Home > Tegan's Magic (The Ultimate Power #3)(5)

Tegan's Magic (The Ultimate Power #3)(5)
Author: L.H. Cosway

Marcel tuts, not believing Finn for a second. “You can make friends with as many vampires as you wish. They’ll not be a match for my grandfather.”

Finn doesn’t bother to say anything in reply. If Marcel knows, then he knows. There are no clever comebacks that will be able to change that.

“So,” Marcel goes on, eyes resting on me before they return to Finn. “How are you and Mr. Cristescu getting along? I seem to remember you two having quite the bone to pick with one another. Not to mention you both have a soft spot for this one.” He flicks his head briefly back to me.

Finn’s jaw visibly tightens. I’m surprised that he allows his temper to get the better of him when he bites back, “Fuck off, Marcel.”

Marcel laughs. “Oh my. Hit a sore point, did I?”

Finn shakes his head and looks away. I study him for a moment. What has him so pissed off? I know he wouldn’t say no to a roll in the hay with me, but from his reaction to Marcel’s jibe I’d almost think he was jealous of the small bit of history I have with Ethan.

I’m distracted from this thought when I get a strange little tickle in my throat. At first it’s only a mild irritation, but it soon transforms into full on coughing. I double over. Finn rushes to my side and tries patting me on the back.

“Are you okay, Tegan?” he asks with concern, clearly thinking I’m somehow choking on something. I’m not choking though. It feels like my entire throat is on fire and it itches to the point of insanity. The next thing I know, Marcel is standing before me brandishing a glass of water. I grab it quickly and knock the whole thing back in one long gulp. Strangely, once I’ve downed the glass of water the itchiness vanishes and my throat feels perfectly fine, like it did only moments ago.

“Thank you,” I say, handing the glass back to Marcel.

He looks down into it eagerly, as though inspecting whether or not I drank every drop of the liquid that had been inside. That’s when my suspicions begin to pique. Why was it so important that I drink all of it? Come to think of it, where on earth did that coughing fit come from in the first place?

I step away from Marcel, almost falling back into Ira. The shapeshifter steadies me by placing both of his big, warm hands on my shoulders.

“What have you done to me?” I demand of Marcel, my words laced with accusation.

A slow grin forms on his lips. “Nothing, my dear,” he replies, trying to sound as innocent as possible. “Absolutely nothing at all.”

The thing I’ve come to learn about Marcel is that he’s got a knack for coming across as a good-natured old hippy, when beneath that lies a shark – lethal, dangerous and opportunistic.

Finn advances on him, backing him all the way up against one of the cash registers. Some shoppers cast wary glances at Finn and then hurry out the door. Others stay to watch.

Finn, who stands about an inch taller than Marcel, smiles menacingly down at him.

“What trick have you played, old man?” he asks, gripping Marcel’s button down hemp shirt in his fist.

Marcel swallows and calmly raises his hand to gently push Finn’s fist away. “Please, Mr Roe, this is a place of business. Try not to make a scene. I have played no trick. I swear I have no qualms with you people. It’s the vampires and their governor who I consider to be my true enemies.”

Finn’s temper lessens just slightly. He turns to face me. “How do you feel?”

I pause and take stock of myself, but I don’t notice anything out of the ordinary. “Fine, I guess. It just felt like that cough came out of nowhere. I thought it might be magic or something.”

He turns back to Marcel. “If we find out later on that you’ve done anything to her, anything, I’ll be paying you another visit. And the next time I won’t be quite so polite or understanding.”

Marcel pales just slightly. Finn stalks his way out of the shop. I glance at Ira and nod for him to follow me as I trail after Finn.

Chapter Three

If You Smell Something Burning, It’s My Heart

When we get back to the car Finn curses and bangs his hands against the steering wheel. He starts the engine and pulls out of the parking spot abruptly, before I’ve even had the chance to secure my seatbelt. His jaw is screwed up tight; it looks like he’s chewing on the inside of his mouth.

I know Finn’s hardly overjoyed to be putting up with having a couple vampires on his side, but I didn’t think he could become this worked up about it. Marcel seems to be devious like that. He knows exactly what to point out in order to push people’s buttons.

