“‘Sweetie’?” Marcy gave her an odd look. “I messed up my leg. I didn’t turn into an octogenarian with a penchant for kittens.”
“We just came to see how you’re doing,” Alex said, and he leaned against the arm of the couch next to Harper, as if he were afraid of getting any closer to Marcy and disturbing her.
Marcy shrugged. “All right, considering.”
“I was gonna make her some soup,” Lydia said. “It’s my grandma’s special recipe. Do you guys want any?”
“You should totally try it,” Marcy said.
“I’m okay. I just ate.” Harper patted her belly.
“So did I, but I’ll have a bowl,” Alex said.
Lydia disappeared into the small, adjoining kitchen, and soon they heard pots and pans banging around. Scooby Doo was solving some kind of mystery involving an old groundskeeper on the television, and Marcy watched intently for a few minutes before turning it down.
“Have you talked to the police anymore?” Marcy asked, looking over at Harper.
“Not since last night.”
With everything that had happened, they’d thought it was best to call the police. After they got rid of Penn’s and Liv’s bodies, of course. Harper had thought that Thea had left the area, but she’d really just gone down the hill to get Liv’s body.
Once she came back with all of Liv’s parts, she threw them over the cliff, and Gemma and Daniel did the same with Penn’s body. Thea claimed that in the saltwater, the siren’s body would dissolve over a couple hours, so there’d be nothing to find.
As for the sirens’ house, they cleaned up as much of the blood as they could, then they locked it up and left it. Thea said that since Penn had scared everyone away, they could leave it empty for a long time before anyone noticed. So they’d decided to wait a week or two, then, just to be safe, they would burn it down, destroying any other evidence that was left behind.
The only thing they’d really told the police about was Kirby, and that had been simpler. They said that Marcy was driving up to the cliff to be alone with Kirby. Then a tree damaged in a bad storm in August had fallen over, landing on the roof. She skidded out of the way, smashed into another tree, and Kirby had gotten killed in the wreck.
It might have sounded unbelievable, but thanks to Gemma’s and Thea’s residual siren charms, the cops seemed to believe it. And besides, there wasn’t another obvious reason for a fallen tree or smashed-up car.
“You think they bought it all?” Marcy asked.
Harper nodded. “Gemma and Thea managed to convince them.”
“Here.” Lydia came into the living room carrying a salt-and-pepper ferret that was at least twice as fat as any ferret should be, and she handed it to Marcy. “He keeps trying to get in the pot.”
“Bruce loves his chicken.” Marcy petted him as he tried to nibble on her fingers. “It’s ’cause he’s a member of the weasel family. They’re super into birds.”
“How are you doing with the whole Kirby thing?” Harper asked, deciding that it might be a good time to bring it up since Marcy was holding Bruce.
“I don’t know. We weren’t dating for very long but…” Tears welled in her eyes, looking even larger through her thick glasses, and she shook her head and sniffled. “What’s done is done.”
“Did you hear when his funeral is?” Alex asked.
“Not yet. I haven’t talked to his parents or anything, and I don’t want to.” She held her ferret closer to her, and he sniffed at a lone tear that slid down her cheek. “So I’ll probably just find out when they post it in the obituary.”
Harper reached over and rubbed her friend’s back, and surprisingly, Marcy let her. Which meant that she actually had to be really upset about all of this.
Lydia came in a few minutes later carrying two bowls of soup. “Here you guys go.” She handed one to Alex, then handed the other to Marcy, trading it for Bruce. “How is Gemma doing today?”
“Good. She’s pretty tired, so she’s at home sleeping,” Harper said. “She wanted me to send you her best.”
“I don’t know what that means.” Marcy shrugged. “So tell her that I send her my awesomest.”
“So … is she human?” Lydia asked, trying to sound nonchalant. She stood off to the side of the room, petting the ferret.
“Yeah. Penn’s dead,” Harper said. “It was like Diana said. With her dead, the curse is broken.”
“Well, actually, Diana said, ‘If you tried to kill Penn, then you wouldn’t need to break the curse.’” It was the overly casual way she said it that unnerved Harper, like she was trying too hard to make it sound like none of this mattered, but she really thought it did.
“Yeah, that’s what I said,” Harper said, nearly snapping at her.
“No, it’s a little different.” Lydia set Bruce down. “Because I was talking to Pine about the translations, and it doesn’t sound like it matters if you kill Penn or any of the sirens, as long as they’re replaced.”
“The translation is wrong then,” Harper told her harshly. “Because Gemma said the curse is broken. Tell her, Alex.”
“It’s over,” Alex agreed, but he sounded confused, like he didn’t completely understand the exchange between Harper and Lydia. “I mean, I asked her directly, and so did Harper, and she says over. And why would she lie?”
“Maybe she doesn’t know,” Marcy suggested.
Lydia shook her head. “She would know.”
“Exactly. And both she and Thea said they can feel that the curse is broken,” Harper said firmly. “They could both feel their powers waning, and that’s why Gemma is so tired and out of it today.”
The room lapsed into an awkward silence, so Alex took a bite of soup, and very loudly said, “Mmm. This is really good soup, Lydia.”
“Thanks.” She smiled politely.
“My dad had the car towed into town,” Marcy said. “She’s pretty totaled, but I’m optimistic that they might be able to save her.”
“The Gremlin?” Alex asked. “Wouldn’t it be cheaper to buy a new car than fix her?”
“Lucinda’s not just a car,” Marcy corrected him. “You saw her. She’s magic. And even if I have to work at the library for the next eighty years to pay to get her fixed, it’ll be worth it. Oh, but that reminds me, I should probably call in for Tuesday.”