Fractured souls, p.15
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       Fractured Souls, p.15

         Part #2 of Shattered Promises series by Jessica Sorensen
 
Page 15

 

  His voice touches my ear again. “Because I do. ”

  I glance around at the pale light. I can’t even see my own body, can barely feel it. “How can this be my future? There’s nothing here. ”

  “Is that what you see?” Nicholas’s breath encircles my face. “Nothing?”

  My instincts warn me to be cautious as I remember how far he pushed me the last time we were in a vision together; how he tried to touch me and take advantage of me.

  I open my mouth to tell him I don’t know, but as if my voice no longer belongs to me I say, “I see light… It’s everywhere. ” Shit. Where the hell did that come from?

  “Are you sure that’s all you see?”

  No. “Yes. ”

  There is a pause. “Then I guess that means your future’s dead. ”

  Dead. “What!” I exclaim. “How do you reach that assumption?”

  “Let’s go back,” he says, evading my question. “I have some business to take care of with Alex. ”

  Before I can respond, I feel his fingers slide through mine and he pries my arms away from me. Then I’m jerked back and he slams me against him, his arms enfolding around me.

  “Let me go!” I wiggle my shoulders and arms, but he tightens his hold, trapping me against him.

  He kisses the top of my head and I hear him breathe in the scent of my hair. “God, the things I could do to you right now. ” His voice is deep and full of desire; it makes me want to gag.

  I lift my leg, bend my knee, and swing my foot forward hoping to kick him, however all I touch is air.

  “Nicholas, I swear to God—”

  His lips come down over mine and I feel vile and gross inside. I try to lean back, but he only moves with me, keeping us pinned together, as he attempts to snake his tongue into my mouth. I open my lips and bite down hard, feeling his tongue rupture open and bleed.

  He only laughs. “You’re seriously going to pay for that. ”

  His hand starts to trail down my back, groping me, and forcing me against him. The prickle stabs at the back of my leg and everything feels wrong. I’m terrified. Disgusted. With him and myself.

  “Please don’t,” I beg, writhing my body as tears threaten to spill out. “Please just let me go. ”

  “Don’t worry,” he whispers in my ear. “I’ll be gentle. ”

  As his hand reaches my ass, a sharp, deafening noise echoes in my head. I hear Nicholas curse and then the lightness intensifies as I’m jolted back.

  ***

  When I open my eyes again the light is gone. I’m lying in the velvet sofa with my head in Alex’s lap and he’s staring down at me with a concerned look in his expression.

  “Are you okay?” he asks, tracing his finger down my temple.

  Panic flares through my body as I glance around the room. “How did I get here… I thought I was in the storage room?”

  “Yeah, but you fainted,” he says, brushing my hair out of my eyes. I wince at the aching pain in my skull. I feel nauseous and sick as I try to decipher what happened. “And you hit your head on the corner of the shelf before I could catch you. ” He checks my eyes, leaning closely. “I’m worried you might have a concussion. ”

  I shake my head while I gradually sit up and he leans back to give me room. My eyes immediately drift to the sofa across from me where Nicholas sits.

  He’s wearing a navy blue T-shirt and a pair of tan cargo pants. His sandy blonde hair sweeps over his forehead, his golden eyes twinkling and his smile is devious.

  I narrow my eyes at him, but he only shakes his head and smiles. Watch it, he mouths. Or I won’t help.

  Alex follows my line of gaze and then he stiffens. “When did you get here?”

  “He showed up in the vision,” I explain through gritted teeth. I want to wring his neck, but I also need his help. Its wrong to let him have so much power over me, although there’s nothing I can do about it other than succumb to him. “In grand, creepy Nicholas style. ”

  Nicholas’s grin broadens and his dark gaze skims over my body. “You know it. ”

  “But that’s not allowed,” Alex interrupts, putting his hand on my knee while his fierce gaze remains on Nicholas. “Foreseers are not allowed to go into another Foreseer’s vision without permission. Even I know that. ”

  “Maybe I did have permission,” Nicholas says with a sly grin. “How do you know for sure that I didn’t? Maybe Gemma begged me to show up there?”

  Alex arches a brow at me, wondering what’s going on. I want to tell him, so I can watch him punch Nicholas in the face because I know he will, yet then Nicholas probably won’t help me, either.

  I shake my head and lean into Alex, wanting to shut my eyes and let the electricity lull me to sleep. “It’s nothing. He’s just being a creeper. ”

  “Don’t pretend you don’t like it. ” Nicholas winks, relaxing back in the chair with his arms spread out on the back. His attention focuses on Alex who protectively inches closer to me. “So is there a reason you let her use the crystal ball again? Or did she just decide to do it on her own and let you suffer the consequences for it? Personally, I’d love to think it was the latter. ”

  Alex and I exchange a look that seems to tell me he’s preparing himself for something terrible. His expression flashes with worry, and Alex rarely looks worried. “It wasn’t the latter. ” He forces his gaze away from me and his fingers on my knee tense, his nails jabbing into my skin as his other hand clenches into a tight fist. “We need your help. ” It sounds like it’s killing him to say it.

