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Praise for The Immortals Series by Alyson Noel "Alyson Noel surpassed all my expectations. Not only is Blue Moon an ama. No eBook available. Dark Flame: The Immortals 4. Alyson Noel lives in Orange County, California, which forms the backdrop to her.. Read "Dark . [PDF] Dark Flame (Immortals) by Alyson Noël. Book file PDF easily for everyone and every device. You can download and read online Dark Flame (Immortals).
I don't punish you. I mean, here you drop a major bomb on me--and I mean major--as in my ears are still ringing and my head is still spinning and I kind of need you to repeat it just to make sure you really did say what I think--and your only concern is that I'm talking too loud? Hardly believing I actually fell asleep--while we were kissing. Looking back on the rest of the series. Noel took this novel in a direction I was never expecting, resulting in an emotional rollercoaster ride that I never wanted to end. But poor poor Jude who got his ass handed to him again by a girl.
Nov 26, Alexa rated it it was ok Shelves: My review can also be found on my blog Collections. This is what I think about you, Ever Bloom: But since she's horrible at following instructions and loves to do things her way, she screwed up the magick and she ended up being bound to Roman instead. So in Dark Flame , we find out that the binding spell and apparently her dark shadow side has caused Ev My review can also be found on my blog Collections. So in Dark Flame , we find out that the binding spell and apparently her dark shadow side has caused Ever to have forbidden thoughts and dreams about Roman.
Basically, she is obsessed and wants to have sex with him. And throughout most of the book, she was either trying to break the binding spell or trying to stay away from Roman. She failed on both things, of course. With Roman, she couldn't stop herself from going to him, even when Damen or Jude were around that was actually pretty hilarious. She almost lost her virginity to Roman. Seriously, she was this close.
The one person she never asked for help from was Damen. It wasn't only because the magick spell wouldn't allow her to say anything to him, but Ever believed that if she told him what was going on he would finally lose patience with her and blahwahhwahh.
She was wrong though. I wish she wasn't. Damen let her get away with everything! He never pushed answers out of her, and when she finally did admit that she was in some shit, he was all like, 'It's okay, Ever. I still love you. Take control, old man! I guess that's why he was barely in the book! In the end, Ever got over her Roman obsession with the help of meditation stuff and maybe some other things that made no sense to me.
Not surprisingly, it did not work. So nope, Ever and Damen still can't have hot smex. Claims she only loves Damen. She hates Ever. Especially after Roman was killed because Haven was in love with him. So she's most likely going to be the villian in the next book. No surprise there. Who cares. And who cares about the other non-immortals. Jude went to the Great Halls of Learning and found out everything about his past.
Jude makes up his mind that he isn't giving up on Ever this time. There was just too much stuff I didn't like in this book. And I can't say I can recommend it. View all 36 comments. This was a YA paranormal romance which picked up where the previous book left off. Ever was very stubborn in this book and a bit misguided.
The storyline in this was about Ever continuing to try to get the antidote to the antidote from Roman so that she could have sex with Damen, and we also got a bit of a love triangle forming between Ever Damen and Jude. Roman continued to be cocky and to gene This was a YA paranormal romance which picked up where the previous book left off. The ending to this was okay, and we did get a surprise death, this series has gone downhill a bit since the second book though.
Mar 17, Merary rated it it was ok Shelves: Ever, once again, does stupid things. First, she accidentally bounds herself with his enemy, Roman. What it means by that is that, she can't stop thinking about fucking his brains off. And then, she made Haven an immortal. Damn you, Ever Bloom. Yeah, seriously? And from beginning to end Ever keeps doing impulsive stupidities.
From cutting Jude to prove if he was a rogue which he wasn't , to keeping secrets from Damen so he doesn't lose his patience with her.
Yeah, like you were ever perfect, Ever. And Haven is a psychopath, self-absorbed, bitchy parasite. Now that she is immortal, she's all like: Look at me! I'm immortal! Everyone bow down to me! I'm powerful and can kick ass! Ever, you're just jealous because you're not as powerful as me!
You want to steal my super-hunk boyfriend, Ever! Leave me alone! I didn't need saving! I don't know why, but I was invisible back then, but now I want everyone to love me! You killed my boyfriend! World War 3!
I can totally picture her doing that while talking. Roman and Ever almost had SEX! It would have been really interesting if they did. I felt a sexual tension between and wanted them to fuck already.
Too bad they didn't. But he is still sexy. When we discover his hidden past, I began to have a sympathy for him. I wanted to comfort him. I also liked when Ever was being all femme fatale on him so he could give her the antidote so Damen and her could finally have sex.
And just when she almost had it, Jude appears out of nowhere and kills Roman. And Haven wants revenge and wants to kill Ever even though it wasn't her fault. And Damen is pissing me off. He is WAY too understanding. When Ever tells the truth about everything, he is just like: I can't wait to finish this crap-tastic series.
View 2 comments. I finished this book in a few hours eager to see if Ever gets the antidote or not.. I reached the end of the book and I have to say I liked it but I'm dissapointed.
The book seemed to drag on forever, I just wanted her to hurry up and get the antidote already. The ending doesn't really sit with me very well, Roman dying or 'going to the Shadowland' is messed up, in my opinion. He was a cool charact I finished this book in a few hours eager to see if Ever gets the antidote or not..
He was a cool character and made things interesting. Damen is always the calm boring one, it was nice to have a bad guy. To me Noel's ending seems tacky and chucked together at the last minute. The whole Jude to the rescue bit really annoyed me. I don't see why Roman needed to be killed off.
Especially since we were starting to get a glimpse of his past. Seeing that he wasn't always a bad guy, that certain events made him the way he is..
I was really hoping Ever would be able to help him become good, that he would trust her and see that he doesn't need to be horrible to everyone. Ever never seems to learn though, she is lucky that Damen is so understanding. She needs to learn to just be honest for once, then maybe she wouldn't make so many stupid mistakes. I didn't like how Noel makes Ever spend about half the book trying to break the bond between her and Roman only to then go and just about fix it with one ritual and that Ever's negative thoughts aren't helping.
Haven throughout the book I just wanted to smack, she is the most annoying character ever. She should have died instead of Roman, she is wayy over the top and 'me me me me me'. She only ever cares about herself.. Overall it wasn't a terrible book but I hope things get better in the next book Night Star. If we have to read another entire book about Ever and Damen to being able to 'Touch" each other I think I will claw my face off There is only so far you can drag something like this out and throughout 2 books is nearing too much.
There are bits I liked though, I liked seeing a darker side of Ever.. That was cool and the tension between her and Roman was awesome, I'm glad her and Haven are fighting. Haven is whiny.. Ever needs to ditch her.
I loved learning about Roman's past it made everything so much clearer. May 27, Samantha Souza rated it did not like it Shelves: Where do I start??? How about EVER! What in the hell is her deal. How are the mistakes that she's been making even realistic? Anyone with half of a brain would make better choices than her? She deliberately ignores Damen's advice time and time again, and he again and again shows his forgiveness.
