The Hidden (The Hidden Trilogy) (6 page)

BOOK: The Hidden (The Hidden Trilogy)
11.04Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Holy shit… Emily didn’t know what she was.

Chapter Eight

Wednesday, August 26
th

 

Beth didn’t come with me to our sociology class that morning. She’d gotten a nasty case of food poisoning last night and ended up becoming BFFs with the toilet. In fact, she was still hanging out with her new friend when I left for class. I’d offered to stay with her, but she insisted I go, since she’d need to copy my notes later.

My stomach knotted while I walked up the steps of building K, knowing I was about to see
him
, and I kind of wished I’d stayed with Beth anyway.

For the last day and a half, I’d obsessed over our encounter–replaying every look, every word–and I couldn’t figure out where I’d messed up. I finally concluded that I hadn’t done anything wrong, and he was just a douchebag. A beautiful, fucked-in-the-head douchebag.

I mean, he’d been such an
ass
, and for what?
What
was the point of his behavior? I failed to see how I could’ve mortally offended him, but he acted like I had. And the more I thought about it, the more it infuriated me until I was just downright pissed. I might not know what his deal was, but I’d be damned if I let him treat me that way again.

 

It didn’t matter what I said to Emily. Nothing I could possibly say would make me look good after our first interaction. She probably thought I was a monumental ass. And she
should
think that. If I’d behaved that way around a human, they would’ve considered me psychotic. And that’s how Emily thought of herself–as human.

But
how
did she end up with human parents? 

Maybe Emily was the result of a broken mating contract. That was grounds for death, and a
very
good reason to dispose of the “evidence” by dumping her with humans. So far, this was the only theory that made sense. Not that it mattered, because as much as her situation intrigued me, it was ultimately none of my business. I’d done enough to the poor girl already. I should really just leave her alone…even if I kind of thought of her as my own little Rubik’s cube.

I tried not to let my eyes search for her as I walked into sociology. I tried to stop my feet from walking over to her once I saw her sitting on the opposite side of class, no doubt trying to distance herself from me as much as possible. I tried to leave her alone. Honestly, I did.

But I couldn’t stop myself. She deserved an explanation, even if I couldn’t really give her one, and she deserved an apology, which I certainly
could
give. And I would. I’d try my damndest to smooth things over. I doubted it would work, but I wanted to try. I owed it to the girl that was once my friend.

She sat alone with her head down, her dark hair cascading down her left side, shielding her face. Immersed in her phone, she read what appeared to be a message before typing a response. Her bag took up the seat next to her.

Is she saving that seat for a friend?

I looked around, but didn’t see the girl from the other day. Shrugging it off, I walked down the row towards her, stepping over feet and bags. I stopped at the seat next to her, my heartbeat spiking.

What if she tells me to fuck off?

Fear sank into the pit of my stomach, making my feet seem too heavy to move as doubt and worry swam in my head.

Jesus, man. Get a grip and grow a pair.

I shook my head and smirked. I couldn’t believe I was being such a pussy. I mean, hell, I’d killed men. And I’d been shot, stabbed, blown to bits, and lived for almost three centuries. But
this
scared the living hell out of me? Talking to a girl?

I inhaled deeply, and with calmness I didn’t know I had, asked, “Is this seat taken?”

She didn’t look up. She just said, “No, it’s open,” and continued reading a message on her phone.

Okay. This might be easier to fix than I thought.

I glanced at her bag. Was I supposed to move it, or…?

Her eyes flicked to the bag, realization crossing her face. “Sorry.” She turned off her phone and pulled her bag from the seat. “I forgot–”

Her words cut off as she looked up at me, her face expressionless. I gave her an awkward half-smile, because I didn’t know what else to do.

She dropped her bag back down. “Seat’s taken.”

The awkward smile on my face turned into a real one. “You just said it was available.”


Fine
.” She grabbed the bag and stood, prepared to turn and walk away.

Crap. “Wait–” My smile quickly faded. “Please don’t leave. I’ll behave. I promise.”

She gave me a peculiar look.

What was that? Dismay, perhaps?

Her eyes narrowed as she sat back down. Clearly, she didn’t trust me as far as she could throw me. It was stupid of me to expect anything less.

I sat down slowly, choosing my words carefully. “I–”

Her scent flooded me, triggering an image from my dream of her naked body writhing atop mine. My skin burned as I stiffened–both in my spine and in my pants. Thankfully my books were in my lap, covering my massive(ly inappropriate) erection.

Her quiet voice cut into my thoughts. “Why are you staring at me like that?”

I cleared my throat. Twice. “Like what?” It still came out hoarse.

She shook her head. “Never mind. What were you saying?”

“I–” Shit, what
was
I saying? Oh, right. An apology. “I’m sorry about my behavior on Monday. That was hardly the right way to make a good first impression.”

Her lips puckered. Yep, still angry. She probably wondered if I had forgotten to take my meds, given my about-face this morning.

