figured it was one of your normal things," she said.
I stared up at the spackled ceiling, feeling miserable. "The worst part is, Mia was right. It wasn't an accident."
My mom opened her mouth to speak, but I beat her to it. "I know, mom. I realise it now, don't worry."
"What, you're saying your mom did it on purpose?" When I didn't answer, Lissa's voice turned incredulous. "Come on, she wouldn't do that. No way."
"Why? Because she's the perfect Janine Hathaway, master of controlling her temper?
"Nobody is perfect," Janine muttered. Hell, she was right there.
The thing is, she's also perfect Janine Hathaway, master of fighting and controlling her actions. One way or another, she slipped up."
"Everyone does," I admitted, feeling Dimitri tighten his hold on my hand.
"Yeah, well," said Lissa, "I think her stumbling and missing her punch is more likely than her doing it on purpose. She'd have to really lose her temper."
"Well, she was talking to me.
"And you can see why that would make anyone lose their temper," Chris laughed, causing Liss to elbow him in the ribs. Which in turn made me laugh at the look of betrayal on his face.
That's enough to make anyone lose their temper.
"See?" Christian gasped. "She said so herself."
"Doesn't mean you get to as well," Liss smiled sweetly at him.
And I accused her of sleeping with my dad because he was the soundest evolutionary choice."
"Rose," groaned Lissa. "You kind of left out that part in your recap. Why'd you say that to her?"
"Because I just love to wind people up," I smirked.
"Because it's probably true."
"I'm sorry I said that, mom. I didn't mean it," I told her.
"I know," she said simply.
"But you had to know it'd upset het. Why do you keep provoking her? Why can't you just make peace with her?"
"Because that requires her to not be stubborn," Adrian stated.
I sat upright. "Make peace with her? She gave me a black eye. Probably on purpose! How do I make peace with someone like that?"
Lissa just shook her head and walked over to the mirror to check her makeup.
"Going somewhere?" Chris asked her.
"You'll see," she smiled.
The feelings coming through our bond were ones of frustration and exasperation. Lingering in the back was a bit of anticipation too.
"Not sure I like the sound of this," Jill scrunched her nose.
I had the patience to examine her carefully, now that I'd finished my venting. She had on a silky lavender shirt and a knee-length black skirt.
I noticed Christian's eyes flash with recognition, no doubt remembering what was going to happen.
Her long hair had the kind of smooth perfection only achieved by spending an hour of your life on it with a hair dryer and flat iron.
"You look nice. What's up?"
"Took you awhile to notice," Liss said, a joking tone to her voice.
Her feelings shifted slightly, her irritation with me dimming a little.
"Yeah, thanks for that by the way," I feigned mock hurt. "You're supposed to be there for my rants and not get irritated."
"Only when I know that you are completely right," she answered. "In that case you were wrong. You needed to make peace with your mother. You never know when it'll be too late." She had a major point. Lissa – who had lost both parents – knew what she was talking about.
"I'm meeting Christian soon."
For a few minutes there, it had felt like the old days with Lissa and me. Just us, hanging out and talking.
"We can still do that, Rose," she said. "I never want to lose that with us."
"Me neither," I smiled. "And actually I would really like to do that when we're out of here."
Her mention of Christian, as well as the realization that she'd have to leave me soon for him, stirred up dark feelings in my chest … feelings I had to reluctantly admit were jealousy.
"Was part of it the darkness?" Mark asked me.
"I'm not sure," I told him. "At first I thought it might have been, but now reflecting on it, I think it was just jealousy. Not just of Christian having all of Lissa's attention, but the fact that they could love each other so easily."
Naturally, I didn't let on to that.
"Wow. What'd he do to deserve that? Rescue orphans from a burning building? If so, you might want to make sure he didn't set the building on fire in the first place."
"Is there ever going to be a time where you two get along?" Olena asked.
"Actually, there are a couple of times," I told her.
Christian's element was fire. It was fitting since it was the most destructive one.
"I'm not quite sure how to take that," Christian said.
"In the worst way possible," I smirked.
Laughing, she turned from the mirror and noticed me gently touching my swollen face with my fingers. Her smile turned kind. "It doesn't look that bad."
"Liar," Mia called out.
