"We could go ... somewhere," I said.
He pushed back and laughed. "Not when you're drunk."
"I'm not... that... drunk anymore," I said, trying to pull him back.
Giving me a small kiss on the lips, he stepped back. "Drunk enough. Look, this isn't easy, believe me. But if you still want me tomorrow- when you're sober- then we'll talk."
He leaned down and kissed me again. I tried to wrap my arms around him, but he broke away once more.
"Easy there, girl," he teased, backing toward his hallway.
I glared at him, but he only laughed and turned around. As he walked away, my glare faded, and I headed back to my room with a smile on my face.
I WAS TRYING TO PAINT my toenails the next morning- not easy with such a god-awful hangover- when I heard a knock at the door. Lissa had been gone when I woke up, so I staggered across the room, trying not to ruin my wet nail polish. Opening up the door, I saw one of the hotel staff standing outside with a large box in both arms. He shifted it slightly so that he could peer around and look at me.
"I'm looking for Rose Hathaway."
I took the box from him. It was big but not all that heavy. With a quick thank-you, I shut the door, wondering if I should have tipped him. Oh well.
I sat on the floor with the box. It had no markings on it and was sealed with packing tape. I found a pen and stabbed at the tape. Once I'd hacked off enough, I opened the box and peered inside.
It was filled with perfume.
There had to be at least thirty little bottles of perfume packed into the box. Some I'd heard of, some I hadn't. They ranged from crazy expensive, movie-star caliber to cheap kinds I'd seen in drugstores. Eternity. Angel. Vanilla Fields. Jade Blossom. Michael Kors. Poison. Hypnotic Poison. Pure Poison. Happy. Light Blue. J?van Musk. Pink Sugar. Vera Wang. One by one, I picked up the boxes, read the descriptions, and then pulled out the bottles for a sniff.
I was about halfway through when reality hit. These had to be from Adrian.
I didn't know how he'd managed to get all of these delivered to the hotel in such a short amount of time, but money can make almost anything happen. Still, I didn't need the attention of a rich, spoiled Moroi; apparently he hadn't picked up on my signals. Regretfully, I started to place the perfumes back in the box- then stopped. Of course I'd return them...but there was no harm in sniffing the rest before I did.
Once more, I started pulling out bottle after bottle. Some I just sniffed the cap of; others I sprayed in the air. Serendipity. Dolce & Gabbana. Shalimar. Daisy. Note after note hit me: rose, violet, sandalwood, orange, vanilla, orchid ...
By the time I was finished, my nose barely worked anymore. All of these had been designed for humans. They had a weaker sense of smell than vampires and even dhampirs, so these scents were extra strong. I had a new appreciation for what Adrian had meant about only a splash of perfume being necessary. If all these bottles were making me dizzy, I could only imagine what a Moroi would smell. The sensory overload wasn't really helping the headache I'd woken up with either.
I packed up the perfume for real this time, stopping only when I came to a certain kind that I really liked. I hesitated, holding the little box in my hand. Then, I took the red bottle out and re-sniffed it. It was a crisp, sweet fragrance. There was some kind of fruit- but not a candied or sugary fruit. I racked my brain for a scent I'd once smelled on a girl I knew in my dorm. She'd told me the name. It was like a cherry...but sharper. Currant, that's what it was. And here it was in this perfume, mixed with some florals: lily of the valley and others I couldn't identify. Whatever the blend, something about it appealed to me. Sweet- but not too sweet. I read the box, looking for the name. Amor Amor.
"Fitting," I muttered, seeing how many love problems I seemed to have lately. But I kept the perfume anyway and repacked the rest.
Hoisting the box up in my arms, I took it down to the front desk and acquired some packing tape to reseal it. I also got directions to Adrian's room. Apparently, the Ivashkovs practically had their own wing. It wasn't too far from Tasha's room.
Feeling like a delivery girl, I walked down the hall and stopped in front of his door. Before I could manage to knock, it opened up, and Adrian stood before me. He looked as surprised as I felt.
"Little dhampir," he said cordially. "Didn't expect to see you here."
"I'm returning these." I hoisted the box toward him before he could protest. Clumsily, he caught it, staggering a bit in surprise. Once he had a good grip, he took a few steps back and set it on the floor.
"Didn't you like any of them?" he asked. "You want me to get you some more?"
"Don't send me any more gifts."
"It isn't a gift. It's a public service. What woman doesn't own perfume?"
"Don't do it again," I said firmly.
Suddenly, a voice behind him asked, "Rose? Is that you?"
I peered beyond him. Lissa.
"What are you doing here?"
Between my headache and what I had assumed was some interlude with Christian, I'd blocked her out as best I could this morning. Normally I would have known the instant I approached that she was inside the room. I opened myself up again, letting her shock run into me. She hadn't expected me to show up here.
"What are you doing here?" she asked.
"Ladies, ladies," he said teasingly. "No need to fight over me."
I glared. "We're not. I just want to know what's going on here."
A breath of aftershave hit me, and then I heard a voice behind me: "Me too."
I jumped. Spinning around, I saw Dimitri standing in the hallway. I had no clue what he was doing in the Ivashkov wing.
On his way to Tasha's room, a voice inside me suggested.
Dimitri no doubt always expected me to get into all sorts of trouble, but I think seeing Lissa there caught him off guard. He stepped past me and came into the room, looking between the three of us.
"Male and female students aren't supposed to be in each other's rooms."
I knew pointing out that Adrian wasn't technically a student wasn't going to get us out of trouble here. We weren't supposed to be in any guy's room.
"How do you keep doing this?" I asked Adrian, frustrated.
"Keep making us look bad!"
He chuckled. "You guys are the ones who came here."
"You shouldn't have let them in," scolded Dimitri. "I'm sure you know the rules at St. Vladimir's."
Adrian shrugged. "Yeah, but I don't have to follow any school's stupid rules."