Vampire Academy Chapter 20


MY MOUTH DROPPED OPEN.“Uh…wait…you mean sex?”

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My astonishment prevented me from thinking of a better response.Mason thought it was hysterical.

Jesse looked like he wanted to die.

“Of course I mean sex. She said she’d do it if we said that we’d…you know…”

I made a face. “You guys didn’t both, uh, do it at the same time, did you?”

“No,” said Jesse in disgust. Ralf kind of looked like he wouldn’t have minded.

“God,” I muttered, pushing hair out of my face. “I can’t believe she hates us that much.”

“Hey,” exclaimed Jesse, reading into my insinuation. “What’s that supposed to mean? We’re not that bad. And you and me – we were pretty close to – “

“No. We weren’t even close to that.” Mason laughed again, and something struck me. “If this…if this happened back then, though…she must have still been dating Aaron.”

All three guys nodded.

“Oh. Whoa.”

Mia really hated us. She’d just moved beyond poor-girl-wronged-by-girl’s-brother and well into sociopath territory. She’d slept with these two and cheated on a boyfriend whom she seemed to adore.

Jesse and Ralf looked incredibly relieved when we walked away. Mason slung a lazy arm around my shoulders. “Well? What do you think? I rule, right? You can tell me. I won’t mind.”

I laughed. “How’d you finally find that out?”

“I called in a lot of favors. Used some threats. The fact that Mia can’t retaliate helped too.”

I recalled Mia accosting me the other day. I didn’t think she was entirely helpless yet but didn’t say so.

“They’ll start telling people on Monday.” he continued. “They promised. Everyone’ll know by lunch.”

“Why not now?” I asked sulkily. “They slept with a girl. Hurts her more than them.”

“Yeah. True. They didn’t want to deal with it tonight. You could start telling people if you wanted to. We could make a banner.”

With as many times as Mia had called me a slut and a whore? Not a bad idea. “You got any markers and paper?…”

My words trailed off as I stared across the gym to where Lissa stood surrounded by admirers, Aaron’s arm around her waist. She wore a sleek pink cotton sheath in a shade I never could have pulled off. Her blond hair had been pulled up in a bun that she’d used little crystal hairpins on. It almost looked like she wore a crown. Princess Vasilisa.

The same feelings as earlier hummed through to me, anxiety and excitement. She just couldn’t quite enjoy herself tonight.

Watching her from the other side of the room, lurking in the darkness, was Christian. He practically blended into the shadows.

“Stop it,” Mason chided me, seeing my stare. “Don’t worry about her tonight.”

“Hard not to.”

“It makes you look all depressed. And you’re too hot in that dress to look depressed. Come on, there’s Eddie.”

He dragged me away, but not before I cast one last glance at Lissa over my shoulder. Our eyes met briefly. Regret flashed through the bond.

But I pushed her out of my head – figuratively speaking – and managed to put on a good face when we joined a group of other novices. We earned a lot of mileage by telling them about the Mia scandal and, petty or not, seeing my name cleared and getting revenge on her felt amazingly good. And as those in our group wandered off and mingled with others, I could see the news spreading and spreading. So much for waiting until Monday.

Whatever. I didn’t care. I was actually having a good time. I fell into my old role, happy to see I hadn’t grown too dusty in making funny and flirty remarks. Yet, as time passed and Eddie’s party grew closer, I started to feel Lissa’s anxiety pick up in intensity. Frowning, I stopped talking and turned around, scanning the room for her.

There. She was still with a group of people, still the sun in her little solar system. But Aaron was leaning very close to her, saying something in her ear. A smile I recognized as fake was plastered across her face, and the annoyance and anxiety from her increased further.

Then it spiked. Mia had walked up to them.

Whatever she’d come to say, she didn’t waste any time in saying it. With the eyes of Lissa’s admirers on her, little Mia in her red dress gestured wildly, mouth working animatedly. I couldn’t hear the words from across the room, but the feelings grew darker and darker through the bond.

“I’ve got to go,” I told Mason.

I half walked, half ran over to Lissa’s side, catching only the tail end of Mia’s tirade. She was yelling at Lissa full force now and leaning into her face. From what I could tell, word must have reached her about Jesse and Ralf selling her out.

” – you and your slutty friend! I’m going to tell everyone what a psycho you are and how they had to lock you in the clinic because you’re so crazy. They’re putting you on medication. That’s why you and Rose left before anyone else could find out you cut – “

Whoa, not good. Just like at our first meeting in the cafeteria, I grabbed her and jerked her away.

