Home > The Soul's Mark: FOUND (The Soul's Mark #1)(15)

The Soul's Mark: FOUND (The Soul's Mark #1)(15)
Author: Ashley Stoyanoff

“Oh my God,” Fiona said, her face turning paper white. “Amelia, I’m so sorry.” Her voice quivered, and she was shaking visibly. She backed up with terror in her eyes. “Please forgive me. I didn’t mean to hit you.”

“She didn’t mean to, Amelia,” Jessica added, eyes pleading. “Please don’t tell him.”

“You guys need to screw off,” Amelia hissed through clenched teeth. She felt her cheeks flare red with anger. They must have seen it because all three whirled on their heels and scampered off like scared little mice.

“Way to take a stand Millie!” Erin chirped, giving her a high five and doing a little happy dance. “I’ve never seen them back down like that before. Are you okay? You know you’re probably going to get in shit for that when you get home, right? They all stick together and you just dissed them. They’re not going to let that go.” She was rambling again, the words tumbling out in a fast, excited stream.

“Whatever,” Amelia said, and sat down hard. Her cheek was throbbing, pulsing and tingling and she could already feel the bruise forming. She took her bottle of water and held it against her cheek, easing the sting a little.

Wow, Fiona could hit hard, Amelia thought. And who wasn’t she supposed to tell? Eric and Luke? What would they care if she got into a little fight? And who the hell did they think they were? And why was Fiona so freaked out that she had hit her and not Erin?

“So, I’m having this party on Friday,” Erin said, bringing Amelia back from her thoughts. “You in?”

Amelia didn’t have time to answer, because just then some guy slipped into a chair beside her. “Hey, Erin. Who’s your friend?” he asked, giving Amelia a lopsided grin. He had shaggy, light brown hair which was styled perfectly messy, falling just above his deep brown eyes, and he was sporting a bit of stubble on his chin.

“You’re kidding me, right?” Erin rolled her eyes. “Damn Ty, where have you been? This is Amelia Caldwell. Like Amelia Caldwell from the Lang house.”

“Shit, sorry,” he apologized, blushing just a soft hint of color. Amelia thought he may be cute, but with Eric, who was droolicious and Mitchell, who was absolutely dreamy, her cute radar was kind of off these days. He was dressed in faded blue jeans, and a form-fitting white t-shirt that showed off his abs, but they definitely were not Eric or Mitchell kind of abs.

Amelia smiled, which stung her tight cheek. “Actually, it’s refreshing to find someone who doesn’t know who I am.”

“What happened?” he asked, nodding towards the bottle she held against her cheek.

“Run in with the Barbie Squad,” Erin said. “Millie here was defending my honor and got in the way of Fiona. You should have seen it. The look on Fiona’s face was priceless. I’ve never seen her so scared.”

Tyler laughed. “Nice. Bitch had it coming, that’s for sure. You want some ice?”

“Nah. I’m okay,” Amelia said, the anger finally starting to fade. She set the bottle down on the table with a thump. “Who the hell does she think she is anyways?”

“Most of them are like that,” Erin said, and shrugged. “They think they run this town because they live behind the gate.”

“I’m Tyler Armstrong by the way,” he said. “I’ve got class but…” he shot Amelia a big-eyed puppy dog look. “You’re coming to Erin’s party, right? ‘Cause,” he ran a hand through his messy hair, making it stand up on end, “I’ll be there and it’d be cool if you were.”

“Um, yeah maybe,” Amelia said.

“Cool.” He gave her one last grin, got up and strolled away. Amelia watched him walk away, enjoying the view. She admired the way his jeans hung loosely on his h*ps and perfectly cupped his round and all-too-grabbable butt.

“He’s hot, right?” Erin said, and snickered. “He’s totally into you.”

Amelia felt herself flush; it burned up her neck and she just knew her face was turning a bright red. She looked back at Erin and shrugged. “Yeah, he’s alright I guess,” she said and they both burst out laughing.


Erin was in all of Amelia’s classes, and she knew every short cut and hiding place in the school. She escorted Amelia, showing her all the back ways and least traveled halls to get to classes. It made the day a bit easier and by the time her last class ended, Amelia was starting to feel slightly better about her new status.

She meandered towards the main parking lot to meet Eric and made it out without another run in with the Barbie Squad. Eric was waiting in the car right outside the doors to the Math Building. He was hard to miss in his flashy green Corvette. Amelia went straight to the car, jumped in and buckled up her seat belt without a word. What would he say about Fiona? Did he already know? Should she tell him? Now that she was with him, she didn’t know what to do.

