Blood of the Lost(Rylee Adamson #10)(14) by Shannon Mayer
He reached around me and tugged her hair. “What’s the matter, Pamie?”
“Shut up, Alex.” She bit out, her face going even redder, if that were possible. Another time, I would have smiled and laughed. But not now.
From the corner of my eye, I watched him watching her. If it weren’t for Frank’s death, I knew what would happen.
Alex loved me like an older sister and best friend.
Pamela on the other hand . . . he watched her like a wolf hungry for a meal. Which was not totally surprising. “Pam, go ahead of us. Alex and I need to have a chat.”
“We do?” His golden eyes widened and it was then I realized that unlike other shifters I knew—excluding Liam—Alex’s eyes didn’t revert to their original color. They stayed werewolf gold despite being in human shape. Perhaps leftovers from being a submissive so long . . . .
Pamela hurried ahead of us, her blonde hair swinging loosely down her back. Alex tracked her with his eyes—the same way I knew Liam did me. Yeah, that was not happening anytime soon.
“Uh-huh, you and me need to chat. Might not get another chance to.” I stepped in front of him, blocking his path and put a hand on his chest. “Down, boy.”
“What? I’ve been good.” His eyes went as wide as I’d ever seen them. A false innocence, if I ever saw it.
My lips twitched despite the morose mood swirling through me. “Look, I get it. I do. Pamela is pretty, smart, a powerhouse of a witch. But she is fifteen and you are what, twenty?”
He at least had the grace to blush. “That obvious?”
“I don’t think subtle is in your repertoire, my friend.” I smiled to soften what I was going to say. “You need to remember that no matter how grown up she is, she is too young for you, right now. She and Frank were only a year apart. And now he’s dead and he was her first love. Be her friend. Be patient.”
Cactus strolled by us as he headed toward the store, catching the last bit I said. He burst out laughing. “Be a girl’s friend? Goddess, might work eventually. At least, I’m hoping.”
Alex looked from me to Cactus and let out a low growl. “Don’t mock her.”
I put a hand on his arm. “Alex. I may not get another chance to say this. Let Pamela have time. If, when she’s a few years older, you feel the same way, then you can say something. But not before that. Do you understand?”
He blew out a slow breath. “Yeah, I get it. I’ll be her friend.”
Cactus patted Alex on the shoulder. “Welcome to the friend club. Membership is free and at least you’ll get to hold them while they cry over another man.”
Alex grimaced and I shook my head. “Ignore him.”
We went into the box store to shop together for the last time.
Although saying we shopped would imply that we paid for our things, which we most certainly did not.
I RIFLED THROUGH THE clothes on the racks, looking for something . . . or nothing. I wondered where the alarms were; it wasn’t like we’d had keys and pass codes to get in. Berget and Faris, or Liam depending on who was in charge, had broken the locks and headed deep into the storeroom.
Berget ghosted to my side as if thinking of her called her to me.
“I saw you looking at the cameras. Faris and I disarmed the whole system when we came in, so we should be good here for a while. All the workers are . . . sleeping now.”
“Oh, I . . . I thought we were going to have to rush out.”
She nodded. “Yes, like we always do?”
“Yes.” I breathed the word, feeling a strange hesitancy in our conversation. We’d talked before, but not alone. Not when Rylee wasn’t in the room.
Berget had tried to kill me the first time we’d met, and I wondered sometimes if she still harbored those intentions. I didn’t think so, at least I hoped not.
“The blue will look good with your eyes.” She pointed at a turquoise button down shirt.
“It would look good with yours, too,” I said softly. A question hovered on my tongue and I took a breath, wondering if I should bother asking.
“Go ahead,” the vampire said. “You won’t offend me.”
“Do you think it is coincidence that you and I look so alike? I mean, what do you think?” I wanted to kick myself, but Berget tapped a hand on the rack of clothes we stood by.
“I doubt anything in this world of ours is coincidence. If you hadn’t looked so much like me, maybe Rylee would have let you go into foster care. Or maybe even to the druid who wanted to train you. And without you, she wouldn’t have survived this long.” Berget cleared her throat. “May I ask you a question?”
I nodded quickly. “Of course.”
She seemed to stumble over the words. “Do you think . . . she loves you better than me?”
My eyes sprang open at the mere suggestion. “Are you kidding? You’re her sister. She never stopped looking for you.”
“And I tried to kill her on several occasions.”
“Not your fault.” I lifted a hand and carefully put it over hers. “Why would you even think she could love me more?”
Berget’s eye’s glimmered with tears. “Insecurities run deep, I suppose. I see her with you, and I see the bond you have. I . . . she doesn’t turn to me like she turns to you.”
I didn’t know what to say to that, so I flipped through the clothes. “I think you’re right. This blue would look good on both of us.” I shoved a shirt at her and then grabbed her hand. “We might not be normal teenagers, but we can act like it for a few minutes, right?”