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|Night School(Blood Coven Vampire,book 5) by Mari Mancusi|
Memories start flooding my brain and guilt slashes at my insides. I remember Corbin’s glazed eyes. His smooth neck. His lips on mine, kissing me without relent. What would Jareth think if he’d seen us together? I mean, he’d probably be happy in a way—that I’d finally given in and drunk real blood at long last. But the way it happened ...
Okay, let’s just come out and say it here. I cheated on my boyfriend. I made out with another guy. Even if he was just a midnight snack. That’s not how good girlfriends—blood mates—behave.
I shake my head. No, no, I can’t be thinking like a human here. This wasn’t some sexual thing. I didn’t want to sleep with him. I just needed to drink. And if I hadn’t seduced him first, he never would have let me do it. That’s why vampires have pheromones to begin with. It’s all very natural and normal and not something I should feel guilty about. If I hadn’t drunk, I would have, quite simply, died. And Jareth, I’m sure, would prefer me kissing a random guy rather than dying.
It was a self-preservation kiss, that’s all.
I touch a finger to my lips, still swollen from Corbin’s mouth.
A really good self-preservation kiss ...
I shake my head. It’s over. It’s done. Moving on. And Jareth never has to know. It’d just hurt him for no reason, right?
If only he were here ...
I close my eyes and picture my beautiful vampire boyfriend in my mind. Then, once I’ve got the image locked, I send out a cry for help. Sometimes I can reach him this way—one of my few vampire powers.
Problem is, I don’t know this thing’s reach. And Jareth is probably on the other side of the world. Can he hear me when I call? Unfortunately, because the sending only goes in one direction, I have no way to confirm it.
After trying a few times, I give up and get changed into sweatpants and a T-shirt. Slay School classes don’t stop just because of a near-death experience. This morning we have combat training, followed by afternoon classes on Slayer Inc. history and Vampire Slaying 201. I wonder if Corbin will be out there. I wonder how I’ll face him if he is.
It’s another cold day out on the training field. All the students huddling close together, blowing on their hands, desperate to get warm. Except the Alphas, of course, who hang out by their own personal space heater, a little ways down the field. As I approach, Mara sees me and waves me over. Grateful, I head in her direction, feeling the envious stares of other students burn into my back. I guess this is what it feels like to be popular. Weird.
“Hey, Rayne!” Leanna greets, putting a mittened hand on my arm and pulling me into their circle. The others throw me wan smiles, still looking stressed and nervous from the events of the night before. Several of them have cuts and bruises on their faces and probably other spots as well, underneath their long red robes. “How you holding up?”
“I’m great!” I burst out. “Just a little hungry!”
Wait, what? I cover my hand with my mouth as the others look at me in confusion. I hadn’t meant to say that at all. I’d meant to play hurt, confused, scared. Why would I tell them I was great? Not to mention ... hungry ...
“Um, and scared,” I add quickly, because suddenly I am very scared. Scared of what these students would do if they knew the truth about what I really am and what I’d done to their friend. “How’s Corbin?”
“Still in the clinic,” Mara says sadly. “They say he lost a ton of blood from the fairy bite.” She shudders. “So awful. I can’t even imagine!”
Okay, so they bought the whole fairy bite thing. That’s good.
“Yeah, that fairy really ...” I start to say, then trail off, my words seeming to catch in my throat. I’m trying to say that fairy really messed him up. But for some reason, I can’t spit out the lie. “That fairy ...” I try again, ice suddenly swimming through my veins. Oh God, what’s wrong with me now?
“... completely effed him up,” finishes Peter helpfully. “No kidding.”
“Did you see it happen?” Varuka asks.
I swallow hard. “Y-yes,” I manage to say, then shut my mouth, forcing myself to stop talking after that. Because what I want to say, for some crazy reason, is that I not only saw it, but I did it myself.
What the hell is wrong with me?
“I’m going to go visit him after practice,” I blurt out, trying desperately to figure out a way to change the subject. “To see how he’s doing.”
Luckily, Mr. Klaus picks that moment to blow his whistle and start class. Relieved, I take my spot on the field. Since Corbin’s out of service, Peter takes his place as my partner.
“So what really happened last night?” he asks, circling me, waving the stake dangerously in his hands. “Corbin told the powers that be that he got bit by a fairy and you dragged him off to safety.”
I try to nod. I really, really, REALLY try to nod my head. But instead I find myself shaking it into a no. I suddenly remember my fairy research. How some of the Sidhe—including me, evidently—are completely unable to tell a lie. Oh God, this is going to make things tough.
“No?” Peter cocks his head in question. “That’s not how it happened?” He jabs the stake in my direction, but I block it easily. He’s not half as good as Corbin in technique, thank goodness.
“I ... I ...” Oh God, I have to figure out a way to say this right. “A fairy attacked me. Then I saved him from his attack. We were both ... injured.”