Wicked Lovely Page 22

With a shake of her head, she looked back at Keenan.

And he smiled at her.

For an instant she forgot everything—his betrayal, her suspicions about Beira, the aching cold. He's as beautiful as he was when we met. I look pale and awful, but he's still gorgeous. She tore her gaze away and walked faster.

He stayed beside her adjusting his stride to match hers. "Donia? Did you?"

"I spoke with her." She thought again about what had almost happened, what could have happened if she hadn't been there. She didn't tell him. "The girl's kind, good…Totally too good for you."

"So were you." He kissed her cheek, singed it with his lips. "You still are."

"Bastard." She shoved him, ignoring the burning in her palm from touching him.

He put a hand on his shoulder, melting the ice that formed where she'd pushed too hard. It crackled under his touch. "Only because Beira murdered my father." Keenan kept pace with Donia until they reached the mouth of a barricaded alley. She said nothing, offered him nothing in the way of even the barest civility. Even after all these years, it still hurt to see the disdain on her face.

Finally he stepped in front of her, blocking her path. "You saw Beira."

She didn't answer him, but it wasn't a question.

"What did she want?" he prompted.

She stepped around him, going farther toward the railroad yard. "Nothing I can't handle."

She was hiding something. He could see the tightening in her hands, hear her breathing catch just a little.

He followed. "Seems odd for her just to stop by to visit. I didn't think you enjoyed being around her."

"It's not much worse than seeing you, but somehow I endure that." She stopped and leaned against one of the fire-blackened buildings outside the railroad yard, closing her eyes, breathing deeply. Sasha stretched out at her feet.

Since she'd been mortal once, being that close to iron wasn't as hard for her as it was for most fey, but it still hurt her. If it hurt Sasha, she wouldn't come, but the wolf was immune to it.

The guards were keeping their distance, but even being near that much iron had to be painful for them. Keenan motioned for them to pull back farther.

"Donia?" He reached out to take her hand, but didn't. His touch would hurt her more than the iron did. Instead he splayed his arms out on the wall on either side of her, palms covering part of the graffiti on the wall, making a prison of sorts with his arms. "Why do you come down here?"

"To remind myself of what I lost." She opened her eyes, holding his gaze. "To remind myself not to trust any of you.

She was utterly impossible.

He grimaced at her accusing look, at the decades-long argument. "I didn't lie to you."

"You didn't tell me the truth, either." She closed her eyes again.

Neither of them spoke for several minutes. Her cold breath mingled with his equally warm breath in the small space between them, rising like steam above them.

"Go away, Keenan. I don't like you any more today than I did yesterday, or the day before that, or the—"

He interrupted, "But I still like you. That's the beauty of this, isn't it? I still miss you. Every single time we do this, Don." He lowered his voice to try and hide how close it was to raw. "I miss you."

She didn't even open her eyes to look at him.

Any love she might have felt died decades ago. If things were different…but they aren't. He shook his head. Donia wasn't her. She was one of the girls he'd never have. He needed to think about how to get close to Aislinn, not about the one he'd lost and loved.

He sighed. "Are you going to tell me what Beira wanted?"

Donia did look at him then, leaning her face close enough that he felt her words on his lips. "Beira wants the same thing you do: me to do her bidding."

He took several steps back. "Damn it, Donia, I don't want—"

"Stop. Just stop." She pushed away from the building. "She wants me to convince Aislinn not to trust you. Just a little pep talk in case I forgot my job."

She was hiding something: Beira wouldn't visit her for that alone. Evan, the rowan-man who watched over Donia, had said she was terrified when Beira left.

Terrified. But she didn't trust him enough to tell him why. And why should she? He started to follow her, to try again.

"Please." Her voice wavered. "Not today. Just leave me alone today."

Then she walked away, closer to the railroad yard, as close as she could stand to go without collapsing. And there was nothing he could do to stop her, to help her. So he watched her until she ducked behind a wall and he couldn't see her anymore.

By nightfall Donia was composed again, but being down at the railroad yard had made her tired, so she'd stopped to rest by the fountain on Willow, a block over from Aislinn's house. She'd sent Sasha out to run, unwilling to ask the wolf to stay still when he wanted to roam.

The harsh streetlights reflected on the surface of the fountain, casting plum shadows in the courtyard. An old man with a well-loved sax played for the people who passed. Donia stretched her legs out on the bench, relishing the shadows, listening to the sax-man, and thinking.

In talking to the fey earlier, Donia had only learned that no one wanted to talk. Neither Beira's winter fey nor Irial's dark fey—who worked closely with the Winter Court— would admit to involvement. The solitary fey would only say they weren't comfortable in the park. The lack of answers was answer enough: by consent or directive, Beira had interfered.

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