Chapter 30


It literally hurt deep inside not being able to post my Waiting on Wednesday, but I still had several weeks before my birthday. And even though Dee would let me borrow her computer, I didn't want to use it for that. Pouting, I grabbed the can of soda out of Dee's fridge and went back into the living room.

Aliens could sure eat a lot of food.

"Do you want more pizza?" Dee offered, staring at the last slice with such longing that I was beginning to think that she and Adam needed to re-evaluate their relationship.

I shook my head. Dee had eaten enough to feed a small starving village and frankly, I wasn't hungry. Eating while Dee and Adam stared at me was getting tedious and uncomfortable. Dee didn't think I noticed, and Adam was currently on pause from asking another question about what happened that night with Baruck.

As far as everyone knew, Daemon had killed Baruck and I hadn't been injured as badly as Dee had thought. Somehow Daemon had convinced her that I was just stunned. I peeked at them.

But it had been me - I'd killed someone.


Surprisingly, the thought didn't fill me with the same amount of dread and sickness as it initially did. Over the last couple of days, I'd come to a certain understanding with my actions. It was a level of shaky acceptance that made it easier to swallow even if I would never forget.

It was either him or me and my friends.

The alien asshat had to go.

Everyone was still staring. Lovely.

Dee sat down next to me and took a sip of her soda. Convinced or not, Dee knew something was up when I returned with Daemon that morning...and something was.

She nudged my leg with hers, gaining my attention. "Are you feeling okay?" If I had a dollar for every time she asked that question, I'd have a new laptop already. It wasn't like I didn't know I was lucky to be alive, and I should be suffering from post-traumatic stress, but I did feel fine. I never felt physically better, to be honest. I felt like I could go out and run a marathon or climb a mountain. I didn't want to look into the reason for that too closely.

Enough things had already successfully freaked me out.

Someone cleared his throat, jarring me out of my thoughts. I looked up to see Dee and Adam staring at me expectantly. I couldn't remember what they wanted. "What?" Dee smiled a little too brightly. "We were wondering how you were handling things? If you are worried about there being more Arum."

"Oh, do you think there will be?" I immediately responded.

"No," Adam reassured me. Ever since the battle with Baruck, he actually started talking to me. It was a nice change in things. Ash and Andrew were a different story. "We don't think so."

I shifted uncomfortably and my skin itched.

I wasn't sure how long I could sit here with them staring at me at me like I was an experiment gone wrong.

"I thought you said Daemon would be back soon?" Adam settled in the recliner.

Dee's eyes shifted from Adam to me.

"Daemon should be here any minute." I hadn't seen Daemon since that morning.

I'd asked Dee several times where he had gone, but she never answered me. Eventually, I gave up pestering her.

The two of them started talking, making plans for Thanksgiving break coming in a few weeks. I zoned out, like I'd been doing for the last three days. It was strange. I couldn't concentrate. I felt off, like I was missing a part of me.

Warmth slipped over my skin, like a warm breeze. It came out of nowhere. I looked up, seeing if anyone else noticed what I'd felt. They were still talking. I shifted on the couch as the feeling increased.

Dee's front door opened, and my breath caught in my throat.

Within seconds, Daemon entered the room.

His hair was a tousled mess and there were shadows under his eyes. Without saying a word, he dropped onto the couch, his heavy lashes hiding his eyes, but I could feel his stare.

"Where have you been?" I asked in a voice that sounded shrill to my own ears.

Silence fell while two more sets of beautifully odd eyes settled on me. I felt my cheeks turn hot and I leaned back, feeling like an idiot. I folded my hands and kept my eyes pinned to them. What a way to draw attention to myself.

"Well hello, honey, I've been out boozing and whoring. I know, my priorities are pretty off."

My lips thinned at his sarcastic response.

"Dick," I muttered.

Dee groaned. "Daemon, don't be a jerk."

"Yes, Mommy. I've been with another group, searching the whole damn state to make sure there aren't any Arum that we're not aware of," Daemon said, his deep voice soothing a weird ache within me at the same time I wanted to thump him upside the head.

Adam leaned forward. "There aren't any, right? Because we told Katy she didn't have anything to worry about."

