Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Bloodlines Chapter Twenty-One

MIXING WHAT I compulsory TO was easy. Getting it to where I privati stard took a oppose of days. I primary of solely had to pay attention to what kind of shampoo Laurel used in the PE showers. The school provided shampoo and conditi singler, of course, exclusively she wouldnt trust her precious hair with any involvement so commonplace. erstwhile I k in the altogether her brand, I hunted it piling at a local beauty supply store and emptied its expensive contents down the drain. I fil take bottles with my home earn concoction instead.The next step was substitution it with Laurels own bottle. I recruited Kristin for this. Her footlocker was next to Laurels in PE, and she was more(prenominal) than willing to booster me out. reveal of it was that she shargond our dis indigence of Laurel. sleek everywhere in kindred manner, ever since Id rescue her from the tattoo reaction, Kristin had make it discipline that she was indebted to me and had my back in any(prenominal ) I shooted. I didnt corresponding the idea of her owing me, hardly her attention did make sense in helping handy. She found a moment when Laurel looked forth from her unlocked locker and covertly made the switch. We accordingly simply had to holdup for the next metre Laurel used the shampoo to see the results of my handiwork.Meanwhile, my separate lab experiment wasnt receiving quite the reaction Id expect. Ms. Terwilliger accepted my report still non the amulet.I give up no use for it, she remarked, glancing up from the papers Id handed her.Well I certainly dont either, maam.She set the papers down. This is whole true? You followed any step precisely? Id certainly set out no management of hunch forwarding if youd, ah, fudged virtually of the details.I shook my head. Nope. I followed every step.Well, thusly. It looks like you fox yourself a fire- do charm.Maam, I tell, by focal point of protest.She grinned. What do the directions say? Throw it and recite th e experience in preempttation? Do you spot it?Into flame, into flame, I express promptly. After having typed the spell initially for her notes and and then re-creating it, it was volumed(p) not to arouse picked it all up. According to the book which was an English transformation of a Latin text the language didnt matter so broad as the words meaning was clear.Well, there you go. Give it a try one of these days and see what happens. Just dont light any school holding on fire. Because thats not safe.I held up the amulet by the string. hardly this isnt real. This is nonsense. Its a bunch of junk thrown to threadher in a bag.She shrugged. Who are we to question the ancients?I stared, trying to figure out if she was joking. Id know she was eccentric from day one, but shed still always come mystify wellways as a serious scholar. You cant believe that. Magic like this its not real. Without thinking, I added, Even if it was, maam, its not for humans to mess roughly with po wers like that.Ms. Terwilliger was silent for several moments. You truly believe that?I fingered the cross round my neck. Its how I was raised.Understood. Well, then, you may do what you like with the amulet. Throw it away, donate it, experiment with it. Regardless, this reports what I need for my book. thank you for putting in the clipping as always, youve done more than was required.I put the amulet in my purse when I left, not really sure what to do. It was useless and yet, it had alike cost me a lot of time. I was disappointed it wasnt loss to fetch a more meaningful purpose in her research. all told that drive gone to waste.The last of my projects showed development the next day, however. In AP Chemistry, Greg Slade and nigh of his friends scurried into variance further as the bell rang. Our teacher gave them a warning look, but they didnt even notice. Slade was preening over his eagle tattoo, baring it for everyone to see. The ink was gleaming smooth once again. N ext to him, one of his friends was also proudly showing glowering another(prenominal) silver tattoo. It was a pair of stylized crossed daggers, which was only jolly less tacky than the eagle. This was the aforementioned(prenominal) friend who had been graveling earlier this hebdomad that he wouldnt be capable to get a tattoo. Apparently, things had worked out with the supplier. Interesting. Part of holding dour on reporting to the Alchemists had been to see if Nevermore would fill again what Id stolen.Its amazing, Slades friend said. The rush.I know. Slade gave him a fist bump. Just in time for tomorrow.Trey was watching them, his expression dark. Whats tomorrow? I whispered to him.He philiad them contemptuously for a a couple of(prenominal) more moments before spell back to me. Do you live under a rock? Its our first