And the third reason was that it suggested permanence. Blue had acquaintances at school, people she liked. But they weren’t forever. While she was friendly with a lot of them, there was no one that she wanted to commit to for a lifetime. And she knew this was her fault. She’d never been any good at having casual friends. For Blue, there was family — which had never been about blood relation at 300 Fox Way — and then there was everyone else.

When the boys came to her house, they stopped being everyone else.


Currently, both Adam and Gansey were situated in the narrow bowels of the house. It was a wide open, promising sort of sunny day; it invaded through every window. Without any particular discussion, Gansey and Blue had come to the decision that today was a day for exploring, once Ronan arrived.

Gansey sat the kitchen table in an aggressively green polo shirt. By his left hand was a glass bottle of a fancy coffee beverage he had brought with him. By his right hand was one of Maura’s healing teas. For several months now, Blue’s mother had been working on a line of healthful teas to augment their income. Blue had learned early on that healthful was not a synonym for delicious, and had very vocally removed herself from the test group.

Gansey didn’t know any better, so he accepted what he was given.

“I don’t think I can wait any longer. But I would like to minimize the risk,” he said as Blue rummaged in the fridge. Someone had filled an entire shelf with disgusting store-brand pudding. “I don’t think we can ever make it completely safe, but surely there is a way to be more cautious.”

For a moment Blue thought he was talking about the process of drinking one of Maura’s teas. Then she realized he was talking about Cabeswater. Blue loved it in a way that was hard to hold inside herself. She’d always loved the big beech tree in their backyard and the oaks that lined Fox Way, and forests in general, but nothing had prepared her for Cabeswater’s trees. Ancient and twisted and sentient. And — they’d known her name.

It felt an awful lot like a hint of something more.

Maura watched Gansey carefully. Blue suspected this was not because of anything Gansey was saying but because she was waiting for him to take a drink of whatever horrid potion she had steeping in that cup in front of him.

“I know what you’re going to say,” Blue said, settling on a yogurt. It had fruit on the bottom, but she’d eat around it. She threw herself into a chair at the table. “You’re going to say, ‘Well, then, don’t take Blue with you.’ ”

Her mother flipped a hand like, If you knew, why’d you ask?

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Gansey said, “What? Oh, because Blue makes things louder?”

Crossly, Blue realized that Gansey had now called her Jane so often that it felt strange to hear him say her real name.

“Yes,” Maura replied. “But I actually wasn’t going to say that, even though it’s true. I was going to say that this place must have rules. Everything involved in energy and spirit has rules — we just don’t always know them. So it looks unpredictable to us. But it’s really just because we’re idiots. Are you sure you want to go back?”

Gansey took a drink of his healing tea. Maura’s chin jutted as she observed the lump of it heading down his throat. His face remained precisely the same and he said absolutely nothing, but after a moment, he made a gentle fist of his hand and thumped his breastbone.

“What did you say that was good for?” he asked politely. His voice was a little odd until he cleared his throat.

“General wellness,” Maura said. “Also, it’s supposed to manage dreams.”

“My dreams?” he asked.

Maura raised a very knowing eyebrow. “Who else’s would you be managing?”


“Also, it helps with legal matters.”

Gansey had been swallowing as much of his fancy coffee as he could possibly manage without breathing, but he stopped and put the bottle on the table with a clink. “Do I need help with legal matters?”

Maura shrugged. “Ask a psychic.”

“Mom,” Blue said. “Seriously.” To Gansey, she prompted, “Cabeswater.”

“Oh, right. Well, no one else has to go with me,” he said, “But the incontrovertible fact remains that I am looking for a mystical king on a ley line and it is a mystical forest on a ley line. I can’t discount that coincidence. We can look elsewhere, but I think Glendower’s there. And I don’t want to waste time now that the ley line’s awake. I feel like time’s running out.”

“Are you sure you still want to find him?” Maura asked.

Blue already knew this question was irrelevant. Without cutting her gaze over to him, she already knew what she would see. She would see a rich boy dressed like a mannequin and coiffed like a newscaster — but his eyes were like the dreaming pool in Cabeswater. He hid the insatiable wanting well, but now that she’d seen it once, she couldn’t stop seeing it. After all, that was all she could see. But he wouldn’t be able to explain it to Maura.

And he would never really have to explain it to Blue.

It was his something more.

Very formally, he said, “Yes, I do.”

“It could kill you,” Maura said.

Then there was the awkward moment that arrives when two thirds of the people in the room know that the other third is supposed to die in fewer than nine months, and the person who is meant to die is not one of the ones in the know.

“Yes,” Gansey said. “I know. I’ve done it once before. Die, I mean. Do you not like the fruit bits? That’s the best part.” He directed this last statement to Blue, who gave him her mostly empty yogurt cup. He was very clearly done with talking about death.