His eyes left me briefly. "We haven't seen a single one."

Dee hooted happily and clapped her hands.

She turned to me, her smile genuine this time.

"See, nothing to worry about. Everything is over."

I smiled back at her. "That is a relief." I heard Adam talking to Daemon about his trip, but it was hard to pay attention. I closed my eyes. Every cell in my body was aware of him, like that day in my living room but on a different level.

"Katy? Are you even here, right now?"

"I think so." I forced a smile for Dee's sake.

"Have you guys been driving her crazy?" Daemon asked, sighing. "Bombarding her with a million questions?"

"Never!" cried Dee. Then she laughed.

"Okay. Maybe."

"Figured," Daemon muttered, stretching out his long legs.

Unable to stop myself, I turned toward him.

Our eyes locked. The air between us seemed to stretch with heat and electricity. The last time I'd seen him, we'd been kissing. And I had no idea where that left us.

Dee shifted next to me, clearing her throat.

"I'm still hungry, Adam."

He laughed. "You're worse than I am."

"True." Dee hopped to her feet. "Let's go to Smoke Hole. I think they are having homemade meatloaf." She edged around me, leaned down, and gave Daemon a peck on the cheek. "Glad you're back. I've missed you." Daemon smiled up at his sister. "Missed you, too." When the door shut behind Dee and Adam, I let out the breath I'd been holding. "Is everything really okay?" I asked.

"For the most part." He reached out with one hand, running his fingers over my cheek.

Daemon sucked in a sharp breath. "Hell."


He sat up and scooted closer, his leg pressing against mine. "I have something for you."

Not what I was expecting. "Is it going to blow up in my face?"

Leaning back, he chuckled and reached into the front pocket of his jeans. He pulled out a small leather pouch and handed it to me.

Curious, I pulled on the little string and carefully emptied the pouch into my palm. I glanced up, and when he smiled, I felt my heart turn over. It was a piece of obsidian about three inches long, polished and shaped into a pendant.

The glass was shiny black. It seemed to hum against my skin, cool to the touch. The silver chain it hung from was delicate, spiraling over the top of the pendent. The other edge was sharpened into a fine point.

"Believe it or not," Daemon said, "even something as small as that can actually pierce Arum skin and kill them. When it gets really hot you'll know an Arum is nearby even if you don't see one." He carefully picked up the chain, holding the clasps. "It took me forever to find a piece like this since the blade turned to crap. I don't want you to take this off, okay? At least when...well, for the most part." Shocked, I pulled my hair out of the way and twisted around, letting him hook the necklace around my neck. Once it was clasped, I faced him.

"Thank you. I mean it, for everything."

"It's not a big deal. Has anyone asked you about your trace?"

I shook my head. "I think they're expecting to see one because of all the fighting." Daemon nodded. "Hell, you're bright as a comet right now. The sucker has got to fade or we'll be back to square one."

A slow heat built inside me. Not the good kind. "And what is square one, exactly?"

"You know, us being...stuck together until the damn trace fades." His gaze flickered away.

Stuck together? My fingers dug into my denim-clad knees. "After everything I've done, us being around each other is being stuck together?"

Daemon shrugged.

"You know what? Screw you, buddy.

Because of me, Baruck didn't find your sister.

Because of what I did, I almost died. You healed me. That's why I have a trace. None of this is my fault."

"And it's mine? Should I have left you to die?" His eyes burned now, like emerald pools.

"Is that what you wanted?"

"That's a stupid question! I don't regret that you healed me, but I'm not dealing with this hot and cold shit from you anymore."

"I do believe you protest too much with the whole liking me part." A wry grin twisted his lips. "Someone sounds like they are trying to convince themselves."

I took a deep breath and let it out slowly. As much as it bothered me to say this, because there was a part of me that wanted him, I did. "I think it would be best if you'd stay away from me."

"No can do."

"Any of the other Luxen can watch over me or whatever," I protested. "It doesn't have to be you."

His eyes met mine. "You're my


"I am nothing to you."

"You're definitely something." My palms itched to have a close encounter of the bitch-slap kind with his face. "I dislike you so very much."

