Marcy did know something about Lydia’s great-grandmother Audra, but it wasn’t good news. She had died years ago.
One of their biggest hopes of finding the goddess was dead. It seemed like anytime Gemma thought she’d be able to break the curse, something happened that would make it more difficult.
“Have you found out anything more?” Thea asked.
“I don’t think there’s anything more to find out,” Gemma said, admitting her greatest fear.
“I told you that,” Thea said, but she sounded apologetic.
“Thea!” Liv’s voice wafted down the hall, her song seeming to penetrate through everything.
It should have been a lovely sound. Liv wasn’t quite the enchantress that Lexi had been with her song, but her voice was on a par with Penn’s, which even Gemma found seductive when Penn was really giving it her all.
But for some reason, when Liv sang, it sent chills down Gemma’s spine. Her words had a beautiful velvet layer, but beneath it, there was a supernatural quality that felt like nails on a chalkboard.
“Thea,” Liv called again, and Thea groaned, making Gemma wonder if Liv’s voice had the same effect on Thea as it did on her.
“I’m in the dressing room!” Thea shouted.
“Penn sent me down to get you because you’re taking forever.” Liv leaned against the doorframe and tousled her blond hair. “And I want to get out of here.”
“You guys have big plans for this evening?” Gemma asked.
She slid back to the corner of the dressing room, where she planned to do a kind of dressing gymnastics. There was no divider or privacy in the room, and Gemma had to attempt to pull on her T-shirt and jean shorts around the costume, so Liv didn’t get a peek at more than Gemma wanted to show.
It was strange because Gemma had changed in front of Thea and the other actresses in the play several times today, not to mention all the times she’d gone swimming with the sirens, and they’d seen her in various stages of undress.
So it wasn’t the being seminude part that bothered her. It was Liv, and her large, hungry eyes, and the way Gemma would be able to feel them searching her. Just thinking about it made Gemma feel violated, and she hastily pulled her shirt on over the dress.
“You didn’t tell her about our plans?” Liv shook her head and made a clicking sound with her tongue. “That’s not very sisterly, Thea.”
Thea leaned back against the makeup counter, folded her arms over her chest, and rested her weary gaze on Gemma. “I didn’t think you’d want to join us. We’re going out of town.”
“To a club filled with tasty boys,” Liv added with an excited giggle.
Gemma knew exactly what that meant—they were going to feed.
“I think I’ll pass,” she said as she fumbled with her shorts, but she could already feel her stomach rumbling at the thought.
Over the past week or so, she’d been shoveling down as much human food as she possibly could. But none of that did anything to satiate the more primal appetite that was growing inside her. It had been exactly two months since she’d last eaten, as the hunger pains reminded her every day.
Soon, it would be the autumnal equinox, and Thea warned Gemma that she would need to feed by then. Her siren’s charms and power grew weaker the longer she went. Her voice wasn’t throaty like Thea’s, but it didn’t have the same silky edge that Penn’s or even Liv’s had.
Thea had once gone so long without feeding that she caused irreparable damage, making her sultry voice huskier and deeper for the rest of eternity. Thea refused to say much about the months she’d gone without eating other than telling Gemma that it had been excruciating, and she’d gone absolutely mad with hunger.
But Gemma didn’t need any of those warnings. She could feel it in her stomach, in her bones, in her very being gnawing at her day in and day out. A constant reminder that her body would make her feed whether she wanted to or not.
The dress was sliding down as she tried to pull the shorts up under it, and she almost fell over before successfully getting them up around her waist. When she’d finished, she stepped out of her dress and exhaled deeply, blowing back the hair that had fallen in her face.
“But isn’t that kinda dangerous?” Gemma asked, which was about as close as she could get to talking them out of it. She hated the idea of their feeding, of killing people, but she didn’t know how to stop them.
“Why would it be dangerous? We’re the most dangerous predator in the club,” Liv pointed out.
“But you’re new,” Gemma told her. “You’re still not completely in control.”
“I’m always in control.” A sly smile spread out across Liv’s face, and her words began to sound like a veiled threat. “You think you’d know that by now, Gemma.”
“So do you want to join us?” Thea asked with exaggerated enthusiasm that meant she’d rather be doing just about anything other than going out with Liv.
“It sounds like a blast, but I think I’ll have to pass this time,” Gemma said, denying her hunger for as long as she possibly could.
“It’s your loss,” Thea said, but she sounded envious that she didn’t get to skip it herself.
“See you around, Gemma.” Liv wagged her fingers as she departed, and Thea followed her reluctantly.
Gemma waited until after they’d left before she hung up her costume and straightened up the dressing room. Harper was home this weekend, so maybe after the last performance tomorrow, Gemma could convince her to go out for a swim with her. It wouldn’t be anywhere near as good as feeding, but it might help take the edge off the pangs that jabbed into her stomach.
By the time she’d finished getting everything put away, Gemma was completely alone in the theater. The last crew member had dropped by on his way out, reminding her to turn out the lights before she left.
Daniel was usually the last one out, or at the very least, he’d wait around for Gemma. But with the set built, he didn’t have much work to do except get it reset for the next day’s show. Besides that, with Harper in town, he was eager to spend as much time with her as he could.
As Gemma flicked off the lights by the back door, watching the theater go black behind her, she was suddenly struck by how lonely she was. When she went home, Brian would be asleep in his recliner in the living room, with a Saturday Night Live rerun playing on the TV. Harper would be out with Daniel, and Gemma would go into the house by herself.