Authors: Shannon Dermott
Tags: #Juvenile Fiction
Time moved in slow motion as I made my way downstairs. Each step filled with dread. Weight built in me like I was in a pressurized room, heavy on my chest. David had been the one to come get me for this meeting and there was only one reason why. This was about me. They wanted me disarmed and not pissed by the time I walked in. I was at odds with everyone these days, Mom, Flynn, Paul and even Luke, which left David, the only one in the house I hadn’t alienated. Then again, Flynn was mostly likely still
I made my way into the den after looking into an empty kitchen. And inside, Mom and David stood in front of the television. Surprisingly, Flynn and Luke sat on the sofa, faces compressed into glum frowns. When had they gotten back? I made my way in and sat between the boys, closer to Luke, to show mom my independence.
“As you know,” Mom began. She sounded angry. And these days she always seemed to be angry.
David placed a gentle hand on her arm. “Maybe I should explain,” he expressed calmly. She nodded. “Mercy, with these demon hunters getting more aggressive—” He meant coming to the house. “We should take additional measures.” He paused, taking in a deep breath. “We can’t ward the house against humans.”
“Am I late?” a voice from behind said. I didn’t have to crane my neck to know who it was, but I looked anyway. Sebastian stood a little behind the sofa.
“Glad you could join us,” David said, giving him a smile and a nod.
I turned back to David to try and see if is words were meant as sarcastically as I would have said them.
“Anything to help,” Sebastian replied.
Not in the mood to watch a back in forth like a tennis match, I kept my eyes on David. “As I was saying, it was unfortunate that the human was killed but it was unavoidable.”
“What did you do with her?” I interrupted, my throat feeling dry.
“We took her someplace far from here, but somewhere she will be found,” David answered.
“Who?” Sebastian asked, stepping forward and putting a hand on my shoulder. Luke bristled. I turned towards Sebastian making his hand fall away and gave him the short version of events. His face darkened as the story unfolded.
David spoke before Sebastian could say anything. "This is why we’re here. We need to figure out a way to keep Mercy and Flynn safe. It's obvious this isn’t going to stop.”
“I don’t want people to keep defending me and risk getting hurt. I want to take care of myself. No one needs to die for me.” I looked right at Flynn. I couldn’t help myself. He looked back at me with an unreadable expression.
Getting up from my seat, I felt like I had ants in my pants. I needed to do something. I couldn’t stay like this.
“Sit down Mercy,” Mom said in a tone as dark as night. Her look said that I shouldn’t cross her, but I couldn’t sit. I paced in front of the sofa biting my thumb, thinking. There was a snap, crack, and pop. Following the sound, I watched in horror as the remote in mom’s hand disintegrated.
Luke tugged my arm when I walked by him the umpteenth time and I ended up sitting at on the arm of the sofa.
“This isn’t time for your streak of rebellion,” she all but growled.
David, always the voice of reason spoke again, “Mercy, this doesn’t mean we don’t trust you to take care of yourself. It’s always better with numbers.” The one thing about David was his words didn’t sound weak. He came across sounding rational contrasting sharply with my mom’s approach.
“I can watch over her,” Luke interjected, giving my hand a gentle squeeze. I guess he wasn’t pissed at me anymore.
“That won’t be necessary,” Mom said icily. Frowning, I locked eyes with her. It was almost as if she was another person. “You won’t be playing house with my daughter this time. Flynn can do the honors.”
Jumping to my feet, not caring my mom’s temperament, I shouted, “What!” Then pointing back at Flynn, I said, “I won’t put him in danger. Again.” And for good measure, I added, “He’s not even totally well. If he protects me, they could kill him”
“He’ll be fine. We don’t anticipate anyone bothering you at school,” David said in a reassuring voice.
“He doesn’t even want to do. Luke can do it. Why are you being such a—” I said, stopping myself in time.
Brow raised, Mom said, “Flynn.”
Flynn let out a heavy sigh thick with meaning. “Look, I don’t want to get in between the two. But if it means I get out of jail, I’ll do it.”
