Wicked Lovely Page 15

"Not today. Come on." Aislinn ran down the stairs, past several more faeries. They didn't usually come into the apartment building. It was one of the safer areas, no greenery in sight, steel security bars on the windows—not a bad neighborhood, but far from the dangerous trees and shrubs in the suburbs.

As they walked the few blocks to school, Aislinn's good mood vanished entirely. Faeries crouched in the alcoves, walked behind them, murmured as they passed. It was beyond disconcerting.

And like an echo as she walked, she remembered Deadgirl's comment: "Run while you can." Aislinn didn't think she could actually run, but if she knew what she was running from, it might at least ease the panic that she couldn't seem to end.

Then one of the lupine faeries sniffed her, crystalline fur clattering like tiny glass chimes as he moved, and Aislinn trembled. Maybe knowing wouldn't be enough to ease the panic.

As Aislinn went through her day, she pushed the morning's worries to the back of her mind. It wasn't like she could tell Father James she wasn't paying attention because faeries were following her. The Church might caution against the dangers of the occult, but finding a modern priest who believed in anything supernatural—other than God himself—was about as likely as finding one who'd suggest women should be able to be priests too.

Actually, she thought with a wry smile as she headed toward her last-period English class, there might be some priests out there more likely to suggest female equality, just not at Bishop O.C.

"Did you finish the reading?" Leslie asked as she yanked her bag out of her locker and slammed it shut.

"Yeah." Aislinn rolled her eyes. "Othello was an ass."

Leslie winked and said, "They all are, sweetie. They all are."

"How was the party?" Aislinn asked as they slipped into the room.

"Same as always, but" — Leslie leaned across the aisle— "Dominic's parents are away all week. Fun to be had, trips to take, guys to make…"

"Not my scene."

"Come on, Ash." Leslie checked to be sure no one who shouldn't hear stood nearby—glancing up and down the aisle furtively—before she added, "Ri's friend at the music shop got her that extra package she ordered, too."

Sometimes Aislinn wished she could smoke a little, drink a little, but she couldn't. Once in a while she indulged if she planned to crash on Seth's sofa, but she couldn't risk walking through Huntsdale with her defenses down.

"I don't think so," she said more firmly.

"You could come along. You don't need to party, just hang with us. It's not like I get lit. Just a little relaxed." Leslie tried again. "Some of Dom's cousins are going to be there."

"Thought they were all asses?" Aislinn asked with a smirk.

"Sure, but his cousins are asses with hot, hot bods. If you aren't going to do anything about Seth" — Leslie gave her a lascivious grin—"a girl's got needs, right? Just think about it."

Sister Mary Louise came in, saving Aislinn from declining again.

With her usual flourish, Sister Mary Louise paced across the front of the room, eying them from behind her patently unattractive glasses. "Well, what can you tell me?"

It was one' of the many reasons the class was Aislinn's favorite: Sister Mary Louise didn't simply launch into a lecture. She got them talking, and then she slipped in her points, revealing every bit as much information, but with more style than any of the other teachers.

Before anyone else could speak, Leslie announced, "If Othello had trusted Des, it would've all gone differently."

Sister Mary Louise rewarded her with an encouraging smile and then turned to Jeff, who objected to most of Leslie's comments. "Do you agree?"

The class quickly turned into a debate with Aislinn and Leslie on one side and Jeff's lone male voice on the other side. A few other people joined in periodically, but it was mostly her and Leslie against Jeff.

Afterward Aislinn left Leslie at her locker and joined the crowd surging to the door. In all, her mood was a good one. Ending the day with her favorite class wasn't quite as good as starting with it—instead of starting with the torture that was Calculus—but it was a close second.

Then Aislinn stepped outside the main door. The fear she'd stifled that morning came flooding back: outside, seated on the back of the wolf, was Deadgirl—looking every bit as terrifying as the other faery, Keenan, had at Comix.


The fairies, beside being revengeful, are also very arrogant, and allow no interference with their old-established rights.

— Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, and Superstitions of Ireland by Lady Francesca Speranza Wilde (1887)

"Hello?" Leslie snapped her fingers in front of Aislinn's face, her silver nail polish catching Aislinn's attention. "Are you coming or not?"


"To Dom's." Leslie sighed, a familiar look of irritation on her face.

Beside them, Carla smothered a laugh.

Leslie exhaled noisily, blowing her too-long bangs away from her face. "You weren't listening to a word I said, were your

"Hold up," Rianne yelled as she ran down the steps. Like Leslie, Rianne already had her blazer off, but she also had the top two buttons of her blouse undone. It was all show, but it was a show that led to lectures from more than a few of the faculty at Bishop O.C.

From the side of the building, Father Edwin called, "You're still on school property, ladies."

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