The lost soul, p.2
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       The Lost Soul, p.2

         Part #1 of Fallen Souls series by Jessica Sorensen
 
Page 2

 

  “Yeah…” I trail off, distracted by my dream—there was lightning in it.

  His finger traces my cheekbone. “What are you thinking about?”

  “Just stuff… about you. ”

  “What about me?”

  I find his hand under the blanket and interlace our fingers. “I just don’t want to lose you. ” My voice shudders like it always does whenever I speak my feelings aloud.

  “You won’t. ” His fingers rub the black star marking my wrist—our forever mark. “See this thing right here. It means you’re stuck with me forever, whether you like it or not. ”

  I stifle a smile, stroke the star on his wrist, and graze his lips with mine, giving him a quick kiss. I lean back, but his hand cups the back of my neck and he deepens the kiss. His tongue slides in my mouth and my whole body shivers. His chest presses against mine and our legs tangle together. I choke my anxiousness down and clutch the hem of his shirt as I roll onto my back.

  He shifts over me, rising on his elbows, licking his lips, wanting more.

  “You said we were just going to sleep,” I joke, my nerves jumbled.

  He arches an eyebrow. “You want me to stop?”

  “Not yet. ” My breath falters and I seal my lips to his.

  He moans in response and pulls me closer, until there’s no space left between us. We stay that way until the sun rises, breaks through the clouds, and silences the storm. As I drift to sleep, cuddled against him, I can’t help but think how beautiful the moment is. But it’s fleeting and soon I’m consumed with a dark thought.

  What if our forever has a loophole?

  Chapter 3

  I wake up to an empty bed. Outside the window, the golden sun glistens across the rippling lake and the trees drip from last night’s rainstorm. I sit up and stretch, ears perking to the voices downstairs. I glance at my watch.

  “Two o’clock?” I mutter to myself. “What the hell am I still doing in bed?”

  I shuffle into the hallway, lit by lanterns that hook into the brick walls. All four of us live in the Keeper’s castle—Alex, Aislin, Laylen and myself. My grandmother, Sophia, sometimes stays in the master suite, when she’s not off on one of her “travels. ”

  The castle technically belongs to the Keepers, but none of them visit. Not after Stephan and his slaughtering spree. None of us know how many Keepers survived. We could gather everyone together, but Alex says it’s a useless attempt unless the world is endangered. So as far as I know there are five Keepers left: Alex, Aislin, Laylen, Sophia, and myself. But Alex assures me there’s more.

  As I pass the banister, I freeze at the sound of a voice I haven’t heard in a while. I back up and trot downstairs, not caring that I’m barefoot and half dressed in pajama shorts and a tank top. Alex, Aislin, and Laylen are gathered in the living room, having a private conversation. But that’s not what’s pissing me off.

  Nicholas sits comfortably in the opposite sofa, sipping a cup of coffee.

  “Why are you here?” I cross my arms and narrow my eyes at the tricky blonde faerie/Foreseer. “I thought we told you to stay away. ”

  Nicholas’ golden eyes travel up me and a menacing look consumes his face. “Did you throw on that outfit for me? Or do you always walk around half naked?”

  I don’t budge so he won’t know he’s getting under my skin. “Again, why are you here?”

  He sets the cup on the coffee table and rests back in the red velvet sofa. “Oh, don’t pretend like you don’t want me here. You know you do. You’re still just pissed because I won’t help you save your father from the Room of Forbidden. But I’ve already told you I don’t know where the Crystal of Limitation is. ”

  The Crystal of Limitation is a device that can free a Foreseer from the solitaire of their mind, also known as the Room of Forbidden—a place where a Foreseer is sent after they commit a crime. Or in my father’s case, they get branded with the Mark of Evil and alter the world’s future by tampering with visions.

  I clutch my hands into fists and stalk toward him. “Letting my dad stay trapped in his mind is wrong. ”

  Nicholas stands up. “Wrong or not, it’s the consequences he has to pay for being a Foreseer who tampered with visions. ”

  I get in his face, breathing fire. “I fixed the vision. He shouldn’t have to suffer anymore. And you know how to free him, but you won’t share it!”

  His eyes scorch like cinders. “Lean a bit closer and we’d be kissing. ”

  “Move a little closer. ” My voice is low, nearly a growl. “And I could kick you between the legs. ”

  He licks his lips. “You know you secretly enjoy this. Deep down inside, you want to be with me. You just won’t admit it. ”

  An image presses against my mind of our lips touching, my fingers running through his hair, his hands on my back…

  “What’s the matter, Gemma,” Nicholas whispers. “See something you like?”

  I don’t have a clue what’s wrong with me, but there’s definitely something wrong because I have never EVER thought of Nicholas that way, nor do I want to. My skin reddens and adrenaline zips through my blood.

  “You did something to me. ” I start to back away, but he clamps his hands on my wrist. Aislin and Laylen leap to their feet, ready to throw him down.

  “You know you want me,” he purrs. “I can almost see the thoughts going through your head. ”

  A red faced Alex appears by my side. He shoves Nicholas toward the doorway. “Alright, I think it’s time for you to go,” he says, giving Nicholas another rough push.

