Dee came forward, her steps measured and slow. “How long did you know about Beth and Dawson?”

I lifted my gaze, meeting hers. A huge part of me wanted to lie—wanted to say it wasn’t until Will confirmed it, but I couldn’t. “Before Christmas break, I saw Beth. And then Matthew confirmed that if Beth was alive, Dawson had to be.”

She sucked in a cry and her fingers curled in. “How…how dare you?”

I could tell she wanted to slap me, and my cheek stung even though she hadn’t. I kind of wished she would. “We didn’t know if we could find him or get him back. We didn’t want to get your hopes up only for you to lose him again.”

Dee stared at me like she didn’t even know me. “That is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Let me guess, it was Daemon’s idea? Because it sounds like him. He’d want to protect me at the same time as he was holding me back—hurting me.”

“Daemon—”

“Don’t,” she said, turning away. Her voice shook. “Don’t defend him. I know my brother. I know he has good intentions that usually just suck. But you—you know how much losing Dawson hurt. It wasn’t just Daemon who lost his shit. I may not have moved the house off the foundation, but a part of me died the day I was told he was dead. I deserved to know the moment you thought he was alive.”

“You’re right.”

Her body shimmered for a second. “Okay. Okay…all of that aside. If you had told me about what was going on with Blake, Adam and I would’ve known what we were walking into. We still would’ve done it—believe me, we would’ve gone into that house to help you—but we wouldn’t have been blindsided.”

My throat seized up. There was a stain on my soul, dark and cold. I hadn’t murdered Adam, but I had a hand in his death. Like an accessory after the fact. People made mistakes all the time, but most of them didn’t cause someone’s death.

Mine did.

My shoulders sagged under the weight. Saying sorry wasn’t going to smooth that over, not for her or me. I couldn’t change the hand of time. All I could do now was move forward and try to make up for it.

The anger seeped out of Dee as she watched me. Walking back to the window seat, she sat, tucking her legs against her chest. She rested her cheek on her knees. “And now you guys are making another mistake.”

“We don’t have a choice,” I said. “We really don’t.”

“Yes, you do. We could take care of Blake and whoever he’s told.”

“What about Dawson?” I asked quietly.

She didn’t answer for a long time. “I know I should be able to put aside how I feel about Blake for him, but I can’t. It’s wrong. I know. But I can’t.”

I nodded. “I don’t expect you to, but I don’t want things to be like this between us. There’s got to be a way…” Pride went out the window. “I miss you, Dee, and I hate that we haven’t been talking and that you’re upset with me. I want to get past this.”

“I’m sorry,” she whispered.

Tears burned the back of my throat. “What can I do to fix this?”

“You can’t. And I can’t, either.” Dee shook her head sadly. “I can’t fix Adam’s death. I can’t fix why you and Daemon think working with Blake is a good thing. And I can’t fix our friendship. Some things are just broken.”

Chapter 13

Lesa came over after school on Tuesday to help study for our bio exam the next day, which sucked, because the last thing I could concentrate on was schoolwork. Part of me expected Matthew to reschedule, since he knew what I had to do tomorrow night. I even suggested it on Monday after class, but oh no, no can do.

I rocked back in my computer chair, my barely read bio textbook in my lap. Lesa was reading her notes, and I was supposed to be listening, but I cracked open my advanced copy of a new young adult novel for my Teaser Tuesday post.

Typing up a quick post, I picked a couple of quick lines with an evil grin. ‘I was his power-up—the ace up his sleeve. I was the beginning and he was the end. And together, we were everything.’ I hit post and then closed the pretty amber cover of the book.

“You are so not paying attention,” Lesa said, sitting up.

“Yeah, I am.” I wheeled around, fighting a grin. “You were saying something about cells and organisms.”

She arched a brow. “Wow. You got this in the bag.”

“I’m gonna fail.” I dropped my head back, closed my eyes, and let out a long-suffering sigh. “I just can’t concentrate. I’d rather read something interesting—like this.” I waved toward the book I’d just posted about and then to where I knew a whole stack of other books sat. “And there’s this thing I have to do tomorrow night.”

“Oh! What thing? A thing with Daemon, and if you say yes, please tell me that thing starts with an s and ends with an x.”

I opened my eyes and frowned. “Geez, you’re worse than a dude.”

Her curls bounced as she nodded. “You know it.”

I threw my pen at her.

Laughing, she closed her notebook. “So, what are you doing tomorrow that has you so distracted?”

There wasn’t much I could tell her, but I was full of nervous energy, and the need to talk about it snaked past my lips. “Daemon and I are going to this…club or something in Martinsburg to visit some of his friends.”

“Well, that sounds like fun.”

