“We can’t go anywhere.” She shakes her head and shuffles back until the backs of her legs bump into the bed. “The Fey will make us suffer if we try.”
“Jocelyn, no one’s going to hurt you anymore,” Alex says. “We’re taking you home.”
She laughs and then spins in a circle with her arms out to the side. “You think you can escape here? We’re trapped. Forever.”
Great. She’s crazy.
“What about my Foreseer power?” I ask, reaching out to touch her, but fear of rejection forces me to pull back. “Can it get us out of here?”
“We don’t have a crystal,” Alex points out. “We need to find water.”
My mom stops spinning in circles and chews on a strand of her hair as she assesses me, tapping her foot on the floor. “She might not need one if she’s entirely like her father, but if that’s also the case, she’s doomed.”
“Doomed for what?” I ask in horror. “What else could I possibly be doomed for?"
She lets go of the strand of her hair and strides forward, placing her hands on my shoulders. “Evil.” Her smile radiates her insanity.
“I-I’m not evil,” I stutter, though a voice inside my head laughs at me. I don’t know what to say or do. She isn’t the person I’ve seen in the visions. She’s cruel, insane and derisive. “And I’m going to show you right now by getting us out of here, which is a good thing.”
She only laughs, moving away, but she doesn’t argue when I take her hand. “Well, you can try,” she says. “I’m not going to stop you.”
“Okay,” I say determinedly, yet I falter when I realize I only have a vague idea of how to do it. “Now how do I do it? Channel the energy without the crystal and get us to present time.”
“Emotion,” she says simply. “Your father used to do it all the time by getting really angry.” Her gaze skims to Alex. “Or when I would tell him that I love him.”
I shift uneasily. “Is that it? Just feel a lot of emotion?”
She shrugs. “That and you need to have the ability to look a split second into the future then drop yourself into the vision a second behind what you saw, so by the time you make us drop, we’ll have aligned with present time.”
“Huh?” Alex and I say at the same time.
She ruthlessly grins as she swings our arms back and forth between us. “It’ll take a lot of skill. Seeing things quicker than the human eye and placing all of us in the right spot. One false move and we’ll be stuck in either the future or the past. Maybe forever.”
“Sounds pretty simple to me,” I say sarcastically.
She shrugs again, as though she doesn’t care about anything, and it makes me want to bawl my eyes out. “I told you it was hard.” She rubs her hand across her face. “Honestly, we’d be better off here anyways, rotting in our own heads.”
“No fucking way. I’d rather die.” I summon a deep breath. “I’m going to try it.”
“This is a bad idea,” Alex says as I lace my fingers through his and tug him closer. “Using your power like this… it’s too risky and unknown.”
A scream rings through the air and we all flinch, glancing at the door in panic.
“It’s more risky staying down here.” I cup the side of his neck and guide him closer as my mom holds my hand from behind me. “Now kiss me.”
His brows furrow as I lean in and crash my lips against his. I channel every emotion he instills in me as I taste him and let his tongue feel mine. I feel a gentle tug, but it’s not enough. I need something more powerful—something I’ve never felt before.
I pull away and Alex opens his eyes when the high-pitched shrieks of the Fey grow louder as they get closer to the cell.
“I need something more,” I say, my eyes glued to the doorway, my pulse hammering with fear. I bet the Water Fey can sense it. I bet they’re devouring it as they search for us. “I need to feel something new; that’s when it’s most intense.”
Alex rakes his free hand through his hair, leaving his arm on the back of his neck, his elbow bent upward. “What haven’t you felt yet?”
“I don’t know,” I say, ignoring my mother’s laughs of hysteria. “I felt so many already.”
He swallows hard, his hand falling to the side. The screams of the Water Fey quake around the room and the vines are starting to revive, turning back to a healthy shade of green. They’re close and so is the Queen. If I don’t get us out of here, then we’re doomed just like my mom said.
“How about this.” Alex puts a hand on the side of my face and gazes deep into my eyes. His chest rises and falls with his ragged breath and his pulse throbs though his fingertips. “Gemma, I love you.”
I’m not sure if he means it, if they’re just desperate words or not. The idea of love scares the hell out of me, though.
It’s not the reaction I was expecting, but it does the trick. As a new brand of fear emerges in me, one based on something that’s potentially good, but also terrifying, the prickle stabs the back of my neck. The electricity devours my soul, fractures it open, and leaves it vulnerable and exposed. Alex leans forward to kiss me, feeding the sensation even more. The longer we kiss, the more energy develops between us; until I feel like I’m going to erupt like a volcano full of liquid hot magma. Then I let my mind see what it needs to.
I picture myself sitting on the bed in the room at the beach house, the ocean right outside. I let myself see it happen, us dropping right into the place, safely in the middle of the room with the sunlight spilling through the windows and open doors.
