Home > Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3)(9)

Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3)(9)
Author: Richelle Mead

"I think we already figured that out, Miss Hathaway," remarked Alberta dryly.

"Whatever. I still think it's a horrible idea, and you eventually will too."

I turned and stormed off across the gym before any of them could respond. In doing so, I fully realized what a bitchy little brat I sounded like. But if they'd just endured their best friend's sex life, seen a ghost, and hardly gotten any sleep, they'd have been bitchy too. Plus, I was about to spend six weeks with Christian Ozera. He was sarcastic, difficult, and made jokes about everything.

Actually, he was a lot like me.

It was going to be a long six weeks.


"WHY SO GLUM, LITTLE DHAMPIR?" I was heading across the quad, toward the commons, when I detected the scent of clove cigarettes. I sighed. "Adrian, you are the last person I want to see right now." Adrian Ivashkov hurried up beside me, blowing a cloud of smoke into the air that of course drifted right toward me. I waved it off and made a great show of exaggerated coughing. Adrian was a royal Moroi we'd "acquired" on our recent ski trip. He was a few years older than me and had come back to St. Vladimir's to work on learning spirit with Lissa. So far, he was the only other spirit user we knew of. He was arrogant and spoiled and spent a lot of his time indulging in cigarettes, alcohol, and women. He also had a crush on me - or at least wanted to get me into bed.

"Apparently," he said. "I've hardly seen you at all since we got back. If I didn't know better, I'd say you were avoiding me."

"I am avoiding you."

He exhaled loudly and raked a hand through the sable brown hair he always kept stylishly messy. "Look, Rose. You don't have to keep up with the hard-to-get thing. You've already got me."

Adrian knew perfectly well I wasn't playing hard-to-get, but he always took a particular delight in teasing me. "I'm really not in the mood for your so-called charm today."

"What happened, then? You're stomping through every puddle you can find and look like you're going to punch the first person you see."

"Why are you hanging around, then? Aren't you worried about getting hit?"

"Aw, you'd never hurt me. My face is too pretty."

"Not pretty enough to make up for the gross, carcinogenic smoke blowing in my face. How can you do that? Smoking's not allowed on campus. Abby Badica got two weeks' detention when she got caught."

"I'm above the rules, Rose. I'm neither student nor staff, merely a free spirit wandering your fair school as I will."

"Maybe you should go do some wandering now."

"You want to get rid of me, you tell me what's going on."

There was no avoiding it. Besides, he'd know soon enough. Everyone would know. "I got assigned to Christian for my field experience."

There was a pause, and then Adrian burst out laughing. "Wow. Now I understand. In light of that, you actually seem remarkably calm."

"I was supposed to have Lissa," I growled. "I can't believe they did this to me."

"Why did they do it? Is there some chance you might not be with her when you graduate?"

"No. They just all seem to think this is going to help me train better now. Dimitri and I will still be her real guardians later."

Adrian gave me a sidelong glance. "Oh, I'm sure that'll be quite the hardship for you."

It had to be one of the weirdest things in the universe that Lissa had never come close to suspecting my feelings for Dimitri but that Adrian had figured it out.

"Like I said, your commentary isn't appreciated today."

He apparently didn't agree. I had a suspicious feeling he'd been drinking already, and it was barely even lunchtime. "What's the problem? Christian'll be with Lissa all the time anyway."

Adrian had a point. Not that I'd have admitted it. Then, in that short-attention-span way of his, he switched subjects just as we neared the building.

"Have I mentioned your aura to you?" he asked suddenly. There was a strange note to his voice. Hesitant. Curious. It was very uncharacteristic. Everything he usually said was mocking.

"I don't know. Yeah, once. You said it was dark or something. Why?" Auras were fields of light that surrounded every person. Their colors and brightness were allegedly linked to a person's personality and energy. Only spirit users could see them. Adrian had been doing it for as long as he could remember, but Lissa was still learning.

"Hard to explain. Maybe it's nothing." He came to a stop near the door and inhaled deeply on his cigarette. He went out of his way to blow a cloud of smoke away from me, but the wind carried it back. "Auras are strange. They ebb and flow and change colors and brightness. Some are vivid, some are pale. Every once in a while, someone's will settle and burn with such a pure color that you can..." He tipped his head back, staring into the sky. I recognized the signs of that weird "unhinged" state he sometimes fell into. "You can instantly grasp what it means. It's like seeing into their soul."

I smiled. "But you haven't figured mine out, huh? Or what any of these colors mean?"

He shrugged. "I'm figuring it out. You talk to enough people, get a feel for what they're like and then start to see the same kinds of people with the same kinds of colors.... After a while, the colors start to mean something."

"What's mine look like right now?"

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