Authors: Melanie Marks
So, we took the table and didn’t mention we weren’t old
enough to eat in there. “We just won’t order any drinks,” I told Lacy.
But Lacy only shrugged, like her heart wasn’t into anything
we did anyway. So, anything was as good as anything else and everything sucked.
As soon we sat down, I got a text. The phone number it was
sent from looked slightly familiar. It made my stomach clench seeing it, but I
wasn’t quite sure why … until I clicked on the message. It was from Bianca.
She had sent me a picture … of her and Finn. They were
totally mackin’ in front of Blanket Grove Mental Hospital.
A chill crawled down my spine.
So much for Finn’s speech about his
faithfulness to me.
I felt like I was going to be sick, knowing
there was a time I would have totally fallen for his speech … and been
heartbroken by the picture. But now I was only disgusted.
Bianca sent a message with the picture—of
course—making sure her victory (well, victory to
) dug in deep. It said:
“See? I told you he’d be kissing
me again before you could re-connect the chain you had him locked to. Ha-ha!”
, she’s a witch
I shuddered, realizing she was
going to be a huge part of Finn’s life for a while. It made me nauseous, but I
tried to shrug the feeling away. At least his descent into skank-dom would
happen without me having to be part of it—or anywhere near it.
I didn’t mention the text to Lacy.
It just sat in my stomach like a pile of churning rocks. But no way did I want
to talk to her about it.
Instead, while we waited for our desserts to arrive, I
listened like a good, supportive friend as she sobbed about her break-up. But I
noticed she kept glancing at the bar while she dished her troubles. When I
followed her gaze, she giggled as though she’d been caught.
“The bartender’s to-die-for cute,” she admitted with another
sheepish laugh, like she was embarrassed she’d been caught checking the guy out
while she grumbled about her break-up. But still, that didn’t stop her from
adding, “I’m going to go order us some drinks from the guy.” Then she added
before I could even open my mouth, “Virgins drinks—with no alcohol, of
She came back at the same time our chocolate arrived. As we
ate and dished, things started to click between us. It must have been from the
chocolate—put us on a sugar high or something. We giggled and giggled as
we whined about boys, drinking drink after virgin drink from the cute bartender
Lacy was flirting with.
We were having a great “girl’s night” until Lacy announced,
“I have an idea!” She took another sip of her drink before suggesting, “Let’s
go to Riley’s.”
Well, I have to say, that idea sounded good to me. But even
in my sugar-high state, I knew three was not what I wanted. Three was bad. I
wanted Riley all to myself.
“It’s late,” I said. “He’s asleep.”
“Good,” she grinned. Then she told me this joke-idea she
had. We’d move Riley’s car, and in the morning he would think it was stolen.
Well, I was higher on that sugar than I realized because that sounded super
funny to me. And besides, it put me in the
of Riley. I liked that.
So, we drove out to Riley’s. His car key was under his front
right tire, where he always kept it. Why, I don’t know, but he’d been keeping
car keys there since he got his license almost two years ago.
We crept into his car, Lacy behind the wheel, and she didn’t
want to turn on the lights because it might wake up Riley. And once we were a
little away from his house—just a tiny bit—she gunned the engine
and then sped-out just for fun, but his car had a lot more power than she
expected … and she accidentally sped into a tree.
I couldn’t believe it!
We’d totaled Riley’s car.
I couldn’t believe what we had just done!
Riley’s car was wrapped around a tree.
I jumped out and looked at the damage and started bawling.
And calling Lacy a bunch of horrible names.
They just flew
out of my mouth. I was so mad at her … and myself.
What had we done? Ruined Riley’s pride and joy—the
only thing that had made him smile in months. I felt sick. I really did. I
puked. Then puked again and again and Lacy ran off, because, lets face it, I
was a witch to her.
I puked a couple of times more and then, still crying
hysterically, staggered back to Riley’s.
