Monday, March 11, 2019
Bloodlines Chapter Eleven
BEFORE CLASS THE NEXT DAY, I left a message with several(prenominal) angiotensin-converting enzyme at the Alchemists shootice, telling them I needed Mr. and Mrs. Melrose to send a nary(prenominal)e excusing Jill from PE or at least from tabudoor activities. I hoped theyd move quickly on this. The Alchemists were fast when they treasured to be, nonwithstanding they some times had unrivaled ideas of what besidesk priority. I hoped they didnt have the same military capability toward Jills misery as Keith did. only if I knew not to expect whatsoever action that day, so Jill had to apply through and through an other PE en flatboaten and I had to suffer through watching her suffer. What was re altogethery terrible was that Jill didnt whine or try to countenance out of whatsoeverthing. She didnt unconstipatedtide repoint any firm of last nights breakd bangledge. She came in with determination and optimism, as though maybe this would be the day the inso deep wouldnt affect her. Yet, before long, she began to wane bonnie as she had last time. She belowstanded sick and tired, and my own performance faltered a little because I kept watching her, afraid shed pass out.Micah was the saving grace. Once again, he fearlessly switched teams this time from the real mavent of class. He c overed for her bonnie as he had last time, allowing her to escape the notice of teacher and classmates well, debar for Laurel, who seemed to notice and get annoyed by e verything he did. Her eyes flicked angrily in the midst of him and Jill, and she kept flinging her hair over her shoulder to get his attention. I was a little amused to note that Micahs attention remained solely on keeping the ball away from Jill.Micah samewise jumped immediately to her side when class ended and had a water bottle understandy, which she accepted agree ablely. I was grateful too, except seeing his concern for her dredged up all my old worries. She was level- clearanceed to her invent, however. She returned his attentions in a friendly way, and you unquestionably couldnt call it flirting. He made no secret of his intentions, though, and I still worried that it would be smash if she didnt have to deal with them. Id meant it when I give tongue to I rely her, but I couldnt help but come rear end end itd be a lot easier on everyone if he laid off in his advances. This would lead A Talk. Dreading what I had to do, I caught up with Micah outside the locker rooms. We were some(prenominal)(prenominal)(prenominal) hold for Jill to finish up, and I took advantage of the alone time with him.Hey, Micah, I express, I need to conversation of the town to youHey, he returned b compensately. His blue eyes were blanket(a) and ex pargonntd. I had an idea I postulateed to run past you. If you guys arent able to get a note for her, maybe you could see active get her schedule switched around? If she took PE root hitch, it wouldnt be nearly as baking hot out yet. maybe it wouldnt be as hard on her. I mean, she seems manage shed alike to participate in some of this stuff.She would, I tell slowly. And thats a really level-headed idea.I know some slew who work in the office. Ill ask them to run some options and see if its even possible with the rest of her classes. He faked a pout. Ill be sad not to have her in class, but itd be worth it to know shes not so miserable.Yeah, I agreed weakly, suddenly feeling at a loss. He really had come up with a good idea. He was even un egoistic enough to give up the chance to be with her in order to promote the greater good. How could I have the talk with him now? How could I suddenly say, Leave my sister alone, when he was sacking out of his way to be so nice? I was as vainglorious as Eddie, avoiding con introductoryation with Micah. This guy was too likable for his own good.Before I could manage a response, Micah hence went off in an unexpect direction. You really should get her to a doctor, though. I dont think she has a sun allergy.Oh? I asked in surprise. Have you not been watching her suffer through class each day?No, no, believe me, shes definitely got an slue with the sun, he assured me quickly. But she might be misdiagnosed. I read up on sun allergies, and people usually get rashes with them. This boilers suit weakness she gets I dont know. I think it might be something else.Oh no. Like what?I dont know, he mused. But Ill keep researching theories and let you know.Wonderful.PE as well gave me my first glimpse at one of Amberwoods metallic tattoos in action. Greg Slade was hopeless not to watch during class, and I wasnt the exactly one who got distracted. Just as Kristin and Julia had verbalise, he really was faster and untouchableer. He made dives no one else was quick enough to react to. When he hit the ball, it was a revere we didnt hear a sonic boom shortly thereafter. This earned him evaluate at first, but soon, I noticed something. There w as a overemotional edge to his game. He was filled with ability, yes, but sometimes it was unfocused. Those powerful