What the hell kind of relationship are they in? You would think that Damen would get tired of her screwing up his life after three freakin books. I think that Alyson needs to get her characters straight before she even thinks about starting another book. I don't like the way Ever went from this sweet little outcast to a worry wart, goody-two-shoes immortal with her nose in the air. What a spoiled self righteous bitch.
Who in the hell died and made her queen of the Immortals? I mean really? Who gets their life saved by someone and then turns around and says, "Oh thanks for saving my life and all but I didn't need your help.
And by the way I'm dating your mortal enemy"?
What kind of best friend DOES that? Could she be anymore self involved??? And I hope she does something interesting with Honor and Stacia because if not then those characters are seriously redundant. Along with Jude who annoys the hell out of me too. And last but certainly not least, Damen. This dude seriously needs a backbone. View all 3 comments. Jun 23, Heather rated it did not like it.
I got to wonder if anyone who rated this book 4 or 5 stars actually read it? This book is so bad that I am done with this series. When I started this series with the first book, I had high hopes.
By the time I finished the third book, I felt like hitting my head against the wall over Ever's stupid annoying mistakes. I had hoped to find some resolution in this book, but we get nowhere. Haven is an immature brat throughout this book and is grating. Ever couldn't do anything right to save her life.
She is no closer to breaking the curse for Damon. Zero plot advancement there. I despise Roman and hated the storyline here with Ever accidentally making the mistake of bonding herself to him will she EVER learn? The pacing throughout this book was off and the story was jumpy. I think there are two more books to go in this series and I really don't care enough anymore to keep reading for an ending.
If you want a stupid, hopeless heroine who couldn't do anything right and doesn't connect with the hero over multiple books, then these are the books for you. For me, I am done. The author should have stuck with a trilogy instead of ruining the story for the sake of more books and more money. View all 5 comments. May 27, John Egbert rated it it was ok Shelves: This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Two annoying, arrogant horny teenagers are the guardians of an elixir that allows you to possess immortality and various psychic powers.
After attempting Dark Flame, I feel more worn out than anything. I made it about a third of the way through before giving up. I don't know what prompted me to read this.
Maybe it was just sheer stupidity. Whatever the case, I apologize to myself for wasting thirty m So. Whatever the case, I apologize to myself for wasting thirty minutes of my life that I can never, ever get back. The only thing saving this book from being one star is that I recently read American Psycho, and everything seems Not That Bad after that. I do have to admit that despite some readers although I don't have much backstory of her behavior from the previous books, so I don't know disliking of Haven that I found some of her issues with Ever and Damon to be pretty reasonable.
But on the other hand, maybe that's just because Ever and Damon annoy me more than she does. Anyway, it's certainly not a big surprise to anyone that's talked to me for five seconds, but I just found it really hard to care about Ever or anything she wanted. Okay, yeah, I'm willing to say that never being able to have sex with the person you love is a sad thing. But for cryin' out loud, it's Ever's only fucking goal. Pun surely not intended. At the beginning of the book she's willing to send someone she considers one of her best friends into the lap of Roman, who she thinks of as the second coming of Hitler, to get the magical antidote.
That's messed up. Maybe it's because I don't care about Ever, maybe it's because I don't care about Damon, or maybe it's because I don't care about Ever and Damon. I'm not entirely sure. It's bad enough that she accused him of being part of an evil cult without any evidence other than a snake tattoo a tattoo But then she, apparently, threw him across his yard and broke his arm. And then she tracks him down at the store he works to go and slash open his other arm to prove that he's an Immortal.
Hel-lo, you idiot, you could have just easily pricked his finger. In the second place, it's usually common practice to give a little warning before you just lunge at someone with a knife. In the third place, what the fuck. I'm a little upset that Jude didn't get as far away from her as possible after that, because accusing you of being part of a cult of immortals and slicing open your arm is pretty much the telltale sign of a dangerous, delusional psycho.
I can only say that I'm very glad I'm not one of Ever Bloom's 'friends'. Which brings me back to Haven. Why did they try to keep things from her, when they knew it would only drive her closer to Roman? Why not let her trust YOU, instead of forcing her to seek the aid of your enemy? Oh, that's right, because Ever and Damon are just two annoying, arrogant horny teenagers! Telekinesis, telepathy, immortality, flawlessly beautiful and what not but that will never change what's going on in their skulls: Which brings me back to my opening statement: I have three problems with this: Ever and Damon deciding who gets to become immortal.
Ever and Damon deciding who deserves however much of becoming immortal, sans who gets however much powers and whatnot. Ever and Damon having anything to do with anything at all concerning immortals and special powers. I, personally, do not think those two of all the earth's creatures should have that kind of power!
There are some teenagers who can handle that responsibility. There are some teenagers who I would gladly hand over the job of guarding the world's most dangerous smoothie.
There are some teenagers who I would easily trust my fate as a human being with. Ever and Damon are not those two people. Now why is it that I can see Ever handing over a bottle of red liquid to a potential evil dictator bent on murdering millions of people and becoming the ultimate king of the world?
Ehem, um I doubt that I will be attempting to read any other Immortal books in the future. And by that I mean I will never so much as think about reading anything related to Ever or her affairs again. I just don't have the time or patience. View all 6 comments. Feb 14, Jessica rated it did not like it Shelves: I think this book can be best summed up with one simple expression: Mar 08, Alyssa rated it it was ok Shelves: Ok, I finished it.
And the entire time, I kept fumbling to see how many pages were left. Alright, it wasn't too, too bad. Just not I liked the entire thing with Roman and Ever, attracted to each other, but I was really hoping for Damen and Ever to get back together, and was horribly, horribly pissed with the ending.
I mean, honestly, Noel? We get the point, already although we don't exactl Ok, I finished it. We get the point, already although we don't exactly know which point you're trying to make. I hate Jude - she could've done a better job creating another romantic interest, right, this being the only series she's currently working on!?
Ever, Ever, Ever. How stupid are you now? It just makes me sad that you'd allow yourself to fail when you get close. Shoot me. Jul 20, Erika rated it liked it. I gave it three stars because I have made it this far through the series, and I do wish it would end well. I don't see how it can, though. Mainly because I see nothing likable about Damon. Sure he is pretty, but so what? He is like an old man hitting on a year-old here, and I think he just wants to add her to his conquests.
If he had nailed her when they first met, he would be so over her like he got over his wife, Drina. I kind of get her anger at having to watch her husband entrap a 16 yea I gave it three stars because I have made it this far through the series, and I do wish it would end well. I kind of get her anger at having to watch her husband entrap a 16 year old over and over again for hundreds of years.
So Ever continues in this book to make horrible choices that lead to disaster, as usual. Now she has made her friend Haven immortal, and Haven is just a jerk all the way around in my book. I mean she dumped her nice boyfriend because he offered her a kitten, and she just piles on the awfulness in this book.
And of course, Ever has woven a spell that makes her hot for Roman now the bad guy. Poor Ever, surrounded by hot dudes. I am starting to be so grateful that Ever is not allowed to run off with Damon and hump him like the female dog in heat that she seems to be Is that really her only goal in her immortal life is to hump Damon?
