Sisters of Midnight:Dark Moon
Author: Kimberly Diaz

Chapter 15
Chapter 15

Chapter 15

The rest of the day, I was too wound up by the realization that I could use this power anytime I chose, that I couldn’t even concentrate on my assignments. That, and the pang of regret that hit when I realized how much I missed Nick’s presence in class, both his and Tony’s seats empty. I had the uneasy feeling that some of the class held me responsible for half the football team being gone.

Finally, the last bell rang and I rushed to my locker, anxious to talk to Nick before going home due to my mom’s orders. After looking to make sure no one was watching, I pushed with my mind and watched the lock open on its own.

Smiling, I pulled open the door. A strangled cry escaped my throat when I saw the hanging doll. It had been burned, parts of the brown hair and plastic melted together. There was blood pouring out of its mouth.

No, not blood.

It was too thick to be blood. It was ketchup, the tangy smell invading my nostrils.

Trembling, I backed away from my locker, dropping my books on the sidewalk. I frantically looked all around me, searching for the culprit. Who would play such a cruel joke?

I had one guess.

I remembered the words Cyndi had threatened me with once before, ‘You know what happened to the witches, they were burned’. I reached out and grabbed the doll out of my locker, wrapping the evidence in some napkins and placing it in my book bag.

I wanted to be able to confront her with it.

I was still trembling, now with anger. Without Nick and Brock there to referee, what would happen? I kept walking, turning down the corridor to her locker.

She turned to face me, a smug smile on her lips and I wondered if she had been waiting for me to come looking for her. My eyes blazed with anger as I approached her. “We need to talk Cyndi!”

She shrugged indifferently. “Go ‘head.”

“Are you really so upset about getting dumped that you have to lower yourself to pulling lame pranks?”

She smiled sweetly. “What are you talking about?”

“Don’t play coy.” I took out the doll. “Does this look familiar?”

“Not my style, anyone could have done that. You brought all this on yourself Faith when you used witchcraft to get Nick to leave me. How does it feel? Can you rest easy knowing that you turned Nick against me and almost got Tony killed and Brock arrested?”

All rational thought forgotten as soon as Nick was mentioned, I spoke without thinking. “Witchcraft had nothing to do with it! You knew how he felt about me! I heard him say how you lied to him when he asked you about my feelings for him last year. You knew I loved him.”

“But nothing ever happened between you two. He was fair game.”

“So you had to bribe him to date you?”

Her face twisted into resentment as her words aimed for my heart. “Maybe, but he wasn’t opposed. There were some things I didn’t have to bribe him for.”

Infuriated at myself for letting her words hurt me, I snapped. “And he still wanted me. He hates you now, congratulations!”

I expected her to be pissed and scream, not to look at me with just a calm hatred. “You think you’ve won, don’t you, because you have Nick. When I’m done, both of you will have lost everything.”

Shut her up, a voice ordered. It wasn’t my thought, it was as if someone else had spoken inside my head. I ignored it. “I know why you hate me, but why Nick? You pushed him away. He needs that scholarship and you know it.”

“He won’t need it if he goes to jail, the cops know he was there when you and you freak friends did whatever it was you did in the woods.”

Shock crossed my face. “Do you even know what you’re talking about?” Then, as realization dawned on me, “You stole our book, didn’t you?”

She looked at me with fake innocence on her deceitful face. “And what book would that be?”

“You know,” I whispered.

Her eyes narrowed. “Prove it.” I was silent, defeated. “You can’t, can you? Just like you can’t prove that Nick didn’t try to kill Tony.”

She didn’t know about Tony’s change of heart. “He didn’t.”

“You think you’re better than me, that you can ruin other people’s lives without repercussions.”

My breathing was coming quick and shallow as she spoke my worst fear. “Soon, everyone will know what you and your friends have done. And Nick will never look at you the same once the spells you and your friends did are what send him to jail.”

Cyndi spoke so viciously and I wondered how she and I had ever been friends, the hatred inside her so obvious. She seemed to know all about our secret. How, I still wasn’t sure. Had she been with Tony when he spied on us Saturday night?

If so, then she knew, saw the evil we let out.
“Tony already told his parents Nick wasn’t responsible. I saw him yesterday.”

If she was shocked, she hid it well. “But I know you are responsible. Whatever it was that you and the others did,” she hissed quietly. “And when the time is right, so will everyone else-the kids at school, Tony’s parents, the cops-just as soon as I figure out how. See if Nick wants you then.”

