Read Scorch Online

Authors: Kaitlyn Davis

Tags: #Vampires, #love, #paranormal romance, #Fantasy, #Magic, #Young Adult, #heroine

Scorch (8 page)

BOOK: Scorch
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"It's okay," Kira squeezed, "you're perfectly
safe."

"You know, statistically speaking, cars are
actually really dangerous," Luke said. Kira death-stared him
through the rear-view mirror. "What? I speak the truth," he
shrugged, "I'm just a really awesome driver."

Kira rolled her eyes. "The best," she
deadpanned.

"Hey, I've survived many a car chase, thank
you very much."

"I know. I was almost killed in one of those
car chases."

"By vampires."

"By your driving."

"You were totally safe."

"Because I was tied to the bed of the
truck."

"Completely my idea."

"You and I have very different memories of
that night."

"Mine being the right one?"

Kira stared at him, trying not to laugh as he
smiled super-widely into the mirror, giving her that
all-too-innocent look she knew very well. Total stalemate, Kira
thought and bit down on her lip. Luke's eyes crinkled at the
corners and Kira knew she was about to win the unspoken
contest.

Three.

His smile wobbled.

Two.

He swallowed a gulp.

One.

He sucked in air.

"You talk very fast," Tristan said slowly,
cutting through both of their defenses. Luke let out a loud hoot
and Kira broke down in giggles. Tristan turned his head to stare at
them both, utterly perplexed by the scene around him.

Curling her feet into her chest, Kira looked
out the window and tried to ease her laughter. But it wouldn't
stop. The lightness in her chest just kept expanding the farther
out of Sonnyville they traveled.

The air smelled a little less like delicious
honey.

The Punishers were pushed to the back of her
mind.

Her worries seemed lost to the wind.

"Where's Pavia?" Luke asked as they neared
the gate. Kira shifted her attention to his face, moving her gaze
away from the mangled car that reminded her too much of what had
happened only an hour earlier.

"Just keep driving, she'll catch up."

There was still a pool of blood on the ground
that Kira was afraid to be near, a memory she was trying her best
to bury.

"May I ask where we are going?" Tristan
questioned, finally easing his grip on the handle a little bit. His
eyes were still wide as they looked at the countryside flashing
past the window. Kira watched his childlike wonderment in the side
mirror, looking away when he tried to meet her gaze.

"To Charleston," she said.

"In truth?" He asked, turning around to look
at her. The dimples she loved dug into his cheek.

Kira smiled—she couldn't help it. His
excitement was contagious. "Yup."

"For how long? I would love to visit my
home."

"I don't know," Kira said, turning her
attention out the window again. She didn't have the heart to tell
him his home was gone. The plantation he used to live in was dust
sprinkling the marshes, torn to ash from a fire during The Civil
War.

"It might be a little different than you
remember," Luke said. Kira wanted to kiss him for the gentleness in
voice.

"It will still be home." Tristan leaned back,
resting his head. "This car," he stumbled over the word, "it is far
more comfortable than a horse."

Luke cupped a hand around his mouth, trapping
the bark that was about to escape. "I like you this way, Tristan.
Who knew you were so funny?"

"I don't mean to be humorous," he said,
looking at Luke strangely.

"That makes it so much better," Luke sighed,
shaking his head happily.

"You are very odd."

"He gets that a lot," Kira said, meeting
Luke's eye in the mirror and smiling warmly. But he was her
oddball, Kira thought, liking the way that sounded.

All of a sudden, a huge screech ripped
through the air and Luke slammed on the brakes. The seatbelt dug
into Kira's shoulder and she yelped as the car sputtered to a stop.
The smell of burnt rubber filled her nostrils.

"What the…" Kira trailed off, looking up.
"Good driver my as—" She stopped at the sight of Pavia standing
with arms crossed an inch in front of the car.

"That was a little close, you know," the
vampire said and grinned, winking in the process. She strolled
around the car, opening the door behind Luke. Kira shifted from the
middle, moving to squat behind Tristan as Pavia settled in.