"Whatever. I can tell when you're lying, you know. And Dr. Olendzki says it'll be even worse tomorrow." I lay back down on the bed. "There probably isn't enough concealer in the world to cover this, is there? Tasha and I'll have to invest in some Phantom of the Opera - style masks."
"She would probably have had fun with that," Christian murmured.
"I'll bet," I smiled. "She was the type to do something like that."
She sighed and sat on the bed near me. "Too bad I can't just heal it."
I smiled. "That would be nice."
The compulsion and the charisma brought on by spirit were great, but really, healing was her coolest ability. The range of things she could achieve was staggering.
Lissa was also thinking about what spirit could do.
"I'm always thinking about it," she told me. "It's hard not to."
"I know what you mean," Sonya K added.
"I wish there were some other way to control the spirit … in a way that still let me use the magic…."
"It's called having a kick-ass bond mate," I smirked. I could see the sadness flash in Lissa's eyes. As far as she knew we were no longer bonded.
"Yeah," I said. I understood her burning desire to do great things and help people. It radiated off of her. Hell, I would also have liked to have this eye cleared up in an instant rather than days. "I wish there was too."
"You seem to be managing at the moment," Jill observed.
"I am," Lissa assured her. "I have my off days, but mostly I find that my family and friends help to balance me out." I was beginning to wonder if I had been taking her darkness subconsciously since the Tasha incident.
She sighed again. "And there's more to me than just wishing I could heal and do other stuff with spirit. I also, well, just miss the magic. It's still there; it's just blocked off by the pills. It's burning inside of me. It wants me, and I want it. But there's a wall between us. You just can't imagine it."
"I can, actually," I muttered. After all I could feel it through the bond when she was going through it. Lissa was silently laughing. No one could understand why until she read the next line.
"I can, actually."
"Oh," I smiled.
It was true. Along with having a general sense for her feelings, I could sometimes also "slip into her."
"Loving the sound of that Little Dhampir," Adrian winked.
"I'm glad," I smiled, causing his eyes to widen. "Because that's as far as it goes."
It was hard to explain and ever harder to endure. When that happened, I could literally see through her eyes and feel what she experienced. During those times, I was her. Many times, I'd been in her head while she longed for the magic, and I'd felt the burning need she spoke of. She often woke up at night, yearning for the power she could no longer reach.
"I think this is proof that pills are not really good enough to prevent spirit," Oksana observed.
"Oh yeah," she said ruefully. "I forget about that sometimes."
A sense of bitterness filled her. It wasn't directed at me so much as it was the no-win nature of her situation. Anger sparked inside of her. She didn't like feeling helpless any more than I did.
"You can't be so strong all the time," Mia said.
The anger and frustration intensified into something darker and uglier, something I didn't like.
"Hey," I said, touching her arm. "You okay?"
She closed her eyes briefly, then opened them. "I just hate it."
"Now that is definitely the darkness," Mark stated.
The intensity of her feelings reminded me of our conversation, the one we'd had just before I went to the Badica house. "You still feel like the pills might be weakening?"
"I don't know. A little."
"Is it getting worse?"
She shook her head. "No. I still can't use the magic. I feel closer to it … but it's still blocked off.
"Do they stop working or do you decide to come off them?" Sonya K asked her.
"Somebody influenced her to come off them," I informed her, letting her know through my tone that she wasn't going to get any further information.
"But you still … your moods …"
"Yeah … they're acting up. But don't worry," she said, seeing my face.
"When will you learn the Rose always worries about you," Chris told her.
"I'm not seeing things or trying to hurt myself."
"Good." I was glad to hear it but still worried. Even if she still couldn't touch the magic, I didn't like the idea of her mental state slipping again. Desperately, I hoped the situation would just stabilize on its own. "I'm here," I told her softly, holding her gaze. "If anything happens that's weird … you tell me, okay?"
"It's truly amazing to see this side of you," Eddie commented. "I mean, I've known you as long as Lissa has, but you keep that side of you hidden. It's nice to see the change."
Like that, the dark feelings disappeared within her. As they did, I felt a ripple in the bond.
"It's all so obvious now," I muttered to no one in particular.
I can't explain what it was, but I shuddered from the force. Lissa didn't notice. Her mood perked up again, and she smiled at me.
"Thanks," she said. "I will."
I smiled, happy to see her back to normal.
"I'm amazed you weren't affected by the darkness straight away," Mark said. "If you're expecting it, then it's easier to handle, but when you aren't expecting it … well, I'm amazed."
