You are on page 1of 138

Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.

html
Blue Bl ds


Melissa de la Cruz

Ackn wledgments

HeartIelt thanks t the b k's Iairy g dm thersBrenda B wen, Helen Perelman, and Elizabeth
Rudnick, wh gave me a ship and let me Ily. Thank y u t C linH sten , Elizabeth Clark, and every ne
at Hyperi n I r believing in this b k. Thanks t Richard Abate, Kate Lee, J sie Freedman, and James
Greg ri and Karen Keny n at ICMI r their Iantastic supp rt.
Hugs and kisses t the amazingDLCs andJ hnst ns : M mthank y u I r being at every reading and
I r always being there I r me;Aina , Steve,Nic , andChit we are Iamily, and we can b gie, t
(especially Nich lasa); Dad J and M mJthank y u I r all y ur supp rt and I r buying all th se b ks;
J hn,Anji , Alex, Tim, R b,Jenn , Val, and the ne n the way we are Iamily and we canm sh pit, t a
Thanks t all the extended Iamily, especially the T rres, theGaisan s , theOngs , theIzumis , and the de la
Cruzes.
Many thanks t the LAand NYsupp rt gr ups: Tristan Ashby, Jennie Kim, KimDeMarc , Gabriel
Sand val, T mD lby, Tyler R llins, Jas n Lundy, AndyG IIe , JeII Levin, PeterEdm nst n , Mark
Hidgen , Car lineSuh , D ug Meehan, ThadSheely , GabbySheely , Mindy Wils n,JiGilbreth , Catherine
H ng,Yumi K bayashi, PeterSluszka , RuthBasl e ,AndreySlivka , Alice Carm na, Michael Casey,
KarenR bin vitz , Kate R che, J hn F x, Car l F x,Karl Pastr vic , Gabriel de Guzman, Edgar
Papazian , MichelleLenzi , MattPac , FitzMangubat , Tayl r Hsia ,Arisa Chen, Katie Davis, Tina Hay,
DivaGittel , Liz CraIt, AdamFierr , Anna David,MaryClare Williams, Alexandra Jac bs, Nic le
Cann n, IanK rnbluth , Brent Bryan, N ra G rd n, MatthiasK hlemainen , Juliet Gray, Karen Page,
AndrewD rnenburg , SaraShandler , Emily Th mas, JenniIerZat rski , AbbyMcAden , Allis n Dickens,
Jared Paul Stern, Lisa Marsh, AndrewSt ne, BenWiddic mbe , N rahLawl r , and Katie Murphy.
Thanks als t ur little Peap d, wh we will miss I rever.


This b k is dedicated t my dad, Bert de la Cruz, true blue in every sense I the w rd, wh has
her es' bl d in his veins.

This b k w uld n t exist with ut the l ve, supp rt, insight, and intelligence I my husband, Mike
J hnst n, t wh mI we everything.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html


The Iamily was n t simply the sum I the c nnecti ns created by a large, extended set I relati ns ... a
Iamily .. .was a name, a material and symb lic patrim ny, and a I rm Istakeh lding inAmerica ...
"describing a t tal lineage, past, present and Iuture.
EricH mberger , Mrs. Ast r'sNew Y rk


Y u can't push it undergr und
Y u can't st p it screaming ut
H wdid it c me t this?
Y u will suck the liIe ut I me...
Muse, "Time Is Running Out

One hundred and tw pe ple arrived n the MayIl wer in N vember I 1620, but less than halI lived t
see the establishment I the Plym uth C l ny the next year. While n ne had died during the
MayIl wer's v yage, liIe aIter arrival was extremely diIIicult, especially I r the y ung. Alm st all I the
l st were hardly sixteen years I age.
The staggering m rtality rate was partly due t a harsh winter, as well as the Iact that, while the men
were ut in the air, building h mes and drinking Iresh water, w men and children were c nIined t the
damp, cr wded recesses I the ship, where disease c uld spread much m re quickly. AIter the
tw -m nth v yage, they remained n the ship I r an additi nal I ur m nths while the men built
st reh uses and living quarters n land. Y ung Puritans r utinely cared I r the sick, increasing their
exp sure t a vast array I illnesses, including a Iatal aIIlicti n I the bl d that hist rical d cuments
called "c nsumpti n.
Myles Standish was elected g vern r I the c l ny in 1622 I r thirty c nsecutive ne-year terms. He
and his wiIe R se had I urteen children, a remarkable seven sets I twins. In an extra rdinary turn I
events, within a Iewyears, the c l ny had d ubled in size, with multiple births rep rted in all the surviving
Iamilies.
Fr mDeath and LiIe in thePlym uth C l nies, 1620-1641 by Pr Iess r Lawrence Winsl wVan
Alen

Catherine Carver`s Diary
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
21st I N vember, 1620
The MayIl wer


It has been a diIIicult winter. The sea d es n t agree with J hn, and we are always c ld. Perhaps we will
Iind peace in this newland, alth ugh many believe we have n t leIt danger behind. Outside my wind w,
the c astline resemblesS uthampt n , and I r that I amgrateIul. I will always l ng I r h me, but ur kind
are n l nger saIe there. I myselI d n t believe the rum rs, but we must d as instructed. It has always
been ur way. J hn and I are traveling as husband and wiIe n w. We are planning n marrying s n.
There are Iar t Iew I us, and m re are needed iI we are t survive. Perhaps things will change.
Perhaps g d I rtune will shine n us, and ur situati n will ameli rate. The ship has anch red. We have
landed. Aneww rldawaits .

C.C.


NEWYORK CITY
The Present




ONE


The Bank was a decrepit st ne building at the tail end IH ust n Street , n the last divide between the
grittyEastVillage and the wilds I theL wer East Side . Once the headquarters I the venerable VanAlen
invest-ment and br kerage h use, it was an imp sing, squat presence, a paradigm I the beaux-arts
style, with a classic six-c lumn Iaade and an intimidating r w I "dentals"raz r-sharp serrati ns n the
pediment's surIace. F r many years it st d n the c rner I H ust n and Essex, des late, empty, and
aband ned, until ne winter evening when an eye-patchwearing nightclub pr m ter chanced up n it
aIter p lishing II a h t d g at Katz's Deli. He was l king I r a venue t sh wcase the newmusic his
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
DJs were spinninga dark, haunted s und they were calling "Trance.
The pulsing music spilled ut t the sidewalk, where Schuyler VanAlen , a small, dark-haired
IiIteen-year- ld girl, wh se bright blue eyes were ringed with dark k hl eye shad w, st d nerv usly at
the back I the line in Ir nt I the club. She picked at her chipping black nail p lish. "D y u really think
we'll get in?" she asked.
"N sweat," her best Iriend, Oliver Hazard-Perry replied, c cking an eyebr w"Dylan guaranteed a
cakewalk. Besides, we can always p int t the plaque ver there. Y ur Iamily built this place,
remember?" He grinned.
"S what else is new?" Schuyler smirked, r lling her eyes. Theisland IManhattan was linked inex rably
t her Iamily hist ry, and as Iar as she c uld tell, she was related t theFrickMuseum, the VanWyck
Expressway, and the Hayden Planetarium, give r take an instituti n ( r maj r th r ughIare) r tw . N t
that it made any diIIerence in her liIe. She barely had en ugh t c ver the twenty-Iive d llar charge at the
d r.
Oliver aIIecti nately swung an armar und her sh ul-ders. "St p w rryinga Y u w rry t much. This'll
be Iun, I pr mise.
"I wish Dylan had waited I r us," Schuyler Iretted, shiv-ering in her l ng black cardigan with h les in
each elb w. She'd I und the sweater in aManhattanValley thriIt st re last week. It smelled like decay
and stale r sewater perIume, and her skinny Irame was l st in its v lumin us I lds. Schuyler always
l ked like she was dr wning in Iabric. The black sweater reached alm st t her calves, and underneath
she w re a sheer black T-shirt ver a w rn gray thermal undershirt; and under that, a l ng peasant skirt
that swept the Il r. Like a nineteenth century street urchin, her skirt hems were black with dirt Ir m
dragging n the sidewalks. She was wearing her Iav rite pair I black-and-white Jack Purcell sneakers,
the nes with the duct-taped h le n the right t e. Her dark wavy hair was pulled back with a beaded
scarI she'd I und in her grandm ther's cl set.
Schuyler was startlingly pretty, with a sweet, heart-shaped Iace; a perIectly upturned n se; and s It,
milky skinbut there was s mething alm st insubstantial ab ut her beauty. She l ked like aDresden
d ll in witch's cl th-ing. Kids at theDuchesneSch l th ught she dressed like a bag lady. It didn't help
that she was painIully shy and kept t herselI, because then they just th ught she was stuck-up, which she
wasn't. She was just quiet.
Oliver was tall and slim, with a Iair, elIin Iace that was Iramed by a shag I brilliant chestnut hair. He had
sharp cheekb nes and sympathetic hazel eyes. He was wearing a severe military greatc at ver a Ilannel
shirt and a pair I h ley blue jeans. OI c urse, the Ilannel shirt was J hnVarvat s and the jeans Ir m
Citizens I Humanity. Oliver liked t play the part I disaIIected y uth, but he liked sh p-ping inS H
even m re.
The tw I themhad been best Iriends ever since the sec nd grade, when Schuyler's nanny I rg t t
pack her lunch ne day, and Oliver had given her halI I his lettuce and may sandwich. They Iinished
each ther's sentences and liked t read al ud Ir mrand mpages I InIinite Jest when they were b red.
B th were Duchesne legacy kids wh traced their ancestry back t the MayIl wer. Schuyler c unted
sixU.S. presidents in her Iamily tree al ne. But even with their prestigi us pedigrees, they didn't Iit in at
Duchesne. Oliver preIerred museums t lacr sse, and Schuyler never cut her hair and w re things Ir m
c nsignment sh ps.
Dylan Ward was a newIrienda sad-Iaced b y with l ng lashes, sm ldering eyes, and a tarnished
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
reputati n. Supp sedly, he had a rap sheet and had just been sprung Ir mmilitary sch l. His
grandIather had rep rtedly bribed Duchesne with Iunds I r a newgymt let himenr ll. He had
immediately gravitated t ward Schuyler and Oliver, rec g-nizing their similar misIit status.
Schuyler sucked in her cheeks and Ielt a pit I anxiety I rming in her st mach. They'd been s
c mI rtable just hanging ut in Oliver's r mas usual, listening t music and Ilipping thr ugh the IIerings
n hisTiV ; Oliver b ting up an ther game I Vice City n the split screen, while she riIled thr ugh the
pages I gl ssy magazines, Iantasizing that she t , was l unging n a raIt in Sardinia, dancing the
Ila-menc in Madrid, r wandering pensively thr ugh the streets I B mbay.
"I'mn t sure ab ut this," she said, wishing they were back in his c zy r minstead I shivering utside
n the side-walk, waiting t see iI they w uld pass muster at the d r.
"D n't be s negative," Oliver chastised. It had been his idea t leave the c mI rt I his r mt brave
theNewY rk nightliIe, and he didn't want t regret it. "II y u think we'll get in, we'll get in. It's all ab ut
c nIidence, trust me." Just then, hisBlackBerry beeped. He pulled it ut I his p cket and checked the
screen. "It's Dylan. He'sinside, he'll meet us by the wind ws n the sec nd Il r. Okay?
"D I really l k all right?" she asked, Ieeling suddenly d ubtIul ab ut her cl thes.
"Y u l k Iine," he replied aut matically. "Y u l k great," he said, as his thumbs jabbed a reply n the
plastic device.
"Y u're n t even l king at me.
"I l k at y u every day." Oliver laughed, meeting her eye, then uncharacteristically blushing and l king
away. HisBlackBerry beeped again, and this time he excused himselI, walking away t answer it.
Acr ss the street, Schuyler sawa cab pull up t the curb, and a tall bl nd guy stepped ut I it. Just as
he emerged, an ther cab barreled d wn the street n the pp site side. It was swerving recklessly, and
at Iirst it l ked like it w uld miss him, but at the last m ment, the b y threwhimselI in its path and
disappeared underneath its wheels. The taxicab never even st pped, just kept g ing as iI n thing
happened.
"Oh my G da"Schuyler screamed.
The guy had been hitshe was sure I ithe'd been run verhe was surely dead.
"Did y u see that?" she asked, Irantically l king ar und I r Oliver, wh seemed t have disappeared.
Schuyler ran acr ss the street, Iully expecting t see a dead b dy, but the b y was standing right in Ir nt
I her, c unting the change in his wallet. He slammed the d r shut and sent his taxi n its way. He was
wh le and unhurt.
"Y u sh uld be dead," she whispered.
"Excuse me?" heasked, a quizzical smile n his Iace.
Schuyler was a little taken abackshe rec gnized himIr msch l. It was Jack F rce.The Iam us Jack
F rce. One I th se guyshead I the lacr sse team, lead in the sch l play, his termpaper n
sh pping malls published in Wired, s hands me she c uldn't even meet his eye.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
Maybe she was dreaming things. Maybe she just th ught she'd seen himdive in Ir nt I the cab. That
had t be it. She was just tired.
"I didn't kn wy u were adazehead ," she blurted awk-wardly, meaning a Trance ac lyte.
"I'mn t, actually. I'mheaded ver there," he explained, m ti ning t the club next d r t The Bank,
where a very int xicated r ck star was steering several giggling gr upies past the velvet r pe.
Schuyler blushed. "Oh, I sh uld have kn wn.
He smiled at her kindly. "Why?
"Why what?
"Why ap l gize? H ww uld y u have kn wn that? Y u read minds r s mething?" he asked.
"Maybe I d . And maybe it's an II day." She smiled. He was Ilirting with her, and she was Ilirting back.
Okay, s it was deIinitely just her imaginati n. He had t tally n t thr wn himselI in Ir nt I the cab.
She was surprised he was being s Iriendly. M st I the guys at Duchesne were s stuck-up, Schuyler
didn't b ther with them. They were all the samewith their Duck Head chin s and their guarded
n nchalance, their bland j kes and their lacr sse Iield jackets. She'd never given Jack F rce m re than a
Ileeting th ughthe was a juni r, Ir mthe planet P pular; they might g t the same sch l but they
hardly breathed the same air. And aIter all, his twin sister was the ind mitable Mimi F rce, wh se ne
g al in liIe was t make every ne else's miserable."On y ur way t a Iuneral?
'Wh died and made y u h meless?" were s me I Mimi's unimaginative insults directed her way.
Where was Mimi, anyway? Weren't the F rce twins j ined at the hip?
"Listen, y u want t c me in?" Jack asked, smiling and sh wing his even, straight teeth. "I'ma member.
BeI re she c uld resp nd, Oliver materialized at her side. Where had he c me Ir m? Schuyler
w ndered. And h wdid he keep d ing that? Oliver dem nstrated a keen ability t suddenly sh wup the
minute y u didn't want himthere. "There y u are, my dear," he said, with a hint I repr ach.
Schuyler blinked."Hey, Ollie. D y u kn wJack?
"Wh d esn't?" Oliver replied, p intedly ign ring him. "Babe, y u c ming?" he demanded in a
pr prietary t ne. "They're Iinally letting pe ple in." He m ti ned t The Bank, wherea steady stream I
black-clad teenagers were being herded thr ugh the Iluted c lumns.
"I sh uld g ," she said ap l getically.
"S s n?"Jack asked, his eyes dancing again.
"N t s n en ugh," Oliver added, smiling threateningly.
Jack shrugged. "See y u ar und, Schuyler," he said, pulling up the c llar n his tweed c at and walking
in the pp site directi n.
"S me pe ple," Oliver c mplained, as they rej ined their line. He cr ssed his arms and l ked ann yed.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
Schuyler was silent, her heart Iluttering in her chest. Jack F rce knewher name.
They inched I rward, ever cl ser t the drag queen with the clipb ard glaring imperi usly behind the
velvet r pe. The Elvira cl ne sized up each gr up with a withering stare, but n ne was turned away.
"N w, remember,iI they give us any tr uble, just be c l and think p sitive. Y u have t visualize us
getting in, kay?" Oliver whispered Iiercely.
Schuyler n dded. They walked I rward, but their pr gress was interrupted by a b uncer h lding up a
big meaty paw"IDsa" he barked.
With shaking Iingers, Schuyler retrieved a driver's license with s me ne else's namebut her wn
picture n its lam-inated surIace. Oliver did the same. She bit her lip. She was s g ing t get caught
and thr wn in jail I r this. But she remembered what Oliver had said. Be c l.C nIident. Think p sitive.
The b uncer waved their IDs under an inIrared machine, which didn't beep. He paused, Ir wning, and
held their IDs up I r inspecti n, giving the tw I thema d ubt-Iul l k.
Schuyler tried t pr ject a calmshe didn't Ieel, her heart beating Iast underneath her thin layers. OI
c urse I l k twenty- ne. I've been here beI re. There is abs lutely n th-ing wr ng with that ID, she
th ught.
The b uncer slid it under the machine again. The big man sh k his head. "This isn't right," he muttered.
Oliver l ked at Schuyler, his Iace pale. Schuyler th ught she was g ing t Iaint. She had never been s
nerv us in her liIe. Minutes ticked by. Pe ple behind themin line made impatient n ises.
N thing wr ng with that ID. C l and c nIident. C l and c nIi-dent. She visualized the b uncer
waving themthr ugh, the tw I thementering the club. LET US IN. LET US IN. LET US INJUST
LET US INa
The b uncer l ked up, startled, alm st as iI he'd heard her. It Ielt as th ugh time had st pped. Then,
just like that, he returned their cards and waved themI rward, just as Schuyler had pictured.
Schuyler exhaled. She and Oliver exchanged a restrained l k I glee.
They were inside.
Tw


Right next d r t The Bank was a very diIIerent kind IManhattan nightclub. It was the kind I
nightclub that existed nly nce every decadeat a p int in the s cial nexus when the g ds I publicity,
Iashi n, and celebrity c nverged t create a singularly spectacular envir nment. F ll wing in the hall wed
traditi n I mid-'70s Studi 54, late-'80s Palladium, and early-'90sM mba , Bl ck 122 had entered an
ic nic realmthat deIined a m vement, a liIestyle, a generati n. Ac cktail-c mb clientele I the city's
m st beautiIul, envied, n t ri us, and all-p werIul citizens had christened it their place t betheir
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
natural habitat, their watering h leand since it was the twenty-Iirst century, the era I super-exclusivity,
they even paid astr n mical membership dues I r the privilege.Anything t keep ut the h i p ll i. And
inside this blessed sanctuary, at the m st s ught-aIter table, surr unded by a glittering ass rtment I
underage m dels, p st-pubescent m vie stars, and the s ns and daughters I b ldIaced names, sat the
m st g rge us girl in the hist ry INewY rk City : Madeleine "Mimi" F rce.Sixteen years ld g ing n
thirty-I ur, with a sh t IB t x between the eyes t pr ve it.
Mimi was p pularity pers niIied. She had the g lden-girl g d l ks and tanned, Pilates-t ned limbs
that came with the Queen Bee p siti nbut she transcended the stere type while emb dying the
essence I it. She had a size twenty-tw waist and a size ten sh e. She ate junk I d every day and
never gained an unce. She went t bed with all her makeup n and w ke up with a clear, unblemished
c mplex-i n, just like her c nscience.
Mimi came t Bl ck 122 every night, and Friday was n excepti n. She and Bliss Llewellyn, a tall,
rangy Texan wh 'd recently transIerred t Duchesne, had spent the aIter-n n primping I r the evening's
Iestivities. Or rather, Bliss had spent the aItern n sitting by the side I the bed mak-ing c mplimentary
n ises while Mimi tried n everything in her wardr be. They'd settled n a
sexy-but-in-an- II-beat-b hemian-way-with-straps-just-Ialling- II-the-sh ulder-just-s -Marni camis le,
a tiny denimEarnest Sewn miniskirt, and a sparkly Rick Owens cashmere wrap. Mimi liked t travel with
an ent urage, and in Bliss she'd I und a suitable c mpani n. She'd beIriended Bliss s lely at her Iather's
request, since Senat r Llewellyn was an imp rtant c lleague. At Iirst Mimi had chaIed at the directive,
but she changed her mind when she realized Bliss's equine g d l ks c m-plemented and emphasized
her wn ethereal beauty. Mimi l ved n thing m re than a suitable backdr p. Leaning against the stuIIed
cushi ns, she glanced at Bliss appr vingly.
"Cheers," Bliss said, clinking her glass against Mimi's, as iI she'd read her mind.
"T us."Mimi n dded, chugging the last I her lumines-cent purple c cktail. It was her IiIth I the
evening, and yet she Ielt as s ber as when she'd rdered the Iirst ne. It was depressing h wmuch
l nger it t k t get drunk n w. Alm st as iI alc h l didn't have any eIIect n her bl d-stream. The
C mmittee had t ld her it w uld happenshe just hadn't wanted t believe it back then. Especially since
she wasn't supp sed t avail herselI I the ther, m re p tent alternative as Iten as she'd have liked.
The C mmittee had t many rules. At this p int they were prac-tically running her liIe. She impatiently
signaled t the wait-ress t bring an ther r und, snapping her Iingers s hard it alm st shattered the glass
c IIee table in Ir nt I her.
What was the p int I g ing ut inNewY rk iI y u c uldn't even get a little buzzed? She stretched ut
her legs andlay themlanguidly acr ss the c uch, her Ieet resting n her twin br ther's lap. Her date, the
nineteen-year- ld heir t a pharmaceutical I rtune and a current invest r in the nightclub, pretended n t
t n tice.Alth ugh it w uld be hard t say iI he was even c nsci us, as he was currently leaning n
Mimi's sh ulder and dr ling.
"Quit it," Benjamin F rce snapped, brusquely pushing her II. The tw I themshared the same pale,
platinumbl nd hair, the same creamy, translucent skin, the same h ded green eyes, and the same l ng,
slender limbs. But they c uldn't have been m re diIIerent in temperament. Mimi was l quaci us and
playIul, while Benjaminnick-named Blackjack in childh d because I his tantrums, and sh rtened t
Jack in ad lescencewas taciturn and bservant.
Mimi and Jack were the nly children I Charles F rce, the sixty-year- ld, steely-haired media magnate
wh wned an upstart televisi n netw rk, a cable news channel, a p pu-lar newspaper tabl id, several
radi stati ns, and a successIul publishing empire that made pr Iits Ir maut bi graphies I W rld
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
Wrestling Federati n stars. His wiIe, the I rmer Trinity Burden, was a d yenne I theNewY rk s ciety
circuit, and chaired the m st prestigi us charity c mmittees. She was instrumental in the I undati n I
The C mmittee, I which Jack and Mimi were juni r members. The F rces lived in ne I the m st
s ught-aIter addresses in the city, a luxuri us, well-app inted t wnh use that c vered an entire bl ck
acr ss Ir mthe Metr p litan Museum I Art.
"Oh c'm n," Mimi p uted, immediately placing her Ieet back n her br ther's lap. "I need t stretch my
legs. They're s s re. Feel," she demanded, grabbing a sinewy calI and asking himt Ieel the muscle
tense underneath. Strip Cardi was a bitch n the j ints.
Jack Ir wned. "I said quit it," he murmured in his seri us v ice, and Mimi immediately retracted her
tanned legs, tuck-ing thembeneath her butt and letting theunders les I her I ur-inchAlaia heels scrape
against the white suede c uch, leaving dirty scratch marks n the immaculate cushi n.
"What's wr ng with y u?" Mimi asked. Her br ther had arrived in a I ul m d just a minute ag .
"Thirsty?" she taunted. Her br ther was such a party p per lately. He hardly ever went t C mmittee
meetings anym re, s me-thing their parents w uld Ireak ut ab ut iI they ever I und ut. He wasn't
dating any ne; he l ked weak and spent, and he was undeniably cranky. Mimi w ndered when the last
time was that he had had any.
Jack shrugged and st d up. "I'mg ing ut t get s me air.
"G d idea," Bliss added, rising in a hurry. "I need a sm ke," she explained ap l getically, waving a
pack I ciga-rettes in Ir nt I Mimi's Iace.
"Me t ," AggieCar nd let , an ther girl Ir mDuchesne said. She was part I Mimi's cr wd, and
l ked just like their leader, d wn t the $500-d llar highlights and sullen expressi n.
"Y u d n't need my permissi n," Mimi replied in a b red v ice, alth ugh the pp site was true. One
didn't simply leave Mimi's presence ne was dismissed.
Aggie smirked, and Bliss smiled nerv usly, I ll wing Jack t ward the back I the club.
Mimi shrugged. She never b thered t I ll wthe rules, and tended t light up wherever and whenever
she Ielt like itthe g ssip c lumns nce gleeIully published the Iive-Iigure tally I her sm king Iines. She
watched the three I themleave, disappearing int the crush I b dies thr wing themselves ar und the
dance Il r t bscene rap lyrics.
"I'mb red," she whined, Iinally paying attenti n t the guy wh had hardly leIt her side all evening. They
had been dating I r all I tw weeks, an eternity n the Mimi time line. "Make s mething happen.
"What d y u have in mind?" he murmured gr ggily, licking her ear.
"Mmmm," she giggled, putting a hand underneath his chin and Ieeling his veins thr b.Tempting.But
maybe later, n t here, n t in public at least. Especially since she'd just had her Iill I himyesterday .and
it was against therules .. . Human Iamiliars were n t t be abused, blah, blah, blah. They needed at least a
I rty-eight-h ur rec very time .But h, he smelled w nderIul .a hint I Armani .aItershave and
underneath .meaty andvital , . .and iI she c uld just get ne little taste . . . ne little . . . bite . . . but The
C mmittee met d wnstairs, right beneath Bl ck 122. There c uld be several Wardens here, right n w
.watching . . . She c uld be caught. But w uld she? It was dark in the VIP r m. . . Wh w uld even
n tice in this cr wd I selI-inv lved narcissists?
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
But they w uld Iind ut. S me ne w uld tell them. It was eerie h wthey knews much ab ut
y ualm st as iI they were always there, watching, inside y ur head.S , maybe next time. She w uld let
himrecuperate Ir mlast night. She ruIIled his hair. He was s cutehands me and vulnerable, just the
way she liked them.But I r n w, c m-pletely useless. "Excuse me I r a sec nd," she t ld him.
Mimi leaped Ir mher seat s quickly that the c cktail waitress bringing a tray Ilychee martinis t the
table did a d uble take. The crewar und the banquette blinked. They c uld have sw rn she was sitting
d wn just a sec nd ag . Then in a Ilash, there she was: in the middle I the r m, dancing with an ther
b ybecause I r Mimi, there was always an ther b y, and then an ther and an ther, each ne I them
all t happy t dance with herand it seemed like she danced I r h ursher Ieet never even t uching
the gr unda dizzying; bl nd t rnad in eight-hundred-d llar heels.
When she came back t the table, her Iace gl wing with a transcendental light ( r merely the eIIects I
beneIit high beam?), her beauty alm st t painIul t bearshe I und her date sleeping, slumped ver
the edge I the table.Apity.
Mimi picked up her cell ph ne. She just realized that Bliss had never returned Ir mthat cigarette break.
THREE


She didn't Iit in anywhere. She didn't kn wwhy. Was there ever anythings ridicul us as as ci ph bic
cheer-leader? Girls like her weren't supp sed t have any pr blems. They were supp sed t be perIect.
But Bliss Llewellyn didn't Ieel very perIect. She Ielt dd and ut I place. She watched as her s -called
best Iriend, Mimi F rce, needled her br ther and ign red her date. AIairly typical evening ar und the
F rce twinsthe tw I thembickering ne minute r being sp kily aIIecti nate the nextespecially
when they did that thing where they just l ked int each ther's eyes and y u c uld tell they were
talking t each ther with ut speaking. Bliss av ided Mimi's gaze and tried t distract herselI by laughing
at the j kes the act r n her right was telling her, but n thing ab ut the eveningn t even the Iact that
they'd been given the best table in the h use r that the Calvin Klein m del n her leIt had asked I r her
numbermade her Ieel any less miserable.
She'd Ielt that way inH ust n , t . That s meh wshe was n t all there. But inTexas , she c uld hide it
m re easily. InTexas , she had big curly hair and the bestbackIlip n the squad. Every ne had kn wn her
since she was a "weechile ," and she'd always been the prettiest girl in her class. But then Daddy, wh 'd
gr wn up inNewY rk , m ved themback t the city t run I r the empty Senate seat and had w n the
electi n easily. BeI re she c uld d a rebel yell, she was living n the Upper East Side and enr lled at
theDuchesneSch l .
OI c urse,Manhattan was n thing likeH ust n , and Bliss's big curly hair andbackIlips didn't mean a
thing t any ne at her newsch l, which didn't even have a I tball team, much less mini-skirted
cheerleaders. But n the ther hand, she didn't expect t be such a hick. AIter all, she knewher way
ar und a Neiman Marcusa She wned the same True Religi n jeans and JamesPerse T-shirts asany ne
else. But s meh w, she'd arrived I r the Iirst day wearing a pastel Ralph Lauren sweater with a plaid
Anna Sui kilt (in an eII rt t l k m re like the girls Ieatured in the sch l catal g), with a h nking white
leather Chanel purse n a g ld chain slung ver her sh ulder, nly t Iind her classmates dressed d wn in
gr tty Iisherman sweaters and distressed c rdur ys. N ne w re pastel inManhattan r r cked white
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
Chanel (in the Iall at least). Even that weird g th girlSchuyler VanAlen displayed a chic that Bliss
didn't kn wh wt match.
Bliss knewab ut the Jimmy, theMan l ,the Stella. She'd made n te IMischa Bart n's wardr be. But
there was s mething ab ut the way the NewY rk girls put it t gether that made her l k like a Iashi n
Ireak wh 'd never cracked pen a magazine. Then there was the wh le deal with her accentn ne
c uld understand her at Iirst, and when she said "y'all" r "laaahke," they imitated her, n ne t kindly
either.
F r a m ment, it l ked as iI Bliss w uld be c nsigned t live the rest I her academic liIe as a
b rderline s cial pariah, a h me-sch led reject when she sh uld have been a Mean Girl. That is, until
the cl uds partedlightning struckand a miracle ccurred: the Iabul us Mimi F rce t k her
pers nally in hand. Mimi was a juni r, a year lder. She and her br ther Jack were like, the Angelina
J lie and Brad Pitt I Duchesne, a c uple wh were n t supp sed t be a c uple, but a c uple
n nethelessand the ruling ne at that. Mimi was the Orientati n leader I r newstudents, and she'd
taken ne l k at Blissthe pastel cardigan, the shiny bluchers, the awkward Sc ttish kilt, the quilted
Chanel bag, and had said, "L ve that utIit. It's s wr ng, it's right.
And that was it.
Bliss was suddenly in the In-Gr up, which, it turned ut, was just the same as the ne back in
H ust nj ckyguys (but starting lacr sse and crewinstead I I tball), uniI rmly pretty girls (but they
were n the debate teamand headed I r the Ivy League) with the same unwritten c de t keep ut
newc mers. Bliss knewthat it was nly by Mimi's g d graces that she'd managed t inIiltrate the sacred
stratum.
But it wasn't the s cial hierarchy I high sch l that was b thering Bliss. It wasn't even her
bl wn- ut-straight hair (which she w uld never let Mimi's stylist d t her againshe just didn't Ieel right
with ut her curls), it was the Iact that s metimes she didn't even Ieel like she knewwh she was
anym re.Ever since she had arrived inNewY rk . She w uld walk by a building, r that ld park by the
river, and a Ieeling I deja vu, but str ngeras iI it were embedded in her wn primal mem ryw uld
verwhelmher, and she w uld Iind herselI shaking. When she walked int their apartment n East
Seventy-seventh Street I r the Iirst time, she'd th ught, "I'mh me," and it wasn't because it was h me .
it was the Ieeling in her b nes that she'd been there beI re, that she'd walked inside that same d rway
beI re, that she'd danced acr ss its marble Il rs in s me n t-s -distant past. "It used t have a
Iireplace," she th ught, when she sawher r m. Sure en ugh, when she menti ned it t the real estate
agent, he'd t ld her it'd had a Iireplace in 1819, but it had been b arded up I r saIety reas ns."Because
s me ne died in there.
But the nightmares were the w rst. Nightmares that leIt her screamingherselI awake. Nightmares I
running, night-mares I s me ne taking h ld I heras iI she weren't in c ntr land she w uld wake
up, shivering and c ld, the sheets drenched with her sweat. Her parents assured her it was n rmal. Like it
was a n rmal thing I r a IiIteen-year- ld girl t wake up screaming s l udly her thr at dried up and she
ch ked n her wn spit.
But n w, at Bl ck 122, Jack F rce was standing up, and Bliss st d up t excusing herselI Ir m
Mimi's attenti n. She'd st d up n impulse, just t be m ving, just t be d ing s mething ther than just
being a spectat r t the Sh wThat Was Mimi, but when she'd said she needed a sm ke, she I und she
really did. AggieCar nd let , ne I the Mimi cl nes, was already snaking her way utside. Bliss l st
Jack halIway thr ugh the cr wd, and she Ilashed the stamp n her right wrist t the guard, wh had t let
pe ple ut and back inside due t the drac nian sm king laws inNewY rk City . Bliss I und it ir nic
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
that NewY rkers c nsidered themselves s c sm p litan when in H ust n, y u c uld sm ke
any-where, even inside a beauty sal n, while y u were under the dryer; but in Manhattan, sm kers were
c nsigned t the margins and leIt t deal with the elements.
She pushed pen the back d r and I und herselI in an alleyway, a small dark c rner between tw
buildings. The alley between Bl ck 122 and The Bank was apetri dish I warring cultural allegiances n
ne side, preening hipsters in tight, expensive, Eur pean cl thes, t ssing their bleached hair ver
zebra-print jackets; and n the ther, a scraggly gr up I l st children in their tattered and pierced
cl th-ing but an uneasy truce existed between the tw parties, an invisible line that neither gr up ever
cr ssed. AIter all, they were all sm kers here. She sawAggie leaning against the wall, hanging ut with a
c uple I m dels.
Bliss r ted in her h ded Marc Jac bs car c at (b r-r wed Ir mMimi, part I the make ver) I r her
cigarettes and tapped ne ut. She br ught it t her lips, Iumbling I r the matches.
Ahand extended Ir mthe darkness, IIering a small, lit Ilame.Fr mthe ther side I the alley. The Iirst
time s me- ne had braved the divide.
"Thanks," Bliss said, leaning I rward and inhaling, the cigarette gl wing red at its tip. She l ked up,
exhaled, and thr ugh the sm ke rec gnized the guy wh 'd IIered it. Dylan Ward. AtransIerjust like
hert the s ph m re class Ir ms mewhere ut I t wn.One I the dd- nes- ut atStepI rd -like
Duchesne, where every ne had kn wn every ne since nursery sch l and ballr mdancing less ns.
Dylan l ked hands me and danger us in his cust mary beat-up black leather m t rcycle jacket ver a
dirty T-shirt andstained jeans. It was rum red he'd been expelled Ir ma successi n I prep sch ls. His
eyes glittered in the darkness. He Ilicked his Zipp cl sed, and she n ticed his shy smile. There was
s mething ab ut hims mething sad and br ken and appealing .He l ked exactly the way she Ielt,
and he walked ver t her side.
"Hey," he said.
"I'mBliss," she said.
"OI c urse y u are." He n dded.


FOUR


TheDuchesneSch l was h used in the I rmer Fl d mansi n nMadis n Avenue andNinety-Iirst
Street , n prep-sch l r w, acr ss Ir mDalt n and next t Sacred Heart. It was the I rmer h me I
R se Elizabeth Fl d, wid w I Captain Armstr ng Fl d, wh had I unded the Fl d Oil C mpany.
R se's three daughters were educated by Marguerite Duchesne, a Belgian g verness, and when all three
were l st during the unI rtunate sinking I the SS Endeav r during an Atlantic cr ssing, a heartbr ken
R se returned t theMidwest and bequeathed her h me t Madem iselle Duchesne t I und her dream
instituti n.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
Little had been d ne t transI rmthe h me int a sch l: am ng the prerequisites I the behest was that
all the riginal Iinishes and Iurniture were t be careIully main-tained, which made entering the building
akin t walking backward in time. AliIe-size J hn SingerSargent p rtrait I the three Fl d heiresses still
hung ab ve the marble stair-case, welc ming visit rs int the magniIicent d uble-height entryway. A
Bar que crystal chandelier hung in the glass-wind wed ballr mthat verl ked Central Park,
andChesterIield tt mans and antique reading desks were arranged in the I yer. The shiny brass sc nces
were n wwired I r electricity, and the creakyPullman elevat r still w rked (alth ugh nlyIaculty were
all wed t use it). The attic, a charming garret r m, was transI rmed int an art center, c mplete with a
printing press and a lith graph machine, and the d wnstairs drawing r ms h used a Iully equipped
theater, gym, and caIeteria. Metal l ckers n wlined the Ileur-de-lis wallpapered hallways, and the upper
bedr ms h used the humanities classr ms. Generati ns I students sw re that the gh st I Mrs.
Duchesne haunted the third landing.
Ph t graphs I each graduating class lined the hallway t the library. Since The Duchesne Sch l was
I rmerly an all-girls instituti n, the Iirst class I 1869 sh wed a gr up I six d ur-Iaced maidens in white
ball g wns, their names graceIully etched in calligraphy. As the years pr gressed, the daguerre types I
nineteenth-century debutantes gave way t the black-and-white ph t graphs I b uIIant-haired swans I
the 1950s, t the cheerIul additi n I l ng-haired gentlemen in the mid-'60s, when Duchesne Iinally went
c ed, leading t bright c l r ph t graphs I wins me y ung w men and hands me y ung men Ir mthe
current cr p.
Because, really, n t much changed.The girls still graduated in white tea dresses Ir mSaks and white
gl ves Ir mBergd rI's, and were presented with garlands I twined ivy n their heads as well as the
requisite b uquet I red r ses al ng with their dipl mas, while the b ys w re pr per m rn-ing suits,
c mplete with pearl-tipped pins n their gray asc ts.
The gray tartan uniI rms were l ng g ne, but at Duchesne, bad news still arrived in the I rm I a
canceled Iirst-peri d class, I ll wed by an ann uncement made ver rustling static n the antiquated
s und system: "Emergency chapel meeting. All students asked t rep rt t the chapel at nce.
Schuyler met Oliver in the hallway utside Music Hum. They hadn't seen each ther since Friday night.
Neither I themhad br ached the subject I enc untering Jack F rce utside The Bank, which was
highly unusual, since the tw I themdissected every s cial situati n they experienced d wn t the minute
detail. There was a studied c lness in Oliver's t ne when he sawSchuyler that m rning. But Schuyler
was blivi us t his al Inessshe ran up t himimmediately and linked her armin his.
"What's g ing n?" she asked, tucking her head against his sh ulder.
"Hell iI I kn w. He shrugged.
"Y u always kn w," Schuyler pressed.
"All rightbut d n't say anything." Oliver melted, enj ying the Ieel I her hair against his neck. Schuyler
was l king particularly pretty that day. She was wearing her l ng hair d wn I r nce, and she l ked
like a pixie in her versized Navypeac at , Iaded jeans, and br ken-in black c wb y b ts. He l ked
ar und nerv usly. "I think it has s mething t d with the cr wd that was at Bl ck 122 this weekend.
Schuyler raised her eyebr ws."Mimi and her pe ple? Why? Are they getting expelled?
"Maybe," Oliver said, sav ring the th ught.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
Last year alm st the entire crewteamhad been banished I r illicit behavi r n sch l gr unds. T
celebrate a win at the Head I the Charles, they had c me back t sch l that evening and trashed the
sec nd-Il r classr ms, leavinggraIIiti'd expletives n the walls and pr I I their nightbr ken beer
b ttles, piles I cigarette stubs and several c caine-laced d llar billst be I und by the janit rs the next
m rning. Parents petiti ned the administrati n t change their decisi n (s me th ught expulsi n t harsh,
while thers wanted n thing less than criminal charges Iiled). That the ringleader, a t thy Harvard-b und
seni r, was the Headmistress's nephew nly added t the Iire. (Harvard pr mptly recalled his admissi n,
and the expelled c xswain was currently yelling himselI h arse at Duke.)
S meh wSchuyler didn't think that a simple case I bad behavi r ver the weekend was the reas n the
entire upper sch l was being called int the chapel that m rning.
As there were nly I rty students in each class, the entire stu-dent b dy Iit c mI rtably inside the r m,
taking their respective seats rganized by grade: seni rs and Ireshman in the Ir nt secti n separated by
the aisle, juni rs and s ph -m res respectively behindthem.
The Dean I Students st d patiently by the p diumin Ir nt I the altar. Schuyler and Oliver I und
Dylan in the back, at their usual perch. He had dark circles under his eyes, like he hadn't slept, and there
was an ugly red stain n his butt n-d wn shirt and a h le in his black jeans. He was wearing his signature
white silkJimi Hendrixstyle scarI ar und his neck. The ther kids in the pewgave hima wide berth. He
beck ned Schuyler and Oliver t his side.
"What's g ing n?" Schuyler asked, sliding int the pew.
Dylan shrugged, putting a Iinger t his lips.
Dean Cecile M ll y tapped the micr ph ne. While she wasn't a Duchesne alum, like the headmistress,
the head librarian, and alm st the entire Iemale Iacultyand it was rum red that she'd been the recipient
I a public sch l edu-cati nshe had quickly acquired the velvet headband, knee-length c rdur y
skirts, and r unded v wels that marked the true Duchesne girl. Dean M ll y was a very ade-quate
Iacsimile, and hence was very p pular with the b ard I direct rs.
"Attenti n, please. Settle d wn, b ys and girls. I have s mething very sad t share with y u this
m rning." The dean inhaled sharply. "I amvery s rry t inI rmy u that ne I ur students, Aggie
Car nd let , passed away this weekend.
There was a sh cked silence, I ll wed by a c nIused buzzing.
The dean cleared her thr at. "Aggie had been a student at Duchesne since pre-kindergarten. There will
be n classes t m rr w. Instead, there will be a Iuneral service in the chapel t m rr wm rning.
Every ne is invited t attend. AIterward, there will be a burial at F rest Hills inQueens , and a shuttle bus
will be pr vided t take students wh w uld like t attend, t the cemetery. We ask that y u think I her
Iamily at this diIIicult time.
An ther thr at clearing.
"We have grieI c unsel rs n hand t assist th se wh need it. Sch l will c nclude at n n, y ur
parents have already been inI rmed I the early dismissal. AIter this meeting, please return t y ur
sec nd-peri d classes.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
AIter a sh rt inv cati n (Duchesne was n nden mina-ti nal), and a dev ti n Ir mthe B k I
C mm n Prayer, as well as a verse Ir mthe K ran and a passage Ir mKhalil Gibran were read by the
Head B y and Head Girl, students streamed ut with quiet trepidati n, a l wIeeling I excite-ment
mixed with nausea and real sympathy I r theCar nd lets . N thing like this had ever happened at
Duchesne beI re. Sure, they'd heard I ther sch ls' pr b-lemsdrunk driving accidents,
child-m lesting s ccer c aches, seni rb ys date-raping Ireshmen girls,trenchc at wearing Ireaks
wielding machine guns and gunning d wn halI the student b dy, but th se happened at ther sch ls n
televisi n, in the suburbs, r in public sch ls, with their metal detect rs and clear vinyl backpacks.
N thing terrible was ever all wed t happen at Duchesne. It was practically a rule.
The w rst thing that c uld ever happen t a student at Duchesne w uld be a br ken leg skiing inAspen
ra painIul sunburn Ir mSt. Barth's ver spring break. S the Iact that AggieCar nd let had diedin
the city n less just shy I her sixteenth birthday, was alm st unIath mable.
AggieCar nd let ?Schuyler Ielt a twinge I sadness, but she didn't kn wAggie, wh had been ne I
the tall, pinched-l king bl nd girls wh surr unded Mimi F rce, like c urtiers ar und their queen.
"Y u kay?" Oliver asked, squeezing Schuyler's sh ulder. Schuyler n dded.
"W w, that's heavy, man. I just sawher Friday night," Dylan said, shaking his head.
"Y u sawAggie?" Schuyler asked."Where?
"Friday.At The Bank.
"AggieCar nd let was at The Bank?" Schuyler asked skeptically. That made as much sense as Mimi
F rce being sp tted sh pping at J.C. Penney. "Are y u sure?
"Well, I mean, she wasn't technically at The Bank, but utside, y u kn w, where every ne sm kes
d wnstairs, in the alley next t Bl ck 122," Dylan explained.
"What happened t y u?" Schuyler said. "We never sawy u again aIter midnight.
"I, uh, met s meb dy," Dylan admitted, with a sheepish grin. "It's n big deal.
Schuyler n dded and didn't pry.
They walked ut I the chapel, past Mimi F rce, wh was standing in the middle I a sympathetic circle
I Iriends. "She'd just g ne ut I r a sm ke ." they verheard Mimi say, dabbing at her eyes. "Then she
disappeared.We still d n't kn wh wit happened.
"What are y u l king at?" Mimi spat, n ticing Schuyler staring at her.
"N thingI.
Mimi Ilicked her hair ver her sh ulder and sn rted in ann yance. Then she deliberately turned her back
n the three I themand went back t reliving Friday night.
"Hey," Dylan said, passing the tall Texan girl in their class, wh was part I the huddle. "S rry ab ut
y ur Iriend." He put a light hand n her arm.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
But Bliss didn't even ackn wledge that she'd heard him. Schuyler th ught that was dd. H wdid Dylan
kn wBliss Llewellyn? The Texan girl was practically Mimi's best Iriend. And Mimi despised Dylan
Ward. Schuyler had heard her calling hima "vagrant" and a "wast id" t his Iace when he reIused t give
up his seat in the caIeteria. She and Oliver had warned himwhen he'd sat d wn, but he w uldn't listen.
"But this is ur table," Mimi had hissed, h lding a tray that c ntained a paper plate I dry lettuce leaves
surr unding an underc ked hamburger. Schuyler and Oliver had immedi-ately grabbed their trays, but
Dylan had reIused t budge, which had instantly endeared himt them.
"It was a drug verd se," Dylan whispered, walking between Schuyler and Oliver.
"H wd y u kn w?" Oliver asked.
"It's the nly thing that makes sense. She passed ut at Bl ck 122. What else c uld it be?
Schuyler th ught: aneurysm, heart attack, diabetic seizure. There were s many things that c uld cause a
per-s n's untimely demise. She'd read ab ut them. She knew. She'd l st her Iather in her inIancy, and her
m ther was stuck in a c ma. LiIe was m re Iragile than any ne ever realized.
One minute, y u c uld be getting a sm ke in the alley n theL wer East Side with y ur Iriends, having
drinks and dancing n tables in a p pular night club. And the next minute, y u c uld be dead.


