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Fated 02 severed, p.27
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       Fated 02: Severed, p.27

           Sarah Alderson
 
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  Her mother was right about one thing, she thought to herself as she lay there; she couldn’t keep on behaving like this. She needed to do something before she went mad, before all the anger inside her erupted out in a lethal torrent. Her eyes flew open and settled on the piece of paper above her desk.

  Victor. Once she had found Victor - and killed him - then she’d feel better. Maybe then too, she’d feel like talking.

  Chapter 3

  Her mother was calling her down to dinner. Evie rolled off the bed, putting one heavy foot in front of the other. She was so tired. She knew she probably looked like a train wreck but she no longer cared. It had been weeks since she’d looked in a miror. She had covered the one in her room with a scarf and stood with her back to the basin everytime she brushed her teeth avoiding her reflection in the bathroom cabinet.

  She forced herself down the stairs, wary at what admonishments her mother might be dishing up alongside the potatoes and meatloaf. But when she made it into the kitchen she saw her mother had regained her calm.

  ‘Joe’s coming over later,’ her mum said, bustling about the table, pouring Evie a glass of juice.

  Evie raised her eyes. Her mum was keeping her own gaze firmly on the tabletop. She’d started humming. Evie smiled quietly to herself as she watched the blush creep up her mother’s neck. There was one thing to be glad of – her old boss Joe was a good man. And her mum deserved someone in her life who was good to her and made her happy.

  ‘You know, Joe said he’s holding your job for you,’ her mother said, sitting down at the table.

  Evie picked up her fork and started toying with the food on her plate.

  ‘What do you want me to tell him?’ her mother asked. ‘Well, maybe you could tell him yourself, later.’ She paused half a second before continuing; ‘I think it might be a good idea, you know. The diner was always a good job. Much better than that silly boutique. I told you it wouldn’t last a month and I was right.’

  Evie put her fork down carefully by the side of her plate.

  ‘I mean, what was that man thinking? Designer dresses in a place like Riverview? Those price tags! And they’re all still sitting in there still, hanging on the rails. I had a look through the window the other day. He just cleared off out of town without so much as a day’s notice. What was his name again? Victor. Here one day, gone the next. If you ask me, there was always something very suspicious about him.’ She lowered her voice, ‘I wouldn’t be surprised if it was all a front for some kind of money laundering operation.’

  Evie looked down at the tabletop, her fingers digging into her thighs. She knew her mother was angling, trying to get her to talk. The co-incidence of Victor disappearing from town on the exact same night that Evie had run off with Lucas had had the whole town buzzing with the scandal, rumours flying around like migrating birds. To her credit, her mother hadn’t mentioned a word of it to her, but Evie’s hearing was good - better than good. It was supersonic these days - and she’d overhead people talking at school as well as on the street. There were some pretty good stories doing the rounds. According to a woman she’d overhead in the drugstore, Evie (referred to only as that Tremain girl) had stolen all the takings from the boutique and then gone on the run with the good-looking boy who worked on Janet Del Rey’s ranch.

  She’d also heard Kaitlyn Rivers whispering to someone in the cafeteria line at school, saying that she and Victor had been having an affair and that Lucas had walked in on them so they’d done away with him and buried his body. Unfortunately she’d only managed to fuel that last rumour by slamming Kaitlyn against the wall and daring her to say it one more time to her face.

  ‘So what do you think?’

  ‘Huh?’ Evie looked up startled.

  Her mother had apparently been talking for quite a while because she shook her head at her now in exasperation. ‘I was asking about Joe’s offer to give you your old job back. I don’t want you to feel like you need to work. Now Mrs Lewington’s back lodging with us and the insurance company have finally paid out we’re doing fine, and this year is your senior year. But it might be good for you… you know, to be out there, meeting people, seeing your friends again, being sociable.’

  ‘I don’t know,’ Evie muttered.

  Her mother frowned, then decided to drop it, getting up from the table and heading to the fridge. ‘I bumped into Jocelyn today, you know, Mrs. Lovell. She was asking about you.’

  Evie paused with a forkful of peas halfway to her mouth. ‘Really?’ she asked, wondering what Jocelyn was still doing in town. There was no reason for her to still be in Riverview. Evie didn’t need protection anymore. She was trained. She had her full power. And besides, she thought she’d made it clear to Jocelyn just how much she disliked her. Jocelyn had lied to her all along; she had known that Victor had murdered her real parents and had said nothing, and rather than protecting Evie as she had sworn to do, she had let Victor use her.