I shrugged. I’d already told my mom that I was going to the movies and, since she worked tomorrow night, curfew wasn’t an issue. What was an issue was the fact that I had no idea what to wear and the stuff with Dee had put me in a huge funk.

I popped up from my seat and stalked over to my closet. “I’m supposed to wear something sexy. I don’t have anything sexy.”

Lesa followed. “I’m sure you have something in here.”


There was a sea of jeans and sweaters, nothing like what Blake hinted at. Anger crept up my throat. With Blake being back in school, it was just messed up. He was a murderer—my lab partner was a murderer.

Queasy, I pushed a stack of jeans to the side. “Yeah, I don’t know about any of this.”

Lesa brushed me aside. “Let me take a look. I am the queen of smexy stuff. At least that’s what Chad thinks and, well, I kinda got to give it to the boy.” She flashed me a quick, saucy grin. “He’s got good taste.”

I leaned against the wall. “Do your magic.”

Five minutes later, Lesa and I stared at the items placed on my bed as if an invisible hooker was wearing them. My cheeks were already beet red. “Uh…”

Lesa giggled. “You should see your face.”

I shook my head helplessly. “Do you see what I normally wear? This—this isn’t me.”

“That’s the fun thing about going to clubs, especially ones out of town.” Her nose wrinkled. “Well, there ain’t any clubs here, so everything is out of town, but anyway, you get to be someone else. Let your inner stripper come out and play.”

I busted out laughing. “My inner stripper?”

She nodded. “Haven’t you ever snuck into a bar or a club?”

“Yeah, but they were on beaches and everyone was dressed for summer. It’s not summer.”

“So?”

I rolled my eyes as I turned back to the bed. Lesa had found a denim skirt I’d ordered online last year for summer, but it had ended up being way too short. Like barely-covering-the-butt short, and I’d been too lazy to return it. Spaced above the scrap of denim was a cropped black sweater I’d usually wear over a shirt or tank. It was long sleeved, so it would cover the scars on my wrists but barely anything else. On the floor was a pair of knee-high boots I’d gotten on sale last winter.

And that was all.

Yep, that was it.

“My butt and my boobs are going to be showing.”

Lesa scuffed. “Your boobs will be covered.”

“Not my entire stomach!”

“You have a nice stomach; show it off.” She picked up the skirt, holding it to her waist. “When you’re done with this, I so want to borrow it.”

“Sure.” And then I frowned. “Where are you going to wear it?”

“School.” She laughed at the look on my face. “I’ll put some tights on underneath it, you priss.”

An idea struck. “Tights!” I spun toward my dresser and started rummaging through my socks. I pulled out a pair of black opaque tights. “A-ha! I can wear these.” And a jacket…maybe a mask, too.

She snatched the tights from me, tossing them across the room. “You can’t wear tights.”

My face fell. “No?”

“No.” She peered over my shoulder and then grinned as she reached around me and pulled something else out. “But these you could wear.”

My mouth dropped open. A pair of ripped tights dangled from her fingers. “That was, like, a part of a Halloween costume.”

“Perfect.” She placed them on the bed.

Oh, dear Mary, mother of God… I sat cross-legged on the floor. “Well, I think Daemon will approve, at least.”

“Damn straight.” She flopped on the bed, her grin fading. “Can I ask you something and you answer it honestly?” Warning bells went off, but I nodded. She took a deep breath. “Seriously, how good of a kisser is Daemon? Because I imagine he just makes you—”

“Lesa!”

“What? A girl’s gotta know these kinds of things.”

I bit my lip, flushing.

“Come on, it’s sharing and caring time.”

“He…he kisses like he’s dying of thirst, and I’m water.” I smacked my hands over my hot face. “I can’t believe I just said that out loud.”

Lesa giggled. “Sounds like one of those romance books you read.”

“It does.” I started giggling. “But, oh Lordie Lord, it’s true. I’m like a puddle of mush when he kisses me. It’s embarrassing. I’m so, like, ‘Thank you, can I have another?’ Sad.”

We both broke into giggles. It was weird, because a lot of tension seeped out of my body. Giggling over boys was so amazingly normal.

“You love him, don’t you?” she asked when she took a breath.

“I do.” I stretched out my legs on a sigh. “I really do. What about Chad?”

She slipped off the bed and leaned against it. “I like him—a lot. But we’re going to different colleges. So I’m being realistic about it.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. Chad and I are having fun and seriously, what’s the point in anything if you ain’t having fun? That’s my motto in life.” She paused, pushing her springy curls off her face. “I think I need to teach Dee that motto. What the hell is up with her? She still hasn’t talked to me or Carissa.”

All my humor vanished and I tensed up. I can’t fix our friendship. I had tried—really tried—but the damages I inflicted on our friendship had been irreparable.