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The underworld, p.40
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       The Underworld, p.40

         Part #2 of Fallen Star series by Jessica Sorensen
 
Page 40

 

  “So what’s been going on,” she asked and took another sip of water, “while I’ve been gone. ”

  What happened? That was the million dollar question, wasn’t it? I took a deep breath and started to explain.

  ***

  I tried my best to get everything right and fill her in on everything that had happened. There was so much though, and truthfully, I really didn’t know much. But I told her everything I knew. I told her about my lifeless years and how the prickle came and freed me. I told her about the Death Walkers and how Stephan was working with them. How he had the Mark of Malefiscus and how he put the mark on Nicholas. I explained to her my special Foreseer gift and the visions I saw. And even though I didn’t want to, I gave her the details of how Stephan had tried to take it all away from me again. And how the locket—the locket she gave me—had saved me.

  She took it all in, processing my every word. When I struggled with certain details, Laylen jumped in and aided me through them. We also had to explain to her what Laylen was, even though it really didn’t have anything to do with any of this. But I felt like she should know everything—after being trapped in a place of death and fear for as long as she had.

  When I was done, she sat there in silence. We were still out on the deck. The sun was beaming down. The ocean was roaring and people were out on the beach, splashing and playing in the salty water without a care in the world.

  They were lucky—not having to know the dangers that were out there.

  “Gemma,” my mom said after I finished talking. “I’m so sorry. ” She reached over and tentatively took my hand. I could feel her pulse racing through her touch. “I’m so sorry you had to go through this. ”

  I swallowed hard, feeling my insides lurch. “It’s not your fault…I—I know you tried to protect me. ”

  She shook her head. “I should have tried harder. ”

  I didn’t want her to feel responsible. She did what she could—I watched her do it. Before I could try to convince her, it wasn’t her fault, though, she said, “I need to talk to Alex. ”

  “Alex,” I gave her a quizzical look. “Why do you need to talk to him?”

  “Because,” she looked at Laylen then back at me. “I need all of you here—including Aislin—before I can explain what I know about what’s going on. ” When I still looked at her strangely, she added, “I need all of you here, because what I’m about to tell you involves all of you. Each of you plays a part in it. ”

  “Plays a part in what?” I asked. “Stephan trying to open the portal. ”

  “Oh, Gemma. ” My mom shook her head exhaustedly. “There is so much more to Stephan’s plan than just opening a portal and releasing the Death Walkers. ”

  Chapter 39

  You know those moments where time seems to stop? Well, I was having one of those moments right now. Laylen, my mom, and I sat there as the words my mother had just said sunk in. Laylen had been right when he said that my mother probably knew things, but I’d never expected her to say there was a lot more to Stephan’s plan than just opening the portal, or that she would say all of us played a part in whatever Stephan was planning to do. I’d always assumed it was just me.

  Me and the star.

  I guess I was wrong.

  Laylen got to his feet and told us he would go wake up Aislin and Alex. Then, he left my mother and I sitting out on the deck alone. For awhile, neither of us spoke. We just sat there, listening to people laughing out on the beach.

  “So, how have you been really?” she finally asked. “And don’t say okay, because I know it’s not true. ”

  “I don’t know…” I said, searching my mind for a way to change the subject. “I don’t get something. Why was I able to undo what Sophia did to me…when she detached my soul, I mean. ”

  “That’s a question I can’t answer just yet,” she said, tilting her head up toward the sun. “I will, though, just as soon as everyone gets here. ”

  “Okay. ” Not the answer I was expecting, but it worked.

  Laylen returned seconds later with a very sleepy-eyed Aislin and Alex. Alex and Ailsin each grabbed a chair and dragged it to where my mother and I sat, and Laylen hopped up and took a seat on the railing.

  Aislin was the first to speak, seeming kind of nervous. “Jocelyn, I can’t believe you’re here…It’s just so…” She looked like she was going to burst into tears

  My mom, despite the fact she had been locked away in The Underworld, still possessed motherly instincts and reached over and placed a hand on Aislin’s hand. “It’s okay. I’m alright. Everything’s alright. ”

  I highly doubted that was true. In fact, I was fairly sure my mom was about to drop a not-all-right bomb on us here pretty soon.

  Alex seemed less tolerant toward Aislin’s emotional behavior, and I even caught him rolling his eyes.

  “So, Laylen said there was something you wanted to tell us?” he asked impatiently.

  My mother nodded. “There is. But I need you to tell me what you know first. Gemma’s already told me what she knows, but I think you might know a little more. ”

  Shocker? I think not.

  He pressed his lips together, his arms crossed over his chest as his eyes wandered around to all of us.

