Chapter 13

I'd made a name for myself by the end of the day. I became the 'Girl Who Dumped Her Food on Them.' I expected backlash in every hallway and class, especially when I spotted one of the Thompson boys in my history class or a freshly clothed Ash sulking by her locker.

It never came.

Dee apologized profusely before gym class started, and then hugged me for what I did. She tried to talk to me while we lined up for volleyball, but I was...numb. There was no mistaking the fact that Ash hated me. Why? It couldn't be because of Daemon. It was more than that. I didn't know what.

After school I drove home, trying to figure out everything that had happened since I moved here. The first day I'd felt something on the porch and in the house. The day at the lake, Daemon had sprouted gills. The flash of light with the bear and at the library had to be the same. And all that junk Lesa had been saying.

Once I got home, though, and saw several packages on my front porch, all the crap from the day disappeared. A few had smiley faces on them. Squealing, I grabbed the boxes. Books were inside -  new release books I'd preordered weeks ago.

I hurried upstairs and powered up my laptop.

I checked on the review I'd posted last night. No comments. People sucked. But I did gain five new followers. People rocked. I closed out the page before I started redesigning everything.

Then I Googled "people of light" and after initial results gave me a bunch of Bible-study groups, I typed in "Mothman." Oh. Dear. Lord.

West Virginians were crazy. Down in Florida, every once in a while someone claimed to see Big Foot out in the Glades or the chupacabra, but not a giant flying whatever he was. He looked like a huge satanic butterfly.

Why in the hell was I looking at this?

It was insane. I stopped myself before I started searching for aliens in West Virginia. As soon as I went downstairs, there was a knock on my door. It was Dee.

"Hey," she said, "can we talk?"

"Sure?" I shut the door behind me and walked outside. "My mom's still asleep."

She nodded as I sat on the swing. "Katy, I am so, so sorry about today. Ash is a complete bitch sometimes."

"It's not your fault she acted like that," I said, meaning it. "But what I don't get is why she and Daemon acted like that." I stopped, feeling that stupid burn in my throat. "I shouldn't have dumped my food on them, but I've never been more embarrassed in my life." Dee sat beside me, crossing her ankles. "I think it was actually kind of funny, what you did and not what they did. If I'd known they were going to be so terrible about everything I would've made sure they didn't." Water under the bridge, I guessed.

She drew in a deep breath. "Ash isn't Daemon's girlfriend. She wants to be, but she's not."

"It didn't look that way to me."

"Well, they do...hang out."

"He's using her?" Disgusted, I shook my head. "What a douche."

"I think it's mutual on both sides. Honestly, they did date last year for a little bit, but then it cooled off. Today was the most I'd seen him pay attention to her in months."

"She hates me," I said after a few minutes, sighing. "I don't care about that right now. I wanted to ask you something."


I bit my lip. "We're friends, right?"

"Of course!" She looked at me with wide eyes. "Honestly, Daemon scares everyone off and you've lasted the longest, and, well, I think you're like my best friend."

I was relieved to hear that. Not the part about me lasting the longest, because that sounded weird. Like they broke their friends or something. "Same here."

She smiled broadly. "Good, because I would've felt stupid for say-ing that if you decided you didn't want to be friends anymore with me."

The sincerity in her voice struck a chord in me. Suddenly, I wasn't sure that I wanted to question her. Maybe it was something she didn't want to talk about because it was too painful. In the short time I'd known we'd grown close, and I didn't want to upset her.

"Why did you ask?" she prodded.

I tucked my hair back, staring down at the floor. "Why didn't you ever tell me about Dawson?"

Dee froze. I don't even think she breathed, to be honest. Then she ran a hand up and down her arm, swallowing. "I guess someone told you about him at school?"

"Yeah, they told me he disappeared with a girl."

Pressing her lips together, she nodded. "I know you probably think it's weird that I'd never mentioned him, but I don't like talking about him. I try not to even think about him." She looked at me, eyes glistening with tears.

"Does that make me a bad person?"

"No," I said fiercely. "I try not to think about my dad, because it hurts too much sometimes."

"We were close, me and Dawson." She wiped a hand across her face. "Daemon was always the quiet one, off doing things on his own, but Dawson and I were super close. We did everything together. He was more than a brother.

He was my best friend." I didn't know what to say. But it certainly explained the almost desperate quality to Dee's friendship, and that common feeling we each recognized in the other. Loneliness. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have brought it up. I didn't understand and..." And I was a nosy bitch.

"No, it's okay." She twisted toward me. "I would be curious, too. I totally understand. And I should've told you. I'm such a crappy friend that you find out about my other brother from kids at school."

"I was confused. There's been so much..." I trailed off, shaking my head. "Nothing. When you're ready to talk about him, I'm here. Okay?" Dee nodded. "There's been so much what?" Talking to her about all the weird crap wouldn't be good. And I had promised Daemon not to talk about the attack. I forced a smile.

"It's nothing. So do you think I have to watch my back now? Go into the Witness Protection Program?" She let out a shaky laugh. "Well, I wouldn't try to talk to Ash anytime soon." Figured that much. "What about Daemon?"

"Good question," she said, glancing away.

"I have no idea what he'll do."


The next day, I was dreading second period.

My stomach was twisted, and I'd been unable to eat breakfast without wanting to hurl. There was no doubt in my mind that Daemon believed revenge was a dish best served in my face.

As soon as Lesa and Carissa arrived at class, they demanded to know what possessed me to dump my plate of spaghetti on Daemon's and Ash's heads.

I shrugged. "Ash was being a bitch." I'm sure I seemed a lot more confident than I felt. I actually wanted to take the whole thing back.

