Fractured souls, p.2
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       Fractured Souls, p.2

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

 

  “Don’t blame me until you hear the whole story,” he says. “And we got here because Aislin transported us here. It’s a simple as that. ”

  “Oh, yes, super simple,” I respond in a derisive tone. He’s already getting under my skin, not just because he’s pissing me off, but because of the damn electricity. He’s sitting close to me, too close to me on a bed. It’s driving me mad because my mind is begging me to let him do things to me; touch me, kiss me, fill the void within me. “Where are Laylen and Aislin?”

  “It is that super simple,” he retorts. “Aislin and Laylen are downstairs and if you want the whole story then keep quiet and listen. ” He watches me with challenge in his eyes and I know he’s doing it on purpose, attempting to get under my skin.

  Needing to get the last word in—needing to prove that I still have some say in this—I say, “Fine, continue. ”

  The corners of his lips quirk, as though he’s enjoying the bantering. “After Aislin came back to get Laylen in Nevada, there was a huge ambush of Death Walkers. I guess their cold ruined Aislin’s transporting crystal so they had to bail out and come here to get another one. Then they transported to Colorado and ended up saving all of us. ”

  I fold my arms across my chest. “But how? I mean, if I remember correctly, which I’m pretty sure I do since I was the target of everything that was going on, then there was an ambush of Death Walkers there along with your father who was trying to kill me with that smoking rock. ”

  “It’s called a memoria extracto,” he says flatly.

  “Thanks,” I mumble. “Now if I ever have to take a test on strange crazy things that shouldn’t exist, I know I’ll pass. ”

  He covers his mouth with his balled fist, either pissed off or trying to hide a smile. “Well, I’m glad to see that you still have your twisted sense of humor. ”

  “Barely,” I retort, holding his gaze while he holds mine. “But I can already feel it fading, just like everything else inside me. ” All I can feel at them moment is rage. It’s like a fire, ready to burn me to pieces. I wish I could turn it off, but I can’t seem to figure out how. Shit. What if something’s wrong with me? What if whatever did happen broke my emotions instead of getting rid of them.

  He lowers his hand onto his lap and sighs. “When Aislin and Laylen showed up at the cabin,” he continues. “Stephan and the Death Walkers were gone. They just upped and left while I was—”

  “What?” I interrupt. “That doesn’t make any sense, since Stephan was pretty much dead set on breaking my soul and mind apart. ” I pause, eyeing him over, closely watching his reaction. “Something you were pretty dead set on helping him do. ”

  He swiftly shakes his head. “No, I wasn’t. ”

  “Yeah, you were. At first I thought you were going to save me, which felt…” I trail off, trying to figure out exactly how it felt, but I can’t quite piece what I’m feeling together. “And then I guess you changed your mind and decided to side with the devil. ”

  “I didn’t decide to side with my father,” he insists. “I did what I had to do because it was the only way to keep you safe. ”

  I tap my foot anxiously on the floor. Do I want to sit here and listen to more of his story? Or try to run? I feel like I’m in a maze where almost every end is a dead end or a trap and it’s hard to figure out which path will get me to wherever I need to go. My emotions are also confusing, combined with the electricity, I feel like I’m being pushed toward Alex and then pulled back. Pushed and pulled. Pretty soon I’m going to tear in half.

  “I know what I saw. ” I place a hand on my bandaged wrist. “You stood by while your father tried to erase my mind and I bled all over the floor; I could have died. ”

  “I would have never let you die. ” He reaches for me, however I hover back, shaking my head, not ready to be touched by him yet. He sighs and withdraws his hands to his lap, clenching his fist so tightly his knuckles turn white. “Do you remember that necklace I gave you?”

  I grab the hollow of my neck and then panic at the bare space. “Wait. Where is it?”

  He sets a hand on my knee before I have time to react and a burst of passion swells through me. “Relax. I have it. ”

  That doesn’t make me relax at all. I keep remembering how Laylen and I talked about Alex being brainwashed. What if he’s right? What if he has to be here because the memoria extracto didn’t work and Alex is helping his father hold me hostage until they can figure something else out?

  “Why do you have it?” I ask warily.

  He takes a deep breath and gradually frees it, his fingertips massaging my kneecap. “When I gave you the necklace, I wasn’t just giving it to you because it belonged to you. I gave it to you because it has sugilite in it,” he says. I’m about to ask him what sugilite is when he adds, “That’s the purple stone in the center of the locket. It protects whoever’s wearing it from certain kinds of magic. ” He pauses. “Like the mind erasing kind of magic. ”

  “I thought you said my mother gave me the necklace when I was little?” I ask. “Did she give it to me to protect me from something, too?”

