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“Maybe what?” Della asked.
“Nothing,” he said.
“Don’t ‘nothing’ me! What were you going to say?”
He kicked at another rock on the ground. “To change things.”
“Change what?”
“Me,” he said.
Della shook her head. “There’s nothing wrong with you.”
“Right,” he said as if he thought she was making shit up. Couldn’t he see she was too tired to make shit up right now?
“What’s wrong with you?” she asked, suddenly realizing she didn’t understand why Perry was going to the fancy school. She got why Steve would go. They were going to give him a crash course in supernatural medicine. But Perry wasn’t into medicine.
“Spill it, bird boy!” Della snapped. “I’m dead tired and don’t want to dance around this conversation.”
“Haven’t you noticed I have to hide on parents’ day? And if Burnett uses me in a case, I have to go in already shifted?”
“Because I can’t control things.”
“What things?” Della asked.
“My eye color. And when I get mad I … shift without meaning to.”
Della thought back. “So you turned into a dragon and a super-sized lion once or twice. That’s not the end of the world.”
“Not here, it’s not, but if it’s in the human world, it could stir up a lot of shit.”
Della couldn’t deny it. It would make national news. She could see CNN covering it now. They’d probably blame it on one of the political parties. That, or stem cell research. “And you really can’t control it?”
“I wish.”
Her heart, already broken in a hundred different ways, still hurt for the guy. “Then go and learn how to control yourself and come back. Miranda is bonkers about you, I’m sure she’ll wait.”
“She shouldn’t.”
“What?” Della asked. “Oh, crap! Please tell me you aren’t breaking up with her.”
“Not breaking up, just taking a break.”
“It still has the word ‘break’ in it, idiot. You can’t do that to her!”
“You and Steve did it.”
Della’s mouth dropped open. “No. Steve and I weren’t together. You can’t break up when you’re not made up.” It was another lie, emotionally—they had made up and made out, but she ignored that point, ignored the sting of pain connected to the lie. Right now, she just felt for Miranda.
“Why the hell are you doing this?” Della seethed.
His blue eyes tightened. “She needs to figure out what she wants.”
“Duh, she already has! She wants you.” And that’s when a thought hit. And that thought shot to her gut, burned, and completely pissed her off. Being pissed off took the edge off her exhaustion.
“Is this about sex?” she asked. “Because if this is about sex, I’m gonna open up a huge can of whoop ass on your butt.”
Her question seemed to shock him. “It’s not … I mean…”
“Boys!” she seethed. She moved in and poked the shape-shifter in his chest. “Listen to me, you little horny twerp! Nobody should be forced to do something they’re not comfortable doing. Especially when it involves getting naked.”
“It’s not … You don’t understand.”
“Oh, I understand all right.” She gave Perry another poke. “Guys are jerkoffs who think if they can’t get what they want from a girl, they’ll just move on and get it from someone else.”
“Stop,” he ordered, his tone deep and vibrating with frustration. “You don’t understand.”
His eyes grew a bright red. He was about to shift into something big and mean, but in the mood Della was in, she’d be happy to take him on. That can of whoop ass was begging to be opened. But before he started shifting, the coward turned and walked away.
“That’s right,” she called after him. “You’d better tuck your tail and run.” Then it hit her. “By the way, you were able to control yourself right then! You don’t need to go to Paris. Stay with Miranda.”
He didn’t answer. Just kept walking. Angry, she started running back to her cabin, ready to find a crying Miranda. Much to her surprise, only silence met her when she entered the door.
Silence and a cold chill.
She stopped and looked around, waiting for ice pebbles to start dropping. But then the cold evaporated. Telling herself she’d imagined it, she started toward her bedroom, but spotted the note waiting on the kitchen table. Edging closer, almost afraid it was left by the ghost, she relaxed when she saw it was written in Kylie’s handwriting.
Della, we didn’t know when you’d be back. Miranda went to a witch meeting and I’m with Lucas. But if you need us, call, and we’ll both be back in a snap. I’ll listen to both you and Miranda whine.
Best buds forever!
Della sighed. “You two are the best.” She almost pulled her phone out, but she didn’t want to come off as needy. She’d see them when they got home. Walking into her bedroom, her gaze zeroed in on the bed.
Instantly, all she wanted to do was crawl in and lose herself to slumber. She didn’t want to think. Didn’t want to cry. Sleep and forget. An hour, maybe two. Since she’d been Reborn, that was all she really needed to refresh her.