Sisters of Blood and Spirit Page 54

“I feel bad for her,” he said as we drove away. He’d waited until she opened the door of the house to back out. “They just got together, but she’s had a thing for Gage since freshman year.”

“That’s a long time to have a crush.”

“You think so? I’ve had a crush on the same girl since I was twelve.”

My head whipped around as disappointment flicked me in the chest. “Really? Does she know?”

He shook his head, a sad little smile curving his lips. “I used to think she was either blind or dumb, but now I think she just had more important things to think about than whether or not some chubby Twinkie kid liked her.”

“Twinkie?” I asked.

“Yeah. You know, yellow on the outside, white in the middle.”

I made a face. That was awful. “Don’t call yourself that.”

He shrugged. “Why not? I’ve never even been to Korea. Although, I have watched Best of the Best.”

I glanced at him. “All I know about Korea I learned from M*A*S*H reruns.”

Ben grinned. “That was filmed in California.”

“Then I know nothing.” We laughed. I leaned back in the seat. “I want to hear more about this crush of yours.” Sure, why not? I could compare myself to her or something equally stupid.

“What do you want to know?”

“I find it hard to believe she never noticed you. Have you ever tried to get her attention?”

“To be fair, I never really spoke to her until recently. I was shorter than her for a long time, and fat. I was pretty unattractive.”

“The proverbial ugly duckling.”

He grinned. “Are you calling me a swan?”

“You know what I think, Ben? I think if this girl isn’t kicking her ass for not noticing you earlier, you should say fuck it and move on.”

“How do I know if she’s kicking her ass, though?”

“Ask her.” I knew that was easier said than done, but wasn’t it time to stop pining over some chick who didn’t appreciate him? I mean, I could get seriously appreciative all over him.

“Okay. So, Lark, how’s your ass? Left any footprints on it lately?”

My heart jumped so hard I felt it bounce off my ribs. “What?”

He laughed—there was a nervous edge to it. “You really didn’t know, did you?”

I shook my head. This was what shock felt like. “How could I? No one’s ever liked me. I was the crazy girl.”

“Yeah, well I was taught to respect the dead, so I never thought you were crazy.” He pulled the car into my drive. Nan must have parked her car in the garage. He cut the engine.


Never thought I was crazy.

“Where did the ghost scratch you?” I asked, unbuckling the seat belt. “Can I see it?”

He looked confused. “My back. Sure.” He unfastened his seat belt and turned in the seat, lifting his shirt.

I turned on the dome light, illuminating the inside of the little car. Ben had a really nice back—his skin was that smooth golden color that I envied so much, and I could actually see his muscles move beneath.

Running down the center of his back were three thin scratches. They were pink with a bit of dark around the edges, but nothing more substantial than what human fingernails might inflict if someone really tried. They were nowhere near as bad as Gage’s, Mace’s or even Sarah’s or Roxi’s.

He had been taught to respect the dead. He had looked at death and ghosts differently than the others. He wasn’t afraid of them—and they weren’t able to hurt him so much.

“Are they bad?” he asked.

I touched them, watched as one visibly faded beneath my fingers. I could have cried. Finally, something good. “No,” I told him. “They’re not.”

He turned. “Really?”

I smiled. “Really.”

He looked so relieved it almost broke my heart. I couldn’t stop staring at him. He was really cute—sexy even. And he was smart, and nice. Really nice. Were nice guys supposed to have ripped abs? His shirt was still pulled up some and I could see them right there in front of me.

Ben’s gaze dropped. “So, about my confession—”

I cut him off. “Yeah, about that. Ben, I’m sorry.”

Oh, he looked like I punched him. “Right. You’re not interested. I should have known.” He started to draw back, but I reached out and grabbed his arm.

“No, I’m sorry I was such an idiot and never noticed you sooner. I was too busy protecting myself from people who wanted to hurt me to notice the people who wanted to be my friend.”

Dark eyes locked with mine. Oh, boy. A girl could get used to being looked at like that. “I want to be more than your friend, Lark.”

And there went my stomach—all fluttery and idiotic. “Okay.”

His hands cupped my face—his fingers were warm. He looked at me for a second, and then his lips touched mine.

Yeah, so, wow. He was a really good kisser. Possibly extraordinary. When he pulled away I wanted to pull him back. As it was, I’d totally crumpled the front of his shirt with my hands.

“Can I call you tomorrow?” he asked.

“It is tomorrow,” I replied. He had stolen all my intelligence with his pretty lips.

He chuckled. “Can I call you later?”


He brushed my hair back from my face. “Can I see you later?”

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