Reaper Page 2

“Move.” I shoved him out of the way and started flipping through the channels again. “What kind of favor?”

“The kind that only you and I can do,” Nash said, and his hazel irises twisted in an intense storm of greens and browns. I turned the TV off and dropped the remote on the center couch cushion. “I’m going to pick up Sabine, and I need help convincing them to let her go.” Shit. “I’m confiscating your hair dryer—you’ve fried your brain. You can’t just ‘pick up Sabine’ without a court order—she’s in a halfway house!” Nash nodded, like he didn’t see the problem. “That’s where the

‘convincing’ comes in.”

And by convincing, he meant Influencing. The female of our species was better known, historically and mythologically, by her iconic wail for the dying.

What most of the human race didn’t know was that where they heard a head-splitting scream, male bean sidhes—like me and Nash—heard an eerie, compelling song calling out to disembodied souls, keeping them from moving on.

Male bean sidhes' most prominent ability— Influence—was also vocal in nature, and much more subtle than the female’s wail. But no less powerful.

With nothing but a few words and some serious intent, we could make people do things. Make them want to do things. Like release Sabine from her court-mandated halfway house into the custody of her sixteen-year-old boyfriend.

“You really think I’m going to drive all the way to Holser House on a Friday night just to help you score a conjugal town pass for your delinquent girlfriend?”

“Not a town pass, Tod. I’m not taking her for a walk—I’m breaking her out. We’re breaking her out. You talk to whoever’s on duty while I get Sabine.

Then we leave. Simple.” He shrugged, like things were real y that easy in NashWorld.

“You’re simple.” I leaned back on the couch and crossed my arms over my chest, trying to figure out how to explain the problem so that even an impulsive, lovesick idiot twenty-two months my junior could understand.

“Okay, look…everything you’ve said so far will probably work.” I’d certainly talked us both into and out of tougher situations before. “But what happens after?”

“After what?”

“After we leave and the night staff realizes they’ve just lost a girl put in their custody by the state of Texas? You think they’re just going to shrug and move on? Hel no, they’re going to report her missing. And at the very least, they’re going to have the description of the two guys she left with.” Because my Influence wouldn’t last much longer than it would take for the sound of my voice to fade into silence, and no matter how powerful I got with age and experience, I’d never be able to make someoneforget what they saw or did. It just didn’t work like that. And Nash damn well knew it.

He shrugged, and I wanted to smack him over the head. “So we come up with another plan. It won’t be the first time you snuck a girl out of her house in the middle of the night.”

“Nuh uh.” I sat straighter, shaking my head at him. “Don’t pretend this is the same as sneaking out for a beer at the watershed. You’re talking about helping a convicted criminal escape from corrective custody!”

“She doesn’t belong there.”

“Okay then, genius, what are you gonna do with her once you have her?

Put her in a box and poke some holes?”

“She can take care of herself. And I can help.” I searched his face for some sign that he was joking, but found nothing.

“She’s fifteen!”

Nash shrugged. “That’s just a number. It doesn’t say anything about her.”

“It says something pretty damn funny about your IQ!” I said, and he opened his mouth to retort, but I spoke over him. “Fifteen is too young to drive, too young to get a legal job, too young to sign a lease, and obviously too young to pick a boyfriend with half a brain.” Nash’s confidence crumbled and fell apart, exposing blind desperation and pain so intense I could hardly wrap my mind around them. And while I wanted to believe this was all drama and hormones, he obviously believed it was more than that. “They won’t even let me talk to her, Tod. I think they found the phone I gave her, ‘cause she hasn’t answered it in three days.” Finally I leaned forward, right in his face, determined to give him the wakeup call he desperately needed. “What did you expect? You date a criminal, and you’re eventually going to have to share her with the state. Hell, she’s probably got a girlfriend on the inside by now.”

“You’re an asshole.”

“And you’re living in a fantasy world. There are other girls out there, Nash. Maybe even a few who’ve never seen the inside of the police station.” He glared at me, waiting for me to cave, but that wasn’t gonna happen.

Not this time. Mom was right— he’d lost it. Over a girl. “Fine. I’ll do it myself.

Gimme the keys.”

“No way. I’m meeting Genna in an hour.”

“I thought you were supposed to stay here and babysit.”

“I thought you were supposed to be the smart one. So why are you acting like such an idiot?”

“Just give me the keys!” Nash glanced around the living room, then lunged for the end table when he spotted the keys to the car I’d been forced to share with him since his birthday. I rammed his shoulder, knocking him to the carpet halfway across the room.

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