We lapsed into silence, and for the briefest of moments, I wanted to pour my heart out to her.
"Why didn't you?" she asked me. "You can always talk to me."
"I know, Liss," I sighed. "It's just, I never want to worry you. You know how I am."
I'd had so much on my mind lately: my mother, Dimitri, and the Badica house. I'd been keeping those feelings locked up, and they were tearing me apart.
"I don't know how you do it," Olena told me. "To have all those worries at such a young age and still be so strong."
Now, feeling so comfortable with Lissa for the first time in a long time, I finally felt that I could let her into my feelings for a change.
"We really have never had all that alone time since we came back, have we?" Liss smiled sadly.
"We couldn't help it. I was kept away for months. You had Christian, I was hiding my somewhat relationship, the attack, court, everything got in the way. But now, after we get out of here we can sort that out. We can go back to who we used to be. Kind of," I smiled at her. "Deal?"
Before I could open my mouth, I felt her thoughts suddenly shift. They became eager and nervous. She had something she wanted to tell me, something she'd been thinking about intently.
"If she'd been thinking about it that much, why didn't you already know?" Sydney inquired.
I shrugged. "I could constantly feel the bond, but not her thoughts. Only when she has intense feelings or I'm concentrating really hard."
"Which isn't often," Eddie smirked.
So much for pouring my heart out.
"Oh Rose," Lissa sighed.
If she wanted to talk, I wouldn't burden her with my problems, so I pushed them aside and waited for her to speak.
"As always," Jill smiled. "Putting her first." I nodded. That was – after all – my job.
"I found something in my research with Ms. Carmack. Something strange…"
"Oooo what is it?" Vika asked. "Never mind. I'm sure I'll find out."
"Oh?" I asked, instantly curious.
Moroi usually developed their specialized element during adolescence.
"History lesson again?" Eddie groaned. "I could pass an exam with flying colours after this."
"Do you not remember me, at some point, telling you to just accept that you're going to hear things that you already know?" He nodded. "Then please just shut up."
After that, they were put into magic classes specific to that element. But as the only spirit user on record at the moment, Lissa didn't really have a class she could join.
"And now you're practically the teacher, cousin," Adrian noted.
Most people believed she just hadn't specialized, but she and Ms. Carmack – the magic teacher at St. Vladimir's – had been meeting independently to learn what they could about spirit.
"And we just keep learning," Oksana said.
They researched both current and old records, checking for clues that might lead to other spirit users, now that they knew some of the telltale signs: an inability to specialize, mental instability, etc.
"I didn't find any confirmed spirit users, but I did find … reports of, um, unexplained phenomena."
"Like what?" Sydney asked.
I blinked in surprise. "What kind of stuff?" I asked, pondering what would count as "unexplained phenomena" for vampires.
"I was doing that also," Abe mused. Like father, like daughter.
When she and I had lived with humans, we would have been considered unexplained phenomena.
"Well you are vampires," Syd smiled.
"They're scattered reports … but, like, I read this one about a guy who could make others see things that weren't there.
Like Avery, I thought.
He could get them to believe they were seeing monsters or other people or whatever."
"He must have been a very powerful spirit user," Mikhail murmured.
"Yeah, he must've," Lissa said, remembering what she had done to Jesse.
"That could be compulsion."
"Really powerful compulsion. I couldn't do that, and I'm stronger – or used to be – in it than anyone we know. And that power comes from using spirit…."
"So," I finished, "you think this illusion guy must have been a spirit user too." She nodded. "Why not contact him and find out?"
"Because it was impossible to," Sonya K answered. We turned to look at her. "I found the same information." Well that explained it. She would – after all – have looked for information about her magic as everyone else would have.
"Because there's no information listed! It's secret. And there are others just as strange. Like someone who could physically drain others. People standing nearby would get weak and lose all their strength. They'd pass out.
"That's just horrible," Mia noted.
And there was someone else who could stop things in midair when they were thrown at him." Excitement lit up her features.
"That could just be an air user, though," Mom said. I smiled knowing what was to come.
"He could have been an air user," I pointed out.
Mom and I smiled at each other. "Great minds think alike," I told her, earning a snort from Christian.
"You okay there, Pyro?" I asked him. He quickly composed himself and nodded.
