Page 8

I rolled over and glanced at the alarm clock. Its angry numbers declared it was a little after three in the morning, and I wasn’t sure why I was awake. I flicked on my bedside lamp, casting everything in a warm glow, and I saw something that scared me so badly, my heart stopped.



A figure was crouched outside my window, my second-story window. Admittedly, a small roof was right outside of it, but a person standing on it was about the last thing I expected to see. On top of that, it wasn’t just anybody.

Finn Holmes looked hopeful, but not at all ashamed or frightened at having been caught peeping into my room. He knocked gently at the glass, and belatedly I realized that’s what had woken me up.

He hadn’t been peeping intentionally; he’d been trying to get my attention so I could let him into my room. So that was slightly less creepy, I supposed.

For some reason, I got up and went over to the window. I caught sight of myself in my mirror, and I did not look good. My pajamas were of the sad, comfy variety. My hair was a total mess, and my eyes were red and puffy.

I knew I shouldn’t let Finn in my room. He was probably a sociopath and he didn’t make me feel good about myself. Besides, Matt would kill us both if he caught him in here.

So I stood in front of the window, my arms crossed, and glared at him. I was pissed off and hurt, and I wanted him to know it. Normally I prided myself on not getting hurt, let alone telling people they had hurt me. But this time I thought it would be better if he knew that he was a dick.

“I’m sorry!” Finn said loud enough so his voice would carry through the glass, and his eyes echoed the sentiment. He looked genuinely remorseful, but I wasn’t ready to accept his apology yet. Maybe I never would.

“What do you want?” I demanded as loudly as I could without Matt hearing me.

“To apologize. And to talk to you.” Finn looked earnestly at me. “It’s important.”

I chewed my lip, torn between what I knew I should do and what I really wanted to do.

“Please,” he said.

Against my better judgment, I opened the window. I left the screen in place and took a step back so I was sitting on the end of my bed. Finn pulled the screen out easily, and I wondered how much experience he had sneaking in girls’ windows.

Carefully, he climbed into my room, shutting the window behind him. He glanced over my room, making me feel self-conscious. It was rather messy, with clothes and books strewn about, but most of my stuff sat in two large cardboard boxes and a trunk on one side of my room.

“So what do you want?” I said, trying to drag his attention back to me and away from my things.

“I’m sorry,” Finn repeated, with that same sincerity he had demonstrated outside. “Tonight I was cruel.” He looked away thoughtfully before continuing. “I don’t want to hurt you.”

“So why did you?” I asked sharply.

Licking his lips, he shifted his feet and exhaled deeply. He had intentionally been mean to me. It wasn’t some accident because he was cocky or unaware of how he treated people. Everything he did was meticulous and purposeful.

“I don’t want to lie to you, and I promise you that I haven’t,” Finn answered carefully. “And I’ll leave it at that.”

“I think I have a right to know what’s going on,” I snapped and then remembered that Matt and Maggie were sleeping down the hall and hastily lowered my voice. “And what you’re doing at my window in the middle of the night.”

“I came here to tell you,” Finn assured me. “To explain everything. This isn’t the way we normally do things, so I had to make a phone call before I came to see you. I was trying to figure things out. That’s why it’s so late. I’m sorry.”

“Call who? Figure out what?” I took a step back.

“It’s about what you did tonight, with Patrick,” Finn said gently, and the pit in my stomach grew.

“I didn’t do anything with Patrick.” I shook my head. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“You really don’t?” Finn eyed me suspiciously, unable to decide if he believed me or not.

“I—I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I stammered. A chill ran over me and I started feeling vaguely nauseous.

“Yeah, you do.” Finn nodded solemnly. “You just don’t know what it is.”

“I’m just very . . . convincing,” I said without any real confidence. I didn’t want to keep denying it, but talking about it, giving credibility to my own private insanity, scared me even more.

“Yeah, you are,” Finn admitted. “But you can’t do that again. Not like you did tonight.”

“I didn’t do anything! And even if I did, who are you to try and stop me?” Something else flashed in my mind, and I looked at him. “Can you even stop me?”

“You can’t use it on me now.” Finn shook his head absently. “It’s really not that major, especially the way you’re using it.”

“What is it?” I asked quietly, finding it hard to make my mouth work. I let go of any pretense I had that I didn’t know what was going on, and my shoulders sagged.

“It’s called persuasion,” Finn said emphatically, as if that were somehow much different from what I had been saying. “Technically, it would be called psychokinesis. It’s a form of mind control.”