Evernight Page 36

I apologized to her once for spending less time with her, but she blew it off. “You’re in love. That makes you actually kind of boring to people who aren’t in love. You know, the sane ones.”

“I’m not boring,” I protested. “At least not more than I was before.”

Raquel responded by clasping her hands together and looking up at the library ceiling with her eyes slightly unfocused. “Did you know that Lucas likes sunshine? He does! Flowers and bunny rabbits, too. Now let me tell you all about the fascinating laces in Lucas’s fascinating shoes.”

“Shut up.” I swatted her shoulder, and she laughed. Still, I felt the odd distance between us. “I don’t mean to leave you alone.”

“You don’t. We’re cool.” Raquel opened her biology textbook, obviously ready to drop the subject.

Carefully, I said, “You seem okay with Lucas.”

She shrugged and didn’t look up from her book. “Sure. Shouldn’t I be?”

“Just—some of the stuff we talked about before—it’s not a problem. Really.” Raquel had been so sure that Lucas might attack me, never realizing that it was the other way around. “I want you to see him for who he is.”

“A fabulous, wonderful guy who loves sunshine and barfs roses.” Raquel was joking but not quite joking. When she met my eyes at last, she sighed. “He seems okay.”

I knew I wouldn’t get any further with her that day, so I changed the subject.

While my best friend at Evernight wasn’t thrilled that I was with Lucas, a lot of my worst enemies thought it was a great idea. They were actually glad I’d bitten him.

“I knew you’d get with the program eventually,” Courtney said to me in Modern Technology, the one class no human students had been enrolled in. “You’re a born vampire. That’s, like, super-rare and powerful and stuff. There was no way you could stay an enormous loser forever.”

“Wow, thanks, Courtney,” I said flatly. “Can we talk about something else?”

“Don’t see why you’re all weird about it.” Erich gave me a smarmy grin while he fiddled with the day’s assignment, an iPod. “I mean, I figure any guy as greasy as Lucas Ross has an aftertaste, but hey, fresh blood is fresh blood.”

“We should all get to snack sometimes,” Gwen insisted. “Hello, this school now comes complete with a walking buffet, and nobody gets to take a bite?” A few people mumbled agreement.

“Everyone pay attention,” demanded Mr. Yee, our teacher. Like all other teachers at Evernight, he was an extremely powerful vampire—one who had remained part of the world for a very long time and yet retained his edge. Mr. Yee wasn’t especially old; he’d told us that he’d died in the 1880s. But his strength and authority radiated from him almost as powerfully as they did from Mrs. Bethany. That was why each of the students, even those centuries older than him, gave him respect. At his command, we all fell silent. “You’ve had a few minutes with the iPods now. Your first questions?”

Patrice raised her hand first. “You said that most electronic devices can establish wireless connections now. But it doesn’t seem like this one does.”

“Very good, Patrice.” When Mr. Yee praised her, Patrice shot me a grateful smile. I’d talked her through the whole idea of wireless communications a few times. “This limitation is one of the few design flaws of the iPod. Subsequent models are likely to incorporate some form of wireless connection, and, of course, there’s also the iPhone—which we’ll cover next week.”

“If the information inside the iPod actually re-creates the song,” Balthazar said thoughtfully, “then the sound quality would depend completely on what kind of speakers or headphones you used. Right?”

“Mostly, yes. There are superior recording formats, but any casual listener and even some pros wouldn’t be able to tell the difference, as long as the iPod was hooked up to a superior audio system. Anyone else?” Mr. Yee looked around the room and then sighed. “Yes, Ranulf?”

“What spirits animate this box?”

“We’ve been over this.” Putting his hands on Ranulf’s desk, Mr. Yee slowly said, “No spirits animate any of the machines we’ve studied in class. Or will study, moving forward. In fact, no spirits animate any machines at all. Is that finally clear?”

Ranulf nodded slowly but didn’t look convinced. He wore his brown hair in a bowl haircut and had an open, guileless face. After a moment, he ventured, “What about the spirits of the metal from which this box is made?”

Mr. Yee slumped, as if defeated. “Is there anyone from the medieval period who might be able to help Ranulf with the transition here?” Genevieve nodded and went to his side.

“God, it’s not that hard—it’s just, like, a turbo Walkman or something.” Courtney shot Ranulf a skeptical glare. She was one of the few at Evernight who never seemed to have lost touch with the modern world; as far as I could tell, Courtney had mostly come here to socialize. Worse luck for the rest of us. I sighed and went back to creating a new playlist with my favorite songs for Lucas. Modern Technology really was too easy for me.

Weirdly, the place where it was hardest to forget the trouble lurking just beneath the surface was English class. Our folklore studies were behind us, and now we were making a review of the classics and digging into Jane Austen, one of my favorites. I thought there was no way I could go wrong there. Mrs. Bethany’s class was like some mirror universe for literature, someplace where everything got turned on its head, including me. Even books I’d read before and knew inside out became strange in her classroom, as if they’d been translated into some rough, guttural foreign language. But Pride and Prejudice—that would be different. Or so I thought.

“Charlotte Lucas is desperate.” I’d actually raised my hand, volunteering to get called on. Why did I ever think that was a good idea? “In that day and age, if women didn’t get married, they were, well, nobody. They could never have money or homes of their own. If they didn’t want to be a burden on their parents for forever, they had to marry.” I couldn’t believe I needed to tell her that.

“Interesting,” Mrs. Bethany said. “Interesting” was her synonym for “wrong.” I started to sweat. She walked in a slow circle around the room, and the afternoon sunlight glinted on the gold brooch at the throat of her frilly lace blouse. I could see the grooves in her long, thick nails. “Tell me, was Jane Austen married?”

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