“I’ve done opera before, but that’s a bit tricky.” Thea motioned to her throat. “The whole siren-song thing can turn an audience into a frenzied, obsessed mob.”
“That doesn’t sound all that pleasant.”
“No, it’s really not,” Thea said. “I’m just glad they’re not doing a musical. I so needed something to get me out of the house, but I won’t sing in front of crowds anymore.”
Tom appeared agitated by something Kirby had said and yelled at him. Not berating him, exactly, but it seemed a bit more harsh than Gemma would’ve thought the situation required.
“He’s really taking this seriously,” Thea said as they watched Tom give very forceful stage direction. “That’s weird for such a small-town production.”
“This is kind of a big deal,” Gemma said. “He’s, like, a real director. Not Broadway, but he’s done some bigger productions. He’s not from here.”
“I suppose the British accent gave that part away,” Thea said. “But how is this a big deal? Is this town super into Shakespeare or something?”
“This play is part of Capri’s big At Summer’s End Festival,” Gemma explained. “The activities kick off on August twenty-seventh and go all week until Labor Day. There’s a carnival, a parade, a cook-off, and a Miss Capri contest.”
“Weird.” Thea wrinkled her nose. “You seem to have an awful lot of festivals here.”
“It’s because it’s summer and we’re a tourist town. We have to milk it for all it’s worth, and then when the tourists go home, the town closes up. The festivals stop.”
“You cannot tell Lexi that,” Thea said. “She would freak out.”
Gemma chewed her lip, and then turned to Thea. “How much longer do you think you’re going to stay here?”
“It’s hard to say.” Thea lowered her eyes.
“You’re getting restless, all of you are,” Gemma said. She paused, but Thea didn’t bother to contradict her. “You haven’t found out anything supernatural or helpful about Alex or Daniel. Have you?”
“I never really thought that Alex loving you was all that supernatural,” Thea said, and just saying it like that opened the still-fresh wound in Gemma’s heart. She tried to keep her expression neutral as Thea went on. “My theory is that Alex had already fallen in love with you before you became a siren. That’s how he got around the curse.”
“Did you tell Penn that?” Gemma asked.
“No,” Thea said. “I thought the curse needed some reevaluating, that maybe we’d been denying things that were true. I just wanted to talk Penn into staying here so we could figure things out.”
“And what have you found?” Gemma asked, but she thought she already knew the answer. If they’d had any major breakthroughs, any life-changing pieces of information, Thea wouldn’t be sitting in the theater preparing for a play.
“Nothing.” Thea’s husky voice sounded soft and sad. “I don’t know where else to look. And Penn’s lost interest.” She stopped, correcting herself. “Well, she’s lost interest in Alex, anyway.”
That was a relief, but that was what Gemma had suspected. She hadn’t spoken to Alex since they’d broken up, but she’d found out from Thea that the sirens had had a few conversations with him. None of them had sounded too terrible, mostly because Penn found Alex simple and boring.
Penn had her sights set on somebody else entirely, and Gemma turned her attention to him. Back past where Tom was instructing Aiden and Kirby, working quietly so as not to disturb them, Daniel was crouched down, with the blueprints for the sets spread out on the stage.
The sleeves of his flannel shirt were rolled up far enough that the black tendrils of his tattoo reached out from beneath one. He ran a hand through his dirty blond hair absently. His jaw was set firmly in thought, the dark line of his stubble like a shadow across his face.
While Penn’s interest in Daniel was growing more apparent, neither Gemma nor Daniel had really told Harper about it. She was aware that the sirens were trying to figure out the source of his immunity, but that was all. Gemma thought it would be better if Harper had one less thing to worry about.
“Maybe…” Thea sighed and tossed her long red hair back over her shoulder. “You need to try harder, Gemma.”
“What?” Gemma turned to face her.
“Penn and Lexi won’t stay here forever.” Thea’s green eyes were serious. “And I would like it if you left with us. So you need to try harder to get along with them.”
“Thanks, but…” Gemma shook her head. “I don’t want to go with you.”
“I know you want to break the curse, and if you find a way, good for you,” Thea said. “I mean that honestly. If you can find a way out of this that doesn’t involve my death, then more power to you. But if you can’t, then you should find a way to make this work.”
“Thea, I can’t.” Gemma swallowed hard. “I can’t be a siren.”
“You already are,” Thea told her emphatically. “And if it comes down to being a siren or being dead, you should pick the siren. It’s not as bad as it seems.”
“If it comes down to it, I’ll think about it,” Gemma said finally, but she wasn’t sure if she would. “But you really don’t know a way to break the curse?”
“Not one that doesn’t end up with us all dead, yourself included.” Thea shook her head. “And I can assure you that being a siren is better than that.”
“I’ll try and get along with Penn and Lexi more,” Gemma allowed. “But if you know anything about breaking the curse, will you tell me?”
“Assuming it doesn’t kill me or my sisters, yeah, I will.” Thea turned back to the stage, and her tone sounded brighter than it had a few moments ago. “We’re not leaving just yet, anyway. I know I’m definitely finishing this play.”
“You really like acting?” Gemma asked, glad to be off the subject.
Thea laughed. “This whole curse started because we were so obsessed with performing for an audience that we weren’t doing our jobs. I don’t like it—I love it.”
“Kate?” Tom was saying from the stage. “Kate? Katherine?”
“Oh, right, that’s me,” Thea said.