Pure, p.12
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       Pure, p.12

         Part #2 of Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout
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Page 12


  “From what I hear, they’re going to put all the pures in one dorm and all the halfs in the other. And change the class schedules. ”

  I rolled my eyes. “Oh, so they’re going to make the dorms co-ed? Yeah, that is going to go over well. Everyone’s going to be having sex. ”

  “Sounds like my kind of place. ” Seth grinned. “Maybe I can get a transfer. ”

  “Do you ever take anything seriously?” I pushed to my feet.

  Seth shot to his feet, towering over me. “I take you seriously. ”

  Eyeing him, I stepped back. “This is serious, Seth. What if they do something like that here? What if this is the beginning of everything changing?”

  The ever-present—and annoying—mix of smugness and amusement faded from those eerie, golden eyes, revealing a level of gravity I didn’t think Seth was capable of. “Alex, everything has already changed. Don’t you see that?”

  I swallowed and folded my arms around me, but it didn’t stop the sudden coldness from washing over my body like I’d stepped into the freezing downpour outside.

  Aiden had said the same thing.

  “There are two of us,” Seth said quietly. “Everything changed the moment you were born. ”

  I tapped my finger along the edge of the keyboard. I was having one of those nights where I questioned everything that ever was, and I was getting on my own nerves.

  I blamed Seth.

  Everything changed the moment you were born.

  I tried not to think about how the whole Apollyon business worked most of the time. Usually I pretended like it wasn’t a big deal. But that didn’t mean I wasn’t dealing with it, I just knew there was nothing I could do about it. It’s like not crying over spilled vodka and cranberry juice or whatever. But there were times—like earlier with Seth—when the idea of becoming this thing that people expected something miraculous from, and were also scared to death of, terrified me.

  I stared at my computer screen, forcing myself to stop worrying about the Apollyon stuff and what was happening at the Covenants. I then played about a dozen rounds of minesweeper and solitaire—anything to keep my brain nicely blank. It worked beautifully for a short while.

  Another question poked at me. Why had Lucian intervened on my behalf? And why was Lucian handing over so much information to Seth? Yes, he was the Apollyon, but Lucian was the Minister and Seth was just a half-blood. Why would Lucian allow Seth to be privy to such information?

  Then there was the business with the Council. I had this feeling I didn’t have many fans on the Council and my time with them was going to suck daimon butt.

  All of this made my brain sore.

  Groaning in frustration, I dropped my head on the keyboard. An immediate, shrill buzzing filled the otherwise quiet room, but I ignored it until I had a streak of brilliance. And it had nothing to do with the Apollyon, the Covenant, or Lucian.

  It had to do with Aiden.

  Lifting my head, I bit my lip and opened up an internet page. For the last week, I’d been scouring the internet for the perfect gift for Aiden’s birthday. Not just a birthday gift, but a peace offering, too. I figured I could get him something—I don’t know—special. I’d come up empty-handed for the most part, but tonight, I had an idea.

  It had to do with what I’d seen in his cottage that night—a ridiculous number of books, comics, and a colorful assortment of guitar picks. I’d thought then it’d been a strange thing to collect, but at least he didn’t collect something gross like body lint. Anyway, I knew there was one color he didn’t have—black. But I didn’t want to get him just some crappy, old plastic pick. I wanted—needed—something special.

  An hour later, I came across an online store dedicated to rare picks and I knew I’d found the perfect gift. They had one made out of onyx gemstone, and apparently it was a super extraordinary guitar pick. I had no idea why. Buying the thing would be hard, though. I hadn’t been trusted with a bank account for some reason.

  The next day I cornered Deacon before class started. “Can you do something for me?”

  “Anything for my favorite halfy. ” He gave me a little nod as he eyed Luke, who was gesturing wildly at the front of the class.

  “Halfy? Never mind. Forget it. You have credit cards, right?”

  He flicked a wayward curl out of his eyes and smiled. “Loads of them. ”

  I shoved a piece of paper in his face. I’d scribbled the name of the website and the stock number of the pick on it. “Can you order this for me? I’ll give you cash. ”

  Deacon glanced down at the paper and then lifted his head, looking at me. “Do I even want to know?”

  “Nope. ”

  “This is for my brother, isn’t it?”

  I felt my cheeks flush. “I thought you didn’t want to know. ”

  He folded up the paper and stuck it in his pocket, shaking his head. “I don’t. I’ll order it tonight. ”

  “Thanks,” I murmured, feeling overexposed.

  Staring at the front of the classroom while not really seeing anything the teacher wrote on the board, I hoped Aiden liked the pick—loved it. My muscles locked up at the idea of love and Aiden in the same sentence.

  Just because I was buying him a stupid little guitar pick didn’t mean anything. And just because I wanted to jump his bones didn’t mean I… loved him. Halfs didn’t love pures. So where had that thought even come from?

