Below is my story of what happens after The Reckoning. NOTE: If you haven't read The Reckoning, I suggest you get on that right away. Amazing book. Anyway, I plan on this story being from Chloe's point of view. This is my first fanfic, so please give me some reviews. I hope it's not too horrible. :P
As always, Darkest Powers and the characters don't belong to me – they belong to Kelley Armstrong and their other rightful owners (if there are any other owners.)
A safe house? I didn't know if there were any safe houses out there anymore. It seemed like we'd blown through them as fast as we could find them. I guess it made sense, since our master plan was to get as far away from New York as possible. Did that mean sandy California beaches? No, that meant Texas. I was already dreading the heat and the dryness as we continued on the next leg of our journey. We'd been fortunate enough to get through basically unscathed, but that didn't mean that the Edison Group wasn't after us.
Kit had been driving for hours. I figured that he was tired, but he wouldn't let my Aunt Lauren take the wheel. The two of them had been taking turns, but Kit had always panicked when Aunt Lauren said she didn't know where she was going. Kit, apparently, has traveled all over the nation and is well-versed on the interstate highway.
We'd managed to get a van with three rows of seats, and that meant that our group was evenly spaced out. Kit and Aunt Lauren were seated at the front. Tori had immediately claimed the middle row, saying something about "not crawling into the back of this junk heap." Simon had (very graciously) taken the other half of the middle bench, which left me and Derek to the back row. I glanced to my left. Derek had his forehead pressed against the window, eyes closed. He'd practically shoved himself all the way to that side of the bench, like he was trying to get away from me.
I glanced over the seat in front of me. Simon had one of the cheap throw blankets we'd picked up along the way pulled all the way up to his chin. His spiky blonde hair was slightly crushed on one side from being pressed against the cold window. Tori had done the same. I looked at them quietly for a long moment. From this angle, I could only see the sides of their face. Besides hair color, the two of them shared facial similarities that I couldn't believe I'd never seen before.
I was still focusing on their faces when I felt someone looking at me. I glanced to my left. Derek was still asleep. He hadn't even moved. I looked up to where my Aunt Lauren sat. She'd been sleeping for hours, too. I looked up into the rearview mirror and my gaze locked with Kit's. In that instant, I knew that he knew he was Tori's biological father. I also figured that he knew that I knew.
I dropped my gaze and leaned back in my seat. What I wouldn't give for a movie right now. Preferably something that didn't have to do with werewolves, witches, or raising the dead. I might even be able to deal with a romantic comedy right now. Anything to get away from this. It looked more like my life had taken on the role of a horror movie. Everything was just too insane. And it all started with me seeing my first ghost.
I glanced to my left again. Maybe things weren't so bad after all. I mean, I had met Derek and Simon, two guys that I knew would do anything for me, and I for them. Even Tori had her good days. And it wasn't like I still believed that I was schizophrenic. I thought I'd gotten over my pre-ghost life, but it was hard not to dwell on those types of things, especially when you're on the run. And sitting in pure silence.
I looked at the blanket that sat in the middle seat between Derek and me. He'd told me to take it, but I hadn't wanted it. He still hadn't taken it, instead using his baggy jacket for warmth. I guess it wasn't like I could do anything about it now, and I was cold. I pulled the blanket over my arms, maneuvering to tuck my legs underneath me. Using one of Derek's new baggy sweaters, I made a pillow for myself. The fabric still smelled like the small department store we'd stopped by to get clothes. Even the tag was still on it, pressing against my cheek.
I struggled to get comfortable in the seat with the seatbelt cutting across my neck and my clothes getting uncomfortable after the long drive. Finally, I managed to close my eyes.
I woke with a jolt as the back tire dipped into a pothole. At least, I thought it was a pothole. When I looked up, I caught sight of the sign that said we were driving from Oklahoma and into Texas. Great. I pressed my nose to the window, expecting to see desert and tumbleweeds. Oh, contraire. Instead, there was tall grass. I guess it could've been corn or wheat or whatever they grew here. In the distance I caught the sight of a giant wind turbine, spinning slowly with the breeze. The sky was a clear, smog-less blue, dotted with fluffy white clouds.
After another thirty minutes, Kit pulled onto the highway, which basically looked like every highway I'd seen on our cross-country trip. This one though had tall yellowing grass on either side of the road. And there were a lot of trucks. And I mean a lot.
