With All My Soul Page 69

Tod laughed, and Emma glanced our way from the kitchen, then turned back to the brainstorming session she, Luca, and Sophie were sharing. “Not now,” he whispered. “But soon. You have a big secret to replace, so put on your thinking cap. And just FYI, that’s the only article of clothing this particular process requires....”

I groaned as his lips grazed my neck and his hand tightened around mine. “This kind of makes me want to tell all your secrets.”

“Then we’d have even more to make up for.” His mouth trailed toward the hollow of my collarbone. “It’s a vicious, beautiful cycle.”

With another reluctant groan, I took his chin and pulled him back up to eye level. “That vicious, beautiful cycle is going to have to wait. We have nosy friends and missing parents.”

“That’s kind of my point.” The heat in his eyes was suddenly overwhelmed by pale blue twists of a deeper urgency. “Watching Nash watch Sabine makes me think we should all stop waiting.”

“Waiting for what?”

“For anything. If we have something to say, we should say it. If we have something to do, we should do it.”

I rubbed the sudden chill bumps on my arms. “Because we might not get another chance?”


“That’s depressing.”

“Or liberating. If you think about it like that, we have no reason not to do whatever we want, right this minute. In fact, we have a responsibility to enjoy the time we have together, in case we’re about to lose that chance.” Tod’s brows rose, and that heat was back in his eyes in spite of ominous undertones I couldn’t quite dismiss.

“You do realize you’re just trying to justify your impulse-control issues, right?”

“I think it’s working.” His hand slid over my stomach and curled around my hip, and I caught my breath. “Can you guess what kind of impulse I’m not controlling right now?”

“I think we can all guess.” Em sank into my dad’s recliner across the coffee table from us. “So rein it in before my inner syphon decides your hormonal excess needs to be balanced. I don’t think any of us want to see that happen.”

Sophie dropped into the armchair in the corner. “I’ve never heard a truer statement.”

“I’ve got a few more true statements for you,” Tod mumbled, and I elbowed him, but not as hard as I probably should have. Her dad was missing, too.

“Any change with Sabine?” Luca said on his way in from the kitchen.

“No.” I turned to Tod, looking into his eyes for the guilt he no doubt saw in mine. “We shouldn’t have let her go. This is our fault.”

“Kaylee, Sabine is stronger and more independent than anyone else I know. Other than you and my mom, of course.” He squeezed my hand, holding my gaze. “She had as good a chance of walking out of there unhurt as any of us. Better than several of us.”

“Exceptthat she didn’t. And there’s no telling how long we left her like that, tied to the ground, being poisoned, because we expected her to take longer than we would.” Because she actually had to drive to and from the crossover site.

“We did the best we could. Now we need to figure out our next move.”

I shrugged. “We keep looking. But this time, just the two of us.” I wasn’t going to put Sophie in danger of what had happened to Sabine. “Agreed?” I glanced around the room and was rewarded with three nodding heads.

“Yeah,” Tod said. “And this time I think we should go together.”

“Sophie, what do you have for us?”

“Oh. Just a second.” She headed into the kitchen and a chair scraped the floor, then she was back a second later with a small spiral notebook.

“Okay, here goes.” Sophie sat on the arm of Luca’s chair, staring at her notes, and his arm snaked around her. “My dad likes to go camping, remember?” she said, and I nodded. “He’s gone every fall as far back as I can remember, and last month he finally told me that those camping trips are usually retreats with my brothers.”

My uncle had grown sons from a marriage that had ended with the death of his first wife, nearly a century ago—a fact that continued to blow my mind every time I thought about it.

“And they’ve been going on these retreats into nature since before most modern camping conveniences were invented,” Sophie continued. “So I figure he knows how to live off the land, at least a little. He can find shelter and tie knots and fish without a pole, for sure, though I have no idea how handy those skills will be in the Netherworld. Personally, I think his best bet is to get inside, assuming that most buildings won’t be as heavily populated as the Netherworld version of our school is.”

“I truly hope they’re not.” And there was a decent chance of that, because Avari had drawn the current Netherworld populace of our school into the building by living there himself, like some kind of demonic landlord.

“We’re kind of assuming he’d forgo the buildings closest to the hospital, because those would be the first place Avari and his monster horde would look,” Luca said. “But he wouldn’t go too far, because your mom—” he glanced at Tod “—will start to feel heavy after a while.”

“And we have a general direction, based on the blood trail and rags Tod found, right?” Em said.

“Yes,” I said. “Unless those were intentionally misleading.” Which was a good possibility. “If it weren’t so close, I’d guess he’d taken her into the actual hospital. That’s where he’s most likely to find bandages and any other medical supplies that crossed into the Netherworld with the building.” And those supplies were likely to be plentiful, considering how highly and consistently populated the hospital was.

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