A/N: Hey everyone, it's been awhile, but xxdarknessxfallssxx and I have decided to make it up to you guys with this long-ass chapter!
As always: Read, Enjoy, Review
- Swan's Catastrophe
My mother rose from the bed and looked like she'd just had a revelation. "I'm sorry to leave so suddenly, but I need to talk to your father about something."
I watched my mother as she left my room, wishing I knew a spell that would bubble me up from the drama and hurt of the world.
Until I learned how to brew a close enough potion, I was shit out of luck.
Adele (Cali's Mom)'s POV
I closed the door to my daughter's room as gently as I could, even if I wanted nothing more than to fling it shut and run down the hall to my husband. My head felt light from my revelation- I couldn't believe that everything hadn't clicked before Cali said anything.
All of the events made sense… Jack's sudden change of heart, Fiona's distaste for my daughter… these things were not unconnected to the attack on Hex Hollow, and I knew I exactly how. A powerful, male witch was a likely suspect behind the demons trying to burn down the manor and attacking the town, and I knew one male witch who had the motive. The only person I could think of that would manipulate his own son and even daughter…
Well, Rowan Crowley of course.
I knew there had been a reason I'd left that man so long ago… There had always been a foul air about him and his magic was always tainted with impure thoughts, even in the early days. His darker nature was clearly reflected in Fiona's attitude at times. I should have realized that he was the culprit of the attack on Hex Hollow when he didn't show up with the rest of the male witches!
I outwardly groaned with my own frustration and concentrated on quickening my steps to the lower stories, where my and Charles's room waited. My weary hand reached for the banister of the recently repaired grand staircase.
Just one quick flight of stairs and a short corridor away to some privacy to expel my thoughts…
A shadowy figure suddenly appeared at the bottom of the staircase, and I would have been more startled if I didn't recognize who it was. Slowly, Jack's sullen face lifted so the light from the upper story caught his features. My body seized with nostalgia as my eyes studied his expression closely. He was easily the spitting image of his father in his younger days, yet with my nose and my eyes. However, while his eyes were the same color as mine, right now they were glazed over with chagrin.
"Hello, mother," he spat at me, nearly biting the last word.
My bones started shaking, but I didn't let my knees buckle under my weight. Clearly the boy was displeased with me, but what lies had he been fed, I wondered?
"Hello, Jack," I replied in the most even tone I could manage. The regret inside me made even looking at the boy difficult. If only I'd taken responsibility and raised him under some guidance. Bitten by a werewolf or not, he was still my child.
"Adele Adler, my father would like to have a word with you." His eyes lit up with his rage.
I carefully made words while also thinking of a good spell to contain him in case he became out of control. "Would he?"
"Yes, you see, I can't let you tell anyone something that might stop his plan from working. You lying, irresponsible Adlers deserve what's coming." The young man's anger flared and his strong form surged up the stairs at me.
Perhaps if his hurtful comment hadn't caught the better side of me, I would have reacted sooner. I attempted to cast a simple knock-back spell, but I underestimated the boy's heightened speed. He took hold of my casting arm and pulled it harshly behind my back. Before I could scream for help, the boy hit the knot on the back of the neck and I went down.
Thankfully, my son caught me before I hit the stairs and everything went black.
The next morning, I woke up feeling like I hadn't slept for nearly nine hours straight. My movements were sloppy and my head felt groggy. When recalling tidbits of my life before I fell asleep, the possible betrayal of Blaine and the shattering confession from my mother seemed like far-off junctions of my dream and not a heavy reality in my already-dramatic life.
The next matter of business was to inform the besties of the new information. It was hard enough to accept everything I knew- how was I supposed to recite it to others?
Besides, did my mom even want me to tell her secret to anyone else? Even though I knew Josie and Twix could keep a secret.
I made a point to take my time dressing and freshening up before heading to the kitchen for breakfast. After I left my bedroom, I glanced down the empty hallway before taking my first slow step outside the pseudo-safety of my room. My legs felt heavy, head still full of fog, but I knew I would feel better once I saw my friend's familiar faces or my mother's loving expression.
Guess life didn't want to stop hating on me, because the first person I ran into was Fiona. She cut me off when I turned to walk down the grand staircase and nearly knocked me down the steps.
"Hey!" I shouted indignantly; fixing her with one of my most icy glares.
She simply turned and sneered at me, saying nothing except a "Hmpf!" before dashing off to wherever she originally was headed. Her freaky ferret followed closely behind her heels.
At least I didn't have to deal with her smart mouth this lovely morning.
When I came into the kitchen, Josie and my Dad were working together to make a feast of pancakes. "Just something to cheer up this grim place," my Dad replied when I asked what the occasion was. He handed me a plateful and I made my way to the dining room table, where Twix and her mother were already eating.
"Mornin' Cali- you look like crap by the way" she commented, sharp eyes staring me down. I laughed nervously while simultaneously narrowing my eyes at her.
"I need to talk to you." I said, trying- and failing miserably- to keep the panic from my voice.
