Broken visions, p.20
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       Broken Visions, p.20

         Part #3 of Shattered Promises series by Jessica Sorensen
 
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  "I just want to have normalcy for a bit." His arm wraps around me, his hand pressing on the small of my back, and he pushes me closer to him. "Just for a second." He pauses then utters, "I won't let it happen." he says it more to himself than to me as his fingers trace the length of my spine. "I'll never let anything happen to you."

  As his hands slide up to my shoulders and our bodies align, I'm not even worried about dying. And when he kisses me, every worry I have diminishes. I once heard this song or maybe it was a saying about letting yourself die in a blissful, loving, perfect moment, so that you could die happy. I think I might feel that way right now.

  Chapter 38

  I wake up to an empty bed and have a cold feeling residing deep in my bones. I feel wired, like my peaceful dream has rejuvenated me. But as the reality that I can't feel a single drop of sparks in my body sets in, I start to panic.

  I get out of bed to go looking for Alex. The house is quiet and I assume everyone is asleep. As I step into the hallway, I notice right away that something isn't right. Not only can I feel no presence of Alex, I can hear a heart beating from somewhere nearby. At first I think it's my own, but as I press my fingers to my pulse, the rhythm doesn't match.

  I notice that there's a light on downstairs, so I go down there, the heartbeat moving with me. There's a lamp on in the living room, but the sofa is empty and the kitchen to the side of me is dark.

  I start to turn away, but something catches my eye. There's an envelope with my name on it sitting on the coffee table. My stomach drops as I pick it up, tear it open, and take out the paper inside it. I think part of me has an idea of what it is before I read it and this sickening feeling builds in my gut and the unknown heartbeat starts to give me a headache.

  Gemma

  I know you may not understand why I have to leave, but I need you to try. I don't believe that your end comes when you think it does. I believe there's another way, and I'm going to do whatever it takes to find it--find a way to save you. But I can't do it while I'm around you. I can't keep hiding what I feel, but if I let it all out and you end up feeling the same way, then I know it'll be the end for both of us. And I can't let that happen.

  I will always save you, no matter what. And I need you to hang on until I do.

  Yours forever,

  Alex

  The letter slips from my fingers and floats to the floor as I hunch over, gasping for air. My stomach aches, like a kick to the gut.

  I will always save you.

  How can he leave me? I can't live without him. I realize that now. It hurts so badly that I think I'm going to throw up and I think I might just lie down and die. But then something dawns on me and I stumble up the stairs, still hugging my stomach, and barge into Laylen's room.

  He jumps out of bed, kicking the blankets off as I turn the lights on. "What are you doing?" he asks, rubbing the tiredness from his eyes.

  "Please tell me you didn't know." I beg, walking toward his bed. "Please tell me that's not why you guys left the house."

  He's apologetic expression says it all. "I'm sorry."

  "But you're supposed to tell me stuff like this," I say, shaking my head trying not to cry. "That's what we do--we help each other out."

  He sighs, throwing the blanket off himself. He's shirtless and usually I ogle his lean body, but not this time. Things have changed--I have changed. I can feel it inside me, through the pain in my stomach, through the nagging prickle in the back of my neck, and the heart beat that won't stop. "I couldn't tell you this." He pats the bed for me to sit and I do so, even though I'm still upset. "He needed to leave... it was too hard for him to keep turning off what he felt for you. And if he stuck around, he worried you'd kill each other and nobody wants that to happen. This is for your own good even if you can't see that right now."

  "But he thinks he can find a way to save me and I think it's a lost cause."

  Laylen draws me to him and kisses my forehead. "You never know. Maybe he will... And I sure as hell hope he does."

  I trace the fresh wound on the palm of my hand as my heart shatters into pieces. I see where Alex is coming from, but it doesn't make the empty void inside my heart feel any better.

  He left.

  And I might not ever see him again.

  "Do you know what he promised me?" I ask.

  "He promised you everything would be alright and maybe it will." He pauses. "He told me to keep an eye on you, while he was gone. And make sure nothing happened to you."

  "I don't need to be watched," I say, upset. "I can take care of myself."

  "Yeah, you can, but you're also precious cargo," he says, forcing a playful tone. "And precious cargo needs to be taken care of."

