Pure, p.14
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       Pure, p.14

         Part #2 of Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout
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Page 14


  “I’ve felt you a couple of times—at night. Like when you’re doing… your thing. ”

  He gave a short laugh, and then it seemed to hit him. His mouth dropped open. “Doing my thing?”

  “Yeah,” I said, growing frustrated. Did I have to spell it out for him? “Just forget I said anything. ”

  “No. Not likely. What did you feel?”

  This really did suck. It was also mortifying and beyond freaky. “You know, fooling around. I’ve felt… you then. ”

  Seth stared at me so long I thought he lost the ability to speak. Then, when I was just starting to get worried, he threw his head back and laughed. Really loudly—and he didn’t stop.

  I gaped at him. “It’s not funny!”

  “Oh, it’s probably the funniest damn thing I’ve heard in a long time. ” He stopped long enough to draw in a deep breath. “This is great. ”

  “It’s not great. What kind of connection is this? A one-way hotline to Pervyville?” I took a step forward, on a roll now. “It’s disgusting. Freaky—stop laughing, Seth!”

  “I can’t,” he gasped. “Of all the times for you to connect with me, and it had to be then? Damn Alex, I didn’t know you’re such a peeping—”

  I hit him hard on the arm. It wasn’t a playful tap. It would bruise. I wanted to do more—like kick him in the head.

  “Jeez. And you’re so violent. Do you know how hot—”

  I swung at him again, but this time Seth was prepared. He dodged my fist and caught me around the waist. Before I could even break his hold, he flipped me onto my back. This time he hovered above me, arms planted on either side of my head. A wild and beautiful smile chipped away at some of the coldness in his face. Not all of it, but some. “This is priceless. ”

  “You are so annoying. ”

  That seemed to amuse him even more. He laughed so hard I felt it rumble through me. Not in the way Aiden’s laugh usually did. Aiden’s laugh made me feel all light and fluttery. Seth’s made me feel weird—flushed and weird. And a part of me wanted to hear it again—or feel it again. Which was wrong—all kinds of wrong—because I didn’t think of him that way. At least my brain didn’t. My body, on the other hand, had a totally different viewpoint on these things.

  My body must be a sad, lonely thing.

  “You know,” Seth grinned, “you probably shouldn’t have told me this. I’m going to take advantage—Alex, what are you doing?”

  I didn’t get what he was talking about at first. Then my eyes dropped and I saw my hand pressed against his stomach, my fingers curling around his shirt. How in the world did my hand get there, because surely—surely, I didn’t do that?

  Seth appeared on the verge of saying something ignorant, like always, but he became very, very still. I don’t even think he breathed. Slowly, I lifted my gaze and found what I expected. Swirling glyphs spread across the left side of his face. The intricate markings etched down his neck and disappeared under the hem of his black shirt, reappearing on his left arm and coming to stop over his hand.

  And Seth, well, Seth was no longer laughing. Those odd eyes caught mine and flared a heated tawny. He lowered his head; the loose strands of hair brushed my cheeks. I jerked my hand back, but he was still close, way too close. So I did the only thing suitable in situations like these. I shoved my knee into his stomach—hard.

  He rolled off me, onto his back, laughing once more. “Crap, Alex, why did you go and do that? Actually kind of hurt, you know?”

  I scrambled off the bed, putting as much distance between us as possible. “I hate you. ”

  “No you don’t. ” He tipped his head back, his gaze finding me. “I guess this was bound to happen. The more time we spend together, the more we’ll start connecting. It is the way of the Apollyons. ”

  “Just go somewhere, why don’t you?”

  Seth flipped onto his stomach and rested his chin in his hands. “I’d love to. I could go for seconds with Elena right about now. ”

  I let out a groan and rolled my eyes. “No one is stopping you. ”

  “True, but then you’d fall asleep after pacing or reading some incredibly boring textbook and have another nightmare about Mommy, and then I’ll be awake all night long. ” He arched one blond brow at me. “I do need my beauty sleep. ”

  I glared at him. “You’re not staying here again, Seth. You have a bed—several, actually. Go. ”

  “You didn’t care the last couple of times. ”

  “Because … well, those times were different,” I sputtered, running a hand over my hair. Turning around, I started grabbing clothes off the floor. “I didn’t know you were staying. You just helped yourself. ”

  Seth sighed. “You don’t like any of this, do you?”

  “No. I don’t like not being in control. You know that. ” I grabbed another shirt. I also didn’t like the fact that my body reacted to him even though my heart didn’t. “It’s about having control over—” I dropped the clothes and straightened. “Remember what you said to me during the summer, the night you were in my room?”

  He looked confused. “Not really. ”

  I took a deep breath, searching for patience I didn’t have. “You promised me that you would leave if things got out of hand. Do you remember that?”

  Seth’s lips pursed. “Yes, I do. ”

  “Do you still mean it?” I stepped forward, standing in front of him. “Do you?”

