“What was that all about?” I prodded him. “‘I need a pill’?”

“Your mother is just upset by everything that happened. The doctor prescribed her some pills to calm her nerves.”

“Calm her nerves? You’d think she was the one who’d been attacked.”

Dad sucked in a sharp breath of air.

“I didn’t mean it like that. It’s just-”

He shook his head. “I know what you meant. But it’s going to be tough for a while. We all need to … adjust. Your mother and I love you very much, Abbey.”

“I know, Dad. I guess I just need some time to adjust too.” Time to adjust to the fact that they didn’t know what had happened, and I could never tell them.

My broccoli was cold now, but I didn’t feel like heating it up. Pushing my plate away, I maneuvered my sling out from under the table and stood up. I turned toward the stairs, but stopped short. “Hey, Dad? What would you and Mom do if I died? Or if I had already been dead when you guys came home and found me?”

All of the emotion bled from his face. “What kind of a question is that?”

“Just a question.”

“It may be ‘just a question,’ but it’s certainly not something you need to worry about.” He patted my arm. “You have a very long life ahead of you.”

When I made it back to my bedroom, Caspian was lying on the bed, looking up at the stars. “You know they’re much better in the dark,” I said.

“I know. But I was waiting for you.” He propped himself up on one arm, and I sat down beside him. “How did things go down there? I heard yelling.”

I sighed. “Yeah. It was Mom. She’s freaking out because they have a security system guy coming to put an alarm in.”

“And she doesn’t want that?”

“Oh, she wants it. Or doesn’t. Or doesn’t want to want it … I don’t know. It’s confusing. She’s confusing. It’s not like it’s going to stop Vincent if he comes here again anyway, but they don’t know that. I think she’s just mad about the fact that she feels like she has to get one.”

I shrugged. Or tried to. The sling on my arm pulled tight and hurt. “I can’t wait to get this stupid thing off,” I said, lifting it up.

“Aw, poor baby. I can’t even rub it or anything.”

I gave a mock sigh, but my arm was really hurting now. “Can you grab me that pill bottle on the desk?” I asked him. “The tall one with a yellow lid.”

He obliged and dropped it next to me on the covers. I popped the top open and reached for the glass of water sitting on my nightstand. After washing down two pills, I recapped the bottle and rolled it back across the covers to him.

Caspian scooped it up and put it back on the desk. Then he walked over to the closet. A moment later, a blanket was placed next to me. I looked at it in surprise.

“I figured you’d want that,” he said.

He’d figured right. I was already pulling it on top of me and snuggling underneath. He sat down beside me without a word.

“Can I ask you something?” I said. “About … Vincent?”

“What do you want to know?”

“After I went to the hospital, what happened?”

He looked like he was thinking about it. Then he said, “The last thing I remember was seeing him in your room. All I could think about was getting him out of here. Then it’s just a blank. When I woke up, I was with Nikolas and Katy. At their house.” He put his head down, right next to my ear. “I said that I needed to find you. Sophie and Kame were there, and they told me what had happened. Then they brought me to the hospital.”

“Did they tell you why Vincent came after me?” I asked.

“What do you mean?”

“He came after me because he got the wrong girl,” I said sadly. “He thought Kristen was me. I’m the reason why she’s dead, Caspian.”

“That’s not true,” he said. “It’s not your fault. You’re not the reason she’s dead. He is. Don’t put that on yourself.”

“But if I had just known … had done something to warn her …”

“Warn her how? You couldn’t have changed anything, and if you had-” He stopped.

“You know we’re going to have to talk about it sooner or later,” I said. “The reason why the Revenants are here. Because I’m going to d-”

“Don’t say it, Abbey,” he begged. “Please don’t. I can’t think about that. About you … I just can’t.”

“Everyone has to die sometime.”

“You think I don’t know that?” He put his hand out, and it went through mine. “I know better than anyone.”

He turned away from me, obviously upset.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “Don’t be angry.”

“I’m sorry too. I didn’t mean for it to come out like that. I just can’t … I can’t picture you dead, Astrid.” Caspian held out both hands and spread them wide.

“I won’t bring it up again,” I promised, desperate to make everything better. “I swear.”

He exhaled a shaky sigh and closed his eyes, leaning his head next to mine. We would have been touching … if we could.

I closed my eyes too. The pain pill was making me sleepy. “Will you stay?” I asked, burrowing deeper into my covers, closer to him and yet still so far away. “Stay with me.”

“Forever,” he whispered. “I’m staying forever.”


In this way matters went on for some time …

– “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”

When I woke up the next morning, I noticed two things. The first was that my sling was stuck underneath me at an impossible angle, and second … I had a hot guy in my bed.

Ignoring the dead weight sensation that I knew would lead to pins and needles when my trapped arm woke up, I lay very still and took in the sight before me. Caspian was on his side, one arm thrown up above his head. His T-shirt twisted slightly so that I could just barely make out the bare flesh above his jeans.

My eyes traced a path down the stripe of black hair that lay across his cheekbones. Then to his nose, his lips … Lips that I wanted to kiss again. How many days until November first? How many days until the anniversary of his death day, when we can touch?

Two weeks until school started, and then thirty-one days in October …

Too long. Much too long.

My gaze slipped lower. To his skin. I couldn’t help myself. Couldn’t stop myself from reaching out to try to feel that piece of him I wanted so badly. I’d never realized, never dreamt, that a relationship without something as simple as a touch could be so hard.

Caspian’s eyes flickered open, and I knew he felt the same tingle that I did.

“Hi,” I said softly.

He just looked at me. Then a slow smile came across his face. “Were you ogling me?”

“Drawing a mental picture,” I said, with a wicked grin of my own. “Remembering that night last Christmas

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