  “Help with what?” Amusement dances in Nicholas’s eyes.

  “With getting into The Underworld,” Alex says through gritted teeth.

  A smirk forms on Nicholas’s face as he absentmindedly traces the Foreseer mark on his wrist, moving around the circle and ultimately the ‘S’ in the middle of it. “And who says I know how to do that?”

  Alex shrugs. “I know your kind have a way of getting everywhere, including to different realms. ”

  “True,” Nicholas says. “But even if I could get you there, who says I want to help you?”

  Alex slides his hand up the front of my leg, finds my hand in my lap, and laces our fingers together. I catch Nicholas watching the movement and for a moment jealousy burns in his eyes. “I’m sure there’s some sort of bargain we can work out. ”

  Nicholas’s attention transfers to me. “I’m sure I could figure out something that you have that I want. ”

  Alex angles himself in front of me, obscuring me from Nicholas’s view. “Not her. ”

  “And what if I said that was the only thing I’d take. ”

  “Then I’d kill you. ”

  My head whips in Alex’s direction, but his eyes stay on Nicholas. Nicholas holds the gaze steadily, though the longer it goes on, the more uncertain Nicholas gets, and finally, he slumps back looking really fidgety.

  “There is one thing I’d love to have,” he says. “And if you can get it for me, then I’ll be your golden ticket into the land where torture is welcomed with opened arms along with insanity. ” He pauses, bringing his foot up onto his knee. “But I have to ask, why The Underworld?”

  “That’s not important. ” Alex squeezes my hand, sending sparks up my arm. “Just tell me what you want. ”

  He dithers, thrumming his finger against his lip. “I’d like some fraxinus invisibili. ”

  “What the hell’s that?” Alex asks.

  “Ask your Witch,” Nicholas replies. “She’ll know what it is. ”

  Alex glances at the doorway. “Aislin, can you come in here?”

  A minute later Aislin enters the room with Laylen trailing at her heels. I discount the pull toward him the best that I can, especially since Aislin looks like she’s been crying, her eyes red and her cheeks swollen.

  “What’s up,” she says, sounding hoarse as she reaches the middle of the room, keeping her distance from Nicholas.

  “Do you know w
hat fraxinus invisibili is?” he asks her.

  Her expression plummets as she sits down on the edge of the apothecary table and Laylen sinks down on the armrest of the sofa right beside Nicholas. “Yeah, its invisibility ash. ”

  Alex looks confused. “Why the hell do you want that?” he asks Nicholas.

  Nicholas shrugs, jiggling his foot that’s on his knee. “Who knows when it’ll come in handy?”

  Alex and Aislin trade a look. “It’s what he wants in exchange for his help,” he explains to her.

  “But what if he can’t help us?” Aislin turns to the side so she’s facing Alex. “What if I give it to him and then he runs?”

  Alex glances at Nicholas and then demands, “Tell us how to get into The Underworld and then we’ll talk deals. ”

  Nicholas lowers his feet to the floor. “I don’t really think you’re in a place to give orders since I’m going to be taking you away soon, but if you must know, getting into The Underworld requires a lot of Foreseer power and an Ira. ”

  “What the fuck’s an Ira?” Alex asks.

  Nicholas shrugs, nonchalantly kicking his feet up onto the apothecary table. “A very powerful crystal ball. One that can take you to and from forbidden places, like The Underworld, and in present time, too, without any of the laws being broken. ”

  “And it’ll work?” Alex pulls me even closer to him, as if he can’t get enough of touching me, as if he’s about to go soon.

  I bite my nails, nervous at what lies ahead for us. What’ll happen to him? To me? To us?

  “I didn’t say that,” Nicholas corrects him. “But it’s your best bet. ”

  Alex exchanges another look with Aislin. “How much damage can he do with something like fraxinus invisibili?” he asks her.

  “Well, if he can get a Witch to help him use it,” she replies. “Then probably a lot. He’ll be able to go invisible whenever he wants which means he’ll be harder to find, yet it’ll be easier for him to find us. ”

  Alex’s forehead creases as he frowns at Nicholas. “She’s not helping you use it. ”

  Nicolas raises his hands in front of him. “I never asked her to. All I said is that I need it. ”

  Alex scoots forward in the chair, still holding onto me so I have to move forward with him. “You know I could just beat you up and force you to help us. ”

  Nicholas’s eyes darken with a challenge as his fingers curl around the armrest. “You’d be surprised how much pain I can endure. Besides, you don’t have that long before you’re officially considered to be going back on your promise. ” He releases the armrest and taps a watch on his wrist. “Time is ticking. ”

  Alex puffs out a frustrated breath and glances at an antique clock on the wall across from us. “Fine. Aislin will give you the ash after you take me to the City of Crystal. That way you have to come back. ”

  Even though I knew it was coming, I panic, grabbing onto his arm. “You can’t go to that God awful place. ”