Watered Down

By Shelby_Painter All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Romance

Chapter Nineteen

I widened my eyes and my jaw dropped.

“What do you mean, Theon?” I asked him urgently, my heart rate speeding back up.

He shook his head pursing his lips. “Dammit.” He yelled, punching one hand into the other. “I can’t tell you, and I want to, and it’s just pissing me off.”

I grabbed his hands, holding them to me so he’d stop smacking them. “Theon!” I whisper yelled, trying not to wake Tally. “Calm down.”

He shook his head, but exhaled deeply, opening his eyes back up to look down on me. “I’m trying.” He sighed, his hands still shaking a little. I pulled him back over to the bed and sat down.

He sat beside me, then his face pulled together, like he was about to lose it, so I pulled him over to me, holding his head against my chest while he tried to get his rigid breaths together. “It’s ok.” I whispered. “I’m going to figure it out.” He shook his head a little, and I brushed back his hair from his face so that I could look down at him. “What?” I asked.

“You can’t.” He mumbled.

“Tally isn’t bound to not tell, is she?” I asked.

“No.” He said. “But she doesn’t know the truth either.”

I clicked my tongue while I thought. “Maybe you could tell her, and then she can tell me.” I said. “Are you bound not to speak at all or just to me?” I asked curiously.

“Just you girls.” He said, but shook his head again, leaning away from me to look me in the eyes. “I won’t tell Tally the truth though.” He said firmly. “No child deserves to know that, and it would kill her, so I won’t do it.” His sigh was shaky. “I’m sorry.”

“That’s ok.” I said back. “I’ll just find some other way to figure it out I guess.”

I jumped a little when he grabbed my face in one of his hands. “No.” He said firmly. “You don’t need to worry yourself over what’s going on with me or Tally.” He told me. “You need to just focus on completing your deal with Alana and then getting as far away from here as you can get.”

“Why?” I asked, my feelings a little hurt that he wanted me to leave.

He looked at me hard. “Because you can.” He said. “You can’t help us, and you don’t need to, we’ll be fine.” He whispered, dropping his hand from me and turning away as he stood up. “You and your friends are so close to being done with this nightmare, don’t do anything to mess it up. Just get it done and go before you end up here forever.”

I stood up, putting my hand on his back that was turned to me. “But what about yo-.”

He whipped around fast, grabbing my shoulders and pulling me into a hug. “Don’t worry about us.” He whispered into my hair. I hugged my arms around his waist and rested my head against his chest, breathing quietly so that I could listen to the strong beat of his heart again. It’s become such soothing thing for me. “Just think about getting home.” He said softly. “Seeing your friends, your family, your…Just everyone.”

I took a step back at the thought of Asher. It was his heartbeat I needed to find comfort in, not Theon’s. I looked up into his sad eyes and he avoided my gaze. It was probably for the better though. “I should go.” I whispered, looking down at my amulet that was losing light.

“Yeah.” He whispered back. I started to walk passed him, letting my hand reach out to brush his as I did, still needing just a little more from him before I left. His fingers gently looped through mine and he stopped me from leaving. “Thank you.” He whispered, turning his head to me slightly. “For coming to take care of Tally.” He added.

“Of course.” I whispered, my words coming out very breathy.

The rise and fall of his chest was moving fast, and he squeezed my hand just a touch before letting go gently, our fingers sliding slowly apart as I went for the door, leaving him standing beside his bed. “Goodbye, princess.” I heard him whisper as I pulled the door to behind me.

I let myself out of the dark house, locking the door behind me as I went. I glanced back, just in time to see the light in his bedroom turn back off before I had to break into a mad sprint to make it back to the ocean in time.

As I ran I tried to picture Asher’s face. The way I had just felt back there, giving me conflicting emotions and scattering my brain around. I know I love Asher. I know it. Yet, whenever I’m around Theon, I can’t help but to just want him to look at me. I want Theon’s big honey brown eyes on me, and I want to touch his calloused hands, and smell his skin, and hear his heartbeat. I’m obsessed with the sound of his voice, and his smile, and the way he looks at Tally like she is the most important thing in the whole world to him.

When I’m around him, I find myself forgetting all about Asher, and then I just feel like garbage later. Like right now. I replayed the images of Asher at school that Alana had showed me in my mind again. The way his perfect hair was parted over to the side, and the square cut to his strong jaw. I remembered the way that when he turned his head, his gorgeous aqua eyes peered right into mine, taking away my breath like he usually did.

