I sighed. “A lot of stuff has gone on with her—Adam and with Dawson coming home.”
Lesa jumped on that. “Isn’t that the strangest thing, though?”
“What do you mean?”
“Don’t you think it’s weird? You didn’t live here then, but Beth and Dawson were like the Romeo and Juliet of West Virginia. I can’t believe he hasn’t heard from her.”
Unease slid down my spine. “I don’t know. What do you think?”
Lesa looked away, chewing on her bottom lip. “It’s just weird. Like Dawson is way different now. He’s all sullen and broody.”
I struggled for something to say. “Well, he probably still cares for her and is upset about things not working out, and he misses Adam. You know, there’s a lot going on there.”
“I guess.” She looked at me sideways. “Some people have been talking.”
Instincts flared. “Talking about what?”
“Well, it’s mostly been the usual suspects—Kimmy and them. But so many strange things have happened around here.” She pushed to her feet and yanked her curls into a messy ponytail. “First, Beth and Dawson just drop off the face of the Earth. Then Sarah Butler dropped dead last summer.”
Ice coated my skin. Sarah Butler had been in the wrong place at the wrong time. The night I’d been attacked by the Arum, Daemon had showed up and chased him off. Out of anger, the Arum had killed the girl.
Lesa started to pace. “And then Simon Cutters disappeared. No one has heard from him. Adam dies in a freak car accident, and then Dawson pops up out of nowhere, minus the supposed love of his life.”
“It’s weird,” I said slowly, “but totally coincidental.”
“Is it?” Her dark eyes gleamed. She shook her head. “Some of the kids—Simon’s friends—think something’s happened to him.”
Oh, no. “Like what?”
“That he was killed.” She sat beside me, her voice low as if people were listening. “And that Adam had something to do with it.”
“What?” Okay, I was so not expecting that.
She nodded. “They don’t think Adam’s really dead. No funeral that anyone could go to and all. They think he ran off before the police could figure out he did something to Simon.”
I stared. “Trust me, Adam’s dead. He’s really dead.”
Lesa’s lips pursed. “I believe you.”
I didn’t think she did. “Why do they think Adam had something to do with Simon?”
“Well…some people know that Simon tried something on you. And Daemon beat the crap out of him. Maybe he tried something on Dee and Adam snapped.”
I laughed, more out of shock. “Adam wouldn’t have snapped. He wasn’t like that.”
“That’s what I think, but others…” She leaned back. “Anyway, enough about this crap—you’re going to look hot tomorrow night.”
The conversation eventually went back to studying, but I had this icy feeling in the pit of my stomach, a piercing sensation. Like when you did something bad and knew you were about to get caught.
If people were starting to pay attention to all the weird stuff around here, how long would it take them to follow the clues back to the source of everything? Back to Daemon, his family, his kind, and to me?
Martinsburg wasn’t really a town, but it couldn’t be called a city, either, at least not by Gainesville standards. It was on the cusp of growth, about an hour from the nation’s capital. It rested right off the interstate, nestled between two mountains—a gateway to larger cities like Hagerstown and Baltimore. The south side of the town was heavily developed—shopping centers, restaurants I’d give my favorite book for Petersburg to have, and office buildings. There was even a Starbucks, and dammit if it didn’t suck to have to drive past that. We were running late.
The whole trip started off badly, which didn’t speak well for how the night would progress.
First off, Blake and Daemon had gotten into it before we even made it out of Petersburg. Something about the quickest way to get to the eastern panhandle of the state. Blake said to go south. Daemon said to go north. Epic argument ensued.
Daemon ended up winning, because he was driving, which made Blake pout in the backseat. Then we hit a snow squall around Deep Creek, slowing us down, and Blake had felt the need to point out that the southern roads were probably clear.
Also, the amount of obsidian I was decked out in and the lack of clothing had me all kinds of twitchy. I went with Lesa’s choice in attire, much to Daemon’s happiness. If he made one more comment about the length of my skirt, I was going to hurt him.
And if Blake did, Daemon was going to maim him.
I kept expecting a fleet of Arum to arrive out of the middle of nowhere and knock our vehicle off the road, but so far, the obsidian necklace, bracelet, and knife strapped inside my boot—for crying out loud—had stayed cool.
By the time we arrived in Martinsburg, I wanted to jump from the moving vehicle. As we neared the Falling Waters exit, Daemon asked, “Which one?”
Blake popped forward, dropping his elbows on the backs of our seats. “One more exit—Spring Mills. You’re going to take a left off the exit, like you’re heading back to Hedgesville or Back Creek.”
Back Creek? I shook my head. We’d gone farther into civilization, but the names of some of these towns begged to differ.
About two miles off the exit, Blake said, “See the old gas station up ahead—the pumps?”