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Bloody Valentine. by: Melissa De La Cruz. Publication date: Publisher For print-disabled users. Borrow this book to access EPUB files. Then a popular girl from her school is found dead drained of all her blood. Schuyler 5-Misguided Angel - Melissa de la KB. Lang Leav - Love and KB. 12 . Actions. Report. Blue Bloods Series by Melissa De La Cruz [5_5] Bloody 82 KB.

But before he could wield another blow, Mimi leaped up and slammed him against the window, knocking him completely out of breath. She sprung up with her hands clenched, her nails sharp as claws, and fangs bared. They met halfway in the air, and Jack put a hand on her throat and began to squeeze. But she scratched at his eyes and wrenched her body so that she was rolling on top of him, her sword at his throat, with the upper hand.

Mimi sent. This was Abbadon the Cruel. The Angel of Destruction. He could and would destroy her if he had to.

If he felt like it. He had destroyed worlds before. He had decimated Paradise in the name of the Morningstar. She trembled in his grasp. All his gentleness, all his kindness, all the bright shining gorgeousness of his love, he had always given to someone else. He had adored Gabrielle, had worshiped her, had written her poems and sang her songs, and for Schuyler there were novels and love notes and sweet kisses and furtive tender meetings by a fireplace.

It simply didn't add up. It was as if the world had been turned upside down.

It was against everything they'd been told. She couldn't even begin to make it comprehensible. There had to be one.

Things like this simply didn't happen. Not to them. They've done the tests. The blood—it's gone. It was as if something had skittered across her grave. Mimi recoiled from his embrace. You have to be. It's just not possible. That word that popped up all weekend, Saturday morning, when the call came: repeated by their parents, the Elders, the Wardens, everybody. What happened to Aggie just wasn't possible.

That much they all agreed on. Mimi walked toward an open window, stepped into the sunlight, and gloried in the way it tickled her skin. Nothing could hurt them. The letters went out today.

But they haven't even begun to change yet," Mimi protested. Everyone has to be warned. Even the premature. She didn't like knowing her novel status would soon be supplanted by a new batch. Where are you going? Their teacher, Mr. Orion, a curly-haired Brown graduate with a droopy mustache, small, wire-rimmed glasses, a long Cyrano nose, and a penchant for wearing oversized baggy sweaters that hung off his scarecrow-like frame, sat in the middle of the room, leading the discussion.

She found a seat near the window, pulling up her chair to the circle around Mr. There were only ten people, the standard class size. Schuyler couldn't help but notice that Jack Force wasn't in his usual seat. She'd never said a word to him all semester, and she wondered if he would even remember saying hello to her on Friday night. Orion asked, even though it was an irrelevant question. Duchesne was the kind of place that, years after graduation, if you bumped into an alum at an airport, or walking around Centre Pompidou, or downtown at Max Fish, you would immediately download them a drink and ask about their family, because even if you had never exchanged a word while at the school, you knew almost everything about them, down to the intimate details.

Orion asked again. Bliss Llewellyn cautiously raised her hand. Memories of Aggie? What did she really know about her? She knew that she liked clothes, and shopping, and her tiny little lapdog, Snow White. It was a Chihuahua, like Bliss's, and Aggie had liked to dress her up in silly little outfits. The dog even had a mink sweater that matched Aggie's. That was as much as Bliss could recall. Who ever really knows anybody? And anyway, Aggie was really Mimi's friend. Bliss thought back on that fateful night.

She'd ended up talking to Dylan for what seemed like ages in that back alley. When they'd smoked every last cigarette they had between the two of them, he'd finally gone back to The Bank, and she'd reluctantly returned to Block and Mimi's demands.

Aggie wasn't at the table when she got back, and Bliss hadn't seen her for the rest of the evening. From the Force twins, Bliss knew the basics—they'd found Aggie in "the Land of Nod"—the back room where the club hid druggies who'd passed out—a dirty little secret that Block had successfully kept out of the tabloids, with hefty bribes to cops and gossip columnists alike. Most of the time patrons who passed out woke up hours later just a little worse for wear, with a great anecdote to tell their friends— "And I woke up in this closet, man!

