Broken visions, p.3
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       Broken Visions, p.3

         Part #3 of Shattered Promises series by Jessica Sorensen
 
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  I prop up on my elbow and rest my cheek against my hand, ignoring how his gaze sweeps across my naked body and causes my skin to swelter. "I don't think so. I think the days I spent possessed have been erased since I can remember them. I think that maybe somehow my father erased and recreated some of the events of my life, so that I would end up back here in this point of time... with you... fully alive." I move to pull the sheet over my body, but Alex snags my hand and stops me.

  He bites his bottom lip, reflecting. "And so that my father never got a hold of you and you were possessed?"

  "That too." I blow out a tense breath, knowing I'm going to have to tell him the rest soon. "He only told me he erased a vision once and recreated it to change the outcome of the world's future... changed it so that the world would end the way I saw it in my ice vision." Tears sting at my eyes. When my father had told me, it didn't seem as bad, but I think I might have been in some kind of semi-subdued state, or shock, because now it is really kicking in and I feel like I'm about to lose it.

  "Hey, we'll figure this out." Alex tucks a strand of my hair out of my eyes. "Everything will be okay. I promise."

  "I know, but my father... I just can't believe he did that." I suck back the tears. "And he's trapped at that place."

  "Where exactly was he?" he asks, resting his hand on the curve of my hip.

  "He wouldn't tell me exactly where he was. He wouldn't tell me anything really, other than I have to save the world somehow. And that everything I needed to know about saving the world was inside in my head and that crystal ball."

  Alex massages my hip absentmindedly. "It's so strange, though. I've always been told that Foreseers aren't supposed to control how the future turns out or recreate visions how they want them. They're just supposed to see--not touch."

  "Yeah...but I don't know...it seems like it could be possible. I mean, look at me. I can travel around wherever I want by using my Foreseer ability, without the aid of a crystal ball, which isn't really a normal Foreseer thing either."

  "Yeah, but you are..." He trails off as I give him a cold stare because he was about to say different, and I really dislike being called that. "Unique," he finishes, with a teasing smile that focuses all of my attention on his lips.

  My heart sinks inside my chest, though, at the thought of kissing him. I'll never be able to kiss him again unless I figure out a way to get rid of the star's power, without killing myself of Alex.

  "Gemma, I can tell there's something else bothering you," Alex says. "I can feel it..." His forehead creases as if the revelation has baffled him as well as me. "So please just tell me."

  "You can feel it?"

  He gives a one-shoulder shrug. "Sometimes when you're really upset... I know... but don't ask me how because I have no idea." He pauses. "But quit changing the subject and please for the love of God, tell me what's eating at you because it's starting to eat at me."

  I grow quiet, trying to figure out how to explain that we can't be with each other anymore; at least not in a way that will cause us to develop feelings of love toward one another. That the Blood Promise we made to be together forever is meaningless.

  "I have to tell you--" I finally work up the strength, but am interrupted by the sound of the front door slamming and then Aislin calling out, "Hello?!"

  I instantly spring from the bed, searching the floor for my clothes, while Alex lazily gets to his feet as if nothing's wrong, as if we weren't just having hot, intense sex in probably the worst moment possible.

  I get some jeans and a fresh t-shirt out of the dresser and start to get dressed.

  "What's the rush?' Alex asks amusedly as he takes his time putting his jeans back on.

  "Nothing." I tug the white shirt over my head in a hurry, then comb my fingers through my long brown hair in a lame attempt to tame the chaos of my tangled locks. "I just don't want her thinking that we're in here fooling around when we should be looking for Laylen."

  There is a hint of annoyance in his eyes as he picks up a shirt that's on the floor and pulls it on. "But that's exactly what we were doing."

  "I know but..." I trail off as Aislin calls out again and head out of the room, Alex slowly following behind me.

  Aislin's in the living room, cheeks pink, her golden-brown hair is frizzy from the moisture of the spring air, and her shorts and t-shirt are stained with dirt as if she's been grave digging. I can tell immediately that something's up, something is upsetting her.

  "What's wrong?" I ask as I straighten up my shirt.

  Aislin shakes her head, pressing her lips together as if stifling a cry. "Laylen...Lay..." Suddenly she bursts into sobs, her head falling into her hands as she sinks onto the nearest chair.

  I hurry over to her. "What happened to Laylen? And where's my mom?" I'm painfully reminded that reality that saving the world and staying away from Alex isn't my only responsibility. I also need to save a vampire who, at least from the last time I saw him, was dealing with blood thirst issues that I caused by begging him to bite me so he wouldn't die.

  "Your mom's still out looking for him... I needed a break because I can't... can't..." Aislin cries harder, gasping for air. "I can't... do... this..."

  I'm not spectacular with emotions, but I do my best and give her a pat on the back. "It's going to be okay. Just tell us what's wrong."

  My attempt to soothe her is way better than Alex's. He rolls his eyes, appearing irritated. "Just spit it out, Aislin."

  Looking hurt, Aislin wipes the tears away as she raises her head back up. "I can't find him anywhere... And I'm worried... what he might be doing."

  "Me too," I agree, wanting to scream at myself for being so selfish just five minutes ago and only thinking about myself.