"No. You don't."

"Okay. We need to get this trace off me.


A wicked smile played over his lips.

"Maybe we can try making out again. See what that will do to this trace. It seemed to work last time."

My body liked the idea. I, however, did not.

"Yeah, that's not going to happen again."

"It was just a suggestion."

"One that will never. Happen," I bit out each word deliberately. "Again."

"Don't act like you didn't have as much fun - "

I smacked him in the chest hard. He only laughed, and I started to push off, but... wait. I pressed my hand against his chest as I stared at him.

Daemon arched a brow. "Are you feeling me up, Kat? I'm liking where this is heading." I was - nice chest and all -  but that wasn't the point. His heart beat against my palm, a strong tempo that was slightly accelerated.

Thump. Thump, thump. Thump. I placed my other hand against my own chest. Thump.

Thump, thump. Thump.

I started to feel dizzy. "Our

heartbeats...they're the same." Both of our hearts were racing now, completely synchronized. "Oh my God, how is this possible?"

Daemon started to look pale. "Oh crap." My lashes lifted. Our eyes locked. The air seemed to spark around us, filled with tension.

Oh crap, indeed.

He placed his hand over mine and squeezed.

"But it's not too bad. I mean, I'm pretty sure I morphed you into something and this whole heart thing proves we must be connected." He grinned. "Could be worse."

"What could be worse exactly?" I asked, stunned.

"Us being together." He shrugged. "It could be worse."

Part of me wasn't sure I'd heard him right.

"Wait a sec. You think we should be together because of some kind of freaky alien mojo that has connected us? But two minutes ago you were bitching about being stuck with me?"

"Yeah, well, I wasn't bitching. I was pointing out that we are stuck together. This is different...and you're attracted to me." My eyes narrowed. "I'll get back to that last statement in a second, but you want to be with me because you now feel...forced?"

"I wouldn't say forced exactly, but...but I like you."

I stared at him. It was all too easy to recall what I'd overheard when he'd healed me. Part of me had thought that maybe what he'd felt was real, but maybe it was the product of whatever the hell he'd done. That made sense considering what he was saying.

Daemon frowned. "Oh no, I know that look.

What are you thinking?"

"That this is the most ridiculous declaration of attraction I've ever heard," I said, standing.

"That is so lame, Daemon. You want to be with me because of whatever crazy stuff that had happened?" He rolled his eyes as he stood. "We like each other. We do. It's stupid that we keep denying it."

"Oh, this is coming from the dude who left me on the couch topless?" I shook my head.

"We don't like each other."

"Okay. I should probably apologize for that.

I'm sorry." Daemon took a step forward. "We were attracted to each other before I healed you.

You can't say that's not true, because I've always...been attracted to you." I took a step back. "Being attracted to me is as lame a reason to be with me as the fact we're stuck together now."

"Oh, you know it's more than that." He paused. "I knew you would be trouble from the start, from the moment you knocked on my door."

I laughed dryly. "That thought is definitely mutual, but that doesn't excuse the split personality thing you've got going on."

"Well, I was kind of hoping it did, but obviously not." He flashed a quick grin. "Kat, I know you're attracted to me. I know you like - "

"Being attracted to you isn't enough," I said.

"We get along."

I gave him a bland look.

Another flash of his teeth as his lips spread.

"Sometimes we do."

"We have nothing in common," I protested.

"We have more in common then you realize."


Daemon caught a piece of my hair and wrapped it around his finger. "You know you want to."

The memory of the sweet kiss we'd shared in the field returned. Frustrated, I snatched my hair back and focused. "You don't know what I want. You have no clue. I want a guy who wants to be with me because he actually wants to be.

Not that he's forced to be out of some kind of twisted sense of responsibility."

"Kat - "

"No!" I cut him off, balling my hands into fists. Come on, Kittycat, don't b e a b ystander.

I wasn't going to be a bystander anymore, which meant not caving to Daemon. Not when his reasons for wanting me were so lame they made a top ten list. "No. Sorry. You have spent months being the biggest jerk to me. You don't get to decide to like me one day and think I will forget all of that. I want someone to care for me like my dad cared for my mom. And you aren't him."