Eric squealed away from the curb. She could feel him watching her from the corner of his eye. He was the first to break the silence. “Rough day?”

“You could say that,” Amelia said. Her voice cracked and tears stung her eyes. She wiped at them, furious at herself. She had had worse days. She had been hit before. This shouldn’t bother her. Most of the people were nice. Everyone wanted to know her. She was popular. This should be a good thing, so why was she shaking?

“It’ll get easier,” he said, and looked at her quickly before bringing his eyes back to the road. “They’ll get used to you being around.”

“God I hope so.”

“I heard about Fiona. She hit you pretty good, too, I see.”

Amelia hadn’t bothered to look but she knew there had to be a bruise. She could feel the tight skin and any facial movements made her feel like her face would crack. She flipped down the visor hastily and opened the mirror. There was a bruise all right. She had a clear handprint imprinted on her cheek that was turning a nice purple-blue. “That’s nice,” she huffed. “Just what I needed.”

“It doesn’t look that bad, honest.” She shot him a look and he laughed. “Well, okay it does but you can cover it up.”

“How did you find out already?”

“Amber called Justin freaking out. Justin called us. Angelle and Luke are over there now with the five of them.” He gave Amelia another quick look.

Crap. Amelia’s temperature dropped and all of a sudden, she felt cold as ice. Why were they getting involved? She had enough problems without them making it worse. And Amelia could look after herself. She had been doing it for five years now. It made her feel uneasy, especially with the way people were treating her. She wasn’t important, so why was everyone she met treating her like a rock star?

“Why?” Amelia blurted. “Why can’t you guys just stay out of it?”

Eric chuckled. “It’s better that we deal with it then for Mr. Lang to find out. He wouldn’t be happy and Fiona was out of line. Besides, you’re part of the family now and we look out for each other.” He shot her a mischievous look. “So it’s just us tonight.”

Just us? Was it wrong that her heart did a little flip at the thought? Amelia quickly forgot she was supposed to be mad and the stress of the day, well, the stress of everything that had happened since she had arrived in Willowberg fluttered away. Since when had she become so boy crazy? She didn’t know, but with Eric this close to her, so close she could smell his musky scent and feel the heat of his skin, all reason flew out the window.

“I was thinking I could take you out for dinner,” Eric continued cautiously. “Somewhere nice.”

Was he asking her out? On a date? No, he couldn’t be. He wouldn’t. He was just being nice, she was sure of it, but she couldn’t help but hope maybe, just maybe, he was. “Okay,” Amelia said, trying to keep the excitement out of her voice.

“Awesome,” he said, flashing a lazy, and very sexy, grin.


Dinner was fantastic. Eric had taken her to a swanky little place in the downtown core. Amelia had been so nervous at first that she almost knocked her drink onto his lap. Luckily, his reflexes were extraordinarily fast and he caught the glass, not spilling a drop.

In no time, Eric had made Amelia forget all about her nerves. His laugh, his smile, his charismatic, easygoing personality, everything about him made her at ease. By the end of the night, to Amelia’s surprise, she was flirting and inching closer to him. Even more shocking, he was flirting back.

When they got back home, he was a gentleman and insisted on escorting her to her door. That was when Amelia remembered her nerves. They came back, jumping and flipping like acrobats at a circus. As they got closer to her room, she was suddenly all too aware of her body and his body and the closeness between them, like an electric current, coursing through her limbs, waking up parts of her that she didn’t even know existed.

They reached her room all too quickly and part of her wanted to rush in, shut the door and hide. What if he kissed her? Did she want him to? Yes. But what if she didn’t do it right? Would he laugh at her? In theory, she knew how to kiss. She had kissed Mitchell hundreds of times, but that was just a dream. He wouldn’t tell her if she sucked.

Amelia was getting herself so worked up that she felt nauseous. Her stomach was flipping so fast it was as if she was on a rollercoaster, hanging upside down, and looping around. She stood in front of her door, staring at her feet and fidgeting with her watch, turning it over and over on her wrist. She could feel him watching her and could just imagine his laughing, vibrant eyes. The silent tension was spine tingling, and the urge to flee became overwhelming but she just couldn’t make her body work.

Just when she thought she would scream in frustration, he reached out and gently tipped her chin up, so she had to meet his eyes. Then, as if it were slow motion, the world around her stopped and he leaned in and kissed her.

He tasted sweet and his lips were soft and oh so gentle. She had thought it would be just like kissing Mitchell but it wasn’t. Not one bit. Her lips tingled, and it was nice, but the passion, the need, it wasn’t the same. Not bad, just…different.

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