Disclaimer: I don't own Bloodlines.

Note: Most of this chapter is from the last chapter of The Golden Lily, but don't worry, I changed up some of it at the end. Hope you enjoy!

Ch. 1 Confessions of Love

"Don't dodge this. You know what I mean. You've known how to drive stick for years."

His silence answered for him, telling me I was right, even if his face was hard to read.

"Why?" I demanded. Now I was nearly pleading. Everyone said I was so exceptionally smart, I could string random things together and make remarkable conclusions. But this was beyond me, and I couldn't handle something that made so little sense. "Why would you do that? Why would you act like you didn't know how to drive?"

A million thoughts seemed to cross his mind, none of which he wanted to share. At last, he shook his head in exasperation. "Isn't it obvious, Sage? No, of course it isn't. I did it so I'd have a reason to be around you – one I knew you couldn't refuse."

I was more confused than ever. "But… why? Why would you want to do that?"

"Why?" he asked. "Because it was the closest I could get to doing this."

He reached out and pulled me to him, one hand on my waist and the other behind my neck. He tipped my head up and lowered his lips to mine. I closed my eyes and melted as my whole body was consumed in that kiss. I was nothing. I was everything. Chills ran over my skin, and fire burned inside me. His body pressed closer to mine, and I wrapped my arms around his neck. His lips were warmer and softer than anything I could've imagined, yet fierce and powerful at the same time. Mine responded hungrily, and I tightened my hold on him. His fingers slid down the back of my neck, tracing its shape, and every place they touched was electric.

But perhaps the best part of all was that I, Sydney Katherine Sage, guilty of analyzing the world, stopped thinking.

And it was glorious.

At least, it was until I started thinking again.

My mind and all its worries and considerations suddenly took over. I pulled away from Adrian, despite my body's protests. I backed away from him, knowing my eyes were terrified and wide. "What… what are you doing?"

"I don't know," he said with a grin. He took a step toward me. "But I'm pretty sure you were doing it too."

"No. No. Don't get any closer! You can't do that again! Do you understand? We can't ever… we shouldn't have… oh my God. No. Never again. That was wrong." I put my fingers to my lips, as though I would wipe away what had just happened, but mostly I was reminded of the sweetness and heat of his mouth against mine. I promptly dropped my hand.

"Wrong? I don't know, Sage. Honestly, that was the most right thing that's happened to me in a while." Nonetheless, he kept his distance.

I shook my head frantically. "How can you say that? You know how it is! There's no… well, you know. Humans and vampires can't… no. there can't be anything between them. Between us."

"Well, there had to have been at one point," he said, attempting a reasonable tone. "Or there wouldn't be dhampirs today. Besides, what about the Keepers?"

"The Keepers?" I nearly laughed, but no part of this was funny. "The Keepers live in caves and wage campfire battles over possum stew. If you want to go live that life, you're more than welcome to. If you want to live in the civilized world with the rest of us, then do not touch me again. And what about Rose? Aren't you madly in love with her?"

Adrian looked way too calm for this situation. "Maybe I was once. But it's been… what, nearly three months? And honestly, I haven't thought much about her in a while. Yeah, I'm still hurt and feel kind of used, but... really, she's not the one I'm always thinking about anymore. I don't see her face when I go to sleep. I don't wonder about-"

"No!" I backed up even further. I don't want to hear this. I'm not going to listen to this anymore."

With a few swift steps, Adrian stood in front of me again. The wall was only a couple inches behind me, and I had nowhere to go. He made no threatening moves, but he did clasp my hands and hold them to his chest while leaning down to me.

"No, you will listen. For once, you're going to hear something that doesn't fit into your neat, compartmentalized world of order and logic and reason. Because this isn't reasonable. If you're terrified, believe me – this scares the hell out of me, too. You asked about Rose? I tried to be a better person for her – but it was to impress her, to get her to want me. But when I'm around you, I want to be better because… well, because it feels right. Because I want to. You make me want to become something greater than myself than myself. I want to excel. You inspire me in every act, every word, every glance. I look at you, and you're like… like light made into flesh. I said it on Halloween and meant every word: you are the most beautiful creature I have ever seen walking this earth. And you don't even know it. You have no clue how beautiful you are or how brightly you shine."

I knew I needed to break away, to jerk my hands from his. But I couldn't. Not yet. "Adrian-"

"And I know, Sage," he continued, his eyes filled with fire. "I know how you guys feel about us. I'm not stupid, and believe me, I've tried to get you out of my head. But there isn't enough liquor or art or any other distraction in the world to do it. I had to stop going to Wolfe's because it was too hard being that close to you, even if it was all just pretend fighting. I couldn't stand the touching. It was agonizing because it meant something to me – and I knew it meant nothing to you. I kept telling myself to stay away altogether, and then I'd find excuses… like the car… anything to be around you again. Hayden was an asshole, but at least as long as you were involved with him, I had a reason to keep my distance."

