Sisters of Blood and Spirit Page 5

“I told everyone who would listen that I didn’t think you were crazy.”

I looked her dead in the eye. “Gotta think that wasn’t too many people.”

Roxi blushed. She was even pretty with her face all red. “No.” She started walking again. I fell into step beside her. “Still, I wanted you to know I believed you.”

“A little late coming.” Wren walked on Roxi’s other side, still studying her as though the girl was a dress she’d like to try on. “Nice thought, though. I think she means it.”

“Thanks,” I said, looking straight ahead. My grandmother’s house was just down the block. I could feel relief loosening my shoulders. I’d only been out of some sort of care for the past few months, and being back to school had exhausted me with all the noise and bustle. All those bodies conditioned to respond to the sound of a bell reminded me a little too much of the “hospital” my mother had abandoned me to when I had refused to say that Wren was all in my head.

When I had tried to die to be with her.

I didn’t think Mom believed I was crazy, either, but it was easier than saying she hated me because Wren talked to me and not her.

“Is she with us now? Your sister?”

I cast a distrustful glance at her. Was she trying to trick me into saying something wrong? You give people messages from dead relatives, fight a few ghosts on school property, try to kill yourself and all of a sudden you’re Trouble. Huh.

“What do you think?”

I tried not to laugh as Wren jumped in front of her and shouted, “Boo!” My thoughts were getting too morose, and she knew it.

Roxi shot me a shrewd glance as she walked right through my sister—and shivered in the early September sunshine. “I think you’re not about to discuss her with someone you’re not sure you can trust.”

“I’m a fairly private person.”

“That’s just a pretty way of saying you’re antisocial.”

I grinned as my sister laughed. “That, too.” I liked this girl. I really hoped she wasn’t playing me.

“I like this girl,” Wren commented. “I really hope she isn’t playing us.”

That thing they say about twins being on the same wavelength, feeling the same thing, thinking the same thing? It was true, and the whole dead-vs-living thing just cranked it up to eleven. The only reason I was alive was because Wren had felt something was wrong and had come looking for me the night I’d partied with a bottle of vodka and a razor blade. Good times. And I felt her anguish the entire time I was locked up and she couldn’t do anything to help me.

She’d done more than anyone else. More than our parents or any sanctimonious doctor. And I had been so pissed that she’d played a part in saving me, because I had thought death would finally put us in the same world.

It wasn’t my time to die, she’d said—as if she had any way of knowing.

We walked in silence for a bit, my grandmother’s house coming steadily closer. I’d only lived there a few days—since Dad had dropped me off with a guilty look and my own credit card—but it already felt more like home than my old house had in a long time. We’d lived in this town since I was three, but after my...accident, my parents had moved to Natick up in Mass. Mom needed to run away, while they decided I needed to endure daily torture at the hands of my peers. Whatever. I wasn’t bitter. Much. And at least here I didn’t have to see the look on her face when my mother looked at me. Not that she looked at me very often.

“So,” Roxi began, ending my pity party, “want to hang out later?”

My inner alarm went off, screeching “abort!” over and over. “Uh...”

“I’m going over to ’Nother Cup at eight. It’s open-mike night. Kevin McCrae’s playing. You know him, don’t you?”

Oh, yeah. I knew him.

“Yes!” Wren screeched in my ear. “Say yes! Say yes or I’ll bring Mr. Havers over to visit.”

Mr. Havers was the old dude who liked to haunt for the hell of it. He had few teeth and was as bat-shit crazy as a dead guy could be. And he smelled like a horse. “Yes,” I said through clenched teeth. “I know him. That sounds great. I’ll meet you there?”

“Sure.” Roxi grinned. “It will be fun.”

“Yeah. Big fun.” Could I sound any less sincere? An evening spent around more staring people with my sister rhapsodizing about Kevin McCrae—the one person other than me who could hear her. And the one person I wanted to see less than Mace. Woot. And I was such a fan of coffeehouses with blatantly unclever names.

But when was the last time I’d been out? When was the last time I’d spent time with people my own age who weren’t dead or mentally unstable? Or the last time I had to worry about curfew? Did I even have a curfew?

We stopped at the foot of my grandmother’s driveway. The smooth pavement led to a large slate-gray Victorian with eggplant trim. Large maple trees grew along both sides of the drive, forming a canopy that was just starting to show a hint of color.

“Your grandmother drives a Volkswagen Beetle?”

There was no missing the little car—it was purple. “Yes.”

Roxi squinted. “Are the taillights shaped like flowers?”

“They are.” I didn’t mention that the interior was green. Chartreuse. Nan had it custom done.

The dark-haired girl nodded. “Pretty.” She glanced down at her feet. “Listen, I know you don’t want to talk about it, but I’m really glad Mace found you.”

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