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The fallen star (fallen.., p.18
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       The Fallen Star (Fallen Star Series, Book 1), p.18

           Jessica Sorensen
 
Neither of us spoke. The only sound was the clock ticking back and forth. Alex was still holding my hand, his skin warm and flowing with static. He never actually answered my question. But I think he might have sensed I figured it out.

  “Gemma, are you okay?” he finally asked.

  I nodded slowly.

  “You do know who she is, right?”

  I nodded slowly again.

  “Then you understand what that means, right?”

  I pressed my lips together. Yeah, I understood what it meant. He was saying that for the last eighteen years, I had been harboring a fallen star's energy inside of me. Some piece of a freaking solar system’s sun. But as crazy as it sounded, it kind of made sense. I mean, I had been hollow and emotionally numb until an invisible prickle had released my emotions. Add that to the violet color of my eyes, and my ability to either sense or cause electricity to flow by being around Alex….I really was a freak. Literally. I probably wasn’t even considered human.

  “So what am I?” My voice sounded so numb.

  “What are you?” His eyebrows dipped down. “What are you talking about?”

  “Well, I can’t be human.” I choked on the words. “So what am I?”

  “You’re human,” he assured me. “Just a human with a lot of power in her.”

  I could feel that power right now, and it was making me feel sick. I tried to ease my hand away from Alex, but he clutched onto it.

  “Look,” he began in a guarded yet determined tone. “I know this all sounds crazy. And I understand that you’re probably freaking out right now, but there’s more I have to tell you.”

  “There’s more!” I cried. A few hours ago I wanted nothing more than to hear the truth. But after what I heard, part of me wished there was a rewind button so I could go back in time and choose not to hear it.

  He gave a slow nod. “And I think I should probably warn you that it’s just as bad—if not worse—than what I’ve already told you.”

  My hands shook, and it felt like I was suffocating. How could anything be worse than getting told I was carrying around the power of a star that could possibly save the world from an apocalyptic portal? I ripped my hand away from his and let my head fall into my hands. “This is a lot to take in. I’m not sure if I can take any more.”

  “Well, if you want me to stop then—”

  My head snapped up. “No.” I sat up straight. I was going to have to tough it out. “I need to hear the rest; otherwise it will drive me crazy.”

  He sighed. I think he might have been hoping I would tell him to stop. He looked reluctant, but continued. “Well, we lucked out because Demetrius never discovered the location of the star’s power. A few months after you were born, though, a Foreseer told Stephan another prophecy about the star. The prophecy said that if your emotions weren’t controlled, then the power of the star would weaken and eventually die, which would make it useless to stop the portal from opening.” He placed his hand on top of mine, which I thought was kind of weird. He sure seemed determined to touch me. “So to keep that from happening, and to keep Demetrius from ever finding out, Stephan made the decision for you to go and live with Marco and Sophia in the real world.”

  “How old was I when I went to live with them?” I asked.

  “You were one when you went to live with Marco and Sophia,” he replied in a flat tone that puzzled me. His palm felt sweaty on my hand, and it was kind of gross. “And they were under strict orders to make sure you stayed unemotional.”

  I didn’t say anything for awhile. I had hit some kind of eerie calm or something. Or maybe I should say an “unemotional” calm. I knew right then and there that any doubts I had about Alex telling the truth were gone. How could I deny it when he knew about my unemotional issue? But the problem was that I was made to be that way.

  Intentionally.

  “Gemma,” he said.

  “How?” I asked in the same lifeless tone I had used up until I felt the prickle.

  He cocked his head to the side in confusion. “How what?”

  “How did they do it?” I tried to wiggle my hand free from his, but he wouldn’t let go. “Make me unemotional.”

  He fixed his gaze on the floor and shrugged. “I don’t know. I guess by shutting you off from any kind of emotional contact. If someone doesn’t ever know happiness, sadness, or love, then how can they ever feel it?”

  The inability to make eye contact was the first sign someone was lying.

  “You’re lying,” I accused.

  “No, I’m not,” he said, his eyes still locked on the floor.

  “Yes, you are,” I insisted. “You can’t even look at me.”

  He shook his head and looked at me with a tolerant expression. “There. Are you happy?”

  My dulled calmness abruptly faded, and a wave of panic and anger thundered through me. I tugged and pulled and yanked my hand, desperately wanting to get the heck out of here. All I wanted to do was get away and hide; curl myself in a tiny ball and cry until my eyes ran dry. So I did the only thing I could think of to get him to let me go. See, over the last few weeks, I had caught on that Alex liked to be in control of the situation. So I needed to make him think he was losing the control. There was only one thing I could think that might do that.

  Lie.

  “But I have been able to feel,” I told him.

  “Yeah,” he said, unsurprised. “Marco and Sophia noticed a change in you over the last few months. That’s one of the reasons why Ailsin and I enrolled in school. We were trying to figure out what caused the change. And we were also keeping an eye on you.”

  I shook my head. I was going to have to let that one go for now, otherwise I would get sidetracked from my plan to escape. “That’s not what I meant. I’ve been able to feel for more than a few months. Awhile ago, I found a paper in one of Sophia’s trunks that had this list of dates on it.” I caught a hint of understanding pass over his face—he knew what paper I was referring to. “After doing a lot of searching around, I finally figured out what it meant.” I was going out on a limb here because I wasn’t sure if the list of dates had anything to do with this. It was just a hunch I had, but I was going with it. “After that, the being-able-to-feel thing became simple for me.”

  I searched for a sign that he was buying my lie. At first, he looked completely lost. Then his expression shifted to anger. Moments later, worry washed over his face. I felt his grip loosen on my hand, and I seized the opportunity. I yanked my hand as hard as I could, and his hand fell off mine. I was on my feet in a heartbeat, bolting for the door, ignoring the pain tearing up my side.

  “I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” Alex called out.

  Ignoring him, I threw open the door.

  “The Death Walkers will find you,” he said. I could hear him moving toward me, his footsteps scuffing lazily against the hardwood floor like he was so sure I wasn’t going to run away. “Now that they know the star’s in you, they’ll always be searching for you.”

  All I had to do was go. Find the front door and run my little heart out. But my fear made me hesitate. What if they did find me and I was all alone? Was it worth the risk?

  I turned to face him, my hand still clasped on the doorknob. “How can you be so sure they know I have the star’s energy in me?”

  “Oh, trust me, they know.” He came to a stop in front of me. “After what happened on the bus, there’s no way they don’t.”

  I was trapped. Either I could run and risk the chance of getting killed by a bunch of hypothermic-inducing monsters, or I could stay here with Alex, a liar who had caused me to suffer through most of my life as a walking emotionless corpse.

  I stayed still, even when he placed his hand on mine.

  “Running away would be a very stupid thing to do,” he said in a low voice. “Don’t ever try to do it again.” I frowned as he removed my hand from the doorknob. “You were lying, weren’t you? About being able to feel earlier than we thought?” he asked.

/>   I stared at him impassively.

  “I know you were,” he said. “If it were true then Marco and Sophia would have known.”

  “Would they?” I twisted my hand out of his. “She didn’t seem to notice when I stole the list of dates from her trunk.”

  We stared at one another. I wasn’t sure what to believe. And I had a feeling he felt the same way, which was what I wanted.

  “Well, since this is going nowhere, I might as well call Stephan,” he suddenly announced.

  I folded my arms across my chest. “Fine. Do whatever you want.”

  “I was planning on it.” He walked by me and motioned for me to follow him.

  Even though I really didn’t want to, I did.

  Chapter 15