"they're like fine dining. Half-bloods? You're more like fast food."
"Come one step closer, and you'll end up like your buddy upstairs."
Panic and rage burst through me. "Now? Where were you a week ago? Where was the Covenant when my mother was being killed? Where were you?"
Aiden jerked back, eyes wide. "I'm sorry. We didn't-"
His apology only angered me further. I wanted to hurt him. I wanted make him let me go. I wanted... I wanted... I didn't know what the hell I wanted, but couldn't stop myself from screaming, clawing, and kicking him. Only when Aiden oressed his long, lean body against mine I'll stop. His weight the close proximity, held me immobile.
I wondered if his lips felt as good as they looked... because they looked awesome.
or pure-bloods who lived with super-personal reasons for doing so: say, like having parends murdered by daimons right front of him when he was a child. That was what'd happened to him. Supposedly, it was why Aiden had chosen become a sentinel. He probably wanted some sort of revenge.
Something we had in common.
"A particular note here, written personally by Instructor Banks, states your level of respect for your superiors is seriously lacking and had been an ongoin issue."
"Instructor Banks had no sense of humor."
Marcus arched a brow. "Then I imagine neither did Instructor Richards nor Instructor Octavian? They also wrote, at times, you were uncontrollable and undisciplined."
Prostests died on my lips. I had noting to say.
"I can work with her. It wouldn't interfere with my duties."
"You're one of the best Sentinels," Marcus shoook his head? "It would be a waste of your talent-"
I turned to him. "Thank you."
Aiden stared at me. "Don't thank me yet."
I smothered a yawn and shrugged. "Well, I just did. I really think Macrus would've shipped me off to Lucian's if it wasn't for you three."
"He would've. Your stepfather is your loyal guardian."
I shuddered. "That's reassuring."
"Alex. Don't... let me down. Anything you do will come back on me. Do you understand?"
"Yes. Don't worry. I'm not as bad as Marcus me sound.3
He looked doubtful. "Fraternizing in the male dorms?"
I flushed. "I was visinting friends. Not like I was hooking up with any of them. I was only fourteenn. I'm not a ho-bag.
"Well, that's good to know."
"They did praise your talent and ambition. The other stuff... well, that can be expected. You were just a kid-still a kid."
"I'm not a kid."
Aiden's lips twitched as if he wished to smile. "You're still a kid."
My cheeks flushed. It was one thing being told I was a kid by any old person. Who cared? But when it was a super-hot guy telling me that, it didn't leave me all warm and fuzzy inside.
"I'm not a kid." I repeated.
"Really? Then you must be an adult?"
"Sure." I gave him my best smile, the one that usually got me out of trouble.
"You want to be able to get out there and fight them? Then you need to pay attention to training instead of what people are saying about you."
"But she said I was the reason Mom died!" Hearing my voice crack the way it did, I had to look away. It was weak of me. Embarrassing. Weak and embarrassing were not in a Sentinel's vocabulary.
"Alex, look at me."
I hesitated before I did. For a moment, the hardness in his expression softened. When he looked at me like that, I truly believed he understood my reaction. Maybe he didn't agree with it, but at least he understood why I'd done it.
"You know there was nothing you could do about what happened to your mother." His eyes searched my face. "You do know that, right?"
I turned around, figuring he'd changed his mind and was going to order me to see Marcus in the morning and fess up to my bad behavior.
He brushed a lock of dark hair off his forehead ans flashed that lopsided smile. "I remember you."
I scrunched up my face. "What?"
The grin increased to full smile. And... oh, man. He had dimples. The air in my lungs died. "I remember you, too."
I stared at the leg press machine. "What are you reading?"
He didn't look up. "If you're able to talk while working out then you aren't working out hard enough."
I was quiet for five minutes or so. "Who reads books that big for fun?"
Aiden lifted his head, pinning me with a bored look. "Who talks to hear themselves speak?"
My eyes widened. "You're in a lovely mood today."
With the obscenely large book balanced on one knee, he turned a page. "You need to work on your upper body strength, Alex. Not your motor speech skills.
"You will kill the one you love. It is in your blood, in your fate. So the gods have spoken it and the gods have come to foresee it."
There was no way - absolutely no way- I was interested in Aiden in that way. Sure, he was swoony-worthy and really nice, and patient and funny in a dry kind of way. There was a lot about him to like. If he were a half-blood, then there wouldn't be anything wrong. He didn't work for the Covenant, so there wasn't a studend hooking up with a teacher kind of problem, and he was only three years older than me. If he were a half-blood, I'd probably have thrown myself at him already.
But Aiden was a freaking pure-blood.
A freaking pure-blood with wonderfully strong fingers and a smile that... well, made me feel like there was a nest of butterflies in my stomach. And the way he looked at me-how his eyes shifted from gray to silver in a heartbeat-affected me even now. My stupid little heart leapt in my chest.
"Alex, hold up."
Struggling to control the cyclone of emotions building in me, I whirled around. Aiden had followe me out. I warred him off with a shaky hand. "Don't.'
He flinched back. "Alex, let me explain."
I forced my voice low. "You knew this entire time, didn't you? You knew what really happened to my mother."
The muscle in his jaw ticked. "Yes. I knew."
Hurt explosed in my chest. Part of me had hoped he hadn't known, that he hadn't kept this from me. I took a step forward. "We've spent every day together and never once did it cross your mind to tell me? Did you think I didn't have a right to know the truth?"
"That was the plan? To kill her before I found out she was alive?"
My voice grew louder with each word. "You preach to me about trusting you? How in the hell can I trust you now?"
"Please. Just leave me alone."
This time, when I turned away, no one stopped me.
"You don't have anything to worry about, Alex. I'm not going to let anything happen to you."
Those forbidden words wrapped around my heart, forever etching into my soul. Our eyes met. Silence stretched between us as we stared at each other. [...] He moved them down my face and then over my parted lips.
We shoudn't be doing this. He was a pure-blood. Everything could come to a crashing end for us if we were caught, but it didn't matter.
"I know that there are some pure-bloods who break the rule, but they do it because they don't care about what happens to the other person, and I care about what happens to you." His eyes searched mine intently. "I care about you more than I should and that's why I'm not going to put you in that situation and jeopardize your future."
"Don't you want me?"
Groaning low his throat, he pressed his forehead against mine. "You know the answer to that. I still... want you, but we can't be together, Alex.
"When my parents died, I never thought I'd find peace again. I know you have, and for that, I'm happy. You deserve it, Alex."
"Did... you ever find peace?"
He reached out and brushed his fingers over the curve of my cheek. It was such a quick gesture I knew Caled never saw it. "Yes. I have now."