Sisters of Midnight:Dark Moon
Author: Kimberly Diaz

Chapter 4
Chapter 4

Chapter 4

When my friends arrived, Tracey, ever observant, commented on the two empty glasses on the coffee table in front of the loveseat right next to my history book. “That looks cozy. Did Tony just leave?”

I paused, not sure how much I should tell them. “Not Tony, Nick. He’s my history partner.”

“What!” I exclaimed at Emily’s raised eyebrow. “We have twice the work to do since our third partner is sick.”

“How convenient,” Rachel chuckled. “And you chose to do it on the loveseat rather than the roomy sectional. What would Cyndi have to say about that?” she teased.

“Actually, she just called here for him. She invited herself to dinner at his house.”

“Tacky,” Tracey said, appalled. “She must be jealous of the time he’s spending with you. Or worried that something will happen. Did something happen?”

“I wish,” I lied.

I hated keeping things from my friends. Three more days. Could I make it that long? I wondered. I had the sinking feeling that the ceremony was not the only thing we needed to worry about. Cyndi was going out of her way to keep Nick away from me. She wouldn’t be doing that if she meant to let him go after the dance. I tried to forget about her and get back to our plans.

First we needed to purify the tools with salt, crystals and herbs. Emily and I started doing that while Rachel and Tracey searched books for the strongest protection spell they could find. September 21st, Homecoming, happened to be a full moon and the night of Mabon, the Autumn Equinox. It was a night of celebration and a powerful night for witches.

We were going to perform the ceremony at the forest in the back part of town. There was a large mostly open area about the size of a large classroom. Once, an old house had been there but it had long since burnt down after being vandalized. All that remained was some concrete and bricks. Surrounding it was a forest of pines.

We finally found a powerful enough protection spell. It called for salt, white candles, quartz crystals and some sage and rosemary incense.

We stashed the purified tools in the trunk of Tracey’s car.

“The book says to burn wormwood and sandalwood to raise the spirits and to burn chicory and cinquefoil to offer in return for the spirits help,” Rachel read.

“Write that down,” Emily told her. We wrote down every spell we performed in the Book of Shadows we kept. The only spell not in there was the Slow Seduction spell I did on Nick.

We were going to summon a spirit for divination purposes, so we made a list of questions to ask. “Finally, we need sea salt, dirt, incense and candles to create a safe circle out of the four elements-earth, air, fire, and water.” I gave everyone a small sachet. “The herbs in here should keep us safe, along with the quartz crystals I put in. Keep them on through the entire ceremony. Once the spirit is released, no one can break the circle and we have to be prepared to say the spell to return it once we’re done or if anything goes wrong.”

“What could go wrong?” Rachel asked nervously.

“Nothing, if we do this right.” I told her. “Are we ready girls?”

“I’m in,” Tracey replied.

“Me too,” Rachel and Emily answered in unison.

“Until Saturday then.” I said.

Just then there was a loud crash from downstairs. Taffy, my Yorkie, sprang up from the pillow she’d been sleeping on and began to growl a low, wannabe vicious growl. I grabbed her and quickly hushed her as I looked at the clock. It was just after eleven. My mom wouldn’t be home for close to another hour. Had Nick come back thinking I’d be alone? No, he’d call first.

My feet were rooted to the floor. “Maybe something fell.” I was trying to convince them as well as myself. I cried out when I heard a footstep on the hardwood floor downstairs.

“Quick, my cell phone!” I whispered.

“Where is it?” Tracey asked.

“Damn! It’s in my purse downstairs. Nick and I weren’t up here at all.”

Not happening! This was not happening. “I locked the door, I know I did. That was the last thing Nick said to me before he left. I checked them after you guys came too.”

“And after we put the tools in Tracey’s car?” Emily asked.

“I don’t remember. Find anything you can to use as a weapon.” All I could find was an umbrella. “My mom’s room has a phone.”

We formed a line and headed for the bedroom door, each of us holding on to the person in front of us and me trying to hold onto Taffy, who was struggling to get free and investigate. We had almost reached the top of the stairs when we were plunged into total darkness and we all screamed.

I clutched at the satchel full of protection herbs that was still in my pocket. Mother goddess hear my plea, keep all harm away from me. A voice in my head said, ‘Don’t fear the dark. There is power in the dark.’

I got a sudden burst of bravery. “Follow me.” Dark or not, I knew I could find my way. Feeling the way with my hands, we reached her room and I dialed 911. My hands were shaking and I hung up after giving the operator my information. She told us to stay put until the police arrived.

There was a creak.

“Someone’s on the stairs Faith!” That was Tracey. I was freaking out.

Rachel was crying. “How soon until the cops get here?” she sniffed.

I saw a flash of light from the corner of my eye and snuck over to the window. “My mom’s car. I have to warn her!” Outside the hallway from what sounded like my room I heard papers being shuffled and drawers opening then the burglar ran down the stairs, probably noticing the lights just as I did. I tried to call my mom’s cell and got her answering service. A door slammed just as my mother pulled into the drive. As soon as she did, the lights came back on and the house fell silent, as if the whole incident had been a dream.

