“It’s fine. I’ll make Lexi clean it when she gets back.” Thea smiled at her, but Gemma couldn’t muster up a return smile. She lowered her eyes and was walking to the door when Thea spoke again. “It’s not here, Gemma.”
“What?” Gemma turned back to her.
“The scroll. I won’t tell you where it is, but I can tell you that it’s not here,” Thea said, sounding almost irritated to be admitting it to Gemma.
“Why are you telling me this?” Gemma asked. “And how do I know that I can trust you?”
“You can’t.” Thea shrugged. “I’m telling you because…” She sighed and shook her head. “I don’t know why I am. I just know that you don’t have much time left before Penn replaces you, and … I don’t want you wasting your time looking for something you’ll never find.”
“Oh, my gawd, everything about this town is horrible,” Lexi groaned as she flipped through the radio stations in Penn’s convertible. “Why did you have to get a stupid classic car? We could’ve had satellite radio.”
“You know me,” Penn said. “I love the classics.”
They were far enough out of Capri that the radio stations decided to just give up and turn into full-on static. Lexi flicked the radio off, then leaned back in her seat, sulking.
“At least we’re getting out for the day,” Penn said. “That ought to make you happy.”
“No, it only makes me sadder because I get to be reminded of how awesome the rest of the world is compared to that stupid little crap fish town,” Lexi ranted. She crossed her arms over her chest and stared straight ahead at the highway in front of them.
“Fish town?” Penn asked. “What does that even mean?”
“It means it sucks, and you know it.” She turned to Penn, imploring her. “When we first got there, you said we’d only be there a few days. We were just supposed to look real quick and get out. Then we were supposed to go to Buenos Aires—”
“If we didn’t find anything,” Penn amended.
“Right, but we totally didn’t find anything,” Lexi said, then corrected herself. “Well, we didn’t find what we were looking for. So we should move on.”
“Lexi, I’m trying here,” Penn said, trying hard to keep her tone even. “We’re going to meet Gemma’s possible replacement right now. I don’t know what else you expect me to do.”
“I know, but why do we have to wait at all?” Lexi whined. “Why can’t you just kill Gemma and go grab this new girl?”
“Because I don’t want to get stuck with another Gemma again,” Penn explained as if she were talking to a small child. “I want to make sure that Liv is a perfect fit for us.”
“I thought you already decided that she was,” Lexi said. “I mean, that was the point of you going off by yourself to search the area for replacements. You were supposed to have already decided she was perfect.”
“She seems perfect, but I want all of us to approve of her.”
“So if I like her, we can turn her tonight?” Lexi asked.
“No, Thea still needs to meet her,” Penn said.
“Ugh.” Lexi groaned and leaned back in the seat. “Thea will never approve. She’s so dumb.”
“You’re upset, and I understand that, but you really need to watch your tone.” Penn glared over at her.
“Why don’t we just kill Gemma tonight?” Lexi asked. “It was just a full moon the other day, so we have almost a month to find a replacement.”
“No, that’s what happened with Aggie,” Penn said. “And the only reason I killed Aggie when I did was because she was going to kill us if I didn’t. I had no choice, and I’m not doing it again.”
“But if we just killed Gemma, we could get out of this town, and I’m sure outside of Capri there are, like, a million girls way better than her,” Lexi whined.
“Lexi, we will kill Gemma,” Penn assured her. “Soon. Very soon. Just not until I’m certain about the replacement.”
“When we kill her, can I eat her heart?” Lexi asked.
“I never get to eat anybody’s heart,” Lexi pouted. “Every time we’ve killed a siren or another immortal, you get to eat their heart, and it makes you all extra hot and feel extra good. It’s not fair. I never get to do anything.”
“Yep. I get it, Lexi,” Penn snapped. “I know how you feel. Now you’re starting to get on my nerves.”
Lexi tried to be quiet, but it only lasted about a minute before she turned to Penn. “Can I eat Daniel’s heart, at least?”
Penn nearly slammed on the brakes but managed to just ask, “What?”
“Well, you were saying that you think he might be related to that Bastian guy or whatever,” Lexi said. “The immortal you dated before I was a siren. If Daniel is related to him, then he probably has a better heart.”
“No, you cannot eat Daniel’s heart,” Penn replied icily.
“Why not?” Lexi asked. “Yeah, he’s cute, but who cares? You get to eat Gemma’s heart, can’t you just leave me your scraps?”
“No.” Penn gripped the steering wheel tightly, and her words came out through her clenched teeth, which were slowly shifting into fangs. “He’s mine.”
“He’s yours?” Lexi scoffed. “You’re being ridiculous. I would expect this kind of sentimental bullshit from Aggie or maybe Thea. But never you.”
“Lexi!” Penn growled. “You are annoying! I’m gonna pull this car over if you don’t shut the hell up!”
“No! I will not shut up!” Lexi shouted at her. “You are annoying me! You and your stupid crush on an idiot human! You’re being a total—”
Penn jerked the car to the shoulder and slammed on the brakes. Lexi finally shut up and grabbed on to the door to brace herself. Without saying anything, Penn turned and attacked Lexi.
She climbed on top of her, grabbing Lexi’s silky hair to keep her from pulling away, and she hit her in the face over and over again. Lexi squealed and clawed at Penn’s hand, but she never really fought back.
When she’d finished, Penn sat back down in the driver’s seat. As she’d been hitting Lexi, her eyes had changed into a bird’s. But she began to calm herself, and her eyes returned to normal.