The Myths and Legends book stared up at me. I bent quickly and grabbed it. Somehow, during all the craziness, I’d forgotten about it. Sitting down, I cracked open the dusty thing and began searching for the section Aiden had mentioned in New York.
I had no luck in the part written in English. Sighing, I flipped to the front of the book and started skimming the pages covered in what looked like gibberish to me. My fingers stilled about a hundred pages in, not because I recognized any of the writing, but because I recognized the symbol at the top of the page.
It was a torch turned down.
There were several pages written in ancient Greek, completely useless to me. They should be teaching that instead of trig at the Covenant, but what did I know? Then again, the pures were taught the old language.
Aiden knew the old language—kind of nerdy, in a totally hot way.
If I could find out more about the Order, then maybe we could get the evidence needed to prove that something crazy was up with Telly and Romvi. I wasn’t a hundred percent sure that it had anything to do with what had happened, but it was much better than Seth’s suggestion.
The last thing we needed was an uprising… or one of us killing another pure-blood.
LATER THAT NIGHT, WHEN I WAS HALF ASLEEP, I HEARD the familiar click of my door unlocking. I rose onto my elbow, pushing the mess of hair out of my face. The fine shiver tiptoeing down my spine told me it was Seth. Locks didn’t stand a chance against him. He either melted them or used the element of air to unlatch them from the other side.
He stopped just inside the doorway. His eyes were a soft, tawny glow in the dark.
Surprised to see him, it took me a few moments to say anything. “You’re not supposed to be in my dorm this late, Seth.”
“Has that ever stopped me before?” He sat on the edge of my bed and I could feel his gaze on me. “You’ve been in a much better mood this evening.”
“And here I thought I was getting better at blocking you.”
“You are. You did really well at practice today.”
“Is that why you’re here?” I heard him kick off his shoes. “Because I’m less likely to throw food at you right now?”
“Maybe.” I could hear the smile in his voice.
“I was beginning to think you found your own bed more appealing.”
“You missed me.”
I shrugged. “Seth, about Jackson—”
“I’ve already told you. I didn’t have anything to do with that. And why would I do such a bad, bad thing?”
“I don’t know why. Maybe because you’re psychotic?”
Seth laughed. “‘Psychotic’ is such an extreme term. That would suggest I don’t feel guilty about my actions.”
I arched a brow. “My point exactly.”
When he pulled back the covers, I scooted over and watched him slide his legs under them. He eased onto his side, facing me. “You do realize I have a guard detail. They’ll know you’re in here.”
“I passed Linard on my way in.” He brushed back a stand of hair that had fallen across my cheek, tucking it behind my ear. His hand lingered. “He told me I was breaking the rules. I told him to bite me.”
“And what did he say to that?”
Seth’s hand dropped to my shoulder, covering the thin strap of my tank top. The cord inside me started to hum softly. “He didn’t look too happy. Said he was going to report me to Marcus.”
My heart dropped a little. There was no doubt in my mind that meant Aiden would hear about this; Aiden had to be aware of Seth’s sleeping habits. Knots formed in my stomach as I stared at Seth. I’m not with Aiden. I’m not with Aiden. I’m not doing anything wrong. Tension still dug into my muscles.
“Not that Marcus can really do anything about it.” He leaned over, gently guiding me down so that I was lying on my back. His fingers glided under the strap, and I shivered as his rough knuckles brushed over my collarbone. “He’s just the Dean.”
“And my uncle,” I pointed out. “I doubt he likes the idea of boys sleeping in my bed.”
“Hmm, but I’m not just any boy.” He tipped his head down. His hair fell forward, shielding his face. “I’m the Apollyon.”
My chest rose sharply. “The rules… still apply to you and me.”
“Ah, I remember this girl who couldn’t follow a simple rule even if her life depended on it.” He angled his head, which caused his nose to brush mine. “And I think what we’re doing, right now, is the least shocking rule you’ve broken.”
I flushed as I put my hands on his chest, stopping him from overcoming that last inch or two that separated us. “People change,” I said lamely.
“Some people do.” He placed his arm beside my head, supporting himself.
The cord was really starting to go crazy, demanding that I pay attention to it. My toes curled. “Did you come here to talk about the rules I’ve broken or what?”
“No. I actually had a reason for coming.”
“And that is?” I shifted uncomfortably, trying to ignore the way my skin, especially the palms of my hands, started to tingle. Thank the gods he had a shirt on.
“Give me a second.”
I frowned. “Why do—”
Seth dipped his head, brushing his lips over mine, and being caught between wanting to clamp my mouth shut and wanting to open for him was a frustrating feeling. I ached to be near him as equally as I did to be away from him.
