The Calling Page 67

Where did my loyalty lie? Part of me wanted to say “with Rafe.” He’d been willing to die for me. Now he was giving up his freedom for me.

But where did my loyalty really lie? There was no question. With the guy who’d been by my side since I was five. Who’d watched my back since I was five. Who’d suffered with me through Serena’s death and Rafe’s supposed death and everything else. The guy whose own loyalty I never questioned.

I had to tell Daniel.

I waited until everyone was asleep, then crept downstairs. Through the living room doorway, I could see Daniel on the sofa bed, Kenjii lying across his feet. She lifted her head, but I put out my hand, telling her to stay, and she lowered it again.

I walked to the covered porch. Rafe was on the futon, still dressed, no blankets or pillow, sleeping with his head on his arm. It was chilly, with the cold night air seeming to blast through the window glass. I found a blanket folded by the wood-burning stove.

I went back to Rafe, unfolded the blanket, and crawled in beside him.

He woke as I was pulling the blanket up over us.


I put my fingers to my lips and lay down. When I opened my mouth, he put his hand over it and waved at himself, reminding me that he was still wired. Then he leaned to my ear again, his voice so low I’d never have heard it without skin-walker hearing.

“I have to sleep with my clothes on. But I know why you’re here. Daniel.”


He covered my mouth again and whispered in my ear. “You need to tell him. I was hoping you wouldn’t…”

He trailed off, but stayed by my ear, so I couldn’t see his expression. I knew what I’d see if I did, though. Disappointment. Hurt.

“I’m so sorry,” I whispered.

He hugged me. A tight hug. Fierce. Then his lips went to my ear again. “Don’t be.”

I tried to look away, but he caught my chin and kissed me and it was such a sweet kiss, and I felt so guilty, like I’d betrayed him, and my throat seized up and tears trickled down my cheeks, onto his.

He pulled back and looked surprised, then wiped the tears away with his thumbs, holding my face in his hand.

“It’s all good, Maya,” he whispered. “I mean that. I see how you and Daniel are, and I want you to trust me that much, but I know I have to earn it and I’ve done a crappy job so far. Still you trusted me enough to tell me first. That’s a start. A big start.”

He bent down and his kiss was so full of longing that tears pricked my eyes again. When another one rolled down my cheek, he wiped it away.

“No more of that,” he said.

“I’m just—”

“I know.” His lips moved to my ear. “So am I.”

I put my arms around his neck and hugged him,face buried in his neck, and he hugged me back, making no move to kiss me again, just holding me. Then he put his lips against my ear and whispered, “I’ll find a way to get back to you, Maya. I promise.” I knew he couldn’t promise, neither of us could promise, but in that moment, I let myself believe it, and I curled up against him, closed my eyes, and fell into the first deep and dreamless sleep I’d had in a week.

Rafe woke me in the morning.

“Sorry,” he whispered. “But I can hear Kenjii moving around, and if Daniel comes in and finds you here, it won’t matter that we’re both fully dressed. I’ll get my ass kicked.”

I shook my head. “He wouldn’t. What I do with you is my business.”

“Mmm, still pretty sure there’d be ass-kicking if he found you in my bed.”

I snuck out. Time to talk to Daniel. Except he wasn’t on the couch. I stood in the doorway, staring at the empty spot.

“Hey, you’re up,” Daniel said behind me.

I turned to see him in the kitchen doorway, a box of cereal in his hand.

“No milk, but they do have Froot Loops. I know you love Froot Loops.”

“Thanks.” I took a step toward him. “But first I need to—”

Corey came bounding down the stairs. “Did I hear the breakfast bell?”

“Food’s all gone,” Sam called from the kitchen.

Daniel backed up, disappearing from view. I hesitated.

“What’s up?” Corey said.

“Nothing. Just … the Froot Loops are mine.”

“Not if I get them first.”

After breakfast, Rafe distracted the others while I led Daniel into the garage.

“It’s about Rafe, isn’t it?” he said as we settled on the garage steps.

I nodded. “I have to talk to you and you’re not going to like it.”

He exhaled. “Yeah, I already know what it’s about.”

“You do?”

“I’m being a jerk to him. He tried to talk to me about wrestling at breakfast, and I blew him off. We all keep complaining that we don’t know him, but when he tries to get to know us, we shut him down. I’m sorry.”

“That’s not—”

“I have nothing against the guy. I don’t know why I keep…” He rolled his shoulders and rubbed the back of one as he made a face.

“Bad sleep?”

“Yeah. But we’re all stressed and worried and tired, and that’s no excuse for being a jerk to Rafe.”

I stretched my legs, then took a deep breath and said, “Actually, I might know what’s setting you off with Rafe. That’s what I wanted to talk about.”

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