Fall of Night

Read Fall of Night for Free Online

Book: Read Fall of Night for Free Online
Authors: Rachel Caine
Tags: Speculative Fiction
he’d forget about her while she was gone, or everything changed between them?
It’ll be your fault
, something in her said.
Because you walked away
.
    Claire reached for her phone and ran her finger lightly over the screen. So easy to call him. It only took a couple of motions, and then the phone would ring, and …
    … And what if he didn’t pick up?
    Claire dropped her phone and rested her burning forehead against her palms, and just as she was ready to crawl into her crappy, sagging bed and cry, her computer let out a little musical tone to tell her a new message had come in.
    She grabbed the mouse and frantically clicked, and a video came up. It was murky at first, and then a light clicked on, and she saw Shane’s face gilded by it. He was in his room, she saw … it was just as messy as ever, and the sight of it, and him, made her throat close up with frantic longing.
    ‘Hey,’ Shane’s image said. It wasn’t Skype, not real time, just a recording, so she controlled the almost crazy impulse to talk back to him, blurt out how much she missed him, loved him,
needed
him. She couldn’t stop herself from touching the screen, and tracing the lines of his lips with her fingers. ‘So, I guess you’re there, at your new place. Hope it’s awesome. If it’s not, you’ll make it awesome, because that’s what you do. It’s your superpower. Also, this is for Claire, so if I hit somebody else in the list by mistake, stop watching now or I’ll have to kill you.’
    That made her laugh, and he must have known it would, because he smiled just a little. It made the skin at the corners of his eyes crinkle slightly. ‘So anyway,’ he said, ‘Claire, if you’re seeing this, and you’re not so pissed at me you just delete the whole thing without watching … I miss you. I miss you so bad it hurts. I keep walking around the house and wishing you were here, and that I could – that I could figure out how to fix the screwed-up stuff I did. Until I can do that, though, I guess what I’m saying is that I miss you. That’s all. So if you’re lonely there, not out partying and meeting fancy Boston guys, maybe we can be lonely together.’
    He’d been avoiding the camera, but now he made eye contact with it, and she felt like he was staring right into her. And that smile … it broke her heart.
    ‘Love you,’ he said, and logged off, as if he was afraid to be caught at it.
    It made her eyes fill up with tears, and she sat for a few more minutes, starting it over, replaying it, watching his lips say the words.
    We can be lonely together.
    She was reaching for her phone when Elizabeth – without knocking – threw open her bedroom door with such force it knocked over one of her empty suitcases. ‘Hey!’ she said brightly. The dark mood she’d been in was already gone, and looking at her brilliant smile, Claire wondered if she’d imagined some of it. ‘Ready for some delicious home-made dinner?’ Liz asked. ‘Because I’m totally starved.’ She put her hands on her hips and looked around the room, then looked around again. ‘Um … did you unpack?’
    ‘Yes.’
    ‘Wow. I really need to show you how to decorate, don’t I?’
    Not if this paint colour is any clue,
Claire thought, but she kept it to herself. She’d quietly get a can of something neutral and redo things to the way she wanted them – no confrontation, no drama, no fuss. ‘So, what’s for dinner?’
    ‘How about mac and cheese with some chicken? It’s leftover KFC, but it’s still good, I swear.’
    It did sound good. Claire hadn’t even realised she was hungry until her stomach started growling, and she slid out of the chair behind her computer and stuck her phone in her pocket on the way out the door.
    Dinner wouldn’t take
that
long.
    … Except, it did. Elizabeth was hell to cook with; she wanted everything done just right. Claire stuck the macaroni in boiling water, and Liz got upset and took it off the burner because she wanted to

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