Then I jump a second back and drop us into the world, praying to God I’ve got it right.
This isn’t how I pictured my reunion with my mom. Maybe it was a delusional thought process, but I’d imagined more hugs and happy tears. Instead I get insane laughter and looks of disdain as well as loathing.
Things only get worse the second I drop us down into the bedroom of the beach house. I land on my ass on the bed and Alex lands across from me still holding my hand.
“Where’s my mom,” I say, uncrossing my legs and pushing to my feet. I spring off the bed, the ashes of the curtains still scattered all over the comforter and floor, and spot her lifelessly laying just to the side of a large metal trunk. I drop down on my knees beside her. Her eyes are sealed shut, her skin lined with veins that contrast with her pale skin. She’s breathing, but barely.
“No… no… no… no…” I shake my head in denial. She looks like she’s sleeping, even when I lift her head up and place it on my lap.
Alex crouches down beside me and for a second he just looks at me. I wonder if he’s thinking about how he said he loved me. Did he mean it? Why did he do it?
“Is she going to be okay?” I ask him, forcing him to focus on the bigger problem.
Alex picks up my mom’s arm, presses two fingers to her wrist, and then relief washes over his face. “She’s alive.” He sets her arm down over her stomach. “I don’t know what’s wrong with her, though.” He rests his arms on his knees, leaning back on his heels as he glances at the open French doors, the sunlight filtering in.
“Are we even in present time?” he wonders, assessing the room. “Everything looks the same as when we left.”
I point over my shoulder at the empty bed. “Except the Ira is gone.” I straighten my knees and stand up. “There’s one way to find out for sure, though… Aislin! Laylen! Can you come in here?”
A few moments later, Aislin and Laylen come running into the bedroom. They screech to a halt when they spot my mom on the floor with Alex and I beside her.
“What happened?” Aislin asks, working to catch her breath as she presses her hand to her heart.
“You can see us?” I ask them and they both nod, looking baffled.
“Good.” I sink down to the floor and breathe in relief. “That means I did it.”
“We’re in the present?” Alex asks hopefully as he straightens his legs and stands to his feet.
I nod, letting a small smile seep through. “Yeah, we made it.”
It’s the first time I’m thankful for my unique Foreseer ability. Without it, we’d probably still be imprisoned, if not crazy or dead. Alex and Laylen move my unconscious mother to the bed where I cover her up with a blanket and shut the French doors. The four of us quietly sneak out of the room, letting her sleep, hoping she’ll wake up and tell us something that will make all this trouble worth it.
In the warped, concealed part of me, I don’t want her to wake up. The woman I saw in the visions and memories, the kind and enduring person, doesn’t seem to exist in her anymore. It saddens me to the point that I feel like sobbing my heart out. But these thoughts I keep to myself, because I know how wrong they are.
We go into the small kitchen and Aislin makes us coffee while Alex and I fill the two of them in on what happened. All the curtains are shut, blocking out the beach right outside, although I can still hear the ocean crashing against the shore as it carries pieces of sand away.
“So all the Water Faeries just passed out?” Aislin asks, lowering into a chair next to Laylen. “And the Queen?”
I take a gulp of my coffee, the heat of it simmering the inside of my throat, but in a good way. "Yeah, one minute she was trying to torture my soul with that diamond we took down there, and the next moment her and all her Fey were on the ground.”
“Was it because they were trying to do something to your…soul?” Aislin asks and then hurries and takes a gulp of her coffee, then leaves the mug in front of her mouth to conceal her expression.
“I don’t know what happened exactly.” I add some milk to my coffee and stir it with a spoon. “It could have been my locket or maybe it was my soul.”
“I don’t think it was either, honestly,” Alex interrupts, pulling a chair out and sitting down beside me. “Now that I think about it, I’m guessing that it was from the overload of fear you shot at them.”
“What overload of fear?” I wonder, but I can clearly remember how I felt about everything I saw and how it scared the shit out of me; more than even the Death Walkers.
He chooses his next words carefully as he picks up his coffee pot and pours some coffee into a mug. “I think because your emotions are so new, they sometimes come off a little…. strong. Maybe a little too strong for the Fey.”
“Strong,” I say, scowling at him, insulted. “You say that like it’s a bad thing, yet it’s what saved us back in the cell…” I clear my throat and quickly fill my mouth with coffee before I can bring up any more uncomfortable subjects.
He smashes his lips together, his gaze boring into me. “Yeah… it did.” He gives a long pause, like he’s expecting me to say something. But what? That I love him. Is that what he wants? Because I can’t give it to him at the moment. Not when I haven’t felt it yet. They’d just be empty words associated with the fractured part of my soul.