Shay stared distastefully at Chalice’s mug of coffee as she spooned another cluster of Cocoa Puffs into her mouth. She didn’t understand how Chalice could stand the bitter black drink. Shay thought it looked like what happened when all the water colors got mixed together.
She looked down at the chocolate milk that was forming in her bowl. Now that looked tasty.
Sienna munched delicately on a toasted bagel with cream cheese, and Vivienne was drinking from a plastic thermos. Phoenix and Ace were still in the basement, and Shay had offered to go help them, but Vivienne said they’d made a bet to see who could fill the most trash bags and so if Shay wanted to keep all of her limbs, she shouldn’t disturb them.
Juniper curled up on Shay’s bare feet, keeping them warm.
Shay’s mind wandered to the files the vampire girl had stolen.
What had been in them that was so important? Shay hoped that there hadn’t been any information on the other girls in them. She didn’t want anyone else to get hurt because of her. If she saw the lifeless eyes of one more of her friends staring up at her, she was afraid she might lose it.
She pushed away the images of Rowan and Matt that surfaced in her mind.
You just have to wait until tonight, she told herself. You’ll find the other vampire girl and find out what’s going on. Then everything will be okay.
But the bad feelings wouldn’t go away.
Oh, what’s the worst that can happen before then?
Everyone blows up, Shay answered her own thoughts pessimistically.
“Shay.” Vivienne’s voice snapped Shay out of her daze. “Your cereal is getting soggy.”
Shay blinked as she realized she’d been staring into her bowl for the past minute. Then she brushed it off to the center of the table. “I’m not hungry anymore.”
“Alright. Why don’t you go change out of those clothes then?”
Shay nodded and nudged Juniper with her toe. As soon as she hopped up, Shay stood up from the table. “Okay.”
She took her bowl and dumped the cereal and the chocolate milk—which no longer looked tasty—down the sink. She rinsed the bowl and slipped it into the dish washer.
When she went up the stairs, the door to Lacey’s room was still closed. She peeked into Grandmother Clarissa’s room for a moment to see that someone had already cleaned up the papers that had been scattered across the floor the night before.
Juniper sniffed at the crumpled clothes that Shay threw down on the floor, and sneezed.
“Bless you,” Shay told her as she pulled on a pair of jeans.
The house phone rang, but she ignored it as she picked up the clothes to put in her laundry basket.
“Shay!” Sienna yelled from the bottom of the stairs.
Shay left her closet and leaned out the bedroom door. “What?”
“Someone’s on the phone for you!”
Shay’s first thought was Isobel! and in her mad scramble to get to the phone at her desk, she tripped over Juniper—who had been ambling along behind her—and tumbled to the floor.
“Sorry, Juniper!” Shay shouted as she tried to get her feet back underneath her.
She dove for the phone and fell to the floor again. She hopped up and shook herself once before answering.
Shay’s breath caught in her throat and she almost collapsed once more. Not from clumsiness, but because her legs felt like they could no longer support her. Her fingers clenched tightly around the phone until the edges were digging painfully into her skin.
Because it wasn’t Isobel’s voice that spoke from the other end of the phone.
“Kendall,” Shay hissed.
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