“Hey, Beth,” said Emily’s cheery voice.
“Hi,” she snapped.
Emily’s smile fell. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” she said shortly.
“No, come on, tell me,” she said gently.
“Just having an argument with Robert,” she said, grabbing her books from her locker and stuffing them into her bag, hoping he was in there so she could hurt him.
“Oh, about what?”
She shook her head, trying to convey that she didn’t want to talk about it. Emily nodded slowly, understanding.
“I heard that someone ordered contracts on some of the mates,” Emily said quietly.
“Yes, so Robert’s taking me away. I won’t be in school tomorrow, or the day after that, or any day until Robert says I can.” She could hear the spite in her voice.
“Oh, Beth,” Emily breathed. “You can always change your mind about him.”
“I don’t want to though, that’s the thing,” she sighed.
Emily opened her arms and Beth stepped into the hug that was offered. She blinked away threatening tears.
“I don’t know what to do,” she whispered.
“Just be grateful that he cares for your safety enough to do this. That’s all you need to do.”
“It annoys me that he doesn’t trust me enough to take care of myself.”
Emily gave a short laugh. “There are things out there that would kill you without a second thought, Beth. Things that very few people can stop. I’m just grateful that Robert set one of his brothers to protect me.”
“Which one?” she asked, stepping away slightly.
“His name’s Lucas and he sure as hell is cute.”
Beth couldn’t help laughing. “You’re the only person I know who would think something like that in a situation like this.”
Emily grinned. “I’m just amazing that way.”
“Come on,” she smiled, linking her arm through Beth’s and leading her to their form room. She sat down on the desk and Beth sat down in her chair. “How’s it been with Robert, other than this argument?”
Beth thought for a moment. “Okay. Good, mainly.”
“Have you discussed wedding plans yet?”
She shook her head. “Not yet.”
“Are you getting mated as well?”
“I don’t know,” she shrugged. “I don’t really know what a mating involves.”
“I think it’s just a slightly different sort of ceremony. I think you both have to be vampires though,” Emily murmured. “Speaking of which, are you going to ask him to turn you?”
“Eventually. I don’t know when though. I was talking to someone last night, about what would happen to my magic and things. He didn’t know, so we’ll see.”
“Who were you talking to?”
“Lucius. You know him?”
“I’ve heard the name but I’ve not met him. He’s a very powerful demon.”
Beth nodded. “He showed me how to shield my mind and communicate with telepathy.”
“Oh, that’s cool.”
“Anyway, how are you?” Beth asked.
Emily grinned and began to tell her about her boyfriend. Beth listened intently, trying to distract herself from thoughts about Robert and their argument.
When their form tutor, Mr. Wilson, walked in, Emily fell silent and sat down in a chair before he could see she was sat on the table. Mr. Wilson took registration and when he strode out, Emily continued from where she’d left off. Beth smiled and listened, picking up her bag and made her way to Latin.
She saved a seat beside her for Catalin, who turned up a couple of minutes later. The two girls shared a grin and Beth told her what they were supposed to be doing.
After around ten minutes of translating an extract of Virgil, there was a sudden flash of light and all hell broke loose.