What's That Sound
This Isn't The 1800s
Your Average Girl
Don't Make Me Go
Dress-Up Game
Alone With the Enemy
Some Strange Magic
You Only Live Once
What Are You?
A Wrong Turn
A Deal's a Deal
The Secret Inside
Helicopter, Helicopter
Mind Your Manners
A Maze and Delight
The Lost Seed
A Secret Escape
Getting Hot Inside
Seriously, What The
Got a Bad Feeling
Let's Try Something
Breathing is Overrated
In the Meantime
Nice Day for a Drive
Can't Turn Back
Getting Hot Inside
I sat on the rooftop patio, the sky clear and shimmering with stars above. Chance sat a few feet away, leaning back on his palms.

He was watching me with a kind of curious gaze, so I said, "You're the reason I was sneaking out, you know."

He coughed, combing a hand up through his hair. "Was afraid you'd say something like that." Then, grinning, "Missed me that much, huh?"

Good thing it was pretty dark. Otherwise he might have seen how red my face had become. It was so hot I had to fan myself with my hand. The pool was starting to look awfully cool and enticing, glinting in the light of the crescent moon.

"I need answers," I said, "Do you know anything about something called 'The Seed'?"

"You been hanging around that demon Mercurius again?" Chance asked, sitting forward to look at me. For a crazy half second, I could have sworn he sounded jealous. But he just said, "I do know something about it, now that you mention it."

I also wanted to ask why-the-heck he was hanging out on my roof again. But that question was going to have to wait.

"It's an old legend, really," he continued, "The original Seed was the first demon. The strongest power lies in her blood, blood that has been passed-down for thousands of generations. But to make a long story short, that bloodline has since ended and nobody knows what happened to the heir. Rumor has it, there may still be one today."

I looked at him, trying to gauge how crazy I would sound if I said what I was thinking. But given what he'd just said, I figured I might as well.

"Mercurius said his mother thinks I'm the lost Seed."

I was afraid saying it would make it sound like I thought a lot more highly or myself than I did, in order to believe there was a any crazy possibility that I, a human, could be some sort of lost demon heir.

But to my surprise, Chance said, "Yeah. I was thinking about that."

I could only look at him. "You were?"

"Right. Only explanation that makes sense. Your energy and all. It's not... usual."

I turned over my hands and looked at them. I sure didn't feel like anything other than normal. I mean, I didn't feel any different than I ever had. And I'd never had any special ability or magical power or whatnot. Demon heir? That had to be a mistake.

But after seeing the fighting match and Chance's animus up close, maybe my bar for crazy unbelievable things had been raised. So much had changed in the past few days, I felt a bit disoriented. But just a week ago, I might have laughed off the idea completely.

I mean, I'd gone my whole life believing magic and demons were things of fiction. And now--

"You okay?"

I looked up and realized Chance had moved. He was crouched in front of me, face a few inches from mine. Probably because I was bent forward with one hand pressed to my stomach to soften the wave of nausea I felt.

"Sorry, just," I managed, trying to will the stomach ache away. "This is a lot to take in."

He set the back of his hand against my forehead.

"You're burning up," he said, "You've got a fever."

And maybe I did, because I didn't feel so good all of a sudden. When I tried to stand, the blood rushed behind my ears and the world started to spin.

Chance caught me around the shoulders, pulling me against him. I didn't know if I was embarrassed to have nearly fallen over or it was just my temperature, but sweat beaded on my forehead and dripped down my face. Never had a fever come on this fast.

"I think I need to lay down," I said, or I tried to, but the words came out in a hurried mumble as I slumped against him. Chance felt sturdy to lean against and I let my eyes drift shut into the comforting lull of his breathing.

When I opened them, I realized with a start that I was no longer standing. When I tried to get up, I found I couldn't.

"Stop moving so much," said Chance's voice as I blinked him back into focus. Ah, so that was why I couldn't get up. He was carrying me.

We landed on the patio outside my room and he slid the door open. No time to warn him about the squeaking hinge, but somehow when he opened it there was no sound. Like magic.

"I think something's going around at school," I said as he set me on the edge of my bed. I wanted to stand, but just speaking took all the energy I could muster and I found myself laying back into the pillows. "Just the flu," I mumbled, "I'll be fine."

No surprise, Chance didn't sound convinced when he let out a harsh exhale and said in a low voice, "If you say so."

With that, I drifted off to sleep and he disappeared out the open door.

Or at least, I thought he'd left.

But when I opened my eyes what could have been minutes or hours later, a dark shadow stirred in the corner of the room.

- - -

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© Hopeful Romantic ,
книга «Just a Kiss».