Stay (Page 26)

“He’s hurt that I didn’t confide in him, but he’ll come around.”

“You did all of that for me.” She’d fill in the blanks, speaking was so hard. I needed a short nap.

“I’d do anything for you, or Vera. For both of you.”

“I love you.”

“I love you too.”

***

“How long ago did this happen?” An unfamiliar voice asked. “How long has she been like this?”

“It’s only been a few days, but I wasn’t with her. Is it that bad?” Mom asked.

I gave myself another moment to wake up before forcing my eyes open and moving to sitting. Mom immediately sat at my side to steady me. “Take it easy.”

“I’m fine.” I wasn’t fine, but I wasn’t going to admit weakness in front of people I didn’t know. From what I’d seen, showing any weakness in The Society was dangerous.

“Who did this?” a woman wearing a long purple dress asked. “Who did this to you?”

“I don’t know. It was all dark and shadowy. There was smoke and chanting.”

“It’s quadrious witchcraft.” She looked at Gareth when she spoke. “It’s going to take some work, but we may be able to fix it.”

“What did they do to her? Why is she so weak?” Mom asked.

“It’s not the weakness that worries me.” She spoke softly.

“What do you mean?” Mom’s voice lilted. “What aren’t you saying?”

“Perhaps we should speak outside?” the woman suggested.

“No!” I shot up to my feet. “Anything you have to say you can say in front of me.”

The woman shook her head. “I’m not sure I should.”

“Just say it. I will assess the news and determine a course of action.” Gareth definitely liked to take charge.

The woman sighed. “There’s something here. Some influence. I believe whoever used the magic wanted to have control.”

“Control?” The world started spinning. “Control of me?”

“Yes.” The woman folded her hands in her lap. “I believe so far you’ve been able to fight her influence off. That says a lot about your strength.” She smiled slightly. “But I assume the effort is why you are so exhausted.”

“But I haven’t been trying to fight it off. I haven’t been trying to do anything.”

“Your subconscious has been. You’ve been fighting it this whole time.”

Mom took my hand. “What do we do? How can you get rid of it?”

“It’s going to all come down to her.”

“What do you mean?” I sat back down. “I have to do it myself?”

“Not alone, but you’re the one who has to take charge.”

“So if I can’t fight this off, there’s nothing anyone can do?”

“You can fight it.” Mom sat back down next to me. “You can do this. We can do it together.”

“What if she’s messing with me now? What if these aren’t my thoughts?”

No one said anything, and the silence terrified me. Finally the woman spoke. “You are in control. You are fighting it. You need to reach to the place that makes you feel strong.”

I closed my eyes, that place was the sky. That place was flying.

“We should get Toby.” Mom spoke the words I wanted to say but was afraid to utter.

“Toby?” Gareth asked. “Who is that?”

“Her boyfriend. He’s a Pteron. Of the Blackwell line.”

“Boyfriend?” Gareth looked at me. “Do you intend to be his mate?”

“I don’t know. I don’t even really understand what this whole mate thing is.”

“That doesn’t matter now.” Mom shook her head. “What matters is that he calms her. He’ll be able to help.”

“Is he nearby?” Gareth asked. It seemed like he wasn’t going to argue.

“On the other side of the lake. My guess is he’s still waiting.”

“Go get the Pteron,” Gareth ordered one of his men. “Bring him immediately.”

“Yes, sir.” One of the men from earlier hurried off.

“We need to rid her of the magic so we can perform the ceremony.”

“The ceremony?” I asked. “What kind of ceremony?”

“I already told you you’re my child, but I need to claim you as my daughter officially and welcome you home.”

“You’ve welcomed me enough already.” The word ceremony didn’t sound good.

“Maybe.” He smiled. “But we haven’t welcomed your boyfriend yet.”

Chapter Sixteen

Jared

I shouldn’t have been happy that Vera was with me. She was only going to slow me down. She did understand bears a hell of a lot more than I did because she was one, but she might also be sentimental. I was going to strike first and ask questions later. I hoped she felt the same way.

Landing right on the island would have only tipped the enemy off, so I told the pilot to land about a twenty minute flight away. Hopefully Vera would be up for a second flight.

“I could get used to traveling this way.” Vera lounged on one of couches in the private jet.

“Yeah well, I have too much on my mind to enjoy it.”

“That’s not it.” She sat up. “You’re jaded.”

“Jaded?”

“Yeah. You’ve grown up with all this.” She gestured to the plane. “You’re used to it.”

“You do know this isn’t my plane, right?” I wasn’t sure what Vera knew about me, but I assumed by the way she treated me she knew I wasn’t royal.

“Yes, but has the use of it ever been denied to you? Would they have ever made you fly commercial like the rest of us? In coach nonetheless?” She smirked. The girl had a sense of humor.

“I have wings. I wouldn’t settle for coach.” I laughed picturing having to squeeze in between two people on a commercial flight. That wouldn’t go over well. It was hard enough controlling my urge to transform when I flew on a Laurent jet.

“You know what I mean. You’ve probably always had everything.”

“I’ve had all the material things I’ve needed, but haven’t you?” I didn’t know that much about New York, but Long Island wasn’t a bad place to live. Casey had worked a part time job, but that was a more recent change from what I understood.