Deklan stopped sanding when the door to his studio opened. He’d come back in here to get a little work done after getting Lucy’s text that she wasn’t going to be back right away.
Sitting back, he looked up, expecting to see Lucy, but it wasn’t her standing in the doorway sporting an Under Armour hoodie and jeans.
“Hey, Blake.” he said, pitching his voice louder to be heard over the Muse song playing.
“Hey.” Blake echoed, stepping forward into the room.
Tossing his sand paper down to the headboard in front of him, Deklan got on his feet, brushed at the dust on his jeans.
“What’s up?” he asked, meeting his friend’s gaze.
“Nothing.” his friend replied with a bored shrug, tucking his hands in his pockets as he came to a standstill.
“Just thought I’d come see if you wanted to go for a run.” he said.
Deklan shook his head.
“Nah, sorry man, not right now,” he replied. “Lucy’s coming over.”
Stepping back, he turned, went over and unplugged his phone from its charging dock, plunging the room into silence. Making his way around the headboard, he stopped at Blake’s side, checked the time.
He was surprised she wasn’t back yet.
Shoving his phone in his pocket, he looked up at Blake. A big ass grin spread across his friend’s face.
What was that about?
“What?” he asked, furrowing his brows at his friend.
“Dude,” Blake said. “I smell Lucy all over you.” he informed him with obvious delight.
He should have expected Blake would suss out the recent developments in his relationship with Lucy. With their sense of smell, werewolves might as well wear signs saying “I’m sleeping with ‘so-and-so’.”
“That happened fast, didn’t it?” Blake asked.
“Yeah.” he agreed with a soft chuckle. “It just sort of... happened.”
He wasn’t sharing any more details than that.
His friend’s expression changed, became less jocular, more earnest.
“I’m happy for you, man.” he said. “It’s about time you stepped back into the dating world.”
It was way passed time, but he hadn’t had any interest in dating since Tuk died. He’d been focused on finding Malek, avenging his best friend. He hadn’t intended to let anything, or anyone, distract him.
But then he’d met Lucy. His plans hadn’t been able to hold up against her.
He was just relieved he wasn’t feeling any regrets, very much hoped that continued, because now that he knew what it was to be with Lucy, he only wanted more.
His wolf seconded that emotion.
Lucy didn’t seem to have any regrets either, judging by their second time on the counter earlier.
“Thanks, man.” he smiled.
The chime he’d assigned to texts from Lucy sounded.
“That’s Lucy now.” he told his friend.
Pulling his phone out of his pocket, he checked the screen.
I’m back. she’d texted.
Be right in. he texted her back.
“She’s back.” he told Blake.
Tucking his phone away, he started for the door. Blake followed him over, quietly waited as he punched in the key code, locking up the studio. They followed the limestone path around to the back of the house, climbed the porch steps and entered the kitchen.
Lucy looked up at their arrival. She was at the table, lifting something out of a box. She’d dressed in black pants and a white top, pulled her brown hair back in a ponytail.
Her hand cleared the top of the cardboard, a large, violet crystal in her grip, sparkling a little as light hit it.
He didn’t know much about crystals, was curious what she needed that for.
“Hey boys.” she smiled, looking at each of them in turn.
They both echoed her ‘hey’, joined her at the table, Deklan coming to a stop at her right side, Blake moving around to her left.
“You get everything you needed to get?” he asked, attention moving from the large, purple crystal she set on the table, to her.
Blake caught his eye over Lucy’s head, a funny expression on his face.
He shot his friend a questioning look back. Blake mouthed something, but he couldn’t make it out, furrowed his brow at him in response.
“I’m all set.” Lucy replied to his question.
He shifted his gaze back to her.
“All set for what?” he asked, watching her pull another crystal out of the box, set it on the table with the first.
“I’m gonna make a crystal cage with these to hold Hannah.” she explained, meeting his gaze. “Once I have her contained, Zareena’s gonna help me do a mind restoration.”
A mind restoration? What was that? He’d never heard of such a thing.
Blake piped up with his own questions, drawing Lucy’s attention around to him.
“Who’s Hannah?” he asked. “And Zareena.”
Lucy pulled out a third crystal, set it on the table.
“Hannah’s my sister.” she explained. “Zareena is a friend. A witch. She owns and runs a store downtown called ’The Source.”
Blake furrowed his brow, shifted his gaze from Lucy to him.
“I’m obviously missing something.” he said. He turned his attention back to Lucy. “Why are you going to cage your sister?” he asked.
Yeah, that would sound bad without context.
“My sister is kinda... evil,” she replied. “... at the moment.”
Blake frowned at this information.
“I thought she was dead.” Lucy continued. “Last night was the first time I’ve seen her in twenty years.”
Astonishment dominated Blake’s expression.
“Wow.” he said, brows halfway to his hairline. “Where did you find her?” he asked after a moment.
“She was with Malek.” Lucy replied, lifting a fourth crystal out of the box.
Blake’s eyes quickly jumped to him.
“You found Malek?” he asked. “Is the asshole dead?”
Unfortunately, the asshole was not.
Deklan shook his head in the negative, putting a frown on Blake’s face.
Blake looked back to Lucy.
“And your sister was with Malek? Are they - ” he started to say...
“We don’t know what they are to each other.” Lucy quickly cut in.
Deklan didn’t bother asking why it mattered what they were to each other.
