Tidal / Page 72

Page 72


After supper, they went home, and Gemma had immediately called Thea. It was in the guise of going for a late-night swim, but she really wanted to find out what the sirens were up to, and see when the best time would be for her to sneak in.

Thea hadn’t been interested, but in between complaining about Lexi and talking about play rehearsal, Thea made a confession—they were going out of town the next day to feed. It had been a while since Thea had eaten, and she was growing restless.

Gemma tried not to think about what that meant, that somebody would have to die to feed the sirens. She knew that they had to eat, and the small comfort she could take from it was that they’d cut down and they were going outside of Capri to find food.

But the sooner she found the scroll, the sooner she could stop the sirens, and then nobody else would ever have to die. And she had finally found her chance.

Gemma woke up Thursday morning with a renewed sense of purpose. She waited around the house for as long as she could. Thea hadn’t told her what time the sirens planned on leaving, but she imagined that Lexi and Penn weren’t exactly morning people, so she waited until early afternoon.

When she finally decided it was late enough, she hopped on her bike and rode down to the library at the center of town. She wore a dress, so she pedaled carefully but quickly.

She’d left without telling Daniel—specifically going against their agreement that she would tell him everything. But he seemed to have something heavy weighing on him, and if this went well, none of them would have to worry about the sirens for much longer. It would be better if she just dealt with this on her own and got as few people involved as possible.

The skies overhead had been darkening all morning, and Gemma felt a few sporadic raindrops as she pedaled. Not that she minded. The air was thick and warm with humidity, and it would be nice if the rain came and cooled things off.

Gemma locked her bike up outside the library, and when she opened the door, it felt like stepping into a refrigerator after being outside. The library was relatively busy, thanks to the combination of stifling heat and the impending storm.

Marcy sat at the desk, her head tilted back as she attempted to balance a pencil on the spot between her top lip and her nose. She was apparently oblivious to the patrons around her and didn’t even notice Gemma until she walked right up to her.

“Hey, Marcy.”

Marcy lost her concentration and the pencil dropped. She shrugged and sat up straighter, and Gemma leaned on the desk.

“Are you here applying for the job?” Marcy asked. “Because we have a vacancy now, and one Fisher sister is probably as good as another.”

“That’s actually not a bad idea,” Gemma said. “Remind me to apply when I have more time.”

“You don’t have time now?” Marcy arched an eyebrow. “Then what are you doing here?”

Gemma smiled at her. “I came to ask you a favor.”

“I’m not buying you booze or cigarettes,” Marcy replied immediately. “Harper would kill me if I did, and they’re both lame habits. If you want to get a tattoo, though, I know a guy who does underage tattoos.”

“How do you know a guy?” Gemma asked, momentarily distracted from her mission. “Do you have a tattoo?”

Marcy stood and lifted up her shirt. She angled herself to the side so Gemma could see the tattoo right above her hipbone. It was of Ursula from The Little Mermaid. Her tentacles were twisting over Marcy’s hip, and Ursula smiled broadly with blood-red lips and winked.

“You have a Disney character?” Gemma asked in shock.

“She’s a sea witch, and she’s badass, okay?” Marcy pulled her shirt down, then sat back in the chair. “Hey, are there such things as sea witches?”

Gemma shook her head. “I’m pretty sure there aren’t.”

“Lame.” Marcy scowled in disappointment. “It would’ve been sweet if you could just make a deal with a sea witch. I mean, you’d give up your voice to stop being a siren?”

“I would. But I don’t think that’s going to be an option.”

“Life would be so much simpler if it worked out like a cartoon,” Marcy said, her monotone sounding wistful for a moment.

“It certainly would,” Gemma agreed. “Back to the favor I wanted to ask you.”

Marcy narrowed her eyes at Gemma. “You can ask, but I reserve the right to say no.”

“Obviously. It’s not a huge one, though,” Gemma said. “I just need a ride up to the sirens’ house.”

“Up on the cliff?”

“Yeah, my car isn’t working, and I just wanted to go up there real quick before the sirens get back,” Gemma explained. “It’s a short car ride, but the bike ride up the hill would take too long.”

“Where are the sirens?” Marcy asked.

“I don’t know for sure,” Gemma said. “Thea said they were going out of town to eat, and she didn’t think they’d be back in time for play rehearsal tonight. I wanted to have as much time up there as I could, and I wanted to be able to get out of there really fast.”

“Understood. When would you wanna go?”

“The sooner the better.”

“So I’d have to leave work?” Marcy asked.

“I could wait until—”

“Hey, if I have to go, then I have to go,” Marcy cut her off and got up. She grabbed her car keys out of a drawer. As she walked around the desk, she called back over her shoulder to the office, “Edie, I’m heading out! I have to help a friend! It’s life-or-death!”

“When will you be back?” Edie asked and came out of her office in time to see Marcy and Gemma departing out the front door. “Marcy?”

In the short time that Gemma had spent inside the library, it had already dropped ten degrees outside. It still wasn’t really raining, but the wind had picked up, and Gemma was even more grateful that Marcy was driving her. Riding uphill on her bike, against the wind, would’ve taken forever.

Even in Marcy’s Gremlin it was still almost a fifteen-minute drive through town and up the winding road through the pines. Gemma directed Marcy to park a little ways down from the house, closer to the overlook where Gemma had taken Alex before.

“Thanks, Marcy,” Gemma said and unbuckled her seatbelt. “I don’t know how long I’ll be gone, and if you get tired of waiting, you can bail.”

“I’m not gonna bail.” Marcy scoffed. “I should go with you up to the house.”


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