FIVE


One I the best things ab ut being Mimi F rce was that n b dy t k y u I r granted. AIter the news I
Aggie's death made the r unds, Mimi's p pularity swelled t epic pr p rti ns because n wshe wasn't
just beautiIul, she was vulnerable as wellshe was human. It was like when T mCruise leIt Nic le
Kidman, and suddenly Nic le Kidman st pped seeming like this icy, ruthless, career-minded Amaz n
and became just an ther dumped div rcee wh mevery ne c uld relate t . She'd even cried n Oprah.
Aggie had been Mimi's best Iriend. Well, n , n t exactly. Mimi had many best Iriends. It was the
backb ne I her p pularity. Many pe ple Ielt cl se t her, even th ugh Mimi Ielt cl se t n ne. But
still, Aggie had been special t her. She'd gr wn up with her. Ice-skating atW llman Rink, etiquette
less ns at the Plaza, summers inS uthampt n . TheCar nd lets were an ldNewY rk Iamily; her
parents were Iriends with Mimi's parents. Their m ms went t the same hairdresser at HenriBendel . She
was a true blue bl d, like herselI.
Mimi l ved the attenti n, l ved the Iawning. She said all the right things, v icing her sh ck and grieI with
a halting v ice. She dabbed her eyes with ut smudging her eyeliner. She recalled I ndly h wAggie had
lent herher Iav rite R ck and Republic jeans nce. And never even asked I r thembacka N wthat was
a true Iriend.
AIter Chapel, Mimi and Jack were pulled aside by ne I the runners, a sch larship kid wh served as
an errand b y I r the Headmistress's IIice. "The Head wants t see y u guys," they were t ld.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
Inside the plush-carpeted IIice, the Head I Sch ls t ld themthey c uld take the wh le day IIn
need t wait till n n. The C mmittee underst d h wcl se they were t Augusta . Mimi was elated.
Even m re special treatmenta But Jack sh k his head and explained that iI it was all right with every ne,
he was g ing t attend his sec nd-peri d class.
Outside the administrati n c rrid r, the vast carpeted hallways were empty. Every ne else was in class.
They were practically al ne. Mimi reached ut and sm thed her br ther's c llar, tracing her Iingers n
his sunburned neck. He Ilinched at her t uch.
"What's g tten int y u lately?" she asked impatiently.
"D n't, kay? N t here.
She didn't understand why he was s skittish. At s me p int, things w uld change. She w uld change.
He knewthat, but it was as iI he c uldn't accept it, r he w uldn't let himselI accept it. Maybe it was all
part I the pr cess. Her Iather had made the hist ry I the Iamily very clear t them, and their part in it
was set in st ne. Jack didn't have a ch ice, whether he wanted it r n t, and Mimi Ielt s mewhat insulted
at the way he was acting.
She l ked at her br therher twin, her ther halI. He was part I her s ul. When they were little, it
was like they were the same pers n. When she stubbed a t e, he cried. When he Iell II the h rse
inC nnecticut , her back ached inNewY rk . She always knewwhat he was thinking, what he was
Ieeling, and she l ved himin a way that scared her. It c nsumed every inch I her being. But he'd been
pulling away Ir mher lately. He was distracted, distant. His mind was cl sed t hers. When she reached
ut t Ieel his pres-ence, there was n thing.Ablank slate. N , m re like a muIIling.Ablanket ver a
stere . He was tuning her ut.Masking his th ughts.Asserting his independence Ir mher. It was
tr ubling, t say the least.
"It's like y u d n't even like me anym re," she p uted, liIting up her thick bl nd hair and letting it Iall n
her sh ul-ders. She was wearing a black c tt n sweater, rendered see-thr ugh underneath the
Ilu rescent light I the hallway. She knewhe c uld see the iv ry lace I her LeMystere bra thr ugh the
thin weave.
Jack smiled a wry smile. "That's n t p ssible. That w uld be like hatingmyselI . And I'mn t a
mas chist.
She shrugged her sh ulders in sl wm ti n, turning away and biting her lip.
He pulled her in I r a hug, pressing his b dy against hers. They were the same heighttheir eyes at the
same level. It was like l king int a mirr r. 'Be g d," he said.
"Wh are y u and what have y u d ne with my br ther?" she cracked. But it was nice t be hugged,
and she squeezed himback tightly. N w, that was m re like it.
"I'mscared, Jack," she whispered. They'd been there, that night, with Aggie. Aggie sh uldn't be dead.
Aggie c uldn't be dead. It just c uldn't be true. It was imp ssible.In every sense I the w rd. But they'd
seenAggie's b dy at the m rgue, that c ld gray m rning. She and Jack had been the nes t identiIy the
b dy. Mimi's cell number was the Iirst entry inAggie's ph ne. They'd held her liIeless hands. They'd seen
her Iace, the Ir zen scream. Much w rse, they'd seen the marks n her neck. UnthinkableaRidicul us,
even. It simply didn't add up. It was as iI the w rld had been turned upside d wn. It was against
everything they'd been t ld. She c uldn't even begin t make it c mprehensible.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
"It's a j ke, right?
"N j ke." Jack sh k his head.
"She's n t just cycling early?" Mimi asked, h ping against h pe that they'd I und s me reas nable
explanati n I r all this. There had t be ne. Things like this simply didn't happen. N t t them.
"N . They've d ne the tests.W rse. The bl dit's g ne."
Mimi Ielt a chill up her spine. It was as iI s mething had skittered acr ss her grave. "What d y u mean
it's g ne?" she gasped.
"She was drained.
"Y u mean .
"Full c nsumpti n."Jack n dded.
Mimi rec iled Ir mhis embrace. "Y u're j king. Y u have t be. It's just n t p ssible." That w rd
again. That w rd that p pped up all weekend, Saturday m rning, when the call came: repeated by their
parents, the Elders, the Wardens, everyb dy. What happened t Aggie just wasn't p ssible. That much
they all agreed n. Mimi walked t ward an pen wind w, stepped int the sunlight, and gl ried in the
way it tickled her skin. N thing c uld hurt them.
"They've called a c nclave. The letters went ut t day.
'Already?But they haven't even begun t change yet," Mimi pr tested. "Isn't that against the rules?
"Emergency situati n.Every ne has t be warned.Even the premature.
Mimi sighed. "I supp se." She'd rather liked being ne I the y ungest. She didn't like kn wing her
n vel status w uld s n be supplanted by a newbatch.
"I'mg ing t class. Where are y u g ing?" he asked, tucking his shirt int his pants, a Iutilem ve since
when he reached I r his leather satchel, the m ti n pulled his shirt-tails ut again.
"T Barneys," she replied, putting n her sunglasses. "I have n thing t wear t the Iuneral.


SI


Schuyler's sec nd-peri d class was ethics, a multi-year class pen t s ph m res and juni rs
c mpleting their diversity studies requirements. Their teacher, Mr. Ori n, a curly-haired Br wn graduate
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
with a dr py mustache, small, wire-rimmed glasses, a l ng Cyran n se, and a penchant I r wearing
versized baggy sweaters that hung II his scarecr w-like Irame, sat in the middle I the r m, leading
the discussi n.
She I und a seat near the wind w, pulling up her chair t the circle ar und Mr. Ori n. There were nly
ten pe ple, the standard class size. Schuyler c uldn't help but n tice that Jack F rce wasn't in his usual
seat. She'd never said a w rd t himall semester, and she w ndered iI he w uld even remember saying
hell t her n Friday night.
"Did any ne here kn wAggie well?" Mr. Ori n asked, even th ugh it was an irrelevant questi n.
Duchesne was the kind I place that, years aIter graduati n, iI y u bumped int an alumat an airp rt, r
walking ar und Centre P mpid u, r d wnt wn at Max Fish, y u w uld immedi-ately buy thema drink
and ask ab ut their Iamily, because even iI y u had never exchanged a w rd while at the sch l, y u
knewalm st everything ab ut them, d wn t the inti-mate details.
'Any ne?"Mr. Ori n asked again.
Bliss Llewellyn cauti usly raised her hand. "I did," she said timidly.
"D y u want t share s me mem ries I her?
Bliss put her hand d wn, her Iace red.Mem ries I Aggie? What did she really kn wab ut her? She
knewthat she liked cl thes, and sh pping, and her tiny little lapd g, Sn wWhite. It was aChihuahua ,
like Bliss's, and Aggie had liked t dress her up in silly little utIits. The d g even had a mink sweater that
matchedAggie's . That was as much as Bliss c uld recall. Wh ever really kn ws anyb dy? And
anyway, Aggie was really Mimi's Iriend.
Bliss th ught back n that IateIul night. She'd ended up talking t Dylan I r what seemed like ages in that
back alley. When they'd sm ked every last cigarette they had between the tw I them, he'd Iinally g ne
back t The Bank, and she'd reluctantly returned t Bl ck 122 and Mimi's demands. Aggie wasn't at the
table when she g t back, and Bliss hadn't seen her I r the rest I the evening.
Fr mthe F rce twins, Bliss knewthe basicsthey'd I und Aggie in "the Land I N d"the back
r mwhere the club hid druggies wh 'd passed uta dirty little secret that Bl ck 122 had successIully
kept ut I the tabl ids, with heIty bribes t c ps and g ssip c lumnists alike. M st I the time patr ns
wh passed ut w ke up h urs later just a little w rse I r wear, with a great anecd te t tell their
Iriends"And I w ke up in this cl set, mana What a l ng strange trip, right?" and were sent h me
(m stly) intact.
But s mething had g ne wr ng n Friday night. They hadn't been able t revive Aggie. And when "the
ambu-lance" (the wner's SUV) had dep sited her at theSt. Vincent 's ERAggie was already dead.
Drug verd se, every ne assumed. She'd been I und in the cl set, aIter all. What did y u expect?
Except Bliss knewthat Aggie didn't t uch drugs. Like Mimi's, her vices I ch ice were tanning sal ns
and cigarettes. Drugs were l ked d wn up n in Mimi's circle. "I d n't need anything t get high. I'm
high n liIe," Mimi liked t cr w.
"She was .sweet," Bliss IIered. "She really l ved her little d g.
"I had a parr t nce." Ared-eyed s ph m re n dded. She'd been the ne wh 'd handed Mimi tissues
in the hall-way. "When she died, it was like l sing a part ImyselI .
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
And just like that, Augusta "Aggie"Car nd let's death went Ir ma tragedy t a mere springb ard I r an
earnest discussi n ab ut h wpets were pe ple t , where t Iind pet cemeteries in the city, and whether
cl ning y ur pet was the right ethical ch ice.
Schuyler c uld barely disguise her c ntempt. She liked Mr. Ori n, liked his shaggy-d g laid-back
appr ach t liIe, but she was disgusted by the way he let her peers turn s me-thing realthe death I
s me ne they knew, s me ne hardly sixteen years lda girl they'd all seen sunbathing in the c rtile,
p wering squash returns in the l wer c urt gyms, rh vering br wnies at the bake sale (like all p pular
Duchesne girls, Aggie had a l ve aIIair with I d that was ut I pr p rti n t her super-skinny
appearance)int a trivial matter, a stepping-st ne t talk ab ut every ne else's neur ses.
The d r pened, and every ne l ked up t see a red-Iaced Jack F rce enter the r m. He passed
his late I rmt Mr. Ori n, wh waved it away. "Sit d wn, Jack.
Jack walked purp seIully acr ss the r mt the nly remaining empty seat in the classr mnext t
Schuyler. He l ked tired, and a little rumpled in his creased p l with the shirttails hanging ut and
baggy w l pants. Aslight electric charge went thr ugh Schuyler's b dy, a prickly and n t unpleasant
sensati n. What had changed? She'd sat next t himbeI re, and he was always invisible t her, until
n w. He didn't meet her eye, and she was t Irightened and selI-c nsci us t l k at him. It was dd t
think they were b th there that evening. S cl se t where Aggie had died.
But n wan ther Mimi disciple was prattling ab ut her hamster,wh 'd starved t death when they went
n vacati n. "I just l vedB b s much," she s bbed int a handkerchieI as the rest I the class v iced
their sympathy. Tales I the demise I a similarly bel ved lizard, canary, and rabbit were next n deck.
Schuyler r lled her eyes and d dled in the margins I her n teb k. It was her way I z ning ut Ir m
the w rld. When she c uldn't take it anym reher sp iled classmates' navel-gazing rants, endless math
lectures, the yawn-inducing pr perties I single-cell divisi nshe retreated int pen and paper. She'd
always l ved t draw.Anime girls and saucer-eyed b ys.Drag ns.Gh sts.Sh es. She was
absentmind-edly sketching Jack's pr Iile when a hand reached ut and scrawled a n te n t p I her
page.
She l ked up, startled, instinctively c vering her drawing.
Jack F rce n dded s mberly at her, tapping n her n te-b k with a pencil, directing her gaze t the
w rds he'd written.
Aggie didn't die I an verd se. Aggie was murdered.


SEVEN


Agleaming R lls-R yce Silver Shad wwas waiting in Ir nt I the Duchesne gates when Bliss emerged.
She Ielt slightly embarrassed, like she always did when she sawthe car. She sawher halI sister, J rdan,
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
wh was eleven and in the sixth grade, waiting I r her. They had let the l wer I rm ut early t , even
th ugh they hardly knewAggie.
The d r t the R lls pened, and a pair I l ng legs stepped ut I the car. Bliss's stepm ther, the
I rmerB biAnne Shepherd, wearing a tight pink vel ur tracksuit with the zipper pulled d wn t reveal
her ample b s m, and high-heeled Gucci cl gs, began l king Irantically ar und the clustered students.
Bliss wished, n t I r the Iirst time, that her stepm ther w uld let her take a cab r walk h me like every
ther kid at Duchesne. The R lls, the Juicy, the eleven-carat diam nd, it was all s Texas . Bliss had
learned, Ir mher tw m nths inManhattan, that it was all ab ut stealth wealth. The richest kids in class
w re Old Navy and were n strict all wances. II they needed a car, their parents made sure it was a
sleek and un btrusive black T wn Car. Even Mimi t k cabs. Flashy displays I status and aIIluence
were l ked d wn up n. OI c urse, these were als the same kids wh w re pre-stained jeans and
unraveling sweaters Ir mpreci usS H b utiques that charged in the Iive Iigures. It was all right t l k
p r, but actually being p r was c mpletely inexcusable.
At Iirst, every ne at sch l th ught Bliss was a sch lar-ship kid, with her Iake-l king Chanel bag and
her t -shiny sh es. But the appearance I the Silver Shad wR lls every aItern n s n put an end t
that rum r. TheLlewellyns were l aded, all right, but in a vulgar,cart nish , laughable Iashi n, which was
alm st as bad as having n m ney, but n t quite.
"Darlingsa"B biAnnetrilled, her v ice carrying d wn the bl ck. "I was s w rrieda" She gathered her
daughter and her stepdaughter in her skinny arms, pressing her p wdered cheek against theirs. She
smelled like calciIied perIumesweet and chalky. Bliss's real m ther had died when she was b rn, and
her Iather never talked ab ut her. Bliss had n mem ry I her m ther. When she was three, her Iather
had marriedB biAnne , and they'd hadJ rdan s n aIter.
"St p it,B biAnne ," Bliss c mplained. "We're Iine. We're n t the nes wh were killed.
Killed.N w, why had she said that?Aggie's death was an accident.Adrug verd se. But the w rd had
c me ut nat-urally, with ut her even thinking ab ut it. Why?
"I d wish y u'd call me Mama,darlin '. I kn w, I kn w. I heard.The p rCar nd let girl. Her m ther is
in sh ck, the p r thing. Get in, get in.
Bliss I ll wed her sister inside the car.J rdan was st ic as usual, taking her m ther's histri nic
ministrati ns with a studied indiIIerence. Her sister c uldn't have been m re dissimilar t her. Whereas
Bliss was tall and will wy,J rdan was sh rt and st cky. Bliss was strikingly beautiIul, butJ rdan was s
plain she was alm st h mely, a Iact thatB biAnne never Iailed t p int ut. "As diIIerent as a swan Ir m
a water buIIal a" she lamented.B biAnne was always trying t putJ rdan n s me kind I diet and
adm nishing her I r her lack I interest in Iashi n r a "beauty regimen" while praising Bliss's l ks t the
heavens, which aggravated Bliss even m re.
"Y u girls are n t t g ut anym re with ut a chaper ne. Y u especially, Bliss, n m re sneaking ut
with Mimi F rce t g d kn ws where. Y u're t be h me every night by nine."B biAnne said, nerv usly
gnawing n her thumbnail. Bliss r lled her eyes. S n wjust because s me girl died at a nightclub she
had s me kind I curIew? When did her stepm ther even care ab ut stuII like this? Bliss had been g ing
t parties since seventh grade. She'd had her Iirst taste I alc h l then, and had g tten stupid-drunk at
the Iairgr unds that year; her Iriend's lder sister had had t c me and pick her up aIter she'd v mited
and passed ut in the haystack behind the FerrisWheel .
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
"Y ur Iather insists,"B biAnne said anxi usly. "N w, d n't y'all give me any m re tr uble ab ut it,y'hear
?
The R lls pulled away Ir mthe Duchesne gates, dr ve d wn the length I the bl ck, and made a U-turn
t st p in Ir nt I the Llewellyn's apartment building right acr ss the street.
They exited the car and walked int a palatial apartment building. TheAnthetumwas ne I the ldest
and m st prestigi us addresses in the city. The Llewellyn ab de was a triplex penth use n the t p Il r.
B biAnne had c mmis-si ned several interi r designers t dec rate the place, and had even given the
apartment a grand name, Penth use desRves (Penth use I Dreams) even th ugh all the French she
knewc uld Iit in a dress tag (Dry CleanSeulement ). Each r min the apartment was dec rated in
Ilamb yant, pea-c ck Iashi n, and n expense had been spared, Ir mthe Il r-standing eighteen-carat
g ld candelabras in the dining r mt the diam nd-encrusted s ap dishes in the p wder r m.
There was the "Versace" sitting r m, Iilled with the dead designer's antiques thatB biAnne had
sc ped up at the aucti n, Iilled t the brimwith sunburst mirr rs, g ld gilt china cabinets, and b mbastic
Italian nude sculpture. An ther r mwas the "Bali" r m, with wall-t -wall mah gany arm ires, r ugh
w den benches, and bamb bird cages. Every itemin the r mwas an authentic, extremely rare and
expensive S uth Asian artiIact, but because there were s many I them, the verall eIIect was that I a
Iire sale at Pier 1 Imp rts. There was even a "Cinderella" r m, m deled aIter the exhibit at Disney
W rldc mplete with a tiara-wearing mannequin in a dress held up by tw Iiberglass birds attached t
the ceiling.
Bliss th ught Penth use de Crap w uld be m re Iitting.
Her stepm ther was particularly agitated that aItern n. Bliss had never seen her s nerv us.B biAnne
didn't even Ilinch when Bliss trailed dirty I tsteps n the immaculate carpet.
"BeI re I I rget, this came I r y u t day." Her step-m ther handed Bliss an versize white linen
envel pe. It had an impressive heIt and weight t it, like a wedding ann unce-ment. Bliss pened it,
Iinding a thick emb ssed card inside. It was an invitati n t j in the NewY rk Bl d Bank C mmittee.
One I the ldest charities inNewY rk , it was als the m st prestigi us; nly the children I the m st
s cially pr minent Iamilies were invited t j in as juni r members. At Duchesne, it was simply called "The
C mmittee." Every ne wh was any ne in sch l was in The C mmittee; being a member elevated y u
t a level I the s cial strat sphere that was s l Ity, mere m rtals c uld nly aspire t , but never reach
its heights.
Captains I all the sch l teams were n The C mmittee, as were the edit rs I the newspaper and
yearb k, but it wasn't an h n r s ciety, since rich kids like Mimi F rce, wh weren't active in any
sch l activities but wh se parents were inIluential NewY rkers, made up the bulk I the membership.
It was sn bby, cliquey, and exclu-sive t the extreme; membership c mprised I nly kids Ir mthe t p
private sch ls. The C mmittee had never even released a Iull list I its membersiI y u were n the
ut-side, y u c uld nly guess iI s me ne was in it, and nly a clue, like a C mmittee ring, a g ld serpent
ar und a cr ss, w rn by a member, w uld give it away.
Bliss had been under the impressi n they weren't induct-ing newmembers until the spring, but the packet
inI rmed her the Iirst meeting was I r the I ll wing M nday, at the JeIIers n R mat Duchesne.
"Why w uld I want t j in a charity c mmittee?" she asked, thinking it was all s silly.All that h pla
ver Iundraising and party-planning. She was sure Dylan w uld Iind it ridicul us. N t that she caredwhat
Dylan th ught. She still didn't kn wh wshe Ielt ab ut himshe Ielt awIul ab ut n t even saying hell
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
when he'd tapped her n the sh ulder earlier. But Mimi's watchIul eyes were up n her, and Bliss just
hadn't Ielt brave en ugh t give any indi-cati n that they were Iriends. Were they Iriends? They were
certainly Iriendly Friday night.
"Y u d n't j in. Y u've been ch sen,"B biAnne said.
Bliss n dded. "D I have t ?
B biAnnewas adamant. "It w uld make y ur Iather andI very happy.
Later in the evening,J rdan kn cked n Bliss's bedr md r. "Where were y u n Friday night?" she
asked, her chubby Iingers resting n the d rkn b, leaving sticky Iinger-prints n its g ld plate.J rdan 's
dark eyes peered at her in an unnerving Iashi n.
Bliss sh k her head. Her little sister was s strange. She was s alien t Bliss. When they were
y unger,J rdan had I ll wed her everywhere like a l st puppy, and c ntinually w ndered why she didn't
have curly hair like her sister, Iair skin like her sister, and blue eyes like her sister. They used t be
Iriends. But things had changed in the past year.J rdan had bec me secretive and shy ar und Bliss. It
had been ages sinceJ rdan had asked Bliss t braid her hair.
"At Bl ck 122, y u kn w, that private club all thecelebs g t . It was in US Weekly last week," Bliss
replied. "Why, wh wants t kn w?" She was sitting n her princess bed, C mmittee papers spread ut
n the duvet. F r a charity c mmittee, there were an endless number I I rms t be Iilled ut, including a
statement Iacceptance, that included a c mmitment I tw h urs every M nday night.
"That's where she died, isn't it?"J rdan said darkly.
"Yeah."Bliss n dded, with ut l king up.
"Y u kn wwh did it, d n't y u?"J rdan said. "Y u were there.
"What d y u mean?" Bliss asked, Iinally putting d wn the papers.
J rdansh k her head. "Y u kn w.
"Actually, I have n idea what y u're talking ab ut. Didn't y u get the 411? It was an verd se. N w,
get l st, puke-Iace," Bliss said, thr wing a pill wat the d r.
What wasJ rdan talking ab ut? What did she kn w? Why had her stepm ther been s aIIected by
Aggie's death? And what was the big deal ab ut j ining s me charity c m-mittee?
She called Mimi. She knewMimi was n The C mmittee, and Bliss wanted t make sure she was g ing
t be at the meeting.


Catherine Carver`s Diary
25th I N vember, 1620
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
Plym uth,Massachusetts

T night we celebrated ur saIe j urney int ur newh me. We have j yIul news the pe ple I this
newland have welc med us with pen arms and many giIts. They br ught wild game, a large bird that
c uld Ieed an army, a b unty I vegetables, and maize. It is a newbeginning I r us, and we are
heartened by the sight I the verdant land, the vast virgin acres where we will make ur settlement. All
ur dreams have been realized. This is what we leIt ur h me I r s that the children may gr wup
saIe and wh le.

- C. C.
EIGHT


When sch l let ut, Schuyler caught thecr sst wn bus atNinety-sixthStreet , sliding her white student
Metr Card in the sl t and Iinding an empty seat next t a harassed-l king m ther with a d uble str ller.
Schuyler was ne I the Iewstudents at Duchesne wh t k public transp rtati n.
The bus sl wly lumbered acr ss the avenues, past a h st I specialty b utiques nMadis n , including
the unap l getically-named "Prince and Princess" that catered t the elite under-twelve
setFrench-sm cked c tt n dresses I r girls and Barb ur c ats I r b ys; pharmacies that st cked
Iive-hundred-d llar b ar's-hair brushes; and tiny antique sh ps that s ldarcana such as mapmaking
equipment and I urteenth-century Ieather quills. Then it was thr ugh the Central Park greenery t the
west side I t wn, t ward Br adway, a change I neighb rh d and sceneryChin -Latin
restaurants, less sn ty retail sh psthen Iinally a steep right up Riverside Drive.
She had meant t ask Jack what he'd meant by his n te, but she hadn't been able t catch himaIter
class. Jack F rce, wh had never even paid attenti n t her beI re? First he kn ws her name, n whe's
writing her n tes? Why w uld he tell her AggieCar nd let was murdered? It had t be s me kind I
j ke. He was playing with her, scaring her, m st likely. She sh k her head in irritati n. It didn't make
sense. And even iI Jack F rce had s me verheated Lawand Order-type insight int the case, why was
he sharing it with her? They barely kneweach ther.
At100th street , she dinged the yell wtape and stepped lightly ut the aut matic d rs t the still-sunny
aIter-n n. She walked up ne bl ck t ward the steps carved int the landscaped terraces that
separated the traIIic and led directly t her Ir nt d r.
Riverside Drivewas a scenic Parisian-style b ulevard n the westernm st side I upperManhattan : a
grand serpen-tine r ute d tted with stately Italian Renaissance mansi ns and majestic Art Dec
apartment buildings. It was here that the VanAlens had decamped in the turn I the last century Ir mtheir
l werFiIth Avenue ab de. Once the m st p wer-Iul and inIluential Iamily in NewY rk City, the Van
Alens had I unded many I the city's universities and cultural instituti ns, but their wealth and prestige
had been in decline I r decades. One I their last remaining h ldings was the imp sing French-style
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
palace n the c rner I leaIy 101st andRiverside Drive that Schuyler called h me. Made I beautiIul gray
st ne, it had a wr ught-ir n d r and gar-g yles standing guard at the balc ny level.
But unlike the sparkling reIurbished t wnh uses that sur-r unded it, the h use badly needed a newr I;
tiles, and a c at I paint.
Schuyler rang the d rbell.
"I kn w, I'ms rry, Hattie, I I rg t my keys again," she ap l gized t their h usekeeper, wh had been
with the Iam-ily ever since Schuyler c uld remember.
The white-haired P lish w man in an ld-Iashi ned maid's uniI rm nly grunted.
Schuyler I ll wed her thr ugh the creaking d uble d r and tipt ed acr ss the great hall, which was
dark and musty with Persian rugs (s ld and rare, but c vered in a layer I dust). There was never any
light in the r mbecause, even th ugh the h use had several large bay wind ws that ver-l ked
theHuds n River , heavy velvet curtains always c v-ered the views. Traces I the Iamily's I rmer
largesse were in evidence, Ir mthe riginalHeppelwhite chairs t the massive Chippendale tables, but the
h use was t h t in the summer and t draIty in the winter, with ut the beneIit I central air. Unlike the
Llewellyn's penth use, where everything was either a pricey repr ducti n r an antique b ught at
Christie's, every piece I Iurniture in the VanAlen h me was riginal and handed d wn Ir mearlier
generati ns.
M st I the h me's seven bedr ms were l cked andunused, and draped Iabric c vered m st I the
heirl mpieces. Schuyler always th ught it was a little like living in a creaky ld museum. Her bedr m
was n the sec nd Il ra small r mshe'd rebelli usly painted a bright M untain Dewyell w, t
c ntrast the dark tapestries and stuIIiness I the rest I the h use.
She whistled I r Beauty, and a Iriendly, g rge us bl d-h und ran t her side. "G d girl, g d girl,"
she said, kneel-ing d wn and hugging the happy creature, letting it lick her Iace. N matter h wbad a
day she'd had, Beauty always made it better. The beautiIul animal had I ll wed her h me Ir msch l
ne day last year. The d g was a purebred, with a gl ssy dark c at that matched Schuyler's blue-black
hair. Schuyler had been sure her wners w uld c me l king I r her, and she had put up "F und Pet"
signs in the neighb r-h d. But n ne came t claimBeauty, and aIter a while, Schuyler st pped trying
t Iind her rightIul wner.
The tw I theml ped up the stairs. Schuyler walked inside her r mand shut the d r behind her d g.
"H me s s n?
Schuyler nearly jumped ut I her c at. Beauty barked,then wagged her tail, gall ping j yIully t ward
the intruder. Schuyler turned t Iind her grandm ther sitting n the bed with a stern expressi n.C rdelia
VanAlen was a small, birdlike w manit was easy t see where Schuyler g t her delicate Irame and her
deep-set eyes, alth ughC rdelia usually dismissed remarks ab ut Iamily resemblance.C rdelia's eyes
were blue and bright, and they stared intensely at her granddaughter.
"C rdelia, I didn't see y u," Schuyler explained.
Schuyler's grandm ther had I rbidden her t call her Grandm ther, r Grandma, r as she heard s me
children call them, Nana. It w uld be nice t have a Nana, a warmand chubby maternal Iigure, wh se
very name spelled l ve and h memade ch c late chip c kies. But instead, all Schuyler had was
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
C rdelia . Astill-beautiIul, elegant w man, wh l ked t be in her eighties r nineties, Schuyler never
knewwhich. S me days,C rdelia l ked y ung en ugh t be in her IiIties ( r I rties even, iI Schuyler
was being h nest withher-selI ).C rdelia sat ramr d straight, dressed in a black cashmere cardigan and
Il wing jersey pants, her legs cr ssed delicately at the ankles. On her Ieet were black Chanel ballet
slippers.
All thr ugh ut Schuyler's childh d,C rdelia had been a presence. N t a parental, r even an
aIIecti nate ne, but a presence n netheless. It wasC rdelia wh had changed Schuyler's birth certiIicate
s that her last name was her m ther's and n t her Iather's. It wasC rdelia wh had enr lled her at
theDuchesneSch l .C rdelia wh signed her permissi n slips, m nit red her rep rt cards, and pr vided
her with a paltry all wance.
"Sch l let ut early," Schuyler said. "AggieCar nd let died.
"I kn w.C rdelia's Iace changed. AIlash I em ti n Ilickered acr ss the stern IeaturesIear, anxiety,
c ncern, even?
'Are y u all right?
Schuyler n dded. She barely even knewAggie. Sure, they'd been g ing t the same sch l I r m re
than a decade, but it didn't mean they were Iriends.
"I've g t h mew rk t d ." Schuyler said, as she unbut-t ned her c at and sh k II her sweater,
peeling each layer I cl thing until she st d in Ir nt I her grandm ther in a thin whitetankt p and black
leggings.
Schuyler was halI aIraid I her grandm ther, but had gr wn t l ve her even th ughC rdelia never
sh wed any inclinati n I recipr cating the sentiment. The m st palpa-ble em ti n Schuyler c uld detect
was a grudging t lerance. Her grandm ther t lerated her. She didn't appr ve I her, but she t lerated
her.
"Y ur marks are getting w rse,"C rdelia n ted, mean-ing Schuyler's I rearms.
Schuyler n dded. Streaks I pale blue lines bl ss med in an intricate pattern, visible under the skin's
surIace, n the underside I her I rearms all the way t her wrist. The pr minent blue veins had appeared
a week shy I her IiI-teenth birthday. They didn't hurt, but they did itch. It was as iI all I a sudden she
was gr wing ut I her skin r int its meh w.
"They l k the same t me," Schuyler replied.
"D n't I rget ab ut y ur app intment with Dr. Pat.
Schuyler n dded.
Beauty made herselI at h me n Schuyler's duvet, l k-ing ut the wind wt ward the river twinkling
behind the trees.
C rdeliabegan t pat Beauty's sm th Iur. "I had a d g like this nce," she said."When I was ab ut y ur
age. Y ur m ther did, t ."C rdelia smiled wistIully.
Her grandm ther rarely talked ab ut Schuyler's m ther, wh , technically, wasn't dead she'd slipped int
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
a c ma when Schuyler was hardly a year ld, and had been trapped in that state ever since. The d ct rs
all agreed she registered n rmal brain activity, and that she c uld wake up at any m ment. But she never
had. Schuyler visited her m ther every Sunday at theC lumbiaPresbyterianH spital t read t her Ir m
the Sunday Times.
Schuyler didn't have many mem ries I her m therapart Ir ma sad, beautiIul w man wh sang
lullabies t her in the crib. Maybe she just remembered that her m ther l ked sad because that's h w
she l ked n w, when she was asleepthere was a melanch ly cast t her Ieatures. Al vely,
s rr wIul-l king w man with I lded hands, her plat-inumhair Ianned against the pill w.
She wanted t ask her grandm ther m re questi ns ab ut her m ther and her bl dh undbut the
Iaraway l k had leItC rdelia's Iace, and Schuyler knewshe w uldn't get any m re tidbits ab ut her
m ther that night.
"Dinner at six," her grandm ther said, leaving the r m.
"Yes,C rdelia ," Schuyler mumbled.
She cl sed her eyes and lay n the bed, leaning against Beauty. The sun began t set thr ugh the blinds.
Her grand-m ther was such an enigma. Schuyler wished, n t I r the Iirst time, that she were a n rmal
girl, with a n rmal Iamily. She Ielt very l nely all I a sudden. She w ndered iI she sh uld have t ld
Oliver ab ut Jack's n te. She'd never kept s mething like that Ir mhimbeI re. But she was w rried
he'd just call her silly I r Ialling I r s me stupid j ke.
Then her ph ne beeped. Oliver's number Ilashed n the text message, alm st as iI he knewh wshe was
Ieeling right then.
MISS UBABE.
Schuyler smiled. She might n t have parents. But at least she had ne true Iriend.


NINE
AggieCar nd let's Iuneral had all the trappings I an exclusive s ciety event. TheCar nd lets were a
high-pr IileNewY rk Iamily, andAggie's untimely death had been I dder I r the tabl ids.PREP
SCHOOL GIRL DEAD IN DOWNTOWN CLUB. Her parents had shuddered, but there was n thing
they c uld d ab ut it. The city was bsessed with the beautiIul, rich, and tragic.(The m re beautiIul,
rich, and trag-ic, the bigger the headline.) That m rning, a phalanx I ph -t graphers st d guard at the
sch l's gates, waiting t get a sh t I the grieving m ther (a digniIied Sl aneCar nd let , 1985'sdeb I
the year) and the stricken best Iriend, n ne ther than liss me It-girl-ab ut-t wn Mimi F rce.
Once Mimi sawthe ph t graphers, she was glad she'd splurged n the Di rH mme suit byHediSlimane
. It had been a bitch getting it tail red vernight, but what Mimi wanted, Mimi always g t. The suit was I
black satin, with sharp, severe lines. She w re n thing underneath but an nyx ch ker. She w uld l k
Iabul us in t m rr w's papersthes up n I tragedy making her an even m re glam r us Iigure.
Seating inside the Duchesne chapel was arranged acc rding t rank, just like a Iashi n sh wOI c urse,
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
Mimi was given a Ir nt-r wperch. She was seated between her Iather and her br ther, the three I them
making a g d-l king tri . Her m ther, stuck in a three-m nth plastic surgery saIari in S uth AIrica
(IaceliIts disguised as vacati ns) c uldn't return in time, s Gina DuP nt, a beautiIul art dealer and cl se
Iriend I her Iather's, had acc mpanied himt the Iuneral.
Mimi knewGina was actually ne I her Iather's mis-tresses, but the kn wledge didn't b ther her.
Gr wing up, she'd been sh cked by the c nstancy I her parents' extra-marital aIIairs, but when she was
ld en ugh, she'd accepted the relati nships I r what they werenecessary t theCaerim niaOscul r .
N ne c uld be all things t ne pers n. Marriage was I r keeping the Iamily I rtune within the Iamily,
I r making a g d match, akin t a s und business deal. She'd been made t understand there were
s me things that c uld nly be satisIied utside I a marriage, s me things that even a l yal sp use
c uldn't pr vide.
She n ticed Senat r Llewellyn and his Iamily entering thr ugh a side d r. Bliss's stepm ther strutted in
wearing a Il r-length black mink ver a black dress; the senat r was wearing a d uble-breasted black
suit; Bliss was wearing a black cashmere sweater and slimblack Gucci cigarette pants. Then Mimi
n ticed s mething dd. Bliss's little sister was dressed head t t e in white.
Wh wears white t a Iuneral? But as Mimi l ked ar und, she n ticed alm st halI I the assembled
guests in the chapel were wearing whiteand all I themwere sitting acr ss the aisle. Sitting in the very
Ir nt pew, leading the white-clad m urners was a small, wizened w man Mimi had never seen beI re.
She n ticed Oliver Hazard-Perry and his parents walk t ward the Ir nt and b wt the white-garbed
cr ne beI re Iinding seats in the Iar back.
The may r and his ent urage arrived, I ll wed by the g v-ern r, his wiIe, and children. T the man,
they were all in the appr priate black I rmal dress and sat themselves behind her Iather's pew. Mimi Ielt
ddly relieved. Every ne n their side I the r mwas wearing the pr per black r charc al garments.
Mimi was glad I r the cl sed c IIin. She didn't want t see that Ir zen screamagain, n t in this liIetime.
Anyway, it was all a big mistake. She was certain the Wardens w uld Iind s me perIectly reas nable
explanati n I r all this, s me part I the cycle that explained the l ss I all that bl d. Because Aggie just
c uldn't be dead. As her Iather said, Aggie pr bably wasn't even in that c IIin.
The service began, and the assembled r se Ir mtheir seats and sang "Nearer, My G d, t Thee." Mimi
l ked up Ir mher hymnal and n ticed Bliss leaving her seat. She raised an eyebr w. AIter the chaplain
said the pr per w rds,Aggie's sister made a brieI eul gy. Several ther students sp ke, including her
br ther, Jack, wh made a m ving speech, and just as quickly, the service was ver. Mimi I l-l wed her
Iamily as they leIt their pew.
The diminutive, white-haired matr n wh was sitting acr ss Ir mthemwalked ver and tapped her
Iather lightly n the arm. She had the bluest eyes Mimi had ever seen and was wearing an impeccable
iv ry Chanel suit and r pes I pearls ar und her wrinkled neck.
Charles F rce startled visibly. Mimi had never seen her Iather that way. He was a c mp sed, regal man,
with a mane I silver hair and a rigid military bearing. The lines n his Iace were gr ved with the
c nsequences I p wer. It was said that Charles F rce was the real auth rity that ranNewY rk .The
p wer behind the p werIul.
"C rdelia," her Iather said t the ld bat, with a b w I the head. "It is g d t see y u again.
"It has been t l ng." She had the clipped, nasal t nes I a true Yankee.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
He didn't resp nd. "Aterrible l ss," he said Iinally.
"Extremely unI rtunate," the ld lady agreed."Alth ugh it c uld have been prevented.
"I'mn t sure what y u're talking ab ut," Charles replied, l king genuinely perplexed.
"Y u kn was well as I, that they sh uld have been warned
"En ugh. N t here," he said, l wering his v ice and pulling her t ward him. Mimi strained t hear the
rest I the c nversati n.
"Always the Iirst t shy Ir mthe truth.Y u are the way y u have always been, arr gant and blind. . . ."
the ld w man was saying.
"And iI we had listened t y u and s wn the Iear?Where w uld we be then?" he asked c ldly. "Y u
w uld have us c wering in caves.
"I w uld have had us ensuring ur survival. Instead, we are vulnerable nce m re,"C rdelia replied, her
raspy v ice shaking with anger. "Instead, they are all wed t return, t hunt. II I had the auth rity, iI the
C nclave had listened t me, t Teddy
"But they did n t, they ch se me t lead, as I have always d ne," Charles interrupted sm thly. "But this
is n time t bring up ld w unds and grievances." He Ir wned. "Have y un , y u haven'tMimi,
Jack, c me here.
"Ah, the twins."C rdeliasmiled a cryptic smile."T gether again." Mimi didn't like the way the senile ld
thing was l king at her, sizing her up as iI she knewevery-thing ab ut her already.
"This isC rdelia VanAlen ," Charles F rce said gruIIly."C rdelia, the twins.Benjamin and Madeleine.
"Pleased t make y ur acquaintance," Jack F rce said p litely.
"Ditt ," Mimi sn rted.
C rdelian dded c mplacently. She turned t Charles F rce nce m re and whispered Iiercely. "Y u
must raise the alarma We must be vigilanta There is still time. We may still st p them, iI y u w uld nly
Iind it in y ur heart t I rgive," she said. "Gabrielle .
"D n t speak t me I Gabrielle," Charles said, cutting her II."Never. I w uld never hear her name
sp ken t me again.Especially Ir my u.
Wh was Gabrielle? Mimi w ndered. Why did her Iather seems agitated? Mimi Ielt angry and
ann yed t see h wher Iather reacted t the ld w man's w rds.
C rdelia'seyes s Itened. "It has been IiIteen years," she said. "Is that n t l ng en ugh?
"It is g d t see y u well,C rdelia . G d day," Charles said, a Iinality t his t ne.
The ld hag Ir wned and walked away with ut an ther w rd. Mimi sawSchuyler VanAlen I ll wing
her, l king back at themsheepishly, as iI embarrassed by her grandm ther's acti ns. As well she sh uld
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
be, Mimi th ught.
"Dad, wh was that?"Mimi asked, n ticing her Iather l king sp ked.
"C rdeliaVanAlen ," he replied heavily, then said n m re.As iI that explained everything.
"Wh wears white t a Iuneral?" Mimi sneered, her lip curling.
"Black is the c l r I night," Charles muttered. "White is the true c l r I death." F r a m ment, he
l ked d wn at his black suit in dismay.
"Huh?Dad? What did y u say?
He sh k his head, l st in th ught.
Mimi n ticed Jack run up t talk t Schuyler, and the tw I thembegan an intense, whispered
c nversati n. Mimi didn't like that ne bit. She had n idea wh this Schuyler pers n th ught she was,
and she didn't give a damn iI it turned ut she was C mmittee material aIter all. She didn't like the way
Jack was l king at Schuyler. The nly ther pers n he ever l ked at like that was her.
And Mimi wanted t keep it that way.


