"Ooh, Rose Hathaway is here to play, folks." He paused and took a glass of what looked like champagne from a passing waiter. "You want one?"

"I don't drink."

"Right." Adrian handed me a glass anyway, then shooed the waiter away and took a drink of the champagne. I had a feeling it wasn't his first of the night. "So. Sounds like our Vasilisa put my dad in his place."

"Your ..." I glanced back at the group I'd just left. Silver Hair still stood there, gesticulating wildly. "That guy's your dad?"

"That's what my mom says."

"You agree with him? About how Moroi fighting would be suicide?"

Adrian shrugged and took another sip. "I don't really have an opinion on that."

"That's not possible. How can you not feel one way or another?"

"Dunno. Just not something I think about. I've got better things to do."

"Like stalk me," I suggested. "And Lissa." I still wanted to know why she'd been in his room.

He smiled again. "I told you, you're the one following me."

"Yeah, yeah, I know. Five times- " I stopped. "Five times?"

He nodded.

"No, it's only been four." With my free hand, I ticked them off. "There was that first night, the night at the spa, then when I came to your room, and now tonight."

The smile turned secretive. "If you say so."

"I do say so..." Again, my words trailed off. I had talked to Adrian one other time. Sort of. "You can't mean ..."

"Mean what?" A curious, eager expression lit his eyes. It was more hopeful than presumptuous.

I swallowed, recalling the dream. "Nothing." Without thinking about it, I took a drink of champagne. Across the room, Lissa's feelings burned back to me, calm and content. Good.

"Why are you smiling?" Adrian asked.

"Because Lissa's still over there, working that crowd."

"No surprise there. She's one of those people who can charm anyone she wants if she tries hard enough. Even people who hate her."

I gave him a wry look. "I feel that way when I talk to you."

"But you don't hate me," he said, finishing the last of his champagne. "Not really."

"I don't like you either."

"So you keep saying." He took a step toward me, not threatening, just making the space between us more intimate. "But I can live with that."


The sharpness of my mother's voice cut through the air. A few people within earshot glanced over at us. My mother- all five angry feet of her- stormed up to us.


WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE doing?" she demanded. Her voice was still too loud as far as I was concerned.

"Nothing, I- "

"Excuse us, Lord Ivashkov," she growled. Then, like I was five years old, she grabbed me by my arm and jerked me out of the room. Champagne sloshed out of my glass and splashed onto the skirt of my dress.

"What do you think you're doing?" I exclaimed, once we were out in the hall. Mournfully, I looked down at my dress. "This is silk. You could have ruined it."

She grabbed the champagne flute and set it down on a nearby table. "Good. Maybe it'll stop you from dressing up like a cheap whore."

"Whoa," I said, shocked. "That's kind of harsh. And where do you get off turning motherly all of a sudden?" I gestured to the dress. "This isn't exactly cheap. You thought it was nice of Tasha to give it to me."

"That's because I didn't expect you to wear it out with Moroi and make a spectacle of yourself."

"I'm not making a spectacle of myself. And anyway, it covers everything up."

"A dress that tight might as well be showing everything," she retorted. She, of course, was dressed in guardian black: tailored black linen pants and a matching blazer. She had a few curves of her own, but the clothing hid them.

"Especially when you're with a group like that. Your body's...conspicuous. And flirting with Moroi doesn't really help."

"I wasn't flirting with him."

The accusation made me angry because I felt I'd been on really good behavior lately. I used to flirt all the time-  and do other things- with Moroi guys, but after a few talks and one embarrassing incident with Dimitri, I'd realized how stupid that was. Dhampir girls did have to be careful with Moroi guys, and I kept that in mind all the time now.

Something petty occurred to me. "Besides," I said mockingly, "isn't that what I'm supposed to do? Hook up with a Moroi and further my race? It's what you did."

She glowered. "Not when I was your age."

"You were only a few years older than me."

"Don't do anything stupid, Rose," she said. "You're too young for a baby. You don't have the life experience for it-  you haven't even lived your own life yet. You won't be able to do the kind of job you wish you could."

I groaned, mortified. "Are we really even discussing this? How did we go from me allegedly flirting to suddenly having a litter? I'm not ha**ng s*x with him or anyone else, and even if I were, I know about birth control. Why are you talking to me like I'm a child?"

"Because you act like one." It was remarkably like what Dimitri had told me.

I glared. "So you're going to send me to my room now?"

"No, Rose." She suddenly looked tired. "You don't have to go to your room, but don't go back in there, either. Hopefully you didn't draw too much attention."

"You make it sound like I was giving a lap dance in there," I told her. "I just had dinner with Lissa."

"You'd be surprised what things can spark rumors," she warned. "Especially with Adrian Ivashkov."

With that, she turned and headed off down the hall. Watching her, I felt anger and resentment burn through me. Overreact much? I hadn't done anything wrong. I knew she had her whole blood-whore paranoia, but this was extreme, even for her. Worst of all, she'd dragged me out of there, and several people had witnessed it. For someone who supposedly didn't want me attracting attention, she'd kind of messed that one up.

A couple of Moroi who'd been standing near Adrian and me walked out of the room. They glanced in my direction and then whispered something as they passed.

"Thanks, Mom," I muttered to myself.

Humiliated, I stalked off in the opposite direction, not really sure where I was going. I headed out toward the back of the lodge, away from all the activity.

The hall eventually ended, but a door leading to some stairs sat on the left. The door was unlocked, so I followed the stairs upward to another door. To my pleasure, it opened up onto a small rooftop deck that didn't appear to see much use. A blanket of snow lay over it all, but it was early morning out here, and the sun shone brightly, making everything glitter.

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