Where I Live (Part 11)

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I drifted in and out of consciousness for a long time, not really sleeping but not really awake. When I came to again, I was in a bed. I looked around and saw that I was in Kakali’s room. A glance out the window revealed how the light had changed. I slept all day. I remember hearing Kole’s dad’s story and then I stood up but I guess . . . I passed out. This isn’t good. . . I only bit him once and now I’m starting to have withdrawals. . . I can’t stay here. . . I don’t care if I’m supposed to be this savior maiden. . . I have to go.
I sat up slowly and stood, finding that my legs were steady now. I crept out of the room, making no noise. Quiet like a cat. I walked silently down the hall and out into the living room, but a voice stopped me when I had a hand almost on the doorknob.
“Kryn?” It was Ethan. “What are you doing?”
“Standing?” The steps of panic . . . Step one: Getting away from the subject with humor.
“But you were about to leave. You passed out before and now you look a little pale. . . Is something wrong?”
“It’s nothing.” Denial. “I just . . . needed some air.” Lying. I felt myself getting more and more tense by the second.
“I’ll go with you.”
“I don’t need a chaperone! Geez!” Anger.
“That’s not . . .” He sounded hurt. “I just wanted to . . .”
I paused for a few seconds, feeling bad. “I’m sorry.” Apology. . . Skip the next step. . . Skip acceptance. . . I can’t tell the truth. “I just . . . It was just getting warm in here and I needed some air.”
“Then why do have your keys?”
So much for being hurt. “They were in my pocket already.”
“I still want to come with you.” He came up and reached out for my arm but I flinched away. “Kryn, what’s wrong?”
“I-I need to be alone.” I opened the door and walked outside, closing it behind me. As a soft breeze blew my hair, I realized that it felt too cool against my skin. A hesitant swipe at my cheek showed that I had broken out in a cold sweat while I slept. Will this actually make me sick? Is that why the other’s started hunting . . . because they didn’t want this to happen?
The door opened behind me and I didn’t bother to turn, just shoved my hands into my pockets as deep as they would go. “Kryn?” He walked closer and I had to fight to stand in place and not step forward or worse, turn around and attack. “Something’s wrong. . . Don’t lie to me.” His hand landed on my shoulder. It was just a feather light touch, but somehow that made it worse. “Please tell me.”
I bit down on my tongue for a few seconds and then whispered quietly, “It’s nothing.”
“Is it something I did? Something I said?”
“No, it’s not –”
“You’re lying again.” His hand slipped away. “It’s me. I know it.”
“It’s not. . . Really, it’s not.”
“You flinched when I said your name.”
I hoped he hadn’t seen that. “It was deathly quiet in there. You scared me.” The lies were coming so easy now.
“You pulled away when I tried to touch you.”
“I was just moving my arm.”
“At the same exact moment I did?”
“Coincidences happen.”
“Then if this is all coincidence and there’s nothing wrong and definitely nothing I did . . . turn around.”
“What? Why?”
“Just do it.”
I did so, keeping my eyes locked on the left shoulder design on his shirt. “There.”
“Look at me.”
“I am.”
“Look me in the eye.”
“This is ridiculous.” I started to walk past him. “I’m going back ins–”
He caught my arm as I tried to walk past him. “You don’t have to run away. . . I’ll think nothing less of you if it’s just something simple. . . Please tell me . . . I’ll listen. I want to help.”
For a few seconds, I felt the urge to blurt out everything. But then, I looked him in the eye and watched as I shattered his hope with two simple words.
“I can’t.”
His hand slipped away and I walked back up to the door, rubbing my arms though it wasn’t cold. When I got back inside, I glanced out the peep hole in the door. He was still standing there, staring after me. I hurried off to bed, but I didn’t sleep at all that night. Ethan didn’t come back inside for a full hour.





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