Pure, p.19
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       Pure, p.19

         Part #2 of Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout
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Page 19


  “Gods, would it kill you to be a tiny bit nice? Oh. Wait. It would. So excuse me, I have stuff I need to do. ” I started for the door, but Seth caught my arm. His skin felt like fire. “Seth, come on. I have a freaking headache and—”

  His eyes searched my face. “What have you been doing today?”

  I started to get uncomfortable. “I’ve been training. What the hell else could I be doing?”

  “Training?” Seth laughed harshly. “Where?”

  “Here,” I said immediately.

  Seth’s eyes narrowed. “You little liar, I checked the training room for you. You weren’t there. ”

  Oh, crap.

  A smug smile inched across his face. “So I checked all the other training facilities, and the gym, and the beach, and finally your room. You weren’t in any of them. ”

  Oh, double crap.

  “So don’t lie to me. ” He backed me up until I hit the edge of the desk. “Your cheeks are blood red, your pulse has skyrocketed, and you’re a terrible liar. ”

  I clenched the edge of the desk. “I have no idea what you’re talking about. ”

  Seth bent down so we were eye level. “You don’t?”

  “No. ”

  “I’m going to ask you one more time, Alex. What were you doing today?”

  “Or what?” I demanded. “What are you going to do? And why do you even care?”

  “Because the emotions you were feeling today were outrageous. ”

  “Gods, this day will never end,” I muttered. Throbbing temples aside, I was pretty sure I had enough aggression in me to take out Seth at this point. “Who cares?”

  “I care because you were supposed to be training with Aiden today, and there is no reason you’d be feeling those kind…” Seth’s eyes widened. I swear, I’d never seen his pupils so dilated, and for someone who kept dragging me back to him, he sure let go of me awfully fast. “Oh. No, no, no. ”

  Apprehension blossomed, quickly turning my insides cold. “What?”

  “You wouldn’t. ” He ran his hand down the side of his face. “Wait. What am I saying? You would do something so incredibly stupid. ”

  I leaned against the desk. “Uh… gee, thanks. ”

  Seth shot forward, grasping my shoulders. I flinched, unable to suppress the natural response. “Please tell me I’m wrong. Tell me that you are not messing around with a godsdamned pure-blood. Damn it, Alex. Him? My gods, it explains so much. ”

  Anything and everything in my head sort of emptied out. My brain had this wonderful ability of doing so when I really needed to think fast.

  He laughed harshly. “Now I know why he hates me, at least. Why he’s always on you. I just figured it was in the figurative sense and not literal. What the hell are you thinking? What is he thinking? You’re going to throw everything away! Your future—my future—and for what? To get more pure in you?”

  Shrugging his hands off my shoulders for the umpteenth time, I snapped out of it. “You don’t have a clue what you’re talking about! I’m not messing around with Aiden. ”

  “Don’t you dare lie to me about something like this!” He shoved his finger in my face. I had the urge to break it. “You can’t do this, Alex. I will not allow this to continue. ” Seth started for the door.

  “No. No! Seth, stop! Please. ” This time I grabbed him, pulling him back from the door. “Please listen to me. It’s not what you think!”

  His eyes practically glowed he was so angry. “It’s not about what I think. It’s what I felt today!”

  “Please. Just listen to me for a second. ” My fingers dug into his arms. “You can’t say anything. They’ll—”

  “I’m not going to say anything to the Council, you little idiot. They would send you into servitude in a heartbeat. ” He pushed me off, swearing under his breath. “You know, I actually thought he might be different from the other pures, but he sure as hell doesn’t act any different. Screw a half; enslave a half. That’s what they say, Alex. ”

  “What are you doing? You can’t—”

  “I’m going to have a little talk with Aiden. ”

  I flew in front of him, plastering myself to the door. “You are so not going to talk to him! You’re going to try to fight him. ”

  “Quite possibly. Now get out of my way. ”

  “No. ”

  “Get out of the way, Alex,” he snarled. Edges of the Apollyon marks started creasing his otherwise flawless skin.

  “Okay,” I breathed, pressing against the door. “I’ll tell you the truth. All right—just please don’t do anything… stupid. ”

  “I don’t think you should be lecturing me on not doing anything stupid. ”

  I counted to ten. Now was not the time for me to lose my patience. “Nothing happened between Aiden and me. Okay? I do care about him, all right? I know it’s wrong. ” I closed my eyes, wishing the words didn’t hurt as much as they did. “I know it’s stupid, but nothing is going on between us. ”

  “What I felt from you today wasn’t nothing, Alex. You’re still lying to me. ”

  “Okay. We kissed, but—stop!” I pushed Seth back as he tried to pry me away from the door. “Listen to me. We did kiss, but it’s nothing. It was stupid—a mistake. It’s nothing to get all bent out of shape over. Okay?”

  He stared down at me, lips drawn tightly. Then he closed his eyes. Terse silence stretched out between us. “You… you love him, don’t you?”

