Authors: Kimberly Stedronsky
“I know you won’t. I know why you did… what you did.”
This was my invitation to apologize. I sighed, swallowing hard.
“I’m sorry, Violet. For what I did to you. If it’s any consolation, I’m going to have nightmares about it for the rest of my life.”
She looked up sharply, the expression on her pretty face shifting into dismissal. “Logan, it’s fine. It’s over, and it’s not the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.” I waited for the inevitable tears, or her breathless panic, but instead she reached for the dial on the radio. “Ha. Life could be a dream. This song’s a little ironic.”
She’s stronger than she looks.
“Yeah. Well, thanks for that,” I added, referring to her refusal to care about me murdering her only hours ago. I gestured toward the island. “Why don’t you try to get some sleep? If everything goes… as planned, I’m sure Roam will need help with a newborn baby. Apparently, they cry- a lot.”
My comment coaxed a smirk from her heart-shaped lips. “Really? You think it’ll cry more than Roam?”
I broke into sudden, unexpected laughter. She grinned, arching one eyebrow.
“Roam has been through a lot,” I
“Yeah, well, so have I, but I manage to keep my shit together most of the time.”
“She holds her breath when she’s afraid. She’s done it since she was a kid. Her body kind of… panics. It’s her way of dealing with stress.”
Like a flamingo, sticking its head in the sand.”
I rolled my eyes with a
n amused grin, looking back over the sound. “Ostrich.”
She propped her feet on the dashboard.
I like her voice. Raspy…
And sexy as hell.
“How long has your mom been gone again?”
“Nine years.” She moved her mouth without turning her head.
“And you thought she was dead all this time?”
me she was dead. It wasn’t until that dickhead threw me in his car and dragged me through a fountain in Russia that I knew she was still alive.” She nodded toward the back of the van, and I knew she meant Troy.
I thought about the hotel room in Russia, after we’d gotten back from 1977. Roam was a hot mess, bent over West’s bag bawling her eyes out over his letter. Violet sat next to
me on the bed while I tried my best to explain what was happening. “Are you glad… that your dad is back?”
She automatically turned toward the island. “I can’t think of him as my dad.”
“But he is- bottom line.”
“A fifteen-minute failed marriage
and a complimentary sperm donation doesn’t give him the right to call me his daughter.”
“Ouch.” I held back a grin. “No mercy.”
“Nope.” She gathered her hair into a ponytail before letting it loose again, flicking a glance my way. “Besides- look at him. He can’t tear himself away from Roam long enough to say, ‘Oh, hey, immortal daughter, sorry I abandoned you, sorry it’s my fucking fault your mom got kidnapped by a psycho, maybe we can talk-…,”
Just curious- how long is this pity party going to last?” I interrupted, already irritated with her rant. She snapped her mouth closed, turning back to the window. “They love each other. Give them a chance to reunite. I’m sure he wants to talk to you.”
“He has one thing on his mind, and it isn’t me.”
“You think maybe he was trying to protect you, by leaving?”
Why in the hell am I defending him? Who cares.
I kicked at the brake pedal.
“I’m sure that’s what he tells himself.”
It’s nice to have an honest conversation that doesn’t result in her breaking down into tears.
“I’m not his biggest fan. He’s been through some shit, though.”
“I haven’t,” I replied, catching my reflection ag
ain and cringing at the strange blue eyes staring back at me. “My life was just
before all of this.”
Lucky you.” She tucked her knees up to her chin and wrapped her arms around her legs. “But you have the nightmares.”
I took a deep breath, turning the key in the ignition. “Look, we’re going to be here a while. I’m starving. Let’s go find some more food, okay?”
She nodded. We found another diner in Swansboro, taking our food to the van to eat. She was finished with her hamburger before I had time to get halfway through mine. “Wow. Food doesn’t taste like that in 2012.”
“I’m surprised you had time to taste it.”
“Hey, try sharing a house with eight other kids. You eat fast, or you don’t eat.”
“You’re just so…,” I backtracked, trying the word
in my mind. She
skinny, just curvy in all the right places. It was obvious she worked out- a lot. “You’re in great shape. I can’t believe you can put food away like that.”
“I’m a dancer. The calories come right off.”
My eighteen-year-old mind sent my thoughts straight to a shiny, silver pole and a fistful of dollar bills. I shifted uncomfortably and cleared my throat. “Ballet?”
ip-hop, modern… even swing, which might be useful here.” She nodded toward the window, and I broke into a blatant smile.
“Really? You think maybe the people of 1955 are just lurking around corners, planning a swing
-dance flash mob any minute?”
fought to hold back her grin and lost. “Good point.”
What a smile…
she’s so damn beautiful.
“You should do that more often.”
“What, swing dance?”
She cringed and laughed, and my own
corny compliment forced me to join her. “That was awful. Try harder, Logan,” she rolled down the window, taking a deep breath of fresh, winter air.
“Okay, that was lame. True, but lame.” I
glanced back at Troy. “I need to do it again.”
She nodded, and I watched a sudden urgency pass over her face as she grabbed my arm. “No- wait! What if Roam had the baby?”
“What if it’s born- the prophecy over-
immortal anymore? How can he take me to my mom if he’s
- really dead?”
“No!” She pleaded with me, gesturing to the boat dock. “Please, get some rope. We’ll tie him up, and gag him. We can’t break his neck Logan. Please.”
“How are we supposed to get him across the sound if he’s alive?”