"This is going to be fun," the vampire said
cheerfully, looking at the two boys in the front seat. "You must be
Tristan," she winked at him and turned to Kira, "Nice work. He's
just a cute as I remember, well you remembered and I stole. A
little tanner, maybe, but that comes with the humanity I guess."
She reached out, brushing a finger along his cheek, as if to check
if there was really human blood pumping under his skin. Kira knew
what she was really doing.

She slapped Pavia's hand down. "Stop."

"I was just taking a peek," she whined.
"Besides, I didn't see anything useful. He's all blocked up."

"What?" Kira asked, tilting her head.

"There's a wall dividing his memories,
something that's stopping me from retrieving them…for now." She
raised her eyebrows, accepting the challenge. Kira opened her mouth
to ask another question, but Luke interjected.

"The name's Luke, by the way." A hard edge
had crept into his tone.

"Nice to meet you," Pavia said, extending her
hand in his direction.

"I'd rather not," Luke said.

"I see Kira told you my little secret, no
fun." She pouted, looking at Kira accusingly.

"Oh please," Kira said, not giving into
Pavia's little charade. "Now that the introductions are over, let's
get down to business. You said you had to tell me something,
something to do with Aldrich?"

Tristan sucked in a breath instinctively,
catching Kira's attention. But there was no real recognition in his
features. Kira knew what her Tristan's face would look like at the
mention of that man—hard, a mix of steel and ice.

Pavia sunk into her seat, getting
comfortable. Her features softened as the mask fell and Kira
recognized this girl—this was the girl who promised to come back to
Kira, to share more of her mother's memories, to fight Aldrich at
all costs. The vampire with a heart, that one hiding inside of
Pavia's tough exterior.

The teasing banter was lost to whatever grave
news she had come to bear. Kira eyed her, watching the vampire's
gaze shift from side to side as she struggled to make a
decision.

Finally, Pavia sighed. "I don't know where to
begin."

"It's only been a few days, how much can
there really be to tell?"

A dark laugh escaped her lips, "More than you
know."

"Start with Aldrich," Luke interjected,
"what's his plan?"

"Kira could probably tell you that part
better than I can," Pavia said and Kira sucked in a breath. Did she
know? Know about the darkness lurking inside of Kira's chest, the
black hole Aldrich wanted to push her into—the one her body seemed
almost willing to fall into?

But no, there was no secret hiding in Pavia's
glance. She really didn't know what Aldrich wanted so badly, why he
was chasing so forcefully after Kira.

"Besides," Pavia continued, "that's the end
of the story. I guess we should start with him." She pointed at
Tristan.

"What about him?" Kira asked. Protectiveness
lurked into her tone, roughing it up.

"Are you kidding? From now on, everything is
about him."

"Me?" Tristan asked, shrinking into his
seat.

"I guess I should start with Aldrich
escaping—which I'm still pretty impressed about by the way," she
threw a pointed look in Kira's direction, "you seemed pretty dead
set on killing him."

Kira shrugged, unable to meet Pavia or Luke's
eyes, "Can't win them all."

"Well anyway, the man's got a serious grudge
against you. He wanted to unite the vampire community, to give them
something to fight about together, and Tristan became his rallying
point. I mean, a vampire that became a human again? That's some
scary stuff to a lot of vamps out there."

Tristan turned his gaze out the window and
Kira tried to read the expression gathering on his face, the far
off look in his eyes.

"Why scary?" Luke asked from the front
seat.

Pavia fell back, thinking. "I'm not sure how
to explain it, but it's like, when you're a vampire nothing really
matters. Your actions don't have consequences; you can do very bad
things without feeling any real remorse about them, things that a
human wouldn't do."

As Pavia spoke, Kira kept watching Tristan.
He brought one hand up and over his eyes, using his thumb and
middle finger to rub at his temples. He didn't want to think about
any of the past he didn't remember. Kira couldn't imagine the ideas
running through his head, the questions about the things he may
have done…

"But Tristan doesn't remember," Kira
mumbled.

"But none of us knew that, and a lot of
vampires would do anything to ensure that they are never human
again—that they never have to feel the weight of humanity run
through their veins ever again."

"So they're after Kira now… well, again?"
Luke asked—no ounce of surprise tainted his words. This was
business as usual.