He is a self-centered flirt who has manipulated her for thousands of years now. His whole goal has always been to keep stealing her away from Jude, who is an honestly decent, kind person who happens to be smoking hot. Jude is the only truly sexy and desirable man in this series of books.
Roman and Damon might be pretty-boys, but Jude is beyond dreamy in my book. And he is 19, not a wrinkly That worked in Twilight, but not here. I hate to see her use Jude like a doormat, when he is the only true friend she has ever had, other than Miles. Everyone else just wants to possess her like a new car, manipulate her, or in Havens case, compete against her. Haven mourning her stupid cat by having a funeral and cremating the thing was just absurd, by the way.
Jude even loves her enough to help her have sex with Damon, since that seems to be the only thing she wants in life. If she doesn't want Jude, I will take him. It is an obvious fact that if Jude were immortal, he would be a miilion times hotter than Damon.
I hate to bother with the next final book, because I figure she will dump on Jude like yesterdays trash. And she will run off into a 'happy ever after' that is just her having a sex roll-in-the-hay with Damon. I mean really. This is a teen romance? Now the Vampire Academy series, with Dimitri and Rose Jul 12, Lindsey rated it it was ok. Alyson, Alyson You have taken a wonderful creation 'Evermore' , which is truly captivating I was so excited to read 'Blue Moon' but once i had - i wished i hadnt.
Nevertheless, i stood tall and hoped you would redeem the story and characters in 'Shadowland' But Gosh was i wrong Compared to shadowland, Blue Moon was Okay. I was extremly dissapointed. However, Im one to finish what I'v started and went ahead and red Dark Flame, recluctently You have turne Alyson, Alyson You have turned Ever into a charcter i truly loath for being so dumb witted.
The story -GAH - i just cant even explain how much i didnt like this. The whole 'They cant exchange DNA' thing is totally dead.
You dragged it out through 3 books. And the way it looks, it will probably continue throughout the rest. You'r books would be better without her. Jun 03, Jackie rated it it was ok. Im only reading this because I want to see if Ever gets any sense. Looking back on the rest of the series. Until Noel lost all her writing skills and went on with the rest of series. Immortals has just become an obligation to me now.
I'm not gonna say how Haven became a total bitch and Ever became more stupid and how Damen became more oblivious with each turning page and don't even get me started on Jude. If you read the rest Im only reading this because I want to see if Ever gets any sense. If you read the rest of the reviews of this book you'll get the idea. Now to salvage this review with a little good news. It was a little better than the last book.
Noel must of got off her butt and actually thought this story through. Two gold stars for her. Lets hope she actually redeems everyone in the last two books.
View all 4 comments. Aug 20, Dakota rated it did not like it. Let's play a little drinking game. Take a drink every time one of these events occurs. Ever misuses magic.. Ever doesn't tell Damen she fucked up. Ever trying to dig her way out of the pile of shit she's created, and ending up being buried in more shit.
Ever whining that her Aunt Sabine doesn't understand her. Ever whining because the universe has been cock blocking her and Damen for years, give or take. Ever is still drawn to Jude, because all YA books need a completely unnecessary love triangle. Ever tries to jump Roman's bones because thanks to one of her many fuck ups, she now has a pulsing yearning for him, also known as the beast. Haven is a whiny bitch you could probably get drunk just taking a shot every time that happens Damen and Ever are all sappy crappy.
Damen forgives Ever at the blink of an eye for whatever mess she's gotten them into. Nice and drunk? I've come to the conclusion that maybe these books would be more bearable if I was drunk.
For those wondering why I continue reading this series when I don't like it, there are two reasons. One, I enjoy inflicting pain on myself, and I'm morbidly curious. Second, I don't feel comfortable critiquing these books unless I've read them. Besides, one of the first arguments I hear when someone trashes a book is, "Did you even read it? Same plot is going on. Ever and Damen are trying to find a cure so that Damen can finally cure his centuries long case of blue balls. I don't care about Ever trying to get the antidote.
For one thing, Damen's not in danger. You guys just can't have sex. Two, I don't care if Damen and Ever consummate their relationship. I don't care about them as a couple. Why should I? They aren't anything special, and their relationship isn't interesting. They can still be together, just not physically. Maybe they should just accept that they won't be able to have sex, but appreciate what they do have. Not a chance. I just can't believe the big conflict is a gigantic will they or won't they?
Just masturbate, sheesh! The second issue is that Haven is now an Immortal, and unlike Ever, wants to use her powers wreak havoc on all those snobs who ignored her existence. I had to read about her whine because boo fucking hoo, nobody paid attention to her, so poor witttle Haven had to start dressing dramatically to be noticed.
How tragic, having to live a life in high school where people don't pay attention to you. Oh wait, that's what happens in most cases. Haven, do you honestly think high school is some place were everyone treats the queen bee like a rock star? Newsflash, high school students do not focus their attention on one particular person.
When I went to high school I had my group of friends, and I didn't pay attention to the others. And I'm pretty sure no one paid attention to me either. So Haven, you aren't the only person in high school to be ignored.
It's not that big of a deal. But to Haven it is. I don't understand what this obsession with popularity is in these books. It's high school. You go there for four years and lose contact with your classmates.
It's not that special. But Haven has to be an over dramatic drama queen because she's an attention whore, so that's a problem. The other problem is that Haven has a thing for Roman, and thanks to Ever's misuse of magic, Ever now wants to jump his bones.
This causes friction between Ever and Haven, seeing as Haven as always been jealous of Ever and resents her for being prettier and some other bullshit. Now Ever has to deal with being attracted to Roman, and hide this from Damen. Heaven forbid Damen see the full extent of how you've fucked up.
The Jude angle is brought up again. Ever attacks Jude because she thinks he's an Immortal, but it turns out she was mistaken. Jude ends up in the hospital. If I were Jude, I'd have slapped a restraining order on Ever.
Thank goodness for nice boys who will let the heroine abuse them in the vain hopes that maybe they can be together. Turns out Jude and Ever were lovers in their former lives, but every time Damen came around Ever was gone. Now there's that to deal with. Ever continues to try and tame the beast, but she still loses control once or twice by trying to seduce Roman by pretending to be the only person he's ever loved, Drina.
After some sappy bullshit about loving and not focusing on the negative, Ever sees Roman's past. Turns out he had a shit life, and Drina was the only person who looked out for him. Like--for reals? Knowing that whatever she gives, be it verbal or physical, I've no choice but to take it. I deserve nothing less for wrecking her life as she knows it. I mean, seriously. I don't even know what to say. You have no idea.
I just--" I shake my head, knowing I should cut to the chase but feeling like I need to explain my side of things--the impossible choice I was forced to make--how it felt to see her so pale, so helpless, teetering on the verge of death, every shallow breath quite possibly her last-But before I can even begin she leans toward me, eyes wide and fixed on mine.