As I thought about it, I realized how nicely he had been dressed. He had on a new looking polo, definitely not one I’d seen before, and I don’t remember him ever having a watch before. A sick and twisted idea popped into my head and I tried hard not to think on it too much, but a part of me had to wonder. Asher only ever had nice clothes when I bought them for him, so what if he is already seeing someone? I mean, it has been a couple of months, so it isn’t totally out of the realm of possibilities. It could be possible that one of my rich friends had moved in on him once I was out of the way.

I hated myself for thinking it, but I almost kind of hoped that he had started dating someone else, because as much as it stung my heart and made me feel nauseas to think of him with another girl, it did at least absolve some of my own guilt from the feelings I’m having towards Theon.

I dove into the water, letting it completely pull me under the waves, my strength coming back to me quickly. “Where the hell did you go?” Levi yelled out at me from the beach when I came back up to the surface.

“Were you with Theon?” Cassandra asked from beside her.

They were both sitting on the beach, Levi still holding the book in her hand she had earlier, and Cassandra was sprawled out on a blanket with headphones in. “Yeah.” I mumbled as I stomped over to them, plopping down in my red chair.

“What’s the matter?” Levi asked, sticking a book mark in between the pages of her book and then setting it aside. “Did you have a fight?”

I groaned, kicking my feet out in front of me. “I wish.” I said. “That would have been a lot easier.”

Cass yanked out her headphones and flipped over onto her side to face me, her eyes wide. “Oh my god, did you guys kiss or something?” She asked excitedly.

I groaned again, louder this time, and covered my face with my hands.

“Holy crap!” Levi screamed, smacking me on the knee. “You totally did!”

I laughed, smacking her back. “No we didn’t.” I told them. “But…I think I like, really wanted to.”

They both dropped their jaws and then smiled. “I can’t believe it.” Levi said. “We’ve been right all along.” She laughed. “You are totally into six pack guy.”

“For the love of god, his name is Theon.” I told her.

“It doesn’t matter what his name is.” Cass giggled, pulling her long hair around her shoulder to braid it. “It matters that you are finally admitting what we’ve known all along.” She smiled and I sighed, frowning out at the black water, watching the white spray shoot up over the rocks lazily. Cassandra tilted her head at me. “But why do you look so sad?” She asked softly.

I shrugged my shoulders and sighed again. “I just…I feel bad.” I said. “I’m here, and I’m doing this for Asher, and I love Asher, but now I’ve got feelings for this other guy too, and I just feel crumby about it.” I admitted. “Then on top of that, I know that something is going on between Theon, Alana, and Tally, but I don’t know what.”

Levi furrowed her brows and chewed the inside of her cheek. “Tally too?” She asked. “What could she have to do with anything?”

I shook my head. “I don’t know.” I told them. “I saw Alana watching her, and when I confronted Theon about why his sister would be being watched, he told me that he and Tally are both cursed.”

“Cursed?” They both repeated, just like I had to Tally.

I nodded, twirling my hair around my fingers and thinking. “Yeah, but he couldn’t tell me what that meant, and he said he doesn’t want me to try to figure it out.”

“Why not?” Levi asked.

“He told me that it would be bad if Tally found out, and that’s the only way I could find out, so he wants me to leave it alone.” I explained. “But what could Alana want with Theon and Tally both?” I mused. “It just doesn’t make any sense.”

“Do you think it could have to do with his parents?” Cass asked.

I thought about it, and he does talk about his parents like they were bad people, but I can’t connect the two. “I don’t know.”

“What happened to them?” Levi asked.

“They died in the water somehow.” I shrugged.

Levi reached over, putting her hand in my lap. “Look, I know it is weird, and I know you really want to know what is going on, but maybe if he told you to leave it alone, you should.”

“I know, you’re right.” I nodded to her. “He said we need to just finish our job and get as far away from here as possible.” His words still made me sad.

Cassandra looked up at the moon. “We’re so close.” She whispered.

Levi smiled. “I know, I can practically feel it.”

I nodded with them, but I wasn’t as excited about it anymore as they were. When I sit and think about home now, I’m not sure I still belong there. I miss my parents and my friends, but I’m not really all that interested in the idea of going back right now, but I know I should be.

Theon is right.

Me sticking my nose in other people’s business isn’t doing me any good. All it is doing is making me want to stay here and get to the bottom of everything, when my main focus should be finishing up here and getting the hell out of here as soon as possible. I need to be normal again.

I looked up at the moon too, and I apologized to Asher silently, telling him I’d be home soon.

Levi glanced back over to me. “So what are you going to do?” She asked.

I looked down at her. “Exactly what he said.” I told her. “We’re going to finish what we’re here for.” I said firmly. “And then we are going home.”

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