Monday, February 25, 2019
Bloodlines Chapter Twenty-Two
CLARENCE DIDNT WANT to disgorge to us ab by what had adventureed. In fact, he adamantly denied e verything was wrong, claiming hed scratched his neck p surge shaving.Mr. Donahue, I said as get by as I could, this was make by a surgical tool. And it didnt happen until Keith visited.No, no, Clarence managed in a fainthearted voice. It has null to do with him.Dorothy stuck her head in just then, swinging a glass of juice. Wed conjureed for her shortly after my arrival tonight. For line of reasoning loss, the remedies were the same for Moroi and human alike sugar and fluids. She offered the glass to him with a straw, her line face filled with concern. I continued my pleas as he drank. evidence us what your deal is, I begged. Whats the arrangement? Whats he broad you for your family? When Clarence remained silent, I tried another(prenominal) tactic. People are being hurt. Hes talent out your blood indiscriminately.That got a reaction. No, said Clarence. Hes using my blood and expectoration to heal people. To heal sick humans. Saliva? I almost groaned. Of course of study. The sable clear liquid. Now I knew what gave the celestial tattoos their addictive high. Gross.Adrian and I change glances. Healing legitimately was a lend mavenself for vampire blood. The tattoo I wore was proof of that, and the Alchemists had worked farsighted trying to duplicate some of the bloods properties for wider medicinal use. So far, t present was no way to synthetic solelyy reproduce it, and using real number blood simply wasnt practical.He lied, I replied. Hes selling it to rich teenagers to swear out them with sports. What did he promise you for it? A cut of the m integrityy?Adrian glanced most the lofty style. He doesnt seduce aim money. The nevertheless(prenominal) thing he contracts is what the guardians wouldnt acquaint him. well(p)ice for Tamara, right?Surprised, I turned back to Clarence and apothegm Adrians spoken language confirmed on the old Morois face. He hes been investigating the vampire hunters for me, he said slowly. He says hes close. Close to finding them out.I shook my head, lacking(p) to kick myself for not having forecast out sooner that Clarence was the blood source. It explained why Keith was al shipway unexpectedly here and why he got so upturned when I showed up without warning. My fraternizing with vampires had had nothing to do with it. Sir, I guarantee the only thing hes investigating is how to spend the money hes been qualification.No no hes unlesston to serve up me find the hunters who killed TamaraI stood up. I couldnt stand to hear some(prenominal) to a greater extent. Get him some real food, and see what hell eat, I told Dorothy. If hes only weak from blood loss, he just needs quantify.I nodded for Adrian to follow me out. As we walked toward the living room, I remarked, Well, at that place are straightforward and bad views to this. At least we dejection be confident Keiths got a fre sh ply of blood for us to bust him with. Im just sorry Clarence had to get trip up so I froze as I entered the living room. Id simply treasured to go there because it would be a familiar place to argue our plans, one that was less creepy than Clarences bedroom. Considering how my imagination often ran wild speckle I was in this old house, Id found that few things came as a surprise. more all over never in my wildest dreams had I imagined the living room would be transformed into an art gallery.Easels and learn were set up all near the room. Even the pool table was covered by a boastfully roll of paper. The pictures varied wildly in their content. Some simply had splashes of intensity affordn on them. Some possessed astonishingly realistic depictions of objects and people. An categorization of watercolors and oil paints sat around amidst the art.For a moment, all thoughts of Clarence and Keith disappeared from my head. What is this?Homework, Adrian said.Didnt you didnt you just run short your classes? How could they have assigned this much?He walked over to a micklevas showing a swirling red line traced over a blacken cloud and lightly tested to see if the paint was dry. Studying it, I tried to decide if I really was seeing a cloud. at that place was almost something anthropomorphic roughly it.Of course they didnt give us this much, Sage. just now I had to make sure I nailed my origin assignment. Takes a carve up of tries before you hit perfection. He pa utilise to reconsider that. Well, except for my parents. They got it on the first try.I couldnt help a smile. After watching Adrians moods oscil belatedly so wildly in the last couple weeks, it was nice to see them on the upswing. Well, this is kind of amazing, I admitted. What are they? I mean, I get that one. I pointed to a painting of a womans eye, brown and long-lashed, and then to another one of roses. But the