Fane’s Cove isn’t the average coastal town- not with wandering apparitions, disembodied voices and poltergeist activity occurring on a regular basis- but the residents are used to it. As far as they know, it’s simply always been that way.
Somehow, Cadence McKenna can’t shake the feeling that the seemingly-normal new resident, Gray Addison, is hiding something stranger than all of the town’s odd happenings combined and she’s determined to find out what that is – by any means necessary.
- Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7
- Part 8* | Part 9* | Part 10* | Part 11* | Part 12* | Part 13*
- Part 14* | Part 15* | Part 16* | Part 17* | Part 18* | Part 19*
- Part 20* | Part 21* | Part 22* | Part 23* | Part 24*
I feel like a deer caught in the headlights, simply staring back at him and waiting on pins and needles for his reaction. He just blinks slowly a few times and bites down hard on his lower lip. I feel like there’s something heavy pressing down on my shoulders as we sit in this awkward, pained silence for a few moments that feel like for-friggin’-ever, before I finally manage to snap myself out of it.
“I’m . . . .” I can’t really apologize,’cause I don’t know exactly how the phrasing for something like this even goes, so I simply stand up from my seat. “I’m just going to go.”
Grey seems sincerely dazed as he looks up at me, but I’m already turning on myheel and heading outside, sparing only a second to fish six bucks out of my pocket and slam the money onto the counter in front of a perplexed-looking Gus. I can’t imagine what Grey’s response will be—if he ever manages to work one up—but I have a feeling I don’t want to hear it. When my feet hit the pavement, I hang an immediate left and I’m berating myself for being so thoughtless as to just blurt out something like that. Sure, I know I can act stupid when I’m letting my curiosity lead me somewhere I probably shouldn’t be going, but this is a new level of stupid.
Grey’s shout makes my shoulders hunch up, but I can’t bring myself to stop. I hear his steps rushing toward me, and since I’m not prepared to start running—that will only introduce me to stupid’s previously undiscovered penthouse—I allow him to catch up. Not like I’ve gotten far; I’m maybe a whole four storefronts away from the pizzeria. Rather than simply keeping pace with me, he gets a few strides ahead and then turns, purposely blocking my path.
I halt finally and raise my eyes to his . . . and then I can’t hold his gaze so I drop mine to the ground.
“What the hell was that about?” His tone is harsh and impatient as he asks this, and I can’t say as I blame him.
“Umm . . . .” That’s all I can get out right now; I’m just not really sure how to explain it without making the situation worse.
“Are you, like, stalking me or something?”
This jars the self-conscious stupidity right out of me as I snap my head up to give him a half-sneering, half-shocked look. “Ew. What is wrong with you that you would think I’d stalk someone?”
He makes no attempt to hide the flicker of insult that dances across his face at my reaction to that idea. As silly as it seems, I suppose it might hit a boy in the ego to learn that a girl finds the idea of stalking him utterly repulsive.
“Then how could you know about that?”
I shrug helplessly as I stammer and begin relating how I’d come to see him creeping out of the cemetery this morning. I’m keeping my voice low; we are in public, and I don’t think this is a conversation that he’d like anyone overhearing, but in his confusion I can’t be sure he’s keeping mindful of this, so I hope he takes notice of my sudden near-whispering.
He draws in a deep breath as he rakes the fingers of both hands through his hair. “So, that’s what this whole it doesn’t have to be a date-date thing was about, wasn’t it?”
I’m ignoring that when he quotes me, he adoptsthat weird, high-pitched tone boys use when imitating a girl.
His voice, during the parts of his question that aren’t mocking me, is a bit strained and I can only blink up at him for a moment. Whoa . . . does he actually like me or something? How would that have even happened? I cast a quick glance around at the handful of passersby on the sidewalk. Hell, we must look like a couple having an argument;this bizarre comfort-level between usmakes me think of the way I’d felt,so at natural and at ease—after my initial idiotic stumbling—when I had been talking to him in class.
I clear my throat a bit awkwardly and finally work up something to say.”Yes, and I’m . . . sorry that I had to lie to you like that.”
Those bright eyes of his narrow as he shakes his head. “Then why did you?”
“I had to know what you were up to.” I reply without a second’s hesitation—cat’s outta the bag, no point in subterfuge now.”And it wasn’t like I could exactly come out and ask you about it, like say, in the middle of school.”
