"Her twin is dead?" Burnett's tone rang with empathy. "How? What happened?"
Kylie felt a warmth in knowing that he thought of Holiday first before realizing exactly what this meant-not that she didn't expect him to see the obvious any minute now.
Or maybe less than a minute. His eyes widened with hints of panic and his mouth became slack.
"No! She can't be ... because I can't..." He shook his head. "No."
"It's not much different than smelling them. And you already knew that you could do that," Kylie said, hoping to ease the shock.
"It's a hell of a lot different." He raked a hand through his hair. "How could ... I'm vampire and we don't ... We don't see spirits."
"I know. I remember Holiday saying that." Kylie paused. "What's even stranger is that you saw her, and normally only the person connected to the spirit sees them. I don't see Holiday's ghosts and she doesn't see mine. So why would you see Hannah?"
"I'm not supposed to see any of them!" he bellowed. "I'm vampire. Very, very few vampires are given this secondary power."
Kylie twitched her brows at Burnett's pattern. "Maybe you're not a hundred percent vampire. Your great-great-grandma could have been a hybrid, and it just kind of popped up now."
He slapped his forehead. "Does my pattern not look all vampire?"
Kylie shrugged. "Yes." She looked at him with empathy. "But considering what I've been through, I've kind of learned not to put a lot of stock in what someone's pattern shows."
He stared at Kylie as if she'd morphed into something evil. "That only happens to you."
"Yeah. Sometimes it feels that way." She found his comment somewhat humorous. She did another shrug, biting back her smile because she didn't think what little sense of humor Burnett had was functioning right now.
"However," Kylie continued, "we can't deny that something's going on. Your pattern says all vampire, and full-blooded vampires aren't usually ghost whisperers."
"Maybe it's punishment because I went into the falls."
Kylie's first instinct, being a ghost whisperer, was to feel a bit insulted that her gift was viewed as retribution; her second instinct was to remember that in the beginning that's exactly how she'd felt. As if she'd been punished.
"What?" he asked, as if sensing she had something to say.
Put on the spot, she said exactly what came across her mind. "To channel Holiday here, it's a gift, not a punishment."
"It's a punishment to me. Frigging hell!" he muttered.
Kylie still didn't understand how it could happen. Because even Holiday had said that very few vampires had the gift of ghost-whispering. "Seriously, your parents are full-blooded vampires, right?"
He stared at her as if the question required some thought. Looking away, he gazed silently at the sky. After several long seconds he looked back at her. "Okay ... let's forget about my issues with all this." He ran his palm over his face again as if trying to wipe away his confusion. "Why didn't you want Holiday knowing her sister's spirit was here?"
Kylie bit down on the edge of her bottom lip again, then released it when she found it sore. "I don't think Holiday knows. I wanted to figure out exactly-"
"Wait. You don't think Holiday knows what?" he asked, impatient.
"That her sister's dead."
His eyes widened. "She doesn't know? Shit!" He exhaled. "How did her sister die? How long ago?"
Even before she answered, Kylie suspected his reaction. He wasn't going to like this. "She was murdered. She and two other girls."
Discontent filled his gaze and his posture hardened. Two points for guessing his reaction, Kylie thought, and tried not to be intimidated by his fury.
"Murdered?" he bit out. "How freaking long have you known this, and why in God's name are you just now telling me?"
"I ... I've been trying to figure it out. Hannah's just now able to tell me things. And I'm still trying to put it all together." A small part of her wondered if maybe he was right, and that she'd been wrong to try to deal with this herself. But she hadn't been doing this alone. She had Derek. Then again, perhaps she should have taken it to Burnett instead of Derek.
Her doubt started to rise and then eased. The calm that lingered from the falls swelled in her chest and somehow she knew she'd been right to follow her instinct. And wasn't that what Holiday told her to always do?
"Damn it. You should have come to me so I could help do the figuring."
Kylie held his gaze. "As if you were receptive to hearing about my ghost issues. Besides, I was following what I felt needed to be done."
Burnett's stance relaxed as if he'd seen reason in her words. "But if it's about Holiday, I'm always receptive."
Kylie saw it in his eyes again. His loyalty to Holiday. Because he loved her, Kylie realized. That realization led her to think about Derek and his willingness to help her with ghosts when no one else would.
