Jester's expression was frozen in horror. All the colour from his face had been drained, leaving him unnaturally pale and his eyes were wide with fear. He was leaning against the closet door, breathing heavily, and murmuring the words They will not come over and over.
I pursed my lips and glanced at Demrin questioningly.
'Who's not going to come?' Demrin spoke softly.
Jester jerked his head up sharply, standing up straight. 'No one. Sorry. It doesn't matter.'
We both looked at him quizzically.
'It doesn't,' he muttered once more before brushing past both of us.
'Well,' I sighed. 'There's been enough freakish stuff happening at the minute. I feel like I need a break from it. I might go see Calla, she can always cheer me up.'
'Go on,' Demrin smiled. 'By the way, the spell on your brother is still working. He thinks you're with him in London.'
'Ah, thanks,' I turned to leave him, not wanting to dwell on the subject of Reuben.
Calla had spent nearly all of her time with Adder, or by herself in the piano room so that was where I started to look. All I wanted, was a nice girly chat. Something normal. It seemed I was leaving my teenage life behind and entering this whole other world filled with magic and demons and death. It was a little strange.
Sure enough, I found Calla in the piano room. Although as soon as I stepped through the door, I noticed something wasn't right. She was shaking, trembling slightly all over. Choked, weeping noises broke the usual tranquility of the music room.
I approached her with tentative footsteps, not wanting to startle her.
'Are you okay?' I called out.
She didn't answer me directly, just continued crying softly. Right then she looked so delicate and fragile. Gone was the bold, confident Calla that I knew and in her place was something smaller, something that could be broken easily. Her bright blonde hair with multiple tones covered half her face. Mascara smeared her cheeks and her normally violet eyes had turned a miserable shade of grey from the blackened tears.
'Calla,' I whispered. 'What's wrong?'
As she lifted her head, I noticed two small puncture marks on the side of her throat. They had been closed, but were still visibly red. It didn't take a genius to figure out who had done that.
'It's Adder,' she confirmed my suspicions. 'Oh I've done something terrible Ana. He's never going to forgive me. I'm never going to see him again.'
'What happened?' I took a seat beside her.
She shifted to face me. Her skin was covered in little blotches and the tip of her nose was red from the crying she had done. 'I need your advice.'
'My advice?' I asked, genuinely surprised.
'I love Adder. I love him so much it hurts and I cannot bear my life without him. But it's possible to...have feelings for someone else, isn't it? Is it possible to love two people?'
Something in my mind flickered. A name flashed through my head, so quickly I wasn't sure if it was real or not. Lukah.
'Sure. People can love more than one person. But you're torn aren't you?'
She sighed. 'I never wanted to hurt Adder, but it's too late for that. First Everette, now Demrin.'
'Demrin?' I gasped, without thinking.
'It was a long time ago,' she frowned. 'But...oh gosh. I don't know. Adder's so fucking angry right now. Angry wouldn't even be the right word. I've never seen him so enraged and so hurt. It breaks my heart, but I cannot help it. We cannot help who we fall in love with can we?'
'Nobody can help that,' I murmured, still reeling from the fact that Demrin and Calla had been lovers.
'So what do I DO?' she cried, exasperated.
'I cannot help you Calla,' I shook my head. 'You know how you feel. I suppose I'd tell you to go with what your heart tells you, but that's a bit too cliche and it's easier said than done. You love Adder, but you love Demrin. I've seen the way you and Adder are like together, how he's so protective over you, how he'd bend the universe just to meet your needs. But then you and Demrin isn't something I'm familiar with.' I sighed. 'I'm not very good at advice, but you really do need to do what you think is best. Either way, I hate to tell you it, but someone's gonna get hurt.'
'Well thanks for that,' Calla raised an eyebrow. 'How comforting to know.'
'What would you like to hear? That it's all going to be happy sunshine and rainbows? I'm afraid the world doesn't work like that.'
She stared at me for a long second before laughing. It was such a strange sound, the laughter, that it took me by surprise. It was something I hadn't heard in weeks, and I began to join in. I didn't quite know what was so funny, but it felt good to laugh like this, to add some humor to the absurd situation that we were all in.
'Who knew you were so serious Ana?' she half smiled, although it didn't fully reach her eyes.
'Calla,' I spoke to her solemnly. 'Do what you think is right. Trust your instincts. You're a smart girl, you can do it.'
'Thanks Ana,' she mumbled. 'Now go find Jester. I'm sure he's waiting for you.'
I blushed involuntarily, standing up a little too quickly.
* * * *
Jester was laying flat out on the bed with his eyes closed and he looked so peaceful that I almost headed back outside again. Until he murmured my name.
'Are you feeling any better?' I whispered, sinking down onto the space next to him. I lightly brushed the hair away from his eyes. He held onto my arm, his eyes still closed.
'A little. Just tired. It's amazing what near death experiences can do to you.'
'Yeah, I'll bet.'
'That's twice you've saved my life now. I owe you one.' He smiled, sitting up against the headboard.
'Don't be silly, you saved my life, in that fight remember?'
'Oh yeah, you mean the one where I nearly died again?' he raised an eyebrow.
'Don't talk about death,' I frowned. 'It's depressing.'
'Sorry,' he murmured, looking at me through wide, dark eyes. Right then it felt as if it were just the two of us, the room was suffused in a warm, shady glow from the evening sun streaming in through a parting in the curtains. The house was silent and all I was aware of was how he was just inches away...
He leaned forward slightly, as though unsure of himself. I closed the distance between us and pressed my lips against his. They were warm and sweet, and sent tingles through my body. His hands snaked round my waist, my arms laced round his neck. It was everything I could have imagined, and more.
Without warning, a face entered my mind. Dark eyes, like onyx stones glared at me, ivory skin and jet black hair. Black stretchers in each ear, a black t shirt. And a name.
I pulled away, startled.
'Ana, what's wrong?'
You're not safe Ana, the boys lips moved in my mind. They twisted upwards into a laugh.
I'm coming for you.