Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Chapter 10

“Oh my God. Faith. What the hell happened?” Alex rushed over to his cousin trying to take her from Chase, but Chase wouldn’t let her go.
“She’s a witch, Alex. I knew there was something different about her; but she’s a witch. So is her mother. He killed her mother. At least he said he did. That’s what he told her. She screamed and it woke me up. But she grabbed my hand and gave me her power. That’s how we got here.”
“Chase. It’s ok. You’re safe in here. He knows it. I can feel him hovering outside of the circle. He’s angry… and weak. You two must have put up a hell of a fight.”
“She did. She put up the fight. He knocked me out early on,” Chase said miserably. “I think it took too much power to get us back here. She’s wiped. You’re sure he’s weak?”
“Let’s get her back to the house then.”
Chase picked Faith up. Her golden dress was torn and smeared with mud, one strap hung loosely down her shoulder. He couldn’t help her at the cove, but he’d make sure she was safe from now on.
“Call your Aunt Diana as soon as we get to the house. We need to make sure she’s ok.”
“I will.”
Chase walked toward the house with Alex and Nick walking on either side of him.

Faith stirred. She struggled to open her eyes, but they felt so heavy. She had never felt more tired in her whole life; but she had to make sure they got out ok, that Chase was safe in the circle. She managed to lift one eyelid just enough to see Chase’s stern expression above her. She closed her lid again and felt herself smile just a bit. She was safe.

Just before entering the house, Alex saw a gleam of light bounce off of something on the side of the house. Bracing himself for a fight, he quickly turned and was surprised to see Robert, the housekeeper, stumbling toward the house. It seems the light had bounced off of the dark silver and diamond ring that Robert wore on a necklace around his neck.

“Robert! Are you ok? What happened to you?” Alex said as he jogged toward Robert to help him into the house.
“I’m fine Mister Alex,” Robert said shaking his head. “I was unable to sleep and went out for a small stroll…there was a man, at least I thought there was…never mind, I must have lost track of the time… My word! What has happened to Miss Faith?” Robert exclaimed as Chase and Nick brought Faith into the house and headed for her room.

“She’ll be alright. We had a bit of a scare back in the woods and Faith fainted. We’re just going to take her up to her room and stay with her until she comes to.”
“A fine idea. Perhaps I should wake Ms. Martin to assist?”
“No, we’ll take care of it. No need to get mom into hysterics. Faith will be fine in just a bit. Now, go to bed Robert. You look tired.” Alex gently guided Robert to his room.
“Indeed. That walk wore me out more than I thought it would,” Robert said feebly and opened up his door. “Ring for me if you should need anything.”
“We will. Good night, Robert.”
“Good evening master Alex.”

After calling his Aunt Diana to make sure she was safe, Alex made his way up to Faith’s bedroom. When Alex reached Faith’s room he saw that Chase had placed her on her bed, taken her shoes off, and then pulled the blankets up to her chest, leaving her arms out. Chase had pulled the chair to the vanity over so that he sat next to the bed. His hand was still gently holding Faith’s. Nick was seated at the bottom of the large bed. Both of them looked towards the door when Alex walked in.
“How is she?” Alex asked with a sigh.
“She hasn’t moved. Not even an inch,” Nick replied.
Alex walked over to the side of the bed opposite from Chase and brushed Faith’s hair back from her face and tucked the errant curls from her once pretty updo behind her ear. “She’ll be fine. She just needs to rest up and regain some of her energy. In the mean time, you need to fill us in on what happened at the cove Chase.”

Chase looked up, placed Faith’s hand on the blankets, and pushed back from the bed. Staying seated on the chair he put his elbows on his knees and rubbed his face with his hands hoping to rub the exhaustion away. He pulled his hands through his hair once and then slouched a bit more in his chair wincing as his bruised back rubbed against the cushioned chairback.