  Alex drops down on the sofa across from us and props his foot on his knee. "Yeah, we all are, but freaking out isn't going to help us find him."

  "You don't need to be rude," Aislin snaps. "I'm just a little upset, okay?" Tears well in her eyes again. "I never got to tell him I was... sorry... for everything." Tears pour out of her eyes and she abruptly shoves me back and takes off down the hallway, leaving me wide eyed and baffled, because honestly I thought only I reacted so dramatically.

  "You know, sometimes I'm grateful I can shut off my emotions when I need to." Alex mutters. "It keeps me from doing things like that."

  "Not all emotions are bad," I point out, sitting in the spot Aislin just evacuated.

  "No they're not." Hunger burns in his eyes and emits his voice, his breathing quickening uncontrollably as he looks at me. Then without notice, he's getting to his feet and crossing the room toward me, his arm extended as if he's going to grab me again and pull me into another irresistible kiss.

  For a faltering second I stay motionless, wanting him to do it. But then I remember that I already had my selfish moment and it's time to fess up and deal with things the right way, so I lean back right as he's about to touch me.

  His expression contorts with confusion as he withdraws his hand to his side and stops just in front of me. He assesses me intently and I wouldn't be surprised if he had a straight insight to my thoughts. "What are you not telling me?"

  I take a deep breath and motion between us. "You and I can't--"

  "What the fuck. You're head's bleeding." He cuts me off, squinting at my forehead.

  "What?"

  "There's blood all over the side of your head." He drops to his knees and his fingers brush my temple. This time I don't budge, letting him inspect, wondering what's going on.

  Then my finger drifts to the area he's touching as I start to feel an aching sensation there and is instantly coated with a warm, sticky substance. Blood. All over my hair and skin and now my fingers. I quickly jump to my feet and rush over to a mirror on the wall to examine my head. On the left side of my scalp, there is a deep cut covered by blood that trails down my cheek and is also matted in my hair.

  "That wasn't there a minute ago." Alex moves up behind me to inspect the cut some more. "It was like
it appeared out of nowhere."

  "But then where did it come from." We exchange a puzzled look, but something in my mind is clicking. Why was the injury so familiar? And the pain spreading through my skull... I've felt it before. Suddenly it hits me, like a punch to the gut. "Oh my God."

  Alex's arms protectively enclose around me. "What's wrong?"

  "I think..." I don't finish and sprint across the living room for the back door.

  "Where are you going?" Alex calls out, running after me.

  I don't answer, throwing open the back door and leaping down the steps. Then I race across the sandy beach toward the cliff area where Nicholas knocked me out before handing me over to Stephan.

  "Gemma!" Alex yells from at my heels. "Where the heck are you going?"

  I push past a few people blocking the entrance chatting and drinking beers and they curse and flip me off. But I disregard them, calling over my shoulder to Alex, "I have to see something." I wind through the rocks, feel the bottom of my feet scrape open, but don't slow down. Blood continues to trickle out of the wound on my head and sweat beads my skin as the sun blazes down on me. Finally, I slow to a jog as I approach the mouth of the cliffs where the rocks part.

  Alex halts beside me, wiping a bit of sweat from his forehead. "I get the whole need answers now thing, but fucking hell, will you please tell me what's going on?"

  "I want to see if there's something back here..." I explain vaguely, wiping the sweat from my brow as I venture closer to the area Nicholas took me down at.

  "Okay..." Alex walks beside me. "Could you be a little less vague?"

  I scan the ground and rocks. "I'm looking for a sign that the past that was erased has taken place, if that makes any sense."

  "Kind of." He squints against the sunlight as he searches the tops of the rocks. "But I thought you said that didn't happen." He shields his eyes with his hand. "That your father erased it, so why do you think there would be a sign?"

  I look over my shoulder at him. "I thought he did but now..." I shake my head. "I have no idea what's going on, but if there's blood back here, then something's up--something's not right, because the cut bleeding on my head right now was exactly where Nicholas hit me before he kidnapped me and gave me over to Stephan." My head throbs and a warm line of blood drips down my skin. I press my hand against the wound and delve further into the cliffs cautiously, keeping an eye out for blood and a blond haired faerie.

  When I arrive at the end of the path where rocks open up into a small sandy area, my heart rate accelerates. And my confusion multiplies.

  Alex squeezes up to the side of me and squints down at the ground in front of our feet where a body lies in the sand. "What is that?"

  "It's....me." I gaze down at myself, unconscious, laying in a pool of blood, wearing the clothes I had on when I'd been taken to the Wastelands. "Am I in a vision right now?" Out of the corner of my eye, I catch sight of a figure appearing and moving toward us. Nicholas. I jump back, knocking my shoulder into Alex's chest, and he steadies me with his hands.

  Nicholas, who is usually alarmingly calm, appears as shocked as me. His golden eyes are wide, lips slightly parted, as he stares down at the me in the sand.

  "How the hell did that happen..." He trails off as comprehension rises on his face and he looks up at me. "Wow, I'm very impressed." He starts clapping his hands mockingly, like the true asshole that he is. "Bravo, I must say. You become more amazing each time our paths cross." He grins wickedly at me and then a split second later, he's lunging for me.

