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Chapter 15

“I’m very tired,” Shelly said, sitting on the edge of her unmade bed. “Forgive the mess.”

Dodd couldn’t help being suddenly amused by his surroundings. The room was a shambles. Her roommate’s side of the small chamber was more of a disaster than her side, used panties, a bra and a pair of white socks all on the floor by the bed. The panties were black and lacy, which Shelly wished were not so visible, but Dodd seemed unaffected by them, his eyes focused on her. She liked that.

“Now that you’re safe.” Dodd wanted to get back to the Department and find out if Chan had finally decided to help him. Who else could have written that damn note?

“Dodd…is that your name?” Shelly thought that was an odd name…odd Dodd, she suddenly thought and realized he might not find that humorous even if she was finding herself struggling not to giggle.

Dodd was standing in the center of the room. The rug was an ugly pink shag. He should have guessed. His eyes moved to the messy bed where Shelly was sitting. He was surprised at how much he thought she looked like a little girl, the brown blanket covering her knees, her sneakered feet poking out from the bottom. He shook his head. She wasn’t anything like what he had expected. “Yeah, I’m stuck with it.”

“It’s unusual,” Shelly said. “Is it short for something? Like Dodsworth or something?” “Get rid of him,” Allen rasped. “We need to talk.”

“Oh no! Are you here?” Shelly looked around the room. “I made it clear you can’t be here. This is a girls’ floor. Someone could barge in any minute.”

Dodd looked confused again. “Shelly, are you okay? You’re talking to me but looking at the door?” He looked, but saw nothing there.

Shelly was still scouring the room for Allen. “Am I what?”

Dodd’s eyes were studying Shelly, wondering if she was right and someone could barge in on them. He felt the tension in his fingers and let his hands drop to his side. “Are you okay?” he repeated. His eyes were on the door. If he was going to make a move it had to be now. Any second the police might come to get her statement about the bus driver. He had almost forgotten about the driver. He almost felt sorry for him. But then again, he would remember nothing about the incident. Dodd made sure of that. “I asked if you are okay?”

“That’s a dumb question, you dick,” Allen rasped. “She was almost killed so how do you think she is?”

Shelly wished Allen would leave the room. She had this urge to risk everything and reach over to Dodd, her rescuer with wild dark hair and gorgeous blue eyes and push her lips onto his

in one damn grateful kiss…oh, who the hell am I kidding? Grateful, my ass. I just want to feel his lips against mine and see what he is feeling. “Are you gone yet,” she asked Allen.

Dodd sighed, still very unsure of himself. The girl had aroused a protective instinct in him, something he hadn’t expected, something he didn’t want. And yet she was crazy, one

minute warm and inviting, and the other asking him to leave. He had wondered if she really was an Ecto, after all she had not seen the bus before it almost killed her…but now he wasn’t sure. The only other female Ecto he had known, Swan, a Native American, had been totally different, independent and almost masculine in her mannerisms. This one was totally different which he was finding disarming, confusing. Maybe she wasn’t the one? In his visions, he had never seen her face. How could he be sure?

Shelly realized how crazy she must appear to Dodd and tried to focus all of her attention on him, not scare him off. He looked very distracted, as if he was deep in thought. She wanted him to think only of her. “Sorry. I guess I am a little in shock after all.” She gave Allen a glare hoping wherever he might be he got the message to get out.

Dodd frowned. “That would be natural after what you went through,” he said. He glanced at the door and thought of locking it. I’m just not sure, he told himself. Make a move on her or not? Damned if I know? He heard a siren in the distance. It was late. Soon the other girls in the dorm would be back. He found himself hooked on her lips and pale blue eyes. Swan’s eyes had been almost black, piercing. Shelly’s eyes were see-through…not threatening at all. “If you’re okay, I’ll leave now.”

“It’s about time,” Allen rumbled. “I thought he was never going.”

Shelly’s eyes instantly moved to where she thought the ghost might be. “Not on that bed,” she said to Allen who seemed close to Lisa’s bed.

“Nice undies,” Allen said.

“You leave those undies alone,” Shelly warned.

Dodd looked shocked. “I wasn’t going anywhere near them.” He was used to the strange people in the Parapsychology department, but this girl seemed even stranger than any of the others. He had always believed the more sensitive an Ecto the weirder they had to be…but this girl took the cake.

“Please leave,” Shelly begged Allen. “I’ll keep my promise.”

Dodd got up. “What promise? I’m going. You need your rest.” Why is she acting like this? If she is as sensitive as she is weird, then her powers have to be pretty awesome. She’s looking for something?

“I’m sorry,” Shelly said to Dodd, seeing he was about to leave. “Maybe I’ll see you at the Parapsych Department,” she asked hopefully.

Dodd sighed. She still wants to pursue that. Maybe his first instincts were correct after all? He walked toward her. Now or never. “Good-bye, Shelly,” he said softly.

“I didn’t mean you have to leave,” Shelly said quickly, glaring at Allen and hoping he could see her. She realized Dodd was staring at her as if she was insane and didn’t blame him one bit. “I’m really sorry,” she said, thinking he was about to leave because she had been acting so crazy. “I’m just not myself.”

Dodd stared at her and his eyes saw a young woman, nicely built, with a smile that seemed to be asking him to kiss her. Maybe it’s her freckles, he thought, as he realized she looked very young and innocent. He gave her a thin smile, still deep in conflict with what he felt and what he knew, a battle between his heart and his brain. “Well, I think I’d better go now and

let you rest,” he finally muttered, steering deliberately clear of the bed with the panties. “You’re going to be alright now.”

Shelly’s voice was husky. “Do you really have to go?

Dodd gazed into her eyes. She was hard to turn down, but he knew what would happen if he stayed. “I’ll see you again. I promise.”

Shelly nodded reluctantly. “Thank you.” She wanted to ask him if she could make it up to him somehow…later or another day? He really did have an interesting face, eyes intensely studying her, warming her, but mysterious…they seemed to lure her toward him, making her want to get to know him better, make her want to feel his arms around her again, feel his lips exploring her lips, and much more. She moved toward him.

“I’ll see you when you feel better,” Dodd said. “Give it a few days before you leave the dorm again.” That would buy him time to sort things out, to figure out how he really felt. “A few days of peace and quiet and you’ll be fine.”

“Once you’re out of here, she’ll be fine,” Allen said.

Shelly held her reply to the meddling ghost. “Thank you for saving me,” she said, inches from his lips, hoping he would take the bait. She could feel her body begging him to take the bait, even if that damn ghost is watching. Maybe that would chase him away once and for all?

Dodd was so tempted by her, but weighed his options quickly. How much of the truth could he tell her? What if someone had seen what really happened at the bus stop? The cops were below, taking statements. She was approaching. It was her! Oh God, it was her. He knew what was coming next. He had seen it before and knew she was going to reach her hands to his

face and place a tentative kiss on his lips. He swallowed hard, anticipating how her lips would press harder and harder, trying to get him to react while all he could do would be to let her proceed with the ritual while he decided if he should make love to her or kill her.

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