  Nicholas laughs venomously. “I’ll leave when I want. ”

  Alex grips the collar of Nicholas’ green shirt. “Wanna bet?” He drags him out of the room with the faerie yelling, taking swings, and pinching.

  My heart settles and my nerves calm. I shove what happened out of my mind and turn back to Aislin and Laylen. “Why is he here?”

  Laylen kicks his longs legs up on the table and fiddles with his lip ring. The tips of his blonde bangs are dyed blue and his eyes are the brightest shade of blue I’ve ever seen. “Because trouble’s brewing in the Faerie Realm. ” His eyes meet mine. “You know, I think he secretly likes being the bearer of bad news. ”

  I sink into the velvet sofa. “It’s not a secret—he likes it and wants us to know it. ” I sigh. “So what’s the trouble?”

  Laylen scratches at his arm. The spot that once bore the Mark of Immortality before Aislin used her Wicca power to erase it. Laylen is half-vampire, but the good kind that don’t bite. Well, except for the occasional breakdown. But his last episode was ages ago, after I forced him to drink my blood to save him from death. Well, he did have another breakdown after that, but only because he was being controlled by the Mark of Evil.

  “You remember the Empress of the Faerie Realm?” he inquires.

  “Luna,” I say. “How could I forget? Oh, no… she isn’t coming after the spell Aislin owes her, is she?”

  “Yep,” Laylen nods. “But we all knew it would happen eventually. She allowed us into her world, therefore we owe her. ”

  I pick at a loose thread sticking up on the sofa, noting Aislin’s silence. “It’s okay,” I tell her. “We’ll figure something out. You won’t have to do the spell. ”

  She blinks dazedly. “What… Oh, yeah. I know. ”

  Laylen pats her leg reassuringly. “We’ll figure out how to save Aleesa too. ”

  Aislin tucks her golden brown hair behind her ears and dabs tears from the corners of her eyes. Then she inches her leg away from Laylen’s hand.

  “What’s wrong with Aleesa? Is she in trouble?” I ask. Laylen gapes at me like it’s the silliest question he’s ever heard. “Well, okay, she is Aleesa, I guess. But what’s going on?”

  Alex walks in rolling up the sleeves of his black shirt. “Our half-sister, who we barely know, has gotten herself into some trouble with the faeries. ” He flops down, relaxes his knee against mine, and dr
apes his arm behind my head. “Apparently, Luna was never informed she was only half-fey, and half-Keeper. So she’s pissed. ”

  “I thought she already knew?” I run my fingers through my hair and gather it out of my face.

  “She knew she was part something,” Aislin explains quietly. “But not half-Keeper. And the empress of the Faerie Realm isn’t too thrilled having someone who’s part of a group who protects the world from vampire, witches, and fey. ”

  “Okay, so let Luna kick Aleesa out,” I say with a shrug. “She can come live with us. ”

  Alex massages gentle circles on my shoulders with his thumbs. “If only it were that easy. But it’s not. The Empress doesn’t want to let her go. ”

  It clicks. “She wants us to go there, so Aislin has to give her the spell Luna thinks she owes. ”

  Aislin grunts begrudgingly. “Exactly. And according to Nicholas, Aleesa’s in withholding until we save her. ”

  “So why don’t we go on a rescue mission?” I ask. “Aren’t we pros at that?”

  “I can’t go. ” Aislin stands up and tugs down her white frilly skirt. “If I step foot in that realm, Luna will force me to use my magic and free her into this world. And I won’t do it. I won’t use my magic for evil. ” She storms off, her hair flying behind her.

  “Aislin, wait. ” Laylen chases after her, his head almost clipping the top of the doorway.

  “Did I miss something?” I ask Alex.

  “They’re arguing about something. ” He slips a finger under my chin and steers my head toward him.

  “They’ve been fighting a lot,” I say. “Is something going on that I don’t know about?”

  “I think it’s the lack of what’s going on that’s the problem. ”

  “I thought they were doing better—I thought both of them were over their insecurities. ”

  He lets out a breath and leans back in the sofa, resting his foot up on his knee. “Aislin’s pissed because Laylen disappeared the other night and won’t tell her where he went. ”

  I zip my lips together. I know where Laylen went that night. “Oh yeah… hmm… seems like a silly thing to get mad over. ”

  He reads me like an open book. “You know where he was, don’t you?”

  “I promised I wouldn’t tell. ” I bite my lip and change the subject. “So what else did Nicholas have to say? And why was he delivering messages for Luna? I thought she hated him?”

  “She does,” he says. “I’m sure there’s more to Nicholas’ story than what he’s saying. I think he might be in some trouble with Luna and as a favor, is luring us there. ”

  “So what do we do?” I ask, fiddling with a hole in the knee of his jeans.

  “The only thing we can do—go and save Aleesa. Bring her back. ” He flattens his palms on the tops of my bare legs, triggering goosebumps on my skin. “But you’re going to need to practice some more on your fighting skills. ”