What a long strange trip, right? But something had gone wrong on Friday night. They hadn't been able to revive Aggie. And when "the ambulance" the owner's SUV had deposited her at the St. Vincent's ER—Aggie was already dead. Drug overdose, everyone assumed. She'd been found in the closet, after all.

What did you expect? Except Bliss knew that Aggie didn't touch drugs. Like Mimi's, her vices of choice were tanning salons and cigarettes.

Drugs were looked down upon in Mimi's circle. I'm high on life," Mimi liked to crow. She'd been the one who'd handed Mimi tissues in the hallway. Schuyler could barely disguise her contempt. She liked Mr. Orion, liked his shaggy-dog laid-back approach to life, but she was disgusted by the way he let her peers turn something real—the death of someone they knew, someone hardly sixteen years old—a girl they'd all seen sunbathing in the cortile, powering squash returns in the lower court gyms, or hoovering brownies at the bake sale like all popular Duchesne girls, Aggie had a love affair with food that was out of proportion to her super-skinny appearance —into a trivial matter, a stepping-stone to talk about everyone else's neuroses.

The door opened, and everyone looked up to see a red-faced Jack Force enter the room. He passed his late form to Mr. Orion, who waved it away. He looked tired, and a little rumpled in his creased polo with the shirttails hanging out and baggy wool pants. A slight electric charge went through Schuyler's body, a prickly and not unpleasant sensation.

What had changed? She'd sat next to him before, and he was always invisible to her, until now. He didn't meet her eye, and she was too frightened and self-conscious to look at him. It was odd to think they were both there that evening.

So close to where Aggie had died. But now another Mimi disciple was prattling about her hamster, who'd starved to death when they went on vacation.

Tales of the demise of a similarly beloved lizard, canary, and rabbit were next on deck. Schuyler rolled her eyes and doodled in the margins of her notebook. It was her way of zoning out from the world. When she couldn't take it anymore—her spoiled classmates' navel-gazing rants, endless math lectures, the yawn-inducing properties of single-cell division—she retreated into pen and paper.

She'd always loved to draw. Anime girls and saucer-eyed boys. She was absentmindedly sketching Jack's profile when a hand reached out and scrawled a note on top of her page.

She looked up, startled, instinctively covering her drawing. Jack Force nodded somberly at her, tapping on her notebook with a pencil, directing her gaze to the words he'd written. Aggie didn't die of an overdose. Aggie was murdered. She felt slightly embarrassed, like she always did when she saw the car.

She saw her half sister, Jordan, who was eleven and in the sixth grade, waiting for her.

They had let the lower form out early too, even though they hardly knew Aggie. The door to the Rolls opened, and a pair of long legs stepped out of the car. Bliss's stepmother, the former BobiAnne Shepherd, wearing a tight pink velour tracksuit with the zipper pulled down to reveal her ample bosom, and high-heeled Gucci clogs, began looking frantically around the clustered students.

Bliss wished, not for the first time, that her stepmother would let her take a cab or walk home like every other kid at Duchesne. The Rolls, the Juicy, the eleven-carat diamond, it was all so Texas. Bliss had learned, from her two months in Manhattan, that it was all about stealth wealth. The richest kids in class wore Old Navy and were on strict allowances. If they needed a car, their parents made sure it was a sleek and unobtrusive black Town Car.

Even Mimi took cabs. Flashy displays of status and affluence were looked down upon. Of course, these were also the same kids who wore pre-stained jeans and unraveling sweaters from precious SoHo boutiques that charged in the five figures. It was all right to look poor, but actually being poor was completely inexcusable. At first, everyone at school thought Bliss was a scholarship kid, with her fake-looking Chanel bag and her too-shiny shoes.