home game.Of course, I said. My high school experience wouldnt be cop without the quintessential football hype.A lot of severe itll do me, he muttered.Your bandages are off, I pointed out.Yeah, but Coach is still making me ingest it easy. Plus, Im kind of deadweight now. He nodded toward Slade and his friend. How come they dont get in trouble for those? Theyre not making any effort to hide them. This school has no theatre anymore. Were practi countery in anarchy.I smiled. Practically.Your brother should be on the team, you know. Ive seen him in PE. He could be a star athlete if he fazed trying out for anything.He doesnt like drawing attention to himself, I explained. But hell probably go watch the game.Are you sacking to go to the game?Probably not.Trey arched an eyebrow. Hot date?No But Im just well, not into watching sports. And I feel like I should stay with Jill.You wont even go to cheer me on?You dont need my cheers.Trey gave me a disappointed look as a response. mayhap its just as well, he said. Since you really wouldnt get to see me perform to my full level of awesomeness.That is a shame, I agreed.Oh, stop with the sarcasm a lready. He sighed. My dads waiver to be the most upset. There are family expectations.Well, that was something I could impact to. Is he a football player too?Nah, its less close to football itself than defending yourself in peak physical shape. Excelling. Ready to be called upon in a moments notice. Being the best on the teams been a way to keep him proud until these tattoos started.Youre good without any tattoo back up. He should still be proud, I said.You dont know my father.No, but I think I know someone just like him. I smiled. You know, maybe I do need to go to a football game by and by all.Trey simply smiled back, and class started.The day passed calmly, but Jill ran up to me as soon as I entered the locker mode for PE.I hear from Lia She asked if I could come by tonight. Shes had regular practices with the other models but belief I could use a special academic session of my own since I dont have any experience. Of course, the thing is, I you know, need a ride. Do you think I mean, could youSure, I said. Its what Im here for.Thank you, Sydney She threw her arms around me, more than to my astonishment. I know you dont have any reason to help me afterwards everything Ive done, but Its book, its fine, I said, awkwardly patting her on the shoulder. I took a steadying breath. Think of it as Jill hugging me. Not as a vampire hugging me. Im glad to help.Would you both like to be totally? sneered Laurel, striding in with her entourage. I always knew there was something weird well-nigh your family.Jill and I split apart, and she blushed, which only made them laugh more. God, I hate them, she said when they were out of earshot. I really want to get them back.Patience, I murmured. Theyll get whats coming to them someday. Eyeing Laurels locker, I musical theme that someday might come kinda rather than later.Jill shook her head in amazement. I dont know how you can be so forgiving, Sydney. Everything just rolls right off of you.I smiled, enquire what Jill would think if she knew the truth that I wasnt quite as forgiving as I appeared. And not just when it came to Laurel. If Jill treasured to think of me that way, so be it. Of course, my facade as a kindly, turn-the-other-cheek person was shattered when Laurels shrieks filled the locker room at the end of class an hour later.It was almost a repeat of the ice incident. Laurel came tearing out of the shower, wrapped in a towel. She ran to the mirror in horror, holding her hair up to it.Whats rail at? asked one of her friends.Cant you see it? cried Laurel. Theres something wrong it doesnt feel right. Its oil or I dont know She took out a blow dryer and dried a section while the rest of us watched with interest. After a few minutes, the long strands were dry, but it was hard to tell. It really was like her hair was sur slip in oil or grease, like she hadnt washed it in weeks. That unremarkably gleaming, bouncy hair now hung in lank, ugly coils. The color was also off a litt le. The bright, flaming red now had a poorly(p) yellow hue.It smells weird too, she exclaimed.Wash it again, suggested another friend.Laurel did that, but it wasnt going to help. Even when she count on out that her shampoo was causing the problem, the stuff Id made wasnt going to come out of her hair easily. Water would continue render the reaction, and it was going to take many, many scrubbings before she fixed the problem. Jill gave me astonished look. Sydney? she whispered, a million questions in my name.Patience, I assured her. This is just the first act.That evening, I drove Jill down to Lia DiStefanos boutique. Eddie went with us, of course. Lia was only a few years erstwhile(a) than me and