Speaking it out loud made it something that could happen.
That would happen.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited about anything than I am right now.” Deacon actually looked like he was about to pass out. “I am so ready for this.”
I slid a look in Aiden’s direction.
The bruise on his jaw from the day before was completely healed, and there was no mistaking the fondness in Aiden’s expression as he shook his head. There was also no way you could miss the exasperation either. Aiden looked like he wanted to hug his brother and at the same time choke him.
“You’re going to be so disappointed when you realize it’s just a boring little village and nothing more,” I said.
“Don’t you dare say that,” Deacon gasped, and beside him, Luke dipped his head. “You’re going to jinx this.”
Josie leaned into my side. “Don’t jinx it, Seth.”
Looking down at her, I raised my arm and draped it over her shoulders. She scrunched her nose at me. I sighed and then looked at Deacon. “You’re going to see so many ghosts you’re going to think you’re in the Underworld.”
“Damn straight.” Deacon grinned as he nodded.
Alex rose from the couch. “All right, I think we’re ready to get this show on the road.”
“Cora and Gable know where we’re going.” Luke turned to Josie. “And that we don’t know exactly how long it’s going to take, but they know you’re still here.”
“Cool. Colin’s with them now, right?”
Colin? Hell. That guy.
Luke nodded. “Yeah, he’s also going to keep them entertained.”
“In other words, keep them out of trouble.” Aiden sheathed a dagger in the holder strapped to his chest, fitted to be worn under his shirt and hidden. He reached for another dagger, and I smirked. This time I hadn’t left mine behind. “I think it would be wise for them to stay in their dorms.”
I opened my mouth to point out that I thought it would also be wise for Josie to do the same thing, but she must’ve read my mind, because her fingers dug into my skin. My gaze narrowed on her.
“I’ll make sure they stay put and are safe.” Josie completely ignored me. “Meanwhile, I’m going to see if I can locate Medusa and try to get some info out of her.”
Deacon pouted. “Well hell, that might sway me to stay behind.”
“Really?” Aiden jumped on that like a damn kangaroo. “I’m sure—”
“Pretty sure Medusa doesn’t like guys,” Alex cut in. “We’re stuck with Deacon.”
“Or I’m stuck with you two,” Deacon corrected. “That sounds more like what is really happening.”
“Okay.” Luke stepped forward. “I think it’s time for us to do this.”
And I wasn’t sure how I felt about that.
While Josie had been right and the gang heading to Pluckley was in more danger than her, I didn’t like the idea of being over there. Hell, I hadn’t even liked it when I went to the island to recharge.
Josie’s hand slid along my back. When she spoke, her voice was low and only for me. “Remember what I said. Don’t worry about me.”
I turned to her. “You know that’s never going to happen.”
“You can try, though.” She smiled as I picked up her braid. “Just like I’m going to.”
I lowered my head, brushing my nose over hers as I said, “You do not need to worry about me, psychi mou. No matter what, I’m coming back to you. Always.”
Her lips brushed mine as I found her hand. “I know.”
“You guys need us to leave the room or something?” Aiden asked.
“Shut up,” I replied and Deacon laughed as I cupped Josie’s cheek. I wanted to tell her that I’d be back before she went to bed tonight, but truth was, we really had no idea what we were going to find when we got there. Could be a boring, quaint village, or worse yet, the Titans could be there.
Speaking so only she could hear, I said, “If there are Titans there, I won’t kill them.” I wanted to reassure her that I had…that I had learned something after what happened in Long Beach. “I’ll put a hurting on them, but I won’t kill them.”
“I know,” she repeated, squeezing my hand.
She did know.
I loved this woman.
Stretching up on the tip of her toes, she placed her hand on my chest and kissed me. “Be careful.”
Watching Seth and crew disappear before my eyes was more than just a little weird.
One second they were there, and Seth’s intense gaze was focused on me, like he was making sure I was the last thing that he saw in the whole universe.
It kind of reminded me of watching a photograph fade before your eyes, and it only took seconds.
As I walked out of the dorm room, quietly closing the door behind me, I couldn’t help but think about my life before I met Seth in the stairwell. If I’d seen someone fade away in front of me, I would’ve been convinced that I was experiencing the same symptoms as my mom.
My heart clenched, and I exhaled heavily. My poor mom. My mom had been sick. There was no doubt about that, but how much of her sickness was caused by the mental illness and how much was caused by what Apollo had done to her?
That was a question I’d never had an answer to, because I’d lost my mom before I even realized I had. Apollo had lied to me. He’d told me that she was safe and…she hadn’t been.
I didn’t even really know how she died.
Maybe that was for the better. I didn’t know.
The sadness that came with thinking about her lingered as I walked down to knock on Cora’s door. A few seconds passed before the door cracked open. Only a sliver of Cora’s face was visible. Smart girl.
“Hey,” I said. “Can I come in for a few minutes?”
The door opened as she stepped aside. “Sure.”
As expected, Cora wasn’t alone. Colin sat in the chair closest to the door, and Gable was on the couch. The television in the room was on, turned to a news station that was covering the attack in Chicago. Mortals had no idea it was the Titans, and I had no idea if that was a good or bad thing at this point.
I glanced at the coffee table, spying a huge book. “Myths and Legends?”
“Figured they could use some light reading.” Colin smiled. “They’ve been reading through it, and I’ve been answering what questions I can.”
“Light reading?” Cora snorted as she squeezed past me and plopped down on the couch. “That book weighs as much as a newborn.”
“I know. It could be a deadly weapon if used right,” I said.
Gable nodded. “We’ve been reading it. Learning a lot of stuff—insane stuff we never would’ve believed true for one second before, well, before everything.”
“Tell me about it.” I leaned against the wall. “Up until I met Seth and ended up here, I thought all this stuff was just old, crazy legends.”
“And you guys didn’t even know that people like me existed.” Colin kicked a booted foot up on the coffee table.
“I still don’t know how all of this was kept secret.” Cora shook her head as she stared at the book. “It just seems so impossible.”
It was unbelievable when you thought about it.
“Did everyone leave?” Colin asked.
I nodded. “Yep. Just a few minutes ago. I was just stopping by to see how things were going.”
“Good,” Gable answered, and then paused. “I guess.”
Cora glanced over at him and then refocused on me. “Have you guys heard anything more about what happened to that girl?”
“Did you fill them in on the whole symbol thing?” I asked Colin.
“I did. I figured it was best they knew everything.”
I did, too. Knowledge truly was power. I caught them up on what we’d discussed with Marcus. “Hopefully that will help us figure out who is behind it, so we can stop them.”