True Memoirs of A Liar 2: Sacrifice
Author: C Lawson

Chapter 24
On Assignment pt.3

“Shall we?” Alex asked, extending his arm to me.  I shook my head and realized that it wasn’t Alex.  It was Peter.  Alex left.  Get over it, I firmly told myself.  I had to concentrate on this mission.  The sooner to get it over with, the sooner to go home to Lena and my own bed.

            “And Jasmine is…where?” I wondered with mock innocence.  Peter sighed and dropped his offered arm.

            “It didn’t work out.  She—”

            “Ah,” I sighed with a knowing expression. “So it’s a ‘she’ thing.  Blame it on the girl, why don’t you?  What did she do?” Peter chuckled.  He had no idea how serious I was.

            “She thought I was in love someone else.” He walked behind his family and I strolled along by his side.  I saw that Kyle constantly threw nervous glances back at us.

            “That must have been… hard to deal with,” I guessed, lacing my fingers with each other.

            Peter nodded. “It was.”

            “I was talking about Jasmine,” I snorted and crossed my arms.  I couldn’t believe this guy.  I know that I was supposed to be all loving and kind and gaga-eyed over him, but my mind was more or less elsewhere at the moment.  I looked out over the hundreds of people who bustled past us.

            “Oh, well, the break up was hard on both of us,” he admitted.

            “Were you?” I asked, bumping up my game a little bit as thoughts of Alex flooded my mind.

            “Was I what?”

            “In love with someone else?” For a long moment he deliberated on his answer.  I waited patiently, letting myself get reacquainted with his face.  I remembered the broad forehead, the strong outline of his face, and the nearly scary green eyes.  He had a nice face to look at, so I really didn’t mind waiting all that much.

            “Yes, in a way,” Peter finally choked out; not hesitantly, just uncomfortably.

            “In what way?” I wondered aloud.

            “She was a wonderful woman that I couldn’t really provide for.” Peter was definitely feeling awkward now; but I couldn’t just drop the issue and give up my advantage.

            “Why not?”

            “Because I was living a personal fantasy through her.  And looking back, she didn’t deserve that.” He was trying to be vague.  Vagueness wasn’t going to help me get out of Paris and into New York City.

            “What fantasy, Peter?” I asked, keeping my voice soft and encouraging.  I took his hand and stopped us both. “Peter, look at me,” I nearly whispered when he dropped his gaze.  He dragged his eyes up to my face and tried for a smile. “This is so cliché, but I am here if you need to talk to someone.  It does help,” I lied casually, wanting to hurry up and finish with Donald so I could leave.  Mr. Stone had given me two weeks.  I could have it done in two days.  One down tonight.  Donald by Sunday morning.

            “I don’t think so,” he opted.

            “Okay, I’ll make you a deal,” I began, starting to think more and more like Alex every day. “We both bet on three random fake facts.  We guess that something is going to happen.  Whoever’s guesses come true… get to decide whether or not you tell me what you’re hiding.” I reached my hand out to shake on it.  Peter remained still for a second or two then reluctantly shook my hand.

            “Okay.  What do you think will happen?  Three things.” We were jogging as I spoke.  We had to catch up to the Rainey family.  Peter and I joined his family in the queue for the French psychic Madame Verde.

            “I bet that Madame Verde is going to say something about your love life.” I stared at him disbelievingly.

            “Is that the best you’ve got?” Peter only shrugged. “Fine, I bet that Donald will sneeze exactly four times in that tent.” We both laughed. “I’m glad I ran into you again, Peter.  Really.” I was lying again.  I wanted to be in Alex’s arms, but I couldn’t concentrate on things like that.  That would get me in a whole lot of trouble that I didn’t need to be in.  So I rocked back and forth on my heels as we waited in near silence.

            “I got one,” I whispered as we entered the semi-large tent.  A fragile-looking, slightly wrinkled old woman sat at a very plain wooden table.  She wore a knowing expression on her face.  Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail of disarray.  I could tell that her salt-and-pepper hair was at least down to the bottom of her back.

