Boundless Page 27

“Okay, what is going on with you?” I demand to know.

“What do you mean?”

“What do you mean, what do I mean?” I cry. “You’ve been dodgy. The whole dorm is talking about how you’re involved, in a horizontal-type way, with Pierce. He’s the PHE, you know, the dorm doctor. He lives on the first floor. Blondish, shortish, scruffyish—”

She gives me an amused look and closes the door behind me, locks it. “I know who he is,” she says with her back to me. “And yes, we’re together. Involved, if that works better for you, in a horizontal-type way.”

My mouth drops open.

I owe Christian ten bucks.

Angela puts a hand on her hip. I notice that she’s got a wet washcloth slung over one shoulder. She’s wearing sweats, an oversize Yellowstone National Park T-shirt with a trout on the front, her hair braided in a long, single plait down her back, no shoes or socks, and no polish on her fingers or toes. Under the fluorescent lights of our room, her skin has a blue cast to it, lavender shadows under her eyes.

“Are you okay?” I ask.

“I’m fine. Tired, is all. I was up all night working on my Eliot paper.”

“But you weren’t in class—”

“I got an extension,” she explains. “Things have been crazy lately, and I’ve been so swamped that I’ve fallen way behind. I spent all weekend trying to catch up with everything.”

I squint at her. She’s lying, I sense vaguely. But why?

“Are you okay?” she asks. “You look a little wild-eyed.”

“Oh, well, let’s see: My dad showed up saying that he wants to train me to use a glory sword. Because I’m apparently going to have to fight for my life at some point. And oh yes, I’m having a vision where someone is trying to kill me, which works well with Dad’s theory that I should sharpen up my glory sword. And if that’s not enough, Christian’s having the same vision, except in his vision he doesn’t see me holding a glory sword. He sees me all weak and covered with blood. So maybe I’m going to die.”

She stares at me in horror.

“This is what happens when you don’t return my phone calls,” I say, flopping down on her bed. “All the proverbial crap hits the proverbial fan. Oh, and I just saw the bird again, and I felt his sorrow this time, and it’s definitely Samjeeza. So yay, right?”

She leans against the door frame like all that bad news has knocked the air out of her. “Samjeeza? Are you sure?”

“Yep. Pretty sure.”

There’s a sheen of sweat on her forehead, a greenish tinge to her skin.

“Hey, I didn’t mean to scare you,” I say, sitting up. “I mean, it’s not good, but—”

“Clara—” She stops and presses the washcloth to her mouth, inhales deeply, closes her eyes for a minute. And she goes even greener.

All thoughts of Samjeeza fly out of my head.

“Are you … sick?”

I’ve never been sick, truly sick, a day in my life. Never had a cold, the flu, never got food poisoning, never had a fever or an ear infection or a sore throat. And neither has Angela.

Angel-bloods don’t get sick.

She shakes her head, closes her eyes.

“Ange, what is going on? Stop saying everything’s fine and spill.”

She opens her mouth to say something, but suddenly she groans and rushes out into the hall and two doors down to the bathroom, where I hear the unmistakable sounds of her throwing up.

I creep to the bathroom door. She’s in a stall crouched in front of the toilet, clutching the sides with white-knuckled hands, shivering.

“Are you okay?” I ask softly.

She laughs, then spits into the bowl, gets a wad of toilet paper, and blows her nose. “No. I am definitely not okay. Oh, Clara, isn’t it obvious?” She pushes her hair out of her face and glares at me with fierce, shining eyes. “I’m pregnant.”

“You’re—”

“Pregnant,” she says again, the word echoing off the tile. She stands up and brushes herself off, pushes past me and back to her room.

“You’re—” I try again, following her.

“Knocked up. Yes. A bun in the oven. Preggers. With child. Expecting. In the family way.” She sits down on the bed, stretches her back, and lifts her shirt.

I stare at her belly. It’s not huge, not so much that I would have noticed it if she weren’t pointing it out, but it’s gently rounded. There’s a faint black line that stretches from her belly button down. She stares up at me with tired eyes, and I feel in that moment that she’s about an eyelash away from crying. Angela Zerbino, on the edge of tears.

“So,” she says softly. “Now you know.”

“Oh, Ange …” I keep shaking my head, because there’s no way that this could be true.

“I’ve already talked to Dr. Day, and three or four people in administration. I’m going to see if I can make it through winter quarter, since I’m not due for a while, and then take a leave of absence. They tell me that it won’t be any problem. Stanford will be here when I decide to come back; that’s the policy when it comes to these types of situations.” She gives me a look that’s trying hard to be brave. “I’m going to go back to Jackson and live with my mom. It’s all worked out.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?” I breathe.

She lowers her head, rests her hand lightly on her belly. “I guess I didn’t want to tell you because I didn’t want you to look at me the way you’re looking at me right now. Telling people makes it real.”

“Who’s the father?” I ask.

Her expression smoothes itself in perfect composure again. “Pierce. We had this night a couple months ago, just something that happened, and we’ve been kind of on again/off again since then.”

She’s lying. I can feel it like she has a neon sign that says LYING flashing over her head.

“You think people are going to believe that?” I ask.

“Why wouldn’t they?” she asks sharply. “It’s the truth.”

I sigh.

“For one thing, Ange, you can’t really get away with lying to me. I’m an empath. And secondly, even if I wasn’t an empath, Pierce is the PHE.”

“What does that have to do with anything?” She’s not looking at me now.

“He’s the guy who gave out the safe-sex pamphlets during orientation. He’s got a dorm’s worth supply of condoms stashed in his room. And—”

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