The promise, p.25
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       The Promise, p.25

         Part #4 of Fallen Star series by Jessica Sorensen
 
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Page 25

  Because I would never tell him.

  Chapter 42

  (Alex)

  We never left the floor, not wanting to move, afraid the candle might burn out with the slightest shift of our bodies. I kissed her until her eyes shut, until she finally fell asleep in my arms, breathing softly, dreaming of dreams I hoped were good.

  The song switched to Spill Canvas s

  Lullaby,

  as the last of the wick struggled to stay lit. I couldn t seem to take my eyes off it as it slowly lost the last of its light. How could we just die? Forget my life, it didn t matter without her beside me. How could I let her die? How could this moment be her one and only moment where she knew something was real? This wasn t how this was supposed to work out. There had to be more.

  It was like an epiphany had slapped me across the head and woke me up from a trance. The answer had been staring me in the face for the last few days. My mother had said it; that everything happened for a reason.

  She was right.

  I slowly rolled over and stood to my feet, watching the candle die. My skin erupted with heat and I knew I had to move fast. I bent down, giving her one last kiss on the cheek and she breathed from the sparks, but didn t wake.

  Ego amare,

  I whispered, the realest words I d ever spoken. And then I was gone. Returning to the one place that had seemed like such a pointless journey.

  Now it was more important than anything.

  I need your help,

  I announced to Aislin as I entered the living room.

  She was lolling on the couch, her feet kicked up on Laylen s lap and she smiled teasingly.

  Did you two have fun up there?

  Shut up,

  I said.

  Could you just come with me for a minute? There s something I need to ask you.

  My eyes roamed to Laylen.

  Alone.

  She sighed, got up from the couch, and followed me into the kitchen.

  So what s up now? You need me to conjure a spell? Because I m already working on one in case you ve forgotten. A big one.

  I need you to take me somewhere.

  I let out a breath, preparing for her reaction.

  I need you to take me to Iceland.

  W-what?

  she stammered.

  Iceland? Why? Shouldn t we be coming up with a plan to save you two? I mean, tomorrow is the day.

  I know,

  I said.

  And that s why.

  So you know how to do it?

  she asked hopeful.

  How to save both of you from dying?

  I took her by the shoulders, looking her directly in the eyes.

  Yeah, but I don t save myself.

  No.

  She shook her head madly.

  You can t do that Alex. Don t be stupid.

  I m not being stupid,

  I said.

  I m doing exactly what I m supposed to.

  No, you re trying to be a hero,

  she snapped.

  A stupid hero.

  Aislin, you ll be okay. You ve got Laylen and Gemma and mom won t be gone forever.

  But why does it always have to be you.

  Tears were flooding her cheeks.

  It s never been me, Aislin.

  I let my hands fall to my side.

  She s the one that spent most of her life unemotional, with a broken soul. She has no memories of her childhood, no really happy memories that don t have some kind of burden attached to them. She s been tormented by the Death Walkers. By our father. Nothing about her life is fair.

  She blinked back the tears.

  I know, but yours hasn t been that fair either none of our lives have been easy.

  And that s why we need to stop all this,

  I said.

  So no one has to suffer anymore.

  Are you sure there s not another way, though? Where no one has to die, except the bad guys?

  I shook my head.

  Mom told me that the portal s going to open up no matter what and the only way to seal it back is for the star to die is for us to die.

  She gasped, clutching onto the edge of the counter.

  Why didn t you say so? How can you keep things like this from me?

  What would have been the point of telling you early?

  I asked.

  It s going to happen no matter what. But I think I know a way to save Gemma.

  But why can t both of you be saved?

  Because I can t be. What I m doing & one of us has to die.

  Her breathing was ragged as she sucked back tears.

  I ll take you, but I m not taking you to your death, am I? You re coming back right?

  Yeah, I m coming back

  I said.

  And then tomorrow we finish this. You re going to have to get that shield spell working.

  That s the problem.

  She frowned, tears still dripping from her eyes.

  I thought maybe when I stole the witch s power it would give me enough power to remove it. But it didn t.

  I paused, contemplating.

  I think I know something that might work. But I need to go to Iceland first, okay. This needs to be taken care of.

  Our mom had been right when she d said it always was Gemma. Because, if I could make this work, Gemma was the one who was going to live.

  ***

  I need you to do me favor,

  I said to Laylen from the living room doorway.

  He turned his head from the TV, looking at me oddly.

  The last time you asked me to do you a favor, you left.

  I m leaving, but I ll be back,

  I said.

  I need you to keep an eye on her. I need you to make a Blood Promise with me that you ll always keep an eye on her, no matter what happens.

  Why?

  He questioned.

  Because.

  I rubbed the back of my neck tensely.

  It s just important, okay?

  Nodding, he stood up and I switched out my knife. I sliced my palm the one without the scar of the Blood Promise. Then I tossed the knife to him and he cut his own, his lip twitching at the blood.

  You okay there man?

  I asked, cupping my hand.

  Yeah, I m good.

  He chucked the knife on the table.

  So, can I just point out, that this is kind of awkward?

  It always is,

  I said and then we pressed our hands together and it was super awkward.

  So what s the magic words this time?

  he asked with a twitch in his hand.