“Look at you, you’re letting him get to you,” I say to Finn as he silently drives.

“I’m fine,” he grits out.

“No you’re not. I know you don’t like the vamps. I’m not exactly their biggest fan myself, but if you could somehow manage to control your dislike, just for a while, you’ll make life a whole lot easier for yourself.”

He glances at me out of the corner of his eye. One of his eyebrows shoots right up. “You think that’s what I’m pissed about?” He lets out a small, joyless laugh and shakes his head.

“Um, okay. What are you pissed about then?”

He stiffens up a little at my question. “Nothing. Maybe I’m on the rag, ever think of that?” He gives me a quirky grin.

“Nice evasion. Okay then, you clearly don’t want to talk about it, so I’ll leave you to stew. You need to get a handle on your temper though. That whole episode gained us nothing. We didn’t even get a chance to find out anything about Theodore.”

“I know, that f**ker just gets to me,” Finn sighs. “He’s always managed to aggravate me, even before all this happened when we were supposed to be friends. He’s got this holier than thou smugness about him that rubs me up the wrong way.”

I glance out the car window and notice that we’re not going in the right direction for Finn’s house.

“Where are we off to now?” I ask, smoothing my dress out over my legs. Finn’s eyes drop to the movement before he looks up at me again.

“Pamphrock wants you to visit with Rebecca. She’s been asking for you.”

“Really? That’s sweet. But I haven’t done much research into the spell he wants me to concoct for her. I’m not even sure if I’m the woman for the job, to be honest. Perhaps he should just pay Rita to do it.”

“He doesn’t trust Rita. She’s powerful, but she’s unpredictable. He’s only just gotten his daughter back, and he won’t allow unpredictable people around her.” Finn turns his head to me before focusing back on the road ahead of him. “He’s also taken a bit of a shine to you.” He gives me a wink.

I gape at him. “Fuck off, he has not.” I fold my arms across my chest, then glance back at Finn and ask curiously, “Has he?”

Finn lets out a big bellow of a laugh, this one full of humour. “Calm down, he hasn’t taken a shine to you in that way. He just thinks you’re a good, trustworthy sort. Pamphrock values having people he can trust on his side.”

“Oh, well that’s cool. I guess it’s a nice contrast to the vamps who think I’m the ultimate betrayer.”

Finn chuckles. “If you ever get into wrestling that could be your stage name.”

I laugh just as we pull into the underground car park of a fancy high rise apartment block. You know, the kind that could second as a big glassy example of phallic symbolism. We take the elevator up to the very top floor. Apparently Pamphrock lives in the penthouse. Nothing less for the Governor of North Tribane, and all that. I stand in between Finn and a silent Ira as we make the journey all the way up.

When we reach our final destination, Pamphrock opens the door to us. He’s dressed all casual in jeans and a sweat shirt. These must be his “at home dad” clothes. He welcomes us inside, giving Finn a firm handshake, Ira a respectable nod and me a full bodied hug. Well, it’s certainly nice to have someone be so pleased to see me after all the quiet vampire condemnation.

He leads us through the impeccably furnished penthouse to a large living area with a view out over the entire city. I almost feel dizzy looking down at it all. Being up so high kind of makes you feel bigger than when you’re down below among the masses.

Sitting on a carpet in the middle of the room surrounded by toys and dolls is Rebecca. She looks like a little doll herself, all dressed up in a dainty ensemble that would put Shirley Temple to shame. It’s a little anachronistic, actually. These days people don’t normally fancy up their kids so much. Then again, Pamphrock does hail from another era; an era where little girls of a certain class always had to look like little princesses.

I feel that same hum of recognition as I near her, my blood sensing her sameness. I go and sit down on the couch a little away from her. When she lifts her head to see who’s there, her big brown eyes light up.

“Tegan! Daddy said you were coming. I’ve been so excited.”

She gets up and gives me a small, squeezy hug. I sort of freeze, since I’m not really used to being around kids. Finn and Pamphrock step out onto the large balcony, deep in chat.