At that moment, I hated her. She wanted to ruin my life, just because Nick loved me and not her. I was so furious I could hardly speak. Blue eyes locked with blue as we each assessed the other’s anger. I winced as the pain in my head caused me to push out with my mind.

“Keep your doll!”

An unseen force caused the distasteful object to fly out of my hands and hit the lockers hard directly behind her head. “Stay away from me and stop trying to hurt Nick!”

She drew in a sharp surprised gasp at what she had just witnessed, looking at me with contempt. “Witch! It’s just a matter of time before everyone sees you the way I do.”

She stormed off, but not before I saw fear mixed with the loathing in the depths of her eyes.

I was shaking. What had happened to me? I didn’t purposely use power to try and hit her with the doll, did I?

Very good, I thought I heard someone say. I turned but no one was there. What the hell was going on?

I knew I needed to get a grip on my power, before what Cyndi predicted became true and people looked at me the way she did. The thought tore at my insides. There was just one person who it really mattered if he looked at me that way.

I needed to learn to control my power before it was controlling me. In the few seconds it took for the doll to fly out of my hand, I felt the power take hold of my mind. And for one quick second, I had enjoyed the feeling it gave me.

I took off for the place I knew I’d be able to have the privacy to do as I needed-the beach.

I called my mom, telling her I was staying to catch up on some work. I knew she’d worry if I didn’t come right home. She protested but I assured her I’d be home before dark.

I should be going to see Nick, I thought. Instead, I called him. His voice immediately took on a protective tone.

“Everything alright? Ryan told me they suspended Brock today.”

“I’m fine,” I promised.

“No trouble from anyone?”

I debated telling him about Cyndi’s threats but decided against it, not wanting to worry him.

“Faith?”

“I just missed you today, that’s all,” I lied.

“I could come by later,” he offered. “After all, I’m not on house arrest like some people,” he teased.

One lie seemed to lead to another. I hated lying to him but I needed to get a handle on things. “Rachel’s coming over. I’ll call you when she leaves.”

I wondered if my power would freak him out.

“Be careful,” he told me.

“I will.” My eyes burned as I wondered if he could tell I was lying to him. But it was something I had to do. “I love you Nick.”

“Me too,” he said, then he was gone.

No more lies Nick, I promised. I’m just lying to protect you from whatever it is that’s happening to me. Once I know what that is.

I drove north on the interstate until I reached the Pacific Coast Highway, driving just over the speed limit. Blue sky turned to muted gray as I neared the coast, the clouds becoming thicker, suffocating. In half an hour, I was turning into Sunset Cove beach. I bypassed the main turn in for a more secluded one, parking far away from the few cars that were there. Then I gathered some tools in my backpack from out of my trunk.

Candles, incense, wand, but no athame. It was still hidden in my room until I could figure out what to do with it. Wrapped inside Nick’s shirt and covered in Tony’s blood. If found, it would be very incriminating.

I found the most hidden spot I could-in a cove surrounded by jagged rocks near the water-and set up the candles at the four corners of my circle, concentrating on the sound of the crashing ocean waves to get into a spiritual mindset. I recited a spell of protection, stopping short of lighting the candles. Instead, I gathered the energy with my mind again and pushed out as I had in the restaurant. The flames came to life again on their own. Still focused, I lifted the flame from one and used it to start burning the incense.

I closed my eyes and immediately saw flashes of what had happened over the last week. Part of me had been wondering if our new abilities were because of the part we had played in what happened to Tony. If that was the case, then our powers-we- were evil. The vision of me sending the doll flying at Cyndi played over and over again in my head.

What the hell was I doing? Hot tears fell from my cheeks as I opened my eyes. The things we couldn’t explain had gotten way out of control and I had no idea what we had gotten ourselves involved in.

With a cry of frustration, I stopped focusing my energy and the fire suddenly went out. I put my face in my hands and broke down sobbing-something I hadn’t let myself do after Brock’s attack yesterday and Cyndi’s today.

I was tired of trying to be strong and right all the wrongs being done; I just wanted to be with Nick and be happy. To go out on dates and to dances like normal couples, without worrying about bullies or evil spirits.

I didn’t hear anyone next to me until it was too late. I stood up quickly, awkwardly, and turned around, unable to hide the evidence of what I was doing.

