"This," interrupted Trey, "is the most messed-up thing I've ever seen. And the most beautiful.

Sydney, this is Brayden. Brayden, Sydney." Trey rarely used my first name, so that was weird, but not nearly as weird as the exaggerated wink he gave me.

I shook Brayden's hand. "Nice to meet you."

"You too," he said. "You're a Classics fan, huh?" He paused, giving me a long, considering look. "Did you see the Park Theatre Group's production of Antony and Cleopatra this summer?"

"No. Didn't even know they performed it." I suddenly felt kind of lame for not having known that, as though I should be up on all arts and culture events in the greater Palm Springs area.

I added by way of explanation, "I only moved here a month ago."

"I think they have a couple performances left in the season." Brayden hesitated once more. "I'd see it again if you wanted to go. Though I'll warn you - it's one of those reinterpreted Shakespeare productions. Modern clothes."

"I don't mind. That kind of reinterpretation is what makes Shakespeare timeless." The words rolled automatically off my lips. As they did, I suddenly had one of those epiphany moments where I realized there was more going on than I'd initially thought. I replayed Brayden's words. Between that and Trey's enormous grin, I soon had a startling realization. This was the guy Trey had been telling me about. My "soul mate." And he was asking me out.

"This is a great idea," said Trey. "You kids should totally go see that play. Make a whole day of it. Grab some dinner and hang out at the library or whatever it is you do for fun." Brayden met my eyes. His were hazel, almost like Eddie's but with a little green. Not as much green as Adrian's, of course. No one's eyes were that amazingly green. Brayden's brown hair occasionally picked up glints of gold in the light and was cut in a no-nonsense way that showed off the angles of his cheekbones. I had to admit, he was pretty cute. "They perform Thursday through Sunday," he said. "I've got a debate tournament over the weekend...

could you do it Thursday night?"

"I..." Could I? There was nothing planned, so far as I knew. About twice a week, I took Jill to the home of Clarence Donahue, an old Moroi who had a feeder. Thursday wasn't a scheduled feeding night, though, and technically I wasn't obligated to go to experiment nights.

"Of course she's free," Trey jumped in before I could even answer. "Right, Sydney?"

"Yes," I said, shooting him a look. "I'm free."

Brayden smiled. I smiled back. Nervous silence fell. He seemed as unsure as I was about how to proceed. I would have thought it was cute, if I wasn't so worried that I looked ridiculous.

Trey elbowed him sharply. "This is the part where you ask for her number." Brayden nodded, though he didn't look like he appreciated the elbowing. "Right, right." He pulled a cell phone out of his pocket. "Is it Sydney with a y or i?" Trey rolled his eyes. "What?

I'm guessing the former, but as naming conventions become increasingly untraditional, you never know. I just want to get it right in my phone."

"I would have done the same thing," I agreed. I then told him my phone number.

He looked up and smiled at me. "Great. I'm looking forward to it."

"Me too," I said, and actually meant it.

I left Spencer's in a daze. I had a date. How on earth did I have a date?

Trey hurried out to me a few moments later, catching me as I was unlocking my car. He still wore his barista apron. "Well?" he asked. "Was I right, or was I right?"

"About what?" I asked, though I had a feeling I knew what was coming.

"About Brayden being your soul mate."

"I told you - "

"I know, I know. You don't believe in soul mates. Still," he grinned, "if that guy isn't perfect for you, then I don't know who is."

"Well, we'll see." I balanced Ms. Terwilliger's cup on top of the car, so I could drink from my own. "Of course, he doesn't like modern Shakespearean interpretations, so that might be a deal breaker."

Trey stared at me in disbelief. "Seriously?"

"No," I said, giving him a look. "I'm kidding. Well, maybe." The latte Brayden had made me was pretty good, so I was willing to give him the benefit of a doubt on the Shakespeare thing.

"Why do you care so much about my romantic life anyway?" Trey shrugged and stuffed his hands into his pockets. Already, beads of sweat were forming on his tanned skin from the late afternoon sun. "I don't know. I guess I feel like I owe you for everything that went down with the tattoos. That and all your homework help."

"You don't really need my help with that. And the tattoos..." I frowned, as an image of Keith beating on the glass flashed through my mind. Keith's vampire blood ring had resulted in high-inducing tattoos that had wreaked havoc on Amberwood. Trey, of course, didn't know about my personal interest in the matter. He just knew I'd gotten rid of those who were using the tattoos to unfair advantage in sports. "I did it because it was the right thing to do." That made him smile. "Of course. Still, it's saved me a lot of grief with my dad."

"I should hope so. You don't have any competition on the team now. What more could your dad want?"

"Oh, there's always something else he thinks I could be the best at. It's not just football." Trey had hinted at that before.

"I know what that's like," I said, thinking of my own father. A moment of silence fell between us.

"It doesn't help that my perfect cousin's coming into town soon," he said finally. "Makes everything I do look completely lame. You got a cousin like that?"

"Er, not really." Most of my cousins were on my mom's side, and my dad tended to shy away from her family.

"You probably are the perfect cousin," Trey grumbled. "Anyway, yeah, there're always these expectations in the family... always these tests. Football's given me some respectability for now." He winked at me. "That and my awesome chem grade." That last comment wasn't lost on me. "Fine. I'll text you when I get back tonight. We'll make it happen."

"Thanks. And I'll give Brayden a talking-to so he doesn't try anything on Thursday." My mind was still full of Latin and Shakespeare. "Try what?" Trey shook his head. "Honestly, Melbourne, I don't know how you've survived this long in the world without me."

"Oh," I said, blushing. "That." Great. Now I had something else to worry about.

Tags: Richelle Mead Bloodlines Fantasy
Source: www.StudyNovels.com
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