First Kiss:The Ghost Bird Series #10

By: C. L. Stone

(The Academy Ghost Bird Series)

I pulled my bag onto my shoulders and stood, testing the weight of it. Did we have to hike to the campground? “Gabriel packed all my clothes. I need more?”

He shrugged. “Probably not. I just get used to hearing about girls packing half the house.”

“Can we bring the house?” I asked. “At least the heater part?”

His smile faded. “Peanut, don’t tell me you’re an indoor girl.”

I shook my head and leaned into him a little, putting a hand on his chest. “I like the idea of camping, but I was thinking of how cold it’s been at night.”

His blue eyes were intense and he pressed himself against my hand before he put down his bag on the bed and covered my hand with his. “If it’s too much for you, you tell me. I’ll make sure you stay warm.”


Kota Lee brushed strands of my dirty blond hair away from my forehead and then pressed the back of his palm against it. “You feel warm still.” He sat next to me on his bed, wearing green and white plaid flannel pajama pants and a green T-shirt. He studied my face.

Dr. Green stood in front of us, eyeballing me and waiting for the thermometer in my mouth to finish reading my temperature. His arms were folded over his chest, making creases in the untucked, unbuttoned yellow shirt, and the white T-shirt underneath. He wore jeans, too, so I guessed he wasn’t going to work at the hospital today. “Let’s let the gadget thingie tell us if she has a fever.”

“The thermometer?” Kota asked.

Dr. Green dropped his hands, stuffed them into his pockets and shrugged. “I get so many gadget thingies. That’s what they all are.”

I smiled with the thermometer in my mouth. Strands of my hair fell over my cheeks, and while I tried to brush it back, Kota knocked my hands away from my face and gave me the eye to tell me not to move so they could get an accurate reading. I breathed out through my nose and waited, the loose hair tickling my forehead and cheeks. My hair was a mess after sleeping over; I must have thrashed around a lot in my sleep.

After about a week of being sick, the other guys had slowly started to get back to normal, returning home. I’d stayed at Kota’s house, at first because I was sick, and later because I was helping the others to recover. There were times when I’d run over to Nathan’s house to take care of things while he was sick. I’d also or occasionally gone to the diner to help while Luke and North were recovering.

My home base had shifted to Kota’s house because that was where everyone else usually ended up. Kota’s mother checked on us on occasion, too.

Apparently everyone taking over Kota’s upstairs bedroom while being sick was normal for them, and she didn’t say a word about me joining the guys.

We had all just starting to feel right again when my temperature had jumped in an odd spike last night. I was feeling a little run-down but had assumed I was only tired. Kota checked my forehead, said I must have overworked myself into being sick again and sent me to bed early.

Dr. Green hovered over us with a soft smile and a few curls of his dirty blond hair hanging around his forehead as he waited. He and Kota had such worried, concerned shadows behind their happy demeanors.

I was going to say I was fine, but kept my mouth closed, hoping the thermometer would tell them for me.

When it beeped, he pulled it out and looked at the digital screen. “According to this, she’s dead.”

I giggled, sure he either was reading it upside down or just making a joke. “I’m fine,” I said, probably for the hundredth time that week. “I feel normal.”

Dr. Green held his smile but looked at the thermometer again. He pushed the button once, to turn it off, and then again to turn it on. “One more time, though. Seriously. I think you opened your mouth.”

I hadn’t but was willing to sit through it again just to prove I wasn’t sick...or dead.

Dr. Green put the thing under my tongue and then looked at Kota. “It’s not like we should be in a hurry. Right now, your schedules are all changed. You’ll go to homeroom and then to Music Room B while we figure out our next steps.”

“Sang, too?” Kota asked.

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