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The fallen star (fallen.., p.31
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       The Fallen Star (Fallen Star Series, Book 1), p.31

           Jessica Sorensen
 
I had been sitting at the foot of the fireplace, watching Alex tug sheets off the furniture, for about fifteen minutes now. I think it was his way of trying to distract himself from the fact that something terrible may have happened to Laylen and Aislin. He had tried to call them but couldn’t get a signal on his phone from “all the way up here,” wherever that was.

  I hadn’t said anything to him because I had no idea what to say. I could have tried to be positive and tell him reassuring things like, Hey, maybe Aislin has just broken her crystal again. But we both knew there was a slim to none chance that was the case. We just weren’t that lucky.

  “So…” I began, still in the middle of deciding what to say. “What is this place, anyway?”

  He yanked a sheet off a forest green couch that had tiny moose embroider on it. “It’s a cabin I used to come to when I was little.” He drew a sheet off a lamp and dust flew everywhere.

  I sneezed. “So what do we do now?”

  “We’re going to drive into town so I can get a signal on my phone.” He unzipped his duffel bag. “Then, we’ll try and get a hold of someone.”

  I was biting my fingernails. “So where exactly are we?”

  He nodded at a window masked by a curtain. “The middle of nowhere, basically.”

  “The middle of nowhere.” I stood up, went over to the window, and threw back the curtain. Then I grimaced. Steep mountains and pine trees everywhere. And yes, of course, a thick blanket of crisp white snow was covering it all.

  “Yuck,” I muttered and let the curtain fall. Why oh why couldn’t we have gone somewhere warm? Like, say, Hawaii. I sighed. Man, I sounded like a selfish brat, complaining about being in the snow when Laylen and Aislin could be in some serious trouble. Okay, suck it up, Gemma. “So where is here? What’s the place called?”

  “We’re in Colorado.” He looked up from his bag and raised an eyebrow. “What’s with the disappointment?”

  “Oh, nothing,” I sighed. Apparently I failed miserably at sucking it up. “I just really hate the snow. That’s all.”

  “Oh, yes, you and the cold,” he remarked as he drew a tan hooded jacket out of his bag.

  I picked up my bag from off the floor. “So, is there somewhere I can change?” I really wanted to get out of this skirt and into my own clothes.

  “Yeah, follow me.”

  He took me back to a bedroom with light blue wallpaper and grey carpet, and then he left me alone to change.

  I set my bag down on a massive log bed and started searching through it for something to wear. Fortunately, I wasn’t a girl who was really into fashion because I was pretty sure whoever packed this mess of a bag was in a hurry. Everything in it was so random; two mismatched gloves, three different socks, and one boot. I decided on a pair of black jeans and a grey and black striped hooded Henley. I kept my DCs on because…well, what good was one boot?

  After I finished getting dressed, I realized how heavy my eyelids felt. I barely got any sleep over the last twenty-four hours, and I think I might have been running on an adrenaline high or something and was now starting to crash.

  There wasn’t a blanket or sheet on the bed, just a mattress. Even though it was kind of gross, I thought about lying down on it and letting my eyes close for a few minutes. But then I thought of Aislin and Laylen and told myself to suck it up.

  Now wasn’t the time for sleeping.

  I opened the door, only to find Alex standing there on the other side. He scared me, and I almost bolted off in a mad sprint.

  “Holy crap,” I said, catching my breath. “You scared the heck out of me.”

  “Yeah, I can tell,” he said, his voice cautious.

  He had put on a tan hooded jacket and a black baseball hat. He looked perfect. He always looked perfect. There was no use trying to deny it.

  He scaled me over from head to toe. “We need to get you some kind of disguise in case we run into trouble.”

  I fidgeted with the edge of my shirt. “What kind of trouble?”

  “The same kind we’ve been running into.” He sighed tiredly. “The Death Walkers are going to be all over the place now that they’ve discovered you.”

  I sighed. “Okay, so what do you want me to do?” I pointed at my bag of clothes. “Because there’s not a whole lot in there.”

  “Yeah, I think Aislin basically just dumped a drawer of your clothes in it.”

  “And then added one boot?”

  He scrunched his forehead. “Huh?”

  I shook my head. “Never mind….So yeah, I don’t think I have anything very disguise-like.” I paused and pulled my hood over my head. “Does this work?”

  He gave me a doubtful look.

  Oh, don’t you give me that look too. I wasn’t some secret agent/master of disguise who could create a new identity out of some string and tape, so cut me some slack, would you?

  He ran his hand over his face and sighed. “Well, I guess it’ll have to work. Do you at least have some sunglasses to cover those up?” He pointed at my eyes.

  “No, I don’t have any—hey, I thought you said you liked the color of my eyes. You said it was a nice different.”

  “I wasn’t saying that to be mean. There just aren’t a whole lot of people walking around with violet eyes. It’ll give you away.” He zipped up his jacket. “And I do like the color of your eyes. They reminded me of these flowers you used to pick when you were….” He trailed off, his bright green eyes widening.

  “When I what?” I pressed.

  He cleared his throat. “Nothing, it wasn’t important. Let’s go.” He turned his back on me and started down the hall.

  “What? Were you going to tell me some story about when I was four years old and not living with Marco and Sophia?” I called out, chasing after him.

  His froze. “Who told you that?”

  “Laylen.”

  He said nothing and went into the living room.

  I followed after him. “What? You don’t have anything to say?”

  “Gemma, I don’t have time for this right now.” He opened a door that led out to the garage. “We need to get to town.”

  He was right, but this was so not over.

  Chapter 26