But the appearance of the Silver Shadow Rolls every afternoon soon put an end to that rumor. The Llewellyns were loaded, all right, but in a vulgar, cartoonish, laughable fashion, which was almost as bad as having no money, but not quite. She smelled like calcified perfume— sweet and chalky. Bliss's real mother had died when she was born, and her father never talked about her.

Bliss had no memory of her mother. When she was three, her father had married BobiAnne, and they'd had Jordan soon after. We're not the ones who were killed.

Now, why had she said that? Aggie's death was an accident. A drug overdose. But the word had come out naturally, without her even thinking about it. I know, I know.

I heard. The poor Carondolet girl. Her mother is in shock, the poor thing. Get in, get in. Jordan was stoic as usual, taking her mother's histrionic ministrations with a studied indifference. Her sister couldn't have been more dissimilar to her. Whereas Bliss was tall and willowy, Jordan was short and stocky. Bliss was strikingly beautiful, but Jordan was so plain she was almost homely, a fact that BobiAnne never failed to point out.

BobiAnne was always trying to put Jordan on some kind of diet and admonishing her for her lack of interest in fashion or a "beauty regimen" while praising Bliss's looks to the heavens, which aggravated Bliss even more.

You especially, Bliss, no more sneaking out with Mimi Force to god knows where. You're to be home every night by nine. Bliss rolled her eyes. So now just because some girl died at a nightclub she had some kind of curfew? When did her stepmother even care about stuff like this? Bliss had been going to parties since seventh grade. She'd had her first taste of alcohol then, and had gotten stupid-drunk at the fairgrounds that year; her friend's older sister had had to come and pick her up after she'd vomited and passed out in the haystack behind the Ferris Wheel.

They exited the car and walked into a palatial apartment building.

The Anthetum was one of the oldest and most prestigious addresses in the city. The Llewellyn abode was a triplex penthouse on the top floor. Each room in the apartment was decorated in flamboyant, peacock fashion, and no expense had been spared, from the floor-standing eighteen-carat gold candelabras in the dining room to the diamond-encrusted soap dishes in the powder room.

There was the "Versace" sitting room, filled with the dead designer's antiques that BobiAnne had scooped up at the auction, filled to the brim with sunburst mirrors, gold gilt china cabinets, and bombastic Italian nude sculpture. Another room was the "Bali" room, with wall-to-wall mahogany armoires, rough wooden benches, and bamboo bird cages. Every item in the room was an authentic, extremely rare and expensive South Asian artifact, but because there were so many of them, the overall effect was that of a fire sale at Pier 1 Imports.

There was even a "Cinderella" room, modeled after the exhibit at Disney World—complete with a tiara-wearing mannequin in a dress held up by two fiberglass birds attached to the ceiling.

Bliss thought Penthouse de Crap would be more fitting. Her stepmother was particularly agitated that afternoon. Bliss had never seen her so nervous. BobiAnne didn't even flinch when Bliss trailed dirty footsteps on the immaculate carpet. It had an impressive heft and weight to it, like a wedding announcement. Bliss opened it, finding a thick embossed card inside. One of the oldest charities in New York, it was also the most prestigious; only the children of the most socially prominent families were invited to join as junior members.

At Duchesne, it was simply called "The Committee. Captains of all the school teams were on The Committee, as were the editors of the newspaper and yearbook, but it wasn't an honor society, since rich kids like Mimi Force, who weren't active in any school activities but whose parents were influential New Yorkers, made up the bulk of the membership.

It was snobby, cliquey, and exclusive to the extreme; membership comprised of only kids from the top private schools. The Committee had never even released a full list of its members—if you were on the outside, you could only guess if someone was in it, and only a clue, like a Committee ring, a gold serpent around a cross, worn by a member, would give it away.

Bliss had been under the impression they weren't inducting new members until the spring, but the packet informed her the first meeting was for the following Monday, at the Jefferson Room at Duchesne. All that hoopla over fundraising and party-planning.

