Cursed love, p.2
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       Cursed Love, p.2

           Lanie Jordan
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  Chapter Two

  Didn’t it just figure that the love I had to save was that of my cheating ex-boyfriend who really didn’t deserve it? Paying for someone else’s mistakes was one thing—but this was just downright unfair. I had to risk my love for him?

  My blood boiled.

  He cheated on me, broke my heart and this was my thanks. Great. Perfect. Just another way this Valentines Day would blow chunks. Another way Fate could kick me in the teeth. What did he do to deserve my help? Save some of those puppies and kittens I must’ve tried killing off?

  The longer I looked at him, the more my heart tore to pieces. Seeing him with that other girl—Inez, one of my supposed friends—had felt like someone sending my heart through a dulled paper shredder. I was still slowly trying to put the pieces back together, but the final product would never look the same.

  I wanted to walk away right then and wash my hands of him. And I probably would have, if it hadn’t meant forfeiting love for myself. He might’ve deserved that; I didn’t—regardless of what one of my ancestors did.

  I gritted my teeth. We hadn’t even been broken up two weeks yet, for crying out loud. How was it anything remotely close to fair that I had to be the one to help him when he clearly didn’t deserve it?

  Fine, I thought to myself. I would be the bigger person. But there was no way I was doing it for him. I’d already paid the price once by him cheating on me, and was currently paying another for an ancestor’s mistake.

  I glanced down at my watch and sighed. I had just over two hours to save him, and I still didn’t know how. “When the time is right, you’ll figure it out,” my mom had replied when I asked how to do it. Why did people always tell you that? How was that helpful? What if I went by the wrong sign and assumed the Evol was gone and then whoosh, my love was gone forever?

  Or worse, what if there was never a sign or I just plain missed it? I wasn’t exactly the most clued-in person when it came to the universe.

  If there’d been walls around me, I swear they would have started to close in. My breaths were quicker and quicker; my heart pounded in my chest harder and harder. Breathe, Amelia. I was not going to mess this up. I was not—oh, God, I was so screwed! Deep down I really didn’t want to help him, so what if I missed something important? What if it was one of those good-intentions/selfless-acts types of things? My intentions might’ve been good (mostly), but they were far from selfless.

  I ran my hands through my hair and gave a quick tug. I could do this. I was the bigger person than Jerk Aaron. Wasn’t I?

  Slowly, I started for the door. I could do this, I chanted in my head. I got closer and closer. I couldn’t even hear my own breathing now through the buzzing in my ears. I was two feet from the door and then I passed it entirely. My feet carried me halfway down the block before I called myself out on being a coward and turned around.

  When I reached the door this time, I straightened my shoulders, prayed the sea of nausea in my stomach would stay at bay, and went inside. The sounds hit me first. Clinks and clanks of arcade games, thunderous roars of bowling balls slamming into pins, laughs and whoops from the people. Over the speakers, music blasted at a near-deafening volume. The scent of nachos teased me. My fingers itched to pick up a ball, to send it flying down the lane. I loved bowling. I just hadn’t done it in weeks…because of him. Of Aaron. This was where we had our first date.

  Where we were supposed to be having a date. Right now.

  A sharp pang stabbed my heart and each thud was like a hammer against my chest. How had things gotten so messed up? Before we started dating—and even during—I used to think of him as Heart Stopper; I’d see his smile and my heart would give one solid thump and then poof, stop.

  Now that we weren’t together, my heart still had a tendency to stop whenever I saw him, but then it quickly broke. Heart Breaker would be more accurate now, I thought bitterly.

  I barely made it another ten feet before his gaze landed on me. The coils around my heart tightened until my breath hitched. Our eyes met and I had to force myself not to look away, though I wanted to do just that, or maybe run. Call this whole Evol/anti-cupid thing off, say screw it to love, and go home.

  Something like regret crossed his face but it faded quickly. What did he regret? Cheating on me or getting caught? Probably the latter, I guessed, and used the anger to push down the hurt.

  When he turned to his friends and said something, then turned towards me, my hands automatically curled into tight fists until I could feel the blood draining from them. What I wouldn’t have loved more than to knock his lights out for—

  Movement from out of the corner of my eye caught my attention and ripped a groan from my throat. The Evol was on the move. I glanced at it, and then back to Aaron.

  The immediately problem was getting them away from each other. Somehow, I didn’t think trying to persuade the demon to follow me would work. That was assuming it could talk or understand me, anyway. Those points weren’t that clear to me, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to think about it all that much. So, that left only one option: taking Aaron away from the Evol. Which would probably involve talking to him.

  I let out a ragged sigh, took a step forward, and then promptly balked. Maybe it would doom us both to life without love, but I could not do this. When I turned to retreat, I heard, “Amelia, wait,” and barely stopped myself from fleeing like a thief in the night. Maybe the thought was a little cliché, but they were clichés for a reason, weren’t they? I could be wrong about whose voice it was, I tried convincing myself. Too bad I knew in my gut that I wasn’t.

  I rolled my eyes skyward and silently questioned (again) why I was being tortured.

  No answer came.

  The next time I looked ahead, Aaron was standing in front of me. Immediately, I noticed that none of the curses that I’d silently, well, cursed him with seemed to have worked. He still had the same blue eyes with the slightest hint of gray; the dark chestnut hair that was in spikes on the top of his head; the somehow-still-perfect crooked nose. I hadn’t really expected my little hexes to work, but couldn’t he have at least gotten hit with a thinning-hair stick or something? Nope. Instead, he was still as handsome as ever, in an I-hate-you-you-scum kind of way. Just another reason to dislike him.

  “What?” I said, quickly putting my hands behind my back. It was either do that or deck him since they were still formed into tight fists and wouldn’t unclench.

  “Can we talk?”

  I was about to refuse and tell him we’d said all we needed to, but I remembered I needed an excuse to get him away from the Evol.

  Coming from a cursed family really sucked.

  I gave Aaron my best I-don’t-give-a-rats-ass shrug and said, “Sure. Why not?”

  The anti-Cupid cut across the room and was now heading for us again, flapping his little black bat-like wings furiously. It was close enough now that I got a good look at it. His hair was coal black and curly. His diaper—yes, he had a diaper—looked to be black leather. And, as the trend continued, even his bow and arrows were black.

  The only thing that broke the trend were his eyes—devil red.

  I cocked my head to the side. On TV and in the movies and books, Cupids always shot their arrows at people, but not this little guy. He had his bow out, with an arrow notched, but instead of shooting it, he seemed to pull the arrow back further and further. A reddish, wispy spiral, almost like a thin layer of clouds, slowly emerged from Aaron’s chest and went towards the arrow.

  The little sucker.

  The anti-Cupid looked at me and grinned, startling me into a small gasp. His bright eyes were fixed on Aaron like he was supper. Assuming Evol’s ate supper. But that was something else I didn’t want to think about.

  “Let’s go outside,” I decided suddenly. My motives weren’t entirely selfless. It was true I did need to get Aaron away from the Evol until I could figure out how to get rid of the thing entirely, but more, I didn’t want to be here longer than I had to be.
Tonight would have marked our six months anniversary, and we had planned to celebrate it and Valentines there, at the bowling alley.

  If I got emotional (which happened sometimes), I didn’t want to be around a bunch of people. Besides, having witnesses if I hit him would be bad.

  If I was being honest with myself, I didn’t know which motivated me more: the excuse to get him away from the Evol, or to get myself away from here. Since the end was the same, I supposed it didn’t matter. Until I figured out how to stop the love-stealing, leather-diaper-wearing evil little bleeper, putting a lot of space between them was the only option I had.

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