Destined

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Faking It

Grace

After Holly storms away, Gabe just stands there looking confused.

I can’t help but feel proud of my little sister. In the past two days since my brother’s funeral, things have gotten extremely complicated, and this love triangle has escalated rather quickly. However, above all, self love is the most important thing, and Holly definitely needs time to calm down and clear her head—and Gabe needs to give her that space.

Ever since we were told that each one of us are meant for each other, I couldn’t help but agree with Auggie. It would explain the sudden interest in Gabe the moment I saw him... as well as my disinterest in his older brother... the one he thinks I’m meant for.

I’m still reeling from finding out my boyfriend had been cheating on me, so, much like Holly, I need to force Gabe from my mind and focus on other things... like where the hell my mom is, how to help Holly simply stay alive, and how to unfreeze my ex.

Oh—and who should tell Emma. Gotta figure that one out. We haven’t included her in any of this. Not that she’s been around long enough to include her anyway.

“I think it’s time for you to go home,” I tell him, and I have to ignore the hurt expression on his face.

Then I remember that I just watched him stroke my little sister in ways that made it feel like I was watching something more intimate than sex.

That stifles any pity I felt.

“Give us space,” I command. “You and August both.”

I take a cue from Holly and turn my back on him, retreating into the house. I don’t see her in the kitchen or the living room, so I head upstairs and knock on her bedroom door.

“Holly,” I call. “Are you okay?”

No reply. I try again.

“I just want to make sure you’re okay. You can talk to me, you know.”

Again, no reply. This sisterly stuff may be new to us, but I have a sinking feeling in my gut that she isn’t in her bedroom. I turn the nob and push the door open, finding only her empty bed, empty closet, empty bathroom. I check Emma’s room, though I’m not sure why she’d be there. I check mom’s room. The guest bathrooms. No where.

I call her name throughout the house and I’m only met with silence. It’s deafening. I check the garage—her car is still here. I check the porch. Nothing. Maybe she went on a walk, I rationalize.

But it doesn’t feel right.

Having recently learned that I’m a witch, I feel like I should trust that instinct. I hop on my car and drive slowly through the neighborhood but I don’t see her.

Where could she have gone so fast?

What if something bad happened to her?

What is someone took her?

I don’t even notice that I’ve pulled into Gabe’s driveway at first, I’m too distracted by my fear. I get out quickly, pounding on the door. It’s late and they aren’t answering the door so I pound harder.

Wake up.

Finally, a half-asleep August pulls the door open. I still feel nothing for him, even after seeing him shirtless, hair disheveled, boyishly cute. File that away for later.

“Holly is gone,” I say.

That wakes him up.

“What?” He demands. “What do you mean she’s gone?”

“I mean that she isn’t home. She isn’t in this neighborhood. Her car is still in the garage. She is gone... and I just have this really bad feeling about it.”

“Shit,” August mumbles, retreating into his living room. I follow, forcing the panic back down. “The last time you saw her was on the deck?” He asks, pulling a shirt over his head. I nod. “What happened after I left?”

“Holly yelled at Gabe.”

“About what?”

I shake my head, confused. “Why does it matter what they fought about? My sister is missing.”

He rolls his eyes at me. Um, hello! I don’t know anything about what’s going on! “Because she may have said something by accident—some sort of spell,” he explains.

Makes sense.

“She was angry with him for his little display. Tired of being treated like she doesn’t have a say in her own life.”

He looks confused and then stalks off down the hallway. I wait awkwardly. He walks back in, stripping his shirt back off, plopping down on the couch with a blank look on his face, his eyes far off.

“What are you doing?!” I demand. “My sister is missing and you just sit back down?”

“Gabe’s gone too.”

The jealousy burns. My fists clench and my nostrils flare. The lights flicker but I barely register it. “Holly and Gabe are both gone?” I’m so mad I could scream. Now the walls are shaking, frames falling to the floor, glass shattering. “Holly and Gabe ran off somewhere. Alone. Together?” Car alarms are going off outside, lights are turning off and on, off and on. I can feel the ground moving beneath my feet.

August holds his hands up, trying to calm me down but I want to burn this house to the ground.

Flames flash before my eyes.

“Grace! Fuck!” He yells, grabbing a blanket and stifling the flames engulfing the coffee table. “Calm the fuck down! It’s a magic trip. They didn’t run off together.”

I can feel myself calming down, my breathing returning to normal, my body relaxing, the walls stop shaking.

“Do you really think I’m supposed to be with you?” I ask him now. “That Holly is supposed to be with your brother?”

“After that tantrum you just threw?” He quips. “No.” He runs a hand through his hair and sighs. “I didn’t really believe it earlier but what am I supposed to think? After that spectacle? Maybe... you and me... maybe we are supposed to be together? Maybe it just isn’t clicking for us yet. I don’t know, but Gabe is crazy about her. So sure of himself.”

I stare dumbly at the burnt coffee table, the smell of smoke in the air.

“Why do I feel this way about him?” I say, my heart aching. “I don’t even know him. Why doesn’t he feel the same way? You’re just as crazy about Holly as he is. The worst part is she’s the same way about you. She feels something about Gabe but mostly it creeps her out.”

His face lights up for a second and then falls. “I’ve seen the way Gabe looks at you. I just don’t think he sees it yet. But regardless of how we feel about them, there’s something undeniable between them. A connection. We can’t get in the way of that. Maybe we just got the short end of the stick. Maybe our connection with each other will come later.”

I plop down unhappily on the couch next to him, our shoulders brushing together. Nothing. No sparks, no nothing.

“So what do we do?” I ask.

“We fake it,” he says suddenly, as though the thought just occurred to him.

“Fake it?” I ask, considering it. “What would that entail?”

“We would date,” he says slowly, looking at me seriously. “We pretty much would just act like we’re in a relationship. Just as happy as they are. Let everything work itself out.”

“What if it just pushes them away?” I ask, thinking about my sister. “Us doing this would hurt Holly.”

I can tell by the look on his face that he’s thought of this. “I don’t want to hurt Holly,” he says softly. “But if we’re supposed to be together, this would be a way to find out. We deserve to find out.”

Agreed.

We deserve to find out if we’re meant to be together.


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