Bloody Valentine

She was sure Dylan would find it ridiculous. Not that she cared what Dylan thought. She still didn't know how she felt about him—she felt awful about not even saying hello when he'd tapped her on the shoulder earlier. But Mimi's watchful eyes were upon her, and Bliss just hadn't felt brave enough to give any indication that they were friends. Were they friends?

They were certainly friendly Friday night. You've been chosen," BobiAnne said.

Bliss nodded. Jordan's dark eyes peered at her in an unnerving fashion. Bliss shook her head. Her little sister was so strange. She was so alien to Bliss. When they were younger, Jordan had followed her everywhere like a lost puppy, and continually wondered why she didn't have curly hair like her sister, fair skin like her sister, and blue eyes like her sister.

They used to be friends. But things had changed in the past year. Jordan had become secretive and shy around Bliss. It had been ages since Jordan had asked Bliss to braid her hair.

It was in US Weekly last week," Bliss replied. For a charity committee, there were an endless number of forms to be filled out, including a statement of acceptance, that included a commitment of two hours every Monday night. Jordan shook her head. Didn't you get the ? It was an overdose. Now, get lost, puke-face," Bliss said, throwing a pillow at the door.

What was Jordan talking about? What did she know? Why had her stepmother been so affected by Aggie's death?

Melissa de la Cruz

And what was the big deal about joining some charity committee? She called Mimi. She knew Mimi was on The Committee, and Bliss wanted to make sure she was going to be at the meeting. We have joyful news — the people of this new land have welcomed us with open arms and many gifts.

They brought wild game, a large bird that could feed an army, a bounty of vegetables, and maize. It is a new beginning for us, and we are heartened by the sight of the verdant land, the vast virgin acres where we will make our settlement. All our dreams have been realized. This is what we left our home for — so that the children may grow up safe and whole.

EIGHT When school let out, Schuyler caught the crosstown bus at Ninety-sixth Street, sliding her white student MetroCard in the slot and finding an empty seat next to a harassed-looking mother with a double stroller. Schuyler was one of the few students at Duchesne who took public transportation.

The bus slowly lumbered across the avenues, past a host of specialty boutiques on Madison, including the unapologetically-named "Prince and Princess" that catered to the elite under-twelve set—French-smocked cotton dresses for girls and Barbour coats for boys; pharmacies that stocked five-hundred-dollar boar's-hair brushes; and tiny antique shops that sold arcana such as mapmaking equipment and fourteenth-century feather quills.

Then it was through the Central Park greenery to the west side of town, toward Broadway, a change of neighborhood and scenery—Chino-Latino restaurants, less snooty retail shops—then finally a steep right up Riverside Drive. She had meant to ask Jack what he'd meant by his note, but she hadn't been able to catch him after class. Jack Force, who had never even paid attention to her before? First he knows her name, now he's writing her notes? Why would he tell her Aggie Carondolet was murdered?

It had to be some kind of joke. He was playing with her, scaring her, most likely. She shook her head in irritation. It didn't make sense. And even if Jack Force had some overheated Law and Order-type insight into the case, why was he sharing it with her? They barely knew each other.

At th street, she dinged the yellow tape and stepped lightly out the automatic doors to the still-sunny afternoon. She walked up one block toward the steps carved into the landscaped terraces that separated the traffic and led directly to her front door.

Riverside Drive was a scenic Parisian-style boulevard on the westernmost side of upper Manhattan: a grand serpentine route dotted with stately Italian Renaissance mansions and majestic Art Deco apartment buildings.

It was here that the Van Alens had decamped in the turn of the last century from their lower Fifth Avenue abode. Once the most powerful and influential family in New York City, the Van Alens had founded many of the city's universities and cultural institutions, but their wealth and prestige had been in decline for decades. One of their last remaining holdings was the imposing French-style palace on the corner of leafy st and Riverside Drive that Schuyler called home.

Made of beautiful gray stone, it had a wrought-iron door and gargoyles standing guard at the balcony level. But unlike the sparkling refurbished townhouses that surrounded it, the house badly needed a new roof; tiles, and a coat of paint.

