This is the first chapter for the TSC Project, whose goal is to save the Secret Circle. Lately people have started giving up on trying to save the show or get it to another network, and we can't let that happen! We have to prove to the writers and interested networks that we truly love this show, and that we're in it for the long haul. Please, tweet about this project, put posts on tumblr about it, blog about it, or do anything else you want.
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Melissa was in her room. She had two different bathing suits in her hand and a suitcase on her bed next to her. There were clothes all over her floor and some in the suitcase. Right now she was deciding what bathing suit to bring with her to the weekend beach trip her dad was taking her and Faye on. Just then something soft and round hit her on top of the head.
"What?" Melissa said and turned around to see Faye standing by her door, a beach ball on the floor not too far away. "Very funny, Faye." Melissa smiled at her best friend. "Which one do you think?"
"The blue one." Faye told Melissa. Melissa looked at the blue one. She nodded her head and put the blue one in the suit case and the other one was carelessly discarded onto the floor. "Are you done packing already?"
Melissa's father had suggested going on this trip just yesterday, saying it would be a fun weekend away before school started again. She had called Faye last night and asked Faye to come. Faye was more than happy to get away for the weekend and Melissa had spent most of the morning trying to figure out what she was taking. They were leaving that night.
Yep," Faye answered, sitting on the couch. Melissa was shocked.
"How?" Melissa asked. Faye held up her hand and mumbled something Melissa couldn't hear under her breath. Suddenly clothes came out of her closet and drawers. They circled around for a bit before a few packed themselves in her suitcase. The ones that didn't get packed went back to where they were, the suitcase shutting and closing. Melissa smiled and laughed. "Where did you learn that?"
"My mom." Faye answered. "That spells packs the perfect outfits for your trip no matter where you're going. I don't know how, but it comes in handy." Faye laid back on Melissa's bed. "This weekend away is exactly what we need. The beach, sun, fun, boys..." The beach ball bounced off Faye's forehead. "What?"
"You have a boyfriend." Melissa stated.
"I didn't mean for me, I meant for you." Melissa didn't say anything, but turned around. "Unless… you don't want a boy because you already like someone?"
Melissa still refused to say anything.
"You do like someone, don't you?" Faye asked, but Melissa remained silent. "Who? Come on, you can tell me." When Melissa didn't say anything again Faye decided to change the subject "Okay, how about magic instead of boys? Ever swam with a dolphin in the open sea?"
Melissa looked at Faye and smiled. "That would be fun. Think we can do it?"
"We can do anything we want. Remember, solo magic again." Faye trilled, grinning. Melissa couldn't forget. Faye mentioned it almost every day this summer, but unlike Faye, Melissa hadn't minded being bonded to the others that much, although she was happy to be able to unlock a lock with another person again. "Best part of all; two whole days without Cassie and my mom going out of her way to be the perfect guardian. Actually, she went out of her way to get guardianship of Cassie. Can't believe I have to see that girl more now than ever before."
Melissa rolled her eyes. It wasn't the first time she had heard this during the summer either. "You can't seriously be upset your mom took guardianship of your friend to stop social services from carting her away to some girls' home for the next two years."
"She's not my friend," Faye argued.
"I think you're closer friends with Cassie then you'd like to admit. There was a time when you actually wanted to be her sister, remember?" Faye gave Melissa one of her best 'bitch stares' since she didn't like being reminded of that day. Melissa just stared back until there was a knock on the door.
Both jumped up and turned around. In the doorway was Melissa's father. Patrick Glaser was a tall man, at the moment he had short hair but Faye knew from a lifetime of visits to Melissa's that Patrick changed his hair length a lot. If she remembered right at one point he had been in possession of a small afro. He had really kind brown eyes and always seemed to have a huge smile on his face. "If you girls are both ready, we can leave early."
"Yeah," Faye said more then willing to leave for a sunny beach early.
"No," Melissa said. "We'd love to dad, but Faye forgot that we told Adam, Jake, and Cassie we would meet with them before we leave for the beach. We actually have to get going now. We'll probably be the last ones there."
"Oh yeah, see you later Mr. Glaser. We'll be back as soon as possible." Faye ran past Patrick.
"Bye dad, see you soon." Melissa kissed her dad on the cheek as she ran out.
Cassie walked downstairs slowly, nodded though the person on the end of the phone couldn't see her. "Yeah, Mrs. Chamberlain, I'm fine."
"Are you sure?" Faye's mother had always seemed a little distant, but lately she'd become a much better mother to Cassie and Faye. "I know that part of my guardianship agreement lets you stay at your home…"
"It's fine." Truthfully the creaks and groans of the old house were beginning to make Cassie wish she wasn't alone, but she would never admit it. "I like it here."
"It reminds you of them."
Silent tears slipped down her face despite the best efforts to stop them. "Yeah, it does."
"I just want you to know that if you ever get lonely you can come over here." Dawn said. "You'll always be welcome."
Cassie sniffled. She was always lonely now. "Thank you, Mrs. Chamberlain."
Adam watched carefully as his father walked out of the Boathouse. "Sorry, what was your order again?" he asked the pretty brunette he was serving. She reminded him of Diana with her soft smile and curly brown hair.
"A salad, please." She said. He flashed her a quick smile and hurried back to the pantry to get more lettuce.
The summer had certainly been interesting. Adam had only recently gotten back from his trip to bury the skull. They'd had to put it on hold while Cassie went through weeks of legal issues as Dawn fought to be her guardian. Adam had refused to leave, mostly because Cassie had requested he stay. It was awkward to be around her after she kissed him at the funeral, but she had no one else. Faye couldn't be counted on, Jake was too absorbed with Faye, Melissa was keeping them out of trouble twenty-four seven, and Diana was gone. He had been the only person she could depend on, and even that was only to a certain extent.
Adam came back and mixed the salad quickly, handing it to the girl. She laughed when he nearly dropped it on the floor. "Distracted, much?" she asked, pulling a piece of lettuce off of her dress.
"Yeah, sorry." Said Adam. Her huge brown eyes captured him for a moment, but he broke eye contact. He checked to see if his dad was still gone. "Do you need anything else, miss…?"
"It's Emily." The girl smiled. "And no, I'm fine, thank you."
He left her in peace, making his way to the duffel bag placed on the floor. He scooped in up in one hand and left before he was seen.
Jake turned the vial over in his hand for the hundredth time. What was the dirt, or the sand inside it for? He knew that his Grandpa might be crazy, but he would never send Jake something that said it fought dark magic but didn't. He wished he could test it, but there wasn't enough. He didn't want to waste a single grain.
He'd considered visiting his Grandpa many times, but there was never a good moment. Faye was always over at his house wanting attention, and he could hardly resist giving her what she craved. Then she'd been dragged into all the legal stuff regarding Cassie, so he had to be supportive. If he'd learned anything that summer, it was that Faye appreciated being treated like a human being. Jake wondered why he hadn't been kinder to her before. It had taken a life-and-death situation for him to realize she was actually a good person on the inside, someone who just wanted to be loved.
He sighed. He could think about Faye later. Right now he had to figure out just how this little vial of sand would keep away the other Balcoins.
"Hello?" Cassie called, walking in her father's old house. It was still weird being there, especially since she'd killed Blackwell in the very same building a few months ago. Of course, that thought brought Diana to mind, so she shrugged it away.
The Circle was gathered on the walkway that sounded the main room. Cassie could see Faye lounging on Jake's lap, looking like she owned the place. As soon as she spotted Cassie Faye leaned down and gave Jake a very thorough kiss. Cassie rolled her eyes.
"Ready to start?" she asked, coming up to where they were and taking a seat. "That is, if you have time to come up for air?"
Faye looked up, shot Cassie a disdainful glance, and when back to mouth-attacking Jake.
Cassie sighed. "So, Adam, how did it go?"
"I—what? Oh, the skull." Adam said quickly. "Uh, yeah. I went to the beach—a rural one—and it's safe. No one will find it. It's buried in sand…. So it's neutralized."
Melissa's eyebrows went up, making it obvious she sensed Adam's nervousness too. The quiet witch watched him with eye full of concern. Adam looked like he wanted to bolt.
"You okay?" Faye asked, suddenly uninterested in her boyfriend. Jake's expression mirrored Faye's words.
Adam shrugged. "I… I guess."
"You don't look like it." said Cassie. She took a step closer. "Did something happen…?"
"No, no, of course not!"
Melissa said, "Then what's wrong?"
Adam shifted back and forth on his feet, as though debating whether he should run or not. "I was just around that skull a lot, and… there's something about it."
Cassie tensed. Had the dark magic gotten to him?
