Sun Kissed (Guardian Angel #2) - Page 4
Should I tell her more? What if it gets out? I can’t be the reason he’s sent back to wherever they took him last time. Telling Mila everything was a risk my heart couldn’t bear to take.
“No. He has no idea.”
Mila’s expression filled with disappointment. I rose from her bed and moved to mine.
“I’m going to nap, but when I wake up, we should really discuss things about you and Gabriel.”
Mila nodded before getting comfortable on her own bed, I guess she wanted a nap as well.
I forgot all about this morning’s drama and sleep overtook me rapidly; my brain was entering repair mode, along with my liver and kidneys. When I woke up, I needed to speak to the one man I trust, one who can give me advice on how to help Mila, and maybe it could end up helping us both.
“Ruby wake up. We’re late for lunch.”
“We overslept. C’mon, before Uncle sends half the school’s guardians down here to get me. You know he’s looking for excuses to get me back in the house.”
I climbed out of bed and headed for the door. I didn’t want to go back to being alone in a room. Since I’ve been sharing a room with Mila, I haven’t had a single panic attack and my depression has yet to make a return.
“You aren’t going to fix your hair?”
I didn’t need to look in a mirror, I could tell by her face that it must have looked wild. I pulled the black band that was holding my long hair up and unleashed the beast. My hair was glossy and long, like the hair you see on those shampoo ads. Lucky me! I was hoping that I looked like I was trying to ‘style messy.’
“Not bad.” Mila chuckled. “If I have my hair tied up and I pull it out I have to re-brush it. My hair is so thin it tangles easily.”
It was hard for me to picture Mila with tangled hair, it always seemed so perfect, even more perfect than my ‘shampoo ad’ hair.
Just as we reached the steps of the dining hall, we were stopped by a group of guardian angels. Mila shot me a ‘told you so’ look.
“Miss Aleksandrov. Your uncle wants to speak with you, immediately.”
I couldn’t help but admire the way guardian angels work, they were so quick and professional. Guardians on duty wore an all-black army looking get up, whilst off-duty guardians wore anything they wanted. Guardians were always so stern and serious; it was unusual to see them laid-back.
“Miss Moore. We suggest you go and be seen before anyone suspects you are up to something again.” The man’s deep voice was intimidating and the tone he used annoyed me slightly.
Most guardians still resented me, I don’t know how much longer it will last, but for now, what I did was still fresh in their minds. I nodded and entered the hall. The usual lively chatter circled the room and I spotted Eli almost immediately, and saw him exhale in relief as I entered. I suppose everyone would be relieved I’m still drifting around Sage Sanctum. After all, it did mean I’m not out being killed or causing people to be killed.
I sat down with a garden salad at the end of a table. It was nice to eat alone for a change, and since my headache no longer dominated my brain, I was able to think properly.
“Can I sit down?” Rylan asked.
There went my quiet meal and thinking time.
“Fine,” I said, putting a juicy cherry tomato into my mouth.
“So Raina —”
“Rylan, please tell me you didn’t come here to chat about Raina. I neither care for her, or your love life.”
“No, it involves Eli —”
“Everything does, apparently.”
“… and Hunter.”
Immediately my mind snapped to attention. I fought hard to come across as indifferent. If this was what Eli was talking about earlier, when he said I shouldn’t trust Hunter, then I needed to soak up every word.
“Well done. Now I’m curious.” I sighed.
A bitter expression crossed Rylan’s face. He didn’t like that Hunter’s name made me want to listen.
“I overheard Raina telling her group of airheaded followers that she talked Hunter into filing a statement against Eli to the higher power.”
“She said that Hunter was worried there was something going on between you and Mr De Luca, and she convinced him to get Eli out of the picture. Hunter then filed an inappropriate relations statement. That’s not all. Mr Aleksandrov had taken the fall for Tay’s death, but Hunter thought he’d do double the damage by reporting foul play between the two guardians.”
“Wh- why are you telling me this?”
“Because De Luca is — was your guardian … regardless of the short period of time he served you, there would still be some kind of bond between you and he saved your life, many times. As for Hunter, I just don’t like him.”
“How do I know Raina didn’t put you up to this? Or maybe you’re just trying to get me to back out of going to dinner with Hunter tonight.”
“I — You’re going to dinner with him? Ruby, this guy is not to be trusted; he’s sabotaging people you care about. He’s ruining their lives because if they’re around, it means he can’t have you. You’re falling right where he wants you.”
Rylan stood up and left me at the table with too many questions. He crossed the hall and joined Raina. She shot me a glance, but it was different than her old glances. It was guilty, like she felt sorry for me. The appetite I had when I came into the dining room had diminished. In its place was disgust and disbelief.
“You excited for dinner?” Hunter sang as he slid in next to me.
My eyes met Eli’s, but as quickly as they met, he turned back to the conversation he was having with a fellow guardian angel.
“Yeah … I, uh, I’m not feeling well. I’m going to get some water.”
I slid off my seat and went over to water cooler to fill up a cup.
“I’m back! Uncle was worried, but I told him we were napping and he’s fine now,” Mila cheered happily.
I guzzled my glass of water.
“Can we eat? I’m starving.”
Mila grabbed a garden salad from the serving table and we walked over to where I was sitting. Hunter was still there.
“Are you two excited for dinner?”
Hunter’s toothpick went to the corner of his mouth as he smiled.
“Very,” I lied, forcing a fake smile.
“See you at six.” He winked at me and left.
