Watered Down

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Chapter Eight

Another day passed with no sight of any other people. Every passing hour that no one showed up, felt like another nail in our coffins.

It was hotter today than it had been lately, and the breeze was nonexistent, making the sky look hazy. Luckily the water felt decent enough, so we mostly stayed out towards the open water instead of hanging out on or by the islands like we usually do.

“Six pack guy is early.” Levi said, turning her head in the direction of the sound of his boat. We’ve seen him come through so many times now that we don’t even get excited that it might be someone else.

“His name is Theon, you know?” I reminded her and her and Cassandra giggled.

“Someone is being defensive of her boyfriend.” Levi said to Cassandra, wiggling her eyebrows.

Cassandra grinned, biting her lip. “Yeah, just look how red her face is right now.”

They both laughed at me as I brought my hands up to my face. “Shut up.” I whispered as his boat came into view. “He is so not my boyfriend.” I protested and one of the waves from his boat smacked me in the face, saltwater going in my mouth.

“If you say so.” Levi shrugged, then outstretched her arms over the water.

I tried hard not to look towards the Cove where he was walking up onto the beach, knowing if I did that both girls would just give me a hard time about it.

“Didn’t Alana mention a guy…Asher?” Cassandra asked, raising her thin eyebrows.

I stopped paying any attention to Theon and turned my back to the Cove to stare at Cassandra. “You heard that?” I asked her softly.

She nodded lightly. “I didn’t mean to bring up anything bad for you, Serena.” She said, looking down at the water. “I just overheard her saying something to you about him.”

“Was he your boyfriend?” Levi asked.

I tried not to get offended by her use of the word ‘was’. Just hearing his name out loud made me want to burst into tears. “Yeah.”

“How long were you guys together?” Cassandra asked.

“A year and a half.”

They both nodded. “What happened to him?” Levi asked me, avoiding my eye contact.

I furrowed my brows. “Nothing happened to him.” I responded. “He’s fine.”

They both looked confused. “I just thought since she mentioned him, that he was the one you traded your soul for.” Levi shrugged.

I floated there with my mouth open slightly. This had been exactly why I hadn’t mentioned anything already. I knew they’d look down on me for making such a rash decision, so I decided to lie. “I mean, yeah, I did…” I said quickly. “What I meant is he is fine now.

They both nodded. “Oh, ok.” Cassandra smiled lightly. “Well, I’m glad.”

I looked between them, trying to gage whether or not they seemed convinced, which they did, so I changed the subject away from me and over to them. “What about you guys?” I asked. “Why did you do it?”

Cassandra looked sad, her big eyes wet, and Levi chewed the inside of her cheek, looking out at the water passed me. “My parents.” Cassandra whispered. “We were doing a helicopter tour when the controls stopped working and we crashed into the ocean.” She explained. “Alana came to me and promised to save them if I’d come here with her, so I did.”

“Wow.” I muttered. What she had done was a completely selfless act, giving her own life to save someone else’s.

We both looked over at Levi and she rolled her eyes. “Well, I didn’t exactly save anyone’s life or anything noble, like you guys.” She said quickly and my guilt felt a little better knowing that I wasn’t the only one who’d been stupid. “I was…I’ve been really sick for a long time.” She said lowly, a little of her usual confidence seeming to falter slightly. “I was diagnosed with Leukemia when I was 7, and since then it’s been nothing but being home or in the hospital…” Her eyes looked distant. “My body had finally stopped responding to the treatments, and I got to come to the Bahamas on a free trip since I was a dying girl.” She rolled her eyes. “I snuck away from the place we were staying and I…” There was a crack in her voice and Cassandra and I both placed our hands on her shoulders. “I tried to kill myself.” She shrugged. “That’s when Alana found me and she promised if I help her, I can live again…healed.”

Cass and I hugged Levi, and she shrugged us off after a minute, laughing a little. “You’re really brave.” Cassandra told her.

“So are both of you.” Levi smiled at us.

I tried to return the grin, but my insides felt like mush. Both of them had made their decisions for big reasons. I had traded my soul, and in turn promised to steal 100 others, all because I wanted to be able to be alive and be with my boyfriend. There was nothing truly at stake for me. I’m not gaining anything from this, just going home. I was feeling pathetically low, like the literal scum of the earth for becoming a murderer for nothing.

I hadn’t even noticed I’d been tuning them out until I noticed the silence and I looked up to see both girls looking at me strangely. “What?” I asked nervously.