Ira sits down beside me on the couch. It gives me a little fright, because normally he wouldn’t come so close of his own accord. Rebecca looks at him with wide eyes, in the way kids do when they see someone who seems different. Or in Ira’s case, big and scary.

Ira stares at her and then looks to me. I wonder if he can sense that Rebecca and I are the same.

Rebecca twists a lock of her blond hair around her finger and asks, “Who are you?”

Ira tilts his head at her, but says nothing in reply.

“His name’s Ira,” I answer for him. “He doesn’t talk.”

Rebecca gasps and seems to become excited at this piece of information. “Why not? Did he lose his voice? Did a bad person steal it like Ursula stole Ariel’s voice in The Little Mermaid?”

I laugh and Ira continues to stare at Rebecca as though he’s studying her.

“I don’t think so. I’m not sure why he doesn’t speak. I think that maybe he just doesn’t want to.”

I turn to look at Ira just as his eyes land on me. For some reason I turn away and blush. I still can’t get my head around the fact that this man and the dog I once cuddled and slept with are one and the same.

“That’s strange,” says Rebecca, shaking her head and picking up a comb to brush her doll’s hair.

“It is. How have you been since coming home?” I ask. I’m not really sure how to talk to a ten year old, so I decide to simply address her as I would an adult. I hate it when people speak all weird and babyish around kids anyway.

Rebecca smiles. “It’s better now. I get to see Daddy every day.”

“You didn’t before?”

“No. He was always busy. He told me he’s gonna be spending a lot more time with me from now on.”

Well, I suppose if there’s one good thing that came out of Rebecca’s kidnapping it’s that it got Pamphrock to make an effort as a parent. I pick up a fawn coloured teddy bear and sit him on my lap.

“I like this guy,” I tell Rebecca. “He’s got nice fur. What’s his name?”

“That’s Harold. I sleep with him every night. Aside from Daddy, I missed Harold the most when I was away.”

I momentarily wonder how isolated Pamphrock keeps her if the person she missed the most wasn’t even a person at all, but an inanimate object.

“What about your mother?” I ask, without really thinking.

“She’s with the angels,” Rebecca replies matter of factly. “That’s what Daddy says. I thought you were an angel, but Daddy said you’re just a very special person like me.”

I set Harold down and lower myself to the floor to sit beside Rebecca. I take her little hand into mine and it feels so incredibly calming to touch her. I get this overwhelming feeling of being kindred. Tingles run from her palm into mine.

“That’s true, we’re both the same. A little different from everyone else,” I tell her. Of course, we’re not entirely the same, since she’s a dhamphir and I might be part witch.

She smiles up at me and giggles. “You feel sparkly.”

She pulls her hand away and rubs it on her stockinged knee. Just before she’d pulled her hand out of mine, I’d gotten an odd sensation in my mind, like a book opening in my brain that I didn’t even know existed there. I try to go back to it, but nothing happens. I need to hold her hand again.

“Can we do that one more time?” I ask.

“It tickles,” she smiles, giggling again.

“I know it does, but did your daddy tell you anything about what I need to do for you?”

She nods, suddenly solemn. “He said you have to make it so that the scary people can’t take me away again.”

“That’s right, but I’m still figuring out how to do it. You need to let me hold your hand again. It might help me to find some answers.”

“Okay then,” Rebecca replies, a little hesitant.

She shakes it off and thrusts her hand at me and I take it. I close my eyes this time and my mind begins to flick through the pages of the book in my head. It lands on a page and all of the words except for one line are indecipherable, as though written in an ancient language. The one line I can read is lit up like a lamppost. It says, “In order to hide the blood of the child, you must use the blood of the parent of the same sex.”

I open my eyes with a start and let go of Rebecca’s hand. That’s it! My mother used her blood in the spell to hide my blood, which means I need Rebecca’s mother’s blood in order to hide hers. A moment after I’m hit with this revelation my stomach sinks, because another less than welcome revelation rises. Rebecca said her mother is with the angels, and that’s just a fancy way of saying she’s dead. Just when I think I might be making headway I’m presented with a big, hulking roadblock.

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