I pulled into my driveway before the rest of the crew got there. Filled with nervous energy, I followed Daemon into his house and grabbed a bottle of water, then returned to the living room. Before I could begin the agitated wearing of the carpet, Daemon caught my hand and tugged me toward him as he sat, pulling me onto his lap.
Arms wrapped around me, he buried his face in my neck. “You know what we have to do,” he said softly.
Dropping the bottle next to us, I wrapped my arms around his neck. “Kill Blake.”
He choked on his laugh. “No, Kitten. We’re not going to kill him.”
I was surprised. “We’re not?”
He pulled back, meeting my questioning stare. “We’re going to have to do what he wants.”
Okay, I was more than surprised. More like dumbstruck. “But…but…but…”
A grin teased his lips. “Use your words, Kitten.”
I snapped out of my stupor. “But we can’t trust him. This is most likely a trap!”
“We’re kind of damned if we do and damned if we don’t.” He shifted, sliding his hands along my lower back. “But I’ve given it some thought.”
“What? The whole ten minutes it took us to get home?”
“I think it’s cute that you call my house home.” His grin spread to his eyes, deepening their lustrous hue. “By the way, it is my house. My name is on the deed.”
“Daemon,” I said, sighing. “Nice to know, but it’s not important right now.”
“True, but it’s good knowledge to have. Anyway, since you went totally off topic there—”
“What?” How did he figure that? “You’re the one—”
“I know my brother. Dawson’s going to go to Blake if we don’t agree.” All his humor was gone in an instant. “It’s what I would do if our positions were reversed. And we know Blake better than he does.”
“I don’t know about this, Daemon.”
He shrugged. “I’m not going to let him turn you over.”
I frowned. “He’ll turn you over, too, and what about your family? Bringing Blake into the fold is going to be dangerous…and stupid.”
“The risk outweighs the possible consequences.”
“I’m shocked,” I admitted, disentangling my arms. “You didn’t want me training with Blake because you didn’t trust him and that was before we knew he was a killer.”
“But now we’re both going into this knowing what he’s capable of. Our eyes are open.”
“That makes no sense.” At the sound of car doors shutting, I glanced out the window. “The only reason you’re going to work with him is for Dawson and me. That’s probably not the wisest decision you’ve made.”
“Maybe not.” He shifted quickly, clasping my cheeks and laying a deep one on me, and then he unceremoniously dumped me on the cushion beside him. “But my mind’s made up. Be prepared. This meeting isn’t going to go well.”
Half sprawled across the couch, I gaped at him. Damn straight this wasn’t going to go well. I dug the water bottle out from underneath my thigh and sat up as the alien pit crew made their way in.
Dee immediately took up pacing in front of the TV. Her long, wavy black hair streamed behind her. An unfamiliar, feverish glint lit her green eyes. “So Blake is back?”
“Yes.” Daemon leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees, watching his sister.
She glanced at me and then quickly looked away. “Of course he would talk to her like nothing happened. They were BFFs.”
What the hell was up with the BFF statement? Anger stirred inside me, but I pushed it down. “It wasn’t a particularly friendly conversation.”
“Then what do we do?” Ash asked. Her cap of blond hair was slicked back into a tiny ponytail. On anyone else it would’ve looked too severe, but she pulled it off like a model going on a go-see.
“Kill him,” Dee said, stopping in front of the coffee table.
At first, I thought she was kidding, because this was Dee. Over the summer, I’d once seen her scoop up a pile of dirt full of ants and move them out of the flowerbed so they wouldn’t be suffocated under the mulch. But as I stared at her—as the whole room stared at her—I came to realize she was serious.
My mouth dropped open. “Dee…?”
Her shoulders squared. “Don’t tell me. You’re against killing him? I already know that. You convinced my brother to let him live.”
“She didn’t convince me,” Daemon said, fingers curling under his chin.
I jumped in before he could continue. It wasn’t his job to always rush to my defense. “I didn’t convince him to do anything, Dee. We both agreed that enough people had died that night. We didn’t think he’d come back.”
“It’s more than that,” Matthew said. “He’s also connected to another Luxen. He dies, his friend dies. We aren’t just killing him. We’re killing an innocent person.”
“Like Katy and Daemon?” Ash asked, her voice lacking the usual venom. Her bitchiness must’ve transferred to Dee at some point.
Guilt dug in with barb-tipped fingers the second that thought finished and I squirmed, picking at a worn section on my jeans. That wasn’t fair. Dee and Adam had a long history—a history spent ignoring what had probably always existed between them. Love and affection. And they’d only gotten to know each other on that level right before he was snatched away from her.
