Home > Demon Kissed (Demon Kissed #1)(3)

Demon Kissed (Demon Kissed #1)(3)
Author: H.M. Ward

Feeling trapped, I gazed from one end of the room to the other. Where is Collin? This was his fault. Jake was taking this the wrong way.

I have to tell him. This is gonna suck. “When you came on stage, my heart stopped. Your voice. Oh. My. God. And the way you were saying your lines. It was breathtaking. I started to skim this,” I said holding up the playbill, “for your name and bio. My jerk-friend noticed, and teased me about it. I was, umm, scowling at him, not you.” My face felt hot, and my heart was pounding so loudly that I was sure he could hear it. “Well, as much fun as it’s been—I gotta go.”

Normally, I didn’t tell people stuff like that, but breaking an artist’s confidence was sacrilegious—especially someone as talented as Jake. I jumped up to make a hasty retreat, but he smoothed his hand over mine, rising with me. Hesitating, I looked at him.

His hair fell into his eyes. Smiling softly, he asked, “Ivy, would you like to grab a cup of coffee?”

We grabbed coffee several times over the next few weeks. I’d wanted him to kiss me after that first date, but he’d insisted on taking things slow. Stupidly, I thought he seemed like a sweet guy, who cared about me. That made the blindsiding attack that bitch-slapped me much worse.

Last night I flew out of my bed, slid out my window, and ran to the park to meet him. Sneaking out was part of my repertoire over the past year. While I ditched most of my juvenile delinquent behavior, I didn’t stop all of it. Ducking out my window in the middle of the night was still a norm. I couldn’t sleep anyway. My mom had no clue. And no one knew where my dad was. Mom was sweet, but she still thought I was a good girl. She saw the girl I had been, and not the one I’d become. It wasn’t unexpected. She had her own trauma to deal with. Hiding my serious crash and burn from her wasn’t hard. I hid it from everyone. Only a few people saw me go down in flames after my sister’s funeral, even less stayed around to put them out, and help me get on with my life.

Jake encouraged my midnight outings, and was always there to walk and talk. A midnight swing at the park was normal, as my nights became filled with less sleep, and more awake.

Last night played out exactly the way he wanted. He lured me there with the one thing he knew I wanted—a kiss. When I arrived, he’d taken my hand outside the park gate, and we walked for a bit. Leaning against a tree, after we’d walked deeper into the woods than usual, Jake pressed his body into mine. It felt good. His fingers brushed across my face, and gently pushed back a stray curl, causing my pulse to skyrocket.

Moonlight cast a lacey pattern on the ground. His face lingered inches from mine. Warm and welcome, I felt his breath on my chilled skin. Tickling fingers suddenly wiggled against my waist. I retaliated quickly. Falling to the ground, in a tangle of legs and arms, we tickled and laughed. It seemed so sweet, and so normal—until I was glued to the ground. How did he turn into the crimson-eyed monster that attacked me last night? Pain like that was unimaginable. I’d never felt anything like that—ever. And I hoped to God, I never would again.

I clung to the few facts I had, and I sighed. Jake attacked me. Eric saved me. And now I had a mark on my head. Accepting that was all I knew made me nuts, but I knew who had the answers. Eric. My strength returned to me over night, and I was ready to hear whatever it was he had to say.

The clock blinked 7:45am. Grabbing my phone, I threw it in my purse, not bothering to look at the screen, and went to school.


I dragged my feet to school. Kids talked, lockers slammed, and the bell rang. The sounds of my normal day droned on like white noise. Continuing to my locker, I grabbed my books.

Although my mark was covered with a thick coating of make-up, I felt exposed. Not knowing what was happening made me twitchy. I grabbed my books and walked to class as the bell rang. My hand pushed the door open, and the teacher shot me a dirty look. I walked quietly to my seat.

Mr. Tanner was a squat man with stern features. Getting excited made his face turn red and his jowls shake. Sweat stains made his once white shirt dingy, and his Dockers clung on for dear life, under his enormous gut. “Tardy. That makes two,” he waved a sausage sized finger at me. “One more and you’ll be spending the afternoon in detention.” Marking his book, he grunted.

If this happened a year ago, I would have been horrified. But now? I didn’t care. The sniggers would stop in a second, and they’d all forget I was here. Except for Jenna Marie. She was in every freaking class with me. I think it was some divine joke—putting the pink princess next to the Goth girl. Well, I wasn’t really Goth. I just wore solid black a lot. The dark color suited me.

Slouching in class, I watched the clock tick slowly, counting the minutes until the bell. I made the motions as I went through the day, trying not to talk to anyone. I was moderately successful.

Jenna Marie didn’t care that I didn’t want to talk. She talked enough for two people.

“Pink would be a great color on you, Ivy,” her voice was perky. Perky irritated me. Sitting ramrod straight in her seat, she sat across the aisle from my desk.

Starring straight ahead I mumbled, “I like black. Thanks.” Talking about my monochromatic wardrobe was a daily ritual for her. This was what I got for getting to class on time. I’d rather sit in detention. My eyes drifted up to the clock, watching the second hand tick one tock at a time. I prayed for the bell to ring.