"How can you know?" His eyes flashed, turning them into brilliant jewels.

Shaking my head, I turned toward the back door. Daemon appeared in front of it, blocking my exit. "God, I hate when you do that!" He didn't laugh or smile like he normally would. His eyes were wide and bright, consuming. "You can't keep pretending that you don't want to be with me."

I could - I would try, even though deep down, I did want to be with him. But I wanted him to want me, not because we were stuck together or because somehow we were connected. I'd always liked the glimpses of the real him. That Daemon I could be with - I could love. But that Daemon never stayed around long, pushed out by his never-ending duty to his family and race. Saddened by that, I pressed my lips together.

"I'm not pretending," I said.

His eyes searched mine. "You're lying."


He placed his hands on my hips and tugged me forward carefully. His breath stirred the hair around my temple. "If I wanted to be with..." he started, his hands tightening. "If I wanted to be with you, you'd make it hard wouldn't you?" I lifted my head. "You don't want to be with me." His lips twitched into a smile. "I'm thinking I kind of do."

Parts of my body liked that. My chest swelled. Insides knotted. "Thinking and kind of aren't the same thing as knowing."

"No, it's not, but it's something." His lashes lowered, shielding his eyes. "Isn't it?"

I thought of the love my mom and dad had again. I pulled away, shaking my head. "It's not enough."

Daemon's eyes met mine and he sighed.

"You are going to make this hard." I didn't say anything. My heart was thumping as I sidestepped him and headed for the front door.


Drawing in a deep breath, I faced him.


A smile parted his lips. "You do realize I love a challenge?"

I laughed under my breath and turned back to the front door, giving him a one-fingered salute. "So do I, Daemon. So do I." Bonus scenes from Daemon's point of view...

Keep reading!

Acknowledgements Ob sidian wouldn't even be a glimmer in my eyes without Liz Pelletier. Simply put, you're the best. Seriously. Funny how one email can turn into this crazy idea within minutes, hours...and then days - wait, hours? And you're like an editing ninja. Thank you.

Thank you to the wonderful, awesomely awesome team at Entangled Publishing. Heather Howland - I love the buns atop your head in your Twitter avatar. Have I told you that before?

Thank you to Suzanne Johnson for turning my manuscript into a lovely Christmas tree during copyedits, Heidi Stryker - a huge thanks to you for being the first intern to read Ob sidian and think, "Wow, this doesn't suck." A shout out to my publicist Lewis Pollak - thank you for handling everything that you do.

To my agent Kevan Lyon - you are a dream come true. Special thanks to agents Rebecca Mancini and Stephanie Johnson. Whenever I hear your names, I get all warm and fuzzy inside.

To my family and friends, thank you for not

disowning me when I don't answer your calls or pay attention when you're talking. I know I get lost in my head from time to time, so thank you for being patient.

Lesa Rodrigues and Cindy Thomas - you guys kept me sane while writing Ob sidian. To Carissa Thomas for liking to mess around with pictures of hot guys and make my blog all steamy, thank you.

Julie Fedderson - you're the best crit partner and cheerleader in the world.

And a huge, GIGANTIC thanks to all the book bloggers out there who helped reveal the cover of Ob sidian and spread the word. I heart each and every one of you.

Jennifer ll. Armentrout lives in West Virginia. All the rumors you've heard about her state aren't true. Well, mostly. When she's not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, working out, watching zombie movies, and pretending to write. She shares her home with her husband, his K-9 partner named Diesel, and her hyper Jack Russell Loki. Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent her time writing short stories...therefore explaining her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes Adult and Young Adult Urban Fantasy and Romance.

Bonus Material

Scenes from Daemon's point of view!

"Uh-oh spaghetti-o's"


The moment I walked into trig class, I saw Kat. Kind of hard to miss with that whitish glow surrounding her. I spotted a couple of seats empty on the other side of class and knew that's where I should go.

Instead, I switched my notebook to my other hand and headed straight down the aisle where she was seated. She kept her eyes glued to her notebook, but I knew she was aware of me...

The faint blush along the tips of her cheekbones gave her away.