This is not what I expected. Not what I prepared for. Though it's pretty much exactly what Damen warned me about. Damen--my best friend--my soul mate--the love of my lives. My amazingly gorgeous, sexy, smart, talented, patient, and understanding boyfriend who knew this would happen and begged to come along for this very reason. But I was too stubborn. Insisting I do it alone. I'm the one who turned her--I'm the one who made her drink the elixir--so I'm the one who should explain. Only it's not going at all like I thought.
Not even close. Minus the bloodsucking? Everything I've ever wanted has finally happened! I'm a vampire! A beautiful vampire--but without all the gruesome side effects! We figure the vampire legends all stem from immortals, only with a few big distortions--like the bloodsucking, not being able to go out in sunlight, and the whole being allergic to garlic thing.
That red stuff you and Damen always drink! That's it, huh? So, what are you waiting for! Hand it over already, let's make it official--I can't wait to get started! I mean, you'll never grow old, never get zits or split ends, you'll never have to work out, and you might even grow taller--who knows? But there's other stuff too--stuff you need to know--stuff I have to explain in order to--" My words are halted by the sight of her jumping out of her chair so quickly and gracefully she's like a cat--yet another immortality side effect.
Hopping from foot to foot as she says, "Please. What's to know? If I can jump higher, run faster, never age or fade away-what else could I possibly need? Sounds like I'm good to go for the rest of eternity. This is serious. There's more to explain. A lot more," I whisper, the words harsh, brutal, but having no effect whatsoever.
She just stands there before me, shaking her head and refusing to budge. So drunk on her new immortal power she skips past defiant and heads straight for belligerent. Every--single--thing you say and do is just so dang serious. I mean, seriously , you hand me the keys to the kingdom then demand I stay put so you can warn me about the dark side? How crazy is that? Let me try it out, take it for a test drive, see what I'm capable of.
I'll even race you! First one to make it from the curb to the library wins! It's the only thing that'll put an end to all this and show her who's really in charge around here. Narrowing my eyes, I focus hard on her chair, driving it across the pavers so fast it buckles her knees and forces her to sit. But I just shrug. She's immortal, it's not like she'll bruise. Besides, there's plenty more to explain and not enough time if she continues like this, so I lean toward her, making sure I have her full attention when I say, "Trust me, you can't play the game if you don't know the rules.
And if you don't know the rules, someone's bound to get hurt. Frowning and glaring and mumbling--a full litany of complaints leveled at me--as I pull out of the lot and onto the street. You can't tell your mom, your dad, your little brother Austin--" "Please. You already sang that one loud and clear. So, come on, keep it moving, let's just get 'em over and done with, so I can get out of here and start my new life.
Under no circumstances whatsoever can you tell him. Can't tell anyone. Got it," she mumbles. But still, in public anyway, it's important to keep up appearances, so you have to at least pretend like you're eating.
Is that what you've been doing all this time? Keeping up appearances? Cuz Miles and I just thought you had an eating disorder. Like the karma Damen's always going on about--claiming that all of our actions cause a reaction--this is where my action has led me. Besides, even if I could go back and do it over again, I wouldn't change a thing. I'd make the exact same choice as before.
Because no matter how awkward this moment may be, it's still better than attending her funeral, any day of the week. This is not good. Not good at all. You were thinking something about being glad you didn't have to go to my funeral, right? I mean, I actually heard your words in my head.
That is so cool! More than a little freaked by the fact that she was able to do that when I can't read hers, and I haven't even had a chance to show her how to shield herself yet. About the whole telepathy thing? You and Damen really do read each other's minds.
What was once your everyday, basic shade of brown, often hidden by crazy-colored contacts, is now a brilliant swirl of gold, topaz, and bronze--yet another immortality side effect. And now I can do it too! Jeez, I wish Miles was here. We've already been over that.
Seriously, I won't tell him. Chillax already, would ya? I'm just used to telling him when exciting stuff happens, that's all. It's a habit. I'm sure I'll get over it.
But still, you gotta admit, it's pretty dang cool, right? I mean, how'd you react when you first found out? Weren't you totally psyched? But I wasn't up for listening then. And I was pretty much as far from excited as it gets. Then, the second time he insisted on explaining our long and tangled past, I was still on the fence.
I mean, on the one hand I thought it was pretty cool that we could finally be together after centuries of being kept apart. But on the other, it was a lot to take in. A lot to give up. And while at first we thought the choice was all mine--that I could continue to drink the elixir and embrace my immortality-or ignore it completely, live out my life, and succumb to my death at some point in the far distant future--now we know better.
Now we know the truth about an immortal's demise. Now we know about the Shadowland. The infinite void. The eternal abyss. The place where immortals linger--soulless--isolated--for all of eternity.
A place we need to steer clear of. It's the only answer I plan to give. Which only prompts her to lean toward me and say, "Excuse me, but I so don't get you. I mean, hel-lo?
Psychic powers, physical prowess, ageless youth, and beauty--does it mean nothing to you? Roger that, loud and clear. Of always being so burdened, so weighted down by the world?
It's like, you have the best life ever. You're blond, blue-eyed, tall, fit, gifted, oh, and to top it all off, the sexiest guy on the planet just happens to be madly in love with you. And honestly, I'm sorry to say it, but I think that's crazy. Cuz the truth is, I feel fantastic! Like a lightning bolt's surging through my body from my head to my toes! And no way am I joining you on your journey to Sad Land. No way am I slinking around campus in fugly hoodies and sunglasses with an iPod practically implanted in my head like you used to do.
I mean, at least now I know why you did it, to avoid all the voices and thoughts, right? But still, no fugging way am I living like that. I plan to embrace it--with both arms. I also plan to kick some serious Stacia, Honor, and Craig butt if they so much as bother me or my friends!
Not quite ready to explain about Summerland, that glorious mystical dimension between the dimensions, or the bridge that takes all mortals to the other side--or at least not just yet anyway. One thing at a time. I'll never get to cross over and see my family again--" I shake my head. Forgot how you hate to be touched. She's already so far ahead of the curve, on just one bottle of elixir, who knows what a full case will bring? It tends to change things.
She looks at me, gaze fixed, intense, fingers idly picking at a small tear in her leggings as she says, "Seems like you're kind of cherry-picking the things you want me to know. But I don't. I don't do anything but close my eyes and nod. So tired of lying and covering up all the time. It feels good to admit to a few things for a change.
Some of it needs to be experienced to understand--while other stuff--well, a lot of it can wait. Though there are still a couple things you need to know.
Pretty much every day from now on. And wearing these will keep us safe. She tilts her head and scrunches her face, unable to read my thoughts but well aware I'm holding back. I mean, we're immortal, right? Which, if I'm not mistaken, pretty much means we'll live forever, and yet, you're telling me I need protection?
To be kept safe? Who or what could I possibly need to be protected from? Hoping he'll forgive me as I say, "You need to be protected from Roman.
That's ridiculous. Roman would never hurt me. And not like it's any of your business, but we're actually well on our way to becoming more than friends. And since it's no secret you've hated him from day one, it's really not all that surprising to hear you saying this now. Sad, but not surprising. Knowing that raising my voice, trying to force her to see things my way, will never work on someone as stubborn as her. I even have witnesses--I wasn't the only one there, you know!
