Never to Sleep Page 2

But in the end, I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t sure how my dad had talked them into letting me see Scott, but they wouldn’t let me see him alone, and I couldn’t yell at him with my dad and his doctor there. And anyway, it only took one look into his eyes for me to see that even if Kaylee was faking crazy, Scott wasn’t. His words all came out crooked, like he was talking around whatever he wanted to say and couldn’t quite find the point. He was broken, way deep inside, and it only took me three minutes or so to decide that was more than enough punishment for what he’d put me through.

“Look,” Peyton said, drawing me out of my own memories. “All I’m saying is that you’ve been through a lot this year. I know you wouldn’t let any of that get in the way of leading this team if you were captain, but I can’t promise everyone else will agree. Especially after what you did to Laura’s hair.”

“That was an accident.” The freaky, I-can’t-really-remember-what-happened sort of accident. All I remember is that Kaylee was there—she’s there every time anything weird happens—and afterward, Laura’s mom made my dad pay for an emergency haircut, then tacked on a day at the spa, for mental anguish.

“Right. You accidentally cut a chunk of your best friend’s hair off at the scalp. That was social road rage, if I ever saw it. And—between the two of us—it was well played. But to the uninformed, it might look like the Cavanaugh family resemblance is starting to show.”

“Wow. I’ve seen more subtlety from angry gorillas at the zoo. And they’d probably look better in this,” I said, holding up one of the plastic-wrapped dance tops.

Peyton glared at me for a second, then shook the insult off and shrugged. “I just thought you should know what everyone else is saying. But you can still turn it around. It would go a long way toward convincing people you still have the team’s best interests in mind if you were to help Laura see the light. Think about it, Sophie. Think hard.”

She stood with her box under one arm, and I tried to make her trip over her wedge heels with the power of my hatred alone. When the door slammed shut behind her, I took a deep breath and stood with the remaining box, already plotting how best to bring Peyton down.

Clearly, I’d sheared the wrong friend….

When I was sure Peyton was far enough ahead of me that I wouldn’t have to stare at the back of her head, I lifted the last box and tucked it under my arm. It wasn’t heavy, but it was big and awkward, and it seemed to poke me in all the wrong places. Like Peyton’s mouth.

At the end of the hall, I rounded the corner, thinking of all the reasons I deserved to be team captain and she didn’t. I was up to “Peyton thinks better on her back than on her feet” when a classroom door flew open in frontof me and smashed into the entire length of my body. An ugly grunt of pain exploded from my mouth and the hall tilted around me as I went down on my butt, and the box of uniforms slid across the floor.

“Oh, shit, are you okay?” A guy knelt at my side, and I blinked, stunned, trying to draw reality back into focus as my vision doubled, then threatened to multiply.

“That depends. Are you triplets?”

He laughed. “No, there’s only one of me.”

And one was plenty. As my vision merged, his eyes were all I could see—dark brown, with tiny flecks of green and gold in his irises, like jewels had gotten caught there. They were beautiful.

Or maybe that was the concussion talking….

He brushed a strand of hair from my forehead and frowned. “Looks like it’s gonna bruise. I’m sorry ’bout that.”

I’d never seen him before. I would have remembered those eyes.

“How do you feel?”

“My face hurts. And I’m a little dizzy,” I admitted, surprised by the dazed, echoey sound of my own voice.

He grinned, and his smile was as nice as his eyes, and suddenly I was even dizzier, but I couldn’t blame that on my fall. “Well, that’s what you get for walking into open doors.”

Irritation flared inside me, and his face zoomed into clear, crisp focus. Straight nose. Strong chin. Smooth, dark skin from some exotic heritage I couldn’t pinpoint. “I didn’t walk into anything. You—”

“I’m kidding. That was totally my fault.” His smile widened and I kind of forgot what I was saying. And that I was still sitting on the floor. “Before I put you back on your feet, we better make sure there’s no permanent damage. Do you remember your name?”

I rolled my eyes. “Sophie.”

“And what day of the week is it?”


“Good. I think you’re okay, Sophie, but just to be sure—and this is for purely medical purposes—what’s your phone number?”

I laughed out loud. “Does it usually take blunt-force trauma for you to score a phone number?”

“This is a first, but a potential concussion does seem to be an icebreaker.” He stood and reached for my hand. I gave it to him, but instead of pulling me up, he frowned, and his eyes narrowed, staring into mine like he was looking for more than just irises and pupils, and tiny red veins.

“What’s wrong? Am I bleeding?” I touched my nose with my free hand, desperately hoping it wasn’t swollen from impact with the door. That would be just my luck. A beautiful boy literally knocks me off my feet, and it turns out he can’t stop staring because I look like the loser in a boxing match.

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