The House

Chapter 2

Him

It wasn’t unheard of for girls to watch him, but usually it meant one of two things. Either they were terrified that Gavin might pull a knife from his shoe (which had never happened), or they were building up the courage to ask him out, with hopes of bringing him home to terrify their parents into buying them a car (which had happened twice).

Delilah Blue was back in Morton and was watching Gavin in a singularly different way. She looked like a wolf stalking a rabbit.

He spun a pencil on his notebook and blinked up, looking right into her eyes and causing her to whip around in her seat, sitting ramrod straight. Her caramel hair was braided and secured tightly with a red elastic band, swinging into position at the middle of her back just below her shoulder blades. Her foot tapped impatiently under her desk. For the remainder of class, she was obviously attentive, maybe overly so. But what she was attending to was definitely not at the front of the room. If she were a cat, she would have her ears turned back, facing him. Gavin was sure of it.

He could still remember the way she’d looked the last time he’d seen her: scraped knuckles, bloody nose, and an expression of protectiveness so feral it made his stomach twist. He’d never even had a chance to say thank you.

The end-of-period bell rang, and Delilah jumped, looking frantically for the source. Did they not have bells at her fancy private school? Because yes, Gavin knew enough about Delilah to know exactly where she’d been. But why she was back was an entirely different question.

Just as she appeared to spot the bell, perched above the whiteboard, the door flew open and Dhaval Reddy swept into the room, pulling her up and wrapping his arms around her.

“My girl is back!” Dhaval sang loudly to no one in particular. As everyone gathered their things, Gavin felt the room settle: Delilah’s return had been approved by the in crowd.

Gavin collected his books and papers and slipped past her, but not before he felt her hand reach out and touch his, or before he saw the tiny drawing on her notebook: a dagger dripping blood.

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