“It’s already getting dark. When West comes for us, we’ll just have to knock him out. But no killing him,” she insisted.
I groaned, my full stomach and growing exhaustion only increasing my impatience. “
go find some rope. Hurry.”
“Okay,” she tugged on the door handle and
ran to the dock. I glanced around before climbing out of the van, deciding no one was watching us.
The nagging thought that I’d managed to
set aside for hours finally pushed its way forward, and I exhaled quickly.
What if Roam doesn’t make it?
Her body was different as Annie; shorter, more petite. There were no hospitals on the island.
What if something went wrong? What if she bled to death?
Okay, here, tie him up before he wakes up. We can use West’s tee shirt to gag him.”
Right.” I tore the bloodied tee shirt, securing it tightly around Troy’s head.
Her long lashes fluttered as she gave him a once-over, cringing. “How old do you think he is?
I shrugged. “He’s immortal. But age-wise… I don’t know. Forty? Forty-five?”
“Right. I just don’t get it. West stopped aging at twenty-seven-
ish. What’s up with this asshole?”
He moved slightly as I began tying him. “
I have no idea. Damn it, I wish we had a phone.”
“I know.” Violet worked on a double knot, lifting her eyes to mine. “She’ll be okay, Logan. West won’t let anything happen to her.”
“Some things he can’t control.” I finished securing Troy’s hands, tucking the blanket around him again. “You’re cold.”
She shivered to answer, zipping her coat. “I’m fine. The temperature dropped really fast.”
I took a step toward her, and I could feel her stiffen.
“Hold on.” I gathered her hair into my hands, freeing her trapped hood from inside her coat. She recognized my intention, allowing me to finish adjusting the fur-lined cover.
“Thanks.” She pulled the hood over her hair. I started to turn back to the van, but her warm fingers on my elbow stopped me in my tracks. “I really forgive you, Logan. You did what you had to do. If you hadn’t, he would have killed you… and Roam. And that would have been it.”
Her sincere absolution lightened me by a thousand pounds; I brushed my fingers through my hair, nodding once. “Thanks.”
Now come on, let’s go try to rest until West comes back.”
Back inside the van, I watched as she attempted to stuff our extra clothing into a ball and fashion a pillow. After several
tries to get comfortable, she finally growled, sitting upright and closing her eyes.
You can lean on me. If it’s not too awkward.”
Her eyes popped open, and she eagerly turned into my arms.
We waited for almost three hours. She slept for most of the time while I kept watch. Her even breaths, so peaceful, almost made me forget our clusterfuck of a situation. I helped myself to her silken curls, twisting my index finger through them again and again while listening to the radio. Her eyebrows and lashes were a shade darker than her hair, and her lips parted just slightly in her sleep.
I managed to keep my eyes on her face for all of thirty seconds. Her chest rose and fell beneath her V-necked sweater, offering me a generous view.
I kept my fingers threaded in her hair, spinning a web to trap my wandering hands.
I decided that she had the best body I’d ever seen
When Troy finally came to, the force of his
thrashing rocked the van on its wheels. Violet woke and sat up, glancing back nervously. “Holy shit, he’s going to get loose if he keeps that up!”
I shifted her off of me, crawling into the back seat.
I barely had time to wrench the blanket off of him before the back doors flew open.
West delivered a violent punch to his face, and he stopped struggling.
“Is there a reason he’s tied up instead of dead?” He demanded. Violet was already out of the van and sliding between West and Troy, blocking him.
“Yes, there’s a reason! If he’s not immortal, and we kill him, he can’t take me to my mom,” she flattened her palms on his chest to keep him from stepping forward. “Don’t! Knock him out, but if you try to kill him-…,” she stopped and rephrased her threatening tone. “Don’t kill him, West.”
He listened, throwing a glance at me before turning back to his daughter. “I understand,” he managed, moving around the van. “Come on, we need to get back to Roam.”
“Did she have the baby?” Violet’s voice, relieved, softened him- a little.
“Yes… it’s a girl. Eva,” he smiled, clearing his throat and turning to me. I exhaled slowly, unable to hide my grin at Roam’s middle name. “She’s fine- both Roam and Eva are healthy- they’ll be okay,” he added pointedly.
“So is it all over?” I tried to read his expression through the darkness.
“We don’t know. There’s a shanty in the back of the cottage- I’m going to chain Troy up in there until we figure everything out. Right now, I just want to get back to Roam.”
I held my sister, a dumbfounded smile plastered to my lips. I had no words for Eva; she was absolutely
beautiful. Cream-rose skin, long, dark lashes, and the darkest red hair I’d ever seen. Her eyes were closed, but West had already told us that they were an aqua-blue.
“She’ll be hungry when Roam wakes up. If she can’t breastfeed her, I’ll have to go across and find bottles.”
“Look at her tiny fingernails. Oh my God she is so pretty,” I breathed, tracing her rounded chin. “She looks like you, West.”
“I think she looks like you,” Logan came in from the back door, brushing the rain off of his face. “He’s secured.”
“Thank you,” West reached for the baby, and I reluctantly handed her over. “Are you two okay out here? I’m sorry there’s not another bed-…,”
“We’re fine. Vi can sleep on the couch, and I got the floor. No problem.”
“There are extra blankets in the nursery.”
“Roam is okay?” Logan repeated the question for the third time since they crossed to the island. West kept his eyes fixed on his daughter.