Spirit Page 31

“You looked like no one had given you one for a while.”

Hunter stared at her, unsure of what to say. It reminded him of Nick’s comments last night, just in an entirely different way.

She tucked her hair behind her ear. “I’m around if you need to talk.”

“Oh, yeah? Is Chris okay with that?”

“This isn’t about Chris.”

Hunter snorted. His brain felt like it was misfiring about everything.

Becca looked at him sternly. “Don’t. Whatever you’re about to say, don’t. You build everyone up to be your enemy, and they’re not. Chris and his brothers are trying to help you.”

He took a breath and stared across the hallway at the lockers there. “I know.”

“So am I.” The bell rang and she turned away. “Remember that.”

He watched her walk down the hall, wondering, not for the first time, what would have happened if he’d been honest with her from the start.

Before that thought could go too far, his phone chimed again.

Two texts. Both from Kate.

The first was the one he’d missed while he was hugging Becca.

So are you the pot and I’m the kettle?

Hunter looked up, scanning the hallway, which was quickly emptying of students. If Kate had been watching them, she wasn’t around now.

He looked back at his phone and scrolled to the next message.

Who’s the brunette?

Wow. His fingers flew across the screen.

She’s just a friend.

Her reply popped up in a heartbeat.

She looked very friendly.

He frowned at the phone and typed furiously.

I heard you were pretty friendly with some guy with a pickup truck.

A long pause. Hunter felt his heartbeat slamming against his rib cage.

It felt fantastic to push against someone, to have the upper hand about something.

But it also felt like crap.

You build everyone up to be your enemy.

Did he really do that?

The phone chimed.

I don’t understand what happened.

He frowned at the phone. Then typed.

Me, either.

And he waited, but she didn’t write back.

All day.

At the end of the day, Hunter drove to the Merrick house, but he sat in the jeep with the engine running.

It felt ridiculous, but he wasn’t entirely sure if he was welcome for another night. He hadn’t gone to the cafeteria at lunch, because he’d been making up a quiz he’d missed while job hunting, and it wasn’t like he and Chris ever said a word to each other in World History.

Really, if Casper weren’t locked in the house, he might have gone back to the Target parking lot again.

His breath was fogging in the confines of the car, and he swore. He wasn’t used to being so off balance.

Finally, he threw himself out of the car, setting his shoulders and shoving his hands into the pockets of his hoodie. If they didn’t want him here, he’d just grab his dog and leave.

The front door was unlocked, but Casper wasn’t inside the house. No one was.

For an instant, Hunter wondered if this was some big trick, if they were all screwing with him.

Then he heard a dog bark from the backyard.

He strode through the kitchen and slid the glass door open. The sky was a gradually darkening gray, and the chill in the air had been biting through his clothes all afternoon. Michael was out in the grass, throwing a tennis ball while Casper went tearing after it.

Michael noticed him and looked up. “Hey. How was school?”

“I didn’t get hassled by Vickers or Calla.” He paused. His dog was trotting back to Michael with the ball half hanging out of his mouth. The only acknowledgment he gave Hunter was a quick woof muffled by the ball. Hunter smiled. “Thanks for letting Casper out.”

“He’s been out all day.”

“He has?”

“Yeah. When I walked out the door this morning, he bolted past me and jumped in the bed of the truck. I tried to get him back in the house, but he wouldn’t go. So I just took him with me.”

Casper dropped the ball at Michael’s feet and barked.

“Traitor,” Hunter called.

Michael picked up the ball and beaned it into the woods. He had one hell of an arm—the ball was gone. Casper took off like a shot.

“Where’s everyone else?” Hunter said.

“I didn’t have an evening job, so they all made plans. I think they’re hitting the school carnival later. Aren’t you?”

A carnival. Like he could possibly go to something like that while Calla was probably sitting at home figuring out which house she was going to torch first.

“Nah,” he said.

“So I called your mom today,” said Michael.

Hunter snapped his head up. Michael had asked for his mom’s phone number last night—under the pretense of needing it in case of an emergency. “You what?”

“She needed to know where you were.”

“She has my cell number,” he snapped. “She could have found me if she wanted.” Hunter felt like he couldn’t catch his breath. Emotions ricocheted around in his head.

She’d watched him walk out. He shouldn’t give a crap what she thought.

But he did. A lot.

He didn’t want to ask what she’d said. His fingernails were digging rivets into the porch railing.

Casper was back, dropping the ball at Michael’s feet and nosing it forward when it wasn’t thrown immediately.

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