"It's… eerie. The whole time I was traveling down to the beach that I buried it at I didn't get any rest. I think it was trying to scare me or something. I know it's stupid to think, since it's an inanimate object and everything…"
"That's awful." Melissa sympathized. "Well, you don't have to worry about it anymore."
"You didn't happen to bury it at Salsbury beach, did you?" Faye asked. Her hands absently roamed through Jake's hair as she spoke.
Melissa giggled. "That's where we're going this weekend."
"The last beach weekend of the summer!" Faye declared, bouncing up from Jake's lap in a very un-Faye-like manner. She gave her friend and impulsive hug, making Melissa laugh even more. "And with solo magic…."
"Perfect weather, volleyballs conveniently hitting us so that boys have to come over and apologize and then meet us—" Melissa continued, grinning.
"What?" Jake asked, clearly not like the last suggestion.
Faye danced away from Melissa, leaning down and giving him another lingering kiss. "Don't worry, the boys are for Melissa."
Now Adam was the one who looked surprised. Cassie wondered why, but she didn't really care about anything that the group was talking about. It was like the first day of school again, with her out of the loop.
"—and perfect bikini bodies, though we have those anyway, and not getting sand in awkward places since Faye knows a spell for that, and—" Melissa said, still on a roll.
"So then I guess we're done talking about the skull?" Cassie asked above the noise.
Faye gave her patented 'You're-an-idiot' look. "No duh, Cassie. It's gone, so we don't have to worry anymore. All you have to do now is brush up you're 'I'm a sad little orphan who just wants to be loved' smile for the boys. School starts soon, you know."
Cassie didn't reply. It didn't seem worth it, and Faye was already distracted.
"My dad texted me, we should really leave now." Melissa said. When Faye didn't answer she grabbed Faye's wrist and dragged her to her feet. "Come on, we have to go."
Planting a final kiss on his cheek, Faye bid Jake goodbye and followed Melissa out, the two shrieking and giggling hysterically.
"They seem to be having fun." Jake observed a bit sourly.
"No one is going to steal your girlfriend." Cassie snapped. "Look, we might as well go home. Clearly there's nothing else to talk about."
Adam nodded. "I have to… work."
"Yeah, sure." said Cassie despondently. "Jake?"
He started nervously. "I, um, have some stuff to take care of." When she kept looking at him he added, "Alone. Sorry."
"Then I guess I'll go home." Cassie said to herself. It would be another weekend alone. Dawn's offer was starting to seem more and more tempting.
The little beep of the microwave let Cassie know her meal was done. She went and took out the left over pasta she had heated up for lunch. She had just gotten home that Monday afternoon, suddenly finding that she was ravenous. She sat down on the couch and turned on the TV as she started on her lunch.
It wasn't long later when the doorbell rang. Cassie looked over at the door not knowing who it could be. She had talked to the circle today and couldn't picture any of them coming over. If Diana had still been in Chance Harbor then she would have come over, but Cassie knew that was an impossibility. Dawn wasn't coming over today either. She couldn't think of anyone else who would come over, so she decided to ignore the door. It was probably just a salesman or a group of girl scouts.
Right when Cassie went to take another bite of her pasta the doorbell rang again. She put her food down and looked at the door again. She decided once again to ignore it, figuring whoever it was would go away eventually. Unfortunately she was proven wrong when the unknown visitor kept hitting the doorbell, making her fear it would be broken.
"Hold on a minute!" Cassie yelled, deciding she couldn't ignore them anymore. She took a sip of her drink and started to get up off the couch. By the time she started walking the doorbell turned into knocking. Very loud, very hard knocking. "I'm coming, I'm coming." Cassie had no idea who would just continue banging like this. No one in the Circle would do it, they would just unlock the door magically and barge in uninvited.
Cassie finally opened the door to figure out who it was. There were two boys standing at the door. They didn't look like they could be much older than her. They were both tall, easily taller than Cassie. They both had dark hair and blue eyes. They looked kind of familiar but after thinking it over real quick Cassie realized she had no idea who they were. They didn't go to her school and she had never met them before.
"Can I help you?" Cassie asked. The way the one on the left was looking at her was making her kind of nervous. He looked ready to kill her without a second thought. Cassie mentally readied herself to use magic at any moment.
"Tell us where our father is." the guy on the left, who she assumed was more of a straight to-the-point kind of guy, said.
"Um..." Cassie was confused. "I think you got the wrong address." Cassie started to close the door, but the same guy who had spoke moments ago stopped it with his hand.
"I've been nice." He growled. "I didn't knock down your door. You can thank Ryder for that." Cassie assumed Ryder was the other guy who had stayed quiet the whole time. "And I don't want to hurt you. I don't hurt family, but tell me now, little sister; where is our father? Where is John Blackwell?"
Cassie almost stepped back shocked, but she stood her ground. On the hand that was blocking the door Cassie now saw the same symbol that was on her own hand. She resisted the urge to look at it. Over the summer she had looked at it probably a million times and had traced it with her fingers even more. These boys were her brothers. John Blackwell's other children. The children Cassie had started to assume he was lying about.
"He's not here." Cassie told them.
"Where is he?" The one that Cassie knew was Ryder said finally talking for the first time since Cassie answered the door.
"Where he deserves to be!" Cassie told them. "NOW GET OFF MY FRONT PORCH." Cassie used all her magic, even her dark magic which she had been trying to avoid using, to push the two boys back. They didn't fly back the way she wanted them to but she was able to move them a bit. More than enough to close the door and lock it.
She barely got away from the door before the door was knocked down and across the room. So much for not breaking the door Cassie thought. Cassie was smart. She knew that closing and locking the door wasn't going to stop them for long. She thought it might have given her enough time to jump out her window and run to Jake's. In these situations she considered herself lucky to have another member of the circle living so close. She was also hoping that Faye might just be over there, although the two didn't really get on they would always have each other's back. Usually when it came to a fight Cassie wouldn't back down or run, but she knew both these boys were probably just as powerful as her and that it would be hard to face them alone. If she had two members of her circle with her then she might be willing to take them on. Cassie believed, even though they are not bound anymore, they were still stronger together. Now it looked like she was on her own.
The one who had obviously burst open her door and was yet to be named looked pissed. "Calm down, Lucas," Ryder said, finally letting Cassie know the other's name. "She's still our little sister." Cassie didn't like the way the two said little sister. They made it sound like they were better than her just because she was younger. "And she's a member of our circle, so let's give her another chance. Where's John Blackwell?"
Cassie looked around for a minute and then got a plan. She knew she couldn't tell them she killed John Blackwell or that he was dead. They seemed pissed enough now that he was missing, so she had to find a way out of this. "You know what, Ryder? I do need to tell you something." Cassie said, spotting a potential escape plan. "I have a Circle and neither of you are in it." A vase that her grandma used to love before she died flew from its spot and hit Lucas right in the back. At the same time a lamp flew over and hit Ryder.
"Okay, now I'm done be nice. We do this the hard way." Lucas said, throwing Cassie against a wall.
"Agreed, but let's not hurt her too badly." Ryder said as another lamp flew at them. This time they managed to duck before it hit either of them. Cassie then moved a chair. Lucas was able to avoid it, but it knocked Ryder off his feet for a second. He got back up almost right away. Cassie knew she couldn't win this fight with lamps and chairs, but she was hoping sending things at them might distract them long enough for her to escape. So far that wasn't working. She wondered if she had enough magic to fling the sofa at them, or possibly bring a wall down.
Then suddenly Ryder went flying into the wall by the door, a surprised look on his face and his body smashed through the drywall. Had she done that? Lucas turned to look and Cassie took the distraction, sending him flying into a wall. Adam right then came running it. Cassie realized what happened then. Adam had pushed Ryder into the wall with his magic. The two boys were back up and used their powers to push Adam right near Cassie. Damn, these two just won't stay down, Cassie thought, but now it was two on two. Together Adam and Cassie were able to keep the boys near the door; in fact they were nearly out the door. Adam seemed more powerful than Cassie remembered for some reason, but it was still basically a draw. Neither one of them were able to get the upper hand.
From over at his house Jake heard something going on. He came outside to see Cassie and Adam fighting with two boys he didn't know. When he saw that, Jake didn't even stop to think. All he saw was two members of his Circle in trouble and no one could say Jake didn't try to protect his Circle since he left the witch hunters. He's done everything he could to protect them, especially the girls; he would even protect Adam even though he didn't like him. Jake ran up and grabbed one of the boys. He was able to physically, with his own two arms not magic, throw the witch onto the grass.