I mean, what's up with that? Obviously you didn't take it very seriously, so why should I? And as you see, I chose you. But I couldn't do it--and so--" I gesture toward her. Keeping quiet for so long I'm just about to speak when she says, "Sorry you didn't get what you want, Ever, really I am.
But you're wrong about Roman. There's no way he'd let me die. From what you said, he had the elixir standing by, ready to go in case you chose differently. Besides, I think I know Roman just a little better than you, and the fact is, he knows how unhappy I've been, about the stuff going on with my family--" She shrugs. I've no doubt that if you hadn't made me drink, he would've stepped in.
Face it, Ever, you made the wrong choice. You should've just called his bluff. Out of that whole entire litany, that's what I choose to focus on? I shake my head and start over. And since I tried to warn her about all the dangers--about him--Damen can't possibly fault me for what I say next. If you're going to insist on hanging with Roman, then all I ask is that you always wear your amulet.
Seriously, don't ever take it off--not for anything--and--" She looks at me, brow raised, door half open, desperate to get out of this car and away from me.
His gaze deep and intense as he follows me into the den where I drop onto his plush velour couch and kick off my flip-flops. Careful to avoid his eyes as he lands on the cushion beside me, usually all too eager to spend the rest of eternity just gazing at him-taking in the fine planes of his face--his high sculpted cheekbones, lush inviting lips, the slant of his brow, his dark wavy hair, and thick fringe of lashes--but not today. Today I'd prefer to look just about anywhere else.
I lean back against the cushions, closing my eyes in a feigned bout of fatigue. But the truth is, I don't want him to see me, to observe me too closely. Don't want him to sense my thoughts, my essence, my energy--that strange, foreign pulse that's been stirring inside me for the last several days. I mean, she has the whole look, you know? That eerie, flawless, immortal look. She even heard my thoughts--until I blocked them. Is that how you see it--see us? I mean, I doubt even supermodels look that perfect all the time.
Not to mention, what are we gonna do if she grows four inches practically overnight like I did? How do we possibly explain that? They're not that uncommon among mortals, you know. I avert my gaze, taking in the crowded bookshelves filled with leather-bound first editions, the abstract oil paintings, most of them priceless originals, knowing he's onto me. He knows something's up, but I'm hoping he can't sense just how far it goes. That I'm just saying the words, going through the motions, not really invested in any of this.
I peer at him, this wonderful glorious creature who's loved me for the last four hundred years and continues to do so no matter how many blunders I make, no matter how many lives I mess up. Sighing as I close my eyes and manifest a single red tulip that I promptly hand over. Serving not just as the symbol of our undying love, but also the winning wager in the bet that we made. Can't thank me enough. Feels just like a rock star. No-scratch that, better than a rock star. She feels like a vampire rock star.
But you know, the new and improved kind--without all that nasty bloodsucking and coffin sleeping. The thrill will die down eventually. You know, once the reality sinks in. I've been feeling a little-on edge lately, that's all. That edgy prickly feeling I've been carrying for days, tempering, melting, as I inhale his warm musky scent over and over again. Why can't I always be like this--feel like this? Why is everything changing? Identical in their straight dark hair with razor-slashed bangs, pale skin, and large dark eyes--but complete opposites in their dress.
Romy wearing a pink terry cloth sundress with matching flipflops, while Rayne's barefoot and dressed in all black, with Luna, their tiny black kitten, riding high on her shoulder. The two of them shooting Damen a happy, warm smile and glaring at me--business as usual, and pretty much the only thing that hasn't changed around here.
She wants us to get to know each other better. You know, less student teacher, more future nonblood relations. It's incredibly rude not to include him. But Damen's presence will only mess with my other evening plans. The ones he may suspect but can't possibly witness. Especially after making his feelings on my foray into magick so abundantly clear.
Tacking on an awkward, "So--you know. The moment I've been avoiding is now here. Tell her what he did? Recalling the speech I practiced in the car all the way over, about how Haven could be our best chance to get what we need from Roman.
Hoping it'll sound better to his ears than it did mine. He waits for me to continue, the patience of six hundred years stamped on his face, as I open my mouth to launch into my speech, but I can't.
He knows me too well. So instead, I just lift my shoulders and sigh, knowing words are unnecessary, the answer's displayed in my gaze. I mean, I'm judging me, so why isn't he? So I figured, what the heck. If she's going to insist on hanging with Roman, then what's the harm in her trying to snag the antidote while she's at it?
And I know you think it's wrong, believe me, we've been over that, but I still don't think it's all that big a deal. I mean, he had the antidote all along, he knew what I'd choose. But even if I did prove him wrong, how do we know he wouldn't have given her the elixir himself? You know, tell her we were prepared to let her die and end up turning her against us!
Did you ever think of that? I suppose I didn't," he says, lids narrowed, concern clouding his face. I'll make sure she's safe. But she does have free will, you know, it's not like we can choose her friends for her, so I figured, you know, when in Rome. Did you consider that? She seemed to get over that pretty quickly. And don't forget about Josh, the guy she was convinced was her soul mate who got booted over a kitten.
And now that she's in a position to have pretty much whatever or whoever she wants--" I pause, but only for a moment, not long enough for him to interject. I mean, I know she can seem kind of fragile, but she's actually a lot tougher than you think.
What's done is done and I don't want him to do or say anything that'll make me doubt my stance on Haven and Roman's relationship any more than I already do. He hesitates, gaze moving over me, taking me in, then rises in one, quick, languid move as he grasps my hand and leads me to the door, where he presses his lips against mine.
Lingering, fusing, pushing, melding, the two of us drawing this kiss out for as long as we can, neither one willing to break away first. I press hard against him, the contours of his body barely dimmed by that ever-present energy veil that hovers between us. The broad expanse of his chest, the valley of his torso-every inch of him conforming so tightly to me it's nearly impossible to tell where he ends and I begin.
Wishing this kiss could do the impossible--banish my mistakes--this strange way I feel--chase away the dark angry cloud that follows me everywhere these days. And just as I've settled into my car and Damen's gone back inside, Rayne appears, Luna still perched on her shoulder, twin sister Romy at her side. Moon's moving into a new phase," she says, eyes narrowed, lips grim. No other words necessary, we all know what that means. I nod and shift into reverse, ready to back down the drive, when she adds, "You know what to do, right?
You remember our plan? Backing out of the drive and onto the street, their thoughts chasing behind me, burrowing into my mind, as they think: It's wrong to use magick for selfish, nefarious reasons.
There's karma to pay, and it'll come back times three. Which, to be honest, pretty much makes me want to turn around and go just about anywhere else. I just sigh and pull into the garage instead. Knowing I've no choice but to face it. Face the fact that it's a heckuva lot better to sit around the dinner table than the breakfast table, which, if things continue to progress at the rapid pace that they are, then it's just a matter of time before it's: Good-bye Mr.
Munoz, hello Uncle Paul! I've seen it. It's as good as done. Now I'm just waiting for them to realize it too. I slip through the side door, tiptoeing lightly, hoping to make it up to my room without being seen so I can have some time to myself--time that I desperately need in order to set some things straight. Poised and ready to dash up the stairs when Sabine pokes her head around the corner and says, "Oh good, I thought I heard your car in the garage.
