Home > The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2)(15)

The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2)(15)
Author: Richelle Mead

"A fashion question for me?" I was almost ready to glance back and see if maybe there was another Sydney standing behind me. "I don't think anyone's ever asked that."

"You have really nice clothes," Kristin insisted. She had dark skin and hair, as well as an athletic air that contrasted with Julia's more girly nature. "Too nice, actually. If my mom were ten years younger, cool, and had a lot more money, she'd dress just like you." I didn't know if that was a compliment or not, but Julia didn't give me a chance to ruminate.

"Tell her, Kris."

"Remember that counseling internship I wanted next semester? I scored an interview," Kristin explained. "I'm trying to decide if I should wear pants and a blazer or a dress." Ah, that explained why they were coming to me. An interview. Anything else they could have pulled from a fashion magazine. And while I could admit that I probably was the authority on such practical matters... well, I was kind of disappointed that was what I'd been summoned for. "What color are they?"

"The blazer's red, and the dress is navy."

I studied Kristin, taking in her features. On her wrist was a scar, the remnant of an insidious tattoo I'd helped remove, back when Keith's shady tattoo ring had run rampant. "Do the dress. Wait... is it a dress you'd wear to church or to a nightclub?"

"Church," she said, not sounding happy about it.

"Dress for sure then," I said.

Kristin flashed a triumphant look at Julia. "See? I told you that's what she'd say." Julia looked doubtful. "The blazer's more fun. It's bright red."

"Yeah, but 'fun' isn't usually what you want to portray at an interview," I pointed out. It was hard to keep a straight face with their banter. "At least not for this kind of job." Julia still didn't seem convinced, but she also didn't try to talk Kristin out of my sound fashion advice. A few moments later, Julia perked up. "Hey, is it true Trey set you up with some guy?"

"I... what? No. Where'd you hear that?" Like I had to ask. She'd undoubtedly heard it from Trey himself.

"Trey said he'd talked to you about it," said Kristin. "How this guy's perfect for you."

"It's a great idea, Syd," said Julia, face as serious as if we were discussing a life or death matter. "It'd be good for you. I mean, since school started, I've gone out with..." She paused and silently counted out names on her fingers. "... four guys. You know how many you've gone out with?" She held up a fist. "That many."

"I don't need to go out with anyone," I argued. "I have enough complications already. I'm pretty sure that would add more."

"What complications?" laughed Kristin. "Your awesome grades, killer body, and perfect hair? I mean, okay, your family's a little out there, but come on, everyone has time for a date now and then - or lots, in Julia's case."

"Hey," said Julia, though she didn't deny the charge.

Kristin pushed forward, making me think she was more suited to a legal internship than a counseling one. "Skip homework for once. Give this guy a shot, and we can all go out together sometime. It'd be fun."

I gave them a forced smile and murmured something noncommittal. Everyone has time for a date now and then. Everyone but me, of course. I felt a surprising pang of longing, not for a date but just for social interaction. Kristin and Julia went out a lot with a larger group of friends and love interests and often invited me on their outings. They thought my reticence was because of homework or, perhaps, no suitable guy to go with me. I wished it were that simple, and suddenly, it was as though there was a huge chasm separating me from Kristin and Julia.

I was their friend, and they had welcomed me to every part of their lives. Meanwhile, I was full of secrets and half truths. Part of me wished I could be open with them and able to confide all the woes of my Alchemist life. Heck, part of me just wished I really could go on one of these outings and let go of my duties for a night. It would never work, of course. We'd be out at a movie, and I'd probably get texted to come cover up a Strigoi slaying.

This mood wasn't uncommon for me, and it began lightening as I started my school day. I fell into the rhythm of my schedule, comfortable in its familiarity. Teachers always assigned the most work over weekends, and I was pleased to be able to turn in all that I'd done on my plane rides. Unfortunately, my last class of the day derailed all the progress of my mood. Actually, class wasn't the right word. It was an independent study I had with my history teacher, Ms. Terwilliger.

Ms. Terwilliger had recently revealed herself to be a magic user, a witch of sorts or whatever those people referred to themselves as. Alchemists had heard rumors of them, but it was nothing we had a lot of experience with or facts about. To our knowledge, only Moroi wielded magic. We utilized it in our lily tattoos - which had trace amounts of vampire blood - but the thought of humans producing it in the same way was crazy and twisted.

That was why it was such a surprise when Ms. Terwilliger not only revealed herself to me last month but also ended up kind of tricking me into wielding a spell. It had left me shocked and even feeling dirty. Magic was not for humans to use. We had no right to manipulate the world like that; it was a hundred times worse than what Sonya had done to the red lily on the street. Ms. Terwilliger insisted I had a natural affinity for magic and had offered to train me.

Why she wanted this, exactly, I wasn't sure. She'd gone on and on about the potential I had, but I could hardly believe she'd want to train me without a reason of her own. I hadn't figured out what that might be, but it didn't matter. I'd refused her offer. So, she'd found a workaround.

"Miss Melbourne, how much longer do you think you'll be on the Kimball book?" she called from her desk. Trey had picked up "Melbourne" from her, but unlike him, she seemed to constantly forget that wasn't my actual name. She was in her forties, with mousy brown hair and a perpetually cunning glint in her eyes.

I looked up from my work, forcing politeness. "Two more days. Three at most."

"Make sure to translate all three of the sleep of spells," she said. "Each has its own nuances."

"There are four sleep spells in this book," I corrected.

"Are there?" she asked innocently. "I'm glad to see they're making an impression." I hid a scowl. Having me copy and translate spell books for research was how she taught me. I couldn't help but learn the texts as I read them. I hated that I'd been ensnared, but it was too late in the school year to transfer out. Besides, I could hardly complain to the administration that I was being forced to learn magic.

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