  I ignored Deacon for the rest of the class and slipped into a weird mood that lasted all day long. Not even Caleb and Olivia’s hilarious bickering at lunch snapped me out. Not even when Lea tripped in the hallway. Practice with Aiden couldn’t shake me out of the funk.

  Aiden’s tense and concerned gaze followed every one of my movements. I imagined he was waiting for me to fall asleep and crack my head or something.

  But I didn’t.

  By the end of practice, some of the tension had eased off his face and a lopsided grin appeared as he picked up my gym bag. “I want to do something different tomorrow. ”

  “Are you going to let me off my Saturday training?” I was only half-joking. The idea of lying around in bed all day did sound really nice.

  “No. That’s not what I was thinking. Not really. ”

  I reached out for my bag, but he held it back. I grinned. “What were you thinking?”

  “It’s kind of a surprise. ”

  “Oh. ” I perked up. “What is it?”

  Aiden chuckled. “It wouldn’t be a surprise if I told you, Alex. ”

  “I can act surprised tomorrow. ”

  “No. ” He laughed again. “That would kind of ruin it. ”

  “All right, but it better be good. ” I reached for the bag again, but Aiden caught my hand. His fingers wrapped around mine. Our hands fit perfectly together. Well, at least I thought so. A swarm of butterflies stirred in my stomach. My eyes flicked up, and I was immediately snared. I could always tell what Aiden was thinking by the color of his eyes.

  Generally, they were the palest shade of cool gray, but when they shifted, becoming an intense silver, I knew he was on the verge of doing something—something he probably shouldn’t, but something I really wanted him to do. Like right now they’d heated to a bright quicksilver.

  “It’s going to be good. ” Aiden’s gaze dropped to my lips. “I promise. ”

  “Okay,” I whispered.

  “Wear something warm tomorrow, but no workout clothes. ”

  “No workout clothes?” I echoed dumbly.

  “Meet me here at nine. ” He carefully placed the strap of my bag over my shoulder. His fingers lingered long enough to making breathing difficult. My skin still tingled from the brief, wonderful contact long after he’d left the room.

  After grabbing some food from the dining hall, Olivia and I walked back to our dorm. Neither of us had made it to the cafeteria in time to eat there. Apparently she and Caleb had had another fight.

  “I don’t know what
else to do. ” She clutched a can of soda in her hand so tightly I thought she’d crush it at any second. “One minute he’s hot and the next he’s cold. ”

  I didn’t know how much Caleb had told Olivia about what’d happened to him in Gatlinburg, so I was fairly limited on what I could tell her. “I know he really likes you. ” I decided that was the best tactic. “During the summer he totally obsessed over you. ”

  A light breeze played with her tight curls, tossing them across her face. “I know he likes me, but he’s just been so… I don’t know, off lately. All he cares about is what Seth is doing. Gods, it’s like he loves him. ”

  I focused on how the horizon and the sky blended seamlessly together, trying not to laugh. “Unfortunately, I think Caleb looks up to Seth. ”

  Olivia stopped walking. “I don’t get why everyone is so infatuated with Seth. ”

  “I’m not. ”

  “Then we’re the only halfs in the world that don’t think he’s awesome. ” She suddenly screeched, startling several seagulls. “I just don’t understand! Seth’s arrogant, rude, and he thinks he’s better than everyone else!”

  I stared at her, quickly ascertaining I wasn’t really good at girl-talk. I had no idea how we’d jumped from Caleb to Seth. “Is Caleb with him now?”

  A bit of the anger faded from her face. Olivia sighed, shaking her head. “No. We were hanging out in the rec room before dinner, and I asked him if he thought about where he would take a Sentinel post. You know, not a serious question, but a really important one. ”

  Nodding, I shifted my soda to my other hand, trying and failing to get my hair out of my face.

  “I mean, I know we say it’s nothing serious between us, but I think it is. ” She started walking again. “Anyway, we’re graduating in the spring, and they give us options. I was hoping Caleb and I could pick the same place or get posted close together so we could still see each other. ”

  “Okay… so what happened?”

  “He told me he hadn’t thought about it, and I was like, ‘What the hell?’ If I was important to him, then he would have thought about it. Right? So I told him that. ” The skin on her cheeks darkened. “And do you know what he said? ‘What’s the point of picking a place? In the end, the Council will determine where we go. ’ Well, duh—thanks for the newsbreak, asshat. That’s not the point. The point is we can hope that we end up together, right?”

  “Olivia, I don’t think it has anything to do with you. Right now…” I shifted, suddenly feeling warm even though it was an overcast, chilly day. “He told you about…”

  Unable to ignore the swamping heat flooding me, I stopped and drew in a shallow breath. My entire body tensed painfully.

  “Alex?” Olivia stepped closer. “Are you okay? You look really flushed. ”

  No. Oh. No. This could not be happening during the day and in front of Olivia. This was so unfair. On top of everything else, I was losing my—

  Delighted giggling drifted out of the courtyard. Then a very male and very pleased chuckle followed. There were more sounds, sounds indicating that either someone was in a lot of pain or having a lot of fun.

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