My Soul to Steal Page 5

“Right.” Emma watched me, her eyes wide in sympathy. “Besides, we don’t even know that she’s still interested in him. They were probably just surprised to see each other.”

I stilled the broom and raised both brows at her.

Emma shrugged. “Okay, she’s totally still into him. Sorry, Kay.”

“It doesn’t matter. So long as he’s not into her.” I resumed sweeping, and accidentally smacked the popcorn machine with the broom handle.

Tod hopped down from the counter and held one blessedly corporeal hand out. “Hand over the broom, and no one will get hurt.” But I found that hard to believe. Sabine was making me doubt everything I’d thought I knew. And I’d spent less than fifteen minutes with her.

I gave Tod the broom and he put it back in the closet. “He hasn’t seen her in more than two years. Give him a chance to get used to her being here, and everything will go back to normal.”

Normal. I could hardly even remember what that word meant anymore. “You really think so?”

Tod shrugged. “I give it a fifty-fifty chance.”

“Doesn’t that mean I have a better chance of being struck by lightning at least once before I die?”

Em laughed. “Knowing your luck? Yeah.”

I pulled a plastic-wrapped stack of large cups from under the counter and began restocking the cup dispensers. “So, what’s the deal? How did they hook up?”

“I was limited by real-world physics at the time, so I don’t know the whole story,” Tod said, leaning back with his elbows propped on the counter.

“Just tell me what you do know.”

The reaper shrugged. “Nash was only fifteen when they met, and still coming into his full bean sidhe abilities—Influence doesn’t come on full-strength until puberty.”

“Really?” Emma said, a kernel of popcorn halfway to her mouth. “I didn’t know that.”

I hadn’t, either. But I was tired of sounding ignorant about my own species, so I kept my mouth shut.

“Yeah. Otherwise, the terrible twos would turn any little bean sidhe boy into a tyrant. Can you imagine Nash ordering our mom around from the time he could talk?”

Actually, I could, having had a taste of what out-of-control Influence looked and felt like.

“So, anyway, Nash was coming into his own, but he didn’t have our dad around to teach him stuff, like I did, so he was kind of mixed up. Sabine was abandoned as a kid, and she’d been through a bunch of foster parents. When they met, she had it pretty rough at home, and she’d gotten into some trouble. She had a temper, but nothing too serious. She and Nash just kind of fell into each other. I think he thought he could help her.”

Yeah, that sounded like Nash and his hero complex. We’d gotten together the same way.

I stared at the gritty floor, trying not to feel sorry for Sabine. Something told me she wouldn’t welcome my sympathy any more than she’d welcome my currently undefined presence in Nash’s life.

“Did Harmony like her?” I asked, unable to deny the queasy feeling my question brought on. I didn’t want Nash’s mother to like any of his exes better than she liked me, but the new fear went beyond that. Harmony and I shared bean sidhe abilities. We’d bonded beyond our mutual interest in Nash, and I wanted her for myself, just like I wanted Nash.

Tod shrugged. “Mom likes everyone. The two of them together scared the shit out of her, though, the same way you and Nash being together probably gives your dad nightmares.”

“So what happened?” Em asked, while I was still trying to process the fact that Nash and Sabine’s bond had been strong enough to worry Harmony.

When Tod didn’t answer, I looked up and he shrugged again. “I died.”

Emma blinked. “You…died?” She knew he was dead, of course, but that didn’t make his proclamation sound any more…normal.

“Yeah. I died, and Mom and Nash didn’t know I’d be coming back in my current incarnation.” He spread his arms to indicate his existence as a reaper—and his completely unharmed-by-death physique. “So they moved for a fresh start, just like we did after my dad died. We’d lived around here when Nash and I were kids, so this probably felt a little like coming home for my mom. It made everything harder for Nash, though. Because of leaving Sabine.”

“And he and Sabine never broke up?” I moved on to the jumbo plastic cups, fascinated in spite of myself by Tod’s story.

“He couldn’t get in touch with her. She was kind of…in state custody at the time. No email. No phone calls, except from family. Which she doesn’t have.”

Emma stood straight, brown eyes wide. “She got arrested?”

“I told you she got into some trouble.”

“Yeah, but you didn’t mention that she was a criminal.” I shoved the cups down harder than was probably necessary. Nash’s ex-girlfriend—his former “real thing”—was a convict? That’s not scary or anything.

Obviously at some point his tastes had changed. Dramatically.

“What’d she do?” Emma said, asking the question I most wanted answered, but refused to ask myself.

Tod shrugged. “Nash never told me. But she got probation and a halfway house instead of prison, so it couldn’t have been too bad.”

“I’m guessing that’s a matter of opinion.” I twisted the end of the cellophane around the remaining cups and shoved them under the counter. “Maybe I should call him after work.”

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