My Soul to Steal Page 29

“Yeah, well, timing is everything, and Coach Tucker is standing right over there, waiting to bust you for the public display. I just saved you both from detention.”

I glanced over her shoulder to see that she was right. The girls’ softball coach stood in the doorway across the hall, pink detention pad ready and waiting.

“And…” Em continued, thrusting a thick, worn textbook at me. “I brought you this.”

I took my Algebra II book from her, frowning. “Why…?”

She shrugged, looking smug. “I noticed your heart-to-heart, so I stopped by your locker on the way to mine. I had a feeling you wouldn’t be done in time to get your books.”

Emma and I had known each other’s locker combinations since our freshmen year. Just for occasions like this. “And I was right,” she added, when the warning bell shrieked from the end of the hall.

In the event of a power outage, her smile could have powered the entire school for a week.

“Thanks, Em.”

“You can thank me later by translating our French homework.”

“No problem,” I said, my heart still beating too hard over the almost-kiss, and the possibility it hinted at. “I better go. See you at lunch?”

Emma and Nash both nodded, and I took off toward first period algebra, while they headed in the opposite direction. Emma got to skip class that morning to meet with the guidance counselor, who wanted to make sure she was still okay, following Doug’s death. Thanks to a call from her mom.

But I’d only gone a few feet when Sabine fell into step beside me in a snug polo, ratty jeans, and scuffed-up Converses. On the surface, she was even less Nash’s type than I was—at least, Nash as he was known at Eastlake; I didn’t know what he’d been like in Fort Worth—but he didn’t seem to care. It probably didn’t hurt that she was hot no matter what she wore. Sabine’s look was overtly gearhead/gamer/troublemaker, but because she owned it, it worked for her.

Despite being new in the middle of her senior year and having no friends to speak of, Sabine had confidence and self-assurance I could only dream about. And that was just one more entry on my ever-growing list of reasons to dislike the mara.

“What do you want?” I walked faster, after a quick glance to make sure she wasn’t armed. Her dark eyes creeped me out, even more so than before, now that I knew what she really was.

“You’ve got balls,” she said, instead of answering my question, then launched into a high-pitched impersonation of me. “‘Sabine, get the hell out of my room! Stay away from Nash, or I’ll make you homesick for prison!’” she taunted, while I ground my teeth and stomped even faster through the hall. “That’s some funny shit! Especially while you’re still sitting in sweat-soaked sheets, heart racing from one hell of a nightmare.Though for the record, I was never in prison. The state detention center, halfway houses, and foster homes, sure. But never prison. What do you think I am, a hardened criminal?”

“Go away.”

Sabine laughed. “I don’t think you’re truly getting into the spirit of this rivalry.”

“This is not a rivalry. It’s your own sad little delusion,” I snapped, turning the corner so sharply my foot almost slipped out from under me.

When I paused to regain my balance, Sabine spun around to stand in front of me, one hand on the wall, effectively blocking my path. She smiled, but her eyes were even darker than usual, the fear they reflected as black as a starless night.

My hand clenched around the strap of my backpack, the other clutching my math book while Sabine leaned in so close her nose almost brushed my cheek. I held my breath, not sure what she was doing. Not sure what I should do.

“I’m not into girls, Kaylee,” she whispered, her breath warm on my cheek. “But if I were, I think you’d be my type.”

My breath froze in my throat, and she laughed, stepping back where I could see her whole face. “I’m starting to see why Nash wanted you. You got a backbone buried in there somewhere.” She stepped back again and eyed me from head to toe, like a boxer assessing his opponent. “But if you don’t loosen up, you’re never gonna uncover enough of it in time.”

“He doesn’t love you,” I said through gritted teeth, determined to maintain eye contact, even though that was about as comfortable as holding a jagged chunk of ice in the palm of my hand.

“I know.” Sabine shrugged and crossed her arms over her chest. “But he wants me, and that’s the first step, and there’s nothing you can do about that. Know why?”

I didn’t respond, so she answered her own question. “Because you’re scared. You’re one big ball of fear, wrapped inside a skinny, uptight little body you’re not willing to share. But I won’t hold back. I’ll give him everything, Kaylee.” Her gaze burned into mine. “Everything you’re afraid to let him have.”

My fingers twitched around my book. “Sounds like you already have,” I spat, and she grinned, like making me talk was some kind of victory.

“I’m not talking about sex, though that offer’s definitely on the table.” Her eyes flashed with anticipation, and I hated her just a little more. “I’m talking about my heart, Kaylee. As cheesy as it sounds, I’m willing to give him my heart—everything I am and everything I have—and you’re not. You’re too scared to trust him, and you can’t really love someone you don’t trust. So if you care about him at all, you’ll let him go, before you screw him up for good.”

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