His guess? Lucy was worried they were lovers because then Malek might actually mean something to Hannah, hold influence over her - and maybe that would make her harder to save.
Lucy may have gotten mad with him for saying it...
... but obviously he wasn’t the only one worried her sister was too far gone to save.
He frowned at the back of her head.
What if she couldn’t save Hannah? What if this mind restoration... didn’t work? What if her sister needed...
His wolf whined his concern too.
If they tried to save Hannah and couldn’t? If the writing was on the wall, and Hannah needed to be taken care of... and Lucy couldn’t do it...?
He’d have to do it for her.
He frowned harder.
He really hoped it didn’t come to that. Lucy would probably hate him forever.
His stomach curdled at the thought.
His wolf whined louder.
We’ll do everything possible to make sure that doesn’t happen, buddy.
Lucy turned her gaze on him.
“I was hoping I could cage Hannah here...?” she said, pulling him from his distressing thoughts. “You have more room than me.” she explained.
He’d just found out about this cage, hadn’t had time to consider where it was going to be, but now that she’d mentioned location, he was glad she wanted to set it up at his place - if she kept Hannah at her place, he’d worry about her... what if Hannah got loose somehow? What if Malek found out where she was being held and showed up?
“That’s fine with me.” he assured her.
Her expression relaxed.
“Great. Thanks.” she replied. “Help me set it up?” she asked, picking up two of the crystals.
He picked up the two crystals left on the table and followed her upstairs. Blake trailed behind him, making the trip up with them.
Lucy headed into the room she’d slept in the other night, went over to the bed, set her crystals down on the mattress. He followed her over while Blake stayed by the door.
“Help me move the bed out from the wall?” she asked.
He set his crystals on the mattress with hers, walked around to the far side of the bed and helped her pull the queen-size out a few feet from the wall.
“That’s good.” Lucy said.
She straightened up, went over and collected her crystals.
He followed her, retrieving the crystals he’d brought up.
“Do the same as me on your side of the bed.” she instructed him and crouched by the corner at the head of the bed.
He watched her set a crystal on the floor, a foot out diagonally from that corner, and did the same on his side of the bed. They moved to the foot of the bed, set their remaining crystal on the floor about a foot out diagonally from each corner.
“Shift yours a little this way.” Lucy requested, eyes on his crystal.
He did so and suddenly a forcefield went up around the bed. It was shimmery and almost transparent, fluctuating colours between purple and white.
“Cool.” Blake breathed from the doorway.
He had to agree. Very cool.
Lucy pulled her crystal out of position and the forcefield disappeared.
The cage was ready to go.
Now they just had to find Hannah, get her into the cage and do a mind restoration on her.
Oh! And avoid getting killed by her or Malek in the process.
Piece of cake.
Lucy yawned for like the hundredth time. She’d been scrying since late afternoon, since setting up the cage, and it was now...
She shifted in her seat, looked over at the clock on Deklan’s oven.
... almost two in the morning.
Ugh. It had been a long day.
A couple of more hours and she’d call it quits for the night. Maybe tomorrow she’d start later in the day. Chances were so low she’d get a hit on Hannah during the day, she was probably just tiring herself out scrying so long.
The scuff of boots on the porch steps had her looking up. Deklan entered, closed the door behind him. His eyes found hers, crinkling at the corners when his lips lifted in a smile.
It was nice to have his company again. He’d gone to his studio to get some work done after dinner. Fatigue and boredom had set in not long after he’d left her.
“No luck?” he asked, toeing his boots off by the door.
She shook her head as he came over to her, a sigh escaping her. Taking her hand, he urged her up out of her chair, lowered himself into her spot, pulled her into his lap.
This new seating arrangement put a smile on her face.
She draped an arm around his shoulders, breathed him in. He’d brought the fresh scent of wood with him.
“You’ve been scrying all day.” he murmured, pressed a kiss to her jaw. “You must be tired.”
He set his chin on her shoulder.
She was very tired.
“I’m gonna stop in a little while.” she told him. “Just another couple of hours and then I’ll quit.”
Deklan ‘mmm’d’, gave her a soft squeeze with the arm he had around her waist.
“I’m a little hungry.” he said. “You want something?”
The guy had the metabolism of a race horse. He’d made them a wonderful dinner earlier. Chicken with rice and veggies. Besides eating double what the amount she’d had, he’d had more than one hearty snack through the evening.
She wasn’t really hungry, but she’d nibble on whatever he made for himself.
“I could go for a snack.” she replied.
He urged her up off his lap. Once he was out of her seat, she reclaimed it, started scrying again.
“Fruit and cheese sound good?” he asked from across the room, head in his fridge.
“Sure.” she replied.
A few minutes later, Deklan rejoined her at the table. He sat beside her, presented her with a plate filled with crackers, slices of marble cheese, apple wedges and green grapes.
She popped a grape into her mouth, broke its skin between her teeth, savouring its sweetness.
By the time she set her pendulum down a little after four, all the grapes and half the cheese were in her belly.
Seemed she’d been more hungry than she’d realized.
Deklan had taken care of the rest of the cheese and most of the apples and crackers.
“Stopping?” he asked, when her arm lowered to the table.
“Yeah.” she replied, trying to hold back a yawn, and failing.
“Let’s go.” he said, obviously glad she was ready for bed.
She smiled at him.
He could’ve gone to bed without her...
... but she liked that he’d stayed up with her.