To celebrate publication of Fracture, the third book in the Night School series. CJ Daugherty has written a short story especially for the blog tour. The story is set during the first ball that Allie goes to at the end of her first term at Cimmeria, so time wise it fits in with the end of book one in the series. The story is written from Carter’s point of view of what happens that night. If you missed yesterday’s section of the story, then please click here. The following section is part four of the story.
Jules smiled and instantly took charge. ‘I’ll go up now. You wait five minutes then follow me. It wouldn’t be good for people to see us going up the stairs together. They won’t notice us apart.’
Boys weren’t allowed in the girls’ dorm but Jules was prefect. She knew how to get around The Rules better than anyone.
After she’d disappeared into the crowd, Carter grabbed another glass of champagne and strolled around the room. Five minutes seemed to take forever to pass.
Now that he’d made up his mind he wanted to be there. With her.
Nearby, Sylvain had joined his parents – Carter’s gaze flitted past them to the dance floor. As he watched, Jo swirled by in a sexy silver mini-dress only she could carry off. She’d dyed her hair bright pink.
Just looking at her made Carter smile. Jo was like human sunshine. He’d have to remember to tell her later how cool she looked.
Allie was nowhere to be seen, and he was glad.
Maybe she hadn’t come. He knew she’d tried to get Isabelle to cancel the whole event.
Turning, he weaved a little, stumbling against a chair before he caught himself. He was starting to feel lightheaded – he hadn’t eaten anything since lunch and had just had … how many glasses of champagne?
He needed food.
With effort, he made his way through the throngs to the space where tables were piled high with food. Without really looking at what he chose, he filled a plate with hors d’oeuvres.
Leaning against a wall he ate quickly, watching the dance from a safe distance.
He’d been part of Cimmeria all his life – had hidden at the top of the stairs as a small boy to watch the glamorous set below – but never felt a true part of events like these. With no parents to accompany him, no connection to these people at all aside from Cimmeria itself, he was at once one of them and nothing like them at all.
When he finished, he set the empty plate down on a passing waiter’s tray and glanced at his watch. Time to go.
A lock of dark hair fell forward and he pushed it back as he straightened.
That was when he saw her.
In a dark blue dress that perfectly suited her figure, Allie moved slowly through the crowd like a disconsolate starlet. Her hair poured in vivid red waves down her back. She stood out like a warning light.
Carter’s heart seemed to stop. He stared at her, captivated.
She and Jo must have coloured their hair together, he realised, as a thing.
But, while Jo had seemed giddy, beneath the colourful waves of hair Allie’s face looked pale, unhappy.
He fought an instinctive urge to go to her, to find out what was wrong. To fix it.
She wasn’t his to fix anymore. And besides, Jules was waiting …
If you want to continue reading the story, then pop over to Andrew’s blog, The Pewter Wolf tomorrow to read more.
Fracture by C.J. Daugherty was published on the 15th August by Atom Books and is available to buy right now.
To find out more about C.J. Daugherty: