Pure, p.11
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       Pure, p.11

         Part #2 of Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout
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Page 11

 

  I pulled back, looking into his face. Concern etched across Aiden’s features, shifting his eyes to a thunderous gray. “I know. ”

  He shook his head. “And then you’ve been running nonstop. You haven’t had a moment to just… shut down. The daimon attack probably added to it. I don’t know why I didn’t think about that—why no one did. This is all too much. We have to—”

  “Please don’t tell Marcus. Please. ” I started to climb to my feet, but he kept me on the mat. “If he thinks something’s wrong with me, he’ll take me out of the Covenant. ” And he would, too. If Marcus thought I was damaged, I’d be in servitude. Halfs didn’t go to counseling. They didn’t get posttraumatic stress. They dealt with things. They didn’t lose sleep and screw up in practice. “Oh, gods, Marcus is going to kick me out. ”

  Aiden caught my chin again. “That’s not what I was going to say. You worry too much, Agapi. I’m not going to say anything to anyone. Not a single word of this, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to forget. ”

  “What does that mean?”

  He smiled, but it seemed off and a little sad. “Well, you need to get some rest, and you need time to just chill out. I don’t know. I’ll think of something. ”

  I covered his hand with mine. At once, he let go of my chin and threaded his fingers through mine. My little heart just got all kinds of happy. “What does Agapi mean?”

  Aiden sucked in air. “What?”

  “You’ve called me Agapi… a couple of times. It sounds beautiful. ”

  “Oh. I… I didn’t realize I had. ” He pulled his hand free. “It’s the old language. It doesn’t really mean anything. ”

  That was kind of disappointing. Reluctantly, I climbed to my feet. I drew in a deep breath and watched Aiden stand. “I feel okay—”

  The gym doors flew open, banging against the wall. Seth strode in like he owned the place. “What’s going on?”

  I glared at him. “What does it look like?”

  Aiden swiped the blades off the mats. “I really need to find a way to bar those doors. ”

  Seth shot Aiden a look. “I really wish you’d try. ”

  Aiden lowered his arms, his fingers inching over the hilt of the blades. “Don’t you have something you should be doing? I cannot believe your sole purpose of being here is to help Alex a few days a week and prowl the halls of the female dorm. ”

  “Actually, that is my sole purpose. Didn’t you know? I’m here—”

  “Uh, is practice over, Aiden?” I cut in before the two choke-slammed one another.

  “Yeah. ” His eyes stayed on Seth.

  I felt there was a good chance he might stab Seth. There was also a good possibility Seth might zap Aiden. “Okay. Thanks for the practice… and everything. ”

  Seth smirked and raised his brows at Aiden.

  “No problem,” replied Aiden.

  Groaning inwardly, I hurried over to my bag. On the way out, I grabbed a fistful of Seth’s shirt. “Come on. ”

  “What?” Seth protested. “I think Aiden wants to hang out with me. ”

  “Seth!”

  “All right. ” He spun around, straightening his shirt.

  I didn’t look back. Once outside the building, I dared a glance at Seth. “Did you need something?”

  He grinned. “Nope. ”

  “So, you busted up my training for no apparent reason? I call bullshit on that. ”

  Seth dropped his arm over my shoulder. “You can call whatever you want. Let’s go get something to eat. You can still do that, right? Or are you grounded from showing your face in the cafeteria?”

  “I’m not supposed to be hanging out with friends. ”

  “Then I guess it’s a good thing that you and I aren’t really friends. ”

  CHAPTER 6

  AFTER ANOTHER LONG AND BORING DAY OF CLASSES, I WAITED for my turn with Seth, praying I didn’t crack my head again. Last night, I’d gotten another decent night’s sleep after Seth had shown up and popped in a DVD. I was feeling pretty rejuvenated.

  Since I was alone for a few moments before training, I approached the wall of mass destruction. I was about to pick up the dagger Aiden favored when I realized something was off about the wall.

  The weapons hung from little black hooks, and now several spots were empty. Of all the times I’d practiced in this room, I’d never seen any spot open. Daggers and blades were kept in this room for training purposes only. Each blade required a different handling technique and were used at different times throughout the day. Did they remove the blades for cleaning? It wasn’t like they gathered much dust in this room.

  “Ready, my little Apollyon-in-training?”

  I dropped my bag and turned around. Seth strolled across the mats, a cocky grin smeared across his face. Rain dripped from his hair and ran down his neck, giving him a wild look. I forgot about the missing blades at the sight of the wicked look on his face. He was so up to something. “Not really. ”

  Seth cracked his knuckles. “Since it’s pouring outside, I figured we could work on your grappling skills—since they are terrible. I know, I know—you’re devastated by the knowledge of not being able to practice with the elements today, but look on the bright side. We get to roll around on the mats. Together. ”

  I arched an eyebrow. “Sounds like fun. ”

  He stopped behind me and placed his hands on my shoulders. “You up for it?”

