Scene at the Lockers:
Fear hung heavy in the air. Pagan was unaware I’d followed her home. She didn’t trust my promise to keep her safe. That simple truth infuriated me. Feeling fear was a part of my life. My presence created fear. I was immune to the familiar bitter taste it left in my mouth. But Pagan’s fear bothered me. I didn’t like it.I stood in her doorway watching as she nibbled on her bottom lip nervously. This was not how it was supposed to be. I’d saved her from death. Fear shouldn’t be an emotion she had to deal with anymore.“What’s wrong?” I asked. Her scream died almost instantly as her eyes focused on me.“Dank,” she gasped pressing her hand against her heart. I could hear it racing inside her chest from across the room.
“Sorry, I didn’t realize you were so wound up about this.” I walked into the room, watching her closely as she sank back down onto the bed she’d jumped up from when I’d startled her.“Well excuse me if strange souls showing up in my house, talking to me and touching me freak me out a little.” She shot me an accusatory look, “Then, I ask you about it and you curse into the darkness and get all angry.”
Damn. It always came back to this. She wanted to know too much. Things I couldn’t tell her. I needed to keep her safe. Knowledge was dangerous. Needing to be near her, I sat down beside her on the small bed. The smell of honey warmed me. Her hair always smelled completely edible.“I’m sorry about that. I shouldn’t have scared you that way.”“Well, can you tell me what is happening, who she is?”I shook my head turning my eyes away from her. If I let myself look into those pleading dark pools of hers, I’d cave. “No, that’s the only thing I can’t do for you. Ask me anything else in the world, Pagan, and I’ll make sure it’s yours but that I cannot do.”She sighed and sat up straighter, “Why’re you here, then?”Because they were trying to fix what I’d done. They wouldn’t just leave it alone. I was Death. I could decide to allow life. It was my choice. I made it my choice. But I couldn’t tell her any of that.
“Until I know everything is fine...until I take care of what must be done, I’ll be spending the nights here in your room.” I turned my eyes back to hers and held her gaze. I wanted her to understand that she had nothing to fear.“I have to protect you,” I paused then motioned toward the door, “If you want to take that shower, I’ll make sure you’re completely safe while you do so.”
Relief came over her face then a small frown quickly replaced it. “Can you read my mind?”She didn’t want me reading her thoughts. Interesting. “Not exactly. It’s more like I can feel your fears so strongly I can hear them.”She studied me for a moment as if remembering something that confused her.“You heard me in the cafeteria when you were with Kendra, I wasn’t scared then.”
Ah, yes I felt her fear that day. I’d reveled in that fear. Knowing she cared about the blond flirting with me eased the ache in my chest caused from the sight of her snuggled up against Leif’s side.“You weren’t?” I asked unable to keep the smirk off my face.Her face turned an adorable shade of red before she spun around and rushed out of the room.
Source: Abbi Glines
The only explanation was the kid must be an idiot. When Pagan wasn’t looking his way he pathetically ogled her. Then when she glanced over at him, he acted as if he hadn’t just two seconds ago been panting after her like a damn dog. If it wasn’t for the incredibly odd possessive streak I felt toward the girl, I’d make him see the error of his ways. I didn’t like the fact she wanted his attention. I sure as hell wasn’t going to help him out. Watching the disappointed little frown on her mouth made something inside me stir. I couldn’t place it exactly because it was a new emotion. Not anything I was familiar with.Pagan tugged her book bag up higher on her shoulder as she pushed through the bodies of students filling the halls. I couldn’t stand by and watch her so unhappy. Instead of staying in the background shadowing her like I’d been doing for weeks in order to ease the strange tightness in my chest only her absence could provoke, I spoke up.“Don’t look at him next time. It’ll drive him crazy.”Her eyes flicked a quick glance over at me but she didn’t miss a beat. I didn’t like it that her scowl deepened. Granted most people weren’t crazy about me but I wanted Pagan to like me. Admitting that simple fact was humbling and it bugged the hell out of me. She stopped in front of her locker still ignoring me even though I made sure she could see me.“He’s trying to play hard to get. Kind of proves what a child he is, but I can see it’s bothering you.”“I’m not bothered,” she responded through clenched teeth and opened her locker.“Yes, you are. There is this little wrinkle between your eyebrows that appears and you nibble your bottom lip when something bothers you.”That got her attention. She froze and turned her head slowly to peek at me through her cascade of dark hair. It reminded me of silk. I liked silk. Especially dark silk. The scowl was gone and an odd feeling of accomplishment washed over me. I’d been the one to cause that tiny smile forming on her lips. Why did something so simple make me feel like a freaking king?“You’re missing the public display of affection across the hall between your two buddies. They may need you to throw a bucket of ice water on them.”I’d barely glanced over at Miranda and Wyatt. All I could see when Pagan was around was... well... Pagan. But I knew making a joke about her friend’s constant grope session would make that tiny smile break out into a full fledge grin.
“There that’s better. I like it when you’re smiling. If the football kid keeps making you frown I’m going to take matters into my own hands.”Did I really just say that? I was going to have to watch my words. Before she could respond, I faded away. I wasn’t about to answer to that minor slip of the tongue. She couldn’t see me any longer although I hadn’t moved. Her shoulders lifted and fell back down as she let out a loud frustrated sigh. She turned to walk toward her next class and I was glad she couldn’t hear my laughter. I’m positive my amusement at her frustration wouldn’t please her. But damn that girl fascinated me.