“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.
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.
“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?”