Adrian was still holding my hands, his face eager and panicked and desperate as he spilled his heart before me. My own heart was beating uncontrollably and any number of emotions could have been to blame. He had that distracted, enraptured look… the one that he held when spirit seized him and made him ramble. I prayed that's what this was, some spirit-induced fit of insanity. It had to be. Right?

"His name is Brayden," I said at last. Slowly, I was able to quiet my anxiety and gain some control. "And even without him, you have a million reasons to keep your distance. You say you know how we feel. But do you? Do you really?" I pulled my hands from his and pointed at my cheek. "Do you know what the golden lily truly means? It's a promise, a vow to a lifestyle and a belief system. You can't throw something like that away. This won't let me, even if I wanted to. And truthfully, I don't want to! I believe in what we do."

Adrian regarded me levelly. He didn't try to take my hands again, but he didn't back away either. My hands felt painfully empty without his. "This 'lifestyle' and 'belief system' you're defending have used you and keep using you. They treat you like a piece of machine, one that's not allowed to think – and you're better than that."

"Some parts of the system are flawed," I admitted. "But the principles are sound, and I believe in them. There's a divide between humans and vampires – between you and me – that can never be breached. We're too different. We're not mean to be… like this. Like anything."

"You told me once that there are no victims here, that we all have the power to choose what we want," Adrian said, echoing words I had once said to him.

"Don't try to use my own words against me," I warned, glaring at him and crossing my arms over my chest defensively.

"Why?" he asked, a slight smile on his lips. "They were damned good ones. You're not a victim. You're not a captive to that lily. You can be what you want. You can choose what you want."

I laughed bitterly. "No, I can't. I never had a choice. I belong to the Alchemists. I am virtually a captive to them. Weren't you listening to me?" I indicated the lily on my cheek again. "The lily is a promise to a lifestyle and belief system. It will never let me go. And I have the duty to protect the rest of my kind from vampires. And I choose not to be with you. I don't love you." I will never be free and be able to make my own choices. I could never say these words aloud…Adrian, I love you.

Adrian's green eyes were glassy with emotion. I couldn't let him know what I felt. If I told him, I'd never be able to leave him. "I don't believe you."

I scoffed. "Because I kissed you back?"

He shook his head. "Because there's no one else out there who understands you like I do."

I crossed my arms over my chest and shook my head. "No one understands me. And you're wrong. I don't love you."

"If you don't love me, then why are you crying?" Adrian whispered. "And don't deny your feelings for me. I know you love me."

I didn't realize it until I touched my cheek. When I pulled my hand away, I felt a tear on my hand.

He reached out to me, and the look on his face was so heartbreaking. I stepped away from him, and headed towards the door. It felt like I was ripping my heart out of my chest, and leaving it behind.

"No. This is wrong. There can be nothing between us, Adrian."

I turned my back on him, and walked out the door.

Once I was outside, it took all of my strength to keep from collapsing to the ground in a fit of tears. I kept walking to Latte and sat in the car. If I let Adrian see me cry…no. I had to keep control.

You did the right thing, the rational part of me said. You can't be so close to vampires – let alone love a creature of evil. You're doing the right thing. Tears kept sliding down my cheeks, despite my attempts to wipe them away.

But part of my last thought – love a creature of evil – struck me as being wrong. The beliefs the Alchemists had drilled over and over into me from a young age…They didn't know how kind some of the vampires were. Yet we were told to regard all vampires as evil, no matter how kind or nice they acted towards us. We had to protect all of humankind from those…unnatural creatures.

Not all of them are evil, another side of me said. Some humans out there – the ones that you're supposed to protect – are eviler than the Moroi could ever be. The Warriors of Light are proof of that.

This completely went against everything I'd ever been taught, all the beliefs that I held. I could never love a vampire, a bloodsucking evil creature of the night. I would be punished in the worst way possible, probably something even worse than being sent to reeducation.

But all the Alchemist beliefs I'd been taught…not all of them were right. Some of those beliefs I'd held for my entire life were wrong.

I now jumped out of the car, and ran back towards the house.

Adrian looked up in shock, but he wrapped his arms tightly around my waist like he'd never let me go. I buried my face into his shoulder, trying to keep in my sobs.

"Why…why didn't you leave?" he asked, tightening his grip on me.

"Because…not everything they say is right," I whispered. "Not every vampire out there is an unnatural creature of the night. You're not…a bloodsucking evil creature."

Adrian pulled me into his apartment and shut the door.

"Don't ever leave me again," he begged.

"I won't," I whispered, holding him close to me.

He bent down, and kissed me again. This time, I didn't pull away from him.

Reviews greatly appreciated! :D Also, I'm still thinking about what to write after this, so ideas are also very greatly appreciated!