“Cameron, get out the window!” she hissed pushing him towards it.
“Tobe?” he asked flatly.
“Yeah. I know things are screwed but just remember you trust me.”
“Aye. I trust you. Aye.” He didn’t sound so convinced and the eerie look in his eye was freaking her out.”
“Cameron, go!” She pushed him again and he moved, sliding out through the window with grace and down over the roof. Her mind racing a mile a minute, Tobe reached for her purse and dived out of the window just in time to hear a male soul eater cry out in outrage as the dark of her hair disappeared from view.
She joined Cameron on the ground and grabbed his hand, her knees still shaking from the impact of the jump. She began to run and Cameron ran with her. They were bloodied and exhausted and looked scary-ass as Tobe yanked out her mobile phone and tried calling her parents. There was no answer. They were either dead or kidnapped. Trying to breathe through the panic that gripped her lungs Tobe jumped onto a bus, pulling Cameron with her. The driver looked at them with suspicion and was probably memorizing their appearance so he could recall it to the police, but Tobe didn’t care about that in that moment. She pulled Cam off the bus with her an, once inside a public toilet on Princes Street, Tobe cleaned Cam and herself up, their wounds already healing… all except the greatest – Cameron’s lack of soul.
“What are we doing?” Cam asked her quietly, no infliction in the words to let her know he actually cared.
“We’re going to the one person who can help us.”
“No. I don’t trust him. We’re going to Boston. To Cyrus.”
“Are you sure?”
“This has to be about them. Everything is,” she whispered bitterly.
Another bus took them back to Cam’s house first. It was easy enough sneaking into his room without alerting Mary. Tobe was actually thankful Cam didn’t care about anything because the old Cam would have insisted on seeing his mum. Instead he followed Tobe’s orders, snatching up some supplies and, most importantly, his passport.
The hard part was going back to Tobe’s. They hid in the shadows for a while making sure no one was about. She couldn’t believe her neighbors hadn’t heard the commotion, hadn’t called the police. But of course… it was a Monday afternoon. People were at work. But the schools were off, as were her parents who had decided to take time off work to be with her on her holidays. They were so worried about her these days.
“Tobe?” Cameron asked quietly. “You going in?”
She nodded. “Stay here. I’ll be a minute.”
She snuck in through the back, keeping to the shadows in case the soul eaters were still watching the house. The house was trashed, her parents were gone, but thankfully there was very little blood. She did come across one dead soul eater guy and felt a rush of pride towards her parents. Good. They hadn’t gone easy. Fear gripped her chest and Tobe moved more quickly. She changed her clothes, gathered a backpack, forgoing weapons – they’d never get them through airport security. She grabbed her passport and she was out of there.
The bus journey to Edinburgh Airport was thick with quiet. She was all alone. All alone with a boy she loved. A boy who was now a complete stranger. All she had to go on was hope.
Hope that Cyrus could help.
As they staggered off the bus and headed into the airport to book a flight with Tobe’s emergency credit card, her mobile rang.
It said number UNKNOWN.
Frowning, an intuitive dread sliding over her, Tobe answered.
“If you want your parents back, you’ll meet me.”
The voice. She stopped, frozen, anger, terror, fury, sadness, disgust, grief, every emotion of every color ripping through her. Even blank-eyed Cameron frowned at her. It was the guy who had taken a piece of Cam’s soul.
“Do you hear me, girl?”
“Eat shit and die, asshole.” She snapped the phone shut and turned it off.
She wasn’t an idiot. She recognized the word TRAP when she didn’t hear it.
With a shake of her head, her eyes bright with angry tears, Tobe drew Cameron towards the check-in desk.
They had a plane to catch.
Hide Here with Me
Eden was a mess. Her head was… whoa. She kept vacillating between going to check on Tobe, to see if she would accept Eden’s comfort so she could talk to her alone about what had happened, and going to talk to Cyrus. To have it out with him. To find out for sure what the hell he had been thinking bringing Romany into the equation.
Finally, deciding Tobe was probably still asleep (it was 6.00am after all) Eden threw open her door and trudged towards Cyrus’ suite of rooms as if she were wading through quick sand. The bright sunlight pouring through the tall narrow window at the end of the hall did nothing but irritate her, as did the calm neutral walls and Persian runner she walked on. Everything about Cyrus’ mansion was calm. Tasteful. Down to the beautiful Ming vases and odd scattering of Egyptian effigies. Painting-wise, Cyrus favored landscapes. They were all surreal and breezy, so tranquil Eden could swear she felt a cooling wind tussling through her hair when she looked at them.
She’d give anything for fiery colors and rioting paintings of hell right now.
She was not calm.
She did not want to be calm.
Unfortunately, she realized she’d at least have to be mature if Cyrus was to agree to discuss his unfathomable decision. Eden stopped outside his door, trying to come up with an opening line. All of them involved some smart ass comment she knew her guardian would not appreciate.
“So what’s with the backstabbing traitor crap? Trying something new this century?”
Yeah… that wouldn’t go down well.
“So… did you find the Ryan Winslow manual to parenting or something?”
That one might end up in an actual physical bitchslap.
“What? You like me mean, is that what this is? Well, you didn’t have to make nice with the whore who killed my brother. I’d have done bitchy no problem without the life-altering, mind-twisting, insanity-inciting games.”
Hmm… that one was good. Eden was sure she’d get some satisfaction out of saying that to him.
There has to be an explanation, the softer part of her heart pleaded. Cyrus wouldn’t do this to her for kicks. He loved her.
Her guardian’s door flew open and Eden’s heart leapt into her throat. Cyrus stood in the doorway, frowning, a sheen of sweat and the wife-beater that clung to his well-defined upper body telling her he had been working out. It was six in the morning! She bet he had a daily schedule that started from 5am and she bet again that he barely ever veered from it. Jeez, being old had made him anal.
“Eden?” he queried her, his eyebrows drawn together in concern. “Are you alright?”
All of the smartass comments spilled out of her head as she shook it, fighting the urge to cry and throw herself at him and beg him that everything was going to be OK. “No,” she said calmly instead, congratulating herself on her self-possession. “We need to talk.”
Cyrus’ dark, melting eyes washed over her face, studying her, gauging her mood. After a moment of squirming under his regard he nodded and stood aside to let her in. Eden had never been inside Cyrus’ apartments. The door clicked shut behind her and she blinked against the ray of sunlight pouring in through the glass balcony doors. She was in some kind of sitting room. There was a couch and TV, a small kitchen, bookshelves along one wall, and at the windows sat an exercise bike, training weights, cross trainer and a rowing machine. He had his own little mini gym in here. An open doorway to her right revealed glimpses of an equally large bedroom. Like the rest of the mansion the whole suite was decorated in soothing creams and warm chocolate browns. Like his eyes.
Eden spun around, anger burrowing its way back out. She trusted this man. She’d trusted him when she’d trusted no one else. Had he betrayed that? “Why, Cyrus? Why h
er? Why Romany?”
He cleared his throat, strolling towards a refrigerator in the mini-kitchen. He pulled out a bottle of water, asking her silently if she wanted one. She shook her head, grinding her teeth. As if he had heard the sound Cyrus sighed and leaned back against the refrigerator. “I already told you, Eden. She had a good cover story. And despite everything, Romany is a great asset.”
Intense fury choked her. Flashes of images, of Stellan’s anxious eyes on her, of blood, of his hair, of a blade through the flesh, all rained down over her eyes and she rubbed at them in agony. “Great enough asset to warrant messing with my head?”
“I thought perhaps you were ready.”