Ash glanced at Dawson. “And like you and Beth?” When the two boys nodded, Ash sat back and glanced at a silent Matthew. “We can’t kill Blake knowing it’s going to kill an innocent Luxen. That’s like killing Katy and it taking out Daemon.”
I arched a brow, which earned me a knee nudge from Daemon.
“I’m not suggesting we kill Katy or Beth,” Dee reminded everyone. “We don’t know who this other Luxen is. For all we know, he could be working with the DOD or whatever that other group is. Blake… He killed Adam, Ash.”
“I know that,” she snapped, eyes flashing a brilliant blue. “I was his sister.”
Dee’s spine straightened as she drew herself up. “And I was his girlfriend.”
Holy smokes… It was like opposite day or something. I shook my head, stunned. “The group is called Daedalus.”
Yeah, Dee couldn’t care less what the group was called. She turned to Matthew. “We have to do something before someone else gets hurt.”
Matthew looked just as shocked. “Dee, we’re not—”
“Killers?” Her face flushed red and then paled. “We have killed before to protect ourselves! We kill Arum all the time. Daemon has killed DOD officers!”
Daemon flinched, and I immediately took offense to this. He may not show how much killing bothered him, but I knew it did. “Dee,” I said, and surprisingly, she looked at me. “I know you’re hurting right now, but this… This isn’t you.”
She sucked in a sharp breath and behind her the TV flickered on and off. “You don’t know me. And you don’t know shit. That…that human freak—whatever he is—was here because of what my brother did to you. In theory, if you never came here, none of this would’ve happened. Adam…” Her voice caught. “Adam would still be alive.”
Daemon stiffened beside me. “That’s enough, Dee. It wasn’t her fault.”
“It’s okay.” I sat back against the cushion, feeling as if the walls had shifted closer. Andrew had said the same thing days before and even though hearing him say it sucked, coming from Dee’s mouth gave it a wasp-sting-like quality. Part of me almost couldn’t believe Dee had said it. Not hyper and cute like Tinker Bell Dee. Not the girl who whipped into my life during the summer, feeling just as lonely as I had. This wasn’t my best friend.
And then it hit me.
Dee wasn’t my best friend anymore.
God, realizing that seemed more important than anything else that was going on. Yeah, that was stupid when the big picture was called into play, but Dee was important to me, and I had failed her.
Beside me, Dawson shifted forward. “If Katy hadn’t come here, I would never have been freed. The world works in messed-up ways.”
Dee looked like she hadn’t even considered that. She pivoted around, playing with a strand of her hair—a nervous habit of hers. Her arm faded out for a few seconds, and then she sat on the coffee table, her back to us.
From the arm of the recliner, Andrew sighed. Every time I looked at him, he’d had his gaze fixed on Dee. “Guys, whether we like the idea of killing someone or not, we have to do something.”
“We do,” Daemon agreed. He glanced at me quickly before facing the group. “Arguing about what to do with Blake is a waste of time. If we don’t help him free Chris and in turn get Beth back, he’s going to turn Kat and me over.”
“Wow,” Matthew muttered, thrusting his fingers through his hair. And then he did something unheard of, for him at least. He swore.
Dee stood again, her movement abrupt and jerky. “He said that?”
“I don’t doubt he’s serious,” I said, hating that all of them were put in this position because of me. If I had only listened to Daemon in the beginning… So many would’ve, could’ve moments. “He’s incredibly desperate to free Chris.”
“Then it’s done,” Dawson said, seeming relieved. “We help him, and he helps us.”
Dee whirled. “You guys are freaking insane! We cannot help Adam’s murderer!”
“Then what do you suggest we do?” Matthew asked. “Let him turn your brother and Katy over?”
Her eyes rolled. “No. Like I said, we kill him. That will stop him from doing anything.”
I shook my head, stunned by the ferocity in her voice. I also believed Blake probably had to die, because why should he live when Adam hadn’t, but hearing Dee like this cut through me with a dull knife.
Daemon stood, drawing in a long breath. “We are not going to kill Blake.”
His sister’s hands balled into fists. “Your call. Not mine.”
“We are going to help him and we’re going to keep an eye on him,” Daemon continued sternly. “And none of us are going to kill him.”
“Bullshit,” she hissed.
On his feet, Andrew took a step forward. “Dee, I think you need to sit down and think about this. You’ve never killed before. Not even an Arum.”
She folded her slender arms and her chin went up a notch. “There’s always a first time.”
Ash’s eyes widened as she slid a look at me that said, Holy crap. I wished I knew what to do or say, but there was nothing.
Quickly losing patience, Daemon mirrored his sister’s stance. “This isn’t up for discussion, Dee.”
A faint glimmer of white light shaded the outline of her trembling body. “You’re right. There’s nothing you can say that will convince me that his life should be spared.”