Shay never wanted to see another alcoholic beverage for as long as she lived.
A mild headache throbbed in her temples when she woke the next morning, but the memories of what had happened were what upset her the most. She’d been so completely stupid and delusional. She’d acted like an absolute idiot.
She sat up, shaking her head as she raked a hand through her tangled hair.
Oh, Hecate. Had she really called Matt her boyfriend?
And a girl had broken into Grandmother Clarissa’s files, and Shay had just stood there and watched her. She was mortified.
Juniper trotted into the room and pounced up onto the covers. She took a seat on top of Shay’s legs and tilted her head to the side.
“June, what am I going to do?”
She blinked as if to say how should I know?“Come on, sweetie. Let’s go get some breakfast.”
She flipped the covers off her and crawled out of bed. She went into the bathroom to brush her teeth and hair first. She looked in the mirror and finally noticed she was still in her clothes from the night before. She pushed away the sleeve of her blouse to look at her bruise. She wanted to hope that it had gotten smaller, but it might have just been her optimistic imagination.
Juniper padded after her into the hallway. There were a few plastic cups along the carpet, and Shay couldn’t wait to see what the main floor looked like.
Vivienne, Ace, and Phoenix were in the living room with trash bags, and Shay could see Chalice draped over the edge of the couch asleep. The kitchen had already been cleaned, but it looked like there was still work in the back yard and probably the basement.
Phoenix picked a t-shirt out of the leaves of a potted plant. “Is this Lacey’s?”
Vivienne narrowed her eyes at it, and then nodded. “Yeah. I think so.”
Ace pulled an empty glass bottle out from where it had been wedged in between the cushions of the couch. It clinked as she tossed it into her bag.
Smoke curled from a half-burned stick of incense in a glass bowl on the coffee table. Juniper licked at some crumbs of potato chips that were ground into the carpet, and Ace uncovered a silver cell phone. It also went into the bag.
“Can I help?” Shay asked.
“Sure. Grab a bag.” Vivienne nodded at a box of trash bags on the island in the kitchen.
Shay went and pulled one out. As she flapped it open, she said, “I wasn’t too bad last night, was I?”
“No, I don’t think so. At least not compared to Lacey.”
“I suppose a few topless pictures of her will surface on the internet,” Ace said. “I’ll have to hack in and take them down.”
“Is she even on any social sites?”
“No. We’re not allowed to be,” Vivienne told her.
“But we’re allowed to throw parties?”“If we’re not on a mission, our identities don’t matter. Everyone thinks that we’re apprentices or fosters,” Phoenix said. “Well, obviously not everyone.”
Shay threw several cups into her bag. “I’m sorry. That was all my fault.”
“It’s no one’s fault—”
“Yes, it is. It’s mine,” Shay insisted. “That girl is with Kendall. She was only here because Kendall is trying to get back at me. I’m putting you all in danger.”
“Shay, just a few days ago, we made you go into a burning building. If anything, we’re putting you in danger,” Vivienne said.
“That’s not fair. I agreed to this.”
“Well, so did I. You think no one else has ever come after us for personal reasons? I’ve been alive seventy-three years. That’s a lot of time to make enemies.”
“I had a gang after me a few years ago in New Orleans after I killed their leader,” Ace said. “I mean, they weren’t smart enough to actually find me, but still.”
Shay could see she wasn’t going to win the argument, so she just let it drop.
“I think we’re done here,” Phoenix said. To Ace she asked, “Ya wanna go work on the basement?”
Ace nodded, and they both went downstairs while Vivienne and Shay moved into the backyard. There was a beautifully carved stone patio and the fire pit that sat in the middle was littered with more incense and cigarette butts. One of the chairs in the patio set was on its side and its beige cushions were missing.
Shay spotted them on the roof, and Vivienne had to climb up and get them.
Thankfully, the cover was on the pool, so Shay wasn’t going to have to put on a bathing suit to swim down and collect trash from the bottom.
Stone steps led down to a path that snaked through the backyard, past the pond of speckled black, white, and orange koi fish and the shrine of Hecate. Tiny lights were strung along the trees.
Vivienne was sniffing around behind one of the bushes when she suddenly shrunk back with a wrinkled nose and disgusted expression. “We’re going to need a hose over here.”
Shay didn’t even ask.
Her bag was almost full and they weren’t even half way through the backyard yet. She found a shot glass, but a chunk was broken from it, so she flung it in with the other trash.
“Oh, God,” Vivienne said, standing up with a scrap of red cloth pinched between her fingers. “I found another thong. Don’t these people know how to keep their pants on?”
She rinsed her hands off under the hose she’d dragged over.
“So how did they convince Ace to let them have the party?” Shay had wondered that before but she hadn’t wanted to ask in front of Ace. She also wanted a reason to change the topic now.
“Phoenix told her to get the stick out of her *** and have some fun for one night. Ace always has to prove her wrong whenever she says things like that.”
“I bet she regrets that now.”
“She wasn’t the one who poked herself in the eye because she couldn’t see straight.”
Shay tossed her head back and groaned. “Don’t remind me.”
They finished about fifteen minutes later, and tossed the bags out into the garbage bins. When they headed back inside, Chalice was waking up. She blinked hazily a few times, and then her eyes roamed around.
“Is the room spinning, or is it just me?”
“It’s just you,” Vivienne told her. “You want some coffee?”
Vivienne went into the kitchen, and the coffee maker sputtered to life. As it hissed and sizzle, Sienna came down the stairs. A baffled look darned her sleepy features and a pair of miniature knit boots hung from her fingers.
“Can someone please explain to me why Dolly is wearing baby booties?”
“Baby booties? Where on Earth did someone get baby booties?”
“That’s what I’d like to know.”
“It could have been worse,” Vivienne said. “Ace found some guy asleep in her shower last night.”
“Is he alright? She didn’t hurt him too bad, did she?”
“No. I think she just turned on the cold water and scared him. His friends came back for him after they’d realized they’d left him.”
“Oh, well that’s good.” Sienna glanced at Shay out of the corner of her eye. “Vivienne, did you tell Shay what we decided last night?”
“What? What did you decide?” Shay pressed anxiously.
“We’re going out tonight. We’re going to find that vampire girl again, and this time, we’re going to make her talk.”
“But Grandmother Clarissa said no missions until she gets back.”
Vivienne shrugged. “Yeah, well, she also said to eat our vegetables.”
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