“Might I be of any help?” The guy who stood there spoke in a thickly accented voice. It rolled off his tongue like rich velvet.

His gorgeously exotic looks halted any reply from me. Tall and bronzed, with shoulder length golden hair, he appeared to be born of the sun itself. Mortified, I turned away. What would he think about what I had been doing? I had never been caught doing a spell or ceremony before. Not only had I been doing magic, I’d been so caught up in my outburst that he found me before I even felt his presence.

Not to be put off my unresponsiveness, he tried again. “Are you hurt?”

“I…what? No.” I couldn’t decide what dialect his accent was. Beautiful. That was the only way to describe him. This guy was the most beautiful guy I’d ever seen.

“You are not hurt, yet you cry?” He was definitely not from here. I could tell that just by looking at his clothing. The black cashmere shirt draped over his shoulder and expensive leather sandals screamed foreign. Almost as if he could read my thoughts, he pulled the shirt over his head, leaving me breathless as I watched it slide over his sleek muscles like a second skin. He wasn’t insulted by my reluctance to confide in a complete stranger. Instead, he smiled, showing me a glimpse of perfect white teeth.

Guilty for admiring his amazing body, I turned my head away to look at the rise and fall of the waves, trying to make my breathing as calm and even as the water. “You shouldn’t sneak up on people like that. Sometimes, they come here to be alone.”

I immediately regretted the accusation in my voice.

He gestured with his hand. “This is a public beach, is it not? I come to enjoy the beauty of the ocean, only today, I find a beautiful girl as well.” His eyes traveled boldly over me much like a caress.

I flushed at his not so subtle compliment and chose to ignore it. He had a point. He had as much right to be here as I did. He took a step closer to me and I nervously jumped back, only to realize he had extended his hand to offer me a handkerchief.

Here he was trying to be a gentleman, something unheard of in most of the guys in California, and I was being extremely rude. I thanked him as I took it, noticing for the first time that the blue of his eyes rivaled the foam of the ocean waves. They held me captive for a moment. It was like I had seen them before, in…

…another life?

Don’t be silly.

He couldn’t have been more than a year or two older than me, but there was a steely hardness to his eyes that sent a chill through me. I felt he would understand all my pain if I chose to reveal it to him.

“I am Rafael. You may call me Rafe.”

His introduction brought more questions then answers.

“Rafe,” I repeated as if in a trance.

What was happening to me? I couldn’t stop staring at him. It was unsettling how his proximity had me feeling nervous, yet anticipating… what?

“I have a boyfriend,” I stammered without introducing myself.

If he was surprised at my outburst, he didn’t let on. “Of course. Is he the one who put the tears in your eyes?”

“No!” I snapped at his wrongful accusation. “Nick would never hurt me.”

Nick. I conjured up a picture of Nick in my head. While Nick had the classic good looks of a Greek statue, Rafe was the Sun God himself. He reminded me of the great warrior Achilles, immortal except for one weakness.

Some instinct older than time told me I should find out his. It seemed important to know.

I imagined his hands, when they touched you, would warm skin instantly. And his mouth-that mouth!-would it burn when it kissed you?

Stop! What was I doing? Nick was at home on suspension, my life threatened the day before and I was on the beach contemplating the outline of some guy’s mouth? Shaken, I dropped to the sand and began to load up my backpack, needing to escape.

I gasped as his fingers brushed mine. “Let me help you.”

“No thanks, I’ve got it,” I whispered as I turned to look at him, preparing to leave. I sucked in a breath, we were so close. I paused, frozen in time.

Then somehow, instead of standing up, his lips were on mine.

I was slowly falling into something unknown. Dizzy, I was spinning. I wanted him to stop but was unable to move. His lips moved softly, yet forcefully, trying to coax a response. I was paralyzed, even though in my mind, I was pushing him away.

Nick, I’m so sorry.

I felt a burning in my chest. My heart aching? Then I realized the fire was coming from the ancient mark on my body. With a cry, I tore away from him.

“How dare you! What gives you the right-” I was angry at him, angry at myself for being powerless to stop him. Where had my powers been then?

“I apologize for the misunderstanding. I thought you wanted me to kiss you.”

“I didn’t!” I denied, confused.

“Not with words,” he explained. “But the way you looked at me. Your eyes, they hold so much pain. I only wished to ease some of it. Eyes as beautiful as yours should never be that troubled.”

“So you see a stranger crying and you think you can just kiss her? I told you I had a boyfriend.”