  I stared at him, my heart thumping loudly. “No. No, of course I don’t. ”

  Seth nodded, running a hand over his face again. “Alex… Alex, you’re insane. ”

  Obviously, he didn’t believe me. I needed to make Seth understand that nothing needed to be done about this. There was no way he could go after Aiden. Gods only knew what Seth would do, or what Aiden would do. I could see them now, brawling on the beach. One thing would lead to another, and the Council would find out. The pures would dope me up to suppress the Apollyon in me and I’d be scrubbing floors for the rest of my life. Aiden would never forgive himself. I couldn’t let that happen. And then there was the idiot standing in front of me. If Seth attacked a pure, that would be it. The Council would move against Seth, and even though I wanted to strangle him, I didn’t want… well, I didn’t want anything to happen to him.

  Call it self-preservation.

  “Nothing’s going on,” I said. “Just promise me you won’t do anything. ”

  Seth stared at me so long the silence that enveloped us started to get to me. Then the tattoo started to sink back into his skin and he looked surprisingly calm.

  “You’re not going to do anything, right?”

  “No. ” Seth reached for me and pried my hand off the doorknob. “I’m not going to say anything. ”

  Relief, sweet and beautiful, flooded through me. I let out my breath. “Thank you. ”

  “You’re not going to ask why?”

  “No. ” I shook my head. “I’m not going to look a gifted horse in the mouth. ”

  “Do you even know what that means?”

  “Not really,” I said, “but it sounds about right. ”

  Seth arched a brow, and then tugged me away from the door. “Come on, let’s go. ”

  I spared our joined hands a brief glance. “Where are we going?”

  “We’re going to do some training, since you apparently didn’t do any of that today. ”

  “She poofed into nothing? Damn, that’s crazy. ”

  I stared at Caleb, wishing he would poof into nothing. “What is everyone’s big deal with the terminology? I swear to the gods, if one more person questions that, I’m going to lose it. ”

  “Poof,” Olivia whispered, grinning.

  I shot her a death glare. “Ha. Funny. ”

  “Sorry. ” She slid her arm around Caleb. Apparently, they’d made up at some point, again. That made me happy. I liked the way they looked at one another when they weren’t fighting. “I bet that was freaky
, though. ”

  “Freaky doesn’t even begin to describe it. ”

  “She was old as dirt,” Caleb said, “but still. The old crone was kind of entertaining. ”

  “Entertaining” wasn’t a word I’d use to describe Grandma Piperi. I leaned back in the moon chair and let my eyes drift shut as Olivia and Caleb started talking about the party they’d snuck off to last night. I felt a spark of jealousy and bitterness. I hadn’t been invited. Maybe Caleb thought I had more pure than half in me, too. Blech.

  I refocused my thoughts on Piperi. Even a few days later, I was still so wrapped up in the almost exposure of Aiden’s and my nonexistent relationship to give much thought to what she’d said before she’d died.

  The conversation I’d had with her didn’t make much sense—no big surprise there. The only thing important I’d picked out was about the guy who wasn’t who he appeared, that he had everyone fooled. If only she hadn’t poofed into nothing a second later, maybe she would’ve said his name, which would’ve helped tremendously. I didn’t share this part of the conversation with anyone. It seemed that whoever it was wasn’t a friend of mine. Then again, I couldn’t be sure. After that thought, I must’ve drifted off to sleep, because I jerked upright at the sound of my name.

  “Miss Andros. ”

  I peeled my eyes open and found Leon standing in the doorway to the rec room. “Yeah?”

  “You’re not supposed to be in here. ”

  Odd. When had Leon been assigned to be my babysitter? I only saw him around campus when he had terrible and urgent news to deliver. “Come on,” I whined.

  Caleb peered over the back of the couch. “She’s not bothering anyone. ”

  Leon didn’t even glance at Caleb. “Up. ”

  Caleb twisted toward me. “One of these days, you’ll be able to stay out and play. Then everything will be right in our world. ”

  Pulling myself out the chair, I rolled my eyes at Caleb. “Leon, can I have a playdate with my friends?” That got a giggle out of Olivia.

  Leon’s expression remained bland. “Perhaps you’d be allowed to have playdates if you stayed out of trouble for a whole week. ”

  “I guess that’s a no. ” Caleb grinned up at me. “So now you know what to do. Stay out of trouble for a whole week, Alex. A whole week. ”

  I smacked the back of Caleb’s head as I made my way past the couch. He swung out at me, but Olivia got in the way.

  “Bye!” Olivia chirped, already snuggling down beside Caleb.

  Giving them a little wave, I followed Leon out of the lounge. I felt a little uncomfortable walking beside him. The man was almost seven feet tall and looked like he belonged on the pro wrestling circuit. Not to mention, I didn’t know how much Leon knew. I remembered how unsurprised he’d looked when Marcus had mentioned me being the Apollyon.

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