I pounded on his front door, and when he finally
answered—his sweet, sleepy eyes full of concern—it made me cry even
harder. He put his warm arms around me, holding me tight. “Jones, what
happened? Are you okay?”
“I am, but your car—”
Riley stiffened. “My car
” His eyes darkened and his jaw muscles tensed. “My car
that I told you not to touch?”
I sobbed, explaining the whole
thing, ending with the plea, “Don’t hate me Riley. Please don’t hate me.”
“I don’t hate you, Zoey. I don’t. But I
mad. And you’re going to have to pay me back. Do you understand,
Zoey?” He raised his eyebrows. “Do you understand how you’re going to pay me
I swallowed, feeling sick. I’d never seen Riley mad
before—well, not mad at
I nodded at his question though I didn’t really know how he
intended me to pay him back. I didn’t have a clue. And the way he kept saying
my name instead of Jones unnerved me. He never did that—ever. It sent
chills down my spine.
I felt dizzy. The room kept
spinning. What was I going to have to do? Give him all my tips … forever? Scrub
out the men’s toilets in the restaurant’s bathrooms for the rest of my life?
Fine. Whatever. It didn’t matter. I would do it. I’d do anything.
Riley looked deep into my eyes, his
voice impassive. Like a calm, stern order, “Take off your jacket and go sit on
I stared at him, uncertain. What
was he planning to do? Lecture me?
at me? Couldn’t he just do that right here
my jacket on?
It was the middle of the night and
I really didn’t feel like I could take him yelling at me right now. I knew I
deserved it, though—of course. Only, I wanted to stay by the door while
he did it, so I could run away when he was through killing me with his anger.
Only I didn’t want to protest, so
instead I brilliantly said, “Huh?”
He said it again, exactly the same.
” I stared at him. “Are
“No Zoey. I’m completely serious,”
he said, sounding completely serious.
“It’s late Riley. Can we do this tomorrow?”
He gave this little moan … with a smile. “Zoey,
we can do it whenever.”
I blinked at him, but before I could get out
another brilliant “Huh?”—
tenderly cupped my chin in his warm hands.
Now it was my turn to moan. My breath caught as
his yummy, soft lips slowly pressed against mine, first lingering lightly, ever
so gently. So warm and sweet my insides danced and tickled. Mmm.
the world could be better than this
, I thought dreamily.
But then I was proven wrong.
His kisses grew in intensity. He wrapped his
arms around me tighter, making my knees go weak. His velvet tongue slid through
my lips, tantalizing my mouth in the most delicious way known to man. Tingles
sparked through my body, all the way down to my toes.
leaned into me even deeper still,
insistent, his hot tongue searching—searching, searching—his
fervent eager hands tangling in my hair. I was putty, melting into a puddle,
doorbell rang, making me jump.
groaned, giving me one last tender kiss, then pulled away reluctantly, groaning
against my mouth. “We’re going to do that forever, Jones. It’s your
pulled open the front door. “What do you want?”
Sabrina, a girl from school stammered, shocked at Riley’s rude greeting. She
was beautiful and used to guys gushing at her feet. Of course most guys she
probably didn’t just interrupt from a mind-blowing kiss.
cleared her throat and went on, “I was just letting you know, Lacy called me.
She’s in my car now. She’s going to spend the night at my house.”
Riley said, and shut the door.
turned back to me with a smile. “Where were we? Oh yeah.” His lips twitched a
grin. “You were going to take off your coat and sit on my couch … and promise
to be my girlfriend.”
breathed out a laugh. A delighted one, but also bewildered. “When did this
happen? I thought you needed time.”
did, Jones. Time to make sure you weren’t making a mistake. But—tonight I
got an interesting text from Bianca.”
cringed, knowing exactly what he was talking about.
picture of her and Finn kissing.
watched my eyes closely, reading my expression. Apparently, it let him know I’d
seen the picture. He didn’t say another word about it. Thankfully.