“Faith, are you home? Did someone just leave?”

Hearing her voice was too much for me. I felt tears in my eyes and I was shaking, vaguely aware of flashing lights coming down the street.

***

“Nothing seems to be out of order, other than an unlocked side door,” the younger of the two officers in my living room explained. “Are you girls sure you heard someone?”

The older cop looked at us disapprovingly. “Have you been experimenting with drugs or alcohol?”

“Of course not!” I shouted.

My mom stepped in. “Officer, if my daughter says she heard an intruder, then someone was in my home!”

“Alright Mrs. Masters, calm down. We’ll ask a few more questions, take some prints at the unlocked door and figure things out.”

My mom called my friend’s parents to explain what happened before they left. The police had already taken their statements. The more understanding officer who had been going from room to room entered with an object in his hand. “This was right outside the door that had been unlocked. Is it anything you recognize?”

He held up an envelope-sealed with my name on it in blood-red writing. I shook my head. “I’ve never seen that before.”

He opened it and pulled out a picture. A folded piece of paper fluttered to the ground. I opened it up and gasped.

Nick and Faith, for everyone to see…K-I-S-S-I-N-G

“What’s in the picture?” I didn’t even have to ask, I already knew. The picture showed a couple kissing in a car, totally absorbed in one another. It was obvious to everyone that I was the girl in the photo. I grabbed the picture. “How-who?” I sputtered.

The younger cop had the decency to be sympathetic. “Seems like a jealous teenage prank. Someone not too happy with what they saw.”

Cyndi, I thought to myself. She must have followed Nick and I to the library yesterday. The police asked a few more questions but I could tell from the change in attitudes that the picture had taken all seriousness away from the situation and they had dismissed this as a joke, not a break-in.

I felt violated. Who had intruded on my first real kiss with Nick?

It was one o’clock in the morning and as they left, the older cop made one last remark. “You might want to consider using a bit more discretion in your actions, not putting yourself in these situations. We don’t have time to be wasting on juvenile stunts like this. There are people out there who really need help.”

I felt my face go red with anger and embarrassment. I felt like he was blaming me for someone being in our house. “Yes sir,” I replied rolling my eyes.

He walked out and the young cop turned to my before following. “Even so, don’t hesitate to call if anything else happens.”

“Thank you officers.” my mom said, pushing the door shut.

Rather than interrogate me further, she said, ”It’s late and you have school tomorrow. Try and get some sleep if you can.”

She hugged me and I went up to bed, taking a heavy flashlight with me for protection.

I was restless, wondering who had taken the picture. It was all I could think of as I tossed and turned. I knew it would be hell getting up in the morning but I had to find a way to talk to Nick about what happened, to warn him that someone had been spying on us.

Too soon, my alarm was buzzing and I felt like I had just fallen asleep. I groaned and hit snooze, burrowing deeper under the covers. A few minutes later my mom came up.

You know if you’re too tired after last night I’ll call the school. You won’t be any good to do work if you’re overtired.

I opened my mouth to tell her no thanks, but I heard myself say, “I think I will stay home today.” I needed to gather my thoughts and try to dig up some information.

She was due back at work that afternoon and after promising to keep all the doors locked and my cell phone on me at all times, I drifted back to sleep.

***

The chime of the doorbell was what woke me up next. Quickly checking the time on my cell-it was after twelve-I jumped out of bed and scrambled to find a robe to put on over my thin tank top and matching boy shorts. The bell rang twice more before I made it downstairs. “Geez,” I muttered, annoyed at someone’s impatience. I hoped it wasn’t the police back for more questions. I made sure to look out the side window first then I flung open the door and wrapped my arms around Nick. He was the only person I wanted to see and the last one I expected right now.

“Faith, are you alright? Everyone at school was talking about some break-in that happened at your house last night while you and your friends were here. I found out at lunch and Rachel told me they hadn’t heard from you at all today.”

“They left while the police were still here poking around for answers. They didn’t get to hear the whole story, thank god, or the school would be talking about more than just the break-in. You shouldn’t even be here right now.”

A confused look crossed his face. “You don‘t want me here?”

“Oh Nick, I do. It‘s just-” I couldn’t stop a tear from trickling down my cheek. I stubbornly tried to turn my head and wipe it away but he had already seen it. He wrapped his arms around me and held me tight against his chest. I snuggled closer to his warmth and let him lead me to the couch to sit down.

I was drained, all my energy gone, but I knew I had to tell him. I reached into my history book where I had stashed the picture of us. “Look at this,” I said to him, watching as it registered on his face what he was looking at.

“I don’t know who sent it but someone has been watching us, following us. And they were so interested by what they saw they had to photograph it. Then last night, they broke into my house.”

His brows drew together, concern marring his near perfect features. “My first guess would be Cyndi, but she and some friends were still at my house watching movies when it happened-not that she couldn’t have had someone else do it. And the picture itself doesn’t worry me.”

