Blood Moon Page 43

The groups went in different directions.

Kieran glanced at me. “Got your weapons?”

“Dude, who are you talking to? Of course I do.”

He nearly smiled. “I know this is a foreign concept to you, Hamilton, but you follow orders in the field. Period.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

He just stared at me.

“What? I said yes.”

“Mm-hmm.” He didn’t sound remotely convinced. He crossed the parking lot toward the sidewalk, his boots crunching through broken glass.

“So where are we headed?” I asked.

“We’ll go down Main Street and then check the alleys behind the movie theaters. I got intel that there’ve been some disturbances there in the last couple of days.”

“Yeah, because there’s a bar next door. A gross one where all the drunks hang out. Half the knife fights in town happen there.” I slid him a glance out of the corner of my eye. He looked calm, dressed in black cargo pants and a jean jacket. His short hair made him look older. He suddenly reminded me of the Kieran who’d once dosed me with Hypnos powder in the Drake living room. I couldn’t help but poke at him a little for that. “And intel? What’s with all the lingo?”

He shrugged. “This is who I am.”

“Mm-hmm.” Now I was the one who didn’t sound convinced.

“Just come on.”

The streetlights cast a watery yellow glow on the pavement. There was frost on some of the store windows. The tip of my nose was already cold. “Solange hasn’t talked to me since I Tasered her,” I said, jumping right in when I couldn’t think of a subtle way to broach the topic.

“You’ll work it out.”

I waited. Waited some more. “Will you?” I pressed when he didn’t say anything else. “I know you broke up,” I added gently.

“It’s not a secret.”

“Are you trying to be infuriating?”

He sighed. “I don’t want to share my feelings and do each other’s hair, Lucy.”

“Too bad. It’s what friends do.” I rolled my eyes when he shot me a look. “The sharing part, 007.”

“I’m fine.”

I ground my teeth. “I swear if I hear that from you or Solange one more time I’m duct-taping your mouths shut.”

“Can I duct-tape yours shut?”

I grinned. “Like that would stop me.”

He grinned back. It was so brief I nearly missed it. “Can we just do this recon thing?”

“I can multitask,” I assured him, peering into the shadows of the first alley we passed. “Cat, raccoon in Dumpster, smell of pee,” I catalogued for him. “See? Now talk.”

“About what? We broke up. It happens.”

“Did you break up because you don’t like each other anymore?” He paused. I jumped on that like it was made of chocolate. “Ha! See? That means you broke up for some other stupid reason.”

“How do you know it was stupid?”

“Because any reason other than I-don’t-love-you or You-make-me-miserable is stupid.”

“Real life isn’t that simple.”

I stopped walking, fished a pack of gum out of my pocket because it was all I had, and threw it at his head. He jerked his back. “What was that for?”

“You don’t get to condescend to me. My best friend is all crazy and mad at me, my cousin just died and turned into a vampire, and people are constantly trying to kill my friends. I know things aren’t simple.”

He rubbed his temple. “Sorry.”

“Good,” I said crankily. “You can’t shut people out. Not now. Solange is shutting us out and you see how well that’s working for her. Things are going to get worse, Kieran. We all know it.”

He hunched his shoulders but he didn’t argue with me, which I counted as a victory.

We patrolled the alleys, stepping over a drunk guy snoring while propped up against the back door of the bar. He still had his car keys in his hand. I plucked them carefully out of his grasp and tossed them into the nearby garbage can. Then I knocked on the door. When one of the busboys opened it, the drunk fell back over his feet. The busboy just sighed. “Thanks.”

The back of the movie theater was deserted and smelled like popcorn. We saw three cats, two squirrels, and a fox, but no vampires. We crossed Main Street to check out the other alleys, passing the little park where I used to hang out with Solange on Saturday afternoons, drinking coffee and complaining about how there was never anything to do in Violet Hill. It seemed like forever ago.

“That alley connects to a back street behind the high school,” I told Kieran as it began to snow very lightly. It wasn’t cold enough to stick to the road, it just sort of floated in the air around us. The stars were still visible between thin wispy clouds. We skirted the debris of a tipped-over garbage can between a shop selling crystals and one selling ski equipment.

“It’s pretty quiet,” I said. I stopped, winced. “I just said that out loud, didn’t I?”

Kieran nodded, checking over his shoulder. He aimed his flashlight down the mouth of the dark alley. The light glinted off soda cans and a metal fence.

“I just totally jinxed us,” I groaned. I pulled my miniature crossbow out of my bag and loaded an arrow into it, just in case. I still carried stakes but I was more skilled with the crossbow. I had better aim than arm strength. It wasn’t easy pushing a sharp wooden stake through a rib cage. Not to mention distressingly gross.

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