“Don’t worry,” she says. “I’ll make something up. I’ll tell everybody you’re a great kisser.”
“Don’t do me any favors. Listen, just follow me to my place, okay?”
She nods and ducks into her car. When I get into mine, I want to press my head into the steering wheel until the horn goes off. That way the horn will cover my screams. Why is this job so hard? Is it Anna? Or is it something else? Why can’t I keep anyone out of my business? It’s never been this difficult before. They accepted any cheesy cover story I made up, because deep down they didn’t want to know the truth. Like Chase and Will. They swallowed Thomas’s fairy story pretty easily.
But it’s too late now. Thomas and Carmel are in on the game. And the game is a whole lot more dangerous this time around.
* * *
“Does Thomas live with his parents?”
“I don’t think so,” Carmel says. “His parents died in a car accident. A drunk driver crossed the line. Or at least that’s what people at school say.” She shrugs. “I think he just lives with his grandpa. That weird old guy.”
“Good.” I pound on the door. I don’t care if I wake up Morfran. The salty old buzzard can use the excitement. But after about thirteen very loud and rattling knocks, the door whips open and there’s Thomas, standing before us in a very unattractive green bathrobe.
“Cas?” he whispers with a frog in his throat. I can’t help but smile. It’s hard to be annoyed with him when he looks like an oversize four-year-old, his hair stuck up on one side and his glasses only on halfway. When he realizes that Carmel’s standing behind me, he quickly checks his face for drool and tries to smooth his hair down. Unsuccessfully. “Uh, what are you doing here?”
“Carmel followed me out to Anna’s place,” I say with a smirk. “Want to tell me why?” He’s starting to blush. I don’t know if it’s because he feels guilty or because Carmel is seeing him in his pajamas. Either way, he steps aside to let us in and leads us through the dimly lit house to the kitchen.
The whole place smells like Morfran’s herbal pipe. Then I see him, a hulking, stooped-over figure pouring coffee. He hands me a mug before I can even ask. Grumbling at us, he leaves the kitchen.
Thomas, meanwhile, has stopped shuffling around and is staring at Carmel.
“She tried to kill you,” he blurts, wide-eyed. “You can’t stop thinking about the way her fingers were hooked at your stomach.”
Carmel blinks. “How did you know that?”
“You shouldn’t do that,” I warn Thomas. “It makes people uncomfortable. Invasion of privacy, you know.”
“I know,” he says. “I can’t do it very often,” he adds to Carmel. “Usually only when people are having strong or violent thoughts, or keep thinking of the same thing over and over.” He smiles. “In your case, all three.”
“You can read minds?” she asks incredulously.
“Sit down, Carmel,” I say.
“I don’t feel like it,” she says. “I’m learning so many interesting things about Thunder Bay these days.” Her arms cross over her chest. “You can read minds, there’s something up there in that house killing my ex-boyfriends, and you—”
“Kill ghosts,” I finish for her. “With this.” I pull out my athame and set it on the table. “What else did Thomas tell you?”
“Just that your father did it too,” she said. “I guessed that it killed him.”
I give Thomas the eye.
“I’m sorry,” he says helplessly.
“It’s okay. You’ve got it bad. I know.” I smirk and he looks at me desperately. As if Carmel doesn’t know already. She’d have to be blind.
I sigh. “So now what? Can I possibly tell you to go home and forget about this? Is there any way that I can avoid us forming some peppy group of—” Before my mouth can finish, I lean forward and groan into my hands. Carmel gets it first, and laughs.
“A peppy group of ghostbusters?” she asks.
“I get to be Peter Venkman,” says Thomas.
“Nobody gets to be anybody,” I snap. “We are not ghostbusters. I’ve got the knife, and I kill the ghosts, and I can’t be tripping over you the whole time. Besides, it’s obvious that I would be Peter Venkman.” I look sharply at Thomas. “You would be Egon.”
“Wait a minute,” says Carmel. “You don’t get to call the shots. Mike was my friend, sort of.”