|I didn’t mind eating alone, or working alone, although it did cross my mind that I should probably look a little more grumpy about it when the prefects were watching. Nor was mending a problem – I could do it easily enough without thinking, even if I wasn’t as perfect as some of the French girls I’d seen. While I worked on the split seam of a tunic, I thought about the Immortal presence. |
The most likely explanation was that it had been Adam out for a walk. He didn’t always have to be looking for me every time he passed the school, after all. Believing otherwise was just wishful thinking – and considering he was meant to be my uncle, and looked old enough to be so, it was an entirely ridiculous wish. Or it could have been anyone else that I hadn’t met yet, and not necessarily someone who wanted a fight. And then there was Murphy’s Law, meaning it probably was exactly who I didn’t want it to be.
At the end of our punishment, Cornelia and I rejoined our friends, who were all very sympathetic.
“Was it worth it?” asked Margia.
“It sure was!” asserted Cornelia. “The looks on their faces when they realised their uniforms didn’t fit...”
She began to giggle again.
“Well, next time, think of something less crazy,” Margia said.
Ilonka shook her head. “She would not be Corney if she did that.”
“Hey!” Corney protested.
Later, after lights out, when the sounds of people
sighing and turning and trying to fall asleep had gone silent, I felt the presence of an Immortal. I reached under the bed, under the loose floorboard, and took my sword with me when I went to the balcony.
“It’s me,” came the whisper. “For God’s sake put that thing away before anyone sees you.”
I held it close to my side. “Were you here this morning?”
“No,” Adam answered, confirming my fears. “That’s what I came to tell you. We’ve got a new doctor at the San – Dr. McCarthy. Ring a bell?”
It didn’t, but I had told Adam before that my enemy changed his name frequently. “Is he tall, red-haired...?”
“It is him, then. So I’ll be taking a leave of absence and heading to the church for a while. I haven’t had a fight in almost two hundred years, and I don’t intend to start now.”
“I’m sorry I led him here,” I whispered.
I couldn’t decipher the look he gave me – regret, concern? He turned and left, and as much as I wanted to call out after him, I would have woken the entire dormitory if I had. I considered climbing down.
“Rose?” A hushed voice behind me made me turn, holding the sword firmly behind my back. Cornelia stood there in her nightdress, staring at me. “Were you talking to someone?”
“No... I just felt stuffy, and I needed some fresh air.”
“You’re not supposed to be out of bed,” she chided.
I managed a smile. “You’re preaching the rules now?”
She smiled too. “Go back to bed before you wake anyone else.”
“All right. I’ll be there in a moment – I’ll just close the window.”
I lingered over it, making sure she was gone and her curtains were drawn before I slipped back to bed and hid my sword again.
Author's Chapter Notes:
Adam might seem to be behaving ungallantly here, but since I've taken him directly out of the TV show I thought I'd better not change his history. I hope you can forgive him :)