"I'm sorry, ma'am," I said. Really, I had no idea what else to say. I'd spent the weekend caught up in the epic battle to save humanity, and now... jean shorts?
Mrs. Weathers grew hesitant. "I know... well, I know this isn't really anything you should be involved in. It's a parental matter. But, seeing as how you're so responsible and look out for the rest of your family..."
I sighed. "Yes, ma'am. I'll take care of it. Thank you for not taking more severe action against her."
I went upstairs, my small suitcase growing heavier with each step. When I reached the second floor, I stopped, unsure what to do. One more floor would take me to my room. This floor would take me to "Cousin Angeline." Reluctantly, I turned into the second floor hall, knowing the sooner this was dealt with, the better.
"Sydney!" Jill Mastrano opened the dorm room's door, her light green eyes shining with joy. "You're back."
"So it seems," I said, following her inside. Angeline was there as well, lounging on her bed with a textbook. I was pretty sure that was the first time I'd ever seen her study, but the house arrest probably limited her recreational options.
"What did the Alchemists want?" asked Jill. She sat cross-legged on her own bed and began absentmindedly playing with the strands of her curly, light brown hair.
I shrugged. "Paperwork. Boring stuff. Sounds like things were a little more exciting here." That was delivered with a pointed look at Angeline.
The dhampir girl jumped off her bed, face furious and blue eyes flashing. "It wasn't my fault! That Weathers woman was completely out of line!" she exclaimed, a slight southern drawl in her words.
A quick scan of Angeline showed nothing too concerning. Her jeans were threadbare but decent, as was her T-shirt. Even her mop of strawberry blonde hair was tame for a change, tied back in a ponytail.
"What on earth did you wear that got her so upset then?" I asked.
Scowling, Angeline went to her dresser and produced a pair of jean shorts with the most ragged hem I'd ever seen. I thought they'd unravel before my eyes. They were also so short that I wouldn't have been surprised if they showed underwear when she wore them.
"Where did you get those?"
Angeline almost looked proud. "I made them."
"With what, a hacksaw?"
"I had two pairs of jeans," she said pragmatically. "It was so hot out, I figured I might as well turn one into shorts."
"She used a knife from the cafeteria," said Jill helpfully.
"Couldn't find the scissors," explained Angeline.
My bed. Where was my bed?
"Mrs. Weathers mentioned something about an indecent shirt too," I said.
"Oh," said Jill. "That was mine."
I felt my eyebrows rise. "What? I know you don't own anything 'indecent."' Before Angeline had come along a month ago, Jill and I had been roommates.
"It's not," agreed Jill. "Except, it's not really Angeline's size." I glanced between the two girls and understood. Jill was tall and slim, like most Moroi, with a figure much coveted among human fashion designers, a figure I would've killed to have. Jill had even done some modeling. With that figure came a modest chest. Angeline's chest...
was not so modest. If she wore a tank top in Jill's size, I imagined the shirt's structural integrity would indeed be stretched to indecent limits.
"Jill wears that tank top all the time and doesn't get in trouble," said Angeline defensively.
"I figured there wouldn't be a problem if I borrowed it." My head was starting to hurt. Still, I supposed this was better than the time Angeline had been caught making out with a guy in the boys' bathroom. "Well. This is easily fixed. We can go - well, I can go since you're stuck here - and get you some clothes in your size tonight."
"Oh," Angeline said, suddenly turning more upbeat, "you don't have to. Eddie's handling it."
If not for Jill nodding along, I would've thought it was a joke. "Eddie? Eddie's buying you clothes?"
Angeline sighed happily. "Isn't that nice of him?"
Nice? No, but I understood why Eddie would do it. Getting decent clothes for Angeline was the last thing he probably wanted to do, but he would do it. Like me, he understood duty.
And now I could guess why Eddie had canceled the experiments - and been vague about his reasons for doing so.
I immediately took out my cell phone and called him. He answered right away, like always.
I was certain he was never more than three feet from his phone at all times. "Hello, Sydney.
Glad you're back." He paused. "You are back, right?"
"Yeah, I'm with Jill and Angeline. I understand you've been doing some shopping." He groaned. "Don't get me started. I just walked into my room."
"You want to swing by with your purchases? I need the car back anyway." There was a moment's hesitation. "Would you mind coming over here? As long as Jill's okay. She is okay, right? She doesn't need me? Because if she does - "
"She's fine." His dorm wasn't far, but I'd been hoping for a quick nap. Nonetheless, I found myself agreeing, just like I always did. "Okay. I'll meet you in the lobby in about fifteen minutes?"
"Sounds good. Thanks, Sydney."
As soon as I disconnected, Angeline asked excitedly, "Is Eddie coming over?"
"I'm going to him," I said.
Her face fell. "Oh. Well, I guess it doesn't matter since I have to stay here anyway. I can't wait until I'm free to train again. I'd like to get some more one-on-one time with him." I hadn't realized how focused Angeline was on her training. In fact, she seemed really excited about the prospect of it.
I left their room and was surprised to find Jill right behind me once the door shut. Her eyes were wide and anxious. "Sydney... I'm sorry."
I regarded her curiously, wondering now if she'd done something. "For what?" She gestured toward the door. "For Angeline. I should have done better at keeping her out of trouble."
I almost smiled. "That's not your job."
"Yeah, I know..." She glanced down, letting some of her long hair fall forward. "But still. I know I should be more like you. Instead, I've just been... you know. Having fun."
"You're entitled to it," I said, trying to ignore the subtle commentary on me.
"I should still be more responsible," she argued.
"You are responsible," I assured her. "Especially compared to Angeline." My family had a cat back in Utah that I was pretty sure was more responsible than Angeline.