others are open to, um, slightly more creative interpretation. are they? as ked Adrian, turning back to the smoky painting with the red streak. I figured it was obvious. This one is Love. Dont you see it?I shrugged. perhaps I dont have an tasteful enough mind. peradventure, he agreed. Once we bust your buddy Keith, well discuss my protagonist art all you want.Right, I said, growing serious once again. We need to attend his place for evidence. I figured the best way to do that is if I lure him out and you break in while hes gone. To get through and through the lock Adrian waved me off. I can pick a lock. How do you echo I got into my parents liquor cabinet in middle school?Shouldve guessed, I said dryly. Make sure you look everywhere, not just in obvious places. He could have compartments hidden in the walls or in furniture. You want to find vials of blood or metallic liquid or even the tool that pierced Clarence.Got it. We hashed out a few more details including who he should call when he found something and were about to pass away when he asked, Sage, whyd you pick me to be your partner in crime in this?I thought about it. Process of elimination, I guess. Jills supposed to be kept out of trouble. Eddied be a good asset, but he needed to go back with her and Lee. Besides, I already knew you didnt have any moral qualms about breaking and entering.Thats the nicest thing youve ever said to me, he declared with a grin.We headed out to Keiths after that. All the lights were on in the first floor of his building, dashing a last-minute hope Id had that perhaps I wouldnt have to lure him out. I wouldve actually liked to help with the search. I dropped Adrian off and then drove to a 20-four-hour restaurant that was orthogonal the opposite side of townsfolk. I figured it would be perfect for belongings Keith away from his home. The driving time alone would provide Adrian with extra curious time, though it meant Adrian had to wait outside for a while until Keith left. Once I at last arrived, I got a table, ordered coffee, and di aled Keiths number.Hello?Keith, its me. I need to talk to you.So talk, he said. He sounded smug and confident, no question happy at pulling off the last-minute tattoo sale. non on the phone. I need you to meet me.At Amberwood? he asked in surprise. Isnt it after hours? It was indeed, but that was a problem for later.Im not at school. Im at Margarets Diner, that place out by the highway.Long silence. Then Well, if youre already out past curfew, then just scrape up here.No, I said firmly. You come to me.Why should I?I hesitated only briefly before compete the card I knew would get him, the one thing that would make him incur out here and not raise suspicions about the tattoos.Its about Carly.What about her? he asked after a moments pause.You accredit exactly what.After a seconds pause, Keith relented and hung up. I noticed that I had a voice mail from early in the day that I hadnt heard come in. I called and listened.Sydney, this is Wes Regan from Carlton College. Just precious to go over a couple things with you. First, Im afraid I have some bad news. It doesnt look like Im sledding to be able to retroactively admit your brother from auditor status. I can enroll him near semester for sure if he full stops in good standing, but the only way he can keep winning classes now is if he continues to do so as an auditor. He wont be able to get financial aid as a result, and in fact, youll actually need to pay the auditing fee soon if hes qualifying to quench in the classes. If he wants to drop altogether, we can do that too. Just call me and let me know what youd like to do.I stared at the phone in dismay when the meaning was over. There went our dreams of sliding Adrian into fully enrolled student status, not to mention his dreams of getting financial aid and moving out of Clarences. The following(a) semester probably started in January, so Adrian was facing four more months at Clarences. Adrian would also be facing four more months of bus-riding and tak ing classes without college credit.But were the credits and financial aid really the most important things here? I thought back to how excited Adrian had been after only a couple classes, how hed thrown himself into the art. His face had been radiant when he stood in his gallery. Jills haggling also echoed through my mind, about how the art had given him something to channel his feelings into and made the bond easier for her to cope with. Those classes were good for both of them.How much was an auditing fee? I wasnt sure but knew it wasnt as much as tuition. It was also a onetime cost that I could probably slide into my expenses without raising the oversight of the Alchemists. Adrian needed those classes, of that I was certain. If he knew financial aid wasnt an option this semester, there was a good chance hed just drop them altogether. I couldnt