“It was crazy Alex. As soon as you left he came out of the woods. I thought that he would come right for me, but he didn’t. He went for Faith. Telling her that he’d been waiting for her…I didn’t know what he was talking about; so, I told him to leave her out of it. After that he flicked his hand and then I went soaring into a tree. The next thing I knew, Faith was putting up some sort of shield to protect us. She must have conjured it. She’s a witch, you know… Then, she was asking me to help her so that we could get out of there. I told her I couldn’t move the two of us without help from you two; but she insisted. We had to get out of there. So she gave me her power and we blinked out. You know the rest.”
“Do you remember anything he said? Anything that could help us?”
“I woke up to him telling Faith that he had killed her mother already… Shit! Did you call her yet? Your Aunt Diana?”
“I called her. She’s fine. She doesn’t know exactly what happened tonight. I figured it was best to not have her get hysterical and to just stay on the look out just in case this guy really does intend to make a move in that direction. It’s apparent that she had some inkling that this was going to happen. She sent Faith up here for a reason…on the day she dropped Faith off she told me that Faith was ‘more like me’ than I thought and that I’d find out how. I’m guessing that Faith being a witch was what she meant by that…”
“Why would she send Faith up here though? Why expose her to this guy?” Nick wondered out loud.
“Because without her, I would have been a goner,” Chase said tiredly. “She was the one that got us out of that mess. We need her to help us. She can do things that we can’t and vice versa.”
“How did she get her power? It couldn’t be from her dad, right? Because it was your dad that had the power…” Nick said asking the question that was just flitting across Alex’s own mind.
“No, it’s from her mom,” Chase explained. “That’s why he said that he already killed your aunt. To take her power…” Chase sat back up in his chair and scooted it close to the bed again and grabbed onto Faith’s hand. “We all need to get some sleep. I’ll stay here with Faith just in case she wakes up.”
“Sure,” Alex acquiesced. It was obvious that Chase was feeling guilty about using all of Faith’s power and wanted to make up for it.
Alex turned to Nick, “Do you want to sleep in the guest room next to my bedroom?”
“Sounds good,” Nick replied, pulling himself out of the chair he had been sitting in.
The two boys filed out of the room leaving Chase to keep watch over Faith until morning.

Chase woke up with the voice of the cloaked man ringing in his ears, “I think I’ll save you for later…say around October 31st?”
Opening his eyes he looked down at Faith’s bed to see it empty. He immediately panicked, looking around the room quickly before seeing a note on his knee.

Went for a walk to try and re-energize myself.
Be back soon!

P.S. Don’t worry, I’ll be fine. I promise.

Not worry? She passed out in his arms last night after battling a dark warlock! What was she even thinking! Chase got up out of the chair and walked toward the window. He glanced outside and saw her just coming out of the woods. She looked up at the window, saw him, and gave him a reassuring wave. Not convinced, Chase scowled at her and marched downstairs and strolled out the kitchen door. He walked towards her as she continued to make her way towards the house. Stopping at a small tree just outside of the garden, he leaned up against it and waited for her to meet him. She looked rested, healthy. She had obviously showered and redone her hair into her ubiquitous ponytail.

“So, that was quite a night last night.”
“You could say that. Why didn’t you tell us you were a witch?”
“I don’t know…I just didn’t want to feel anymore freakish around you all than I already did. Besides, I only came into my power a few years ago - around the same time I stopped coming here. So, there wasn’t much time to tell you.”
“You could have told us when you came back.”
“What? And risk being sneered at by you? I think not.”
Knowing that he probably would have sneered at her quieted any argument he might have had; so, he settled for changing the subject, “Your mother is fine.”
“I know. Alex came in while you were sleeping earlier this morning and told me what happened after we got to the circle last night. We didn’t want to wake you up. You looked like you needed the sleep,” Faith said with a smile. Then she stepped closer to Chase and gave him a small kiss on his cheek.
“What was that for?” he asked, raising his hand to touch where she had kissed him.
“That was for saving us last night; and for staying with me while I slept.”
Chase lifted his eyebrow, grabbed Faith and spun her around so that her back was against the tree trunk. He gently put his hands on either side of her face, his fingers resting on her jaw-line and softly kissed her lips until she responded by kissing him back. As they kissed Chase felt overwhelmed by a sense of Faith. It was like falling into her. He could feel a warm tingling sensation course through him. Faith put her hands on his forearms and he realized that she could feel it too. The tingling sensation was taking over the both of them. Kissing her was more than just feeling her lips on his; he could feel her all around him—in his mind, at the very core of his being. Not wanting the kiss to end, they both held onto each other. Not wanting to get caught, Chase finally pulled back and saw that they were both breathing heavily. Looking Faith in the eye, it took all of his energy and focus to say, “Now I feel properly thanked.”