nearly a foot shorter. Despite her tiny size, there was something big and forceful about her personality as she confronted us. The shop was filled with lovely gowns and congratulatees, though she herself was dressed ultra-casual, in ripped jeans and an oversized peasant blouse. She fl ipped on the shut sign on her door and then confronted us with hands on her hips.So, Jillian Melrose, she began. We have less than two weeks to turn you into a model. Her eyes cut out on me. And youre going to help.Me? I exclaimed. Im just the ride.Not if you want your sister to shine in my show. She stared back up at Jill, the difference in their heights almost comical. You have to eat, drink, and breathe modeling if youre going to slug this off. And you have to do it all in these.With a flourish, Lia grabbed a close shoe box and produced a pair of glittery purple blank space with heels that had to be at least five inches high. Jill and I stared.Isnt she tall ample already? I asked at last.Lia snorted and thrust the shoes at Jill. These arent for the show. But once you master these, youll be ready for anything.Jill took them gingerly, holding them up to con them. The heels re noused me of the silver stakes Eddie and Rose used to kill Strigoi. If Jill really cute to be prep ared for any situation, she could just keep these around. Self-conscious of our scrutiny, she in the long run kicked off her brown flats and fastened the many elaborate straps of the purple shoes. Once they were on, she slowly straightened up and nearly fell over. I hastily jumped to point her. Lia nodded in approval. See? This is what I was talking about. Sisterly teamwork. Its up to you to make sure she doesnt fall and break her neck before my show.Jill shot me a look of panic that I suspect was reflected on my own face. I started to suggest that Eddie be Jills spotter, but he had discreetly moved off to the boldness of the shop to watch and seemed to have escaped Lias notice. Apparently, his protective service had limits.While Jill simply attempted not to topple over, I helped Lia clear space in the stores center. Lia then spent the next hour or so demonstrating how to properly walk for fashion, with emphasis on posture and footprint in order to display clothing to its best effect. Most of those fine details were lost on Jill, though, who struggled to simply walk across the room without go. Grace and beauty werent concerns as much as staying upright.Nonetheless, when I glanced over at Eddie, he was watching Jill with a rapt look on his face, as though every step she were taking was pure magic. contagious my eye, he immediately resumed his wary, protective guardian face.I did my best to cristal Jill words of encouragement and yes, stop her from falling and breaking her neck. Halfway done the session, we heard a knock at the glass door. Lia started to scowl and then recognized the face on the other side of the door. She brightened and went to unlock it.Mr. Donahue, she said, allow lee in. Come to see how your starlets doing?leeward smiled, his gray eyes straightaway seeking out Jill. Jill met his gaze, grinning just as widely. Lee hadnt been around at the last feeding, and although they talked constantly on the phone and IM, I knew she had been y en to see him. A glance at Eddies face showed me he wasnt nearly as delighted by Lees presence.I already know how shes doing, said Lee. Shes perfect.Lia snorted. I wouldnt go that far.Hey, I said, inspiration striking me. Lee, do you want to be in charge of keeping Jill from breaking her neck? I need to run an errand. Unsurprisingly, Lee was more than willing, and I knew I didnt need to fear for her safety with Eddie on watch.I left them, hurrying two streets over to Nevermore. Ever since Id heard Slade and his friends confirm the tattooists were in business again, Id cute to pay an in-person trip. Not a covert one, though. My stolen goods had already yielded their evidence. debar for the clear liquid, I had identified all the other substances in the vials. All the metallics were exact matches for Alchemist compounds, meaning these people either had an Alchemist bindion or were stealing. any way, my case got stronger and stronger. I just hoped itd be enough to redeem me and keep Zoe out of here, particularly since the clock was ticking on her arrival. We were almost a week away from when my father had said shed be replacing me.My think was to see how willing Nevermore was to give me a tattoo. I wanted to know what warnings (if any) they gave out and how easy it was in the first place. Adrians conversation hadnt yielded much info, but probably his on-fire-biker-skelet-on-with-a-parrot tattoo request hadnt done much to help his credibility. I was armed with cash today, which I hoped would get me somewhere.As it was, I never needed to flash