Bleeding Hearts Page 61

Solange and I were going to have it out—just see if we didn’t.

I tried to act normal around my parents. Mom gave me the look for sneaking out to the Drakes’. I waited until we were drinking tea and eating mango slices at the table, the candles still burning at the windowsill. Dad wasn’t rubbing his chest. Mom was playing Ravi Shankar on the CD player. Even Gandhi and Van Helsing were content, gnawing on massive rawhides.

Now or never.

“Um, Mom? Dad?”

“Yes, honey?” Mom added honey to her cup.

“I need to ask you something.”

Dad closed his eyes. “Please let it be about a new car.”

I was briefly distracted. “Well, that—no,” I said sternly, telling myself to stay focused. “That’s not it. It’s about … you know.”

Dad actually blanched, like curdled almond milk. “Sex? Is it about sex?”

“No! It’s about vampires.”

“Oh. Thank God.” For the first time in months he sounded thrilled to be discussing vampires. I guess it was all a matter of perspective.

“I want to go to Helios-Ra Academy,” I blurted. It sounded weird coming out of my mouth, even to me.

They stared at me.

“Seriously,” I added, a little disgruntled when they didn’t otherwise react. I pulled the application Hunter had given me from my bag and slid it across the table. It was already mostly filled out. I’d even used blue ink instead of my signature purple glitter ink so it looked grown-up.

“Oh, Lucky,” Mom said, touching the papers and looking concerned. “I don’t know. Have you really thought about this?”

I nodded, biting my lip. “Yes.”

“You know how I feel about cultivating a culture of violence. And that kind of environment is so restrictive. You’re not exactly good with rules, honey.” Mom pointed out, smiling. “We raised you that way on purpose. We wanted you to question the establishment.”

“I know. And it’s not that I don’t want to be here,” I rushed to explain. “But I can’t have a sunset curfew all through winter. I’ll be trapped inside by four-thirty every night. I can’t handle that. And I don’t want Dad to get another ulcer. And I can still come home on weekends.”

“But … boarding school?” Dad said.

I knew it was a lot for them to take in. Frankly, I was still dealing with the idea myself. They were hippie homesteaders at heart, and to them family lived together. You didn’t send your children away. And I was a vampire lover. To me, you didn’t run away to join a league devoted to killing them.

But I needed a place to call my own and people who understood me. Right now, I felt lost.

And I’d nearly killed a guy in a blue shirt.

Not that I’d tell my parents that.

And I needed to find a way to help Solange.

Not that I’d tell my parents that, either.

“I was kidding when I said that earlier, Luce,” Dad said.

“I know, but it got me thinking.”

“I thought you didn’t like the Helios-Ra?” Mom asked, perplexed.

“I didn’t,” I admitted. “I really didn’t. And I still kind of think they’re silly with all that macho ritual and their lame code words. But Kieran and Hunter are cool. We share the same language.” I shrugged. “And, I guess, I see another side to them. You know, as long as it’s only Hel-Blar they go after. The minute they break the treaty with the Drakes, I’m out of there.” I fiddled with my chamomile tea. “Mom, I know you think I’m obsessed with this vampire stuff, but they’re family, too. I can’t help being the way I am. This way, you don’t have to worry so much and I can learn to take care of myself. I mean, Dad, think about it. There’s nowhere safer than on the Helios-Ra campus, surrounded twenty-four-seven by vampire killers.”

Wait. When, exactly, had that become a good thing?

Dad rubbed his face. “I can’t deny I like the thought of you being surrounded by people who know what to do when a vampire attacks.”

“Dad, not all vampires attack,” I felt forced to say, even though my best friend had just temporarily turned my own boyfriend against me, proving me wrong.

“I know. But the Drakes are in the center of the storm right now. And you’re known to their enemies.” His expression was stark, angry. “Look what happened to your cousin. That was supposed to be you, Lucky. You.”

“All the more reason to send me to school there. I could start next week. I’m pretty sure Liam could get Hart to put in a good word for me. And Kieran and Hunter already said they’d vouch for me. I’ve been going there anyway.”

“I suppose.”

“Please?”

They exchanged a glance. Mom sighed. “Maybe. We’ll think about it.”

That meant yes.

Everything really was changing.

Chapter 23

Christabel

I felt horrible.

Too horrible to move or even to open my eyes. I wanted water. I was so thirsty that my lips were peeling and cracked, but I didn’t have the energy to swallow. There were people moving around my room, standing by my bed, talking in the kind of hushed whispers that are laced with fear.

I was lying on a bed. Was I lying on a bed? Hadn’t Connor and I been running through the woods? When did we stop?

“If she doesn’t get better by sundown, I’ll have to call her mother,” Uncle Stuart said. He smelled funny. Not like mushrooms, but like sweat and worry and the coffee he’d been drinking. I shouldn’t be able to smell the coffee on his breath, should I? “She’ll want to know. She’ll want to be here.”

Prev Next