Pure, p.31
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       Pure, p.31

         Part #2 of Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout
 
Page 31

 

  “So?” He patted the bed again. “He’s not even in his room. He’s downstairs with the rest of the pures. They’re having their opening party fest. ”

  “It doesn’t matter. ” I climbed over his legs and sat beside him. “This bed sharing thing has to stop. ”

  Seth looked up at me, his face the picture of innocence. “Why? It keeps the nightmares away, doesn’t it?”

  A retort died on my lips. Damn him.

  “You haven’t had one in a while. What did I tell you about needing—?”

  “Oh, shut up. ”

  Seth chuckled, and then told me about his first visit to the New York Covenant. I told him about some of the towns Mom and I had lived in. After a while, his eyes drifted shut and there were no more stories. I watched him for a few moments. What in the world was I supposed to do with him?

  I eased down onto my side, careful not to wake him. I stared at the scruffy white wall for what seemed like hours. My mind wouldn’t shut down, which was strange. Usually Seth’s presence easily lured me into sleep.

  Tonight was different. I missed Caleb, hated where I was, and wished more than anything that things could be different between Aiden and me. Tonight I felt more alone than I ever had before. Maybe everything seemed so much more real here, so much more cold and stark. Seeing Hector slaughtered had destroyed whatever little seed of hope I’d still carried deep inside me that there would be this wild, beautiful fairytale ending when it came to Aiden.

  Beside me, Seth’s breathing slowed into a deep, steady rhythm. I flipped onto my back and looked at him.

  Seth was staring at me, definitely not asleep. He looked curious and even a bit confused. In this miniscule bed, lying on my back gave him little room. As it was, he already was using one arm as a pillow and his other was clamped to his side. I sucked in my lower lip and sat up. Reaching behind me I picked up the pillow and offered it to him. He took it, his eyes narrowing inquisitively. We stared at each other, and then Seth seemed to understand. I expected him to say something conceited or dirty.

  But he said nothing. Quietly, he lifted up and slid the pillow under his head. Then he lay down on his back and stretched out his right arm. His chest rose sharply as he waited. I ran a hand over my face and squeezed my eyes shut. What was I doing?

  I didn’t really know. I was tired and I hated this place. The room was cold, the coarse blanket was left on the floor, I wanted Aiden… and I stopped making excuses. I lay down, resting my head on the crook between his shoulder and chest. My heart pounded strangely.

  Seth remained still for a minute, maybe two. Then he moved his arm down, circling my waist, pulling me closer. My body fit against his, my hand resting on his chest. Under my palm, his heart hammered as wildly as mine.

  CHAPTER 16

  “ARE YOU FEELING UNWELL?”

  “Huh?” I looked up from my untouched plate.

  Marcus eyed me curiously. “You haven’t eaten any of your breakfast. ”

  I glanced over at Aiden. He also watched me. So did Seth. Laadan’s eyes were on me, too, except she kind of had this nostalgic look about her, as if she really wasn’t seeing me.

  This breakfast was a whole lot of awkward.

  My gaze settled back on Aiden and I couldn’t stop the image of the pure-blood Guard stabbing Aiden in the back from flashing through my mind. I felt the blood slide out of my face.

  Aiden put his glass of orange juice down. “Alex?”

  “Yeah… I just didn’t get much sleep last night. ” I could feel Seth’s eyes boring through me. “It’s just being in a new place and all. ”

  “Is your room not to your liking?” asked Marcus.

  “Have you seen my room?” I debated shoving forkfuls of egg in my mouth, but the way Aiden studied me over the rim of his glass, it didn’t sound like a good idea. “If you can even consider that box a room. ”

  Marcus sat back, crossing one leg over his knee. “I haven’t seen your room, but I’m sure it’s not that—”

  “Marcus, what time are the sessions this morning?” asked Laadan.

  Distracted, he glanced at his watch. “They should be starting shortly. ”

  I sent Laadan a grateful smile, and she winked as she twirled her glass of

  champagne. Drinking champagne this early in the morning appeared sophisticated and cool to me, and so did the awesome green dress she wore. It was demure, with little cap sleeves.

  The scratching of Seth’s chair across the marble tile sounded harsh. “Alex, it’s time for practice. ”

  Aiden glanced over his shoulder at Seth. “She hasn’t eaten anything. ”

  “Then at least she’ll eat her lunch,” Seth replied.

  Hardness crept across Aiden’s face. “Or you could give her a few minutes to eat her breakfast before she starts practice. ”

  “Hmm… I’m having this strange sense of déjà vu, except you were telling me to stay out of your training business, and I told you how weird—”

  “That’s funny. ” Aiden’s full lips twisted into a smirk. “I’m having the same feeling, except I said you should—”

  “Oh, for the love of baby daimons everywhere, I’m ready to start practice. ” I pushed up from the chair.

  Aiden twisted around, his eyes narrowing into thin slits. I grabbed my glass of juice and took a healthy swallow while Laadan watched on with amused interest. “Happy?”

