Totally different worlds.
Daemon reappeared, stealing me away from the girls. It was a slow dance and his arm fit perfectly around my waist. I rested my cheek on his shoulder, glad that he and Dee had convinced me into doing the prom thing. Getting out and doing this felt great, like a seven-ton weight was lifted from my shoulders.
Daemon hummed along with the song, his chin brushing my cheek every so often. I liked the way his chest thrummed against mine, reminding me of the natural way his body felt.
Toward the end of the song, I opened my eyes and they locked with Blake’s.
I sucked in a sharp breath. Hadn’t expected him to be here, so seeing Blake caused quite a bit of shock to shoot through me. Was he with someone? No girl was near him, but that didn’t mean anything. Something about the way he stood there watching us was above the acceptable creep factor for my taste.
A couple moved in, laughing as the boy pawed at her hips. When they passed on, Blake was gone, but a weird, icky feeling had popped up in my stomach. The feeling I got whenever I saw Blake, which meant I tried not to think about him at all.
Seeing him made me think of someone else, though. I lifted my head. “Dawson didn’t come?”
Daemon shook his head. “Nah, I think he’d feel like he was betraying Beth if he did.”
“Wow,” I whispered, unsure of what to think of that. His dedication to Beth was more than admirable—it was sort of awe-inspiring. Maybe it was the alien DNA.
Daemon’s arm tightened and the tux pulled taut across his shoulders.
Yes, definitely the alien DNA at work on many, many aspects.
After the slow dance, Andrew and Dee joined us. She looked as divine as I thought she would in her dress and fresh, clean look. I noted that Dee and Andrew kept a discreet distance between each other. To me, it was clear they were just friends—more only because they shared something they lost.
When Daemon left to find something to drink, I was blindsided by Ash and her human date…and her little black dress.
Ash grinned like a cat that ate an entire family of canaries. “David, this is Katy. Don’t worry about remembering her name. You’ll probably forget.”
I ignored her and offered a hand. “Nice to meet you.”
David was handsome—very handsome—and could easily hold his own with the Luxen. He had curly brown hair and his warm whiskey-colored eyes were friendly, too.
He gave a good handshake. “My pleasure.”
And polite. What was he doing with Ash?
“I have certain talents,” she whispered in my ear, as if she read my thoughts, and I frowned at her. “Ask Daemon. He can tell you all about them.” Straightening, she laughed.
Instead of hitting her, which was something I really wanted to do—and I could feel the Source begging me to be used—I smiled sweetly as I brushed past her and placed my hand on the exposed length of her slender back. A high-charged electric surge passed from my hand to her skin.
Letting out a low shriek, Ash jumped and spun around. “You…”
Beside her, David looked confused, but behind him, Dee busted out laughing. I kept smiling, giving Ash a little wink before turning around. Daemon stood there with two cups, one eyebrow arched.
“Bad little Kitten,” he murmured.
Grinning, I stretched up and kissed him. It was an innocent one—or maybe it was on my end, but Daemon totally took it there. When we parted, I was breathless.
Leaving the group behind, we danced again, so closely that I kept waiting for a teacher to come around and break us apart. Several times I danced with Lesa and even Dee joined in once. We all looked ridiculous, flailing around and having fun.
By the time I was back in Daemon’s arms, we’d been at the prom for about two hours. Some of the kids were already leaving, heading out to the notorious field parties held on farms.
“You ready to leave yet?” he said.
“Do you have something planned?” Oh gosh, did my mind go wild then.
“I do.” He smiled mischievously. “I have a surprise.”
And my mind went far, far south at that point. Daemon and the word surprise in the same sentence usually was an entertaining adventure.
“All right,” I said, hoping I sounded adult and cool while my heart was doing the stupid happy-girl dance.
Finding Lesa, I told her we were leaving and gave her a hug. “Did you guys get a hotel room?” she asked, eyes glittering in the white lights.
I slapped her arm. “No. God. Well…I don’t think so. He says he has a surprise for me.”
“Totally the hotel room,” she yelled. “Oh my God, you guys are going to have, you know, the three-letter word.”
Lesa’s eyes narrowed and then flew open. “Wait. Did you guys—”
“I’ve got to go.” I started to pull away, but she followed.
“You have to tell me! I need to know.” Behind her, Chad watched on curiously.
Getting away, I shook my head. “I really need to go. I’ll talk to you later. Have fun.”
“Oh, we’d better talk later. I demand it.”
Promising to call her, I then looked for Dee but all I found was Ash, and after I zapped her earlier, she was looking like she wanted payback. I veered in the other direction, scanning the floor for the willowy raven-haired girl.
I gave up when I saw Daemon again. “Have you seen Dee?”
He nodded. “I think she left with Andrew. They decided to go to the diner or something and eat.”
