"Then ask them," I urged. "Please? Won't you do this for me? As my friend?" A pained look crossed Trey's features at that. He'd hinted before that he owed me for helping end the illicit tattoo ring last month. That would obligate any friend, let alone one instilled with a rigid sense of honor. I knew then, too, that more than honor was on the line here.
Trey and I were friends - with more in common than I'd ever realized. We both were part of groups that wanted to control our lives, often in ways we didn't like. We also had domineering fathers. If Trey and I didn't have such opposing goals, we might have laughed about all this.
"I'll ask," Trey said. Something told me he too was thinking of our similarities. "Because it's you. But I can't make any promises."
"Then ask now," growled Eddie. "We don't have time to waste. And I'm guessing Sonya doesn't either."
Trey didn't deny it. I hesitated, suddenly wondering if this was a smart choice. What would happen if we let Trey out of our sight? Would it be better if we really did drag him to Dimitri?
And Sonya... how much time did she have left?
"Now," I reiterated to Trey. "You have to get in touch with them now. Don't go to class." It was probably the first and only time I'd say those words.
"I swear," said Trey. "I'll call them now."
The bell rang, ending our meeting. Although, if we'd had the chance to save Sonya at that moment, I knew each of my friends would have walked off campus then and there. We let Trey go, and he headed back toward his dorm, not toward our classes. Angeline - newly free from suspension - departed with Jill while Eddie and I walked to history.
"That was a mistake," he said, face grim as he stared at where Trey had gone. "For all we know, he's going to disappear, and we'll have lost any chance we had at getting Sonya back."
"I don't think he will," I said. "I know Trey. He's a good person, and I could tell that even if he thinks Strigoi need to be exterminated, he's not 100 percent sure of Sonya. He'll do what he can. I think he's feeling torn right now, caught between what they've told him his whole life and what he's starting to see with his own eyes."
Sound like anyone else you know? an inner voice asked.
I'd sort of hoped that Trey would give me an answer right away - say, by chemistry. But he wasn't there either or anywhere else at school the day. I supposed these things took time, and my patience and faith were rewarded at the end of the day with a text from him: Still checking. Some are willing to talk. Others need convincing.
Eddie didn't take Trey's message as concrete proof when I showed it to him, but I didn't think Trey would've said anything if he'd skipped town. Eddie wanted to get together with Dimitri and discuss strategy on this new development. So, we decided to take a group trip downtown. I sent the summons to our family to meet outside the East dorm in a half hour. Jill was the first one to arrive, and she came to a halt when she saw me.
"Wow, Sydney... your hair."
I glanced up from where I'd been answering a text from Brayden, telling him I couldn't hang out this weekend. "What about it?"
"The way those layers are styled. They perfectly complement your face." She was looking at me in that weird way again. "Well, yeah," I said, hoping to change the subject. "It's a, um, good haircut. Sorry we had to get rid of Micah earlier." It took her a few seconds, but my distraction snapped her out of the hair-induced trance.
"Oh, no. It's okay. I mean, things are getting weirder between us anyway."
"Oh?" Micah had seemed as chipper as ever, the last time I saw him. "You guys are still having problems?"
"Well... I guess I am. I really like him. I love hanging out with him and his friends. But I just keep getting reminded of how nothing can happen with us. Like, this morning. There's a whole other world we have going that he can't be a part of. And I can't stand the thought of lying to him or keeping him out of my life. I might have to do it... for real. End things. I know I've kind of said that before, but now I mean it."
"We're here for you if you do," I said. I technically meant it, but if Jill came sobbing to me afterward, I wasn't entirely sure what I should say. Maybe I could find a book on appropriate breakup counseling techniques before she did the deed.
A wry smile crossed her face. "You know what's silly? I mean, I don't want to go jumping from one guy to another - and I do still care about Micah - but I'm starting to notice what a really good guy Eddie is."
"He's a great guy," I confirmed.
"Moroi and dhampirs being together are discouraged when they're older, but now... I mean, I knew some who got together at St. Vladimir's." She gave an embarrassed laugh. "I know, I know... I shouldn't even be thinking like that. One guy at a time. But still... the more I see Eddie - he's just so brave and so confident. He'd do anything for us, you know? He's like some storybook hero in real life. But he's so dedicated, he'd probably never be interested in someone like me. No time for dating."
"Actually," I said, "I think he'd be very interested in you." Her eyes widened. "Really?"
I wanted to tell her everything. Instead, I chose my words carefully, unwilling to give away his secrets after he'd spoken to me before about letting him handle his own personal affairs.
"He talks all the time about how smart and competent you are. I think he'd definitely be open to something." He also talked about how he wasn't worthy of her love, but that resolve might fade if Jill actively went after him.
She grew lost in thought, and no more was said on the topic when Eddie and Angeline came walking up. We drove into town, and I dropped Jill and the two dhampirs off at Adrian's while I ran a few errands. Waiting for Trey was agonizing, and I needed distraction. Plus, I was low on some Alchemist supplies and wanted to make sure I was up to full strength before any venture into the Warriors' camp.
My phone rang as we were wrapping up. It was Trey, and I stepped outside an herbal store to take the call.
"Okay," he said. "You're good to go. They'll meet with you tonight - just you." Anxiety and excitement raced through me. Tonight. It seemed surprisingly soon, yet that was exactly what I wanted. We needed to get Sonya out of there.
"I'll take you there at seven," Trey continued. "And... well, I'm sorry... but you'll have to go blindfolded. And I'll be checking to make sure no one follows us. If they do, everything's off."
"I understand," I said, though a blindfold certainly made the venture scarier. "I'll be ready.