Grey’s shoulders slump a bit as he apparently realizes I’m right.
“Fair point.” Immediately after these words fall out of his mouth, he sets his jaw firmly, and I get that sure, he understands why I misled him, but he’s still not happy about it.
“So.” I prompt,crossing my arms.”What were you doing, then?”
He mirrors my stance, but rolls his shoulders back so that he’s standing as straight as possible, which accentuates our height difference.
“Fine, I’ll tell you,but you have to promise that you will keep it a secret . . . and you have to tell me something first.”
“Sure.” I can’t possibly imagine what he wants to know; he’s the one crawling around graveyards, I’m just the girl who lies to weasel info out of him, I doubt anything I might have to say will be terribly interesting, given that set-up.
“When I told you where to meet me, you got scared. Why?”
My eyes widen instantly at this. Ah, crap, he’s sharper than I’ve been giving him credit for. I try to get my big, stupid, telling eyes under control. I can act my butt off from a script or rehearsed lines no problem, which probably explains why I was such a total goober when I first approached him this afternoon; I hadn’t thought through what I was going to say beforehand, but when I’m caught off-guard, I have the worst poker face.
“I’ll tell you, but can we, like, walk or something? We keep having this talk in the middle of the sidewalk and someone’s bound to overhear.”
“Okay,” he replies with an easy shrug, and starts walking back the way we came, forcing me to fall into step beside him.
I stuff my fists into the pockets of my jeans as we stroll along, waiting until we’re nearer to the pharmacy before finally saying anything. “You saw the crack in the window, right?”
We exchange a quick look before both facing forward again, so I can’t miss that his eyebrow is raised.
“Did you do that?”
“Nope,” I say with a sighas we cross the street and simply amble on,as if we’ve walked this route together a hundred times. “But I was there when it happened yesterday.”
“So, who did it?”
I pause briefly in my steps and turn toward him, but it’s not until he turns to face me that I say quietly, hoping that it’s heavy with meaning,”Nobody.”
He nods. “Ah, seems a lot of that happens around here.”
Turning forward, I start walking again. “Yep.”
It occurs to me as I’m explaining that I’m sharing with him something that should probably be private, but I guess in a town of spooky occurrences, a little mysterious forewarning isn’t so strange. “We’re used to it, but here’s the thing. Something . . . warned me that was going to happen.”
I glance over at him and see that he’s watching me out of the corner of his eye. I’m pretty sure that the fact that we’re heading toward the cemetery isn’t a coincidence, but then there is a lot of stuff in that general direction; maybe he’s got a hankering for a frozen yogurt, or needs to stop at the post office to buy stamps, get fitted for orthopedic shoes, who knows.
“I just knew it was going to happen.” I mutter with a small shrug. “Not sure how, and that’s never really happened before. When you mentioned meeting at the pizza place, I’d finally just managed to put it out of my mind, so I just got spooked a bit. There’s something I’ve been wondering, though.”
Grey frowns thoughtfully. “G’head, I’m getting the impression this is going to need to be an all-the-cards-on-the-table conversation, anyway.”
“We’re used to this weird stuff, so we tend not to really react, but it does still kinda freak us all out a little and, well . . . you didn’t react to that thing with the eraserin class the other day, either—like at all. Why not?”
He looks around slowly as we halt at the light on the corner, and drops his voice so low that I can barely hear it.
“That’s because I’m used to it, too. You hit the nail on the head with wanting to know about where I’ve lived before I came here.”
Turning away from the street, I cross my arms again and lean a hip against the traffic light pole. “How so?”
“It all leads back here.” He drops his gaze to the ground, shuffling the toe of one sneaker against the pavement as he hooks his thumbs through his jeans belt loops. “The sort of crap that happens here has been happening to my family for as long as anyone knows. I was trying to figure out what it could be, and that brought me to following my family tree.”
This sparks a small, semi-hopeful notion in my mind. “Was one of your ancestors—the ones whowere supposed to have lived here, I mean—psychic?”
The color drains from his face instantly, but his voice rumbles out, small and controlled. “Why would you ask that?”
I hunch my shoulders, holding my hands palms up. “I don’t know, I just was figuring that if they were, then maybe what I felt yesterday would make sense. You being here could have kicked up, I don’t know,something, and it really wasn’t reaching out to me, per se, but to anyone who might able to pick up on it, which just . . . happened to be me.”