Nausea radiated throughout my stomach. I wanted to find out the truth, but I couldn’t be certain. What if this was all part of Raina’s plan? What if she wanted me to sabotage my relationship with Hunter? And Rylan had his own motives, he obviously saw Hunter as a threat. Thinking it out thoroughly made it seem even more ridiculous, but I couldn’t shake Eli’s words from earlier out of my head: ‘don’t put all your trust into him.’ Does Eli know? Surely he would have done something about it or at least told me?
“Are you okay?” Mila asked, breaking my line of thought.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m just thinking about what we discussed earlier,” I lied.
“Shhh,” she hushed as she glanced over her shoulder cautiously.
I rolled my eyes. I gave nothing away by using that sentence. Who would hear what I said as ‘Mila loves Gabriel’?
“Chill out. I’m obviously not going to talk about it in a room full of people.”
“But still … be cool.”
I rolled my eyes at her.
Once lunch was over I became increasingly nervous. I knew I had to confront Hunter about it and I didn’t want to ruin dinner, but I had to do it when there was no one around, making dinner my only option.
Students poured from the dining hall, Mila included, but I decided to hang back to speak to Eli. I couldn’t give Mila the right advice but I know Eli can.
“Is everything okay?” Eli asked as we walked out of the dining hall side by side.
“I can’t tell you here. We need to find a quiet place.”
‘Ruby, I don’t think —”
“It’s about Mila.”
Eli’s fingers wrapped around my forearm and he guided me to the side of the dining hall by a pretty gardenia bush. I ignored the goosebumps his touch gave me.
“Is she okay?”
“She’s fine, I think … she’s in love —”
“That’s normal.” He interrupted, slightly frustrated with me.
“With a guardian angel.”
“Oh. Does he —”
“I guess so. They spend a lot of time together.”
Eli brushed his hand through his hair and I bit my lip, trying to fight back the urge to do it myself.
“I thought you would be able to help me help them.”
“Help them? There is no helping them. They need to stay away from each other, it’s wrong and against the law.”
“I can’t force them to stay away from each other, it’s not right … I’m going to find a way out of this.”
“Ruby, don’t go off on one of your little missions again. It doesn’t help; you only make things worse for yourself and others.”
I flinched at his words but I didn’t bite back at them. I needed Eli on my side, not against me.
“Eli, I —”
“No. Leave it to me. I’ll deal with it.” He stepped away from me and began walking away.
“This is why I never told you anything the first time,” I admitted.
He stopped in his tracks, turning abruptly to face me, his hard stare burning into mine.
“I knew you would leave me out of it and handle things yourself. I don’t want it to add to your stress. I’ve done enough damage to you. It was a mistake coming to you for help or advice, forget I said anything.”
I didn’t think I would regret telling Eli about Mila and Gabriel, but I did. Would he tell Mr Aleksandrov? Or report Gabriel to higher authorities? All this time I was scared of telling Mila my secrets in case she told someone, perhaps she should be more worried about me telling her secrets. It hasn’t been half a day and I’ve already told someone. Does it make it okay if I thought he could help?
I pushed past Eli but he stopped me by wrapping his warm hand around my waist. His touch electrified me and my heart raced. I used all the muscles in my body to keep myself where I was and not hurl my body at him.
“You did the right thing by telling me. I’ll do some research about goddess and guardian angel student relations. I’m sure I can find a loop hole. It won’t be easy, but at least it’s something. Keep them away from each other until I get back to you with more information.”
I nodded. He retracted his hand from my waist and attached it to my wrist, giving it a quick rub with his thumb.
“Thank you for telling me. I shouldn’t make you feel like you can’t tell me anything. I may not be your guardian angel anymore or bonded by a tattoo, but I’ll always be here for you.”
I never thought a guy could affect me the way Eli does. When I’m away from him, I tell myself I’m exaggerating, that I’m building his looks and his personality up too high, but then I see him again, hear him again, and he’s even more perfect than I imagined before.
I hadn’t realized my thoughts had brought me all the way back to my dorm door, unnoticed. The door screeched loudly as I opened it and stepped in.
“What the —?” I gasped.
So far, so bad. Mila and Gabriel were lying on her bed; Gabriel pulled his face away from hers. His lips glistened in the light that poured in from the door; lip gloss covered most of his mouth and the surrounding skin.
“You need to get out of here now,” I warned.
“Ruby!” Mila snapped.
“Mila, you know the rules.”
I sounded like Eli. When I first arrived at SS and Rylan brought my text book back to my dorm, I invited him in, not knowing the boy/girl policy. If it was up to me, I’d leave and let them finish whatever it was they were doing or were going to do, but it wasn’t. I told Eli I’d keep them away from each other and that was something I was going to do.
Gabriel kissed Mila’s forehead and left the room, sparing an apologetic glance in my direction.
“What are you thinking? Are you crazy?” I said, closing the door.
“You didn’t have to be rude.”
“Mila, I’m risking our asses here trying to help you. Pulling stupid stunts like this is going to ruin everything. What if it was Mrs Ploit at the door? What if it was your uncle? Think, Mila! Don’t ruin Gabriel’s life or your own. Give me time to figure something out. Eli —”
“You told Eli? Ruby, what were you thinking?”
Mila jumped off the bed and began pacing the room, biting nervously at her fingernails.
“It’s okay, Mila, we can trust him,” I assured her.
“Trust him? He works for my uncle; he recently spent a few months with the higher power, he —”
“Your uncle was the one who started this. He gave you clearance to go on a date with Gabriel. He made no effort to prevent this situation, so relax,” I interrupted, frustration lacing my tone.
“What if Eli rats us out?”
“How do you know?”
“Eli brought me back from being a vampire when he could have killed me; he saved me when Hank attacked our cabin, he risked his own life to save mine, he killed a fellow guardian angel for me … He wouldn’t rat us out, I know him.”