I looked down at my hand in his but didn’t pull it away this time.
“Maybe I’ll be able to find the others now,” Bishop said.
“What others?” My voice sounded hoarse. “Your family?”
“No. The others. They’re…supposed to help me.”
“You’re still holding my hand.”
He raised his blue eyes to mine, and a smile played on his lips for the first time—a really amazing smile that made my heart skip a beat. “You have no idea how good this feels for me.”
I had to admit, it felt pretty good for me, too. Dangerously good.
“I don’t know what you are or where you came from,” Bishop said, “but thank you.”
I felt dazed. “What I am?”
He nodded. “To make me feel this way you must be very special…and you don’t even realize it, do you?”
I almost laughed at that, but what came out sounded like a nervous hiccup. “Trust me, I’m not special. But you do seem better. Not sure I can take the credit for it, though.”
“You have no idea what I’ve been through since I got here. I’m not used to making mistakes, but now it feels like that’s all I do. I hope it’ll be better now.”
He had been horribly confused. And now, suddenly—because he was touching me?—that confusion was gone. It didn’t make any sense.
“Who are you looking for?” I asked.
His expression grew pained again, and he craned his neck as he looked up into the sky. “I was told there would be columns of light—searchlights—to help lead my way, but I can’t find any. They were to be my guide and I’m lost without them.”
I glanced back in the direction of the movie theater. “Uh…you don’t happen to mean something like that column of light, do you?”
His brows drew together. “I don’t see anything.”
I frowned and thumbed in the light’s direction. “You can’t see that bright beam of light over there?”
“No. But…” He hesitated and gave me a hard, skeptical look. “But you can?”
“I don’t know how anyone could miss it. I thought it was coming from the movie theater.”
“Samantha…” Again, as he said my name, I felt that strange shiver course through me. “If you can really see the light, you need to show me where it leads.”
I remembered the story about Carly and the hive of bees. She’d been stung ten times and the doctor said she was very lucky it hadn’t been worse than that. If it were me, I wouldn’t ever have eaten honey again because of that painful memory. But not Carly. She still loved honey. Then again, Carly’s always been a little bit crazy.
I remembered Stephen walking away Friday night at Crave, leaving me standing there all alone. That had been my first painful bee sting in a long time, and a recent one, too. I was still recovering from it.
“You said you’d help me,” he said. “Did you mean it?”
Bishop wanted me to lead him to the column of bright light that he said he couldn’t see. And I was going to do it because…well, I didn’t really know why, but I was going to do it anyway.
I let out a shaky breath. “Okay, fine. Follow me.”
He let go of my hand as we walked, and the chill I’d felt before began to set in again.
“It’s already fading,” Bishop said, his expression tense.
“What? The light?”
“No, my sanity. So we’d better make this quick.”
“But you feel okay when you touch me?”
He looked disturbed. “Yes.”
“Fine. Then, here.” I held out my hand to him, and when he entwined his fingers with mine again, I was filled by that incredible, blissful heat—and, thankfully, no disturbing vision this time.
He smiled at me. “Much better.”
My face heated up right along with the rest of my body.
I’d been certain the light was coming from the movie theater. Instead, it led us to an alley behind a fast-food restaurant. When we turned the corner, the light disappeared as if someone had flicked off a switch. Weird.
At the end of the short alley, a tall kid with dark blond hair rummaged noisily through an overflowing Dumpster. He looked about the same age as Bishop. I grimaced as he put something in his mouth and started chewing. It looked like a half-eaten hamburger.
Bishop had stopped in place and was staring at the kid with an expression on his face I couldn’t put a name to. Confusion, doubt and something else. Something bleak.
“Everything okay?” I asked him.
His shoulders tensed and he looked at me. “It will be.”
“Well, good. I assume you know that kid?”
“Don’t worry about him.” He leaned over and looked deep into my eyes. He took my other hand in his, as well. A breath caught in my chest.
“Okay, I won’t worry,” I said.
“I really don’t understand this.”
“Well, that makes two of us.”
“You saw the searchlight when I couldn’t.” He frowned, as if trying to make sense of it all. “You were sent to help me when I needed it most—when I’d nearly given up hope. Thank you.”
I couldn’t help but grin at how dramatic he was being. “You’re very welcome.”
His expression turned tense, and he let me go so suddenly that I nearly lost my balance. It helped break me out of my current daze.