"Maybe," she said. I could feel the curiosity and excitement swirling through her. She desperately wanted to believe there were others out there like her.
"And now you have me, cousin," he smiled lazily. "Bet you weren't quite expecting that when you wanted there to be others like you."
"Definitely not," she smiled politely. "But you're mostly a good person, so I wouldn't have it any other way." Trust Liss to boost his ego.
I smiled. "Who knew? Moroi have Roswell- and Area 51- type stuff. It's a wonder I'm not being studied somewhere to see if they can figure out the bond."
"I think that if Lissa hadn't been crowned queen, then that might have been a possibility," Abe told everyone. I noticed quiet, little Yeva nodding away. Obviously Abe was right.
Lissa's speculative mood turned teasing. "I wish I could see into your mind sometimes.
"Now you're getting your wish, Liss," I smiled tightly.
I'd like to know how you feel about Mason."
"He's my friend," I said stoutly, surprised at the abrupt change in subject. "That's it."
"Well I knew you liked someone," Liss said softly. "I just got the wrong someone."
She tsked. "You used to flirt – and do other stuff – with any guy you could get your hands on."
"Remind me again how you stayed a virgin?" Eddie asked. "Because what Lissa said was right, you were making out with any guy you could get your hands on."
"I wasn't that bad," I defended. "And besides, just because I liked making out with guys doesn't mean I ever intended going all the way with any of them."
"Well I'm glad you didn't," mom and dad spoke at the same time.
"Hey!" I said, offended. "I wasn't that bad."
"Okay … maybe not. But you don't seem interested in guys anymore."
"That makes me sound like a lesbian," I laughed.
I was interested in guys – well, one guy.
"And we all, now, know who that is," Mia smiled.
"Mason's really nice," she continued. "And crazy about you."
"Don't I know it," I sighed. I really wish I could change that part of my past. He is my one regret. Leading him on, being unable to save him from Isaiah.
"He is," I agreed. I thought about Mason, about that brief moment when I'd thought he was sexy outside Stan's class. Plus, Mason was really funny, and we got along beautifully.
"That is so true," Eddie smiled, reminiscing.
He wasn't a bad prospect as far as boyfriends went.
"Just nothing compared to the man you're in love with," Lissa commented.
"Nobody can compare to Dimitri," I said, turning to place a chaste kiss to his lips.
"You guys are a lot alike. You're both doing things you shouldn't."
I laughed. That was also true. I recalled Mason's eagerness to take on every Strigoi in the world. I might not be ready for that –
"I think you were," mom said. "I think if you were faced with a Strigoi at that precise moment, that you would have been the one to come off alive."
"Thanks for having the confidence."
despite my outburst in the car – but I shared some of his recklessness.
"Most," all the room chorused, causing everyone to start laughing.
It might be time to give him a shot, I thought. Bantering with him was fun, and it had been a long time since I'd kissed anyone. Dimitri made my heart ache … but, well, it wasn't like anything else was going on there.
"I really something to happen," he whispered, sending my whole body to go wild.
Lissa watched me appraisingly, like she knew what I was thinking – well, aside from the Dimitri stuff.
"Which just happened to be the most important part," she grumbled.
"I heard Meredith say you were an idiot for not going out with him. She said it's because you think you're too good for him."
"Sounds like someone is jealous," Vika pointed out.
"What! That's not true."
"Hey, I didn't say it. Anyway, she said she's thinking of going after him."
"He would never have went anywhere near her," Eddie commented.
"Mason and Meredith?" I scoffed. "That's a disaster in the making. They have nothing in common."
"Sounds like you're getting jealous, Little Dhampir," Adrian noted.
It was petty, but I'd gotten used to Mason always doting on me. Suddenly, the thought of someone else getting him irked me.
"That's a bit unfair, don't you think?" Karolina asked.
"I know," I sighed. "But he was the only one I really had. Liss was spending more and more time with Christian. If Mase had found someone, I don't know what I would have done."
"You're possessive," Lissa said, again guessing my thoughts.
"And still not getting it quite right," she groaned.
No wonder she got so annoyed at me reading her mind.
"Only a little."
She laughed. "Rose, even if it's not Mason, you really should start dating again. There are lots of guys who would kill to go out with you – guys who are actually nice."
"Most of them just wanted my body," I commented.
