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Betrayed: House of Night #2by Kristin Cast
BETRAYED (Chapter 1)
“New kid. Check it out,” Shaunee said as she slid into the big boothlike bench we always claim as ours for every school meal served in the dining hall (translation: high-class school cafeteria).
“Tragic, Twin, just tragic.” Erins voice totally echoed Shaunees. She and Shaunee had some kind of psychic link that made them bizarrely similar, which is why wed nicknamed them “the Twins,” even though Shaunee is a café latte-colored Jamaican American from Connecticut and Erin is a blond-haired, blue-eyed white girl from Oklahoma.
“Thankfully, shes Sarah Freebirds roommate.” Damien nodded toward the petite girl with seriously black hair who was showing the lost-looking new kid around the dining hall, his sharp, fashion-wise gaze checking out the two girls and their outfitsfrom shoes to earringsin one fast glance. “Clearly her fashion sense is better than Sarahs, despite the stress of being Marked and changing schools. Maybe shell be able to help Sarah out with her unfortunate ugly shoe propensity.”
“Damien,” Shaunee said. “Again you are getting on my damn”
“last nerve with your unending vocab bullshit,” Erin finished for her.
Damien sniffed, looking offended and superior and gayer than he usually looked (even though he is definitely gay). “If your vocabulary wasnt so abysmal you wouldnt have to carry a dictionary around with you to keep up with me.”
The Twins narrowed their eyes at him and sucked air to begin a new assault, which, thankfully, my roommate interrupted. In her thick Oklahoma accent, Stevie Rae twanged the two definitions as if she was giving clues for a spelling bee. “Propensityan often intense natural preference. Abysmalabsolutely horrible. There. Now would yall quit bickering and be nice? You know its almost time for parent visitation, and we shouldnt be acting like retards when our folks show up.”
“Ah, crap,” I said. “Id totally forgotten about parent visitation.”
Damien groaned and dropped his head down on the table, banging it not-so-gently. “Id totally forgotten, too.” The four of us gave him sympathetic looks. Damiens parents -were cool with him being Marked, moving to the House of Night, and beginning the Change that would either turn him into a vampyre or, if his body rejected the transformation, kill him. They were not okay with him being gay.
At least Damiens parents were okay with something about him. My mom and her current husbandmy step-loser, John Hefferon the other hand, hated absolutely everything about me.
“My rentals arent coming. They came last month. This month theyre too busy.”
“Twin, once again we prove our twin-ness,” Erin said. “My rentals sent me an e-mail. They arent coming either cause of some Thanksgiving cruise they decided to take to Alaska with my Aunt Alane and Uncle Liar Lloyd. Whatever.” She shruggedapparently as unbothered as Shaunee by her parents absence.
"Hey, Damien, maybe your mama and daddy wont show either,” Stevie Rae said with a quick smile.
He sighed. “Theyll be here. Its my birthday month. Theyll bring presents.”
“That doesnt sound so bad,” I said. “You were talking about needing a new sketch pad.”
“They wont get me a sketch pad,” he said. “Last year I asked for an easel. They got me camping supplies and a subscription to Sports Illustrated.”
“Eeesh!” said Shaunee and Erin together while Stevie Rae and I wrinkled our noses and made sympathetic noises.
Clearly wanting to change the subject, Damien turned to me. “Thisll be your parents first visit. Whatre you expecting?”
“Nightmare,” I sighed. “Total, absolute, and complete nightmare.”
“Zoey? I thought Id bring my new roommate over to meet you. Diana, this is Zoey Redbirdthe leader of the Dark Daughters.”
Glad to be diverted from having to talk about my own horrid parental issues, I looked up, smiling, at the sound of Sarahs tentative, nervous voice.
“Wow, its really true!” the new girl blurted before I could even say hi. As per usual she was staring at my forehead and blushing bright red. “I mean, uh…sorry. I didnt mean to be rude or anything….” she trailed off, looking miserable.
“Thats okay. Yeah, it is true. My Mark is filled in and added to.” I kept my smile in place, trying to make her feel better, even though I truly hated that it seemed like I was the main attraction at a freak show. Again.
Thankfully, Stevie Rae chimed in before Dianas staring and my silence could get any more uncomfortable.
“Yeah, Z got that cool lacy spiral tattoo thing on her face and down along her shoulders when she saved her ex-boyfriend from some scary-assed vampyre ghosts,” Stevie Rae said cheerily.
“Thats what Sarah told me,” Diana said tentatively. “It just sounded so unbelievable that, well, I uh…”
“You didnt believe it?” Damien said helpfully.
“Yeah. Sorry,” she repeated, fidgeting and picking at her fingernails.
“Hey, dont worry about it.” I worked up a fairly authentic smile. “It seems pretty bizarre to me sometimes, and I was there.”
“And kicking butt,” Stevie Rae said.
I gave her my you-are-so-not-helping-me look, which she ignored. Yes, I might someday become their High Priestess, but Im not exactly the boss of my friends.
“Anyway, this whole place can seem pretty strange at first. It gets better,” I told the new kid.
“Thanks,” she said with genuine warmth.
“Well, we better go so I can show Diana to where her fifth hour class will be,” Sarah said, and then she totally embarrassed me by getting all serious and formal and saluting me with the traditional vampyre sign of respect, closed fist over her heart and bowed head, before she left.
“I really hate it when they do that,” I muttered, picking at my salad.
“I think its nice,” Stevie Rae said.
“You deserve to be shown respect,” Damien said in his schoolteacher voice. “Youre the only third former ever to have been made leader of the Dark Daughters and the only fledgling or vampyre in history who has shown an affinity for all five of the elements.”
“Face it, Z,” Shaunee said around a bite of salad while she gestured at me with her fork.
“Youre special.” Erin finished for her (as usual).
A third former is what the House of Night called freshmenso a fourth former is a sophomore, et cetera. And, yes, I am the only third former to be made leader of the Dark Daughters. Lucky me.
“Speaking of the Dark Daughters,” Shaunee said. “Have you decided what you want the new requirements for membership to be?”
I stifled the urge to shriek, Hell no, I still cant believe Im in charge of this thing! Instead I just shook my head, and decidedwith what I hoped was a stroke of brillianceto put some of the pressure back on them.
“No, I dont know what the new requirements s
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