When Jake threw Ryder onto the grass Lucas had turned around to look at Jake. He looked like he was ready to kill. He didn't get the chance though, since Cassie used the distraction Jake had provided and used all her power to throw Lucas onto the grass next to his brother. The two got up and looked at them.
"Lucas, Ryder, meet two members of my Circle. Adam," Cassie put one hand on Adam's shoulder as she said his name "And Jake." Cassie put her other hand on Jake's arm. She was more than confident now that they could take them. She and Adam had been able to hold them off; now that they had Jake the odds were on their side.
Lucas looked at them angry for a minute, but then glanced at Ryder. "Let's go for now." He said and the two went into a car that was parked in front of Cassie's house. The three watched as the two drove away and didn't start to talk until they were gone.
Cassie was the first to speak. "Thanks a lot, guys." She turned to face Adam. "That was some impressive magic you used. It seemed stronger then I remembered you being."
"What? Um... No... It wasn't. I had you for help and the guys were distracted when I showed up. They weren't expecting me. I'm nothing special. Not like you." Adam said it a little too fast and seemed nervous, but neither Cassie nor Jake noticed.
"Okay. Jake, we couldn't have done it without you."
Jake smiled at the compliment. "Yeah, I was pretty impressive, wasn't I?"
"You hit that guy." Adam said. "It's not like you used magic."
"It worked, didn't it?" Jake smirked.
Cassie sighed, rolling her eyes. "We defeated them, okay? It's all good, no need for a testosterone-fueled face-off."
"I have a question." Jake said, just realizing something. "Who were they? And why were they even here?"
"They're Ryder and Lucas, my big brothers." Cassie could see the shock on their faces.
"They are real! Blackwell wasn't lying!" Jake said. Cassie nodded. "I'll call the rest of the Circle and tell them to meet here." Cassie nodded again as Jake took out his cell phone to dial Faye.
At the moment they were about fifteen miles outside of Boulder Utah, They'd just spent 3 days at a cute Motel called Pole's Place. Diana felt like she was on cloud nine, she'd spent the last three months with the sweetest guy she'd met in a long. It didn't hurt that he was cute, either.
"I still can't get over how cool the Anasazi Park was." Diana said, smiling at Grant.
"It was pretty cool, but I still don't think any place or anything we do will beat the four weeks we spent in Chicago." Grant said, sending Diana a playful smirk. Diana blushed at some of the memories, and laughed at the others.
"I can't believe we ran out of money! We'll have to stop back in at that diner later to say hi to Danny. He was so nice to give us those jobs knowing we would only be able to spend a very short time there."
"He had a soft spot for you, that's why. I think you remind him of his girl he talks so much about. You'd get away with calling him Danny, but if I tried to I bet he would have cut my arm off!" Diana burst out laughing at that comment. It was true; Grant had only been able to call Danny "Daniel" or "Sir".
A few miles down the road Grant pulled off into the shoulder.
"I'm grabbing a sandwich from the trunk, do you want one?"
"Yes, please." Diana said, flashing him a brilliant smile. Grant smiled back and headed around back, as he was opening the trunk his phone buzzed. Pulling his cell from his pocket, his heart dropped slightly as he saw the text was from his boss.
Okay, Grant, you've had your fun. I've been quite generous, letting you out of work for three month, but it's time you headed back to Chance Harbor. I'll be in Australia for the next two weeks. By time I arrive in Chance Harbor you had better be there. You know what will happen if you aren't.
Grant sighed, grabbing the sandwiches and getting back in the car.
"Is something wrong?" Diana asked, voice full of concern, but Grant's face was unreadable.
"Everything's fine" A genuine smile spread across his lips and he handed her the sandwich.
"So where to now?" He asked, causing her face to fall slightly.
"How about we drive until we find a place to stay?"
"I like that idea."
After Jake made his call to Faye and Melissa he had ran home for a minute. He had said it was to get something, but he had nothing in his hands when he got back. In the time that Jake was gone Adam and Cassie had been able to magically put the door back up. Unfortunately everything Cassie had broken while fighting them was unfixable, even by magic. Cassie felt awful about breaking her grandma's favorite vase, but then again her Grandma was dead, so she wouldn't care about it.
It hadn't taken long for the whole circle to get there. Jake and Faye had what Melissa considered being an endearing reunion after a weekend apart, and what Cassie and Adam considered being a disgusting display of affection. They had quickly filed into Cassie's house some hugs and holiday gossip exchanged before they filled Faye and Melissa in on what happened so now they were all in Cassie's living room. Adam was leaning against a wall not saying anything. Faye and Jake sat next to each other on the couch. Jake had his arm around Faye and the two hadn't spoken since hearing the news. Cassie was sitting on the other couch in the room and had started eating her pasta again. The food had somehow avoid getting messed up during the fight although it did cool down a lot. All the talking and freaking out in the room went to the last member of the Circle present: Melissa.
Melissa was pacing back and forth just continuing to talk to no in particular besides herself. "I can't believe they are real. After not showing up all summer long I was certain Blackwell was lying. I mean, where have they been, hiding in some sewer or something? Why did they show up now? What do they have planned? HOW CAN YOU EAT AT A TIME LIKE THIS?" The last part was directed at Cassie.
Cassie swallowed her food before answering, "If I stopped eating every time something went wrong with magic or we found a new enemy I would starve to death."
"She has a point," Jake said.
"More importantly, is that the pasta that was leftover from the other night?" Faye asked and Cassie nodded since she had taken another bite. "I was looking for that and couldn't find it."
When Cassie was done chewing and had swallowed, she answered Faye. "Mrs. Chamberlain gave it to me." One of the good things about having Dawn as a guardian was she was always making sure Cassie had something to eat. Since Cassie had to check in with her every once in a while Dawn made her come over for dinner a lot and gave her leftovers when she was leaving. The only down side about that was she was spending a lot more time with Faye then she cared for.
"I can't believe this. You're over so much now and you're taking my leftovers. I like eating the pasta the next day for lunch."
"Are you seriously complaining because my guardian gave me leftovers?" Cassie loved reminding Faye that Dawn was her guardian. Faye always got this look in her eyes, like she wanted to throttle Cassie. Cassie had no idea why. It's not like she was living with them. Dawn was just in charge of making sure Cassie was okay, but the look was always funny.
"Don't you guys think we have more important things to talk about then pasta?" Melissa said, stopping anymore fighting between the two. "I mean with the amount you two argue with each other Faye should have been Blackwell other daughter. You guys have the whole sibling rivalry thing down." Faye and Cassie looked at Melissa like she was nuts and the group could barely hear Faye mumble under her breath "The only good thing about not being Blackwell's daughter was that I'm not her sister."
Jake stood up and put his hand on Melissa's shoulder. "Melissa, calm down. Take a deep breath. You pacing is not helping anything right now." Melissa nodded and took a seat next to Cassie and Jake took his seat back next to Faye, their hands immediately finding each others. "Okay, Cassie, you told us who they were, but not why they came here? Is there any other reason besides you being their sister?"
Cassie finished what was left of her pasta before answering. "They were looking for Blackwell."
"Did you tell them he was dead?" Melissa asked.
"No, I didn't think they would take the news that Diana and I killed him too well, so I decided to leave that part out."
"I say if they want Blackwell let's give them his body." Faye commented, apparently as a joke since she laughed about it. "Whatever happened to his body anyway? I know we didn't call the police."
"Okay, even if he hadn't been dead for months that suggestion is just gross." Cassie said. "Besides, there is no way Jake and I are digging up his grave for a third time. Unlike some TV shows lead you to believe, it's not that easy."
"You and Jake buried him in his own grave." Faye said, looking at Jake.
"We couldn't call the police. There's no reasonable explanation for why he died. Couldn't have them thinking murder. We'd all be suspects and then they would be looking into our lives. We couldn't have used magic until they dropped the case, so we put him where we thought he was for sixteen years." Jake answered.
"But the two of you spent a couple of hours together, alone, in the dark."
"Faye, don't tell me you're jealous that Jake and I dug up my father's grave to put his body in it because me and my sister killed him." Jake said.
"Yeah." Cassie agreed. "Because the dark, in a graveyard at night, with all the spooky noises and corpses and spiders is just so romantic."
Faye thought for a second. "Okay, good point." Just to prove something Faye kissed Jake, causing Cassie to roll her eyes.
"Can we get back to talking about all the evil children of John Blackwell?" Melissa asked and then turned to Cassie. "No offense. I didn't mean you or Diana."
"I know, none taken." Cassie assured Melissa.
"Shouldn't there be more than two?" Everyone looked at Melissa. "You said two boys came to the house, but Blackwell said he wanted to make a Balcoin circle. A circle is six. You, Diana, and these two boys make four. Where are the other two?"
