“Aw, did you just fall?"
"No." I rolled onto my back, wincing. "I attacked the floor.”
“Ever since I’ve met you, I’ve wanted to break every rule.” Aiden turned away, the muscles in his neck tensing. He sighed. “You’ll become the centre of someone’s world one day. And he’ll be the luckiest son of a bitch on this earth.”
“So...uh, you're a Team Edward kind of guy?'
He snorted. 'No. I'm Team James or Team Tyler's Van, but apparently neither of them won by the look of it. She's still alive.”
“You know what?” His breath was warm against my cheek. “There are a lot of stupid things to do, but I really want to do the stupidest thing possible.”
“I want to kiss you.”
“I guess there were two types of people in the world, those who sat around a fire, staring into the flames, and those who started the fire.
Seth and I started the fire, and then we danced around it.”
“No one is like you, Alex."
I grinned. "I'll take that as a compliment."
"It is." He nudged me again, and my grin gew into another ludicrous smile- the kind Caleb gave Olivia when they weren't tearing each other's heads off. "You're incredibly intelligent, Alex. Funny and..."
"No, not pretty."
I frowned. "Well, then."
Aiden's laugh sent shivers through me. "I was going to say 'stunning.' You're stunningly beautiful.”
“You know what? Lets go." I shot Aiden a defiant look. "Come on Seth. Let's go continue our lovers' quarrel."
"Yes my love, that sounds fantastic. Don't forget to grab a dagger so you can poke my eyeballs out.”
“I love your bed." I rolled onto my stomach, smiling.
"I love it so much I'd marry it if I could."
Seth laughed out loud. "You'd marry my bed?"
“Seth threw me a mischievous grin. “I can’t have Marcus just walking in on us. What if I want to snuggle on these cold New York nights?”
My frown increased. “We don’t snuggle.”
He dropped his arm over my shoulder, and the scent of mint and something wild tickled my nose. “How about we cuddle?”
“We don’t do that either.”
“But you’re my cuddle bunny. My little Apollyon cuddle—” I punched him in the side.”
“You know what, you need to stay out of my bedroom. You have your own.”
He smiled. “I know I do. I see it quite often. I just prefer your bed. It smells better.”
I made a face. “It smells better? What does your bed smell like? Regret and bad taste?”
“You'll become the center of someone's world one day. And he'll be the luckiest son of a bitch on this earth.”
“On a good day, the animosity levels between us were usually at CODE RED. Bad days they were at CODE I’M GOING TO KILL YOU.”
“Cold up there, huh?” Yeah, it kind of was. “Stupid down there, huh?” Seth’s brows flew up. “For one in such a precarious position, you sure don’t know how to talk yourself out of it.” “That’s because it’s hard to reason with idiots.” I gave him a cheeky grin. “Why bother?”
“He hadn’t left, and apparently, Seth was a cuddler.”
“One of my Instructors at the Covenant has a tattoo of it on his arm.”
His lips pursed. “Minister Telly has one on his arm, too.”
“How in the world do you know that?” We cut across the frost- covered lawn to one of the covered walkways connecting smaller buildings to the main one. “Have you been sneaking into his room and cuddling with him, too?”
“Don’t be jealous. You’re my only cuddle bunny.”
“It’s not great. What kind of connection is this? A one-way hotline to Pervyville?” I took a step forward, on a roll now. “It’s disgusting. Freaky—stop laughing, Seth!”
“How in the world did they just jump from politics, to a ball, and now to daimon attacks? And here I’d thought I had the attention span of an ant on Red Bull.”
“The little ball went up, then down, then up in his palm. My inner golden retriever couldn’t look away.”
“You told me you wanted to marry Seth's bed, and then you told me you'd marry me if I asked. After that, you started to-"
"Enough," I groaned, wanting to crawl under the blankets.”
“Do you know why a heart lays claim? Survival. That heart lays its claim to ensure survival of its kind.”
“I wouldn't give up being a Sentinel for the world. Or being the Apollyon. I rock."
"Wow. You're so humble.”
“Since when do you care about rules?"
"I'm a changed person."
"When did you change? Just now? 'Cuz I heard about your smack down in the cafeteria yesterday.”
“He clapped his hands together, letting out a rather high-pitched squeal before grabbing my hand. “Oh, we are going to have so much fun! Aren’t we? Fun, Alex—we will have fun.”
“Hmm… I’m having this strange sense of déjà vu, except you were telling me to stay out of your training business, and I told you how weird—” “That’s funny.” Aiden’s full lips twisted into a smirk. “I’m having the same feeling, except I said you should—” “Oh, for the love of baby daimons everywhere, I’m ready to start practice.” I pushed up from the chair.”
“Okay. You’re the best Apollyon there is.”
He tipped his head to the side and arched a brow. “I’m the only Apollyon there is right now.”
I grinned. “You’re still the best.”
“But love, child, love is the root of all that is good, and the root of all things that are evil.”
He held my hand up between us. 'Look.'
I squinted at my hands. 'I don't see anything.' Sighing, he flipped my hand over, and my jaw hit the ground. A faint blue line marked the center of my palm with a smaller line through it. It would've looked like a cross, except the horizontal line was slanted.
'Oh. My. Gods.' I jerked my hand away, scrambling back. 'I have a rune on my hand. It's an Apollyon rune, isn't it.'
Seth rested his hands on his knees. 'I think so. I have one like that.'
'But why is it still there? Why is it there at all?' I flipped my palm over several times, shook it, but the faint blue tattoo was still there. 'You can see it, right? Like right now, you can see it?'
'Yes. It hasn't faded.' Seth leaned forward, catching my hand. 'Stop shaking it like it's a damn Etch-A-Sketch. That doesn't make them disappear.”
“So childish, Alex. You’ve ruined her dress.” The vibrant red silk floated around me as I treaded water. “I know. Bad me.”
“What do you think it means if someone has a tattoo of Thanatos’s symbol?” “Nothing probably, since a lot of us have tattoos of various symbols.” “You don’t.” As soon as the words left my mouth, I regretted them. His eyes turned from gray to silver in a heartbeat. I imagined he was remembering how I would know if he had a tattoo hidden somewhere.”
“Costantemente la mia guancia preme
contro la terra, umida delle mie lacrime;
e le mie lacrime bagnano la terra
come una pioggia che la fecondi.”
“What’s wrong with you?” John asks suspiciously. I give him a ‘what chu talkin’ ‘bout Willis?’ look and he explains. “You just woke up.” I nod. “Walked into the kitchen.” Once again I nod, not seeing what the big deal is. “And didn’t rip apart the cabinets like a rabid squirrel looking like coffee.” I shrug at that, I didn’t even remember it. “What the fuck have you done with my best friend?”
“Sometimes a homeland becomes a tale. We love the story because it is about our homeland and we love our homeland even more because of the story.”
“1And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2aThis census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. 4Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to bthe city of David, which is called Bethlehem, cbecause he was of the house and lineage of David, 5to be registered with Mary, dhis betrothed 1wife, who was with child. 6So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7And eshe brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a 2manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
“It was true. Logan had created a different side of himself, one that always wore a smile and made jests to hide the truth. It had worked effectively. Everyone thought he was something he wasn’t. And if he had any say in it, no one would know the truth.”
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