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The underworld, p.5
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       The Underworld, p.5

         Part #2 of Fallen Star series by Jessica Sorensen
 
Page 5

 

  Excellent point. Alex would say it was too dangerous, at least for me anyway. Because that’s what he always says. Besides, the question of whether or not Alex was lying about what had happened back at the cabin was still a big giant question mark. So for now, at least until we knew for sure what was going on, it was probably best to keep our plan a secret from Alex.

  Laylen got down on the floor. “Just pretend I’m not here,” he whispered. And with that, he slid underneath the bed.

  I waited until he was completely under before unlocking the door and opening it. “Hey, what’s up?” Real cool Gemma. I sounded way too casual.

  He gave me a suspicious look. “You’ve been up here forever. What are you doing?”

  “Um…changing?” It sounded like a question, and I wanted to slap myself on the head for sucking so badly at playing it cool.

  He looked down at the pajamas I was still wearing, and I realized my answer had been even more idiotic than I’d originally thought. I needed to think of something to tell him. And quick.

  “Well…I was going to change, but I couldn’t…um…figure out where the clothes are. ” Not my best lie, but hopefully it would do.

  He looked unconvinced as he walked into the room and over to a dresser. He pulled open the top drawer and pointed inside it. “The clothes are in here. ”

  Ignoring the heat the electricity caused by him being in the room, I made my way over to the dresser. “Oh. Okay. Thanks. ”

  He gave me a strange look and then glanced around the room, as if he were looking for something that shouldn’t be there. Like maybe a six foot four Keeper/Vampire hiding underneath the bed.

  Finally, Alex gave up on looking for whatever it was he was looking for and stuffed his hands into the pockets. “Well, come downstairs when you’re done. Adessa made dinner. ”

  “Alright, I will,” I told him, again sounding way too laid-back.

  “Okay…” He raised his eyebrows at me, before heading to the door, shooting one last look over his shoulder, before stepping out of the room.

  I let out a breath of relief, shut the door, and spun around as Laylen army crawled from underneath the bed.

  He stood up and dusted off his jeans “That was close. ”

  “I know. It was like he knew you were here or something. ”

  Laylen laughed, and I felt like I was missing out on a joke.

  “What’s so funny?” I asked.

  He shook his head. “Nothing…so yeah, I think we should sneak out tonight and talk to a few people I know. See if anyone has heard anything about your mom. You up for it?”

  “I…uh…yeah?” Why did I suddenly feel hesitant? This was my mother we were talking about. But for some reason, it felt wrong—keeping what we were doing from Alex.

  I shook my head at the absurdity of my own thoughts. I had to keep my head clear and not think about Alex. “Yeah, I’m definitely up for it. ”

  He gave me a funny look. “Are you sure you want to go? I’m not going to tell you what to do—you’ve had that done to you way too much—but I feel I should warn you it may end up being kind of dangerous. ”

  I considered what he said, but still wanted to go. At this point in my life, I felt I needed to hear things for myself. “I’m still up for it. ”

  “Then I’ll come here tonight after everyone’s asleep. ” He started for the door.

  A thought popped inside my head. “Wait a sec. ”

  He turned around. “What’s up?”

  “Why do you think Stephan wants the star’s power?”

  “I don’t know…But if Stephan wants it, and he’s working with the Death Walkers…” He trailed off, worry slipping onto his face. “Well, if our plan does work out, and we find out your mother’s alive maybe she’ll have some of the answers to what the heck is going on. ”

  ***

  After I’d changed into the most decent clothes I could find—a pair of shorts and a purple tank top—and pulled my long brown hair into a ponytail, I went downstairs. It took me a little bit to find the kitchen, which was a dimly lit room that had blue and black striped walls, black countertops, and indigo tiled flooring. Everyone was there by the time I entered. Alex and Aislin were sitting at a small oval table in the corner of the room, and Adessa and Laylen were over by the counter. Adessa was stirring something in a steaming pot on top of the stove.

  Aislin’s bright green eyes lit up when she saw me. She looked like her normal, perfect self. Her golden blonde hair was curled up; a pair of diamond earrings twinkled in each one of her ear lobes. She had on a lacy pink tank top and her smile was as bright as ever. “Oh my God. It’s so good to see you awake, instead of unconscious. ”

  “I already told you she’d woken up. ” Alex rolled his eyes and shook his head. “I don’t know why you’re getting all excited about it. ”

  “Because she’s awake, Alex. ” Aislin gave him a firm look. “Need I remind you that for awhile we thought she wasn’t ever going to wake up. ”

  If looks could kill, Aislin would have been dead by the invisible daggers shooting from Alex’s bright green eyes. I don’t know why he was getting mad at her, though. I’d already thought I was dead when I’d been trapped back in the black emptiness.