“Are you going to go talk to him?” Levi repeated, her eyebrows lifted.

“To who?”

They both laughed at my doe eyed expression. “Mr. Six Pack.” Levi said, pointing her chin over to the island. “Ask him about why there haven’t been any people.” She told me.

“Oh, and why our magic won’t work on him.” Cassandra added.

I looked between them and Theon. “Why do I have to do it?” I groaned.

“Because you’re the only one who has spoken to him.” Levi said, pushing my shoulder that way.

I huffed, running my hand through my long hair and then I swam over.

He was shirtless, wearing only his black and red swim trunks and a pair of worn tan flip flops. He was dripping with sweat, which usually grosses me out, but something about the way it glistened off of his dark tan in the sun was a little mesmerizing. I snapped myself out of it, walking slowly up the cove.

“You here to give it another shot?” He called over his broad shoulder without looking at me.

“No.” I mumbled.

“Don’t tell me you’re here to chit chat with me either, because I personally would rather you try to kill me than be friends with me.” He said, shaking his head to get his hair out of his eyes.

“Don’t be rude.” I snapped, planting my feet firmly in the hot sand.

He turned around quickly, tossing a broken palm into the trees behind him. “I’m sorry, princess.” He said patronizingly. “But just because you helped me out one time does not mean I’m suddenly going to become friends with someone life you.”

Even though I don’t know him, it still stung a little. “A- Don’t call me princess, and B- You don’t know anything about me, so how dare you be so judgmental.”

He shook his head smiling. “That’s comical coming from the princess who tried to murder me the first time we met.” He reminded me with a pointed glare. “And I know more about you than you think.” He snapped.

I was getting pissed, and put my hands on my hips. “Excuse me, but you don’t know me. I may be a killer now, but you don’t know who I am as a person, and I don’t appreciate you trying to make me feel like garbage.” I said calmly even though my fingers twitched. “I only came up here to ask you a question, not to be your best friend or whatever.”

“What do you want to ask me then?” He threw down the rake in his hand and stomped right up to me, his face hovering up over mine. “Hurry the hell up because I have work to do.”

“Fine!” I yelled, more than a little taken back by his closeness. “I just wanted to ask you why no people are ever around!”

He laughed, a full belly sound to it as he backed away some. “Are you that stupid?”

I was fuming now. “Don’t you dare call me stupid!” I yelled. “I am being nice to you, and I asked you a simple question.” It was taking all my effort to remember all my lessons in taking the high road and being diplomatic.

He laughed for another few second then pulled himself together. “Obviously no one comes here because the waters are haunted.” He said pointing at me. “You’re right, you’re clearly an Einstein for figuring that one out.”

I ignored his dig, shaking my head a little. “So people don’t ever come through here?”

“Very rarely.” He snapped.

I brought my thumb up to my mouth and chewed on my nail. “Dammit.” I mumbled around it and Theon shook his head, going back to finishing up on the beach. “You work for the island?” I asked.

“Obviously.” He said picking up the rake. “I’m the only one who will do maintenance on this side of the island.” He mumbled. “I also work at one of the bars at night, and a diner during the lunch shift that I am about to be late for if you don’t move out of my way.” He said as he came to rake the area I was standing in.

I backed up to the water so that he could finish what he was doing. “How old are you?” I asked.

He barely looked at me. “Nineteen.”

“Wow.” I muttered. “You work a lot for a teenager.”

“Well, like I told you, my parents are dead, so I’ve got to keep a roof over my head somehow.” He said as he walked the rake back to the trees.

“Tally’s lucky to have you.” I told him and he stopped, turning to look at me, his expression just a little softer. “How is she, by the way?”

He met my eyes for only a second. “She’s good.” He nodded. “She keeps asking about you.”

I smiled. “She’s so adorable.” I grinned at him and it looked like he wanted to smile too, but of course wouldn’t let himself.

“Yeah.” He whispered.

“I also wanted to ask you about…” I opened my mouth to ask him about his immunity to my power, but then the girls called me from the water and I could hear something that sounded like jet skis.

“Serena! Come on!” Levi called to me.

On the horizon I could see a group of at least five jet skis coming this direction, getting closer by the second. “Idiots.” Theon mumbled, turning away from me.

“Oh, well…I guess I-.” I was mumbling and he turned back, shrugging his shoulders and glaring at me.

“No, go ahead.” He said pointing out to the water. “Go do your job, princess.” He snapped at me. “Have fun killing more people.” He gave me a fake smile.

I didn’t know what else to do, so I just walked away.

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