Wow. Boy Scout. I hadn’t pictured her brother as someone who’d get into that kind of stuff. “So you went camping but you didn’t like it?”

“Exactly.” She paused. “You’re right. It’s not all going to fit, but you don’t need all this underwear.”

Was she nuts? One week gone meant nine pairs—just in case I wanted to freshen up at night. And that was shorting myself a few pairs. I wasn’t going around dirty. “No. I need these.”

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“This may sound gross, but if you’re at a hotel, wash ‘em in the sink. And if not, wear each pair twice. Once inside-out.” My face must’ve shown my disgust with her proposition. “Trust me. You don’t want to carry more than you have to. Every ounce counts.”

I nearly laughed at how ridiculous this was. Even when it came to something as simple as packing, my cousin was so much better than I was. I’d feel more confident if she were going with me. “Are you sure you don’t want to go, too?”

“No way. I got cornered into staying at the compound, but there’s no way in hell I’m leaving St. Ailbe’s again. I feel safer when I’m here. Even if we’re constantly on watch, I have my pack. And there’s no way I’m going anywhere without Dastien. Not only would he flip, but I don’t want to be without him. He’s my safety blanket, and after what happened, I need him.” I’d been so caught up in everything that had happened, I kept forgetting to check how Teresa was faring. When she was around Dastien, she seemed fine. Strong. But then times like this, she looked so fragile. Like if I breathed on her too hard, she might break.

Guilt weighed me down. Luciana had used some really dark magic to strip Teresa of her powers. She’d drawn Teresa’s magic into little jars, using the energy to fuel her spells, and summoning demons from the underworld. I couldn’t help but feel responsible. I’d needed her help, so I’d manipulated her to get her back on coven land any way I could.

I’d told Luciana about the planned Full Moon Ceremony.

It was my fault she and Dastien weren’t fully bonded. My fault her powers had gotten stripped. My fault she didn’t feel safe anymore.

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I hadn’t intended for her to get hurt. I thought I had it under control. I thought I was looking out for her, but I’d never thought Luciana would go so far.

But I’d been wrong. And Teresa had paid the price. “You shouldn’t second guess yourself.”

“I could’ve done a lot of things differently, but I was so focused on taking Luciana down, that I didn’t stop to think everything through like I should’ve.” She grabbed a shirt, and started rolling it. “Anyway, even with all this baggage, I thought about going with you, but right before I went to bed last night, I had a little premonition. Vision. Whatever.” She huffed. “I guess talking to you about being blocked loosened something. I was laying there with Dastien, thinking about everything, and… Well, it was a little one, but it was just enough to show me that if I go to Peru, bad things happen. It has to be you.” She grinned and I was suddenly scared. That grin meant nothing but trouble. “Plus, I have a feeling you’re going to meet someone there.”

She had to be joking. “Please. I’ll be too busy trying to find some possibly non-existent mages—who might have the answer to saving my brother and defeating whatever Luciana conjures next—to breath, let alone time enough to flirt with anyone.” The idea was ludicrous. “Trust me. Romance isn’t anywhere on my radar.” Especially when I was wearing my underwear twice.

“Are you saying that because of the douchebag?”

“No.” That hadn’t even entered my mind. Even after talking to him last night. “Honestly, there’s only so much room in my brain. All I can focus on right now is finding the mages and getting back here as quickly as possible.” Sure, I wanted what Teresa and Dastien had, but that was a useless daydream right now.

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One day, it’d be my turn. But I had a lot to accomplish before then.

“I still say keep your eyes open. You never know what you might find.”

“Maybe,” I said to appease her and end this pointless conversation.

Another knock came at the door. “Can I join you?” Cosette said as she peeked around the doorframe. Her aura shone so bright I could almost see her pearly sparkle through the wall. “I need something to do.”

I wished that lending me some of all that power was considered ‘something to do,’ but I couldn’t waste time wishing for the impossible. Cosette had her own problems and as tempting as it was, I shouldn’t expect her to put everything aside to fix mine. “Have a seat,” I said.

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