“You are not married to this Nick.” Even though he spoke the truth, I was outraged at his boldness.

“No, but-” what was he implying?

“Then I see no problem. Where I come from, one is only bound to be faithful after a pledge of marriage, and then, until death parts you. This Nick is very lucky to have someone so-devoted-as yourself.”

I looked away again, feeling like a silly young schoolgirl as he casually dismissed my relationship with his explanation, almost mocking it.

“I have to go now,” I tried to sound cold. When I dared to look up, Rafe was gone, leaving me to wonder if the whole encounter-the conversation, the kiss-had been a figment of my imagination.

Had it been some sort of a premonition or had that stranger really kissed me? I touched my finger to my lips that were still burning with the unfamiliar sensation that was not from Nick. It had been real. Too real.

Shame engulfed me; how could I have let someone I only just met kiss me?

I brought up my hand to wipe away a stray tear, only to discover that I was still clutching the handkerchief Rafe had given me; A concrete reminder of my unintentional betrayal. I shoved it down to the bottom of my bag. I tried to do the same with the memory in my head. Where had he disappeared to? The beach was near deserted.

His accent and mannerisms led me to consider that maybe where he came from, it was acceptable to kiss a girl just after meeting her. He definitely wasn’t American. He looked like he was in his late teens, but was as self assured as a grown man.

I told myself that I had been too in shock to stop the kiss. But would Nick believe it? I couldn’t tell him. I was supposed to be at my house with Rachel right now. How would I explain to him why I had lied, what I had really been doing?

No, he could never know. I wouldn’t hurt him over a guy that meant nothing, one I would never see again.

***

“Wow, so this is what happens when you don’t see me all day!”

Nick and I were on the porch talking. I wanted to replace the feeling of Rafe’s mouth with a more familiar one. I kissed him, trying to erase the memory that was more like a bad dream then anything else. He pulled back and looked into my eyes, trying to read my expression.

“So nothing happened at school?”

I knew he’d probably hear about my confrontation so I gave him an edited report about the doll, making sure to leave out the part where I had sent the doll flying at her head.

“Damn it!” he shouted. “I knew you sounded upset when you called me earlier.” He wasn’t upset with me, he was blaming himself for Cyndi’s anger towards me.

“Nick, it’s alright. I can deal with Cyndi shooting off her big mouth. I didn’t tell you earlier cause I knew you’d worry and there was nothing you could’ve done.”

He took a deep breath, trying to regain his calm exterior.

“Can you blame me for worrying after what happened to you yesterday? You don’t deserve to be treated like that.”

“She’ll get over it eventually. Her childish pranks don’t scare me. As for Tony and Brock, you’ll be back at school before either of them.”

He looked away from me and I could feel the change in his demeanor. Yesterday we had been optimistic because of Tony’s admission that Nick was innocent. I wondered what had changed.

I’m not sure if I’ll get to come back or not,” he said.

Fear gripped my heart at the uncertainty in his voice. “What do you mean? Did Tony go back on his word? He promised-”

“He kept his promise. That’s not the problem.” Nick’s voice was flat. “The police paid me a visit today. They won’t return my car yet because it’s being considered as evidence.”

“Evidence of what?” I shouted. “They only need evidence if they’re planning to arrest you. Didn’t they talk to Tony?”

Nick did look at me then and the troubled expression on his face sent a worried chill up my spine.

“Tony kept his part of the deal. But come on Faith, did you think the cops were really going to believe anything supernatural? It’s hard enough for me to believe and I was there. They have no other leads so they’re going over all their options.”

I was hit with a big dose of reality. “And their only option is you.”

“They think that maybe Tony’s head isn’t all there right now and Tony’s mom refused to listen to him. She’s pushing for them to make an arrest.”

“So yesterday was all for nothing.” I laughed bitterly. “Tony’s mom, Brock, Cyndi, they’re all going to get what they want.”

This wasn’t right! A deep anger filled me, hatred towards the people who wanted Nick to pay for someone else’s crime. Getting angry with them helped to get rid of some of the anger I was feeling at myself for earlier.

I was suddenly wishing I had done more than try to hit Cyndi with the doll, contradicting my earlier remorse for those same actions. We tried to do the right thing but it had failed us. I had failed Nick.

“Yess.” The words of encouragement were spoken in my head. A voice reveling in my anger, wanting me to act out against those who had done wrong towards Nick and I.