"Good point," Jake said. "Since there were actually two other children we have to assume Blackwell was telling the complete truth; that there are another two children of John Blackwell out there somewhere but whether they're in town or not I don't know. I do have something to show you guys though." Jake went into his pocket and took out a piece of paper and a tube filled with something. "After Blackwell died my grandfather sent me this note in the mail along with this."
Jake passed the note to Faye who read it and then gave it to Melissa. Melissa handed it to Cassie who gave it over to Adam. Adam left his spot standing by the wall to take and read the note. He had been like a ghost in this meeting. He stood there watching and listening to everything that was said or done, but did not comment. It was weird since he used to speak up a lot in Circle meetings, but none of the other four presents seem to notice the difference in him or they just didn't care.
"What's in the tube?" Faye asked.
"I don't know." Jake said, holding it up. "I've been trying to figure it out."
"Looks like sand," Cassie commented.
"Or dirt," Faye said mostly to disagree with Cassie. Cassie didn't say anything not wanting to start another argument and besides the stuff in the tube could be either dirt or sand, but Faye liked the idea of it being dirt more. "So your crazy Grandpa went all Tia Dalma on you?" she asked getting a few odd looks from the others. "Or not. Let's open it up and see if it does anything." Faye reached for the device but Jake took hold of her hand before she could touch it.
"No," Jake stated. "Whatever this stuff is it could be important. We don't want to waste it." Faye looked like she was about to argue, but stopped when Melissa and Cassie agreed with Jake. She realized she was out voted and in a room full of witches it was hard to argue with that. "Besides that I don't think there is too much else to talk about."
Jake made to get up and leave but Melissa stopped him. "There is one other thing. Cassie should stay at Faye's tonight.'
Both Cassie and Faye jumped up from their spots on the couch. "WHAT! NO!" They said together and then looked at each other.
"You can't make me." Cassie added, for good measure.
Melissa lifted her hand to point at the two. "The Balcoins seem to want you, and you'd be safer with another witch around. Faye's is the best place to stay."
Both Faye and Cassie didn't like the idea, but luckily with the help of Jake both agreed to the idea. They might be a part of the same Circle and sort of be friends, but they fought constantly. It got a little annoying. It did make sense for Cassie to go to Faye's house. There would be three witches there, Cassie, Faye, and Dawn. It also made perfect sense because Dawn was Cassie's guardian, so the two agreed to it.
Adam notices Cassie is hesitant though and says "You can stay at my house tonight, if you want." It was the first time he spoken all meeting.
Cassie looked at him. "No thanks," Cassie declined the request. "Even with a magic elixir taking away your feelings it's still weird to stay at your ex-boyfriends house overnight."
"Besides, you two get too close and my boyfriend ends up dead. I'd rather have Cassie at my house than have that happen." Faye said. Cassie looked at her remembering her saying something similar before prom. Cassie just nodded her agreement remembering the curse and got up to pack a bag for her overnight stay at Faye's.
"Thank you for having me, Mrs. Chamberlain." Cassie said shyly, smiling as Dawn let her in. Thing might be rough with Faye, but her mom was always so nice around Cassie. It made Cassie wonder why she and Faye couldn't be better friends.
"It's no problem at all, Cassie." Dawn said earnestly. She laid a hand on Cassie's shoulder. 'You know that you can stay here whenever you want. If you ever want to move in—"
"No." Faye snapped, shoving past Dawn and Cassie. "Please, let's not get that extreme."
Cassie said, "It's okay. I like being alone sometimes, and that house reminds me of my Grandma and my Mom."
"Of course." said Dawn. "Did you enjoy the pasta I gave you?"
Cassie could practically feel Faye's eyes burning into the back of her head. "Yeah, it was great."
Dawn nodded. She looked like she wanted to say something else, but instead she just hugged Cassie briefly and then headed back upstairs.
"Something wicked this way comes." Faye quoted snarkily from her perch on the couch. "You know, I think sometimes she liked you better than me."
Cassie shook her head, warily joining Faye. Some unknown show was on. "No she doesn't. You're her daughter; I'm just the girl that she gives food to."
"According to her, you have 'manners' and you're 'polite' and all that." Faye grumbled. "If she knew you were the queen of the underworld..."
"It's not like that, Faye." Cassie said.
"Diana seemed to see it that way." Faye bit out. She regretted it when she saw Cassie's face fall, but since she had already crossed that line there was no stopping. "That's why she left. She got scared by all the dark magic you released inside her."
"Shut up." Cassie's voice was suddenly serious. "I mean it."
Faye shrugged. "It's the truth, and don't you even think about strangling me, O Spawn of Hell." Cassie glared furiously at her mocking tone. "What? You invade my home and take my Mom's affection, you get what you deserve. Besides, you sat down next to me. You could have just walked away and avoided this whole thing."
Cassie was seething with rage, but she gulped heavily, trying to breathe. She couldn't lose it and choke Faye. She just couldn't. It would mean losing the last person she had left that could count as family: Dawn.
Slowly the tension in her chest uncoiled. Cassie unclenched her fists to see that she had accidentally cut her palms with her fingernails. The tiny crescent-moon marks stung when she tried to blot at them with a tissue.
"You're still here?" asked Faye irritably, glancing at Cassie. She noticed Cassie's hand, her brow crinkling. "Damn. I look away for five seconds and already you're hurt again."
The concern in Faye's voice surprised Cassie, and she felt oddly ungrateful. "I'm fine."
"Suit yourself." Faye said.
"I'm not stealing anyone's affection." Cassie added, her voice softer. She felt like she would never be truly loved by a parent again. After all, the only family she had left were relatives who barely knew her scattered across the country, and Diana. Both of those weren't an option for Cassie anyway.
Faye cast her a sideways glance, annoyed again. "Well, my mom fawns over you all the time. It's always, 'Do you think Cassie's okay?' 'How is Cassie feeling?' 'Did Cassie have a good lunch at school today?' 'Did Cassie like the pasta I gave her?'"
"It's not like that." Cassie said. "I try to stay out of the way, I really do."
"Try harder." Faye got up, dropping the remote on the couch next to Cassie. "I'm going out."
"Why, are you going to tell on me?" Faye asked, voice mimicking a five-year-olds.
Cassie sighed. "No, Faye. Besides, the only place you could possibly be going is Jake's."
As the brunette stalked out Cassie clenched her fists again, the tiny red half-moons on her palms burning. It just wasn't fair.
Melissa was very bored. She stared at the computer, wondering what to do. Faye didn't answered her cell, Cassie wasn't online and Adam... well he was probably busy at the boathouse. She tried to avoid the thought of everybody so busy with their own lives and just called for her in emergency situations. What happened with spending some normal time with friends? She shook her head and tried to put those thoughts away, everybody was in a messed up situation and she didn't want to be that kind of person.
Finally decided to spend the day by herself, she got up and decided to go look for a snack. Maybe a lot of junk food and a good film would put her in a better mood.
She took one second looking at her cell, wondering if she should take it with her down stairs. She left it on the computer desk: at this point, she doubted someone would call her and ask her if she wanted to watch a film or anything like that.
And it was still in the middle of the afternoon.
She went down stairs, trying to remember what there was on the fridge and when she passed by the door, the bell rang.
Melissa stood there for a minute. It rang again.
With a smile showing upon her face, she walked to it, trying to imagine which one of her friends was there to save her. Hopefully it would be Faye. The beach trip had been so much fun, and Melissa found herself missing her best friend already.
Unfortunately none of her friends were there. Melissa stared at the two boys in front of her, and she didn't know either of them.
They looked around the same age, not too much older than herself. The one who was closest to the door seemed very relaxed, with his hands in the jeans pockets, smiling.
It was a very nice smile for a very cute guy.
"Hi!" He said in an enthusiastic way, like they were old friends. Melissa couldn't help but laugh a little at his friendly demeanor. The other gave her a little smirk.
"Hi." She said to him.
"Good afternoon." He said once again.
"Same to you, I guess." Ok, that was very funny but she started to wonder who the two were.
"So, would you mind come out here?" The one with cute smile asked her, very naturally.
Melissa took one second to process that weird situation.
"What? Why?" She finally asked.
"So we don't have to go inside and break your entire house." The other guy said.
Melissa stared at them. The first guy gave her a cute smile again.
Suddenly a lot of images started to run through her brain: demons, witch Hunters, evil witches, demons.
Cursing the moment she opened the damn door, Melissa tried to close it, but it was pushed back to her with such a force that she was threw into the air. Melissa fell onto the floor and the two walked in. She saw shoes stepping and felt some sort of invisible power stopping her from moving, this was starting to become a regular thing.