Sure, Ash was being rude and embarrassed me, but hadn't I done the same thing to her? If I was the girl who dumped spaghetti on them, then she was the dumpee and that's got to be more embarrassing.

I was ashamed. I'd never done anything to make anyone feel bad before. It was as though Daemon's obnoxious personality was rubbing off on me, and I didn't like it. I decided it would be best for everyone if I stayed the hell away from him from now on.

Eyes wide, Lesa leaned across the aisle.

"And what about Daemon?"

"He's always an ass," I told them.

Carissa took off her glasses and giggled. "I honestly wish I'd known you were going to do that. I would've filmed it."

Thinking about that being up on YouTube, I cringed as I watched the door.

"Rumor around school is you and Daemon hooked up over the summer." Lesa seemed to wait for me to confirm the rumor. Not in this lifetime.

"People are ridiculous."

I held their gazes until Carissa coughed and asked, "You're going to sit with us today?" She put her glasses back on with a push on the bridge.

Surprised, I blinked at her. "You still want me to sit with you after yesterday?" I was figuring I'd be eating my lunches in the restroom for the rest of the year.

Lesa nodded. "Are you kidding? We think you rock. We don't have any problems with them, but I'm sure there have been a few students who've wanted to do that."

"And it was pretty badass," Carissa added, grinning. "You were like a food ninja."

I laughed, relieved. "I'd love to, but I'm only here until fourth period. I'm getting my splint off today."

"Oh, you're going to miss the pep rally," Lesa said. "Poor you. Are you going to the game tonight?"

"No. Football isn't my thing."

"Neither is it ours, but you still should go." Lesa popped in her seat, her tight curls bouncing around her heart-shaped face. "Carissa and I usually go just to get out and do something.

There's isn't much to do around here."

"Well, there are the field parties after the games." Carissa pushed her bangs out of her glasses. "Lesa always drags me to them." Lesa rolled her eyes. "Carissa doesn't drink."

"So?" Carissa said.

"And she doesn't smoke, have sex, or do anything interesting." Lesa dodged out of the way of Carissa's swinging hand. "Yawn."

"Excuse me if I have standards." Her eyes narrowed on Lesa. "Unlike some."

"I have standards." Lesa faced me, a slight grin on her face. "But around here, you kind of have to lower them."

I started to laugh.

And then Daemon walked into class. I sunk in my seat, biting my lip. "Oh God." Wisely, both girls stopped talking. I picked up my pen, pretending to be engrossed in the notes I'd taken yesterday. Turned out, I hadn't taken many notes, so I wrote the date on my notebook very slowly.

Daemon took the seat behind me, and my stomach jumped clear into my throat. I was going to vomit. Right here, in class, in front -

He poked me in the back with his pen.

I froze. Him and that goddamn pen. The poke came again, this time with a little force behind it. I swung around, eyes narrowed.


Daemon smiled.

Everyone around us was staring. It was like a repeat of lunch. I bet they were wondering if I was going to dump my backpack on his head.

Depending on what he said, there was a good chance it could happen. I doubted I'd get away with it this time, though.

Tipping his chin down, he stared at me through his wickedly long lashes. "You owe me a new shirt."

My jaw hit the back of my chair.

"Come to find out," he continued softly,

"spaghetti sauce doesn't always come out of clothes."

Somehow I found my ability to speak. "I'm sure you have enough shirts."

"I do, but that was my favorite."

"You have a favorite shirt?" I arched a brow.

"And I also think you ruined Ash's favorite shirt, too." He started to grin again, flashing a deep dimple in one cheek.

"Well, I'm sure you were there to comfort her during such a traumatic situation."

"I'm not sure she'll recover," he replied.

I rolled my eyes, knowing I should apologize for what I'd done, but I couldn't find it in me. Yeah, I was becoming a terrible person.

I started to turn around.

"You owe me. Again."

I stared at him for a long moment. The warning bell rang, but it seemed far away. My chest lurched. "I don't owe you anything," I said, low enough for only us to hear.

"I have to disagree." Leaning closer, he tipped the edge of his desk down. There were only a few inches between our mouths. Totally inappropriate amount of space, really, since we were in class, and he had a girl on his lap yesterday. "You're nothing like I expected."

"What did you expect?" I was sort of turned on by the fact I had surprised him. Weird. My eyes dropped to his poetic lips. Such a waste of a mouth.

"You and I have to talk."

"We have nothing to talk about." His gaze dropped, and the air suddenly felt steamy. Unbearable. "Yes," he said, voice low,

"we do. Tonight."

Part of me wanted to tell him to forget the whole talking thing, but I gritted my teeth and nodded. We did need to talk if at least for me to tell him we shouldn't ever talk again. I wanted to find the nice Katy he'd had gagged and put in the corner.

The teacher cleared his throat. Blinking tightly, I saw that we had the entire class transfixed. Flushing to the roots of my hair, I turned around and gripped the edges of my desk.

Class began, but the heat in the air was still there, coating my skin in anticipation. I could feel Daemon behind me, his eyes on me. I didn't dare move. Not until Lesa stretched beside me and dropped a folded note on my desk.

Before the teacher could catch on, I opened the note and slid it under my book. When he turned back to the chalkboard, I lifted the edge of my textbook.

Holy Hawt Chemistry, Batman!

I looked over at her, shaking my head. But there was a fluttering deep in my chest, a breathlessness that shouldn't be there. I didn't like him. He was a jerk. Moody. But there had been brief moments that I'd spent with him -

like a nanosecond - when I thought I might have seen the real Daemon. At least a b etter Daemon. And that part made me curious. And the other side, the jerky one, yeah, that part didn't make me curious.

It sort of excited me.