Now I was unsure about my earlier conviction when it came to their relationship. Adam and Dee were notorious for doing things like that. Then again, Luxen liked to eat…all the time. “You don’t think they’re…?”
“I don’t even want to know.”
Me neither, I decided. Taking his offered hand, we headed back out of the steamy gymnasium and down the streamer-laden hallway. The temps had dropped outside, but the cold air felt good against my flushed skin.
“Are you going to tell me about the surprise?”
“If I did, then it won’t be a surprise,” he replied.
I pouted. “But it’s a surprise now.”
“Nice try.” He laughed, opening the door for me. “Get in and behave yourself.”
“Whatever.” But I climbed in, primly crossing my legs. Daemon laughed again as he loped around the front of his car and got in.
Casting me a glance, he shook his head. “You’re dying to know, aren’t you?”
“Yes. You should tell me.”
He said nothing and remained quiet the whole way home, much to my surprise. Nervous excitement built inside me. There’d only been a few minutes here and there of being alone together since that fateful Saturday night.
Strange how something so terrible and so beautiful could happen in one night—the best and the worst day of my life, I realized.
I didn’t want to think of Will.
Daemon parked the car in his driveway. The living room light was on in his house. “Stay in the car, okay?”
When I nodded, he got out and disappeared—gone in a flash. Curious, I twisted around in the seat, but I didn’t see him or anyone. What could he be up to?
Suddenly, my car door opened and Daemon extended his hand. “Ready?”
A little knocked off-kilter by his reappearance, I gave him my hand and let him swoop me out of the SUV. “So my surprise…?”
Hand in hand, we started walking. I thought he was going to lead me to his house, but he didn’t, and when we passed mine and made our way down the road, I had no idea what he had planned. That was, until I saw that we were heading to the main road and when we stopped there, I was taken back several months to the first time I learned about Daemon’s kind.
I’d walked out in front of a truck.
Yeah, idiotic move, but I’d been upset and hadn’t been thinking. Douche-version of Daemon had been to blame.
Crossing the road, I got a general idea of where we were heading. The lake. Squeezing Daemon’s hand, I fought back a stupid grin.
“Do you think you can walk in those heels?” he asked, frowning as if he’d just thought of it.
Doubtful, but I didn’t want to ruin any of this for him. “Yeah, I’ll be fine.”
He took it slowly anyway, making sure I didn’t fall flat on my face or break my neck. Incredibly sweet, actually, as he made sure to get all the low-hanging branches out of the way and at one point, he even let a part of his true form take hold. White light surrounded his hand, casting over the uneven ground.
Who needed a flashlight when you had Daemon?
It took a little longer than normal to get to the lake, but I enjoyed the walk and his company. And when we stepped out of the last stand of trees and the scene before me unfolded, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
Moonlight reflected off the calm waters and several feet away from the bank, next to the white wildflowers that had started to bloom, were several blankets spread out and piled atop one another, creating a comfy-looking sitting area. There were a few pillows and a large cooler. A fire crackled closer to the lake, surrounded by large stones.
There were no words.
The whole setup was exceptionally romantic, sweet, awesome, and so, so perfect that I wondered if I were dreaming. I knew Daemon was capable of surprising me—he always did, but this…? My heart swelled so quickly I was sure I would float away.
“Surprise,” he said, stepping ahead, his back to the fire. “I thought this would be better than a party or whatever. And you like the lake. So do I.”
I blinked back tears. God, I needed to stop crying all the time, especially tonight, because I had loaded my lashes with mascara. “It’s perfect, Daemon. Oh my God, it’s wonderful.”
“Really?” A bit of vulnerability crept into his voice. “You really like it?”
I couldn’t believe he had to ask. “I love it.” And then I started to laugh, which was better than crying. “I really love this.”
I launched myself at him, wrapping my arms and legs around him like a demented monkey-girl.
Laughing, he caught me and didn’t stumble. “You really love it,” he said, walking backward. “I’m glad.”
So many emotions were running through me that I couldn’t settle on one thing, but they were all good. When he put me down, I kicked off my shoes and moved to the blankets. They were soft under my toes, luxurious.
Sitting down, I tucked my legs under me. “What’s in the cooler?”
“Ah, the good stuff.” He flashed out and appeared beside the cooler, kneeling down. He cracked it open, pulled out a bottle of wine and two glasses. “Wine cooler—strawberry. Your favorite.”
I laughed. “Oh my God.”
He popped the cork with some kind of weird alien-mind-Source-Jedi power and poured each of us a glass. I took it and sipped the fizzy liquid. I liked the wine cooler because it didn’t taste like alcohol and I was really a lightweight.
“What else?” I asked, leaning over.
Out came a canister and he carefully peeled the lid off and tilted it toward me. Chocolate-covered strawberries rolled temptingly.