"You really have a nice carpet." The guy with the cute smile said as he walked to her.
He took his hand from his pocket and showed his palm to Melissa. She saw a scar that reminded her of a symbol, and when she thought about it she thought she was close to figuring out who the two were, but before she could everything became blurred and black. She passed out.
Jake walked into his room to find a very naked Faye Chamberlain lying in his bed. Any other time he would make some sexy quip and joined her, but today was different, He'd been spending so much time trying to figure out just exactly what that thing his grandfather sent him was, and today he felt like some progress had been made.
"Jake, do you like my outfit?"
"What outfit Faye?" He asked, walking over to his desk and turning on his desk lamp before sitting down and inspecting the vial of sand for the thousandth time.
"Aw Jake, I spent hours worrying over what the perfect outfit to wear for you would be. I think this one is perfect." Her voice came out in a seductive little purr.
Jake thought for a moment, He loved being with Faye and the idea really wasn't that bad, but at the same time… "I'm not in the mood tonight."
"Not in the mood? Jake, have you actually taken a good look at me yet?" Faye pouted.
Jake put the vial down and turned to look at her, a playful grin on her face. She was right, because as always she looked amazing, not a hair out of place. And the way she looked sitting on his bed, with the sheets wrinkling and bundled around her… No man in his right mind would turn the girl down, but in a way Jake really wasn't in his right mind. The entire summer Jake had been trying to figure out what the damn vial was that it had practically become an obsession. He'd probably lost his mind in the last month with the theories on what it could be, he was half tempted to call every person who sold witch artifacts in the country, but was afraid that others knowing about it could cause more drama. More people wanting it, some would be willing to take it by force.
"Faye, I'm sorry I'm not in the mood." Faye got up and walked over to Jake a swing in her hips as she straddled Jake and wrapped her legs around his waist, reaching her hand up she ran a hand through Jake's hair a few times before kissing him, soft at first but building into a rough kiss, then slowly she bit on and tugged his lip.
"Are you sure about that?" She asked, knowing full well that that kiss had a one hundred percent success rate in working on Jake, but today that success rate had changed to ninety-nine point nine of the time. He had already set his mind against it.
"Yes Faye, I am. I'm tired." Faye's eyes narrowed at him, mouth slightly open in shock and a mix of hurt. She sat there and stared at him for a minute.
"Fine then." She said, unwrapping her legs from around him, grabbing her long coat she buttoned it up tied the waist up and left without another word.
"Shit." Jake murmured knowing he had messed up. After a moment of replaying the scene in his mind and thinking how much easier it would have been to just give in and work after she left, he picked the sand vial up again and switched his laptop on and went back to researching.
Cassie was sitting on her bed… though technically it wasn't hers. Her bed was at her house. Dawn had made up the guest room for Cassie and had told Cassie whenever she needed it this would be her room at Dawn's house. Cassie was thankful for all Dawn was doing for her, but she really wished she could be at her own house, in her own room. She knew Melissa had been right though. It would be too dangerous a risk to stay by herself tonight with her Balcoin siblings on the loose in Chance Harbor.
With Faye having left she had nothing to do, so she took out her cell phone. She thought about calling a member of her Circle but decided against. Faye was either with Jake or Melissa and things with Adam were weird. Instead of calling anyone she decided to go looking through her pictures.
The first one was of her mom. The picture was taken a few months before her mom had died when Cassie had gotten the cell phone. Her mom was in their kitchen. Cassie remembered yelling "Mom!" and taking the picture the minute Amelia turned around. Cassie remembered Amelia saying it wasn't fair and that she should have given her more warning so she could look better. The picture was taking right in front of their kitchen sink. Amelia had been washing dishes when she had turned around. She looked like any house mother with the rubber gloves on. Cassie thought how ironic it was that the only picture she had of her mom, besides the one her grandma had from when her mom lived in Chance Harbor, was in the place Amelia had ended up dying. All the other pictures, the family vacations, and everything else had burned down in the fire. By the time the fire was put out almost everything in it was destroyed and the family photo albums had been in the kitchen cabinet. They never stood a chance. Looking at the only picture she had left of her mom tears started to form in Cassie's eyes.
Cassie switched to the next picture hoping to get her mind off her mom, but it didn't help. This picture was of her grandma. Cassie had taken it right after she had moved in with her grandma, before she knew about the witch stuff. That seemed so long ago. Her grandmother had been sitting at the kitchen table. Cassie had given her warning before taking the picture, so she had smiled. Looking at the picture Cassie couldn't help but think of the last time Cassie saw her grandma, when Cassie had discovered her body. It was after she had told Diana she was her sister. Diana had asked her to leave and Cassie had agreed. It was a lot to take in. Cassie had come home calling for her grandma and then saw her on the floor. She had run over hoping she might be able to help her grandma, but the minute she saw her grandma's body Cassie knew she was dead. Tears were actually falling out of Cassie's eyes now and she was wiping them away not wanting to start sobbing at Faye's house. If Faye saw her she would mercilessly tease Cassie.
Cassie went to the next picture which was Diana. Diana had been standing in front of her locker, dazzling smile lighting up her face. Diana had left Cassie just like Amelia and Jane, but Diana had made the choice to leave. Diana could have stayed with her, but she left. She chose to leave Cassie all on her alone. Cassie had no family besides Diana. She didn't count the other Balcoin children as family and Cassie didn't think she ever would. They might be blood, but they weren't her real siblings. Diana is and always will be her sister, but Cassie wasn't even too sure she would ever see Diana again. Everyone had left Cassie. Cassie thought that it was the most unfair thing in the world, that she was able to lose all of her family when she was sure she didn't deserve it.
"Are you okay?" Cassie heard Dawn say from the door. Cassie didn't answer. She felt Dawn sit down next to her on the bed and put a hand on her back. "Hey, you want to talk about it?" Cassie shook her head. "Are you sure?" Cassie nodded. "You want to be left alone?" Cassie nodded again. "Okay, I'll be downstairs if you change your mind." Dawn got up and left. Cassie heard the door shut behind her.
"Adam! Is Melissa here?" Faye asked as she walked into the boathouse. Truthfully was she wasn't originally looking for Melissa, but after seeing the boathouse and knowing she spent a good deal of time here with Adam nowadays, it was a good bet her best friend would be there. She needed to vent about Jake, and Melissa was the girl for the job.
"Nope." He said after calming down from the start Faye had given him. He hadn't heard the girl come in, and her voice was quite loud.
"Well where is she?"
"Faye, why do you automatically assume I know where she'd be?"
"You two have been awfully chummy lately, I mean all summer if I couldn't find her it was because she was here or off with you somewhere."
"Sorry, I don't know." His words were full of agitation
"Well, I guess now you get to fill in for her. I need to vent." She said a grin spreading on her face.
"Go away Faye, I'm working." He cast a stern look at her, but she was already doing a puppy dog face.
"Damn it Faye, no!"
"But Adddaaaammmm…" she whined, Adam rolled his eyes.
"Fine. But I'm not going to stop working." Smiling Faye went and sat down on one of the bar stools and quickly got lost in her own world.
"The thing is, Adam, Jake is losing interest with me over that stupid vial of sand." Adam's shoulders tensed a little.
"He's so worked up over that thing. He believes it has something to do with that skull." Suddenly a glass was lying broken on the ground.
"What the hell Adam?" Faye screeched, jumping a bit.
"Sorry, it, uh, slipped." He said coolly, hoping she'd buy it, when really it had exploded.
"Right… anyways… Today, I go over there in the best outfit I own, my birthday suit-"
"Why am I not surprised?" Adam asked, grabbing the broom to start sweeping up the broken glass.
"Don't interrupt! Anyways, I'm lying on his bed waiting for him and he completely turned me down. I tried so hard, but he wouldn't budge, just kept staring at the damn sand."
"You're right, turning down a naked Faye? Something must be wrong with him."
"I'm not sure if that was sarcasm or not." Faye said and Adam just rolled his eyes and continued trying to get all the glass into the dust pan.
"I'm not sure if I want to vent to you anymore… So now you can tell me what the hell exploding that glass was about?" Adam tensed back up
"I told you Faye, I accidentally knocked it over."
"No, you didn't. I saw it shatter."
"You're imagining things, Faye. Did you take some Devil's Spirit again?"
"Adam, you're hiding something, I can sense it. You're all twitchy and un-Adam-like. Tell me? Please?"
"Get out, Faye." He responded angrily.
"Not until you tell me what's up."
"Nothing is up." This time his words were full of warning.
