I wished I had that confidence. “Sometimes I don’t even know if she likes me.”
“Claudia.” Cosette dropped the curl she’d been playing with her. “Everyone likes you.”
I tried to roll up the pants, failed, and tried again. “That’s in no way true. Plenty of people don’t like me.”
“Name one person.”
“One person.” Cosette flopped down on the bed, somehow making the movement elegant as she propped her head on her hands. “Not one comically jealous witch. She just wants Matt and honestly, you should ship him back to her already. You’re too good for both of them.”
I’d been trying to do just that. Hopefully last night would get the message through and he wouldn’t try to contact me again. “I did my best. I was probably ruder than I should’ve been.” I flattened out a shirt and started rolling. “Teresa has a feeling I’m going to meet someone in Peru. How absurd is that? I’m trying to save my brother’s life, not date.”
“She might be onto something.” Her aura glittered to the point that I thought some fey magic was starting to work, but it settled too fast to follow. Maybe that was just Cosette being Cosette. “I know I haven’t been able to admit to much, but I always told you I had a form of Sight. You witches just assume that means seeing the future.”
Didn’t it? “What do you see about me?”
Cosette stared at me until I had to swallow down nerves. Maybe it was better not to know.
“The red string of fate. You’ll find your destined person…” Cosette’s voice dropped, turning more serious than I’d ever heard it. I wanted to hope, but I knew the bad news was coming. “But I’m worried about your oath to Luciana. That tie could strangle you if you’re not careful.”
I couldn’t get excited about a destined person when I was so worried about keeping myself and the people I cared about alive. “I’ll figure out how to break it. It will be easier in Peru.” And I said a quick prayer that I wasn’t just trying to convince myself.
“I… Ugh.” Cosette wrinkled her nose and said something in a language I’d never heard before. The words were beautifully fluid, but I could tell she was cursing. That much was universal. “I want to help. I really want to. I can’t make any promises without binding myself, but I’ll try. I don’t want to see you getting hurt.”
“I wouldn’t want you getting yourself in trouble.” Even though I was terrified of what might happen, I’d made the oath. I’d known the road I was heading down and the consequences were mine to bear.
“That’s why I’m offering. It’s easy enough to ask the little folk to watch over you, but be careful if you ask them for favors. If they follow the old ways, they’ll try to take you for whatever they can get.”
“Claudia.” Cosette held up a hand. “Chill with the human manners. If you’re asking for something, bargain hard and make sure you know exactly what you’re agreeing to. Never imply that you owe anything.”
“Got it.” I nodded, grateful even if she wouldn’t let me say it.
“Good. Although depending how things play out these next few days, maybe I’ll come running after you.” She let out a sigh that sounded like a spring breeze. “Getting mixed up with the wolves is changing everything for both of us.”
That was an understatement. I’d hardly left home before and suddenly I was flying off to a foreign country, trusting the wolves to keep me safe, while I searched for ancient magic…
I said another prayer, hoping I had the strength to do this. Raphael’s life depended on it.
Cosette might be worried I’d make an unfair bargain, but I was very close to being desperate. If it came to it, I was willing to give up anything that could save my brother. To save what was left of my coven and the wolves.
If I failed, Luciana’s black magic would spread through all our supernatural worlds. Not even normal humans would be safe if demons came into being.
I’d do anything to stop that from happening.
That night I couldn’t sleep at all. Call it nerves or fear—from the effects of the oath or the upcoming trip or the fact that I was sitting beside my still unconscious brother. Or all of the above. I just couldn’t relax enough to make myself actually sleep. I’d said all my goodbyes at dinner, and the morning would be just Muraco and me. I’d start this journey on my own—the same way I’d finish it.