Adalynn tugs me away from the crowd
and then spins around to face me. To her credit, she’s not bothered by the
grades anymore. She never holds mine against me. “Okay, don’t look,
but he’s standing at two o’clock and
staring right at you. This is like the gazillionth time this semester.”
“No way. He is not.” My heart trills
in my chest anyway, and my cheeks burn with embarrassment. I risk
a glance as he snaps the rubber band around his wrist. He’s done it before when
he’s been nervous,
but it happens so fast that I doubt anyone else ever notices. A flicker of
emotion—uncertainty?—passes across his features before he regains his casual
I blame test grades. I tug down the
sleeve of my sweater, the last gift from my brother, over the burn mark
covering my left forearm. No matter how hot the weather, I always wear long
sleeves. The couple who sponsors me almost canceled their application when they
saw my arm. I guess they thought it was some kind of deformity,
but it’s just a burn. Like I said, people freak
out over the smallest imperfections.
This whole Sponsored
program is new.
I’m part of the initial group of five who started together freshman year. Our
numbers have grown to fourteen. Thirteen, now that Lillian is gone.
“Oh, crap, he’s walking over here,”
Adalynn says with huge blue eyes that look like a bug’s on steroids. “Told you
he likes you.”
“Whatever you do, don’t leave me.” I
turn to glance down the hall to see if she’s playing some kind of twisted joke.
I swear I can feel my heart pounding in my throat when
I see him making
a beeline in my direction. His eyes lock onto mine.
I might throw up.
His hair parts to one side,
and it feathers effortlessly. His hair is a little longer than the school dress
code allows, but his family has plenty of money to smooth
over that little road bump. For most people, the prep school is strict. Not so
much for Legacies. And especially not for Caius Fitch. He’s different.
If rich had a galaxy, his family would
be a comet soaring far above it. But it’s more than that. He’s the only Legacy who ever
smiles at me in the hallway. We had English together last year. He didn’t speak
up much, but his answers were always thoughtful when he did, not like the
others who were more interested in getting a laugh than in paying attention. I
teacher’s assistant, and there were a few times he hung around after
class like he was waiting to talk to me after I finished erasing the
chalkboards and tidying up the room, but he never did.
He’s been early to pick up his younger
sister for the past few weeks, and I’ve seen him in the halls of the dance
building. If he’s coming this way, he must want something. Maybe he saw my
grade and wants to hire me for tutoring. I get requests like that all the time.
I half expect him to duck into a
hallway before he reaches me. He doesn’t. And now I panic. At least my friend
is still here.
“Adal—” I stop mid-word. She’s gone.