We're going to eat in about half an hour, but why don't you come in and visit a bit beforehand. Switching my gaze to her and taking in the sweep of her shoulder-length blond hair, the flush at her cheeks, her sparkling blue eyes, and renewing my vow to be happy that she's happy--even though I'm not exactly thrilled with the reason behind it.
I mean seriously, just because it's summer doesn't mean I should have to look at faculty feet in my own house. I just stand there and stare, knowing I could grab it, place my hand on the front, and intuit the contents without ever having to unseal it.
But the thing is, I don't want to touch it, don't want anything to do with it, the job I once held, or Jude, the boss who, as it just so happens, played a significant role in pretty much all of my lives.
Reappearing again and again, always managing to claim my affections until Damen showed up and swept me away.
A centuries-old love triangle that ended the second I saw his Ouroboros tattoo last Thursday night. And even though Damen claims that lots of people have them--that its original meaning wasn't at all evil, that Roman and Drina just made it that way, I can't take the chance that he's wrong.
Can't take the chance that Jude's not one of them, when I'm pretty dang sure that he is. No matter how many books I read on the subject, adolescents may as well be aliens. A look I know all too well. A look that prompts me to snatch the envelope right out of her hand, careful to handle it by its edges as I smile weakly and tackle the stairs.
Hands shaking, body thrumming, as the contents reveal themselves to be a paycheck I definitely earned but have no intention of cashing, along with a brief note asking if I'll please let him know if I've no plans to return so that he can hire another psychic to replace me. That's it.
What the heck happened? Why did you go from nearly kissing me to tossing me across your yard and into the patio furniture? But that's because he already knows.
He's known all along. And while I may not know just what he's up to, he's clearly up to something. He may be ahead of the game for the moment, but unbeknownst to him, I'm about to catch up. I toss the envelope toward the trash, figuring my lack of response should be answer enough.
Directing it in a complicated choreography of loops and circles and one very perfect, spot-on figure eight, before bringing it down with a soft, barely heard thud and heading into my walk-in closet where I retrieve the box from the top shelf--the one that holds my supplies--everything I need to undo what I've done.
The time is right--providing for a fresh new start, the perfect opportunity the only opportunity according to Romy and Rayne to break the spell I unwittingly cast when I accidentally summoned the dark powers to aid me.
The moon is now waxing, which means the goddess is rising, making her ascent, as Hecate, the one I mistakenly called upon before, plummets to the underworld where she'll mark her time until a month from now when it all comes full circle again. I reach into the box, retrieving the candles, crystals, herbs, oils, and incense I'll need, taking a moment to organize them neatly and placing them in the order in which they'll be used.
Then I shed my clothes and lower myself into the tub for my ritual bath, bringing along a sachet filled with angelica for protection and hex removal, juniper for the banishing of negative entities, and rue to aid in healing, mental powers, and the breaking of curses, along with a few drops of petitgrain oil that promises to banish evil and remove all negativity. Sinking all the way down 'til my feet hit the far edge and the water fills up around me, grabbing a few clear quartz crystals from the ledge and plopping them in too, as I chant: I cleanse and reclaim this body of mine So that my magick may properly bind My spirit reborn, now ready for flight Allowing my magick to take hold tonight.
But unlike the last time I indulged in a soak, I don't envision Roman before me. I don't want to see him until I'm ready, until it's absolutely necessary. Until it's truly time to undo what I've done. Any earlier is a risk I can't take. Ever since the dreams began, I can't trust myself. The first night I woke in that cold, clammy sweat with images of Roman still dancing in my head, I was sure it was just a result of the horrible night that I'd had--learning the truth about Jude--turning Haven by giving her the juice.
But the fact that they've returned every night since, the fact that he intrudes not just in my night dreams but in my daydreams as well, the fact that they're accompanied by this weird, foreign pulse that's constantly strumming inside me--well, it's pretty much convinced me that Romy and Rayne are right. Despite my feeling perfectly fine just after the spell was complete, later, when everything began to unravel, it became pretty clear that the damage I'd done was nothing short of major.
Instead of binding Roman to me--I bound myself to him. Instead of him seeking me out in order to do my bidding-I'm shamelessly, hopelessly, seeking him. Which is something Damen can never know. No one can know. Not only does it prove his earlier warning about the downside of magick, insisting that it's nothing to be toyed with, and that amateurs who immerse themselves too quickly often wind up in way over their heads--it may be the end of his patience with me.
It may be that last and final straw. I take a deep breath and sink even lower, enjoying the way the water laps at my chin, as I soak up all the healing energies that the stones and herbs are meant to provide, knowing it's just a matter of time before I rid myself of this unholy obsession and put everything right.
And when the water begins to cool, I scrub every square inch of skin, hoping to wash away this new tainted version of me in order to recover the old, then I climb out of the bath and straight into my white silk hooded robe. Tying the sash snugly as I head back into my closet and reach for my athame.
The same one Romy and Rayne criticized, claiming it was too sharp, that its intent should be to cut energy not matter, that I'd made it all wrong-urging me to burn it, melt it down to a stub of metal, and hand it over to them so they could complete the banishing ritual, not trusting such a complex task to a misguided novice like me.
And though I agreed to burn it before them, running the blade through the flame again and again in a sort of magical sanctification, I shrugged off the rest of their plan, convinced they were just seizing the chance to make an even bigger fool of me. I mean, if the real problem, as they claimed, was my weaving a spell on the night of the dark moon, then what difference could a simple knife make?
But this time around, just to make sure, I add a few additional stones to its handle, adorning it with Apache's tear for protection and luck which the twins are convinced I'll need plenty of , bloodstone for courage, strength, and victory always a good combination , and turquoise for healing and strengthening of the chakras apparently my throat chakra, the center of discernment, has always been a problem for me.
Then sprinkling the blade with a handful of salt before running it through the flame of three white tapers, I call upon the elements of fire, air, water, and earth, to cast away all dark and allow only light--to push out all evil and summon the good. Repeating the chant three times before calling on the highest of magical powers to see that it's done.
This time sure that I'm calling on the right magical powers--summoning the goddess instead of Hecate, the three-headed, snake-haired, queen of the underworld. Cleansing the space as I walk three times around it, incense held high in one hand, athame in the other, pulling up the magick circle by visualizing a white light flowing through me. Starting at the top of my head and working its way through my body, down my arm, out the athame, and into the floor. Weaving and curving and circling around and around, encouraging thin strands of the brightest white light to entwine and grow and reach ever higher until joining as one.
Until I'm wrapped in a silvery cocoon, a complex web of the brightest, most shimmering light, that completely seals me in. I kneel on the floor of my clean, sacred space, left hand held before me as I trace the blade down the length of my lifeline, sucking in a sharp intake of breath as I plunge the tip deep into my flesh and a great swell of blood rushes out.
