“I don’t know how I feel yet,” Thea admitted finally. She put her feet up on her chair and wrapped her arms around her knees. “It’s too soon to say.”
“Oh, come on!” Lexi groaned and flopped back in her seat. “You told us you would know by now! We spent the whole evening with Liv last night. She was perfect, and you know it!”
“She was not perfect!” Thea shot back. “She’s a sycophant, and when you told her that we were sirens, she was barely fazed by it. She’s probably insane.” Thea turned her attention to Penn, giving her a hard look. “That was a big risk, by the way.”
“I used the siren song on her.” Penn brushed it off. “Liv won’t be able to tell anyone, even if she wanted to. But I doubt she would anyway. There’s no way she’d go back on her promise to me.”
“You don’t know that, Penn,” Thea insisted. “You don’t know her. And I still don’t think you’ve given Gemma enough of a chance.”
“We’ve given her plenty of chances!” Lexi yelled. “You’re being ridiculous. This is so dumb. Liv is perfect, and you’re an idiot, and we need to leave this stupid town.” She stood up and crossed her arms over her chest. “Penn and I don’t care what you say. We’re doing what we want.”
Penn shot her an icy look. “We aren’t deciding anything. I’ll make a decision. Why don’t you go upstairs and let Thea and I talk, since you can’t stop throwing a tantrum?”
“I’m not throwing a tantrum,” Lexi snapped. Penn continued to glare at her, so she scoffed before turning and stomping upstairs to the bedroom loft.
Penn leaned forward and rested her arms on her knees, turning her attention back to Thea. “Forget Gemma. She’s out of the picture. We’re not keeping her, no matter what you say or what she does. Okay?”
“I think you’re being a bit premature, but it’s your call.” Thea shrugged and kept her eyes fixed on the floor.
“When we take Gemma off the table, how do you feel about Liv?” Penn asked.
“There’s just something about her that I don’t trust,” Thea said. “Liv rubbed me the wrong way.”
“But you have to admit that she’s going to follow orders much better than Gemma does,” Penn said. “When I told her we were sirens, she was so excited to become one of us.”
“That’s just it, Penn!” Thea looked up to meet her sister’s gaze. “This is a curse. She shouldn’t be excited about it.”
“It’s an awesome curse,” Penn countered, and Thea shook her head.
“You chose Lexi because of how submissive she was,” Thea reminded Penn. “I wanted a different girl, but you kept going on and on about the handmaiden that worshipped your beauty. And Aggie sided with you to keep the peace.”
“Yeah, so?” Penn asked. “That turned out great.”
“Did it?” Thea arched her eyebrow. “Or is Lexi constantly getting on your nerves?”
“I can hear you, you know!” Lexi shouted from upstairs.
“No matter what you think of Lexi, you have to admit that she’s worked out way better than Gemma,” Penn said, ignoring Lexi. “She’s been part of our group for nearly three hundred years, and she may be obnoxious, but I haven’t killed her yet. So that’s something.”
Thea leaned closer to Penn, and when she spoke, she’d lowered her voice to just above a whisper. “I know you’re not ready to leave. Whatever you have going on with Daniel, I know you’re not about to give that up just yet.”
Penn considered this, but didn’t say anything.
“And I want to finish the play I’m in,” Thea said. “I know you don’t care about it, but maybe you can spend more time with Daniel, and everyone can spend more time making sure that Liv is the right choice instead of just jumping into a hasty decision again.”
“You’re suggesting that I wait to kill Gemma until after the play?” Penn asked.
“Yeah,” Thea said. “It’s only a couple more weeks.”
“We don’t have that much time,” Lexi said, leaning over the railing of the upstairs loft so she could see them.
“We have as much time as I say we have,” Penn snapped at her.
“No, we don’t.” Lexi shook her head. “I did something bad. By accident.”
“What did you do?” Thea asked, her voice a low growl. “You didn’t kill anybody, did you?”
“No, I just…” She sighed. “I may have let it slip where the scroll is.”
“What scroll?” Penn asked. Her nose wrinkled in confusion, but then realization hit her, and she stood up. “The scroll? Who did you tell about the scroll?”
“Gemma,” Lexi admitted sheepishly. “She tricked me last night. She said she’d already found it, and I told her that it was with Achelous, and so I think she put the pieces together. Or at least she probably will.”
“You stupid wench!” Penn shouted, and Lexi cringed. “Thea’s right! You are the biggest mistake I have ever made! You are so dumb and useless!”
Thea stood up, moving between Penn and the staircase as if preparing for Penn to run upstairs and attack Lexi. Penn wanted to do just that, but she stayed where she was, seething.
Her temper was barely under control, and she felt her fingers begin to elongate. Her gums had begun to itch as her teeth shifted into fangs, and her vision had already become clearer as her eyes changed into those of a bird.
“Does she have the scroll?” Thea asked Lexi, her voice calm.
“I don’t know.” Lexi shook her head, and Penn could see tears pooling in her eyes. That only enraged her more, and it took all her strength to keep from flying up there and ripping off her head.
“You’re going to get us all killed!” Penn roared. The monster had taken over her voice, shifting it from silk to something much more demonic.
“Nobody’s dead yet!” Thea held up her hands to calm her sister. “Gemma might not have the scroll yet. Lexi will go look for it, and if it’s there, she’ll bring it here for us to guard personally. If it’s not there, then we’ll go kill Gemma.”
“Why don’t we just go kill her now?” Lexi suggested. “Then it won’t matter if she has it.”
“You did this on purpose, didn’t you?” Penn asked, narrowing her eyes at her. “You wanted to leave now, so you’re trying to make it so we have to.”