Blood Will Tell
“Not much. Want some?” She offered him a sip from the bottle of vodka she held.
To Eden’s surprise, Noah nodded and took it, his fingers brushing the sophomore’s, whose face flushed in pleasure with the contact. For some inexplicable reason the interplay between them made Eden want to rip the sophomore’s pretty brown hair out. Instead she smirked at Noah as he took a swig from the bottle. “I’m going to check out the kitchen for some soda,” she told him pointedly. “I’ll leave you to,” she gestured sarcastically, “whatever this is.”
Waving her hand at him dismissively, Eden turned and made her way out of the sitting room. She sighed wearily. Even the halls were crowded with teens. As she past their laughing, chuckling, teasing faces, Eden wondered why on earth she didn’t feel the need to ‘partaay’ like them. It held no interest for her. This drunken, out of control-ness made her shudder. Imagine the damage she could do if she ever got out of control.
She thought bleakly of the brunette coming on to Noah.
The sophomore was now a ten. A definite ten.
The kitchen was surprisingly quiet, compared to the rest of the house. When she saw the bowls of food almost depleted, she guessed why. The animals had already eaten everything. Swiping some M&M’s that had been missed, Eden huffed and nudged a kissing couple out of the way of the refrigerator. They glared at her but moved off pretty fast when they recognized her. She smiled a little at that. Sometimes it paid to be her.
Finding some O.J. Eden began hunting for a clean glass. Why had Noah really brought her here? Had his teenage horniness finally caught up with him and he had decided he needed to get laid and Eden was his wingman? Wow. That was depressing.
“You lookin’ for a glasshh?”
Eden spun around as Doug sauntered drunkenly into the room. His pupils were huge and he was wearing this leering smile that made her back up into the counter behind her.
He stopped and reached up into a cupboard she hadn’t checked and produced a glass. She watched in total confusion as he brought it over, still grinning that slimy grin. He stopped inches from her, completely invading her personal space. He smelled of beer and Cheetos. The hunger in her chest unfurled, tasting his soul so near. “Here.” He tilted the glass at her.
Warily, Eden reached up and took it from him. “Thanks.”
Doug grinned and stepped even closer, their t-shirts brushing.
“Hey man, you wanna back it up a little.” She pushed at his chest in annoyance.
The senior didn’t say anything. He angled his head, his eyes narrowing as they peered at her. He licked his lips and sighed. “You know, you’re kind of hot.”
Despite it coming from this moron, Eden found herself flushing a little. “OK. Whatever. Back up, Romeo.”
“Nah.” He reached out now, his fingers brushing her hair. Eden automatically smacked his hand away. “Hey come on,” he cajoled. “I’m jussht tryin’ to get to know you.” He was slurring badly now. “You’re what they call it? That word?” he clicked his fingers, looking dumber than a post. “An igma. Yeah an igma.”
Eden made a face. “A what now?”
At the sound of Noah’s voice, she peered over Doug’s shoulder and saw him standing in the doorway to the kitchen, scowling at them.
“Hey man.” Doug spun around and headed towards Noah, tripping over his feet a little. He whacked him on the shoulder and Noah barely moved, glancing dismissively at Doug from the corner of his eye. “Way to go, man. She’s hot.”
With that he tripped out of the kitchen leaving Eden’s cheeks blazing at the insinuation.
Noah threw her a mocking look as he strode towards her, seeming casual. But there was something there. A tightness in his jaw? “Having fun?”
“I just wanted some O.J.” she huffed.
Like Doug, Noah deliberately invaded her personal space, pressing close to her to reach for the glass and the orange juice. She felt his breath on her neck as he poured the juice into a glass. He pulled back a little to hand it to her. The hunger purred at his nearness.
“Thanks,” she mumbled, frowning at him as she took the glass. “You OK?”
“Doug’s a dick.”
Eden narrowed her eyes. “The sophomore’s a slut.”
They stared at one another for a long time, not saying anything, the tension between them coiling tighter.
Finally, Noah stepped back, and the breath whooshed out of her. “You wanna leave?”
She nodded and put the glass back down on the counter. She curled her lip in teasing derision as she brushed past him. “From now on we’re doing what I wanna do on Saturday night.”
“Let me guess… The Coffee Shoppe?”
She threw him a grin over her a shoulder as they made their way through the crowds. “However did you guess?”
