She reacted on instinct, doing what her body told her to do. She didn’t even realize what she was doing until she felt Sawyer’s lips pressed against hers. She’d thrown her arms around him, pressing her body as tightly as she could against the warm contours of his, and kissing him ferociously.
The only reason she stopped kissing him was that she needed to breathe, and she felt his lips on her neck, trailing down her collarbone. Hot tingles radiated through her, reminding her of when her legs shifted into a tail, and dimly she wondered if she was transforming into something else.
Then suddenly Alex flashed into her mind. When the hunger/lust had first taken over her, it had blocked him from her thoughts, but now she remembered him again. She loved him, and she still thought of him as her boyfriend, even if she wasn’t sure that she’d ever see him again.
So this with Sawyer, this was cheating on him. Maybe for a second she’d lost control, and that could be forgiven. But she remembered now, and she had to get back in control before she did something with Sawyer that she’d regret forever.
“No,” Gemma said. She started pushing against his chest, but Sawyer ignored her, still kissing the spot just above her heart. “I said no!” She pushed more forcefully then, and he went flying back, slamming hard against the railing behind him.
“Did I do something wrong?” Sawyer asked in a daze.
“Yes!” Gemma shouted, then shook her head. It was a struggle for her to keep from attacking him again. “No. I don’t know. But I have to get out of here.”
“I’m sorry.” He moved toward her in some attempt at an apology, and Gemma jumped off the step, getting away from him before she gave in to her urges.
“Where are your keys?” Gemma asked, realizing the house was far too small for her to stay away from him. Sawyer stared blankly at her, not understanding. “I need to get out of here! Where are your car keys?”
“They’re on a hook by the garage.”
She turned and ran toward the garage, but Sawyer followed, asking her where she was going and apologizing for upsetting her. She never answered him, though. She just grabbed the keys off the rack and dove into his convertible.
Gemma sped off without knowing where she was going or how to get there, but the wind was in her hair, helping clear her head of the bizarre lust that had consumed her inside the house. She wasn’t sure if she was ever going back to the house, or if she could ever handle herself around Sawyer again. All she knew was that she had to get the hell away from that house as fast as she could.
The idea had been Marcy’s, and Harper thought it was idiotic. Harper had woken up Monday morning with renewed vigor and determination to find Gemma. She’d been gone for a week already, and Harper had yet to hear anything from her.
Before going to work this morning, she did her morning routine of making phone calls to everyone she could think of. Alex continued to scour the Internet, not just with his FindGemmaFisher pages, but searching for any news stories that might relate to the sirens at all.
The problem was that Gemma could literally be anywhere. She could’ve swum across the Atlantic, for all Harper knew, which made it impossible to pin down any type of location. So until Harper got some kind of clue or lead, she was stuck making phone calls, searching the Web, and going about her daily life and hoping that Gemma was taking care of herself.
It was while Harper was at work that Alex stopped by the library, and the two of them began lamenting the lack of search options for Gemma. Then Marcy came up with her brilliant idea.
“Why don’t you ask Gemma where she’s at?” Marcy asked.
Harper was standing at the copy machine, making flyers for the new July summer reading program. Alex was sitting in Harper’s chair at the desk, and both of them were completely caught off guard by Marcy’s question.
“What?” Harper asked, and turned around to look at her.
Marcy was sitting on top of the desk, even though there was a perfectly good chair next to it, and was focused on making herself a necklace out of paper clips.
“You keep saying that Gemma could be anywhere, like Spain or Japan or Kentucky.”
“I never said Kentucky,” Harper corrected her. “The sirens wouldn’t go to the middle of the country. They’d want to be by the ocean.”
“Well, exactly.” Marcy bit her lip in concentration as she tried to unhook a paper clip that had gotten bent. “She could be anywhere. So the easiest way to find her is to ask her.”
“We can’t just ask her,” Alex said. “We have no idea how to contact her. She left her cell phone behind, and I’ve been checking her Twitter and Facebook, but she hasn’t been on them.”
Marcy rolled her eyes. “I don’t mean call her or drop her a postcard.”
“Okay…” Harper said after Marcy went several moments without saying anything. “How do you propose we contact her?”
“We use the spirits,” Marcy said.
“The spirits?” Harper raised an eyebrow. “You mean like Capri Liquor Wine & Spirits?” Marcy looked up from her paper clips to glare at Harper.
“Gemma’s not dead, though.” Alex leaned on the desk and looked up at Marcy. “She’s not a ghost, so we can’t just ask her.”
“She isn’t,” Marcy agreed. “But that friend of yours is, and so is Bernie.”
“My friend?” Alex questioned. “You mean Luke?”
“Right.” Marcy finished her necklace, and she dropped it around her neck. “Both Bernie and Luke were murdered by the sirens. At least one of them has to be a restless spirit, haunted by the fact that their murderers got away with it, and I bet they’re keeping tabs on the sirens, too.”
Harper rolled her eyes. “Oh, come on, Marcy. That’s ridiculous.”
“You really think that Luke would know where Gemma and the other girls are hiding?” Alex asked, oblivious to Harper’s comments.
“Probably.” Marcy nodded. “I mean, if Penn had killed you and ripped out your heart, then run off to frolic in the ocean, wouldn’t you be pissed off and stalk her?”
“I probably would,” Alex reasoned. “So how do we go about this? How would we try contacting them?”
“Alex!” Harper said in disbelief. “You can’t really be buying into this.”
“Your sister is a siren,” Alex said, looking back at her. “She can turn into a mermaid. But ghosts seem unbelievable to you?”