The Indigo Spell

Page 30

"Hey," I said, falling in step with her. "Good run?"

"Great run," she said. There was still a little sweat on her dark skin. "A lot nicer now that the weather's cooler." She eyed me curiously. "I don't usually see you here this early. I don't usually see you eat breakfast."

"It's the most important meal of the day, right?" I selected oatmeal and an apple. "Besides, I have a favor to ask you."

Kristin nearly dropped the plate of scrambled eggs one of the servers handed to her. Her brown eyes widened. "You have a favor to ask me?"

While I wasn't responsible for my human friends in the same way I was the Moroi and dhampirs, I still had a tendency to look after them. I'd helped Kristin a number of times.

"Yeah . . . my cousin Angeline needs a math tutor."

There was an expectant look on Kristin's face, like she was waiting for me to finish my story. Then understanding hit. "Who, me? No. No way."

"Oh, come on. It'd be easy." I followed her to a table, having to hurry to catch up. I think she thought that if she walked quickly enough, she might be able to escape my request. "She's in remedial math. You could tutor her in your sleep."

Kristin sat down and gave me a long, level look. "Sydney, I saw your cousin punch a grown man and throw a speaker at someone. Do you really think I'm going to sign on for a job that makes her do work she doesn't want to do? What if she gets frustrated at what I'm telling her? How do I know she won't stab me with a compass?"

"You don't," I admitted. "But I think it's unlikely. Probably. She really wants to improve her grade. Otherwise, she could get kicked out."

"Sorry." Kristin actually did look legitimately apologetic. "You know I'd do almost anything for you - but not this. You're going to have to find someone who's not afraid of her."

I thought about her words over and over as I headed off to history class. She was right. But the only people completely at ease around her were Eddie and Jill, and they were off the list as tutors. I wondered if maybe I should offer up money to someone when I went to calculus later.

"Miss Melbourne."

Ms. Terwilliger was back in her classroom, no doubt to the relief of yesterday's sub. She waved me up to her messy desk and handed me a single sheet of paper. "Here's the list we discussed."

I scanned it. It contained the names of six girls as well as their addresses. These must be the ones she'd mentioned, girls with known magical aptitude but no coven or teacher to look out for them. All the addresses were in the Los Angeles metropolitan area.

"I trust Mrs. Santos got you the other information you needed for your project?"

"Yes." Mrs. Santos had emailed me the historical neighborhoods she knew about, and I'd narrowed them down to a couple likely candidates. "I'll start working on the, uh, project this weekend."

Ms. Terwilliger arched an eyebrow. "Why are you putting it off? I've never known you to procrastinate on an assignment."

I was a little startled. "Well . . . normally I don't, ma'am. But this is going to take some extra time - travel time - and I don't have enough of it on school days."

"Ah," she said, realization hitting her. "Well, then, you may use your independent study for it. That'll give you extra time. And I'll tell Mrs. Weathers you may be coming in after curfew. I'll make sure that she's accommodating. This project is of the utmost importance."

There was no protest I could make. "I'll start today, then."

As I was walking back to my desk, a voice said, "Jeez, Melbourne. Just when I thought that independent study you had with her couldn't get any easier . . . now you don't even have to show up for class?"

I paused to give Trey a smile. He was Ms. Terwilliger's assistant during this class period, meaning he did a lot of filing and photocopying.

"It's a very important assignment," I said.

"I guess. What is it?"

"It'd bore you." I did a double take as I looked him over. I didn't even have to grope for a change in conversation. "What happened to you?"

His eyes were bloodshot, and the unkempt state of his black hair suggested he hadn't had a shower this morning. There was a sallow, almost sickly hue to his normally tan skin. He gave me a weak smile and lowered his voice. "Craig Lo's brother scored us some beer last night. It was from some microbrewery I guess that's good."

I groaned. "Trey, I thought you were better than that."

Trey managed as much of an indignant look as he could in his hungover state. "Hey, some of us like to have a little fun now and then. You should give it a shot sometime. I already tried to help you with Brayden, but you messed that up."

"I didn't mess anything up!" Brayden was a barista who worked with Trey, one who rivaled me when it came to a love of academia and random knowledge. Our brief relationship had been full of facts and low on passion. "He broke up with me."

"You wouldn't guess it. Did you know he writes all this lovesick poetry about you on his breaks?"

I was taken aback. "He . . . he does?" The reason Brayden had broken up with me was because my various duties to my vampire family had constantly interfered with the two of us, forcing me to neglect him and cancel a lot. "I feel kind of bad he took it that hard. I'm surprised he'd have such a, I don't know, outburst of passion."

Trey snorted. "I don't know that it's that passionate. He's more concerned about form and sits around with books detailing iambic pentameter and sonnet analysis."

"Okay, that sounds more like him." The bell was about to ring, so I had started to return to my seat when I noticed something on Trey's desk. "You're not done with that?"

It was a big homework assignment we had for our chemistry class, involving a number of complicated acid and base problems. It was due in our next period, and it seemed unlikely Trey would finish in time since all he had on the paper so far was his name.

"Yeah . . . I was going to finish it last night, but . . ."

"Right. The beer. Having fun." I didn't even bother to hide my disapproval. "That's a huge part of our grade."

"I know, I know." He looked down at the papers with a sigh. "I'll finish as much as I can before then. Partial credit's better than no credit."

I studied him for a moment and then made a decision that went against many of my basic principles. I reached into my messenger bag and handed him my completed homework.

"Here," I said.

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