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Oh, she knew it wasn’t fair to want to hang on to him, but dad-blast it, it hurt.
“I’m so sorry,” Della said, this time with complete honestly and she gave the witch another hug, her heart aching right along with Miranda’s.
*   *   *
An hour later, Della lay in silence. Miranda, taking up half of Della’s pillow, had cried herself to sleep.
Della heard Kylie walk into the cabin. The chameleon stopped in the living room and listened. Probably turned vampire to tune in to her super hearing to see who all was home.
She moved to Della’s door and cracked it open. It only creaked once.
“Shh,” Della said in a voice lower than a whisper. “If you wake her up, you’re in charge of getting her to sleep next time. It took five hugs.”
Della crept out of the bed with the slowness of an inchworm.
Kylie stepped back into the living room and Della cautiously and silently shut the door. They moved all the way outside to the front porch. They each sat down at the edge and let their feet hang down a few inches from the grass.
“I’m sorry.” Kylie looked at her and nipped at her bottom lip. “I should’ve come home hours ago. Holiday asked if Lucas and I would go to Walmart. They ran out of eggs and asked if we’d make an emergency run. I called Miranda and she said she was fine. I didn’t think you’d gotten home yet. And I didn’t know it would take that long.”
“It’s okay,” Della said.
Kylie looked back toward the door. “Was she an emotional wreck?”
“She’s just Miranda,” Della said.
“So she was an emotional wreck.” Kylie smiled sadly. “And you dealt with her while you’re hurting, too. Damn.”
“I’m fine,” Della said.
“Liar.” Kylie, obviously still in vamp mode, titled her head slightly to the side as if hearing Della’s heart stumble.
“Okay, I’m hurting, but I’m tougher.”
“No,” Kylie said. “You’re just better at pretending.” She gave Della the look that said “spill.” “What did Steve want?”
Della sighed. “As if Miranda didn’t tell you.”
“She did,” Kylie said, “but I was afraid it was more.”
“It was more,” Della said, her heart replaying the pain. “He said he can’t take seeing Chase and me working together.”
“Isn’t it the same thing as seeing him work with that smiley chick at the vet’s office who has the hots for him?”
“He doesn’t think so.”
“What do you think?” Kylie asked.
“I think … Oh, I don’t know what I think. I feel a million different things right now, none of them good.”
Kylie let go of a deep breath, filled with empathy. “So, he’s for sure leaving?”
Della nodded and felt the lump in her throat, then her thoughts went back to Miranda asleep in her bed. “I kind of understand why Steve is doing it, but Perry … that just pisses me off. Do you think it’s because Miranda hasn’t put out? I came right out and asked him, but he denied it, and his heart didn’t actually call him a liar, but I’m not sure I believe him.”
Kylie pulled one of her legs up and hugged it. “I could be wrong, but I just don’t see it being that. Not Perry. He’s so in love with Miranda.”
“Yeah, but you know what guys love more than anything.”
Kylie shrugged. “As sad as it sounds, I really think Perry is trying to do Miranda a favor. I ran into him this afternoon, and he looked so depressed that it hurt me to look at him.”
“Duh. Then he shouldn’t go to frigging Paris! How hard is that?”
“Pretty hard,” Kylie said. “Put yourself in his shoes. He’s basically ostracized from the human world. You and I, we think about college, and what we’re going to do with our lives. He can’t do that. If he can’t learn to control himself, he’s basically in hiding the rest of his life. And I’m sure Miranda talks about what she wants to do. He has to feel as if he’s going to hold her back.”
“Damn it! It sucks being a supernatural teen.”
Kylie sighed. “I pretty much thought it sucked being a human teen, too.”
“I didn’t,” Della said. “I had it great.”
Kylie looked at her. “Didn’t you tell me that your parents wanted you to be a doctor?”
“Yeah,” Della said.
“And were you going to do that just to make them happy?”
“No,” Della said.
“Then sooner or later you would’ve had to stand up to them, and then things wouldn’t have been so great. I’m just saying that both humans and supernaturals have it tough when it comes to being a teen.”
“Maybe,” Della said with sass. “But being turned vampire added a little fuel to the fire. And not being able to stop yourself from shifting into a fire-breathing dragon sucks even more.”
“True,” Kylie conceded. “Seeing your dead father hanging out when you didn’t know he was even your father wasn’t a piece of cake, either. But I know human kids who have it almost that bad.” Kylie bit down on her lip. “Look at my friend, Sara. She got cancer.”
Della shook her head. “You know, you kind of sound like Holiday. Logical, upbeat.”
“Am I that bad?” Kylie frowned. “I hate it when she takes something completely batty and turns it around to make perfect sense.”