TEN


Bliss hadn't been able t stand it. While the service was still g ing n, she had decided she had t get ut
I there. Funerals Ireaked her ut. The nly ne she'd ever been t was the ne I r her great-aunt, and
n ne had even been that sad. Bliss c uld have sw rn she'd verheard her parents say "It's ab ut time"
and "T k her l ng en ugh" at the Iuneral. Great-Aunt Gertrude had lived t a ripe ld age I 110
yearsshe'd been Ieatured n the T day sh wand when Bliss had visited her at the ranch the day
beI re her death, the ld thing was as spry as ever. "It's time I r me t g , my dear. I kn wit is, but we
shall meet again," she'd said t Bliss.
At leastAggie's wasn't an pen casket, but it still made her Ieel queasy t think I a dead b dy in there,
just a IewIeet away Ir mher. S n aIter they'd arrived, Bliss man-aged t wriggle ut I sitting with her
stepm ther, wh was t busy saying hell t all the ther Duchesne m ms anyway.
Bliss stealthily made her way t ward the exit. She caught Mimi's eye n the way. Mimi raised an
eyebr wand Bliss m uthed "bathr m," Ieeling a little silly I r having t d s . Why did Mimi keep such
cl se tabs n her?she w ndered, as she c ntinued her way t ward the exit. Mimi was w rse than her
stepm ther. It was getting irritating. She slunk ut I the back d r, nly t run int s me ne else trying
t sneak utside.
Dylan was wearing a narr wblack suit, with a white shirt and a skinny black tie. He l ked like a
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
member I The Str kes. He smiled at her. "G ing s mewhere?
"It's, uh, h t in there," she said lamely.
He n dded, p ndering her statement. They hadn't really sp ken t each ther since Friday night, in the
alley between the nightclubs. She'd been meaning t seek him ut, just t ap l gize I r ign ring him
yesterday. N t that she had anything t ap l gize I r, really. AIter all, they'd just spent the night talking.
It wasn't like they were Iriends r anything. N big deal.
Except that it was. That night, he'd t ld her all ab ut his Iamily, and h whe'd hated b arding sch l
inC nnecticut . She'd t ld himab utH ust n , h wshe used t drive her grandIather's Cadillac
c nvertible t sch l, which every ne th ught was hilari us. The thing was a b atwith pr per Iins.
M re imp rtant, she'd c nIessed h wshe didn't Ieel like she Iit in at Duchesne at all, and h wshe didn't
even like Mimi.
It was liberating t have been s h nest with him, alth ugh she regretted it as s n as she g t h me,
trauma-tized by the Iear that s meh whe w uld Iind a way t tell Mimi what she'd c nIided in him, even
th ugh she knewit was imp ssible. Mimi was in the In-Clique. Dylan hung ut with the misIits and l sers.
Never the twain shall meet. II he even tried t appr ach Mimi, she w uld cut himdead with a l k even
beI re he g t his m uth pen.
"Wannacut?" he asked. His black hair was c mbed straight back, and he wiggled his dark eyebr ws at
her invit-ingly.
Cutting a Iuneral.N wthat was an interesting idea. The wh le sch l was supp sed t be at the service.
It was mandat ry. The nly class Bliss had ever cut was gym, ne aItern n when she and her Iriends
decided t g see s me teenslasher Ilick. It had been a Iun daythe m vie was even w rse than it
s unded, and they'd g tten back t sch l with ut getting caught.
At Duchesne, y u were actually all wed t cut class twice a semesterit was part I the "Ilexible
academic pr gram." The sch l underst d that s metimes, the stress was just t much and students
ccasi nally had t cut class. It was amazing h weven rebelli n was written int the sch l's rules,
everything s neatly tied int the wh le rig r and l gic I the place.
But as Iar as she knew, n ne was all wed t cut a Iuneral. That w uld be seri uslytransgressive .
Especially because she was supp sed t be ne IAggie'sBFF's since they hung ut in the same cr wd.
"Let's g ," Dylan said, reaching ut t h ld her hand.
Bliss began t I ll whim, when an ther Iigure stepped ut I the chapel d rs. "Where are y u g ing?"
J rdan Llewellyn asked her sister, her large eyes b ring int Bliss's skull.
"Wh are y u?" Dylan asked.
"Beat it,buttIace ," Bliss warned.
"Y u sh uldn't g . It's n t saIe,"J rdan said, l king directly at Dylan.
"Let's g , she's a Ireak," Bliss said, sc wling at her sister, wh was dressed all in white and l ked like
she was ab ut t receive her Iirst c mmuni n.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
"I'mtellinga"J rdan threatened.
"G aheada Tell everyb dya" Bliss sh t back.
Dylan smirked, and with ut an ther w rd, Bliss I ll wed himthr ugh the back d r, d wn the stairs,
t ward the Iirst level I the mansi n.
One I the sch l's h usekeepers l ked up Ir minside the c py r m, which Iaced the back staircase.
"Wha' y u kids d ing here?" she asked, putting a hand n her ample hips.
"Adriana, be c l." Dylan smiled.
The h usekeeper sh k her head, but she smiled back.
Bliss liked that Dylan was n Iriendly terms with the staII. Even th ugh he was just being p lite, it was
still nice. Mimi treated the gr und staII and the service w rkers with wither-ing c ndescensi n.
Dylan led Bliss ut the side d r past the Dumpsters and ut the service entrance. S n they were Iree,
and walking d wnNinety-IirstStreet .
"What d y u want t d ?" he asked.
She shrugged. She inhaled the Iresh autumn air. N w, that was s mething she was really starting t
enj y ab utNewY rk . The crisp, clean Iall weatherthey didn't have weather like that d wn
inH ust n . It went Ir mmuggy t rainy. She put her hands in the p ckets I her calI-skimming Chl e
trench c at.
"It'sNewY rk , we c uld d anything," he teased. "The wh le city is pen t us. We c uld see a
burlesque sh w, r a bad c medy act. Hear s me Derrida lecture at NYU. Or we c uld g b wling at
the Piers. I kn w, what ab ut this bar in theEastVillage where the waiters are real Belgian m nks? Or
maybe we c uld g r wing in the Park?
"Maybe we can just walk t a museum?" she asked.
"Oh, artsy girl."He smiled."All right.Which ne?
"The Met," she decided. She'd nly been there nce, and nly t the giIt sh p, where her stepm ther
had spent h urs picking ut Il ral prints I r s uvenirs.
They walked t wardFiIth Avenue and arrived at theMetr p litanMuseumin quick time. The Ir nt steps
were Iilled with pe plescarIing d wn their lunches, taking pic-tures, r simply basking in the sun. It was a
carnival atm s-phere; s me ne was slapping b ng s n ne end, and a b mb x blasted reggae music
n the ther. They walked up the steps and inside.
The l bby I the museumwas bustling with activity and c l rsch lchildren n Iield trips lined up
behind their teachers, art students walked briskly with their sketchb ks tucked underneath their arms, a
Babelian prattle I many diIIerent languages bubbled Ir mthe t urists.
Dylan slid a dime underneath the glass ticket c unter. "Tw , please," he said, an inn cent smile n his
Iace.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
Bliss was a little appalled. She checked the sign.SUGGESTED DONATION: $15. Well, he had ap int,
it was sug-gested, n t mandat ry. The cashier handed themtheir r und Met pins with n c mment.
Apparently, he'd seen it all beI re.
"Have y u ever been t theTemple IDendur ?" Dylan asked, leading Bliss t ward the n rthern end I
the museum.
"N ," she said, shaking her head. "What's that?
"St p," he said. He put his hands gently n her Iace. "Cl se y ur eyes.
"Why?" She giggled.
"Just d it," he said. "Trust me.
She cl sed her eyes, h lding a hand against her Iace, and she Ielt himtug at her hand, leading her
I rward. She walked hesitantly, Ieeling ahead I herthey were inside s me kind I maze, she
th ughtas he led her briskly thr ugh a series I sharp turns. Then they were utside I it. Even with her
eyes cl sed, she c uld sense they were in a large, empty space.
"Open y ur eyes," Dylan whispered.
She blinked them pen.
They were standing in Ir nt I the ruins I an Egyptian temple. The building was majestic and primitive at
the same timein direct c ntrast t the clean, m dern lines I the museum. It was abs lutely stunning.
The hall was empty, and there was a l ng h riz ntal I untain in Ir nt I the temple. It was a breathtaking
piece I art, and the hist ry behind itthe Iact that the museumhad meticul usly shipped and
rec nstructed it s that the temple l ked perIectly at h me in a Manhattan museummade Bliss's head
r ll.
"Oh my G d.
"I kn w," Dylan said, his eyes twinkling.
Bliss blinked back tears. It was the m st r mantic thing any ne had ever d ne t herever.
He l ked directly int her eyes, n dding his head d wn t ward her lips.
She Iluttered her eyelashes, her heart racing in her chest, sw ning. She leaned t ward him, liIting her
Iace t be kissed. He l ked gentle and h peIul, and there was s me-thing appealingly vulnerable ab ut
the way he c uldn't meet her gaze.
Their lips met.
And that's when it happened.
The w rld went gray. She was in her skin but n t in her skin. The r mwas c nstricting. The w rld was
shrinking. All I ur walls I the temple were suddenly wh le. She was in the desert. She c uld taste the
acrid sand in herm uth, Ieel the h t sun n her back. Ath usand scarabsblack and shiny, buzzing Ilew
ut I the temple d r. And that was when she began t scream.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html


Catherine Carver`s Diary
30th I N vember, 1620
Plym uth,Massachusetts


T day Myles Standish t k a teamd wn the c ast t R an ke , t bring medicine, I d and supplies t
the settlement there. It is a I rtnight`s sail, s they will be g ne a g d while. I was heartsick t see J hn
g II with the men. S Iar, we have been saIe, but wh kn ws I r h wl ng. N ne dares say. The
children gr wquickly and are a delight t all. There has been an abundance I twin births. TheAllert ns
recently had triplets. Susannah White, wh se husband, William, als j urneyed t R an ke , came t
visit. We agreed it is a Iertile seas n. We have been blessed.

C.C.




ELEVEN


Schuyler was still thinking ab ut what Jack had said aIterAggie's Iuneral when she arrived at Dr. Pat's
all-white IIice in a chr me-and-glassFiIth Avenue t wer later that aItern n. He'd asked her why she
had ign red his n te, and she'd explained she had simply dismissed it as a prank. "Y u thinkAggie's
death is Iunny?" he'd asked, his Iace stricken. She had tried t pr testbut her grandm ther was calling
her and she had t leave. She c uldn't erase the l k n his Iace.As iI she had disapp inted himdeeply
s meh w. She blew ut her bangs l udly. Why did he have such an eIIect n her? An emaciated w man
in a I x-Iur jacket acr ss the r mglared at her. Schuyler stared deIiantly back.
C rdeliahad made a big t -d ab ut Schuyler seeing Dr. Pat. The d ct r was s me kind I
dermat l gist, a Iam us ne. The IIice was m re like the inside I aMiami h telthe Sh re Club r
theDelan than a n rmal waiting r m. It was all white, whiteIl kati rugs, white tile walls, white lacquer
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
tables, white leather c uches, white Iiberglass Eames l ungers. Apparently Dr. Pat was the Dr. Pat, the
ne wh all the s cialites and Iashi n designers and celebrities credited with their Iabul us c mplexi ns.
Several signed and Iramed ph t graphs Ir mm dels and actresses hung n the walls.
Schuyler pushed Jack ut I her mind and began Ilip-ping thr ugh the gl ssy magazine articles ext lling
the d c-t r's virtues, when the d r Ir mthe inner IIice pened and Mimi F rce walked ut.
"What are y u d ing here?" Mimi spat. She had changed ut I her Di r suit and was wearing a m re
"casual" ut-Iita pair I tight I ur-th usand-d llarAp jeans with the platinumrivets and a diam nd
butt n, a chunky MartineSitb n sweater, and slimbutter-c l red JimmyCh stilett s.
"Sitting d wn?" Schuyler replied, even th ugh it was bvi us Mimi had asked a rhet rical questi n.
"What hap-pened t y ur Iace?
Mimi glared. Her wh le Iace was c vered with little pin-p ints I bl d. She'd just received a laser
dermabrasi n peel, and it had leIt her skin a little raw. It helped mask the blue veins that were starting t
Iade ar und her eyes."N ne I y ur business.
Schuyler shrugged.
Mimi leIt, slamming the d r behind her.
AIewminutes later, the nurse called Schuyler's name, and she was ushered int a treatment r m. The
nurse t k her weight and bl d pressure,then asked her t change int a backless h spital g wn.
Schuyler put n the g wn and waited a Iewminutes beI re the d ct r Iinally entered.
Dr. Pat was a stern, gray-haired w man, wh l ked at Schuyler and said, "Y u're very thin," as a
greeting.
Schuyler n dded. It never mattered what she ateshe c uld live n ch c late cakes and French Iries
and she never seemed t gain an unce. She'd been that way since she was a kid. Oliver always used t
marvel at her capacity. "Y u sh uld be as big as a h use," he liked t say, "the way y u eat.
Dr. Pat inspected the marks n her arms, silently tracing the patterns that had I rmed there. "D y u get
dizzy?"
Schuyler n dded."S metimes.
"Like y u can't remember where y u are r where y u've been?
"Uh-huh.
"D y u ever Ieel like y u're dreaming but y u're n t?"
Schuyler Ir wned. "I'mn t sure what y u mean.
'H w ld are y u?
"FiIteen.
"Right n time then," Dr. Pat muttered."But n Ilash-back mem ries yet.Hmm.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
"Excuse me?
She suddenly remembered that night at The Bank.
Oliver had g ne t get drinks, and she'd excused herselI t g t the ladies' r m. But when she'd
turned the c rner, she'd bumped int that strange man. She had nly seen himI r a m menta tall man,
with br ad sh ulders wearing a dark suithis bright gray eyes had glared at her Ir mthe darkness. Then
he had disappeared, alth ugh there was nly a blank wall where he had been standing. There had been
s mething ancient and rem te ab ut him, and she c uldn't place it, but he seemed Iamiliar. She didn't
kn wiI that was anything t tell Dr. Pat ab ut, s she didn't menti n it.
The d ct r t k ut a prescripti n pad and began scrib-bling n it. "I'mg ing t give y u s me cream
t c ver y ur veins I r n w, but really, it's n thing t w rry ab ut. I'll see y u in the spring.
"Why? Is s mething g ing t happen in the spring?" But the d ct r w uldn't say.
Schuyler leIt the d ct r's IIice with m re questi ns than she had answers.


Whenever Mimi Ielt upset, she went sh pping. It was her natural reacti n t any intense em ti nal
experience. Happy r sad, depressed r triumphant, she c uld nly be I und in ne place. She st rmed
ut I the d ct r's IIice, t k the carpeted elevat r t the gr und Il r, and walked acr ssMadis n t
the haven I Barneys. Mimi l ved Barneys. Barneys was t Mimi as TiIIany's was t H llyG lightly , a
place where n thing terrible c uld ever be all wed t happen. She l ved the clean lines I the beauty
c unters, the pale w d Iixtures, the glass cases displaying tiny, exquisite and ex rbitantly priced jewelry,
the small selecti n I Italian handbags, everything s clean and m dern and perIect.
It was a great antid te t everything that had hap-penedbecause I c urse, Aggie was still dead.
That's what scared her the m st. Her death meant there was s mething The C mmittee was keeping
Ir mthem. That there was s mething they didn't kn w, r s mething The Wardens weren't telling them.
She didn't want t questi n them, but it was maddening when her Iather wasn't I rthc ming with any
answers.
And that VanAlen girlthe ne with the sp ky grand-m thersh wing up at Dr. Pat's IIice like that.
There was s mething ab ut that girl she didn't like, and n t just because Jack seemed t be interested in
her. Awave I revulsi n had washed ver her when she sawthe tw I themt gether, and she wanted
t ex rcise the remaining ill Ieeling that had made her Ieel like v miting. She wished her br ther w uld
quit hanging ar und scraggly s ph m res like Schuyler VanAlen . What was wr ng with him?
Aw man in a sleek pantsuit appr ached Mimi deIeren-tially. "W uld y u like t see anything I've put
aside I r y u, Miss F rce?
Mimi n dded. She I ll wed her pers nal sh pper t the private dressing r min the back that was
reserved I r VIPs and celebrities. It was a circular r m, with suede c uches, a small bar, and a h sted
buIIet table. In the middle I the r mwas a rack I cl thes that her sh pper had selected especially I r
her.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
She t k a ch c late-dipped strawberry Ir ma silver tray and chewed n it sl wly while she perused
the racks. She'd already made her Iall purchases that August, but it didn't hurt t see iI she'd missed any
trends. She caressed a g ldLanvin ball g wn, a sh rnPrada jacket, and a Il ral Derek Lamc cktail
dress.
"I'll take these," Mimi said. "And what d we have here?" she c ed, Iinding a wisp I chiII n n a
padded hanger.
She br ught the dress int the dressing r mand emerged a Iewminutes later in a devastating le pard
print R bert Cavalli silk g wn. She l ked at herselI in the mirr r. The dress was slashed d wn Ir m
neck t navel, revealing her pale, iv ry skin, and ended in a haze I Ieath-ers that Iluttered d wn her
calves.
"Bellissima.
Mimi l ked up. Ahands me Italian man was staring at her, his eyes resting n her exp sed cleavage.
She c vered herselI with her hands and displayed her curvy back t him. Her black th ng peeked ab ve
the waist. "Zip me up?
He walked ver and put a Iinger underneath the strap I her th ng, t ying with the lacy Iabric. Her skin
tingled with g se bumps at his t uch. He str ked the crescent underside I her back, st pping right
ab ve her l wer hip. He smiled at her in the mirr r and she returned his sm lder. He l ked t be in his
early twenties, twenty-three t ps. Ag ldPatek Philippe glinted n his wrist. She rec gnized himIr mthe
s ciety pages. AIam usManhattan playb y, wh was rum red t have sent halI the s ciety girls in the
10021 ZIP c de int therapy .
"That dress is wasted n y u here," he said, as he pulled the zipper up sl wly.
Mimi t k a step back, arching her neck and bserving h wthe dress barely c vered her nipples.
DeIinite side cleav-age.
"Then why d n't we g s mewhere else?" Mimi asked, her eyes sparkling danger usly. She c uld sense
the bl d beneath hisskin, alm st taste the rich, lusci us, pulp in his veins. N w nder she'd been Ieeling
irritable and weakwith all the distress Ir mAggie's Iuneral, she'd hardly had any time I r a newb y.
S me pe ple w uld pr bably advise a y ung girl n t t step inside a stranger's Lamb rghini. But as
Mimi I lded her legs inside the passenger seat, her black Barneys sh pping bags saIely st wed in the
trunk, she c uld nly smile t her-selI. She was still wearing the R bert Cavalli dress.
He revved up the engine and p wered the accelerat r, quickly shiIting gears s that the Ilat, yell w
sp rts car screeched upMadis n . He gazed at her with a predat ry hunger, and when he placed his right
arm ver her backrest, he rested a heavy hand n her sh ulder.
Instead I pr testing, Mimi drewhis hand Iarther d wn s that it rested n her cleavage, Ieeling
exhilarated as he squeezed her breast thr ugh the thin Iabric with the ne hand, and with the ther,
maneuvered the car deItly d wn the avenue.
"Is g d, yes?" he asked with a heavy Italian accent.
"Very g d."She licked her lips sl wly.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
He had n idea what he was in I r.


TWELVE


"Tell me again what happened.
Bliss sat n the white leather recliner in Dr. Pat's IIice. Her parents had made the app intment aIter
she'd w ken themup last night, screaming her lungs ut.
"Yesterday, y u were at the temple," Dr. Pat pr dded.
"Right.The Egyptian wing at the Met," Bliss agreed. "He'd just taken his hands away Ir mmy eyes, and I
sawthe temple." She was sitting n a white Eames Iiberglass l unge chair in a treatment r m. She
wasn't exactly sure what kind I d ct r "Dr. Pat" was. It l ked like a dermat l gist's IIice, but she als
sawseveral pregnant w men getting ultras unds in the ther r ms.
"Yes, y u said that.
"And then" She blushed. "I think he was ab ut t kiss me. I think he did kiss me, but then, I d n't
kn wI blacked ut. The next thing I knew, I was just walking ar und with himin the American wing
l king at Iurniture.
'And that's all y u remember?
"I remember screaming.
"Y u were screaming?
"N , s me ne was screaming.Far away." Bliss said. She l ked ar und at Dr. Pat's IIice. It was the
cleanest, whitest IIice she had ever been in. She n ticed that even the med-ical instruments gleamed and
were arranged artIully in Italian glass canisters.
"Tell me ab ut it.
Bliss reddened. She hadn't decided t reveal what b th-ered her s much. Her parents already th ught
she was crazywhat iI Dr. Pat did t ?
"Well, it was really weird, but all I a sudden, I was standing utside the temple, when it was still wh le.
InEgypt , I mean. The sun was really bright, and the templeit wasn't a ruin. It was c mplete. And I
was there. It was like, being inside a m vie.
Suddenly Dr. Pat smiled. It was s unexpected, Bliss I und herselI grinning back. "I kn wthat s unds
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
insane, but I Ielt like I was transp rted back in time.
N wDr. Pat was deIinitely cheerIul. She I lded up her n teb k and put it away. "What y u're
experiencing is per-Iectly n rmal.
"It is?" Bliss asked.
"Regenerative Mem ry Syndr me.
"What is that?
Dr. Pat pr vided a l ng-winded explanati n ab ut the eIIects I "cell restructuring c gnizance
phen men n," a cataclysmic event in the brain that pr duced the subsequent "time-warp" eIIect. Her
explanati n went c mpletely ver Bliss's head. "It's like deja vu. It happens t the best I us.
"I guess. S I'mn t crazy? Other pe ple have experi-enced this?
"Well, n t everyb dy," Dr. Pat replied d ubtIully. "But s me pe ple.Special pe ple. Y u sh uld have
t ld y ur par-ents ab ut it s ner. Y u have a C mmittee meeting n M nday, yes?
H wdid Dr. Pat kn wab ut The C mmittee?
She n dded.
"Everything will be explained in time. F r n w, d n't give it an ther th ught.
"S there's n thing wr ng with me?
"Abs lutely n thing at all.
Later that night, Bliss w ke up with a blistering headache. Where amI?she w ndered. She Ielt as th ugh
she'd been hit by a truck. Her b dy Ielt waterl gged and heavy, and her head was gr ggy. She l ked at
the cl ck next t her bed.
It Ilashed 11:49 P.M.
With eII rt, she pulled herselI up t a sitting p siti n. She put a hand t her I rehead. She was h t,
burning. The p unding in her head was merciless. Her st mach gr wled.Hungry.
She swung her Ieet ver her bed and heaved herselI up t stand. N t a g d idea. She was dizzy and
sick. She grabbed n t ne I the bedp sts and staggered ver t the light switch. When she reached
ver t turn n the light, her bedr mwas suddenly illuminated.
Everything was just as she'd leIt itthe thick C mmittee letter and I rms scattered n her desk, her
German textb k pen t the same page, her I untain pens arranged neatly in her pencil b x, a Iunny
Stets n magnet Ir mher Iriends back h me in Texas, a Iramed ph t graph I her Iamily in Ir nt I the
Capit l steps when her Iather was sw rn in t the Senate.
She wiped her eyes and patted d wn her curls, which, Ir mexperience, she knewwere sticking ut
Irantically in all directi ns.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
Hungry.
It was a dark, abiding ache.Aphysical pain. This was new. Dr. Pat didn't say anything ab ut this. She
clutched her st mach, Ieeling nause us. She walked utside her bedr mt the darkened hallway,
I ll wing the l wlights t the kitchen.
Their stainless-steel kitchen l ked severe in the mid-night gl w I the verhead lamps. Bliss sawher
reIlecti n n all the surIacesa tall, gangly girl with scary hair and a bleak expressi n.
She pened the d r t the Sub-Zer . Arranged neatly in r ws were b ttles I Vitamin Water,
Pellegrin , andVeuveClicqu t . She t re pen the drawers. FreshIruit, cut and placed in Tupperware
c ntainers.Creamline Y gurt. AhalI-eaten grapeIruit c vered in cell phane.White card-b ard c ntainers
I leIt ver Chinese I d.
N g d.
Hunnngrrry.
In the meat drawer, she I und it.Ap und I rawham-burger meat. She t k it ut and t re the br wn
paper wrap-ping.Meat. She stuIIed her Iace with the bl dy chunks I gr und beeI, dev uring it
v raci usly, s that the bl d dripped d wn her chin.
She practically swall wed it wh le.
"What are y u d ing?
Bliss Ir ze.
Her sister, J rdan, in pink Ilannel pajamas, was standing in the d rway I the kitchen, watching her.
"It's all right,J rdan ."B biAnne suddenly appeared ut I the shad ws. She was sm king a cigarette in
the c rner. When she exhaled, the sm ke curled up ar und the edges I her lips. "G t bed.
Bliss put the packet I meat d wn n the c unter. She wiped her lips with a napkin. "I d n't kn wwhat
g t int me. I was just hungry.
"OI c urse y u are, my dear,"B biAnne agreed, as iI it were the m st n rmal thing in the w rld t Iind
y ur step-daughter eating a hunk I rawhamburger meat straight Ir mthe Iridge at three in the m rning.
"There are s me Iilet mign ns in the sec nd drawer.In case y u still have an appetite.
And with th se w rds,B biAnne bade her g dnight.
Bliss th ught ab ut it I r a m ment, w ndering iI the w rld had g ne insane. Dr. Pat telling herher
ut- I-b dy, ut- I-time experience was just " ne I th se things," her stepm ther n t blinking an eye at
seeing her c vered in bl d in the kitchen. She c ntemplated I r a m ment. Then she I und the packet
I steaks and ate them, t .


Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
C nsumpti n.Sympt ms include a high Iever, Iainting, dizziness, c ughing up I bl d, and the
accumulati n I Iluid in the lungs. During the early years I the American c l ny atPlym uth , a high
degree I c nsumpti n was the cause I many deaths. "Full c nsumpti n" was the termI r a pers n wh
had died with all I his r her bl d drained Ir mthe b dy. The ries suggest that a bacterial inIecti n
br ke d wn the platelets, thinning ut the bl d and abs rb-ing it int the b dy s that it nly l ked as
th ugh all the bl d had disappeared.
Fr mDeath and LiIe in thePlym uth C l nies, 1620-1641 by Pr Iess r Lawrence Winsl wVan
Alen




THIRTEEN


The next day, the wh le upper sch l was called int the chapel again, but I r a less s mber reas n. It
was a Career Talk. Even the unI rtunate demise I ne I their students c uldn't change the rigid
schedule I lectures that the sch l had planned I r the year. Part I the Duchesne phil s phy was t
exp se their students t a sampling I the many career pp rtunities and paths available t them. They'd
had talks Ir ma Iam us heart surge n, the edit r I a prestigi us magazine, the CEO I a F rtune 500
c mpany, a Iam us Iilmdirect r. M st I the adults wh came t give the talks were Duchesne alumni,
r Duchesne parents. M st I the students welc med the h ur-and-a-halI break in their day, since it
meant that they c uld sn ze in the back pews, which was a l t m re c mI rtable than n dding II in
class.
"We have a special treat I r y u t day," the Dean I Students ann unced. "T day we have Linda
Farnsw rth, Ir mFarnsw rth M dels." Aripple I appr val and excite-ment went thr ugh the
assemblage.
Farnsw rth M dels was the biggest name in the cut-thr at m deling industry. Their biannual Career
Talk at Duchesne was just an excuse t Iind the newest batch I m dels lurking in the student b dy. An
inc ngru us, but unimpeachable Iact was that Duchesne was a breeding gr und I r m deling talent in the
city. Students hadgyrated their hips in music vide s, walked the runways in Bryant Park, and had
appeared in televisi n c mmercials and print advertising. An in rdinate number were Ieatured in the J.
Crewand Abercr mbie &Fitch catal gs. The Duchesne typetall, will wy, bl nd, arist cratic, and
all-American, was m re in demand than ever.
Linda Farnsw rth was a sh rt, squat w man with crinkly hair and a d wdy appearance. She w re
halI-m n glasses, and her v ice quavered ver the micr ph ne as she explained the ins and uts I the
m deling industry. She exh rted its virtues (Glam r us ph t sh tsa Travel t ex tic placesa Fun
partiesa), and in the same breath emphasized the very hard w rk that went int making the perIect
ph t graphs. There was a smattering I p lite applause when she Iinished.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
When the I rmal talk ended, Linda set up a casting call n the third-Il r landing and invited any
interested students t try ut. Alm st all I the girls and even a Iew I the b ys waited in line t see iI
they w uld make the cut.
AIter a bunch I glumIreshmen were ushered t the side, Mimi stepped I rward. She had dressed
especially well I r the ccasi n, in a slim-Iitting tail red C&CCaliI rnia T-shirt and l w, hip-slung Paige
jeans. She'd heard that m dels sh uld dress as plainly as p ssible I r auditi ns, a blank canvas n which
advertisers and designers c uld easier pr ject their visi ns. The night beI re, she'd leIt the Italian
exhausted in his penth use l It, she herselI Ielt invig- rated and cheerIul.
"Walk up t ward the end I the staircase and back, please," Linda instructed.
Linda clucked in appr val as Mimi st mped up and d wn the hallway and pir uetted at the end I the
stairs.
"Y u have the ideal pr p rti ns my dear, and a natural ability. AIabul us walk is what it's all ab ut, y u
kn w. Tellme, are y u interested in being a m del?
"OI c ursea"Mimi squealed, clapping her hands t -gether, delighted she had been ch sen. It was ab ut
time she j ined the ranks I the pr Iessi nally beautiIula
Bliss was next. She gall ped up and d wn the hallway, swinging her arms. She still Ielt queasy thinking
ab ut the p und I hamburger she'd w lIed d wn the night beI re, even th ugh eating it had made her
Ieel better. She still th ught it was strange thatB biAnne had seemed t take the wh le incident in stride.
"Walk's a little r ugh, darling, but very teachable. Yes, we must have y u at Farnsw rth," Linda
decided.
Mimi and Bliss hugged each ther in j y. Bliss sawDylan watching themIr mthe c rner I the great
hall. She smiled tentatively at him. He saluted her in return. She h ped he hadn't n ticed anything unusual
ab ut her when they were in the Met. Dr. Pat had explained that during Regenerative Mem ry
Syndr me, part I her was in the present, but the part that was c nsci us had been in the past. The
mem ry black uts w uldn't last that l ngmaybe I ur, Iive minutes t ps. It b thered her that the part
that w uld remember whether they'd kissed r n t had been absent I r that crucial juncture. She didn't
even kn wh wt act ar und himwere they dating r what?Just Iriends? It was maddening n t t
kn wwhere she st d with a b y she liked. Okay, s there it was. She liked him. She liked hims much
she was even starting t n t care ab ut what Mimi w uld think I the tw I themgetting t gether.
Bliss l ked at Mimi a tad resentIully. Even iI she wed her s cial liIe and current status t Mimi, she
balked at hav-ing t answer t her I r everything.
The bell I r the next class rang, and a harried girl rushed past the m deling stati n with ut even glancing
at the gath-ering. Schuyler had slept thr ugh the entire lecture, since she'd hardly g tten any sleep the
night beI re.
Linda Farnsw rth st pped her in her tracks breaking her reverie. "Hell a And wh might y u be?
"Schuyler VanAlen ?" Schuyler replied. Why did she d that? Why c uldn't she be m re c nIident? "I
mean, I'mSchuyler," she said, Irantically brushing her bangs away Ir mher eyes.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
"Are y u interested in m deling?
"Hera m del?"Mimi spat Ir mthe sidelines where she was Iilling ut the Farnsw rth client c ntract.
She eyed Schuyler baleIully.
"Shhh," Bliss said, embarrassed en ugh t elb wMimi I r nce.
Schuyler verheard them. She l ked d wn at what she was wearing t rn black st ckings with ladders
in b th knees (already rating her a dress c de demerit), a l se-Iitting Il ral granny-dress with a dr p
waist, chunky gray s cks because she c uldn't Iind her black nes, her duct-taped sneakers, and a pair
I halI-m n glasses. Plus, she hadn't washed her hair in weeks. It's n t like she w uld even want t be a
m del, s Mimi had n thing t w rry ab ut. Asecret part I her was desperately Ilattered, alth ugh she
tried n t t be verly vain ab ut her l ks.
"N , I d n't think s ," Schuyler replied, smiling ap l -getically.
"But y u have the l k I a y ung Kate M ssa" Linda Farnsw rth argued. "Can I take a P lar id?
Linda t k a ph t with her camera beI re Schuyler c uld pr test.
Schuyler shielded her eyes. "Okay .
"Write y ur number d wn here. Y u d n't need t sign, but iI we Iind a designer wh wants t use y u,
I'll call y u, is that all right?
"I guess." She agreed, scribbling her number d wn with- ut a sec nd th ught. "L k, I really have t
g .
Mimi glared at Schuyler and stalked II, her n se in the air. Bliss hung back and caught Schuyler's eye.
"C ngrats, by the way," Bliss said quietly. "I g t picked, t .
"Uh, yeah, thanks, I guess," Schuyler said, sh cked that any ne wh hung ar und Mimi F rce w uld
even talk t her.
"Are y u headed t art?" Bliss asked in a Iriendly way.
"Er." Schuyler hesitated, n t sure what the Texan girl wanted. T her relieI, she n ticed Oliver by the
water I un-tain and turned away Ir mBliss with ut giving her a sec nd th ught.
"Hey there," she said.
"Oh, hey, Sky," he greeted her, l ping an armar und her thin sh ulders. They walked up the back
stairs hidden in the administrati n c rrid r t the garret r mI r art class. Dylan was already there and
grinning at themIr mbehind his p tters' wheel. He had an apr n ar und his waist and his hands were
c vered in mud up t his elb ws.
"D n't y u just l ve getting dirty?" he asked.
They snickered appr vingly and t k a seat n each side I him. Schuyler set up her easel and Oliver
t k ut his w dcuts. Neither I themn ticed Bliss Llewellyn acr ss the r m, watching the three I
themintensely.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
In between brushstr kes, Schuyler happened t l k up and sawJack F rce leaning ver Kitty
Mullins's table, admir-ing her sculpture I a Siamese cat. She n ticed a telltale hickey n Kitty's neck.
She wasn't the nly ne wh sawthem. Oliver raised his eyebr ws but made n c mment, and she was
glad. She guessed Jack had I und a girlIriend. Schuyler w ndered iI he was passing her blique n tes in
class. Huh. That sure hadn't taken himl ng. She Ielt a wave I irritati n prickling at her c nsci usness,
but she brushed it away.
Oliver mimed hacking at Jack's back with an invisible axe. She sm thered a laugh and put Jack F rce
ut I her mind nce and I r all.


FOURTEEN


Bliss l ked up Ir mher canvas. Their art teacher was gesturing eIIusively ver her landscape, but she
wasn't listening. Her gaze kept driIting acr ss the r m, t where Dylan was sitting.
He hadn't even made any indicati n that he n ticed her. Sure, he was perIectly Iriendly whenever they
bumped int each ther. And that was the pr blemhe was simply Iriendly. Maybe they hadn't even
kissed at the Met that aIter-n n aIter all. Maybe n thing had happened. Maybe he'd l st interest, which
was a bl wt her eg as well as her psyche.
It was just s unIair, especially since she was n wt tally bsessed with him. She was starting t think
ab ut himway t much I r just a casual Iriend-wh -wasn't-even-in-her-clique. The act r had called,
the m del had begged I r a date, but all she c uld think ab ut was the way Dylan's dark sideburns
curled ar und his ears, and the way he'd l ked at her with his big, sad eyes. She c uld tell he was the
kind I b y wh br ke the rules and let anything happen, and she liked that ab ut him. It excited her.
She watched himinteract with his Iriendsthatg th girl wh 'd just been ch sen as a m del, and that
cute, skinny guy with the shaggy hairand Ielt a pang I jeal usy. Dylan was cl wning ar und, thr wing
mud at them, but they didn't seemt mind. The three I themseemed t be having a l t I Iun.
When class was ver, there was a b ttleneck at the d rsince the stairway was s narr w, every ne
had t g single Iile. Bliss I und herselI standing right next t Dylan. She smiled at himtentatively. "Hey.
"Apresv us , Madame," he said gallantly, IIering her the way.
She n dded her thanks, lingering t see iI he w uld say anything elsemaybe even ask her ut again.
But he didn't say a w rd. She walked d wn the stairs al ne while he waited I r his Iriends. She Ielt
deIeated.
AIter lunch with Mimi and her crew, Bliss walked d wn t the basement t grab b ks I r her next
class. She I und Schuyler changing int her gymcl thes in the hallway, standing right in Ir nt I her
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
l cker, while a bunch I ther kids did the same, girls and b ys alike in vari us stages I undress.
The sch l was an dd mix I luxury and penury n the nehand, there was a state- I-the-art theater
in the basement, c mplete with audit riumseating I r tw hun-dred, but there were n l cker r ms
because they didn't Iit in the mansi n. Students were enc uraged t change in the bathr ms, but since
they nly had Iive minutes t d s , m st ign red the rules and changed in the hallway t save time. The
girls had perIected a
rem ving-the-bra-thr ugh-the-side-armh le-and-putting- n-a-sp rts-bra-while-hiding-underneath-a-hug
e-T-shirt maneuver. The b ys didn't even bat an eyelash.
One I the quirky things ab ut Duchesne was that since they had all kn wn each ther since
kindergarten, a sibling-like camaraderie prevailed. The teenage striptease nly b thered the Iaculty,
especially the errant hist ry pr Iess r wh happened t chance up n a halI-naked juni r in the hallway,
eliciting malici us gigglesbut there was n thing they c uld d t st p it. Dressing in public was just ne
I th se dd things thatwas part I the Duchesne experience.
"Hey, can I talk t y u I r a bit?" Bliss asked, leaning against a l cker and watching as Schuyler
disappeared underneath an versized sweatshirt. Being new, Bliss was ne I the Iewgirls wh used the
restr mt change. She c uldn't quite Ieel as c mI rtable as every ne else did. Mimi, I r instance, liked
t parade in her La Petite C quette bras as iI she were walking n the beach in St. Tr pez.
"MIII?"Schuyler asked, a bump underneath the Iabric, her elb ws p inting sideways and upward in an
attempt t sh ve herselI int her gym utIit. She t k II the sweatshirt with a Il urish and emerged in an
versized T-shirt and baggy sweat pants.
"What's n y ur mind?" she asked Bliss, regarding her a little warily.
"Y u're Iriends with Dylan Ward, aren't y u?
Schuyler shrugged."Yeah. What ab ut him?" She checked her watch. The sec nd bell was g ing t ring
s n, and kids Ir mher class were already hurrying up the stairs t the l wer c urt gyms.
"I justd y u kn whimwell?
Schuyler shrugged again. She wasn't sure what Bliss was asking. OI c urse she knewhimwell. She and
Oliver were his nly Iriends.
"I've heard rum rs," Bliss said, l king ar und t see iI any ne was listening t their c nversati n.
"Oh yeah, what?"Schuyler raised an eyebr w. She stuIIed her sweatshirt in her l cker.
"Well, that he was inv lved in s me accident with s me girl inC nnecticut this summer
"I haven't heard anything ab ut that," Schuyler said, cutting her II."But pe ple ar und here talk ab ut
every-b dy. D y u really believe that st ry?
Bliss l ked sh cked."N t at alla I d n't believe it ne bit.
'L k, I sh uld g ," Schuyler said brusquely, sh ulder-ing her tennis racket and walking away.
"H ld n," Bliss called, walking next t Schuyler and hurrying t keep up as Schuyler l ped up the stairs.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
"What?
"I just .I mean ." Bliss shrugged. "I'ms rry we g t II n the wr ng I t.My bad, kay? Can we
start ver? Please?
Schuyler narr wed her eyes. The sec nd bell rang. "I'mlate," she said Ilatly.
"It's just, we went t the Met the ther day and I th ught we had a really nice time, but I d n't kn w, he
hasn't sp ken t me since," Bliss explained. "D y u kn wiI he has a girl-Iriend r anything?
Schuyler sighed. II she was late I r class her grandm ther w uld get a n te. Duchesne didn't have
anything like "deten-ti n"; the nly punishments it meted ut were tattletale n tes h me t verly inv lved
parents wh w uld c mmit hara-kiri iI their kids didn't get int Harvard. She l ked at Bliss, tak-ing in
her nerv us demean r and h peIul smile.
Reluctantly, Schuyler came t the c nclusi n that maybe Bliss wasn't ne I th se Mimi cl nes aIter all.
She didn't have pin-straight bl nd hair r sp rt an bn xi us "TeamF rce" insignia n her gymh die
like the rest I Mimi's gang, I r ne. "As Iar as I kn w, he isn't dating anyb dy. He did menti n meeting
s me ne the ther night at a club." Schuyler all wed Iinally, watching Bliss's reacti n.
Bliss blushed.
"I th ught s ." Schuyler n dded. Against her better judgment, she I und herselI relenting. II Dylan had
taken her t the Met, Bliss really c uldn't be all bad. Schuyler wasn't sure Mimi w uld even kn wwhat
the Met was. Mimi's liIe rev lved ar und sh pping and getting int VIP r ms. She pr bably th ught
"the Met" was s me kind I nightclub.
"II y u want my advice, take it easy n him. I think he really likes y u," she said, giving Bliss a
sympathetic smirk.
"He d es? I mean, he's talked ab ut me?
Schuyler r lled her sh ulders. "It's really n ne I my business," she said, hesitating.
"What?
"Well, I d ubt he'd mind iI y u asked himt the Iall dance. He pr bably w uld never even think I g ing
himselI, but he might g iI y u asked.
Bliss smiled. The dance was t m rr wnight. She c uld d that. Her parents w uld have t let her
g it was a sch l event, and there were b und t be t ns I chaper nes there t appease their
anxiety. "Thanks.
"N pr blem," Schuyler said, running up the stairs with- ut giving Bliss a backward glance.
Struck by the idea, Bliss scribbled a quick n te and t re II the paper Ir mher binder. She careIully
rem ved all the br ken bits n the side,spritzed it with her perIume, and stuIIed it in Dylan's l cker.
She was sh cked at her brazenness. She had never needed t pursue a b y beI re. But there's always a
Iirst time I r everything.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html


FIFTEEN


The yearly Duchesne back-t -sch l dance was called theFall "InI rmals," alth ugh it was anything but
inI rmal. The dance was held at the hist rical headquarters I the American S ciety, a grand red brick
mansi n nPark Avenue andSixty-eighth Street . The s ciety was an rgani-zati n dedicated t keeping
an archive I early American hist ry, including d cuments Ir mthe Iirst c l nies and the MayIl wer
j urney. The sec nd Il r h used a w d-paneled library with a barrel-vaulted ceiling as well as several
c zy, clubby r ms ideal I r dinner and dancing. It was a p pular event space, and many brides-t -be
shelled ut a I rtune I r the privilege I having their wedding nPark Avenue . But I r Duchesne
students, it was just the place where they had their sch l dance.
Earlier that evening, Oliver and Schuyler were hanging ut in his r m, d ing n thing as usualbut when
Schuyler casually menti ned she'd heard that Dylan I all pe plewas g ing t the lame dance,
Oliver p unced n the idea. "Let's g .
"Us?Why?" Schuyler was h rriIied.
"C'm n, it'll be Iunny.
"N it w n't." Schuyler argued. "Us g t s me sn bby dance?Just t see Mimi F rce l rding it ver
every ne?
"I heard they d a pretty g d spread," Oliver wheedled.
"I'mn t hungry.
"C'm n, what else are we g ing t d ?
AIter the excitement I the past weekend, when they'd ventured t The Bank, it did seema bit dull t
just sit n Oliver's bed reading magazines t gether.
"All right," Schuyler agreed. "But I need t g h me and change.
"OI c urse.
When Oliver picked her up, Schuyler was wearing a c cktail-length IiIties-style black lace pr mdress,
dainty white wrist gl ves, Iishnet st ckings, and r und-t e high heels, alm st as a j ke. She'd I und the
dress n eBay I r thirty d llars. The strapless dress Iit perIectly ar und her tiny waist, and the skirt
bl ss med ut at the hips like a graceIul bell held al It by a layer I tulle pettic ats. She'd I und her
grandm ther's pearl necklace, with the black satin ribb n, in the b tt m I her music b x, and tied it
ar und her neck. Oliver had ch sen a deep blue silk sm king jacket ver a black shirt and black w l
pants. He presented Schuyler with a breathtaking r se c rsage.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
"Where did y u get it?" Schuyler asked as he slipped it ar und her wrist.
"Y u can have anything delivered inNewY rk ." Oliver grinned. He handed her a b ut nniere, and she
pinned it n his lapel.
"H wd we l k?
"PerIect," he said, IIering her his arm.
When they arrived at the American S ciety mansi n, a h st I sleek black t wn cars were dr pping II
students paired II in dates. The girls were in chic black c cktail dresses and pearls, the guys in blue
blazers and w l tr users. N ne had c rsages. Instead, the girls were carrying l ng-stemmed calla
lilies, which they carelessly t ssed aside when they entered the r m.
"I guess we didn't get the mem ," Schuyler quipped.
They headed upstairs, trying t blend in. Several girls whis-pered when they sawSchuyler in her dress.
"It's g t t be Ir mMarc Jac bs," s me ne whispered. "M re like a c s-tume sh p," her Iriend sniIIed.
Schuyler turned crims n Ir membarrassment.
They I und Dylan n the sec nd landing by the c rnu-c pia display. He was wearing a camel-hair
sp rtsc at ver a sharp black dress shirt and well-cut w l tr users. Bliss Llewellyn, the pretty redhead
Ir mTexas , was sitting n his lap. She was wearing a slimC stume Nati nal black sheath dress,Prada
slingbacks , and the ubiquit us string I pearls ar und her swanlike neck.
"Hey guys," Dylan said, when he sawhis Iriends. He sh k hands with Oliver and pecked Schuyler n
the cheek. "Y'all kn wBliss, right?
They n dded. Since when did Dylan say "Y'all"? He must really be int this girl.
"Y u clean up nice," Schuyler teased, brushing a piece I lint II Dylan's jacket.
"Is that Hug B ss?" Oliver m cked, pretending t inspect the material.
"Yes, and d n't get it dirty," Dylan sh t back, chagrined but grinning n netheless.
Bliss smiled happily at them. She winked at Schuyler. "C l dress," she said, and it s unded like she
actually meant it.
"Thanks.
"S have y u checked ut the place? S me g d eats upstairs," Dylan said.
"N but we will," Oliver pr mised. They leIt the c u-ple and w rmed their way thr ugh the cr wd
upstairs t the buIIet.
The r ms had been dec rated with white Christmas lights, and in the back, there was an elegant
display I h t and c ld r ast meats, silver plates laden with exquisite h rs d' euvres and French pastries.
In the middle r m, a sweaty mix I patrician girls and rich b ys were gyrating t the beat I a hard rap
s ng. The lights were II, and Schuyler c uld nly make ut the shad ws I their Iaces. She c uld see
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
that all the b ys Ir mDuchesne were carrying little silver TiIIany hip Ilasks that stuck ut I their side
pants p ckets. Occasi nally, they w uld surreptiti usly take a swig r p ur a bit I alc h l in their date's
cups. Even Oliver had br ught his m n grammed ne. There were several teachers milling ab ut, but n
ne seemed t n tice, r care ab ut the c vert tippling.
"Want a sip?
"Sure," Schuyler said, taking the Ilask Ir mhis hand. The liqu r was warmand hit the back I her thr at.
Her head buzzed I r a minute, and she t k a c uple m re gulps.
"Easy therea That's 181pr I ," Oliver warned. "Y u're g ing t get wasted," he said gleeIully.
But Schuyler Ielt just as s ber as beI re, alth ugh she smiled and pretended t Ieel its eIIects.
They st d tentatively at the edge I the party, nursing their silver cups I rganic Iruit punch, trying t
pretend that it didn't b ther either I themthat n ne had called them ver r waved hell r made any
indicati n at all that they were welc me at the event. Schuyler l ked ar und at the c zy gr ups I rming
ar und c cktail tables, sm king n the balc ny, r p sing I r pictures in Ir nt I the pian , and real-ized
that, even th ugh she'd kn wn m st I these pe ple I r alm st all I her liIe, she didn't bel ng anywhere.
It was amazing h weven Dylan had managed t Iind a place I r himselI, with a p pular girlIriend n less,
while she and Oliver were just leIt with each ther nce again.
"Wannadance?" Oliver asked, c cking a thumb t the dark r m.
She sh k her head."Nah.
"Wannag instead?" Oliver asked, having c me t the same c nclusi n. "We c uld g back t The
BankI bet they're playing better music.
Schuyler was t rn. On the ne hand, she and Oliver had every right t be therethey were Duchesne
students, t but n the ther hand, maybe it was best iI they just crept away silently; and maybe with
luck n ne w uld even n tice they had been there at all.
Oliver's m uth twisted in a strained smile. "This is my Iault.
"N n t at all.I wanted t be here," Schuyler pr -tested. "But y u're right, we sh uld pr bably g .
They walked d wn the grand red-carpeted staircase, where Jack F rce was standing n the last step,
talking t Kitty MuIIins. Schuyler held her breath and walked t ward the Ir nt d r with ut l king at
him. She clutched Oliver's armtightly.
"Leaving s s n?" Jack called.
She turned ar und. Kitty Mullins was g ne, and Jack was leaning against the banister all by himselI. He
was wear-ing a cust mFrench cuIIed white shirt, with the Ir nt tucked in but the shirttails
characteristically hanging ut, with crisp khaki pants and a carelessly unbutt ned navy blazer. His tie was
askewand he l ked n thing less than dr p-dead g r-ge us. He Iiddled with the cuII link n his right
wrist.
"We were just ab ut t ." She shrugged, smiling in spite I herselI.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
"Why d n't y u stay?" Jack asked, smiling back and l k-ing straight int her eyes. "Y u might have
Iun.
F r a m ment, Schuyler I rg t Oliver was standing next t her, s when he sp ke, she was startled.
Oliver l ked d wn at her, his Iace deliberately blank. "I think I'mg ing t get an ther drink. Want t
j in me?
Schuyler didn't answer, and I r an interminable m ment, the three I themst d in an awkward triangle.
"I, ah, I'mn t thirsty, s I'll catch y u later, Ollie. All right?" she pleaded.
Oliver Ir wned, but he didn't pr test, and walked quickly back up the stairs.
Schuyler cr ssed her arms. What was it ab ut Jack F rce? All week aIter they'd sp ken at the Iuneral,
he'd hardly said a w rd t her, but n whe was seeking her ut again? Why did she even b ther giving
himthe time I day?
Jack walked up and put an armar und her. "C'm n, let's dance. I think I hear my s ng.
She all wed herselI t be led up the stairs, and this time, heads turned when the cr wd sp tted the tw
I thementer the r m. Schuyler n ted the jeal us admirati n Ir mthe girls, and several guys gave her a
respectIul glance. She had been invisible just a minute ag , but being in Jack's presence changed all that.
He drewher cl ser, and she swayed t the music. The r mwas thrumming t the sexy, hypn tic beat I
Muse's "Time Is Running Out." I think I'mdr wning, asphyxiated.She slithered her b dy next t his,
Ieeling beads I sweat and perspirati n n his shirt that the heat between the tw I themwas generating.