  I shrugged off his hands and ripped the hair tie off my wrist. “Yeah, I’m not damaged. ”

  “I didn’t say you were. ”

  “Can we do this without you talking?”

  Seth pouted. “But I have something you may want to know. ”

  “Doubtful. ”

  “Let me ask you a question: Do you feel bad about getting the halfs to refuse to submit to the exams being done? I saw five more halfs all bruised up today. ”

  Caleb hadn’t been joking when he’d said several halfs had been planning on refusing the exams. I could pick them out easily. Though there hadn’t been a sign indicating that the daimon was still on campus, the pures kept up with the rules and exams. I think it had something to do with the fact no one knew how long a daimon half could go without aether.

  “I didn’t make them do anything,” I grumbled.

  “They’re following your lead, and if I remember correctly, didn’t you tell the ones with you that they didn’t have to do it?”

  My cheeks flushed with frustration. “Whatever. Shut up. ”

  “Then let’s play, Alex. ”

  He considered grappling “playing” only because it really did involve a lot of rolling around… and at times, hair pulling. And I think Seth used it as an excuse to cop a feel. Like right now. I knocked his hand off my butt. “You’re such a dog. ”

  “And your grappling skills suck. ” He pinned me for the third time. Most of his hair had come loose, hanging over his face. “Most females suck at it. It’s basic body strength. Males have more mass. So you need to stay on your feet. ”

  Rolling my hips, I managed to knock Seth off. I scrambled back to standing. “Yeah, I think I grasped that already. ”

  Lounging on his side, he tipped his head back. “So, you slept like a little baby Apollyon last night. I wonder why. ”

  I glared at him. Seth had stayed the night again. “I loathe you. ”

  He chuckled. “You reluctantly like me. ”

  “Whatever. So are you going to tell me why you’re always with Lucian? Is he a part of your little fan club now?”

  “My fans love to hear my war stories. ” He jumped to his feet, swinging at me. “They’re obsessed with me. What can I say? I’m that cool. And I’m not always with Lucian. ”

  I grabbed his arm, twisting it back in a submissive hold. “I seriously doubt that. ”

  Seth stilled. “You know what, Alex?”

  Straightening, I relaxed my hold on his arm. “What?”

  He glanced back over his sho
ulder at me. “You really need to start resting more. The lack of sleep is clouding your judgment. I am that cool, and you just made a fatal mistake. ”

  “Huh?”

  “You should never relax your hold. ” Then he flipped me off his shoulder. I hit the mat with a loud grunt. “Aw, did you just fall?”

  “No. ” I rolled onto my back, wincing. “I attacked the floor. ”

  He dropped down, planting one leg on either side of mine. He caught my chin. “What were you and Aiden doing in practice yesterday?”

  I grabbed Seth’s wrist, intending on snapping it. Seth appeared to guess my intentions, because his eyes narrowed into thin slits before he slipped his hands away from my chin. “We were practicing, and why do you need to sit on me to talk to me?”

  “Because I can and I like it. ”

  I wanted to hit him. “Well, I don’t like it. So get off me. ”

  He leaned forward instead, his face only inches from mine. “I don’t like your practices with Aiden. So no, I won’t get off. ”

  My throat felt dry. “You just don’t like Aiden. ”

  “You’re right. I don’t like him. I don’t like the way he looks at you, and I really don’t like the way he looks at me. ”

  I tried to keep my expression blank, but I felt my cheeks burn. “Aiden doesn’t look at me weird. And he looks at you that way because you are weird. ”

  He laughed. “Yeah, I don’t think so. ”

  Could Seth be picking up on my feelings for Aiden like he’d picked up on my fear while I was in Gatlinburg? If so, that would be really, really bad. “What are you getting at?”

  Seth rolled off and sat cross-legged beside me. “I’m not getting at anything. By the way, I do have something to tell you. ”

  As long as I lived, I’d never get used to the way Seth switched topics so frequently. He made my brain hurt. “What?”

  “There was an attack at the Tennessee Covenant last night. It was a half who’d been turned. He cut up a pure, drained him of aether, and tossed him out of a seventh-story dorm window. ”

  Horrified, I jackknifed up. “Oh, my gods! Why didn’t you say something at the beginning of practice?”

  He stared at me. “I clearly remember telling you I had something you’d be interested in knowing and you said it was doubtful. ”

  “Well, you could have explained it a little better. ” I fell back against the mats. “Holy crap, what are they doing about it?”

  “The same thing they are doing here, but they caught the daimon—it was a Guard once upon a time, and since the pure died, they’re taking more extreme measures. ”

  “Like what?”

  “There’s talk of segregating the pures from the halfs. ”

  “What?” I shrieked.

  Seth flinched and scooted away. “Ouch. Damn, Alex, I can only imagine what you sound like in the throes of—”

  “Are you serious?” I sat up again, folding my legs under me. “How can they do that? We share dorms with the pures. And classes. It’s the same everywhere!”

 
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