Without another word, Twix excused herself from her mother and tugged me back into the kitchen, where Josie had just taken off her apron and stood ready as if she knew this meeting was coming. It felt nice to have best friends who could sometimes read your mind.
I glanced around to see how close my father was to earshot. I kept my voice a whisper, just in case. "Basically, Blaine is most likely really our enemy, and I now know the reason Jack and Fiona hate me so much." When I mentioned Blaine, Josie made a noise.
"Well, uhm, I sorta invited him to dinner when I saw him around before dawn." Josie was the early riser, so of course she would be nice to Blaine before he retired for the light of day.
"Great," Twix and I said at once.
The dinner party wasn't just for the ruling families, all the families of Hex Hollow were invited, so the mansion was pretty packed. I was expecting my mother to come up to my room and force me to change into something more "dinner party appropriate" but since she had been missing in action all day, and my dad wouldn't care, I was going to a classy dinner dressed in skinny jeans, and plain white t-shirt, and some converse. If I was going to put myself in the uncomfortable situation of having to confront Blaine tonight, I might as well do it in the most comfortable clothes I own.
While I was brushing through my hair, and pondering my absurd logic, Twix strode into my room; clad in a dress so tight, it looked as if someone had painted it on, and then wrapped the paint in latex.
"Dinner's starting." She said, pausing, and offering a small look of sympathy. "And your vampire boy just arrived."
"Don't call him that." I grumbled, giving my hair one last brush through before following Twix out the door and towards the dining hall.
The dinner was about as boring as I expected it to be, we witches aren't exactly known for our…modesty, and when you get a bunch of us in a room together, it's a surprise all of our egos can fit. Twix and I quickly found Josephine, chatting with another witch about our age, and we were about to all split up and find Blaine, when my dad approached, looking worried.
"Cali, have you seen your mother?" he asked, his worry seeming to grow when he saw the look on my face.
"You mean you haven't seen her?" I replied.
My father shook his head miserably. "She's been so busy lately, when she didn't come to our room last night, I just though it was because she needed some time with her thoughts…but I haven't seen her, and I'm starting to feel as if something's wrong."
Josie immediately began offering my father comforting words, but I was beyond comfort. A sick feeling was twisting my gut.
I met Fiona's gaze from across the room, and as if she'd heard every word we'd just exchanged, a knowing smirk curled up her lips.
Without thinking, I marched towards her, my vision going red. I was only a few feet from her, when a strong hand tugged at my arm, and pulled me back away from her.
I whirled around to see Blaine, trying to drag me away from Fiona, and the party altogether. I was shocked by his presence at first; no matter how many times I saw him, I never got used to how beautiful he was. After the initial shock wore off, it was replaced by panic.
This man, this vampire, had nearly destroyed Hex Hollow; he'd practically teamed up with my arch nemesis, and he'd probably even kidnapped my mother, and now he was dragging me away from the dinner party- and most importantly- witnesses.
I took my free hand and began clawing at his hand that still encased my arm. Blaine looked down at me, shaking his head slowly.
"Seriously?" he asked. "If you wanted me to let go, all you had to do was ask. I just needed to get you away from her." He released my arm to point at Fiona, and I took the opportunity to smack him hard across the face.
"You lying, slimy, no-good bastard," I hissed. Blaine was staring at me, astonishment in his eyes, as he raised a hand to his cheek.
"That hurt," he said, his voice revealing his shock.
"It's an offensive spell- you use it to add extra force to an attack." I fumed.
"Well it works," Blaine muttered, either oblivious to my anger, or simply ignoring it. With a dramatic sigh, he turned his gorgeous teal-green eyes on me and raised his eyebrows.
"Now what's this about, and why are you glaring at me like you're imagining my head exploding or something?"
"Don't play stupid- I know what you did!" I nearly shrieked. "And to think that I was actually-"
I was interrupted by the sound of – well, to be honest, it kind of sounded like the end of the world. It was the sound of glass, and brick, and rock, and wood all imploding at the same time as screams echoed in the background. The lights remained on long enough for me to see a giant rock headed straight for my head, and then we were plunged into darkness, and Blaine's arm encircled my waist and with the speed only a vampire could posses, ran me to a safe enough distance away from the rock in time for me to hear it crash and tear through the wall a few feet behind where I had just stood.
I stood, shaking and breathing hard against Blaine as he held me to his chest.
"I suppose you think I'm responsible for that too." Blaine whispered against my hair. I frowned and pulled away from him.
"How would you know what I think you're responsible for?" I asked defiantly. Even in the darkness, I could see his pale face and his glowing eyes as he frowned at me.
"I am an old and powerful vampire- I thought we already went over how I could read minds," he replied brusquely. I saw the destruction of our manor as the uninjured witches murmured lighting spells, and my eyes widened when I saw that a giant hole had been ripped through our wall. As quickly as the damage was processed in my head, hordes of demons started plunging through. The terrified screams of witches rose in volume and pitch as they curled their ugly bodies around the crowd. Immediately, I surged forward – forgetting about Blaine completely- and going out in search of my friends.
