Chapter 20

Daemon was surprisingly subdued in math on Wednesday. The inevitable pen poke only came once, and that was to remind me the only plans I had after school were with him.

Yeah, whatever, like I could forget.

In bio, like the day before, Mr. Garrison's keen stare kept going back to me. I knew he saw the trace, and I had no clue what he was thinking. Daemon hadn't mentioned if he and Dee had said anything to the other Luxen.

Throughout the day before, several teachers had given me weird looks. Today, one of the coaches I passed on the way to the cafeteria stopped in the middle of the hall and looked me up and down. Either he was a perv or an alien. Or both, which would be a winning combination.

While standing in the lunch line, I did everything in my power to not look toward the back of the cafeteria. Staring at the food, I stepped forward and nearly bounced off the back of a walking mountain.

Simon Cutters turned around and then looked down. He smiled when he saw me. "Hey there, Katy."

I handed my money to the checkout lady, and turned to Simon. "Sorry about that."

"No problem." He waited for me at the end of the line, his plate full of food. He ate almost as much as Dee. "Did you have a clue what Monroe was talking about in trig? I swear it was a different language." Considering I'd spent most of the class ignoring the boy behind me..."I have no clue. I'm hoping someone took notes." I shifted my plate. "We have a test next week, right?"

Simon nodded. "Right before the game, too.

I think Monroe does that - "

Someone reached in to grab a drink, forcing us to take a step back from one another, which wasn't necessary since anyone could've easily walked around us. When I inhaled the crisp scent, I realized who it was.

Daemon grabbed a carton of milk off the cart and flipped it. Passing me an unreadable glance, he turned to Simon. Both of them were the same height, but Simon was much broader.

Still, Daemon gave off a more badass vibe.

"How you doing, Simon?" he asked, flipping the carton again.

Blinking as he backed up, Simon cleared his throat. "Good - doing good. Heading over to my - uh, my table." He looked at me nervously.

"See you in class, Katy."

Frowning, I watched Simon trip over his own feet to get to his table. I turned back to Daemon. "Okay?"

"Are you planning on sitting with Simon?" he asked, crossing one arm over his chest.

"What? No." I laughed. "I was planning on sitting with Lesa and Carissa."

"So am I," Dee chimed in, coming out of nowhere. She balanced a plate in one hand and two drinks in the other. "That is if you think I'd be welcomed?"

"I'm sure you will be." I glanced back at Daemon, but he was already heading back to his table. I stood there for a moment, confused.

What the hell had that been all about? There were the Thompson twins and Ash, huddled together. A few of the other kids were chatting. I had no idea if they were aliens or not. Daemon sat down beside them, pulled out a book, and started thumbing through it. Ash looked up and didn't appear too thrilled. "Do you think anyone else will mind?" I asked finally.

"No. I hated that I didn't sit with you yesterday. And I think it's time for a change-up." Dee looked so hopeful I couldn't disagree.


Lesa and Carissa were shocked into stunned silence for roughly five minutes after Dee joined me at their table, but she won them over and everyone relaxed pretty quickly.

Everyone but me.

Half the cafeteria watched me, probably waiting for me to get into another epic food fight with Blondie. It had been a week, and still everyone considered me the food ninja. Every so often, Ash glanced over at our table, a deep scowl on her beautiful face. She had on an electric blue tube top that matched her eyes. The white shirt she wore over it was unbuttoned, revealing that she had a kickass body.

God, what was up with alien DNA? I got that they were otherworldly, but Jesus, did that include perfect breasts, too?

Dee nudged me with her elbow while Carissa and Lesa chatted with a freckle-faced boy at the end of the table. "What?" I asked.

She leaned into my shoulder, speaking so only I could hear. "What's going on with you and my brother?"

I took a bite of my pizza, mulling over how to answer that. "Nothing, you know, the same-old."

Dee arched a perfectly groomed brow.

"Yeah, he was gone all day Sunday. And so were you. And while he was gone, a certain someone came looking for him." My slice flopped in my hand.

