My Soul to Keep Page 37

Harmony crossed her arms over her chest. “Aiden, Nash had nothing to do with this.”

“Oh, really?” My father turned on her, and I hoped she understood that the sharpness in his voice reflected more worry than anger. “So it’s just a coincidence that one of his teammates rammed her car through a brick mailbox, and less than a week later another one tries to hack her head off.”

Well, at least I know where I get my penchant for exaggeration….

“Scott’s kind of been borrowing trouble from Doug,” I said, picking at the edge of my bandage. “But Nash has nothing to do with any of it.”

I glanced at Nash for confirmation, but he still had his head buried in his hands. He was really taking Scott’s breakdown hard, and I couldn’t blame him. I’d be devastated if anything happened to Emma. Especially something I could have prevented. Which was why the whole thing had to end now, even if that meant turning the whole mess over to my dad.

“Exactly what kind of trouble are these boys in?” my father demanded softly. “And what does it have to do with you?”

Nash finally looked up, his eyes shiny and rimmed in red. His hands shook, clenched in his lap, and I wanted to sink onto the couch next to him and tell him it would be okay. That none of it was really his fault. He hadn’t given his friends the Demon’s Breath, and we didn’t know for sure that acting earlier would actually have saved Scott. For all we knew, sending him into withdrawal earlier might only have escalated his breakdown.

But I stayed at the table because Nash looked like he wanted to wallow in private misery. I wanted to respect that. To give him some time. But if he so much as looked at me, I’d be across the room in an instant.

I shrugged, meeting my dad’s gaze reluctantly. “I don’t think it has anything to do with me.” Though Scott’s shadow man’s insistence that the whole thing was my fault was certainly nagging at the back of my mind. I sucked in a deep breath and spat out the rest of it before I could chicken out.

“Scott and Doug are taking Demon’s Breath, and it’s making them crazy. Literally.”

“What?” my father demanded, at the exact moment Harmony dropped an egg on the kitchen floor. She just stood there, her open hand palm up and empty, slimy egg white oozing over the linoleum toward the toe of one worn sneaker.

Then understanding sank in—I saw its progression across her face—and she stepped absently over the busted egg. “That’s why you were asking—”

My father turned on her. “You knew about this?”

“No!” Harmony glanced at me, and the hurt in her slowly swirling eyes withered my self-respect. “I thought she was talking about Regan Page! I had no idea there was Demon’s Breath in their school!” Then her gaze narrowed on meagain. “You didn’t take any of it, did you?”

“Of course not!” It killed me that she even had to ask. But then, I had lied to her—if indirectly—in my search for facts.

“Don’t you think I’ve spent enough time strapped to a bed?”

My dad flinched and I almost felt guilty for throwing such a low blow. But he wasn’t the one who’d had me hospitalized. My aunt and uncle had done that, in a very ill-thought-out attempt to help me “deal” with abilities I neither knew about nor understood. My father’s only crime was leaving me with them in the first place.

“Nash and I were just trying to cut off their supply.” I shrugged, hating how unsure of myself I sounded. And how juvenile our attempts at intervention must look to a couple of bean sidhes with a combined age of more than two centuries.

“Dad, these guys have no idea what they’re taking, or what it’s doing to them. We took Scott’s first balloon and gave it to Tod to dispose of, but he got another one, and—”

“You did what?” My father’s voice was as hard as ice, and about as warm. “Tod knows about this?”

I shrugged and glanced at Nash, who looked like he wanted to disappear as he avoided his mother’s look of disbelief and confusion. “We were assuming you wouldn’t want us to take the balloon to the Netherworld ourselves….”

“You assumed right.” Yet somehow my father didn’t look very happy about my display of uncommon sense. “How did two human boys get their hands on Demon’s Breath in the first place?”

“They…” I started, but then a sharp shake of Nash’s head caught my attention, and I looked up to find him staring at me intently. And suddenly I wasn’t sure what to do. We’d agreed to tell our parents about the Demon’s Breath, and technically we’d done that. But Nash clearly didn’t want them to know about Everett. Or maybe about the party.

My father watched me expectantly, waiting for me to finish my aborted thought. “They bought it from some guy who sells it in party balloons. He calls it frost.” Which was true…“We could ask Doug—”

“No!” My father’s palm slapped the table and it shook beneath my arm. “Stay away from him, Kaylee. Harmony, Brendon, and I will take care of this. I don’t want you anywhere near that kid. Ever.”

I nodded slowly, unsure what else to do. My dad was starting to sound paranoid. I had to go to school, and unless he’d miraculously graduated in the past few hours, so did Doug.

Harmony knelt on the kitchen floor in front of the cracked egg with a dish rag in one hand, but her attention was focused on me. “How bad off are they? Scott and Doug.”

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