Fable Page 21

She smiled and nodded pathetically. “It’s not fair to you and Ever that I ruined your night, too.”

“Hey, I may be old, but the night’s young.” He tilted his head, and the moonlight illuminated his swollen and bruised cheek. He noticed where she was staring and shook his head. “He sucker-punched me with a fist made of iron.”

“Copper,” she corrected.

“Is that so?”

“Yeah, I think he was a Stiltskin, too. How many of them are there?”

“More than you probably want to know.”

“Then help me get to the Fae plane and rescue my brother.” It was probably the wrong time to bring it up, but she was done wasting time. Tonight proved it. And she wasn’t going to mention what she needed to do once she was over there. If Jared learned of her plan to steal the Fae book, he would definitely refuse to help her.

“Are you daft and dumb? No way.” He grabbed Mina’s arm, threatening her. “I won’t let you throw your life away on something that is impossible.”

“Every quest I attempt is a life-or-death situation. So why is it that when I want to do something it’s dumb, but if it’s a fairy-tale quest or creature it’s different. It’s because finding Charlie doesn’t help break the curse, isn’t it?” She pulled her arm out of his grasp.

“No, it’s because finding Charlie is a lost cause that will surely end in your death.”

“What’s the big deal? The curse will pass on to another Grimm, and you can be free of me and go on to choose to help or not help the next Grimm.”

Jared looked taken aback. He leaned against his car and crossed his arms. “Maybe I don’t want to help another Grimm.”

“Maybe I don’t want your help, either, then. If you won’t help me, then I’ll find someone who will,” she threatened him.

He snorted. “Who?”

“I don’t know—there’s got to be other Fae out there in this world who would be willing to help a Grimm.”

Jared’s face went red in embarrassment, and he started to stutter. “Uh, about that?”

“J-a-r-ed.” She dragged out his name.

“There may be someone. I’ll have to think about it.” He got in his car without another word and drove off into the night.

Chapter 13

She was having a nightmare. Reid was in her room, standing over Nan. Threatening to turn her into copper. He kept stroking Nan’s face, taunting her. Mina was frozen in her dream state and couldn’t move. Nan disappeared, and Reid slowly morphed into Temple. His voice filled the room and echoed into her unconsciousness. He reached a gold-dusted hand toward her, and she tried to evade his touch but was still frozen. Her breath came in gasps as he touched her face, and she could feel herself start to change and become gold. She looked at her hands and they were gold, but she could still move.

“Don’t forget your promise,” he whispered, then disappeared into the darkness, laughing at her.

The dream changed again, and she saw Charlie locked up in a golden cage, curled up in small ball.

She called his name, and he sat up in confusion. Then his face lit up when he saw her, and he ran to the bars. Charlie held out his hand for her to grab him, but he was too far away.

“I can’t! I don’t know how to save you, Charlie. I don’t know how to get over there.” His hands dropped to his side, and she could see the disappointment etched in his small face. But then it was replaced by a look of fear. He pointed behind her, and she turned to see a wall of fire erupt around them. They both were trapped within its fiery grasp, and the fire raced between them, separating them both now by fire and the golden bars. There was someone else there. She could make out a male body lying on the floor, and she knew he was dead.

“NOOOO!” she yelled.

She woke up, breathing hard. The dream felt real—had she really seen Charlie? She lay in her bed and willed herself to go back to sleep so she could dream of her brother again and gain a clue as to how to save him. Sleep eluded her, and after she lay in bed for two hours, no more dreams came. She threw on a pair of blue shorts and a white T-shirt, and ran to the bathroom to quickly brush her teeth and run a brush through her hair without looking at it.

The wood floor was cold on her bare feet, and she paused when she heard voices coming from the kitchen. Quickly, she opened the door to the kitchen and was greeted by the sight of her mother and Jared sitting calmly at the kitchen table, chatting amicably. Mina froze with her hand on the doorknob. Her eyes went to her mother in disbelief and back to Jared.

He was dressed in the same clothes from last night and he looked like he hadn’t slept, but that didn’t take away from how handsome he looked. Never before had Jared shown any interest in getting to know her family. Did her mother know she was talking to the same Jared who had kidnapped her last year? No, if she did, she would probably demand that he leave the house…immediately.

Mina waited a few seconds, but nothing happened. Sara was oblivious to the internal battle her daughter was facing. Sara saw Mina come in, and she cleared her throat and motioned to Jared with her hand.

“Um, sweetie. This is Jared, and, uh…Terry sent him over to fix the shutters on the house.”

Mina stared at her mom before giving a cursory glance at Jared, being careful to keep her face neutral.

“Oh,” she responded.

“Now, I know this is sudden, but Terry assured me that he’s a good worker, and if she trusts him, then so do I.”

“How nice.” Her mouth felt dry, her words forced.

Jared’s eyes narrowed in thought as he leaned on the back legs of the kitchen chair, teetering on the brink of teenage rebellion. It was obvious that he knew something was up, even if her mother didn’t. But Jared replied in a formal tone, “Nice to meet you…uh?”

“Mina,” she answered irritably, knowing that he was only playing a part.

“What an odd name. Is it short for something?” he taunted her, knowing full well what it stood for.

“Yeah, a fat lip.”

Wrong answer, because she heard a gasp from her mother, and Sara stood up.

“Now, Mina, apologize at once to our guest.”

“Mom, look at him. Doesn’t he even look remotely familiar?” Mina hinted.

Sara turned to stare at Jared with bewildered eyes and shook her head. “No, sorry, honey. Is he supposed to be familiar? I don’t know—lately my mind has been pretty muddled. Can you show him the house…please?”

Mina rolled her eyes and held the door open for Jared to precede her into the hall, but not before she snatched an apple out of the fruit dish on the counter. When they had walked out of earshot, she snapped at him,

“Great, just great! Now you’re brainwashing my mom.”

He looked at her, confused. “I didn’t do anything.”

“Riiiight. What in the blazes are you doing here?”

“I started thinking about last night and what you said, and I realized that I may have acted—what happened to your hair?”

“Huh?” Her hand went to pat it, and it was still there.

Jared motioned with his fingers to her forehead, and she ran to the large hall mirror and gasped in shock. There was a whole lock of hair starting from her forehead that ran past her shoulders, and it was gold.

Prev page Next page