She picked up her drink, smiling slightly. "I didn't get to tell you yesterday since he was up our butts, but you can't tell me you haven't noticed Ash giving you the stink eye."

"I have," Lesa cut in, plopping her elbows on the table. "She looks like she's wishing you dead."

I made a face. "Gee. That's nice."

"And you have no idea why?" Dee asked, angling her body so her back was to their table.

"Pretend you're looking at me. Right now."

"I am looking at you right now," I pointed out, taking another bite of my pizza.

Lesa laughed. "Look over her shoulder, genius. Toward their table."

Rolling my eyes, I did as they instructed. At first, I noticed that one of the blond boys was turned in his seat, talking it up with a boy at the table in front of them. Then I shifted my gaze, and my eyes locked with Daemon's. Even though several tables separated us, my breath caught. There was something...wicked in those emerald-colored eyes. Consuming. I couldn't look away, and he didn't either. The distance between us seemed to evaporate.

A second later, he smirked and turned away, focusing on what Ash was saying to him.

Drawing in a shallow breath, I focused on my friends.

"Yeah," Lesa murmured dreamily, "that's why."

"I...there's no reason." My face felt on fire.

"Did you see him? He's only making the lip thing at me."

"That lip thing is sexy." Lesa glanced at Dee. "Sorry. I know he's your brother and all."

"It's okay. I'm used to it." Dee rested her chin in her hand. "Remember the day on the porch?"

I narrowed my eyes at her.

"What happened on the porch?" Lesa asked, curious enough that her dark eyes gleamed.

"Nothing," I said.

"They were like this close." Dee held up her finger and her thumb so that there was barely a centimeter between the two. "And I'm sure they've gotten closer."

My mouth dropped open. "We have not, Dee. We don't even like each other, like on a basic level."

Carissa took her glasses off and blew on them. "What's going on?"

Lesa filled her in, much to my horror. "Oh, yeah." Carissa nodded. "They were googley-eyed in class on Friday. It was pretty steamy, the whole 'I'm screwing you with my eyes' thing they had going on." I choked on my drink. "That was not what we were doing. We were talking!"

"Katy, you were so doing it." Lesa picked up a napkin and started rolling it. "Nothing to be ashamed of. I'd do it if he'd be game." I stared at her a second, then busted out laughing. "You guys are insane. There's nothing going on." I looked at Dee. "And you should know that."

"I know a lot of things," she said innocently.

My brows furrowed. "What's that supposed to mean?"

She shrugged and pointed at my second slice. "You going to eat that?" I picked it up and handed it over. She ignored my look while she happily devoured my extra slice of pizza.

"Oh, did you guys hear about Sarah?" Carissa flipped closed her cell phone, looking up. "I almost forgot."

"No." Lesa glanced over at me. "Carissa's older brother Ben is friends with Sarah's brother. They go to WVU together."

"Oh." I turned my drink around and started peeling off the label. When I thought of Sarah, I thought of the hospital and how I'd heard about her death. And I thought of the Arum, and how they were around.

"Robbie told Ben that the police don't think it was a heart attack or a natural cause." Carissa looked around the table, lowering her voice. "Or at least no natural causes that they're aware of." Dee lowered the pizza from her mouth. That's how I knew this was serious. "What do you mean?"

"Apparently, there was so much damage to her heart that there was no way it could be like that regardless of if she had any heart conditions," Carissa explained.

Dee shrugged. "I know, but what else could it be?"

I glanced at Dee, having an idea of what or who it could've been. After lunch, I dragged her to the side. "Was it one of them?" I asked. "One of the Arum?"

Dee bit down on her lip and then she tugged me away from the cafeteria doors and her brother, who was coming out of the room. Down the hall, she stopped. "It was, but Daemon took care of him." I hesitated. "It was the same one who attacked me?"

"It was." Dee glanced behind her, lips thin.

"Daemon thinks it was purely coincidental, that the Arum stumbled across her. She didn't know us. I swear."

That didn't make any sense to me. "Then why?"

Dee met my stare. "They don't need a reason, Katy. The Arum are evil. They kill us for our powers." She paused, paling. "And they kill humans for the fun of it."