Eyes are windows to the soul. Once I catch a gaze full on, the world inside opens to me. You have to understand, however, that to read a soul is not like reading a book, and there definitely are no indexes or tables of contents. The soul, pure at conception, becomes a complex multi-dimensional maze through the billions of experiences that happen during a lifetime. The older you are, the more complex your soul. The layers are not like pages. Flipping through, I only get highlights, unless I am looking for something specific. Just like reading someone’s mind, I pick up the surface stuff first and have to dig if I want more. Right now, I just need the basics, how to deal with the boys. I will leave the deeper stuff for later.
The DeBlanc boys are so much more alike than even they know and have always been so, sharing most life experiences. Most of the things that make them different are on the surface: food and music preferences, which type of girl rocks their boats…. Nick likes to read. Logan likes to train. They have the same fears of the past and for the future and the same perspective: fighting a losing battle, but still fighting.
Logan has studied some Eastern techniques that help him manage a rage boiling beneath the surface. His easy calm is hard won and harder to penetrate than Nick’s affability.
I reach up and touch his forehead, running my fingers over the worry lines that begin to appear.
Knowing his sensitivity to the magic, I look for and feel the conflict in him, fight it or ride out the pleasant sensations that come with my touch. I have my other hand on his forearm, sending tiny waves of paralyzing magic. If he decides to fight, it will not change much.
Punching through natural firewalls, I discover that the sigils do play a significant part in their lives. They protect the boys from general prying both literal and psychic. It is not as easy to get to Logan’s depths as it should have been. I have to push through the deeper barriers. There are many doors, windows and walls harder and harder to punch through. I don’t need everything. But the farther I delve, the faint taste of familiarity grows stronger.
I run my fingers down the side of Logan’s face, hold his eyes and let my hand fall to his heart. Here, my magic slinks through the chinks in the sigils’ protection, slithers around in his chest and wraps gently around the rhythmic pounding.
Entrenched within, I find something that is definitely not human. Something in their genetic line designed them to their purpose. They cannot fight Destiny as they fight Evil. Even though they wish for a “normal” life, they will never be able to acclimate to a life determined normal by mundane humans.
This is normal for them, the fight. Being Knights is in their blood. The happily ever after does not exist for them.
Unless, of course, I throw a kink in the Fates’ weave. My specialty.
Logan leans forward.
Our lips touch and I understand that Logan has a bit of magic all his own. Magic that has nothing to do with Life, Death or Destiny. Magic that distracts me from my purpose. Magic that I want to distract me…just for a little bit.
Auras mingle and merge enticingly, sending pleasant thoughts of losing control through the depths of my own heart.
More than a kiss and I cannot guaranty my well-guarded secret’s safety.
However, I move my hand from Logan’s forearm to the back of his neck and, yes, I let that kiss linger as long as I can and still protect myself.
Pulling away is almost too harsh…for the both of us. I duck my head as if embarrassed.
Logan puts a finger beneath my chin and lifts my face to his. Our eyes meet and for a brief moment I think I used too much magic.
He lifts the dishcloth to my cheek and wipes away the remaining blood. He opens the smallest bandage and places it on the scrape.
It takes a few seconds to refocus. I pick up the glasses and reposition them on my face. I have to swallow before I speak. “Why would Kathleen’s uncle send you rather than coming here himself?” I ask as if the kiss never happened.
He grabs the first aid stuff and heads to the bathroom to put it away. “He has some business to take care of. But he’ll be here in a couple of days, if we don’t find her.” Truth. Sort of. If they don’t contact him in a few days, Garrett will come and find them. Backup. Good to know.
I pull a bottle and two glasses from the cabinet. On my person, I keep an amulet filled with a special blend of herbs ground into a powder. There is no time for my Fae-blood to have fun. No time to examine why Logan’s magic affects me as it does. No time to examine why it feels as if I’ve been in their heads before.
Nick will be back soon.
I need to get them to my home without giving myself away to anything that may be watching. I’ve leaked enough magic into the ether for the night. I cannot risk much more than what I need now, especially if someone or something is following the boys.
Every time I do not control the flow of information, it is because someone else wants to find me and sends an innocent to do their dirty work. It looks like someone took the long way through Garrett and then through the boys.
Logan swallows half the 40-year-old scotch I hand him as if he expects the cheap stuff. His eyes widen with surprised appreciation.
“I want to show you something.”
