Just as she had the night of the accident.

It all made sense now. I shouldn't have survived. Everyone had said so. Who knew what kind of injuries I'd actually suffered? Internal bleeding. Broken bones. It didn't matter because Lissa had fixed it, just like she'd fixed everything else. That was why she'd been leaning over me when I woke up.

It was also probably why she'd passed out when they took her to the hospital. She'd been exhausted for days afterward. And that was when her depression had begun. It had seemed like a normal reaction after losing her family, but now I wondered if there was more to it, if healing me had played a role.

Opening my mind again, I reached out to her, needing to find her. If she'd healed me, there was no telling what shape she could be in now. Her moods and magic were linked, and this had been a pretty intense show of magic.

The drug was almost gone from my system, and like that, I snapped into her. It was almost easy now. A tidal wave of emotions hit me, worse than when her nightmares engulfed me. I'd never felt such intensity from her before.

She sat in the chapel's attic, crying. She didn't entirely know why she was crying either. She felt happy and relieved that I'd been unharmed, that she'd been able to heal me. At the same time, she felt weak in both body and mind. She burned inside, like she'd lost part of herself. She worried I'd be mad because she'd used her powers. She dreaded going through another school day tomorrow, pretending she liked being with a crowd who had no other interests aside from spending their families' money and making fun of those less beautiful and less popular. She didn't want to go to the dance with Aaron and see him watch her so adoringly - and feel him touching her - when she felt only friendship for him.

Most of these were all normal concerns, but they hit her hard, harder than they would an ordinary person, I thought. She couldn't sort through them or figure out how to fix them.

"You okay?"

She looked up and brushed the hair away from where it stuck to her wet cheeks. Christian stood in the entrance to the attic. She hadn't even heard him come up the stairs. She'd been too lost in her own grief. A flicker of both longing and anger sparked within her.

"I'm fine," she snapped. Sniffling, she tried to stop her tears, not wanting him to see her weak.

Leaning against the wall, he crossed his arms and wore an unreadable expression. "Do...do you want to talk?"

"Oh..." She laughed harshly. "You want to talk now? After I tried so many times - "

"I didn't want that! That was Rose - "

He cut himself off and I flinched. I was totally busted.

Lissa stood up and strode toward him. "What about Rose?"

"Nothing." His mask of indifference slipped back into place. "Forget it."

"What about Rose?" She stepped closer. Even through her anger, she still felt that inexplicable attraction to him. And then she understood. "She made you, didn't she? She told you to stop talking to me?"

He stared stonily ahead. "It was probably for the best. I would have just messed things up for you. You wouldn't be where you are now."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"What do you think it means? God. People live or die at your command now, Your Highness."

"You're being kind of melodramatic."

"Am I? All day, I hear people talking about what you're doing and what you're thinking and what you're wearing. Whether you'll approve. Who you like. Who you hate. They're your puppets."

"It's not like that. Besides, I had to do it. To get back at Mia..."

Rolling his eyes, he looked away from her. "You don't even know what you're getting back at her for."

Lissa's anger flared. "She set up Jesse and Ralf to say those things about Rose! I couldn't let her get away with that."

"Rose is tough. She would have gotten over it."

"You didn't see her," she replied obstinately. "She was crying."

"So? People cry. You're crying."

"Not Rose."

He turned back to her, a dark smile curling his lips. "I've never seen anything like you two. Always so worried about each other. I get her thing - some kind of weird guardian hang-up - but you're just the same."

"She's my friend."

"I guess it's that simple. I wouldn't know." He sighed, momentarily thoughtful, then snapped back to sarcastic mode. "Anyway. Mia. So you got back at her over what she did to Rose. But you're missing the point. Why did she do it?"

Lissa frowned. "Because she was jealous about me and Aaron - "

"More to it than that, Princess. What did she have to be jealous about? She already had him. She didn't need to attack you to drive that home. She could have just made a big show of being all over him. Sort of like you are now," he added wryly.

"Okay. What else is there, then? Why did she want to ruin my life? I never did anything to her - before all this, I mean."

He leaned forward, crystal-blue eyes boring into hers.

"You're right. You didn't - but your brother did."

Lissa pulled away from him. "You don't know anything about my brother."

"I know he screwed Mia over. Literally."

"Stop it, stop lying."

"I'm not. Swear to God or whoever else you want to believe in. I used to talk to Mia now and then, back when she was a freshman. She wasn't very popular, but she was smart. Still is. She used to work on a lot of committees with royals - dances and stuff. I don't know all of it. But she got to know your brother on one of those, and they sort of got together."

"They did not. I would have known. Andre would have told me."

"Nope. He didn't tell anyone. He told her not to either. He convinced her it should be some kind of romantic secret when really, he just didn't want any of his friends to find out he was getting na**d with a non-royal freshman."

"If Mia told you that, she was making it up," exclaimed Lissa.

"Yeah, well, I don't think she was making it up when I saw her crying. He got tired of her after a few weeks and dumped her. Told her she was too young and that he couldn't really get serious with someone who wasn't from a good family. From what I understand, he wasn't even nice about it either - didn't even bother with the 'let's be friends' stuff."

Lissa pushed herself into Christian's face. "You didn't even know Andre! He would never have done that."

"You didn't know him. I'm sure he was nice to his baby sister; I'm sure he loved you. But in school, with his friends, he was just as much of a jerk as the rest of the royals. I saw him because I see everything. Easy when no one notices you."

Tags: Richelle Mead Vampire Academy Fantasy
Source: www.StudyNovels.com
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