“I didn’t really need the text though,
Jones. Not really. I believed you at dinner tonight.” He edged closer and
closer to me, backing me against the wall. “Your eyes said it all. You want me.
nodded, barely able to speak. He had that exactly right. “My eyes said that?”
answer was a slow, hungry nod.
wanna know what else they said?” His hot breath on my ear and neck made my
knees go weak. “It involves a lot of kissing, Jones.” He drew closer. “Your
eyes said they want my mouth on yours.”
He smiled. “Okay … I’ll give you what
you want Jones, I always do. But first your punishment—” He started
helping me off with my coat as he went on with what he was about to say.
I interrupted him with a gasp, the total horror of what happened less than a
half-hour ago washing over me anew. “Riley, I’m
sorry about your car.”
“Jones, it’s insured. Don’t worry about
it.” He pulled away from me a moment to look into my eyes. “You were drunk
No! … Oh. Maybe.” Suddenly, those “virgin” drinks didn’t seem so virgin
tilted his head. “Don’t accept drinks from people anymore, Jones.” His voice
was teasing, but his eyes were serious.
Okay. Yeah, I won’t. But Riley, I’m so sorry about your car—” He placed
two warm fingers over my lips. “No, Jones. Don’t apologize again. The
car—I don’t even care about it. It’s you I care about.” He raised his
eyebrows, searching my eyes. “You’re alright?”
nodded shakily, a jet of warmth shooting through my body from his kind, sweet
words and the way he said them. It made me all gooey inside.
My heart did a gigantic jig of joy. “I’m wonderful.”
He raised his eyebrows with a grin.
“Okay, then on to your punishment.” His eyes twinkled. “Take off your coat, sit
on my couch and let me do what your eyes were begging for.”
“And I’m going to be your
girlfriend—for real this time? For more than a minute?”
“Forever, Jones. I swear. When I
fell for you in middle school—I fell hard.” He looked deep into my eyes,
melting my heart with his fervent gaze. “I fell forever.”
He finally did what my eyes (and
heart) begged for—he kissed me. And this time he didn’t pull away. This
time it was for forever.
The boy had prayed to die. That was
how Drake found him. It was the child’s silent prayer (his wish), “Please, let
me die.” He prayed it constantly.
Over and over.
me die. Let me die.”
But the boy, Rafe, he was so young,
too young. Drake couldn’t do it, end the boy’s life. But once finding him,
Drake felt responsible. He couldn’t just leave him there, alone to fend for
himself. He couldn’t. Not with those people. They were deviant, cruel. And the
boy was good. Drake could feel that about him. So sometimes he would help the
kid out—enter the boy’s body when his agony was unbearable. Take the
Drake wasn’t your typical faery. He
didn’t get “normal” assignments. They were complicated, and he normally didn’t
“get” what he was supposed to do. But he’d never been reprimanded—ever.
In fact, he’d never gotten any feedback at all. So, he assumed he was doing
okay. He just went with his gut. And his gut in this case told him the boy
needed help—but he didn’t need to die.
So, Drake stuck around, helping the
boy as much as he could. He wanted to just stay in the body—the boy
didn’t realize he was there—and actually having a physical body Drake
found to be fantastic. Feeling wind, sunshine,
But the pain the man provoked upon the boy—it was immense. The boy wanted
to kill the man. Drake wanted to kill the man.
And Drake found he had no real
control over his emotions. It was curious, suddenly having so many feelings. He
never realized what humans went through. What they experienced. And there was
this thing—love. The boy had it for his family, for his sister, Regan.
But they were gone. His family was no longer in the boy’s life. Drake didn’t
understand. Something had happened. But the boy refused to think about it, to
let Drake comprehend. The boy did that a lot. Held things back. Consciously or
unconsciously—Drake wasn’t sure—but the boy blocked things out. He
refused to contemplate his feelings. So, Drake was left with holes. Feelings he
didn’t understand. The boy had loved his sister, Regan. He cried for her
practically every night. But now—for some reason—the boy was with
these people. They twisted the word love, leaving Drake, as well as the boy,