"Some, yeah, but not me—and not a group of
vampires I've been talking to for the past few days."

"What do they want?" Luke asked roughly, the
protector in him coming out full force.

"Down boy," Pavia muttered, raising her
eyebrows in Kira's direction. "They heard Aldrich's story, but it
had the opposite effect. It excited them, energized them, gave them
a new hope for something more. What they want, Luke, is their
humanity back—what they want is to be human again."

"What are they willing to do for it?" Kira
asked. She clenched her fists. Her powers were in there, but Kira
didn't know if they were up to the task, if Tristan had maybe been
a one-time thing.

"I'm sure we can negotiate something. Right
now, all they want is to meet with you and to see that guy in the
flesh." Pavia pointed at Tristan, who was still doing his best to
tune out the conversation.

"Absolutely not," Kira said, her voice harsh
and commanding. "I'm not taking Tristan there."

"I'll do it," he said softly from the front
seat.

"No," Kira shook her head, "I want you to
stay out of it."

"I need to help," Tristan said, louder this
time, "I must do something."

"You will," Kira put her hand on his
shoulder, squeezing softly, "I promise you will, but I can't let
you do this."

"Kira," Luke interjected.

"No," she shook her head. "No, Pavia will
just have to show them her memory of Tristan and that will have to
be enough."

Pavia opened her mouth to speak, but then
thought better of it. Kira was not in a negotiating mood, not when
it came to Tristan. The last thing he needed was to be around
vampires, to get more and more confused about what his life had
been for the past hundred years. She wanted him to be safe, to
settle into a normal human life—or as normal as it could be. Kira
refused to save him just to put him in danger again. That was never
going to happen, not on her watch.

"Luke and I will go, and that will have to be
enough."

Pavia raised her hands in the air, as if to
say she was giving up, and nodded. "They should all be on their way
to Charleston—you are so predictable Kira. I'll set something up
once we get there."

"Good," Kira said, trying to warm her voice
up a bit. She owed Pavia a lot, but man did that girl know how to
get on someone's nerves.

"Conduits and vampires meeting in peace? To
strategize together? This has got to be a first," Luke shook his
head, his voice light with disbelief.

"That's not the only thing vamps and conduits
can do together," Pavia said, her voice highly suggestive.

"Pavia," Kira said sternly. The uncaring
vampire she didn't like very much was returning now that business
talk was done.

"I was talking about car games. Get your mind
out of the gutter, Kira," she said with a wink. "Although, I can
see why thinking about Luke might send you there."

Kira looked away, willing the blush to stop
before it reached her cheeks. Luke, always her savior, spoke up
from the front seat.

"What car games did you have in mind? I'm
pretty much the champion of the alphabet game."

"Oh please, there's no skill required in that
game. How about 20 questions?"

"I'm down. Kira?" Luke asked. She nodded.

"Okay, me first," Luke said, taking control,
"I've got it."

"Is it a place?" Pavia asked.

"Nope."

"A person?"

"Yup."

"Is this person alive?"

"Nope."

"Dead?"

"Nope."

"Something can't be neither alive nor dead,
you are totally cheating," Pavia said.

"Look who's talking," Luke retorted.

"We are alive, thank you very much… but, are
you thinking of a vampire?"

"Nope. And you're down to fifteen."

Kira smiled and looked out the window. She
knew Luke too well and already knew what he was thinking about.

"Man?"

"Nope and fourteen."

"Okay, woman?"

"Yeah."

Kira smirked—she was totally right.

"Fictional character?" Kira asked and Luke
met her eyes through the rearview mirror.

"Yeah," he said with a grin and Kira grinned
back. Yup, Pavia would never get it.

"Does that count as one of my questions?"

"Nope, but that does. Twelve."

Pavia blew a bang from her forehead. Luke
began to drum his fingers on the steering wheel—his victory was
looking more and more imminent. Kira reached through the seats and
turned on the radio. Car games weren't really her thing.

Instead, she settled in her seat and looked
at Tristan, who was totally silent. His eyes were focused through
the window, flicking back and forth with the trees flying by the
car. But they looked lost.

BOOK: Scorch
5.71Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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