Stargazer Page 6

All the human students are here for a reason, and Raquel proves it’s not money. But what is it? Is Raquel somehow even more important than the rest?

More questions, still no answers.

I strolled onto the grounds to see how much Evernight had changed, now that the other students were here. The humans were talking to one another eagerly, making new friends, while the vampires watched them, languid and disdainful.

My stomach growled. It was nearly lunchtime. I hoped I was the only vampire thinking about food while we were looking at the humans, but I probably wasn’t.

“Yo, Binks!”

Nobody had ever called me “Binks” before in my life, but I knew who it had to be even before I recognized the voice. “Vic!”

Vic was loping toward me across the grounds, a big grin on his face. As usual, he’d made a few adjustments to the Evernight uniform; instead of the school colors, his tie was decorated with a hand-painted hula girl, and his beloved Phillies cap was on his head. We ran into each other’s arms, laughing, and he spun me around so that my feet didn’t touch the ground.

By the time he dropped me, I was dizzy but still smiling. “Did you have a good summer? I got your pictures from Buenos Aires, but then I didn’t hear from you.”

“After all the seaside fun, I was put to work. Woodson Enterprises has a summer internship program, and Dad was all, You need to learn the ropes of the family business. But when you’re an intern? You’re not learning any ropes. You’re learning how people like their coffee. I spent the rest of the summer trying to remember who wanted a hot chai soy latte. Seriously lame. Were you stuck here the whole time?”

“We spent the Fourth of July in D.C. Mostly my mother dragged us around to monuments and stuff. But the Natural History Museum was pretty cool—they had some meteorites on display that you could actually touch—”

Vic’s hand stole toward the pocket of my skirt. I pretended not to notice the envelope he held. My heart started beating faster.

“Well, it was fun. At least I got to be away from this place for one week of the summer, because as boring as it is during the year, it’s even worse when you’re here practically all alone.” I was babbling, paying no attention to what I was saying. “I went down to Riverton on the weekends sometimes but that’s pretty much it. Um, yeah.”

“We gotta catch up later.” Vic obviously understood that I couldn’t think about anything right now besides the item he’d just tucked into my pocket. “You want to meet up after dinner? You can meet my new roommate. He seems pretty cool.”

“Okay, sure.” I would’ve agreed if Vic suggested we get together to shave our heads. Adrenaline coursed through me, making me giddy. “Meet up right here?”

“You got it.”

Without another word, I ran away from him, heading straight for the cast-iron gazebo at the edge of the grounds. Fortunately, none of the other students were in there yet, which meant I still had it to myself.

I went up the steps and settled onto one of the benches. The thick canopy of ivy leaves overhead sheltered me from the sunlight as I reached into my pocket and withdrew what Vic had tucked there—a small white envelope, addressed only with my name.

For the first second, I couldn’t open it. I could only stare down at the handwriting I remembered so well. The letter had been sent to me through Vic, by Vic’s roommate from the year before.


Chapter Three


I know it’s been way too long. I hope you haven’t been checking your e-mail all this time hoping to hear from me; my Evernight account got yanked, obviously, and they police our computer use pretty tightly in Black Cross. Besides, I figure they’re monitoring your Evernight account.

But it doesn’t feel like it’s been so long since we talked. Sometimes I feel like I’m talking to you all the time, every second, and I have to remind myself that you aren’t there to hear me, no matter how bad I wish you were.

Hasn’t been much of a summer, to tell you the truth. We went down to Mexico for a couple of months, but it wasn’t beach volleyball and Coronas by a long shot. In fact, half the time I ended up sleeping in the back of the pickup truck. Swear to God, I can still feel the metal ridges against my spine. Not fun.

Lucas didn’t explain why he was in Mexico, or who “they” were who had gone with him. He didn’t because he didn’t have to; I already knew. Black Cross had traveled there on a vampire hunt.

Most of the time, I did a pretty good job of not remembering that the guy I loved was a member of Black Cross. Still, though, it was there, the hard fact that separated the world into two halves: mine and his.

Lucas’s mother had become a member of Black Cross before he was born, and he’d been raised in the group—the only family he’d ever known. He’d been taught since childhood that all vampires were evil, and that killing them was the right thing to do.

But Lucas had learned things weren’t that simple. Although he had fallen for me before he’d learned that I was born to vampire parents, or that I would become a vampire myself someday, learning the truth hadn’t changed his feelings. Nothing had ever surprised or moved me more than the moment Lucas said he still wanted to be with me, that he still trusted me. Even though I had drunk his blood.

If you’re reading this, that means the vampires aren’t searching Vic’s stuff. Obviously, Vic doesn’t know what’s really going on at Evernight or that he’s actually dealing with vampires. That means it’s not fair to keep putting him in danger. A couple of notes every once in a while—that we could probably get away with. But I know that’s not enough for you or for me.

Oh, no. I sat upright, clutching the pages between my fingers so hard they crumpled. Was Lucas about to say that it was too risky for us to stay in touch? That we couldn’t ever see each other again?

If I were a better guy, I’d break it off with you. I know I’m asking you to go against your parents, and with Mrs. Bethany breathing down your neck, even reading this puts you in danger. I ought to be strong and walk away.

But I can’t do it, Bianca. I’ve been trying to talk myself into it for weeks now, and I just can’t. I have to see you again somehow. Soon, I hope, because I don’t think I can stand this much longer.

We’re headed back to Massachusetts soon—not far from Riverton, as it turns out. Looks like a few of us are going to be scouting around Amherst near the end of September. I don’t know how long we’ll be there, but I figure it will be a while.

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