The promise, p.16
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       The Promise, p.16

         Part #4 of Fallen Star series by Jessica Sorensen
 
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Page 16

 

  Oh, that s pretty.

  Her fingers inched for the locket my mother gave me to protect me from magical harm.

  I stepped back, shaking my head and my wings bumped the shelf.

  Not that. Anything but that.

  Catalina, come look at this,

  she called out, eyes locked on my locket.

  This one s got sugilite on her.

  Catalina was over in a snap of a finger, grabbing my necklace without asking.

  And it s wrapped by silver.

  She glanced at the candle and then at me.

  You want the candle, give me the necklace.

  It s just a necklace.

  I clutched onto it for dear life, tugging it from her grasp.

  A necklace filled with sugilite! It s a very sought after stone in the Wicca world. After all, who doesn t want protection?

  I stared at my necklace, at the candle, and then at Catalina. The look on her face made me think this was no longer my decision. I unclamp the locket and handed it over to her greedy little witch fingers. The paled-haired witch tossed the candle at me and I hugged it to my chest, hoping it d be worth it.

  Chapter 28

  (Alex)

  I wasn t sure if the ring would work on me or not. But I had to try because I needed to talk to him. He knew things. I knew he did. His faerie blood connected with every breed of faerie in the world, including a Banshee. Honestly, I wished I d started with him, and then it would have saved the bargain with Draven and the waste of a trip to Iceland. But what was done was done and there was no use dwelling on the past. I had to focus on the future.

  Laylen was giving off a nervous vibe as we stood in Gemma s bedroom, where I knew the dead faerie would be, waiting for her to return.

  So what are we doing here?

  Laylen looked around at the tan walls, tapping his fingers on his leg.

  Were looking for Nicholas,

  I showed him the ring.

  Why?

  Laylen asked, sitting down in the compute chair.

  Because he seems like the last person you d ask for help.

  He s got faerie blood in him.

  I shoved the ring on my pinky, ignoring the fact that it was purple and obviously made for a girl.

  He has to know something.

  See anything yet?

  Laylen asked after a minute of silence.

  I shook my head and let out an exasperated breath.

  I figured it d only work on her, but I had to try.

  I moved to take the ring off, but then I heard a voice and I paused.

  Look at you,

  Nicholas s voice swept through the room.

  Trying to hunt me down for once?

  Where are you?

  I asked, knowing I had to keep my cool. At least for now.

  I m dead,

  he replied.

  So obviously, I m a ghost, which means I m anywhere I want to be.

  I clutched my hands so tight the ring dug into my skin.

  Where is she?

  Who?

  Nicholas asked.

  The list of people you two are looking for is endless. I mean, there s Jocelyn and Alana and me.

  The way he said Jocelyn s name made me questioned if he d done something to her. The last time Gemma saw her she was a ghost and had disappeared with Nicholas. Then only Nicholas returned, saying Jocelyn was detained.

  Where is Jocelyn?

  I asked, impulsively pulling out my knife.

  Laylen rose to his feet and accidently knocked a CD on the floor.

  Can you see him? He s not by me, is he?

  I held up a finger.

  Not yet &but &

  And you never will,

  he said.

  I have nothing to say to you. Now go away and don t come back unless Gemma s with you.

  I ll tell you what. Show yourself and I ll make a bargain with you.

  I enticed, walking a thin line, because faeries were known for their tricks. And Nicholas was full of them.

  What kind of a bargain?

  He bit at the bait.

  The kind where you can live again.

  Laylen shot me a baffled look and I nodded my head as a warning.

  Nicholas was quiet, but this time I could hear him breathing, considering my offer. Then soundlessly he surfaced by the paneled window, next to an oblivious Laylen.

  His eyes narrowed on me.

  This better be good.

  Oh it is, but I want your info first.

  I flipped the knife in my hand, letting him know I had it.

  Starting with the location of Jocelyn.

  You know that can t hurt me,

  he said, eyeing my knife.

  I m a ghost.

  Well, if that s true then I guess you have nothing to worry about.

  I stopped tormenting him with my knife and placed it on the dresser.

  Now answer the question.

  First I need to know how you re going to save me,

  he said quietly.

  I shook my head slowly.

  You first.

  We stared each other down, a challenge between the dead and the living. I remembered the days when I used to beat the crap out of him to get him to talk. I missed those days.

  Fine, Jocelyn is gone,

  he said.

  But I d like to point out that I warned her they didn t like me down in the Afterlife because I m only a half-breed.

  So she s stuck there because of you.

  I wanted to rip his head off.

  And what do you mean gone?

  He shrugged and leaned against the wall.

  Her essence crossed over. But it wasn t even supposed to be here to begin with. When we showed up in the Afterlife, Annabella collected her essence so she could cross over. So she moved on, past the ghost life.

  She’s gone?

  A lump formed in my throat.

  Gemma won t ever see her again?

  She was never supposed to be here,

  he repeated.

  She had a brief gap between her death and her body, where she could roam free, but unlike me it was her time to go.

  And what about my mom?

  I wondered.

  Do you know where she is?

  A deceitful looked crept across his face.