I grinned.

But then my gaze slid to the awkward splint covering her slender arm, and my grin faded.

Potent rage swept through me at the reminder of how close she'd come to becoming an Arum's playtoy. My teeth gnashed together as I stalked past and fell into the seat behind her.

Images assaulted me of how she'd looked after the Arum attack - shaken, terrified, and so tiny in my shirt as we waited for the useless police to show up. If anything, this should've served as a reminder to get my ass up and move to a different seat.

I pulled a pen out of the spiral ring on my notebook and poked her in the back.

Kat glanced over her shoulder, biting her lip.

"How's the arm?" I asked.

Her features pinched, and then her lashes swept up, her clear eyes meeting my stare.

"Good," she said, fiddling with her hair. "I get the splint off tomorrow, I think." I tapped my pen off the edge of the desk.

"That should help."

"Help with what?" Wariness colored her tone.

Using the pen, I gestured to the trace surrounding her. "With what you've got going on there."

Her eyes narrowed, and I remembered she couldn't see how she was lit up like a Christmas tree. I should have cleared things up, but it was so much fun getting a rise out of her. When it looked like she was two seconds from smacking me upside the head with her splint, I couldn't help myself.

I leaned forward, watching her eyes flare.

"Less people will stare without the splint is all I'm saying."

Her lips thinned in disbelief, but she didn't look away. Kat met my stare and held it. Not backing down - never backing down. Reluctant respect continued to grow inside me, but underneath that, something else was developing.

I was two seconds from kissing that pissed off look right off her face. I wandered what she'd do. Hit me? Kiss me back?

I was betting on the hitting part.

Billy Crump let out a low whistle from somewhere off to the side of us. "Ash is going to kick your ass, Daemon."

Kat's eyes narrowed with what looked a lot like jealousy. I smiled. I might just need to change my bet. "Nah, she likes my ass too much for that."

Billy chuckled.

I tipped my desk down, bringing our mouths within the same breathing space. A flash of heat went through her eyes, and I so had her. "Guess what?"

"What?" she murmured, her gaze dropped to my mouth.

"I checked out your blog."

Her eyes shot back to mine. For a second they were wide with shock, but she was quick to smooth her expression. "Stalking me again, I see. Do I need to get a restraining order?"

"In your dreams, Kitten." I smirked. "Oh wait, I'm already starring in those, aren't I?" She rolled her eyes. "Nightmares, Daemon.


I smiled, and her lips twitched. Dammit, if I didn't know better, I'd think she liked our little fights, too. The teacher started calling out roll, and Kat turned around. I sat back, laughing softly.

Several of the kids were still watching us, which kind of knocked the sense back into me.

Not that I was doing anything wrong. Teasing her wouldn't bring the Arum to us or put her in danger - or my sister.When the bell rang, Kat bolted from the class. Shaking my head, I grabbed my notebook and headed out into the throng of students.

During a class exchange an hour later, I ran into Adam who fell in step beside me. "There is talk."

I arched a brow. "Talk about what? How everyone drives trucks around here? Or how cow tipping really is a pastime? Or how my sister is never, ever going to seriously get with you?"

Adam sighed. "Talk about Katy, smartass." Schooling my features, I stared straight ahead as we navigated the crowded halls. Both of us were a good head or so taller than most.

We were like giants in the land of humans.

"Billy Crump's in your - "

"Trig class? Yeah, I know that already."

"He was talking in History about you flirting with the new girl," Adam said, sliding past a group of girls who were openly staring at us.

"Ash overheard him."

With each passing second, my annoyance was hitting an all new high.

"I know you and Ash aren't seeing each other anymore."

"Yep." I grit my teeth.

"But you know how she gets," Adam continued quickly. "You better be careful with your little human - "

I stopped in the middle of the hall, two seconds from throwing Adam through a wall.

Kids shuffled around us as I spoke barely above a whisper. "She's not my little human." Adam's gaze was unflinching. "Fine.

Whatever. Out of everyone, I don't care if you took her into the locker room and did her, but she's glowing...and so are your eyes. And all of this is familiar." Shit. On. A. Brick. Striving for patience I wasn't known for, I started walking, leaving Adam behind. I needed to stay the hell away from Kat. And that would keep her away from the rest of the Luxen, namely Ash.