“Didn’t you just get back from taking care of things?” Mom asked. She was okay with Flynn taking care of things. I was so tired of the double standard. We were all the same. A toothy grin covered Flynn’s face. “Good. We are all in agreement,” Mom declared.
When I was just about to speak, Sebastian beat me to it. “If that’s all?”
“And where are you headed off to?” Mom voiced what we were all wondering. There was a tone of challenge in her voice. Something had changed in her. I wanted to calmly talk to her about it. But every time we spoke these days, we fought.
Cocking his head to the side, Sebastian said, “Taking care of your daughter’s demon problem. If you’ve noticed, we haven’t been plagued with attacks of the supernatural type.” Not bothering to stay, he vanished as if to make his point that my mom didn’t rule him.
“Mom,” I began.
“Mercy McKayla,” she said, narrowing her eyes. “That’s it. You’re still grounded.” She looked pointedly at Luke who had intertwined our fingers.
“For how long?” I asked
“Until I say otherwise,” she said. Then she looked at Luke. “Say your goodbyes.” And she left.
David closed his eyes. Then in a hushed tone, he said, “Mercy, I’ll speak with her.”
I nodded at him because it wasn’t his fault. He left following the chilly breeze my mom had flown out on. She was just missing a broom. Flynn stood and made his way to the open door. “You’re not going to say anything?” I called after him.
Flynn turned around. “I don’t like this anymore then you do.” And then he left.
Alone with Luke, I cursed. “She’s being such a bitch.”
“She’s doing what she thinks is best,” he said, pulling me on his lap. I’m sure his thoughts were like mine but he was trying to make the best of the moment.
“How can you say that? She’s being ridiculous.” Looking in his blue eyes, I was brought home. Pressing my face in his chest, I tried to reign in my anger. I managed to suppress questions about where he and Flynn went and what they did. I just breathed him in. “You didn’t tell them about the prophesy did you?”
“Your mom isn’t exactly in the mood to hear anything I have to say right now. But we should tell everyone.”
I wasn’t in the mood to argue. “Not tonight though?” When he agreed, I felt oppression subsided, I added, “Stay tonight.”
His grin said it all.
“She can’t stop you from seeing Flynn.” I murmured.
Kissing my temple, he said, “I’ll stay if you really want me to.”
Eating toast, I wasn’t thrilled with my new babysitting arrangements. I was fed up with having to be watched over. I could take care of myself. I was sure I could do better if my demon and I could come to an understanding.
Everyone may still need convincing, but they would just have to believe. Determined, it meant no more calling on Sebastian unless it was absolutely necessary.
Luke didn’t stay over, to respect Mom’s wishes. He thought he could earn her high opinion by doing the right thing. I doubted it would happen. With Mom’s decree, I had no choice but to wait for Flynn who was going to drive me to school.
The boy in question, who wasn’t any more happy about this situation than I was, came down wearing a navy shirt that said
Mount and Do Me
, in yellow letters. Of course it was a play off the soda. If I rolled my eyes any harder they might have gotten stuck in the back of my head.
I hopped off my seat, grabbed my bag and jacket and headed for the door before he could speak. I had a key, so I wouldn’t be just standing in the cold waiting. Outside, I used said key and made myself comfortable. Ten minutes later, heat blazing, I knew I was about to stalk back in the house to get him when Flynn strode out. I was certain he took his sweet time to annoy me. Without a word to me and with my attention focused out my window, he started the car pulling out. Only we weren’t headed in the direction of the school.
Forcing my glare on his profile, I said, “Where are you taking me?”
He didn’t answer, which only grated my nerves more. A few minutes later we stopped in front of a house in a neighborhood similar to my old house. These weren’t the gargantuan houses like the one I lived in now, but a decent size. A girl with short dark hair around her shoulders and creamy brown skin, who had to have been waiting by a window, popped out of the house. Bouncing on her feet as she headed in our direction, I noticed her shirt through her open jacket. It read;
President of His
with an arrow pointing left
. I couldn’t believe it.
