I laid my head down on the pillow and tried to remember what had happened as Cacey returned to her seat. “How are you feeling?” she asked. “You were pretty out of it.”

Suddenly everything came rushing back.

Vincent in my room, lying on the bed, surrounded by rose petals. Him breaking my perfume cabinet and hurting my arm. The glass …

The blood …

I glanced down at the sheets, and then over at the beeping machine by my side. “How long have I been here?”

“A couple of hours. They’re going to release you tomorrow.” She picked up a Coke can from the floor next to the chair and took a long sip. “They didn’t want to keep you overnight, but your mom pushed them into it. It was pretty impressive. She and your dad have been in and out the whole time.”

I stared at the Coke can.

“I told them we were friends from summer school. Your mom totally bought it. Well, after she calmed down, I mean. She was crying and yelling. I-” Cacey finally noticed that I was ogling her beverage. “What? You want some of this?” She tipped the can back and drank down the last of it. “Sorry, all gone,” she said with a smile that was just a tiny bit cruel. “So anyway … since you’ve been in here, Kame and Sophie made up this killer cover story about an intruder breaking into your house. You didn’t get a good look at him, by the way.”

She waited for my nod before she continued. “So he broke into your house, smashed up all your stuff looking for drugs or stuff to steal or something like that, and when you interrupted him he got physical before taking off. We came and saved the day.”

She paused again, and I took it all in. Then she made me repeat it back to her. “Intruder. Didn’t get a good look. Smash and grab. You saved the day.”

Cacey nodded, looking pleased. “That about covers it.” She leaned forward. “Oh, and get this, Uri and I are ‘interns’ for Kame and Sophie. That’s how we know them. You should know that too.”

My head was starting to hurt. Normally Cacey’s voice was smooth and comforting, but now it was starting to grate on my nerves. And she had a weird habit of not blinking. It was like staring into the eyes of a fish.

She came to stand next to me, and stared at me as she said, “Remember what I told you, Abbey. You remember, don’t you?”

A funny feeling prickled the back of my scalp, and suddenly I felt much calmer. And happier. She was right. Everything had happened exactly the way she’d said it had.

“So tell me,” I said, reaching up to fluff my ragged curls. “On a scale of one to ten, how bad do I look?”

She cocked her head to one side and looked me up and down. “You’re a solid five. Maybe a five and a half. I’ve seen worse. But I’ve seen better, too.”

I laughed. The sound was raw against my throat, so I tried again. It came out funny and high-pitched. I opened my mouth to say something, and caught a whiff of burning leaves. “What’s …”

The question died in my throat as Cacey looked at me strangely. “What’s what?”

I sniffed again. But the odor was gone. “Nothing. I thought I smelled … nothing.”

She leaned over and fluffed up my pillow, then pulled the sheets higher. “I’m going to watch some TV. Your parents should be back soon.”

Her words made something in my brain click. “Caspian,” I said. “What about Caspian?”

“Oh, you finally bring up lover boy now, do you? You know, for being all fated to be together and whatnot, you took long enough to ask about-”

“Cacey. Please,” I said softly. “I need to see him.”

She sighed. “He’s safe right now with Nikolas and Katy. He should stay there until we can figure out what Vincent wants.”

“Please?” My eyelids were drooping, and she started swimming before my eyes. Sleep was pressing down, hard and heavy. “I really need to …”

“I know, I know. You need him. Blah, blah, blah.”

I felt blindly for her hand. “Have to make sure he’s … okay. … Tell him I …”

The last thing I heard her say before I drifted away was, “I know. I will. I’ll tell him that you love him.”

There were words. Soft words. Words I didn’t understand but knew I would follow anywhere because he was speaking them.


I turned my head to follow the voice but kept my eyes closed just in case it might not be real. In case it was a dream. The words came again, intermingling with ones I recognized.

“Astrid, can you hear me? Tu sei una stella … la mia stella. You’re my star, Abbey.”

I opened my eyes slowly. His face came into focus. Tears stung the backs of my eyes, and my throat burned. “I’m so happy to see you. I thought you were …”

He shook his head and glanced back at the door behind him. “I’m fine, and you’re fine, and we’ll talk later. You just concentrate on getting better. You’re going home tomorrow, right?”

I nodded.

“Get some sleep. I’ll be right here when you wake up. But remember, other people will be here too. Don’t talk to me if anyone else is in the room.”

I nodded again and closed my eyes. A shiver came over me as he spoke into my ear. “I love you, Astrid.”

“Love you, too,” I mumbled. “Caspian …”

I spread my left hand wide on the covers, palm-side up. And fell asleep to the sensation of a faint tingle against my arm.

When I woke up the next morning, Caspian was there just like he’d said he would be, sitting in the chair on the other side of the bed. But Cacey was gone. I shot him a grateful smile, glad that he was with me and I wouldn’t have to be alone when a couple of police officers came in to ask me some questions about the “breakin.” I just kept repeating what Cacey had told me. Once it became obvious that my answers weren’t going to change, they decided to leave.

“If you think of anything else, give us a call,” one of them said. He pulled a business card from his pocket and handed it to me.

“I will,” I promised.

The one who handed me his card shook my hand before they left the room. An instant later a huge balloon bouquet squeezed through the door, being carried by Mom. Dad was right behind her with a fistful of flowers.

“Hi, sweetie! How are you feeling?” She nodded toward the door. “How did that go?”

She set the balloon weight on the empty bed beside me, then leaned down and brushed some hair away from my face and kissed my cheek.

“It was okay,” I replied. “I don’t really remember much.”

Mom shot Dad a look and busied herself with rearranging the balloons. Dad put the flowers he had on my nightstand and came over to my other side. “Hey, honey. It’s good to see those baby blues again.”

I beamed up at him. “Good to see you, too, Dad.” I shifted my elbow underneath me so that I could sit up. Suddenly I noticed the flower bouquets that filled a table in front of a large window. Daisies, carnations, lilies, roses … even a baby tree.

“Are those all for me?” I asked, stunned at how many there were.

“They sure are,” Mom said proudly. She flitted over to some pink daisies in a polka-dotted pot. “These are from the Maxwells.” White lilies were next. “And these are from Mrs. Walker, the librarian.” She fussed with a carnation stem. “Word spread pretty quickly about what happened …” She stopped and bit her lip.

“Who’s the tree from?” I asked as a distraction.

Caspian surreptitiously moved out of Mom’s way as she came closer to it. I flashed him a quick smile.

Mom picked up the card. “Oh! It’s from Ben. Isn’t that nice of him?”

I had to hold back a snort of laughter at the “matchmaker” tone in her voice. She had no idea that Ben was in love with my dead best friend, and I was in love with a ghost. My eyes found Caspian’s. He gave me an exasperated

Вы читаете The Hidden
Добавить отзыв


Вы можете отметить интересные вам фрагменты текста, которые будут доступны по уникальной ссылке в адресной строке браузера.

Отметить Добавить цитату