Drip Drop Teardrop Page 13

Brennus frowned, looking up. “The things weren’t to your liking?”

“Of course. It was just… doing what you’ve done… it’s alarming and a little… gothic.”

He surprised her by chuckling, the sound tugging at her belly. She flushed. God, Josh had never made her feel this way. Sex with him had been perfunctory and boring. Somehow she knew with Brennus it would different. When she looked back over at him, his eyebrows were raised speculatively and she had the weirdest feeling he knew what she had been thinking. Avery blushed even harder and he responded with a wicked grin.

“Sorry, if I ‘freaked you out’, as you kids say today.”

She snorted ignoring the heat in her cheeks. “Could you sound any older?”

“Yes.”

Rolling her eyes at him, it took her a minute to remember she was supposed to be pissed off at him. She stopped smiling and dropped her gaze.

“Avery,” he moaned softly as if her coldness physically hurt him.

Ignoring his plea, she shrugged and continued to eat. When she was done, she leaned back and concentrated on his scar, waiting for the ripples of revulsion she had first felt when she saw him. She bit her lip, telling herself she still felt them. She thought of Sarah and Jemima and how freaked out they’d be if she started seeing this guy. Even the knowledge of their humiliating judgement didn’t bring on the ripples. How long had she been here? It felt like forever.

“So what’s on the agenda tonight?” She asked softly. Giving in.

Brennus stood up and held a hand out to her. “For one night only… I’m going to show you my world.”

I Wonder What it’s Like…

Walking by your Side

The last place Avery expected to end up was the hospital. One minute she was shrugging on a jacket (this gorgeous leather bomber… so soft… she wanted to die – if her aunt saw her in it she would) and taking Brennus’ hand. The next minute, the whirlpool thing happened and they were standing in a brightly lit hospital corridor, nurses and doctors rushing by. Not one of them looked at them and when a short, flustered-looking doctor headed straight toward her as if she were invisible, Avery yelped and pushed Brennus aside so the doctor didn’t walk straight into her.

“What the hell…” she snapped, glaring at the doctor as he hurried off. She was all for not being centre of attention but that was just ruuudddee.

She stiffened at the sound of Brennus’ chuckle and spun around slowly to pin him to the wall with a ‘ferocious’ look. “What?”

He smiled at her, the scar stretching up on his cheek. It seemed more prominent under the fluorescent lights. It must have hurt when he got it, she thought, feeling a pang of pain for him. “Avery, no one can see us.”

Her eyes widened incredulously. “We’re invisible?”

He nodded, the smile slipping from his face as he sobered. “We’re here for the dead.”

Once more he held out his hand and tentatively she took it, tears prickling painfully in the back of her eyes for some reason. Despite everything inside her screaming for her to run in the opposite direction, Avery followed Brennus as he wandered into the ICU. His shoulders seemed to hunch over as they walked into a private room. A teenage girl lay broken on the bed. An older man and woman were curled up together on the sofa against the wall, their faces strained with terror even in their sleep. As she stood there with Brennus, an icy cold descended on the room and the heart monitor by the bed went crazy as the waves on the screen flat lined. Nurses and a doctor rushed into the room, pushing paddles on a trolley, and Brennus pulled Avery out of the way, guessing she wouldn’t enjoy the sensation of someone running right through her. They worked in a calm hurry to save the girl’s life, her parents held back by a nurse as the doctor attempted to stop the inevitable. Brennus stepped forward through the medical team and brushed the girl’s hair off her face. Gently he bent down and pressed the softest, sweetest kiss to her forehead.

Avery tended to cry if someone else did and as the man and woman sobbed hysterically when the doctor pronounced, ‘Time of death, 20:16,’ Avery felt a hot tear score her cheek as her throat muscles clenched together, determined to hold back her answering sob.

She felt the brush of Brennus’ fingers on her cheek and she looked up at him. He stared back with such love, she felt her knees buckle.

*

For the rest of the night he took her from pillar to post, answering the call of the dead. Each person he treated gently. Respectfully. Sombrely.

He was the most beautifully sad thing she had ever seen.

I’m Gonna Kiss the Parts

that you have Lost

After such an exhaustingly emotional night, Avery was surprised when Brennus suggested they go dancing the next evening. Her first instinct had been to flinch inwardly at the thought of being seen at 4.0 with Brennus. As soon as the thought floated out into the verse she berated herself. When had she grown into such a shallow, hateful person?

“I didn’t mean 4.0.” Brennus shook his head. “Your friends might be there.”

She wanted to tell him she wasn’t ashamed to be seen with him. But she wasn’t sure if that was true or not. God. She was disgusted with herself.

Seeming to read her mind, Brennus smirked. “You are remembering that you consider yourself my captive, right, Avery?”

She straightened her shoulders and nodded at him. “Yeah. Right. Forgot about that.” She felt a little better about herself.

But Brennus was grinning that wicked grin that did funny things to her insides, the kind of funny things that made her wish he would just grab her and kiss her already. “Forgot hmm? I’ll call that progress.”

Avery grimaced. “That’s not what I meant.”

She had to admit that choosing an outfit for going dancing was difficult. Brennus had great taste. Understated, classy. In the end she chose a pair of skinny jeans and a silk top that tied into a gorgeous floppy bow behind her neck, the wide ribbons sliding sensually across her back as she moved. Her stilettos were emerald green to match the colour of the top. Her clutch matched too. She shook her head. Where had he gotten all of this stuff? She wondered, shrugging on a little cropped jacket a lot like the one she had at home.

Avery tried not to shiver at Brennus’ approving regard as they got ready to leave. He wore a black cashmere jumper that moulded to his well-defined body. With all the delicious things she was starting to notice about him, the scar was beginning to fade into the background. She wasn’t sure if she even saw it now.

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