  Evie stood up suddenly, pushing her plate aside. She needed to get out, breathe fresh air.

  ‘Where are you going?’ her mother asked, looking at her in surprise.

  ‘For a walk,’ Evie said, heading for the back door.

  ‘But you’ve hardly touched your dinner,’ her mother called to her back.

  ‘I’m not hungry,’ Evie answered, ‘I need some fresh air.’

  Her mother called something after her but she didn’t hear it, or rather, she chose not to. She promised herself that when this was all over she would find a way to apologise to her mother for everything, but until then she just couldn’t find the words. She felt as if she had a necklace of thorns around her throat; it was hard to talk, hard to breathe, hard to swallow.

  She opened the door and walked out onto the veranda feeling the instant relief that being outside and away from people brought her. The orchard was growing murky, the trees dissolving into darkness and shadows. The moon was a pixelated blur sliding in and out of black clouds. She sniffed the air and waited for her senses to kick in and adjust to the onslaught of new sounds and smells. She did a quick scan, feeling her heart beat slow down as soon as she’d verified there were no other creatures besides Lobo lurking out there in the dark. There were no more monsters she reminded herself. She didn’t need to be constantly scanning her surroundings trying to sense unhumans.

  She crunched through the leaves in the orchard, hearing Lobo howling behind her as she stretched the distance between them. She missed it though, she realised as she reached the road. She missed feeling him. That sense of heightened awareness whenever an unhuman was around was something she had never thought she would miss. Not that she wanted to be surrounded once again by Thirsters and Mixen and Scorpio, just that she associated the feeling unhumans evoked – the sweaty palms, racing heart and whoosh of adrenaline – with Lucas. Being half Shadow Warrior he’d managed to confuse her senses so that the danger signs, which should have kept her alive, had become synonymous in her mind with him and with safety. And yes, that had almost killed her. But now she missed it. She missed Lucas more than she thought it possible to miss anyone, so much that she thought she might die from it. And not in any melodramatic way, but because sometimes she actually couldn’t breathe, sometimes she woke up choking down air, dots dancing in front of her eyes, as if her lungs had decided while she slept to shut down once and for all.

  Of course, that could also be to do with the number of sleeping pills she was popping.

  She broke through into the tree line on the other side of the road and started jogging. She didn’t understand. She would never understand why fate had brought her down the path it had. Why it had so entwined her path with Lucas’s, only to wrench them apart just at the point they’d reached their destination. But maybe that was why. They’d reached the destination. Maybe the point was the journey.

  Either way it wasn’t fair.

  She swore at herself. As if she hadn’t learned that lesson about life already.

  Acknowledgements

  Than
ks to:

  My wonderful husband John and beautiful daughter Alula who make everything worthwhile.

  Vic and Nic – for a fourth time I’ve taken this lonely journey with my two best friends. It’s a joy and a pleasure to share every step with you.

  Hannah Nersasian and Tom Arnold, both great writers themselves who supported me throughout the writing process.

  All you wonderful bloggers and reviewers who tweet and blog and generally make being an author so much fun.

  Jenny Cooper who always has the right words and whose encouragement made me want to get this book out into the world.

  Jill Alger for the editing and proof-reading.

  Amanda, my agent, for the constant support.

  Simone Elkeles for creating the Fuentes brothers – who kept me going in between Lucas and Cyrus.

  About the Author

  Having spent most of her life in London, Sarah quit her job in the non profit sector in 2009 and took off on a round the world trip with her husband and princess-obsessed daughter on a mission to find a new place to call home. After several months in India, Singapore, Australia and the US, they settled in Bali where Sarah now spends her days writing by the pool and trying to machete open coconuts without severing a limb.

  She finished her first novel Hunting Lila just before they left the UK, wrote the sequel – Losing Lila – on the beach in India, and had signed a two book deal with Simon & Schuster by the time they reached Bali. Fated was published in January 2012 by Simon Pulse (an imprint of Simon & Schuster). Keep your eyes out for the third in the Fated series – Shadowed – out in Spring 2013 and for The Sound – a standalone contemporary thriller out in August 2013.

 


 

  Sarah Alderson, Fated 02: Severed

 


 

 
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