hits didnt of all time help because hed blast the ball out of bounds. And in running to situate a shot, he rarely considered those around him. When a guy from my side of meat class got knocked down flat on his dorsum, simply for being in the path of Slade and the ball, Miss Carson s excel the game and roared her dis confessionsure some Slades aggression. He took it in with a sulky smirk.Too poor Eddies not in this class, Jill verbalize afterward. Hed be a total match for Slade. maybe its better no one notices, I remarked. Eddie, from what Id heard, was already a shining star in his PE class. It was part of a dhampirs natural athleticism, and I knew he was in truth working hard not to be too good at everything.I kerbed in with Ms. Terwilliger after PE, happy to find my teacher fully stocked with coffee bean of her own. I spent most of the period going through the book and taking notes on my laptop. Partway through, she came over to check my work.Youre very organized, she said, looking for over my shoulder. Headings and subheadings and sub-subheadings.Thank you, I said. Jared Sage had been very particular in teaching his children research skills.Ms. Terwilliger took a sip of coffee and continued reading the screen. You didnt list the ritual and spell steps, she pointed out secs later. You vindicatory summarize them in a couple lines.Well, yes, that was the point of note-taking. I cite all the page numbers, I said. If you need to check the actual components, theres an short reference.No go back and put all the steps and ingredients in your notes. I want to be able to have them all in one pose.You do have them in one place, I valued to say. In the book. notes were about condensing the material, not retyping the original text word for word. But Ms. Terwilliger had already wandered away, staring at her filing cabinet abstractedly as sh e muttered to herself about a misplaced folder. With a sigh, I flipped back to the beginning of the book, trying not to think about how this was going to circle me back. At least I was only doing this for credit and not a grade.I stayed past the late bell in an effort to take aim up some lost time. When I got back to my room, I had to showing up Jill, who was sound asleep after her exhausting day.Good news, I told her as she blinked at me with sleepy eyes. Its feeding day.Definitely talking to I never conception Id say.I also didnt think Id be stirred up for it. And sure, I certainly wasnt thrilled about the idea of Jill biting into Dorothys neck. I was, however, feeling sympathyably bad for Jill and was glad shed get some nourishment. be on such a limited supply of blood had to sterilise things doubly hard for her.We met up with Eddie downstairs when it was time to go. He looked Jill over worriedly. Are you okay?Im fine, she said with a smile. She looked nowhere near as b ad as she had earlier. I shuddered to think what Eddie wouldve done if hed in truth been in our class and seen her at her worst.Why is this still going on? he asked me. Werent you going to talk to Keith?Were a little delayed, I said evasively, hint them to where Latte was parked in the student lot. Well stumble it happen. If the Alchemists didnt come through with the note, I was going to try to act on Micahs suggestion and get her switched into morning PE.We know you will, said Jill. I could just barely pick up out the sympathy in her vocalise, reminding me that she knew about my fight with Keith yesterday. I hoped she wouldnt pay heed it in front of Eddie and was saved when she switched to a more(prenominal) random and surprise topic. Do you think we asshole pick up some pizza pie along the way? Adrian doesnt want any more of Dorothys cooking.How terrible for him, remarked Eddie, acquire into the backseat and letting Jill ride shotgun. Having a personal chef on hand to mak e him whatever he wants. I dont know how he gets by.I laughed, but Jill seemed outraged on Adrians behalf. Its not the same She cooks really super-gourmet stuff.Still waiting for the problem, said Eddie.She tries to also make it really healthy. She says its better for Clarence. So, theres never any salt and pepper or butter. Jeez, how often did she and Adrian talk? Theres no tactile sen sit downion or anything. Its driving him crazy.Everything seems to be driving him crazy, I remarked, remembering his plea for new lodging. And he cant have it too bad. Didnt he go to LA last night? Jills only answer was a frown.Nonetheless, I had a feeling wed be hanging out at Clarences for a while, and I personally didnt want to eat anything prepared in that house. So, it was more for selfish reasons that I agreed to stop at a takeout place en route and buy a few pizzas. Adrians portray was effulgent when we entered the sitting room, which pool games aside seemed to be his primary hangout at C larences.Jailbait, he declared, leaping up. Youre a saint. A goddess, even.Hey, I said, Im the one who nonrecreational for them.Adrian carried off one of the boxes to the couch, much(prenominal) to Dorothys dismay. She hurried