  “Yes. I still mean that. I made you a promise. I keep my promises. ” Seth reached out and grabbed my hand. With a gentle tug, he pulled me down beside him. Whatever relief I felt was short-lived. “Do you know what I find interesting?”

  I watched him wearily. “What?”

  He turned his head toward me. “You’ve never shown any interest in getting to know me better. You don’t know a thing about me. ”

  “That’s not true. ”

  His lips curled into a sardonic grin as he let go of my hand. “You don’t even know my last name, Alex. ”

  Well, he didn’t need a last name. Seth was just Seth to me.

  “You don’t even know where I’m from, if my mom was a pure or my dad,” he continued. “I bet you don’t even know how old I am. ”

  I started to protest, but Seth was right. We’ve known each other for about four months, give or take a week or two, and I didn’t know anything about him. In all of the time we’d spent together, in training or when he showed up in my room, we never talked about anything personal. And I never cared to even ask. I frowned. Was I truly that self-centered?

  Seth sighed. “You have this one-track mind thing going on. ”

  I looked at him sharply. “You can’t read my thoughts, right?”

  “No. But that doesn’t mean some of what you think isn’t as obvious as reading your thoughts. ” He turned to me. “Everything you think, everything you feel is always right on your face. You’re terrible at hiding your emotions. Or what you’re thinking. Like I said: one track mind. Whether it’s getting back into the Covenant, fighting your Mom or fighting your fate or that… special person in your life. ”

  “I don’t have a special person in my life!” I felt my cheeks start to burn again. “I have no idea where you come up with these things. ”

  One side of his lips curled upward as he met my stare. “I’m nineteen. ”

  I blinked. “Huh?”

  Seth’s eyes rolled. “I’m nineteen years old. ”

  “Oh. Oh. Only nineteen—wow. I thought you were older than that. ”

  “Well, I don’t know if I should be offended or flattered. ”

  “Flattered, I guess. ”

  A few moments passed before he spoke again. “I’m from a tiny island near Greece. ”

  “Ah, that explains your voice—the accent. What island?”

  Seth shrugged and didn’t respond. Sharing and caring time seemed to be over. Why had I never thought to try to get to know Seth any better? After all, I was going to be stuck with h
im for a while.

  I bit my lip. “Do you think I’m self-centered?”

  A surprised laugh escaped him. “Why are you asking?”

  “Because you said I have a one track mind. And everything you listed had to do with me, like I don’t think about anything or anyone other than me. ”

  Seth let out a ragged sound and came to his feet. “Do you want me to be honest?”

  “Yes. ”

  Several seconds passed as he stared down at me. “Sometimes, Alex, you have more pure in you than you do half. ”

  My mouth dropped open, shocked that he would say that about me.

  He ran a hand over his head. “Look, I’ve got some stuff I need to do. I’ll see you later. ”

  I didn’t say anything as he climbed back out the window. I sat on the bed; the fun of finding something pretty to wear tomorrow had lost most of its appeal.

  You have more pure in you than you do half.

  It was a terrible thing to say to a half-blood, like I was a disgrace who couldn’t be trusted—a sellout, phony, and fake. That if it came down to choosing between a half

  and a pure, I’d choose the pure.

  I think something crawled into my hair and made a nest during the night, because nothing I did—no curling iron, no flat iron—seemed to make it do what I wanted. One side wanted to settle in waves, while the other looked like limp spaghetti.

  Maybe I was being overly critical of myself, but I truly believed that the dark smudges under my eyes made me look like I’d entered the first stage of a zombie infection. I’d put on too much lip gloss, and then rubbed my lips raw getting it off and reapplying. The mountain of concealer I’d put on the disgustingly huge zit on my temple made it seem even bigger.

  I finally tore myself away from the bathroom mirror when I made a grab for the lip gloss again. I settled on a pair of skinny jeans—not the designer kind Olivia wore, more like the Target brand. I chose a deep red sweater that dipped a little low in the neckline area, and these killer heels I’d stolen from Olivia’s closet.

  But before I ran out to meet up with Aiden, I was struck dumb by the cold possibility that this could be some sort of field experience. It definitely wasn’t a date, so what the hell was I doing?

  And if I would be training, then I’d look stupid in heels and my boobs would fall out. While that sounded pretty entertaining for the masses, somehow I doubted Aiden would appreciate it. So with no time to spare, I slipped on a pair of checkered flats and a more sensible top—a black, cable knit sweater.

  I made it to the training room late, of course.

  “Sorry,” I said as soon as I spotted Aiden’s dark head by the wall of things that stabbed, out of breath from running across the quad. “I… I had to do something…”

  Every single excuse I’d practiced on the way over leaked out of my mouth when I got a really good look at Aiden. He wore a pair of worn jeans, the kind that looked so comfy you wanted to climb into them. He also had on this gray sweater, and gods, oh, gods, did it look good on him—like it’d been crafted to just fit the strong expanse of his shoulders, his chest, his arms, and so on.

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