SI TEEN


Her parents were n their way ut. Mimi st d in her bedr mand listened t the s und I her m ther's
heels n the marble Il r, I ll wed by her Iather's heavier I tsteps. "Hi, baby," Trinity called, kn cking
n her daughter's d r. "Daddy and I are leaving.
"C me in," Mimi said. She put her chandelier earrings n and scrutinized her image in the mirr r.
Trinity pened the d r and stepped inside the r m. She was wearing a Il r-length g wnValentin ,
Mimi th ughtand carrying a lush sable wrap ar und her sh ul-ders. She cut an elegant, glam r us
Iigure, her l ng bl nd hair curling ar und her c llarb ne. Her m ther was Iten ph t graphed I r s ciety
c lumns and Iashi n magazines.
Her parents were g ing t s me charity ball. They were always ut. Mimi c uldn't remember the last
time either I her parentswere h me I r dinner. S metimes wh le weeks w uld g by beI re she w uld
see them. Her m ther spent her days in the hair sal n, the gym, her therapist's IIice, r Madis n Avenue
b utiques; and her Iather was always at the IIice, w rking.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
"D n't stay ut t late," Trinity adm nished, kissing her daughter n the cheek. "Y u l k l vely, by the
way. Is that the dress I b ught y u?
Mimi n dded.
"Alittle much with the earrings, th ugh, d n't y u think?" her m ther suggested.
Mimi Ielt stung. She hated being criticized. "I think they l k Iine, M ther.
Trinity shrugged.
Mimi n ticed her Iather standing by the d rway, l k-ing impatient. He was talking heatedly n his cell
ph ne. Lately, her Iather seemed m re distracted than usual. S mething was b thering him, he was
pre ccupied and I r-getIul. The ther day she'd arrived h me h urs aIter curIew, but her Iather, wh had
caught her sneaking in thr ugh the kitchen as he was reIilling his brandy sniIter, didn't say a w rd.
"Where's Jack?" her m ther asked, l king ar und as iI Jack c uld be hiding under the vanity table.
'Already there," Mimi explained. "My date's running late.
"Well, have Iun," Trinity said, patting Mimi's cheek. "D n't get int t much tr uble.
"G d night," Charles added, cl sing the d r t her bedr m.
Mimi l ked at herselI in the mirr r again. F r s me reas n, every time her parents bid her g d-bye
I r the evening, she Ielt bereIt.Aband ned. She never g t used t it. She rem ved the chandelier
earrings. Her m ther wasright, they were t much I r the dress.
N t l ng aIter her parents leIt, the Italian arrived. He was a distinctly changed man since the day they'd
met at Barneys. His c cky demean r was g ne, as was the predat ry smile. She'd sucked that ut I
him. It was Mimi wh was in c n-tr l. She'd alm st had her Iill I himhe was s easy. N ne was a
match I r her.
"I'll drive," she said, taking the keys Ir mhis p cket. He didn't pr test.
It was nly a sh rt distance t the American S ciety, but Mimi ran a Iewred lights n the way anyway,
causing an ambulance t swerve t the side t av id an accident.
She pulled up t the awning, where the d rman was waiting. They disembarked Ir mthe car, and Mimi
threwthe keys t the valet. The Italian I ll wed her like a puppy. They walked int the mansi n t gether.
Mimi l ked devastating in a midnight satin PeterS mdress, with her hair in a high chign n, a triple
strand I heir-l mS uthSea pearls as her nly access ry. She tugged n her date's armand steered him
up the stairs. There, she c nIr nted the sight I her best Iriend, Bliss Llewellyn, in a passi nate lip l ck
with that l serwast id , Dylan Ward.
"Hell000." Mimi's v ice was icy in the extreme. When did this happen? Mimi didn't like being kept ut
I the l p.
Bliss disengaged Ir mDylan's t ngue. She blushed when she sawMimi. Bliss's lipstick was smudged
and her hair was askew. Dylan smirked at Mimi.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
"Bliss.The bathr m.N w.
Bliss gave Dylan an ap l getic l k, but she I ll wed Mimi t the ladies' r mwith ut questi n.
Mimi checked the stalls and sh ed the maid utside the lavat ry. When she was satisIied there was n
ne inside, she turned t Bliss.
"What the hell is g ing n with y u? Y u're with that guy?" Mimi demanded. "Y u c uld be with any guy
y u want.
"I like him," Bliss said deIiantly. "He's c l.
"C l," Mimi drew ut the w rd s it had ten syllables.C llll.
"What's y ur pr blem?" Bliss asked deIiantly.
"Pr blem?I d n't have a pr blem. Wh said I had a pr blem?" Mimi asked, l king ar und as iI
surprised t see n ne there.
"Is it theC nnecticut thing?" Bliss asked."Because he had n thing t d with it.
"What are y u talking ab ut?" Mimi asked.
"I d n't kn w, I heard there was s me accident with s me girl inGreenwich , and he was inv lved." Bliss
said. "But anyway, it's n t true.
Mimi shrugged. It was the Iirst time she'd heard ab ut it, but it didn't surprise her. "I just d n't kn wwhy
y u're wast-ing y ur time with him.
"Why d y u hate hims much?
Mimi was taken aback. It was trueshe reacted t Dylan with an utsize revulsi n. Why did she hate
him? She wasn't sure, but she rec gnized the gut Ieeling, and her gut was never wr ng. There was
s mething she didn't like ab ut that guy, but she c uldn't put a Iinger n it.
"What's up with y ur b yIriend, by the way? He's like a z mbie," Bliss said, p inting t the c rner. The
Italian heir had I ll wed theminside the ladies' r mand was currently dr ling n the d rway c lumn.
All I Mimi's guys seemed t be like thatbrain dead.
"I'll deal with himlater.
"I'mg ing t g back t my date," Bliss said p intedly.
"Fine.But y u better be there n M nday I r The C mmittee meeting.
Bliss had alm st I rg tten. She wasn't even sure she wanted t j in s me sn tty s cial c mmittee, but
she had t appease Mimi s meh w. "Sure.
Mimi watched her Iriend leave. What a waste. It b th-ered her that Bliss was exerting her
independence. There was n thing Mimi disliked m re than rebelli n in a sub rdi-nate. She walked ut I
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
the bathr m, tugging n her date's tie t m ve himI rward. And that's when she sawthe sec nd image
that sc rched her brain.
Her br ther Jack, n the dance Il r, with that VanAlen girl in his arms.N wMimi really Ielt like
v miting.


When Schuyler was with Jack, it was like time and space st pped. She didn't even Ieel like she was in a
r mIull I cr wded, sweaty teenagers. They m ved with the same rhythm, their b dies perIectly in tune
with each ther. Jack expertly kept her b dy cl se t his, leaning d wn t breathe lightly n her neck. It
was strange h wshe c uld see hims clearly in the dark, when every ne else was a shad wy blur. She
cl sed her eyes, and I r a m ment, sawthe tw I themdressed diIIerently. They were in the same
ballr mat the mansi n, except it was a hundred years earlierand she was dressed in a l ng evening
dress with a tight c rset b dice and silk pettic ats, and he was hands me and deb nair in a white tuxed
with tails. The music ceased t be the sexy enchantment I the Muse s ng and became a gentle waltz.
It was like a dream, but it wasn't.
"What's happening?" she asked, l king at himas he twirled her ar und.
Ar und them, the ballr mwas Iilled with light and s It music.The tinkling I champagne glasses, the
gentle Ilutter-ing Ir mthe ladies' Ians.
But Jack nly smiled.
They c ntinued t dance, and Schuyler I und that she knewthe intricate steps. At the end I the s ng,
they clapped p litely.
Schuyler l ked ar und, and suddenly she was back in the present again, wearing her IiIties pr mdress,
Jack in his blue blazer and red tie. She blinked. Had she imagined it? Was it real? She was c nIused and
dis riented.
"Let's take a break," he said, as he t k her hand and steered her II the dance Il r. They walked ut
t the bal-c ny. Jack lit a cigarette. "Want ne?
Schuyler sh k her head.
"Did it happen t y u t ?" she asked.
Jack n dded. He t k a puII and exhaled.
They l ked ut atPark Avenue . Next t Riverside Drive , Schuyler th ught it was ne I the m st
beautiIul streets in the w rld.Park Avenue , with its regal array I pre-war apartment buildings, Ileets I
yell wcabs streaming up and d wn al ng the median.NewY rk was a magical place.
"What was it?
But beI re Jack c uld reply, there was a screamIr minside the mansi n. They l ked at each ther,
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
thinking the same thing.Aggie'sdeath. Was there an ther? They ran back int the hall.
"It's Iine," Mimi F rce was saying. "He just passed ut. G d, get a grip, Kitty. Mimi's Italian date was
splayed ut n the landing, c mpletely passed ut, his Iace drained I all c l r. 'Jack, a hand?" she
snapped, seeing her br ther in the d rway.
Jack hurried t his sister's side and helped lug the Italian t a sitting p siti n.
Schuyler c uld see Jack saying s mething angrily t Mimi, and she verheard bits I his harangue,
"stepped ver the line .Y u c uld have killed him.Remember what the Wardens said.
She st d there, n t kn wing what t d , when Bliss and Dylan appeared. Dylan t k ne l k at the
c mpr mising tableau. "Let me guess, he was with Mimi F rce?
Schuyler n dded. "I think it's time we bl wthis j int.
'I c uldn't agree m re," Bliss replied.
Schuyler gave Jack ne last l k. He was still arguing with his sister. He didn't even n tice that she was
leaving.


Catherine Carver`s Diary
20th I December, 1620
Plym uth,Massachusetts

The men have been g ne I r days n w, and still there is n w rd. We are Irightened. They sh uld have
arrived there and returned by n w, with news I the c l ny. But all is silent. The children keep me
c mpany and we make time pass by reading al ud Ir mthe b ks I was able t bring ver. II nly we
c uld leave this ship it is always wet and terribly cr wded, but the structures are n t yet ready. The
men are all wed t camp ash re, but we must remain here in this dark place.
I amaIraid, but I c mI rt myselI with the kn wledge that I will kn wiI J hn and the rest I the c mpany
are l st. S Iar, I have n t Ielt n r seen anything in my visi ns. There is d ubt am ng the c l ny as t
whether we have truly escaped. Rum rs are spreading that n I themis here, hidden am ng us there is
much whispering and suspici n. TheBillingt n b y has been missing, they said.Disappeared.Taken. But
s me ne remembers that he c uld have g ne with theR an ke party, s n ne is w rried I r n w. We
watch, and wait, h lding ur breath.

C.C.

Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html


SEVENTEEN


Ever since Schuyler c uld remember, she had spent every Sunday at the h spital. When she was
y unger, she and her grandm ther w uld take a cab all the way t the upperm st reaches IManhattan .
Schuyler was such a Iamiliar Iace, the guards never even gave her a visit r's badge anym re but simply
waved her thr ugh. N wthat she was lder,C rdelia rarely j ined her n the weekly visits, and Schuyler
made the trip s l .
She walked past the emergency r m, thr ugh the glassed-in l bby, and past thegiItsh p selling ball ns
and Il wers. She b ught a newspaper Ir mthe stand and walked t the back elevat r. Her m ther was
n the t p Il r, in a private r mthat was utIitted like a suite in ne I the city's best h tels.
Unlike m st pe ple, Schuyler did n t Iind h spitals depressing. She had spent t much I her
childh d there, z ming up and d wn the hallways in a b rr wed wheel-chair, playing games I hide
and seek with the nurses and rderlies. She ate every Sunday brunch in the basement caIe-teria, where
the servers w uld pile her plate high with bac n, eggs, and waIIles.
She passed her m ther's regular nurse in the hallway.
"It's a g d day," the nurse inI rmed her, smiling.
"Oh. Great." Schuyler smiled back. Her m ther had been in a c ma I r m st I Schuyler's liIe. AIew
m nths aIter giving birth t her,Allegra had suIIered an aneurysmand g ne int sh ck. M st days, she
lay placidly n the bed, n t m ving, barely breathing.
But n "g d" days, s mething happeneda Ilutter underneath the cl sed eyelids, the m vement I her
big t e,a twitch in her cheek. Once in a while, her m ther sighed I r n reas n. They were small,
inIinitesimal signs I a vibrant w man trapped in the c c n I a living death.
Schuyler remembered the d ct r's Iinal pr gn sis, made alm st ten years ag . "All I her rgans are
Iuncti n-ing. She is perIectly healthy, except I r ne thing. S meh w, her mind is cl sed t her b dy.
She has n rmal sleep and wake patterns, and she is n t brain dead by any means. The neur ns are Iiring.
But she remains unc nsci us. It is a mystery. Surprisingly, the d ct rs were still c nvinced there was a
chance she c uld wake up given the right circumstances. "S metimes, it's a s ng.Or a v ice Ir mthe
past. S mething triggers them, and they wake up. Really, she c uld wake up at any time.
Certainly,C rdelia believed it was true and enc uraged Schuyler t read t Allegra s that her m ther
w uld kn wher v ice and perhaps resp nd t it.
Schuyler said thank y u t the nurse and peeked thr ugh the small glass wind wcut in the d r s that
the nurses c uld check in n their patients with ut having t disturb them.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
There was a man inside the r m.
She kept her hand n the kn b, with ut turning it. She l ked thr ugh the glass again.
The man was g ne.
Schuyler blinked. She sw re she had seen a man. Agray-haired man, in a dark suit, kneeling by her
m ther's bedside, h lding her hand, his back turned t the d r. His sh ulders had been shaking and it
l ked like he was crying.
But when she l ked thr ugh the glass again, there was n thing.
This was the sec nd time n w. Schuyler wasn't as much tr ubled as curi us. The Iirst time she'd
glimpsed himwas several m nths ag , when she'd leIt the r mI r a m ment t Ietch a glass I water.
When she'd returned t the r m, she was startled t see s me ne there. Out I the c rner I her eye,
she'd seen a man standing by the curtains, l king ut the wind wat theHuds n River bel w. But the
m ment she had entered, he had disappeared. She hadn't seen his Iacejust his back and his neat gray
hair.
At Iirst, she had been Irightened I him, w ndering iI he was a gh st, r a trick I the light and her
imaginati n. But she had a Ieeling she knewwh the nameless, Iaceless visit r c uld be.
She pushed pen the d r sl wly and walked inside the r m. She put the thick layers I the Sunday
newspaper by the r lling table next t the televisi n.
Her m ther was lying n the bed, her hands I lded at her st mach. Her Iair, bl nd hair, l ng and
lustr us, was Ianned ut n the pill w. She was the m st beautiIul w man Schuyler had ever seen. She
had a Iace like a Renaissance Mad nnaserene and peaceIul.
Schuyler walked t the chair next t the I t I the bed. She l ked ar und the r magain. She peered
int the bathr mher m ther never used. She pulled back the cur-tains in Ir nt I the wind w, halI
expecting t Iind s me ne hiding there.N thing.
Disapp inted, Schuyler resumed her sp t by the bed.
She pened the Sunday paper. What w uld she read t day?War?Oil crisis?Sh tings in theBr nx ?An
article in the magazine ab ut new, experimental Spanish cuisine? Schuyler decided n the "Styles"
secti nthe "Weddings and Celebrati ns." Her m ther seemed t enj y th se. S metimes, when
Schuyler read her a particularly interest-ing "V ws" c lumn, her t es wriggled.
Schuyler began t read. "C urtney Wallach married Hamilt n Fisher Stevens at thePierre this aItern n.
The bride, thirty- ne, a graduate I Harvard andHarvardBusinessSch l ." She l ked h peIully at her
m ther. There was n m vement Ir mthe bed.
Schuyler tried an ther. "Marj rie Fieldcrest G ldman married Nathan McBride in a cerem ny at the
Tribeca R It p yesterday evening. The bride, twenty-eight, an ass -ciate edit r at .
Still n thing.
Schuyler searched the ann uncements. She c uld never predict what her m ther w uld like. At Iirst, she
th ught it was news Ir mpe ple they knew, the marriages I heirs and heiresses t ldNewY rk
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
Iamilies. But just as Iten, her m ther sighed up n hearing a m ving st ry I tw c m-puter pr grammers
wh had met at a bar inQueens .
Her th ughts driIted back t the mysteri us visit r. She l ked ar und the r magain, and n ticed
s mething. There were Il wers by the table.Ab uquet I white lilies in a crystal vase. N t the cheap
carnati ns they s ld d wnstairs. This was an exquisite arrangement I tall, gl ri us bl ss ms. Their
int xicating smell Iilled the r m. It was Iunny h wshe hadn't seen themas s n as she walked in. Wh
w uld bring Il wers t a c mat se w man wh w uldn't be able t see them? Wh had been there?
And where had he g ne? M re imp rtant, where had he c me Ir m?
Schuyler w ndered iI she sh uld menti n it t her grand-m ther. She had kept the stranger's visits a
secret, w rried thatC rdelia w uld d s mething t keep the stranger away s meh w. She didn't think
C rdelia w uld appr ve I a strange man visiting her daughter.
She turned the page."Kathryn ElizabethDeMenil t Nich las James H pe the Third." She glanced at her
m ther's placid Iace.N thing. N t even a wrinkle n her cheek.Agh st I a smile.
Schuyler t k her m ther's c ld hand in hers and str ked it. Suddenly, tears r lled silently d wn her
cheeks. It had been a l ng time since the sight I her m ther m ved her t tears. But n wSchuyler wept
penly. The man she'd seen thr ugh the glass had been crying as well. The quiet r mwas Iilled with a
deep piercing grieI, and Schuyler wept with- ut aband n I r all that she had l st.


EIGHTEEN


M nday at sch l, Oliver gave Schuyler the c ld sh ulder. He sat next t Dylan in the caIeteria and
didn't save Schuyler a seat. She waved t the tw I them, but nly Dylan waved back. Schuyler ate her
sandwich in the librarybut the bread tasted stale in her m uth, dry and mealy, and she quickly l st her
appetite. It didn't help that even aIter dancing t gether n Saturdaynight, Jack F rce was back t acting
like n thing ever happened. He sat with his Iriends, hung ut with his sister, and basically acted like his
ld selI. The ne wh didn't kn wher, and it hurt.
When sch l let ut, she sawOliver by the l ckers laugh-ing at s mething Dylan was saying. Dylan gave
her a sympa-thetic glance. "Catch y u later, man," Dylan said, patting Oliver n the back. "Later, Sky.
"Bye, Dylan," she said. The three I themshe, Bliss, and Dylan, had g ne t get slices at S Iia
Fabul us Pizza aIter the dance. They had l ked I r Oliver, but he had already leIt. He w uld pr bably
never I rgive themI r d ing s mething with ut him. M re speciIically, he w uld never I rgive her. She
knewhimwell en ugh t understand she had c mmitted a grave betrayal. She was supp sed t have
I ll wed Oliver up the stairs, but had danced with Jack F rce instead. N whe w uld punish her by
taking away his Iriend-ship. AIriendship she depended n like the sun.
"Hey, Ollie," she said.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
Oliver didn't reply. He c ntinued t put his b ks in his messenger bag with ut l king at her.
"Ollie, c'm n," she pleaded.
"What?" He shrugged as iI he just realized she was standing there.
"What d y u mean `what'? Y u kn wwhat," she said, eyes Ilashing. Part I her was inIuriated with his
p r-meact all the time. Like she wasn't even all wed t have any ther Iriends? What kind I Iriend was
that? "Y u didn't call me all weekend. I th ught we were g ing t g see that m vie.
Oliver Ir wned. "Were we? I d n't remember making plans. But then, y u kn w, s me pe ple seemt
change their plans with ut telling y u ab ut them.
"What d y u mean?" she asked.
"N thing."He shrugged.
"Are y u mad at me because I Jack F rce?" she demanded. "Because that is really, really,tres lame.
"D y u like, like him r s mething?" Oliverasked, a stricken l k n his Iace."That j ck l ser?
"He's n t a l sera" Schuyler argued. It amazed her h wpassi nately she suddenly Ielt ab ut Jack F rce.
Oliver sc wled. He pushed back his c wlick impatiently."Fine. II that's h wy u Ieel, P d Pers n."
Invasi n I the B dy Snatchers was ne I their Iav rite Iilms. In the m vie, c n-I rmist aliens replaced
all the interesting pe ple. P d Pe plewas what they called their aut mat n-like peers, wh Iell int l ck
step with everything ar und them: Marc Jac bs hand-bagsa Japanese-straightened haira Jack F rcea
Schuyler Ielt guilty I s mething she c uldn't even understand. Was it s terrible I her t think Jack
F rce was a nice pers n? Okay, s he was a BMOC, the biggestshe had t admitand yes, kay,
s she used t curl her lip at all the Jack F rce gr upies at sch l wh th ught he walked n water. It
was just s predictable t like Jack F rce. He was smart, hands me, and athletic; he did everything
eII rtlessly. But just because she'd decided t st p disliking himdidn't make her s me kind I brainless
r b t did it? Did it? It b th-ered her that she c uldn't decide.
"Y u're just jeal us," she accused.
"OI what?"Oliver's eyes widened, and his Iace paled.
"I d n't kn w, but y u are." She Ilailed, shrugging her sh ulders in Irustrati n. It was always a
green-eyed m nster issue, wasn't it? She assumed that at s me level, Oliver wished he were m re like
Jack.Ad red. Like Jack.
"Right," he said sarcastically. "I'mjeal us I his ability t chase a ball with a stick," he sneered.
"Ollie, d n't be like that. Please? I really want t talk t y u ab ut this, but I have a meeting right
n wI r The C mmittee andI .
"Y u g t int The C mmittee?" Oliver asked incredu-l usly."Y u?" He l ked as iI he'd never heard
anything s ridicul us in his liIe.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
Was it s Iar-Ietched? Schuyler reddened. S maybe she was n b dy, but her Iamily used t be
s meb dies , and wasn't that what the stupid thing was all ab ut?
But even th ugh she hated t admit ithe had a p int. She herselI had been mystiIied as t why she
w uld be ch -sen I r such an h n r, alth ugh there was that satisIied l k n her grandm ther's Iace
againwhen she'd received the thick white envel pe the ther aItern n.C rdelia had given her the
same appraising glance as when the marks n her arms Iirst appeared. As iI shewere seeing her
granddaugh-ter I r the Iirst time. As iI shewere pr ud I her.
She hadn't even menti ned it t Oliver, since it was bvi- us he hadn't g tten ne, because he w uld
never keep s mething like that Ir mher. It struck her as dd that he wasn't ch sen t be in The
C mmittee, since his Iamily wned halI I the Upper East Side and all IDutchessC unty .
"Yeah, Iunny ha-ha, right?" she said.
His Iace tightened. The sc wl came back. He sh k his head. "And y u didn't tell me?" he said. "I d n't
even kn wwh y u are anym re.
She watched himwalk d wn the hall, away Ir mher. Each step he t k seemed t illustrate the huge
gulI that n wseparated the tw I them. He was her best Iriend. The per-s n she trusted m re than
any ne in the w rld. H wc uld he h ld j ining s me dumb s cial gr up against her? But she knewwhy
he was angry. Up until n w, they had d ne every-thing t gether. But she was invited t The C mmittee
and he was n t. Their paths had suddenly diverged. Schuyler th ught it was all s silly. She w uld g t
ne meeting, just because her grandm ther wanted her t , and then dr p ut. There was certainly n thing
ab ut The C mmittee that was I any interest t her at all.


NINETEEN


It was s Iunny t see h wscared the Iresh bl d l ked. Mimi remembered sitting in that same r m
last year, thinking they w uld all start planning the yearly F ur Hundred Ball (Theme?Dec r? Invites?)
and that w uld be the end I it. OI c urse, Jack had kn wn s mething was up, n thing really g t past her
br therand apparently, s me I themhad m re I an idea ab ut what was happen-ing t themthan
thers.
Mimi had had the Ilashbacks t the mem ries that w uld creep up n her with ut warning. Like the
time she'd been inMartha's Vineyard , and instead I being utside the Black D g, she was utside a
Iarmh use, wearing s me hide us ginghamdressbelieve it r n t. Or the time she was taking her
French test and she hadn't studied at all but she aced it, Iinding that she was suddenly Iluent in the
lan-guage.
She smiled t herselI at the mem ry, and watched as sev-eral members I the Seni r C mmittee, her
m ther am ng them, entered the r m, theirBlahnik heels clicking s Itly n the r se marble Il r. There
was a hush. The well-c iIed w men n dded t ne an ther and waved gaily t their children.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
The JeIIers n R mwas the Ir nt entry r mt the Fl d mansi n, in the style IM nticell , a tribute
t the third president. There was a high, d med cathedral ceiling, several Gainsb r ugh p rtraits, and in
the middle a large r und table, where the newmembers were sitting, l king alternately b red r scared.
Mimi didn't rec gnize all I them, as s me were Ir m ther sch ls. G d, th se Nightingale uniI rms
were ugly, she th ught. The rest I the members I the Juni r C mmittee were sitting n the study desks,
r leaning n the wind ws, r standing with their arms I lded, watching silently. She n ticed that I r
nce, her br ther Jack had deigned t grace themwith his presence.
S the Wardens had th ught t include the VanAlen girl aIter all. That was dd. Mimi had n mem ry I
her Ir mher past, n t even Ir mPlym uth . She had t have been there s mewhere; Mimi just had t dig
deeper int her sub-c nsci us. When Mimi l ked ar und the r m, she c uld see glimmerings I wh
every ne else used t be. Katie Sheridan, I r instance, had always been a Iriendthey had "c me ut"
during the 1850deb seas n t gether, andLissy Harris had been an attendant at her wedding inNewp rt
later that year. But that wasn't the case with Schuyler.
As I r Jack, well, they had been t gether I r l nger than eternity. His was the nly Iace she ever saw
c nstantly, wait-ing I r her in every incarnati n I her past. II Mimi prac-ticed her meditati ns, perhaps
she w uld be able t access the deepest recesses I her hist ry, back t their creati n, inEgypt beI re
the Il ds.
Mrs. Priscilla DuP nt, a regular presence in the city's s ciety pages, and the Iinancial and s cial I rce
behind many INewY rk 's m st august cultural instituti ns, stepped I rward. Like the ther w men
behind her, she was preter-naturally slim, with a s It, buttery b b that Iramed her line-less Iace. She cut a
severe Iigure in her sharp black Car lina Herrera suit. As c mmittee chair and ChieI Warden, she called
the meeting t rder.
"Welc me t the Iirst meeting I the NewY rk Bl d Bank C mmittee I the seas n," she said, smiling
graci usly. "We are very pr ud t have all I y u here.
Mimi z ned ut I r a bit, barely listening t the standard lecture c ncerning civil duty and n blesse
blige, enumerat-ing the many services the c mmittee pr vided their c mmu-nity. The yearly ball, I r
instance, raised a tremend us am unt I m ney I r bl d research pr grams, which was dedicated t
the eradicati n I bl d-b rne diseases like AIDS and hem philia. The C mmittee had I unded
h spi-tals and research instituti ns, and had been instrumental in Iunding stem-cell research and ther
advances in medicine.
Then, aIter the standard spiel, Mrs. DuP nt l ked intently at the ten y ung pe ple seated at the table.
"But helping thers is n t all that The C mmittee d es." There was an expectant silence.
Mrs. DuP nt l ked at each student intently beI re speaking. "Y u have been gathered here t day
because y u are very special." Her v ice had a mel di us, cultured qual-ity, s thing and patrician at the
same time.
Mimi sawBliss Llewellyn l k unc mI rtable. She had given Bliss grieI ab ut Dylan, but it was her
Iuneral. Bliss had even threatened t skip the meeting, but s meh wMimi had helped t change her
mind.
"S me I y u might have n ticed certain changes in y ur b dies. H wmany have started t see the blue
marks n y ur arms?" she asked.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
There was a smattering I hands, a Iewarms gl wing with the sapphire light shining thr ugh their skin.
She n dded. "G d. That is the bl d beginning t maniIest.
Mimi remembered h wIreaked ut she'd been when her marks Iirst appeared. They'd I rmed an
intricate, alm st paisley-like pattern up and d wn Ir mher sh ulder t her wrist. Jack had sh wn her his,
and it was an ther I th se things that l ked like a c incidence but weren't reallyiI they held up their
arms next t each ther's, the patterns matched perIectly.
The bl d marks were a map I their pers nal hist riesit was the bl d asserting itselI; the Sangre
Azul , which marked themas their kind, Mrs. DuP nt inI rmed them.
"S me I y u Iind that y u are suddenly able t d things very well. Have y u n ticed that y u are
excelling in tests y u have n t studied I r? That y ur mem ry has bec me like a ph t graphic
snapsh t?
There was m re n dding, and s me mumbling.
"Has any ne n ticed that ccasi nally, time either slips away r bec mes very sl w?
Mimi n dded. That was part I itthe mem ries that pulled y u Ir mthe present t the past. Y u
w uld be walking d wn a street, minding y ur wn business, and then suddenly y u were walking d wn
the same street, but in a t tally diIIerent time. It was like watching s me really c l m vie, Mimi th ught,
except y u were starring in it.
"D y u Iind that y u can eat everything and still n t gain an unce?
There was giggling Ir ms me I the girls. Ag d metab lism, that's what the Red Bl ds th ught.
Mimi had t giggle herselI.As iI any ne c uld eat as many cupcakes with whipped creamIr sting as they
wanted and still be as thin as she was. It was her Iav rite part I being a Blue Bl d.One I the lucky
nes.The ch sen nes.
"The taste I c ked meat has bec me unbearable. Y u have begun t crave things that are raw,
bl dy.
There were s me unc mI rtable l ks ar und the table. Bliss l ked especially pale. Mimi w ndered iI
any ne had ever experienced what she hadthe day she'd dev ured several raw,ribeye steaks all by
herselI ; stuIIing her Iace until the bl d dripped d wn her chin and she l ked like a men-tal patient.
Fr mthe l ks ar und the table, Mimi w uld bet that had happened t m re than a Iew.
"One last questi n: h wmany I y u have g tten pets in the last year? D gs, m re speciIically?
Every ne raised their hand. Mimi th ught I h wshe'd I und her ch w,P kie , n the beach in the
Hampt ns ne day, and h wher br ther had g tten Patch n the same evening. Their Iather had been s
pr ud.
"H wmany I themare bl dh unds?
Only Schuyler raised her hand. Mimi grimaced. Her br ther Jack had merited a bl dh und t t p
level. That was ann ying.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
"We are here t tell y u, y u are n t t w rry. All the things y u are experiencing are n rmal. This is
because, like me, like y ur Iriends and classmates sitting behind y u, like y ur parents, grandparents,
siblings, and relatives, y u are part I a l ng and n ble traditi n I the F ur Hundred.
Mrs. DuP nt snapped her Iingers and all the lights in the classr mwent ut. But she, as well as the
ther c mmittee members,were still gl wing. They had an inner light that accentuated their Ieatures. It
was as iI they were made I white translucent marble.
"This is calledilluminata , it is ne I ur giIts that aids us in the night and makes us visible t ne
an ther.
S me I the students screamed.
"There is n thing t w rry ab ut. Y u are saIe here, I r we are all the same.
Her v ice t k n a mel dic, hypn tic quality.
"It is all part I the Cycle I Expressi n. Y u are the newest Blue Bl ds. T day is y ur inducti n int
y ur secret hist ry. Welc me t y ur newliIe.
The students' Iaces were lined in sh ck. Mimi remem-bered h wterriIied she'd been, but n t because
she'd been scared I The C mmitteeit was a diIIerent kind I ter-r ra m re c mplicated kind I
Iear. It was the terr r I Iinally kn wing the truth. She sawthe same Iear n the newest members' Iaces.
They were embarking n a j urney int the darkness inside themselves.


TWENTY


Vampires?
Were they ut I their minds?
The C mmittee was just a Ir nt I r a bunch I bl d-sucking B-list m vie m nsters? S they weren't
just s cialites. They weren't just rich kids. They weren't skinny because they threwup everything they
ate. And they weren't Iast n the Iield r incredibly athletic r extra rdinarily smart because they were
talented; it was because and this was truly laughablethey were undead?
Schuyler had watched the wh le thing, halI appalled and halI Iascinated by thecultlike cerem ny.
Whatever she th ught she'd signed up I r, it certainly wasn't this. She had t get ut I there. She pushed
back her chair and was ab ut t leave the r m.
But she waveredand sat back d wn again. It seemed t rude and against her better judgment. There
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
were s many things they were talking ab ut that made sense. The blue marks n her arms, I r instance.
Apparently their bl d was shining thr ugh the skin because it was starting t assert itselI, starting t
rec nnect with all the ld kn wledge and wisd mand mem ries I their past lives. Because it was their
bl d that was alivethat was what made themundeadtheir bl d was th usands I years ld, Ir m
the beginning I time, a living database I their wn imm rtal c nsci usness. It had a will I its wn, and
gr wing up as a Blue Bl d meant that y u learned h wt access and c n-tr l the vast intelligence that
was available inside I y u.
Y ur physical shell expired aIter a hundred years and then y u rested, ev lving until they called y u up
I r the next phase in the cycle. Or y u c uld ch se n t t rest, and instead keep the same physical shell
and bec meEnm rtal like s me I the Elders, but y u had t be awarded a special dispensati n I r
that. M st Blue Bl ds went thr ugh the cycle. What did they call it? The three stages I vampire liIe:
Expressi n, Ev luti n, Expulsi n.
And the bit ab ut the bl dh undshe c uldn't argue with that. Beauty had I ll wed her h me ne
day, and it Ielt like the creature was part I her. Mrs. DuP nt explained that their canine Iamiliars were
actually a part I their s ul that had transIerred t the physical w rld t pr tect them. The years Ir m
IiIteen t twenty- ne were called the Sunset Years I r the Blue Bl dstheir m st vulnerable time in the
cycle I Expressi n when they shed their human selves I r vampire nes. The Bl d ManiIest, which
br ught ab ut the mem ry sh ck, the dizziness, the sickness, made themweak, and their d gs were their
guardians, ministering angels wh made sure the Blue Bl ds made it t the next phase intact.
Still, it was all just s unbelievable. She'd been c nvinced that The C mmittee had been playing a
Hall ween trick when they lit up like that.Even Jack. S that's why he was all lit up that night at the
dance. Why she c uld see himin the dark.
Wait until she t ld Olivera
But, h.She wasn't supp sed t . The Red Bl dsthe humansthey c uldn't kn w. Alth ugh human
Iamiliarsth se pe ple wh my u perI rmed s me Latin thing withtheir Iancy name I r
bl d-suckingthey c uld kn w, but then the cerem ny made themI rget it r s mething. There was
s me kind I hypn tic essence in the pr cess that made themamnesiac, and l yal t the Blue Bl ds.
Schuyler c uldn't imagine wanting t suck any ne's bl d. It just seemed gr ss. But anyway, she had
I rg tten that she c uldn't tell Oliver because he wasn't speaking t her.
Then there were all these rules that g verned bl d-suckinglike y u c uld nly have several human
Iamiliars at ne time, and y u were nly all wed t use them nce every I rty-eight h urs. Apparently,
liIe as a vampire wasn't at all like she'd read in b ks r televisi n, which were just red herrings created
by The C nspiracy, a subset I The C m-mittee dedicated t keeping the Red Bl ds Ir mkn wing
their true existence. AHungarian Blue Bl d with a macabre sense I hum r had been resp nsible I r
the myth I "C unt Dracula." The C nspiracy disseminated Ialse inI rmati n. All th se things that were
supp sed t kill vam-piresa cruciIix, garlic, the sunwere all just made up.Their idea I a j ke.
Because, acc rding t The C mmittee, n thing c uld kill vampires.N thing. Death was merely an
illusi n.
Schuyler I und ut the reas n Blue Bl ds didn't like the cruciIix was because it reminded them I their
d wnIall, their banishment Ir mthekingd m IHeaven . (These pe -ple were truly deluded, Schuyler
th ught t herselI . They actually th ught they were I rmer angels r s mething. Just what the w rld
needed.M re selI-aggrandizing rich pe ple.) It turned ut garlic was a n -n simply because I the smell.
Mrs. DuP nt waxed n and n ab ut h wBlue Bl ds were a very aesthetic-minded race, wh Iav red
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
beauty and har-m ny ab ve all (and that ruled ut Italian I d?). And as I r sunlightwell, again, it just
reminded them I the paradise they'd been expelled Ir m, but m st vampires l ved the sunhence the
maj r killer tans n m st I The C mmittee members.
They lived I rever, but n t as the same pers n, and n t always at the same time. There were nly F ur
Hundred I themat every Cycle. They c uld ingest I d, but m st did it ut I habit, r simply t be
s cial. Once they reached a cer-tain age, nly human bl d was needed t keep themrecharged.
Schuyler I und ut that taking a human t Full C nsumpti ndraining him rher c mpletely I all bl d,
eIIectively killing the human, was the biggest tab I all. It was the Iirst c mmandment in the C de I
the Vampiresthat n harmmust c me t their human Iamiliars.
Since humans c uld nly take s much bl d-letting, m st Blue Bl ds had several human Iamiliars
wh mthey r tated in their Ieeding schedule, in the guise I vari us l ve aIIairs. S that was why Mimi
had all th se b yIriends. It was all part I the Blue Bl d liIestyle. And Kitty Mullinswas she ne I
Jack's human Iamiliars? She had t be, since Kitty wasn't in the assembled gr up. Schuyler suddenly
wasn't very jeal us I Kitty MuIIins. She Ielt s rry I r her.
The Warden t ld themthat the I rem st missi n I their kind was t cycle thr ugh Expressi n t ev lve
int a p int where G d c uld I rgive themand take themback int heaven again.
Right.
Schuyler didn't believe a w rd I it. This was s me ne's sick and n t-Iunny idea I a really stupid prank.
She alm st expected a reality TVcamera crewt p p ut I ne I the cabinets. But every ne else was
muttering, and s me I the pe ple next t her were crying with relieI.
"I was s w rried I was g ing crazy." She heard Bliss Llewellyn say.
The papers they'd signed t j in were als their c mmit-ment t the Blue Bl d C de. The C de was
like the Ten C mmandments I the Blue Bl dsthe laws I creati nand they were b und t its
rules.
Every M nday they w uld learn m re ab ut their his-t ry, as well as h wt c ntr l their p wers.
Vampire p wers maniIested in diIIerent ways, the m st c mm n were hyper-intelligence and
supernatural strength. M st vampires c uld read human minds, but nly the m st p werIul nes c uld
perI rmmind-c ntr l, the suggestive I rcing I their will n a weaker being. AIewwere shape-shiIters
wh were able t change their physical I rmat will. Them st rare p wer I all was the ability t st p
time, but nly ne Blue Bl d in rec rded hist ry had ever been able t dem nstrate this p wer, and had
nly d ne s nce in all the centuries they had been n earth.
The meetings were als intended t help the y unger vampires ch se a purp se I r that cycle. Schuyler
learned that the Blue Bl ds were behind the I undati n I alm st all I the city's m st imp rtant cultural
res urces, including the Metr p litan Museum I Art, theMuseum IM dern Art , the Frick C llecti n,
the Guggenheim, the NewY rk City Ballet, and the Metr p litan Opera. Blue Bl ds sat n the b ards,
hired curat rs, and rganized Iundraisers. It was Blue Bl d m ney that kept all I th se w nderIul
institu-ti ns alive.
Mrs. DuP nt explained that as they grew lder, they w uld have a chance t serve n all the diIIerent
c mmittees. Already, the y ungergenerati n I Blue Bl ds were making an impact, rganizing the Save
Venice ball, the Y ung C llect rs evenings at the Whitney, and beneIits I r the High Line, am ng ther
w rthy causes.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
Oh, and I c urse, they als planned the yearly F ur Hundredball . The biggest s cial dance I the year,
which was held at the St. Regis H tel Ballr minDecember was part I a traditi n started during the
Gilded Age by a bunch I Blue Bl ds. It was called the Patrician Ball then.
But Schuyler didn't believe a w rd I it. AIter they were dismissed, several I the newest members
huddled, talking t the juni rs and seni rs t ask m re questi ns. Schuyler walked ut quickly byherselI .
She didn't n tice that s me ne had I ll wed her.
He appeared in Ir nt I her with ut warning.
"Hey." Jack F rce smiled. His hair was ad rably disheveled as usual. His eyes were green emeralds in
his sculpted, hands me Iace.
"G d, h w'd y u d that?" she demanded.
Jack shrugged. "They'll teach y u. It's ne I the things we can d .
"Well, `we' are n t g ing t stick ar und t Iind ut," she said, elb wing him ut I her way.
"Schuyler, wait.
"Why?
"It's n t supp sed t happen like this. This meeting was called t early. Usually, this happens in the
spring. And by then, alm st every ne has Iigured it ut, Ir mthe mem ries. Y u start t kn wwh y u
are beI re any ne has t tell y u. The meeting is just a I rmality. Usually when y u're taken int The
C mmittee, y u already kn w.
"Huh?
"I kn wit's a l t. It's a l t t handle. But remember what happened Saturday night? When we were
waltzing? We sawit because it's happened beI re. Everything she said in there is true.
Schuyler sh k her head. N . She wasn't g ing t Iall I r this. They might all be drinking laced
K l-Aid in there, but she had a g d head n her sh ulders. Things like vampires and past lives and
imm rtality just didn't exist in the real w rld. And Schuyler was a card-carrying member I the real
w rld. She didn't want t check int CrazyT wn any time s n.
"D this," Jack said, tapping his Iace, m ti ning t the side I his jaw.
'Why?"
"Y u sh uld start Ieeling them. Right here," he said, pressing a thumb and index Iinger against each side
I his m uth.
"There?
"Yeah, I kn w, the Red Bl ds think we have themin ur Ir nt canines, but that's just ne m re I The
C nspiracy's d ings. Our wisd mteeth are the nes a bit t the side.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
"Wisd mteeth?Like the nes that get taken ut at y ur dentist?" Schuyler asked, trying n t t r ll her
eyes.
"Oh, I I rg t, that's what the Red Bl ds call themt .N , n t that Iar back. They st le that termIr m
us, but it d esn't mean the same thing. C'm n, try it. They start appearing right ar und n w.
She r lled her eyes. But she stuck her Iinger inside her m uth, trying t see iI she n ticed anything.
"N thing, there's n Oh." Underneath a small t th she'd never n ticed beI re, n each side, she Ielt a
sharp p int.
"II y u c ncentrate, y u can bring them ut.
She r lled a Iinger ver them, and pictured the teeth lengthening, c ming ut I her gums. Amazingly,
small sharp enamel Iangs began t pr trude d wnward.
"Y u can learn t extend and retract them.
Schuyler did, her Iinger tracing the sharp, needlelike end I the t th. She Ielt sick t her st mach with
an excitement she c uldn't c ntr l.
Because it was nly then that she realized what she had been denying all al ng.
She was a vampire.Imm rtal.Danger us. Her Iangs were sharp en ugh t drawbl dt pierce the
skin I a human being. She retracted themsl wly, Ieeling an ache at their disappearance.
She really was ne I them.