  Ego spondeo vos ut haud res quis gemma curam et custodiam eam iniuriam,

  I said quietly, wishing I was on the other side of this promise.

  He took a breath, suddenly understanding.

  Ego spondeo vos ut haud res quis gemma curam et custodiam eam iniuriam.

  We broke our hands away and I wiped mine on the side of my jeans.

  Okay, we good?

  We re good.

  He dabbed his hand on his shirt.

  Am I walking in on something I m not supposed to?

  Nicholas was leaning against the wall, with a mocking expression, back to his normal self.

  You need to leave.

  I grabbed the collar of his shirt and shoved him out of the room toward the front door.

  Hey, this isn t your house,

  he argued, trying to plant his feet firmly against the floor.

  Yeah, but I m eliminating all risk factors right now.

  I opened the front door.

  And you re one of them.

  What? You don t trust me?

  He faked offence.

  Nope.

  I nudged the screen door open with my foot.

  Now go.

  He stepped out onto the porch, tripping over the threshold.

  Is this a temporary thing?
/>
  I hope not,

  I said, giving him another shove.

  But that s no longer my decision.

  Then I slammed the door in his face, glad to see the faerie go.

  Aislin stepped behind me, tears in her eyes and a reluctant frown on her face.

  Are you ready to go?

  Yep.

  I said.

  Take me to Iceland.

  Chapter 43

  (Gemma)

  It will be alright,

  he whispered, brushing my hair back.

  I ll always save you.

  But I don t want you to save me,

  I said.

  I want to save you.

  It can t be that way.

  The ice crackled over his voice.

  It can if I want it to be,

  I said my hair blowing in the wind.

  It has to be me. It just has to.

  No, it doesn t.

  He leaned close, tracing his finger along my cheekbone.

  It never has to be you again. I ll always save you Gemma, just like I promised.

  I shook my head, holding onto him as the Death Walkers descended from the trees. Their eyes lit with fire. Stephan stood in the middle, his cloak billowing behind him.

  Please don t leave me.

  The wind howled against my words. Ice laced my breath. My bones chilled.

  I have to,

  he said.

  This is how it was supposed to be.

  No.

  I shook my head.

  This isn t how our story goes this isn t how I saw it.

  Everything happens for a reason,

  he said.

  Even this.

  Then he pulled me against him.

  Don t let me go,

  I whispered.

  But as the electricity sparkled, freeing itself from us, we slipped to the earth, our bodies breaking.

  Only one of us survived.

  When I opened my eyes, I felt hollow and numb. My room was dark. Alex was gone. All the amazing feelings I d had when I drifted to sleep, had evaporated.

  I got to my feet, stumbled across my room, and cracked open the door. The house was silent, except for the sound of the TV. I stepped into the hall and padded down the stairs, finding only one person.

  A tall vampire sat with his legs kicked up on the table. He turned his head as if he sensed me.

  I was wondering when you were going to wake up.

  Outside, the sky was dark, stars twinkling a song I almost knew.

  What time is it? And where is everyone?

  They took off somewhere.

  He shrugged me off.

  They wanted to have some brother and sister good-bye or something.

  I slumped down on the couch.

  But they re coming back, right?

  Yeah.

  His eyes were on the TV screen.

  They ll be back.

  You sure?

  I asked, crossing my arms.

  Or are you just telling me that?

  He met my eyes and they were full of truth.

  Yeah, Gemma. They’re coming back.

  I sighed with relief.

  So Alex is finally accepting this, then?

  What?

  Laylen said.

  You two dying? I m not so sure.

  If he s saying good-bye than I m sure that means he s accepted it.

  I paused.

  Has Aislin removed Stephan s Mark of Immortality yet? How s that even supposed to work?

  His face sank as if he just realized there was a problem.

  You know what? I have no freaking idea.

  God, this was stupid. I couldn t just rely on the fact that I knew everything would worked out. We still had to get there. And I didn t see the part where Aislin removed the mark and the shield.

  What are you thinking?

  Laylen asked, like he knew my mind was brewing up a plan.

  I tapped my fingers on the arm rest, hating to do it, but unable to think of another way.

  I think I need to see one more vision.

  He frowned and rested his arm across the top of the chair.

  Why? I thought you weren t into that anymore?

  I m not.

  I bit at my thumb nail.

  But I need to find out how Aislin takes Stephan down.

  Are you sure?

  he asked.

  Because I know how you ve felt about visions lately.

  I m sure.

  I lied down on the sofa, propping my feet onto his lap. Then I took a deep breath.

  Just stay here while I go, okay?

  Whatever you want.

  He patted my legs.

  And I m always here for you. You know that.

  One last Foreseer hoorah.

  I shut my eyes, picturing Stephan, the Mark of Immortality on his arm, and an invisible shield protecting his body. I let my mind go, pushing past the boundaries of the normal human mind.

  And then I was there.

  I was standing at the Keeper s Castle in front of the stairway. I d been here before, but it had changed. There was ice spider webbing the ceiling and the banister. The floor was a layer of snow, the footprints of heavy traffic stamped through it. My shoes crunched as I moved to the window and drew back the curtain. There we were, Alex and I, holding hands, far across the lake. This was it. This had to be it.

 
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