The Quiet

I followed her gaze to the other side of the room, where there were two windows. One was closed tightly. But the other was opening slowly. I could see some kind of shadow come over the bottom.

Someone was coming inside.


45. Stuck

If anyone had been in any part of the house other than the upstairs, they would have assumed the noise had been thunder, but I knew better. I had seen it happen, had seen the fall.

His name was stuck in my throat. I wanted to shout but no words came out. Instead, it was a small moan. Then I sank to my knees.

“Cari,” Clay whispered, shifting beside me, “what happened?”

“You didn’t hear?” I asked, turning my head.

Suddenly all I wanted to do was curl up inside him and sleep for years. Then I would wake up and this whole nightmare would be over.

“Where are Maddox and Alec?” he asked, though judging from the way he was looking, he already knew.

“Down there,” I said, pointing. I looked at him. “How come you didn’t hear what happened?”

“I blacked out or something,” Clay murmured. He scratched his head and moved toward me, gripping my hand. “We’re going to get through this, you know that, don’t you?”

“No,” I said softly. “We could die.”

His fingers twisted in my hair, and as I turned to look at him, his mouth caught mine. The kiss was light at first, then the pressure changed and it grew deeper. Clay’s fingers left my hair and slipped around my waist to pull me closer. When he pulled away, I frowned.

“If we die,” he said, his breathing tangling with mine, “I just wanted to see what that would be like.”

I smiled, my lips tingling slightly from where he kissed me. For a brief moment I forgot where we were and what was going on. Then reality came crashing down and I cringed.

“We should see if Maddox is okay,” I said.

Clay stood and gripped the banister. I followed him as we crept down the stairs, Neither Maddox or Alec were at the bottom, like they probably should have been, and that both worried and relieved me.

But as we stepped onto the floor, Clay reached back and took my hand, his grip firm. Then he stopped and gasped.

“Don’t look,” he told me.

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