The Calling Page 32

“Okay, talk.”

I settled on the branch, feet dangling. She stood there, looking up at my feet, then pointed at my legs. I’d taken off my socks after the crash—they’d been soaked—and hadn’t replaced them. When I sat, a few inches of bare shin were exposed.

“Those scratches,” she said. “They’re from when you got dragged underwater, aren’t they?”


“They’re fingernail gouges. You didn’t get caught on anything. You were pulled down. By a person.” She held up her hands, nails bitten to the quick. “It wasn’t me. And if that’s not enough proof, you can ask Corey. I was in front of him when Nicole went under. I wanted to help, but he told me to stay put. I did until he had her.”


“You’re speculating that Hayley, Nicole, and Serena are the same supernatural type, right? Something to do with water. Which explains how they can swim so well and hold their breath so long. You think someone drowned Serena, someone who could stay under even longer than her. Someone who also tried to drown you.”

I slid from the tree. “Where’s Hayley?”

“She’s not the one who drugged you.”


“At your party. Hayley didn’t dose your drink. It was the person who accused her. The one who worked with her at the clinic and had access to the drugs, too.”


Sam nodded. “I found the pills in her room afterward. She tried to say Hayley had planted them. I didn’t believe her. She finally broke down, sobbing, saying she hadn’t meant for anyone to get hurt, just that it was her big chance with Daniel and she knew you kind of liked Rafe, and he was coming to the party. She just wanted to give you and Rafe a push, so you wouldn’t interfere with her and Daniel.”

“I’ve never interfered—”

“Yeah, I know. But when it comes to Daniel, Nicole is…” She took a deep breath. “Anyway, I told her that she screwed up and if she ever went after you again, she’d be dealing with me.”

“And you didn’t think to tell us?”

She met my gaze. “The wrong decision. I see that now.”

“So Nicole dosed my drink.” I tried to process that, but my brain refused. Sam was lying. Covering up something when Nicole wasn’t here to defend herself.

Then I realized where this was heading. “You think Nic… Nicole drowned Serena? Tried to drown me? No, that’s not—She was almost drowned herself this time.”

“Was she? Or was that a diversion? She pulls you down, thinks she’s drowned you, then pops up, screaming for help and no one notices you’re gone until it’s too late.”

“No. Not Nicole. Why would she—?”

“Daniel. She’s obsessed with him. She didn’t think Serena treated him right and—”

“So she killed her for it?” I said.

“I don’t think she meant to. Or maybe she did. I don’t know.”

“Nicole never had a problem with Serena and Daniel. From what I heard, you did, though.”


“Serena told me you caught her flirting with summer boys. At the diner, just before she died. You told her off.”

“Sure, I told her off. She was being disrespectful. If you’ve got a boyfriend, you don’t flirt with other guys. Daniel didn’t deserve that.”

“What did Daniel deserve?”


I gave her a hard look, but she didn’t seem to get it.

“You like Daniel,” I said.

“Um, yeah. He’s a great guy. Which is why he didn’t deserve to be treated—” She stopped and stared at me, then choked on a laugh. “You mean—Are you asking—? You think I’ve got a crush on Daniel?”

“Don’t you?”

She laughed harder. “Oh my God, you guys really are as naive as you seem.” She looked at me. “I don’t like guys, Maya. As friends, yes. As dating material? Wrong gender.”

“Wrong—? Oh.”

She shook her head. “I kept telling myself you guys had figured it out. I mean, come on. I’m a walking stereotype. I even use a guy’s nickname. I was twelve when the kids at my old school figured it out, so I stopped trying to be girlie. Then I come here, and no one says anything, so I figure you all know and you’re just pretending otherwise, which pisses me off, but it’s better than getting Playboy stuffed in my locker. Apparently, I was wrong. It’s not an option in your cozy little world.”

“Right. So the kids who are out at Salmon Creek are only figments of my imagination?”


“Maybe if you paid a little more attention to your classmates, you’d have realized that we don’t care. But we don’t jump to conclusions either. We figure if someone wants to be open about it, she’ll tell us.”

Now it was her turn to say “Oh.” Then, “Well, anyway, I don’t like Daniel. Not that way. I just think he’s a really good guy. I didn’t like seeing him disrespected, but not because I wanted him for myself. If I gave off that vibe, I sure as hell didn’t mean it.”

She hadn’t. Daniel didn’t think she had a crush on him. Even I’d always felt it was platonic, until Rafe suggested it wasn’t. But Rafe hadn’t known Sam well.

Prev Next
Romance | Vampires | Fantasy | Billionaire | Werewolves | Zombies