Dead by Morning (Rituals of the Night Book 1)

BOOK: Dead by Morning (Rituals of the Night Book 1)
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Copyright © 2015 by Kayla Krantz
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 1512304794
ISBN-13: 978-1512304794

Chapter One

Luna noticed how sweet the air seemed as she stuck her hands in her pockets. She took a deep breath, enjoying the feeling of the clean air in her lungs. Her walks always gave her a sense of freedom that was missing during the routine of her weekly activities. She let the feeling engulf her as she headed around the grass that lined the park. It was her favorite part of town- quiet with less traffic. She could hear the birds in the nearby trees as she stepped into the park.

Like every Monday, a group of teenagers surrounded the swing set, talking and laughing amongst themselves. Luna bowed her head to avoid making eye contact. A normal teenager would have been excited to see her classmates out of school, but Luna felt anything but. She scurried past them like a rodent, hoping with all of her might that none of them would notice her.

But one did.

One always did.

His excitement showed as he jumped off of the swing he had been sitting on. The last words spoken by the brunette beside him fell on deaf ears as he focused on Luna.

“Hey, there,” he said, smiling as his stride fell into step with hers.

Luna sighed in frustration.
I need a new route,
she thought blankly as she glanced at him through glassy eyes.

He raised his eyebrows, exaggerating the scar on his left cheek. “Nothing for me today?”

“No. I don’t wanna waste my breath, Chance.”

“Telling me you’re not gonna say anything is still saying something,” he pointed out.

Luna glared at him. She would give anything to have him leave her alone, but history said he wouldn’t.

“Are you gonna follow me again?”

The cocky smile made another appearance. “I prefer to think of it as walking you home. It’s too dangerous for a girl like you to walk around town alone.”

“Chivalry? Really?” Luna rolled her eyes. He was anything but a gentlemen.

“It doesn’t hurt.”

“Please leave me alone.”

Chance yawned. “Nah, I don’t think so.”

Luna sighed and gritted her teeth. Thoughts of Einstein’s definition of insanity ran through her mind once.

Chance didn’t seem to mind the silence. He strode beside her, his stance tall and lithe. He walked close to her as if he was prepared to protect her from some unseen threat. Luna hated the feeling of intimacy that the forced walks created between the two of them. Chance, however, didn’t seem to mind.

Why does he push this so much?
She wondered to herself.

That was a question that she was sure that she would never get an answer for.

Luna peered at him from the corner of her eye
.
“Can I ask you a question?”

Chance seemed surprised as he looked at her. “Yeah, sure.”

“Why do you make me walk with you?”

“Why do you always walk the same route if you hate this so much?”

Luna stared at him, once again reminding herself to change her route during her next walk.

“I should be able to walk wherever I want,” she said as they began to close in on her block.

“And you can.”

Luna didn’t respond to that as she focused on her house. Chance was sure to stick one step behind all the way to her door. His dark clothes seemed to exaggerate her shadow. She opened the door to head inside without a parting word.

“See you at school!” she could hear him call a minute before the door slammed shut behind her.

                                          ~~~~~~~~~~~

The next day, school began the same as always. Luna walked up the steps of Shawnee High school and stopped by her locker before she made her way to class. In the back of her mind, she wanted to make sure she didn’t run into Chance.

Her classmates stared at her as she moved through the hallways. She tried to ignore the fact that she was an anomaly to them. Because of Chance she was constantly on their radar though it was unknown if she was one of them or someone to be avoided. She sighed, too preoccupied to watch where she was going. She crashed into someone with a heavy thud that stopped her dead in her tracks.

Rubbing her forehead to get rid of the pain, Luna blinked and stopped to apologize.

“Hey, watch where-“the girl began, but stopped when she noticed Luna.

Instantly, Luna let out a sigh of relief that at least she had crashed into her best friend, Violet.

Maybe good things happen to unpopular people too
, she thought.

“Hey, Luna, what’s up?” Violet asked.

Luna was silent for a moment. “Not much.”

“I can tell that’s a lie, something’s on your mind,” Violet said.

“It’s not really a big deal, I guess…it’s just that Chance kid again,” Luna said finally.

“Why? What’d he do
this
time?” Violet asked rolling her eyes.

“Just…never mind,” Luna said quickly.

“He’s just trying to talk to you, you know,” Violet said.

“Maybe I don’t want to talk to him,” she pointed out.

“Suit yourself, just don’t let him get to you or else he wins, okay?” Violet said.

“I can’t help it.”

“Shrug it off,” she suggested.

“I’ll try my best,” Luna said half-heartedly.

“I’ve heard that one before.”

She clenched her teeth together and looked away from her. Violet was right, nothing Luna tried worked. As she walked towards her next class, neither of them spoke. Luna glanced at Violet and noticed she looked unreadable. That wasn’t like her…she guessed she had something on her mind. Luna shrugged, when she wanted to talk about it she was sure she would.

“So, are you going to the dance this weekend?” Violet asked her suddenly.

“There’s a dance this weekend?” Luna asked her. “What for this time?”

Luna felt something touch her shoulder suddenly and she turned. Her gaze locked onto Chance’s blue eyes. He swiped at his shaggy blond hair before he smiled at her.

She cringed.

“Yeah, there is. It’s Homecoming this weekend.”

“It always seems like it’s time for something,” Luna said.

“I take that as a no?” Violet guessed.

“You already know my answer.”

