CHAPTER 34

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"So, what's for dinner?" I said, as I turned the corner into the kitchen. "I hope you have a ton because I think we walked a mile trying to find this place."

The chatter and clanking utensils stalled. A collective gasp from the six people sitting at the massive wooden table sucked all the air from the room.

They crowded around a table that more resembled a picnic table found in a park, that was plopped smack in the middle of the room. A painting of a window filled the wall behind them. Funny, though, it was a landscape of the snow-capped Rocky Mountains.

A mile of granite covered counters spanned off to my left interrupted by stainless steel appliances and a double burner stove and ended with a tall, double-door refrigerator. The massive picture of the mountains pulled my attention back to everyone sitting at the table.

What was weird, though, I couldn't see outside. Maybe that was what made me so jumpy? Felt like I couldn't see what was coming.

I stood in the doorway, Tom behind me. Six pairs of eyes stared at us, and I think their mouths were still open, too.

Briana cleared her throat and nodded to Gertrude and Kelsey, then hurried to the stove. "Macaroni and Cheese okay?"

The girls scooted down on the bench to make room.

"Um, yeah. Love it." I glanced back at Tom. He nudged me through the doorway.

"Me too," Tom said.

My face flamed. Why all the stares? These guys have known me since day one. Hell, I'd mentored all of them at one point.

I'd taken a massively long shower, so I knew I didn't have anymore blood caked on me. Tom had even knocked on the bathroom door to check on me because I was in the shower for so long.

I tugged at my hair and pulled some down to rest over my shoulders.

Tom led me to the table. Kelsey stared at us, or maybe it was just Tom, the entire time we moved toward them. I felt like an animal at a petting zoo.

"May we, Kelsey?" Tom nodded toward the bench.

Her cheeks instantly went crimson. "Oh, sure. Y'all can sit heere. That's fine." She patted the seat next to her, and I sat down.

"Hey, Texas, what's up?" I said as I sent her a quick smile.

I could listen to her read a phonebook her Texan accent was so beautiful. Hell, everything about Kelsey's platinum blond hair, straight teeth, and striking blue eyes was beautiful.

She still stared at Tom, even as he sat next to me, on the edge of the bench. She must have been in awe that the Melace was so close to her or something.

"Just takin' it minute by minute," she finally answered, then dragged her gaze back to her plate.

Across from me sat Shelly, Jordan and Syler. All had empty plates sitting in front of them, but they still clanked their forks against them when I tried to make eye contact with each one.

Jordan's eyes were their usual amber color and not the charcoal gray they turned when his power was activated. His over-gelled, ash-colored hair reflected the lights above. Syler curled a lock of his long, strawberry blond hair and stared every direction but mine. Even Shelly shifted uncomfortably in her seat while she gnawed on her middle fingernail.

"Okay, what gives?" I said.

Briana set a plate of steaming noodles in front of me, then Tom. "Come on, guys. Chill."

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