Sun Kissed (Guardian Angel #2) - Page 2
“You’ve rolled your ankle. You can’t go to the medical building; they’ll see you’ve had alcohol. I imagine you’re still walking on thin ice with the school?”
“Very thin.” I sighed.
He leaned down and wrapped his arm around my waist, shifting most of my weight onto him. I ignored the electricity I felt when our skin touched and the way my stomach muscles tensed. His cologne surrounded us. I took a deep breath as it entered my nostrils, it was so intoxicating. Oh how I missed it.
Eli and I had to sign into the girl’s dorms before we were allowed in. After my little adventure, all students and teachers had to sign in and out of dorm rooms, every single time.
“Mr De Luca, it’s good to see that you’re back. Miss Moore has already managed to use up your time, I see.”
Mrs Ploit peered over her reading glasses and looked down her nose at me.
I glared at her; Mrs Ploit still held a grudge against me. After my ‘stunt’ she got into a lot of trouble for letting a student out.
“I’m just glad to be back. Ruby was walking and rolled her ankle. She’ll be fine; I’m just assisting her to her dorm.” Eli smiled.
“In those heels I’m surprised she didn’t break her neck.” Mrs Ploit scowled.
“Yes, they are a bit high, aren’t they?”
I rolled my eyes. I hated being spoken about like I wasn’t there. Teachers, parents, and bosses do it all the time.
“I’m in room four zero two now,” I interrupted.
Eli raised an eyebrow and nodded his head at my change in dorm rooms.
“I take it Sam isn’t coming back?”
Eli asked as we reached my dorm.
“Not for a while, and Mila managed to convince Aleksandrov into letting us share a room.”
I pulled the dorm key out from my bra. His lips twitched, fighting a smile.
“What? I don’t have a purse that matches my dress.”
We entered and Eli sat me down on the bed with a purple satin duvet, my bed.
“Do you have a first aid kit?”
I pointed to the bathroom. “Under the sink.”
He got the kit and returned, then he kneeled before me and removed my shoe. I swear I could hear the electricity that crackled along my skin as an aftermath of his touch. How does he do this to me? He began bandaging my foot and my skin erupted in goose bumps as his skin glided against mine.
“Is this what you’ve been doing whilst I’ve been gone?”
A hint of frustration laced his words. I knew he was talking about the drinking.
“No, this is a first,” I muttered, intimidated by his cold voice. “You didn’t have to help me, Hunter wou —”
“Hunter? He was feeding you alcohol all night. He wouldn’t have done anything other than take adv —” his words were cut off by a deep exhale. He closed his eyes, regaining his composure. Eli’s lips were held in an impassive line.
“He didn’t force me to drink it, he offered it and I took it. I just wanted to stop thinking about you and… have fun.”
Damn you, alcohol, for magnifying my emotions. I pressed my tongue hard against the roof of my mouth. I read once that it stops you from crying, so far so good. When Eli had finished bandaging my ankle, he sat on Mila’s bed, opposite me.
“You didn’t even tell me you were going… if it was payback for what I did to you, then fine, I get it, but you were gone for three months.” Tears began welling in my eyes and my words choked in my throat. “Three months, Eli. I had no idea whether you were alive or dead, and my tattoo washed off in the shower … How was I supposed to take that?”
His usual bright green eyes turned bleak as he ran his fingers briefly through his dark hair.
“I’m sorry I put you through that, but now I’m not your problem and you’re not mine.”
I flinched at the harshness of his words. “What does that mean?”
“It means that I’m no longer your guardian angel. You’re no longer being targeted by anyone specifically, you don’t need me.”
“I do need you.”
I hated sounding so needy and childish, but I did need him. I tried for months to convince myself that I didn’t, but seeing him tonight made me realize that I needed him more than anything.
“Because of you, I was interrogated for months on end! I was treated like a prisoner. I’m not going through that again.” Eli’s voice was loud and angry. Frustration marred his face. All his careful control evaporated and afterward, we were stuck in a long silence.