Sensing possible danger she backed off. "Fine, But I will find out what you're hiding Adam, I will."
"Bye." She said walking out. As soon as she got out to the street she called Melissa's cell. It must have been dead or something, because it went straight to voice mail. Dialing her home phone Melissa's dad picked up
"Hello Mr. Glaser! Is Melissa home?"
"Faye? I thought she left with you. She's been gone about an hour now."
"Oh, she probably just went out with Adam or Cassie, Thanks though."
"If you find her, tell her to call me? She hasn't checked in yet, and her phone must've died or something."
"Will do! Bye Mr. Glaser!"
Well that's not good. Faye thought, dialing Cassie.
"Hey, Cassie. Emergency meeting now, Melissa's missing and my spidey senses are tingling." Without giving Cassie a chance to respond, Faye quickly hung up and shot a text to Adam and Jake while racing to the abandoned house. Swearing who ever had Melissa would be in a whole world of hurt if they touched one hair on the girl's head.
Cassie had spent a good fifteen minutes sitting there crying until she finally calmed down. Not too long later her phone started to ring.
Cassie picked up the phone to see who it was. It was Faye! Why was she calling? Cassie answered the phone, but before she could even say hello Faye said: "Hey, Cassie. Emergency meeting now, Melissa's missing and my spidey senses are tingling."
Faye, what do you mean?" There was no answered though. Faye had hung up right after she was done talking. "What the hell? Spidey senses? What does that... nevermind." Cassie said. She just hoped that Melissa wasn't in too much trouble. She still could remember Diana telling her about the Devil's Spirit incident.
Cassie jumped off her bed and took her car keys. She ran down the stairs as fast as she could and to the door. "Where are you going?" Dawn asked, looking at Cassie.
"Meeting up with Faye and the others. Faye and I will be back soon. No need to worry." Cassie lied, not wanting to get Dawn worried or upset. For all she knew Faye was overreacting, but she wasn't going to take that chance. She left the house and went to go meet with her circle.
Cassie walked to the abandoned house. She didn't see anything; the thoughts were running around in her brain so quickly that she could barely see where she was walking. She had a sick feeling churning in her stomach, praying that her friends would be okay.
There was no one left to go to for help.
Faye caught her when they were in the little space of grass around the house. She suddenly grabbed Cassie's arm and stopped her. Cassie looked at her, with confusion, and Faye put a finger to her lips: quiet. Then, she pointed to her own ears: listen. Jake and Adam were a few steps away.
Cassie forced herself to clear her mind so she could hear the voices coming from inside the house. In that moment, Jake passed by them and, like a cat, walked to the door. Cassie watched him to open it without a single noise – which seemed a huge victory, since that old door was as creaky as hell – and made a sign for them to follow him.
Cassie, doing her best to not make a noise with the boots, went after him with Faye, who had a furious expression on her face. Cassie had to admire her. Faye had a fair amount of flaws like anyone did, but she was always so fearless when she needed to defend her friends.
Adam was already with them, waiting for his turn. They got in, hidden by the little corner that gave access to the living-room. In the meanwhile, the voices were getting louder and the words became clearer. With an unpleasant feeling in her stomach, Cassie recognized the voices of Lucas and Ryder.
These last months had given her a whole new meaning to the words "familiar problems".
Melissa just couldn't believe the situation she was in. That is what you get when you try to be nice to strangers, looking at the whole picture of the past months: demons, witch hunters and a psycho-evil-witch, she probably should have known better.
Well, it wasn't like she had never been fooled by strange men with pretty smiles before.
She has been watching Cassie's brothers – and Diana's, she reminded herself – arguing, while she was kept magically bound to the stairs. They had confused her with Diana, she noticed by the conversation. Why, she had no idea; it's not like she and Diana were too much alike.
Melissa had already considered a thousand ways of escape from her prison, and every one was more James Bond than the other. She even tried to use magic: she threw a chair in Ryder's direction and when he got distracted Melissa felt the invisible force that kept her captive disappear. She ran to the door, but when she was about to get there, Lucas got her. With a coldest look she had ever seen, he grabbed her by the neck and threw her to the floor, Ryder reassuming the responsibility for keeping her there and there she had stayed since then.
"What kind of description is that, anyway?" Ryder was yelling and being able to keep a sarcastic ton. "Has a kind heart? We are lucky we didn't bring that florist by mistake, someone who lives surrounded by daisies must be kind of heart!"
"Why would you think it was the florist?" A younger boy showed up from the back of the house, holding a milk bottle, probably from the little closet full of snacks the Circle use to keep. Melissa didn't think she had seen him before. "Isn't she like two hundred years old?"
"Well, what did you want?" The girl yelled back. "A physical description of someone I've never seen?"
"If you weren't sure," Lucas said, with a very cold voice, in contrast with his brother's yells. "You shouldn't have said it was her, you should have just kept your damn mouth shut. Now we're stuck here with this hostage, who, by the way, is useless!"
For some reason, Lucas seemed to make Claire more nervous than before.
"I'm sorry! I-I really thought it was the right person..."
"You thought?" Lucas finally exploded, sending waves of an amazing fury that made Melissa shrink. "Great, Claire, just great. I guess since you thought it then it must be true."
Melissa actually felt bad for the girl, Claire. She seemed so young and small, being yelled at by her two older brothers... She seemed so desperate to make them understand that she had made a mistake.
When Melissa woke up, Claire had been there, looking at her. She even offered her a glass of water and asked how she was feeling until Ryder told her to stop being friendly with the hostage. After that Claire had stayed in a corner, watching the others.
When Lucas grabbed her again, after she tried to hit Ryder with another chair, she saw Claire looking at her with cold, angry eyes, like Melissa had tried to hit her too.
"You know..." said Melissa, very calm, attracting all the eyes to her. "If you two had been smart enough to ask my name before, I would have told you that I wasn't Diana."
"Why would we even ask your name," Lucas asked with angry sarcasm, "when our sister just pointed right at you, with the certainty of a gun to a damn target?"
"Now, that was a nice illustration." The younger boy, Dylan, had a milk mustache. Lucas looked at him with cold eyes.
"Shut up." Besides his look, his voice was perfectly calm once again.
Dylan cleaned his milk mustache. Suddenly, he didn't seem so confident.
"I didn't know!" Claire seemed had finally reached the limit of being yelled at. "I couldn't know, I just knew that Diana was supposed to be kind, and I felt lots of kindness coming from her, so I just assumed it was her!"
"Claire." Lucas didn't yelled this time, but for some reason Melissa's stomach contracted. "You are the only one around here that can feel people's energy, and you are saying that you couldn't know she wasn't our sister? Are you that stupid?"
After that there was a heavy silence. Lucas kept looking at Claire with those cold blue eyes and she was suddenly breathing very fast.
"We should kill you, Claire."
He actually said that like he was really considering the possibility.
"Come, on, Lucas," Dylan said, his voice sounded a little more worried than anytime before. "She didn't know. Just leave her alone."
"Lucas," Ryder called, getting to make Lucas finally stop starring at Claire and look at him. "Let's settle this later. Right now, we should really be talking about what to do with her."
Ryder pointed at Melissa. All of them were looking at her, and she felt very weak. She wished she hadn't forgotten her cell phone in the room. Maybe she could improvise some trick to call someone of the Circle.
Now, she was all alone and even one of them was too strong for her.
"What's your name, again?" asked Lucas.
"M-Melissa," She tried to sound brave, but the gasping got in the way.
"Well, I suggest we kill her," Ryder made his opinion in a very relaxed way, like he was saying they should fix the roof. "Let's admit it, this whole situation is very embarrassing and I don't want anyone else to know about our apparent lack of talent for the criminal life. It's bad for the reputation."
Melissa would have rolled her eyes, but the gravity of her situation didn't allow disrespectful acts like that.
Lucas was looking at her in a very disturbing way. He didn't seem to have listened to anything after 'let's kill her'.
Melissa wished she could yell for someone.
"Did you know," Lucas said to Melissa, "that if you kill a witch in the right way, you can absorb its powers?"
"Ok. Now we are getting somewhere." Ryder said as he pressed his hand to his head, Melissa thought he looked tired.
Melissa felt the blood going away of her head.
"What?" She couldn't stop herself. "Murder another witch to suck the magic, is that something you do usually?" Lucas just looked at her. "You are disgusting! This is low, even for people like you!"
"People like me?" Lucas walked closer to her, and she saw that cold fury in him again, but this time her own indignation didn't allow her to be scared. "People like you don't know a first thing about people like me."
Melissa and Lucas stared at each other, and she was very aware of the eyes of the other Balcoins on them. Ryder smiled and without taking the eyes from her, He took a knife from somewhere in his clothes.