TWENTY-ONE


Once the meeting was adj urned, Bliss was still reeling Ir meverything she'd learned. She was a
vampire, r as she c rrected herselI; a "vam-pyre," which meant Iire angel in the Old T ngue, a Blue
Bl d.One I the undead. S that explained the mem ries, the nightmares.The v ices in her head. It was
strange t think I her bl d as alive, but that's what they saidthat they had all lived beI re, a l ng time
ag , and were called int service when they were needed. One day they w uld be in c mmand I all
their mem ries and w uld learn h wt use them.
The kn wledge br ught a pr I und Ieeling I relieI. S she wasn't insane. She wasn't l sing her mind.
What hap-pened at the Met the ther aItern n, when she'd blacked ut beI re kissing Dylan, was
pr bably just part I the wh le pr cess. That's what Dr. Pat had meant. S she was n rmal. She was
supp sed t Ieel dizzy and sick. AIter all, her b dy was changing, her bl d was changing. Maybe n w
that she underst d why she was having them, her nightmares w uldn't scare her as much in the Iuture.
Mimi was grinning Ir mear t ear when the meeting was ver. She walked ver t Bliss.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
"Are y u kay?" she asked gently. She knewit w uld take s me getting used t . But Iinding ut ab ut
being a Blue Bl d was like a kind I graduati n r s mething. When she and Jack had been inducted,
their parents had thr wn thema surprise party at the 21 Club.
Bliss n dded.
"C'm n," Mimi said. "Let's g get s me steaktartare .
They walked a Iewbl cks t ward LaG ulue ,then t k a table n the sidewalk. It was late aItern n,
but it was still sunny and warmen ugh t sit utside. They rdered quickly.
"S , let me get this straight. We can't get killed?" Bliss asked, pulling her seat cl ser s that n ne
w uld verhear their c nversati n.
"N , we live I rever," Mimi said airily.
"Like, I rever?" Bliss didn't think she c uld handle that. H wc uld she live I reverexactly. Like,
w uldn't she get all wrinkly and stuII?
"Like, I rever," Mimi ech ed.
"What ab ut the silver stake thr ugh the heart?
"Only iI it's Ir mTiIIany'sa"Mimi cackled. She t k a sip I her Pellegrin . "N , seri usly, y u've
watched t much Bulb. There's n thing that can hurt us. But y u kn wH llyw d . They had t think I
ways t kill us II s me-h w. I d n't kn wh wwe g t such a bad rap." She smiled sweetly, a beautiIul
m nster. "It's all created by The C nspiracy, y u kn w. They like t mislead the Red Bl ds.
Bliss's head swam. She still Ielt c nIused. "But we die aIter a hundred years?
"Only the physical shell.II y u ch se.Y ur mem ries last I rever, s y u're never really dead," Mimi
said, clutch-ing the tiny green b ttle I sparkling water and taking an ther gulp.
"What ab ut sucking bl d and all that?
"It'sIun," Mimi said, her eyes glazing ver dreamily, thinking ab ut her Italian hunk."Better than sex.
Bliss blushed.
"D n't be such a prude. I've had t ns I humans.
'Y u're like a vampire slut," Bliss j ked.
Mimi's Iace darkened, but then she sawthe hum r in it. "Yeah, a real vamp, that's me.
Their I d arrivedrare pink slices I tunacarpacci I r Mimi and a m und I steaktartare s aked in a
rawegg I r Bliss.
Bliss thanked wh ever made eating unc ked beeI n t nly acceptable but Iashi nable and dug int her
entree. She w ndered h wDylan w uld Ieel iI she wanted t make himher human Iamiliar. Did she just,
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
y u kn w, start necking and then ch mp n him?
The tables n the sidewalk were quickly Iilling up with diners Ir mthe surr unding neighb rh d, m stly
w men in chic leather and suede c ats and pristine denimtr users, h lding bulging sh pping bags Ir m
Madis n Avenue st res, st pping by I r a quick reprieve Ir man exhausting day I trying n cl thes.
Bliss l ked ar und. Alm st every table was picking at similarly unc ked I ds. She w ndered h w
many I themwere Blue Bl ds .Maybe all I them?
"What ab ut the sun? D esn't it like, kill us?" she asked, between bites. The steak melted n her t ngue,
c ld and tart.
"Are y u shriveling up and dying right n w?" Mimi snickered. "All I us g t PalmBeach every
Christmas. Hell a
Bliss had t admit she wasn't. Dying, that is, Ir msun exp sure. But she did get itchy, and t ld Mimi
ab ut that.
"Y u just have t see Dr. Pat. There's a pill y u take iI y u're allergic. S me I us are; it's genetic. But
y u're lucky, the pill y u get, it clears acne t . Isn't that great?
Mimi put d wn her I rk, wiped her lips with a napkin, then t k ut aTweezerman Iile and began
sharpening her back teeth with it.
"It's g d I r the Iangs," she matter- I-Iactly inI rmed Bliss.
Bliss was disc ncerted. F r a m ment, she had l ked past the Mimi sitting there and int the Iace I a
pers n wh mshe Ielt she used t kn w.
"It happened, huh?
"What?
"Y u sawme. Or, y u kn w, s me versi n I me, in s me past liIe I y urs.
"Is that what it was?
"Wh was I?" Mimi asked, curi us.
"D n't y u kn w?
Mimi sighed. "N t really. Y u can g int meditati n and learn ab ut y ur wh le hist ry, but it's kind I
a pain. Y u d n't really need t .
"Y u were getting married," Bliss said. "Y u were wear-ing a cr wn.
"Mmmm."Mimi smiled. "I w nder when that was. I d n't remember that ne. I've been married inB st n
,Newp rt , and S uthampt nthe ne inEngland , n tL ng Island. That's where we're Ir m, y u kn w.
At least, until we came here. I remember when we settledPlym uth , d y u? That's h wIar back I can
g .F r n w.
But Bliss didn't tell Mimi that in her mem ry, she'd seen Mimi kissing her gr mpassi nately. And that
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
gr ml ked an awIul l t like her br ther, Jack. It was just t creepy. Maybe there was s me kind I
Blue Bl d explanati n I r it, but I r n w, Bliss w uld keep the disturbing image t herselI.


TWENTY-TWO


C rdeliahad asked Schuyler t meet her I r tea in the St. Regis l bby aIter sch l. She was waiting I r
her at their usual table when Schuyler arrived. Her grand-m ther was sitting in the middle I a bright,
beautiIul r m, Schuyler's bl dh und resting at her Ieet. The St. Regis didn't usually all wpets in the
dining r m, but they made an excepti n I rC rdelia . AIter all, theAst r C urt was named aIter
C rdelia's great-grandm ther.
Schuyler walked up t her, Ieeling a mixture I anger and apprehensi n.
Her grandm ther sat serenely, her arms I lded n her lap. She l ked vibrant and energetic. Her skin
gl wed, and her hair was a pale, platinumbl nd, with just a hint I the lightest silver. F r the Iirst time,
Schuyler n ticed that her grandm ther always l ked like this aIter her weekly treat-ment at J rge's. But
n wshe w nderedwas the Ilamb yant S uth American merely her hairdresser?Or ne IC rdelia's
human Iamiliars? Schuyler decided she didn't want t kn w.
"May I be the Iirst t IIer c ngratulati ns,"C rdelia said.
"I d n't kn wwhat I'msupp sed t be s happy ab ut," Schuyler replied.
C rdeliam ti ned t the chair acr ss Ir mher. "Sit d wn, granddaughter. We have much t talk ab ut."
A tuxe-d ed waiter appr ached, andC rdelia rdered the three-c urse tea service. "Chinese Fl wers
I r me, please,"C rdelia decided, cl sing the menu.
Schuyler sat d wn, and Beauty nestled her head n Schuyler's lap. Schuyler patted her d g absently,
w ndering iI Beauty were really her guardian angel, r just a stray d g that she'd I und n the street. She
t k a curs ry glance at the leather-b und menu and paged thr ugh it. "Earl Grey is Iine I r me, thanks.
"Why didn't y u tell me beI re?" Schuyler demanded, when the waiter had leIt.
"It is n t ur way,"C rdelia said simply. "The burden I kn wing neselI sh uldn't be cast until y u are
ready. And we have I und Priscilla d es an excellent j b with the induc-ti n cerem ny.
Priscilla DuP nt.The ChieI Warden.C mmittee Chair.S cialite.Whatever she really was.
"C rdelia, h w ld are y u exactly?" Schuyler asked.
C rdeliasmiled.ArueIul, kn wing smile. "Y u have guessed c rrectly. I have g ne bey nd the usual
cycle. I amtiring I this Expressi n. But I have my reas ns I r staying.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
"Because I my m ther ." Schuyler said. It dawned n her thatC rdelia had been all wed t live
l nger s that she c uld take care I her, since her m ther was .what was her m ther d ing exactly? II
she was an all-p werIul vam-pire, then why was she in a c ma?
Her grandm ther l ked pained. "Yes. Y ur m ther has made s me terrible ch ices.
"Why? Why is she in a c ma? II she's invulnerable, why w n't she wake up?
"That is n t I r me t discuss,"C rdelia said sharply. "Whatever she has d ne, y u sh uld c unt y urselI
privi-leged t have her heritage.
Schuyler wanted t ask her grandm ther what she meant by that, but the waiter had arrived bearing a
silver three-st ry tray laden with sc nes, sandwiches, and petit I urs. Shiny silver teap ts Iilled with
brewing tea were placed next t their p rcelain cups.
Schuyler hastened t p ur and was adm nished by her grandm ther."The strainer.
She n dded and placed the silver tea-leaI catcher n t p I her cup. The waiter t k the teap t and
p ured the h t tea int the cup. The pleasant ar ma I steeped bergam t Iilled her senses. She smiled.
Ever since she was a little girl, she'd enj yed the aItern n ritual. In the backgr und, the harpist was
playing a gentle mel dy.
F r a Iewm ments, n thing was said as she and her grandm ther helped themselves t the treats.
Schuyler put a lavish sp nIul I Dev nshire cream n a sc ne and t pped it II with a d ll p I lem n
curd. She t k a bite, murmur-ing her delight.
C rdeliadabbed her napkin n her m uth. She ch se a small Iinger sandwich Iilled with crab salad, t k
a tiny bite,then put it back n her plate.
Schuyler disc vered she was starving. She t k a sandwicha thin, square cucumber ne, and an ther
sc ne.
The waiter silently reIilled the t p tw levels I their tray, gliding in un btrusively.
"What did y u mean by lucky?" she asked her grand-m ther. She was c nIused. It s unded like she'd
had s me s rt I ch ice I r being wh she was, but Ir mall she learned at the meeting, being a Blue
Bl d was her destiny.
C rdeliashrugged. She liIted the lid I her teap t and Ir wned at the waiter wh was standing quietly
against the wall. "I'd like s me m re h t water please," she said.
"Are y u really my grandm ther?" Schuyler asked, between bites I the sm ked salm n n rye.
C rdeliasmiled again. It was disc ncerting, as iI a cur-tain had been raised and Schuyler was Iinally
all wed a real peek at the ld w man.
"Technically, n .Y u are wise t discern that. There have been F ur Hundred I us since the beginning
I time. We d n t have pr geny in the traditi nal sense. As y u have learned, thr ugh the cycles, many
are called but s me ch se t rest. M re and m re I us are resting, slumbering, ch s-ing n t t ev lve
and staying in the primal state. When ur b dies expire, all that is leIt is a single dr p I bl d with ur
DNApattern, and when it is time t release a newspirit, th se I us wh ch se t carry are implanted
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
with the newliIe. S in a way, we are all related, but we are n t related at all. But y u are my charge and
my resp nsibility.
Schuyler was bewildered by her grandm ther's w rds. What exactly did she mean by that? "And my
Iather?" she asked tentatively, thinking I the tall man in the dark suit wh visited her m ther.
"Y ur Iather is I n c ncern t y u,"C rdelia replied c ldly. "Think n m re I him. He was n t w rthy
I y ur m ther.
"But wh .?" Schuyler had never kn wn her Iather. She knewhis name: Stephen Chase, and that he
was an artist wh had met her m ther at his gallery pening. But that was all. She knewn thing I her
Iather's Iamily.
"En ugh. He is g ne, that is all y u need t kn w. I t ld y u, he died s n aIter y u were b rn,"
C rdelia said. She reached ver and sm thed her granddaughter's hair. It was the Iirst timeC rdelia had
sh wn Schuyler physical aIIecti n in a very l ng time.
Schuyler reached I r a strawberry tart. She Ielt deIlated and uneasy, as iIC rdelia wasn't telling her
everything.
"It is a hard time I r us, y u see,"C rdelia explained as she surveyed the plate I petit I urs and ch se a
hazelnut c kie. "Thereare less and less I us wh are ch sing t g thr ugh the pr per cycles, and ur
values, ur way I liIe, is quickly disappearing. N t many I us are adhering t The C de anym re.
There is c rrupti n and dissent in the ranks. Many Iear that we will never reach the exalted state. Instead,
there are th se wh ch se t Iade away int the darkness that threatens t take us. Imm rtality is a
curse and a bless-ing. I have lived t l ng already. I remember t much."C rdelia t k a l ng sip Ir m
her teacup, her pinky Iinger p inted d wn daintily.
AsC rdelia put d wn her cup, her Iace changed. It sagged and withered in Ir nt I Schuyler's eyes.
Schuyler Ielt a wave I sympathy I r the ld w man, vampire r n t.
"What d y u mean?
"It is a c arse time we live in.Full I vulgarity and despair. We have tried ur best t inIluence, t sh w
the way. We are creatures I beauty and light, but the Red Bl ds n l nger listen t us. We have
bec me irrelevant. There are t many I themn w, and t Iew I us. It is their will that will change this
w rld, n t urs.
"What d y u mean? Charles F rce is the richest and m st p werIul man in the city, and Bliss's Iather is
a senat r. They're b th Blue Bl ds, aren't they?" Schuyler asked.
"Charles F rce,"C rdelia said grimly as she stirred h ney int her tea. She released her teasp n with
suchanger, the ther patr ns l ked up at the s und. Her Iace was set. "He has his wn agenda. As I r
Senat r Llewellyn, h lding p litical IIice is a direct vi lati n I ur C de. We d n t interIere directly
with human p litical aIIairs. But times have changed. L k at his wiIe,"C rdelia said, with a hint I
distaste. "There is n thing Blue Bl d ab ut her taste and cl thing`d wnwardlyaspirati nal ,' I believe
it's called." She sighed as Schuyler rested her hands n hers. "Y u are a g d girl. I have t ld y u t
much already. But perhaps it will help when y u realize the truth ne day.But n t n w.
It was allC rdelia w uld say n the matter.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
They Iinished their tea in silence. Schuyler ate a bite ut I a ch c late eclair, but put it d wn n her
plate with ut Iinishing it. AIter everythingC rdelia had t ld her, she was n l nger hungry.


TWENTY-THREE


It was maddening h wy ur best Iriend c uld twist the kn bs inside I y u s much that it hurt. Oliver
had kn wn just where t stab his little barbs. P d Pers n indeeda What ab ut him, with hisVespa and his
ne-hundred-d llar haircuts? And his yearly birthday parties n b ard his Iamily's tw -hundred-I t
yacht? Wasn't that just an ther stab at the p pularity that eluded him?
Ever since The C mmittee meeting and the tea withC rdelia , Schuyler Ielt upr ted, unm red, n
unsteady gr und. There was s much her grandm ther had c n-Iirmed ab ut theirpastand s much
she had still leIt ut. Why was her m ther in a c ma? What had happened t her Iather? Schuyler Ielt
m re l st than ever, especially since Oliver had st pped speaking t her. They had never argued ab ut
anything beI rethey used t j ke that they were just tw halves I the same pers n. They liked all I
the same things (50 Cent, sci-Ii m vies, pastrami sandwiches slathered with mustard) and disliked all I
the same things (Eminem, pretenti us Academy Award I dder,selI -righte us vegetar-ians). But n wthat
Schuyler had m ved Jack Ir mthe "N t" t the "H t" c lumn, with ut campaigning I r Oliver's appr val,
he had cut her II.
The rest I the week passed by with ut incident,C rdelia leIt I r her annual Iall s j urn n The
Vineyard, Oliver c ntinued t reIuse t even ackn wledge her exis-tence, and she hadn't had a chance t
talk t Jack again. But I r nce, she was t busy with real-w rld c ncernspassing bi l gy, getting
her h mew rk d ne, turning in her English essayst deal with either I them.
Her jawhurt whenever she extended and retracted her Iangs, and she was relieved t Iind she didn't Ieel
that deep-set hunger yet. She learned Ir mher grandm ther that theCaerim niaOscul r , the Sacred
Kiss, was a very special cere-m ny, and m st Blue Bl ds waited until the age I c nsent (eighteen) t
perI rmit; alth ugh incidents I pre-termsuck-ing were rising with every generati ns me vampires
were even as y ung as I urteen r IiIteen when they t k their Iirst human Iamiliar. Taking a Red Bl d
with ut his r her c n-sent was als against The C de.
On a whim, she decided t visit her m ther at the h spi-tal that Friday aItern n aIter sch l, since
Oliver hadn't invited her t c me ver and hang ut at his place as usual. Besides, she had a plan, and
she didn't want t wait until Sunday t try it ut. Instead I reading Ir mthe newspaper like she did every
week, she was g ing t ask her m ther s me questi ns instead. Even iI her m ther c uldn't answer her,
Schuyler w uld Ieel better just getting them II her chest.
The h spital was quieter n a weekday aItern n. There weren't as many visit rs in the l bby, and there
was a des -late, aband ned Ieeling t the building. LiIe was lived else-where; even the nurses l ked
anxi us t take II I r the weekend.
Schuyler l ked thr ugh the glass again beI re stepping inside her m ther's r m. Just as beI re, there,
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
by the I t I the bed, was the same gray-haired man. He was saying s mething t her m ther. Schuyler
pressed her ear against the d r.
"F rgive me .I rgive me .wake up, please, let me help y u.
Schuyler watched and listened. She knewwh it was. It had t be him. Schuyler Ielt her heart beat in
excitement.
The man kept talking. "Y u have punished me l ngen ugh, y u have punished y urselI l ng en ugh.
Return t me. I beg.
Her m ther's nurse appeared at her elb w. "Hi, Schuyler, what are y u d ing? Why d n't y u g
inside?" she asked.
"D n't y u see him?" Schuyler whispered, indicating the glass.
"See wh ?" The nurse asked, puzzled. "I d n't see any-b dy.
Schuyler pressed her lips t gether. S nly she c uld see the stranger. It was as she th ught, and she Ielt
a Ilutter I anticipati n. "Y u d n't?
The nurse sh k her head and l ked at Schuyler as iI there were s mething slightly wr ng with her.
"Yeah, it's just a trick I the light," Schuyler said. "I th ught I saws mething.
The nurse n dded and walked away.
Schuyler entered the r m. The mysteri us visit r had disappeared, but Schuyler n ticed that the chair
was still warm. She l ked ar und the r mand began t call ut s Itly, the Iirst time she had d ne s
since she had sp tted the crying stranger.
"Dad?"Schuyler whispered, walking int the next r m, a Iully Iurnished living r msuite I r guests, and
l ked ar und."Dad? Is that y u? Are y u there?
There was n answer, and the man did n t reappear. Schuyler sat d wn n the chair he had vacated.
"I want t kn wab ut my Iather," Schuyler said t the silent w man in the bed. "Stephen Chase. Wh
was he? What did he d t y u? What happened? Is he still alive? D es he c me visit y u? Was he
here, just n w?" She raised her v ice, s that iI the visit r was still within earsh t, he w uld hear her. S
that her Iather w uld kn wthat she knewit was him. She wished he w uld stay and talk t her.
C rdeliahad always given her the impressi n that her Iather had d ne s me griev us harmt her m ther.
That he had never l ved hera Iact that she c uld n t rec ncile with the image I the s bbing man by
her m ther's bed.
"M m, I need y ur help," Schuyler pleaded. "C rdeliasays y u can get up anytime y u want, but y u
w n't. "Wake up, M m. Wake up I r me.
"Please.
But the w man n the bed didn't m ve. There was n reply.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
"Stephen Chase.Y ur husband. He died when I was b rn. Or s C rdelia tells me. Is that true? Is my
Iather dead?M ther? Please. I need t kn w.
N t even a t e wiggle. N t even a sigh.
Schuyler gave up her questi ns and picked up the news-paper again. She c ntinued t read the wedding
ann unce-ments, Ieeling ddly c mI rted by the litany I marital uni ns and their h m geneity. When she
had read every sin-gle ne, she st d up and kissed her m ther n the cheek.
Allegra'sskin was c ld and waxy t the t uch.
Like t uching death.
SchuylerleIt, m re disheartened than ever.


TWENTY-FOUR


That evening, when Schuyler returned h me, she received an interesting ph ne call Ir mLinda
Farnsw rth.
Stitched I r Civilizati n was the h ttest jeans c mpany in the city (and de Iact the w rld) at the
m ment. Their splashy billb ards were all verTimesSquare, and their three-hundred-d llar signature
"S cial Lies" cutsuper-l w-rise, butt-liIting, thigh-shaping, whiskered, stained, bleached, t rn, and
extra-l ngwere the cult bject I bsessi n am ng thejeanerati . And apparently, the designer had
Ilipped I r Schuyler's m dy P lar id.
"Y u are the newIace I Civilizati na" Linda Farnsw rth gushed n Schuyler's cell ph ne. "They must
have y ua D n't make me bega
"Okay, I guess." Schuyler said, still Ieeling a bit dazed by Linda's exuberance.
Since Schuyler c uldn't c me up with a legitimate reas n t deny the Iashi n g ds (wh was she t say
n t Civilizati n?), the next m rning she j urneyed d wnt wn I r the scheduled ph t sh t. The ph t
studi in Iar westChelsea was h used in a mamm th bl ck-l ng building that had I rmerly been a printing
Iact ry. The service elevat r was manned by a bleary-eyed gentleman in a utility suit, wh had t
manually perate the liIt t take Schuyler t the pr per Il r.
She walked d wn a maze I hallways, n ting the many designer names and Web site addresses that
l ked Iamiliar n the nameplates I the cl sed d rs.
The ph t studi was in the n rtheast c rner. The d r was pr pped pen and l ud, electr nic music
was blasting Ir mthe inside.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
She walked inside, n t quite sure what t expect. The studi was a large, pen space, an all-white b x
with shiny whitep lyurethaned Il rs and Il r-t -ceiling wind ws. Awhite "seamless" backgr und was
carved int ne wall, and a trip d was set up acr ss Ir mit. Yawning interns were wheeling in cl thing
racks s that a dreadl cked stylist c uld examine the garments.
"Schuylera" Ascrawny man with a Iive 'cl ck shad w, wearing a shrunken T-shirt and baggy jeans,
appr ached her h lding a hand ut enthusiastically. He was sm king and wearing Ray Ban aviat r
sunglasses.
"Hey," Schuyler said.
"J nas J nes, remember me?" he asked, liIting his sun-glasses and grinning.
"Oh . I c ursea"Schuyler said, a little intimidated.J nas J nes was ne IDuchesne's m st n t ri us
alums. He had graduated a Iewyears ag . He had made a big splash in the art w rld with his shredded
paintings. He had als d ne a m vie, LumberjackQuadrille, that had placed at Sundance, and his latest
career turn was as a Iashi n ph t grapher.
"Thanks s much I r d ing this," he said. "I'ms rry it's s last minute. But that's the biz." He intr duced
Civilizati n's designer, a I rmer Iit m del with r ck-hard abs and pr truding pelvic b nes.
"I'mAnka ," she said cheerIully. "S rry t get y u up s early n a Saturday. But it's g ing t be a l ng
day. It'll be kay, th ugh. We have t ns I d ughnuts." She m ti ned t the buIIet table laden with
green-and-whiteKrispyKreme b xes.
Schuyler liked her already.
"All right.Let's get y u in hair and makeup," J nas declared, p inting Schuyler t ward a c rner where a
dressing-r mmirr r Iramed with tw r ws I incandescent bulbs was set up in Ir nt I tw
canvas-backed high chairs.
Bliss Llewellyn was sitting in ne I the chairs. Linda had Iailed t menti n that there were tw Iaces I
Civilizati n that year. The tall girl was already made up. Her hair had been teased int a large b uIIant,
and her lips were painted cherry red. She was wearing a IluIIy white r be and chatting n her cell ph ne.
Bliss gaily waved a manicured hand in Schuyler's directi n.
Schuyler waved back. She hauled herselI int the chair, and a British makeup artist wh intr duced
herselI as PerIecti n Smith began t assess the c nditi n I her skin. At the same time, a d ur hairstylist
grabbed chunks I her hair t examine it, clucking his t ngue in disappr val.
"Late night?"PerIecti n inquired, h lding up Schuyler's chin t the light. "Y u're very dry,luv," she said in
a nasal c ckney accent.
"I guess," Schuyler said. She hadn't been sleeping much since The C mmittee meeting. It sp ked her t
think that while she slept, her wn bl d was waking up, seeping int her c nsci usness, and all the
mem ries and v ices I her past lives were clam ring I r c ntr l I her brain. Even th ugh Jack had
explained it didn't w rk that waythe mem ries were y ur mem ries, s they were part I y u, and
there was n thing t be scared ab utSchuyler wasn't s sure.
She cl sed her eyes as her Iace was rubbed, pinched, pr dded, buIIed, p wdered, and slathered; and
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
her hair was pulled, brushed, and bl w-dried, alm st singeing her r ts.
"Owa" she yelped, as the hair dryer came danger usly cl se t burning her scalp. But the grumpy hair
stylist didn't even ap l gize.
She was als having tr uble I ll wing all the directi ns PerIecti n was barking at her. Schuyler had
never realized getting her makeup d ne w uld be this hard. She had t d s many things, s metimes at
the same time, s that the makeup artist c uld d her j b c rrectly. PerIecti n was like a drill sergeant.
"Open.Wider. L k t the side. L k t the ther side. L k at my knee. L k at the ceiling. Cl se
y ur m uth. Rub y ur lips t gether. L k at me. L k at my knee.
Schuyler was exhausted by the time her transI rmati n was Iinished.
'Are y u ready?" PerIecti n asked. She wheeled the chair ar und s Schuyler c uld Iinally seeherselI in
the mirr r.
Schuyler c uldn't believe what she saw. It was the Iace I her m ther staring back at her. The Iace that
smiled serenely Ir mthe wedding ph t s Schuyler kept underneath her bed. She was as g rge us as a
g ddess.
"Oh," Schuylersaid, her eyes wide. Until n w, she had never kn wn she l ked like her m ther.


G d, she was really pretty, Bliss th ught. Pretty wasn't even the w rdthat w uld be like calling
Audrey Hepburn g d-l king. Schuyler was transcendent. Why hadn't she ever n ticed that beI re?
Bliss w ndered. She was talking t Dylan n her celltelling himab ut the h use party she was h sting
later that nighther m mwas g ing t D.C. t visit her dad, andJ rdan was g ing t sleep ver at a
Iriend's. She was telling himwhat time t arrive when she n ticed Schuyler's transI rmati n.
Schuyler l ked every inch a m del. Her lips were Iull and gl ssy. They had bl wn ut her black-blue
hair s that it hung, straight and perIect as an eb ny curtain, d wn her sm th back. The stylist had put
her in a pair I tight Stitched I r Civilizati n jeans; and underneath all th se h b layers, Bliss n ticed that
Schuyler had a great little Iig-ure, slimandwaiIish . Bliss suddenly Ielt like a h rse next t her.
"Talk t y u later, they're calling us n set," she t ld Dylan, I lding up her ph ne.
"G d, y u l k s great," Bliss whispered, when they were lined up next t each ther against the white
backdr p.
"Thanks," Schuyler said. "I Ieel s silly." She had never w rn s little cl thing in public beI re, and was
trying n t t Ieel t selI-c nsci us ab ut it. They were b th wearing thejeans, and the jeans nlytheir
backs were t the camera, and they were b th c vering their chests with I lded arms, even th ugh the
stylist had pasted nude-c l red Band-Aids n their breasts t c ver their nipples. She had agreed t
m del m stly ut I curi sity, a s cial experiment she c uld analyze later, but she had t admit, it was
als pretty Iun.
It was c ld in the studi , and J nas was yelling instruc-ti ns t every ne ver the Black Eyed Peas
blasting Ir mthe verhead speakers. There was a Irenzied atm sphere I jittery assistants and lighting
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
technicians jumping at the ph -t grapher's every w rd. Bliss and Schuyler were attacked with hair spray
canisters whenever there was a break. Adeadpan seri usness prevailed as J nas andAnka heatedly
discussed issues such as whether their hair sh uld be bl wing in the wind r n t (sexy r cliched?), r iI
the jeans l ked better Ir mthe Ir nt r the side.
The girls p sed and p uted, trying n t t blink at the Ilash I the camera. Suddenly Ieeling inspired, Bliss
pulled Schuyler cl ser I r a tight embrace.
"Twisted," J nas smirked Ir mbehind the lens.
During their lunch break, they put their r bes back n and huddled with the crewar und the buIIet table,
piling their plates with vegetables and seared tuna. (Rare, thank G d, Bliss th ught.)
"Sm ke?"J nas asked, taking a crumpled pack I ciga-rettes Ir mhis back p cket. "C'm n girls, j in
me.
They put d wn their plates and I ll wed himandAnka ut t the balc ny.
"S , y u b th g t Duchesne?"Anka asked, taking ut a l ng menth l cigarette and breathing in as
J nas lit it with his Zipp .
"Uh-huh," Bliss n dded, accepting a s mewhat squashed Camel Ir mJ nas.
Schuyler sh k her head. Cigarettes made her ill. She was just ut there I r the c mpany and the view.
The bal-c ny verl ked the aband ned railway Ilats next t the river. Abarge was sl wly making its
way acr ss the water. Schuyler l ked ut happily. She w uld never get tired I l king at the city.
"I went t Kent ,"Anka v lunteered. "I met J nas at RISD.
J nas n dded. "We've been c llab rating ever since." He blew ut a sm ke ring. "We're s glad we
I und y u girls. We really wanted ur kind t be the Iace I the campaign.
"Our kind?"Schuyler asked.
Ankalaughed, and Ilashed her Iangs at them.
"Y u're Blue Bl dsa" Bliss gasped.
"OI c urse."J nas n dded, amused. "M st pe ple in Iashi n are. Haven't y u n ticed?
"H wcan y u tell?
"Y u just kn win the shape I the eyes and a certain verall b ne structure," J nas explained. "Plus,
we're als really, really picky. Just l k at Brann n Fr st, the edit r-in-chieI I Chic. Hell .
"She's a vampire?" Bliss g ggled. But then, it made s much sensethe Irail Iigure, the dark versized
sunglasses, the pale skin, the rig r us dedicati n t perIecti n.
"Wh else?"Schuyler asked.
J nas rattled II several m re names: a p pular "bad-b y" designer wh had recently revitalized theg th
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
-grunge l k, a m del wh was the current Iace I a lingerie c m-pany, an acclaimed makeup artist wh
p pularized blue nail p lish. "There are t ns," he said, t ssing his cigarette II the balc ny.
They changed the subject when several pe ple Ir mthe crewcame ut t j in them, and J nas started
t tell a series I raunchy j kes that nly PerIecti n c uld match in gr ss-ness. Schuyler laughed with all
the rest, Ieeling like she and Bliss were part I an ad h c, slightly deranged Iamily.
"Why isn't Mimi here?" Schuyler asked suddenly. It didn't make sense that she w uld have this
experience while Mimi, wh thrived n this kind I attenti n, had been leIt ut.
Bliss suddenly laughed. She'd c mpletely I rg tten ab ut Mimi. Mimi w uld die when she heard that
Bliss and Schuyler had been ch sen I r the Stitched I r Civilizati n campaign and n t hera
"Yeah, where is Mimi?" Bliss asked.
J nas scratched his head. Schuyler n ticed the Iaded blue marks n his arms. "Mimi F rce? We
c nsidered her I r like, a sec nd. Remember,Ank ? What happened with her?
"Linda t ld me her day rate,"Anka said. "Apparently when she signed up, she t ld Linda she w uldn't
get ut I bed I r less than ten th usand d llars a day. S rry, girls, but with ut any experience, that's just
n t realistic. I didn't even make an IIer. Besides, we wanted y u tw .
"I guess sleep is just t imp rtant t her." Bliss smirked. "She d esn't kn wwhat she's missing." Bliss
gave Schuyler ne I her rare, genuine smiles.
"Right."Schuyler n dded.
Schuyler smiled back. She was starting t like Bliss Llewellyn even m re.
They went back t the sh t, draping themselves ver each ther, and when J nas sh uted, "Firea Firea
Give me Iirea" they practically burned the lens.


TWENTY-FIVE


They let her keep the jeansa Schuyler was thrilled.
The sh t ended late, way past the six 'cl ck end time, and by the time they were d ne it was dark
utside. She said her g d-byes in a Ilurry I air kisses, waving madly t every- ne at the c rner. The
merry gang dispersedAnkaand the stylists disappearing in a T wn Car, the hair and makeup crewint
taxicabs, J nas and his assistants t the nearest bar.
"D y u want a ride upt wn?" Bliss asked. "My driver sh uld be here sh rtly.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
Schuyler sh k her head. "Thanks, but n . I think I'mg ing t walk a bit." It was a nice night, cl udless
and brisk.
Bliss shrugged. She was already sucking n a cigarette, and in her tight T-shirt, newjeans, and purple
m nkey-Iur jacket, she l ked every inch an II-duty m del. "Suit y ur-selI. D n't I rget, mi casa,
t night at ten.
Schuyler n dded. She hugged the plastic bag with her newjeans tightly. She was back t wearing her
many layersa black T-shirt ver a black turtleneck ver a black jersey skirt ver a pair I gray jeans
and white-and-black striped st ckings, with her beat-up black c mbat b ts. She meant t walk east
t ward Seventh Avenue, and c ntinue t str ll up thr ugh Times Square,Linc lnCenter , and theUpper
West Side n the way h me.
As she walked east t wardTenth Avenue , she Ielt a little wary. The streets were c mpletely deserted;
the wareh use buildings that h used newart galleries were dark and I rbid-ding. The streetlights
Ilickered and there were puddles n the gr und Ir ma recent rainst rm. Schuyler suddenly wished she
had taken Bliss up n the IIer I a ride. Feeling anxi us, she began walking Iaster t ward the well-lit
avenues. II she c uld nly get t Ninth, with itsc IIeesh ps and b utiques, she knewshe w uld be saIe.
She tried t shake the Iear II, thinking it was merely paran ia Ir mthe darkand wh was she t be
aIraid I the dark anyway? She was a vampirea She laughed gh ul-ishly, but she Ielt a prickle I Iear just
the same.
She c uldn't deny it anym re.
S me ne was I ll wing her.
Or s mething .. .
She br ke ut int a quick run, her heart beating wildly in her chest, and her breath c ming in quick
gasps. She turned ar und... .
Ashad wagainst a wall.
Her shad w.She blinked.N thing. There was n thing and n ne. Y u're just paran id, y u're just
paran id, she t ld herselI. She I rced herselI t walk sl wer, t sh wherselI she wasn't aIraid.
Only a Iewm re steps t the haven INinth Avenue ... s cl se ... she turned ar und ne m re time ...
and Ielt s mething reach ar und and grab her by the neck. She struggled t breathe, t pen her eyes, t
kick away, but she c uldn't scream; it was as iI s mething had l cked her thr at and was squeezing it
tightly. Adark, giant creature ... tall and str ng as a man, a dense and n xi us presencewith .. .crims n
eyes, crims n eyes with silver pupils shining in the dark, staring at her ... b ring int her brain ... and then
she Ielt it... .
N a N a N a
She reIused t believe it, but yes, there were Iangs prick-ing her skinbut h wc uld it be? She was
ne I thema What was this?
With all the strength she had, she pushed back at her attackerbut she Ilailed, scratching at n thing it
was like the wind had her in its gripit was n use, the Iangs came d wn stabbing her neckher bl d,
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
her bright blue bl d, seeping the liIe ut I her.... She was dizzy and c n-Iused ... she was g ing t pass
utwhen a blue-black blur suddenly materialized, barking madly.
Beautya
The bl dh und snarled and leaped at the dark creature. The m nster released her, and Schuyler
staggered nt the dirty sidewalk, clutching the side I her neck. Her bl d-h und ran in circles, snarling
and barking l udly. The dark creature disappeared.
Beauty was still barking when Schuyler Iinally pened her eyes. S me ne was h lding her up.
"Are y u kay?" Bliss Llewellyn asked.
"I d n't kn w," Schuyler said, still in sh ck. She tried t regain her balance, leaning heavily n Bliss's
sh ulder, her legs still shaking.
"Easy," Bliss s thed.
Beauty was still barking, with l ud, angry h wls, and gr wling at Bliss.
"Heel, Beauty, heel, that's Bliss, she's my Iriend," Schuyler said, putting an arm ut t s the the
trembling d g. But the d g w uldn't st p. Beauty ran ar und Bliss, nip-ping her ankles.
"Oucha
"Beauty, that's en ugha" Schuyler said, taking Beauty's c llar r ughly. Where had she c me Ir m? H w
had she kn wn? Schuyler l ked int the d g's intelligent black eyes. Y u saved me, she th ught.
"What happened?" Bliss asked again.
"I d n't kn w. I was just walking when s mething attacked me Ir mbehind....
"I heard y u," Bliss said, her v ice shaking. "I was waiting ver there, utside the studi , I r my car,
when I heard y u screaming d wn the bl ck, s I ran ver t help.
Schuyler n dded, still dazed Ir mthe experience. Her bag and its c ntents were scattered ar und
herher b ks pen and s aking in the puddles, her prized newjeans crum-pled in a heap.
"What d y u think it was?" Bliss asked, helping Schuyler gather her things and putting themback in her
leather bag.
"I d n't kn w... it seemed ... unreal," Schuyler stam-mered. She zipped up her bag and sh uldered it
r ughly. She was still a bit unsteady n her Ieet, but h lding Beauty's leash made her Ieel better
s meh w. She Ielt str nger ar und the bl dh und, m re substantial.
Already, the mem ry I the attack was staring t Iadea dark mass, with shining red eyes and silver
pupilsand teeth, teeth sharp en ugh t puncture skinIangsjust like hersbut when her Iingers
t uched the side I her neck, there was n thing there anym re. N t a w und. N t even a scratch.

Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html

Catherine Carver`s Diary
23rd I December, 1620
Plym uth,Massachusetts

Alasa Alasa Every ne Ir mR an ke is disappeared. Myles and the men I und n thing I the c l ny. The
shelters had been dismantled, the animals n where in sight. There was n thing but a bare patch I Iield.
N thing remained I the settlement except I r a l ne sign nailed t a tree. J hn sh wed it t me.