“What did the higher power want?”
“I didn’t see him. I saw a bunch of gods and goddesses and they wanted a reason why I killed Tay; you aren’t allowed to kill a fellow guardian angel. Even a guardian angel that has committed the worst crime is entitled to a hearing. I also had to defend an inappropriate relationship between us.” He paused as he contemplated what to say next. “I’m just thankful I got us both out of that shit-storm.”
His calm demeanor returned and relief flooded my body. Now I was certain Tay wouldn’t come after me, but at the same time, sorrow battled against the relief. I could see how upset Eli was that Tay was dead, and I was the reason why.
“I have to go and register with the school again.” He left the bed and walked over to the door, pausing before he opened it. “Stay out of trouble.”
I nodded and watched as he shut the door behind him. Tears spilled over the rims of my eyes. Eli was back, so why was I feeling so depressed? I had imagined I’d be happy … This was the day I’d been waiting months for, and yet I wanted it to be over already. I hopped over to my cupboard, feeling like an idiot. I think bed was the best option for me at this point. I unzipped my dress from the side and stepped out of it as it fell into a rumpled heap on the floor beneath my feet. I slid a nighty over my head. The silk fabric was cool against my skin, causing goose bumps to raise a little.
I paused for a few moments. I was unsure if I wanted to see anyone, even Eli or Hunter. I hobbled over to the door. If it was Eli, it would be nice to drink in a few more of his features before going to sleep. The smile I met on the other side of the door wasn’t Eli’s.
“Ruby, there you are!” Hunter smirked, glancing amusingly over my choice of bed clothes.
“Hunter, what are you doing here? And how did you get past Mrs Ploit?”
He leaned up against the frame of my door.
“I told Mrs Ploit I needed to check up on my date. I only have —” He checked his watch. “Three more minutes before she ‘drags me out by my ear.’ Although, she did mention that Eli had already made sure you got back okay.” He glanced briefly at the bandage on my ankle.
The last part of his sentence was tainted with frustration … or jealousy. I’ve only heard Hunter speak in a joking, sarcastic or smart ass manner, and that made it difficult to determine the new tones I was hearing.
“I rolled my ankle and Eli showed up and helped me.”
He grabbed my hand.
“How convenient,” he muttered. “Come to dinner with me tomorrow night, at La Hope?”
La Hope was a romantic restaurant and dessert bar in Sage town.
“Hunter, I went to the dance with you. We had fun and we danced, but that doesn’t mean I want to date you.”
“Would your answer be different if Eli hadn’t come back tonight?”
I opened my mouth but the words wouldn’t come out. I was caught off guard. Hunter’s grey gaze held mine, it was unnerving.
Would my answer be different? my subconscious asked. Despite how tonight turned out, it started out pretty good and I had a lot of fun with Hunter. Hunter was the opposite of Eli, he spoke what he thought. He did whatever he wanted and he was a school Prefect, even though he had no regard for the rules.
“Goodnight, Ruby,” he whispered, kissing my cheek.
He turned and headed down the hallway and I was stuck thinking about the time he kissed me a few months ago. I had been off and on with Hunter, and I can’t say that I haven’t led him on, because I have.
“I’ll go to dinner with you,” I exhaled. “As friends.”
“I already made the reservations,” he called over his shoulder.
Of course he did.
I raised my hand to catch the white and red rose petals that glided down from the sky. I watched in awe as they landed peacefully on the ground. The trees swayed gently in the breeze, making the flowers on the forest floor dance. This place looked peaceful and alive, like it was torn directly from a fairy tale. I glanced down at my clothes. I was wearing a white gown that flowed all the way down to the floor and then along the ground for a meter.
“Ruby? Are you okay?”
I recognized the voice. I glanced at my companion. Hunter. He stood beside me in a tuxedo, looking very handsome.
“I’m … I’m fine.”