Thinking of Derek led her heart back to Lucas. The trip to the falls had lessened her animosity toward him, but not completely. Sooner or later, the two of them needed to talk. She just didn't know how that talk would end. Or even how it would begin. Was she right to feel angry at him for keeping his distance when she knew why he did it-to prevent issues with his dad so he could get voted on the were Council? Shouldn't she be more accepting and understanding?
Burnett reached back and squeezed his neck as if to relieve his tension. "Holiday has to be told."
Kylie dug the toe of her right tennis shoe into the dirt and focused on the problem at hand instead of her Lucas issues. "I know. But I thought maybe if I knew exactly what it was Hannah wanted, then it would be easier."
"You think she wants something?"
Kylie nodded. "They always want something. That's why they haven't crossed over. That's why they come to us."
"Come to you," he said, and then added, "Do you have any idea what she could need?"
Kylie prepared herself for his reaction again. "I'm not completely sure. At first I thought it could be just to get her and the others from the makeshift grave. Maybe to find out who did this to her. But now ... now I think she feels she has to protect Holiday from something or ... someone."
His expression darkened, but this time his angst didn't focus on her. His eyes brightened with an instinctual need to protect Holiday.
"Before you ask, I don't know who or exactly what poses a danger to Holiday." Kylie suspected it had to do with a man named Blake, but she wasn't completely sure she should share that with Burnett right now. The last time she shared some personal information about Holiday with Burnett, Holiday had flipped. If Kylie discovered Blake posed a threat, then she'd tell Burnett everything. But she needed more information. Information that neither Holiday nor Hannah seemed willing to give.
He waved his hands out in front of him in frustration. "Then go find Hannah and tell her you need answers."
"It doesn't work that way. You don't go to the ghost. They come to you."
His frown tightened. "I don't like this," he said. "None of it."
On that point, Kylie could agree with him.
He stood there, staring out at the trees as if the answers could be plucked from the limbs. She got the feeling he wasn't accustomed to not being able to get information when he demanded it. If he really was a ghost whisperer, he had a lot to learn about patience. She pitied the poor ghost who showed up first.
Burnett finally looked back at Kylie. "Okay, tell me everything you know. Everything. We'll figure this out."
Even before Kylie started talking she had a distinct feeling that getting Burnett involved was going to be a game changer, and she wasn't sure if that was going to be a good thing ... or a bad thing.
That afternoon, Kylie stood in front of the open fridge, staring. Listening to the hum of the appliance and savoring the cool air hitting her face while Miranda and Della sat at the table behind her.
Amazing how cool felt so much better when it wasn't coming from death. Not that she wouldn't like Hannah to drop in for a visit just now. She really needed answers. But if she'd learned anything, it was that you couldn't rush ghosts.
Kylie had somehow managed to convince Burnett to give Hannah a little more time before breaking Holiday's heart and telling her that her sister was dead. For some unknown reason, Kylie sensed that knowing exactly what Hannah needed was important. Not that Kylie didn't worry it might be her own desire to postpone hurting Holiday that encouraged this decision.
Burnett also agreed that going to the cafe to check and see if they could get any information about Cara M. would be a good thing. He was going to arrange for them to go out there Saturday morning with Derek. Burnett wanted Derek to go because when she'd told Burnett about what Derek had uncovered so far, Burnett was impressed at Derek's investigative skills.
Never mind that Lucas was going to have a shit fit when he found out Burnett had asked Derek to join them. But who knew, he might not even find out. With as little face time as she had with Lucas lately, he might never know. Or care.
She closed her eyes. He cared. He just cared more about other things right now.
Nipping at her lip, she remembered she still hadn't answered any of Lucas's texts today. She didn't know how to answer them because she didn't know how she felt anymore. One minute she was mad, the next she was contemplating if being angry with him was fair.
"What's wrong?" Miranda asked.
Kylie opened her eyes, focusing on what was in front of her and not what was going on inside her. "We're out of soda."
"Why don't you just zap us some?"
Kylie looked back at Miranda. "Zap as in...?"
"Zap," Miranda said, and held up her pinky.
"Uh, why don't you just zap us some?" Kylie asked, and saw Della's eyes widen.
"Because you need to become a zapper," Miranda said matter-of-factly. "You need to embrace your inner Wiccan spirit."
Kylie had somehow avoided any zapping since the whole paperweight to Burnett's crotch incident. And she'd like to continue avoiding it, but from the look in Miranda's eyes, she knew that wasn't going to be feasible. Well, not without hurting the witch's feelings.
And Kylie hated hurting anyone's feelings. Especially Miranda's.
