Authors: Shannon Dermott
Tags: #Juvenile Fiction
When I awoke, I found myself sitting up in bed. I had to wait a beat for my eyes to click on the night vision. Unlike the goggles, I didn’t see everything in shades of green. I saw in muted colors and shades of gray. Once acclimated, it was easy enough to tell I was in my room at home. I found my backpack on the ground next to my bed. My cell phone and keys were neatly laid on my bedside table. And I still wore the clothes I had on earlier, thank goodness.
And next to my keys was the cloth that held the dagger.
I took the thing and put it in my drawer. If it was supposed to be for my protection, I couldn’t very well hide it in my closet where it would be out of reach. I wasn’t going to carry it to school either. I wasn’t sure what to do or if I could kill anyway. Demons weren’t human, but if Sebastian had taught me anything, all demons weren’t bad. So it would stay in my drawer stay.
That done, part of me was disappointed. I’d been in Sebastian’s house. There might have been much to learn about him or maybe something about myself. Yet he’d dragged me up to a bedroom. Had that been his? If so, it was a little sparse. Then again, I didn’t see Sebastian as one who cared much about things.
I was also a little bummed that I’d been in Scotland and didn’t see a lick of it. Here too, I’d been to Egypt, London and Paris too for mere minutes.
My mind raced to Luke. I picked up the phone worrying my nails with one hand while swiping across the screen with the other. He’d called alright, several times along with Flynn and Maggie. Looking at the clock it was past one in the morning. I wasn’t sure if he would be awake. And actually, I stopped for a minute before deciding to go ahead and make that call.
“Mercy,” he breathed like I was air.
“Luke.” I was not sure where to begin. Should I apologize? I was culpable of many things.
. It was going to take a while for my brain to debrief and not think in terms of SAT words.
Slowly and calmly, he asked, “Where have you been?” I opened my mouth to speak, but he did first. “No, don’t answer that yet. Can I come see you?”
“Right now?” I asked. It was in the middle of a school night.
“Yes,” he said a little desperately.
“Okay.” I wanted to see him too. We needed to have a conversation and I wanted to see his face. We could have skyped or facetimed, but in person would be better. When he hung up, I headed to my door, and peered out. All was quiet in the hall. I didn’t even hear a TV on. Did my mom already know I was home?
Moving to my window, I opened it and sat on the bench and waited. Luke wasn’t going to come in through the front door. The alarm would chime. My mom wasn’t the heaviest of sleepers. With no noise out in the halls, that chime would wake the dead.
I was stuck in an endless loop of what to say when Luke stepped in the window with the ease of walking in a room. He sat opposite me on the bench seat. The night was chilly but the air felt good. Making no move to touch me, I guessed a wall had already been built between us.
The divide grew with each passing second we didn’t speak only staring at each other like we were a million miles away. Funny, but maybe not, we both decided to break the silence at the same time. With a half laugh, I said, “Go ahead.” It wasn’t like I didn’t have a lot to say, I just didn’t know how to begin. So I ceded him the floor.
“I’m sorry.” Starting off with that eased parts of my mind. Until I speculated exactly what he was sorry for, Blondie or me? “I shouldn’t have walked away. I was pissed that you acted like you didn’t want to touch me. And…”
And that evil side I brought out of you reared its ugly head.
I didn’t speak it, but it was a neon sign in my mind, flashing incessantly. “And, I’m sorry for leaving with Sebastian,” I admitted.
His hands balled into fist and he seemed to visibly try and calm himself. “Where did he take you?”
Here was the sticky part. Honestly however was going to be my policy on this. “Scotland.” I watched his face shift. “His home,” I added figuring that was the next question.
Flashing like a lighthouse beacon, I waited for him to blow. That wasn’t his normal M.O. but I couldn’t be sure what he’d do these days. “And what did you do there?”
Anger was furthest from my mind. I didn’t take his question to mean that he didn’t trust me. I knew he was trying to make sure Sebastian hadn’t placed me in any danger. “Talked for a few minutes, then he put me to sleep.”
And yeah, he gave me a dagger that could kill demons but I can’t tell you about it without putting you in danger.
And I had no doubt, somehow he would know if I told. Just like he seemed to know whenever I was in trouble.
His facial expression dimmed. Some say words don’t hurt, but they are wrong. I realized my choice of them had pushed Luke almost over the edge. “He told me to sleep and touched my head. Then I woke up here. Fully dressed.” I added that last part to ease his mind.
“So, you don’t know when you got back?”
I shook my head and said, “No, I woke up and called you.”
Leaning over to me, with a gentle two finger tug, he pulled my chin over so our lips connected. It was a soft kiss that spoke of reluctance and trepidation. Pulling away only a little so that we were still eye to eye, he said, “Know that I love you and only you. Sara means nothing to me.”
His ocean blue eyes were clear but worry filled them. He’d opened the door to questions about my own worry. “So what does she want?” I asked. She wanted him, of that I was sure. But the girl wouldn’t have come to our school just for him, would she?
