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|Night School(Blood Coven Vampire,book 5) by Mari Mancusi|
Corbin reaches out and brushes a lock of hair from my eyes with tender fingers. I know it’s meant to be a comforting gesture, but it only serves to make me feel worse. If only he knew the truth about me. He’d be repulsed. Disgusted. He’d want nothing more than to strike me down then and there with his own bare hands. And, since we’re all about the truth here in fairyland, I probably deserve all that and more.
Because even now, standing here with him in all my distress, I still can’t stop thinking about his blood.
But he doesn’t know. He has no clue. “Don’t worry,” he says in a low, soothing voice. “I’ll protect you. No matter what. You don’t have to be scared.”
“Thanks,” I say, staring down at my feet. “I don’t deserve you.” So very true.
He leads me over to an empty corner and pulls me down to the floor. Pressing my back against the hard stone wall, I stare up at the ceiling. He reaches over and takes my cold hand in his own warm one and starts stroking my palm while whispering comforting nothings in my ear.
I know I shouldn’t be doing this. I know I should be staying as far away from him as possible. But yet I find I can’t pull away. Instead, I snuggle up against his shoulder, breathing in his warm, woodsy scent, trying to block out everything except this one moment of peace. Maybe the last one I’ll be able to enjoy for a very long time. Maybe the last one forever.
Suddenly a squeal interrupts us. My eyes fly open, fear striking my heart. A moment later, my sister whirls through the hall, followed by a boy I don’t recognize. They’re laughing and screeching and ignoring the librarians’ shushing.
“Your sister is a piece of work,” Corbin remarks dryly.
I watch Sunny disappear around the corner. “She’s not usually like this,” I say. In fact, she’s never like this. Has she just totally snapped because of all the stress we’ve been under? Or is something else going on here? “I’m going to talk to her tonight,” I add.
“Actually, I was sort of hoping you’d come to my room tonight,” Corbin says, looking over at me shyly. “We could sneak you in, past the guards ...”
Oh God. I swallow hard. I’ve got to stop this. Now. It’s gone way too far as it is. Because as much as I’d love to go to his room tonight, it’s not for the reasons he thinks. And there’s no way I can put myself in that situation again. Because I know what will happen. I’m not strong enough to resist once I get that close.
“Look Corbin,” I manage to say. “I know we’ve been hanging out a lot lately and it’s been really nice. I like you. A lot. But ...” I scrunch up my face. It’s going to be hard to break this to him gently when I can only tell the truth. “I have a pretty serious boyfriend back home and I don’t think we should cross that line.”
His face falls and he looks crushed at my words. My heart aches at the pain I’ve stupidly caused him by my weakness. I should have never let him kiss me. I should have died of starvation before taking his blood. “I know I should have told you earlier,” I say sadly. “It’s just ... I don’t know. You’re great. And I’ve been having a great time with you. But ... we can’t ... you know, let things ... I mean, I’ve already let things go too far.”
It’s killing me to say all this. To see the tears well up in his eyes and know I’m the reason they fall. ’Cause I do like him. A lot. And I don’t think it’s only for his blood, either. He’s a good person, under his arrogant exterior. Strong, caring, smart. A great catch for the right girl. But I’m not the right girl. And if I don’t prove that now, I may end up killing him the next time we’re together. And I couldn’t live with myself after that.
He starts rising to his feet, anger overtaking his sadness. Scrambling up myself, I grab him by the arm. But he shakes off my grasp. “I’m sorry!” I say, desperately searching his face for some hint of forgiveness. “I know I should have told you from the beginning.”
He waves me off. “You don’t have to explain,” he says. “I get it.”
“Please, Corbin. I really like you. I want us to be friends.”
He looks at me, his eyes a battleground between hate and love. Finally, he sighs, his shoulders slumping. “Come here,” he says, beckoning me closer. “Give me a hug and we’ll figure this out together.”
I collapse in his arms, pressing my body against his sturdy frame. I can feel his heart beating wildly in his chest as he pulls me close to him. Burying his face in my hair, he runs his hands up and down my back and ...
... suddenly freezes.
I watch in horror as he stumbles backward, fear clear in his beautiful green eyes. And suddenly I realize he’s felt them. My little wings, which I’ve been trying to hide under loose clothing. Lost in the moment, I totally forgot they were there.
And now he knows what I am. Who I am.
And what I’ve done to him.
Slowly, he shakes his head, then turns and walks down the hall, leaving me standing there by myself, wondering what on Earth he’s going to do.
I have to get out of here. Now.
I search the library for what seems like hours, looking for my sister. I finally find her—hidden behind the stacks, making out with some random, icky-looking boy with major zits on his face. Ew. What is she doing? So gross.
“We’ve got to talk,” I say, tapping her on the arm when she comes up for air. She looks over, annoyed.