“If you’ve never gone to a dance, how do you know that you don’t like it?” Chance asked.

“I’d rather study.”

“Work’s good, but it’s nothing without some fun,” Chance said with a wink.

Luna frowned at him and he parted ways to disappear down the nearest hallway.

“I think it’s cute,” Violet said.

“Huh?” Luna said as she turned to look at her.

“It’s cute the way he teases you,” she replied shrugging.

“If you were me then it wouldn’t be ‘cute’.”

Violet sighed. “Luna, you’re being a drama queen, you know that?”

She frowned, she didn’t think that she was being a drama queen.

As she stared back at Violet, she didn’t know what to say. She was sure that she would, once again, defend Chance. Finally, Luna shrugged and gave up. “If you say so.”

Violet nodded. “Well, I’m going to class.”

“Bye,” she replied instantly and part of her was glad.

Luna kept walking down the hallway with her head bowed to avoid the eyes of the kids she passed. She wasn’t in the mood to look into their hostile eyes. She just wanted to be left alone. Luna sat down on the stairs, convinced she had found a place to study and opened her textbook on her lap.

Suddenly, she heard somebody clear their throat beside her, and she jumped, not realizing anyone had been standing so close.

She looked up nervously into the gaze of a girl with blonde hair and a face twisted in disgust. Luna winced; it was Kate Red. She was a cheerleader, captain of the squad in fact, and she was deeply popular. And because she was popular, she was a friend of Chance’s, and because she was a friend of Chance’s, Luna hated her. Automatic high school rules…to Luna at least. 

“Stop blocking the stairs, you freak,” Kate said in her shrill voice and then laughed.

Luna growled at the sound. “You can go around me.”

Luna heard Kate scoff as she turned her attention back to the book. Kate walked away without another word. Luna was used to her constant taunts; they didn’t bother her anymore. Luna knew Kate only did what she did because of Chance. That was why half of the people in school did. 

Suddenly, Luna heard the bell ring and she sighed as she closed her book.  Her first class was with Chance.

                                          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Violet walked through the halls leaving Luna behind. She had to admit she was jealous of her. Chance was interested in her yet all Luna could do was crawl further into her shell. The frown on Violet’s face deepened; she would do anything,
anything
to talk to Chance. Chance had never said two words to her even though her and Luna had attended the same elementary school.

She had been Luna’s shadow as long as she could remember.

Would he listen to her if she brought up her best friend? She wanted to finally be able to talk to Shawnee’s infamous king; she wanted him to notice her too. He had made it obvious that he wanted Luna as date, but would it possible to set them up? She knew that was incredibly selfish of her to use her best friend as a pawn, but a small part of her thought it might be good for Luna to actually go to a dance and socialize.

She was sure that she’d be able to get Chance to ask her to it in a heartbeat. Luna had pride, and Violet knew that. She was very vibrant when it came to defending what she believed in. The root of most of her arguments with Chance.

Violet stopped walking and turned back to look where she had last left Luna, but there was no sign of her tiny best friend. She guessed that Luna was well on her way to class and wouldn’t notice her sneaking back through the halls. She backtracked the way she had just come from. She took the hall that Chance had disappeared down hoping to find him.

She could see him instantly. He was leaning against the lockers as casual as ever. A few girls (all from the cheerleading team) surrounded him, but Violet wasn’t intimidated. She kept walking down the hall and stopped in front of Chance.

He looked at her momentarily before returning his attention to the cheerleaders without another glance.

“I need to talk to you about Luna,” Violet said stridently breaking into their conversation.

The girls turned to her and the looks on their faces were disbelief. Violet was pleased to see however that Chance’s face didn’t mirror theirs, it shone with interest. He shooed the girls away almost at once and they looked disappointed. Chance looked Violet full in the face (it was the first time he ever had) and she didn’t care how those girls felt as her knees went weak.

“What about her?” he asked.

“Well, she’ll be mad at me for telling you this” –that part was true she knew- “but she has a crush on you and was hoping that you’d ask her to Homecoming. She’s too shy to ask you.”

Chance’s face was a mix of disbelief and uncertainty. He looked at her carefully. “Are you sure? We are talking about the same Luna, right?”

“Yeah, my best friend, Luna Ketz,” she said. “And I’m positive she likes you. I mean she gives you a hard time because she absolutely adores you. She has a real hard time showing emotion. Her mother’s a strict business woman after all.” Violet knew that if Luna had ever heard her say that she would’ve murdered her on the spot.

Chance smiled and Violet felt as though she would pass out, but she had to focus and remember her mission.

“I knew it,” he said almost to himself, and Violet hated that she felt invisible to him again. “She’s just hard to get.” He laughed and then turned his attention back to Violet. “Well, I will certainly handle the matter. Thanks for letting me know, Violet. It’s information I can put to good use, I promise.”

The sound of him saying her name was almost as sweet as honey and it took all of her effort to not tell him that she liked him herself.
This is for, Luna
, she told herself. But was it really?

“No problem and if she asks, I wasn’t here,” Violet said.

He laughed and the sound was better than any music Violet had ever heard. “Don’t worry, I won’t tell,” he said winking at her and with that he walked down the hall towards class without looking back once.

Violet watched him go feeling giddier than she had ever felt before. She knew though that if Chance did act on what she had told him, then Luna would be nothing but angry.

BOOK: Dead by Morning (Rituals of the Night Book 1)
8.07Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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