            The colorful fabrics and glitters that adorned her body made her face look small and wise.  I glanced at the table again.  No crystal ball, tarot cards, or chicken bones.  I sighed. “I bet you’re going to see someone tonight that you haven’t in a long time.”

            Peter smirked while the lady waved us further inside with a beckoning finger. “That’s already happened.  Remember?”

            I simply shrugged. “You never know.”

            “You.” Madame Verde pointed a long, threatening finger at me.  It took everything I had to not jump to attention like a Catholic school girl reading the Book of Mormon at lunchtime.  I lazily turned my head with a creeping smile on my lips.

            “Come here.” She didn’t have a French accent at all.  But it was European; distinctly so.  I trudged my way past the rest of the Rainey family, murmuring my pardons, until I finally came to a stop in front of the table. “Sit,” she commanded with a motherly authority.  I sat down in the wobbly chair gingerly and gave her a polite look. “Yes.  You have a very strong, very durable air about you, girl.” Her ‘girl’ sounded like ‘geerle’.

            “An even stronger love is in you.  Yes, I can sense it.  I can tell.” My face had unintentionally rearranged into an expression of shock. “He is here.  In Paris.” She surveyed the room.  I turned my head to see all of the Rainey brothers and most of the Rainey family leaning over in unabashed interest.

            “Anything else?” I asked in a timid, shaky voice.

            “Death.” I started at the word. “Much death you have seen.  Much death you have caused.  And there is still more death to come.  But it is you now, not your love, that will die.” In one bound I had leapt from the chair past the Rainey’s and into the increasingly cold crisp Paris air.  I walked as quickly as I could away from the tent, placing my hand over my chest and taking in large huffs of oxygen.  My throat felt like it’d been stapled shut.

            “You okay?” Peter asked, grabbing my arm gently and turning me.  I shook my head truthfully. “Don’t worry about what that crazy psychic says.  She’s insane.”

            “Yeah,” I breathed. “I need to talk to Isaac.” Peter looked taken aback. “Really, right now.”

            “Why?” he asked. I ignored his question and whirled around, scanning the large crowd for his face. I’d noticed that he’d taken off on his own after I’d joined the party. I saw him, the most sullen, grim expression on his angular face. I excused myself politely from Peter and ran towards Isaac.

            “Isaac!” I called when I’d neared him enough so that he could hear me. He turned at the sound of his name and rose his eyebrow in…fear? For the quickest moment, I’d though I’d seen him silently contemplate running or simply ignoring me. But when I reached him he tried to twist his softly pouted lips into a smile. My answering smile was blinding.

            “Hey,” he said glumly.

            “Hi.” I was raised up on the tips of my toes, waiting for the moment when he would snap. “Um,” I stuttered, a perfect touch. “I was just wondering, why—”

            “I already told you, Alana, Camille, Mrs. Tutor.”

            “Mrs. Tutor?” I asked dumbly.

            “You married your tutor right?”

            “No!” I let out a small cry. As soon as the word was out of my mouth, Isaac gathered me into his arms.

            “I guess I owed you that one,” he breathed after I’d disentangled myself from his arms. “You’re not engaged.” I shook my head. “What are you doing in Paris?” I opened my mouth, making him think I’d lost my voice.  I decided to change the subject.

            “Your Aunt Jocelyn doesn’t really like me all that much.”

            “She doesn’t like anyone, except for Donald. And that’s just pity, you know? He won’t even be blind for long. It’s temporary.” I stared at him. “What?”

            “Two things,” I said.

            “What’s the first one?” he wondered.

            “That’s the most you’ve said to me in 3 years.” He chuckled.

            “What’s the second one?”

            “I really missed you,” I lied easily, watching the uneasiness on his face grow. “I meant all of you.” He started walking and I kept his pace. “Where are we going?” I wanted to know.  Isaac kept his voice low and ominous.

            “Train Station.”

 

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