Schuyler rang the doorbell. The white-haired Polish woman in an old-fashioned maid's uniform only grunted. Schuyler followed her through the creaking double door and tiptoed across the great hall, which was dark and musty with Persian rugs so old and rare, but covered in a layer of dust.

There was never any light in the room because, even though the house had several large bay windows that overlooked the Hudson River, heavy velvet curtains always covered the views. Traces of the family's former largesse were in evidence, from the original Heppelwhite chairs to the massive Chippendale tables, but the house was too hot in the summer and too drafty in the winter, without the benefit of central air. Unlike the Llewellyn's penthouse, where everything was either a pricey reproduction or an antique bought at Christie's, every piece of furniture in the Van Alen home was original and handed down from earlier generations.

Most of the home's seven bedrooms were locked and unused, and draped fabric covered most of the heirloom pieces.

Schuyler always thought it was a little like living in a creaky old museum. Her bedroom was on the second floor— a small room she'd rebelliously painted a bright Mountain Dew yellow, to contrast the dark tapestries and stuffiness of the rest of the house. She whistled for Beauty, and a friendly, gorgeous bloodhound ran to her side.

No matter how bad a day she'd had, Beauty always made it better. The beautiful animal had followed her home from school one day last year. The dog was a purebred, with a glossy dark coat that matched Schuyler's blue-black hair.

Schuyler had been sure her owners would come looking for her, and she had put up "Found Pet" signs in the neighborhood. But no one came to claim Beauty, and after a while, Schuyler stopped trying to find her rightful owner. The two of them loped up the stairs. Schuyler walked inside her room and shut the door behind her dog. Beauty barked, then wagged her tail, galloping joyfully toward the intruder.

Schuyler turned to find her grandmother sitting on the bed with a stern expression. Cordelia Van Alen was a small, birdlike woman—it was easy to see where Schuyler got her delicate frame and her deep-set eyes, although Cordelia usually dismissed remarks about family resemblance. Cordelia's eyes were blue and bright, and they stared intensely at her granddaughter.

Schuyler's grandmother had forbidden her to call her Grandmother, or Grandma, or as she heard some children call them, Nana. It would be nice to have a Nana, a warm and chubby maternal figure, whose very name spelled love and homemade chocolate chip cookies. But instead, all Schuyler had was Cordelia. A still-beautiful, elegant woman, who looked to be in her eighties or nineties, Schuyler never knew which.

Some days, Cordelia looked young enough to be in her fifties or forties even, if Schuyler was being honest with herself. Cordelia sat ramrod straight, dressed in a black cashmere cardigan and flowing jersey pants, her legs crossed delicately at the ankles. On her feet were black Chanel ballet slippers. All throughout Schuyler's childhood, Cordelia had been a presence. Not a parental, or even an affectionate one, but a presence nonetheless.

It was Cordelia who had changed Schuyler's birth certificate so that her last name was her mother's and not her father's. It was Cordelia who had enrolled her at the Duchesne School. Cordelia who signed her permission slips, monitored her report cards, and provided her with a paltry allowance.

Melissa de la Cruz

A flash of emotion flickered across the stern features—fear, anxiety, concern, even? She barely even knew Aggie.

Sure, they'd been going to the same school for more than a decade, but it didn't mean they were friends. Schuyler was half afraid of her grandmother, but had grown to love her even though Cordelia never showed any inclination of reciprocating the sentiment.

The most palpable emotion Schuyler could detect was a grudging tolerance. Her grandmother tolerated her. She didn't approve of her, but she tolerated her. Streaks of pale blue lines blossomed in an intricate pattern, visible under the skin's surface, on the underside of her forearms all the way to her wrist.

The prominent blue veins had appeared a week shy of her fifteenth birthday. They didn't hurt, but they did itch. It was as if all of a sudden she was growing out of her skin—or into it—somehow. Beauty made herself at home on Schuyler's duvet, looking out the window toward the river twinkling behind the trees. Cordelia began to pat Beauty's smooth fur. Your mother did, too. Her grandmother rarely talked about Schuyler's mother, who, technically, wasn't dead she'd slipped into a coma when Schuyler was hardly a year old, and had been trapped in that state ever since.

