The rest of the morning was relatively normal. No spirits showed up. No ghostly boys dropped by to give me more messages. Luke spent most of the morning on the phone. Whatever he was planning, he didn't want me within earshot of his conversations. Every time I wandered his way, he'd make a none-too-subtle move to another room. If the guy wanted to keep secrets, so be it. He couldn't leave me in the dark forever. Not if he wanted my help.

Sometime after three o'clock in the afternoon, Luke announced that it was time to head to the hospital. I grabbed a short black coat from Pagan's closet and found a pair of elbow-high, black-and-white striped fingerless gloves. The weather outside had turned chilly.

Storm clouds were gathering overhead. When Luke opened the front door and we stepped out, I could see my breath. I stood in the doorway and buttoned my coat.

Luke came to my side. He was wearing a black parka. He reached into his pocket and held out the pouch. I took it from his hand but didn't hide the surprise I felt. "I can have it now?"

He nodded his head. "You'll need it where we're going. Ready?"

"Yes," I answered, but for what, I had no idea.

Inside the car, Luke turned up the radio, which made conversation impossible. There were quite a few questions swirling around in my head.

What's with all the mysterious phone calls? Why are we going to the hospital? What does the last ritual entail?

I looked over at him. He seemed relaxed. He was singing along to a song on the radio, but there was an apprehension about him, a radiating tension, a look in his eyes that set my nerves on end.

When we finally pulled into the hospital parking lot, the anxiety building inside me was almost unbearable.

What the heck are we doing here? I wanted to shout at him.

Luke shut off the car and turned toward me. "The pouch. You should wear it around your neck. It'll give you the best protection that way."

I took the pouch out of my pocket and set it in my lap. I slowly started to unwind the leather wrapped around the top of it.

He slid closer to me. "Here, let me help."

I handed him the pouch and lifted my hair off my neck. "How long are we going to be here?"

"Not too long." He lifted the pouch and wrapped it around my neck. He slowly tied the two pieces of leather together. His fingers lingered for a moment.

Delicious sensations ran across my skin where his fingers grazed my neck.

Luke edged his body closer.

My breath hitched in the back of my throat. He's going to kiss me again. At that thought, my heart began to beat faster. That night we first kissed, I melted in his arms. I'd surrendered to the feelings swirling inside me until fear rushed in and forced me to push him away. If he kissed me again, would I still feel the same panic and fear? I wished I could forget everything that happened. I wished our first kiss hadn't been ruined. I wished he would just take me in his arms again. I could feel a blush rising across my cheeks as I realized just how much I wanted him to kiss me again.

"There's something you have to know," he said, his voice low.

I turned and faced him.

"Now that you're one of us, the hospital..." He seemed to be searching for words. "It's not an easy place to be. There are a lot of souls passing, a lot of spirits lingering around."

My hand went to the pouch around my neck. "But this will keep them from bothering me."

"Not entirely. They won't be able to possess you, but protection magic isn't strong enough to keep them completely at bay. You'll be able to feel them around. You'll be able to sense them, and maybe see and hear them."

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