“I’m just brilliant that way.”
As they stepped outside the house, Eden took in a lungful of cool night air. Then she stopped and glanced up at Noah. “What is a shoppe?”
He shrugged. “I think it’s just pronounced shop.”
“Huh. Why have you never pronounced it shop then?”
“Because shoppe sounds funnier.”
She grinned and followed him down the garden towards his car. “It does, doesn’t it.”
“So we’re sticking with shoppe?”
“Linguistically or physically?”
Eden nodded, glad they could breeze past that earlier “blip” in the kitchen so easily. “Sounds like my kind of Saturday night.”
Noah glanced back up at the house and frowned. Eden followed his gaze and saw the sophomore hanging out of the doorway, waving him back in. His eyes widened as he turned back to Eden. “I think we better hurry.”
Eden laughed. “What, not interested in the vodka-wielding sophomore, Mr. Teetotal?”
“No mocking. Who knew a smile and a sip of vodka constituted wedlock around here.” He dived into the driver’s seat, gesturing at Eden to hurry up and get in.
To annoy him, she took her time. Before she slid into the passenger seat, she waved at the sophomore who stood up at the house, and threw her a smug smile. The sophomore narrowed her eyes on her evilly. Eden grinned, her possessiveness enjoying this win. She slid in beside him and relaxed.
“To The Coffee Shoppe, Jeeves.”
Eden blinked, coming back to the present. She gazed up at Noah, feeling warm at the memory, feeling warm at his nearness. OK. So maybe she did… you know…
I don’t know. She shivered at the thought.
But she was more than tempted to find out… even if caring about him that way was dangerous.
Noah waited with bated breath for Eden’s answer. He took comfort in the fact that she’d relaxed against him. He took comfort in the fact that (even though she was in pain because of it) there was a war going on behind her eyes. A war with herself and the soul eater. There was still time. And tonight… tonight it would end. It had to. Word had reached them about the rebel faction of Neith warriors who had attacked Eden. He didn’t know exactly what had happened, only that Eden had survived (thank the gods) and now she was acting… different. He had a horrible feeling she might have had a hand in the deaths of some of those warriors. He wished they were open enough for him to reassure her that it was self-defense. Cyrus was furious. He was ripping through the Neith Councils trying to find the leader of the faction. But no one wanted to admit that they had a rebel among them, that they couldn’t control their own bloody warriors.
“OK.” Eden nodded, drawing him back to her. He felt his heart begin to slow at her agreement. “I’ll meet you. Somehow. Where?”
“Get your brother to take you to the movies.” He told her the movie and time. “Fifteen minutes in, tell him you’re going to the bathroom. Instead, meet me at the back entrance in the alleyway.”
She nodded again, silent, and he squeezed her wrist to reassure her. “We just… we really need to talk.”
“Yeah.” Eden smirked humorlessly. “I guess we do.”
Noah stood aside to let her out of the classroom and he had this stupid urge to grab her hand and stop her; like something bad was going to happen and this was the last time they’d ever talk like friends. He shook it off but watched her walk away. Ten minutes ago she’d been striding down the hallway, daring people to meet her eyes, looking for a fight. Now she huddled into herself, brushing past the other kids like they didn’t exist.
Noah exhaled and leaned his head against the doorframe. She was in so much pain. He was surprised by how much that hurt him.
He barely moved at the feel of his cell vibrating. He reached into his back pocket and flipped it open.
I am here. Are we prepared for this evening? C.
He snorted. Even in his texts, Cyrus sounded like an old guy. And then reality set in and his heart started thudding, his skin tingling. Noah felt the buzz of coming war.
This was what he was born to do.
Who are You, Again?
Getting Stellan to take her to the movies was pretty easy. He’d been haunting Eden’s steps for the last few weeks, worried as all hell that something was going to happen to her. That only made her feel extra guilty about tricking him.
Begging for a break from the house, Stellan had managed to convince Ryan to let him take her out. He promised the goons could follow them and wait for them outside the cinema. Ryan wanted the goons to accompany them into the cinema but Stellan got around him by pretending to be affronted that his father didn’t think he was strong enough to protect his sister. If there was one thing Ryan understood it was wounded masculine pride.
Also, Eden had been behaving particularly sullen and bitter lately. He liked it. So he rewarded it.
Now, now Eden, she admonished herself. He’s not worth it.
And he wasn’t.