I looked around; suddenly we were standing in front of hundreds of people in the middle of a rainforest. Trees were decorated in white and red, the crowd was split up into two big groups and separated by a long red carpet. I had no idea why it took me so long to piece it all together, it was painfully obvious. I was at a wedding, my wedding.
“You may now kiss the bride,” said an old man that stood before us.
Hunter leaned towards me and I couldn’t move. My mouth was moving but the words wouldn’t come out. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a tall figure standing at the back of the crowd.
“Eli?” I called out.
My eyes were focused only on him; he returned my stare with a hard gaze, his face pained and hurt.
“Eli!” I called, but only my mouth moved.
Hunter moved towards me in extreme slo-mo. I turned and ran down the red carpet. Eli stood at the end, shaking his head, urging me to turn around. The carpet grew longer and longer, keeping Eli just out of arm’s reach.
“Stop, Ruby,” he begged. “We can never be together. Go back, Hunter loves you. Don’t do this to him.”
“No, Eli!” I cried as he faded into darkness. “I love you!”
I woke up with a gasp. The dream replayed in my mind as my heart beat rapidly in my chest. The early morning light peering through my window was enough to force me out of bed.
“Ahh, shit!” I stood on my sore ankle. It was feeling a lot better since last night but it was still quite tender.
“Ruby? What time is it?” squeaked Mila.
I glanced over at the alarm clock. “Seven.”
Mila sat up in her bed, rubbing sleep away from her eyes.
“And what are you doing? You’ve never been up this early.”
“Bad dream. I’m going to have a shower and then I’ll probably go to breakfast.”
Thinking about breakfast made my stomach groan and my headache worse. It felt like someone was using a jackhammer on my skull.
“Okay, I’ll get dressed. I want to hear all about last night! The word is that you went with Hunter!”
“Really? That’s what people are talking about? Why can’t it be that Eli has returned or —”
“Eli’s back? Wait! Don’t say anything. Have a shower, get dressed, and we’ll talk about it over breakfast! How exciting!”
I couldn’t bring myself to argue right now. My brain and my stomach wouldn’t allow me to. If I had known what a hangover felt like, I never would have touched the alcohol.
The shower was a godsend. I had fallen straight to sleep after Hunter said goodnight. I never got a chance to think things through. What better way than standing under warm flowing water beating down on my back?
So starting from the beginning; Rylan and Raina, Eli returned and tonight … oh god. I completely forgot I had agreed to go to dinner with Hunter tonight. He said he’d already made reservations, which meant he would have got a clearance and a guardian angel chauffeur to take us. I sighed. I guess I can’t back out at the last minute now.
Getting dressed and arriving at the dining hall was a blur. My mind was preoccupied with too many things, like Eli and Hunter and trying not to vomit at all the ‘breakfasty’ breakfast options — bacon, eggs, yogurt, milk, cereals and toast. My stomach lurched at the thought of any of those.
“Let’s sit over there,” Mila suggested. Of course she was pointing over to Gabriel and Hunter.
“No, please!” I begged. “I already have to spend dinner with him, can we leave breakfast out of it?”
She glanced longingly at their table.
“Besides, I can’t tell you all the gossip when they’re sitting right next to us.”
“Fine. Here will do,” she said with a pout.
It wasn’t like our seating choice mattered anyway. Within minutes, Gabriel and Hunter flung themselves into the seats next to us.
‘Good morning, ladies,” Hunter greeted, sliding a bowl of fruit salad in front of me. My stomach groaned.
“Good morning,” Mila replied so cheerfully it made me want to vomit even more.
“Not feeling too crash hot this morning, Ruby?” Gabriel asked.
“Eh,” I groaned.
Gabriel and Mila engaged in conversation and giggles as I slid the bowl forward and put my head down face first onto the table.
“I assumed you’d be someone who could handle their alcohol … and hangovers.” Hunter chuckled.
“I’ve never touched alcohol in my life before last night.”
Hunter brushed hair out of my face and I turned to face him.
I shook my head.