My Soul to Steal Page 20

“That was before I spent two weeks nursing you through withdrawal from a substance more dangerous and addictive than anything the human world has ever even seen. I think that’s earned me a little latitude, even if you are old enough to vote.”

“Fine.” Nash’s jaw clenched in irritation, but he’d never disrespect his mother. That much had not changed. “Kaylee’s just here to talk. Let’s try not to scare her away.”

Harmony gave me a hopeful smile, then handed me a paper plate piled high with blondies and shooed us out of the kitchen.

I followed Nash to his bedroom, where he sat on the bed and leaned back on the headboard, leaving the desk chair for me.

“Was Sabine in here?” I set the plate on his nightstand, glancing around his room as if I’d never seen it.

Nash popped open his can, his posture tense and expectant. He watched me like I was a bomb about to explode. “Does it really matter?”

“Yeah.” I set my can on his desk and faced him, fighting through suspicion and fear so I could focus on my anger. “Your ex-girlfriend just told me she has no problem going through me to get to you. So yes, Nash. It matters where you were when you talked to her until after two in the morning.” Because that’s as far as I’d narrowed it down so far. She was here until after two. When I was sound asleep, and probably already dreaming about them making out in front of my locker.

Nash closed his eyes, then opened them and took a long drink from his soda. Then he met my gaze. “Yeah. We were in here.”

My chest ached. I don’t know why finding out where they’d been made it worse—I knew they’d only talked. But knowing they’d been in his room made it more personal. Made it sting more.

“On the bed?” I asked, when I’d recovered my voice, hating how paranoid I sounded.

“Damn it, Kaylee, nothing happened!”

“Right. I heard. But did this ‘nothing’ happen on the bed?” I couldn’t breathe, waiting for his answer. “Was she on your bed, Nash?”

“For the last time, she’s just a friend,” he said, his voice low, the wet can slipping lower in his grip. “She’s the only friend I have right now who knows more about me than my football stats from last season.”

I knew more about him than that. I knew a lot more. But I hadn’t come to see him even once while he was working his way through withdrawal, because I couldn’t deal with it. The wounds were still too fresh. Too raw. When I thought about Nash, I thought about Avari, and the things they’d each let the other do to me, when I wasn’t in control of my own body.

In the painful silence, I popped open my Coke, just to have something to do with my hands. “So…what is she?”

Nash looked up, obviouslyconfused. “I thought Tod told you…”

“He just said she’s my worst nightmare. Whatever that means.” But frankly, any girl openly trying to steal Nash from me would qualify as my nightmare. “So…what is she?” I repeated, hoping I wouldn’t have to say it again. “Siren? Harpy?” I raised both brows at him in sudden comprehension. “She’s a harpy, isn’t she? She acts like a harpy.” Not that I’d ever met one.

Nash laughed out loud. “She’d probably get a kick out of that.” But I had my doubts. “She’s a Nightmare, like Tod said. Only that’s kind of an antiquated term. Now, they’re called maras.”

“There’s a politically correct term for Nightmares? Would that make me a death portent?” I joked to cover my own confusion and ignorance, and Nash laughed again to oblige me.

“Sure. We could start a movement. ‘Rename the bean sidhe.’ You make picket signs, I’ll call the governor. It’s gonna be huge.”

“Funny.” Only it wasn’t. “So what exactly is a mara?”

Nash leaned forward and met my gaze with a somber one of his own. “Okay, I’ll tell you everything, but you have to promise not to freak out. Remember, it was weird finding out you were a bean sidhe at first, too, right?”

Weird didn’t begin to describe it. “Nash, I just found out she was on your bed at two o’clock this morning. With you. How much worse could this be?”

He gave me an apprehensive look, but didn’t deny that they’d been on his bed together, and another little part of my heart shriveled up and died. “Maras are a rare kind of parasite, and unique in that they aren’t native to the Netherworld. At least, according to my mom.”

“Did she and your mom get along?”

“Yeah.” Nash shrugged. “Sabine didn’t know what she was when I met her, and I’d figured out she wasn’t human, but that’s as far as I’d gotten. But my mom narrowed it down pretty fast. She wanted to help her.”

Of course she had. Harmony’s heart was too big for her own good. She wanted to help me, too, and I was definitely starting to see a pattern. Nash and his mother shared their hero complex—I should have seen that coming, considering that she was a nurse—and so far, only Tod seemed immune to the family calling to help people.

He killed them instead.

“So she’s a parasite? That sounds…gross. If I get in her way, is she going to attach herself to my back and suck me dry like a tick? Or a vampire?”

Nash rolled his eyes. “There are no vampires. And no. Maras don’t feed physically. They feed psychically. Off of human energy.”

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