Sun Kissed (Guardian Angel #2) - Page 9
“You do not touch anyone at Sage Sanctum. You do not tell me anything about me until I ask. Any more information and I’m going to have nervous breakdown. Lastly, you give me a week to say goodbye to my friends.”
“And you reinstate me as her guardian angel,” Eli added.
“No.” I panicked.
“I’m not letting you do this alone.”
Everyone else in the room faded away. I wasn’t paying attention to them. It was just Eli and I talking now.
“I won’t put your life at risk again, please,” I begged.
“I’m not giving you a choice,” Eli said through clenched teeth.
His eyes were filled with frustration, a pleading frustration. I couldn’t leave without him and he knew it.
“And Eli is to be reinstated as my guardian angel,” I muttered to Lucian.
Lucian rubbed his index finger across his top lip in thought.
“I may be a vampire, Miss Moore, but I still stand strongly against Guardian Angel and God-slash-Goddess relationships.”
“There is no relationship between Mr De Luca and I.”
“Please,” Ludiia scoffed. “The sexual tension is suffocating me.”
I scowled at her.
“Ludiia is right. It’s painfully obvious the feelings you have for each other. Your actions speak louder than your words. It’s disgusting.”
“I have a boyfriend. His name is Hunter and he’s a god,” I lied, dropping my gaze to the floor. I hoped it would better our chances and take the scrutiny off Eli and I. I was still mad at him for what he did, but if dropping his name helped, it was the least he could do for me.
I didn’t know Hunter’s last name but I nodded anyway. I glanced up at Lucian, who was rubbing his chin, pondering my conditions.
“Fine. You have a deal. I expect you back here on Friday. You have six days to get your shit together.”
I exhaled, but I wasn’t relieved, although I should celebrate every small victory I get over a vampire. Vampires aren’t usually known for negotiating. I must have something he really wants.
“If you breathe a word about this to anyone, I will destroy your school and everyone you know.”
In entered the masked men with guns that escorted us in earlier.
“Oh, can’t I keep him?” Ludiia complained.
“Not anymore.” Lucian replied.
I turned and met her eyes before we exited. She no longer smiled her impudent smile. She glared at me, her jaw clenched.
Out in the open the trees rustled loudly against the cool night breeze, giving an eerie feel. For a moment I forgot where we were. The tent seemed like a permanent structure, not a temporary one set up just outside my school.
The sounds of the dry crackling leaves beneath our feet were sending shivers down my spine. I was on edge. I glanced over my shoulder and the three anonymous men were gone, leaving Eli and I alone in the bush. The tress cast freaky shadows on the clear path. I tried to force the unwanted images of being mauled to death by vampires from my mind. I needed to get to the safety of my dorm.
“Are you okay?” Eli’s voice was low and rough with anxiety.
Was I okay? Well, it wasn’t the first thing I expected him to say. Where was the chastising I was so positive I’d receive from him? “I-I’m okay.” I stuttered nervously.
He fell silent once again. I could see the school in the distance. So close, yet so far away.
“I have to admit, I thought you would be a lot angrier with me.”
I caught a glimpse of Eli’s face briefly as the gap in the trees made room for the moonlight. His lips quirked up into half a smile, something I wasn’t expecting.
“There’s no need for me to be angry. What’s done is done. I’m just glad we got out of there alive, for now, anyway.”
He felt so distant. I resisted the urge to cling to him, forcing us together.
“You think we’re going to die?”
“There’s a high possibility, I suppose.” He was polite, as if he were barely interested.
His words hurt, not literally, of course. It was just difficult for me to hear. Eli was always so positive and strong. I’d never seen him doubt himself before now.
I swallowed hard, forcing the annoying questions I wanted to ask back down my throat. I should be mad at him, shouldn’t I? As far as Lucian was concerned, Eli and Aleksandrov lied to me. There was another reason why I hadn’t fully turned, why Hank wanted me so badly.
“Will you tell me?”
“No,” he said curtly. He knew what I was talking about.