appropriate that. Hed known there might be a delay while the financial aid came together. If I could keep him difference to Carlton a pocket-size longer, then maybe hed get invested enough in the art that hed stay on, even when the truth came out. It was a sneaky thing to do, but it would proceeds him and Jill in the end.I dialed back Wes Regans office, knowing Id get his voice mail. I left him a message saying that Id drop off a check for the auditing fee and that Adrian would stay on until he could be enrolled next semester. I hung up, saying a silent prayer that it would mother a while for Adrian to find out any of this. The waitress kept giving me the evil eye over just having coffee, so I finally ordered a piece of pie to go. She had just set the carton smooth on my table when an irritated Keith entered the restaurant. He stood in the doorway, looking around impatiently until he saw me.Okay, whats going on? he demanded, reservation a big show of sitting down. Whats so important that you mat up the need to break school rules and drag me halfway across town?For a moment, I froze up. Looking into Keiths look real and artificial triggered all the conflicting feelings Id had about him this last year. Fear and anxiety over what I was trying to pull off warred with the deep hate Id long carried. Baser instincts treasured me to make him find, to throw something at him. Like the pie. Or a chair. Or a baseball bat.I Before I could say another word, my phone chimed. I looked down and read a text message from Adrian GOT IT. CALL MADE. ONE HOUR.I slipped the phone into my purse and exhaled. It had taken Keith twenty proceedings to get here, and during that time, Adrian had been dutifully searching the apartment. Hed apparently been successful. Now it was up to me to delay Keith until reinforcements showed up. One hour was actually a lot less time than Id expected. Id given Adrian Stantons phone number, and she wouldve dispatched whatever Alchemists were closest. Id figured that would mean Los Angeles, but it was hard to say with the scope of our jobs. If there were Alchemists on the east side of the city, theyd get here very quickly. It was also possible they could cut time by simply flying a private jet in.Whats that? asked Keith irritably. A text from one of your vampire friends?You can stop the act, I said. I know you dont really care about me getting too close to them. I hadnt intended this to be the topic that distracted him, but Id take it.Of course I do. I worry about your soul.Is that why you called my dad? I asked. Is that the reason you valued me out of Palm Springs?Its for your own good, he said, lay on that holier-than-thou air. Do you know how wrong it was that you even wanted this job in the first place? No Alchemist would. But you, you lots begged for it.Yeah, I said, feeling my anger rise. So Zoe wouldnt have to do it. key out yourself that if you want. I know the truth. You like these creatures.Why does it have to be so cut-and-dried? In your view, I either have to hate them or be in league with them. Theres a middle ground, you know. I can still be loyal to the Alchemists and on friendly terms with vampires and dhampirs.Keith looked at me like I was ten years old. Sydney, youre such an innocent. You dont understand the shipway of the world like I do. I knew all about his ways of the world and wouldve said as much if the waitress hadnt come by to take his drink order just then. When she was gone, Keith continued his spiel. I mean, how do you even know youre feeling the way you do? Vampires can compel, you know. They use mind control. Spirit users like Adrian are really good at it. For all we know, hes been using his powers to endear himself to you.I thought of all the measure Id wanted to shake some sense into Adrian. Hes not doing a very good job, then.We bickered back and forth about this, and for once, I was gladiola of Keiths obstinance and refusal to see reason. The longer he argued with me, the more time the Alchemists had to get to his apartment. If Stanton had told Adrian one hour, she probably meant it. St ill, it was best to be safe.My breaking point came when Keith said, You should be glad Im looking out for you like this. This is about more than vampires, you know. Im teaching you manners lessons. You memorize books but dont understand people. You dont know how to connect to them. Youre going to carry this same naive attitude with you into the real world, thinking everyone means well, and mortal some guy, probably will just take advantage of you.Well, I snapped, youd know all about that, wouldnt you?Keith snorted. I have no amour in you, rest easy.Im not talking about me Im talking about Carly. So. Here it was. The original purpose of our meeting.Whats she have to do with anything? Keith kept his bill steady, but I saw it. The slightest flicker of anxiety in his eye.I know what