I wanted one day to go home and do nothing—no plotting or dealing with alien shenanigans. Books needed reading and reviewing and my poor blog could really use a makeover. I couldn’t think of a better way to finish out a Monday.
But it was probably not going to happen.
Stepping outside, I trailed behind the last group of students heading to the parking lot. From my vantage point, I could hear Kimmy’s high-pitched voice from the front.
“My daddy said that Simon’s father has been talking to the FBI. He’s demanding a full investigation and won’t stop until Simon comes home.”
I wondered if the FBI knew about the aliens. Images of The X-Files flew through my head.
“I heard on TV that the longer a person is missing, the less likely it is for them to turn up alive,” one of her friends said.
“But look at Dawson. He was gone for over a year, and he’s back,” another said.
Tommy Cruz rubbed a beefy hand along the back of his neck. “And isn’t that strange? He’s gone forever. The one Thompson kid bites it and then Dawson shows up? Something insane with that.”
I’d heard enough. Going between cars, I put distance between the group and me. I doubted their suspicious would go anywhere, but I wasn’t trolling for new things to worry about. We had enough.
Daemon waited by his car. Long legs crossed at the ankles. He smiled when he saw me and pushed off the side of the vehicle. “I was beginning to wonder if you were going to stay here.”
“Sorry.” He opened the passenger door and bowed. Grinning, I jumped in. I waited until he was behind the wheel. “Blake wants to talk tonight.”
“Yeah, I know. He apparently got ahold of Dawson and already told him about the whole onyx tolerance thing.” He backed out, hand on the gear shifter. Anger lit up his eyes. “And of course, Dawson is all about that. It was like handing him a winning lottery ticket.”
“Great.” I tilted my head back against the seat. Dawson really was a suicidal Energizer bunny.
And suddenly it struck me. This was my life—all of this craziness. The ups and downs, the near-death moments and those far worse, the lies and the fact I probably wouldn’t be able to trust anyone who befriended me without worrying if they were an implant. And hell, how could I really befriend anyone normal? Like Daemon in the beginning—he’d stayed away and wanted Dee to do the same so I wouldn’t be caught in their world.
It would be the same with anyone I met.
My life wasn’t my own. Every moment was like waiting for the other shoe to drop. I sank back against the seat, weighted down, and sighed. “There go my reviewing and reading plans.”
“Shouldn’t it be reading and then reviewing?”
“Whatever,” I muttered.
Daemon coasted the SUV out onto the road. “Why can’t you still do that?”
“If Blake wants to talk tonight, then that’s going to soak up all my time.” I really wanted to pout. Maybe even kick my feet.
With one hand on the wheel and the other arm thrown over the back of my seat, he cast me a half smile. “You don’t need to be there, Kitten. We can talk to him without you.”
“Yeah right.” I laughed. “There’s a good chance someone will kill Blake without me there.”
“And would you really be torn up about that?”
I made a face. “Well…”
“And the fact that upon his untimely death, there’s a letter delivered to Nancy Husher. So, we kind of need him alive.”
“True,” he said, catching a strand of my hair between his fingers. “But we can keep it short. You’ll have a normal Monday evening full of normal suck and not extraterrestrial suckage.”
Shame burned my cheeks as I bit down on my lip. As crazy as everything had turned out, I could admit that things could be worse. “That’s really selfish of me.”
“What?” He tugged on my hair gently. “It’s not selfish, Kitten. Your whole life can’t revolve around this crap. It won’t.”
Straightening my fingers, I smiled. “You sound so determined.”
“And you know what happens when I get determined.”
“You get your way.” He raised his brows at me, and I laughed. “But what about you—your life can’t revolve around this crap.”
He pulled his hand back, resting it on his thigh. “I was born into this. I’m used to it, and besides, it’s all about time management. Say, like time management last night. We did our mission thing—”
“There’s that, but the rest of last night?” One side of his lips curled up and I felt my cheeks heat for a totally different reason. “We had the bad—the not-normal. And then we had the good—the normal. Granted, the good was interrupted by the bad, but there was time management there.”
“You make it sound so easy.” I stretched out my legs, relaxing.
“It is that easy, Kat. You just need to know when to draw the line, when you’ve had enough.” There was a pause as he slowed and turned onto the lonely road leading up to our houses. “And if you’ve had enough for today, you have. Nothing to feel guilty about or to worry about.”
Daemon coasted to a stop in his driveway and killed the engine. “And no one will kill Bill.”
I laughed softly as I unbuckled the seat belt. “Blake. His name is Blake.”
Daemon pulled the keys out and leaned back, his eyes glimmering with amusement. “He’s whatever I decide to call him.”