Out for Blood Page 48

“I can’t believe you didn’t punch her back. You are a better woman than I am.” She shook her head.

“Remind me of that when my jaw goes purple to match the rest of my bruises.” At least it was only a dull ache; she hadn’t cracked a tooth or bruised the bone. I’d have been mad at myself if she’d managed to get the best of me, even hungover and doped up on those weird vitamins.

“You two weren’t the only ones fighting,” Jenna told me.

“What? Who else?”

“Two eleventh graders went at it over the last box of cereal in the common room.”

“Seriously?”

“Yeah, one of them needed two stitches. And someone got carted off to the infirmary. Some kind of flu.”

I hunched my shoulders. “Jenna, we have to figure this out. It doesn’t add up.”

“We will.”

I wished I had her confidence. I felt as if we were going backward; everything was making less sense, not more. And it was starting to piss me off.

The safety lights blazed along the path and we could hear someone beating on the punching bags from the open window of the upstairs gym. Music poured out of the dorm behind us. It was familiar, homey.

Worth protecting.

We went straight to the infirmary, blinking at the bright fluorescent lights. The minute he saw us, Theo jumped up from his chair and blocked us.

“No way, girls.”

We both scowled.

“Theo, come on,” Jenna finally wheedled when he didn’t move. “Be a pal.”

“Not a toe past quarantine, kid.”

“Kid? You’re what, twenty-five?”

“Yeah, old enough to know better.”

“We just want to see Spencer,” I said.

“I know what you want. Forget it.” His expression softened. “Look, I know it’s hard. But he’s in quarantine for a reason. You won’t help him by getting locked up in quarantine yourselves, or getting demerits or expelled. You know the headmistress doesn’t mess around with this stuff.” He raised an eyebrow. “And you could get me fired as well.”

“Guilt trip,” Jenna muttered.

“Damn straight.”

I knew we wouldn’t change his mind, but all the same, I had to try.

“Theo, he shouldn’t be alone. He’s our friend,” I said.

“He’s not alone,” Theo said just as Spencer’s mother came out from behind the curtain blocking the quarantine rooms. Her eyes were red, her cheeks so pale under her tan that they looked paper-thin. The rest of her was the same, from her sun-bleached blond hair to her sandals and silver toe rings. Spencer got his love of surfing and the ocean from his mom and his supernatural obsessions from his dad. She saw me and her lips wobbled. I stared, horrified. If she cried, I didn’t know what I’d do. Just because I’m a girl doesn’t mean I do public displays of emotion. Luckily she clenched her jaw and tried to smile.

“Oh, Hunter, come here, sweetie.” She hugged me hard. She smelled like salt and coconut oil. It was comforting.

“How is he?” I asked when she let go and squeezed Jenna’s hand.

“He’s strong,” she said, her voice breaking. It wasn’t really an answer. I shifted from one foot to the other. I felt guilty and I didn’t know why. The clock on the wall ticked too loudly. “I have to get back to him.”

She wasn’t allowed in quarantine either, only on this side of the window. Once a day she was allowed in a full medical suit to go inside and hold his hand and talk to him. We’d studied the procedure in class last year.

The reality was so much worse.

“I miss him already,” I said miserably as Jenna and I shuffled back outside. It was Sunday night; everyone was in a frenzy of last-minute unpacking and organizing and pretending school didn’t start tomorrow.

“Me too,” Jenna said. She kicked at a garbage can. “I wish there was more we could do.”

And then it hit me.

“There is.”

She turned to eye me. “What? What are you talking about?”

I stopped, nodding slowly. “I bugged the eleventh-grade common room after Will was bitten,” I said. “I forgot.”

“You forgot you bugged a room?” Jenna goggled. “Dude, you’re fierce. And I totally love you right now.”

“We might not find anything,” I quickly added.

“But at least we’ll be doing something. No wonder Dailey tapped you for her Guild.”

“Didn’t she ask you?”

Jenna shrugged. “No.”

“She totally will,” I said, utterly convinced. “No one handles a crossbow like you do.”

“Thanks.” She tugged on my hand, dragging me after her as if we were heading for a giant mountain of Ed Westwick–shaped chocolate. “Now let’s go! I want to listen to those recordings of yours.”

“Slow down.” I tugged back. “If we go in there like a stampeding herd, people will notice. We’re going for subtle right now.” I scowled. “And everyone’s staring at me as it is.”

“I know,” Jenna said, slowing her pace and relaxing her shoulders, as if we were just hanging out, strolling back to our rooms. “Everyone’s heard about Will by now.”

I nodded, my throat clenching. The dorm was buzzing with activity as students tried to put off going to bed. Morning meant school had officially started. We climbed the stairs and hung around the eleventh-grade common room but it was packed. If we stayed any longer people would start to wonder. There was no way to get in and get the microphones without giving ourselves away.

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