Auggie and I headed back into the living room, and as we did the atmosphere changed. It’s time for answers. We place the sodas on the coffee table with the food and I retreat to my seat in the recliner.
I’m so nervous that I feel sick. This all feels extremely crazy to even be sitting here doing this right now. Two days ago Gabe and I barely knew each other. One day ago I didn’t even know Auggie existed.
“So...” I start anxiously. “Maybe a little more information would be helpful. Like how long ago did Brian find this supposed spellbook? How exactly does this witch thing work? How did we not know all of these years?”
“Straight into the hard questions,” Gabe says, sandwiched between Grace and Auggie on the couch.
It’s hard to keep my mind from the confusion of the chemistry I have with Auggie and the way it feels to see Grace sitting next to Gabe, but I force it back, needing answers.
These are the hard questions? What are the easy questions, then?
“If Brian found a spellbook, do you know where it is?” I ask him pointedly.
“No,” he answers regretfully. “I don’t know where he found it, but I know that he was somewhere he shouldn’t have been because he said your mom almost caught him.”
Her closet? I wonder. But if it were in there I’m sure my dad would have come across it. Wait, is my dad a witch too? But then surely he’d know why mom was acting so crazy and wouldn’t have left... right?
“Why is it dangerous that my mom kept it from us, exactly?”
Auggie answers me this time. “According to prophecy,every hundred or so years, a new witch emerges more powerful than any other. Obviously, the magic community feels threatened by that. A couple of prestigious warlocks band together and hunt them down, hoping to off them before they can reach their full potential.” He pauses, his expression full of what I can only indentify as sadness... and maybe even a little determination. He continues. “That’s just basic history. Where the difference comes in, is that you, Holly, are that witch.”
What witch??? The witch everyone is trying to kill?
“Which makes it dangerous that your mom never told you,” Gabe jumps in, “because it left you defenseless. You haven’t had any training, you don’t know how to use your magic. Then there’s also the fact that your mom hasn’t been practicing, which eventually goes to a witch’s head, changed their personality.”
“Why do we just now have powers, though?” I demand. “It makes no sense—shouldn’t these weird things have been happening our whole lives?”
“That brings us back to Brian,” Auggie answers. “This witch, the most powerful, always comes in threes. Either in a set of three sisters, or three brothers.”
“That’s what I was getting at on the beach,” Gabe tells me. “We can sense your power, and you can probably sense ours too, you’re just not really sure what you’re feeling because you aren’t used to it. So I could kind of tell that you were extremely powerful, and I suspected that it was you, but it didn’t make sense because of you having a twin. I’m not sure why you had a twin, if history is changing, but I don’t think you had access to your magic until...” he trails off sadly.
“Until Brian died...” Grace finishes.
Gabe just nods.
“But what about this crazy connection between the two of you?” Grace asks with barely detectable jealousy—but I hear it.
So, she does have interest in Gabe.
Part of me wants to rip her hair out. The other part is guaging my reaction very carefully, as I can feel Auggie’s eyes on me.
You can’t have both.
Shut up, I tell myself, not ready to face my conflicting feelings for two brothers who are basically strangers.
Gabe meets my eyes, but I don’t linger too long, getting up and grabbing a can of Diet Coke from the coffee table. I pop the tab as I sit back down, avoiding eye contact with Grace.
“I don’t exactly know,” Gabe confesses.
“But that’s not exactly true,” I say conversationally.
He looks over at me, eyebrows drawn together. “Why do you say that?”
“Say what?” I ask, confused.
“That I’m lying about not knowing what this connection is between us.”
I shake my head. “I didn’t say that...” They all three look at me. “Did I?” I ask.
“Yeah,” Grace says.
“Because he is,” I tell her, hearing myself this time, but not having any control over myself saying it. “He knows more than he’s telling us. They both do.”
I look at Auggie. He runs a hand through his hair. He doesn’t want to tell me. Neither of them do.
“According to the prophecy, there’s always three brothers and three sisters,” Auggie says slowly. “They’re made for each other. Soul mates.”
“Oh.” I say, taken by surprise.
“I think that what we’re feeling is a clear sign that you and I are one of the three matches,” Gabe tells me, his eyes conveying a lust that I don’t know if I can reciprocate. When I’m around him nothing makes sense.
“Oh.” I say again.
“I, however, don’t agree with him on that,” Auggie interjects.
I look at him, unsure. During our interaction in the kitchen I made it clear to him that I’m interested in him... but this possession I feel for Gabe... it would only make sense for us to be a match.
I shake my head. This is crazy.
“Grace has a boyfriend,” I say, trying to rationalize. To make all of this go away. “And you,” I say to Gabe. “You’ve slept your way through half the girls in town.”
Grace cringes. She likes him.
“This is great and all, you both wanting Holly,” she says. “But are we just going to ignore the fact that I’m pretty sure you said that people are going to come for Holly? That they’re going to try and hurt her?”
Right. Did I really just gloss over that?
Fear begins to build and suddenly I find it a little harder to breathe.
“They won’t just come to kill her,” Auggie tells Grace. “There’s a few that will be able to tell that she’s inexperienced, untrained. They’ll try and take her and force her to work for them.”
“How do we keep that from happening?” Grace asks.
“All three of you need a crash course in all things magic, and you need to be trained to defend yourselves. Magic isn’t the only way that they’ll try and get to you. They’ll use your family, they’ll use us,” Auggie gestures to himself and Gabe.
Suddenly I’m not just afraid for myself. Suddenly I’m very nervous about Emma being out tonight.
“We’ve got Max watching out for her,” Gabe says and I look at him quizzically. “Part of the connection,” he answers my unspoken question.
“When do we start?” Grace asks, reaching for the food she brought.