When was the moment Katy became different from the herd - from the rest of the humans? Someone I wanted to know? And Adam was right. All of this was familiar, except we'd had this conversation with Dawson over Bethany.

Dammit. This was not happening.

I glided through the rest of my classes bored out of my freaking mind. Many times last year, I tried to convince Matthew to get me a forged high school diploma. No such luck there. The DOD probably thought school was a privilege for us, but what they taught couldn't keep my interest. We learned at an accelerated rate, leaving most humans in the dust. And the DOD would have to approve my request to go to college if that's what I decided. Hell, I wasn't even sure I wanted to go to college. I'd rather find a job where I got to work outside - something that didn't include four small walls.

When lunch rolled around, I was half tempted to call it a day. School wasn't the same without Dawson. His exuberance for everything, even the mundane, had been contagious.

Not hungry, I grabbed a bottle of water and headed to the table. I sat beside Ash and leaned back, picking at the label on the bottle.

"You know," Ash said, leaning against my arm. "They say what you're doing is a sign of sexual frustration."

I winked at her.

She grinned and then turned back to her brother. That was the thing about Ash. Even though we'd dated on and off for years, she could be cool...when she wanted to be. Neither of us was really into each other, not the way Dawson had been with Bethany or as we should be.

Lifting my eyes, I immediately found Kat in the lunch line. She was talking to Carissa - the quieter of the two girls in trig. My gaze dropped down to her flip flops and slowly worked my way back up.

I think I loved those jeans. Tight in all the right places.

It was amazing really - how long Kat's legs looked for someone so short. I couldn't figure out why it seemed the way.

Ash's hand dropped on my thigh, drawing my attention. Warning bells went off. She was so up to something. "What?" I asked.

Her bright eyes fixed on mine. "What are you looking at?"

"Nothing." I focused on her, anything to keep her interest off Kat. As feisty as the little kitten was, she was absolutely no match for Ash.

I sat the bottle aside, swinging my legs toward her. "You look nice today."

"Don't I?" Ash beamed. "So do you. But you always look yumtastic." Glancing over her shoulder, she then turned back and slid into my lap faster than she should have in public.

A couple of the boys at a neighboring table looked like they would've traded in their moms to be in my position. "What are you up to?" I kept my hands to myself.

"Why do you think I'm up to anything?" She pressed her chest against mine, speaking in my ear. "I miss you."

I grinned. "No, you don't."

Pouting, she slapped my shoulder playfully.

"Okay. There are some things I miss." About to tell her that I had a good idea of what that thing was, Dee's jubilant shriek cut me off.

"Katy!" she yelled.

Cursing under my breath, I felt Ash stiffen against me.

"Sit," Dee said, smacking the top of the table. "We were talking about - "

"Wait." Ash twisted around. I could picture the look on her face. Lips turned down, eyes narrowed. All that equaled bad, bad times. "You did not invite her to sit with us? Really?" I focused on the painting of the PHS mascot - a red and black Viking, complete with horns. Please don't sit down.

"Shut up, Ash," Adam said. "You're going to make a scene."

"I'm not 'going to make' anything happen." Ash's arm tightened around my neck like a boa constrictor. "She doesn't need to sit with us." Dee sighed. "Ash, stop being a bitch. She's not trying to steal Daemon from you." My eyebrows shot up, but I kept up the prayer. Please don't sit down. My jaw locked.

Please don't sit here. If she did, Ash would eat her alive out of pure spite. I'd never understand girls. Ash didn't want me anymore, not really, but holy hell if someone else did.

Ash's body started to vibrate softly. "That's not what I'm worried about. For real."

"Just sit," Dee said to Katy, her voice tight with exasperation. "She'll get over it."

"Be nice," I whispered in Ash's ear, low enough for only her to hear. Ash smacked my arm hard. That'll leave a bruise. I pressed my cheek into her neck. "I mean it."

"I'll do what I want," she hissed back. And she would, too. Worse than what she was doing now.