off muttering about plates and napkins. Adrian gave me a conciliatory nod.Youre okay too, Sage, he said.Well, well, what have we here? Clarence came shake into the room. I hadnt noticed before, but he used a lash to get around. It had a crystal snake head on top, which was both impressive and scary. Just the variant of thing youd picture for an old lamia. Looks like a party.Lee was with him, greeting us with smiles and nods. His eyes lingered briefly on Jill, and he made a point of sitting near her but not too near. Jill perked up more than she had in days. Everyone was just starting signal to dive into the pizza when Dorothy appeared in the doorway with a new guest. I felt my eyes widen. It was Keith.What are you doing here? I asked, keeping my voice neutral.He winked. Came to check in on everybody and make sure alls well. Thats my demarcation to look after everyone.Keith was chipper and friendly as he helped himself to the pizza, with no indication of the fight wed gotten into last time. He smiled and talked to everyone as though they were all best friends, leaving me totally bewildered. No one else seemed to think anything odd about his behavior but hence, why would they? None of them had my history with Keith.No that wasnt quite true. Despite being deep in conversation with Eddie, Adrian paused to give me a curious look, silently asking about yesterdays fight. He glanced at Keith and then(prenominal) back to me. I shrugged helplessly, letting him know I was just as confused by the change of heart. Maybe Keith regretted his outburst from yesterday. Of course, that wouldve been much easier to accept if it had come with, oh, an apology.I nibbled on a piece of cheese pizza, but largely I observed the others. Jill was anim atedly recounting her first couple of days to Adrian, noticeably leaving out any of the ban parts. He listened to her indulgently, nodding and interjecting with occasional witty quips. Some of the stuff she told him was pretty basic, and I was surprised it hadnt come up in their phone conversations. Maybe he just had so much to say at those times that thered been no chance for her. As it was, he made no conjure up of his boredom or other grievances.Clarence occasionally chatted with Eddie and Lee, but his eyes forever and a day strayed to Jill. There was a wistful look in his gaze, and I remembered that his niece had only been a little older than Jill. I wondered if perhaps part of the reason hed been so willing to take us all on was in an effort to reclaim some part of the family life that had been lost to him.Keith had sat down near me, at first making me uncomfortable but then later giving me a reason to pick his brain. seeing the others engaged in conversation, I asked him s oftly, Have you ever heard of clon Alchemist tattoos making it into the general population?He gave me a startled look in return. I dont even know what that means.At Amberwood, theres this trend. Theres apparently someplace in town that gives metallic tattoos, and they have special properties kind of like ours. Some just kind of give off a high. Others kind of have a steroid effect.He frowned. Theyre not bound with gold, are they?No. Silver and copper. So, they dont last. Probably so the people giving them can make more money.But they cant be ours, then, he argued. We havent used those metals for tattoos in centuries.Yeah, but someone may be using Alchemist technology to urinate these.Just to get people high? he asked. I wouldnt even know how youd go about that with metallic agents.I have some ideas, I said.And let me guess. They involve narcotic mixtures. When I nodded, he sighed and gave me a look like I was ten long time old. Sydney, its most belike someones found a crude tat tooing method thats like ours but has no connection. If so, theres zero we can do about it. Drugs happen. Bad things happen. If it isnt mixed with Alchemist business, then it isnt our business.But what if it is connected to Alchemist business? I asked.He groaned. See? This is why I was worried about you coming, this tendency you have of running off with tangents and wild theories.I dont Please dont embarrass me, he hissed, casting a glance at the others. Not with them, not with our superiors.His rebuke silenced me, mostly from surprise. What did he mean about this tendency I had? Was he actually suggesting he had made some deep psychological analysis of me years ago? The idea that I would embarrass him was ludicrous and yet his language planted a seed of doubt in me. Maybe the tattoos at Amberwood were just an unrelated fad.Hows PE? Adrians words dragged me from my own impressions. He was still acquiring the summary of school from Jill. She made a face at the question. Not great , she admitted, giving a recap of some of the worse moments. Eddie shot me a meaningful look, similar to the one from earlier.You cant go on like that, exclaimed Lee. The sun around heres brutal.I agree, said Keith, of all people. Sydney, why didnt you tell me how bad it was?I think my jaw hit the floor. I did Thats why I was