“Why not? It’s my life, I deserve to know.”
“You said you didn’t want to hear any more information.”
“Not from him. I want to hear it from you.”
“I can’t tell you.”
Eli exhaled in annoyance. Why couldn’t he tell me? Why couldn’t Mr Aleksandrov tell me? More importantly, why was the enemy the only one wanting to tell me?
“Because, Ruby, it will destroy you, and if things go bad, then it will destroy everything. You already have such a hard time controlling your anger. If this other thing gets out… there’s no hope,” he replied cryptically.
I gave up as we approached the border of the school. Its tall stone wall cast long shadows over the ground, swallowing Eli and I as we got closer. The only light was the moon seeping through the wrought iron gate.
Eli held the gate open for me and closed it as he stepped through. A bright purple light illumined the gate, sending small lightning bolts along the metal. I watched in awe as the gate was sealed. It was a beautiful thing to witness.
I don’t know what it was, the school seemed so alien to me. Perhaps it was the fact everyone here was lying to me with the exception for a select few.
In the short time I’d been here at SS, I’ve grown to love it. It has become my home, my future. Without it, I’d still be a vampire, alone and hunted by Hank. Maybe this secret was why they were so eager to bring me back.
My thoughts brought me all the way to my dorm room. Eli watched me curiously as I pulled a key from my jacket pocket.
“What?” I asked, returning his curious stare with a nervous one.
“Why did you agree?”
“I didn’t have a choice. He would have forced me anyway and he would have killed you.”
“He wouldn’t have been able to force you to do anything. I would’ve rather he killed me than endure what we’re about to go through.”
“Eli, you asked for this. I didn’t want you to be reinstated as my guardian. Your death is the last thing I need on my conscience.”
I glanced down at my fingers and fidgeted with them nervously. Even without eye contact I could feel Eli’s eyes burning into me.
“You know how I feel about you. You know I could never live with myself if something happened to you and I did nothing to help.”
I did know how Eli felt about me. I didn’t know if it was to the extent I felt for him. He was willing to risk his life for me again. Did that mean he loves me, too?
“Goodnight,” he whispered, then paced back down the corridor.
I stared after him until he disappeared and then I entered my room. On the noticeboard attached to the back of the door, I saw a note. It was in Mila’s handwriting:
Uncle asked me to stay at his house tonight.
We have a family friend visiting.
See you tomorrow, hopefully.
I threw myself onto the bed. I didn’t take into account the fact I’d be leaving Mila behind. I didn’t think I could. Raina would no doubt go back to harassing her. She’d most likely move back in with her uncle and have no one to talk to about Gabriel.
I realized I was shaking. I couldn’t stop the tears. It was as if suddenly everything hit me all at once. I was leaving here, leaving everything behind.
I reflected on my current lifestyle, knowing it would all be gone soon. I needed to figure out a plan. I couldn’t let Lucian get away with this. We were human beings (well, kind of). We weren’t vending machines or a spring of infinite blood that he could just harvest willy-nilly. If I had any chance of fixing this, then I needed to know the secret. Hopefully it could help.
Pain and Temptation
Escaping from the girls’ dorm was easy. Mrs Ploit took a toilet break, leaving the exit unmanned. I felt guilty once more for sneaking past her, but if I could get back unnoticed, then what was the harm?
The teachers’ campus was quiet. Getting past the guardian in the booth wasn’t a problem, either. Although the gate by the booth was the only official entrance, the rough cut of the seven foot Cumbrian stone wall that divided the community from the student campus was easy to climb. It offered natural stepping stones, allowing me to pull myself up and over.
I approached Eli’s house. The moon reflected on the side of his Audi Q5 SUV. As I neared, the front door opened and Mr Aleksandrov stepped out onto the porch with two other guardian angels. I dove beside the SUV, hoping the guardians didn’t hear me. I peered through the dark glass, my stomach twisted into knots as the one closest to me shot a glance my way. When he turned back to the conversation, my body relaxed.
