“No.” His face twisted into a fierce scowl. “I would never do that.”

“Then how can you ask me to do the same?” I was close to tears, mainly because I couldn’t bear the idea of Daemon being captured, suffering what his brother had. “You can’t.”

“I’m sorry.” The lines of his face softened and he bent his head, quickly kissing me. “You’re right. I shouldn’t have asked you to do that.”

I blinked furiously. “How could you even consider asking me to do something like that?” Now I really wanted to sock him, because my heart was racing and terrible, horrific images were in my head. But then…then I realized something.

“You caved pretty easily,” I whispered, distrustful.

He laughed, sliding his arms around my shoulders, pulling me against him. “I just understand what you mean.”

Uh, yeah, this was odd. I tipped my head back, searching his face for a telltale sign. But all I saw was tenderness and a bit of the smug self-assurance that was always there. I didn’t bother asking him if he was hiding anything, because I doubted he’d ’fess up, and I wanted to believe that he’d seen the error of his ways.

But I wasn’t stupid.

Chapter 35

On the afternoon before prom, Dee stood in my bedroom, twisting my hair around a medium-barrel curling iron. While the conversation started off a bit awkward, it eased up about halfway through the styling process. The conversation was light and easy by the time she’d pinned my hair up in an intricate design that showed off all her hard work.

I was applying my own eye makeup when she sat on the edge of my bed, her hands clasped in her lap. She’d gone with a simple twist—a ponytail with her hair wrapped around it in a thick bun, a classic look that showed off her angular face perfectly.

Rubbing my pinkie under my eye, I blended the brown eyeliner. “Are you excited about tonight?”

She shrugged. “I just want to do it, because, you know, it’s our last year. It’s probably going to be our last year together—all of us—and I want to experience it. I know Adam would want me to go and have fun.”

I placed the eyeliner in my bag and rooted around for my mascara. “He would,” I said, glancing back into the bedroom. “He seemed like the kind of guy who would want the best for you, no matter what it meant for him.”

A smile flickered and faded. “He was.”

With a sense of sadness, I turned back to the mirror and my gaze dropped to the golden tube. She should be with Adam tonight. “Dee, I’m—”

“I know.” One second she was on the bed and the next she was standing in the doorway. Her lower half faded out and wow, was that weird to see. “I know you’re sorry. I know you never intended for Adam to die.”

I turned toward her, twisting the piece of obsidian between my fingers. “I would change everything if I could.”

Her gaze flickered away from me, settling over my shoulder. “Are you scared about tomorrow night?”

Facing the mirror once more, I blinked back tears. For a moment, it had felt like we’d come so far, but then the door had been slammed in my face. Okay, maybe we had come somewhere, but not as far as I wanted to.

So, stop being a wussy, I ordered myself. That’s a lot of makeup to waste.

“Katy?”

“I’m scared,” I admitted with a little laugh. “Who wouldn’t be? But I’m trying not to think about it. That’s what I did last time, and I was so freaked out.”

“I would be freaked out no matter what—I am freaked out, actually, and all I’m doing is waiting by the car.” She disappeared from the doorway in a flash and reappeared by the closet. She lovingly unwrapped my prom dress. “Just be careful and keep my brothers safe. Okay?”

My heart tripped and I didn’t hesitate. “Okay.”

Switching places, she finished with her makeup, and I slipped on my dress. Mom appeared in my bedroom, camera in hand, and here we went again. She snapped pictures of Dee and me, got all teary eyed, talking about how I used to play dress-up in her shoes and run around the house naked, and that was all before Dee left and Daemon arrived.

It could only get worse from there.

But when Daemon stepped into the living room where I waited, fiddling with a small clutch Mom had given me, I was struck speechless.

Daemon looked good in just about anything—jeans, sweats, a lumberjack outfit—but in a black tux tailored to his broad shoulders and narrow hips, he was absolutely amazing.

Dark waves fell across his forehead, swept to the right. He held a pretty corsage in one hand. As he straightened his tie, his gaze started at the tips of my shoes and made the slow perusal up, lingering in a few spots I hoped my mom didn’t notice. His fingers stilled around the tie, and I flushed, feeling the intensity in his gaze and his approval.

Daemon did like the color red.

My cheeks had to match my dress by then.

He walked up to me with that rock-star swagger and stopped a foot before me, bent his head, and whispered, “You look beautiful.”

A deep flutter started in my stomach and spread. “Thank you. You don’t look so bad yourself.”

Mom fluttered around like an erratic little bird, taking pictures and fussing over us. Whenever she looked at Daemon, she got the doe-eyed look on her face. She was totally smitten with him.

She took a lot of pictures of him taking the corsage out and tying it to my wrist. The corsage was a simple rose in full bloom surrounded by green leaves and baby’s breath. Beautiful. We posed for Mom’s pictures and the whole process was natural, nothing like Simon and homecoming. My thoughts wandered to Simon as we did a couple more pictures and Daemon swapped out the camera so we could do some of the mother-and-daughter bit.