  “Do they do this often?” she asked, taking a sip from her crystal flute.

  Marcus cleared his throat. “Do you even have to ask?”

  “What?” Seth scowled, turning his beauty even colder. “What do we—”

  “Dean Andros, I’ve been looking for you. There are some things I’d like to talk with you—oh, is this the infamous Alexandria?”

  I tensed, recognizing the voice. Minister Telly. I met Seth’s stare for an instant, and then I forced my body to turn around. Seeing him after he’d ordered Hector’s death caused my stomach to sour. I smiled—probably looked more like a grimace—but I tried.

  Telly’s gaze drifted over me in a wholly condemning matter. “So this is what all the fuss is about?”

  That plucked the wrong nerve. “I guess so. ”

  He smiled faintly. “Well, there has been a lot of uproar surrounding what you’ve

  accomplished. Many rumors have spread, claiming you have already killed daimons. I am curious if this is true. How many daimons have you killed?”

  Vaguely, I sensed Seth moving around the table. Odd that I knew where he was in a room. “I’ve killed three. ”

  “Oh. ” Telly’s brows rose. “Impressive. And how many innocent people have you thrown into harm’s way? Or gotten killed?”

  Blood came rushing back to my face. Telly’s smile spread, becoming genuine. He was getting off on seeing me squirm.

  “Seth? Isn’t it time for Alex’s practice?” asked Aiden.

  If Seth was humored by Aiden’s sudden change, he didn’t express it. “Why, yes. Excuse us, Minister Telly, but we must—”

  I met Telly’s icy stare. “One. ”

  “One what, dear?”

  Everyone behind me probably stopped breathing. “I’ve gotten one innocent person killed, and I don’t know how many I’ve put in harm’s way—maybe dozens. ”

  Seth swore under his breath.

  Telly’s eyes flared wide for a second, filled with shock. “Is that so?”

  Surprisingly, it was Marcus who came to my rescue. He slid in front of me, blocking the Minister’s hostile glare. “Minister Telly, there were a few things I wished to discuss with you also. If it pleases you, would now be a good time?”

  Without waiting for Telly’s response, Seth grabbed hold of my arm and pulled me away from the table. He waited until we were a step away from the doors. “Gods, you just cannot keep your mouth shut. ”

  “Whatever. ” I yanked my arm free and stepped outside. The thermal and sweats I wore were no protection against the
biting wind.

  Seth seemed unfazed by the chilly air. He held his hand up as we walked toward the labyrinth, a small ball of blue energy formed in his open palm. “He is not someone you want as an enemy. ”

  The little ball went up, then down, then up in his palm. My inner golden retriever couldn’t look away. “I don’t think he liked me to begin with. ”

  “Still, you don’t need to make it worse. ”

  His tone pissed me off. “You know what, you need to stay out of my bedroom. You have your own. ”

  He smiled. “I know I do. I see it quite often. I just prefer your bed. It smells better. ”

  I made a face. “It smells better? What does your bed smell like? Regret and bad taste?”

  Seth chuckled. “Wherever you sleep, it smells like you. ”

  “Gods, that has to be the creepiest thing I’ve heard in a long time. And that is… that is saying something, Seth. ”

  “You smell like roses and summer. ” He tossed the ball a little higher. “I like it. ”

  I choked. “I smell like summer? For real? Summer?”

  “Yeah, you know. Warm. You always smell warm. ”

  Two pures passed us, glancing over their shoulders at Seth’s little display of power. I started to smile at their shared looks of shock, but remembered I was supposed to be mad. “I don’t care if you like the way I smell, you freak. ”

  “It’s not like Marcus is going to walk in. ” The ball grew bigger, swallowing his hand. “That’s why I locked the door. He can’t interrupt our cuddle-fest. ”

  “That’s not the point, and would you put that away!” I snapped.

  Seth was quiet for a whole minute—a new record for him. “Don’t worry; you’ll be able to do this one day. And you’d miss me if I didn’t want to cuddle. ”

  “That’s not true. ”

  He cast me a sideways glance that said he remembered me cuddling up against him last night. I groaned, wanting to smack him with every fiber of my being. But he did put the ball of energy away as we cleared the labyrinth and the amphitheater came into view. A shudder ran through me that had nothing to do with the temperature. “Where are we going?”

  “Not in there. ”

  “Well, I figured that much. ” I followed him around the building, refusing to look at it. Just like the servants we passed on the way refused to look at us.

  Behind the Council building I could finally see the actual Covenant. A wrought iron fence surrounded the campus grounds. While our school looked like something straight out of Greece on a good day, theirs looked like a medieval fortress with creepy turrets and towers that rose out of the fog. Behind the sprawling structure, I could see the tops of gray buildings I assumed were the dorms.

  I noticed the designs in the fence as we neared it. “What’s up with the torch thing?”

  “Huh?”

  “These downward torch things. ” I pointed one out on the fence, “They’re everywhere here. ”

  “Yeah, I’ve noticed that. They’re a symbol of Thanatos. ”

 
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