The destruction looked even more irreparable than the last time.
And right after we repaired the place, too! The nasty demons attacked the structures like the grand staircase we worked hard on rejuvenating. The manor, and our hope, was going to fall tonight. It felt totally pointless to try and salvage any of our homes in Hex Hollow as the demons relentlessly unleashed their fury. And what the hell had we ever done to them anyway?
I watched as one insect-looking demon skittered and punched straight through a window pane and flew ghoulishly through the hall. I ducked just in time to miss its stinger, but didn't manage to take it out.
However, the demon suddenly split into two and fell to the floor. Amazed at who came to my rescue so lightening-fast, my excitement died as I saw a certain vampire leaning against the wall.
"You look like you could use a hand," Blaine mentioned as effortlessly as he always did.
The humor did not reach my ears. One bit. I narrowed my eyes.
"Still here?" I asked snappishly. "I'd have thought that you would've disappeared as soon as they arrived; to keep blame from yourself."
Blaine's smoky eyes hardened into glass orbs as he took a threatening step towards me.
"Are you seriously accusing me? I didn't do this! No, instead I've been saving your troublesome ass every other second."
As if to prove his point, Blaine's eyes traveled behind me, and I turned just in time to see a demon, that was far too close for comfort, disintegrate into ash. Whirling back on Blaine, I grit my teeth and glared at him.
"Liar. The only person capable of this was you."
Something in Blaine seemed to falter, and his face fell as he stared at me. "Cali, you don't honestly believe-"
"I know that you've been lying- you're just a big liar, and I don't know what I believe anymore," I confessed. Blaine opened his mouth to say something, but I raged on. "I trusted you! My parents trusted you to protect me, and how do you repay them? You lie to everyone!"
Blaine shut his eyes and his face twisted together as if he was in pain. "You're right... You're so right. You of all people deserved the truth."
"You think? How could you betray me? You sent an attack to annihilate my friends and family, this one and the last!"
Blaine's face turned into total shock. "What? That's what you think I lied about?" His voice was full of disbelief and... relief.
"I looked in my crystal ball. I saw you controlling the demons and setting them on the town. And, you were completely absent during the entire night, my so-called protector."
"Cali, I wasn't with you that night, but I did not betray you. I did my best to keep the demons from attacking and killing every last person in Hex Hollow that night. It took every ounce of my power to divert them the amount I did- but none of it would have mattered if you would have been killed. Don't you understand? I have only ever tried to help you and keep Hex Hollow safe. I wouldn't dream of destroying it."
My preconceived notions, my extravagant theory, shattered and I stared at him as his words began to sink in.
"You- you were saving the town?" I asked, confusion still heavy in my tone.
"You- weren't behind the attacks?"
"No god damnit, that's what I've been trying to explain."
I stared at Blaine, his face so sincere and devoid of any signs of guilt. Of course he would've been doing something "save the world" worthy.
I felt like such a fool. How did I ever doubt him?
"Well…" I murmured quietly. "This…is awkward."
Blaine smirked, appearing only inches away from me.
"Well, usually, I'd make some charming and witty comment about how I'm so great, but right now it's looking as if my demon-killing expertise is needed. So I'll see you later."
"I'm sorry." I murmured softly.
Blaine gave me a charming smirk. "Don't worry about it- as the only all-powerful vampire in Hex Hollow it would be weird if I wasn't persecuted unlawfully every now and then."
A shameful blush burned my cheeks and I looked away, only looking back up when Blaine's hand on my chin forced my face towards his.
"I'm serious," he said softly. "I'm not mad, okay?"
Once the drama was all done with, and Blaine cleared out the rest of the demons, more panic ensued as witches and children looked for their loved ones. I, too, was searching for the familiar faces of my parents and friends.
My heart soared when my father came and held me close after the attack. There was only one person missing to complete everything I needed. "Has there been any sign of mom?" I asked out of desperate impatience. The warning feeling in my gut was twisting again, and I could only hope that she'd show up alive and well.
When my father didn't answer right away, I looked up at him.
His eyes seemed fragile, watery and he shook his head slowly. "I- I think something's wrong. I'm only glad that she wasn't here and a part of all of this." My dad's eyes scanned the destruction on the manor.
"We'll find her," I promised, and then, on a less sure note, I added, "I'm sure she's fine."
Translation: I'm sure we'll find her before whoever's behind this can make her not fine.
With a desperate look across the dining hall, I searched the sad and dirt covered faces for one that resembled my mother's. As I expected, I didn't find her, but my eyes did eventually land on Jack and Fiona murmuring in the far corner.
As if they felt my eyes on theirs, both of them raised their eyes to mine, and Fiona's lips curled up into that all too familiar knowing smirk, while Jack, just stared back at me with a very smug and somewhat evil expression.
It didn't take a genius to figure out that they were both behind this somehow. And I vowed to figure out just what was going on.