Gemma and Thea stood in the doorway, talking in hushed murmurs to one another. Daniel put his arm around Harper and watched them with his brow furrowed.
“Is everyone here?” Daniel asked, and looked around. “Is everyone okay?”
“Liv and Penn are dead,” Alex said, and Daniel looked over at him for the first time. Then Alex’s expression darkened. “But Kirby didn’t make it.”
“Oh, no,” Harper whispered.
“How are you holding up?” Daniel asked. “You look pretty banged up.”
Alex glanced down at his shirt, which was stained red with blood. “Most of this isn’t mine. I’ve been hugging Gemma a lot. So I’m okay.”
“So is this curse broken then?” Daniel asked.
“I don’t know,” Harper admitted. “Diana said that if we killed Penn, we wouldn’t need to break the curse. But Gemma still seemed to have her siren strength when she opened the bathroom door.”
“She just healed up. Maybe the siren blood hasn’t completely evaporated,” Alex suggested.
Harper shook her head, like she wasn’t convinced, then stepped away from Daniel and walked over to the railing. “What’s going on? Is the curse broken?”
Gemma turned and smiled thinly up at her. “Yeah. It’s over.”
“But…” Harper trailed off, and Daniel stepped behind her and gently put his hand on her back. “You’re still strong, and Thea is still here. I thought if the curse was broken, she’d turn to dust.”
“That was one theory, but it’s wrong,” Gemma said.
“Then what’s the correct theory?” Daniel asked, and Gemma glanced back to Thea, like she needed answers herself.
“That we’ll just slowly become mortal again,” Thea supplied. “The siren powers will slowly drain from our body over the next few days, then we’ll be regular humans again. I’ll live out a natural, human life.”
“Then how do you know it’s over?” Harper asked. “If nothing’s changed, then how can you be sure?”
“We didn’t say nothing’s changed,” Gemma corrected her. “I can feel it. Inside.” She paused, and her cheeks darkened. “I’m not as hungry.”
“So you’re sure?” Harper asked again.
Gemma nodded. “Yes. I’m sure.”
Thea said something to Gemma too quiet for Daniel or anyone up in the loft to hear. Then Gemma nodded, Thea turned and walked away. Gemma hugged herself and watched as Thea departed.
“What happened?” Harper asked. “Where is she going?”
“She wanted to go see the mountains or the plains or a desert.” Gemma shrugged. “Anywhere she hasn’t been able to see in thousands of years.”
“So what does that mean?” Harper asked. “Are we finally free of the sirens?”
“Yes.” Gemma let out a deep breath. “We’re finally free.”
“I swear, Dad, breakfast has never tasted this good,” Harper said as she shoveled another forkful of scrambled eggs into her mouth.
Brian watched her eat with a mixture of amusement and surprise. “I’ve made you this same thing a hundred times before.”
“Nope.” She shook her head. “This is better. This is the best.”
Last night, after they’d all finally finished dealing with the mess of dead bodies and crashed cars out on the cliff, Harper and Gemma had gotten home very, very late. And then they’d sat up for a long time explaining everything to their dad.
Harper had hardly eaten anything yesterday, but she’d been too sore, tired, and anxious to eat when they got home. But when she woke up today, she was absolutely ravenous.
Brian had been awake for a while, so he’d already eaten breakfast, but he insisted on making it for her. Maybe it was just because he was her dad, and he wanted to do something nice for her. Or maybe it was a little because of how terrible she still looked.
In the morning, she’d caught sight of her reflection in the mirror, and it wasn’t pretty. She’d showered last night to get off all the blood and dirt, but that still left her with plenty of scratches and bruises. Daniel had wanted her to go to the hospital to see if she needed stitches in her arm, but she just wrapped it in gauze, and so far it seemed to be doing fine. She had a gash on her left cheek, and a nasty bruise on her neck, but the rest she’d be able to cover with long sleeves and jeans when she got back to school.
“Hey, sleepyhead,” Brian said, as Gemma stumbled into the kitchen. “I thought you were never gonna wake up.”
She didn’t have a scratch on her since she’d healed up entirely last night. Her eyes looked a bit tired, and she clearly wasn’t very awake. But otherwise, Gemma looked about the same as she always did.
“What are you all doing up so early?” Gemma yawned and collapsed into an empty chair at the table.
“It’s noon,” Harper said between bites of food. “It’s not that early.”
“Maybe not, but I’m still exhausted.” Her hair was coming loose from the messy bun she had it up in, and she readjusted it.
“You look better than you did last night,” Brian said, then he looked at Harper. “You, not so much.”
“Thanks, Dad,” Harper said dryly.
“I’m just saying that your sister’s right. You probably should rest up,” Brian told her.
“I’m fine. I’m better than fine,” Harper insisted. Her elation seemed to ward off most of the pain, but she’d taken a couple Advil when she woke up to get rid of the rest of the soreness and body aches. “But Gemma did heal awfully fast.”
“Yeah, I’d mostly healed last night when I transitioned back from the monster.”
“So this is really over?” Brian rested his arms on the table and looked at Gemma. “You’re sure that you’re not a siren anymore?”
“Yes, it’s over,” Gemma said firmly. “I can already feel my siren powers waning. They’ll be entirely gone in a few days. It’s hard to explain it, but I just know.”
Harper had finished all her food, so she pushed the plate aside and looked at her sister. “You’re absolutely sure?”
“Come on, guys.” Gemma laughed, but it sounded a tad uneasy. “I think I would know if I were still a siren. Okay?”