Vampire Kisses - Royal Blood Part 2

"How was your summer?" he asked, and noticed my blindingly pale skin, "Not much for the outdoors?"

I barely cracked a smile.

"You'd better get to cla.s.s," he said."Whichever one that is." He shook his head as he entered his office.

The school registrar asked me a few questions and then printed my schedule from her computer.

"I still have those nightmares," the registrar said."Showing up to school without knowing what cla.s.ses I'm taking or where the cla.s.srooms are located. The worst one was showing up for exams I hadn't studied for."

"One person's nightmares are another person's reality," I said. I took my schedule, gulped some coffee, and apathetically headed for cla.s.s.

Mrs.Naper , a wiry woman with a mind bent on cla.s.sics-and the tenure to prove it-greeted me with a stern glare and a few verbal admonishments. She was known throughout the Dullsville school system for the "NaperPaper," a college preparatory essay all juniors were required to complete, graded under the strictest of standards. Several things were in my favor, though. There was an empty seat next to Becky, and Trevor Mitch.e.l.l was nowhere in sight.

"To reiterate," Mrs.Naper began as I took a seat, "your guidance counselor will be in to talk to you next month college applications, scholars.h.i.+ps, and grants. To prepare, your first a.s.signment is a cla.s.smate interview and essay, followed by a brief presentation. Now that you are juniors you should be contemplating college and possible career paths. This essay will help stimulate you into discovering what you might like to pursue, and at the same time you'll get to know more about your cla.s.smates."

TheNaper Paper actually sounded like a cinch to do. I knew everything about Becky, and likewise, she knew everything about me. We could complete the essay withinthe amount of time it took to type three hundred words and click spell check.

" Raven," she continued, "while you were making your way to cla.s.s, we a.s.signed you a partner."

I turned to Becky. "Thanks for saving me."

My best friend averted her gaze away from me.

"What, you picked someone else?" I pressed.

"Someone else pickedme? Then she pointed to a student in the front row. It was Matt.

"Ugh." I sighed. I felt as double-crossed as Charlie Brown when Lucy pulls the football away from him.

The cla.s.sroom door opened and in walked Trevor Mitch.e.l.l holding several boxes of chalk.

"Thank you, Trevor," Mrs.Naper said, her cheeks blus.h.i.+ng as red as her lipstick as she took the chalk from the handsome jock.

"He's in this cla.s.s?" I asked Becky. "I should have changed my schedule while I had the chance!"

My nemesis checked me out as he sauntered down the aisle toward me. When he reached my desk, he leaned in. "Hi,partner"he said with a wink.

My heart fell to the coldMasonite floor.

"Say it isn't so!"

I envied my best friend. She was a.s.signed to her boyfriend and I was going to be stuck with Trevor, Forced to ask him questions that I didn't care to know the answers to. And in return, he'd pry into my private life. Why couldn't I be like Becky and have a boyfriend who attended school with me during the day, instead of being homeschooled at night? ThoughI'd dreamed of dating a vampire, it sure had its dark side. For a moment, I resented the whole nocturnal thing.

And even worse, I was going to have face time with Trevor Mitch.e.l.l. I should just surrender my grade to Mrs.Naper and accept my F now.

"So remember," Mrs.Naper continued, "Junior-year grades are important. It's time to start thinking about your future. It's important that you take this a.s.signment seriously."

Great.Not only has Trevor tormented me since kindergarten, but now, if I failed this a.s.signment, he could screw up my whole future.

I made a quick escape from Trevor after the bell rang, but I wasn't so lucky at lunch. I was lying in the gra.s.s, shaded from the blazing sun by my sungla.s.ses and a maple tree, when I sensed someone next to me.

I could smell the inviting aroma of just-cookedfrench fries .

"Hey, Becky", I said, undisturbed. "Did you bring me my fries?"

"No, but I brought you something else, Monster Girl", I heard a male's voice say, "Me."

I yanked off my shades. Trevor was stretched out nextto me, resting on his elbow.

"Get away," I ordered.

"I figured this was a good position to start off the interview part of the a.s.signment in," he said. "I can guar-iuteethat you get an A. He held a fry in front of my lips, asif about to feed me.

I batted it away and the greasy fry flew out of his land. "I can guarantee that you never see the light of day again."

He leaned into me, his blond locks only inches from my jet-black ones. "I want to explore all sides of you."

I almost gagged at his cheesy pick-up line and wedged my combat boot between us.

But he only took that as a sign of pa.s.sion and held on to my shoe. "I knew you'd miss me. It's been all summer since I've seen you. I thought maybe you moved."

"I should have."

I yanked my foot away from him and scooted back. His fries spilled onto the gra.s.s, but he wasn't bothered. Trevor could buy the whole cafeteria if he wanted."Just think," he said. "You could have spent the summer with me, relaxing by the beach, rather than tending to a bat's nest. But you never did have good taste."

Matt and Becky approached carrying twosandwiches and holding my fries.

Since the Snow Ball dance where Trevor wasouted as the one spreading rumors about Alexander's family being vampires and Matt began dating Becky, the soccer-sn.o.b twosome's relations.h.i.+p had become strained. They weren't the best buds they used to be, but Matt and Trevor acknowledged each other.

"Trevor was just leaving," I said. My nemesis rose and brushed off the dirt my boot had left on his freshly laundered designer polo s.h.i.+rt.

"So we're on for tonight, partner?" Trevor asked. "You can pick me up after practice. We don't want to wait until the last minute to begin."

Trevor s.n.a.t.c.hed a bag of fries from Becky. "I believe these are mine."

Matt stepped before him, but Becky held him back. "It's going to be a long year," I said resignedly, and flipped my shades back on my head.