“That’s… that’s why you came here?” I asked when he lifted his head.
“It wasn’t the main reason.”
“Then why are you—” His mouth cut my words off, and the kiss deepened, stealing my protests. The cord tightened as his hand slipped down my arm, over my stomach and under the hem of my shirt.
He smiled against my lips. “I have to travel with Lucian over winter break. I won’t return until the end of February”
“What?” The cord’s buzzing was getting excessive, making it hard to concentrate. I was kind of surprised that he’d leave so close to my eighteenth birthday, since I’d figured he’d camp inside my room in the weeks leading up to my Awakening. “Where are you going?”
“To the New York Covenant,” he answered, sliding his other hand into my hair. “There have been some problems that demand the Council’s attention.”
Some of the fuzziness receded. “I want to go with you. My father is—”
“No, you can’t go. It’s not safe for you there.”
“I don’t care. I want to go. I have to see my father.” By the look on Seth’s face, I could tell I wasn’t gaining any ground. “You’ll be there. Nothing will happen. And I’d be less safe here without you.” The last words physically hurt to say, but I threw pride under the bus. Seeing my father was that important.
Seth’s lips tipped up, enjoying that little ego stroke. “Marcus has assured Lucian that you’ll be well protected. Your darling pure-blood would slit his wrists before he let anything happen to you.”
“What?” He moved his hand up until it rested under my rib cage. “It’s the truth. And Leon and Linard will be here, watching over you. You’ll be fine.”
I wasn’t scared of being left behind. I just wanted to see my father. “Seth, I have to go.”
He kissed my lower lip, which had scarred just a little. “No, you don’t. And you’re not going. Not even I could get Lucian to agree to take you back to that hellhole.”
My mind raced frantically, trying to find a way to convince him.
“And don’t even think about sneaking off, because everyone is expecting you to do that. I don’t think I’ll be able to sense much from you when we’re that far apart, but from the moment I leave, someone will be watching you. So don’t even think it. I’m serious.”
“I don’t need a damn babysitter.”
“Yes, you do.” His lips found my chin next. “The girl who can’t follow rules to save her own life is still inside you.”
“You’re an asshole.”
“Been called worse by you, so I’ll take that as a compliment.” He grinned even though I knew he felt the fury rising in me.
“When do you leave?” I asked, trying to keep my voice steady.
“I’m leaving Sunday night, so you’re completely stuck with me until then.” He kissed the hollow of my throat.
“Great,” I muttered. Classes would be suspended on Wednesday. Almost all the pures left for super-posh vacations, which meant most of the Guards would be gone, protecting them. Some of the halfs would be out of here—anyone who still kept in contact with a mortal parent or was on good terms with a pure-blood one. There was still a chance I could sneak out, but how in the hell would I get to New York? I didn’t even have a driver’s license, but that was the least of my problems.
I’d have to get to New York without getting killed in the process.
Seth kissed me again and I debated pulling his hair out by the fistful while the bond between us tried its best to choke the living crap out of me.
“Why do you have to go, anyway?” I asked when he took a breather. I needed something—anything—to focus on that would take the edge off the cord that was tightening and tightening.
He twined strands of my hair around his fingers. “There’s a problem with the… servants in the Catskills.”
“What?” Dread blossomed in my stomach, growing as quickly as a weed. “What do you mean?”
“Some of them disappeared after the attack. Their bodies weren’t found and no daimons escaped.” Another quick, deep kiss before he spoke again. “And something appears to be wrong with the elixir.”
“Do you know anything about the ones who disappeared?” I caught his wrist before the hand crept any higher under my shirt.
“I don’t believe your father is among the missing, but as soon as I can confirm that I’ll let you know.” He lowered himself down, and since I’d grabbed his wrist, there was nothing to stop him. “I don’t want to talk anymore. I’m going to be gone for weeks.”
His weight made the cord extremely happy, and I struggled to pay attention. “Seth, this… this is important. What happened with the elixir?”
He sighed. “I don’t know. It doesn’t appear to be working as strongly.”
“Yeah, the halfs… are becoming self-aware. Kind of like the computers in Terminator.”
Odd comparison, but I got what he meant. And whoa—that was some serious stuff right there. The elixir was a mix of herbs and chemicals that worked to keep a half-blood compliant and dazed. Without it, I doubted the halfs in servitude would be thrilled with their lot in life. “It seems to be working here.”
“That’s the thing. It’s working everywhere but there. The Council wants us there to make sure nothing happens in New York, especially after the attack.”