Instantly I drop my hands, feeling my brow furrow. “Huh.” I force out the word in a short, mystified-sounding breath; somehow I had thought that would have made sense, but now that I’ve talked it through, I’m not so sure anymore.
“And you’re able to pick up on stuff like that because . . . ?”he asks, his eyes narrowed—not in suspicion, at least it doesn’t appear that way, but like someone trying to figure something out when they don’t have all the information.
Again, my eyes give away everything;I don’t think I’d realized when I brought this up that it would be a natural question for him to have. Crap.
“Well, no one outside of my family—except Wendi, of course—really knows this.But it’s because I’m sort of . . . uh, a least, a little bit psychic.”
Grey’s entire expression changes, becoming completely serious. “Maybe you can help me, then.”
Isearch his face, looking for anything that might tell me what he’s actually thinking, but he’s a total blank slate, giving nothing away. “You mean, with your family tree?”
He only offers a quick, stiff nod.
“I could help you anyway, don’t need to be psychic for that,” I respond with an uneasy laugh. “What’s your family name?”
“Addison, you know that,” he says with sudden lift to his brow like I’ve gone and sprouted a second head right before his eyes.
“N-no, no.” I pause and take a breath,then let it out slowly before elaborating.”Not your name, the name of the branch of your family that lived here.”
His eyes narrow as he explains in slow, deliberate words.”The branch of my family that lived here was named Addison.”
I feel my bottom lip pull into a confused pout as I blink up at him. “Well, that can’t be right.”
“Really?”he asks in a very low tone, once more crossing his arms as he lifts his eyebrows at me. “And how do you happen to just know—off the top of your head—that it’s not right?”
He’s riled up for some reason, and it’s not just his tensed posture or his lowered voice that gives that away, so much as a feeling of irritated frustration that ebbs off him. Maybe he thinks I’m lying? But why would I bother?
“My mom’s associate publisher of the Fane’s Cove Herald. Last summer, I interned for her, and one of my assignments was transferring the hand-writtentown registers to their computer files. See, I’m good with names—not like I’d be able to list every name from the registers at a moment’s notice, but if you give me a name, I know if it is or isn’t there. I saw no birth or death records under the name Addison.”
At this point, I sidetrack a little to explain why I’d been tasked with something that probably seems worthless over a century and a half later.
“See, the editor had this cool but sorta morbid idea for the Halloween editions—to run a ‘period’ section that would have obits based on the death records, on pages treated and printed to look antique-like. So I had to go to Town Hall myself and sign out all these giant old books,’cause my mom didn’t want any errors that might be on the Town Hall’s computer files.”
My words drop off sharply when Grey grabs my wrist and starts off across the street, tugging me along behind him.
“Wh-what are you doing?” Maybe I should be digging my heels in and giving him a hard time, but I’m a little too curious about where we’re going to fight him.
He liftshis chin in the direction of the cemetery as we near it. “Proving your history wrong.”
I let him lead me through the cemetery gates and stay quiet as we wind along the main path ’til we reach the Old Part.
“This is where I saw you this morning,” I say,almost without realizing I’m speaking aloud, squinting and peering through the fence to confirm that the bagel shop is across the street.
He relinquishes his hold on my wrist. It doesn’t occur to me to find anything odd that he keeps hold of me ’til we get here; does he think I’ll run away or something? “No Addisons in Fane’s Cove before me and my parents, right?”
I can’t help that a tiny gulp goes down my throat at the way his tone has suddenly become calculating, but I stay on point, giving a nod.
“Then explain that,” he says coolly, pointing at one aged, worn headstone.
Frowning and heaving a sigh—there’s no call for being so dramatic—I pick my way carefully between the old grave plots. I’m kind of superstitious about things like stepping on graves. I kneel down in front of the weather-beaten,graystone and run the tips of my fingers over the old, now only faintly raised letters. All my thoughts screech to a halt as the spelling finally becomes legible to me.
My stomach ices over a little, though I’m not entirely sure why, as I read aloud the name,”Gabriel Addison.”
When I look up over my shoulder at him,Grey’s face is totally unreadable. His eyes shift from the headstone my hand is lingering on to meet my gaze.
“I don’t understand,” I mumble.
“That makes two of us,” he says, the thinnest edge of anger in his voice.