  "I'm not precious cargo. I'm destructive. Without me, there would be no star, and therefore, there would be no problems."

  He leans back so he can look me in the eye. "That's why he told me to keep an eye on you. He didn't want you to sink into this sad pit of despair because he was gone. He has this theory that even though you guys aren't supposed to be close because of the star, he also thinks that separation is bad for you... that it makes you feel like something's missing, drains your energy, and makes you depressed."

  "Because of the star?"

  "I'm not sure."

  I shake my head as hot tears spill down my cheeks. I can't hold it back anymore, so I lean my head on Laylen's shoulder and cry until I'm too exhausted to keep my eyes open. Then Laylen carries me back to my room as I drift to sleep, dreaming of fires, stars, and the heart beat that won't stop flowing from inside me.

  Chapter 39

  A loud bang rocks the house and wakes me up from a dead sleep. There's an orange glow coming from outside my window and my bedroom door is wide open, the hallway suffocated by darkness. I'm not sure how long I've been asleep, but I am guessing for an entire day and well into the next night.

  As another bang echoes through the house, I quickly get out of bed, noting the separate heart beat is still haunting me. As I peer out into the hallway, I notice the door to where my mom is staying and the window is open, the curtain flapping in the wind.

  I rush into the room, then trip back at the sight of the empty chains on the wall. "No, how did she..." She escaped, somehow, and got out of the window.

  I'm about to go peer out when I get whiff of the scent of flowers and freshly fallen rain. I slowly turn around and step back, folding my arm across my stomach.

  "You're dead," I say, backing away from Nicholas.

  Nicholas leans causally against the doorframe, raising his eyebrows "Am I?" He matches my movements, taking two steps for every one I take, and closes the space between us quickly. When my back hits the wall, he stops in front of me, looks down at his arms and body and says, "Wow, I look really good for a dead guy."

  I shake my head as my pulse races wildly while the other heart beat inside me calm. "This can't be happening."

  Nicholas rolls his eyes. "I think you always kind of knew I wasn't dead. You saw me for God sakes." He knocks his fist on the side of his head. "Come on Gemma, think."

  "But that was a nightmare," I say in an uneven voice as I inch sideways toward the window.

  "Was it?"

  "It was in my book."

  He rolls his eyes again, his playfulness draining from him. "I guess technically I shouldn't be here, being dead and all." He shrugs nonchalantly. "Yet here I am."

  "So you're dead?" I brace a hand on the bedpost to keep from collapsing to the floor as my stomach starts to burn. "How can I still see you then?"

  His grins. "Just another amazing thing about you, I guess."

  "This is the last thing I need right now. An annoying faerie ghost haunting me," I snap through gritted teeth, the burn becoming almost unbearable. "Why the hell are you here?"

  "Because you changed the vision," he says, stuffing his hands into the pockets. "And that brought me back."

  "But I changed it back to what it was supposed to be to begin with."

  He
narrows the space between us and I start to stand up and move back, but he takes my arm and makes me sit down on the bed, not roughly like I expect. "Not thatvision. The other one where I was supposed to take you to Stephan. I'm sure you've been noticing that things have been a little off and out of order right?"

  "But I..." I seal my lips together, feeling as though I am going to throw up. "I didn't mean to mess things up... I just didn't want Alex dead.... And I thought I was helping the world by changing the other vision."

  "Doesn't matter--you still did it. And now you're responsible for my death. If it wasn't for you changing events, I would never have been in that car to begin with. And now you're stuck with me."

  My eyes widen in terror as I hunch over, gasping for air. "This can't be happening."

  "Don't worry." Nicholas crouches in front of me so we're at eyelevel. "I'm not here to hurt you. I'm here to help you."

  "You left the note on my bed, didn't you?" I ask. "And you were that annoying talk-show-host voice too?"

  He nods. "It was the only way I could communicate with you."

  "But why? Why help me now?"

  "That's another story for another time."

  I let a breath ease from my lips. "Why can I see you now? And when you're dead?"

  "Because you're wearing this." He touches the ring on my finger and I flinch. "It's the orbis of silent or ring of the dead. It gives you the power of seeing the dead."

  Why would my father give this to me? How is seeing the dead my loophole?