Was Simon alive? Blake had sworn that the last he’d seen Simon, the boy had been alive as the DOD carted him away. Whatever happened to Simon was because he had seen me lose control of the Source. Another possible death linked to me, and Simon had to be dead, because what would the DOD or Daedalus want with him alive? He was just human…

I thought of Carissa.

Daemon placed his hand on my lower back. “Where are you at?”


I blinked, drawn back into the present. “I’m here, right with you.”

“I hope so.”

Mom came up, pulling me into a hug. “Baby, you look so beautiful—you two look so beautiful together.”

Daemon stepped away, grinning at me over her shoulder.

“I just can’t believe this is it. Your senior prom,” she said, sniffling as she backed up, facing Daemon. “It was just yesterday when she was running through our house, tearing off her diapers—”

“Mom,” I snapped, finally jumping into the conversation. Her telling any baby Katy stories was bad enough. Anyone hearing them was mortifying. But with Daemon it was about a thousand times more horrifying.

Daemon’s eyes lit up with interest. “Do you have pictures? Please tell me you have pictures.”

Her face broke out in a wide smile. “Actually, I do!” She spun toward a bookcase in the corner, stock full of humiliating pictures. “I chronicled every—”

“Oh, look at the time.” I grabbed Daemon’s arm and pulled. He didn’t budge. “We really need to go.”

“There’s always tomorrow,” he said to my mom, winking. “Right?”

“I don’t go to work until five.” She grinned.

That was so not happening. On the way out, she stopped and gave me another hug. “You do look beautiful, baby. I mean it.”

“Thank you.” I squeezed her back.

She held on like she was never going to let go and I didn’t mind, because after tomorrow night, there was a chance that I may not come back. So I needed my mommy’s hug and I wasn’t too proud to admit that.

“I’m happy for you,” she whispered. “He’s a good boy.”

I gave a watery smile. “I know.”

“Good.” She pulled back, patting my arms with both hands. “Curfew?”

“I—”

“You have none tonight.” To my shock, she smiled. “Just behave and don’t do anything you’ll regret in the morning.” Her gaze drifted over my shoulder, and she muttered, “Wouldn’t be much.”

“Mom!”

Laughing, she gave me a light shove. “I’m old, not dead. Now get going and have fun.”

I left as fast as I could. “You didn’t hear that last part, right?”

Daemon grinned.

“Oh, God…”

Tipping his head back, he laughed as he took my hand. “Come, milady, your chariot awaits.”

I laughed as I climbed into Dolly and once he was inside, we argued over the radio until we were halfway to the school and Daemon sent me a sideways glance. “You really do look beautiful, Kitten. I mean it.”

I smiled, running my fingers over the beads on my clutch. “Thank you.”

There was a pause. “I thought you looked beautiful homecoming night, too.”

My head snapped toward him, clutch forgotten. “Really?”

“Hells yeah. I hated that you were with someone else.” He laughed at my expression and then refocused on the dark road. The easy grin tugged at my heart. “When I saw you with Simon? I wanted to beat the ever-loving crap out of him and snatch you away.”

I laughed. Sometimes I forgot that during those tumultuous first months of knowing each other, a teeny tiny part of him may have liked me.

“So, yeah, I thought you were beautiful then.”

I bit my lip and then hoped I hadn’t smeared my lip gloss. “I always thought you were…” Beautiful wasn’t exactly a manly descriptor, so I went with, “Very handsome.”

“What you mean is that you always thought I was incredibly hot and you couldn’t take your eyes off me.”

“We really need to work on your modesty.” The woods blurred outside the windows, and I could see my grin in the reflection. “But God, did you ever tick me off.”

“It’s a part of my charm.”

I snorted.

The prom was held the same place homecoming was—the high school gymnasium. Real fancy here. The parking lot was packed and because we were running a little late, we had to leave Dolly in the nosebleed section.

Daemon took my hand as we strolled up to the school. The air was warm with just a hint of coolness. The nights were still pretty cold here in May, but I didn’t need a shawl or anything, not with Daemon beside me. He always blew off an incredible amount of heat.

At homecoming, the gymnasium had been transformed by all the fall festive decorations, but for prom, white lights had been strung along the ceiling and down the closed bleachers, forming a dazzling waterfall effect. Large, leafy potted plants had been brought in, surrounding the white-linen-covered tables sitting at the edge of the matted dance floor.

Music was loud, and I could barely hear what Daemon was saying to me as he tugged me forward. Lesa appeared out of nowhere, taking my hand and pulling me toward the floor. She looked awesome in a deep blue trumpet dress that flattered her hourglass curves. Out on the floor other girls surrounded us. Laughter mingled with the beat and I thought of the club in Martinsburg and the cages.