p class="MsoNormal"As Taylor and Carter dragged their suitcases up the stairs to their new lodgings, Carter thought in depth about her plans./p
p class="MsoNormal"Once Crash knew where Lori was hiding out, she could go, fake her allegiance, call for Guardian back up, take down the tribe and bring Lori to justice. It was the perfect plan./p
p class="MsoNormal"Carter reached the top step before Taylor, huffing and panting, leaning on her suitcase for support./p
p class="MsoNormal""Why does this building not have elevators?" Taylor whined, a few steps below Carter./p
p class="MsoNormal""Because it's old as balls," Carter breathed out a laugh, and made her way down the stairs to help her sister./p
p class="MsoNormal"Just then, Max and Crash rounded the corner carrying large rucksacks on their backs./p
p class="MsoNormal""Do you two ladies need a hand?" Max offered. "Or should I say emroomies/em?"/p
p class="MsoNormal""Shut up. We're fine," Carter replied, as she and Taylor lugged the suitcase the remaining steps./p
p class="MsoNormal"From her back pocket, Carter brought out the keys to their new abode and unlocked the door./p
p class="MsoNormal""It's weird not having a room number," Taylor mused. "I wonder who is going to have our old room."/p
p class="MsoNormal""Probably some first years. They don't know the stories of what went on in those rooms whilst we lived there," said Carter, as she opened the door./p
p class="MsoNormal""Anything you need to confess to? Any weird habits or freaky rituals?" Crash asked with a cocked eyebrow./p
p class="MsoNormal""Oh, just sacrificing our Dhampirs to Satan," Carter retorted, stepping inside the apartment and dragging her suitcase behind her./p
p class="MsoNormal"The apartment was basic, but big, bigger than their rooms downstairs in the Academy. There was a small kitchenette, dining area and lounge with two bedrooms off to one side and a small bathroom. It was perfect, compact and entirely their own./p
p class="MsoNormal""This is amazing!" Carter cried, stepping fully into the space and taking it in./p
p class="MsoNormal""It's alright," Taylor smirked. "You remember our rooms at Court, Carter? It has carpet."/p
p class="MsoNormal""Yes, but at Court, we can't do whatever we want. Here, we can."/p
p class="MsoNormal""No, we can't," laughed Taylor. "You just think that because we're holed up here away from everyone else that we have some kind of freedom."/p
p class="MsoNormal""Taylor, we don't even have to adhere to lights out. Do you really think they're gonna come all the way up here to check we're all tucked up in bed in our pyjamas?"/p
p class="MsoNormal""No," Taylor rolled her eyes. "But…"/p
p class="MsoNormal""Let us use our new found protection to our advantage," smirked Carter./p
p class="MsoNormal""To what? Eat cereal at three in the morning if we want?"/p
p class="MsoNormal""If we want," agreed Carter, folding her arms over her chest./p
p class="MsoNormal""Alright, whatever floats your boat, sis," Taylor smiled, throwing down her suitcase and jacket on the floor, then walked over to the two twin bedrooms, sizing them up. "Actually, I have to talk to you," Taylor said to Carter, dragging her by the arm away from Max and Crash and into the kitchenette area. "So, I don't want to be disrespectful, and I know this is going to sound crazy… but I want to share a room with Max."/p
p class="MsoNormal""What?"/p
p class="MsoNormal""It's not, y'know, like that or anything. It's temporary," she sighed. "Look, when you got kidnapped, Max stayed with me every night and I got used to him being there -,"/p
p class="MsoNormal""Are you having separation anxiety?" Carter asked./p
p class="MsoNormal""Kind of, yeah. I just need to relax into the apartment, get myself comfortable, and then we'll switch back," Taylor explained, in hushed tones, trying not to let the boys overhear. "It will just be for a few nights, please. Humour me."/p
p class="MsoNormal""But then I'll have to room with Crash," Carter replied, but as she did so, she realised it was the perfect plan. She and Crash could talk together about their secret plan to track down the Strigoi, without Taylor and Max eavesdropping. "Actually, never mind. That's totally cool," she corrected herself./p
p class="MsoNormal""Thank you." Taylor let out a sigh of relief and hugged her sister. "I didn't want to pull the pity card but I had nightmares every night after you were gone."/p
p class="MsoNormal""Well, I'm back now, Tay, and I'm not going anywhere."/p
p class="MsoNormal""Pink-y promise?"/p
p class="MsoNormal""Pink-y promise," Carter confirmed, winding her littlest finger around Taylor's. /p
p class="MsoNormal"Taylor walked over to Max and muttered something to him that Carter couldn't hear, but his face lit up and he and Taylor began dragging their bags into one of the twin rooms. Crash looked at her, raising his eyebrow./p
p class="MsoNormal""Hey roomie," Carter grinned./p
p class="MsoNormal""Are we supposed to co-ed? Is this some kind of Moroi condition I'm unaware of?"/p
p class="MsoNormal""No, its special circumstances, and plus it means we get to talk in-depth about Operation Iogirst."/p
p class="MsoNormal""Operation, what?" asked Crash./p
p class="MsoNormal""It's Strigoi backwards, duh," Carter laughed, dragging him into the other twin room with a smug smile on her face./p