I barely spoke as Becky drove me home. Each of my cla.s.ses was more miserable than the last. My thoughts weren't on history or mathematical equations but on a vampire on Benson Hill. As we made our way home, Alexander was still safely tucked away in his attic room, unaware of anything going on in my world. It was strange that so much was happening and he wouldn't be able to find out until the sun set. I really wanted to be a part of his life-not justforthe summer, but forever. I gazed out the window as wepa.s.sed Dullsville's cemetery. So many romantic dates Alexander and I had spent on sacred ground. Why wouldn't Ichange my world for his? If only Alexander would biteme, plunge his fangs into my neck and draw out my sweetblood. It would mean an end to school and Trevor.And anew beginning for us.

That night, I danced on my front steps in wild antic.i.p.ation of Alexander's arrival. I could almost smell hisDrakkar and feel the soft skin of his cheeks against mine,his fingers sliding up the back of my spine, and his legtouching mine as we sat on the stoop. But after ten minutes had vanished like the setting sun, I began to pace.I was desperately waking to jump into his arms and tell him about my horrible situation at school. He'd insist Iwas overreacting and my circ.u.mstances would right themselves before I knew it. I had taken care of myself for years, and this case was no different except for one major thing:I had a hunky boyfriend in my corner. I had someone towatch my back-even if that person was sequestered in a coffin.He'd laugh off the whole Trevor thing and threaten to turn my nemesis into dust if he so much as looked atmewrong.

Instead of hearing the twigs snap as Alexander emerged from the shadows, I heard the ringing of my cell phone.

"I won't be able to make it," Alexander said flatly.

"You're kidding..."

"My parents want to talk to me."

"Well, so doI ."

"I guess that will have to wait. I promise I'll make it up to you."

"How's the drawer?"

"Everything is still intact. But I'd rather be holding youthanyourhoodies ."

I didn't even have a chance to tell Alexander about the cla.s.sschedulemixup , much less my run-in with Trevor.

I heard Jameson calling for him in the background, somy knight in s.h.i.+ning Doc Martens had to hang up.

My evening schedule was making me as miserable as my daytime one.

5.

Iwas feeling all doom and gloom-and not in a good way. I'd been stood up by my own boyfriend-the most dependable gentleman I knew. So I thought I'd find comfort in the only other man I could count on: my father.

Billy and my dad were playing Risk in the family room and fighting for global domination while my mom was laboring at the family computer.

"I thought you were going to meet Alexander," my mom said.

"I did, too," I said. I peered over my mother's shoulder. She was designing flyers forDullville's Annual Art Auction.

I plopped down on the La-Z-Boy.

"How was school?" my dad wondered.

"The pits," I said. "I have a partnered English a.s.signment and it's with Trevor. Matt picked Becky, and Trevor deliberately picked me. His sole mission in this world is to ruin my life. I'm not going to get into any college. I'll be forced to live here for the rest of my life."

My parents looked at each other in horror. The thought of a thirty-year-old gothic slacker running to raves and getting tattoos instead of jobs wasn't what they had planned. It didn't fit with their golf- outings -and-mixed-doubles- filled retirement plans.

"Why can't I be homeschooled like Alexander?" I whined.

"I think I saw Alexander's parents," Billy said suddenly.

"You did?" I asked. "You're not supposed to see them before I do!"

"Henry and I left s.h.i.+rley's Bakery," he said, rolling dice, "and were cutting through the square when we spotted a lady anda man, dressed from head to toe in black, enter the Main Street Gallery."

I jumped up from my chair and faced my brother. "Did you see them up close?"

"I was too far away," he said, focused on his army. He was preparing to overtakeSiberia . "But I'm sure it was them. No one in town is that ghost white. Their skin was so pale you could almost see through it."

"I'm looking forward to meeting them. I have to admit, I'm quite curious about them, too," my father said, moving his troops.

"You?"I asked. "What about me? Alexander hasn't even invited me over. There must be something wrong with me."

"Duh," Billy mumbled under his breath. "I've beentelling you that for years."

I was gearing up to wipe out his Asian invasion when he covered his pieces with his scrawny body.

"You think it's me?" I asked my mother.

"Of course not...They just arrived in town. They're probably still settling in."

"I'm not so sure... Something seems odd. Alexander never breaks dates."

"What happened to the confident girl Iraised ?" she asked. "You never cared what anyone thought of you. Notteachers, cla.s.smates, or even us."

My mom was right. But these people weren't regular people. These were the love of my life's parents. And they were vampires.

"Relax," my dad said as I started for my room. "Alexander's not keeping you a secret. Perhaps he's concerned about what you'll think of hisparents"

I took my dad's words to heart. I had never thought of this situation from Alexander's perspective before. I remembered how embarra.s.sed I was when Alexander first met my totally conservative mom and dad the night of the Snow Ball.

I surprised my dad and gave him a big hug. Though my dad was totally old school, at times like this he was thehippestguy on the planet.

6.

School days and nights pa.s.sed by painfully slow sans Alexander. I tried to find comfort in Alexander's handmade bracelet, like a baby does a blanket. The wooden masterpiece remained wrapped around my wrist in the shower and during sleep, but it was no subst.i.tute for my boyfriend's arms.

I knew theSterlings hadn't seen their son for so long; perhaps they wanted him all to themselves. I didn't know too many things about them, but that much his parents and I had in common.

It was as if I were seeing a mirage when I finally saw Alexander waiting for me at the Mansion's gate. However, he wasn't his usual loving self. He appeared distant and preoccupied, staring beyond me and off into the distance.

"Shall we go inside?" I asked.

"No-my parents are out and I'd like to get some fresh air, too."

Alexander walked, his hands in his pockets, kicking the leafy branches with his boots. I took Alexander's arm.

"I thought you'd be glad to see me."

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