Tidal / Page 4

Page 4


One of her hands was pressed against his chest, the razor-sharp fingernails poking through his shirt and digging into his flesh. The other was on his neck, but this one was almost caressing him, her touch soft and gentle.

With her face hovering right above his, her lips nearly touching his, her black eyes stared right into him. She leaned in closer, pressing her chest against his, so his shirt would be left damp.

“I could eat your heart right now,” Penn told him in a provocative whisper, and she stroked his cheek gently, her fingers running along his stubble.

“You could,” Daniel agreed, meeting her gaze evenly. “But you’re not.”

“I will, though.” She studied him for a moment. “Eventually.”

“But not today?” Daniel asked.

“No. Not today.”

“Then I need to get to work.” He put his hands on her waist, and when she didn’t react with clawing or yelling, he lifted her up and set her on the seat next to him.

Penn pouted. “Work is so drab.”

Daniel shrugged. “It pays the bills.”

He’d moved away from Penn to the edge of the boat and was about to step off when he felt Penn’s hand clamp onto his wrist. She moved supernaturally fast, and it was hard for him to get used to that.

“Don’t go,” Penn said, and it was the pleading in her words that made him pause. She knelt on the bench next to him with a strange desperation in her eyes. Hurriedly, she blinked any emotion away, trying to recover with an uneasy smile that was probably meant to be flirtatious.

“I have to,” he insisted.

“I can pay you more,” she said, her tone almost comically breezy.

For all her attempts at trying to seem nonchalant, her grip on his wrist had only tightened. It’d gotten rather painful, but Daniel refrained from pulling it free. He didn’t want her to know that she was hurting him.

“What would you need me to do?” Daniel asked.

“I could think of something.” She winked at him.

He rolled his eyes and finally yanked his arm free. “I’ve told them I’d build the sets for the play, and I’m a man of my word. They’re expecting me.”

“A fence,” Penn said hastily as Daniel climbed off his boat. She stayed behind, leaning on the rail so she faced him. “You could build a fence around my house.”

“What do you need a fence for?” he asked, waiting on the dock to see if she had any good reason for it.

“What does it matter to you why I need a fence? I just need one.”

“I have my hands full already.” He turned away from her.

“Ten grand!” Penn called after him as he walked away. “I’ll pay you ten grand to build me a fence.”

Daniel laughed and shook his head. “I’ll see you around, Penn.”

“We’re not done yet, Daniel!” Penn shouted, but he just kept walking.

THREE

Alterations

“Stop that,” Marcy said as Harper began emptying the overnight drop box at the library.

“What?” Harper turned back to face her with a stack of worn Harry Potter novels weighing down her arms.

“Working,” Marcy replied tightly, and Harper rolled her eyes.

“Edie’s been back for weeks. You have to be used to it by now,” Harper said, but she let the door to the drop box slam shut, leaving a small pile of books behind.

Marcy was kneeling on her chair and leaning so far forward on the desk, she was practically lying on it. Her dark eyes stared out from behind her glasses with a manic intensity as she watched the front door of the library.

“I’ll never get used to it,” Marcy insisted.

“I don’t even understand what the big deal is.” Harper set the books down on the desk.

“Move,” Marcy hissed and waved her off, because Harper was apparently blocking her view of the front door.

“You know that’s all glass, right?” Harper asked, motioning to the door that sat in the middle of the large windowed library front. “You can see through all of that. You don’t need your eyes locked on the door like a laser beam.”

“Pfft,” Marcy scoffed.

Harper moved to the side anyway, since it was easier to get out of the way than try to use logic on Marcy. “She won’t be here for another ten minutes, so I don’t understand why you’re so freaked out already.”

“You don’t get it,” Marcy said, sounding gravely serious. “If I’m not busy the entire time she’s here, if I even spend five minutes sitting behind this desk, Edie will immediately launch into some story about her honeymoon, and she won’t stop talking about it.”

“Maybe she’s doing it on purpose,” Harper said. “You’ve worked here for, what? Like, five years? And in all that time combined, you’ve maybe given two honest days of work—until Edie got back from her honeymoon. Now you’re a busy little bee. Maybe she’s finally found a way to motivate you.”

Marcy shot her a look. “I need to watch for her, so the second she comes in I can haul ass and do anything that isn’t being around her,” she said. “I get that she had a really amazing time exploring the world or whatever, but … it’s, like, I don’t care. And I don’t know how she doesn’t get that.”

“Feigning human emotion has never been your strong suit,” Harper said and started scanning in the books.

“What are you doing?” Marcy asked.

“Checking these in, so you can run and put them away the second Edie gets in.”

“Awesome.” Marcy gave her a rare smile and looked over at her. “You kinda look like crap. Are you not sleeping again?”

“Thanks,” Harper said sarcastically.

“No, I just meant, did something happen last night?” Marcy asked.

“Nothing more than usual.” Harper let out a deep breath to blow her dark hair out of her face. She stopped scanning the books and turned to Marcy. “Gemma’s seeing some guy.”

“Some guy?” Marcy raised an eyebrow. “I thought she was still in love with Alex or whatever.”

Harper shrugged. “I don’t know. I mean, she probably still loves him. That’s why I don’t know why she’s sneaking around with someone else. It just seems ridiculous.”

“Isn’t she still grounded?” Marcy asked.

“Today’s her first official day being ungrounded,” Harper said. “She’s been hooking up with this guy she met at play rehearsal, and then she stays out all night with him doing … I don’t even know what. So I was waiting up for her last night.”


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