I look to where he points, and the flash of thumb-cameras blinds me. Vestals must never have their pictures taken by random people. That privilege belongs to the companies that purchase them and market a Vestal’s privacy one advertisement at a time. I reach my arms out by instinct, to protect my face from the public. “I’m fine with it,” I lie, pulling my hands down. “But we better leave now or we’ll be late to the restaurant.”
“My dad can wait a few minutes.” Seth scoops me in his arms.
“Blanca!” one of the spectators calls. “And Veritas Rex! Is that really you?”
Seth holds up his hand and wiggles his finger-chips. “The one and only!” Then he dips me back for a kiss.
I stiffen like cardboard. “Stop it,” I mumble, trying not to squirm. All I can think about is the cameras, my face flashed worldwide and weirdoes slobbering over my private moment with Seth. “We’ve got to go or we’ll be late.”
Seth kisses my nose. “I didn’t know you were so punctual.”
“Yes.” I pull myself out of his grasp. “Cal’s waiting.” The sooner I put my helmet on and get back on my motorcycle, the better.
“Blanca,” a man calls as we ride away. “I love you! I’ve watched you all year!”
Underneath my jacket, I shiver. The fame that surrounds me is chilling.