Authors: M. Lathan
Tags: #paranormal romance, #paranormal, #young adult, #witches, #bullying, #shape shifter romance, #psychic abilities, #teen and young adult
I curled up in a ball on the floor of the
shower, breathing deep, trying to regain control of my muscles.
My shower song came to me then. I hummed it
at first, then sang, as the shaking subsided and my tongue stopped
throbbing. I used my hand as a cup to bring water to my mouth. I
swished to clear the taste of blood. My nose stopped too, and I sat
on the floor of the shower, scared and stunned, until I realized I
couldn’t stay in here all night.
I nearly fell twice as I dried off and
slipped into my pajamas. I tried to pull it together when I heard
the TV from my room.
I made the mistake of sitting on the bed and
couldn’t get back up. “Nate,” I whispered, so he wouldn’t think I
was ignoring him in here. He heard me over the TV and came into the
“You okay?” he asked. I nodded with my heavy
head. “You don’t look okay.” He sat next to me and pulled me to his
lap. I wanted to believe that I’d just gotten really worked up
about hearing thoughts and I did
just make myself have a
seizure or some bloody, psychic fit. But I knew that wasn’t true.
“You also don’t sound okay,” he said.
“What do you hear?”
“Your heart is a little off. But I can’t
really go by that. Your heart is always doing funny things around
me.” He flashed his sneaky smile again. I was too tired to roll my
eyes, so I closed them. “And your breath smells weird.”
He laughed. “It doesn’t stink. It smells
metallic. So either you’re a vampire or something’s wrong in there.
Let me see.” I tightened my lips and he tried to pry them open.
“Come on. Open up. It’s my job to take care of you.
I need to
,” he crooned.
“It’s not your job!” I snapped. My eyelids
weighed a ton, but I forced them open. He snatched his fingers from
my lips and looked away. I sighed. “I mean … you don’t have to take
care of me. You’re not obligated to.” He looked like he didn’t
really know what to say to that. And he shouldn’t. I’d just gone
off like a psycho. Like a copy. “I’m sorry. I just don’t want to be
a burden on you. I don’t want to be this thing you have to take
care of and protect.”
He reached down to peck my cheek. “Okay,” he
said, like it was solved and done with. “I’m sorry.”
“No, babe. You didn’t do anything wrong.” I
groaned and sat up in his arms. I almost fell back, still dizzy.
Holding on to his shoulders, I poked out my tongue, like I
should’ve done without freaking out on him. “I bit my tongue in the
shower,” I slurred.
He rubbed the sore spot with his finger.
“Yikes. It’s pretty deep. Does it hurt?” I nodded and retracted my
tongue. “I know you
said that you don’t need to be
taken care of, but you
realize I can fix that, right?” I
chuckled and stuck my tongue out again. “My mostly useless magic
takes some concentration, so don’t kiss me.”
He slid his tongue over mine, and I moved in
to kiss him. He pulled away and shook his head. I held still as his
magic, that wasn’t useless to me, did its work on my self-imposed
“Nate. We need to talk,” I said.
“Do you realize that you’re talking in your
incredibly cute, sleepy voice?”
“I know. My shower was … eventful. That’s
what we need to talk about.”
He chuckled and growled. “I don’t need to
think about you in the shower any more than I already do.” I
managed a sluggish giggle. “You’re going to be singing in my dreams
“Why?” I asked, losing the battle with my
“You sing very well. Was that a lullaby I
heard?” he whispered, his beautiful voice echoing in my head like a
“Oh. Yeah. I sing that all the time. I made
“I’m not one to judge, given my sock
friends, but you made up your own lullaby?”
I shrugged my shoulders. At least I’d meant
to shrug my shoulders. I
made the song up, hadn’t I? I
didn’t remember doing it, but I’d always known it wasn’t something
I remembered from the nuns. They didn’t sing to me. I was
to them, the crier, a nuisance. My throat tightened
thinking of Catherine and Raymond. I knew in that same moment,
without a hint of doubt, that the song had come from one or both of
them. How would I remember that?
