Normal seniors worry about if they will get rejected from their dream school, what they are going to wear to their last prom, or if it’s possible to stay close with the friends they grew up with after high school.
Instinctively I stepped back, my mouth open but no words came out. Michael studied my face, his eyes carrying both sympathy and fear.
“See, this is why I wanted you to just drop it…” He paused, his frustration leading him to pace.
He walked back over, leaving a few inches between us.
“I know I should have said something before now…before he came back. But I finally got the courage to say something at your birthday and then…”
“You found out Liam was back,” I said.
“Yeah,” Michael said. “Something like that.”
“But why does that mean we can’t still hang out like before? We were always able to…even while Liam and I were together.”
My eyes dropped to the ground, matching the defeat in my shoulders. My mind swam within the real memory I had repressed of Michael trying to kiss me on the day of my father’s funeral. But the repressed memory for me was merely feelings lingering beneath the surface for Michael. And it seemed that now that Liam had returned, those feelings had broken free.
Shit, I thought, unable to convey any other words. I began to open my mouth but stopped, knowing that any plea would feel selfish. Of course, that didn’t mean Michael didn’t feel the disappointment of my silence.
“I just can’t right now, Emma. Being around you reminds me of what I can never have. So for now, I just need some distance. And if you care for me at all—”
“You know that I do,” I interrupted.
“Then you’ll give me that.” His voice was barely a whisper. “Please.”
“Okay,” I said with a small nod.
I didn’t hesitate to make my exit, not even stopping to turn back with a smile or goodbye wave. He needed distance from me in order to accept that he and I would never be an option. If the tables had been turned, I would probably make the same request.
As I walked toward my car, I contemplated the timing of it all. I let out a sardonic chuckle. Maybe it was good. And perhaps considering the looming threat surrounding me, it was a space I needed to keep for myself too.
Bound Series Book 2
Within seconds we were on highway 264, heading toward the Alexander mansion—or Goose Creek Park to those unaware of the Alexander’s true residence.
“Now are you going to tell me why we had to fake an illness to escape me from school grounds?” I looked down at our hands with a gulp before finding the courage to look back at up him.
“Time is of the essence,” Liam said.
With my stubbornness beginning to surface, Liam looked at me with prideful satisfaction while the same hesitation I had seen in the school hallway lingered within his eyes. I was going to have to drag it out of him. It would have been convenient to have Sean’s ability right now.
“Liam…” I paused with a frustrated sigh to his silence as he looked back out the windshield. “What is so bad that you had to ask me to leave school? Your face doesn’t exactly look as if you got the urge to head out on vacation.”
“Would you go with me if I asked?”
Liam turned his neck to gaze at me with eyes so bright they almost frightened me. How could someone look so hopeful and saddened at the same time?
“Anywhere. Anytime,” I said.
“Maybe when I…”
He stopped himself with his words, gripping his knuckles tightly on the steering wheel.
“Maybe when you what?” I closed my eyes as I spoke his name aloud as if it were a password. “Liam…” They opened back to gaze upon his dirty blonde hair. “Please just tell me. What’s wrong?”
I sat in silence shifting my eyes around his face as if they were a plane and I was trying to find a safe place to land. I waited in continued silence as I caught sight of the road that lead to the Alexander Mansion. Just when the white of the mansion peeked through the trees Liam finally spoke without looking at me.
I ignored my desire to be angry with his silence up to this point.
He was ready to tell, so I was ready to listen.
Liam pulled swiftly into the curved drive before putting it in park and turning his body completely to face me. He closed his eyes with a sigh for only a second’s composure before opening them with an exhale. My heart beat faster, afraid of his next words.
“Sean didn’t come back from his watch this morning.”
At the sound of Sean’s name I grabbed instinctively at the door handle for support. My stomach barrel rolled with a fear, and a shiver ran up my spine, leaving me dizzy. Liam’s hand moved to gently hold my face level with his own, forcing me to concentrate on him. My eyes desperately wanted to shift down in panic as I thought about Sean’s fate, but the emerald glow of Liam’s eyes were enough to hold me. Unfortunately, they couldn’t stop the dark thoughts from circling my mind. Where is he? Was he distracted from last night? This is my fault.
“Oh God, that was something important when Grace called. Was that when they knew…and we waited the whole period…what do we–”
The last time I had been this jumbled was when I had discovered Sean was immortal. Each thought ran wildly in every direction, spreading panic in its path. I felt my deep breaths become shorter upon each inhale.
Liam’s gentle tone brought my focus back enough to voice my fears.
“He’s missing?” I said.
“Yes,” Liam said.
I could feel the sweat glisten my palms as my heart beat even faster. I slowly reached my right hand up to lay on top of Liam’s left as my lips pulled together.
“But he’s not de—”
I breathed out a small sigh of relief at his interruption. I dropped my hands into my lap, grateful because I didn’t think I could have even finished the last word of my question.
“Come on,” Liam said.
He dropped his hands from my face and reached for the door handle. I quickly followed him out of the car, meeting at the end of his car’s hood. We held onto each other’s hands as we ran–at my pace–up the curved porch stairs. Despite my lack of concentration to each step, I was impressed that I hadn’t tripped.
Once reaching the porch we slowed, not stopping as Patrick opened the door, ushering us inside. Once in the living room, my eyes bounced from left to right, shocked to see every member of the Alexander clan. Well, everyone except my brother.
Liam and I dropped hands as I gazed at the right side of the room to see Grace next to William. She was talking on the phone to someone while William looked at a map. Liam began heading in their direction. I followed him on auto-pilot, my mind still processing the situation. As I got closer, I could hear Grace.
“Yes, Kallie. The scent goes north before dropping off completely.”
As Grace listened to Kallie’s reply on the other end, I gazed up to see her withdrawn cheeks and brightened sapphire eyes. Grace looked back at me for only a few seconds before looking back at the map.
“I understand,” Grace said.
She stood listening to Kallie before letting her eyes close for only a second’s need of composure.
“Thank you,” Grace said before ending the call with her thumb, and placing the cell phone into her pocket.
Whatever Kallie had said it must have been about Sean. My stomach tensed as I watched Grace lower her finger to the map.
“Liam, you head south while Will and I head past the northern border,” Grace said.
There were so many things happening it was hard to know what to ask first.
“You’re going?” I said.
I turned my head to meet Liam’s already waiting eyes. They weren’t the only pair that gazed back at me.
“There’s a better chance of finding him if the three of us go,” Liam said.
I nodded with my small exhale. The voice in my mind told me to shut up. It wasn’t my business to question how immortals tracked. I guess it was just human nature to worry about those you love. I was torn between the uneasiness of Liam leaving and the gratefulness of his selfless search to find my brother.
“You’re right,” I said choosing the latter.
If only I had the gift to see into Sean’s thoughts the way he had read mine after Henry had taken me. I could end this search immediately and send them to get him. But I couldn’t. I could do nothing.
I sighed, focusing my eyes on the ground before they suddenly froze in place with a new thought. No, I couldn’t peek within Sean’s mind but he could always hear what was in mine. Sean. If you’re still alive—god I didn’t mean that—I just mean if you are hearing me now then I want you to know one thing. They’re going to find you. They are going to bring you back to me so that I can see you one last time. And once I see you are okay, I promise I will give you your wish and let you move on with your new life. I promise, big brother. I love you.
Jennifer has studied Creative Writing and Literature and lives in Nashville, Tennessee. To find out more about her and her novels you can visit www.jenniferdean.net.