“So what’ll it be?” I ask her. “Water? Juice? I don’t think we actually have Gatorade, but
I can walk down to the store.”
“Water’s fine.” Ally falls back against cushions and grins up at me. A light pink blush
spreads over her cheeks. She finger-combs her hair. “My hair is so pretty. I love my hair.”
I snort. “I love your hair too.”
“What else about me is cute?” she asks.
“Everything.” I fluff the pillow for her and search the room for a blanket. I yank a red
velvety throw off the back of a chair as Gideon slips out of the bedroom and passes me on his
way to the mini fridge. He grabs one of the wrapped water glasses from the bar above.
“Grab us one too.” I have zero problems assigning tasks to other people. Sometimes I
wonder if it was a mistake going into death-replacing. Sure, I was a great death replacement
agent, and dying for other people is cool, but I’m really good at bossing people around.
It’s like a calling.
Gideon fills two water glasses with some fancy bottled water from the fridge and hands
me a glass. I don’t dare remind him that Ally vowed not to drink this water yesterday. She ranted
about the effect of plastic on the environment for ten whole minutes. I could’ve reminded her
that the planet is about to explode anyway, but that meant Gideon would’ve won the argument
and I’m Team Ally all the way.
I put the glass of water in her hand. What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her. “Here you go.
She waves her water around. “I just feel so good, you know?”
I smile. “I can tell.”
She runs a hand through her hair. “It’s a new year. A new beginning. And we have a
great plan for kicking Caldwell’s butt.”
“And you’re so cute and you kissed me.”
With arched eyebrows, Gideon closes the bedroom door behind him. Thankfully, the
sound of the television comes on, affording us some privacy.
I sink down onto the sofa beside her. “I’ll do it again if you want me too. I’ll kiss you a
She bites her lip and I’m about to lose it. I lean forward to kiss her but she starts talking
again, so I hang there mid-smooch, lips puckered.
“Life is so good right now. No one is stabbing us, burying us alive, beating us up, or
kidnapping the dog,” she goes on, her voice echoing inside her water glass. Her face pinches.
“That means we are probably about to die.”
I press my lips together and sigh. “Don’t say that. You’ll jinx us.”
It’s difficult getting her to sit up, but I manage it. I want her to drink this water. I tilt the
glass toward her lips, encouraging her.
“This is good,” she says and frowns at the water. “Is this tap water?”
“Because I’m not drinking that $15 water Gideon bought.”
“It’s tap,” I say again. “You’re just too drunk to taste it.”
Ally shrugs and finishes the glass. Then she hands me her empty glass.
“You want more?”
“No,” she grins. “I want something else.”
“We’ve got chips, but that’s about it. And Rachel can’t close a bag to save her life, so
they’re probably stale.”
She shakes her head, grinning.
Then I realize what she’s saying.
“Oh.” I smile. “Okay.”
She crawls over the pillow between us and pulls herself into my lap. She straddles me,
wrapping her arms around my neck. She kisses me once on the cheek, probably a missed target
rather than a sweet gesture, and then manages to get my mouth the second time.
She pulls back. “God, is it you or is it really hot in here?”
“We’re still wearing our coats.”
She laughs and looks down at herself. “Oh. Right.”
I reach up behind her and pull her jacket off. “Better?”
She snuggles up to me. “You’re still hot.”
“Thanks for noticing.”
“Let me help you take your coat off.”
“Okay.” I let her attempt to pull off the jacket, but it’s not really going anywhere and she
accidentally pulls my hair twice. So I help her get my jacket off and throw it over the arm of the
sofa. One of the throw pillows falls to the floor with a poof.
Ally doesn’t stop there. She slips her hands under my shirt, giving me a curious look. “Is
I try to find the voice to tell her it’s more than okay. She would have been naked an hour
ago in the grubby bathroom of some bar if she wasn’t such a germaphobe.
She is so beautiful. Her eyes are bright, reflecting the lamplight. Her face is flushed from
the alcohol, her smile lazy. Her eyes half-closed. My heart pounds in my chest, thudding against
my ribs so hard it hurts.
“What’s wrong?” A frown creases her face and I think she can hear my heart throbbing.
“Don’t you think I’m pretty?”
“Don’t be stupid.”
I reach up and pull her down into my arms. I kiss her, even more deeply than I did on the
balcony. I slip my hand under her shirt and unsnap her bra with one twist of my fingers.
She gasps in my mouth and the sound of it makes my whole body shudder.
“Lay down,” I command.
She laughs, surprised, but her voice goes all deep and breathy. “Yes, sir.”
I climb on top of her, positioning myself between her legs. I kiss her neck and she
squirms, bucking her hips up against mine.
“Do you love me?” she asks.
“More than anyone.”
“Are you sure?”
I cover her mouth with mine. “Please stop talking.” I pull back. “Unless you want me to
“No, no.” She grabs the front of my hoodie, twisting it up in her fists and pulls me down
on top of her.