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|Blood Forever(Blood Coven Vampire,book 8) by Mari Mancusi|
“A very slight chance,” I snort. Half of me wants to say high school is worse than the seventh circle of Hell, but then I catch the hopeful look on her face and force myself to nod in agreement instead. After all, she could have just left me there and gone on with her own life. But no, she did all this for me. At the very least, I need to act grateful.
“It’s not that I don’t appreciate being here,” I assure her. “I just…well, I miss Magnus. It’s so crazy to know that he’s out there, somewhere, and I have no idea where.”
“Well, that’s not entirely true,” Rayne clarifies. “I mean, we know where he’ll be tonight, obviously.”
My heart skips a beat. “We do?”
“Well, yeah. He’ll be at the vampire-in-training class. Actually, this was the first night the two of us ever met,” Rayne explains. “But don’t worry, like I said, I won’t be going this time around,” she adds. “I’m totally committed to staying vampire free from this point forward as promised. No matter what.”
“Me, too,” I find myself echoing. “Vampire free, that’s me.”
But my mind has other ideas…
I resist the nearly irresistible urge to reach up under my black-and-red-trimmed corset to give my bellybutton a good solid scratch. Seriously, I don’t know how the heck Rayne wears this Goth stuff every day of the week. It is so majorly uncomfortable, what with the thick black lace rubbing my armpits raw and the corset bones digging into my waist, making it nearly impossible to take in a full breath. And that’s not even mentioning the smoosh factor going on with my already admittedly small breasts. Seriously, give me a pair of Old Navy boot-cut jeans, tank top, and flip-flops any day of the week, thank you very much. Sure, they may not qualify me to rock a runway, but at least I’m able to take advantage of my full lung capacity.
But unfortunately tonight my own “uniform” just won’t cut it. Not if I want to fool the vampires down at Blood Coven University into thinking I’m my twin sister, that is. Rayne wouldn’t be caught dead in jeans, which means that I must suffer through the agony and humiliation of sneaking out of the house in full-on Goth gear, complete with fluffy tulle skirt, ripped fishnets, and black boots with six-inch platform soles, all dug out of her jam-packed black-on-black-on-black closet.
I know, I know. I shouldn’t be doing this. And Rayne would freaking kill me if she found out I was. (Even before she learned it was in her clothes.) After all, the whole point behind this life “do-over” my sister arranged with the Lord of the Underworld was designed to give us the opportunity to go back to living a normal, vampire-free life. And if Rayne—the girl who loves vampires more than anything in the universe—is able to simply walk away from her vampire-in-training class, what the heck am I doing, choosing to attend in her stead?
But let’s be honest here; what would you do if you had the opportunity to catch a glimpse of your true love one last time? Could you just walk away—go see a movie instead? Yeah, I didn’t think so. And hey, it’s not like I’m going to go make out with the guy and declare my eternal devotion or anything. I’m just going to gaze upon him, quietly, from across the room. Take one last, longing look before I go back to my pathetic, normal, Magnus-free life, forever.
Besides, it’s not like I could do any more than that, even if I wanted to. This Magnus, the one who exists in this time period, doesn’t think of me as his girlfriend. He’s not in love with me. He doesn’t want to be with me. And, if we do happen to cross paths, he’s just going to assume I’m my sister. So no big deal.
Except, of course, it kind of is. It’s kind of the biggest deal ever.
No. I shake my head. I won’t go there. What we’re doing is for the best. Like my sister said, if I never befriend Magnus, we’ll never end up together. He’ll never have to make the choice between the Blood Coven and me, and thus none of the badness that has happened over the last year will happen. I won’t die. He won’t be tried for treason. And the Blood Coven won’t be kicked out of the Consortium. Everyone will live happily ever after.
And I’m totally down for all that to happen. After I get my one last look.
The vampire-in-training class is being held right outside Saint Patrick’s Cemetery—the secret location of Blood Coven HQ, not that I’m supposed to know that. The location of the vampire crypt is strictly classified until you become a full-blooded member. So instead they hold classes in a nearby former church, which seems a totally weird option, until you learn that this particular church has been long ago de-holyized and put out of official commission. Meaning the ground is no longer hallowed and perfectly fine and safe for vampire feet to walk over.
I head up the wooden front steps and through the front door, resisting the urge to roll my eyes at some of Rayne’s fellow vampire-in-training classmates who are standing outside smoking. I mean, hello? Could you be any more stereotypical if you tried? Every single one of them is dolled up in their Gothy best, complete with black (and/or hot-pink) hair, pancake-white makeup, and an inordinate amount of piercings. Seriously, doesn’t anyone outside the Goth scene want to become a vampire anymore? I mean, you’d think with the whole Twilight phenomenon we’d get a few Bellas out here at the very least.
I glance down at the bored-looking receptionist sitting at a card table just inside the front door. My eyes widen as I realize it’s none other than Marcia herself, Magnus’s former secretary. Of course right now, I guess, she’s his future secretary, still working for Lucifent, who’s currently Master of the Blood Coven. It’s not till Bertha slays Lucifent and Magnus takes over that she starts working for her new boss. (This time-travel stuff can be very confusing even if you are paying attention.)