I quickly open my eyes, my heart racing at what I just saw. Was that real? Or was it a figment of my over-tired imagination? No, it couldn’t have been. I learned long ago that my dreams are rarely just dreams. It’s just another “gift” of being the Shadow Princess.
I push back the blankets and stand, letting the cool air of Wraith’s basement wash over me. I walk across the room to the wall by the stairs and turn on the light, trying to help dispel the fear from that dream. Kendra killed Wraith’s father. Wraith’s mother was close to my parents. Is that why dad wanted him to watch over me? Or is it because we’re actually protecting each other? And my dad is dead, and has been long before I was born. Why didn’t he ever tell me about this? How did he die?
I shake my head and grab the pendant hanging against my chest. There are too many questions to be asked, and far too little answers. The pearls and diamond are cold, but quickly warm up in my hand. The necklace brings back the memory of Ryan’s betrayal and tears threaten to fall. I pull the chain, about to pull it off my neck when Wraith’s voice sounds behind me.
“Leave it on, Shadow Princess.”
“Why should I? I obviously didn’t mean that much to him if he went behind my back with Kendra. At least he’s paying for it.”
“Don’t say that, Nik,” says another, more familiar voice.
“I have nothing more to say to you, Ryan. Just go away.”
“Shadow Princess, turn around,” Wraith says softly.
Reluctantly, I turn around. Wraith looks completely human, while Ryan standing next to him is almost impossible to see.
“What? Why’d you bring him here?”
“Nik, I asked him to. You know that I’d never hurt you like that.”
“So you lied to me? Or are you lying to me now?”
Ryan frowns. “You of all people should know that I hated Kendra almost as much as you did. But when she asked me to kiss her, I couldn’t think. I tried to stop myself, but I couldn’t.”
I laugh harshly. “Of course you tried.”
“Twas mind control on Kendra’s part, Shadow Princess,” Wraith replies.
I shake my head.
“Nik, your dad told me everything. He knew that if anyone wanted to get to you, they’d get to me first to hurt you. I already knew what Kendra was. Do you honestly think I wanted to be with something that’s never been alive when I already had you?”
Before I can say anything, Ryan fades away again, leaving just Wraith and me. For the first time since Ryan died, I don’t feel empty. I feel hatred.