House of Night, Chosen: Chapter 20
Zoey “floats” her way back over the fence, and before she can stop musing about how cool this is (it really isn’t), she is immediately caught by Neferet and a bunch of other people including Zoey’s BFFs.
“Now is not the time to wander about by yourself.”
“Sorry. I, uh, I needed …” I trailed off, majorly aware that all eyes were on me.
“She needed to be alone before the rituals,” Shaunee said, stepping up to put an arm through mine.
“Yeah, she always needs to be alone before rituals. It’s a Zoey thing,” Erin said, moving to my other side and taking my other arm.
“Yep, we call it Z.A.T.—Zoey Alone Time,” Damien said, joining the three of us.
“It’s kinda annoying, but what can you do?” Erik said, moving around behind me to rest his warm hands on my shoulders. “That’s our Z.”
Yes, nothing is more convincing of a person’s innocence than when their friends say contrived things and then crowd together around said person. Totally normal!
I had to struggle not to burst into tears. My friends were the best. Of course, Neferet probably knew they were lying, but they’d done it in a way that made it look like I was probably only up to little teenage mischief (i.e., sneaking out to break up with a boyfriend) versus big, scary mischief (i.e.,hiding my undead dead best friend).
What would it have looked like if they’d made it seem like she was up to “scary mischief”? Would it have been slightly less choreographed? Would Erik not have placed his warm hands on her shoulders?
Neferet, not in the mood to bother arguing with the merry band of idiots, says it’s time to start the ritual. What other time even exists at the House of Night? En route to the ritual (it’s unclear why they were all standing around the fence rather than meeting at the designated ritual location), Erik asks Zoey how breaking up with Heath went. GASP THE TWINS REVEALED ZOEY’S SECRET DOINGS. I don’t even care about spoilers, by the end of this book, the twins are furious with Zoey for keeping secrets from them, but clearly these dopes can’t be trusted with any secrets! Whether or not you think the secret of Zoey going to break things off with Heath is thrilling or only slightly more interesting than ground turkey, the twins could not keep this secret so they have no leg to stand on when being annoyed with Zoey for keeping anything from them.
Oh man, but Erik must have had some sly trick up his sleeve to coax the truth out of such loyal friends with compelling personalities like the twins! Nope. He just brought over his two hot friends, and they apparently immediately turned to Erik and told him exactly where Zoey was. To friendship and loyalty! Which are worth less than the presence of hot guys.
“And not very tough to manage. T. J. and Cole think the Twins are dead sexy,” Erik said, using an excellent Scottish accent and proving, again, what an old movie dork he was (hello—Austin Powers).
“T. J. and Cole called the Twins dead sexy in that awful accent?”He squeezed my hand playfully. “My accent isn’t awful.”
“You’re right. It’s not.” I smiled up into his clear blue eyes and wondered how I could have gotten myself into a position where I was double cheating on him.
Oh my god I hate Erik so much.
Right on cue, Loren shows up to be smarmy as ever, and even the twins notice the tension between Erik and Loren.
When I heard Shaunee’s whispered, “Damn, girl!” andErin’s “Um-hum!” I had to force myself not to groan.
You and me both, dude.
The rest of the chapter is just Neferet performing a ritual/funeral for the dead professor. For some reason Zoey finds it really important to give us a detailed narration as Neferet has the fledglings stand-in for each element.
“I know it is unusual to use fledglings in an adult ritual, but never before has a House of Night been gifted with so many extraordinary young people at one time, and today I believe it is only right that I tap into your affinities to add power to what we ask of Nyx.”
I swear the night air rippled all around us, and for a moment I could actually see something settle
on the walls of the school, like a black, gauzy curtain. She’s set a spell that will not just tell her whendanger enters the school, but when anyone enters or leaves it. I had to bite the inside of my cheek tokeep from groaning. No way was the curtain of a goddess going to be fooled by my little Bram Stoker-ing. How in the hell was I going to sneak Stevie Rae her blood?