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Page 33

“But isn’t Aline the one who’s supposed to be running the Institute?” Dru looked puzzled.

“Helen thought the Conclave should get used to her,” said Mark. “Be reminded she’s a Shadowhunter like any other Shadowhunter. And that she’s a Blackthorn, especially since they might wind up talking about things like whether Diana needs to be replaced as our tutor—”

“I don’t want another tutor!” Tavvy exclaimed. “I want Diana!”

“But surely she is only going to be away a few more days?” said Cristina anxiously. “At the most?”

Mark shrugged. “All of us bouncing around here without a tutor or a schedule is the kind of thing that makes Conclaves nervous.”

“But Tavvy’s right,” Dru said. “We’re already studying with Diana. We don’t need to start with someone else. Isn’t that right, Kit?”

Kit was so startled to be addressed that his juice glass almost flew out of his hand. Before he could answer, Aline interrupted them by stalking over to the table holding a frying pan. Fantastic smells wafted from it. Kit’s mouth began to water.

“What’s that?” Tavvy asked, his eyes big.

“This,” said Aline, “is a frittata. And you’re all going to eat it.” She slammed it down onto a metal trivet in the center of the table.

“Don’t like frittata,” said Tavvy.

“Too bad,” said Aline, crossing her arms and glaring at each of them in turn. “You made Helen cry yesterday, so you’re going to eat this frittata—which, by the way, is goddamn delicious—and you’re going to like it. It’s what’s for breakfast, and since I’m not Helen, I don’t care if you starve or eat Cheetos for every single meal. Helen and I both have a lot of work to do, the Clave isn’t giving us an inch, all she wants is to be with you guys, and you are not going to make her cry again. Understood?”

Dru and Tavvy both nodded, wide-eyed.

“I’m very sorry, Aline,” said Cristina in a small voice.

“I didn’t mean you, Cristina.” Aline rolled her eyes. “And where’s Ty? I’m not repeating this lecture again.” She glared at Kit. “You’re the one glued to his side. Where is he?”

“Probably sleeping,” said Kit. He guessed Ty had stayed up late, researching dark magic. Not that he’d say that out loud.

“Fine. Tell him what I said when he wakes up. And put the frying pan in the freaking sink when you’re done with breakfast.” Aline grabbed her jacket off the back of a chair, slid her arms into the sleeves, and stalked out of the room.

Kit braced himself for either Tavvy or Dru to start to cry. Neither of them did. “That was pretty cool,” said Dru, helping herself to some frittata, which turned out to be a mixture of eggs, sausage, cheese, and caramelized onions. “I like the way she stood up for Helen.”

“You yelled at Helen the other day,” Mark pointed out.

“She’s my sister,” said Dru, heaping frittata on Tavvy’s plate.

Mark made an exasperated noise. Cristina took a bite of frittata and closed her eyes in pleasure.

“I bet you used to yell at your dad,” Dru said to Kit. “I mean, every family fights sometimes.”

“We weren’t really a yelling family. Mostly my dad would either ignore me or spend his time trying to teach me to pick locks.”

Dru’s face lit up. She still looked wan and tired, and very young in her oversize T-shirt, but when she smiled, she reminded Kit of Livvy. “You can pick locks?”

“I can show you how, if you want.”

She dropped her fork and clapped her hands together. “Yes! Mark, can I go learn how to pick locks now?”

“We have Open runes, Dru,” Mark said.

“So? What if I was kidnapped by a tentacle demon and I dropped my stele and I was handcuffed to a chair? What then?”

“That won’t happen,” said Mark.

“It could happen,” said Tavvy.

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