A cold gust of wind sent a tumult of leaves blowing down the street and with them was a rush of power.

The evil spirit, I was sure.

“Faith,” Nick spoke gently. I relaxed against him, realizing how tense I was, like a coiled spring that had been pulled taut. Once I relaxed, the wind stopped as well. The power had been coming from me, my anger.

Had Nick noticed?

No, he was too busy waiting for my reaction to his news. “What’s going on in that head of yours?” His voice was irresistible.

He wasn’t going to settle for anything less than the truth. I told him exactly what I was thinking. “Everything you’re going through is my fault,” I spoke softly. “I’m the reason you hate Tony. You beat him up because of me. You were in the woods, the scene of the crime, because of what my friends and I were doing. I’m to blame for all the problems you’re facing now.”

“That’s not true,” he argued.

“It is! Only you’re too sweet to admit it. I can’t let you lose everything because of me.”

“What are you saying?” His voice was panicked.

“I think my friends and I should go to the cops, tell them what we did Saturday and what we saw Monday, to prove that you couldn’t be responsible and to let them know something else tried to kill Tony.”

He was shaking his head. “No, I can’t let you do that. They’re just going to think you’re making it up to protect me. If they won’t listen to Tony, the guy I supposedly attacked, they’re not going to listen to you. Anyway, my dad’s been talking to a lawyer. My car being in the woods is the only evidence they have, putting me there around the time of the attack. The rest is just speculation.”

“Then I’ll tell them we went out there together to be alone. I’d rather have them think that then think you tried to kill someone.”

“You’d really do that for me, wouldn’t you.”

“Nick, I meant when I said that I won’t let you get in trouble for something you didn’t do.”

“It’s too bad we have no way to show the cops that the supernatural exists,” He was joking, he couldn’t have known what he was saying. Even so, his words hit a nerve. I felt sick but I knew what I had to do.

“I have to show you something.” My heart was racing, my palms damp. I looked around until I found what I wanted. I closed my eyes and concentrated. “Please don’t be scared of me,” I whispered.

When I opened my eyes, I focused on an overgrown tree branch that was high up in the oak tree in the yard in front of us. There was a loud CRACK and the limb came crashing down to the ground. Just a few feet before it hit, I stopped it and lowered it slowly the rest of the way. I swallowed hard and turned to Nick whose mouth was open in astonishment. I was slightly dizzy, I’d never tried to do anything that big before. Each time I tried, it seemed to get easier.

“Did you…” he looked surprised, not scared.

“It started today with Rachel, then me. Sometimes I can control it, but other times, it happens when I get upset.”

I couldn’t keep something this big a secret from Nick, especially with the way it seemed to happen sporadically.

“I’ll definitely do my best never to make you angry with me,” he joked.

“Finding out I had this power really freaked me out and I had to get away for awhile.” I took a deep breath, praying he would forgive me for lying to him earlier.

“Nick, I wasn’t with Rachel after school. I went to the beach-alone.” I told Nick about lunch and needing to experiment but left out Rafe and the kiss. After all, he had kissed me, not the other way around.

“I know you weren’t with Rachel. She called me looking for you. I guess she was worried after you left school so quickly.”

“You knew I lied, but you didn’t say anything. Why?”

He shrugged nonchalantly. “I figured you must’ve had a good reason. Plus I was hoping you’d tell me when you were ready.”

His unwavering trust in me made me feel even worse. I looked away then told him the whole story of what had happened with Cyndi and the doll, how I had unintentionally flung it at her. “For a second, I think I wanted to hurt her. It just happened so fast and I wasn’t in control. It scared the hell out of me. I wish I knew…”

“Wish you knew what?” he asked gently.

Seconds ticked by before I answered him. “I wish I knew that everything would be okay in the end.” My energy drained away and I collapsed against him. I felt better after unloading my problems on him, but there was still the matter of getting him cleared of what happened to Tony.

“Don’t give up Faith. I hate to admit it, but it might work in our favor that Tony feels guilty for hurting you and wants to help us.”

He kissed me reassuringly to make his point. I closed my eyes and gave in to the thrill that his kisses always gave me. I wanted him and only him. A memory of steel blue eyes suddenly flashed through my head and I pulled back.

“What’s wrong?” he probed.

I looked up into intense green eyes. Seeing them, I knew where I belonged. “Nothing now. I love you Nick.”

 

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