trying to get you to contact the school.You didnt really give me the whole story. He flashed one of his sugary smiles at Jill. Dont worry. Ill take care of this for you. Ill get in touch with school officials and the Alchemists.I already talked to them, I argued.But I might as well have not said anything. Keith had already switched topics and was talking to Clarence about something irrelevant. Where had this about-face come from? Yesterday, Jills discomfort had been low priority. Today, Keith was her entitle in shining armor. And in the process, he was suggesting that I was the one whod screwed up. Thats his plan, I realized. He doesnt want me here. He never has. And then something even worse occurred to me.Hes going to use this to start building a case against me.crosswise the room, Adrian caught my eye again. He knew. Hed been eavesdropping when I talked to Keith in the driveway. Adrian started to speak, and I knew he was going to call Keith out on his lie. It was gallant but not what I wanted. I would deal with Keith myself.How was LA? I asked quickly before Adrian had a chance to say anything. He looked at me curiously, no doubt enquire why I wouldnt let him be a witness to my case. You went there with Lee last night, right?Adrian looked confused, but a grin smoothen over his face. Yeah, he said at last. It was great. Lee showed me college life.Lee laughed. I wouldnt go that far. I dont know where you were half the night.Adrian got this look on his face that was somehow charming but made me want to slap him at the same time. We parted ways. I was getting to know some of the other Moroi in the area. level off Eddie couldnt stay si lent at that. Oh, is that what you call it?Jill of a sudden stood up. Im going to get my blood now. Is that okay?There was a moment of awkward silence, largely because I dont think anyone really knew who she was asking authorization from. Of course, my dear, said Clarence, stepping into his role as host. I believe Dorothys in the kitchen.Jill gave a curt nod and hurried out of the room. The rest of us interchange puzzled glances.Is something wrong? asked Lee, looking worried. Should I should I go talk to her?Shes still just stressed, I said, not daring to mention the shrieking or crying episodes.I thought of something that might be looseness for her for all of us to do, he said tentatively. He glanced around and then settled his gaze on me. I guess I was the designated stimulate here. If you think its okay. I mean its kind of silly, but I thought we could go mini-golfing in the evening. Theyve got all these fountains and pools on the course. Shes a water user, right? She must be missing it out here.She does, said Eddie, frowning. She mentioned it yesterday.I shivered. Keith had been texting on his phone and froze. No matter our differences, we still componentd a bone marrow of similar training, and both of us were uneasy with the idea of Moroi magic.Shed probably like that a lot, said Adrian. He sounded reluctant to admit it. I think he was still uneasy with the idea of Lee being interested in Jill, no matter how friendly the two guys were. Lees idea was both innocent and conscientious. Hard to find fault with.Lee tilted his head thoughtfully. You have a later curfew on the weekends, right? Do you want to go tonight?It was Friday, granting us an extra hour extension at our dorm. Im game, said Adrian. Literally and figuratively.If Jills there, Im there, said Eddie.They looked at me. I was trapped. I wanted to go back and catch up on homework. Saying that sounded pathetic, though, and I supposed I had to represent as Jills only female chaperone. Besides , I reminded myself, this assignment wasnt about me and my academics, no matter how much I pretended it was. It was about Jill.I can go, I said slowly. Thinking that this sounded very much like fraternizing with vampires, I glanced uneasily at Keith. Hed gone back to texting now that magic wasnt being discussed. Keith? I asked by way of permission.He looked up. Huh? Oh, I cant go. I have to be somewhere.I tried not to grimace. Hed misread me and thought I was inviting him. On the bright side, he also wasnt objecting to the rest of us going. Ah, how nice, said Clarence. An outing for you young people. Perhaps youll share a fruitcake of wine with me first? Dorothy was just entering with a bottle of red wine, Jill trailing behind her. Clarence smiled at Adrian. I know youd like a glass.Adrians expression said he most definitely would. Instead, Adrian took a deep breath and shook his head. Id better not.You should, said Jill gently. Even after a short drink of blood, she looked full o f life and energy.Cant, he said.Its the weekend, she told him. Its not that big of a deal. Especially if youre careful.The two locked gazes and then at last, he said, All right. Pour me a glass.Pour me one too, please, said Keith.Really? I asked him. I didnt know you drank.Im twenty-one, he countered.Adrian accepted his from Dorothy. Somehow, Im thought thats not Sages concern. I thought Alchemists avoided alcohol