Stargazer Page 7

Is there any way you could get to Amherst the first weekend of October? If so, I’ll meet you at midnight at the Amherst train station—Friday or Saturday night, whichever you could make it. I’ll wait both nights just in case.

I realize that I might be off base here. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen each other or been able to talk, and maybe you don’t feel the same way anymore. Your parents have had a while to work on you about what a bad influence I am, and if Black Cross freaks you out, I don’t guess I can blame you. Besides, a beautiful girl isn’t going to be left alone for long. Maybe you’re with somebody else now, like that Balthazar guy.

Remembering Balthazar’s gentle flirtation that morning—and the warmth I’d felt in response—made me embarrassed all of a sudden, like Lucas had been eavesdropping and had overheard more than I’d meant to reveal.

If that’s how things are, then—I can’t say I’d be happy for you, because “happy” is not how I’d be feeling. I’d understand, though. I promise you that. Just send word to me in Amherst somehow so I know.

But I feel the same way. I still love you, Bianca. I think I love you more than I did when we said good-bye, and I didn’t even think that was possible. If there’s any chance you still feel it, too, then I have to try.

Okay, I keep reading this letter and feeling like it doesn’t say everything I meant to say. I’m not so good with words. I guess you know that by now, huh? If you come to Amherst, I swear I’ll find the right words to say. Or maybe we won’t need words at all.

I love you.


I blinked fast, trying to clear my swimming eyes. The letter shook in my trembling fingers, and my heart felt like a drumbeat beneath my skin. At that moment I could have taken off running toward Amherst, down the roads and over the hills, and been there in minutes—no, seconds—if I’d only known how, maybe I could have shut my eyes and just willed myself there. I wanted it that badly.

Instead, the tie between us was fragile; we were connected only by smuggled sheets of paper and a promise to meet. That was all we could have, because probably Lucas was right about the e-mail monitoring. For all her prim, old-fashioned ways, Mrs. Bethany stayed on top of every technological development that might help her remain in total control of the school. No doubt Mr. Yee had set it up so the headmistress could read every e-mail in the school accounts.

Even being connected only through the mail seemed miraculous now, as I held Lucas’s letter in my hand. He had folded the pages within a greeting card, an unusual one—no message inside, and the photo on the cover was one of the constellation Andromeda. Lucas would’ve had to buy this someplace like a science museum or a planetarium. He remembered how I loved the stars.

Laughter across the grounds made me look up. Courtney and a few of her friends were strolling together at the edge of the lawn, snickering at some of the new human students. She made sure to point. Last year, I had been so intimidated by her. Now she seemed as insignificant as a buzzing fly at a picnic.

However, her presence reminded me that most of the vampires at Evernight knew about Black Cross and about Lucas. The card I held in my hands was evidence that I was communicating with “the enemy.” I would have to destroy it, and soon.

At least Lucas had chosen an image that I could always see for myself, one that nobody could take away.

“That’s Andromeda,” I said to Raquel, pointing up at the night sky.

We were hanging out on the grounds after dinner—our regular dinner, that was. We’d made tuna fish sandwiches in our dorm room; after Raquel was in bed, I’d have to find a way to take a few swigs of the blood I had in a thermos in my dresser. Day one, and my mealtime situation was already complicated, but I’d just have to figure it out.

“Andromeda?” Raquel squinted upward. She had on the same faded black sweater that she’d worn threadbare last year. “That’s from Greek mythology, right? I remember the name, but I don’t remember anything about her.”

“Sacrificial victim, Perseus to the rescue, Medusa head, yada yada.” Vic walked up, hands in his pockets. “Hey, do you guys know my roommate?”

My eyes went wide as I turned my head from the stars to focus on the figure by Vic’s side. “Ranulf?”

Ranulf held up one hand in a sheepish wave. His soft brown hair was still in the same bowl cut it had been in the year before—and, probably, the thousand years before that. Modernity was a very foreign concept to him; every single class was a challenge for him to even comprehend, much less absorb. And Ranulf was the male vampire chosen to have a human roommate? What could Mrs. Bethany have been thinking?

“Hey, Ranulf.” Raquel didn’t stand and offer a hand to shake, but for Raquel, even speaking to a stranger was being pretty friendly. “I remember seeing you around last year. You seem okay. You know—nonferal. Not like Courtney and her bitch patrol.”

Clearly Ranulf didn’t quite know what to make of that. After a moment’s hesitation, he simply nodded. At least he’d learned how to bluff.

“Checking out the stars, huh? Vic flopped down beside us on the grass, his usual lopsided grin on his face. “I forgot you were into that.”

“If you’d ever seen my telescope, you’d never forget.”

“Big?” he asked.

“Huge,” I said with relish. My telescope was one of my proudest possessions. “I kind of wish I’d hauled it down here tonight. The sky’s incredibly clear.”

Vic lifted one finger to the sky as if painting a little squiggle. “And that’s Andromeda, right?” I nodded. “You see it, Ranulf?”

“Shapes in the sky?” Ranulf ventured as he hesitantly sat down with us.

“Yeah, the constellations. You need us to point them out to you?”

“When I look at the sky, I do not see shapes,” Ranulf explained patiently. “I see the spirits of those who died before us, watching over us for all time.”

I tensed, expecting the others to freak out or start asking Ranulf questions he couldn’t answer. But Raquel merely rolled her eyes, and Vic nodded slowly as he took it in. “That’s deep, man.”

Ranulf had to pause to think up an appropriate reply. “You are ‘deep’ also, Vic.”

“Thanks, dude.” Vic punched Ranulf’s shoulder.

Source: www_Novel22_Net

Prev Next