CROATAN

It chilled my bl d t see it. Alasa Alasa It is true. We are curseda They are here. All is l sta We weep
I r ur kindred. But we must pr tect the children. We are n t saIea
C.C.
TWENTY-SI

Ridicul us.It was ne I Mimi's Iav rite w rds.
Her pyth nBirkin ?Ridicul usa Her Iather's newG-5 jet? Ridicul usaBlissLlwellyn's h use party?OTT,
baby.Ridicul us t the max. There was n thing like a party t get her bl d Il wing. Mimi surveyed the
cr wded r m. Alm st every ne Ir mThe C mmittee was there, and a great selecti n I
delici us-l king Red Bl ds. She was glad she'd c nvinced Bliss t thr wthe party.
Things had been way t seri us ar und sch lwhat with midterms just ar und the c rner, the seni rs
stressing ab ut applicati ns, the lingering sadness Ir mAggie's Iuneraland they all needed t relax.
Bliss had been hesitant at Iirstbadgering Mimi with a th usand petty c ncerns like, Will any ne sh w?
What ab ut I d? Wh 's g ing t buy the beer? What ab ut the Iurniture? What iI s mething happens t
it? S me I it is really expensivea She had alm st driven Mimi mad with all herangsting . "Leave it all in
my capable hands," Mimi Iinally t ld her Iriend.
S , in quick successi n, Mimi c mmandeered an army I publicists and event planners t transI rmthe
Llewellyns ' triplex penth use apartment int a bacchanalian havenc mplete with a sp ns red pen
bar (as iI alc h l had any eIIect n themanyway), a crew I m dels h lding serving trays bearing
bite-size edibles (p tat es stuIIed with caviar, l bster timbale, and shrimp c cktail), and slew I brightly
c l red g die bags stuIIed with a Iull line I luxuri us bath pr ducts. Mimi had even hired a crew I
reIlex l gists ,ar matherapists , and Swedish masseurs t giveI t, hand, and back massages t the
guests. The white-clad "pamper p lice" were busy at w rk kneading, ch pping, and relieving the
stressed- ut muscles I the private sch l elite.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
Bliss arrived h me t Iind all the Iurniture n the d wn-stairs Il r replaced with zebra-pint c uches,
shag rugs, andAer lamps. ADJ was setting up in Ir nt I the Iireplace.
"D n't Ireak, kay?" Mimi said, h lding up a hand in Ir nt I Bliss's Iace.
"What the I?" Bliss asked, l king ar und at the t tal transI rmati n I her parents' h me int a
gr vy '60s-style nightclub.
Mimi explained she'd had all I Bliss's parents' things secured and transIerred t a st rage l cati n, and
that every-thing w uld be put back t m rr wm rning beI re they g t h me. She'd g tten the idea Ir m
ne I the design magazines, suggesting an empty h use was the perIect place I r a party.
"AmI a genius r what? This way, y u d n't have t w rry ab ut anything being st len r br ken,"
Mimi assured. "Where have y u been, anyway? Y u're latea
Bliss sh k her head, aghast. She w ndered what her stepm ther w uld say iI she kneweverything in
her preci us Penth use desRves was inJersey s mewhere. She gaped at Mimi I r a sec nd, threwher
hands up in resignati n, and headed t her r mt change.
"Y u're welc mea" Mimi called.


The latestsmashcut remix (Destiny's Child vs. Nirvana) was blasting Ir mtheLlewellyns ' surr und-s und
stere system. Mimi smiled t herselI in the dark. She wet her lips, which sh ne brightly with bl d. Her
Italian b yIriend was s mewhere, passed ut as usual.
"Lycheemartini?" a waitress asked, IIering her a c cktail.
The perIect chaser.Mimi smiled and emptied its c ntents. Then she t k an ther and an ther, while the
c nIused server just stared at her.
"Thirsty?" a v ice behind her asked.
Mimi turned ar und.
Dylan Ward was watching her, his dark hair masking his eyes. The same Ieeling I dread came ver her.
"What's it t y u?" she sneered.
Dylan shrugged.
Mimi walked ver t him. She was wearing a cr pped red leatherDsquared jacket and a vented chiII n
Balenciaga skirt that hugged her curves. It ann yed her that Dylan didn't even n tice h wg d her legs
l ked in that skirt. There was s mething impudent ab ut that. As iI he didn't even care what she l ked
like. Blasphemya She checked his neck.S Iar, n sign that Bliss had tried t seal their b nd. Mimi smiled
t herselI. An idea I rmed in her head. N w, this c uld be Iun.
II she perI rmed theCaerim niaOscul r n Dylan beI re Bliss did, he w uld be b und t her I rever.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
He w uld I rget all ab ut Bliss. That w uld serve Bliss right I r c ntinuing t see himaIter Mimi had
I rbade her t d s . N t that she was even interested in Dylan r anything, she was just b red.
She l wered her lashes Ilirtati usly. "Help me with s me-thing?" she asked, leading himaway Ir mthe
party.
In the shad ws, she l ked like a helpless beautiIul girl, and with ut even thinking ab ut it, Dylan I und
himselI aut matically I ll wing her Iarther and Iarther, deeper int the dark.
"But she invited mea I kn wthe wner I this apartmenta" Schuyler argued. She'd never even heard I a
guest list I r a h use party. But then again, she'd never been invited t ne. The elevat r had pened t
the l west Il r I the apart-ment, and Schuyler I und her way barred by a cadre I st ny-Iaced PR
girls.
"Did y u RSVP?" ne I themdemanded, snapping her gumand l king baleIully at Schuyler's
mismatched ut-Iit. She was wearing a Il wing tunic with layers I plastic beads, denimsh rts ver black
leggings, and scuIIed c wb y b ts.
"I nly heard ab ut it t day," Schuyler gr aned.
"I'ms rry, y u're n t n the list," the clipb ard girl replied, sav ring the rejecti n.
Schuyler was ab ut t step back int the elevat r and g h me, when Bliss appeared Ir mbehind a
hidden d rway.
"Blissa"Schuyler cried. "They w n't let me in.
Bliss marched ver. She had sh wered and changed int a slim-IittingMiss ni dress with zigzagging
stripes and high-heeled gladiat r sandals. She t k Schuyler by the armand pulled her thr ugh the PR
barricade, ver the pr tests I the clipb ard helli ns. She led Schuyler int the main r m, which was
cr wded with Duchesne kids angling I r drinks at the bar, sprawling n c uches, r dirty-dancing by the
wind ws.
"Thanks," Schuyler said.
"S rry ab ut that. It's Mimi. I t ld her my parents were away and I was thinking I h sting a little
get-t gether, and she puts t gether like, the MTVM vie AwardsAIter Party.
Schuyler laughed. She l ked ar undthere were g -g b ys and g -g girls writhing in cages hung
Ir mthe ceiling, and she rec gnized several Iam us Iaces in the mix. "Isn't that?" Schuyler asked,
n ticing a peppy teen actress Iunneling beers in Ir nt I a cheering cr wd.
"Yeah," Bliss sighed. "C'm n, let me sh wy u the rest I the place. It d esn't usually l k like this.
"I'd l ve t but I have t d s mething Iirst.
Bliss raised her eyebr w. "Oh?
"I have t Iind Jack F rce.
She had t Iind Jack. She had t tell himwhat had happened t her. They had barely sp ken t each
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
ther since the night I theInI rmals , but she perceived he was the nly ne wh w uld understand. She
was Iighting t h ld n t the mem ryalready it was slippingalready she c uldn't remember the
exact details I where, why, r h wit had happenedexcept I r the eyes, eyes glimmering red in the
dark, with silver pupils.Red eyes and sharp teeth.
But theLlewellyns ' penth use was like a h use that mag-ically expandedeverywhere y u turned, there
were r ms and r ms II innumerable hallways, with hidden treasures. Schuyler I und an ind r lap
p l, a Iully equipped gym, and what l ked t be a staIIed day spa n the premises, c mplete with
massage tables and essential ils, as well as a game r mIilled with ld-Iashi ned carnival arcade t ys,
with mechanical I rtune tellers and penny games, all I themin perIect w rking c nditi n. She pushed a
penny int a sl t and rem ved her I rtune.
YOUARE ATRAVELERAT HEART.
MANY JOURNEYS AWAIT YOU.
She wished Oliver were there t see it.
"Have y u seen Jack? Jack F rce?" she asked every ne she bumped int .
She was t ld that he had just leIt, r was n an ther Il r, r had just arrived. He seemed t be
everywhere and n where.
At last, she I und himin an empty guest bedr m n the upperm st Il r. He was strumming a guitar
and singing s Itly t himselI. D wnstairs was the h use party I the cen-tury, but Jack preIerred the
silence upstairs.
"Schuyler?" he said, with ut l king up.
"S mething happened," she said, cl sing the d r behind her s Itly. N wthat she'd Iinally I und him, all
the Ieelings she'd b ttled up came ut. She was trembling, s scared that she hadn't even n ticed that
he'd divined her presence Ir msense al ne. Her eyes were wide and Iright-ened. With ut thinking twice,
she ran t his side and sat next t him n the bed.
He put an armar und her pr tectively. "What's wr ng?
'I was at a ph t sh t t day, and aIterward, I was walking al ne ... and I was ... I can't remember...."
She struggled I r the w rds.F r the images. At the time, they were burned int her brain, yet it Ielt like
she was graspingreaching I r them. She held n t the tendrils I the mem rys mething terrible had
alm st happened t herbut what? What w rds c uld c nvey what had happened, and why was her
mem ry betraying her? "I was attacked," she I rced herselI t say.
"What?" He cursed. He sh k her sh ulders,then held her cl se.'By wh m? Tell me.
"I d n't remember. It's g ne, but it was ... p werIul, I c uldn't st p it. Red ... red eyes ... teeth ... g ing
t suck ... here," she said, p inting t her neck. "I Ielt it, deep int my veins ... but l k, I d n't have any
puncture w unds? I d n't understand.
Jack Ir wned. He kept his arms ar und her. "I'mg ing t tell y u s mething.S mething imp rtant.
Schuyler n dded.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
"S mething is hunting us. There is s mething ut there hunting Blue Bl ds," he said s Itly. "I wasn't sure
beI re, but I amn w.
"What d y u mean, hunting us? D n't y u have it back-ward? We're the nes every ne else needs t
be aIraid Ia
Jack sh k his head. "I kn wit d esn't make sense.
"Because The C mmittee said we can't bekil
"Exactly," Jack interrupted. "They've always t ld us we live I rever, that we're imm rtal and
invulnerable, that n th-ing can kill us, right?" he asked.
Schuyler n dded. "That's what I was telling y u.
'And they're right. I've tried.
"Tried what?
"I've jumped in Ir nt I trains. I've cut myselI. I was the ne wh Iell ut the library wind wlast year.
Schuyler remembered that rum rh ws me kid had jumped II the third-Il r balc ny and landed in
the c rtile. But she hadn't believed it. N ne c uld survive a IiIty-I t jump and live, much less land n
their Ieet.
"Why?
"T see iI what they were telling us was true.
"But y u c uld have dieda
"N . I c uldn't. The C mmittee was right ab ut that, at least.
"That nightthat night in Ir nt I Bl ck 122y u were hit by the taxi.
He n dded. "But it didn't hurt me.
"N ." Schuyler n dded. S she had seen himIall under-neath the taxicab's wheels. He sh uld have died.
But he had appeared n the sidewalk, wh le. She'd th ught she was just tired Ir mthe night, that her
eyes were strained. But it had actually happened. She'd seen it.
"Schuyler, listen t me. N thing can harmus . . . except
"Except... ?
"I d n't kn wa" He I lded his hands int Iists in Irustra-ti n. "But there is s mething ut there. The
C mmittee isn't telling us everything.
Jack explained that beI re the Iirst meeting, the seni r members I The C mmittee decided that they
w uldn't tell the premature ab ut the danger. That instead I warning every ne, it was best t leave them
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
in the dark I r n w. It was en ugh that they w uld Iind ut ab ut their true heritage Iirst; n reas n t
raise alarmbells where there might be n ne. Except that he hadn't believed them. He knewthey were
keeping s mething Ir mthem.
"They're h lding s mething back. I think it's s mething that might have happened beI re, in ur hist ry.
S mething t d withPlym uth , when we Iirst came here. I've tried t dig it up, but it's as iI it's bl cked
Ir mmy sight. When I try t think ab ut it, all I remember is a w rd. Amessage nailed t a tree in an
empty Iield. It c ntained ne w rd:Cr atan .
"What's that?"Cr atan. Schuyler shuddered, repulsed by the mere s und I it.
"I have n idea." Jack sh k his head. "I d n't even kn wwhat it is. It c uld be anything. It might be a
place, I'mn t sure. But I think it has t d with what they haven't t ld us ab ut.S mething with the
p wer t kill Blue Bl ds.
"But h wd y u kn w? H wcan y u be s sure?" she asked him, alarmed.
"Because, like I t ld y u, AggieCar nd let was mur-dered," he said, l king intently int her deep blue
eyes. Schuyler was silent."And?
"Aggie was a vampire.
Schuyler gasped. OI c ursea That's why she'd Ielt s empathic at the Iuneral. She'd kn wn, s meh w,
that Aggie was ne I them.
"She's never c ming back. She's g ne. Her bl dall I itwas drained Ir mher b dy.Her mem ries,
her lives, her s ulg ne. Sucked ut, just like we suck the Red Bl ds," he said sadly."Extinguished.
Taken.
Schuyler l ked at himin h rr r. It c uldn't be true.
"And she wasn't the Iirst. This has happened beI re."


Catherine Carver`s Diary
25th I December, 1620
Plym uth,Massachusetts

Panic everywhere. HalI I us are determined t Ilee, t Iind saIer gr und. Perhaps head s uth, Iarther
away. The C nclave is meeting t day t discuss the alternatives. J hn is c nvinced that ne I themis
hidden am ngus , that ne I us has succumbed t their p wer. He is determined t c nvince the Elders.
WilliamWhite will stand with him, he said. But Myles Standish is adamant ab ut staying. He has argued
that there is n pr I, even iI theR an ke c l ny is g ne, that they were vertaken byCr atan . A
hysterical lie, he says, perhaps even a willIul misleading. He will n t believe messages leIt n trees. The
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
C nclave is ever inacc rdance, it has never happened that they have Iailed t reach an agreement. It is
n t ur way t d ubt. Myles Standish has led us well I r as l ng as I can remember. But J hn is certain
there is danger. Stay r Ilee? But where w uld we g ?
C.C.
TWENTY-SEVEN


What was up with the dry ice? It was like a bad magic sh win there. Bliss sh ed away s me
Iresh-men helping themselves t m re than ne g die bag n the exit table, and circled the r m. She
Ielt a rising panic. She c uldn't Iind Dylan anywhere. The ne guy she wanted t see, and he was missing.
She Il pped d wn n the leather c uch and l ked at the hallway leading t the massage r ms. Tw
pe ple were making ut behind the ice sculpture. The taller Iigure l ked Iamiliarthat w rn, beaten
leather sleeve, the Iringes I that white silk scarIit had t be .. .
"Dylan?" Bliss asked.
Mimi turned ar und. Shit. She sh uld have taken himint the bathr m r s mewhere m re private.
She retracted her Iangs quickly and put n her m st dazzling smile.
"Bliss, sweetie.There y u are," she said.
Dylan turned ar und, his eyes glassy and unI cused. "What are y u d ing?" Bliss asked Mimi.
"N thing."Mimi shrugged. "We were just talking.
Bliss pulled Dylan ut I the shad wy c rner. She checked his neck I r marks, but there were n ne.
G d. She glared at Mimi and led himaway.
"What were y u d ing with her?" Bliss demanded.
Dylan shrugged. He hadn't even realized he was with Mimi F rce. He'd been l st in a daze, as iI he were
under a spell. He blinked his eyes and l ked at Bliss. "Where have y u been?" heasked, his v ice
suddenly n rmal.
"L king I r y u," she said.
He smiled.
"C'm n, I want t sh wy u my r m," Bliss said.
Dylan l ked strange in the c nIines I her bedr m. It was as iI he were t male, t dirty ... t real.
He smirked at her white princess bed with the IluIIy Il ral c mI rter, at the pale green rug, the pink
wallpaper, the white wicker arm ire, the I ur-st ry d llh use,the theater lights n her vanity table.
"Okay, I kn w. It's a littlegirlie ," she c nceded.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
"Alittle?" he teased.
"It's n t me. It's my stepm ther. She thinks I'mstill like, twelve r s mething.
Dylan grinned. He shut the d r s Itly and dimmed the lights.
Bliss suddenly Ielt nerv us. "Excuse me I r a sec," she said, slipping int the bathr mt catch her
breath.
It was g ing t be her Iirst time, and she was a little scared ab ut it. She was g ing t d itITthe
Caerim niaOscul r that w uld bind himt her in bl d she was g ing t give himthe Sacred
Kissbut he didn't kn wit yet.
Apparently, y u just started d ing itand theythe humansthey w uld begin t writhe in ecstasy
and it w uld all be h t and sweaty andand aIterward she w uld Ieel better than she'd ever Ielt beI re.
When she walked ut, Dylan was already lying n the bed, his back against the IluIIy d wn pill ws. He
l ked skinny and sexy in his ripped Ben F lds T-shirt. He kicked II his Nike Dunks and patted the
empty space next t him.
Bliss I und his scarI and leather jacket hanging n the bedp st, and it gave her an idea. She slipped a
duplicate I her keys in the p cket.
"What are y u d ing?" Dylan asked.
"N thingjust giving y u s mething that will maybe make it easier I r us t get t gether next time," Bliss
said c yly.
"Well, get ver here n w.
"I'mc ld," she said, slipping under the c vers.
AIter a sec nd, Dylan pulled aside the c vers and slid in beside her.
They lay there I r a while, listening t the s und Igangsta rap thumping Ir mthe sec nd Il r.
"Y u are really c ld," he marveled.
"But y ur skin's warm," she said.
He wrapped his arms ar und her. They started kissing and Bliss was thankIul she didn't black ut this
time, as she Ielt his hand expl re underneath her dress, reaching I r her bra. She smiled, thinking b ys
were all alike. He w uld get what he wanted, but n t beI re she g t what she wanted.
She cl sed her eyes, Ieeling his warmhands unclasp the h k I her bra. He pulled her dress II, ver
her head. She raised herselI a little II the bed t help him, and then she was lying there, in nly her
C sabella th ng, beI re him.
She pened her eyes t see himh vering ver her. She pulled himcl ser.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
He made a cr ss I his arms and pulled his T-shirt verhis chest. He was s skinny she c uld Ieel the
ribs underneath his skin. They were b th breathing quickly, and in a m ment, he was lying n t p I her,
pushing his b dy against hers.
She caressed his neck and Ielt the hard bump underneath his jeans pressing against her thigh. She r lled
ver him, s that she was n t p I his chest. He held her cl se, his hands caressing her back, slipping II
her underwear. She began kissing his m uth, the line I his jaw, licking her way d wn.
She Ielt her back teeth extend; she was g ing t d itN wa She c uld alm st smell his thick, rich
bl dshe raised her jaw, and suddenly, the r mwas ablaze with light.
"What the hell?" Dylan p ked his head ut I the c m-I rter.
Tw giggly s ph m res were standing in the hallway, watching them.
"O psa
Bliss l ked up at them, her Iangs still sticking ut. The tw girls at the d r screamed.
Bliss quickly disarmed. Shit. The C mmittee had warned themab ut thisthey c uldn't all wthe Red
Bl ds t see themas they were, t kn wtheir real nature. They were just s me kids. Maybe they'll
think they were just imagining things.
There was a l ud thump Ir mbehind her. Dylan had Iallen II the bed and was r lling heavily t the
Il r.
Still underneath the c mI rter, Bliss turned and sawwhat had made himjump. Her Iather was standing
in the hallway. Where had he c me Ir m? H whad they g tten h me s early? Bliss scrambled t put
her dress back n.
"What's g ing n in here?" the senat r asked. "Bliss, are y u all right? And wh are y u?" he asked.
Dylan was h pping ar und, zipping up his jeans and pulling d wn his T-shirt. He grabbed his leather
jacket and stuIIed his Ieet back int his sneakers."Uh, nice meeting y u, t .
"What is the meaning I this?" F rsyth Llewellyn demanded."Bliss, wh was that b y?
With a sinking heart, she heard Dylan's quick I tsteps st mp d wn the stairs.
He'd never be hers n w.
"Y ung lady, are y u g ing t explain? What exactly is g ing n in here? And what happened t all I
ur Iur-niture?


TWENTY-EIGHT

Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html

Schuyler didn't d ubt that what Jack had t ld her was true. He t ld her ab ut the way they'd I und
Aggie at the club, with all her bl d drained, just like a Red Bl d aIter Iull c nsumpti n, except it had
happened t ne I their wn. Just as they preyed n the humans, s mething was preying n them. Jack
explained that while the Blue Bl ds kept t The C de there hadn't been a human death due t
bl d-sucking in cen-turies, th se that hunted the Blue Bl ds were n t as chivalr us.
Then he t ld her ab ut s me girl wh 'd died inC nnecticut ver the summer.An ther Blue Bl d. She
had been a H tchkiss s ph m re, and they'd I und her in the same c nditi n as Aggie. There was als a
sixteen-year- ld Ch ate b y wh 'd died just beI re sch l had started. He'd been in The C mmittee as
well. Again, the bl d was drained c mpletely Ir mhis b dy.Aggie's death was just the latest ne they
knewab ut.
Jack was certain the Elders were hiding s mething Ir mthem, and he was determined t Iind ut what it
was. "Why d I Ieel like I've seen this beI re, like I've lived this beI re? But there's s mething bl cking
my mem ry. Alm st as iI s me ne's tampered with it s meh w. But we need t kn w. We need t
kn wwhat's happening t us. And why every ne wh 's dying is ur age. Are y u with me?" he asked.
Schuyler n dded.
"We need t Iind ut h wt st p it.F r all ur sakes. We can't live in the dark, like we are n w. The
Elders think it will just g away, but what iI it d esn't? I want t be prepared I r itwhatever it is.
He l ked s passi nate andangry, Schuyler c uldn't help but put a hand n his cheek. He l ked at her
intently. "It's g ing t be danger us. I d n't want t drag y u int s mething y u might regret.
"I d n't care," Schuyler said. "I agree with y u. We have t Iind ut what this thing is. And why it's
preying n us.
He pulled her cl ser t him, and she Ielt his heart beat-ing in his chest. It was amazing h wcalmand
centered she Ieltlike this was the nly place in the w rld where she bel nged.
He leaned ver, his n se gently brushing hers, and she tilted her chin up t be kissed.
When their lips met, and their t ngues t uched, it was like they were kissing in a hundred diIIerent
places, and her senses were Il ded with newsensati ns and ld mem ries.
He kissed her, and their s uls melted int each ther in a mel dy lder than time.
"What a pretty picture.
Schuyler and Jack pulled away.
Mimi F rce was standing in Ir nt I them, clapping her hands sl wly.
"Mimi, there's n need I r that," Jack said c ldly.
Schuyler blushed. Why n earth was Jack's sister staring at her like thatlike, like, like she was jeal us
I thema H wcreepy and weird was that? Was she missing s mething here? Mimi was his twin sister.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
"TheLlewellyns are here. They're pretty pissed. I came t warn y u. Weg tta scram.
Jack and Schuyler I ll wed Mimi t the back staircase, where d zens I kids Ir mthe party were
already streaming ut, carryingtheir g die bags and chattering excitedly.
"Damna I I rg t t take nea" Mimi cursed. "And I'm ut I b dy l ti n, t ," she lamented as they
walked ut t the l bby. The building's c ncierge l ked a tad h rriIied t enc unter a rash I teenagers
bursting thr ugh, s me still carrying beer b ttles and c cktail glasses. He gazed pen-m uthed at the
sight I them.
The gr up dispersed, and Mimi ran ut t the street, where their car was waiting. 'Jack, are y u
c ming?" she asked, turning ar und impatiently.
"Y u're leaving?" Schuyler asked.
"F r n w.I'll explain later, kay?" he said, taking her hand and giving it a squeeze. Then he let g .
Schuyler sh k her head. N . Why did he have t g ? She wanted himt stay by her side, n t run II
again s me-where with ut her. Her lips still ached with the I rce I his kiss, her cheeks red Ir mhis
stubble.
"D n't be like that. Remember what I said. Be careIul. D n't g anywhere with ut Beauty.
She n dded mutely, and was ab ut t turn away. Then, as iI she th ught better I it, she reached ut
and grabbed his arm. "Jack.
"Yes?
"I ..." she Ialtered. She knewwhat she wanted t tell him, but she c uldn't bring herselI t say the w rds.
It turned ut she didn't have t . Jack put a hand n his heart and n dded. "I Ieel the same way ab ut
y u.
Then he turned ar und and disappeared inside the black T wn Car that was carrying his twin.


TWENTY-NINE


Schuyler watched the car pull away, c nIlicting Ieelings and th ughts warring in her brain. Aggie was a
vampireand she was deadwhich meant she, Schuyler, c uld die t . She'd alm st died that dayiI
n t I r Beauty. She watched the car disappear ar und the c rner. He was leaving her. S mething ab ut
the way he had walked away made her Ieel as iI he were walking away Ir mher I rever, and she w uld
always be al ne.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
"Miss, can I help y u?" the disgruntled c ncierge asked, pursing his thin lips.
Schuyler l ked ar und. She was the nly pers n stand-ing in theLlewellyns ' marble l bby. "Actually,
yes," she replied sm thly. "I need a taxi, please.
The d rman at the Ir nt s n sent her n her way.
"H ust n and Essex, please," she instructed the driver. She was g ing t the nly place where she knew
she w uld Iind a saIe haven.


The line at The Bank was l ng as usual, but this time Schuyler walked straight up t the Ir nt I the r pe.
"Excuse me," she t ld the drag queen, "but I really need t get inside right n w.
TheCher wannabe pursed her lips. "And I really need a tummy tuck. But n b dy gets what they want.
Get in the back like every ne else.
"Y u d n't understand. I said, LET ME INRIGHT NOW. The w rds were a r ar in her mind, even
str nger than the last time she had tried it.
The drag queen staggered back, h lding her head as iI she'd received a bl w. She n dded t the d r
g ns, wh liIted the r pe.
Schuyler str de in, mentally waving away the ticket taker and the IDcheckwh were thr wn backward
t ward the wall as iI they were just d min s.
Inside the club was pitch-black, and Schuyler c uld barely make ut the shad wy I rms I revelers
swaying, humming and dancing t the int xicating music. The music was s l ud, she c uld hear it in every
p re I her b dy. She Ielt rather than sawher way thr ugh the cr wd, sl wly but steadily pushing her
way I rward thr ugh the mass I dancers. Finally, she I und the stairs that led up t the l unge n the
t p Il r.
"Grass, crank, bl w,"came the hiss I a reptilian drug dealer perched n the third step."S mething I r
the little lady? Take her t the stars?
Schuyler sh k her head and hurried past him.
She I und Oliver n the sec nd level, next t the win-d ws, sitting cr ss-legged and admiring the view
I Avenue A. He l ked at nce al I and perIectly miserable. She Ielt exactly the same way. She didn't
realize h wmuch she'd missed himuntil she sawhis Iamiliar Iace, his hazel eyes hid-den underneath his
l ng bangs.
"Well, well. T what d I we this h n r?" he asked, when he n ticed her standing in Ir nt I him. He
pushed his hair ut I his eyes and stared at her in a h stile Iashi n.
"I have t tell y u s mething," she said.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
Oliver cr ssed his arms. "What is it? Can't y u see I'mbusy?" he snapped, m ti ning t the large empty
space sur-r unding him. "Well, I was busy," he muttered. "There were t ns I pe ple here just a minute
ag . I d n't kn wh wy u missed them.
'Just because ..." she pr tested.Just because I leIt y u at the dance al ne and went t be with an ther
guy, she had begun t say, but she st pped herselI right in time. She had leIt Oliver al ne, and I r all
intents and purp ses, she had been his date at theInI rmals . He was her best Iriend, and she sawhimall
the time, but at the dance, they were supp sed t have been a c uple. N t in a r mantic way, but in a,
we're-here-at-this-crappy-dance-t gether-s -let's-make-the-best- I-it kind I way. What she'd d ne
was incredibly rude. H ww uld she Ieel iI Oliver had d ne the same t her? II he'd leIt her al ne, with
n ne t talk t , while he went II and danced with Mimi F rce? She w uld pr bably give himas c ld a
sh ulder as he was giving her n w.C lder, m st likely.
"Ollie, I'ms rry ab ut last Saturday night," she said Iinally.
"What's that?
"I'ms rry. I said I'ms rry. Okay? I wasn't thinking.
He l ked up at the ceiling, as iI talking t an unseen bserver. "Schuyler Van Men, admitting she was
wr ng. I d n't believe it." But his hazel eyes were crinkling, and she knewthey were Iriends again.
That was all she'd had t say. S rry.
N matter h w verused and abused it was, s rry was still a p werIul w rd. P werIul en ugh t make
her best Iriend talk t her again.
"S we're kay?
Oliver had t laugh."Yeah. I guess.
Schuyler smiled. She sat d wn n the ledge next t him. He was her best Iriend, her c nIidante, her s ul
mate, and in the past week, she had ign red and neglected him, pulling away because she was t
Irightened t tell himthe truth ab ut herselI. "I have t tell y u s mething ab ut me." She reached ut and
t k his hands in hers. "Oliver, I'ma ... I'mavam...
Oliver's Iace s Itened. "I already kn w.
"Excuse me?" she demanded.
"Schuyler. Let me sh wy u s mething."


Still h lding her hand, he led her d wn past the basement pit and the c ed bathr ms t ward the c rner
where she had enc untered that strange blank wall the last time they were at the club. He muttered a Iew
w rds, and an utline I a d r gl wed brightly. Oliver pushed s Itly n it, and the wall swung pen,
revealing steep, curving stairs that led t the l west b wels I the building.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
"What is this?" Schuyler asked as they stepped thr ugh the entryway. The wall shut behind them, leaving
themal ne in the dark.
Oliver rem ved a thin Ilashlight Ir mhis shirt p cket. "F ll wme," he said. They began t walk d wn
the stairs, which spiraled d wn I r what seemed like miles. Schuyler was ut I breath by the time they
arrived at the b tt mm st stair.
There was an ther d r, a m re magniIicent ne this time, made I g ld, eb ny, and platinum.
INGREDIOR PERCIPIOANIMUS read the inscripti n ar und the perimeter.
Oliver rem ved a g ld key Ir mhis wallet and twisted it in the l ck.
"Where are we? What is this all ab ut?" Schuyler asked, stepping tentatively inside the r m.
It was a librarya large, airy space that smelled like chalk dust and parchment. There were
b kshelves that reached seventy-Iive Ieet t the ceiling, and a maze I lad-ders and bridges that
c nnected the t wering stacks. It was bright and well-lit, and dec rated with c zyAubuss n rugs and
bankers lamps. Several sch lars atr llt p desks l ked up curi usly when they entered. Oliver b wed t
themand led Schuyler t a private cubicle.
"This is the Rep sit ry I Hist ry. We keep it pr tected.
'Wh 'swe?
Oliver put a hand t his lips. He led her t a small, shabby desk in the back I the r m. It held a
gleaming iB k, sev-eral Iramed ph t graphs, and a d zen P st-it n tes. He searched the shelI n t p I
the desk and made a satisIied s und as he t k d wn a b k, musty and dirty Ir myears I use. He
blews Itly n the c ver. He Ilipped t the Iirst page and displayed it t her. He p inted t the crumbling
page where a Iamily tree was illustrated, the name VanAlen inscribed in the center, with Hazard-Perry in
small letters underneath.
"What is this?
"It's h wwe're related," Oliver explained. "H wwe're ass ciated, I mean. We're n t Iamily, s d n't
w rry.
"What d y u mean?" she asked, still trying t Iath mthe Iact that there was a secret library underneath
the nightclub.
"My Iamily has served y urs I r centuries.
"C me again?
"I'ma C nduit. Like every ne in my Iamily. We've been caretakers I r the Blue Bl ds I rever. We
w rk as d ct rs, lawyers, acc untants, Iinanciers. We've served the VanAlens in that capacity since the
1700s. Y u kn wDr. Pat? She's my aunt.
"What d y u mean, serve us? Y ur Iamily is s much richer than mine," Schuyler p inted ut.
"An accident I Iate.We IIered t ameli rate the situa-ti n, but y ur grandm ther w uldn't hear I it.
`Times have changed,' she said.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
"But what d es that meana C nduit?
"It means,we serve a diIIerent purp se. N t all humans are Iamiliars.
"Y u kn wab ut that?" she asked. She l ked d wn at the page again, rec gnizing the names I her
ancest rs n her m ther's side.
"I kn wen ugh.
"But why didn't y u ever say anything?
"I'mn t all wed.
"But h wc me y u can kn wwhat y u are, but I didn't kn wwhat I was?
"Search me. That's h wit's been since the beginningBeing a C nduit is s mething that's passed d wn,
that's taught, and it's easier t teach at a y ung age. We serve t keep the Blue Bl ds a secret, t
pr tect themand help themmanage in the real w rld. The practice is an ld ne, and nly a Iew
vam-pire Iamilies keep C nduits n wadays. M st g t rid I theirs, like the F rces. It's an ancient
traditi n, and s me Blue Bl ds d n't keep t the ld ways anym re. Like y ur grandm ther said, things
are diIIerent n wI'm ne I the last I ur kind.
"Why?
"Wh kn ws?" Oliver shrugged. "M st Blue Bl ds can take care I themselves anyway. They d n't
need us any-m re. They d n't trust the Red Bl ds t help; they want t c ntr l theminstead.
There was a c mm ti n at an ther desk, and they turned t see a c wering, hunchbacked librarian
being berated by an angry lder w man with a distinctly rec gniz-able bl nd b b.
"What's happening?
"Anders is getting it again. Mrs. DuP nt is n t happy with the way his research is g ing.
Schuyler rec gnized the graceIul Iigure I The C mmittee chair. 'And Anders is?
"Alibrarian.All the library staII is Red Bl d. C nduits wh d n't w rk I r any single Iamily anym re.
Schuyler n ticed that the Blue Bl ds at the library rdered the librarians ar und with a grand,
auth ritative Iashi n, and I r a m ment she was embarrassed t be a vam-pire. What happened t
c mm n c urtesy?
"Why d they talk t y u guys like that?
"Y ur Iamily never did," Oliver said, blushing. "But like I t ld y u, m st Blue Bl ds resent us. They
d n't even think we sh uld be here, r kn wab ut them. But n ne Ir my ur side wants t take ver
the Rep sit ry. N ne's inter-ested in caretaking s me ld b ks.
"What's she d ing here anyway?" Schuyler w ndered, watching Mrs. DuP nt l k thr ugh s me
paperw rk her C nduit had br ught.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
"This is the headquarters I the C nclave I Elders. The Wardensy u kn w. They meet ver there, in
the b ard-r mbehind the stacks.
"H wl ng have y u kn wn? Ab ut me, I mean." Schuyler asked. She l ked back at his desk, at the
ph t -graph I the tw I themthat had been taken the past summer inNantucket . Oliver, his Iace red
Ir mthe sun, was squinting at the camera. He had a dark, deep caramel tan and his hair had lightened t
a rich g lden br wn, while Schuyler l ked pale and unc mI rtable, underneath a huge Il ppy beach hat,
a white smudge I sunscreen n her n se. They had l ked s y ung then, even iI it was nly a Iew
m nths ag . Last summer they had been justkids,just a bunch I kids wh were dreading g ing back t
high sch l. They had spent the tw weeks sailing and making b nIires n the beach. T Schuyler it Ielt
like a liIetime ag .
"I've kn wn since I was b rn. I was assigned t y u," he said simply.
"Y u were assigned t me?
"As I understand it, every member I a vampire Iamily is assigned a human c nduit at birth. I'mtw
m nths y unger than y u. Y u c uld even say y u're the reas n why I was b rn. I s ught y u ut.
Remember?
Schuyler l ked back n all her mem ries. She remem-bered n wh whe kept making Iriendly
vertures, and h wshe'd resisted at Iirst. He was always sitting next t her in class, r asking her
questi ns, and Iinally, in the sec nd grade, when they'd shared that dismal lettuce sandwich, they'd
bec me Iriends.
"And what exactly d y u d ?
"I help y u. I nudge y u in a certaindirecti n, suggest h wt use y ur p wers s y u can disc ver them
n y ur wn. Remember that night at The Bank, when I kept telling y u `think p sitive and we'll get in'?
She n dded. It was as she suspected, and she t ld himh wshe had used it this evening t get past the
drag queen at the d r.
He guIIawed. "Priceless. Wish I'd seen that ne.
She smiled wryly. "Well, they did tell us at C mmittee meetings that mind-c ntr l was p ssible.
"But nly very Iewvampires can d it," he p inted ut.
"I d n't get it, th ugh. II this Rep sit ry is d wn herewhy were y u s w rried ab ut us n t getting
int The Bank? Surely there's an ther entrance t this place.
Oliver n dded. "There is.Thr ugh Bl ck 122. That's why they have a `members- nly' p licy. As in,Blue
Bl ds and their guests nly. I c uld have g ne in thr ugh there, I'm ne I the Iewwith a keyeven
th ugh I'm nly a l wly Red Bl dbut I hate that place.
She n dded I r himt c ntinue.
"The Bank is a Iluke. F r the l ngest time it was empty. But then a c uple I neighb rs and h meless
pe ple rep rted seeing pe ple g in and never c ming ut, and t alleviate suspici n, they Iigured they'd
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
rent ut the t p Il rs t any ne interested. This club pr m ter came al ng Iirst, and they liked the idea
I a nightclub s much they decided t pen an ther club next d rbut a private ne I c urse.
Schuyler pr cessed all the inI rmati n. The private night-club, The C mmittee, it certainly Iit in with
everything she knewab ut the Blue Bl ds s Iar. They liked t keep t themselves.
She was still b thered by Oliver's admissi n, h wever, and his explanati n I r their Iriendship. She
c uldn't help but remember h wOliver was always l aning her m ney, and she never had en ugh t
repay him, but he never seemed t w rry ab ut it, r ask I r it back. Was that part I it? Where did the
C nduit end and her Iriend begin?
"S anyway, y u're n t really my best Iriend? Y u're like, my babysitter?
Oliver laughed and raked a hand thr ugh his thick hair. "Y u can call me whatever y u want. Y u're just
n t g ing t get rid I me that easily.
"Then why did y u get s mad at me when I t ld y u ab ut The C mmittee?
He sighed in Irustrati n. "I d n't kn wI guess a part I me didn't want it t be true, even th ugh I
knewit was. I mean, I knewit w uld happen, but I just wanted us t be the same, y u kn w? And we're
n t. I'ma Red Bl d. Y u're imm rtal. I guess it just bummed me ut. S sue me, I'mhuman." He
smiled at his pun.
"Y u're wr ng. Apparently I'mn t s imm rtal, actually," Schuyler said.
"What d y u mean?
'Jack t ld me that s mething is killing vampires.
"That's imp ssible." Oliver sh k his head. "I t ld y u, there's s mething wr ng with that dude." He
cracked a smile.
"N , there's n t. I'mseri us. It's a secret. Aggie was a vampire. And she's n t recycling. She's g ne.
She's dead. Like, really dead this time. Her bl d is g ne.
"Oh, G d," Oliver said, his Iace draining I c l r. "I didn't kn w. That's why I t ld y u I wasn't in
m urning at her Iuneral. I th ught, what's the big deal? She'll just c me back.
"She's never c ming back. And she's n t the nly ne. There have been m re ther kids are getting
killed.Blue Bl ds. We're n t supp sed t die, but we are.
"S what d es Jack want t d ab ut it? What d es he kn w?" Oliver asked.
"He wants t Iind ut what's hunting us." She t ld himab ut Jack's mem ry ab utPlym uth . The
message nailed t a tree in a l nely Iield.Cr atan.
"H wis he g ing t d that?" Oliver asked.
"I d n't kn w, but I think we can help him.
"H w?
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
Schuyler l ked ar und the ld r m.
"This library h lds the entire hist ry I the Blue Bl ds, right? Maybe there's s mething in here we can
Iind.


THIRTY


They had invaded the sanctuary. Ever since Mimi c uld remember, her Iather retreated int his
b k-lined den aIter w rk and hardly ever came ut I r dinner. It was a l cked d r, a special place,
where children weren't all wed. Mimi recalled scratching at the d r when she was a child, desperate I r
his attenti n and l ve, nly t have her nanny cart her away, with adm nishments and threats. "Leave
y ur Iather al ne, he's a busy, busy man with n time I r y u.
Her m ther had been the same waya distant satel-litealways n vacati n s mewhere children were
n t all wed r welc med. It had been a l nely, quiet childh d, but she and Jack had made the m st I
it. They were each ther's s le c mpany; they depended n each ther t the p int where Mimi didn't
kn wwhere she ended and her br ther began. Which made what she was ab ut t d even m re
necessary. He had t kn wthe truth.
She str de int the great marble hallway and walked right up t the l cked d r t their Iather's study.
With a wave I her hand, the l ck disintegrated and the d r blew pen with a bang.
Charles F rce was sitting at his desk, nursing a crystal g blet I dark red liquid. "Impressive," he
c ngratulated his daughter. "It t k me years t learn that ne.
"Thank y u." Mimi smiled.
Jack I ll wed behind, sl uching I rward, his hands in his p ckets. He l ked at his sister with a
newI und respect.
"FatheraTell hima" Mimi demanded, walking up t the desk.
"Tell me what?" Jack asked.
Charles F rce t k a sip Ir mhis glass and watched his children with h ded eyes.His s -called
children.Madeleine F rce and Benjamin F rce.Tw I the m st p werIul Blue Bl ds I all time. They
had been there inR me , during the crisis. They had I undedPlym uth, they had settled theNewW rld .
He had been the ne t call themup again and again, whenever they were needed.
"Ab ut the VanAlen m ngrel," Mimi said. "Tell him.
'What ab ut Schuyler? What d y u kn w?" Jack asked."M re than y u, my br ther." Mimi said. She
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
t k a seat in ne I the leather club chairs acr ss Ir mher Iather's desk. She turned t her br ther,
Ilashing her green eyes at his identical nes. "Unlike y u, I've accessed my mem ries. She's n t in them.
I've checked.Again and again. She's n t there. She's n t anywhere. She isn't supp sed t exista" Mimi's
v ice t k n a high screech. Her Iangs were bared.
Jack t k a step backward. "That can't be. I have her in mine. Y u c uldn't be m re wr ng. Father,
what the hell is she talking ab ut?
Charles t k an ther sip Ir mhis glass and cleared his thr at. Finally, he said, "Y ur sister's right.
"But I d n't understand ..." Jack said, slumping d wn int the ther club chair.
"Technically, Schuyler VanAlen is n t a Blue Bl d." Charles sighed.
"That's imp ssible," Jack declared.
"She is and she's n t," Charles explained. "She is a pr d-uct ICaerim niaOscul r , I a uni n between
a vampire and a human Iamiliar.
"But we can't repr ducewe d n't have the capacity...." Jack argued.
"We cann t repr duce am ng urselves, that is true. We cann t create newliIe; we merely carry the
spirits I th se wh have passed in a newembry nic I rmthr ugh in vitr Iertilizati n. I believe it is even
c mm n am ng the Red Bl ds these days. Our w men are implanted with the seed I an imm rtal
c nsci usness s that it can take n a newphysical shell in the Cycle I Expressi n.
"But since the Red Bl ds have the ability t create newliIe, newspirits, miscegenati n between the tw
is apparently n t imp ssible.Impr bable, but n t imp ssible. H wever, in all ur years, it has never
happened beI re. T c nceive a baby I mixed bl d is against the strictest laws I ur kind. Her
m ther was a tr ubled and I lish w man.
Mimi p ured s me I the liquid in the decanter int a newBaccarat glass. She t k a sip.R thschild
Cabernet. "She sh uld have been destr yed," she hissed.
"N a" Jack cried.
"D n t be s alarmed. N thing is g ing t happen t her," Charles said s thingly. "The C mmittee has
n t c me t a deIinitive c nclusi n c ncerning her Iate. She appears t have inherited s me I her
m ther's traits, s we have kept cl se watch n her.
"Y u're g ing t kill her aren't y u?" Jacksaid, his head in his hands. "I w n't let y u.
"That is n t I r y u t decide. L k deep int y ur mem- ries, Benjamin. Tell me what y u see. L k
I r the truth inside y urselI.
Jack cl sed his eyes. When they had danced at theInI rmals , he had Ielt Schuyler's presence in his wn
mem -ries as iI he had kn wn her Ir m ut I time. He went back t that night, t the r mwhere they
were dancing at the American S cietymansi n, and t the mem ry I the night I the Patrician Ballthe
night they had waltzed t Ch pin. One I his m st vivid and treasured mem riesit was . . . her ... it
c uldn't be any ne elsea Therea He Ielt triumphanta He l ked cl sely at the Iace behind the Ian. There
was the Iair, p rcelain skin, the delicate Ieatures, that upturned n se, and he rec iledth se weren't
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
Schuyler's eyesth se eyes were green, n t blueth se eyeswere .. .
"Her m ther's," Jack said, pening his wn eyes and l king at his Iather and sister.
Charles n dded. His v ice was uncharacteristically harsh. "Yes. Y u sawAllegra VanAlen . It's a
p werIul resemblance.Allegra was ne I ur best.
Jack l wered his head. He had pr jected that image nt Schuyler when they were dancing, had used
his vampire p wers t Iill her wn senses, s that she th ught she had sensed the past as well. But
Schuyler was a news ul.Her m ther, it was her m ther wh mJack had pursued acr ss the centuries.
That's why he'd been drawn t Schuyler, ever since that night in Ir nt I Bl ck 122because her Iace
was s like the ne that haunted his dreams.
Then he l ked up at Mimi.His sister.His partner, his better halI, his best Iriend and w rst enemy. It was
she wh had been with himsince the beginning. It was her hand that he reached I r n win the darkness.
She was str ng, she was a surviv r. It was Ir mher that he drewhis strength. She had always been there
I r him.Agrippina t hisValerius . Elisabeth de L rraine-Lilleb nnewhen he was L uisd'Orleans .
Susannah Fuller t his WilliamWhite.
Mimi reached ver and t k his hand in hers. They were s alike; they had c me Ir mthe same dark
Iall, Ir mthe same expulsi n that had cursed themt live their imm rtal lives n earth, and yet, here they
were, thrivingaIter a millennia. She patted his hand, the tears in her eyes mirr r-ing his wn.
"S what d we d n w?" Jack asked. "What's g ing t happen t her?
"F r n w, n thing.We watch and wait. It's pr bably best iI y u stay clear I her. And y ur sister has
inI rmed me ab ut y ur c ncerns ab utAugusta 's death. I'mpleased t say we are very cl se t Iinding
the perpetrat r. I ams rry t have kept y u b th in the dark I r s l ng. Let me explain....
Jack n dded and gripped his sister's hand even m re tightly.