My window came down, freaking me out for a second, before I realized what he was doing. Calling out her name in greeting, he then focused on me for the first time today. “Mercy, can you get in the back?”
My jaw unhinged. Yet somehow, I managed not to gape or scowl. Instead, I gave a forced smiled and got in the back without a word. I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of my anger.
“Hi,” the perky girl said to him and then waved to me. I wanted to dislike her, but her perkiness and non-bitchiness made it hard to. I waved back in a pageant winner kind of way, all fake because I wasn’t feeling it.
Trying very hard to expunge myself from the couple’s conversation, I’d thought about how Flynn had stopped messing with the girls at our school. Apparently, I was wrong.
“Thanks for the ride,” Perky Girl said.
I just bet
, I said in my head in response to her words. Gritting my teeth, I imagined what kind of ride he’d given her, only to chastise myself. Why did I care? I didn’t. “Ooo, I love your shirt,” she said with a giggle. I thought about that slogan Mount and Do me, before rolling my eyes again.
“We can take care of that later,” he said. I made the poor choice of looking over at him in time to see the cheeky smile he gave her. More giggles on her part and I continued to ground my teeth. This was so not going to work. I would talk to my mother. I didn’t need a babysitter. If she didn’t agree, I’d have Luke pick me up anyway. I didn’t care. But I was so not doing this again. Damn Sebastian for not being in school lately. He might have made this trip bearable because I would have him to talk to and missed the gag show in the front seats.
When the car pulled into a spot at school, I shot out like it was on fire. I thought I’d hurl if I stayed a moment more. The compliments he gave her like
You look nice in that shirt
But you’d look better out of it
added to her incessant giggling had driven me to the brink. Searching for Luke, I found him leaned against his car causally talking to some girl. I felt myself being pulled into an alternate existence. Today was not the day for a girl to fawn over my boyfriend. My nerves were frayed. I had a strong desire to march over and claw her eyes out.
The girl who obviously had no idea the danger she was in, stared up at my boyfriend with puppy dog eyes. Couldn’t he see she was flirting? Of course not, because most guys were clueless. He’d think she was really was just talking about class or whatever excuse she’d used to chat him up. It took a moment, but I managed to shrug off the jealousy. What was wrong with me? Luke could talk to whomever he wanted. I just had to trust him.
Feeling better, I started to walk over to him. “Oh, there’s Amy,” Or Lena, Deanna or whatever name Flynn’s new girl toy said as she went past me, bounding over to the girl chatting up my boyfriend.
A chuckle had me turning over my shoulder to see Flynn amused at my expression. “What’s the matter? Not liking all the attention your boy is getting? A taste of your own medicine.”
Glowering at him, I walked away and headed to school. Now wasn’t a good time to talk to Luke. He didn’t deserve my wrath and Flynn was right. Luke put up with a lot from me. So, I kept my jealousy inside. I had to squash it and keep it in check before I spoke to Luke. I headed straight for my locker.
Banging on it and spinning the tumblers with more force than necessary, I opened it with a twang as the door bounced off the locker besides mine. The racket caused passersby to look over at me. I took a couple of deep calming breaths before getting my stuff for first period. When I closed my locker, Luke stood behind with a sour expression. “So what are you mad or something? Flynn said -,” Luke started before I cut him off mid-sentence.
“Flynn’s an ass. And no I’m not mad at you,” I exclaimed.
“Then why do you sound pissed off?” His eyes were like calm pools of water searching me for truth.
I shook my head. “Nothing. Really, it’s nothing.” My voiced quieted by the end of my statement.
Still looking concerned, he held out a hand to me. It was such a sweet gesture, I mustered a small smile. Taking his hand, I let him walk me to class.
As today was the day from hell, I got cramps in the middle of class. Getting a hall pass, I headed to bathroom praying I hadn’t misjudged the timing of my period or if I still had emergency supplies in my locker. Just as I stepped out of the stall, the girl that had been talking to Luke this morning by his car walked in. I headed to the sink when she stepped in front of me.
“Are you a believer?” she said.