“What do you mean he works for you?” I asked, my mouth gaping open.
She waived her hand flippantly. “Silly girl, you.” She smiled. “Didn’t you wonder why he wasn’t entranced by you?” She asked, then bit her lip and tilted her head. “Well, not entranced by you in the way you were trying anyway.”
I narrowed my eyes at her, feeling like she was trying to tell me something I didn’t want to hear. “Does he kill people too?” I whispered, not sure how I felt about it if he did or didn’t.
She frowned. “You’re wasting your time down here with me, darling.” She clicked her tongue and smiled. “No, not like you, but he is very valuable to me just the same.”
I frowned too. She obviously wasn’t going to be forthcoming about what he does exactly. I lingered another minute in the opening of the cavern wall. “Alana?” I asked softly and she looked up at me, pinching her eyebrows together and sighing.
“Yes?” She asked annoyed.
I fidgeted with my fingers in front of me. “You promise that Asher is alright?” I asked, trying not to think of the images she’d showed me.
She smiled wickedly. “Oh, I assure you, darling,” She said with that echo to her voice again. “Asher is doing just fine.” She laughed a little and my nerves spiked. “As long as you follow your directions, he’ll be safe.” She tacked on, sounding serious again.
I left the cavern feeling a mix of emotions.
I had been serious about wanting to quit and just accepting my fate as a sea creature slave and moving on, so I was disappointed that she’d turned me down. I was also still a little shaken from seeing Asher again, especially when he was in pain and not knowing why, but the way she talked about him was weird too. As much as I hated to admit it, and I really really did, I sadly felt a little bit better about myself now. That probably still makes me a shitty person, but at least I know now that I’m doing this for a purpose. Alana threatening Asher made a little of my guilt subside. Only a very little bit, but still, I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge that it was true.
On top of all of that though, I was feeling highly annoyed.
I got to the surface of the water quickly, breaking through it with purpose, and looked around for Theon’s boat which was still sitting in its usual spot out a few yards from the island. I saw him in the water, swimming over towards the boat and I decided to go ahead and get in the boat and wait for him. I levitated myself up to sit in the little seat, crossing my legs and folding my arms across my chest, ready to talk.
When he reached the boat, pulling himself over the side, he sighed as he saw me. “What do you want?” He mumbled, shaking the water out of his hair like a dog and pulling on his yellow tank top.
I raised my eyebrows at him. “How dare you judge me and what I’m doing when you’re working for her!” I laughed sarcastically. “You are such a hypocrite.”
He avoiding looking me in the eyes as he pulled the little anchor aboard. “Whatever, princess.” He said rolling his eyes. “They are hardly the same thing.”
I pressed my lips into a hard line. “Do not call me that.” I said lowly but firmly. “And anything you are doing for her cannot be good, so I just want to know how you get off making me feel like scum when you’re working for her too?” I insisted. “You have to know that she doesn’t give you a choice, so you should understand. You’re not any better than me.” I sighed, unfolding my arms. “However, unlike you, I don’t plan to judge you for it, because I’m sure you have a good reason for whatever it is you’re doing for her, just like the rest of us.” I said standing up and moving to the edge of his boat. “Maybe you could try to remember we all have things that we have to do sometimes, and that you don’t know everything just because you think you do.” He lifted his eyes to look at me incredulously but I jumped into the water before he got a chance to say anything to me.
I swam away feeling a lot better.
Levi was the first to come up to me. “What was that about?” She asked, pointing to Theon’s boat as it disappeared from our view in a hurry.
I sighed, narrowing my eyes at it. “I talked to Alana.” I told her. “She told me that Theon is working for her, so I guess that’s why our powers don’t work on him.” I said looking back to her. “I was just giving him a little piece of my mind.”
Levi smiled, nodding her head. “Oh, really?” she laughed. “How’d he take it?”
I rolled my eyes. “Who knows with that guy?” I told her. “I just said what I needed to say and then I left before he could say some other smart ass thing to me.”
Cassandra appeared behind me. “Trouble in paradise?” She asked, smiling lightly.
I rolled my eyes again. “We found out that Theon is working with Alana.” I filled her in and she dropped her jaw. “I still cannot believe he was so rude to me and tried to make me feel so bad about what we’re doing when he is working for the same witch who is forcing us to do these things.” I ranted. “I mean, really?”
The two of them exchanged a look and looked back at me. “Why do you think it bothers you so bad what he has to say?” Levi asked.
My face got a little hot and I bit my tongue. “It has nothing to do with him.” I insisted. “I’d have an issue with what he was saying if anyone said it to me.”
“Sure.” Levi smiled.
“I’m being serious.” I huffed. “Why are you guys so fixated on me liking Theon, which I don’t, by the way? I have a boyfriend, whom I love more than anything!” I said. “I don’t have any sort of feelings for Theon, other than annoyance if you want to count that. He’s just annoying, and sure, he’s kind of good looking, but that doesn’t mean I have a thing for him.”
Cassandra held her hands up and I stopped talking. “Whoa, girl.” She said smiling. “I believe you, we were just messing with you.”
“Although,” Levi shrugged. “You are quite defensive for someone who doesn’t care.” She said and I opened my mouth to disagree again but then she started laughing and I knew she was just trying to get me going again so I laughed it off.
I spent a lot of time thinking about everything that night. I mean, of course I care a little what he has to say. Aside from the other two girls, I have literally no one else around, so duh I care what he says about me or what he thinks of me. He’s the only male peer of sorts that I have, so I want him to like me, but only in a platonic sort of way. I’ve been head over heels for Asher since the day I met him, so no grungy hot guy is going to change my mind about that.
Sure, Theon is hot…really hot. Maybe, debatably, better looking than Asher even, depending on who you ask. Asher has that good guy, baby face, model potential thing going for him, while Theon is rugged and strong with soulful eyes and a really nice…
It doesn’t even matter if Theon is good looking or not. I’m allowed to notice something like that, I mean I’m in a relationship, not dead or blind. Alana’s words popped back into my head, making me feel weirder. I feel like she was implying that he likes me, or at least thinks I’m cute. It doesn’t matter. I remind myself of that over and over until I finally stop thinking of him, focusing my mind instead on figuring out what us girls are going to do about getting more people to come through here. Back home you’d do a bake sale, or a car wash or something to get more people. I did have to laugh at myself when I realized I was comparing getting more souls to fundraising. This is what my life as come to.
The next day I stayed under water again, watching Theon from just below the surface, until I saw his boat leave the bay. Once I was sure he was gone I wandered up the beach heading for my spot on the rocks when something caught my eye on one of the trees. I walked curiously over to the tree and pulled the piece of paper down.
You were right, princess. I’m sorry for judging you. Tally is coming with me tomorrow because she wants to see you, so don’t just watch me from under the water and wait until I leave like you did today, unless you just want to make an eight year old cry.
The quickening of my heart, and my growing excitement is only because I have been wanting to see Tally again, nothing to do with Theon.
Nothing to do with him in the slightest.