"Thanks." I get up and walk to my pink black zebra striped bags and pull out sweats and a shirt. I slip into the bathroom and look at my reflection in the mirror. My green eyes are slightly red from crying, and grey streaks down my cheeks mark where my mascara tears have fallen. With a shaky sigh, I turn on the faucet and grab a pale blue washcloth from the rack by the sink. I wash off the remainder of my makeup and run the brush through my hair once. I wipe my nose and walk out of the bathroom. The couch is folded out into a bed, and Wraith is coming back down the stairs with blankets.
"I thought thee would wish for more blankets, as it can be rather cold down here."
I nod. "Thanks."
He sets them on the edge of the bed, acting like he's scared to touch me. He turns around to go back upstairs.
He stops waking, but doesn't turn around.
I walk across the room to him and hug him tightly. "Thanks, for everything."
He nods and loosely hugs me back. "Thou art welcome, but tis my duty to watch after you."
He pulls my arms away from his neck and stiffly walks back up the stairs. I stand at the bottom of the stairs for a moment, watching his back, and then turn around and walk back to the couch and sit down. I lean forward and rest my arms on my knees. I see Ryan’s leather jacket lying on the floor where I set it when Wraith first brought me down here this afternoon. Slowly, I get back up and grab it, then I notice something about it that I didn’t notice earlier, that one side is heavier than the other. Curious, I reach into the right pocket and pull out a small box. A small piece of paper flutters to the ground as I set the jacket on the couch. I bend down to pick it up, and see a note written in Ryan’s handwriting. A mixture of regret, fear, and sorrow form and lodge in my throat.
I slowly read it aloud. “To Nikki, my shadow princess. You may have your own kingdom, but you’ll always be the girl that I first fell in love with.”
The note flutters back to the ground from suddenly numb fingers. He knew about that? How? I never told him…
Suddenly, the box in my other hand seems too important to this small mystery. I rip the lid off and look inside. Nestled in black silk is a small white gold chain with a black diamond surrounded by small black pearls in the shape of a cross, the royal banner of my father’s household. How on earth did Ryan find out about this? I never told him anything about this part of my life because I wanted us to have a normal relationship.
Too bad Kendra messed it up. How normal is a relationship when your ghost grandmother pretends to be a human and kills your boyfriend?
History class. Ryan’s in a different class than I am, and his teacher taught about All Hallows Eve on Halloween instead of waiting until spring, like Mr. Holt. Ryan must have seen the picture of my mother and done some research. Or talked to my dad. But why would dad tell him about that? The supernatural and shadow lord/princess thing is one thing we agreed not to talk about, and dad wouldn’t have broken that rule. Unless he knew Ryan was in danger. But if Ryan knew, then why didn’t he tell me?
Because he was still trying to protect me.
After debating for a few minutes on whether or not to put the necklace on, I finally decide to. Not because it’s from Ryan, but because it’s the symbol of my family, and they (and Wraith) are all I have left now.
Surprisingly, I’m exhausted, and after I put on the necklace and lay down, sleep’s dark blanket washes over, a welcome release from the day.