the same way they do primary colors.I glanced down. I was wearing gray. Keith was wearing brown.One glass wont hurt, said Keith.I didnt argue with him. It wasnt my place to babysit Keith. And the Alchemists didnt have rules against drunkenness per se. We had strong religious beliefs about what it meant to live a good and pure lifestyle, and drinking was generally looked down upon. Was it forbidden? No. It was a custom, one I considered important. If he didnt, I guessed that was his choice.Keith was just bringing the glass to his lips when Adrian said, Mmm. O positive, my favorite.Keith sprayed out the wine hed just drunk and promptly started coughing. I was relieved that no(prenominal) got on me. Jill burst into giggles, and Clarence stared at his glass wonderingly.Is it? I thought it was a cabernet sauvignon.So it is, said Adrian, straight-faced. My mistake.Keith gave Adrian a tight smile, like he too thought it was a funny joke, but I wasnt fooled. Keith was mad at having been mocked, and no matter how friendly he pretended to be with everyone, his views against vampires and dhampirs were as harsh as theyd ever been. Of course, Adrian probably wasnt helping matters any. I thought it was pretty funny, honestly, and worked to hide my smile so that Keith wouldnt get mad at me again. It was hard to do because shortly thereafter, Adrian flashed me a secret, knowing smile that seemed to say, Thats requital for earlier.Eddie glanced at Jill. Im glad you got your blood today. I know youve been wanting to control some defense moves, but I wanted to wai t until you were back up to strength.Jill lit up. Can we do it tomorrow?Of course, he said, looking nearly as delighted by this as she did.Keith frowned. Why should she goldbrick to fight when shes got you around?Eddie shrugged. Because she wants to, and she should have every edge she can get. He didnt specifically mention the attempts on her life not in front of Lee and Clarence but the rest of us understood.I thought Moroi werent good at fighting, though, said Keith.Mostly because they havent trained for it. They arent as strong as us, sure, but their reflexes are better than yours, explained Eddie. Its just a matter of acquire the skills and having a good teacher.Like you? I teased.Im not bad, he said modestly. I can train anyone who wants to learn. He elbowed Adrian, who was reaching for the wine and a refill. Even this guy.No, thank you, said Adrian. These hands dont sully themselves with fighting.Or with manual of arms labor, I remarked, recalling past comments of his.Exac tly, he said. But maybe you should have Castile show you how to throw a punch, Sage. It might come in handy. Seems like a skill a plucky young woman like yourself should possess.Well, thank for the vote of confidence, but Im not really sure when Id need it, I said.Of course she needs to learnClarences exclamation caught all of us by surprise. Id actually thought he was dozing off since hed had his eyes closed moments ago. But now, he was leaning forward with a zealous expression. I cringed under the intensity of his stare.You must learn to protect yourself He pointed at me, then moved on to Jill. And you. Promise me youll learn to defend yourself. Promise me. Jills light green eyes went wide with shock. She tried to give him a quieten smile, though it was tinged with uneasiness.Of course, Mr. Donahue. Im trying to. And until then, Ive got Eddie to protect me from Strigoi.Not Strigoi His voice dropped to a whisper. The vampire hunters.None of us said anything. Lee looked mortified.C larence squeezed his wineglass so tightly that I worried it would break. No one talked about this back then about defending ourselves. Maybe if Tamara had learned something, she wouldnt have been killed. Its not too late for you for either of you.Dad, weve been over this, said Lee.Clarence ignored him. The old mans gaze flicked between me and Jill, and I wondered if he even knew I was human. Or maybe it didnt matter. Maybe he just had a slightly deranged protective full toward all girls the same age as Tamara. I kind of expected Keith to tactlessly point out that there were no such things as vampire hunters, but he was uncharacteristically quiet. Eddie was the one who finally spoke, his words soothing and kind. He so often gave off the impression of a do-or-die warrior that it was surprising to realize he was actually very compassionate.Dont worry, said Eddie. Ill help them. Ill keep them safe and make sure nothing bad happens to them, okay?Clarence still looked agitated but focu sed on Eddie hopefully. You ascertain? You wont let them kill Tamara again?I promise, said Eddie, in no way indicating how weird the request was.Clarence studied Eddie a few more seconds and then nodded. Youre a good boy. He reached for the wine bottle and topped off his glass. More? he asked Adrian, as though nothing had happened.Yes, please, said Adrian, holding out his glass.We continued the conversation as though nothing had happened, but the shadow of Clarences words continued to hang over me.