“How come?” I asked.

“Because there’s no reason why we can’t be together. Cyndi and I aren’t married; we’re in high school. It’s not even a real relation-ship.” He shrugged and leaned back against the cushions. “We do look good together, don’t we?” he observed looking at the picture again.

I smiled and felt myself blush. Nick brushed a stray hair from my cheek. “That’s better. I knew I could get you to smile.”

“So you think we freaked out over nothing?”

“No.” He looked worried again. “You said this was found in front of the door from the outside, right?”

“Yeah.” What was he getting at?

“So-whoever left this had no reason to come in your house, but someone was.”

“You mean, why did whoever left the picture bother to come in? I hadn’t thought about that. The burglar was looking for something. I heard papers and drawers being moved in my room. That proved that they were here for more than the picture.”

Our eyes met in sick realization. “That’s what worries me,” he said. “We don’t know when that picture was left here. Maybe the two aren’t even connected. You’re lucky your mom came when she did and scared them off. Whoever it was might have been really dangerous if they’d been caught in the act.”

I drew in my breath. “I hadn’t even thought about that, Nick. If you’re right, I have no idea what they were after or if they found it before my mom showed. The police think this was all a jealous prank. What if the person didn’t find what they wanted and comes back?”

Nick’s face took on a protective look that was so sexy, but also reminded me that I had a very real reason to be afraid.

“What time will your mom be back?”

“Nine I think.”

“Do you feel like getting out of the house?”

“I thought you’d never ask. You’re not going back to school?”

He shook his head. “All that’s left now is gym and history. Matt’s back today and we’ve already done most of the work.” I had the feeling nothing would make him leave me right now.

“I just need to take a quick shower. I was exhausted after being up so late last night and I was still in bed when you came.”

He gave me one of his heart stopping smiles and let his eyes travel over me. “I see.” I suddenly remembered that in my rush to get to the door, I had grabbed my satin robe and Nick could see every curve through the flimsy fabric and because of the tiny outfit underneath.

At one time I might have felt self conscious about the way I was dressed. Now, I just felt beautiful, amazed at the power I possessed over the man in front of me. “I’m glad you’re here. I didn’t want to go to school but I was scared at the thought of being here alone and I needed-”

I didn’t know how to finish my sentence. I just needed to know that it was real, that he wanted me.

“What?” he urged me to finish the sentence. “What did you need?”

“You. Here, with me.” We were a hairs width apart. I leaned in to meet his lips. His kiss was strong and reassuring and his mouth took control of mine hungrily. I felt his warm hands slip around me to pull me closer and I sighed with contentment. We leaned back against the sofa and I closed my eyes, surrendering to the feelings he stirred within me, all thoughts of being watched gone.

I wanted him more than any other guy I’d ever met and knowing he shared my feelings only served to fuel the attraction I felt. I didn’t care about Cyndi, Tony or the consequences; the reality was a million times better than the fantasy I’d been living with for the last three years.

“Mmm, Faith?”

I shifted in his arms, my body craving more of his warm touch. “What, Nick?” I nibbled on his lower lip.

He spoke in between kisses. “I think…” He moved on to my neck, “…that you’d…” Another kiss. “…better go upstairs, before I change my mind about wanting us to leave the house. Now that I see you’re safe, I can’t seem to let you go.”

I didn’t want to move, but I knew he was right. We still had to end things with Cyndi and Tony. It wouldn’t be right.

I looked into his eyes, which had grown dark with unfulfilled desire. “Are you sure?”

“No,” he answered, his voice thick with emotion. “That’s why you need to go now, while I can still think straight.”

I refastened my robe and hurried upstairs before I changed my mind.

Things were slightly less intense when I reappeared downstairs. He looked at me appreciatively as we left, driving us to a movie theater in the next town that was ten miles away. We saw a comedy-I’d had my fill of horror the last few days. Then we found a hidden away fondue restaurant and took our time eating, enjoying each other’s company.

I remembered sharing dessert with him just last weekend and being interrupted by Cyndi right when I felt something happening between us. This time we welcomed the privacy that the secluded booth offered us and Nick fed me small bites of cake and strawberries covered in melted chocolate. We talked about everything except Cyndi, Tony or the break in. I loved that he was such a laid back guy who always put me at ease no matter how upset I was. He knew just the right things to say and how to make me laugh.

On the drive home my cell phone rang. My mom had taken off early and was looking for me. I reassured her that I was safe with Nick and told her I’d be back shortly. He held my hand in his as he drove. There was no need to talk; I could sense how he felt about me. I wanted to tell him how much I loved him but I felt it was too soon. Instead, I held his hand tighter, enjoying the rough sensation against my softness.

When we pulled into my driveway, Nick spoke. “Call me if you need me. I don’t care what time it is, I’ll be right over.”

“Thanks Nick. For today, for everything.” I leaned over to press a soft kiss to his lips then I went inside.

 

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