I hadn't always made the best choices when it came to men. Once again, the urge to spill all my worries to her seized me. I'd been hesitant to tell her about Dimitri for so long, even though the secret burned inside of me.
"You can't keep that up, Rose," she told me. Her face actually held some anger.
Sitting with her here reminded me that she was my best friend. I could tell her anything, and she wouldn't judge me.
"As it should be," Mia added.
But, just like earlier, I lost the chance to tell her what was on my mind.
She glanced over at her alarm clock and suddenly sprang up from the bed.
"I'm late! I've got to meet Christian!"
Joy filled her, underscored with a bit of nervous anticipation. Love. What could you do? I swallowed back the jealousy that started to raise its ugly head.
"You had every right to be jealous," Liss noted. "I kept putting Christian before you."
"And you're forgetting that I put Dimitri's before yours," I replied, making her think of the time I left to go 'free' Dimitri.
Once again, Christian had taken her away from me.
"I could never do that, Rose," he spoke with a soft tone to his voice. "No man will ever be able to break the bond you two share."
I wasn't going to be able to unburden myself tonight.
Lissa and I left the dorm, and she practically sprinted away, promising we'd talk tomorrow. I wandered back to my own dorm. When I got to my room, I passed by my mirror and groaned when I saw my face.
"Oh, the black eye," Sydney said. "I had forgotten all about that." There were a few murmured "me too's" around the room. God, even I had forgotten.
Dark purple surrounded my eye. In talking to Lissa, I'd almost forgotten about the whole incident with my mother. Stopping to get a closer look, I stared at my face. Maybe it was egotistical, but I knew I looked good.
"I think that adds to your appeal," Adrian informed me. "You have the confidence of knowing your own beauty and people can see that when they look at you. And it's in your aura."
I wore a C-cup and had a body much coveted in a school where most of the girls were supermodel slim. And as I'd noted earlier, my face was pretty too.
"I'd definitely say beautiful," Dimitri declared. "Pretty just doesn't do you enough justice."
"Aww how sweet," Jill smiled.
On a typical day, I was a nine around here – ten on a very good one.
But today? Yeah. I was practically in negative numbers. I was going to look fabulous for the ski trip.
"My mom beat me up," I informed my reflection.
"I wouldn't say beat up, Rose," she half-glared. "It was just a punch." She mocked.
It looked back sympathetically.
With a sigh, I decided I might as well get ready for bed. There was nothing else I wanted to do tonight, and maybe extra sleep would speed the healing.
"Wishful thinking," Mia smirked, remembering all too well how long her own black eye lasted.
I went down the hall to the bathroom to wash my face and brush my hair. When I got back to my room, I slipped on my favourite pajamas, and the feel of soft flannel cheered me up a little.
"We have to do that." Mia stated, getting herself excited. "We have to have a proper sleepover. Pajamas, movies, popcorn, gossip. It'll be great and we can all reconnect properly. The girls that is. You boys would have to find something else to do."
"I'm in," I agreed.
"Sounds good," Jill added.
"Awesome," was Vika's response.
"Sydney?" I asked.
"Of course," she smiled. "Although I have never had one."
"Well you are in for a treat."
I was packing my backpack for the next day when a burst of emotion abruptly shot through my bond with Lissa. It caught me unaware and gave me no chance to fight it. It was like being knocked over by a hurricane-force wind, and suddenly, I was no longer looking at my backpack.
"Oh God," Lissa was suddenly as white as a Strigoi. She remembered what her and Christian were doing that night and apparently he had also figured it out. Well, it was about time someone else got embarrassed by this book.
I was "inside" Lissa, experiencing her world firsthand.
And that's when things got awkward.
Because Lissa was with Christian.
And things were getting … hot.
"Please no," Lissa begged.
"How about yes?" I smiled evilly, even though at the time it was the least funny thing in the world.
"That's the end as well," Liss added. She was as red as a tomato, bless her.
"Well I think we should get something to eat and then decide what we are going to do after that." Everybody nodded and the necessary people made their way to the kitchen to prepare food for everyone.
After we ate, we were once again sat around the lounge area. "How about one more before bed?" I asked looking around at everyone. When no one objected, I continued. "Who wants to read?"
AN: Right guys, there you are. Another chapter. Again can only apologize for the late update but I really haven't been well. Please Read and Review and let me know what you guys think. Thank you,