A/N:All things good come in threes... triplets... three wishes... trilogies ;) The Forbidden Game trilogy is the best I've ever read and is owned by the marvellous LJ Smith, so it's unnecessary to say but I will anyway, all characters mentioned are copyright property of hers. Faye and Gahiji...well, you know the drill by now.
My day couldn't get any worse, Faye thought begrudgingly as she tapped her fingers to the rhythm of the radio. She glimpsed her reflection in the rear view mirror and sighed. Sitting up in the seat, she listlessly attempted to fix the wild waves of deep mahogany on her head. After a second, she ceased the fussing and slouched back into the seat.
She looked tired. Faye knew that even if she faked a smile until her cheeks burned, nothing could mask the genuine fatigue lining her face. She just wanted to go home, crawl in bed, and sleep 'til kingdom come.
The sound of the school bell ringing echoed across the parking lot. Faye watched with weary dark eyes as the doors of hell burst open and spewed out an endless swarm of demon spawn. She let out a long steady breath as three crown devils made their way toward her.
It was a pain just to unlock the car doors, and Faye was momentarily tempted to leave the kids locked out. But that wouldn't be a good idea – they might scratch the paint in their frenzied attempt to get inside.
Faye flicked the automatic button. The definite sound of locks unlatched sounded through her ears like a gunshot, and she suppressed a groan of pain. She never had a hangover of this severity before, but she'd had a damn good reason for going overboard with the wine the night before.
Her dark thoughts faded into an all-consuming wave of irritation when the doors were yanked open. Two of the evil trio slid noisily into the backseat, and the leader slumped into the passenger seat beside her. None of them paid much heed to their inconsiderate actions, treading dirt into the carpet and pushing grimy backpacks onto the tanned leather seats. Faye gritted her teeth, and restrained herself from covering her ears when they slammed the doors shut.
The evil leader beside her rolled down his window and leaned his elbow outside, sharing witty remarks with passing allies, and aimed boisterous whistles and suggestive taunts at the innocent girls sauntering past.
Faye paused for a moment, watching his brothers in the backseat follow suit. She'd never thought it was possible for anyone to be so full of themselves. They practically oozed arrogance, and the heavy air of vanity was almost smothering. Hell, they made Teenage Tom look tame in comparison to them. Faye knew of only one person who could pull off being arrogant and proud without coming forth as vain, but he wasn't human.
Faye eyed the three blondes in the car with her, wondering how much worse the fifteen year olds were going to get. In the past five years, they've really turned the 'bad boy' thing up a few notches. And it wasn't just for show either. Faye knew they really were cold and malicious little beasts. The endless variety of merciless pranks they've pulled on her throughout the years were proof of that.
Inconsiderate, spoilt, arrogant little gits, Faye fumed as she shoved the key into the ignition. The engine came to life and purred idly under her control. She literally winced when the leader flicked the music up and thunder blasted through her head. Biting her tongue, Faye turned the volume down and put her foot down.
The purr turned into a roar, and with a shriek of rubber on tar, Faye pulled out of the busy parking lot. Students leapt out of her way, shouting at her recklessness. Then they were on the road and out of sight, before traffic could hold them up.
The boy beside her reached forward, purposely turning the volume up louder than he had before. Faye swore out loud as the music sent a sharp flash through her head, and instead of switching off the radio, she yanked it right out of its nook and threw it underneath her seat. Her ears were ringing painfully from the loud blast.
"What's with you?" the boy asked.
"Just shut up, Taylor." Faye said and turned to glare at him when she stopped at a red light.
"What did I do now?" Taylor sighed, giving her a smug look in return.
Faye ground her teeth when the light turned green a second later, and she brought the car back into motion. Why couldn't she have ended up with kids like Audrey and Michael's? They were funny, and smart, and a hell lot more controllable than these terrorists. Even Summer's toddler, with her round face and innocent blue eyes, was an angel compared to these kids.
Faye found herself regretting having turned down the offer to join her friends on their holiday venture. Dee had been touring Africa along with Zach for nearly half a year now, putting together a book on the diverse cultures that populated the continent. They were coming back soon – today or tomorrow, Faye couldn't remember exactly. They had invited all of them over for a two week holiday, to have the whole group reunited and come back to Vista Grande together. Everyone had gone. Everyone, except for Faye. She didn't object when Tom declared he was going without her, secretly hoping that Jenny would offer enough protection for him. Faye couldn't tolerate the idea of facing Julian again, even if it offended her friends.
But now, Faye began to wonder if declining a free holiday had been a mistake. She needed the break. She blinked hard when something hard pressed uncomfortably into her back.
"Sam, stop kicking my seat." Faye turned abruptly and snarled at the boy behind her.
There was a moment of stunned silence before the kicking continued. Gripping the steering wheel until her knuckles turned white, Faye chanted a familiar mantra through her mind. I will not kill, I will not kill, I will not...
