The Hidden (The Hidden Trilogy) (30 page)

BOOK: The Hidden (The Hidden Trilogy)
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He wouldn’t meet my eyes. “I don’t really know where to start, so…I guess I’ll just show you.”

He went to pull the towel away and I squeezed my eyes shut. “Stop, I don’t want to see it.”

The back of his hand brushed along my cheekbone. “Look at me, Em.”

My pulse quickened, my face turning hot from his touch. I complied and looked into his eyes.

His thumb traced my cheek. “Do you trust me?”

I nodded. “Of course.”

“Then trust me when I say you have to see this.”

I sighed. “I don’t see what this has to do with–”


Please
.” The tone of his voice and the look in his eyes told me this was something serious.

I nodded again, still not sure what this had to do with anything, but went along with it for Thomas’s sake. “Okay.”

He unwrapped the towel from his arm, and I winced at the bloody, gaping–

Scar. There was a light pink scar where the slash down his arm should have been.

He turned the towel over and wiped the remaining blood off his skin. There was no wound–just the long shiny scar that was pinker than the rest of him.

“How…?” My eyes narrowed as I tried to make sense of what I saw. I couldn’t. It made absolutely no sense. It was like he’d healed in a matter of minutes, which was just not possible.

I reached out, grazing my finger over the scar. It was warm, smoother than the rest of his skin, and slightly raised. It was real, I wasn’t imagining it. His wound was already a scar.

My eyes grew wide as my mouth dropped open.

What. The. Fuck.

Everything and nothing made sense. His eyes–they were such an unnatural shade, and they changed from the lightest to the deepest blue. He appeared to be more like a god than a man–so flawlessly perfect it wasn’t fair. And now this–a wound that miraculously and inexplicably healed within minutes. The pieces finally clicked into place.

Thomas was not human.

Chapter Forty-Nine

EMILY

I yanked my hand away, scrambling back into the nightstand. The bedside lamp knocked over, the light bulb shattering as it collided with the floor.

Thomas tensed, speaking slowly and carefully. “You don’t have to be afraid. I would never hurt you, Em.” He looked pained. “Just hear me out.
Please
.”

I remained frozen, wedged between the headboard and nightstand. My heartbeat thundered as my fight or flight instincts warred within me. The door was maybe ten feet away. If I could just–

“I won’t stop you if you try to run.”

My eyes darted up to Thomas as he stepped out of the way, freeing the path to the door. My chest heaved as I glanced back and forth between my escape route and Thomas.

“If I wanted to hurt you, I’d have done it by now, don’t you think?”

He’d had ample opportunity, and yet he’d never laid a finger on me. Deep inside the recesses of my rational mind, I knew he never would. This was just…
a lot
to take in.

After un-wedging myself from my spot, I saw him step forward. My senses were on high alert, watching him like a hawk as he made his way to me. I breathed deeply, attempting to calm down. 

This is Thomas.
Thomas.
He won’t hurt you.

I reached for his face, trying to steady my trembling fingers. He remained perfectly still, patiently awaiting my touch. It was like we were both afraid to make any sudden movements.

His eyes closed as my fingers grazed his cheek. His skin was so soft. Softer than any skin should be. He tilted his head into my palm, covering my hand with his. His eyes opened–eyes I now realized
were
impossibly blue for humans–as his lips brushed the inside of my wrist, kissing me lightly.

“What are you?” I breathed.

He moved his hand off mine and looked down. “I’m one of The Hidden.”

Everything faded away as this weird rushing sound filled my ears. I think it was the sound of the earth slipping out from under me. “What’s that?”

“We’re a secret race of people that have lived among humans for several millennia. There are different types of us. My family and I are Healers.” He glanced down at his arm. “I guess you can see why we’re called that.”

I nodded, still dazed. “So Mel is one–a Healer–too?” I had to force the word out. It felt alien and wrong.

“Yes,” he said. “So is Matt.”

His scar had completely vanished, like it was never even there. I blinked heavily, trying to clear my head so I could ask questions. “What are the other types?”

He gave me an awkward smile. “We can get into that later. One step at a time.”