By midmorning my stomach was growling, and our plastic grocery bags were starting to dwindle. Yesterday Simon and Derek had eaten the rest of the peanut butter, which left the rest of us with crackers and chunks of jerky unless we wanted to eat directly out of a can. Cold soup didn't sound appetizing to me, and I guess it didn't sound appetizing to Kit, either, because he pulled off the highway and came to a rest in front of a true country-looking restaurant.
"Chloe? Can you go ahead and wake up the others?" Kit asked in a low voice. I nodded as he reached over and woke up Aunt Lauren. They had a quick whispered conversation, though I couldn't really hear them. Aunt Lauren got out and headed towards the front doors of the restaurant while Kit started to clean out the front of the car from the countless wrappers that had been stored up there.
I leaned over and nudged Derek awake. He didn't move for the first few minutes, and after I unbuckled and scooted over to him, he jumped awake. His green eyes seemed ablaze as he took in his surroundings, muscles still tense under his too-big clothes. "Lunch," I told him quietly. He nodded as I leaned over the seat to wake Simon. I had to get him to move so I could crawl out of the back row, anyway.
"Simon." I said in his ear, nudging him. "Simon, wake up."
He nearly jumped out of his seat and then rubbed his eyes groggily. "Where are we?"
"I have no idea." I replied, leaning over to push Tori awake. She was a lot grumpier than Simon was, though she'd probably slept for fourteen hours. "Come on, move it." I said a little gruffly. Instantly, I sort of felt bad. I mean, none of us had been dealt a nice card, and it was best that we all stuck together. I had earned the title of peacemaker after all. "Please?" I tacked on. Tori grumbled as she slid out of her seat. Simon held the door open for me as I scrambled out of the back of the car.
We all stood by the car for a moment, straightening out our travel-worn clothes and waking up limbs that had fallen asleep. Aunt Lauren had already gone inside, and it seemed like Kit was waiting for us. He led the way inside, opening the door for us. Tori and Simon stepped on through. Derek took the door from his father, urging him and then me on.
Aunt Lauren was seated just inside the restaurant. I didn't know if she had asked for that table specifically so it made an easy getaway or what, but it was nice to not have to walk far. And at least I could see the bathrooms from here. I made an excuse to head to the bathroom, and when I got back I noticed that the only empty seat at the table was between Derek and Tori. I slid into my seat, scooting into the table just as a pretty young waitress came around the corner holding a handful of menus.
"Good afternoon. I'll be your waitress for today. Can I get y'all anything to drink?"
After we placed our drink orders, Tori opened up her menu and groaned. "Everything's fried." She complained, flipping to the next page. And their salads have ten thousand calories on them. Come on."
"Then don't eat." Simon countered. Half of his hair was still smashed, but I guess it didn't look too bad. Derek shook his hair out of his eyes and didn't say anything. I'd fully expected him to make some snide comment to Tori. It wasn't like him to hold back. Then again, he'd been holding back a lot, recently.
I didn't know if it was just to please my Aunt Lauren, who didn't want us to be together. I still remembered Brady's ghost telling me that it was Aunt Lauren who had mentioned killing Derek. I didn't know if she saw anything different in him now, or if her views about him were the same. All I knew was that her thoughts of me had changed since the showdown with Dr. Davidoff and Mrs. Enright, Tori's mother.
Or, maybe he just changed his mind. It sure hadn't seemed that way after that first motel, but who knew? Maybe he had changed his mind, and I was just stupid for pretending like everything was going to be fine after this. I flipped through my menu again. Maybe this whole thing was just a mess, and we weren't actually going to make it out of this. Why even try?
I laid the menu down on the tabletop and put my hands in my lap to calm them. My nerves were jittery, and it didn't help with my mood or my stutter. Just then, a hand reached over and gently squeezed mine, fingers lacing together. I squeezed back instinctively and looked up at Derek.
Under all of his dark hair, his green eyes glowed at me. His hand was a strong anchor to everything that felt right. Maybe things weren't going to be so bad after all. Maybe we could actually get through this.
Okay, chapter one down, a countless many (hopefully) to go. I'll be honest – my biggest fault when it comes to writing is my inability to finish a story. Please read and review, or I might actually just forget about this (whoops.)