Before she could answer, my door banged open. Filling it like no other boy could, bare chested with drawstring knee length shorts, Flynn said, “You guys are loud.” Knowing we weren’t, I glared at him. “Your mom would have cut his balls off if she’d been here.”
About to give him a nasty retort when I asked, “My mom’s not here?”
Stepping into the room not bothering to shut the door, he said, “She’s on midnights.”
“What do you want?” Luke asked, frowning at Flynn.
Shrugging, Flynn said, “I’m on babysitting duty. Do you know the hell I got when I didn’t come home with her?” He pointed at me but spoke like I wasn’t in the room.
As he got closer, I felt a tug toward him not of my own making. Sure Flynn was the god of beauty, there was no denying that. And having him stand before me half-dressed was a test to keep my eyes on his. But I didn’t want him. He made me so mad. He was crass and mean. The only thing I could offer him was friendship, but he didn’t want that. I was so over it. And I squashed whatever force was trying to get me to my feet and to him. Threading my fingers with Luke’s, I tried to stop from making a fool of myself.
Clean bandages were wrapped around Flynn, but I looked away. Luke’s eyes shot to mine in questions. I squeezed his hand and leaned into him. “Okay, you two. Get a room,” Flynn quipped.
Not stating the observable, I said, “Get out of mine.”
The space in front of me becoming the shooting range, Flynn’s eyes looked like pistols aiming at me. “Stop being a brat.”
Giving him a look that clearly said ‘
more than saying the word, I got to my feet while Luke still held my hand. He yanked me to a stop before I could get in Flynn’s face, though I said, “Stop being an asshole.”
The air grew charged between us. Flynn looked me over with a very appreciative slide that sent a shiver over me, he said, “Stop being a—”
Luke moved so quickly my hair lifted in the breeze he created. Getting between us, he raged, “What the hell? This isn’t the time for this.”
I moved to the side of Luke, but not in time to see the looks pass between them. Flynn spoke. “What it’s not the time for is doll face over there to play disappearing act with Rat because some chick is into you while people are after her.”
“Sebastian’s not going to hurt her,” Luke said calmly. “He wants her just as much as you do.”
Flynn’s jaw dropped as did mine. But Luke’s gaze was steady on his. Flynn sputtered a bit before he said, “I’m done. She’s all yours. Bros before hoes.” He held his hand wide open for a second.
Flynn stepped back out of arm reach just as Luke’s fist met air. Flynn laughed and said deadpan, “I’ve got all I need.”
And as if on cue, Blondie ducked her head into my room. “I’m sorry. I woke up with all the racket.”
My jaw was still open. But Luke’s jaw tightened. His deadly look wasn’t just about me. He was hiding something. Her appearance, her hair sleepy tousled, in my room as Flynn stepped back and wrapped an arm around her shoulder bothered more than just me.
What kind of girl was she? She clearly had been interested in Luke and had so easily made the switch to Flynn. Maybe he’d met his match. Maybe she was a Cambion.
When he kissed her forehead and gave her a squeeze, it looked more like a budding relationship than a fuck buddy. How could that have happened in less than a day?
“No, I’m glad you’re here,” Luke said, all eyes focused in his direction. Why would he be glad? “I think it’s time we tell Mercy why you came here.”
You could hear a feather drop, if that were possible. The smiles died from Sara and Flynn’s faces. Her expression that eerily reminded me of Amanda was gone. Thinking of Amanda, I wished Flynn was still with her. Amanda didn’t like me, but she was real. I always knew where I stood with her. This girl looked like she hid a million secrets behind her high wattage grin.
Tugging my other hand so that we faced each other, Luke said, “Sara came to kill you.”
Gale force winds would have been easier to deal with than the sparkler of truth. I felt like dynamite with a short fuse. I was going to blow in T minus two. My head snapped to take in the girl Flynn protectively hugged. Now was a good time to show how much I could handle myself.
Trying to get to her would prove harder. Luke wrapped me in his arms and spoke in my ear. “She’s not going to anymore. She had no idea who you were.”
Looking away from him, I snarled in her direction. “What are you and why would you want to kill me?”
Either she was innocent or a damn good actress because she looked truly wounded at my anger. Really? “It was a job.” She paused like the next part was really horrible. “And if I did it, it could save my life.”
I looked around for the studio audience and podium because her performance was Oscar worthy. Really? And the two dumb guys looked sympathetic. “Who’s after you?” I asked.
“I did something long ago and I’m trying to make up for it.” It was almost as if violins were playing.
Flynn chimed in, “When we met her, Luke had to…” He waved his hands around wildly. “And vanquish her attacker. She might have died had we not shown up.” He frowned then like he remembered something. He looked up at Luke. I didn’t turn to him in time to see the silent communication. By the time I looked back, Flynn had adoring eyes on Sara. She on the other hand was looking at me. Her facade cracked. For the slightest moment, I swore I saw her smirk.
“She’s telling the truth. I’ll tell you the whole story later,” Luke uttered to me, garnering my attention.