I didn’t like that answer. It made me feel like he was hiding something.

Thomas rubbed the back of his neck. “Listen, about Buttons…”

I froze. “How’d you know his name? I never told you.”

His eyes searched mine. “You really don’t remember, do you?”

That uneasy, panicky feeling came over me again. “Remember
what
?”

“That you gave him to me.”

“What? I did not. I lost him when I was a kid.”

He cocked an eyebrow in challenge. “How’d you lose him, then?”

“I–” Shit, how
did
I lose him? I couldn’t remember… “I don’t know. I was little when it happened. Like five or six.”

“You were two months shy of your sixth birthday.”

“How…?” I stared at him, gauging his face. He seemed totally serious. “How do you know that?”

“Because I was there.”

I stood, my fists balling in frustration. “You were
not
, why do you keep–”


Think
, Em.” He rose from the bed, taking a step towards me. “You were at your grandmother’s house, playing in her backyard.” Another step. “You were looking for Marmalade.” Another. “You came across a man in the woods.”

The faint memory that’d been tickling my mind when he started this story now pounded against my skull. I backed up, shaking my head.

It’s not possible…

I didn’t want to hear anymore, but he continued anyway. “It was a man with long blond hair. A man you invited into your playhouse. A man you had a tea party with. A man you gave Buttons to, because he didn’t have a friend in the world. Ring a bell?”

I looked up and met his eyes. Eyes that
had
been familiar.

You’re real pretty for a boy...

In the last ten minutes, everything I thought I knew about the world had been turned upside down. I stared at him for what felt like an eternity. His hair was much shorter, but other than that, he looked exactly the same. How had I not seen it before? And
how
had he not aged a day?

My head raced and I looked away, blinking profusely, as if that would put my thoughts in some semblance of order. I mumbled the only coherent words I could think of: “I thought I’d made you up.”

I saw his hand reach out to me from the corner of my eye, and I backed away. “You better start explaining.
Now
.”

He nodded, his face becoming somber. “I’ll tell you anything you want to know.”

“How do you look so much like us? Unless…unless this isn’t your true form.” The words rushed from me as my mind got away from me. “Are you like a shape-shifter or something?”

Laughter erupted from him, which only pissed me off. “It’s not funny. It’s a perfectly legitimate question for someone who doesn’t know the first thing about whatever the hell you are.”

He quickly stopped. “You’re right, I’m sorry. And no, I’m not a…shape-shifter.”

An odd thought popped into my head. If he wasn’t human, could he still be with them sexually?

Maybe he couldn’t. Maybe that was why he’d never tried to go through with sleeping with me. I was suddenly disappointed that I might never get to experience him that way…which was totally inappropriate in light of the whole “not human” thing. The inner pervert in me won out, though, and I couldn’t help but ask. “Can you still be with humans in a...
physical 
way?”

He cleared his throat. “We have the same anatomy as humans, so yes, we are compatible sexually. But not reproductively.”

My eyes shot up to his. “Why not?”

“Because we’re a different species. A goat can’t reproduce with a rabbit, can it?”

“No, but goats and rabbits have very different anatomies. You said you had the same anatomy as humans, so…”

“Yeah, but we’re different on the inside. We have a completely different genetic makeup. Humans have twenty-three pairs of chromosomes. We have twenty-eight.”

I lowered my eyes to my lap, fiddling with the hem of my t-shirt. “Does your kind date humans often?”

Thomas snorted. “Not seriously.”

I looked up at him incredulously. “Then why are we–” I stopped myself, not sure I wanted to hear the answer.

Realization crossed his face. “Our situation is…unusual.”

I wasn’t sure if I trusted his answer, but I didn’t want to press it when I had a thousand other questions. “Where did you come from? I mean, how are you…like this?”

“There are a lot of theories, but no one knows for sure. Some say we’re gods, fallen angels, demons… Others say it’s evolution–just a series of random genetic mutations. No one really knows for sure,” Thomas said.

A delayed sense of betrayal burned within me as I listened to him. “You
lied
to me. You had all this time, and you never said a word.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Would you have believed me if I told you?”