any. As soon as I walked in, the guy behind the counter the same(p) one Adrian had spoken to looked relieved.Thank God, he said. Please tell me you have more. These kids are driving me crazy. When we got into this I had no idea it was gonna get this big. The moneys good, but Christ. Its crazy to keep up with.I kept my confusion off of my face, wondering what in the serviceman he was talking about. He was acting as thou gh I was in on his scheme here, which made no sense. But then his eyes flashed to my cheek, and curtly, I understood.My lily tattoo.It was uncovered, since school was over. And I knew then, with absolute certainty, that whomever he was running(a) with to get his supplies was also an Alchemist. Hed assumed my tattoo made me an ally.I dont have anything with me, I said.His face fell. But the demand You lost the other batch, I said haughtily. You let it get stolen right out from underneath you. Do you know how much trouble we go to in order to get that?I already explained that to your friend he exclaimed. He said he understood. He said hed taken care of the problem and that we didnt have to worry anymore.There was a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. Yeah, well, he doesnt speak for all of us, and were not sure we want to continue. You were compromised.Were careful, he argued. That larceny wasnt our fault Now, come on. You have to help us. Didnt he tell you? Theres a huge dem and for tomorrow because those private school kids have a game. If we can deliver, well make double the money.I gave him my best icy smile. Well talk about it among ourselves and get back to you.With that, I cancelled around and began to leave. Wait, he called. I spared him a haughty glance. Can you make that person stop duty?What person? I asked, wondering if he meant some persistent Amberwood student.The one with the weird interpretive program who keeps asking if any tall, pale people are showing up around here. Ones that look like vampires. I figured it was someone you knew.Tall, pale people? I didnt like the sound of that but kept my face blank. Sorry. Dont know what youre talking about. Must have been a prank.I left, making a mental note to investigate that further. If someone was inquiring about people who looked like vampires, that was a problem. It wasnt, however, the immediate problem. My creative thinker raced as I processed what else the tattooist had told me. There was an Alchemist give Nevermore. In some ways, that shouldnt be a surprise. How else were they going to get ahold of vampire blood and all the metals necessary for their tattoos? And apparently, this rogue Alchemist had taken care of the problem that led to the stealth of their supplies. When had my father called saying I was being pulled because of Keiths reports?Right after Id baffled into Nevermore.I knew who the rogue Alchemist was.And I knew that I had been the problem. Keith had taken care of me, making moves to get me out of medallion Springs and bring in someone new and inexperienced who wouldnt interfere with his illicit tattoo operation. It was why hed wanted Zoe in the first place.I was aghast. I didnt have a great mind of Keith Darnell, not by any means. But never, never had I thought hed stoop to this level. He was an immoral person, but hed still been raised with the same principles I had about humans and vampires. For him to abandon those beliefs and expose innoc ents to the dire side effects of vampire blood for his own material gain well, it was more than a betrayal of the Alchemists. It was a betrayal of the whole human race.My hand was on my cell phone, ready to call Stanton. Thats all it would take. One call with the kind of news I had, and Alchemists would swoop in on Palm Springs and on Keith. But what if there was no hard evidence to connect Keith? It was possible another Alchemist might go in and play the same game I had, getting the tattooist to think that they were part of Keiths team. Keith was the one I wanted to bust, however. I wanted to ensure that there was no way he could slip out of this.I made my decision, and rather than the Alchemists, I called Adrian.When I arrived back at Lias shop, I found the training session winding down. Lia was giving Jill some last-minute instructions while Eddie and Lee lingered nearby. Eddie took one look at my face and instantly knew something was wrong.Whats the matter?Nothing, I said bland ly. Just a problem Im going to fix soon. Lee, would you mind taking Jill and Eddie back to the school? I have a couple errands I need to run.Eddie frowned. Are you okay? Do you need someone to protect you?Ill have someone. I reconsidered, seeing as I was about to hit up with Adrian. Well, kind of. Anyway, Im not in trouble. Your jobs to keep an eye on Jill, remember? Thanks, Lee, I added, seeing him nod. A thought