Closing my eyes and quickly manifesting Roman sitting cross-legged before me, tempting me with his irresistible, deep blue gaze and wide inviting smile. Struggling to get past his mesmerizing beauty, his undeniable allure, and straight to the blood-soaked cord tied snug at his neck. A cord soaked with my blood.
The same cord I placed there last Thursday night when I created a similar ritual--one that seemed to work until everything went tragically wrong. But this time, everything is different. My intent is different. I want my blood back. I intend to unbind myself. Hurrying through the chant before he can fade, singing: With this knot that I untie Banish this magick before thine eye Where once this cord was bound and tight I now reverse it to set things right Your hold no longer potent, now loosed on me I unbind this cord and set myself free Let it harm none as I send it away This very change to take hold today This is my will, my word, my wish--so mote it be!
Squinting against the gale force wind that whirls through my circle, pushing the walls of my web to their limits as a flash of lightning strikes and thunder cracks loud overhead.
My right palm raised, open, ready--my gaze locked on his as I mentally loosen the knot at his neck and summon the blood back to me. Back to where it originated. Back to where it belongs. Eyes widening in excitement as it arcs straight toward the center of my wounded hand, the cord around his neck lightening, whitening, until it's as clean and pure as the day it began.
But just as I'm ready to banish him for good, free myself of this unholy bind, that strange foreign pulse, that hideous intruder, snakes through my insides with such force, such determination, overtaking me so quickly, I can't stop it. The monster inside me now fully awakened, rising, stretching, with its insistent, throbbing hunger demanding to be met.
Causing my heart to crash violently, my body to shake--and no matter how hard I struggle against it--it's no use. I'm a hostage to its longing--captive to its desires--I'm of no consequence whatsoever. My only purpose is to meet all its needs--to see that it's done. Watching helplessly as the cycle repeats once again. My blood surging forth, soaking the cord at Roman's neck 'til it sags, red and heavy, dripping a thick trail of me down his chest.
And no matter what I do--no matter how hard I try-there's no stopping it. No stopping the undeniable lure of his gaze. No stopping my limbs from yielding toward his.
No stopping this spell that binds me to him. His body like a magnet that seeks only me, closing the small space between us in less than a second.
And now, with our knees pressed tightly together, our foreheads flush--I'm defenseless--powerless--unable to curb this unbearable yearning for him. He's all I can see. All that I need. My entire world now whittled down to the space between his gaze and mine. His moist, inviting lips just a razor's width away, as this bold, insistent intruder, this strange, foreign pulse, urges me forward, willing us to mesh, unite, join as one.
My lips push toward his, moving closer, ever closer, when from somewhere down deep, somewhere I can't quite reach, the memory of Damen, his scent, his image, flickers inside. No more than a brief flash of light in the midst of all this dark-but still enough to remind me of who I am, what I am--my real reason for being here. Just enough to allow me to break free of this horrible dreamscape and shout, "No! Moving so quickly and violently the web collapses around me as the candles extinguish and Roman dissolves from my sight.
The only trace of what just occurred is my crashing heart, bloodstained robe, and the words still reverberating in my throat. Dinner's just about ready, you might want to make your way down! Having no idea what to do now, where to go from here.
Though one thing is clear--I can't tell Romy and Rayne--they already witnessed my last flubbed attempt, and I'll never live this one down. Besides, they're too close to Damen, and they'll never forgive me. Taking great care to ensure everything appears clean and pristine on the outside, because inside, there's no doubt that things just took a major turn for the worse. Careful to temper the pace, going neither too fast nor too slow, reluctant to attract any undue attention from anyone who might see.
It was bad enough having to explain it to Sabine. Especially after having just gulped down three-quarters of a barbecued chicken breast, a lump of potato salad, an entire corn on the cob, and a glass and a half of soda--none of which I was the slightest bit interested in, and which, in the end, only seemed to raise a whole new suspicion. Her voice all raised and squeaky, gone completely high alert when she said, "Now? But it'll be dark soon--and you just ate!
Having ruled out anorexia and just plain old bulimia to explain my odd behavior and even odder eating habits--she's now onto something new, leaving no doubt that a trip to our local bookstore's self-help aisles will be squeezed into her weekend's agenda.
And I wish I could explain it to her, sit her right down and say, "Relax. It's not at all what you think. I'm immortal. The juice is all I need to get by. But right now, I've got a little spell-casting problem to fix so--don't wait up! It can't happen. Damen was clear about keeping our immortality a secret. And after seeing what's happened when it's gotten into the wrong hands, I have to say I agree with him one hundred percent.
But keeping it a secret has been one of my greatest challenges, and that's where the jogging comes in. I am now, officially or at least where Sabine and Munoz are concerned , a person who slips into a T-shirt, sneakers, and shorts and goes for an evening run.
A nice healthy excuse for getting out of the house and away from Munoz, whom I can't help but like as a person, even though I never wanted to get to know him as a person. A nice healthy excuse for getting away from an aunt who's so kind and considerate and helpful toward me that I can't help but feel like the world's worst niece for all of the trouble I've caused.
A nice healthy excuse to get away from two wonderful, kindhearted people so I can indulge in a much darker, not at all healthy, obsession. One that's got a hold on me.
One I'm determined to beat. I make a swift left onto the next street, noticing how the cars, the pavement, the sidewalks, the windows are all dappled with that burnished gold that the tail end of magic hour brings--the result of the first and last hour of sunlight when everything appears softer, warmer, bathed in the sun's reddish haze.
My muscles pumping, feet moving faster, picking up speed, even though I know better, even though I try to slow down--it's too dangerous, too risky, someone might see--and yet I keep going. Unable to stop it. No longer the one who controls me. Aiming for my destination like an arrow on a compass, my entire being is focused on one single point. Cars, houses, people--everything around me is reduced to a single, orangey blur as I close street after street.
My heart crashing hard against my chest--but not from the run or the exertion, because the truth is, I've barely broken a sweat.
This live wire inside me is all about the proximity. The simple fact that I'm near-Getting closer-Almost there. Like a siren song propelling me toward uncertain ruin, and I can't seem to get there quickly enough. The second I see it, I stop. My gaze narrows as everything around me ceases to exist. Staring at Roman's door as I will the beast to retreat. Renewing my resolve to overcome this strange, foreign pulse now beating in me, wanting only to slip inside, casually, easily, and confront him once and for all so we can put an end to all this.
Forcing myself to take long, deep breaths as I summon the strength that I'll need. Just about to take that very first step when I hear my name called from a voice I'd hoped never to hear again. He saunters toward me, head cocked to the side, as cool and casual as a summer's breeze. His left arm heavily bandaged and wrapped in a navy blue sling, stopping just shy of me, purposely positioning himself out of my reach, when he says, "What are you doing?
To make any excuse that I can to explain my heated, gaping, practically salivating presence, right outside Roman's store.
Knowing it's hardly a coincidence to find him here too. After all, they're good friends, members of the same immortal rogue tribe. Too bad I do. He looks at me, shaking his head and rubbing his chin, voice steady, calm, almost convincing, when he says, "Ever, are you okay? You're not looking so good--" I shake my head and roll my eyes. Faking concern for me, faking an injury, you're prepared to go all the way with this, aren't you?