Logan follows me to the back of the loft. I switch on the lamp next to the bed and touch a panel in the wall. It slides open with a whisper.
Inside, Jim keeps the few things I have given him, mostly things to protect him. I smile at the few items that are just memories: a coffee cup, a note, an arrowhead, the knife. Simply knowing me can get you killed.
That last one wipes the smile from my face.
“I think I’ve seen her before.”
“What?” Logan mumbles. His mind is no longer razor sharp. Even his thoughts slur.
“The girl you’re looking for. I’ve seen her before.”
I pull out a leather-bound book, small enough to fit in the palm of my hand.
Turning to Logan, I see he’s discovered what I intend him to find. His fingers rest on the photo of Jim and my real face (the same face from their photo) smiling at each other beneath the sign outside the bar. More than just neon lights our faces.
Yeah, it was years ago, way before he found Leslie.
Logan turns to question me. His eyelids droop. I can see him fighting it. “I don’t understand,” he mumbles.
Taking his hand, I hold it to my cheek, mixing auras, sharing thoughts and images. I drop the Chloe-face. “In the mirror, Logan. I’ve seen her in the mirror.”
His eyes flash. I see his mind wrap around this in slow motion. His pupils dilate, almost hiding the chocolate irises.
Slight pressure on his chest and Logan collapses backwards on the bed. I slip the book into one of his pockets.
Soon I hear the pickup turning onto the street outside. I turn off the lamp and pick up empty glasses on my way to the sink.
As soon as Nick reaches the landing, I open the door and hand him a drink. He downs it without thinking. Glancing around, he does not immediately see Logan and that sets him on edge.
“He’s sleeping.” I motion to the bed in the far corner.
“You’re kidding me. The guy never sleeps.”
“You both must be very tired. Sit.” I make a show of locking the doors and pulling the curtains. “What did you find?”
Nick shakes his head as if trying to knock out a bit of confusion and focuses on my question.
“You’re right. The barn is full of them. How many are usually there?”
“Only about ten to fifteen. Never much more.”
“Well, there’s a shit load of them now. The place is lit up like a revival.” He sighs and leans back into the sofa, his body acknowledging weariness before his mind.
Jim has a rather large collection of darts. He keeps his prized ones hidden behind the wall panel. Beautiful things, those darts, made of all kinds of materials. Some are not even from this world, courtesy of moi. His sets sprinkle the bar and loft like flotsam, meant for handling. Also, on occasion, they are weapons.
Three different sets nestle in their handmade boxes on the table beside the sofa.
Nick picks one up as if needing something to do with his hands. He traces the carving of a bird on the lid of the box.
I lean over the back of the sofa behind him to open the lid. “That may be something to worry about,” I whisper in his ear.
The darts rest on a velvet bed. They captivate Nick. They should. I pull one out. It is light, almost lighter than air, except for the bone tip. I had to practice for months to toss these accurately.
I flick the dart to the board on the wall. Low and right, I note critically.
Nick rubs his eyes with the palms of his hands and blinks at the dartboard.
“You should sleep, too. We can talk again tomorrow,” I say, flicking another dart, slightly more left, but still low.
Nick’s eyes cross. He shakes his head. Smaller than his brother, I know it will hit him faster.
I walk around to sit on the sofa next to Nick. He is so altered he doesn’t resist when I take his face in my hands. “Don’t fight it. Relax.”
He does fight, not that it does any good. His eyes cross again. He lets me run my fingers through his hair and gently rub his temple. His body melts into the cushions one muscle at a time.
So…here I go…diving into Nick’s brain. Nick the reader, the researcher, the one hiding important information from his own brother. Oh, Nick, you bad boy with the angelic face.
After a bit, I move my hands to rest over his heart, beating softly. Hearts have power and memory too. Touching Nick’s heart takes my breath away. There’s so much…too much to comprehend in the limited time I have. He hides considerable pain from Logan…. Their mother, held for ransom…a choice…her or the world. Even though I know all of this…well, touching a heart is much different from divining facts from the ether.
One hand on his head, the other sending magic through his heart, I bandage some hurt spots. I clear up a couple misunderstandings between the brothers, suggest Nick share what he knows.
One last suggestion, a dabble into memories…. I drape the quilt over Nick. He struggles against the sleep for as long as he can.
Until he can’t.
I ruffle his hair absently before moving to restore neatness to Jim’s place.