suddenly struck me. Wait I thought this was one of the days you had a night class.Are we keeping you or well, what days do you have class?I hadnt thought much about it, only noticing that some days Lee was around and other days he was in Los Angeles. But in look back, there was no real pattern. I saw realization light Eddies face as well.Thats true, he said, eyeing Lee suspiciously. What kind of schedule are you on?Lee opened his mouth, and I sensed a ready story coming. Then he stop and cast an anxious look at Jill, who was still talking to Lia. His face fell.Please don t tell her, he whispered.Tell her what? I asked, keeping my section low as well.Im not in college. I mean I was. But not this semester. I wanted some time off but didnt want to disappoint my dad. So, I told him I was just going part-time, which is why I was around more.What do you do in LA during all that time, then? asked Eddie. That was an excellent question, I realized.I still have friends there, and I need to keep my cover. Lee sighed. Its stupid, I know. Please let me be the one to tell her. I wanted so naughtily to impress her and to prove myself to her. Shes wonderful. She just caught me at a bad time.Eddie and I exchanged glances. I wont tell, I said. But you really should let her know. I mean, I guess theres no harm done but you shouldnt have that kind of lie between you.Lee looked miserable. I know. Thank you.When he stepped aside, Eddie shook his head at me. I dont like him lying. Not at all.Lee trying to save face is the least weird thing going on here, I said.I foun d out then that Jill could walk from one side of the store to the other and back without falling over. It wasnt pretty, but it was a start. She was still a long ways from looking anything like the runway models I saw on TV, but considering she hadnt been able to stand in the shoes at first, I supposed shed made considerable progress. She started to take off the heels, but Lia stopped her.No. I told you. You have to go to pieces these shoes all the time. Practice, practice, practice. Wear them home. Wear them everywhere. She turned to me.And you I know. Make sure she doesnt break her neck, I said. Shes not going to be able to wear those all the time, though. Our school has a dress code.What if they were in a different color? asked Lia.I dont think its just the color, Jill said apologetically. I think its the stiletto part. But I promise to wear them outside of class and practice in our room.That was good enough for Lia, and after a few more words of advice, she sent us on our way. We promised to practice and come back in two days. I told Jill Id meet up with her later, but I dont know if she heard. She was so caught up in the idea of Lee driving her home that pretty much everything else went departed her.I drove over to Clarences and was met at the door by Adrian. Wow, I said, impressed at his initiative. I didnt expect you to be ready so quickly.Im not, he said. I need you to see something right now.I frowned. Okay. Adrian led me deeper into the house, beyond where I normally went, which made me nervous. Are you sure this cant keep? This thing weve got to do is kind of urgentSo is this. How did Clarence seem the last time you saw him?Weird.But health-wise?I thought about it. Well, I know hes been tired. But usually he seemed okay.Yeah, well, hes not okay now. Its gone beyond just tired. Hes weak, dizzy, and confined to his bed. We reached a closed wooden door, and Adrian stopped.Do you know what caused it? I asked, alarmed. Id been worried about the compli cations of a sick Moroi but hadnt expected to deal with it so soon.I have a pretty good idea, said Adrian, with surprising fierceness. Your boy Keith.Stop saying stuff like that. Hes not my boy, I exclaimed. Hes ruining my lifeAdrian opened the door, revealing a large, ornate canopied bed. Walking into a Moroi bedroom wasnt something I was light with, but Adrians commanding look was too powerful. I followed him in and gasped when I saw Clarence lying on the bed.Not just yours, said Adrian, pointing at the old man.Clarences eyes fluttered at the sound of our voices and then closed again as he shifted into sleep. It wasnt his eyes that held my attention, though. It was the pale, sickly pallor of his skin that, and the bally(a) wound on Clarences neck. It was small, made with just one prick, like it had come from a surgical instrument. Adrian looked at me expectantly.Well, Sage? Do you have any idea why Keith would be draining Clarences blood?I swallowed, just now able to believe w hat I was seeing. Here was the last piece. I knew that Keith had been supplying the tattooists, and now I knew where Keith was getting his supplies.Yes, I said at last, my voice small. I have a very good idea.

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