Chapter Eight

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Tommy

Bridge was struggling. Not with her classes-she actually excelled in each of her studies. Then again, she always had, except for math. On the outside, she was all smiles and snark, but I saw right through her.

Her eyes were dead, the former light that she'd always possessed faded after the witches tried to recover her memories. I would watch her in class, and wherever else we happened to run into each other, waiting for the day that her spirit would return, but it hadn't surfaced yet. Almost an entire month had passed, the moon having reached the end of another cycle, and still she seemed wooden.

It was killing me. There was no way for me to physically die again, but it was like I was disappearing with her, my heart sinking further into the abyss as I refused the impulses begging me to go to her and make it all right.

"Turn to page forty three, please." Turning my back on the class, trying to ignore the stinging in my heart as my gaze traveled over her, I wrote out a few lines from the play we were reading on the chalkboard. We never spoke to each other during lectures. It was an unspoken agreement-the other students would have jumped at the chance to bring up our past yet again.

"Maybe they should lock the corpses up with the dogs tonight. Give the pups some bones to chew on." Giggles erupted around the vampire girl-Angelica-and I turned a cold eye on her. I may have only looked slightly older than her, but I was in charge and she knew it. "Yes, Tommy?" There was a challenge in her voice as she declined using my formal title, a surety in her eyes that convinced me we were about to have an uncomfortable and upsetting conversation.

"Miss Montenegro. Your father is the head of Enforcement, is he not?" My voice was cool and even, though I felt like lifting her off her feet and shaking her until her little fangs went through her tongue. How dare she call Bridge a corpse! It wasn't the first time either; I'd stayed well informed on how Bridge was doing. Torture from the vampires was part of her daily schedule, from the moment she woke up to the second she went to bed. To her credit, Bridge had managed to take care of herself, often delivering a compliment just as backhanded and painful as the one she'd been dealt. I, on the other hand, didn't know how much more abuse I could watch her take.

"He is." Her voice faltered some, barely enough for me to hear it, but the uncertainty was there.

Good.

"And what are the duties of the Head of Enforcement?"

"He makes sure every being is protected," she ground out. "From everything and everyone. Including the corpses." She spat the last word out, obviously not liking that I was schooling her in something she knew very well.

"And what would he suggest, if he were to hear what you proposed for your fellow students?"

"He would suggest that I join them," she growled.

"Why would he do that? A werewolf's bite is deadly to vampires and can only be cured by their blood. Surely your father wouldn't suggest you die?" It was very hard to keep from grinning. I knew her father very well and had worked with him a few times in the search for the rogue werewolf. If he'd any idea how cruel she was to the other students, he'd deliver a punishment like she'd never seen.

"He believes that anyone willing to offer suggestions should be willing to try them out themselves. Otherwise the thought is useless and not worth checking out." Her eyes were burning with fury, her teeth slightly bared as her nostrils flared. The red in her cheeks suggested what I already suspected-she was embarrassed to have been called out on her antics in front of everyone.

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