“Yeah, no shit.” Her cheeks pinkened as soon as the words left her mouth, but she didn’t look away as if embarrassed.

I winced, though I respected the hell out of her for standing her ground. Not many people talked to me the way she did. Or got away with it.

“I deserved that,” I said after a moment. “I didn’t have breakfast Monday morning, so I was a bit…woozy.” I looked down to the book in front of me. Lying to her felt wrong. It made me feel like a dick, but I couldn’t tell her the truth. At least not yet.

“Uh-huh.” She didn’t buy this for a second. “Did you have breakfast
today
?”

“I guess I deserved that one, too,” I said. “And I
did
have breakfast this morning, so I can assure you I’m in the right state of mind.” I couldn’t help but smile at her.

Her pupils dilated as her breathing faltered. “That’s…good.”

“Allow me to introduce myself.” Her scent intensified, the sugar and flower combination flaring as I involuntarily leaned in to get a better smell. “I’m Thomas.”

She stared blankly at me. Blinking a couple times, she frowned and dropped her eyes. “It’s nice to meet you.”

Why did she frown? Did I upset her again?

I opened my mouth to ask her, but the abrupt darkness interrupted me as the projection screen lowered.

 

After class, Emily left in a rush. I got caught behind a crowd of humans as I tried to follow her, and finally reached her in the hallway.

I wanted to talk with her more, but I wasn’t quite sure
how
. What an odd feeling this was–wanting someone to like you. Humans seemed to do it every day. They had this compulsion to want everyone to like them, but that’s just not possible. Not
everybody’s
going to like you. And if they don’t, good riddance–you’re much better off without them.

But at that moment, I didn’t care if everyone on the planet despised me, so long as
Emily
liked me.

I fell into step with her. “Mind if I walk with you?”

She stopped, her brows rising until they almost met her hairline. “Seriously?”

“What?” I frowned. Was it something I said?

“Are you
kidding
me?” She threw open the double doors and walked outside, rushing down the stairs like she couldn’t get away from me fast enough.

Damn it…

 

Thomas jogged up to me. Two days before, he acted like I was gum on his shoe–just a nuisance, and nothing to be bothered with. And
now
he wanted to walk with me? This guy made absolutely no freaking sense. He was probably bi-polar or had a split personality. Whatever it was, he was definitely one screwdriver short of a toolbox.

“I’m sorry.” His voice was still light and friendly–not at all indicative of his capability to be a giant ass-hat. “I’m not trying to upset you, I just–”


Look
.” I stopped and faced him. “We already established that you were an asshole on Monday, okay? You apologized, and I accepted. The end.”

He laughed once, without humor. “That’s awfully dismissive, don’t you think?”

I snorted. “What, so you don’t think I’m being
fair
?”

“No, I don’t. You’re judging me before you’ve even gotten to know me.”

My jaw clenched. How dare he? Did he not do the
exact
same thing to me?

Maybe I should remind him.

 

Emily’s jaw clenched. “
I doubt there’s much to know
.”

Having my words thrown back in my face really stung. It reminded me how much of a shit I’d been, and that I was still miles away from making it up to her.

“I deserved that.” I waited for her to say something–some kind of smartass retort or acknowledgment to what I’d said. She said nothing, though, instead turning and walking away.

Oh,
hell no
. She wasn’t getting out of this that easily.

Fully aware that I was about to cause a scene–and not caring in the slightest–I grabbed her bag and carefully pulled her back to me, which pissed her off even more.

She tried jerking away from me, saying through clenched teeth, “
Let. Me. Go.

I did, but blocked her path. “All right, so I judged you. You did it to me too, but at least I’m willing to form a second opinion of you.
You’re
not, though. You’re sticking with your first opinion, which now puts
you
in the wrong.”

She crossed her arms, her eyes still flaring with indignation. “I’m pretty sure it doesn’t. My opinion of you is now a verifiable fact: you
are
an asshole.”

My blood boiled as we silently glared at each other. “God, you’re just
so
…”

Ridiculous! Absurd! Infuriating! Asinine!

I couldn’t make the words come out, I was that fired up. And I was vaguely aware that my face had contorted from frustration and anger, with my hands balled into fists, dying for something to hit. If she’d been a man, I wouldn’t have hesitated to punch her right in the face.

I exhaled slowly, unclenching my jaw to mutter, “I’m
not
an asshole.”

Before she had a chance to argue, I left.

Well, that went downhill quickly.

Did I smooth things over? No. Did I show her I wasn’t the giant asshole she thought I was? No.

Did I yell at her? Yes. Did I just reaffirm my status as world-class asshole? Yes. Did I just do the exact
opposite
of what I intended, and fuck everything up? Yes.

BOOK: The Hidden (The Hidden Trilogy)
11.04Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Hotel Paradise by Martha Grimes
Captive by L. J. Smith
(Dream Man 03) Law Man by Kristen Ashley