The dialogue between Eli and Mr Aleksandrov was quiet and muffled. Whatever they were discussing, they didn’t want anyone else to hear. They shook hands and Mr Aleksandrov and his guardians descended the steps before turning down the street, walking at a leisurely pace. I didn’t move, not until Mr Aleksandrov disappeared out of sight. Once they did, I waited a few more minutes before I found myself at Eli’s door; my arm was poised and ready to knock, but suddenly I was unsure if I should intrude. I had put him through so much tonight already. Maybe I should go? I turned my back to the door but a creak made me turn back.
“Ruby? What are you doing here?”
“I — uh —”
I took a big gulp of air, trying to buy time to piece a sentence together. What was I doing here? It kind of just happened. One minute I was crying uncontrollably in my bed and the next I was scaling a stone wall. I guess I wanted to know about me more than I thought I did.
“Can we talk?” I asked.
Eli stepped aside, gesturing for me to enter his house.
“Are you sure?” I glanced around nervously.
“It doesn’t matter. Lucian already has us.”
His lips pursed into a passive line. His beautiful bright eyes were bleak and he hunched slightly. I stepped into his house cautiously; I couldn’t shake the forbidding feeling. I was expecting Mr Aleksandrov or Lucian to jump out at me and scream ‘busted,’ but of course, nothing happened. As soon as I stepped in, I was in the living room. It was so elegant and modern. Not what I had expected at all. Eli struck me as the kind of decorator that would have animal heads on the wall, not pretty landscapes.
The floors were wooden and shiny, the walls were white. The dark pleather couches that were perfectly spaced made the room less sterile and cold. A red-brown Persian rug covered most of the floor. I was reminded of my mother’s cabin; Eli’s home had a similar layout. It had an open living style, except his room and the bathroom were hidden behind wooden doors.
“You have a beautiful home.”
“Thank you.” He smiled but the smile didn’t reach his eyes.
He waltzed over to the bar separating the living room from the kitchen. I admired paintings of an unknown countryside adorning his wall.
“The paintings. They’re of the countryside in Vidzeme, Latvia.”
“Beautiful,” I whispered.
I had no idea Eli enjoyed paintings or the countryside, and then it dawned on me. I knew nothing about Eli. His likes, dislikes, favorite music, or favorite foods.
“You’re of legal age, so I suppose I should ask you if you would like a drink?” Eli held up a bottle of wine. Even though I’d promised myself I wouldn’t drink again, I nodded my head anyway. I needed something to take the edge off. Eli would be in a lot of trouble with the school if they knew I was in his house or that he was offering me alcohol, but I assumed he didn’t really care at this point.
I sat down on the couch and Eli handed me my drink. He sat on the couch opposite me. He was still in his ‘on-duty’ uniform and I flushed at the sexiness of it all.
“I didn’t pick you as the drinking type.”
He smiled a genuine smile this time and I relaxed. “I was quite the drinker a few years back, but I’ve changed. I do appreciate a good glass of wine every now and then, though.”
Eli ran his finger across his bottom lip as he eyed me curiously. I sat my wine glass down on the smooth dark wood of the coffee table and adjusted myself in my seat. I bit my tongue against the flood of questions that rose in my throat. It was a good time to get the answers I sought, but I was feeling a little off by Eli’s mood. He seemed down about our situation, I imagine.
“Mr Aleksandrov knows?” I asked.
Eli nodded and took a sip of his wine. I assumed as much.
“Does he have a plan?”
“Somewhat. It’s still in the early stages.”
“Eli, are you okay? You still have a chance to get out of this. I won’t be upset. This is my fault.”
“This isn’t about me,” he replied, leaning forward in his chair. “This is about you. I couldn’t care less if it was me that was chosen to kill vampires. I do that all the time. I’m angry that Lucian would come for you when he has your —”
Eli cut his words off by slamming down what was left of the wine in his glass. He rose to his feet and drifted back over to the bar. I got up and followed him. I took a hold of the wine bottle as he began to pour it, taking it from his grasp.