Sisters of Blood and Spirit Page 29

“Yeah.” How could she not have known that little tidbit? Maybe Melanie ought to have filled her in.

God, I wished I had a chai.

She looked completely pissed. If I was her I’d be more concerned about that narsty-assed scratch on her cheek. It was starting to look bad. In fact, none of them were looking too hot. Their wounds may not be visible to norms, but the circles under their eyes and their pale skin were.

“He never told me about that.” And obviously she wasn’t impressed. How long had they been dating? And just how did you work finding someone practically dead into conversation?

Out of the corner of my eye I watched Ben leave the table. “To be honest, Sarah—”

“It wasn’t any of your business” came Mace’s voice from behind me. I didn’t have to look to know that he had his gruff face on. And where did he get off finishing my sentences?

Sarah flushed, but her chin came up defiantly. “Everyone else seems to know.”

“They didn’t hear it from me.” He sat down in the empty chair between me and her.

“That’s true,” Gage said. He had little drops of sweat beaded on his upper lip and pink splotches high on his cheeks. Was he running a fever? It was a warm day, and maybe his coffee was too hot, but I didn’t think that was it. “Word got around about it, but Mace never said anything about any of it. To anybody. We were all pretty pissed at him, too.” He chuckled—it turned to a strangled wheeze when I looked at him. “Sorry.”

“Forget about it,” I said, my gaze locked with his. I really didn’t want to talk about it. “You feeling okay, Gage?”

He shrugged. “My little brother’s sick—kept everyone in the house up half the night. I’m beat.”

Maybe it wasn’t the ghost riding him, then. These kinds of infections—and I’d only ever seen one like it before—were a ghost’s way of marking humans as their own personal buffet. The ghost left a bit of themselves behind and that allowed them to feed more easily on the life force of their victim.

Ben returned to the table. He set a paper cup in front of me. It was a chai latte—I could smell the spicy deliciousness. How had he known? And why was he being so damn nice?

I lifted my gaze—right into his as he sat down. Out of all of them he looked the healthiest. I mean, aside from that healing black eye. He wasn’t bulky, but he was definitely ripped. His snug T-shirt showed off his tanned, muscular arms. Made me wonder where the ghost had gotten him, and if he’d let me look...

I picked up my drink, the sweet-spicy smell filling my nose as heat filled my cheeks. “Thanks.”

He nodded. “Sure.” But we both knew that thank-you was for a whole lot more than just tea. He had to know I’d heard what he’d said to Sarah.

I turned to the others. “If any of you want to know about what I did, you might as well ask and get it out there so we avoid embarrassment later.”

Gage looked around the table, as though waiting for someone else to go first, but Ben was frowning at Sarah, who was glaring at Mace, who was staring at the table.

“Look,” I said, gesturing my cup at Sarah, “I appreciate that Mace hasn’t talked about me to everyone he knows. Why don’t you just be glad your boyfriend has some integrity, find comfort in knowing he’ll never post pictures of your naked ass on the internet and take your bitchy attitude down a notch?” I stopped for a breath—and to take myself down a notch. “I’m not ashamed of what happened or why I did it, but if I find out any of you have spread gossip about me around the school, if you tell anyone about Wren, you’re on your fucking own with this ghost. Got it?”

“That goes for me, too,” Kevin announced as he sat down across from me. He set a laptop and a stack of hard-and softcover books on the table. Some of them had library tags on the spines, others didn’t. Some looked fairly new and others looked like they had nothing more than spite holding them together.

Sarah muttered something under her breath.

“What?” I demanded.

She glared at me. “I asked if there were any other threats you want to make?”

I held up my hands. “I wouldn’t gossip about you. I’m just asking for the same respect for me and my sister. If you can’t give me that, then just say the word and I’m out of here.”

“That sounds like a threat to me.” She leaned back in her chair and folded her arms over her chest.

Would my foot fit down her throat? It was really, really tempting to let the ghost have her, let her try to save her own ass, but I couldn’t do it. For all my tough talk, I wasn’t going to let someone die.

Not even someone who despised me for no good reason.

“Whatever,” I said. Then I turned my back on her. “Where’s Roxi?”

“Grandmother’s,” Gage replied. I figured he would know. He and Roxi seemed pretty tight. “She’s going to meet us when she’s done.”

“Where’s Wren?” Kevin asked.

I wanted to ask him how he knew she wasn’t there—goad him a little. I wanted to tell him it was none of his damn business. I wanted to tell him to leave my sister alone. “She’s doing some research. She’ll be back soon.” I assumed she would—she’d been gone for a few hours now. That might only be a few minutes in the Shadow Lands, or it could be six days. Time just didn’t follow any set of rules there.

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