My Soul to Steal Page 49

Alec shifted on the couch, waiting in tense silence for my answer.

“No, I’m not going to tell my dad. Yet,” I said, and his relief was so palpable I almost hated to ruin it. But the rest had to be said, too. His life was worth no more than the ones I’d be putting at risk by keeping his secret. “But I have to tell Nash.” Otherwise, he’d keep trying to prove Sabine innocent. “And if you let anyone else die, I swear I’ll drop you off on Avari’s doorstep personally.”

He shook his head firmly. “It won’t come to that. I swear.”

Please, please, please let me be right about Alec.

“Good. And I think we should sleep in shifts from now on. You know, to watch each other. You can wake me up if I look like I’m having another nightmare, and if Avari possesses you again, I’ll expel him through whatever means necessary.”

“What means would those be?” Alec asked, his eyes narrowed.

I shrugged. “A good whack on the head seems to do the job. You’ll wake up with a headache, but that’s better than having more blood on your hands, right?”

Alec nodded. “But how will you know it’s him, if he sounds like me?”

I wanted to tell him I’d know. That I’d somehow be able to look into his eyes and know I was staring at a demon, rather than at my friend, but the truth was that I couldn’t be sure. Nash hadn’t known the difference between me and Avari once, and I’d already made the same mistake with Alec twice.

“We need a secret code word, or a security question, or something.”

“A code word?” Alec chuckled, a release of the tension he’d been buried in, and I frowned at him over my can as I took another drink. “Isn’t that a little juvenile?”

I raised both brows in challenge. “You got a better idea?”

After a moment, Alec shook his head.

“Then we go with the security question. It has to be something Avari wouldn’t know the answer to. Something like your favorite color, or your mother’s maiden name.”

“My mom never married. And I don’t think there’s anything about me that he doesn’t know. The question should be about you.”

Fine. What would Avari not know about me…? The list had to be endless, but I was coming up with exactly nothing.

“What color was your first bike?” Alec asked

“White, with red ribbons.”

He smiled. “That’ll be the security question and answer.”

“Okay.” Makes sense… Assuming I wasn’t talking to Avari right now. But that was impossible, right? Avari wasn’t that good an actor. Still…

“Did he kill anyone tonight? Do you have any new holes in your memory?”

Alec shook his head. “I haven’t evenbeen to sleep yet.” He glanced over my shoulder at the front window, and I twisted to see faint early-morning sunlight leaking in between the slats in the miniblinds. “And it’s looking like the time for that has passed.”

Except that he’d gotten Mrs. Bennigan in the middle of the day, when she’d passed out at her desk. Mrs. Bennigan had just gotten back from maternity leave, so no doubt the new baby was contributing to her exhaustion, but she couldn’t be the only teacher who ever fell asleep in the middle of the day. And the less sleep Alec got at night, the more likely he’d be to pass out during the day, leaving himself—and any simultaneously napping teachers—at risk.

“You don’t have to be at work till eleven, right? Why don’t you sleep for a couple of hours while I’m here to watch you?”

He frowned. “You sure?”

“Yeah.” I stood and headed for the kitchen. “I’m just going to make some coffee and do some homework.” There hadn’t exactly been time for it the night before, between spying on Nash and trying to pin the murders on Sabine.

“Thanks, Kay. I really owe you.”

I pasted on an uneasy smile. “I’ll put it on your tab.”

Two and a half hours later, I sat in my car in the school parking lot, waiting for Sabine. Again. And for once, I actually hoped she’d have Nash with her. That way he’d be there to hear that she’d broken a promise to him by invading my dreams. Again.

I’d only been waiting a few minutes when she pulled into the lot and parked one row down, four spots over. I grabbed my backpack and locked the car, wishing that I’d remembered my jacket. But with nightmares, murder, and hostile invasion by a hellion on my mind, the January cold hadn’t even ranked among my worries that morning.

“Sabine!” I yelled as I jogged toward her car, and several people turned to look. My resolve wavered for an instant when I realized we’d have an audience, but one glance at the smug look on her face as she stepped onto the pavement was enough to bring my determination back in full force.

“Kaylee?” Nash stood on the other side of her car with one hand on the roof. “What’s wrong?”

I stopped closer to Sabine than I really wanted to be, to keep anyone else from overhearing. “Your delinquent Nightmare of a girlfriend was in my head again,” I snapped through gritted teeth.

“Did you say head?” Sabine asked, drawing both my anger and my attention from Nash. “’Cause it sounded like you said bed, and I don’t think anyone’s ever been in your bed.”

White-hot sparks of anger floated in front of my eyes. “Am I supposed to be embarrassed because I’m not handing it out like Halloween candy?”

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