Authors: Kathleen Rovner
Rory told her quietly that everyone was excited about what she could do, even though no one knew exactly what that was yet. New talents were rare. There was only one other person out there that could do anything like what she could, but he belonged to another Tribe. The Fey loved collecting new talents into their bloodlines.
Fey called their secret little colonies Tribes. Apparently there were several Tribes around the world like this island, though sometimes they were in mountains or other places. They all did things a little differently but also had a world council or something. It was a little confusing, but she would learn more at the other school.
“I don’t know about this,” she stretched up to whisper in his ear. “I shouldn’t have pushed to leave the house yet. My dad was right. He thought I should stay at home and rest a few more days before going out. I was just bored.”
“They’re a little curious about you. We’ll get the coffee and go, like we planned. No one will bother you with me around.” He smiled at her.
Rory pulled her against his side as they entered. Several boys from his class were sitting at a table with Melissande. The girl’s dark eyes narrowed to small slits as she stared at them, two bright red dots on her cheeks. The boys grinned at Rory, and one of them gave him a thumbs up sign.
This place was crazier than ever.
Julie wished she understood more of what was going on. She was still missing something. They all seemed afraid to upset her. But why? What else could there be? Maybe she could think straight if she wasn’t so tired. They would wait until she had fully recovered before figuring out what she could do or start her training.
He led her along to the counter and ordered for them. The woman behind the counter nodded to Julie but seemed a bit distant compared to how she used to be. There was no smile or small talk as she made her normal drink.
“I think I need to go back home.”
Rory frowned and tipped her head up to look into her eyes. He was completely oblivious to the way it must look to everyone else in the shop. It looked as if he was inspecting her, like she was a prized dog. Her cheeks warmed.
“Yes, I think you’re right,” he said as if he was the one to make the decision.
Julie sighed as he let go of her to collect their coffees. Her chin tingled where his fingers had been. Was this what love felt like? She wasn’t so sure. Her parents seemed different.
Sometimes it felt as if she belonged to him and not that they were together. If he didn’t grow out of this, it may get annoying.
She took the warm cup from him. The coffee’s heat spread to her fingertips pleasantly, but it was nothing compared to warmth she felt from Rory’s light touch on her elbow. She shivered. He had barely kissed her in the last few days once he realized it made her so tired. The thought of it, though, was enough to bring another type of blush to her cheeks. She put her head down to hide her face. The things he made her feel were incredible and indescribable.
She was being a bit harsh. He was being a little overprotective because she was still sick. Now that they were on equal footing, everything would change.
The bell over the door rang as two other people entered. Through a veil of hair, Julie saw eyes flit to the front and away from her. Where her entrance made everyone quiet, she heard mumbling all around from whoever this was.
She was happy that they took the attention off her. She kept her head down, trying to concentrate on walking. She was getting tired and couldn’t help but lean on Rory more. He sensed this and tightened his grip on her arm.
Two feet stopped in front of her blocking her way. She looked up from the black polished shoes, the black pants, and the black t–shirt into a face she didn’t recognize.
Two piercing blue eyes caught her attention. His face glowed in a wide smile, and Julie was compelled to reach out and touch his cheek, even though she stood with Rory.
“Julie,” the stranger said. “I have been looking for you everywhere. What are you doing up? I heard about the accident and came as soon as I could. Ike,” he indicated the other man, “and I wrapped up a few things to get out here fast. I didn’t think you’d get into trouble out here, or I wouldn’t have let you go.”
She heard the mumbling around the coffee shop increase as his words carried across the room. “I’m sorry…have we met?”
His smile turned into a smirk. His eyes flitted to Rory, dismissing him after a quick glance. She felt Rory’s hand slip around her waist.
“Sorry, I forgot. I think about you so much I forgot you don’t remember me at all.” He put his hand out to shake hers. “I’m Lucus Black. You can call me Luke.”
The mumbling got louder.
Julie hesitated and reached out to take his hand. She ignored Rory as he tightened his hold on her.
Instead of a quick handshake, he gripped her hand tightly. Surprised, she looked into his eyes and felt like she was falling, even though her feet stood firm beneath her. Memories of him as a substitute teacher at her school in Atlanta flooded back.
But it wasn’t just those memories. Everything that happened to her since she moved, every blocked memory—her dad touching the side of her head, the night that she found out about the Academy—every lost memory rushed back to her.
The night at the hotel where Luke saved her life.
Who was shooting at them? Were these people still after her? Was she in danger now?
Then when he said goodbye. She flushed as she remembered the powerful pull to Luke. And kissing him. Kissing him was like kissing Rory.
Luke held her hand firmly. Feelings washed over her that she thought she’d only felt with Rory. But now she knew that was wrong.
She had felt them with this man too.
Her head spun as she wanted to jump into Luke’s arms, kiss him, and feel the same rush of heat from his touch like she felt from Rory’s. She would get lost looking into his blue eyes and Rory’s gray eyes. Rory’s light touch on her waist and Luke’s strong touch on her hand—she didn’t know which way to go.
Julie shook as the tingling from the both of them overpowered any thoughts, the wonderful addictive sensations becoming almost painful as her body yearned to get close to both of them. Her stomach churned.
In the back of her mind, she had the terrifying realization that she was not in control of this. Something took over and made her feel this way. She felt the same way about both of them. Her choice of who to love was being chosen for her. She did not want that.
Her knees wobbled, and she collapsed against Rory. Luke’s grip on her hand was almost becoming painful.
“I think I’m going to be sick. Please let me go.” She raised her voice. “Both of you, let me go.”
Chairs scraped the floor as people got up in the coffeehouse. A crowd formed around them. Next to Luke, his friend let out a loud laugh.
“Huh, those weren’t the exact words I thought I would hear from the woman you connected with. But I’ve heard worse.” He smiled at her, his face beaming with humor.
Rory’s grip tightened on her more, and she couldn’t take a deep breath. She tugged her hand out of Luke’s and pulled Rory’s stiff arm off her waist. Once free, she sat down on the closest chair, putting her head down in her hands.
The two men stood next to her on either side, crowding her in, but all she could see were their shoes. The mumbling turned into a loud talking, and Rory pulled her face up towards him. Her jaw tightened. She really didn’t like it when he did this.
“Julie, is this true? Are you connected to this man too?” His face was white, and his eyes narrowed into angry slits.
“What do you mean are you connected to this man too? Are you connected with her?” Luke asked over Rory’s shoulder. Rory ignored him, staring into her eyes.
“Yes, I think so. I didn’t remember. He took the memories. He took them somehow. And now they’re back.” The blood drained from Julie’s face. Rory’s grip on her chin was starting to hurt.
“Can’t you see she’s sick? Don’t touch her,” Luke said.
“I will touch her whenever I like,” Rory said. His feet shifted closer to Luke’s, trying to wedge himself between them.
She closed her eyes. The room was wobbling. There was a scrambling in front of her. Were Luke and Rory fighting?
She didn’t bother to open her eyes. She was so tired.
Julie toppled forward, banging her head on a chair. No one caught her as she fell.
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