THIRTY-ONE


The next week went by swiItly. Every day aIter sch l, Schuyler and Oliver hit the stacks at the
Rep sit ry, trying t Iind any rec rd r menti n I "Cr atan." They c mbed thr ugh the c mputer
database, trying every c nceivable spelling I the w rd. But since the library Iiles were nly aut mated in
the late 1980s, they als had t reIerence the ancient card catal g.
"Can I help y u?" a grave v ice asked as they huddled t gether at Oliver's desk ne aItern n, p ring
ver d zens I ld b ks and several cards Ir mthe "CrCu" drawer.
"Oh, MasterRenIield .May I intr duce Schuyler VanAlen ?" Oliver asked, standing up and making a
small, I rmal b w.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
Schuyler sh k the ld man's hand. He had a haughty, aris-t cratic visage and was dressed in an
anachr nistic Edwardian greatc at and velvet tr users. Oliver had t ld her ab utRenIield a human
C nduit wh t k his j b way t seri usly. "He's been serving the Blue Bl ds I r s l ng he thinks he
is a vampire. Classic St ckh lmSyndr me," Oliver had said.
"I think we've g t it c vered." Oliver smiled nerv usly. They had tacitly decided n t t ask any I the
librarians I r any help with their search, intuitively understanding that it was an illicit subject. II The
C mmittee was hiding s me-thing, and that s mething had t d with "Cr atan," then it was pr bably
best iI they didn't tell any ne ab ut it.
RenIieldpicked up a piece I paper Ir mOliver's desk, where Schuyler had scribbled d wn a series I
w rds."Cr atan?Kr atan?Chr atan?Chr atin?Kruatan?" He quickly put the paper d wn, as iI it burned
his Iingers.
"Cr atan.I see," he said.
Oliver attempted a casual t ne. "It's just s mething we heard ab ut. It's n thing.Just a sch l pr ject.
"Asch l pr ject,"RenIield n dded s mberly."OI c urse. UnI rtunately, I have never heard I the
w rd. W uld y u care t enlighten me?
"I think it's a piece I cheese.S mething t d with an ld English recipe." Oliver replied with a straight
Iace."Fr mBlue Bl d banquets in the sixteenth century.
"Cheese.I see.
"Like R queI rt r Camembert. But I'mthinking it's m re like a sheep's milk, maybe," Oliver said."Or a
g at. It c uld be a g at. Or maybe like a m zzarella. What d y u think, Sky?
Schuyler's lips were twitching and she c uldn't trust her-selI t answer.
"Very well.Carry n,"RenIield said, leaving themt their task.
When he was saIely at a Iar distance, Schuyler and Oliver burst ut laughingas s Itly as they c uld.
"Cheesea"Schuyler whispered. "I th ught he was g ing t Iainta
It was the ne bright sp t in an therwise dreary week. The c lder weather br ught a rash I ailments.
The Ilu bug hit the sch l, and several students had been ut I r the past c uple I days, Jack F rce
am ng them. Apparently, even vampires weren't immune t the Ilu epidemic. Schuyler als heard Bliss
had been gr unded since the party, and the tall Texan girl kept t herselI. Even Dylan c mplained ab ut
itBliss was m dy and rem te, and never leIt Mimi's side.
The next day was bitter c ld and gray. The Iirst sign that winter was appr aching. It was aNewY rk
grayIr mthe buildings t the sm g t the skiesas iI a dark, damp cl ud had descended n the city
like a wet blanket. When Schuyler arrived at the Duchesne gates, a dark mist hung ver a bustling
c mm ti n in Ir nt I the sch l. She passed several white news vans with satellite antennas, and a crew
I rep rters primping, checking their teeth in handheld mir-r rs, and gr ming beI re the cameras r lled.
There were camera crews with trip ds everywhere, as well as newspaper and magazine rep rters and
ph t graphersan even bigger m b than n the day IAggie's Iuneral.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
Several Duchesne students were huddled at the Ir nt d rs, watching the scene. She I und Oliver in the
cr wd and j ined him.
"What's happened?" she asked.
Oliver l ked grim."S mething awIul. I Ieel it.
"I Ieel it t ," she agreed. "It's n t an ther death is it?
'I'mn t sure.
They waited at the gates. Fr mthe Ir nt d r I the Duchesne mansi n, tw burly p licemen were
esc rting a y ung man between them.AscruIIy, disheveled y ung man wearing a beat-up leather jacket.
"Dylana Why? What's he d ne?" Schuyler asked, h rri-Iied.
The cr wd I rep rters and cameramen pressed I rward, c vering the scene with Ilashes and a barrage
I questi ns. 'Any c mment?
"Why did y u d it?
"Care t share y ur Ieelings with ur readers?
Schuyler Ielt panicked and distressed. Why were they taking Dylan away?And in such a public Iashi n?
She c uldn't believe the sch l w uld let themd s mething like thisa She I unda wild -eyed Bliss in the
cr wd.
"Schuylera" F r the m ment, Bliss had I rg tten she and Schuyler weren't really Iriends.
Schuyler t k Bliss's hands in hers. "Why? What happened? Why are they taking himaway?" she
asked.
"They think Dylan killed Aggiea" she said. Bliss was Iighting t h ld n t her c mp sure, but seeing
Oliver's and Schuyler's stricken Iaces made her break d wn. She held n t themI r supp rt. "I
verheard themtalking t the headmistress. Aggie didn't die I a drug verd se, she was murdered ...
strangled, and she had Dylan's DNA n her Iingertips....
"N .
"It's g t t be a mistake," Bliss said tearIully.
"Bliss, listen t me," Schuyler said, a hard edge t her v ice. "He's being set up. Dylan c uldn't have
killed Aggie. Remember?
Bliss's eyes I cused. She n dded. She knewwhat Schuyler was saying. "Because ...
"Because he's human and a Red Bl d can't kill a Blue Bl d.... Aggie w uld have verp wered himin
a sec nd. It's a lie. Aggie was a vampire. There was n way Dylan c uld have killed her.
"Asetup.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
"Right," Schuyler said. The rain was c ming d wn in t rrents, and all three I themwere getting s aked,
but n ne I themseemed t n tice.
Bliss l ked IearIully at Oliver. "But Schuyler, there's n such thing as a vampire...." she said lamely.
"Oh. D n't w rry ab ut Oliver. He kn ws. He's kay. He's a C nduit. I'll explain later.
Oliver tried t l k trustw rthy and reassuring. He remembered his umbrella in his pack and pened it,
shield-ing themIr mthe rain.
"Jack t ld me last week that there's s mething ut there killing Blue Bl ds. My guess is Dylan's being
Iramed," Schuyler explained.
"S that means he's inn cent...." Bliss said h peIully. "OI c urse he is. We need t Iind ut wh is
behind this, and we need t get Dylan ut I there." Schuyler declared. Bliss n dded.
"We need t Iind ut what's g ing n. Why Dylan is being charged all I a sudden, when the IIicial
rep rt was a drug verd se. Where did they get this `evidence'?And why Dylan?
"Y ur dad's a senat r. He's g t t have s me c n-necti ns with the p lice department. Can't he help?"
Oliver suggested.
"I'll ask him," Bliss pr mised. The three I themwalked thr ugh the sch l gates. They were already late
I r their h mer mclasses.
Later, at lunch, Bliss met up with Oliver and Schuyler at the caIeteria. They were seated at the back
table as usual, hidden behind the marble Iireplace.
"Y u sp ke t y ur dad?" Schuyler asked.
"What did he say?" Oliver pr dded.
Bliss pulled ut a chair next t themand planted her elb ws n the table. She rubbed her eyes and
l ked at the tw I them. "Hesaid, d n't w rry ab ut y ur Iriend. The C mmittee is taking care I this.
Schuyler and Oliver digested the inI rmati n. "That's strange isn't it?" Schuyler asked."Because
C mmittee meet-ings have been canceled until Iurther n tice.


THIRTY-TWO


The wh le sch l was still buzzing with the news that aItern nand in Schuyler's ethics class, Mr.
Ori n was trying t calmd wn his students.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
"Settle d wn, settle d wn, please," he said. "I kn wthis is a t ugh time, but we need t remember that
in theUnited States , we are inn cent until pr ven guilty.
Schuyler walked int the r mand n ticed that Jack was back in his usual seat next t the wind w
"Hey," she said, giving hima shy smile and taking the desk next t his. She w uld never I rget the way
he'd kissed her, alm st as iI he'd kissed her beI re.
Jack l ked m re hands me than she'd ever seen him. His hair gleamed white-g ld underneath the light,
and his cl thes were crisply pressed, his shirt neatly tucked I r nce. He was wearing a black sweater
and a g ld watch she'd never seen n his wrist beI re. He didn't l k up at her.
"Jack ...
"Yes?" he asked c ldly.
Schuyler rec iled at the arctic t ne in his v ice. "Is s me-thing wr ng?" she whispered.
He didn't reply.
"Jack, we have t d s methinga They've arrested Dylana And y u kn wit's wr ng. He c uldn't have
killed hera" She whispered Iiercely. "He's human. He's being set up. We need t Iind ut why.
Jack t k ut his I untain pen and scratched the nib n his n teb k. He didn't l k at her. "It's n ne I
ur busi-ness.
Schuyler whispered Iiercely, "But what d y u mean? Y u kn wit is. We need t Iind ut ab ut what's
killing us II. D n't y udidn't y u want t ?
"Care t share with the rest I the class, Miss VanAlen ?" Mr. Ori n asked, interrupting the
c nversati n.
Schuyler sl uched d wn in her seat."N , s rry.
F r the rest I the peri d, Jack sat silent and st ny-Iaced. He reIused t l k at Schuyler, r even t
read the n tes she passed t him.
When the bell rang signaling the end I class, Schuyler ran aIter him.
"What's g tten int y u? Is it y ur sister? What's wr ng?" Jack snapped. "D n't bring Mimi int this.
"But I d n't understand. What y u said n Saturday night
"I sp ke recklessly. It's n t the way I Ieel. I'ms rry t have misled y u.
"Why are y u shutting me ut? What's happened t y u?" Schuylerasked, a catch in her v ice.
Jack l ked Schuyler up and d wn. "I'mreally s rry, Schuyler. But I made a mistake. I sh uldn't have
said the things I said that night. I was wr ng. My Iather set me straight. The C mmittee isn't hiding
anything. They've investigated the circumstances IAggie's death, and we just need t trust themt kn w
what's best. They'll let us kn w nce it's been res lved. I think we sh uld just I rget ab ut the wh le
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
thing.
"Y ur Iathery ur Iather has s mething t d with this, d esn'the ?" she accused him.
He put a heavy hand n her sh ulder; gripped it tightly, then released it, pushing himselI away. "Leave it
al ne, Schuyler.F r y ur sake and mine.
"Jacka" she called.
He didn't turn ar und. She sawhimwalk purp seIully d wn t the sec nd landing, where Mimi F rce
was c ming ut I a classr m. She sawthe tw I themt gether, n tic-ing as iI I r the Iirst time that
they had the same lithe I rm, the same panther limbs, they were the same height, the same c l ring. She
sawMimi smile when she sawJack. As Jack slung an armar und his sister's sh ulders in an intimate and
aIIecti nate way, s mething in her heart br ke.
"What did Jack say?" Bliss asked, meeting Schuyler and Oliver I r c IIee at the Starbucks acr ss the
street during their Iree peri d.
"He's n help," Schuyler said, the w rds dead in her m uth.
"Why n t?
"He's changed his mind. He says that what he t ld me was a mistake. He t ld me t I rget ab ut it." She
t re a paper napkin int tiny pieces, meticul usly ripping it apart until her tray was Iilled with c nIetti. "He
said The C mmittee will explain everything in time, we just need t be patient," she said bitterly.
"But what ab ut Dylan?"Bliss asked. "We can't just let themcharge himI r s mething he didn't d a
"We're n t. It's up t us," Oliver said. "We're the nly, nes wh can help himn w.


THIRTY-THREE


The p lice w uldn't let themsee Dylan. They tried t visit himaIter sch l, but they enc untered a wall
I lawenI rcementand n ne at the stati n w uld even admit t h lding himthere. It was a dead end.
They had taken away his cell ph ne and his Sidekick, and they had n way t get in t uch with him.
Schuyler Ielt a deep sense I I reb ding. The crisis br ught the three I themBliss, Schuyler, and
Olivercl ser than ever. The next day, Bliss st pped sitting with Mimi in the caIeteria. Instead, they
spent every Iree peri d pl tting n h wt help their Iriend.
"His Iamily's rich. I'msure they have s me awes me deIense lawyer set up I r him, right?" Bliss asked.
"We need t talk t them. I need t tell thems mething.
"What?" Schuyler asked.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
"I did a little investigating n my wn last night. Okay, s I verheard my m mtalking t s me pe ple
ab ut the case.
I heard her say the p lice said time I death was between ten and eleven P.M. They're pretty sure ab ut
that. The wayAggie's b dy was I und,it c uldn't have happened anytime earlier r later.
"S ?"Fr ma skeptical Oliver.
"S , Dylan was with me Ir mten t eleven. We were ut-side in the alley the wh le time, sm king
cigarettes. He never leIt my side.
"N t nce? N t even t g t the bathr m?" Schuyler asked.
Bliss sh k her head. "N . I'mp sitive. I l ked at my watch a c uple I times. Because I was, uh,
w rried, that Mimi w uld w nder where I was.
"Y u kn wwhat thatmeans, d n't y u?" Oliver asked. He was smiling.
The tw girls sh k their heads.
"It means he has a r ck-s lid alibi. Bliss Llewellyn, y u are a d ll. Y u're his get- ut- I-jail-Iree card.
C'm n, we've g t t Iind Dylan's Iamily and tell them.
Dylan lived inTribeca , s they t k Bliss's R lls R yce d wn t his neighb rh d that aItern n. Oliver
and Schuyler were impressed by the plush interi r. "I've g t t get my dad t get us ne I these," Oliver
marveled. "We nly have a b ring ld T wn Car.
Tribecawas a I rmer industrial neighb rh dthe ld butter and egg district, with c bblest ne streets
and ld Iac-t ry buildings turned int multimilli n-d llar l Its.
"Is this the address?" Oliver asked, walking t ward a l It building n the c rner. They c nsulted the
Duchesne address b k. It was.
"Y u've never been here?" Bliss asked, surprised. Oliver and Schuyler sh k their heads.
"But I th ught y u were his Iriends.
"We are," Schuyler said. "But see ...
"It never ccurred t us...." Oliver explained.
Schuyler sighed. "We always hung ut at Oliver's. He hasTiV and an b x. Dylan never seemed t
mind.
"What ab ut y u? Y u're like, his girlIriend. Y u've never been here?" Oliver asked.
Bliss sh k her head. She wasn't really his girlIriend. They'd never really deIined their relati nship.
They'd h ked up a c uple I times, and she was g ing t make himher human Iamiliar and everything,
but aIter they'd been caught the night I the party, her parents had I rbidden her t see him. S meh w,
her parents had g t it in their heads that the party had been his idea.B biAnne still c uldn't I r-give the
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
Iact that the Cinderella mannequin had c me back Ir mNewJersey stripped I itsballg wn . All was n t
well at Penth use desRves .
"Hi, we're l king I rapartment1520 ?" Schuyler asked the d rman as they entered the building. Unlike
the grand palatial majesty I the typicalPark Avenue c - p, theTribeca building was m dern and sleek,
with a Zen garden and a waterIall in the l bby.
"1520?" was the d ubtIul reply.
"The Ward Iamily?"Bliss added helpIully.
The d rman Ir wned."Right. They were in 1520. But the place is up I r sale. The Iamily m ved ut
yesterday. Rush j b.
'Are y u sure?
"P sitive, miss.
The d rman even let theml k inside the empty apart-ment. It was a huge, six th usand square-I t
l It, and there was n thing in it but an aband ned televisi n set. The walls were scratched Ir mthe
Iurniture, and there was a gh stly utline I an L-shaped c uch n the Il r.
"It's selling I r ab ut Iive milli n, iI any ne's interested," the d rman added. "I've g t the br ker's inI
d wnstairs.
"This just d esn't make sense." Schuyler said. "Why w uld his Iamily m ve ut s quickly? D n't they
have en ugh t w rry ab ut with Dylan in jail?
They walked ar und the empty apartment, as iI trying t c njure up a reas n I r the Wards' sudden
disappearance.
"D y u kn wwhere they went?" Schuyler asked the helpIul d rman.
"S mething ab ut g ing back t C nnecticut , I heard. N t sure.
The d rman led them ut I the apartment and l cked it behind them. They t k the elevat r back
d wn t the l bby. Bliss t k ut the Duchesne direct ry Ir mherChl e Paddingt n bag. But the ph ne
numbers I r Dylan's parents listed in the b k were ut I service. There were n newlistings.
"Did y u guys ever meet his parents?" Bliss asked, put-ting her cell ph ne away.
Again, Schuyler and Oliver sh k their heads.
"I think he had a br ther in c llege," Schuyler v lun-teered, Ieeling m re andm re guilty I r n t kn wing
much ab ut their Iriend. They hung ut at sch l every day, and every weekend. And yet, when pressed,
neither Schuyler n r Oliver c uld remember anything ab ut Dylan's backgr und.
"He didn't talk ab ut himselI much," Oliver said. "He was kind I quiet.
"He pr bably c uldn't get a w rd in," Bliss j ked. "Between the tw I y u, I meanwhen y u're
t gether y u guys tend t take ver.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
Schuyler accepted the bservati n with ut Ieeling insulted. They did tend t take ver. She and Oliver
had been Iriends I r s l ng, and they were s used t each ther, it was a mir-acle that Dylan had I und
a way t ingratiate himselI int their partnership, making the du a tri . They had let him, m stly because
they were Ilattered that he liked thems much, but als because he didn't get in the way. He seemed t
enj y their st ries, their inside j kes, and never seemed t want m re than what they c uld give him.
"II we c uld nly talk t him," Schuyler said.
"II we c uld nly explain t the p lice," Oliver added. "Explain what?" Bliss asked huIIily. "That he
c uldn't have killed her because she was a vampire and n thing can kill vampires, except I r, h, s me
weird thing we d n't kn wab ut yet, but by the way, Dylan's human s ... well, when y u l k at it that
way, wh 's ever g ing t believe us?" Bliss asked.
"N b dy," Schuyler c ncluded.
They st d in Ir nt I Dylan's I rmer apartment build-ing, stymied and Irustrated.


THIRTY-FOUR


Since there was n thing they c uld d I r Dylan right then, Oliver suggested visiting the Rep sit ry in the
basement I The Bank again. On the way, he and Schuyler Iilled Bliss in n what they knew. They had t
keep trying. S Iar, n ne I their leads had led t anything, especially since they didn't even kn wh wt
spellCr atan .
"What ab ut l king upPlym uth instead?" Oliver sud-denly asked. "Sky, y u said Jack F rce
menti ned it was part I his mem ry that was bl cked ut.S mething ab ut thePlym uth C l ny.
The Rep sit ry was emptier than usual, and the three I themdiligently set ab ut their tasks. Schuyler
I und several hist ry b ks d cumenting the c l nizati n IPlym uth and the MayIl wer passage, Bliss
I und an interesting rec rd I every passenger n the MayIl wer, and Oliver came up with a large,
leather-b und b k that c ntained civil d cuments. But n thing included any menti n ICr atan .
"L king I r cheese again?"RenIield asked, gliding past their table.
"Cheese?"Bliss asked, c nIused, while Oliver and Schuyler chuckled.
"We'll tell y u later," Schuyler pr mised.
Alittle while later, Bliss and Schuyler remembered they had an app intment with the Stitched I r
Civilizati n crewt g ver their ph t graphs, s they leIt Oliver I r the rest I the aItern n. The new
advertisement was g ing t be r lled ut n a billb ard inTimes Square the next week, and J nas wanted
t sh wthemthe Iinal image they'd ch sen.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
During the meeting, Schuyler's cell ph ne rang. "It's Oliver," she t ld Bliss. "I sh uld get it." She excused
herselI Ir mthe table. "What's up?" she asked.
"C me back, I think I've I und s mething," he said, the excitement palpable in his v ice.
When they returned t the Rep sit ry, Oliver sh wed themwhat he'd I und. It was a slim,
leather-b und b k. "It was hidden s Iar back in the stacks I alm st missed it. It's a diary, by a w man
wh was ne I the riginal settlers inPlym uth . See what she says....
They read the pages, d cumenting the j urney acr ss the sea, the I undati n I the c l ny, her
husband's trip t R an ke , and the Iinal, Irantic entry. The writing was alm st inc mprehensible, as iI the
writer had been alm st t Irightened t write the w rds n the page.
But there it was.
CROATAN.
"Asingle w rd, written in a message n a tree."Oliver int ned. "They are here. We are n t saIe.
"It's happened beI re," Schuyler said. "That's what Jack t ld me. It must have happened then as well.
That must be what she is talking ab ut. What they were Irightened I.
"Y u're right.Cr atan must mean s methingthey're scared I it. It has t be the key." Oliver said.
"Cr atan," Bliss said, the w rd rang distant alarmbells in her mem ry. "I think I've heard I it
s mewhere." Her br wIurr wed. 'And she talks ab utR an ke . Y u remem-berR an ke , right?
"I'mn t real g d at hist ry, actually," Schuyler ap l -gized. "But it had s mething t d with a missing
c l ny, right?
"The L st C l ny," Oliver agreed. "I d n't kn wwhy it didn't ccur t me beI re. It was the riginal
c l ny, settled several years beI rePlym uth . But they all disappeared. There was n thing leIt I the
c l ny.
"Right.They all died, remember? N b dy ever I und ut what happened t them. It's an uns lved
mystery I American hist ry," Bliss added. "Like the JFKassassinati n.
"They must have been Blue Bl ds," Oliver said.
'And they were all killed. At least, Catherine Carver seemed t think s ." Schuyler n dded.
"Is that all there is?" Schuyler asked.
"There's just ne m re page," Oliver said, sh wing themthe last page I the diary."Ab ut s me kind I
electi n r s mething. Here she writes, `Flee r stay?' Well, we kn wwhat happened. They stayed. The
Blue Bl ds stayed. We w uldn't be here iI they hadn't. Myles Standishwh ever he is, he must have
w n.
"There's n thing m re ab utCr atan , rR an ke , r anything?" Bliss asked, taking the diary and
Ilipping the pages.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
"N . That's it. The diary just ends. Like the pages have been t rn ut and s me ne d esn't want us t
kn wab ut it, r s mething. But I did Iind s mething. L k here, there's a list I the last pe ple wh 've
b rr wed it.
They l ked t where he was p inting. There was a yel-l wIlap listing the names I the Blue Bl ds
wh had b r-r wed the diary.
"M st I themare s ld, they're g ne by n w. But l k at the Iinal ne.
Schuyler peered at the b rr wer list. The Iinal signature c ntained three letters written delicately in Iine
script: CVA. 12/24/11.
"Wh ever b rr wed this did s in 1911, and that means, they're
"Over a hundred years ld by n w," Bliss interrupted. "H wd we kn wthey're still in this cycle?
"It's p ssible. Anyway, it's the nly chance we've g t," Oliver said.
"CVA?"Bliss asked. "Wh 's CVA?
"CVA," Schuyler repeated. The letters were Iamiliar, as was the spidery writing. "Th se are my
grandm ther's ini-tials.CVA.C rdelia VanAlen . And it l ks like her hand-writing. I'msure I it.
"Y u think she b rr wed this b k? Maybe she kn ws s mething ab ut it?" Bliss asked.
Schuyler shrugged. "I d n't kn w, but I c uld ask her.
'When is she getting back Ir mNantucket ?" Oliver asked.
"T m rr w.I'msupp sed t meet her at the C nservat ry lunch. I alm st I rg t," Schuyler said.
"S , Oliver, thisCr atan thing, that's what's behindAggie's death?" Bliss asked.
"I think s ," Oliver said. 'Alth ugh I still d n't kn wwhat it is.
"But even iI we did Iind ut, it still d esn't d anything I r Dylan. Even iICr atan is what killed Aggie,
h ware we g ing t pr ve Dylan didn't d it? H ware we g ing t pr ve he's been set up?" Bliss
asked.
"We d n't," Oliver said. "I mean, y u guys d n't. I d n't kn wh wmuch help I can be.
"What d y u mean? Y u've already d ne s much," Schuyler pr tested. She gave himan admiring
glance that made himblush.
"Research, yes. I can d research. That's what we're g d I r, but I can't d anything t help with the
plan.
'What plan?" Bliss asked, amused.
Oliver l ked s seri us and purp seIul I r a sec nd. He had dr pped his glib j kes I r nce. "We've
been acting as iI the systemw rks I r us. It d esn't. Y u need t think like Blue Bl ds. We're never
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
g ing t c nvince any ne t let Dylan ut based n what we kn w. S we d s mething else," Oliver
said.
"What?
"Bust him ut.


THIRTY-FIVE


The Central Park C nservat ry lunche n was ne I the m st imp rtant events nC rdelia's s cial
calen-dar. It was held in a ballr mat the Plaza, and was already well under way when Schuyler arrived.
She checked in at the registrati n table and I und her grandm ther seated in the center with
well-preserved luminaries n either side.
"My granddaughter, Schuyler,"C rdelia said, l king pleased.
Schuyler pecked her grandm ther's cheek. She t k a seat at the table, rem ving a pr gramIr mher
chair.
The yearly lunche n raised a signiIicant sumI r the upkeep and maintenance I the park. It was ne I
the Blue Bl ds m st cherished causes. It had been their idea t bring nature t NewY rk , t bring an
asis t the heart I the city, a simulacrum I the Garden they had been banished Ir ms l ng ag .
Schuyler rec gnized many I thegrande dames and s cialites Ir mThe C mmittee meetings Ilitting ab ut
Ir mtable t table, greeting guests.
"C rdeliawhat'sCr atan ?" Schuyler demanded, breaking in t the g ssipy chitchat.
The table went silent, and several ladies raised their eye-br ws at Schuyler and her grandm ther.
C rdeliastartled at the w rd. She br ke the r ll she was h lding in tw . "This is neither the time n r the
place, y ung lady," she said quietly.
"I kn wy u kn w. We sawit in ne I the Rep sit ry b ks. It had y ur initials in them.C rdelia , I
have t kn w," Schuyler whispered Iiercely.
At the p dium, the may r was thanking the ladies I the c nversancy I r their gener us d nati ns and
eII rts t keepCentral Park a vibrant and beautiIul place. There was a rip-ple I applause, under which
C rdelia adm nished her granddaughter.
"N t n w. I will tell y u aIterward, but y u will n t embarrass me at this Iuncti n.
F r the next h ur, Schuyler satglumly, picking at the herb chicken n her plate and listening t a h st I
speakers describe the newactivities and devel pments planned I r the park. There was a slide sh w n
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
the newart exhibit, and a presentati n n the rest rati n I Bethesda F untain.
Finally, aIter they were given their giIt bags, and she andC rdelia were saIely ensc nced inC rdelia's
ancient lim u-sine, with Julius driving, did Schuyler get her answers.
"S y u've I und Catherine's diary. Yes, I leIt my initials there.F r s me ne t Iind. I didn't kn wit
w uld be y u,"C rdelia said, amused.
"It wasn't me. It was Oliver Hazard-Perry actually.
'Ah.Oliver, yes.Avery helpIul b y.Fr man excellent Iamily. F r Red Bl ds, that is.
"D n't change the subject. What'sCr atan ?
C rdeliaraised the partiti n separating themIr mJulius. When it was Iully cl sed, she turned t Schuyler
with a Ir wn. "What I amg ing t tell y u is verb ten. We cann t speak I it. The C mmittee has
legislated it ut I existence. They have even tried t suppress it Ir m ur mem ries.
"Why?" Schuyler asked, l king ut the wind wat the city. It was an ther gray day, andManhattan
seemed t be l st in a Iine mist, gh stly and majestic.
"As I t ld y u, times have changed. The ld ways are n m re. The pe ple in p wer d n t believe.
Even the w man wh wr te that diary w uld dis wn her w rds. It w uld be t danger us I r her t
admit her Iears.
"H wd y u kn wshe w uld Ieel that way?" Schuyler asked.
"Simple, because I wr te it.It's my diary.
"Y u're Catherine Carver?" Schuyler asked.
"Yes. I remember thePlym uth settlement clearly, alm st as iI it were yesterday. It was a terrible
j urney." She shuddered. "And an even m re terrible winter I ll wed it.
"Why? What happened?
"Cr atan."C rdeliasighed."An ancient w rd. It means Silver Bl d.
"Silver Bl d?
"Y u were t ld the st ry I ur Expulsi n.
"Yes." The car sl wly made its way acr ssFiIth Avenue . Because I the bad weather, there were nly a
Iewpe ple milling utside the department st res, a handIul I t urists taking pictures I the wind w
dressing, sh ppers trying t get ut I the rain.
"When G d cast ut LuciIer and his angels Ir mheaven, as punishment I r their sins, we were cursed t
live ur imm rtal lives n Earth, where we became vampires, dependent n human bl d t survive,"
C rdelia said.
"They t ld us all this at The C mmittee meetings.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
"But they d n't tell y u this part. It's been stricken Ir m ur IIicial rec rds.
"Why?
C rdeliadidn't answer. Instead, her v ice t k n a m n t ne quality, as iI she were reading Ir ma
b k c m-mitted t mem ry. "Early in ur hist ry, LuciIer and a small h st I his l yal I ll wers br ke
II Ir mthe gr up. They rejected G d, and were c ntemptu us I their banishment. They did n t want
t regain the L rd's Grace. They did n t believe in the C de I the Vampires.
"Why n t?"Schuyler asked, as the car idled at the light. They were nSixth Avenue n w, am ng the
skyscrapers and c rp rate IIice buildings with the names I their c mpanies engraved n the Iaade.
McGraw-Hill.Sim n and Schuster.Time Warner. Abank I televisi ns in the M rgan Stanley building
blasted the latest news Ir mthe st ck market.
"Because they did n t want t live within any kind I law.They were willIul and arr gant, n earth as
they were in heaven. LuciIer and his vampires disc vered that perI rmingCaerim niaOscul r n ther
vampires instead I humans made themm re p werIul. As y u kn w,Caerim niaOscul r is the sucking
I bl d that vampires c mmit n humans in rder t gain strength. In the C de I the Vampires, it is
I rbidden t perI rmtheCaerim niaOscul r n Iell wBlue Bl ds. But this is exactly what LuciIer and
his vampires did. They began t c nsume Blue Bl ds t c mplete Dissipati n.
"Y u mean
"Until they had sucked ut the very liIe I rce Ir ma being, yes.Until they had c nsumed a Blue Bl d
and all his mem ries.
"But why?And what happened then?
"By c nsuming the Blue Bl d's liIe I rce, LuciIer and his vampires' bl d turned Silver. They bec me
the Silver Bl ds.Cr atan. It means Ab minati n. They are insane, with the lives I many vampires in
their heads. They have the strength I a th usand Blue Bl ds. Their mem ries are legi n. They are the
devil in disguise, the devil that walks am ng us; they are everywhere and n where.
AsC rdelia sp ke, they dr ve pastSixth Avenue t Seventh, and the neighb rh d changed again.
Schuyler sawCarnegie Hall n the c rner and several pe ple lined up utside buying tickets, huddled
under their umbrellas.
"F r th usands I years, the Silver Bl ds hunted and killed and c nsumed Blue Bl ds. They br ke
the C de I the Vampires by directly interIering in human aIIairs and acquiring p wer in the w rld I
men. They were unst p-pable. But the Blue Bl ds never st pped Iighting them. It was the nly way t
survive.
"The Last Great War between the Blue Bl ds and the Red Bl ds ended during the Iinal years I
theR man Empire , when the Blue Bl ds were able t unseat Caligula, a p werIul and wily Silver Bl d
vampire. AIter Caligula was deIeated, I r many centuries Blue Bl ds lived in peace inEur pe .
"S why did we c me t America ?" Schuyler asked, as the car sh t upEighth Avenue .
"Because we were distressed by the religi us persecuti n we I und rising in the seventeenth century. S
in 1620, we came t the NewW rld n the MayIl wer with the Puritans, in rder t Iind peace in
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
theNewW rld .
"But there was n peace, was there?" Schuyler said, thinking I Catherine's diary.
"N . There was n t,"C rdelia said, cl sing her eyes. "We disc vered thatR an ke had been savaged.
Every ne was l st. The Silver Bl ds were in theNewW rld as well. But that was n t the w rst.
"Why?
"Because the killings began again.InPlym uth .Many I ur y ung Blue Bl ds can nly be taken during
the Sunset Years, when we turn Ir mhuman t ur real vampire selves. It is ur m st vulnerable time.
While we are n t in c mmand I ur mem ries, we d n t kn w ur strength. We are weak and can be
manipulated and c ntr lled, and in the end, c nsumed by the Silver Bl ds.
They dr ve up the West Side Highway, past the shiny newdevel pments by the river and next
t RiversidePark .
"S me reIused t believe that the Silver Bl ds were resp nsible. They reIused t see what was right in
Ir nt I them, insisting that th se wh had been c nsumed w uld be able t return s meh w. They were
blind t the threat. And aIter a Iewyears, the killings st pped. The years passed and n thing happened.
Then centuriesstill n thing. Silver Bl ds became a myth, a legend, passing int a quaint Iairy tale. Blue
Bl ds gained wealth, pr minence, and status inAmerica, and as time went n, m st I us I rg t ab ut
the Silver Bl ds c mpletely.
"But h w?H wc uld we I rget s mething s imp rtant?
C rdeliasighed. "We have bec me c mplacent and stubb rn. Denial is a str ng temptati n as well: N w
every-thing ab ut the Silver Bl ds has even been rem ved Ir m ur hist ry b ks. Blue Bl ds t day
reIuse t believe that there is anything str nger than themin the w rld. Their vanity d es n t all wthem
t c nceive I it.
Schuyler sh k her head, appalled.
"Th se I us wh warned and campaigned I r eternal vigilance were banished Ir mThe C nclave, and
have n p wer in The C mmittee t day. N ne listens t us any-m re. N ne has listened t us
sincePlym uth . I tried then, but I was n t p werIul en ugh t take c ntr l.
"J hn wanted t raise the alarm," Schuyler said, remem-bering what the diary had said."Y ur husband.
"Yes. But we were unsuccessIul. Myles Standish y u kn whimt day as Charles F rcebecame the
head I the C nclave I Elders. He has led us ever since. He d es n t believe in the danger ICr atan .
"N t even when it kills children?
"Acc rding t Charles, it has n t been pr ven.
"But Jack said all IAggie's bl d was drained, as were tw thers they'd I und earlier. They had t
have been c n-sumed by a Silver Bl da
C rdelial ked grim. "Yes, that is my guess as well. But n ne listens t an ld w man wh has l st
her I rtune. I never believed the Silver Bl ds had g ne away entirely. I always th ught they were nly
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
resting, watching, and wait-ing, I r their time t return.
"That has t be it. That's the nly explanati na" Schuyler argued. "But the p lice arrested my Iriend
Dylan. He c uldn't have d ne ita Dylan's human. They t k himaway yesterday.
C rdelial ked tr ubled. "I th ught the IIicial explanati n was a drug verd se. I heard that is what
The C mmittee had decided.
"That's what we heardbut n wthey're saying she was strangled.
"It's true in a sense,"C rdelia mused.
"Y u need t help us. H wd we Iind ut wh the Silver Bl ds area Why they are here? Where are
they? H wcan we Iind them?
"S mething has awakened them. S mething is harb r-ing them. They c uld be any ne we kn w. Silver
Bl ds dis-guised as Blue Bl ds in ur midst. It takes a l ng time t turn a Blue Bl d int a Silver
Bl d. My guess is that a p werIul Silver Bl d has returned, and is beginning t recruit newdisciples.
"S what d we d n w?" Schuyler asked, as the car pulled up t their street.
"Y u have the kn wledge I the Silver Bl ds. Y u at least kn wwhat is ut there. Y u can prepare
y urselI.
'H w?
"There is ne thing. One thing y ur m ther disc vered. Silver Bl ds are still b und t the laws I
heaven and the Sacred Language." She whispered the rest in Schuyler's ear.
C rdelia pened the car d r and stepped ut. "I can say n m re n this matter. I have already br ken
The C de t tell y u this st ry. As I r the pr blemy u have presented, I d ap l gize, but y u are g ing
t have t speak t Charles F rce. He is the nly ne wh can help y ur Iriend n w.


THIRTY-SI


TheC mmittee meetings were reinstated n M nday. They had been canceled I r several weeks,
with ut any explanati n given t the juni r members. During the meet-ing, planning I r the F ur Hundred
Ball began in earnest. There was still n menti n IAggie's death r Dylan's arrest. Instead, there was
excited chatter I r the Christmas I rmal. The F ur Hundred Ball was the m st anticipated party I the
year, the m st glam r us, the m st Iantastic, and the m st exclusive, as nly Blue Bl ds were invited.
Schuyler went t the meeting just t see iI she c uld still talk s me sense int Jack, wh was standing
with his back t her. The juni r members were divided int subc mmittees, and Schuyler j ined the
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
Invitati n gr up nly because it s unded like the least w rk. Just as she'd th ught, the nly task they had
was t put t gether the guest list, which w uld be vetted by the Seni r C mmittee, and then they w uld
stamp and mail the invitati ns, which were already ch sen, designed, and printed.
"I'mw rried ab ut Dylan," Bliss said, when the meeting was ver. "Where is he? The p lice still w n't
say. And my dad keeps telling me t keep ut I it.
"I kn w, I amt ."Schuyler n dded, as her gaze driIted ver t where Jack was chatting with Mrs.
DuP nt and Mimi.
"It's a l st cause, Schuyler. I kn wthe F rce twins. They stick t gether.
"I just have t try," Schuyler said wistIully. She still c uldn't believe that the b y wh 'd kissed her s
passi nately n t s l ng ag was n wign ring her and acting as iI n thing had ever happened between
them. She c uldn't rec ncile the Jack wh 'd t ld her ab ut his dreams and his bl cked mem- ries with
the ne wh was cheerIully debating swing rches-tras r jazz bands I r the upc ming ball.
"Suity urselI ," Bliss sighed. "But d n't say I didn't warn y u.
Schuyler n dded. Bliss walked away and Schuyler m ved t ward Jack F rce. ThankIully, Mimi had
already leIt the r m.
"Jack, y u have t listen t me," she said, pulling himaside. "Please.
'Why?
"I kn wwhat The C mmittee's hiding. I kn wwhatCr atan is.
He st pped, gaping at her."H w?" He had av ided meeting her gaze, but he l ked at her
n wSchuyler's cheeks were blazing red Ir manger, and she l ked even m re beautiIul than he
remembered.
"My grandm ther t ld me." She relayed everything her grandm ther had t ld her ab ut the Silver
Bl ds, and the killings inR an ke andPlym uth .
His I rehead Iurr wed. "She isn't all wed t d that. It's privileged inI rmati n.
"Y u kn wab ut this?
"I did s me research I my wn, and my Iather t ld me the rest. But it's a dead end.
"What d y u mean? It's the Iirst clue.
He sh k his head. "Schuyler, I'ms rry t have misled y u. ButAggie's death is being taken care I.
Y u have t trust The C mmittee t d the right thing. Y ur grandm ther t ld y u an ld myth. There is
n such thing as the Silver Bl ds. N ne has ever even pr ved they really existed.
"I d n't believe y u. We need t c nvince The C mmittee t warn every ne. II y u d n't j in me, I'll d
it myselI.
"There's n thing I can d t st p y u?" Jack asked.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
Schuyler jutted her chin ut in determinati n. "N ." She l ked askance at him. Just a Iewweeks ag ,
she'd been Ialling in l ve with him, with his c urage and his bravery. Where was the b y wh reIused t
swall wthe lies The C mmittee t ld them? Where had he g ne? When they had danced t gether at the
InI rmals , she th ught she had never been happier in her liIe. But Jack wasn't the b y she th ught he
was. Maybe he never had been.


THIRTY-SEVEN


AIter the meeting, Schuyler t ld Bliss and Oliver everything her grandm ther had t ld her ab ut the
Silver Bl ds, and h wCharles F rce was the nly pers n wh c uld help themwith Dylan's situati n.
They decided that the next day Schuyler and Bliss w uld sneak ut I their third peri d class t c nIr nt
him. Oliver w uld make s me excuse t their art teacher as t why the girls were absent.
They ambushed Mr. F rce in Ir nt I the F ur Seas ns restaurant, where he was kn wn t lunch daily.
The F ur Seas ns was l cated in theSeagramBuilding n Park Avenue, and Ir mn n t tw P.M., it
was the center I theManhattan universe. Media magnates, Iinancial tyc ns, publishers, celebrated
auth rs, and pers nalities made it their pers nal c mmissary.
"There he is," Bliss said, sp tting his sleek silver head emerging Ir ma black T wn Car. She rec gnized
himbecause her Iather had h sted the F rces at their apartment the Iirst week they arrived inManhattan .
She had been a bit aIraid I Charles F rce. The man had l ked right thr ugh her, as iI he knew
everything ab ut her, every secret wish, every hidden desire; his handshake had been Iirmand had leIt a
mark n her. He Irightened her, but she wasn't ab ut t let that st p her Ir mhelping Dylan.
Schuyler studied him. She c uld swear she'd seen himbeI re.But where? There was s mething Iamiliar
ab ut him.The way he bent his head I rward. She knewthis man, she was sure I it.
"Mr. F rcea Mr. F rcea" Bliss called. Charles F rce l ked curi usly at the tw girls standing in Ir nt I
him.
"Excuse me," he t ld his lunch partner.
"Mr. F rce, we're s rry t disturb y u," Bliss said. "But we were t ld t c me t y u, that y u al ne
can help us.
"Y u're F rsyth's kid, right?" Charles said abruptly. "What are y u d ing here in the middle I the day?
D esn't Duchesne have II-campus rules? Or did that g ut with the uniI rms?" He turned t Schuyler.
"And y u." He didn't say her name, but he raised his eyebr ws. "II I'mn t mistaken y u're a Duchesne
student as well. Well, y u have my atten-ti n. H wcan I help y u?
Schuyler held his gaze and didn't Ilinch. She stared at himwith her bright blue eyes, and it was he wh
turned away Iirst. "Our Iriend Dylan is being accused I a murder he didn't c mmit. Y u are the nly ne
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
wh can help us. Y u are the Regis. My grandm ther said
"C rdeliaVanAlen is a menace. She has never I rgiven me I r taking c mmand I the C nclave," he
muttered. He m ti ned t his lunch partner, wh was still patiently h ld-ing the d r pen t the
restaurant. "G ahead, I'll j in y u in a minute.
"We're n t leaving until y u help us," Bliss saidher v ice quavering even th ugh there was n thing she
wanted m re than t run and hide Ir mthe man. The v ices in her head were screaming, demanding that
she stay away Ir mhim. Killer ... a v ice in her head whispered. Murderer ... She Ielt a deep and intense
revulsi n. She wanted t thr wup. She wanted t thr wherselI in Ir nt I a cab. She wanted t Ily, t
Ilee, anything t escape Ir mhis penetrating gaze. She th ught she was g ing t g mad with Iright. There
was s mething terrible ab ut this man, a wild and danger us p wer she sh uld run Ir m.
"Dylan Ward has been taken care I. There's n need t w rry ab ut himanym re," he said, with a
dismissive wave I his hand. "He is perIectly saIe. N thing will happen t him. The p lice made a
regrettable mistake. He's Iree. Y ur Iather c uld have t ld y u that," he sniIIed. "He helped with the
paperw rk I r the release.
Bliss was m mentarily sh cked int silence. She hadn't realized it w uld be s easy. "What d y u
mean?
"Exactly what I said, the matter has been res lved," he said sh rtly. "There's n need t w rry, I assure
y u. N w, please, I amlate I r my lunch.
Bliss and Schuyler exchanged uneasy l ks.
"But what ab ut the Silver Bl ds?What ab ut what they're d ing t us? We kn wab utCr atan a"
Schuyler accused.
"Please, d n't b ther me withC rdelia VanAlen's pitiIul Iairy tales. I reIuse t even discuss it. I've said it
beI re and I'll say it again. There is n such thing asCr atan ," he said, a Iinality t his t ne. "N w, I
suggest y u girls g back t sch l, where y u bel ng.