happened between you guys. I know what you did to her.He became very evoke in stirring ice around with his straw. I didnt do anything to her. I have no idea what youre talking about.You know exactly w hat Im talking about She told me. She came to me afterward. I leaned forward, feeling confident. What do you think my dad would do if he found out? What would yours do?Keith looked up sharply. If youre so certain something terrible happened, then why doesnt your dad already know? Huh? Maybe because Carly knows theres nothing to tattle on. Anything we did, she wanted to, believe me.You are such a liar, I hissed. I know what you did. You raped her. And you will never suffer enough for it. You shouldve lost both of your eyes.He stiffened at the reference to his eyes. Thats harsh. And has nothing to do with any of this. What the hells happened to you, Sydney? Howd you turn into such a bitch? Maybe making you associate with vampires and dhampirs has caused more damage than we realized. First thing tomorrow, Im going to call Stanton and ask that they pull you now. No waiting until the end of the week. You need to be away from this dark influence. He shook his head and gave me a look both condescending and pitying. No, you need to be re-educated, period. It shouldve happened a long time ago, as soon as they caught you busting out that murderer.Dont change the topic. I spoke haughtily, though hed again woken a sliver of fear in me. What if Adrian and I failed? What if the Alchemists listened to Keith and hauled me away? Hed never have to worry about me again in a re-education center. This isnt about me. We were talking about Carly.Keith rolled his eyes in annoyance. Im done talking about your slutty sister.That was when my earlier impulse to throw something at him won out. Lucky for him, it was only my coffee and not a chair. Also lucky for him the coffee had cooled considerably. There was still a lot of it left, and it managed to splash everywhere, drenching his unfortunate choice of a white shirt. He stared at me in astonishment, sputtering to get his words out.You bitch he said, standing up.As he started moving toward the door, I realized that my chair might have just blown the plan. I hurried over and caught hold of his arm.Wait, Keith. I-Im sorry. Dont go.He jerked his arm away and glared at me. Its too late for you. You had your chance and blew it.I grabbed him again. No, no. Wait. Theres still lots we have to talk about.He opened his mouth with some snippy remark and then cursorily shut it. He studied me for several seconds, his face growing serious. be you trying to keep me here? Whats going on? When I couldnt conscription a response, he pulled away and stormed out the door. I quickly ran back to the table and tossed a twenty on it. I grabbed the pie and told the bewildered waitress to keep the change.The clock in my car told me I had twenty minutes until the Alchemists were supposed to show up at Keiths. That was also the time it would take to get back there. I drove right fag him, making no effort to hide my presence. It was no secret now that something was going on, something Id lured him away from home for. I blessed every red l ight that stopped us, praying he wouldnt arrive too early. If he did, Adrian and I were going to have to delay him.It wouldnt be impossible, but it also wasnt something I wanted to do.We finally made it back. Keith pulled into his buildings tiny lot, and I parked uncaringly in a fire zone out front. I was only steps behind him as he ran to the door, but he hardly seemed to notice. His attention was on the lit-up windows of his building and the dark silhouettes barely discernible beyond the heavy drapes. He burst in through the door, and I followed a moment later, nearly running into him as he came to a complete standstill.I didnt know the three suited men there with Adrian, but I knew they were Alchemists. They had that cold, sensitive feel that we all strove for, and their cheeks were emblazoned with gold lilies. One was going through Keiths kitchen cupboards. another(prenominal) had a notepad and was talking to Adrian, who was leaning against the wall and smoking. He smiled when he saw me.The third Alchemist was kneeling on the floor in the living room near a small storage cupboard in the wall. A tacky painting of a shirtless womans back lay nearby, which apparently had been used to hide the compartment. Its wooden door had clearly been forcibly opened, and various limit were strewn haphazardly around with a few exceptions. The Alchemist was going to great nisus to sort one pile of objects metal tubes and needles used to drain blood, on with vials of blood and small packets of silvery powder. He looked up at our explosive entrance and fixed Keith with a cool smile.Ah, so glad youre here, Mr. Darnell. We were hoping we could take you with us for some questioning.Keiths face fell.