My Soul to Keep Page 39

I didn’t even try to argue. I was exhausted, and I wouldn’t be any help to Emma or Doug until I could think straight.

My dad and Harmony messed around in the kitchen, trying to put together a decent meal and discuss the situation without saying anything that would upset me. Because apparently exhaustion and blood loss had combined to make me look about as sturdy as a blown-glass vase.

After several minutes spent listening to them whisper, I plodded to my room without even a glance in Nash’s direction.

He followed me.

I collapsed stomach-down on my bed while he stood in the doorway. “Go away.”

He took that as an invitation to sit at my desk.

“I’m sorry.”

“You should be.” I turned to face the window, fluffing my pillow under one cheek, and my desk chair creaked as he stood. A moment later, he knelt on the opposite side of the bed, inches from my face. “What the hell is wrong with you lately?” I was worried about the frost invasion too, but it hadn’t turned me into a controlling bitch.

“Kaylee, please…”

“That was messed up, Nash. That was…slimy.” I sat up and scooted back on the bed to put distance between us. “You make me think I want things I don’t really want to do, and it’s like losing control of myself. It’s worse than being strapped to a hospital bed because it’s not some stranger who has to let me up when I stop fighting. It’s you, and I shouldn’t have to fight you.” I blinked back tears, almost as mad at myself for crying as I was at him for invading my mind. “I don’t want your voice in my head anymore. Not even to help me.”

Nash nodded slowly, his eyes churning with too many emotions for me to interpret. “I’m so sorry, Kaylee. I swear it’ll never happen again.” He swallowed and glanced at his hands, where they gripped the edge of my mattress. “It’s just that everything is so messed up, and it’s all my fault. Scott could have killed you, and I…I’m just not thinking straight right now.”

“I know.” I wasn’t, either. I was running on caffeine and adrenaline, both of which were fading fast.

But before he could say anything else, my phone dinged, and I leaned to one side to dig it from my front pocket.

There was a text from Emma. R U OK? LB said you narced on Scott.

Crap. I’d forgotten that Laura Bell—LB—had been home sick all day. She’d obviously seen them load me and Scott into ambulances—his under police escort—and had reported her version of the event.

It was probably all over school. And since I couldn’t tell anyone the truth, Laura’s version—which evidently blamed me for getting the quarterback arrested on drug charges—would stand on the record.


I tried to text her back, but I couldn’t type very well without my right hand, soafter two failed attempts, Nash held out his hand for my phone, watching my face closely. Letting him help would mean I’d forgiven him.

I sighed and gave him my phone. “Tell her I’m fine, and I’ll explain later,” I said, and he nodded, typing almost as fast with two thumbs as I could. “And that I did not rat on Scott.”

The part about Scott trying to kill me could wait for another day.


EMMA EYED ME in concern when I collapsed into my chair beside her in chemistry on Friday morning. She’d been preoccupied with Doug for most of yesterday and hadn’t noticed my exhaustion, but evidently my zombie impersonation was now too obvious to be overlooked.

“Wow, Kaylee, you look like crap,” she whispered as the girl in front of me passed a stapled test packet over her shoulder.

“Thanks.” I shot Emma a good-humored smile. At least, I hoped it looked good-humored. “I haven’t been getting much sleep.”

After Nash and Harmony left the night before, I’d collapsed on the couch—again in my homemade protective gear—but got very little rest, because this time my father refused to sleep and I could feel him watching me. I had two death dreams in a four-hour span, and my dad woke me up from both of them the moment the first note of a soul song erupted from my mouth.

Each time, he sat on the coffee table with a spiral-bound notebook, pen ready to go, but I had no new details to offer. Same dark figure. Same falling through the Nether-smog. Same panic welling inside my dream throat. Same featureless face I couldn’t identify.

Between the dream-screaming, the butchered forearm, and my near-death experience, peaceful sleep was a fond and somewhat distant memory. Yet, thanks to Scott’s absence and Laura Bell’s sensational but inaccurate gossip, the last school day of the semester was even worse than the sleepless night it followed.

I could feel them staring at me as I flipped open my test booklet. They’d been watching me all morning. Ogling the bandage my right sleeve wouldn’t cover, which made it obvious that something big had gone down the day before, but left the details tantalizingly vague.

I pretended not to hear the whispers in the hall, rumors linking my name with Scott’s. Wondering if he and I had been cheating on Nash and Sophie, which was easily the most ridiculous speculation I’d ever heard.

Until I heard someone claim that Nash had cut me—and was the source of whatever mysterious damage Scott had suffered—when he caught the two of us together.

There were other, quieter rumors from people who’d seen Scott’s breakdown in class or in the cafeteria. They knew something had been wrong with him before we’d ever left school, but their tales were less exciting and never really caught on. Which left me and Nash to bear the brunt of the rumors and the stares.

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