I swallow and stare at him in the dark, my entire body itching to feel his touch. When I see the anticipation in his stance, the way he looks at me as if I’ m both infuriating and appealing — it makes me feel powerful. But when he takes a step in my direction, that power plummets to some place untouchable. Now I’ m a seventeen-year-old girl again, standing in the shadows with someone who feels like he’ s lived three lives to my one.
“Come with me,” he orders.
There’ s no room for refusal, and I don’ t want there to be. He takes my hand to help me step over sleeping bodies, both human and Pandora. When I stumble, he leans over and sweeps beneath my knees. I’ m brought into his arms with the same ease I may use to curl a rabbit to my chest. But I’ m not such an innocent, silent creature.
I’ ve got spirit and fire in spades. Though, right now, as he carries me to the single back bedroom, I have neither. I’ m somebody else now. I’ m Tella Holloway, Boston girl turned Montana transplant, sitting on the edge of her bed, awaiting her very first date with the boy who makes her parents uneasy. A boy who doesn’ t speak nearly enough, but when he does, this girl stops and listens. In my mind’ s eye, I’ m wearing the silver-sequined dress that’ s hibernated in my closet far too long. I feel beautiful and confident, and who cares if he said we’ re going to the lake at night? I want to glimpse the look on his face when he sees me. I envision how his entire face will light up as if it’ s lit from within. How his full lips will part slightly and his cold blue eyes will soften.
Guy sets me on my feet, and I gaze up at him.
Oh yes. Right there. That’ s the look I imagined.