“You never tried to,” he said, without a trace of anger. “And it really doesn’t matter right now. All that matters is that you stay safe. Look, I got to go. Just stay in your room, at least until Telly leaves. I know he has to be back here by Friday because they are having a session.”
“All right,” I said. “Seth?”
I bit my lip, having no idea what I wanted to say to him. There was just so much, and none of it was anything I was willing to get into right now. “Nothing. I’ll…I’ll talk to you later.”
Seth hung up, without making me promise to stay out of trouble. I think he knew my word was just as good as his.
The next twenty-four hours crept by painfully slowly. I wasn’t allowed to leave my room. Food was brought to me by one of my babysitters. Besides them, I had no visitors. Bored out of my mind, I cleaned my bathroom and started to rearrange my closet, which ended with clothes strewn across the floor.
There was a moment when panic punched a hole through my chest. Was I making the right decision by not turning myself in?
I tried calling Seth a few times but that was a total bust. He eventually called back just after I’d changed for bed. We didn’t talk for long or about anything important. I think he was just surprised that I was still in my dorm and hadn’t done anything dumb yet.
It took hours of tossing and turning to drift off to sleep. But I didn’t stay asleep for long. I woke up while it was still dark, the comforter twisted around my legs.
I watched slivers of light slice across the ceiling, disappearing when the moon dipped behind a cloud outside my window. My brain immediately kicked into hyper drive, replaying everything that had happened with Telly, then with Aiden and Seth. What if Seth had been right and Telly had a way of finding out that it was Aiden? Or even if he didn’t, what if he did go after him? And it wasn’t just Aiden I cared about. What would it say about me if I let others be harmed so I skated through until the next time? Because there would be a next time—I knew it. And who would risk their future and their life then?
It wasn’t right or fair.
Sitting up, I swung my legs off the bed and stood. Cool air spread goosebumps over my bare legs. I grabbed a long, chunky sweater off the corner of my bed and slipped it over my tank top. Creeping to the window, I pried the blinds apart and peered outside. I couldn’t see anything in the darkness and I wasn’t even sure what I was looking for.
“What am I doing?” I asked myself.
“Absolutely nothing if I have anything to do with it.”
Shrieking, I dropped the blinds and spun around. Heart pounding, I squinted at the tall outline taking up the entire doorway to my bedroom. Once I recognized who it was, it did nothing to calm my racing heart. “Holy daimon babies! You gave me a heart attack.”
Aiden stepped forward, folding his arms. “Sorry about that.”
I pulled the sweater closer, staring at him. “What are you doing in my dorm?”
“You have a problem with guys in your dorm now?”
“Ha. Ha.” I hurried over to my bedside table and flipped on the lamp. A soft glow filled the room. “Actually, I never invited Seth in here. He just kind of made himself at home.”
A ghost of a smile appeared on his face. As always, he was in his Sentinel garb. Then it struck me. My mouth dropped open.
“You’re working, aren’t you?” I demanded.
“Well, there was a good chance that you’d try to sneak out and turn yourself in before Telly could leave in the morning. We were taking precautions just in case you did.”
“We?” I sputtered. “Is anyone else in here?”
“No, but Leon was in right after you fell asleep. Linard is patrolling the outside.” He paused. “I just switched shifts with Leon. I’m sorry if I woke you.”
I stared at him, dumbfounded. “You guys have been switching off in here while I slept? Last night, too?”
He nodded. “Thankfully, Marcus suggested the idea. Otherwise I have a feeling Linard would’ve been chasing you across the quad and stopping you before you ran off.”
“I’m not stupid.” My fingers curled around the edges of my sweater. “Do you really think I’d just up and go turn myself in to Telly in the middle of the night?”
He cocked his head to the side. “This is coming from the girl who once snuck out of the Covenant to find a daimon.”
Touché. “Whatever. I wasn’t planning to do anything like that again.”
I shook my head. There had been a part of me that had been considering it. “I couldn’t sleep. There’s a lot going on in my head.”
“That’s understandable.” His eyes drifted over me, settling on my cheek. “How is it?”
I tipped my head, shielding my face. “It’s fine.”
He looked away a moment, then his gaze swung back to me. “You’ve been through worse, I know, but still. You should’ve never had to deal with what you did… or with Jackson. Any of this really.”
“What do you mean?”
“Nothing—I’m just rambling.” Aiden’s shoulders relaxed as he glanced around the room. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been in here.”
I followed his gaze, which had landed on the bed. A warm flush went from my hair to the tips of my toes. A dozen or so vivid images danced in front of my eyes—all of them completely wrong considering everything that was going on.