"Okay ... how do I do it?" She shut the fridge and inhaled. "Without endangering any of our lives."
Miranda squealed and wiggled her butt in her chair with excitement.
Della shot Kylie a look of approval as if to say she'd done the right thing. "I like the part about not endangering our lives," Della added with a smile.
"Take some very deep breaths," Miranda said. "Relax. Concentrate. Then envision a frosty six-pack and wiggle your pinky."
A frosty six-pack. Kylie inhaled. She held out her pinky, and right then Della chimed in. "We are talking a six-pack of soda and not a cold guy with good-looking abs, right?"
There was a strange kind of sizzle in the air. And suddenly appearing in front of the refrigerator was a shirtless, shivering guy with great abs. His dark hair hung over his brow and his blue eyes studied the three of them in complete bafflement.
"What the...!" he muttered.
Della snorted with laughter.
"Go away!" Kylie screamed, her face blood red as she wiggled her pinky at the hot guy. He was gone as quickly as he appeared. Kylie looked back at her two best friends, who were now in fits of laughter. She slapped her hand over her heart, which was racing.
"Don't ever talk me into doing that again!" she screeched.
"Wasn't that ... oh, what's his name? Zac something?" Della asked. "The actor, I mean."
"Oh my Gawd, it was!" Miranda said.
"I always thought he looks a little like Steve, don't you think?" Della asked.
"Oh, crap!" Kylie buried her face in her hands. "I didn't hurt him, did I? It won't, like, give him cancer or anything?"
"No," Miranda answered, a giggle still sounding in her voice.
"Good," Della said, rubbing her hands together. "Then bring him back. I want to see if he really looks like Steve."
"Are you freaking nuts?" Kylie asked Della. Then she focused on Miranda. "Will he remember this? Will he think he lost his mind?"
"It happened so fast, he'll probably think he imagined it. Besides, it's not your fault." Miranda giggled again. "It's Della's." Miranda pointed at the accused.
"Oh, right. Blame the vampire!" Della bellowed.
Miranda rolled her eyes. "Della put the image in your thoughts and for some reason you just envisioned Zac." Miranda smiled again. "You are obviously attracted to him."
Kylie started to deny it, but couldn't.
"I'm still not taking the hit on this one," Della said.
Miranda looked at Della. "I guess I should have told you to be quiet. Sorry." She covered her mouth when she snickered again. Then she sat up straighter. "But ... wow. I have to tell you I'm shocked. Only the most powerful witches can transport human beings. Even my mom can't do that."
"Don't you guys think he looks like Steve?" Della asked again.
Kylie dropped into the chair. "I don't care who he looks like. I'm not doing it again. I have no control and no knowledge. I'm sure to screw up."
"That's why you need practice. Besides, nothing bad happened," Miranda said.
"Seriously? I brought a half-naked movie star into our cabin!"
"And what part of that is bad?" Della asked. "I mean ... I hate to say this, but for the first time I'm seeing that it might be cool to be a witch."
"Thank you!" Miranda sat up straighter.
"I mean, can you just zap yourself anything you want? A hot guy? A cup of O-negative blood? A new pair of jeans?" Della asked.
"Please, you can't do that," Miranda said. "It's totally against the rules."
"But..." Kylie stared at Miranda. "You just had me do it."
"Yeah, but you're a newbie. It doesn't count." Miranda looked back at Della. "That's not to say I can't do anything. If it's for a greater good, it'll be okay. If it's for one's own benefit, well, it has to be within reason. If I'm given a tuna sandwich and want turkey, that's not a big deal. It's swapping one meat for another. But if I even do it too much, I'd get called on it."
"By who?" Della asked. "The meat gods?"
Miranda frowned as if to say this was serious and Kylie couldn't agree more. "By the Wicca society."
"Wait," Kylie said. "You mean, they know what I do?"
Della cleared her throat as if in warning, but Kylie didn't understand the warning. She was too concerned about the Wicca society knowing her stupid mistakes to pay attention.
"Yeah," Miranda said. "They're like Santa Claus with their magic crystal balls. They know if you've been naughty or good."
"Great! So someone's looking into a magic ball right now and knows I conjured up a half-naked hot actor?" Kylie asked.
"You did what?" the deep male voice asked from behind Kylie.
Kylie froze, worried that Zac had returned. The fact that she wasn't even the least bit happy about it said a lot about her disposition, too. Then she ran the voice through her head again and recognized the dark tenor.
Crap. She was in trouble now.