THIRTY-EIGHT


The Carlyle H tel was an understated, elegant h tel n Madis n Avenue in the style I a grand English
man r. It was ne I th se h tels that whispered luxury with an intimidating Old M ney sang-Ir id. Even
the air-c ndi-ti ning was always a Ir sty sixty-six degrees. When Schuyler was little, her grandm ther
w uld t take her t the Bemelmans Bar I r Shirley Temples.C rdelia w uld sit at the bar and sm ke,
drinking neSazerac aIter an ther, and Schuyler w uld sit quietly, l king at the Ir licking animals n the
mural and c unting the many ladies wh came in wearing hats and c rsages. Then, aIterward, they w uld
repair t the main dining r mt tuck int a Iive-c urse French meal. On the days whenC rdelia
declared she'd had "just en ugh" I theRiverside Drive h use, they w uld repair t a tw -bedr m
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
apartment suite at the Carlyle I r the weekend. Schuyler w uld rder strawberries and creamIr mr m
service, Iill up the whirlp l bath, and eat her nutriti usly deIicient dinner amid the bubbles.
When Schuyler walked int the white marble l bby that evening, she Ielt at h me in the hushed
surr undings. She put painIul th ughts I Jack F rce and the humiliating enc unter with his Iather ut I
her mind. Bliss had asked her and Oliver t meet her there that evening with ut explaining why. Oliver
was already waiting in a secluded c r-ner I the bar.
"Manhattan?" he asked, m ti ning t his drink. "Sure." She n dded.
Adiscreet waiter arrived bearing a silver tray and her c cktail. He placed a silver b wl I warmSpanish
alm nds n their table.
Schuyler picked ne and munched n it th ughtIully. "G d, d they have the best nuts here r what?
"There's n thing like anUpper East Side h tel." Oliver n dded sagely, taking a handIul. "We sh uld d
aNewY rk h tel bar-nut t ur. C mpare the Regency's nuts t the Carlyle's t the St. Regis.
"Mmmmm... the Regency has a great selecti n. They d this little appetizer thing, with three diIIerent
kinds I treatswasabipeas, warmnuts, and s me kind I peppery cracker," Schuyler said. The
Regency was an ther IC rdelia's Iav rite haunts.
They emptied their glasses and rdered an ther. AIter a Iewminutes, Bliss ran int the bar, her hair still
wet Ir ma sh wer. She t k a seat next t Schuyler and acr ss Ir mOliver. "Hey, guys. Thanks I r
meeting me.
"Manhattan?
"Sure.
The three I themclinked drinks.
"Mmm... these nuts are g d," Bliss said, p pping a Iewint her m uth.
Oliver and Schuyler laughed.
"What's s Iunny?
"N thing.I'll tell y u later, it's n t imp rtant," Schuyler said.
Bliss raised an eyebr w. The tw I themwere like that all the time. Inside j kes, mem ries I their
Iriendship she didn't share. It was amazing that Dylan had put up with it.
"C'm n, what's happened? Why did y u want t meet here?" Schuyler asked.
"He's here.
"Wh ?"Oliver asked.
"Wh else?Dylan." Bliss replied. She t ld themwhat she I und ut Ir mher Iatherthat Dylan had
been releasedbut he wasn't exactly as Iree as Charles F rce had t ld them. Instead, he had been put
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
int pr tective cust dy in a suite at the Carlyle H tel. The judge had all wed Charles F rce t bail him
ut, n the c nditi n that Dylan be released nly t his care. Her Iather said it was all amisunderstanding,
and the charges w uld be dr pped s n en ugh. But they still c uldn't Iigure ut why Dylan was being
held anyway, espe-cially by Charles F rce.
"And I verheard my dad and Charles talking, ab ut h w`they take care I their wn' and `n t t let
the situati n get ut I hand.''
"W nder what he meant by that?" Schuyler asked, tak-ing an ther alm nd Ir mthe b wl.
Bliss t k a l ng swig Ir mher c cktail. "Anyway, the way I see it, we just d what Oliver said. Bust
him ut. We can't Iail. Use mind c ntr l t verwhelmthe guardsSchuyler t ld me she had d ne it
beI rethen speed him ut I there, and Ollie's the l k ut. They're h lding himin R m1001.
'Just like that?"Oliver asked.
"Yeah, why n t?Y u're the ne wh t ld us t think like Blue Bl ds.
"But h wd we get upstairs in the Iirst place? D n't y u need t be a guest?" Oliver asked.
"Actually," Schuyler piped up, "that's the easiest part.C rdelia and I used t stay here all the time. I
kn wthe elevat r guys.
"Well then, let's get the sh w n the r ad," Oliver said, raising his hand I r the check.
They walked ut t the main l bby t ward the guarded elevat r. "Hey, Marty," Schuyler said, smiling at
the elevat r man in his shiny red c at with brass butt ns.
"Hi, Miss Schuyler, y u haven't been here in a while," he said, tipping his hat.
"I kn w, it's been t l ng," Schuyler said sm thly, ush-ering in her Iriends int the mirr red elevat r.
"TwelIth Il r?"Marty asked genially.
"N , they uh, put us n ten this time. Y u guys must be b ked.
"It's Oct ber," he explained."L ts I t urists. S me sh wat the Met r s mething." He pressed the
TENand t k a step back, smiling at Schuyler and her Iriends.
"Thanks, Marty, see y u ar unda" Schuylersaid, when the d rs pened.
They walked t ward the end I the hallway t the r m, but when they arrived at R m1001, there
were n guards stati ned at the Ir nt I the r m.
"That's weird," Bliss said. "I heard my dad saying they've g t like, all these c ps ar und himall the time.
Schuyler was ab ut t pulverize the l ck, when she n ticed s mething. The d r was ajar. She pushed it
pen. She glanced ver her sh ulder t Iind Bliss and Oliver giving her puzzled l ks. They had c me
prepared I r battle, and yet there was n bstacle t their pr gress.
Schuyler entered the r m, Bliss immediately behind her.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
"Dylan?" Bliss called.
They entered the plush, carpeted r m, where the tele-visi n was still blaring. There was a r mservice
tray with remnants I a steak dinner n its plate, the silver c vers haphazardly stacked t the side.An
unmade bed and t wels n the Il r.
"Are y u sure they said 1001?" Schuyler asked."C mpletely." Bliss n dded.
"What d y u think happened?" Oliver asked, l king ar und and taking the rem te c ntr l. He
switched II the televisi n.
"Dylan's g ne," Bliss said Ilatly. She remembered what Charles F rce had t ld her. He was being taken
care Iwhatever that meant. She Ielt a chill.Had they arrived t late t save him?
"He's escaped." Oliver n dded.
"Or s me ne, r s mething, let himg ." Schuyler said. Bliss was silent, her Iace inscrutable as she
l ked at the halI-eaten meal.
Schuyler placed a sympathetic hand n her sh ulder. "I'msure wherever he is, he's all right. Dylan's
t ugh," she t ld her Iriend. "N w, c me n, let's get ut I here beI re s me ne thinks we let him ut.

THIRTY-NINE


It came up n her with ut warning. Schuyler cursed her pride. It was all her Iault. Oliver had IIered t
put her in a cab, but since she already wed hims much m ney, she had declined. C nduit r n t, she
didn't want t keep taking advantage I his gener sity. He and Bliss lived a Iewbl cks away Ir mthe
Carlyle and she t ld themshe was Iine with taking thecr sst wn bus. The M72 dr pped her II at 72nd
and Br adway, and she decided t walk the rest I the way h me. It was m re than twenty bl cks, but
she l ked I rward t the exercise.
At the c rner INinety-IiIthStreet , she turned Ir mthe well-lit avenue t a dark street, h ping t walk
upRiverside , and that's when she Ielt it.
Within sec nds, it had her in her grasp. She Ielt the sharp Iangs puncture her skin and begin t sl wly
drawher liIe's bl d Ir mher. She sw ned, gasping. She was g ing t die.
She was IiIteen years ld and had hardly even lived, and already she was g ing t die. She struggled
against its ir n grip. W rse, kn wing what her grandm ther had t ld her, she w uld live. She w uld live
in this I ul beast's mem ry, a trapped pris ner t its insane c nsci usness I rever.
Beauty.Where was Beauty? The bl dh und w uld be t late t save her n w.
The pain was deep; she was Ieeling dizzy Ir mthe bl d l ss. But just beI re she succumbed, there was
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
a sh ut.
Astruggle.
S me ne was Iighting the beast. The Silver Bl d was releasing her. She turned, h lding her neck t
st p the bl d Il w, t see wh had saved her.
Jack F rce was trapped in a p wer struggle with the Iell creature, l cked in a tremend us Iight. It was
hulking and large, with shining silver hair and a man's I rm. But Jack was Iighting it.
He matched the Silver Bl d bl wI r bl w, but at last, the Silver Bl d threwhim II, slamming Jack's
b dy against the c ncrete.
"Jacka" Schuyler screamed. She l ked up, and as the m nster lunged I r her thr at, Schuyler
remembered her grandm ther's w rds. The laws I heaven meant that any creature was a slave t the
Sacred Language.
She held it back with a p werIul c mmand: "Aperi Orisa" Reveal y urselIa
The Silver Bl d cackled in laughter, and hissed in a terrible v ice that rasped with the ag ny I a
th usand screaming s uls, "Y u cann t c mmand me,earthspawn a
The creature c ntinued its menacing march t ward her.
"Aperi Orisa" Schuyler sh uted again, m re I rceIully this time.
Jack staggered backward, I r in the m ment that Schuyler had summ ned the incantati n, the sacred
w rds that she had learned, the m nster had sh wn themhis real Iace.
It was a Iace that Jack w uld never I rget.
The beast h wled in dismay, screeching a wretched, terrible scream, then disappeared int the night.
'Are y u all right?" Schuyler asked, rushing t his side. "Y u're bleeding.
"It's just a cut," he said, wiping the bl d, which had run red, but was blue in the light. "I'm kay. Are
y u?
She Ielt the side I her neck. The bleeding had st pped. "H wdid y u kn w?" she asked.
"That it w uld attack y u?Because it had nce beI re, s I knewit w uld d it again. Killers tend t g
back and Iinish what they started.
"But why
"I didn't want t see y u get hurt because I me," Jack explained brusquely.
Is that all? Schuyler w ndered.
"Thank y u," she said s Itly.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
"Did y u see it?" Jack asked. "Did y u?
"Yes." She n dded. "I did.
"It can't be right," Jack said. "It's a trick." He sh k his head. "I d n't believe it.
"It's n t. It has t I ll wthe laws." Schuyler said gently.
"I kn wab ut the Sacred Language," Jack snapped. "But it has t be a mistake.
"N mistake. Th se are the rules I creati n.
Jack gl wered. "N .
The m nster had sh wn itselI I r ne brieI m ment, when it had n ch ice but t bey Schuyler's
w rds. The m nster had sh wn its true I rm. And it was the Iace I the auth rity behindNewY rk , the
Iace I the man wh single-handedly changed the city t bend t his will.
The Iace I Charles F rce.
His wn Iather.




FORTY


Schuyler t ld Jack everything she'd put t gether, h p-ing that it wasn't true. "It's him. He was there n
the night Aggie died. I sawhimat the basement I The Bank. He was c ming ut I the Rep sit ry. I
remember n w. It puts himin the scene I the crime. It was him, Jack.
Jack sh k his head.
"Y u can't deny what y u saw. It was y ur Iather's Iace.
"Y u're wr ng. It's a trick I the light, s mething else." He kept shaking his head and staring d wn at the
bl d n the sidewalk.
"Listen t me. Jack, we have t Iind him. My grand-m ther said Silver Bl ds d n't even kn wwhat
they are. Y ur Iather might n t even realize he's been p ssessed.
Jack didn't argue this time.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
She put a hand n his arm. "Where is he?
"Where he always is.The h spital.
"What d y u mean? What h spital?
"C lumbia Pres, but I d n't kn wwhat r m. I d n't kn wwhat he d es up there. Only that he visits
s me ne there a l t." Jack said. "Why?
"I think I might kn wwhere we can Iind him," Schuyler said.
Schuyler Ielt dire trepidati n as they shared a taxicab up t h spital, but she tried t suppress it. When
they arrived at the c mplex, the guards j ked ab ut her "b yIriend" as they gave Jack a visit r's tag.
"Wh 's here? Where are we g ing?" he asked, as he I l-l wed her swiItly d wn the hallway.
"My m ther," Schuyler said. "Y u'll see.
"Y ur m ther?I th ught y ur m ther was dead.
'She might as well be," Schuyler said grimly.
She led himd wn the empty hallways t the c rner r m. She l ked thr ugh the glass wind wand
m ti ned I r Jack t d the same.
There was a man there, kneeling at the I t I the bed.The same mysteri us visit r wh came every
Sunday, wh mSchuyler had seen m re than nce in her m ther's r m. S that was why Charles F rce
had l ked s Iamiliar t her atAggie's Iuneral. N wshe rec gnized the set I the sh ulders. He was the
man in the basement I The Bank, and the beast wh had just attacked her. The dark stranger wasn't her
Iather aIter all, but a Silver Bl d.Am nster. She Ielt a Iuri us ragewhat iI Charles F rce had had
s mething t d with her m ther's c nditi n? What had he d ne t her?
"Father," Jack said as he entered the r m. He st pped and stared when he sawthe Iace I the w man
in the bed.The w man in his dreams.Allegra VanAlen .
Charles l ked up and sawSchuyler and Jack standing in Ir nt I him. "I th ught we had put an end t
this," he said, Ir wning at the tw I themt gether.
"Where were y u halI an h ur ag ?" Schuyler demanded. "Here.
"Liar," Schuyler accused."CROATANa
Charles raised his eyebr ws. "Sh uld I be insulted? Please l wer y ur v ice. Sh ws me respect I r
y ur sur-r undings. We're in a h spital, n t at a wrestling match.
"It's y u, Father. We sawy u." Jack said. He still c uldn't believeAllegra was still alive. But what was
she d ing in a h spital?
"What exactly are y u b th accusing me I?
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
"Where did y u get th se scratches?" Jack demanded, n ticing the cuts n his Iather's Iace.
"Y ur m ther's c nI unded Persian," Charles gr wled.
"I d n't think s ," Schuyler sc IIed.
"What is this all ab ut?" Charles demanded. "Why are the tw I y u here?
"Y u attacked Schuyler. I held y u II. It was y u, I sawy u.... Schuyler said the w rds, and my I e
revealed its Iace. And it was y urs.
"Is this what y u believe?
"Yes.
"Y ur grandm ther is right, Schuyler," Charles said in a bemused t ne. "Times have certainly changed iI
my wn s n thinks I amAb minati n. That is what y u're calling me, isn't it, Jack?" he asked, as he
pulled d wn his shirt cuII and sh wed thema mark n the underhand I his right wrist. It was I a sw rd,
a g lden sw rd piercing a cl ud.
"What is it? Why are y u sh wing us this?" Schuyler asked.
"The mark I theArchangel ," Jackexplained, his v ice reverent. He I rg t ab ut his c nIusi n
c ncerningAllegra VanAlen I r a m ment, and dr pped t his knees, pr strat-ing himselI in Ir nt I his
Iather's Ieet.
"Precisely," Charles said with a thin smile.
"What d es it mean?" Schuyler asked.
"It means, my Iather is n m re a Silver Bl d than y u r I," Jack explained, his v ice rising."The mark
I theArchangel . It can't be duplicated and it can't be IalsiIied. My Iather is Michael, Pure I Heart, wh
v luntarily acc mpa-nied the banished nt the earth t guide us in ur imm r-tal j urney." He b wed t
his Iather. "F rgive me. I have been l st, but n wI amI und.
"Rise, my s n.There is n thing t I rgive.
Schuyler l ked Ir mIather t s n with questi ning eyes. "But I used the Sacred Language.The
incantati n t reveal its true nature.
"Silver Bl ds are agile shape-shiIters," Charles explained. "It w uld I ll wy ur c mmandbut nly
aIter sh wing y u s mething it kneww uld thr wy u II, t sh ck y u. Only aIterward w uld it sh w
its true identity. But nly I r the brieIest m ment.
"S iI y ur Iather isn't the Silver Bl d, then wh is?" Schuyler asked suspici usly. "And where's
Dylan?
"He's saIe.F r n w.Hidden. He w n't harmany ne else anym re," Charles said. "T m rr whe will be
Iar away.
"What d y u mean, harmany ne?"Schuyler asked.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
"He had the bites n his neck. He was being used.Turned.
"Int what?What are y u talking ab ut?
"Dylan's a Blue Bl d," Charles said sh rtly. "At least, he was. I th ught y u knewthat.
Schuyler sh k her head. Dylan was a vampire? But then that meantthat meant he c uld have killed
Aggiethat meant that everything they th ught, everything they assumed c uld n l nger be true. Dylan
wasn't human.Which meant there was a chance he wasn't inn cent.
"But he was never at any meetings," Schuyler said weakly.
Charles smiled. "They are n t mandat ry. Y u can learn ab ut y ur hist ry r ch se t ign re it. Dylan
ch se t ign re it.T his detriment. The Silver Bl ds nly attack the weak-minded. They are drawn t
th se that are br ken, damaged s meh w. They sensed Dylan's weakness and preyed n it. Dylan, in
turn, preyed n thers.
"S then it was him. He killed Aggie?
"It is unI rtunate what happened with Aggie, yes. We have disc vered that Dylan had been drained I
alm st all his bl d in the riginal attack, but the Silver Bl d decided n t t c nsume himt tally and
turned himint ne I theminstead. T survive, he had t take a victim I his wn," Charles explained. "I
ams rry.
Schuyler was speechless I r a m ment. All al ng, all al ng they had th ught he was their Iriend.Dylan, a
vampire ... w rse, a Silver Bl d's pawn. It was h rriIying. "S , Silver Bl ds d exist. Y u admit that
they have returned.
"I admit n thing," Charles declared haughtily. "There c uld be ther explanati ns I r his acti ns. Dylan
c uld still be acting n his wn . It d es happen nce in a while.Dementia. The Sunset Years are v latile
nes I r ur kind. He c uld have Iaked the marks n his neck. We must inves-tigate thr ugh the pr per
channels. II he has been c rrupted, there is still a chance t save his s ul. F r n wwe have placed him
and his parents in a saIe l cati n.
"But y u can't d this. C ver it up. Y u must warn every-b dy. Y u must.
"Just like y ur grandm ther, y u are," Charles said."Apity. Y ur m ther was n t a hysterical w man."
He l ked tenderly d wn atAllegra and l wered his v ice. "The C nclave will take care I it. We will act
in time.
"Yet inPlym uth , y u did n thing," Schuyler accused. "R an kethey were all taken, yet y u did
n thing.
"And the deaths st pped," Charles said c ldly. "II we had Irightened every ne, iI we had c ntinued t
run, as y ur grandparents advised, we w uld never be where we are n w. We w uld be hiding I rever,
aIraid I a shad wthat may n t exist.
"But Aggieand the girl Ir mC nnecticut and the Ch ate b y," Schuyler argued. "What ab ut them?
Charles sighed."UnI rtunate l sses, all I them, yes.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
Schuyler c uldn't believe what she was hearing.Talking ab ut pe ple as iI their lives were expendable.
"We will clear this all up in time, I assure y u," Charles said. "We w n the battle inR me . The Silver
Bl ds are all but destr yed.
"My grandm ther said that ne I themlived, that ne I themwas able t hide am ng us ... that the
m st p wer-Iul Silver Bl d may still be alive," Schuyler said, walking ar und her m ther's bed t Iace
Charles head- n.
"C rdeliahas always said that. She persists in saying that. She is mistaken. I was there. I was there at the
battle at the temple. Listen t me cl sely, b th I y u, because I d n t want t repeat this againI sent
LuciIer himselI t the Iires I hell," Charles declared.
Schuyler was subdued and silent.
"N w, let us leave y ur m ther in peace," Charles rdered. He knelt d wn again and kissedAllegra's
c ld hand.
"But there is ne thing," Schuyler suddenly remem-bered. "Dylan.
"Yes?" Charles asked.
"Where is he?
"At the Carlyle H tel.I t ld y u, he is saIe.
"N , he's n t. He's n t at the Carlyle anym re. I was just there. He's g ne." Schuyler t ld themwhat
they had I undthe televisi n blaring, the halI-eaten dinner. "I think he was the ne wh attacked me.
F r a l ng m ment, n thing was said. Charles l ked at Schuyler wrathIully. "II what y u are saying is
true, we must Iind him.Immediately.


FORTY-ONE


She was screaming, screaming s l udly, as iI n ne w uld ever hear her. It was the nightmare
agains me ne taking h ld I her squeezing the breath ut I herand n thing she c uld d t st p
itshe was gagging she was dr wning and thenIighting against the I rce that was h lding her d wn,
she struggled, trying t wake up, I rc-ing herselI t push herselI ut I bedshe had t pen her
eyesshe had t seeshe saw.
She sawthe tw I theml king at her.Her parents. Her Iather was wearing his Ilannel r be ver his
pajamas, and her stepm ther had a peign ir ver a nightg wn.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
"Bliss, darling, are y u all right?" her Iather asked. He was h me Ir mD.C. I r the week.
"I had a nightmare," Bliss said, sitting upright and t ss-ing the c vers t the side. She put a hand up t
her I rehead, Ieeling the heat emanate Ir mher skin. She was burning and Ieverish.
"An ther ne?" her stepm ther asked.
"Abad ne.
"It's all part I it, Bliss. N thing t w rry ab ut," her Iather said cheerIully. "I remember when I was y ur
age, I used t have awIul nes.C mes with the territ ry. Black uts t when I was IiIteen, a l t I
times I'd wake up s me-where and have n idea h wI g t there, and n idea what happened." He
shrugged."Part I the transI rmati n.
Bliss n dded, accepting the c ld glass I water her step-m ther pr IIered. She gulped greedily. Her
Iather had men-ti ned that beI re, when she'd Iirst t ld himab ut the time slips, her black uts.
"I'm kay," she t ld them, alth ugh she Ielt s tired, like every muscle in her b dy was s re, as iI she'd
been pum-meled and beaten up all ver. She gr aned.
They h vered ver her anxi usly.
"I'mall right.Really." Bliss managed a smile and t k an ther huge gulp I water. "Y u guys g back t
bed. I'mIine.
Her Iather kissed her n her I rehead, and her m ther patted her arm, and the tw I themleIt the
r m.
She put the glass d wn n her bedside table. Then she rememberedDylan.
AIter saying g d-bye t Oliver and Schuyler at the Carlyle, she had met her Iamily I r a quick dinner at
DBBistr . Up n returning h me, she had pened the d r t her r m, and Dylan was sitting n her
bed, as iI it was the m st n rmal thing in the w rld. He'd used the key she'd lent himt get inside.
"Dylana
He was Ieverish and pale. He'd taken II his jacket and she sawthat his T-shirt andjeans were t rn. His
dark hair was matted against his I rehead. He l ked sp ked.TerriIied. His eyes were haunted. He t ld
her what hap-penedbeing questi ned, and held, but n t I rmally charged, h wCharles F rce had
taken himt the h tel suite, and the wh le time he was just thinking ab ut h whe missed her.
"But the thing is, I think I did d s mething," he said. His hands were shaking. "I think they were right. I
think I killed Aggie. I'mn t sure, but I think there's s mething wr ng with me.
"Dylan n .N way. Y u c uldn't have," Bliss said.
"Y u d n't understand," Dylan cried. "I'ma vampire. Like y u, a Blue Bl d.
Bliss just stared at him. It suddenly made sense. OI c urse he was ne I them, she'd kn wn it
s meh w,that was why she'd been drawn t himall al ng.Because he was just like her.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
"But s mething's happening t me ... I'mn t sure, but I think I just tried t kill Schuyler ... I sawher
leave the h tel, and I I ll wed her. I d n't kn wwhy, it just came ver me. I sawher n the street and I
... I d n't think it's the Iirst time either.
"N ," Bliss said, reIusing t hear what he had t say."St p. Y u're n t making sense." Why w uld he
attack Schuyler? Unless he was ... unless he'd bec me ... unless he'd turned int a ... She remembered
that night aIter the ph t sh t. Schuyler, staggering n the sidewalk, clutching the side I herneck .. .
"Listen," he said, standing up Ir mthe bed and putting his jacket back n. "Y u need t get ut I here.
They g t me, and they're g ing t get y u t . They want all I us. I nly came back t warn y u, but I
can't stay. I d n't think it's saIe I r y u t be ar und me. But I wanted t tell y u t be careIul. I d n't
want themt get y u. Y u have t pr tect y urselI. Y u've g t t believe me. They're c ming. ...
Then everything went blank. That was all she remem-bered.
She had blacked ut. She was in her skin and n t in her skin. She slipped thr ugh time and went
s mewhere else. When she w ke up, she was screaming, and her parents were standing ab ve her bed.
Dylan had c me t warn herand n whe was g ne.
She Ielt a dull emptiness, an ache, deep in her b nes, as iI she had survived a beating. She walked t the
bathr mand turned n the light. She gasped when she l ked at her-selI in the mirr r. There was a
mark underneath the c llar I her T-shirt. Had her parents n t n ticed? She pulled n the Iabric t see it
better. It was an ugly bruise.Adark pur-ple swelling, as iI s me ne had tried t strangle her. The skin
was tender t her t uch. What had happened? Where was Dylan?
She turned n the Iaucet t wash her Iace, when she n ticed shards I pulverized glass n the bathr m
Il r. The r mwas c ld. She turned t ward the wind wThe curtains bill wed Ir ma draIt. The t p I
the wind wpane was shatteredand it was bulletpr I glassher Iather had had it installed when they
m ved in, even iI they were n the highest Il r I the building thirty st ries high.
Bliss picked her way careIully thr ugh the br ken glass, when she n ticed s mething strange. Next t
the heater, a dark crumpled thing. She reached I r it and pulled ut Dylan's m t rcycle jacket. Dylan
never went anywhere with- ut his jacket. It was like his sec nd skin. It smelled like hima little s ur,
like cigarettes and aItershave.
There was s mething diIIerent ab ut it, th ugh. She turned the jacket t ward the light, and that's when
she sawit. The lining was s aked with bl d.Thick and wet.Heavy. There was s much bl d. OhG d ..
.
She was still h lding the jacket when she n ticedJ rdan standing in Ir nt I the bathr md r.Asmall,
silent I rmin c tt n pajamas.
"Y u scared me. Ever think I kn cking? Y u kn wy u're n t all wed in my r ma" Bliss said.
Her y unger sister l ked at her as iI she'd seen a gh st. "Y u're kay.
"OI c urse I am," Bliss snapped.
"I heard s methingI hearda deep v ice ...
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
"Dylan.My b yIriend. He was here with me earlier.
'N , n t the b yan ther,"J rdan said. She was shaking vi lently, and Bliss was surprised t Iind her
sister near tears. She'd never seenJ rdan act that way beI re.
Bliss, still h lding the jacket, walked t her side and held her cl se. "What did y u hear?" she asked,
trying t s the her trembling sister.
"There was a thumplikes mething heavy dr ppingthen I tsteps, ut I y ur r mdragging
s mething awaythen y u were screamingI, I didn't kn wwhat t d s I called M mand
Dad....
It all made sense n w.
The br ken wind w.
S me ne had been there.
S me ne else.
Or m re likely, s mething.
And it had ... h G d, Dylan ... all the bl dthere was s much bl d n the jacketh wc uld
any ne survive aIter l sing s much bl d? She Ielt a deep sense I grieI. He was as g d as dead. The
creature had taken him.
It had returned, t Iinish the j bt get herthe swelling in her neckshe'd tried t Iight it
IIiIJ rdan hadn't heard, iI her parents hadn't c me.... She Ielt chills. The Iine hair n her arms st d
n end.
It was n nightmareshe'd been Iighting it, it had been there, it was real. It had tried t kill her. What
Dylan had tried t warn her ab ut, what she and Oliver and Schuyler had disc vered in theRep sit ry.
Cr atan.Acreature that preyed n vampires.
ASilver Bl d.


FORTY-TWO


The F rces dr pped her II in Ir nt I her d r.
Schuyler was painIully embarrassed t think that she had accused Jack's Iather I being a Silver Bl d.
Even th ugh she was still tr ubled by his cavalier attitude t ward their returnalm st as iI it didn't b ther
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
himalm st as iI he had expected it. But that c uldn't be true. He was the Regis, their leader, a vampire
by ch ice instead I sin. She had t trust himt kn wthe right thing t d .
"Take it easy," Jack said, bidding her g d-bye.
She n dded her thanks and exited Ir mthe car. Then she realized she had c mpletely I rg tten t ask
why Charles was visiting her m ther in the Iirst place. Maybe her grand-m ther w uld kn w.
When Schuyler entered the h use, she Ielta strangeness in the air. The sitting r mwas as dark and
shr uded as ever, but there was a Ieeling I menace. The umbrella stand had been kn cked ver, as iI
s me ne had run d wn the stairs in a hurry. The silence seemed min us. Hattie was away n her week
II, and her grandm ther w uld be al ne in the h use. Schuyler quickened her pace up the stairs. She
n ticed ne I the paintings hanging in the stairway was askew. S me ne had deIinitely been in the
h use.S me ne wh did n t bel ng there.
Dylana What iI Dylan had been here? L king I r her? T Iinish what he'd started? She Ielt a wild panic.
Her grand-m ther's r mwas n the Iar end I the sec nd landing. She threwthe d rs pen and
walked briskly inside, calling her name.
"C rdeliaaC rdeliaa
There was a m an Ir mthe ther side I the bed.
Schuyler ran t ward the s und, Irightened I what she w uld Iind. But she didn't screamwhen she saw
C rdelia lying n the Il r in a p l I her wn bl dthick blue liq-uid surr unding herit was alm st
as iI she had kn wn it w uld happen.
"F ught it II ... but s p werIul ..."C rdelia whis-pered, pening her eyes t see Schuyler leaning ver
her.
"Wh ?Wh did this t y u?" Schuyler asked, helpingC rdelia t a sitting p siti n. "We need t get y u
t a h s-pital.
"N , n time."C rdeliaargued, her v ice barely l uder than a cr ak."Came I r me.Cr atan." She spit up
bl d."Wh ? Was it Dylan? Did y u see?
C rdeliash k her head. "I sawn thing. I was blinded m mentarily. But it was y ung, p werIul. I did
n t see its Iace. I held it II. It tried, but it wasn't able t take me r my mem ries. But this is the end I
my cycle. Y u need t take me t Dr. Pat's. S they can take my bl d.F r the next Expressi n.Very
imp rtant.
Schuyler n dded, tears in her eyes."But what ab ut y u?
"This cycle is ended I r me. This is the last chance we will have t speak I r a l ng time.
Schuyler t ld her quickly ab ut what happened at the Carlyle, and what she'd learned Ir mCharles
F rce ab ut Dylan, h whe'd been bitten, and turned, by a Silver Bl d. H whe had killed Aggie. "But
he's missing. He escaped Ir mthe h tel r m. N b dy kn ws where he is.
"He is m st likely dead by n w. They will kill himbeI re he can reveal their secrets.BeI re the Blue
Bl ds can h ld himagain. It is as I always Ieared,"C rdelia whispered. "The Silver Bl ds are back ...
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
Only y u can deIeat them... Y ur m ther was the str ngest I us and y u are her daughter....
"My m ther?
"Y ur m ther was Gabrielle. Gabriel.One I the seven Archangels. Only tw I themwent v luntarily
with the cursed, d wn t earth.T save us. She was the str ngest. She was Michael'sthat isCharles
F rce's twin.His nly l ve. It was her riginal sacriIice. He nly I ll wed ut I his l ve I r her. He gave
upParadise t be with her.
S that was why Charles visited her m ther.Allegra was his sister. Which meant, he was her ... uncle?
The tangled Blue Bl d Iamily hist ry was t c mplicated I r Schuyler t make sense I it at the
m ment.C rdelia c ntinued speaking. "They ruled t gether I r th usands I years. InEgypt , phara hs
r utinely married their sisters, as the emper rs did inR me . But in the m dern w rld, the prac-tice
became increasingly pr scribed, and s it became a hidden secret. Twins were still b rn in the same
Iamilies, bl d-b und t each ther like I was t y ur grandIather; but thr ugh a change, ne twin w uld
assume the r le I sp use, and the Red Bl ds never n ticed the transiti n. This way, I rtunes were
preserved in the same Iamily I r gen-erati ns.
Schuyler th ught I Mimi and Jack, I the strange and intimate b nd between them.
"Charles andAllegra were bl d-b und t each ther I r eternity. Until she met y ur Iather, that is. Y ur
m ther Iell in l ve with Stephen. It was her d m. She ren unced Charles. In his anger, Charles leIt the
Iamily. He t k a newname and I rs k the VanAlen legacy. When y ur Iather died,Allegra sw re
never t take an ther human Iamiliar, t preserve their l ve. It is why she d es n t wake up. She exists
between liIe and death. She reIuses t take the Red Bl d t keep her alive. Charles c uld help her, but
ch ses n t t .
"My Iather was human?
"Yes. Y u are the nly ne. Y u are a HalI Bl d.DimidiumC gnatus . Y u must take care. I have
pr tected y u as l ng as I c uld. There are th se wh will seek t destr y y u.
"Wh ?Why?
"It is said that the daughter I Gabrielle will bring us t the salvati n we seek.
"Me?H w?
C rdeliac ughed. She gripped Schuyler's armtightly. "Y u must Iind y ur grandIather ... my husband ...
Teddy ... anEnm rtal , a vampire wh has kept the same physical shell I r centuries.... He and I
separated a l ng time ag . AIter we were banished Ir mthe C nclave, we agreed it was saIer t
separate ... We did n t trust the Wardens ... We believed ne I themharb red theCr atan ... Teddy
has been missing I r centuries . . . Y u must search the Rep sit ry I r his last kn wn whereab uts ... He
can help y u. TryVenice , I think. He was I nd IItaly . He might have g ne there. Only he kn ws h w
t deIeat the Silver Bl ds. Y u must Iind himand tell himwhat's happened.
"H wwill I kn whim?
C rdeliasmiled wanly. "He's written a l t I b ks. M st I the nes in the library are Ir mhis
c llecti n, r were written by him.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
"Wh was he? What was his name?
"He has many names. Y u need them, y u kn w,iI y u're g ing t live I r s l ng. But when we were
t gether last he was g ing by Lawrence Winsl wVanAlen . C mb the Piazza San Marc .And the
Academy. WaitCipriani'sis m st likely. He did l ve hisBellinis . Tell him, tell himC rdelia sent y u.
Schuyler n dded. She wept penly n w. There were s many things yet t Iath mCharles/Michael,
Allegra / Gabriel, her human Iather, her imm rtal grandIather. She certainly had a strange and varied
Iamily tree.Her status as a HalI Bl d. Wh else knew? Did Oliver? Jack? And what did it mean? What
did it mean that Gabrielle's daughter w uld bring the Blue Bl ds t salvati n? It was t much. It was
t big a burden t sh ulder. She wanted n thing m re than I rC rdelia t st p bleeding. H ww uld
she g n with ut her?
Even th ugh she knewher grandm ther w uld never really dieshe was still leaving this w rld I r the
time being. "Grandm ther," she pleaded."Stay.
"Take care I y urselI, granddaughter," she said, reach-ing I r Schuyler's hand."Faci ValiturusF rtis."
Be str ng and brave. With that Iinal blessing,C rdelia VanAlen's spirit reverted t a passive state.


FORTY-THREE


The Iuneral was SROStanding R mOnly. It was amazing h wmany pe ple knewC rdelia VanAlen
. St.Barth lemew's was packed, and n the seventh night I viewing, there were still hundreds I pe ple
wh sh wed up t pay their respects. The g vern r, the may r, the tw sen-at rs Ir mNewY rk , and
many ther pe ple came t pay h mage. It was alm st as cr wded as Jackie O's Iuneral, Mimi th ught.
Unlike at AggieCar nd let's Iuneral, alm st every per-s n attending had w rn white t C rdelia Van
Alen's . Even her Iather had insisted that the Iamily dress in iv ry raiment I r the ccasi n. Mimi had
ch sen a cl ud-c l redBehnazSaraIp ur dress. She n ticed Schuyler VanAlen at the Ir nt I the
receiving line, greeting every ne in a slimwhite dress, her hair held back by tw white gardenias.
"Thank y u I r c ming," she t ld the F rces, shaking their hands.
"We share y ur s rr w. She shall return," Charles F rce said s lemnly. He was wearing a suit the c l r
I cream. Schuyler had kept the circumstances I her grandm ther's death t herselI. II there was really a
Silver Bl d in the C nclave, she Ielt it best n t t reveal what had truly hap-pened. Instead, she had
t ld every ne thatC rdelia had tired I the Expressi n and was l king I rward t resting beI re the
next cycle.
"Weawait I r glad tidings," Schuyler said the traditi nal reply back. She had learned a l t in the past tw
m nths.
"V sVadumRevert ," Jack whispered, b wing t the c IIin. Y u Shall Return.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
Mimi gave Schuyler a quick n d. She I und Bliss arriv-ing thr ugh the side d r with her Iamily. Bliss
was wearing aSaraIp ur shiIt dress identical t Mimi's. The girl Ir mTexas was learning, t .
"Hey, Bliss, maybe aIter the Iuneral we can g t a spa. I'ms s re Ir mp wer y ga," Mimi said t her
Iriend.
"Sure," Bliss said. "I'll wait I r y u aIter the service." She walked up t Schuyler, wh was standing by
herselI by the magniIicent platinumc IIin.
"S rry ab ut y ur grandm ther," Bliss said.
"Thank y u," Schuylersaid, her eyes d wncast.
"What are y u g ing t d n w?
Schuyler shrugged. In her will,C rdelia had declared Schuyler an emancipated min r, with Hattie and
Julius as her guardians I r n w.
"I'll be kay.
"G d luck.
Schuyler watched Bliss walk away, huddled cl sely t Mimi. The day beI re, Bliss had t ld her ab ut
the ther night, what had happened when she'd returned Ir mthe Carlyle.H wshe'd I und Dylan in her
r m, h w he'd c n-Iessed. H w she'd blacked ut, and when she aw ke, had dis-c vered the br ken
glass, the bl dstained jacket.
"He was a vampire and n whe's dead, Schuyler," Bliss said, tears in her eyes.
N n t dead. W rse than dead, Schuyler th ught.C rdelia had t ld her that when the Silver Bl ds
drained the Blue Bl ds, they t k their s uls, their mem ries, made thempris ner t their imm rtal
c nsci usness I rever.
"They t k him, but they wanted me t ," Bliss s bbed. "He nly came back t warn me. They'd turned
himint ne I them, but he was Iighting it. N whe's g ne, and I'll never see himagain.
Schuyler had hugged her cl se. "At least y u're saIe.
She Ielt heartsick I r Bliss. She wanted her t kn wthat she w uld always be there I r her. But the next
day, it seemed the Texan girl had c mpletely reverted t her ld selI. She reIused t talk t Schuyler r
Oliver ab ut everything that happened, and gravitated back t her ld circlethat is, next t Mimi
F rce.
Schuyler h ped that they w uld get a chance t bec me Iriends again. In her heart, she underst d that
Bliss was weak, but s meday she w uld help her bec me str ng.Valiturus.F rtis.
Oliver came ver and placed a spray I white calla lilies n the c IIin. He was wearing a dazzling
three-piece white suit. His dark chestnut hair curled ab ve the c llar.
"We will miss her," he said, blessing himselI.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
"Thank y u," she said, accepting a kiss n the cheek.
The service began, and the ch ir sangC rdelia's Iav rite hymn, "On Eagle's Wings." Schuyler sat in the
Ir nt pew, her arms I lded in her lap.C rdelia was g ne. The nly Iamily she had ever truly kn wn. She
was al ne in the w rld. Her m ther, trapped in a sleeping death, and her grand-Iather l st, hiding
s mewhere.
Oliver, seated next t her, squeezed her hand in sym-pathy.
AIter the Iuneral, Jack F rce walked ver t Schuyler. He, t , was wearing a white suit, and it gleamed
in the sun. They walked ut I the church t busy Park Avenue, where it was just an ther Sunday inNew
Y rk . M thers and nan-nies pushing eight-hundred-d llar str llers t ward the park, well-dressed
residents ut I r a brisk Iall str ll r an aIter-n n at a museum.
"Schuyler, c uld I have a sec?
"Sure." She shrugged.
With his light hair and green eyes, Jack F rce l ked princely in his shining garb. He had the Iace I an
angel.AIace n t unlike his Iather's.
"Speak," she t ld him.
"I'ms rry things went s weird between us...." he said. "I ... my liIeis n t my wn.... I have
resp nsibilities t my Iamily that ... that preclude the kind I relati nship that
"Jack, y u d n't need t explain," Schuyler said, cutting him II. She c uld guess ab ut himand Mimi.
Bl d-b und t each ther since the day I their creati n.
"N ?
"Y u need t d what y u need t d , and I need t d what I need t d .
He l ked tr ubled. "What d y u need t d ?
She th ught ab ut Dylan, ab ut the sad-Iaced b y with the wicked sense I hum r and the tarnished
reputati n.Her Iriend. He had been transI rmed int a m nster. Used and then killed. She th ught ab ut
what her grandm ther had said ab ut the Silver Bl dsthey were wily, cunning, and duplicit us, and
h wC rdelia believed the m st p wer-Iul I themall was hiding am ng them, disguised as a Blue Bl d.
But n ne wanted t believe in their existence, that there was a chance they had returned.EveniIAggie's
death was real en ugh. And n wDylan's as well. Charles F rce was determined t watch, wait, and d
n thing. But Schuyler w uld n t wait. There was n thing she c uld have d ne I r Aggie, but she had t
Iind ut wh had taken Dylan. She w uld hunt d wn the Silver Bl ds. Avenge her Iriend.
"D n't make things any harder I ry urselI , Schuyler," Jack warned.
Schuyler nly smiled. "G d-bye, Jack.
Oliver materialized suddenly. It was amazing h whe always sh wed up right when Schuyler needed him
the m st. "Schuyler? The car's waiting," he said.
Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
She linked her armin his and let himwalk her t the car. She had Oliver. She w uld never be al ne.


FORTY-FOUR


The Stitched I r Civilizati n billb ard went up inTimes Square , the biggest billb ard the city had ever
seen. The ph t graph was an unusual ne: there was a tan-gle I tw Iemale b dies wearing nly the
jeans, but nly ne Iace was visible and l ked t ward the camera. Schuyler. Bliss's Iace was bscured
by all her red hair.
Schuyler l ked up atherselI and laughed.
Oliver t k a ph t with his cell ph ne I Schuyler p inting t her billb ard and giggling.
"Y u l k g d eighty Ieet high," he said.
Schuyler l ked at the Iace n the billb ard.Her m ther's Iace. N , the Iace washer wn . She l ked
like her m ther but she had her Iather's eyes. She was a vampire, but part I her was human as well. She
was pr ud I the ph t graph. Then she sawthe billb ard acr ss Ir mit.
It was an advertisement I r F rce News Netw rk, FNN, and the ph t graph was I Mimi F rce
wearing the channel's l g n a tight white T-shirt. FORCE NEWS. FAIR, JUST, AND FAST.
"L k," she said, p inting.
S Mimi had heard ab ut the Stitched I r Civilizati n campaign aIter all. And had tried t eclipse it by
makingher-selI a billb ard t . N ne was g ing t ruleTimes Square but her.
They walked past a newsstand and Oliver paid I r the P st.
PREPPIE FOUNDDEADAT APARTY. The headline blared.
Schuyler scrutinized the article. She knewthe kid Ir mThe C mmittee. Land nSchlessinger was a Blue
Bl d. She was running ut I time. The Silver Bl ds had returned. They were back. They were here,
inNewY rk , hiding under Ialse Blue Bl d identities, inIringing n their c mmunity, preying n the
y ung, during the time when the Blue Bl ds were the weakest. And the Blue Bl ds w uld just let it
hap-pen.
But n t anym re.She I lded the newspaper and tucked it under her arm.
"Ollie, h wd y u Ieel ab ut a weekend inVenice ?" she asked.

Generatedby ABCAmber LITC nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html
Generated by ABC Amber LIT C nvertera http://www.pr cesstext.c m/abclit.html