  They continued to scowl at each other as I sat down in an empty chair at the table. They eventually stopped having their little stare down when Adessa came over and placed what looked like a pot of chicken noodle soup down on the table, her metal bangle bracelets clinking together as she moved her hands away. Like Aislin, Adessa is a witch, so I wasn’t going to automatically assume what was in that pot was food. My knowledge about witches was limited, so whether or not they brewed pots of potions was beyond me. But in this new world I’d been thrust into only a few days ago, I was never going to assume things again.

  Or at least try not to.

  Adessa’s golden-cat eyes landed on me, and she gave me a welcoming smile. “Hello, Gemma. ”

  I forced a small smile, just so I wouldn’t seem rude. “Hey. ”

  She smiled again, tucking a strand of her black wavy hair behind her ear, and then went back over to the stove.

  Aislin grabbed the spoon in the pot, and began stirring it until Adessa took a seat at the table. Laylen did as well, carrying a stack of bowls in his hands. As I glanced around at the five of us, I couldn’t help but think how strange this was. And I wasn’t just saying strange because I was sitting at the table with two witches, a vampire, and a Keeper, but because I was sitting at a table, getting ready to eat. Something I’d never done before in my life.

  “So who’s hungry?” Adessa asked, taking a bowl and scooping some—hopefully—chicken noodle soup into it. When no one answered, she set the bowl down in front of Alex, who slid it in front of me.

  “Ladies first,” he said with a charming smile.

  How gentleman-like of him, which made it all the weirder.

  “Thanks,” I muttered. I stared down at the bowl of hot soup, watching the steam rise up as I thought of my mother and how, in just a few short hours, I might find out that she’s still alive. After spending most of my life thinking she was dead, the idea seemed strange and unfamiliar.

  So how are you feeling?” Aislin asked me.

  I tore my gaze away from the soup, and my thoughts. “I’m fine. ”

  Her forehead furrowed over. “Is something wrong?”

  I shook my head. “No. Not really…. I’m just a little confused still. That’s all. ”

  “About what?” she asked.

  I shrugged. “Everything really. ”

  She shot Alex a stern look. “Didn’t you explain anything to her?”

  “I explained to her that none of us know anything,” he said, aggravated. “Not really. anyway. ”

  Aislin’s bright green eyes pierced into him as if she were trying to burn a telegraphic message into his mind. Although I didn’t mind Aislin—I mean, for the most part, she’d been nice
to me—I knew she was almost as good of a liar as Alex, which put the count up to two people sitting at this table that I couldn’t trust. And Adessa, well I knew nothing about her, and the whole trusting strangers’ thing had never gone that well for me. (Think City of Crystal, where an overly friendly half-faerie lives). The only person I felt I could rely on was Laylen.

  I glanced over at Laylen, who was sitting there, with no food in front of him, because…well, because he’s a vampire and he doesn’t eat food. Everyone else was slurping away, and I hoped they didn’t notice when Laylen locked eyes with me. It was as if he was whispering a secret to me with his eyes. Tonight.

  Yes. Tonight. I thought back. Tonight, maybe we’ll get some answers.

  Chapter 4

  The rest of the conversation at the table consisted of a bunch of slurping. This was okay, though, because here in just a short while, Laylen and I were going to be setting out on our endeavor to try and find out about my mom.

  After I’d finished eating, I pretended to be tired and told everyone I was heading up to bed to go to sleep. And yeah, I got that saying I was tired sounded a little odd, since I’d just woken up from a two day nap. But I couldn’t sit still, and I was afraid that all my bounciness was going to give away that something was up.

  So for the sake of not getting Laylen and I busted before we even got the chance to try, I went up to my room to get some sleep. I never actually intended to fall asleep, but when I laid down on the bed, my eyelids suddenly felt heavy, and before I knew it, I’d dozed off.

  It was dark. And I was cold. Water dripped on my head.

  Painful Screams filled the air. I shivered as I crept through the darkness, the air feeling damp against my skin.

  “Gemma,” a voice whispered.

  I knew that voice. It was my mom’s.

  “Mom,” I called out, turning in every direction, searching for her.

  “Gemma,” her voice sounded so far away and I started to run, my feet hitting the ground with a thud that echoed all around me. “Come find me. ”

  “I’m trying,” I said, searching through the dark for her.

  Just then, a soft light filtered through the darkness, and I saw it. A figure, white and bony, floating in the air like a ghost. I screeched to a halt, a deathly feeling choking me so strongly it nearly sucked the wind out of me.

  The white figure glided toward me. I spun around and ran in the opposite direction, my feet hammering against the ground

  “Gemma!” My mother’s voice screamed from somewhere behind me.

  I kept running, contemplating what I should do. Turn around and face the ghostly figure—try to get to my mother. Or run like a coward.

  I skidded to a stop and whirled back around, deciding I needed to try and save her. But I let out a scream at the sight of the hollowed out eyes that were only inches away from my face. The ghostly figure’s bony hand reached for me, and I let out another scream, feeling more afraid then I’d ever felt in my life.

  “Gemma, run,” I heard my mother say. But I couldn’t—I was too terrified to move.