Nightfall (Blood Magic #1) - L.H. Cosway Page 0,3

it. I refused to think he’d taken his own life. But now, as time went on, I was coming to accept that Matthew had a sadness in him nobody could fix. I’d loved him more than anything, but my love still wasn’t enough.

This was why I was avoiding people. I hated how they looked at me, some with pity, others with thinly veiled suspicion. It was like they wondered if I was the reason he killed himself. If I was secretly an awful person who’d driven him to do what he did. It wasn’t true though. I wasn’t awful. But people were always going to think the worst.

Most of my day was spent watching TV, but later in the evening, I heard a knock on my door. Spying through the peephole, I found my friend, Nicki, all glammed up and clearly ready for a night on the town.

“I know you’re in there, Tegan. Open up. I’m not leaving until you do.”

I sighed and pressed my forehead against the door. Nicki was the one friend I hadn’t completely cut out of my life. Mainly because she was stubborn and persistent and wouldn’t allow it.

Reluctantly, I turned over the lock and opened the door. She gave me a quick once over, shaking her head as she walked inside. “You look like crap.”

“Wow, thanks.”

“I’m just being honest.”

“Yeah, well, sometimes it isn’t the best policy,” I grumped, folding my arms and dropping back down onto the sofa.

Nicki removed two bottles of white wine from her bag and placed them in the fridge before coming and sitting down next to me. “When was the last time you left this apartment other than to go to work?”

I shrugged. “Can’t remember.”

“Yes, you can. It was before Matthew—”

“Please don’t talk about him,” I begged.

Her eyes took on a sympathetic gleam. “You should come out with me tonight. Let off some steam. One of my co-workers gave me these free passes to that new Goth club, Crimson.” She rifled through her purse and pulled out several tickets, waving them in my face. I eyed them a moment before shaking my head. “I’m really not in the mood.”

“You will be once you’re out. I heard this place is supposed to be amazing. Go shower and put some make-up on. I brought over that little black dress you love.”

“The one with the straps on the back?” I asked, perking up a little. I did love that dress.

Nicki nodded. “I’ll let you keep it if you come to Crimson with me.”

I chewed my lip, considering it. “Okay, but if it’s terrible you have to promise to leave with me.”

Nicki smiled wide, knowing she’d gotten her way. “I promise.”

***

Seated at the back of the bus, I shifted uncomfortably on our way to the club. Nicki’s black dress was quite a bit shorter than I remembered, and my high heels pinched my toes since I was used to wearing comfortable flats these days. I’d blow-dried and straightened my long dark hair and put on some smoky eye makeup with nude lips. After a few stops, Nicki’s friends, Dillon, Amanda, and Susan, got on.

Well, technically they were my friends, too, but I hadn’t seen them in a while. They seemed amazed to see me—like I was a long-lost relative who they’d thought was dead. After a beat of awkwardness, Dillon came forward and wrapped me in a hug. “It’s so great to see you, Tegan,” he gushed while Amanda and Susan hung back, stiff, wary smiles on their faces. They clearly didn’t know how to act around me.

“Hey, Amanda. Hey, Susan,” I said with a little wave.

“Hi,” Susan replied. “You look good. We haven’t seen you in forever.”

“Yeah, we thought you’d moved away or something,” Amanda added.

“Nope, just living that hermit lifestyle,” I said, and they all laughed politely.

Oh, man, tonight was going to be fun, and by “fun” I meant nightmarish.

“Look! This is our stop,” Nicki announced, and we all lined up to get off the bus.

Nicki slid her arm through mine as we made our way down the street. I spotted the long line first, and then the club. There was a bright red neon sign over the entrance in fancy cursive font that read Crimson. I hoped Nicki’s passes meant we didn’t have to queue.

No such luck.

It took over half an hour to get inside, but as we entered, I was pleasantly surprised. The place was very tastefully designed for a Goth club. The expensive looking black velvet and dark red silk