Too bemused to feel affronted, Faith smiled at him and ducked under his arm and started walking towards the house once again. She tried to shake off the sense of befuddlement that kissing him had seemed to create. God, he was a good kisser.

A slow smile spread across Chase’s face. If she wanted to play hard to get, he’d be a more than willing participant. Little did she know that she was playing with a champion.

They walked into the house together and were greeted by Nick, Alex and Aunt Libby in the kitchen. Aunt Libby was at the stove scrambling eggs while she also kept an eye on the toaster. Alex and Nick looked at Faith anxiously, willing her to feel better so that Aunt Libby wouldn’t pick up on anything out of the ordinary. They had nothing to worry about though. Faith was feeling quite energetic after that little make out session under the tree with Chase.

“Good morning Aunt Libby!” Faith sang as she kissed her aunt on the cheek and headed to the cupboard to grab a box of cereal.

“Good morning Faith! How was the dance last night? The boys here aren’t too chatty this morning and won’t give me any details.”
“Um, it was great! Reese and I had a really fun time. I should actually call him…” Faith said giving the boys a look. They needed to make sure that Reese and his pals weren’t too suspicious about exactly what happened last night. “I’ll do it right after breakfast.”
“Well, I’m glad you had fun Faith. Although I’m thinking that these boys need to get back to bed and get some more sleep. Perhaps they had a bit too much fun last night…”
“These guys? Nah. They were too busy holding up the wall. Didn’t you know? The Three are too cool to have fun at a high school dance Aunt Libby.”
Aunt Libby finished putting the scrambled eggs on the three plates with a chuckle.
“Here you three. Eat this and then go back to bed. We don’t need a house filled with moody teenagers.” She placed the plates on the table. “I’m going to go and check on Robert. He hasn’t been himself these past few weeks. He’s been having trouble sleeping, hasn’t been eating much… Ever since the accident…” Aunt Libby trailed off. “Anyhow,” she said trying to sound more cheerful, “I have to go into the city today, so you all better behave yourselves.”
“We will,” they chimed in unison and she left the room.

“What do you think you’re doing?” If Faith was going to play hard to get, Chase was going to have to level the playing field and knock out the competition.
“Jeez, Chase, you scared me. I’m calling Reese to make sure he made it home safely.”
“Here, let me call him.” Chase grabbed the phone from Faith and put it to his ear. He could hear the phone ringing on the other end.
“Hey, Reese. This is Chase. Are you safe and sound?”
“Who? Chase? Yeah, I’m fine. How about you four? Is Faith ok?”
“We’re all just dandy.” Faith gave Chase a death stare. “So, about last night…”
“Don’t worry Chase. Your secret is safe with me. We’ve all heard the legend anyhow. My family is just as old as yours, remember? You didn’t really think that I wouldn’t have known?”
“Well, let’s keep this ‘knowing’ between us, ok? It’s not exactly something we like to broadcast.”
“I told you. Your secret is safe with me. Just make sure you stay out of my way and don’t pull any of that hocus pocus crap on me.”
“It’s a deal,” Chase said and hung up the phone only to have Faith grabbing the phone back from him.
“I could have called him myself, Chase.”
“But I did. Our secret is safe AND you no longer have to call him anymore.”
“How do you know the secret is safe? Can we trust him?”
“This coming from a girl who went out with the guy,” Chase said sarcastically, emphasizing his use of the past tense to describe the status of Faith’s relationship with Reese. “He won’t say anything because we saved him from something he can’t describe. Who would believe him? The others weren’t close enough to really understand what happened after Nick, Alex, and I showed up, so they can’t say anything. Which means that our secret is safe.” Chase moved in closer to Faith to try and steal another kiss. Faith, sensing Chase’s intent, skirted away.
“I thought you didn’t like me.”
“I don’t. I want to kiss you.”
“You can’t not like me and then want to kiss me.”
“Sure I can. Watch me.”
“Chase. Stop it. I don’t want to be…chased by you.”
“Then give in.”
“Yeah right. And let you win? Over my dead body.” Faith turned on her heel and exited the room. He knew that she felt drawn to him and he was going to use that to get to her. To try and thwart his game plan she went in search of Nick and Alex. They were just what she needed to keep Chase at arm’s length while she thought about what that kiss under the tree meant. She had a feeling that she might not like the answer.

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