Authors: Shannon Dermott
Tags: #Juvenile Fiction
When we arrived at the house, I headed to the front door, which was locked. Turning, I came face to face with Flynn who held my keys.
The sound of the car arming, did nothing to mute my gasp at his close proximity.
Moving in closer, he reached around to unlock the door, never once breaking our magnetic stare. I felt betrayed by my own heightened awareness of his nearness. He leaned in and I hissed in a breath before a click let air rush in at my back. He stood straight, giving me some room. His hand came up signaling to my stupid brain that the door was open.
Swiveling, I spun on my heels. I stopped my mad dash to pry my keys from the door. He reached out to steady my trembling hand and helped me remove the keys with his hand around mine. Once the key was disengaged, his touch was gone. I breathed for only a second before turning to face him.
Empty space greeted me. He was gone. My head caught sight of his retreating form climbing the stairs two at a time. I closed the door, the front one and the one on my heart. Whatever was going on between us was not an option. Ever.
As I slowly ascended the stairs, I thought about the dark ring of shadows that still bruised his beautiful face. He shouldn’t look so tired. At the top, I paused to look down the hall towards his door. There was no way I could let this go. Sucking in a deep breath, I walked towards it.
It wasn’t a big deal, I told myself. My steps were snail’s pace but deliberate. So what if I found him attractive? Just because I was with Luke didn’t mean I didn’t have eyes. Flynn and I weren’t acting on it. We wouldn’t do that to Luke. Ever.
I held my hand up to knock. I couldn’t be sure Flynn would answer knowing it was me with those moments we shared. He’d no doubt assume that I’d come to talk about that and thus ignore me.
Then again, how many times had he barged into my room? So instead, my hand went to the knob and squeezed. Rotating the handle clockwise, I pushed the door open and was shocked by what I saw.
In a scandalized pose, my hand was near my mouth to stifle any noise I might make as I took in the scene. Flynn was already shirtless. His back pressed into the mattress with a smaller figure astride him. His hands were all over her. Her long locks cascaded forward as she rocked her hips. And this wasn’t just any girl. No, she was my blonde nemesis, Sara.
When her head tilted back, causing the curtain of her hair to part, her eyes met mine. She grinned. Flynn’s head turned in my direction and I followed the movement. “You should knock, unless you want to join.”
Taking a step back, I closed the door firmly. I stood for a second, embarrassed hearing laughter coming from the other side of the door. I stepped away and moved fast in the direction of my room. I certainly didn’t need to hear anymore.
How could I have possibly known he’d had company? Had she been in his room this whole time waiting for him? But of course, she could just pop in at anytime. My thoughts shouted Sebastian’s name at the top of my inner lungs. Nothing. The Scotsman didn’t show up. I pulled out my phone and dialed his number to no avail. Why was he never around when I needed him? So I wasn’t in danger. That hadn’t stopped him before from barging in on my life. I could only guess he was either really busy or blowing me off.
I returned to my room. More than ever I couldn’t count on him. I vowed not to call for the demon even in a fight to the death. I had to learn to be self-sufficient. I’d only call if my demise would cause danger to my friends. Then, I’d swallow my pride and do what was best to ensure their safety.
With nothing left to do, I packed. We were going for a week, but I still used the small suitcase that I’d had when I moved here. I didn’t need much, several pairs of shorts and tees. And my pink Juicy track pants and a few tank and tees for sleep. I wasn’t sure how warm or cold it would be at night, so a few sleep shorts added to the pile.
My phone rang. Maggie was on the other end.
“Are you set?” I asked.
A loud squeal in the background preceded her words. “Yes, your mom talked to the parents and it’s good. I’m so excited. This is going to be so much fun.”
“Really?” Because it felt like it would turn out to be disastrous. “Brent and Doug will be there together.”
She sobered, “I know.”
“Have you decided what you’re going to do?” I questioned.
“Nothing,” she began. “At least not until after we find out.”
The full moon would rise on this trip. “It’s going to be okay,” I said.
“Yeah, it’s no big deal. It’s not like I’m going to die. I’ll be a human or a were and I’ll deal with it.”
She was so brave. I hadn’t handled finding out I was human very well. But here she was sounding strong and confident. “Of course. I’ll be there for you no matter what.”
“I know,” she said quietly. “Anyway, I see you later. I’m packed and ready to go.” She sounded a bit more chipper, but it was more of a brave front. I felt bad for spoiling her happy mood.
I’d changed into dry clothes after a shower, when the doorbell rang. I continued to brush my hair, trying in vain to get the tangles out, when the bell rang again. David and my mom must not be home and Flynn was obviously still occupied.
Hurrying out of my room, I stopped short of the front door remembering the danger that could lurk behind it. Would the demon hunters try a frontal assault again? I didn’t know. Still, I opened the door cautiously and on guard.
There wasn’t danger on the other side. Well, not the kind that would kill me. No, the danger that stood on the other side was the boy that held my heart. My summer knight smiled down on me brightening my day. “Hey, I didn’t think you’d be by.”
He grinned. “Are you going to let me in?”
Smiling, I stepped back. When he stepped over the threshold, I stopped him with my words. “Why did you ring the bell anyway? You have a key.”
I hadn’t been the one to give him the key. Having a close relationship with Flynn and David since he had landed him that long before we started to date. “I didn’t want to piss off your mom.” He leaned his tall frame down to give me a quick kiss before looking around.