  I don't have the reflexes of a cat by any means, and Nicholas is skilled in the art of lunging. Thankfully, Alex's reflexes are flawless and with one swift movement, he's positioned himself in front of me and clocks Nicholas in the jaw.

  "Dammit..." Nicholas's eyes roll into the back of his head and he falls back, landing hard in the sand, out cold.

  Alex shakes out his hand as he turns to me. "His head is as hard as a rock."

  I laugh, but it swiftly vanishes as I step over Nicholas and make my way over to the body of me lying in the sand. Is it real? Or is she just a vision? Hesitantly I crouch down and place a hand on her arm. There's a zap that shoots through my body and jolts straight to my heart, more powerful than even the current of sparks between Alex and me. I gasp, feeling the past moment erase and evaporate into the wind, vanishing, as if it had never even existed at all.

  As the body of me goes with it, my hand falls onto the sand. "Wow." I'm speechless as I stare at the empty spot. The ocean crashes against the other side of the rocks, birds sing in the distance, and the wind kisses my cheeks, the world becoming at peace with time, or at least that's what it feels like.

  "Gemma." Alex puts a hand on my shoulder. "Are you okay?"

  His hand falls from my shoulder as I rise to my feet. My mind is so wired from the power still lingering inside me that I can barely get my eyes to blink. "I think so, but I think I need to..." I clutch my head, where the wound was and note that it's no longer there. I should feel better, but I feel strangely dizzy and disoriented. "I think I need to lie down." I stagger to the side, my elbow slamming into one of the rocks. Skin scrapes open, Alex says something but his voice sounds far away as I collapse to the ground.

  Chapter 5

  Light everywhere. Encompassing me. Stealing the breath from my lungs. Stealing my heart. Alex and I by the lake, holding onto one another as if our lives depend on it. It will be okay. Ice. So cold. Death. Shadows emerging from the trees. I can't breathe...I'm dying...

  My eyes shoot open and I gasp for air as I try to figure out where I am, what's real and what's an illusion.

  "Breathe." Alex pats me softly on the back. "Just breathe. Deep breaths."

  Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale. Deep breaths. My breathing gradually returns to normal and my surroundings start to make sense again. The rocks. The warm sunlight spilling over me. The waves crashing against the shore nearby. Alex. His green eyes so full of worry.

  "You know, I've worried more than I ever have since I met you," he says, attempting to make a joke as I sit up.

  I force a smile, and then I try to get to my feet, bending my knees and pushing upward. But the world dances and I can't keep up, my legs instantly buckling and I fall to ground.

  Alex kneels down in front of me, his hand finding my cheek, almost as if it's a magnet and my skin is metal. "You stopped breathing for a moment and I..." His gaze sweeps every inch of my body before residing back on my eyes. "I thought I'd lost you."

  "Oh," was all I could think of to say.

  I place my hand over his, the sensation of the deadly images I saw while I was out still crisp in my mind and haunting me to the point that I feel like I need comfort. "What do you think just happened? Not just with me stopping breathing, but with the vision thing."

  "I have no idea." He nods his head at Nicholas still passed out on the ground behind us. "I wonder if he knows something, though."

  "It looked like he might," I say, returning my attention back to Alex. "But even if he did, what are the odds he'll tell us the truth?"

  Alex's green eyes sparkle mischievously in the sunlight. "Oh, there are ways to get him to tell us what we want to know." He gets to his feet and dusts the sand off his jeans. "They're just not very nice ways."

  I feel a ping of pity for Nicholas. He has no control over what he does--the Mark of Malefiscus does. Although, he was annoying before he was branded. Still it doesn't mean he deserves to be hurt. Then again, I can't help but think of all the times he violated me, to the point where I'm pretty sure he was coming close to raping me.

  "I'm so confused," I say, not meaning to aloud.

  "About what?" Alex asks, circling around Nicholas with his hands on his hips.

  I wish I could retract my statement because the last thing I want to do is talk to Alex about my feelings, but I find myself doing so anyway. "About why I feel the way I do."

  He pauses, looking solely at me. "And how's that?"

  I shrug, get
ting to my feet and leaning against the rock behind me. "I feel kind of bad for him."

  Alex gapes at me. "You feel sorry for Nicholas?" He steps toward me, examining me closely. "Are you sure your head's okay?"

  I nod, touching my head. "It's just that he's branded with the mark... and from what little I can remember, it has a lot of control over you."

  "Yeah, but even when he's not possessed by the mark, he's an asshole."

  "I know. I don't know what's wrong with me, but I just feel... well, bad for him." I scratch the back of my neck where the prickle is tickling. "I'm blaming it on the whole emotional thing. It confuses me sometimes."

  One side of his mouth lifts up to a half-smile. "I know." He steps toward me, reducing the rest of the space between us. "But trust me when I say that you never, ever have to feel sorry for him." His fingers tangle through my hair and before I can stop him, he pulls me in for a quick kiss, then moves away. "Now let's get him back to the house." He rubs his hands together, fully enjoying this. "I have big plans for him."

 
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