Nightshade Page 83


“YOU DIDN’T SLEEP AGAIN LAST NIGHT, DID you?” I asked, walking over to Shay’s desk at the end of first period. He’d spent most of class using his forearms as pillows. Mr. Graham didn’t bother him or hadn’t noticed since Shay had been thoughtful enough not to snore.

“I was working on the last section. I think I made some headway,” he said, pulling a sheaf of notebook paper from his pocket. “Take a look.”

I took the paper, slipping it into my pocket. “I’ll look at it later today and then we’ll talk in the library this afternoon.”

“Sure.” He shuffled his feet. “Should I skip chem today? Would that make things easier for you?” He didn’t say and Ren, but I smiled thinly as I watched the thought make him grimace.

“He won’t be there,” I said. “And even if he was, you’d be better off pretending nothing happened. The Keepers are all watching . . . They’d tell Logan if things were still strained.”

“Ren won’t be there?” Shay frowned. “He isn’t—I mean, Logan didn’t—”

“No,” I hurried to reassure him. “Ren’s just blowing off steam . . . I think. He wasn’t specific, but he let me know he wouldn’t be around until the dance tonight.” I sighed, sinking into the desk next to Shay. “What you did yesterday . . . with Logan. I can’t thank you enough. You gained respect from the whole pack. It could have been awful for Ren, for all of us.”

He started to reach for me but thought better of it, shoving his hands in his pockets. “Yeah, well, sometimes I can manage to do the right thing.” One corner of his mouth crinkled. “Are you going to apologize for slapping me?”


“I didn’t think so,” he said.

The bell for second period rang. I stood up, hating that he’d stopped himself from touching me, knowing that if I didn’t get out of there, I’d be the one reaching for him.

I tried to keep my thoughts neutral through the day. My nerves seemed to be on the verge of shattering, which I couldn’t afford. It helped that Bryn passed me sketches of possible hairstyles for that evening all through our French class. The cold vacuum in my belly pulled at my stomach painfully when I sat alone at my lab station through Organic Chemistry. We had a substitute teacher, and I wondered if the stress of the previous class had caused Ms. Foris to avoid school or resign immediately.

Since there was no experiment, I turned my attention to the notes Shay had scribbled on the folded piece of paper. His frustration was apparent with the chaotic arrangement of words and phrases. Scion, two worlds, gift?? What is the veil? After the jumble of notes was a transcribed paragraph that while still confusing at least had full sentences.

Those who waited for the harvest child

must choose his fate

To begin again, search for the cross

To guard the power, make your gift (??)

Shay’s punctuation betrayed his irritation.

Two worlds battle, the Scion lives between

When the veil thins, the gift (??) must be made

Lest one world fade while the other remains

The bottom of the page was covered with more questions and some choice rants about the confusing passage. I read it through again. Shay was right; other than the mention of the Scion and the indication that this choice took place at Samhain, the passage made no sense at all. There couldn’t possibly be something happening at the same time as our union. I read the words once more, letting them float to the back of my mind.

At lunch none of the wolves objected when Shay pulled up a chair, especially since he made the politically astute decision to sit between Neville and Bryn rather than next to me. But even with Shay present, our entourage had a gaping hole.

“So, did you find Ren?” I asked Dax.

He made an affirmative grunt.

“And?” I frowned at his nonverbal response.

“And he’s fine.” Dax shoved a slice of pizza into his mouth. “You’ll see him tonight.”

I looked at Fey. She glanced at Dax, who shook his head. She turned to me and shrugged before becoming incredibly interested in her lunch.

I raised an eyebrow but decided to drop the subject.

By the end of the school day a gentle snowfall had developed. The pattern of swirling flakes behind the tall stained glass windows of Rowan Estate’s library made the jewel tones ripple.

Shay drummed his pencil on the notebook in front of him as I flopped down into a chair. “So, are you going to be okay tonight?”

I focused on digging in my own bag for a pen, but I nodded. “I hope so.”

“Calla.” His voice grew tense. “There’s something I need to say, and I’m only going to say it once. I really need you to listen.”

My fingers gripped the canvas bag tightly. “Shay—”

He waved off the warning note in my response.

“Sorry, but I have to. Please look at me.”

I lifted my gaze to meet his. Shay’s jaw was set.

“I know I’ve really pushed you about your feelings for Ren and your loyalty to the Keepers. What happened yesterday, with Flynn and then in chem class, made me realize just how much what I’ve been doing puts you and the others in danger. I don’t want that.”

He stood up and walked to the massive fireplace, staring up at the portrait of his parents. “So I’m backing off. After tonight I’ll leave you and Ren alone. You’re going to be with him. I know that, and I know how much you have at stake now that you know the truth about the Keepers. I don’t want to put you at risk any more than you already are.”

“Shay, that’s—” I began.

“I’m not finished.” He stayed where he was, not looking at me. “You need to understand that in no way does this mean I’m—” I watched his shoulders slump. When he spoke again, his voice was thick, husky. “Conceding to him. You know how I feel about you. That won’t change.”

I pulled my eyes off him, faltering as my throat closed. “It’s true that you’ll keep us all safer by giving Ren and me some distance. Especially while you’re adjusting to your wolf instincts. As for the rest of it . . .” I could barely hear my own voice over the pounding of my heart. When I turned to look at him, he was standing right behind me, eyes filled with that warm spring-like glow.

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