The next thing I knew, she was standing before me. Luke let me go. Again I was struck with the urge to kill her. I wasn’t sure what she was, but that dagger Sebastian gave me would not only kill demons, I was sure it could kill other beings if stabbed in their hearts. I would have to give her my back for a moment to get it and also reveal it to Flynn and Luke. And what would Sebastian do then? I stayed rooted in my spot, but I did keep it as an option if things went south.
“I’m really sorry,” she said in a syrupy sweet voice that was sticky as the crap she was feeding me. “And Luke promised to help so I won’t have to kill you.”
, I wanted to say with a fake smile and to jump up and down with clapping hands. Instead, I looked at Luke. “How can you help her?”
“In whatever way I have to, to ensure you’re safe.” His sincerity was honorable. The declaration of his love was clear. But I didn’t trust this girl. She was stunningly beautiful. Her blonde highlighted hair, doe eyes, and natural ruby lips along with a face that rivaled Kathy, the Elven girl that used to go to our school, were hard to ignore. Was I just jealous or insecure?
“You never answered me. What are you?” I asked. My voice still held a hint of my disbelief.
Her face relaxed and she looked at me with all genuineness. “I guess a little like you.”
Did anyone else hear that non-answer?,
I wanted to say. Instead she said, “I really like you better than that Adelina girl.”
Hold the presses. How did she know Adelina? I turned my attention back on Luke. “It happened two years ago,” he said. What he was really saying is that it was long before we’d gotten together; not that I really wanted to hear about him and the evil twin.
“Fine,” I said, looking over at the clock. “It’s late, I have school tomorrow.” Well, we all had school, but I was tired and wanted this girl out of my room.
“Yeah,” she said. “I really should be going too.” She walked back over to Flynn and kissed him. “Later,” she said and strolled out of our room.
Curious, I followed behind her to my door and looked out. I couldn’t believe Flynn would just let her have the run of our house and stroll out the front door. David slept like the dead, but even he would hear the alarm chime in the silence.
When I peeked in the hall, she was nowhere to be found and there’d been no alarm noise. Whirling around, I asked, “Where did she go?”
Flynn’s eyes flicked over to Luke before he said, “She can move like Rat.” This was his second time he called Sebastian that. But that question wasn’t pressing.
“People are trying to kill me and she even told you she was trying to kill me and you bring her home for a sleepover,” I said breaking all kinds of grammar rules. I pointed at the culprit.
The asshat in question smirked. “We weren’t sleeping. And you were never in danger.”
Luke pulled me to his lap when I was about launch myself at Flynn. Luke said, “It’s done. You know how he is.”
“And how’s that?” Flynn retorted.
Raising a hand, Luke said, “It’s late but we need to tell her all of it.”
I stopped squirming and listened to the story of how they met Sara. After hearing it, I could tell that he’d left some parts out. It all sounded so clinical.
“So, let me get this straight. You,” I said pointing at Luke, “found her in the woods after looking for a demon.” He nodded. “She was hurt and you brought her home like a wounded bird.”
Luke almost sounded sorry for her when he said, “You say that like I should have left her to die.” I didn’t respond; at the moment I wished he had. And that was mean.
“Then she stays for a party and demons show up. You,” I pointed to Flynn, “save her from Luke’s angel light.” Flynn nodded, still standing there half naked. I closed my eyes for calm to cleanse myself from his visual. Opening my eyes again, I said, “Then she blinks out when you guys start asking questions.”
Like the dumb ass bobble heads they were, they nodded. I rolled my eyes. “And you guys didn’t think she was the demon?”
“Yeah, I thought about it.” Luke said. Supposedly, we Cambions could feel something when we were in the presence of full demons. I was the odd man out. I felt something around Sebastian, but I hadn’t felt anything around Blondie.
I still couldn’t believe these two. “And you never bothered to ask Sebastian about her?”
Luke said, “That was two years ago. We met her for a day and then she was gone. I thought she was probably dead or something.”
In my head, I said,
Sebastian I need you
. I waited a beat and nothing. He’d been selective lately when answering my call. Luke shifted and pulled out his phone. He’d taken my silence that I had tried reaching out to the demon. Dialing, I waited while his call got nothing either. A computer generated voice barked out that the person we were calling was unavailable and hadn’t set up a voicemail.
“You should get some sleep,” Luke muttered.
Flynn added, “You can’t stay here dude. If Mercy’s mom finds you, we will all be castrated—me, you and my dad too.”
Luke nodded. “I’m leaving in the morning anyway.” And to me he said, “I’ll see you later.” He kissed me hard, pulled me underneath him and I giggled.
“Look, I’m all for watching, but Mercy needs her rest,” Flynn said, sounding pensive.
Luke took his time pulling away from me. “I love you.”
“I love you too.”
“I’ll be down the hall if you need me,” Luke said moving towards the window instead of the hall. Confused, I watched until he pulled it closed and locked it. Winking at me, he left before Flynn.
I looked up because my door hadn’t closed. “You’re welcome,” Flynn said. Then he stepped out of my room and pulled the door shut in his wake. What should I be thanking him for?