“My aunt and overprivileged cousin only recognize two states of being: glitter and grunge. And if you weren’t glitter, well, that only left one other option.”
“Did he show himself?” Nash asked, and I glanced to my right to see him staring at my father, as fascinated as I was.
My dad nodded. “He was an arrogant little demon.”
“So what happened?” I asked.
“I punched him.”
For a moment, we stared at him in silence. “You punched the reaper?” I asked, and my hand fell from the strainer onto the edge of the sink.
“Yeah.” He chuckled at the memory, and his grin brought out one of my own. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d seen my father smile. “Broke his nose.”
“Kaylee, you're adding two and two and coming up with seven.”
“So what does Tod look like? Whitewashed skeleton skulking around in a black cape and hood? Carrying a scythe? 'Cause I'm thinking that would cause mass panic in the hospital." ..... "Do you chase after a funeral processions in a long, dirty dress, hair trailing behind you in the wind? I shot him a mock frown. "Have you been following me again?”
“I didn’t know if I could stop her with one blow. But I could whack the crap out of her.”
“The problem with getting everything you want in life is that you're not prepared for disappointment when it comes.”
“...don’t judge your future based on others’ mistakes.”
“His name's Nash."
Aunt Val took a butter knife from the silverware drawer. "What year is he?"
I groaned inwardly. "Senior." ...here we go ...
Her smile was a little too enthusiastic. "Well that's wonderful!"
Of course, what she really meant was "Rise from the shadows, social leper, and walk in the bright light of acceptance!”
“Crap. He was actually crying. I didn't know how to deal with a crying father. I barely knew how to deal with a normal one.”
“Harmony glanced to her left, and my gaze followed hers to the living room, where my aunt had died, my cousin had been restored, and I'd whacked a psychotic grim reaper with a cast-iron skillet.
Weirdest. Tuesday. Ever.”
“Why do you hang out with him?"
Ahhh. And if blood was thicker than water, then football, evidently, would congeal in one's veins.”
“Nash Hudson. Holy crap. I almost looked down to see if ice had anchored my feet to the floor, since hell had surely frozen over. Somehow I’d stepped off the dance floor and into some weird warp zone where irises swam with color and Nash Hudson smiled at me, and me alone.”
“Wait, Saturday night?" The ladder-backed chair creaked and I looked up as he leaned forward to eye me in growing suspicion. "I thought you stayed home."
I shrugged and raised one eyebrow at him. "I thought I was human.”
“How did you do it?" I brought the teacup to my mouth for another sip. "How did you guide Sophie's soul? I thought you were a reaper."
"He's both," Nash said from behind me, and I turned just as he followed my father through the front door, pulling his long sleeves down one at a time. He and my dad had just loaded Aunt Val's white silk couch into the back of my uncle's truck, so he wouldn't have to deal with the bloodstains when he and Sohie got back from the hospital. "Tod is very talented."
Tod brushed the curl back from his face and scowled.
Harmony spoke up from the kitchen as the oven door squealed open. "Both my boys are talented."
"Both?" I repeated, sure I'd heard her wrong.
Nash sighed and slid onto the chair his mother had vacated, then gestured toward the reaper with one hand. "Kaylee, meet my brother, Tod.”
“Great. "So not only am I not-human, but Death is my arch foe?" Who, me? Panic? "Anything else you want to tell me, while we're confessing?”
“He took both of my hands, twisting to face me more fully on the flattened box beneath us, and again the colors in his irises seemed to pulse with my heartbeat.”
“I was fine with that. The very idea of Death knowing my name made my skin crawl. Even if this particular Death was only one of many, and almost too pretty to look at.”
“I should have said something. ... But my mouth wouldn't open, and the longer I stood there in silence, the better I can to understand the problem. It wasn't that I had nothing to say to him. It was that I had too much to say.”
“If Eastlake High School were the universe, I would be one of the moons circling Planet Emma, constantly hidden by her shadow, and glad to be there. Nash Hudson would be one of the stars: too bright to look at, too hot to touch and at the center of his own solar system.”
“Had I just begged for an audience with Death?”
“I frowned, gaping at the blond in disbelief. “You’re the grim reaper?”
Tod glanced at me for the first time, his frown practically etched into place. “You were
expecting someone older? Taller? Maybe kind of gaunt and skeletal?”Contempt dripped from his words like acid.”
“She stared down into her coffee, as if she had more to say, but the words had fallen into the mug and were now too soggy to use.”
“His name's nash.'
Aunt val took a butter knife fom the silverware drawer. 'What year is he?'
I groaned inwardly. 'Senior.' here we go....
Her smile was a little too enthusiastic. 'Well, that's wonderful!'
Of course, what she really meant was 'Rise from the shadows, social leper, and walk in the bright light of acceptance!' Or some crap like that. Because my aunt and over pivileged cousin only recognise two states of being: glitter and grunge. And if you weren't glitter, well, that only left one other option...”
“the dead have a way of becoming saints in the eyes of their survivors,”
“Nervous sweat gathered on my palms, and for once I was glad I couldn't talk. I swallowed, my throat clenching around the scream scalding me from the inside. The gray haze was darker now, though no thicker. I could see through it easily, yet it tainted everything my terrified gaze landed on , as if the entire gym had been draped in a translucent cloud of smog. And things still moved on the edge of my vision, drawing my eye first in one direction, then another .
I would have given anything to be able to speak in that moment, not just to warn Emma—
because that was evidently a moot point—
but to ask Nash what the hell was going on. Could he see what I saw? More important, could they see us?”
“I shook my head, each breath coming quickly now. I hadn’t pinpointed the source yet. There were too many people, in too many tightly formed groups. All the bodies in dark colors were blending together in a virtual camouflage of funeral attire, and in some cases I couldn’t distinguish one form from another.”
“Rumor has it you’ve conquered more territory than Genghis Khan.”
“No, I didn’t want to be the latest on his rumored list of conquests, but I wouldn’t mind knowing I was worthy.”
“Swear that if this happens again and I’m not there, you won’t do anything. Or say anything. Just turn around and walk away. Okay?” “Okay,” I agreed.”
“I needed a push, Phillip. I needed you to push me, otherwise, I wouldn’t have freaked. I needed to feel like we were over to know that there’s no way I’d ever let us be over. I never want us to be over, Phillip. Never, ever.”
“Everyone says the Summer Queen is stunning,
beautiful, absolutely captivating. Yeah, I guess she is,
but so is a volcanic eruption”
“Things I will never like: 1. Drying off with a cold, damp towel. 2. The feeling of seaweed wrapping around my legs. 3. Anything that was popular in the 70's. 4. Licorice, yam, or raisins. 5. That high-pitched screech that babies make. 6. Writhing maggots.”
“I have realized that mystery is what keeps people away, and I’ve grown tired of smoke and mirrors. I yearn for the clean, well-lighted place. So let’s peek behind the curtain and hail the others like us. The open-faced sandwiches who take risks and live big and smile with all of their teeth. These are the people I want to be around. This is the honest way I want to live and love and write.”
“and out of his life. As he”
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