  Isn t she dead too?

  Watch it,

  I warned.

  It s your life at stake here. Not mine.

  Oh, I beg to differ.

  He laughed and I lunged for him, but only grabbed air. It threw me off balance and I smacked my head on the wall.

  What are you doing man?

  Laylen gaped at me like I d lost my mind.

  Trying to kill a ghost,

  I growled, spinning in circles.

  Nicholas laughed again.

  This is so much fun. It really is, seeing you like this.

  That was it. Time to move.

  Let s go.

  I stormed for the door, hoping Nicholas would bite the bait again.

  Wait,

  he called out.

  I smiled to myself as I turned.

  Yeah.

  I might know where she is,

  he said, standing closer than I d anticipated.

  Although, I thought you d have figure it out on your own, since you ve been trapped there yourself before.

  What are you &

  And then it clicked.

  Are you saying that she s in the City of Crystal, trapped against the massive crystal?

  He grinned and I had my answer.

  Take me there,

  I demanded and picked up my knife.

  Not until you tell me how I can become undead.

  When we free the Lost Souls,

  I said.

  I ll make sure to include your name.

  You say it like you re the one going.

  He snickere
d.

  That ll never happen.

  I gestured around the room.

  She s not here is she?

  He laughed, hunching over, gasping for air.

  You still don t get it. It has to be her it always has and always will.

  Laylen walked out the door, his hands cupping his head.

  This one-sided conversation is too much. I can t take it anymore.

  I turned my attention back to Nicholas.

  Not if I do it without her knowing about it.

  You re still not getting it,

  he said, shaking his head.

  You can t just change how it s supposed to be. That s what you mere humans don t get. Us Foreseers understand everything happens for a reason, even mistakes as great as Gemma s father, Julian Lucas committed. We are who are. There s no changing it. It has to be Gemma. She was the one born with the Foreseer gift, the one destined to change the vision. And she s the one who has to make the bargain with Helena because she s responsible for her Lost Souls.

  But she didn t do it on purpose,

  I said.

  She was only fixing her father s mistakes.

  He shrugged half-heartedly.

  Like I said, that was what she was destined to do, since the day she was born.

  And what about my mother,

  I snapped.

  What does she have to do with this?

  You can ask her yourself.

  He pulled out a red-ruby crystal ball and held it up between his fingers.

  In the City of Crystal.

  What s wrong?

  Laylen peeked his head back inside.

  Is he being his usual annoying self, or did he finally hand the info over.

  I ignored Laylen.

  This is such crap.

  We all have to endure difficulty in our life,

  he said

  Some just more than others.

  Chapter 29

  (Gemma)

  Stop picking at your feathers,

  Aislin said, mixing a bowl of green goo and leaves.

  We don t know if it ll do anything permanent to you.

  But they itch like crazy,

  I whined, still scratching, feathers falling out and floating to my bedroom floor.

  After we d finished up at the The Evil Side, we d transported to my house. But Laylen and Alex weren t there, so Aislin had jumped straight into witch mode, mixing her potion, while I sat on the floor itching at the feathers and staring at the rainbow candle, wondering what would happen if it worked. What kind of emotions would I feel? New ones?

  I touched the back of my neck, thinking about the prickle and how I hadn t felt it in a while. Maybe because I d felt everything. But that wasn t true. There was one thing I still didn t understand completely.

  Love.

  It s like you re molting,

  Aislin observed with a smash of the spoon.

  I glowered at her.

  I m not a bird.

  I know,

  she said

  But you do have wings.

  I plucked another feather and flicked it to the floor.

  How long is that going to take?

  Another crush.

  Not too much longer, but I still have to steal a witch s power.

  I motioned at the boarded window.

  Well, there s a ton out there. Take your pick.

  We can t find one there. When I take their power, whoever they are, they re going to try to kill me.

  But they won t have their power,

  I pointed out.

  So you could just run.

  She sighed, exhausted.

  It d be better if I just took it from someone far away from here, so they can t track me down.

  Have any place in mind?

  Yeah &

  she trailed off, staring at the red X on her hand.

  Is this some kind of revenge plot or something?

  I wondered, rubbing the dust off the candle.

  Are you going back to Vegas to steal Amelia s power?

  Who s Amelia?

  She swished the bowl around.

  I plugged my nose at the smell of her potion that reeked like rotten eggs and public bathrooms.

  She s the witch who put that X on you.

  Good to know.

  She got this wicked look on her face.

  I pointed a finger at her, rising to my feet and kicking up feathers.

  This is a revenge thing.

  She branded me from the witch world,

  she said, her voice piercing with a grudge.

  She deserves it.

  Okay, have your revenge.

  I waved my hand at her.

  Am I coming with you?

  Her green eyes moved to my wings.

  You d draw a lot of attention.

  Fine.

  Usually I was an arguer, but it was better if I stayed behind,

  I ll stay and build my nest.

  She laughed. I laughed. And we had this weird, normal moment.

  After she brewed her potion, she rinsed out the bowl in the kitchen sink and was on her way.

  If you re not back in a half-an-hour,

  I said, pointing at the wall clock.

 
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