Stay (Page 33)

I kept walking in the same direction, not sure what else to do. Where was this magic? Where could I find it?

“You’re not innocent,” a male voice said from right behind me.

I whirled around coming face to face with Finn. I said nothing, not as angry at him as I should have been. Hadn’t he hurt me? But then another memory surfaced, a more recent one. “You helped me.”

“You’re not innocent. Once you accept that you’ll find your strength.”

“What do you mean? Innocent how?”

“In everything. You’re not always the victim. You can’t always play the victim.”

“I don’t play the victim.” The anger was back full force. “But you used me.”

“I didn’t use you. I had to leave you.”

“Why?”

“Does the why matter?”

“Yes.”

He shook his head. “No. You love someone else.”

“I gave myself to you.”

“Physically, yes, but is that what’s important right now? Is this what you’re supposed to be doing?”

“No. Leave me alone.”

“I will.” He turned and disappeared into thin air.

I buried my face in my hands. I was losing it entirely.

I moved my hands away, and I was no longer on the street. I was in the woods. It was so dark, dark the way it used to be before I transformed for the first time. Why was my night vision gone? Was I no longer a Pteron?

“You think you’re really a Laurent?” A voice called from above me.

I squinted up to look just as a man jumped down from a tree.

“Levi?”

“Answer me. Do you think you really are?”

I hesitated. What was I supposed to say? “No. Maybe.”

“A Laurent has confidence.” He stepped toward me. “Show me your confidence.”

“I’m trying.”

“Try harder.” He leaned in close. “Try harder.”

“I will.”

“Good.” He disappeared into thin air just like Finn.

I blinked a few times. He was really gone. Find the magic. Find the magic. I needed to focus, but how? How was I supposed to focus when half-brothers were jumping from trees?

I closed my eyes tight, trying to clear my head. I waited a few seconds before opening them again. I was in Toby’s apartment. I heard voices coming from down the hall.

“I’ve waited so long for this.” Toby laughed the way he usually only did with me. Who was he talking to?

“Me too. At least she’s out of the way now.” My chest clenched. I knew that voice well. It couldn’t be though. Toby would never be with Vera.

I was frozen in place, I couldn’t move.

“Go on, go watch.”

I turned around, nearly knocking into Jared. He was shirtless and bleeding in a few spots. “You might as well get it over with.”

“I can’t. I can’t watch that.”

“Why not? Maybe you can join in.” He sneered.

“That’s disgusting.”

“Is it? Is it more disgusting than us sleeping together?”

His words hit me like a punch to the gut. “You still think that? You think it was disgusting?”

“Of course, but that’s okay. We all make mistakes don’t we? We make mistakes and move on. Isn’t that what life’s about? Moving on?”

“Just leave me alone.” I couldn’t worry about Jared. I was supposed to be doing something else. What was it? Oh yeah. I was supposed to be checking on Toby.

I walked down the hall.

“You’re so gorgeous, perfect.” He was on top of her. I couldn’t see her, but I knew it was her. He was admiring my sister, calling her perfect.

“They make a good couple, don’t they? A much better couple than you.” Jared smirked.

“Shut up.”

“Stop living in the past.”

Toby turned. “What are you doing here?”

“I… I came to see you.”

“Why? Why would I want you here?”

“Toby…. I thought.”

“You thought what?” He didn’t move off of her, he just watched me.

“I thought you loved me.”

He smiled. “Oh, Casey. Casey. Why would you think that?”

Jared laughed from next to me. “She’s so gullible isn’t she?”

“You do love me. I know that. It’s her. She’s the one manipulating you.”

“Me?” Vera said in a sugary sweet voice. “Would I ever do that?”

I started sweating again. “Yes. He doesn’t want to be with you. You’re controlling him.”

“Casey?” Toby’s voice came from next to me. “I’ve been searching for you everywhere.”

“Wait…” I looked at Toby standing there clothed. I turned back to the bed. The other version of Toby was still there on top of Vera. But was it Vera? I squeezed Toby’s hand. The real Toby. He had to be the real one.

“That isn’t me.”

I nodded. “I know.”

“Do you know?” a voice asked from behind me. “Do you know which one is the real Toby?”

I turned around. “Tiffany? What are you doing here?”

“I was worried about you. I told you I’d visit.”

“I’m sorry you got pulled into all of this. It’s all my fault.” I’d never really apologized for it. That was what I was supposed to be doing. Apologizing. There. I finally remembered.

“That’s ok. It’s not your fault. You’re innocent in all this. You’re the victim.”

Finn’s words flashed through my head. Hadn’t he just said I wasn’t the victim? “No. I’m not the victim.”

“Really? Are you sure about that?”

I thought about what Levi had said. About confidence. “I am sure. I’m not a victim.”

“Yes you are. You’ve always been the victim. Everyone in your life hid things from you.”

“That’s in the past.” I squeezed Toby’s hand. The real Toby. “Everything is in the past. Life is about moving on.”

“So are you just going to move on now? Move on from watching the love of your life with your sister?”

“No. That’s not Toby. I’m sure of it.”

“This is Toby? You’re sure.” She pointed at the Toby holding my hand.

“Yes.”

“Oh. Let’s find out for sure.” She stepped toward him and every alarm in my body went off. I moved to transform, but my wings didn’t work. I looked down. I was back in the straight jacket. If I couldn’t get my wings out there was nothing I could do.