  He sweeps my hair back off my shoulder and I tense, unsure why he is so persistent about touching me. “She gave it to you because you have the star’s energy in you. It was her way of trying to protect you from anyone who tried to use magic on you to get to the star’s power. ”

  “So why didn’t it work when I was little?” My voice is sharp and bitter. “When Sophia detached my soul from my emotions? Why didn’t it protect me then?”

  Alex shuts his eyes, his face contorted in pain. “Stephan knew what it was and he took it off you before Sophia detached your soul. ” He opens his eyes and they’re glossed over. “That’s why I tucked it into your shirt in the Jeep. So he wouldn’t see it and take it off. ”

  I remember when Alex was about to climb out of the Jeep back at the cabin in Colorado. The Death Walkers and Stephan had just shown up and stopped us from running away. Alex had reached over and tucked the locket under the collar of my shirt, whispering, whatever you do, keep that hidden. Don’t let anyone know you have it.

  “So you were planning all along to save me. ” I’m doubtful because none of this makes sense. There are so many questions without answers, like why Stephan and the Death Walkers would just walk away.

  He shrugs. “Pretty much. ”

  “But that goes against everything you said… how my soul had to be detached or else the star’s power would die and then the portal would open and the world would end. ” I frown, thinking of my dooming fate. That I might die, or live and be hollow, neither of which were options that I wanted. I want normalcy, plain and simple.

  His hand slides up my thigh and halts at the top of my shorts and the rage burning inside me fizzles. My heart and body want one thing and my mind another. What do I want?

  “Things changed between us… you know that. When we… after we…” He drifts off.

  “Had sex. ” I strive to sound blasé, but my cheeks heat.

  His eyes are secured on mine and he displays no emotions at all. “It was more than that, wasn’t it?”

  My cheeks flame even hotter, though I refuse to look away. “I have no idea… I have nothing else to compare it to. Besides, that was my fault. . . I pretty much begged you to do it. ”

  He keeps one hand on my thigh and reaches his free hand up to cup my face. Being touched intimately always throws me off guard since I didn’t experience any human connection for about fourteen years. Something as simple as being touched both frightens and enthralls me to the point where I do irrational things, solely based on my hormones.

  “You asked me to kiss you. I’m the one that took it that far because I…” he grapples for words he never does find. “And I meant what I said when I woke you up. If my father wouldn’t have shown up, I would have gotten you out of there and hid until we figured something out. ”

  “But we didn’t make it that far, did w
e?” I scoot away from him. “And then you held that rock up in front of me…”

  He rubs his hand across his face, letting his fingers linger on the smudged black spot on the middle of his forehead.

  “What happened to your head?” I reach out to touch him, but then retreat. The last thing I want to do is trust him again and end up in a situation like back at the cabin in Colorado.

  “It’s from the memoria extracto,” he whispers, rubbing the spot with his fingertips. I’m surprised when it stays and doesn’t smudge.

  “Why did it do that to you?”

  “Because the magic bounced back on me. ”

  I scan him over; long lean arms, solid shoulders, a firm, stubbly jawline. “But then how could you… do you… huh?’

  “That’s what the sugilite does,” he explains. “Those who try to use harmful magic on someone who has sugilite on them, automatically gets magical harm done on them instead. So when I used it on you it bounced back on me. ”

  “And you knew that was going to happen?” I gape at him.

  “Better me than you. ” He shrugs, acting nonchalant, the exact opposite from the meaning his words convey.

  “When you say the magic bounced back on you, does that mean your memory was erased?” I inquire. “Because you seem fine now. ”

  “I am fine now,” he assures me. “But for a while there…” he blinks and then his face contorts like he’s remembering an excruciating memory.

  “But you weren’t fine?”

  “No. I blacked out. When I woke up Stephan and the Death Walkers were gone. ”

  “And you have no idea where they went?” I question. “Or why they just left?”

  He shakes his head. “By the time I came to, Aislin and Laylen had shown up to a torn up cabin and you were still passed out. ”

  Pushing past my confliction, I extend my hand forward to rub the black spot on his head. The contact brings a euphoric tingle to my body that I secretly bask in. “Is this permanent?”

  He watches me intently. “It’ll go away eventually. ”

  I withdraw my hand to my lap, fighting the impulse to touch him some more. “What about your head?”

  The corners of his mouth tug upward. “What about it?”

  “Is it okay?”

  “Do you want it to be okay?”

  I tuck my hand under my leg to keep from touching him again. “I’m sure it probably has its benefits. ”

  “Like what?” he wonders, looking amused.

  “You tell me,” I say. “I’m sure you have answers. More than you’re probably sharing. ”

  Frowning, he retrieves something from the pocket of his jeans. “Put this back on. ” He holds his hand in front of me and in his palm is a silver, heart-shaped locket with a small, violet stone in the center.