The answer came to me, draining me even
more. I could remember it because I wasn’t normal and I hadn’t been
That reminded me of what I needed to tell
him – I was psychic and what we had was built on a lie that could
dissolve at any moment. It could be because of Remi. She could come
up with another plan. Or Lydia Shaw could knock on the door, led
here by her psychic powers. Then he’d be hurt … and I’d…
I really didn’t want to say die or admit to
myself what I thought would happen to me without him. What I’d seen
in my dream.
“Baby … my parents. I think they sang to me.
That’s good news because I …”
“Shhh,” he said and laughed. “You’re totally
drooling on me, Chris.” I felt the covers pull over my shoulders
and his lips press against mine. “Goodnight, baby.”
“No,” I said. “Don’t … go.”
“You wouldn’t mind me in your bed with you?”
Was he in the sitting room now? He sounded so far away.
“No. Come back.”
The bed heated up in a moment. “I’m right
here.” He pulled me closer and I gave in, slipping into the warmest
sleep of my life.
Soft snores tickled my ear, and I opened my
eyes. The lights and the TV were still on in the sitting room.
Nate’s hand was tucked under my rib.
Crap. I’d failed again. Didn’t tell him …
I turned around carefully, trying not to
disturb him. He was even more beautiful asleep.
The fire I’d feared for years seemed to
swirl around my heart now. I smiled at my sleeping boyfriend, and a
tear fell from my eye. For some reason, some deep and nameless
reason, this felt familiar. Lying with someone in bed, love in my
heart, love all around me. It made me want to sing. So I did.
Softly, I whispered my shower song. It felt like it belonged here.
In a bed, with your heart sleeping right beside you.
As I told him to dream his little angel
dreams, another verse leapt to my tongue.
My heart is yours.
My life is too.
No one will hurt you.
This is true.
Sleep in peace as angels sing.
My love. My everything.
I knew in an instant I hadn’t made that part
up either. I shivered, wanting to scream at CC, yell at her for
killing herself, yell at her for leaving me alone. Nate’s arms
tightened around me, and my eyes flew open.
His were filled with tears.
“You love me?” he asked in a weak whisper. I
opened my mouth but nothing came out. I was still shaking from the
song I’d remembered and trembling more now because he’d heard me.
“No one has ever loved me.”
He sounded nothing like my Nate, not upbeat
or goofy. He sounded incredibly wounded.
love you,” I whispered.
He closed his eyes tightly, like he was
refusing to cry.
“I love you more. I have loved you for days.
I will love you forever.”
Nate loved me.
And if he
me, I had a better
chance of keeping him now. He could tell me anything about himself,
ask my forgiveness, and he’d have it. No question.
I kissed him hard, saying thank you, saying
I love you even more than I did before.
He pulled away after a minute, but I
followed him. I rolled myself on top of him and tangled my fingers
in his hair.
He rolled us back to my side without moving
his lips from mine. His hands slipped under my shirt, warm on my
back. I reached my legs around his waist. That seemed to set a fire
between us that changed … everything. The innocence we had in the
pool faded. Our kisses were longer, deeper, infinitely hotter. His
lips moved to my neck, and I tightened my legs around him.
I slipped my hands under his shirt and
trailed my fingers up his scars, raising the back of his shirt to
his shoulders. He shrugged it off the rest of the way.
This position seemed to have one inevitable
ending that we were speeding towards way too soon. The nuns had
called this one-thing-leading-to-another dilemma The Slippery
I thought back. They’d given specific
instructions on how to stop plummeting down
. Step one. What was step one? Nate bit my lip a little.
Damn. Why did I want to remember step one? He moved his hands
slowly down my back, and I shuddered.
Oh, right. I wanted to get off of the slope
because I’d only met him two seconds ago, and I was lying to him
about everything. I was really human, and if how close we’d been
before wasn’t illegal, this would certainly be enough for Lydia
Shaw to remove his beautiful head, maybe mine too.
Then I remembered that step one started with
a V, like Virginity. Vertical. Step one of getting off of the
slippery slope was move you and your lustful partner in sin to a
vertical position. I lifted up and we slowed. Nate rolled away to
the other side of the bed.
What do you know? The nuns knew something
after all. They knew how not to have sex.