I mulled it over. “I know you wouldn’t lie to me… At least I didn’t
think
you would.”

His eyes flickered before looking away. “Then I’m sorry. I guess I should’ve told you sooner.”

While we talked, Thomas kept his distance, sitting on the bed while I paced around his bedroom. I guess he thought I was still freaked out by everything, which was entirely accurate.

I chewed on my bottom lip as I thought. “So…what else can you do?”

“We’re strong. Much stronger than humans.”


How
strong?”

“Well, I can flip a car, but I can’t lift it over my head with just one hand.” He smiled. “I have to use two.”

I stared blankly at his comforter, trying to wrap my head around what he’d just said.

That’s…wow.

“That was supposed to be a joke,” he said.

I looked back up at him. “Which part?”

“The part about lifting the car.”

“So you
can’t
lift a car over your head.”

He shrugged. “It depends on the car. A small, compact car, yes. An SUV, no.”

I nodded absently. “What else?”

“We’re fast. Faster than human eyes can see.”

“Show me–”

I blinked and he was gone. I reached out, touching the spot on the bed where he’d been not even a whole
second
ago. It was still warm.

He cleared his throat and I whipped my head around. He was by the door, leaning against the frame. “Anything else you want to see?”

I was speechless, so just I nodded.

“I’m going to the kitchen. Stay in here and close the door. I want you to whisper something when I’m gone. It doesn’t matter what it is, just whisper it, okay?”

I nodded dumbly, swallowing the dry lump in my throat. “Okay.”

As he left, I got up and shut the door. I waited a few seconds to make sure he was in the kitchen, but from his last little trick, it didn’t seem like I needed to. I walked over to his desk and picked up a history book with shaking hands, flipping to a random page. I read the first sentence I saw, which was a quote from a French newspaper on the storming of the Bastille.

“This glorious day must amaze our enemies, and finally usher in for us the triumph of justice and liberty,” I whispered.

I set the book down and waited. A second later, the bedroom door opened.

Thomas walked over and sat on the bed. “July fourteenth, seventeen-eighty-nine. That’s when a crowd of Parisians stormed the Bastille.”

I stood in front of his desk, staring awe-struck at him. If he could do all that, who knew what else he was capable of? “Is that it? Is that all you can do?” My voice came out breathless, like I’d just had the wind knocked out of me.

He laughed. “Why? Is that not enough?”

Just the opposite. It was too
much
. “You can’t–I don’t know–move things with your mind, or” –I felt
ridiculous
saying this aloud– “read people’s thoughts?”

He shook his head. “Our capabilities are strictly physical, not mental.”

I nodded, still trying to come to terms with everything. So far, I wasn’t having any luck.

“Well…there is
one
other thing we can do,” he said.

My head lifted. “And that is…?”

“We can transport. It’s like teleportation, but it’s very difficult to do and leaves you exhausted for about a week. We usually only do it in life or death situations.”

“How far can you…go?” I asked, avoiding the term he’d used. I don’t know why, but I just couldn’t bring myself to say it.

“It depends on how strong or weak you are. If you haven’t slept in a couple days or you’re malnourished, then not far–maybe a couple hundred miles. If you’re perfectly healthy, then it’s possible to go thousands of miles–even to a different continent. But the farther you go, the worse you feel afterward.”

“How much time does it take?”

“It’s instantaneous.”

“How do you do it?”

He shrugged. “Close your eyes and concentrate really hard. It helps if you’ve been to wherever you’re trying to go, that way you can clearly visualize it.”

“How many times have you…done it?” I asked, still not able to say the word.

“Just once, and it was brutal.”

“How so?”

Sighing, he rubbed his jaw. “I was in so much pain when I arrived. My whole body hurt and I was so tired that I had trouble keeping my eyes open. All I could do was lie there naked until I gathered enough strength to stand and walk.”

My face flushed as I pictured him sans clothing. I cleared my throat and asked, “Why were you naked?”

“It’s only the cells in your body that transport. All your material items–like clothes, keys, or phones–stay behind.”

BOOK: The Hidden (The Hidden Trilogy)
11.62Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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