After disposing of the troll, Blake rushed to May’s house and showered. His thoughts kept going to Stevie. After hearing what Jörd said to him, he wanted to see her. The pull to go to her was too strong. He had no choice but to give in to it.
He climbed the tree outside Stevie’s room and sat on the branch. A blue light blinked on and off inside the room. He lightly tapped on the window. Muffled voices from within the room hummed against the glassed pane.
The curtain pushed aside. Amira was close to Stevie’s back when the curtain slid to the side. Stevie said something to Amira that Blake couldn’t hear through the thick glass. Amira turned away and dropped onto the bed. Stevie flipped the locks and opened the window.
“You scared the shit out of us,” Stevie snapped.
Amira crossed her arms. “Yeah, we’re watching scary movies here.”
Blake tried not to laugh, but he couldn’t hold it in. “My apologies. Can I have a moment alone with you, Stevie?”
“With me?” She glanced back.
“No.” Amira heaved a sigh. “With the other Stevie in the room.”
“Where do you want to go?”
He reached his hand out to her. “Out here is fine.”
She narrowed her gaze on him. “I don’t think so.”
“Come on,” he said. “It’s perfectly safe. This branch is thick. Trust me.”
“Stop being a chicken and go already. I have to pee.” Amira shuffled off.
Stevie hesitated before grabbing his hand and letting him guide her out the window and onto the branch. “This is crazy, you know that?”
“If you never throw caution to the wind, you’ll never be rewarded.” He sat on the branch and held her hand as she came down beside him. Her hand was warm and soft in his, and he wanted to hold it forever.
The loose pajama bottoms she wore had cats on them. Her pink tank top rode up a little and exposed a bit of her midriff. Her light-brown hair, the color of the acorns he’d gathered with his grandmother when he was a boy, rose in the wind behind her. Wide, dark eyes met his, her full lips parted in a smile.
“What did you want?” She glanced at the ground. “Wow, this is pretty high.”
“Don’t worry. I won’t let you fall.” He slid his hand across her lower back and held her waist. She shivered. “Are you cold?”
“A little,” she said.
“Hold on.” He let her go, shrugged off his hoodie, and draped it around her shoulders.
She held it closed at the zipper. He returned his arm around her, grasping her waist. She shuddered, and he smiled at her response to his touch.
“You didn’t answer me,” she said. “What did you want to talk to me about?”
“Actually, I’m not here to talk,” he said. “Have you ever had an urge to do something, and once it’s in your head, you can’t sleep or think until you do the thing?”
“I guess.” When she looked over at him, they locked eyes and an intensity passed between them like the energy he felt in the handle of his hammer after catching lightning with it. He noticed a faint scar just above her cupid’s bow.
“How did you get the scar?” he asked.
“Scar?” She glanced down at her chest.
“Not there,” he whispered, lifting her chin to look into her eyes. “On your lip.”
She touched it. “Oh this? It’s an embarrassing story. Let’s just say, I learned to watch where I’m walking, especially when poles are around.”
He chuckled. “I can imagine what happened.”
She lowered her head again, her feet kicking back and forth.
He decided to take his chance and cupped her face in his hands, bringing her face to his and kissing her. It was a gentle, wanting kiss. Her lips were soft and warm against his. She tasted like May’s brownies. When Stevie hadn’t responded to his kiss, he was about to release her, but then her lips began moving with his. He cradled her in his arms and they balanced together on the branch.