The doctors all agreed she registered normal brain activity, and that she could wake up at any moment. But she never had. Schuyler didn't have many memories of her mother— apart from a sad, beautiful woman who sang lullabies to her in the crib. Maybe she just remembered that her mother looked sad because that's how she looked now, when she was asleep—there was a melancholy cast to her features.

A lovely, sorrowful-looking woman with folded hands, her platinum hair fanned against the pillow. She wanted to ask her grandmother more questions about her mother and her bloodhound—but the faraway look had left Cordelia's face, and Schuyler knew she wouldn't get any more tidbits about her mother that night.

She closed her eyes and lay on the bed, leaning against Beauty. The sun began to set through the blinds. Her grandmother was such an enigma. Schuyler wished, not for the first time, that she were a normal girl, with a normal family. She felt very lonely all of a sudden. She wondered if she should have told Oliver about Jack's note. She'd never kept something like that from him before.

But she was worried he'd just call her silly for falling for some stupid joke. Then her phone beeped. Oliver's number flashed on the text message, almost as if he knew how she was feeling right then. Schuyler smiled. She might not have parents.

But at least she had one true friend. The Carondolets were a high-profile New York family, and Aggie's untimely death had been fodder for the tabloids.

Her parents had shuddered, but there was nothing they could do about it. The city was obsessed with the beautiful, rich, and tragic. The more beautiful, rich, and tragic, the bigger the headline. That morning, a phalanx of photographers stood guard at the school's gates, waiting to get a shot of the grieving mother a dignified Sloane Carondolet, 's deb of the year and the stricken best friend, none other than lissome It-girl-about-town Mimi Force.

It had been a bitch getting it tailored overnight, but what Mimi wanted, Mimi always got.

The suit was of black satin, with sharp, severe lines. She wore nothing underneath but an onyx choker. Seating inside the Duchesne chapel was arranged according to rank, just like a fashion show Of course, Mimi was given a front-row perch. She was seated between her father and her brother, the three of them making a good-looking trio.

Her mother, stuck in a three-month plastic surgery safari in South Africa facelifts disguised as vacations couldn't return in time, so Gina DuPont, a beautiful art dealer and close friend of her father's, had accompanied him to the funeral. She had been frightened once, to see him in this light, but now that she saw his terrifying face, she found it beautiful. He looked at Mimi with such fiery hatred that she almost cowered at his words.

But she was no weakling. She was Azrael, and Azrael did not cower, not even to Abbadon. And yet all you seem to care about, my darling, is that you no longer get to play with your little love toy. But before he could wield another blow, Mimi leaped up and slammed him against the window, knocking him completely out of breath.

She sprung up with her hands clenched, her nails sharp as claws, and fangs bared. They met halfway in the air, and Jack put a hand on her throat and began to squeeze. But she scratched at his eyes and wrenched her body so that she was rolling on top of him, her sword at his throat, with the upper hand.

Mimi sent. This was Abbadon the Cruel. The Angel of Destruction. He could and would destroy her if he had to. If he felt like it.While no one had died during the Mayflower's voyage, life after arrival was extremely difficult, especially for the young. Unlike the Llewellyn's penthouse, where everything was either a pricey reproduction or an antique bought at Christie's, every piece of furniture in the Van Alen home was original and handed down from earlier generations.

He saved the best of himself for those who did not deserve it. They were inside. Schuyler is a loner Aggie Carondolet, one of the Mimi clones, was already snaking her way outside. She would change. From the Force twins, Bliss knew the basics—they'd found Aggie in "the Land of Nod"—the back room where the club hid druggies who'd passed out—a dirty little secret that Block had successfully kept out of the tabloids, with hefty bribes to cops and gossip columnists alike.