"Now," He said, putting the knife close to Melissa's face. "This is how works: I open your chest, take your heart out and we get your powers. It must be done fast, understand, because if you wait too long, the spell doesn't work anymore. So, forgive me if I am not exactly careful."
Melissa heard his voice and it sounded like she was underwater. So, that is how she would end: being sucked to death by a dark witch family. She wondered how long it would take for her friends to realize she was missing. Weeks? Days?
"This is getting out of control," She could hear Dylan again, from very far away.
"Now, I would like to say that it won't hurt," Lucas said again. "But I wouldn't know. I never get hurt."
"I would be pleased in giving you a first experience."
Melissa thought she was hallucinating. Her eyes went to the door, desperate, and she saw Cassie, Faye, Jake and Adam standing there. She had to blink to be sure she wasn't dreaming or seeing things because of the panic.
When Cassie, Faye, Adam, and Jake got into the abandoned house they saw Melissa tied to a chair and Lucas was standing in front of her with a knife. Cassie didn't waste anytime and used her magic to throw Lucas away from Melissa. Faye and Jake ran to free Melissa and then all five of them stood as one in front of the four shocked Balcoins. They hadn't expected a fight.
"Hey," Claire said pointing at Cassie. "She's our sister."
"We know that, Claire," Lucas said at the same time Ryder said "Shut up."
"Lucas, Ryder," Cassie said, completely pissed. "You tried to kill a member of my Circle." One of the plants the circle had in the house exploded from Cassie's anger. "No one tries to kill my Circle. Blackwell found that out the hard way."
"What did you do with dad?" The younger boy, Dylan, asked.
"Shut it," Lucas said, but then asked, "What did you do with him?"
"You really want to know? Diana and I killed him. Right here in this house." Another few plants exploded from Cassie's anger.
Melissa put a hand on Cassie's shoulder. "Cassie, calm down. You guys got to me in time, and they only took me thinking I was Diana. No one was hurt, okay?" Cassie took a deep breath and calmed down. "Why kidnap me, even if I was Diana?" It was a question Melissa had wanted to know since Lucas and Ryder took her.
The two boys looked at each other. They knew they were out numbered five to four. That even if they decided to fight Claire and Dylan at this point wouldn't be the much help, so it would be the two of them against the five witches standing before them. They knew Cassie was just as powerful as them and they knew one of the boys by her side also had some power. For all they knew the black-haired girl with them was the real Diana. The boys weren't dumb. They knew it was better for them to get out of here now and try again another day when the odds were better on their side.
"We wanted to know what Diana knew about what happened to our father, but after what happened at Cassie's house we decided we needed a plan." Ryder said, not trusting his brother to keep calm. They had to talk their way out of this house alive and he had the best shot of doing that. "I guess we now know what happened to him." Ryder shot a look at Cassie. "Why kill our father?"
"He wanted to use the crystal skull to kill all the witches in the world. Diana and I didn't want to let that happen, since we care for our friends." Now that Cassie was calm she also realized the best way out of here was talking. She knew these two boys had no problem killing and if it came to a fight they would be willing to do anything. As for the younger two, Cassie had a feeling they would obey their older siblings.
"We want the crystal skull," Lucas said before Ryder could open his mouth.
"You're too late, it's gone," Melissa said. She turned her head and smiled at Adam, who didn't even see it. As soon as the skull got mentioned Adam started acting weird.
"Um... Yeah... It's gone. You'll never find it." Adam said slowly walking backwards.
"Where are you going?" Jake whispered so the Lucas and Ryder wouldn't hear. He grabbed hold of Adam's arm to stop him from leaving.
"Well... it seems like everything here is fine, and I have to get back."
"I have to check on the Boathouse, and my dad."
"I thought your dad stopped drinking," Faye said. She was the only that seemed to notice how strangely Adam has been acting lately. Not having anything to say about that, Adam stood behind Cassie and joined what seemed to have turned into a staring contest with the other Blackwell children.
"How about a truce?" Ryder said finally breaking the silent. "I'm sure we can all see fighting won't get us anywhere. Besides we don't want to hurt either of ours sisters. What do you say Cassie? Diana?"
The circle exchanged look. They knew who Cassie and Melissa were so that must mean now they think Faye was Diana. Cassie was thinking that could work in their advantage until Claire laughed. "Oh, Diana isn't in this room. The black-haired girl's heart is too full of greed, anger, and jealousy to be Diana."
"My heart? What?" Faye asked, confused and slightly insulted.
"Claire seems to be able to read energies or something. It's why they thought I was Diana." Melissa explained to the group.
"Where's Diana?" Lucas demanded. Cassie sent one of the potted plants the Circle kept in the house at Lucas's head. He managed to duck in time and the plant banged against the wall. "Stop doing that!" Lucas yelled. "Why are you always sending stuff at us?"
"Consider yourself lucky. I used to have a thing about choking people." The rest of the Circle held back their laughs at Cassie's comment. "The truce? What are the terms?"
"We agree not to touch another member of your circle again and in exchange you let us walk out of here right now. I'm sure you'll find this town is big enough for all of us."
"How about we let you walk out of here and all four of you leave town now." Jake countered evenly.
"How about take our deal or the new deal is I'll kill all of you besides Cassie, and then we take her out of Chance Harbor?" Lucas growled. Jake took a step forward as though he wanted to fight, but Faye stopped him from moving any closer by putting her hands on his shoulder.
"Remember, they all have evil mojo, like Cassie." Cassie who heard Faye's comment gave her a look, but chose to ignore Faye.
Cassie moved aside away from the door. "Guys, move aside. Let them go." Jake gave Cassie a look along with Faye. Truthfully Cassie had thought about just fighting it out now to see who would win. She knew her Circle could do anything if they were together, but they weren't together. They were missing Diana, who, along with Cassie, was the most powerful member of their circle. Cassie knew Lucas and Ryder were powerful and had no idea just how good the younger ones were. She knew she had to choose her battled carefully.
First Melissa, always one to try and avoid a fight, joined Cassie. Then Adam, who really only wanted to get out of there, moved away from the door. Faye was still pissed that they took her best friend, but decided that was something that could be taken care of another day. She went to join the rest of the circle tugging Jake's arm telling him to join. Jake gave them one last look before he went to stand in between Cassie and Faye.
"Go," Cassie told them pointing at the door her circle had previously been standing in front of. "Oh, and if you hurt or even try to hurt a member of my circle again I don't care how powerful you think you are. We'll come after you." It was a threat and the two older boys knew it. They weren't afraid though. They had plans to put in motion and had just gotten time to start.
Lucas and Ryder started out the door. Dylan and Claire followed but stopped and turned around. "Hey, Cassie. Maybe one of these days..." whatever they were about to say was stopped by Lucas yelling "Dylan, Claire, come on." The two ran after their older brothers without a second thought.
"I don't trust them," Jake stated after they were gone for a few minutes.
"Me either," both Faye and Cassie said at the same time, Faye glaring at Cassie furiously.
Melissa shook her head. "I don't know. The younger ones seem okay, although the older ones are horrible." They were silent for a while just looking at each other. "What do you think, Adam?" Melissa turned to look at where Adam was just a few minutes ago, but he wasn't there. The whole circle looked around trying to find the boy, but he was gone.
"What's up with Conant lately?" Jake asked. Cassie shook her head honestly not knowing. She hadn't been hanging around with Adam that much at all anymore.
"I don't know," Faye said making it sound like she didn't care but in her head she thought "But I'm going to find out."
"Well, now that that's over we better get back to your house before your mom starts to worry." Cassie told Faye.
"What did you tell her?" Faye asked, not wanting to be in trouble with her mom.
"Nothing, but I ran out of the house pretty fast." The two walked away arguing with each other again as they walked.
Melissa laughed and looked at Jake. "I think those two just like fighting with each other. Its what makes them friends." Then Melissa ran after them. "Wait up. Faye, Cassie. Could one of you give me a ride home." Melissa disappeared out the door leaving Jake by himself.
Jake stood there for a minute. He didn't like what had happened today. First the new Balcoins in town attacked Cassie, and then they had kidnapped Melissa. He knew in his gut they were up to something. He didn't trust them at all and at least he knew the other members of his Circle didn't either. He would remain on guard and figure out exactly what the thing his grandfather gave him did. He'd be ready for them next time they attacked and he knew they would. For now though Jake walked out of the abandoned house and went home.
"I love the Midwest." Diana observed lazily, snuggled next to Grant. "From the heat to the friendly people to the wide-open spaces…"
"I thought you might." Grant said. He kissed the back of her head gently.