  Nicholas sits down beside me and I cringe from his closeness. "You have such a bumpy road ahead, and you don't even know it," he says, his gaze flickering to my stomach and then to the chains on the wall.

  "Do you know where my mother went?" I ask.

  "Perhaps." He motions at the window. "You can look out there, though, and find out for yourself." When I hesitate, he urges me by giving me a gentle push on the back. "Go ahead and look for yourself. Go see the damage you've caused, Gemma Lucas, the girl who destroys everything."

  Taking a deep inhale, I get up and go over to the window, my knees wobbly and my palms covered with sweat while vomit burns at the back of my throat as I peer out.

  Garbage cans burn in the streets and fires light up the sky. At the next house over, a vampire is drinking from a woman's neck in the front yard, right out in the open, as if it didn't matter, as if all the rules have changed.

  "What did you think was going to happen?" Nicholas asks as I back away, putting my hand over my mouth because I'm fairly sure I'm about to puke. "That you could change events and everything would be okay? That you could mess around with visions and everything would be fine?"

  You need to prepare yourself. The brief vision I saw was a warning.

  "Why would this happen just from me changing one event of my life?" I motion at the window where fires blaze and screams flood the streets. "How could it lead to all this destruction?"

  "Don't you remember the butterfly effect?" he asks. "This all happened because I never handed you over to Stephan that day; therefore he had to work harder to try and capture you. He started igniting the Mark of Malefiscus on the followers of Malefiscus, something he was going to do when the portal opened, but he did it sooner so they can help him capture you. And thanks to Stephan and his memory tampering abilities, they think they've been born with the mark." He nods his head at the window where outside in the street a witch is attacking a helpless man with sparks of fire flying from her hands. "They think this is the way things are supposed to be."

  "Can we fix it?" I brace my hand on the wall to stop from falling over. "Can we make all the madness stop... make things better?"

  "Perhaps." He looks at the ring on my finger. "But right now every single creature marked with the Mark of Malefiscus is roaming the streets." He grazes his finger across the mark on his forearm. "My mark is useless, though, since I'm dead."

  "I'm going to fix it," I say in a trembling voice. "No matter what it takes... even if I have to die sooner."

  The corners of his lips quirk as he eyes my stomach. "You sure you're strong enough to take that risk, even in your condition."

  I put my hand on my stomach and I swear to God the heart beat grows louder, stronger. "What condition?"

  "Oh you don't know yet." He's enjoying himself way too much. He steps toward me and reaches for my stomach, but I jerk back, which makes his eyes flash with anger. "You're choices aren't just your own anymore," he says.

  I look down at my stomach as what he's saying clicks. "No... it can't be... it's not..." I shake my head in denial, the room swaying as reality slaps me across the face hard. "I can't be pregnant."

  He laughs, but it's rough and raw. "I guess I should be saying congratulations."

  Tears pour out of my eyes as my legs give out on me and I buckle to the floor. I press my hand to my stomach and listen to the heart beat and the fires and screams just outside, wishing desperately that Alex was here.

  Jessica Sorensen is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author that lives in the snowy mountains of Wyoming. When she's not writing, she spends her time reading and hanging out with her family.

  Other books by Jessica Sorensen:

  Shattered Promises (Shattered Promises, #1)

  Fractured Souls (Shattered Promises, #2)

  Unbroken (Shattered Promises, #2.5)

  The Secret of Ella and Micha (The Secret, #1)

  The Fallen Star (Fallen Star Series, Book 1)

  The Underworld (Fallen Star Series, Book 2)

  The Vision (Fallen Star Series, Book 3)

  The Promise (Fallen Star Series, Book 4)

  The Lost Soul (Fallen Souls Series, Book 1)

  Darkness Falls (Darkness Falls Series, Book 1)

  Darkness Breaks (Darkness Falls Series, Book 2)

  Ember (Death Collectors, Book 1)

  Connect with me online:

  jessicasorensen.com

  http://www.facebook.com/pages/JessicaSorensen/165335743524509

  https://twitter.com/#!/jessFallenStar

 


 

  Jessica Sorensen, Broken Visions

  (Series: Shattered Promises # 3)

 

 


 

 
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