As usual, someone knocked on my bedroom door the minute I’d arrived home and managed to relax. I was used to the lack of privacy, but I’d learned to despise it. “Come in,” I said, not even bothering to get up. My door was unlocked, and it opened quickly. I spun around and stopped when my eyes settled on Jonathon Stone—Pierce’s human form. “What are you doing here?” His thick glassed practically fell from his stout nose as his one good eye wandered around my bedroom. “Our fathers are talking,” he said, leaning against the doorframe. It was Saturday, but the meeting didn’t surprise me. Urte had been hovering ever since they were released from the shelter’s hospital. “I’m sorry about the other day,” I began, but Jonathon waved his hands.
“I was stupid enough to ignore Urte’s warning,” he said. Jonathon had used his dad’s first name—no matter what form he was in—since he’d divorced his mother. His mother didn’t want him to be involved with the prophetic battle, and Urte had refused. She left Hayworth. She was no longer a part of the Dark, and Jonathon hadn’t spoken to her since. But he still resented his dad. We never talked about it, but it was understood. “I’m still sorry,” I said, and he shrugged. “How’s your arm?” I shrugged back. “Still sore,” I admitted. “But I have my powers, which is a relief.” “Me, too,” Jonathon said. “It’s probably a good thing you didn’t take your remedy. You’d be powerless for days.” I cracked a smile. “I guess Luthicer is good for something.” “Yeah; who knew?” Jonathon chuckled. “Are you going back to school Monday?” he asked, and I knew he’d noticed my absence. I could’ve gone. I just didn’t want to, and my father hadn’t made me. “Unfortunately,” I said. “Did I miss anything on Friday?” “Just the usual collection of teen angst that prom brings,” he said, shaking his head as he chuckled. “You should’ve seen how ridiculous people were acting.” I remembered last year too clearly, girls whining about the three D’s—dates, dinner, and dresses. It was all so repetitive, yet I got a kick out of it. Although I’d never admit it. Prom wasn’t my thing. It couldn’t be. I was friendless. “Are you going?” I asked, and Jonathon’s brow rose. “Are you joking?” he asked, waving his hands over himself. “I’m not exactly a lady’s man,” he said, grinning. At least he was comfortable with his different lives. “Now if I was Pierce—we’d be having a different discussion.” “You could get someone as Jonathon,” I said, and he shrugged. “I don’t think I’d want to,” he said. “I’d prefer someone who knows who I am—Pierce—not this guy.” Jessica flashed through my mind. Did she like me as Eric? I doubted it. I’d treated her horribly. I didn’t deserve her. “I’m sure she’s fine,” Jonathon practically whispered, and my shoulders tensed. “What?” He sighed. “I know when you’re thinking about her,” he said. “You mope, more so than usual.” He smirked, but I didn’t relax. “I’m sure she’ll be fine at prom.” “Who said she went to our school?” I snapped. “It’s Hayworth,” he said, fiddling with his glasses. “There’s an obnoxiously high chance she does.” I took a careful breath, not wanting to sigh and give my thoughts away. “I guess.” Jonathon opened his mouth to speak, but my door creaked open, and he stopped. Urte—as human George Stone—walked in, but my father lingered in the hallway. “Jon, your brother is waiting for us at home,” George said, laying his hand on his son’s boney shoulder. Instead of his black hair, green eyes, and scruffy facial hair, he was clean-shaven and had long black hair. I wondered if he had the same insecurities as his son. “We should go,” George said. Jonathon glanced at me. “See you later.” I waved, and the two were gone. I laid my hands on my knees and stared at my father, but he didn’t move. He cleared his throat. “Are you resting like you’re supposed to?” he asked. “All day.”
balding head. “George tells me it’s prom night.” I nodded. “Were you planning on going?” “No,” I said, but my body electrified. I could see Jessica tonight, and she wouldn’t even know. I wouldn’t be breaking any rules either. I could drop by, make sure she’s happy, and leave. I didn’t have to talk to her or anything. I had dress clothes too. I’d been to enough funerals for that. “Actually,” I said, standing. “I think I am.” My father’s brow rose. “But—” I forced a smile, hoping he’d buy my lie. “Just to get my thoughts off things,” I said. “Plus, it’s probably better for my image. The Light wouldn’t expect me if I started getting friends again.” His jaw rocked from side to side. “You think they’d pay attention to social events like that?” “They might,” I said, using Jonathon’s logic. “It’s Hayworth. It wouldn’t be hard to cross people off the suspect list, and the first descendant wouldn’t have friends.” “That insinuates Darthon wouldn’t either.” I forced a grin and a nod. “I will look around to see who’s absent,” I said. “Maybe we can beat them to it.” He began to agree. “Okay,” he said. “But be careful, Eric. I wouldn’t want you to end up in the hospital again.” “I won’t,” I promised, believing I could avoid any more trouble as long as I was human. Just for one more night.