“I don’t think she’s home,” I said, still holding the door open. “I haven’t seen her.”
As I spoke, a car engine purred its way up the drive. Luke and I turned
to see who it was.
With the front door gaping wide open, we watched as a white Yukon pulled in behind Luke’s BMW. Luke shifted to stand in front of me when the doors opened. Surprisingly, Chris and his pack of shifters got out.
Peering around and under Luke’s outstretched arm that rested on the doorframe, I cursed under my breath. Then I moved to stand beside him. He looked at me. It wasn’t often that I cursed or maybe his stare was because I’d moved out of his protective stance. “What is it?” He was more confused by my outburst than the shifters who were quickly approaching us.
“They’re here probably for Maggie, Brent and Doug,” I said quietly. The last time they were here, they had made that known.
Luke cursed, too. I guess he’d forgotten all about that as well. “Chris,” Luke said sounding friendly when they made their way over to us. He extended his hand. They did that man hug deal, with a clasp hand in between and a quick clap on the back.
“Luke,” Chris said also looking as though this were a friendly visit. Then, his hazel eyes focused on me before it roamed over my body a little too personally. His little redhead girlfriend didn’t look thrilled at that. She hadn’t liked me before, and she wouldn’t start now.
Luke obviously noticed too because in one movement, he took my hand and interlaced our fingers. He brought the back of my hand to his lips and kissed it. His show of possessiveness could have pissed me off, but it thrilled me. “You remember my girlfriend, Mercy don’t you.” Of course Chris did. But that wasn’t Luke’s point.
Chris nodded his head in understanding. ”Mercy,” he offered, extending a hand out to me. His voice was deep and smooth. He smiled a little and it reached his green eyes. Luke held up our intertwined hands as a reason for why I couldn’t shake his hand in greeting. Oh, I had tried to free my fingers to do the polite thing, but Luke was having none of it. “Right,” Chris said, “We’re here for business anyway.”
Taking a moment, I looked over at the group behind their leader. They all stood in that weird pyramid formation they were in the last time we met. The creepy girl with the raven hair gave me the evil look that was always plastered on her face. I questioned if that look was for me or if this was how she always greeted people. I leaned towards the latter. The moment was tense. Glancing up at Luke who hadn’t let me go, I saw that his expression said that he was tracking the group’s movements in case he needed to make a defensive move. Chris hadn’t been behind the attack on our house a few months ago. That would have been Mike, the boy behind him and to his left who hadn’t spoken or even looked our way.
“Can we come in?” Chris asked politely, gesturing with his open faced palm towards the inside of the house.
I was about to speak up when Luke said casually, “Get Flynn.” This was my house too. Luke knew that. However, he must have his reasons and telling me in front of them was probably not an option. Not liking the scrutiny from the group, I didn’t say more but instead headed upstairs after he finally let me go.
Luke hadn’t moved and must be wary of Chris. I heard Luke say, “This isn’t my house otherwise –” in lieu of an answer as to why he hadn’t invited them inside.
Moments later, my hand reached out to open Flynn’s door when an image of what I’d caught sight of earlier flashed in my head. My nails dug arcs into my palm and I knocked instead. “Enter,” came Flynn’s strong voice. Hesitantly, I opened his door and took a tentative step inside. I found Flynn playing video games with no Sara in sight.
His eyes narrowed on me. “What?” he asked. It was clear he didn’t want me here any more than I wanted to be standing there.
“Chris and his pack are at the door,” I stated. He wasted no time but hopped to his feet and tossed the game controller on the love seat. I heard the voice from the TV say ‘
’ in a hauntingly scary way. But he didn’t even notice of it. I could only imagine the gruesome scene that would fill the TV screen, but I was busy stepping out of his path as he breezed by me.
“What happened?” he asked. In hushed tones I told him what was up. He paused in the doorway looking back at me. Once I finished the quick tale, he double timed it downstairs. I held back and made a call to Tom.
Luke hadn’t said as much, but Tom needed to be here. “Yo,” Tom said when he answered his phone.
“Hey, this is Mercy,” I said.
Although I couldn’t see him, his voice brightened. “Mercy, what brings you to dial my number.”
He made it sound so scandalous, I laughed. Then I told him what was going on. He immediately got serious at the mention of the shifters.
“I’m not too far. I’ll be there in a few.” I hung up wondering if I should call David or my mom. But I decided against it. They hadn’t seemed hostile. It wasn’t as if they could kidnap Maggie or Doug. Tucking my phone back in my pocket, I headed for the stairs. I looked down to see the foyer empty. But I heard drifting voices and footsteps that sounded like they were descending deeper in the house. Flynn apparently was playing a good host. They’d all ended up in the basement. Doing my part, I got drinks and a bag of chips I dumped in a bowl before heading downstairs myself.
After Flynn racked balls on the pool table, the doorbell rang. Knowing who it was I headed upstairs and ushered Tom to the basement. He didn’t look pleased; in fact he looked downright grim when I let him in. But he didn’t tell me what was on his mind either.
Things went from weird to strange. With Tom’s last two steps into the basement, all eyes turned to him. All the shifters, no matter where or what they had been doing, got to their knees and bowed like he was a king. I didn’t know how close to the truth I really was.