“Hey,” I said. “Slutty friend here. Remember what I said about standing too close to her?”

Mia snarled, baring her fangs. As I’d noted before, I couldn’t feel too sorry for her anymore. She was dangerous.

She had stooped low to get back at me. Now, somehow, she knew about Lissa and the cutting. Really knew, too; she wasn’t just guessing. The information she had now sounded both like what the guardians on the scene had reported, as well as what I’d told them about Lissa’s history. Maybe some confidential doctor’s stuff too. Mia’d snagged the records somehow.

Lissa realized it too, and the look on her face – scared and fragile, no more princess – made my decision for me. It didn’t matter that Kirova had spoken the other day about giving me my freedom, that I’d been having a good time, and that I could have let my worries go and partied tonight. I was going to ruin everything, right here and right now.

I’m really not good with impulse control.

I punched Mia as hard as I could – harder, I think, than I’d even hit Jesse. I heard a crunch as my fist impacted her nose, and blood spurted out. Someone screamed. Mia shrieked and flew backwards into some squealing girls who didn’t want to get blood on their dresses. I swooped in after her, getting in one more good punch before somebody peeled me off her.

I didn’t fight restraint as I had when they’d taken me from Mr. Nagy’s classroom. I’d expected this as soon as I’d swung at her. Stopping all signs of resistance, I let two guardians lead me out of the dance while Ms. Kirova tried to bring some semblance of order. I didn’t care what they did to me. Not anymore. Punish or expel. Whatever. I could handle –

Ahead of us, through the ebbing and flowing waves of students passing through the double doors, I saw a figure in pink dart out. Lissa. My own out-of-control emotions had overridden hers, but there they were, flooding back into me. Devastation. Despair. Everyone knew her secret now. She’d face more than just idle speculation. Pieces would fall together. She couldn’t handle that.

Knowing I wasn’t going anywhere, I frantically searched for some way to help her. A dark figure caught my eye. “Christian!” I yelled. He’d been staring at Lissa’s retreating figure but glanced up at the sound of his name.

One of my escorts shushed me and took my arm. “Be quiet.”

I ignored her. “Go after her,” I called to Christian. “Hurry.”

He just sat there, and I suppressed a groan.

“Go, you idiot!”

My guardians snapped at me to be quiet again, but something inside of Christian woke up. Springing up from his lounging position, he tore off in the direction Lissa had traveled.

No one wanted to deal with me that night. There’d be hell to pay tomorrow – I heard talk of suspension or possibly even expulsion – but Kirova had her hands full with a bleeding Mia and a hysterical student body. The guardians escorted me to my room under the watchful eye of the dorm matron who informed me she’d check on me every hour to make sure I stayed in my room. A couple guardians would also hang out around the dorm’s entrances. Apparently I was now a high-security risk. I’d probably just ruined Eddie’s party; he’d never sneak a group up to his room now.

Heedless of my dress, I flounced onto the floor of my room, crossing my legs underneath me. I reached out to Lissa. She was calmer now. The events from the dance still hurt her terribly, but Christian was soothing her somehow, although whether it was through simple words or physical mojo, I couldn’t say. I didn’t care. So long as she felt better and wouldn’t do anything stupid. I returned to myself.

Yes, things were going to get messy now. Mia and Jesse’s respective accusations were going to set the school on fire. I probably would get thrown out and have to go live with a bunch of skanky dhampir women. At least Lissa might realize Aaron was boring and that she wanted to be with Christian. But even if that was the right thing, it still meant –

Christian. Christian.

Christian was hurt.

I snapped back into Lissa’s body, suddenly sucked in by the terror pounding through her. She was surrounded, surrounded by men and women who had come out of nowhere, bursting up into the attic of the chapel where she and Christian had gone to talk. Christian leapt up, fire flaring from his fingers. One of the invaders hit him on the head with something hard, making his body slump to the ground.

I desperately hoped he was okay, but I couldn’t waste any more energy worrying about him. All my fear was for Lissa now. I couldn’t let the same thing happen to her. I couldn’t let them hurt her. I needed to save her, to get her out of there. But I didn’t know how. She was too far away, and I couldn’t even escape her head at the moment, let alone run over there or get help.