Maura sighed, giving up, just as Calla stormed into the kitchen. Calla was not angry. She merely stormed whenever possible. She ripped open the fridge and tore a pudding cup from it.

As Calla spun with the hated store-brand pudding in her hand, she shook it at Gansey and thundered, “Just remember that Cabeswater is a video game that everyone in it has been playing for a lot longer than you. They all know where to get the level ups.”

She plowed from the room. Maura followed her.

“Well,” said Gansey.

“Yes,” agreed Blue. After a second, she pushed back her chair to follow Maura, but Gansey stretched a hand out.

“Wait,” he said in a low voice.

“Wait what?”

With a glance out toward the hall and reading room, he said, “Um, Adam.”

Instantly, Blue thought of Adam losing his temper. Her cheeks warmed. “What about him?”

Gansey rubbed a thumb over his lower lip. It was a pensive habit, performed so frequently that it was surprising he had anything left to cover his bottom teeth. “Have you told him about that no-kissing curse thing?”

If Blue had thought her cheeks were warm before, it was nothing compared to the blaze raging in them now. “You didn’t tell him, did you?”

He looked delicately aggrieved. “You told me not to!”

“Well, no. I haven’t.”

“Don’t you think you should?”

The kitchen didn’t seem very private, and they’d both unconsciously leaned as close as possible to keep their voices from carrying. Blue hissed, “It’s all very under control. I don’t really want to be discussing this with you, of all people!”

“ ‘Of all people’!” Gansey echoed. “What sort of all people am I?”

She had no idea, now. Flustered, she replied, “You’re not my — my — grandmother, or something.”

“You’d talk about this with your grandmother? I cannot possibly imagine discussing my dating life with mine. She’s a lovely woman, I suppose. If you like them bald and racist.” He glanced around the kitchen, as if he were looking for someone. “Where is yours, anyway? Isn’t every female relative of yours in this house somewhere?”

Blue whispered furiously, “Don’t be un — un —”

“Couth? Uncouth?”

“Disrespectful! My grandmothers are both dead.”

“Well, Jesus. What did they die of?”

“Mom always said ‘meddling.’”

Gansey completely forgot they were being secretive and let out a tremendous laugh. It was a powerful thing, that laugh. He only did it once, but his eyes remained shaped like it.

Something inside her did a complicated tug.

Oh no! she thought. But then she calmed herself. Richard C. Gansey III has a nice mouth. Now I know he has nice eyes when he laughs, too. This still isn’t love.

She also thought: Adam. Remember Adam.

“It makes sense that there’s a family history for your condition,” he said. “Do you eat all of the men in the family? Where do they go? Does this house have a basement?”

Blue shoved out her chair and stood up. “It’s like boot camp. They can’t hack it. Poor things.”

“Poor me,” he said.

“Yup! Wait here.” She was a little relieved to leave him at the table; her pulse felt like she’d been running. She found Maura and Calla still in the hall, conferring in low voices. She told her mother, “Look. We’re definitely all going to Cabeswater. This afternoon, when Ronan’s done. That’s the plan. We’re sticking to the plan.”

Maura appeared a lot less distressed by this statement than Blue had feared. In fact, she didn’t look very distressed at all.

“Why are you telling me?” Maura asked. “Why is your face so red?”

“Because you’re my mother. Because you’re an authority figure. Because you’re supposed to inform people of your travel plans when you’re hiking on dangerous trails. This is what my face always looks like.”

“Hm,” said Maura.

“Hm,” said Calla.

Suspiciously, Blue asked, “You’re not going to tell me not to go?”

“Not this time.”

“No point,” Calla agreed.

“Also, there’s a scrying bowl in the attic,” Blue said.

Her mother peered into the reading room. “No, there’s not.”

Blue insisted, “Someone’s been using it.”

“No, they haven’t.”

With an edge to her voice, Blue said, “You can’t just say it’s not there and no one’s using it. Because I’m not an infant and I use my own eyes and brain all the time.”

“What do you want me to tell you, then?” Maura asked.

“The truth. I just told you the truth.”

“She did!” Gansey called from the kitchen.

“Shut up!” Blue and Calla said at once.

Maura lifted a hand. “Fine. I used it.”

“For what?”

Calla said, “To look for Butternut.”

My father! Blue probably shouldn’t have been surprised — Neeve had been asked there to look for her father, and although Neeve was gone, the mystery of her father’s whereabouts remained. “I thought you said scrying was a bad idea.”

“It’s like vodka,” Calla said. “It really depends on who’s doing it.” With her spoon poised over her pudding cup, she peered into the other room, just as Maura had.

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