My Soul to Steal Page 32

“Tod, three teachers died in two days. All at their desks, all possibly asleep. The week Sabine moved to town. You seriously think that’s a coincidence?”

He shook his head slowly. “There are no coincidences.” We’d learned that, if nothing else, during the first half of my insane junior year. “But that doesn’t mean she had anything to do with it.”

I swallowed a grunt of frustration. Was I the only one who recognized the mara as a potential psychopath? Case in point: her obsession with Nash! “Sabine comes here and teachers start dying. It doesn’t take a genius to see the pattern.”

“What pattern?” Emma dropped onto the bench below mine, staring just to the left of the reaper’s head. I hadn’t even noticed her climbing the steps. “I assume Tod’s around here somewhere. Or else you’ve progressed to actually arguing with yourself.”

“Hey, Em,” Tod said, and Emma jumped a little, obviously startled to find him so close when he let her see him. “She thinks Sabine’s—”

“Trying to get Nash back,” I interrupted, and Tod glanced at me in surprise, then nodded when he understood. Emma didn’t know Sabine wasn’t human, and I wanted to keep it that way. At least until we knew whether or not she was a murderer.

“Well, yeah. That’s been well-established.” Em glanced from Tod to me. “Why? What did I miss?”

She was getting harder and harder to hide things from.

Tod crossed his arms over his snug white T-shirt, silently giving me the floor. Fortunately, I was prepared. “She ambushed me in the hall this morning and gave me a lecture on sex.”

Tod’s brows rose halfway to his hairline. “I hope you took notes….”

I elbowed his surprisingly solid ribs. “She told me that if I really cared about Nash, I’d let him go. Like he’s just gonna fall into her arms if I give him up for good.”

Tod and Emma both watched me, like they were waiting for me to clue in to the punch line of some horribly inappropriate joke.

“You think he would?” My heart throbbed with each beat, as if it were suddenly too big for my chest.

“He might fall into her, but he’s more likely to land on her lap than in her arms,” Tod said, pulling no punches, as usual.

“They have a history, and they’re still really close, Kay,” Emma said, watching for my reaction before continuing. “You’re probably the only thing keeping them apart, and if you tell him he’s never gonna get you back, and he should try to get over you, why wouldn’t he turn to her?”

I had no answer that wouldn’t be a lie, and the truth hurt too much to say out loud. “Doesn’t matter, I guess,” I said finally, studying the wood grain of thetread beneath my hand. “I’m not giving him up.”

“Hey, shouldn’t you guys be in class?” Tod asked, obviously trying to change the subject.

“I have a free period.” And the only thing stopping me from going off campus for a long lunch was the fact that all of my friends had actual third period classes. Speaking of which…

“Are you supposed to be in art?” I asked Em.

She shrugged and held up the giant novelty paintbrush Mr. Bergman used as a bathroom pass. “I might be having a really bad menstrual cycle. Bergman’s too squeamish to question it.”

“That’ll get you out of a whole class?” Tod frowned. “No fair using physiology against the entire male gender.”

Em grinned. “Says the only person in the building who could put on a one-man version of The Haunting. Right, Casper?”

Tod scowled. “I’m a reaper, not a ghost.”

“Whatever. Anyway, girl problems are good for fifteen minutes, max. Five, with a female teacher,” she said, standing with the giant paintbrush. “So I gotta get back. See you at lunch?”

I nodded.

“Let’s go get Chick-fil-A. I’d kill for some waffle fries,” Tod said, as Em took the first two steps.

“You’d kill for a lot less than that,” she shot over her shoulder.

“You got cash?” I asked, already warming to the idea of lunch off campus. Without Sabine.

Tod scowled. “No, but I can pay you back.” He never had any money, because the reaper gig didn’t pay in human currency.

“I’ll buy you both lunch, if you bring me something.” Emma was on her way up the steps again, already digging into her pocket. But coming back would mean dealing with Sabine at lunch.

Emma handed me a twenty, and I took it hesitantly. Disappoint my best friend with no explanation, or suffer through Sabine’s infuriating presence…?

Finally I pocketed the twenty and stood. “What do you want?”

“Nuggets and fries. And a Coke. Thanks, Kay!” With that, she bounded down the steps and out the gym door as Tod and I made our way down the bleachers.

“You know, you could probably make a killing—no pun intended—working at Pizza Hut during your downtime.” He worked twelve hours a day at the hospital and had the other twelve free, and he spent most of that time bored, since he didn’t need to either eat or sleep. “I mean, you could just blink out of the parking lot and show up wherever the pizza’s supposed to go, just like that.” I snapped my fingers, then lowered my voice when I realized we were nearing a group of students. “You’d be the fastest delivery guy in history.”

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