Wicked Lovely Page 18

Several moments passed.

Donia didn't say a word; neither did Aislinn. Since we're both pretending not to see them, what could we say?

Finally Aislinn said, "If you hadn't been there…"

"What?" The expression on Donia's face was pained as she looked away from the faeries.

"Outside. If you hadn't been there…"

"But I was." She smiled, but there was a drawn look on her face, making her seem anxious, eager to leave.

"Right. I need to find my…someone." Aislinn motioned toward the stairs that led to the library basement. "Get something, but I wanted to say thanks for everything."

Donia shot a brief glare at the faeries, who were giggling again. "Just be sure to keep your someone with you when you leave. Will you do that?"


"Good. I'll catch you around sometime. Under better circumstances, I'm sure." Then Donia smiled. The faery was beautiful—stunning—the way a storm is when you wake up and see lightning streak across the sky.

And probably just as dangerous.


A Cornish woman who chanced to find herself the guardian of an elf-child was given certain water with which to wash its face…and the woman ventured to try it upon herself, and in doing so splashed a little into one eye. This gave her the fairy sight.

— Legends and Romances of Brittany by Lewis Spence (1917)

Aislinn stood motionless, gazing in the direction of the vanishing faery. In that brief moment Donia had been so devastatingly lovely that Aislinn had felt near tears.

Seth came up behind her. She knew it was him before he slipped his arms around her, but she wasn't sure how she knew. She just did. There were a lot of things like that lately, knowing stuff without any reason why. It was kind of creepy.

He whispered, "Who's she?"

"What?" It was hard to whisper back to him when he stood behind her; he was almost a foot taller than she was.

"Her. The one you were talking to." He inclined his head in the direction Donia had gone.

She wasn't sure how to answer. But when she turned, Seth saw her face, and he no longer seemed to care about his unanswered question.

"What happened?" He stared at her swollen lip, reached out as if he'd touch it.

"Tell you everything at home?" She hugged him. She didn't want to think about it, not now. She just wanted to leave, go to Seth's, where she could feel safer.

"Let me grab my notes." Then he walked away, right past the group of faeries headed toward Aislinn.

One of the faery girls circled behind her. She's the new one.

A second one stroked a hand over Aislinn's hair. Pretty thing.

Another shrugged. I suppose.

Aislinn tried to keep her face blank. Focus. She concentrated on the rustling of the leaves against the girls' clothes, not the strange sugary-sweet scent that seemed to pervade the air around diem, not the too-hot brush of their skin as they inspected her with their hands. It wasn't comfortable—at all—but after the fiasco outside, their touch seemed somehow less awful. The violence of the three guys…She shuddered.

The faeries chattered back and forth, louder now that Donia had left and, presumably, no one in the library could hear them.

The Winter Girl seems to be making progress.

This one's a no-touch now.

Who cares? I'm not fond of girls. Now her friend…He's touchable. Tasty.

They giggled.

Maybe she'll share once she joins us.

If she's the one, she won't have a choice, will she? Her friend will be free game.

As Seth walked back toward her, his bag slung over his shoulder, Aislinn held out both hands where he could see them, like she was holding her arms open for another hug.

He gave her a questioning look.

Who says we need to wait? One of the faeries stroked his cheek; another pinched him.

Seth's eyes widened.

Aislinn's heart thumped. He felt it. She'd never had to try to speak so the faeries didn't understand her, not with anyone but Grams, not with anyone who couldn't see them. Hoping the faeries were as daft as they looked, she slid her arm around his waist and tugged him toward the door, away from lascivious faeries. "Ready to go home?"

"Definitely." He sped up a little, and draped an arm over her shoulders.

The Summer King might have some competition.

You want to tell him that? "Oh, Keenan, love…her toy is yummy."

Don't be mean. The king's good fun.

They all giggled again.

How much fun will he be with her around? You know how he gets. I'll volunteer to distract the mortal, so Keenan can woo her. Mmm, me too. Look at all those rings on his face. Wonder if he has a tongue ring?

Once they were safely within the metal framework of Seth's train, Aislinn let out a breath. The walk over had been like some medieval gauntlet with faeries watching and easing closer to them. They hadn't touched her, not once, but Seth would have more than a few unexplained bruises the next morning. She was glad he couldn't see them.

She hugged him, just a quick embrace before stepping away. "I'm sorry."

"For what?" He uncoiled Boomer from the teakettle and lowered him into the terrarium.

"For them? She hopped up on a counter.

Seth flicked on the switch for the power strip, turning on the warming rock and heat lamps for Boomer. "Tea?"

"Sure…Did you feel them?"

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