“But you have such pretty hair. Those beautiful, hazelnut curls would just pop with pink! And you wear black every day.” She frowned at me. “I haven’t seen you wear another color in over a year. It’s time to think pink!” Looking at her, my eyebrows rose in incredulity into my hairline. The bell rang, and snipped off rude words that had formed on my tongue.

When class ended, I sprang from my chair to avoid more pink talk. Shouldering my way out the door, and into the hallway, I paused when Collin came running up behind me.

“Hey Ive!” he called.

“Hey,” I answered, looking up at him.

We fell in step and navigated the crowds of kids, open lockers, and the nerds that were always running somewhere. “What’s going on?”

Shrugging, he said, “Same old stuff. I just wanted to tell you to wait up for me after school.” Arching an eyebrow, a smile spread across his face. Bouncing on his toes, with his hands behind his back, he said, “I have something for you.”

“Sure,” pausing I added, “You didn’t. Did you?” I cocked my hip as my head automatically slanted. I sighed. “Remember? No birthday presents? Geeze Collin.”

Celebrating didn’t feel right, not this year. My birthday was forever connected to the worst day of my life. And after last night, I just couldn’t.

Her voice filled my ears before I saw her face, “Awh, the little virgin said she doesn’t want your present Collin. I’ll take it.” Nicole Scambotti wrapped herself around Collin. He smiled at her. They dated on and off for the past few years. He seemed to like her as much as any of his other groupies. She was part of his flavor of the month club. At the moment it was ginormous boobs on a blonde bombshell frame, with a snarky mouth.

I sneered at her, as I pulled my books tight to my chest. The “little virgin” nickname was my own fault. Collin took me out one night, and I partied a little too hard. Everyone was there, including Nicole. Collin watched me lose control, as I let the glorious numbness flood me. After dancing, I saddled up with some guy I didn’t know. We had an embarrassing public make-out session that I barely remembered. The part that I did remember was his hand sliding up my shirt. It thrilled me, and it felt so good to feel something, besides pain. I let his hands linger, but when he went for my skirt, I slapped him away. When he didn’t stop, I yelled. Collin pulled him off of me, and Nicole started making virgin jokes every chance she could.

Collin pulled away from her, and spoke softly in my ear, “There are worse nicknames.”

I glared at Nicole, speaking loud enough for her to hear me, “Yeah, skank is way worse.”

The bell drowned out Nicole’s pointed response.

Collin pulled her to class, saying over his shoulder, “See ya later. I’ll meet you at your locker.”

I waved to him, and walked off to class.

Collin liked helping me forget my troubles, and I was always up to my neck in them. Sometimes he would take me to the beach, and we’d sit near the surf. The sea washed the waves in and out, in a hypnotic rhythm that soothed me. Collin would sit next to me, quietly. Something about the sea and the wind made me feel free, like I wasn’t trapped in my life. But when things got really bad, I needed more. I started partying, and Collin was always nearby. He didn’t stop me, but he kept me out of trouble. My other friends didn’t like him for it, but I did. He let me live, and grieve without judgment.

After I while, I noticed that all the things that haunted me melted away around him. And the real Collin, the one no one really saw, was unsure of himself. The uncertainty was alluring. It made me wonder who he really was; the confident guy that walked around like he owned the school, or the shy version that was so deeply hidden that I wasn’t sure if it really existed. Collin never made a pass at me; aside from the first day I met him, which was all right because I didn’t want to date him. The groupies alone were a health hazard.

That was before my life took an unexpected turn, and fell apart. While the virgin title was still accurate, it wasn’t uncommon for me to suck face with some guy I didn’t care about. I threw myself at strangers to ease the hole in my chest. I pushed away the guys I actually liked, too afraid of the pain it might cause.

My pace quickened when I saw Eric in front of me, about to walk into the classroom. “Eric,” I called. “Wait up.” I fell in step with him.

“Hey Ivy. Ready for more biology fun?” he asked as I caught up to him, saying nothing of last night.

“Yup, as always.”

Eric had a way of stating the obvious that made me want to smile. He was simple, but in a good way. He was my tether to normal. At least I thought he was. I sat in bio listening to the directions for the next lab. My mind kept tugging me back to last night. My fingers absentmindedly drifted to the mark on my forehead.

I sighed. Eric glanced at me out of the corner of his eye. I ignored him, knowing we couldn’t talk about it now. Waiting sucks.

I shifted my pencil restlessly, between my thumb and index finger, as a nervous sensation crawled up my throat. I always took notes with a pencil, so I could draw if class got too dull. The yellow stick twirled over each finger with a swift grace - before it flung out of my hand, and pegged the kid sitting in front of me in the back of the head.

The jock shifted in his seat and turned to glare at me. I mouthed, Sorry. Eric looked up from his neatly printed notes, and laughed. Two minutes until the bell rang. Thank God. I rolled my eyes, and leaned my head on my hand. Staring at the clock, I watched the black hand jerk, and the bell finally rang. The teacher spewed reminders about assignments. I quickly grabbed my books, and looked at Eric, waiting for him to tell me what we were doing.

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