Tidal / Page 39

Page 39


“No, Penn, I swear, it was just an accident,” Lexi said.

“Penn, stop,” Thea said, her words as sweet and melodic as she could make them. “Think. You don’t want to kill Lexi right now. It’s hard enough finding the replacement for one siren, let alone two.”

Penn knew she was right, so she took a deep breath and pushed the monster back down. Slowly she felt her fangs pull back, but her eyes stayed changed. She couldn’t put her anger completely to rest, nor did she want to.

She kept her power with the sirens by letting them know she’d do whatever it took to keep the power. She’d had no problem destroying anyone who stood in her way or went against her, and she wasn’t about to stop now.

“Lexi, go find the scroll,” Penn commanded, and her voice had returned to its normal saccharine tone. “If it’s there, bring it back to me. I will take care of it.”

“What if it’s not there?” Lexi asked.

“You better pray it is, but if Gemma finds that scroll, you’ll be the first one to die,” Penn warned her. “Do you understand?”

Lexi nodded. “Yes, I understand.”

She ran down the stairs, and when she raced by Penn, she gave her as much room as she could. Penn was tempted to give chase and attack her, but it would be better if Lexi retrieved the scroll sooner rather than later.

Thea waited to speak again until after Lexi had gone out the back door. They watched through the window as she dove off the cliff behind the house, where she’d land in the water crashing below them.

“What’s your plan if Gemma doesn’t have the scroll?” Thea asked.

“We’ll stay for now,” Penn said, still staring out the back window as the setting sun reflected off the bay. “I don’t want another Gemma or Lexi on my hands, and the more time I spend being sure that Liv is the right choice, the better off we will all be.

“But we can’t stay that much longer.” Penn turned back to Thea. “It’s only a matter of time before your precious Gemma finds the scroll, so we’ll have to kill her first.”

NINETEEN

Inebriated

Two doors down from Pearl’s Diner was a bar frequented by the dockworkers. Harper had never been inside before because she wasn’t yet of the legal drinking age, but judging by how it looked on the outside, she assumed it was a dive. Her dad had gone there from time to time, and everything he’d said about it had confirmed her suspicions.

When three men came tumbling out of the battered front door of the bar, yelling and swearing, Harper hadn’t thought much of it. They made enough noise to disrupt her kiss with Daniel, but that was all.

Or it would’ve been, if Harper hadn’t seen the source of all the trouble. Two of the men were there just to pull the third one out of the bar. They tossed him onto the sidewalk, where he’d hit his head on the cement, and that was when Harper saw who it was.

“Alex?” Harper asked. She put her hands on Daniel’s chest to push him back a bit, but he’d already started stepping away.

“I’m fine!” Alex had gotten to his feet and was yelling. “That other guy was being the dick, not me!”

Harper rushed over to him, getting there just in time to catch him from falling back again. Unfortunately, he was too heavy for Harper, so he nearly took her down with him, but Daniel grabbed his arm and hoisted him back up.

“Is this a friend of yours?” one of the guys from the bar asked.

“I don’t have any friends.” Alex tried to push Daniel away, but Daniel kept his grip firmly on Alex’s arm. “I don’t need any friends.”

“Yeah, we’re his friends,” Harper said, ignoring Alex’s protests. “And we’re sorry about any trouble he’s caused. He’s just been going through some things.”

“Well, tell your friend not to come back here if he’s going to be starting fights,” the guy said.

“Will do,” Harper promised him with a smile, and the two guys went back into the bar, leaving Daniel and Harper to handle Alex.

“I don’t need your help,” Alex muttered, then turned to look at Harper.

He smelled faintly of alcohol. His jeans had holes in them, and his dark bangs kept falling into his eyes. Not to mention that he’d hit his head pretty hard on the sidewalk, and Harper could see the blood through his dark hair.

“Alex, you’re bleeding,” Harper said. “We should take you to the hospital.”

“I’m fine,” he said and managed to push Daniel off him.

“At least let me look at it,” Harper insisted. Alex looked like he was about to protest, so she added, “If you don’t let me look at it, I’m calling 911, and they’ll look instead. And I’m certain they wouldn’t approve of your underage drinking.”

Alex groaned but walked over to a nearby bench. He sat down with a heavy thud and repeated, “I’m fine. I don’t need your help.”

“Alex, you’re clearly not fine,” Harper said, sitting down next to him. “You’re fighting, and I’ve never known you to drink before. How did you even get into the bar? You’re only eighteen.”

He waved her off. “If you work down at the docks, they let you drink. That’s the only thing that matters.”

She parted his hair to get a better look, but he appeared to have only a small cut. It was bleeding some, but it wasn’t serious enough to warrant stitches.

“Alex.” Harper dropped her hands back into her lap and watched him. “You should really go get checked out. You might have a concussion or something.”

“Oh, like you even care?” Alex sneered at her. “All you care about is that stupid bitch sister of yours.”

A couple with a small child and a dog walked by just as Alex was swearing. They gave him a wide berth, and Daniel apologized and offered them a polite smile.

“Alex!” Harper snapped. She leaned back on the bench. “I know that’s not your fault and you don’t mean that, but you can’t talk about Gemma that way. Not around me.”

“Harper, maybe we should continue this conversation somewhere else,” Daniel said, motioning to more people across the street. It wasn’t late, and it was a nice night, so Capri was still somewhat busy.

Harper rubbed her temple and looked over at Alex. He had hunched forward, burying his hands in his thick hair. Despite his attempts to cover it up, Harper didn’t think she’d ever seen him in more pain. Whatever was going on with him, it looked like torture.


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