Her mantra was disrupted by the sharp ring of her mobile. Faye snatched it off the dashboard and pressed it to her ear, eyes cautiously scanning the road around her as she slowed her speed down.
"Hello." Faye said into the phone.
"Hey. Where are you?" Tom's familiar voice slipped into her ear.
"With the kids. What do you want, Tom?" Faye asked bluntly. She didn't mean to be nasty, and she admitted it felt good to hear Tom's voice again. But her patience was running thin, and whatnot with what she'd had to deal with for the past week...
"I'm sorry, Faye. I know you don't like to be bothered when you're with them. I thought I'd just let you know... we're all back home. Look, can you take lunch or something? Or should I invite Jenny and the others to dinner instead?" Tom asked, annoyance staining his voice.
"Jenny who?" Faye asked, frowning as she turned up the tree lined avenue.
Bed. Sleep. Bed. Sleep. That's all she wanted, she would die just to have that. Tom's words snapped her out of her reverie.
"Don't be stupid. Just because you're unhappy that he's no longer yours, it doesn't give you any right to be mean toward Jenny. I knew you were jealous! That's why you don't keep in touch with them, because you can't bear the idea of seeing them together..."
"Oh. That Jenny." Faye said quietly. Then her own temper flared up, and her words silenced Tom. "Don't dump your insecurities on me. There's no reason for you to doubt my faithfulness to you, and blaming your paranoia on me and Julian, is pathetic on a whole new level."
"You always keep things from me, Faye. How do you expect me to trust you, if you can't even trust me? What other reason can there possibly be for you to avoid them..." Tom said angrily.
"Did you call me to interrogate me, or is there a liable excuse behind this phone call, Tom?" Faye cut him off, squinting up at the modern two story house as she pulled into the driveway.
The kids leapt from the car and disappeared into the house, leaving Faye alone in privacy. She cut the engine, savouring the peaceful silence around her.
"We have to discuss this. Either we do it over the phone, just you and me... or we do it the hard way." Tom said coldly.
"How about we don't discuss this at all?" Faye said, relaxing into the seat. She gazed at the tall and thin dogwoods surrounding the front patio, the graceful and open, horizontal branches coated with small white blossoms.
"Have you always got to take the harder route?" Tom snapped, then simmered down. "Why don't you just tell me the truth? I can handle it, Faye. I know you're against Jenny, because of Julian."
Faye groaned at his words and ran a hand across her face. "Nothing I tell you will satisfy you." Her voice dripped with venom. "I'm not against Jenny, but if I was to stay in touch with her, it would be inevitable that I would have to face Julian. And that's something I'm really trying to avoid. Do you understand, Tom? No Jenny, no Julian. Clear?"
"But what I don't understand is why?"
"Why what?" Faye asked, exasperated.
"Why is it so hard for you to face him again? Is it because you can't bear to see him with Jenny?" Tom asked, the accusation clear in his words.
"Please, I'm not jealous that he's with Jenny. I'm happy he's with her." Faye reflected quietly on the permanent sulking expression on that beautifully chiselled face, the longing visible in his entire graceful physique, and the misery in those deep glaciers of blue. Jenny had that power over him. His yearning for the girl had nearly pushed Faye to the brink of insanity. No, she was very happy he'd finally gotten what he wanted.
"Why? You see, this is what I don't understand." Tom said, frustrated. "You say you're happy they are together, but then why do you avoid them? I mean... when was the last time you saw either of them? When was the last time you spoke to them?"
"Five years. Give or take." Faye said and leaned her head back. She gently rubbed her sleep. She really needed some decent rest.
"Look, Faye..." Tom's tone of voice softened. "I know you and Julian were together for a very long time. Jenny and I were together for a long time, too, and it is hard to move on. You need to understand, that your feelings for each other won't go away completely. But you can't hang onto cut strings that will never mend again. The sooner you realize that, the easier it will be to accept reality."
"The reality is way more complicated than that, Tom." Faye said curtly and opened her door. "And don't compare us to you and Jenny. It was nothing like that."
"Wasn't it? I don't know... Julian seems to know a lot about you." Tom said.
Faye gave a bitter laugh in response. "Julian knows everything about lots of things." She said.
"Yeah? Well. He told me how you would respond to some of the things I said." Tom sighed heavily. "And he was right on."
"Coincidence." Faye said, rolling her eyes.
"He said you would say that." Tom said quietly.
"And he's an asshole for telling you that." Faye gritted her teeth.
"And again, he was right." Tom sounded wounded.
"That's it! I'll see you tonight." Faye said.
Cutting off the call and shaking her head, Faye closed the car door behind her and faced the enormous house before her. Placing her hands on her hips, Faye gathered her wits about her and took on the challenge ahead of her. It was going to be a long afternoon.