Out for Blood Page 47

“Try aspirin first,” I suggested, handing her the bottle after shaking two out for myself. I downed an entire bottle of water and felt marginally more human. Still, I didn’t want to do anything but lie there and feel pathetic.

I definitely didn’t want to answer the door.

“If that’s another one of your Niners …” Chloe’s threat trailed off menacingly, as if she couldn’t think of anything bad enough to inflict on whoever dared knock on our door.

The second knock had us both snarling. I swung the door open, scowling. “What already?”

Ms. Dailey stood on the other side, eyebrow raised drily.

“Oh, um, Ms. Dailey.” I flushed. Chloe smothered a snort of laughter.

“Hunter.” Ms. Dailey smiled knowingly. “May I come in?”

I stepped aside to let her pass. “Is Spencer okay?” I couldn’t think of another reason why she’d be here in our dorm room. My heart fell into stomach.

“Spencer’s condition is unchanged,” she assured me. “And he is receiving the best care possible. His parents are on their way here to the school today.”

“Oh.” So he was sick enough that his parents had been called. We’d known that already, of course, but this just made it feel more awful. More final. “Can we see him?”

“You know that’s not possible,” she told us gently and glanced at Chloe, who finally sat up, her curly hair looking like a bird’s nest squashed on one side of her head. “He’s in quarantine.” She pursed her lips. “Which is why I won’t be commenting on your obvious hangover, Chloe. After last night, I suppose you all deserve a break.” She speared her with a stern glare that had Chloe squirming. “I won’t tell the headmistress about this, but you’re on kitchen duty until Christmas break. And if anything like this ever happens again, you’ll be expelled. Understand me?”

“Yes, ma’am,” Chloe murmured. It was pretty cool of Dailey not to bust her.

“Good.” She turned to me. “Now, Hunter, there is something I’d like to discuss with you.”

I tried to make my brain work. “Yes?”

“I am starting my own student group. The Guild will recruit the best of the best to help take out the new Hel-Blar and other threats. I’d like to formally extend an invitation for you to join us. You’ve exhibited leadership, team spirit, courage, loyalty, and resourcefulness time and time again and you ought to be rewarded for it. And I’m very proud of you for resisting whatever party was going on here last night. We could use you.”

“Thank you!” I finally exclaimed after a stunned silence. This was way better than floor monitor duties. And Grandpa would puff up his chest with pride and brag to all his friends. I grinned.

“We’ll expect you every Sunday afternoon for training and Tuesday evenings after supper for weekly orientation.” She shook her head at Chloe. “Drink lots of water” was her parting advice before letting the door shut behind her. Loudly.

I tuned to Chloe, beaming. “Can you believe it? Cool.”

She did not look happy for me.

She swung out of bed, glowering. “Figures.”

I narrowed my eyes, some of my happiness congealing in my chest. “And by that you mean, congratulations?”

“I mean, I’m tired of the elitist nepotism of this school.”

My mouth dropped open. “What the hell, Chloe? I work my ass off.”

“And I don’t?”

I was really sick of this argument.

“Well, it’s not actually about you for one second,” I told her. “It’s about me.”

“It’s always about you.”

I rolled my eyes. “I’m so over your pity party. Green’s not a good color on you.”

“Shut up.” She stalked toward me, her hands clenched into fists. “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

I stood my ground. “I know exactly what I’m talking about so back off, Chloe. I mean it.” I couldn’t believe one of my best friends was all up in my face like that. It was totally surreal. “I really hope that this is a side effect from your dumb-ass vitamins,” I told her grimly. “Even so, it’s getting tired.”

“God, get off my case, already,” Chloe shouted, and shoved me. I stumbled back a step, shocked.

“You did not just do that.” I shoved her back before I could stop myself.

“So what if I did? Going to tattle on me to your new Guild friends?” She shoved me again, or would have if I hadn’t jerked my shoulder back. The momentum tripped her up, which infuriated her all the more. Frankly, I was past caring.

Especially when she hauled off and punched me.

The ensuing silence was cold and sudden, like a bucket of water. I’d managed to duck enough that her fist glanced my chin and shoulder but didn’t do too much damage. Still, I felt the throb on my jaw. She stared at me, eyes watering, cheeks red with fury.

I really wanted to punch her back.

Before I could give in to some idiot catfight, I turned on my heel and stormed out of the room.

Sunday night

“Are you telling me Chloe actually punched you?” Jenna stared at me. She whistled through her teeth. “Dude. That is messed up.”

“I know,” I agreed grimly. We were walking across the quad toward the infirmary. I hadn’t seen Chloe all day, not since our fight. Definitely for the best. I shoved my hands in my pockets. “I’m tired of getting punched in the face.”

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