"I don't know if I should," Kat said, sounding incredibly small and unsure.

Every stupid, idiotic thought in my head demanded that I dump Ash out of my lap and get Kat out of here, away from what surely was going to end up being horrible.

"You shouldn't," Ash snapped.

"Shut up," Dee said. "I'm sorry I know such hideous bitches."

"Are you sure?" Kat asked.

Ash's body trembled and heated up. Her skin would be too warm for a human to touch without realizing something was different, wrong even. I could feel her control slipping away. Exposing herself wasn't likely, but she appeared mad enough to do some damage.

I turned my head to look at Kat for the first time since I'd seen her in the line. And I already knew I was going to hate myself for what I was about to say, because she didn't deserve this. "I think it's obvious if you're wanted here or not."

"Daemon!" My sister's eyes filled with tears, and now it was official. I was irrevocably a dick. "He's not being serious."

"Are you being serious, Daemon?" Ash twisted toward me.

My gaze held Kat's, and I clamped down on everything. She needed to leave before something shitty happened. "Actually, I was being serious. You're not wanted here." Kat opened her mouth, but she didn't say anything. Her cheeks had been pink - the way I liked them - but the color faded quickly. Anger and embarrassment filled her gray eyes. They glistened under the harsh lights of the cafeteria.

A sharp pierce sliced through my chest, and I had to look away - because I had put that look in her eyes. Clenching my jaw, I focused over Ash's shoulder on that stupid mascot again.

In that moment, I wanted to punch myself in the face.

"Run along," Ash said.

A few snickers sounded and anger whipped through me, heating my skin. It was ridiculous that I was pissed that other people were laughing when I'd embarrassed her, hurt her more than anyone.

Silence fell over the table, and relief was imminent. She had to be leaving now. There was no way -

Cold, wet, and sloppy stuff plopped on the top of my head. I froze, aware enough not to open my mouth unless I wanted to eat...spaghetti? Did she...? Sauce covered noodles slid down my face, landing on my shoulder. One hung off my ear, smacking me against the neck.

Holy shit. I was dumbfounded as I slowly turned to look at her. Part of me was actually...amazed.

Ash leaped from my lap, shrieking as she shoved her hands out. "You...You..." I plucked one of the noodles off my ear and dropped it on the table as I peered up at Kat from underneath my lashes. The laugh came up before I could stop it. Good for her.

Ash lowered her hands. "I will end you." My humor vanished. Jumping up, I threw an arm around Ash's waist. "Calm down. I mean it.

Calm down."

She pulled against me. "I swear to all the stars and suns, I will destroy you."

"What does that mean?" Kat balled her hands, glaring at the taller girl like she wasn't afraid of her one bit, and she should've been.

Ash's skin was scorching hot, vibrating just beneath the surface. At that moment, I really started to doubt she'd not do something stupid and reveal us in public. "Are you watching too many cartoons again?" Matthew stalked over to our table, his eyes connecting with mine for a moment. I'd hear about this later. "I believe that's enough," he said.

Knowing not to argue with Matthew, Ash sat down in her own seat and grabbed a fistful of napkins. She tried to clean up the mess, but it was pointless. I almost laughed again when she started stabbing at her shirt. Sitting down, I knocked a clump of noodles off my shoulder.

"I think you should find another place to eat," Matthew said to Katy, voice low enough that only the people at our table could hear. "Do so now."

Looking up, I watched Kat grab her book bag. She hesitated, and then she nodded as if in a daze. Turning stiffly, she stalked from the cafeteria. My eyes followed her the whole way out, and she kept her head held high.

Matthew turned from the table, probably off to do some damage control. I wiped the back of my hand down my sticky cheek, unable to stop myself from laughing softly.

Ash smacked me again. "It's not funny!" She stood, hands shaking. "I can't believe you think that was funny."

"It was." I shrugged, grabbing my water bottle. Not like we didn't deserve it. Looking down the table, I found my sister staring at me.


Tears built in her eyes as she stood. "I can't believe you did that."

"What did you expect?" Andrew demanded She shot him a death glare and then turned those eyes on me. "You suck. You really freaking suck, Daemon."

