Sisters of Blood and Spirit Page 32

I stared at him as he tossed the cloves into one of the bags. He drew a deep breath, nostrils flaring, then let it out before looking at me again.

“Wow.” I scanned the last can of salt. “You found my place and put me in it. Well done.”

He sighed. “I didn’t mean to be a jerk, but we don’t expect you to save us, Lark. We just want your help saving ourselves. And to be your friends.”

“That’s what I don’t get,” I told him, digging out the credit card Dad had given me from my wallet. “Why would any of you want to be my friend? You never did before.”

He froze. In fact, he looked furious. “Grades four through seven.”

I frowned. “What about them?”

Ben’s jaw twitched. “Those were the years I invited you to my birthday parties and you never came.”

I stared at him. “Are you high? You never... Wait. Are you Benji Ross?”

His face flushed, and I felt heat rush to mine. Oh, crap. Benji Ross. Chubby little dude who I’d always thought was a weird kid. Quiet. Wow. He’d obviously had a growth spurt since I’d last talked to him...and improved his social skills.

My shoulders sagged. He looked so embarrassed, and I... “I’m such a shit. Ben, I’m sorry.”

He gave a stiff nod. “Forget it. Are we done here?”

I swiped my card through the machine, signed and followed him out of the grocery store.

“I can take some of the bags,” I said.

“I’ve got them,” he replied, staring straight ahead.

I tossed him the keys to the car. “I forgot something. I’ll be right back.” I turned and ran back inside.

When I came out a few minutes later, the bags were in the backseat and Ben was in the front listening to the radio. I climbed in and handed him an envelope.

“What’s this?” he asked.

“Open it.”

He did, and I held my breath as he read the Happy Boo-lated Birthday card I’d gotten him with a little cartoon ghost on it. When he laughed, I sucked in a lungful of grateful air.

“You really are a shit,” he said. His smile faded a little. “Thanks.”

I smiled back, heart thudding hard against my ribs. “Are we good?”

He nodded. “Yeah. We’re good.”

Those words made me happier than I would have thought. I guess I wanted friends more than I realized. Or maybe I just couldn’t stand knowing I’d hurt Ben’s feelings years ago. It wasn’t a good feeling.

On the way to Nan’s, we drove through where I used to live—Mace’s neighborhood. Funny, I never really knew him until he saved my life. He’d always been fairly popular, and I had always been fairly...not. His house was one of the nicer ones on the street—an old Victorian that had been restored. A gorgeous house, and the kind I tried to avoid if I could. Old houses tended to contain old ghosts.

After a big lawn and low stone wall was the house I’d called home until Bell Hill. It was big, but not a mansion, with a veranda practically covered in plants. The new owners had made it really pretty. My mother had kept it a bit more...bland.

“Did people really talk about me bleeding through the carpet?” I asked as we passed.

“I didn’t,” Ben replied.

No, I bet he hadn’t. Him and Mace. “Thanks.”

“Why did you come back here?” he asked after a moment’s silence. “I would think this would be the last place you’d want to be.”

“I didn’t have much choice. My mother didn’t want me anymore.” I couldn’t believe I’d told him that.

“Let me guess, because you can see Wren and she can’t?”

“Yeah.” The fact that he’d nailed it freaked me out a little. “So, my Nan took me in, and the school took me back, provided I behave and don’t act like a crazy person.”

“Doesn’t helping us go against that?”

I flashed a halfhearted grin. “See, you were right about me being a rebel.”

“I think you’re more than that.”

“I have no idea what I am.”

I saw him glance at me. “You’re not afraid.”

“I’m afraid of a lot of things.” Wow, it was True Confessions day for me. “Being afraid pisses me off.”

“You must be afraid a lot.”

I laughed. He grinned.

Ben was quiet until we pulled into Nan’s drive. “I thought about eating a bullet once. My uncle found me with the gun and made me learn Tae Kwon Do instead. Beat me senseless, but it worked. Twisted, huh?”

I turned the keys and the engine cut out, leaving us in silence. I turned to him. “After I cut my wrists I thought about calling for help, but I couldn’t get to the phone.” Really, why was I telling him this? To make him feel better, or me?

“At that point you were committed.”

I smiled. “No, they committed me after I got out of the hospital.” Cue laugh track.

He glanced down at his sneakers. “No one else knows about the gun.”

“And no one else ever will,” I promised, and then opened the door.

Nan was there when we entered the kitchen. She said hi to Ben, asked if we needed or wanted anything and then made herself scarce. I loved her for trusting me enough not to hover.

“I’m going to grab the book,” I told Ben. “I’ll just be a second.”

When I walked into my room, the book Wren had brought back with her was on the floor, where she would have dropped it as soon as she returned to this dimension. She had a very difficult time holding on to things in this world unless she used me to help her.

Prev Next
Romance | Vampires | Fantasy | Billionaire | Werewolves | Zombies