Sisters of Blood and Spirit Page 8

“You okay?” Lark asked. “You’re not mad at Nan?”

She sounded a little...afraid. “No! Of course not. I thought I saw something.”

“I didn’t see anything.”

Of course she hadn’t. She could see a lot of things, but she still had the limited eyesight of a living person; they were notoriously shortsighted. “Probably nothing.”

“You know, if you want to go to the coffee shop tonight, I don’t mind if you go without me.”

I looked at her, lips twisting. “And miss seeing the reaction to you driving a grape jelly bean? I don’t think so. Besides, you promised Roxi you would go.”

“Yeah, I know.” She stared straight ahead as she climbed the rest of the stairs. “It would be rude of me to bail on her.”

I didn’t add that it would also be stupid for her to stay home and try to send me away. I wasn’t bound to Lark, I could come and go as I pleased, and tonight it would please me to be there with my sister to make certain no one tried to hurt her. If anyone gave her a hard time—even if it was Kevin—I’d risk Nan’s wrath and make certain they regretted it for a very, very long time.


So. Many. Hipsters.

I walked into ’Nother Cup expecting to be punched in the face by a wave of pretention, and I wasn’t disappointed; it almost dropped me on my butt.

I wasn’t proud to admit that I’d changed my clothes before leaving the house. I wore a black-and-white sleeveless dress with a Peter Pan collar and a pair of chunky black-and-white-striped Mary Janes. I’d pinned my hair—as white as my collar—into a messy updo and smeared on some black liner and red gloss. The Addams Family meets Mad Men.

“Stop fidgeting,” my sister commanded with a scowl as I straightened my dress. She was wearing something romantic and flowy, with her brilliant hair in curls. She looked gorgeous—and no one could see it.

“No one says fidget anymore,” I muttered, turning my head so no one else could hear.

Wren pointed across the fairly crowded shop to a low table surrounded by plush leather sofas and paisley chairs. “There’s Roxi. Do you see Kevin? I’m going to see if I can spot him.” She took off before I could answer, slipping in and out of people like they were wisps of smoke.

Only, she was the wisp. I needed to remember that. She was as real and solid to me as anyone here, but only to me.

I ordered a chai latte—which took forever—and made my way through the throng toward the stage area. I was practically on top of the table when I saw who else was there.

I knew I should have stayed home.

“Lark!” Roxi jumped up and hugged me. “You guys, this is Lark. Lark, this is Gage, Ben, Sarah and Mace.”

Okay, so I didn’t really know Gage, but I recognized him from school. Looking at Mace still made me want to puke. Sarah seemed friendly enough. The one who really got me, though, was Ben, the guy I’d seen in the principal’s office earlier. Maybe I could ask him what his sister had meant about letting him wait a little longer. And where he’d gotten that black eye.

And why when he looked at me I felt he knew me. Really knew me.

I gave them all a halfhearted wave. “Hey.” The only empty chair was the one near Roxi. Unfortunately, it was also next to Mace. He wore a white shirt over a black T-shirt with dark jeans and boots. Great, we were coordinated. I think he noticed, too. His mouth lifted a teeny bit on one side. It was a pretty lame-ass smile.

Sarah—the girl I’d seen with Mace earlier at school, smiled across him at me. She should really have a bandage on that scratch. She must have been new to school. I didn’t recognize her from before I went to Bell Hill, where they’d loaded me with pills and therapy. Thank God they hadn’t tried an exorcism. “Hi,” she called over the noise of the crowd. “I love your shoes.”

She seemed sincere, and my biggest vanity was my fashion sense. I smiled. “Thanks.” I had gotten them at Goodwill and painted them with leather paint to freshen them up. It had been a real bitch taping off the stripes, but worth it.

Wren plopped herself down in my chair, phasing through my right leg so that we were literally joined at the hip. “Kevin’s about to perform,” she squealed.

I didn’t reply, of course, but I put my hand on my leg and patted so she’d feel it. I didn’t want to encourage the crush—it wasn’t like anything could have come out of it when he couldn’t even see her.

A short bald man stepped up onto the stage and up to the mike. “Thank you all for coming to open-mike night here at ’Nother Cup. Our first performer is Kevin McCrae.”

Thunderous applause met this announcement, along with several hoots and whistles. Mace was one of the loudest, which surprised me. I watched him as he shouted out his support, a grin on his face.

Mace turned that grin on Sarah, who whistled, then Mace’s gaze met mine. I watched, helpless, as the joy melted from his face. Superfabulous for my ego, that was.

Did he remember how I’d looked that night? All decked out in a white cami and pj pants, my arms sliced open and blood in my hair? Did he remember that I’d looked him in the eye and begged him to let me die? Of course he did. He’d begged me not to die on him. Finding someone in the middle of suicide wasn’t something a person forgot. He’d told the police that he thought he’d heard something. As my next-door neighbor he’d decided to check in on me, knowing my parents weren’t home. He found me on the floor of my bathroom, my wrists cut. He called 911 and tried to stop the bleeding with towels.

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