I opened my mouth, but what could I say? I did suck. I'd acted like an ass, and it wasn't like I could defend that. Dee had to understand that it was for the best, but when I closed my eyes, I saw the hurt in Kat's eyes and I wasn't so sure I'd done the right least the right thing by her.

"The Morning After"


I wasn't sure if I was dreaming, but if I was, I didn't want to wake up. The scent of peach and vanilla teased me, invaded me.


Only she smelled that wonderful, of summer and all the things I could want and never have.

The length of her body was pressed against mine, with her hand resting on my stomach. The steady rise and fall of her chest became my entire world, and in this dream - because it had to be a dream - I felt my own chest matching her breaths.

Every cell in my body sparked and burned.

If I was awake, I'd surely take on my true form.

My body was on fire.

Just a dream, but it felt real.

I couldn't resist sliding my leg over hers, burrowing my head between her neck and shoulder, and inhaling deeply. Divine. Perfect.

Human. Breathing became more difficult than I'd ever imagined. Lust swirled through me, heady and consuming. I tasted her skin - a slight brush of my lips, a flick of my tongue. She felt perfect underneath me; soft in all the places I was hard.

Moving over her, against her, I loved the sound she made - a soft, wholly feminine murmur that scorched every piece of me.

"You're perfect for me," I whispered in my own language.

She stirred, and I dreamt her responding, wanting me instead of hating me.

I pressed down, sliding my hand under her shirt. Her skin felt like satin underneath my fingertips. Precious. Prized. If she was mine, I'd cherish every inch of her. And I wanted to. Now.

My hand crept up, up, up.

Kat gasped.

The dreamy cloud dissipated with the sound I felt all the way through me. Every muscle locked up. Very slowly, I pried my eyes opened.

Her slender, graceful neck sloped before me. A section of skin was pink from the stubble on my jaw...

The clock on the wall ticked.


I'd felt her up, in my sleep.

I lifted my head and stared down at her. Kat watched me, her eyes a smoky, wonderful gray and questioning. Double shit.

"Good morning," she said, her voice still rough with sleep.

Using my arm, I pushed up and even then, knowing that none of it had been a dream, I couldn't look away from her, didn't want to. An infinite need was there, in her, in me.

Demanding that I kneel to it, and I wanted to - dammit, did I ever want to.

The only thing that got to me, that cleared the layers of lust and idealistic stupidity out of my head, was the trace shimmering around her.

She looked like the brightest star.

She was in danger. She was a danger to us.

With one last look, I shot across the room with inhuman speed, slamming the door behind me. Every step away from that room, from that bed, was painful and stiff. Rounding the corner, I almost ran into my sister.

Dee studied me, eyes narrowed.

"Shut up," I muttered, heading past her.

"I didn't say anything, jerk-face." Amusement betrayed her words.

Once inside my bedroom, I quickly changed into a pair of sweats and slipped on my sneakers.

Running into my sister cooled most of me down, but there was a raw edge to my nerves and I needed to be out of this house, away from her.

Not even bothering to change my shirt, I picked up speed, shooting through the house and out the front door. The moment my sneaks touched the porch, I took off and darted into the woods in a burst of speed. Overhead skies were gray and bleak. Drizzle pelted my face like a thousand tiny needles. I welcomed it, pushing and pushing until I was deep in the woods. Then I shed my human skin, taking my true form as I shot between the trees, moving until I was nothing more than a streak of light.

This was wrong. Think of Dawson. Look at what happened to him. Did I want to take the same risk? Leave Dee all alone? But even now I could feel her skin, taste it - sweet and sugary like candy. Hear that wonderful sound she made over and over again, haunting every mile I put between us.

An idea began to form - one that Dee would hate, but I didn't see any other option. I could go to the DOD and request a move to one of the other communities. We'd be giving up our home, leaving our friends behind and Matthew, but it would be for the best. It was the right thing to do. Dee would be safe.

It would keep Kat safe.

Because Dee couldn't stay away from her and neither could I. But no matter where I went, what I was running from would still be with me - Kat. She wasn't just back in the house, in that bed. She was with me now, inside me. And there was no outrunning that.