DO NOT READ THIS BOOK IF YOU HAVE NOT READ ALL 3 BOOKS OF
THE HOLLY NATHER TRILOGY
VISIONS – SECRETS – CHOICES
And if you have read all three books, ENJOY!
I stop painting for a moment and covertly look in her direction. She’s reading a book and is so enthralled by the words, that she hasn’t moved a muscle for over an hour. I smile inwardly as I take in how beautiful she is. Her dark hair falls perfectly across her cheek bones, blowing slightly in the breeze. It doesn’t make sense how a girl can affect me like she does. Just being near her is intoxicating. I hide it well, though. If she knew she gets to me the way she does, it would complicate things. I quickly push my thoughts aside and start painting again before she catches me staring at her.
I’ve been helping Harim paint the fence around his house for the past week. With it being the last few days of summer, I wouldn’t have agreed to this, but his mom begged me, and he is one of my best friends. I place my brush down to get a drink, and when I go back to reach for it, it’s gone. I wipe the sweat from my forehead and without even turning around, I say: “Tuff… I know it’s you.”
“Then come get it!” I hear her say through laughter. I turn around with an evil grin and see her running as fast as she can, the brush gripped tightly in her hand.
As I run after her, I yell: “It’s really cute that you think you’re faster than I am!”
She starts to run faster, but ever-so-gracefully trips over a rock and lands face first on the ground. It was only a matter of time before she ate dirt. I quickly sit on top of her so she can’t move, and pin her arms to the ground. Smiling, I take the brush from her hand and paint a large white streak across her face.
“You think you are so bad ass,” she says, trying to free herself from my death grip.
“One day, you will admit that I am.” I get off so she can get up, and she punches me in the arm. I follow her to the pond that’s nearby, so she can wash the paint off her face. “Why do you want to wash it off? It covers up the ugly!” My smart-ass remark gets me another punch in the arm. Good thing she’s a girl and punches like one.
She rolls her eyes and sighs. “Maybe you should paint your whole body, then.”
I laugh, goading her. “I don’t understand why you insist on punching me all the time. Instead of pain, it feels like a flea taking a piss on my arm.”
“Ha, ha,” she groans from her position at the water’s edge. I laugh and sit down to wait while she scrubs the rest of the paint from her cheeks.
“What do you want to do tonight when I get done helping your brother?”
“I was thinking about just staying home tonight. Harim and I haven’t really hung out much lately, and he has a new video game he’s been dying to show me.” I’m not sure how to respond to her. For the past ten years, we’ve spent practically every night together. “Don’t look so shocked. We can hang out with other people, you know.”
“I know that. I heard there’s a party at the Hole tonight, anyway.”
She dries her face with the bottom of her shirt and whips her head around to look at me. “You wouldn’t dare go to that party!”
“And why not?!”
“Cohen…” Her hands are placed firmly on her hips, and she is tapping her foot. She’s so damn adorable when she’s trying to be bossy.
I half grin. “I believe I make my own decisions. Besides, what could it hurt?” I know how Holly feels about parties, especially at the Hole.
“Whatever! Do what you want.” She starts walking back towards her house.
I catch up with her, pleading. “Don’t be mad. I promise I won’t get into any trouble.”
“I’m not mad. I just don’t want you getting drunk. You know what happened last time…”
“I promise I won’t get drunk.” She puts a fake smile on her face and continues walking. When we get back to her house, Harim is busily painting the fence. He glances my way and then directs his attention back to the fence post again.
“Holly, are you going to let him paint, or play more childish games?” Harim asks laughingly, dipping his paint brush into the bucket of paint.
“He’s all yours!” she says, picking her book up off the ground. Holly turns to walk into her house, but not before pausing to give me a you-better-not-get-drunk look. I give her an evil grin, and she rolls her eyes while walking into the house.
“I hear you’re stealing her to play video games tonight…” Harim doesn’t look at me when I speak. He just continues painting.
He dips his paint brush into the bucket again and starts on a new fence post. “You both need to spend some time apart. It’s sickening how many hours you two spend together. Plus, I miss my sister.”
“You could hang out with Stella.” My words cause us both to laugh. Stella is… Well, Stella is just Stella.
“What are your plans for tonight?” Harim asks, taking a break from painting.
I continue to paint and mumble: “The Hole.”
“You’re an idiot.”
“So I’ve heard. It’s not that big of a deal. Just a bunch of drunk Fae having a good time. Besides, it’s your fault since you’re stealing Holly for the night.”
“You have other friends. You don’t have to pick the stupidest thing you possibly could. Wait. What am I saying? I mean, go! Because under-age drinking is a brilliant idea!” I laugh at Harim’s sarcasm.
“All of my friends will be there, too.”
“And your friends have poor judgment! How do you guys get all of this alcohol without getting caught?”
I shrug my shoulders and set the paint brush down. “We have our ways. And stop acting like you’ve never been to the Hole!” I laugh when he avoids my accusing eyes. “Anyway, I better get home. My dad needed me to do a few things before I went anywhere tonight.”
“Okay. I’m thinking about using a bit of magic to paint the rest anyway,” he says, placing his paint brush down.
“You sure you want to waste a few months of your life? I can help you tomorrow.”
“It’s only a few months. It’ll be fine.” I help Harim gather supplies and clean up the mess.
When we’re done putting everything away, I leave to go home… but not before turning to look towards Holly’s bedroom window. To my disappointment, I don’t see her.