Thunder cracked overhead, and Alex looked up, staring at the heavy clouds swirling above them. The wind blew his hair back from his eyes, which had a look of total fascination in them, like the storm was entrancing him.
“I should be out there tracking this,” Alex said quietly, almost to himself.
Daniel joined Alex in staring up at the sky. “It looks like it’s gonna start storming soon.”
“There’s something big on the way, that’s for sure,” Alex agreed.
“Yeah, well, I should probably get going if I’m going to head up to Sundham before the storm really rolls in,” Daniel said, looking back at Alex.
Alex nodded. “All right.” He waited until Daniel turned to walk away before saying, “Hey, Daniel. Are you … You’re talking to Gemma a lot?”
“Um, kind of, I guess,” Daniel answered uncertainly. “Why?”
“I can’t…” Alex shook his head, as if struggling to find the words. “Right now I can’t protect her the way I want to. Things are … not right between us. But I want her safe.”
“Yeah, I get that,” Daniel said.
“Can you watch out for her?” Alex asked, looking at him. “Just until I can get this mess under control. Can you keep an eye on her for me, make sure everything’s okay?”
“Yeah, of course.” Daniel nodded.
Alex looked relieved and smiled. “Thank you.”
“No problem,” Daniel said. “And I’ll have your car back in the morning.”
“Yeah, that’d be fine,” Alex told him. “Take as much time as you need.”
Without any further warning, it started to rain. Earlier, when Daniel had been walking over to Alex’s, he’d felt the occasional sprinkle. But this was as if the sky had opened up and poured water on them.
“I’m gonna run inside,” Alex said, and he was already backing toward his house.
“Yeah, sure.” Daniel hit the remote unlock on the keys and reached for the car door. “Thanks again!”
He jumped in the car, already dripping wet. It had only been a matter of seconds that he’d been outside in the rain, but it was coming down hard enough that he was nearly soaked. He ran his hand back and forth through his hair, trying to shake off a few excess drops.
Daniel knew how to drive, but he’d never driven Alex’s car before, so he took a few minutes to acclimate himself. One of the hardest things about driving a strange car was figuring out how to get the windshield wipers working at the right speed.
Once he got that straightened out, he backed out of Alex’s driveway. Daniel hadn’t even made it to the end of the block when his phone started vibrating in his pocket. When he pulled the phone out, the ID said it was Harper, so he took a deep breath and decided that now was as good a time as any to invite himself up to visit her.
“Hey, Harp—” Daniel began, but that was all he could get out before she was shouting frantically in his ear.
“Where’s Gemma? Are you okay? Are you with her? What’s going on?”
“What?” Daniel had just reached the stop sign at the end of the block, and there were no cars behind him, so he decided to wait there until he could figure out what Harper was freaking out about. “I’m fine. I don’t know where Gemma’s at. I’m just in a car.”
“What car?” Harper asked. “Where are you going? Have you talked to Gemma?”
“I borrowed Alex’s car,” Daniel said. “I thought I would come out and visit you tonight, and I haven’t talked to Gemma today.”
“No!” Harper shouted. “You can’t come out tonight! Something’s wrong. Something’s going on with Gemma. You have to find her.”
“Slow down, Harper,” Daniel said. “I can barely understand you.”
“I’ve been calling and calling, and she’s not answering her phone,” Harper said. Her voice was trembling, and it sounded like she was on the verge of tears. “And I just know it. Something’s happened, and I don’t think I’ll make it there in time.”
“Are you driving right now?” Daniel asked. “Harper, you need to pull over until you calm down. You’re bordering on hysterics, it’s torrential rain, and you’re on the phone. You’re gonna get in an accident.”
“No, I’m fine, Daniel,” Harper insisted. “I just need you to find Gemma.”
“Yeah, I get that, and I’ll go look for her as soon as you pull over,” Daniel said.
“Daniel, please!” Harper sobbed. “She’s hurt! I can feel it, and she’s hurt!”
“Okay, calm down,” Daniel said, keeping his voice as even as he could. “I’ll go look for her. Do you have any idea where she’s at?”
“No, but she’s probably with the sirens,” Harper said, and that sounded like a safe bet to Daniel, too.
“I’m going out to their house now.” Daniel pulled away from the stop sign. “You need to take a deep breath and slow down. I’ll find Gemma and make sure she’s safe. As soon as I do, one of us will call you, okay?”
“Okay.” Harper exhaled, and she did sound a bit calmer. “Thank you. And I’m sorry for calling you. I just didn’t know who else to turn to.”
“No, it’s no problem,” Daniel assured her. “I’ll take care of it.”
“Thank you,” Harper repeated. “And be careful, okay? I don’t want you getting hurt, either.”
“I will, and drive safe. I’ll talk to you soon.”
Daniel tossed the phone on the passenger seat and sped up. Harper’s worst fear was coming true, and she hadn’t even been gone for a day.
He briefly considered that this might just be her paranoia flaring up, but he immediately dismissed it. Harper and Gemma had that weird psychic bond, and if she said that Gemma was in trouble, then Gemma probably was.
Whether or not the sirens were involved with what was happening with Gemma was another story. Daniel didn’t think Penn would go back on their deal, not when it was so close to happening. But she’d only promised that she wouldn’t hurt Gemma or Harper. That didn’t mean the other sirens wouldn’t.
He raced across town, ignoring speed limits and red lights whenever he could. When he started up the hill, things got a bit trickier. It was raining so hard the streets were flooded, and the wind had picked up. The car couldn’t get traction, and the storm nearly blew him off the road several times.