Diana wanted to bask in the moment, capture it forever. Through the window a few streaks of sunshine, pinkish-yellow, reached for the sheets. The sun was setting. The little motel that they were in was practically in the middle of nowhere, but all the people were nice. Their car had broken down earlier, and before she knew it Diana was talking to a kind old lady who had pulled over and offered them some sandwiches that she had. Soon after a van pulled up, the family inside saying they had some leftover lemonade and burgers from a cookout. Within an hour there were nearly six cars, and a full-on party had started. Diana still remembered dancing to the car radio, turned up as high as it would go, barefoot and wild underneath the stars. Only when the sun rose had they actually gotten the car fixed and gone to find a place to stay.
"Are you thinking about something?" asked Grant lazily. Fingers traced up and down the expanse of her back, covered by a thin cotton top.
He laughed. "You can't dream without sleep, silly."
"I don't need sleep for dreams anymore." Diana said. She rolled over, leaning in to kiss him. "Do you?"
"Not right now, that's for sure."
Diana giggled, squealing when he flipped her over and playfully pinned her to the bed. "Hey, hey! Don't forget that the couple in the next room has two kids. I don't think they want to have to explain what all the banging is."
"We could say we were moving furniture."
Diana smiled at the way his face lit up, mischievous. "Grant…"
He kissed her forehead and settled back next to her. "I'm just teasing, Diana."
"Good." Diana squeezed his hand. "And it's not like they'll stay here forever."
"I hope not."
Diana eyes were beginning to flutter closed when she heard a phone buzzing. "Go get it." She ordered sleepily, whacking Grant with her hand in an effort to push him out of the bed.
"It's your phone." He complained. Diana opened one eye and saw he was covering his head with his pillow. "And it's loud."
It stopped as soon as her hand grasped it. "Baby."
He sat up, half-interested as he tried to see the caller ID. "Who was it?"
"I don't know." Diana stammered. The number was all too familiar, even though she's erased it from the contacts on her phone. "I think they're a voicemail. I'll be right back, okay?"
"Okay." Grant looked like he wanted to question her, but over the last three months he'd learned to trust her. Diana felt awful about that; she hadn't earned it.
Outside the warm air was giving way to a pleasantly cool breeze. Reveling in the feel of the dirt beneath her toes, Diana clicked on the voicemail and held her phone to her ear.
"D-Diana?" Cassie's voice sounded heartbroken, trembling as she spoke Diana's name. "It's… um… it's me. I guess you know that, because you didn't answer my call. Just please listen to what I have to say before you hang up on me, okay?"
Diana gulped, nodding though no one was there.
"The other Balcoin children came today. They kidnapped Melissa because they thought she was you—it's a long and unnecessary story—but she's okay, and so is everyone else. They… they wanted to know where Blackwell was, and they wanted the skull. It's fine. Adam hid it, and we're not going to tell them where it is. I think they're staying in town for a while. Ryder and Lucas, the two older ones, are the ones I don't trust. They're both nineteen. I think they dragged the other two into this mess through force. Claire and Dylan are only fourteen…"
There was a long pause. Diana could here Cassie's uneven breathing as it made a rasping noise in the phone's speaker.
"Also, I…. I was w-wondering…." Her voice cracked, sharply shooting up an octave. "Please come home, Diana, p-please. I know you probably hate me, and wish I had never called, but I need you. There's no one here that really understands what it feels like to… to…."
Diana was breathing heavily, tears of sympathy trailing down her cheeks and leaving mascara streaks.
"You had to have felt it, when Blackwell died. It scared me more than you can know. No, you do know. Jake says he understand how dark magic works, but it's only in theory. Adam… I can't be around him, I just can't. Faye brushes it aside as guilt when I try to t-tell her. Melissa is so good to me, Diana, but even she doesn't know. I just w-wish you would come back… please."
Her whole body was shaking as she sank to the ground. Her fingers clawed at the grass, pulling up chunks in an effort to stay connect to something. If she didn't hold on Diana feared she would be lost forever.
There was another long silence. Diana heard Cassie gasping, sobbing, and choking on tears. Diana could feel the same thing happening as sobs wracked her own body. Finally Cassie spoke again.
"I'm… I'm sorry. I mean, I can see why you would want to stay away. It's o-okay. If I keep telling myself that then maybe it will be. Just… I hope you're happy, and that you found what you were looking for." Pause. "So… goodbye, I guess. I love you no matter what you do."
The message ended; leaving Diana alone with her thoughts as she curled up, still clenching fistfuls of dirt and grass.
It had been wrong to abandon Cassie. Dian had known that from the start. It was just that the idea of being free for once, being able to make her own decisions and live her life had been too tempting. When she had helped kill Blackwell the feeling of power, of pure hatred that had coursed through her veins had been worse than when Cassie awakened her dark magic. It was then she had realized that given the right circumstance, she was a monster. Diana didn't want to hurt anybody; she never had. Blackwell was bad enough, and it had to stop there.
Going back would be unbearable. Both of her fathers were dead. Her mother was gone. Social Services might cart her away and lock her up in a home for girls. Worst of all, Cassie would be there, and if Cassie was there then her dark magic might resurface. Diana hated that she had to stay away from one of the best friends but she'd had to keep the monster at bay.
She imagined what people would say when she came back. She imagined facing the Circle looking like she did now. Skin tanned, hair streaked with a few sun-bleached highlights, clothes much freer and more colorful. Her hair was always braided intricately, with bits of ribbon, cloth, beads, yarn, and feathers. Diana could still remember the little girl that had showed her how to do so many braids, saying, "You're pretty, but you don't let people see. Inside you're beautiful and bright, like a rainbow." Ever since then her hair had been adorns with all the colors of the rainbow.
They would all sit there, in their drab grays and browns and blacks, skin pale from the lack of sun in Washington. Faye did occasionally wear red, and she and Melissa both had darker skin, but it still wasn't the same. They had always been in Chance Harbor. Diana had seen what was outside, and she wasn't sure if Chance Harbor could be home now that she had.
But she had to go back. Diana knew that, even if it was hard. She had known that going back would be inevitable. Cassie had helped her when she was alone and now Cassie was the one that was hurting. Diana couldn't just leave her. Cassie might have been strong, but Diana knew from experience that even the strongest people could break like porcelain.
"I hope you're happy, and that you found what you were looking for." The word echoed in Diana's ears. She had found that she liked places that were warm, that gas station Chinese food was practically lethal, that Grant snored when he slept, and that she was bright and beautiful inside. Diana hoped that maybe the part of her that loved and wanted to be loved was stronger than the evil. Even if it wasn't, she knew who she was now. She was Diana Meade. She was an orphan. She had been broken countless times. She was often called on for help and got nothing in return. Despite this she kept getting up every time they kicked her and brought her down. She was a mosaic, a myriad of glass, sunlight flashing over the sorrow, joy, hope, pain loss, fear, and love.
Diana wiped her eyes and headed back inside. She felt horrible unprepared for what she had to do and guilty that she hadn't done it a long time ago, but she kept moving. Grant looked up, concern written all over his face. "Are you alright?"
"I think I will be." Diana said. Her voice was steady. "Look, Grant, I have to go back."
"Back where?" he blinked, clearly half-awake. She'd been gone a while.
She sighed. "Chance Harbor. I know I said I wanted to come with you, and it's helped me see a lot of things I didn't before. I know that my friends need me. My sister needs me."
Diana waited for the angry outburst, or a demand to know what had caused this change of heart. Instead Grant looked relieved. "Thank goodness."
"What?" under different circumstance Diana would have felt insulted. As it was, she wasn't too happy about what was going on.
"My boss texted me a few days ago. He wants me back on the boat, and I was trying to find a way to tell you without hurting your feelings." Grant explained. "I was thinking that maybe you could come too, but you wouldn't like working on a boat."
"It's fine." Relief flooded her chest. "That's perfectly fine. It's better if we both just go back to what we were doing before."
He nodded. "I'll take you back tomorrow. Do you… do you ever want to see me again?"
"Of course!" Diana said, giving him a quick peck on the lips. "Don't be silly. I just have some things I need to fix, but you can always visit. When I graduate maybe we can continue this trip, huh?"
"I like it." He approved. An arm snaked around her waits and pulled her into bed. "But for now we should sleep."
"Give me one minute? I have to call someone."
Once Diana was back outside she dialed Cassie's number. There was no answer, forcing her to leave a message:
"I'm sorry, I should have answered. I know I was scared before, but I think that maybe I've figured some things out. I know that inside me dwells a monster that seems uncontrollable, but there's a lot more than that. I know who I am and I'm coming home."