The attackers approached her, calling her Princess and telling her not to worry, and that they were guardians. And they did seem like guardians. Definitely dhampirs. Moving in precise, efficient ways. But I didn’t recognize them as any of the guardians from school. Neither did Lissa. Guardians wouldn’t have attacked Christian. And guardians certainly wouldn’t be binding and gagging her –

Something forced me out of her head, and I frowned, staring around my room. I needed to go back to her and find out what had happened. Usually the connection just faded or I closed it off, but this – this was like something had actually removed me and pulled me. Pulled me back here.

But that made no sense. What could pull me back from…wait.

My mind blanked.

I couldn’t remember what I’d just been thinking about. It was gone. Like static in my brain. Where had I been? With Lissa? What about Lissa?

Standing up, I wrapped my arms around myself, confused, trying to figure out what was going on. Lissa. Something with Lissa.

Dimitri, a voice inside my head suddenly said. Go to Dimitri.

Yes. Dimitri. My body and spirit burned for him all of a sudden, and I wanted to be with him more than I ever had before. I couldn’t stay away from him. He’d know what to do.

And he’d told me before I should come to him if something was wrong with Lissa. Too bad I couldn’t remember what that was. Still. I knew he’d take care of everything.

Getting up to the staff wing of the dorm wasn’t hard, since they wanted to keep me inside tonight. I didn’t know where his room was, but it didn’t matter. Something was pulling me to him, urging me closer. An instinct pushed me toward one of the doors, and I beat the living daylights out of it.

After a few moments, he opened it, brown eyes widening when he saw me.


“Let me in. It’s Lissa.”

He immediately stepped aside for me. I’d apparently caught him in bed, because the covers were peeled back on one side and only a small tableside lamp shone in the darkness. Plus, he wore only cotton pajama bottoms; his chest – which I’d never seen before, and wow, did it look great – was bare. The ends of his dark hair curled near his chin and appeared damp, like he’d taken a shower not so long ago.

“What’s wrong?”

The sound of his voice thrilled me, and I couldn’t answer. I couldn’t stop staring at him. The force that had pulled me up here pulled me to him. I wanted him to touch me so badly, so badly I could barely stand it. He was so amazing. So unbelievably gorgeous. I knew somewhere something was wrong, but it didn’t seem important. Not when I was with him.

With almost a foot separating us, there was no way I could easily kiss his lips without his help. So instead, I aimed for his chest, wanting to taste that warm, smooth skin.

“Rose!” he exclaimed, stepping back. “What are you doing?”

“What do you think?”

I moved toward him again, needing to touch him and kiss him and do so many other things.

“Are you drunk?” he asked, holding his hand out in a warding gesture.

“Don’t I wish.” I tried to dodge around him, then paused, momentarily uncertain. “I thought you wanted to – don’t you think I’m pretty?” In all the time we’d known each other, in all the time this attraction had built, he’d never told me I was pretty. He’d hinted at it, but that wasn’t the same. And despite all the assurances I had from other guys that I was hotness incarnate, I needed to hear it from the one guy I actually wanted.

“Rose, I don’t know what’s going on, but you need to go back to your room.”

When I moved toward him again, he reached out and gripped my wrists. With that touch, an electric current shot through both of us, and I saw him forget whatever he’d just been worrying about. Something seized him too, something that made him suddenly want me as much I wanted him.

Releasing my wrists, he moved his hands up my arms, sliding slowly along my skin. Holding me in his dark, hungry gaze, he pulled me to him, pressing me right up to his body.

One of his hands moved up the back of my neck, twining his fingers in my hair and tipping my face up to his. He brought his lips down, barely brushing them against mine.

Swallowing, I asked again, “Do you think I’m pretty?”

He regarded me with utter seriousness, like he always did. “I think you’re beautiful.”


“You are so beautiful, it hurts me sometimes.”

His lips moved to mine, gentle at first, and then hard and hungry. His kiss consumed me. His hands on my arms slid down, down my hips, down to the edge of my dress. He gathered up the fabric in his hands and began pushing it up my legs. I melted into that touch, into his kiss and the way it burned against my mouth. His hands kept sliding up and up, until he’d pulled the dress over my head and tossed it on the floor.

“You…you got rid of that dress fast,” I pointed out between heavy breaths. “I thought you liked it.”

“I do like it,” he said. His breathing was as heavy as mine. “I love it.”

And then he took me to the bed.

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