His deceptively cute and friendly face all scrunched and serious when he says, "Trust me, I'm not faking.
Wish I was. Remember when you picked me up like a Frisbee and tossed me across your yard? A crap load of contusions, a fractured radius, and some seriously messed-up phalanges- -or at least that's what the doctor said.
I've no time for this charade. I need to get to Roman, show him that he can't control me-means nothing to me--show him who's boss around here. Sure that he's somehow partly responsible for what's happening to me, and needing to convince him to give me the antidote and put an end to this game. I know better. And the fact is, you know I know better. So let's just cut to the chase, okay?
Rogues don't get hurt. Not for long anyway. They have instantaneous healing abilities, but then you already knew that, didn't you? And the truth is, he really does look perplexed, I'll give him that. Are you serious?
Evil members of Roman's tribe? Ring any bells? And all I can think is: Good thing he's not an actor, he's got really crummy range. The Ouroboros? On your back? You know I saw it.
You probably wanted me to see it-or why else would you convince me to get into the Jacuzzi with--" I shake my head. Everything you apparently wanted me to know. So feel free to drop the game anytime now, I'm all clued in. Like that's gonna help him. Which century would it have been? Eighteenth, nineteenth? C'mon, you can tell me.
Even though it was a long time ago, I'm sure you never forget a moment like that. Not that it ever really did. Seriously, Ever, in case you can't hear it, this is coming off as pretty insane. And the truth is, despite all of that, despite all of this"-he tugs on his sling--"I'd really like to help you--but--well--you seem pretty much beyond all of that with the rogues and the turning and"--he shakes his head--"but let me just ask you this--if this Roman dude's as bad as you say, then why are you lurking outside his store looking all charged and heated like a dog waiting for its owner?
But no more. Not since I learned he's one of them. Now we're officially through. He shrugs and rubs his sling protectively. If you'll remember, we close early on Saturdays. It's all very plausible. Almost believable. But not quite. But I don't follow his hand.
My gaze stays on his. I can't afford to drop my guard. Not even for a second. He may have fooled me before, but now I know better. Now I know what he is. He takes a step closer, slowly, cautiously, careful to maintain a safe distance still just outside of my reach. Go someplace quiet, where we can sit down and talk? You look like you could use a break. What do you say? He's persistent, I'll give him that. Its jewel-encrusted handle an exact replica of the one I used just a few hours before, figuring I'll need all the luck and protection the stones can provide, especially if this goes the way that I think.
Oh, and I should probably warn ya--I can't be responsible for what happens once I prove that you're lying. But don't worry, as you well know, this'll only hurt for a second--" He sees me moving, lunging straight for him, and even though he tries his best to dance out of my way, I'm too quick, and I'm on him before he even realizes it.
Seizing his good arm and slicing my athame right through his skin, knowing it's just a matter of seconds before the blood stops gushing and the wound fuses together again. Just a matter of time until-"Oh God! His eyes darting between me and the gash on his arm, both of us watching as the blood seeps through his clothes and pools onto the street in a growing puddle of red.
Why isn't it healing? Why's it still bleeding? Oh, crap! You need to walk away--now! There's an emergency room just down the street--and I'll--" I close my eyes, manifesting a plush towel to hold against the wound until we can get some professional help. Noticing how pale and unsteady he's gone, knowing we've no time to waste.
Ignoring his protests, I slide my arm around him and lead him toward the car I just manifested. That strange insistent pulse quieted for now, but still forcing me to glance over my shoulder just in time to see Roman watching from behind the window, his eyes shining, face creased with laughter, as he flips the sign over from OPEN to CLOSED.
Careful to address the nurse instead of Jude, since one quick glance is all it takes to see that both of his arms are now heavily bandaged, his aura's turned red with rage, and if the angry, cruel look in his narrowed eyes is any indication, he clearly wants nothing more to do with me. The nurse stops, her gaze traversing the sixty-eight inches between my head and my toes.
Scrutinizing me so closely I can't help but cringe--can't help but wonder just what exactly Jude might've told her. And if he takes his antibiotics, it'll stay that way. He'll be in a fair amount of pain, even with the meds I gave him, but if he takes it easy, gets plenty of rest, it should be healed in a matter of weeks.
Just in time to see two uniformed members of Laguna Beach's finest heading right toward me, their eyes darting between Jude and me, and stopping when the nurse nods affirmatively.
I freeze, swallowing past the lump in my throat as I pull my shoulders in, shrinking under the glare of Jude's dark, hostile gaze. Knowing I deserve every last bit of his anger, deserve to be handcuffed and hauled away--but still--I didn't think he'd actually do it. I didn't think it would come to this.
I glance between the nurse, Jude, and the cops, knowing this is it. This is what it's come to. And despite all the trouble I'm in, all I can think is: Who will I pick for my one phone call? I mean, it's not like I can ask Sabine to wave her lawyer's wand and get me out of this one--I'll never live it down, and it's not like I can explain it to Damen either. Clearly this is one dilemma I have to deal with alone.
And I'm just about to clear my throat, just about to say something, anything, when Jude jumps in and says, "I already told her"--he nods toward the nurse--"it was a home repair gone wrong.
Didn't know my limits. Guess I'll definitely have to hire a handyman now. And even though I want to smile right back, nod in agreement, and play along, I'm so shocked by his words, at his defending me, it's all I can do just to stand there and gape.
The cops sigh, obviously unhappy about being called out for nothing, but making one last attempt when they look at Jude and say, "You sure about that? You sure there isn't more to it? Kind of crazy to take on a home repair when you're down to one hand. And the moment they're gone the nurse clutches her slim well-aerobicized hips, scowls at me, and says, "I gave him something for the pain.
He'll probably fall right to sleep, so I expect you to leave him alone and let him do just that. Her mouth quirks to the side, obviously reluctant to leave Jude in my care or to hand the prescription over, but she has little choice. I follow Jude outside, over to my manifested Miata, an exact replica of the one I usually drive. Feeling awkward, nervous, barely able to look him in the eye.
And though his aura appears to be softening, there's still a good bit of red clinging to its edges, a fact that pretty much speaks for itself. I'll take it from there. And even though it's dark out, there's no missing the hollows under his eyes, the sheen of sweat on his brow, two unmistakable signs that he's suffering a great deal of pain--thanks to me.
Really and truly--sorry. The one with the green gate. Just pull into the drive and I'm good to go. Trust me, you are not coming in. I mean, if I were you, I'd feel the same way. But still, if you could just spare me a few more seconds of your time, I'd really like a chance to explain. And knowing I have to move fast, that he's prepared to allow me a few seconds and no more, I say, "Listen, it's like this--I mean, I know it sounds crazy, and I really can't go into all the details, but you have to trust me when I say I had really good reason to think you were one of them.
You've made your point, Ever. Made it abundantly clear, remember? I scrunch my nose and rub my lips together, knowing this next part probably won't go over any better, but still forging ahead when I say, "Yeah, well, you see, the thing is--I thought you were evil. It's the only reason I did what I did.