Step two. I remembered there being giggles
in the assembly at this point. Step two was breathe and place a
barrier between you and your lustful partner in sin. I grabbed a
pillow and hugged it against my chest.
He pulled his shirt over his head, inside
out. “Sorry, babe,” he said. “I lost it.”
“It was me. With the legs.
sorry.” The look he shot me said,
don’t ever be sorry for doing
. I smiled. “I think we should um … talk about it,” I said,
moving on to step three – openly communicate with your lustful
partner in sin about boundaries. My boundaries would be a lot more
flexible than the nuns imagined, but we should at least talk about
them. Then we’d have a plan … if he didn’t break up with me after I
finally told him the truth.
“Right. Okay. So the leg thing, that was
great, but it sort of made me lose my mind. Did I upset you?” I
shook my head. “Would you tell me if I did?”
“Yeah. It wasn’t just you, Nate. I lost it
too. So how long do you think we should … uh…”
“Wait?” he asked. I nodded. “Who do you want
to answer that question? Your boyfriend or your best friend?”
He propped himself up on his elbow. “Well,
your best friend thinks it should happen sometime in the distant
future when it’s right and you trust your boyfriend that much. And
it should be planned out so you two can be careful.”
“And my boyfriend?”
He pulled me closer, pressing his nose
against my neck. “He’d say now was a good time, and he hates your
friend for putting that
distant future idea in your
head.” We laughed, and he kissed me softly. “But he loves you, so
so so so much, and wouldn’t want you to do anything too soon.
he feels like dirt for mauling you just now.”
maul me, Nate.” He
propped himself up again. He closed his eyes and half smiled, half
“You must not feel that I totally unhooked
you back there.” I felt my back and the hanging straps under my
shirt and gasped.
“When did you do that?!” He half-chuckled,
half-groaned and shrugged. “That is in a way, impressive, and in
many ways, very creepy and concerning.”
“I told you, I lost it.” I re-hooked my bra,
laughing at how embarrassed he looked. “I can’t believe I did that.
I should go.”
I pouted. “Please stay. I promise not to
attack you again.”
His kiss seemed to mean,
attack me any
time you like
I wanted to laugh at how the nuns’ step
thing worked. We were fine when we curled up under the covers, all
traces of smoldering heat gone.
“Tell me this is real,” he said. “Tell me
you can fall in love with someone this fast. Tell me I won’t wake
up from this and be living on the streets, hungry and dreaming
about someone like you.”
I should’ve said it then, the truth, but
real. Despite the lies. And to have him get up and
leave in this moment would be death, more pain than Sienna or Satan
could ever cause. “I want to be yours forever,” I said, the truest
words ever spoken.
“Works for me,” he whispered, as he bundled
my feet in his.
I fell asleep in his arms as my powers told
me to dread tomorrow. I could almost hear the thunder from the
storm that was soon to hit.
I reached for him when I woke up, but he was
gone. Sophia was humming a sweet melody in the bathroom. He must’ve
crept out of bed before she came.
I turned over, face down into the oversized
pillow he’d been on. I held it like it was Nathan. Tears pushed at
my eyes, thinking about what I had to tell him today and that I may
have to deal with the Remi situation on my own after he broke up
“You went swimming?” Sophia asked when I
forced myself to get up and drop the Nathan scented pillow.
“Yep,” I said. She looked like she was
expecting me to say more than that. “It was fun. That’s what you
wanted, right? Me to have fun?”
I went into the closet and shut the door to
get dressed. “I didn’t imagine that fun would include a bikini.
Where’d you get it?”
“Emma made it,” I said.
“I’ll have to congratulate her. This is good
work. She’s been practicing. Believe it or not, creating clothing
is pretty advanced magic. The seams are perfect. Expensive fabric.
Since there aren’t any tags, I’ll assume I should hand wash
I cocked my head to the side. I hadn’t
thought about it having a tag. I guessed that made sense. Tags were
from designers and manufacturers. Witches wouldn’t need to make
them. I looked inside of the purple shirt I was about to pull over
my head. It had a tag. I searched through all of my clothes then.
They all had them.