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Welcome to the Team


I’m not sure how to feel after mine and Leo’s 2 AM escapades. I do know that I’m happier than I’ve ever been—happier than I ever thought I’d get to be a year ago.

I sit across from my mom at the kitchen table, Leo seated next to me, holding my hand anxiously in his lap. None of us know where to start.

My mother clears her throat. “So, we need a plan. That much is obvious. Please tell me that one of you has an idea.” She looks pleadingly between Leo and I.

I’ve got nothing.

“This plan will be the real one,” Leo tells me. “The one Ezra will know nothing about. He’s clearly still on your father’s side.”

“What did he tell you we should do?” I ask, already assuming the answer.

“He thinks that you should have your demands ready. Conditions he’ll have to agree to in order for you to work for him.”

“It’s too risky for you to do that, though. He could easily hurt you again,” my mother adds.

“What other options do we have?” I ask bitterly.

In my mind, there are none. Ezra can’t be trusted. He tied me to that chair multiple times. I was whipped and branded and beaten, and I know that he enjoyed every second—taunting me, calling out to me, asking me where Leo was and telling me that no one was coming to save me.

“You have to learn to control your magic,” my mother tells me, urgency in her voice.

“What!?” I demand, knowing that I must have heard her wrong. My mom would never in a million years tell me to use the magic that she and I are both so afraid of.

“Baby, I know that it scares you—it scares me too, but this is our only hope. You are the only witch in the world strong enough to bring down Vincent St. Clair.”

I’m sure that I’m still looking at her like she’s insane. Surely she can’t be serious.

“Ezra told me that your dad is losing his powers, and that’s why he needs you,” Leo tells me.

I shudder. “I don’t trust anything Ezra says.”

He squeezes my hand reassuringly. “I don’t really think we have a choice. It’ll be hard, but I think your mom is right. I think you need to learn to control it. You won’t be doing it alone.” He takes a deep breath before continuing. “I also think that we need to consider coming up with a list of demands. If he thinks we’re desperate, and that we’re willing to help him in exchange for each other, maybe we can find something that will help us take him down. We’ve got to try—I mean, this is bigger than just you and me. He’s planning on getting rid of the humans—he’s planning on world domination. If we can stop this, we should.”

“I don’t like it,” my mother says quickly, her tone clipped. “But he isn’t wrong. I just wish you weren’t the one to have to sacrifice so much,” she whispers.

“You both think this is what we should do?” I ask. They both nod at me solemnly. “Okay… what are our demands?”

I stare across the desk at my father, comforted knowing that my mother and Leo are standing at the back of the classroom. Ezra and Nathan stand on either side of my father, Nathan pale and glum, not meeting my eyes. Ezra has a wicked smile plastered on his face, and my hand itches to smack it away.

“Salem.” My father greets me coldly. “I’m so glad that you’ve decided to join us of your own volition.”

My magic surges, anger driving me to speak, my perfectly sculpted speech flying out the window. I can see my black eyes reflected in his.

“I have demands of course. And if you refuse them, or decide to go against your word, I’ll make your life a living hell, and you know that I’m fully capable of following through. And if you hurt my mom or Leo, I’ll kill you myself. Emotional killings are much more powerful.”

Power radiates from my fingertips, flowing through the desk. My father tenses, his eyes rolling back in his head for a moment before he regains composure. He glares at me, a proud smile on his lips.

“You are my daughter,” he sighs in amazement. “So, your demands are that your mother and boyfriend not get harmed?” He asks, seeming amused. He coughs a little and his eyes glaze over. “As well as not going through your head again because it’s fucking annoying and if I do, you’ll gut me like a pig. Oh and keep that sicko Nathan away from you or you’ll castrate him.” He coughs again, regaining his composure. “You’re stronger than I imagined,” he tells me, his eyes narrowed in what I can only guess is worry. Maybe he’s worried that I’m stronger than HIM.

Wouldn’t that be fabulous.

The power is overwhelming. I can feel it enveloping me, and the room begins to shake, subtly at first and then with more fervor. I can see my face in the reflection of the three men’s eyes now, Ezra and Nathan worried, my father intrigued. My face is pale, and two empty eye sockets stare back at me in their eyes, blood pouring from them. I smile. This must be what happens when the darkness demands to be released. Maybe I should just let it out. Maybe I should kill all three of them now.

Suddenly Ezra flies back against the wall, suspended in the air, grasping at his throat and gasping for breath. He looks at me, panicked.

“I remember everything you did to me,” I tell him in a hollow voice that sounds nothing like my own. “I remember every vile word you said. And Leo may think you redeemable, but just know that the second you fuck up, I’m sending your ass to hell where you belong.”

He falls to the floor with a thud, gasping for air that his lungs don’t even need.

He stands slowly to his feet, looking at me with a fear I’ve never seen. “I’ve underestimated you, little witch. It won’t happen again.” He nods his head at me and retreats back to my father’s side.

His booming laugh brings me back to my senses, and I blink a couple times, returning to reality.

“You’re magnificent,” my father chuckles, leaning back in his chair. “All of your demands will be met. Welcome to the team.”
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