  “Alex. ” My mom’s voice was persuasive. “I understand your initial reaction is to keep things a secret—it’s what you’ve been taught to do. But it’s important that you tell me what you know, so we can stop the end of the world from happening. ”

  He still seemed hesitant. “Where do you want me to start?”

  My mother considered this. “Why don’t you start from the beginning?”

  “But, what is the beginning?” Alex asked, like he was asking a riddle.

  My mother was patient, though. “Why don’t you start with the day that Gemma’s soul was detached. Do you remember what happened that day?”

  He glanced at me, and I raised my eyebrows at him, implying to go ahead, because boy was I dying to hear this.

  “The day Gemma’s soul was taken away…” He shut his eyes for a moment and then opened them back up. “She and I were hiding out in that little fort in the side of the hill, because earlier my father had told us Gemma had to go away. ”

  I touched the palm of my hand where the faintest of scars resided, remembering the vision I saw. How he had cut my hand and his, saying the words forem as he pressed them together. It was a word I still didn’t know the meaning of. One of these days, I think, I was going to have to invest in buying a Latin Translator Pocket Dictionary, if such a thing existed.

  Alex must have noticed me touching my hand, because he clenched his own. “But he ended up finding us and took Gemma away. I never saw her again. . . Well, until my dad made me enroll in school to see if I could get to the bottom of why she started to feel. ”

  “And what happened between all those years when you didn’t see Gemma,” my mother asked, urging him for more details.

  He was holding back—I could tell, but my mom asked him again, and he gave in. “Basically, my father trained me and Aislin to be Keepers, but he focused more on me because Aislin was busy getting taught how to use her witch power. ”

  My mom nodded. “And what happened while your father was training you to be a Keeper? Did he teach you to be emotionally closed off?”

  “Emotionally closed off,” I gaped at my mother, wondering if she was losing it again. “No mom that was me. ”

  My mom kept her eyes on Alex, and he swallowed hard.

  “Not so much emotionally detached,” he said, really struggling to keep his voice under control. “He would always tell me emotions are overrated, and that to be a good Keeper, I had to keep my emotions under control and only show them on the outside, but not feel them on the inside…something that’s not always possible for me to do…. at least sometimes. ” Alex looked more confused than I had ever seen him look, as if he was trying to figure something out, but just couldn’
t get there. Then, he glared at my mother. “I really don’t get what any of this has to do with the star’s power and the end of the world. ”

  “It has everything to do with it,” my mother told him and rolled up the sleeves of the ratty old shirt she was wearing. “I just have one more question before I explain what I know. The day Gemma started to feel, were you there at her house?”

  I’m pretty sure that everyone’s eyes, including my own, widened in shock.

  “Why the heck would you think that?” Alex asked, baffled. “I wasn’t allowed to be near her. ”

  “I understand that,” my mom’s voice was calm. “But I need to know if, by some chance, you decided to break the rule your father set of not being allowed to go near her. ”

  Everyone waited for him to answer, but I’m sure I was the one most eager to hear what he was going to say.

  Alex gazed out at the ocean, his bright green eyes twinkling in the sun like emeralds. “It was something I couldn’t help…going there. ”

  “I understand that,” my mom said. “More than I think even you do. ”

  I didn’t get what was going on here. Why hadn’t Alex told me this? Then again, why was I getting surprised over this? This was Alex. But, I don’t know, I thought he’d been a little better about not keeping secrets. I guess I was wrong.

  “So, you were at Marco and Sophia’s the day my emotions returned,” I asked Alex, angrily. “And you never told me. ”

  He avoided looking at me as he shrugged. ‘It wasn’t that big of a deal. I mean, so what if I went there. ”

  “Alex, I’m fairly sure you’re the one who brought Gemma’s emotions back to her,” my mom said as patiently as ever. “See there’s a connection between you two, which is where the electricity comes from. ”

  “What’s the connection?” My words rushed out.

  She took a deep breath, and said two simple words. But they were two words that would change everything.

  “The star. ”

  Chapter 40

  “The star,” I repeated my mother’s words. “How does that connect us? I mean, it’s only in me so I…” I trialed off as a thought occurred to me. Electricity that flowed between two people—it was something that always seemed so impossible, yet every time I was around Alex, there it was. I could feel it buzzing right now, hot and shimmering. But, I only felt it with Alex and never anyone else, which meant what…oh. “Does Alex have a star’s power in him too?”

  “Are you crazy?” Alex practically yelled at me. “Why would you even think that?”

  I glared at him. “Why would someone ever think I was carrying around a star’s energy inside me? They wouldn’t. But yet I am. ”

  “I don’t know…” He had this look on his face like he was trying to cause trouble. “They might, considering how you are. ”