Fable Page 29


Jared motioned with one finger for her to follow, and he walked briskly into Ever’s room. Mina followed, keeping her head down as she entered the pixie’s private domain. She felt terrible that the girl was sleeping in a motel. That was, until she closed the door and the glamour lifted. What once was a room with a single dirty bed with a broken lamp turned into a very large apartment filled with every plant imaginable. There were wide windows that gave the room a greenhouse effect. The dining room table and furniture were white, but the artwork and statues that decorated the home were filled with pixies.

Ever’s face was pale, her eyes wide with worry, but she was still spunky enough to throw Mina a perturbed look before following her into the living room.

It was obvious from the way Jared didn’t bother to look around the room that he had been there before.

“How could you, Ever?” Jared asked, his voice like ice.

“How could I what?” she snapped back.

“Why would you lie to me?”

“Do you know what he is talking about, Gimp, ’cause I sure don’t?”

Mina was uncomfortable under Ever’s scrutiny. She shrugged.

“This isn’t about her, Ever. This is between you and me,” Jared shot out.

She stood up, her eyes blazing. Her hair started to blow about her shoulders.

“No, it’s not. It’s always about her! There is no you and me—you’ve seen to that. Ever since she showed up, you don’t care about me anymore.”

“That’s not true. It’s complicated, and more so now that you can’t be trusted. What deal did you make with the Fates? What deal did you make with my mother?”

“Who told you?”

“Who gave you a seam ripper?” he demanded.

Ever’s eyes snapped up to glare at Mina accusingly and then went innocent when she looked up at her prince. They filled with tears. It was obvious that she loved him and had done something terrible.

“I left everything behind for you! I gave up everything so I could come over here to be with you. They helped me come over, and all I had to do was report back about you. It wasn’t supposed to be like this.” Her gaze traveled back over to Mina. “She was supposed to fail like the others, and then it could be like the old times again. You weren’t supposed to really help her!”

“Give it to me!” Jared held out his hand to Ever.

Her back stiffened, and her shoulders rose. “No, I can’t.”

“Ever, you weren’t meant to have one. Now, give it to me!”

“I—I won’t. I can’t. It’s my only way back to visit my family. It’s not my fault you’ve become soft-hearted and want to help the Gimps.” She let slip the derogatory name the Fae called the Grimms.

“It’s too dangerous for you to have one. How many times have you used it already, and where? Here? Mina’s house?” Ever’s head dropped, and she looked over at Mina guiltily. “Please don’t tell me you’ve used it near her house?” Jared pointed to Mina.

“I had to,” Ever squealed. “You were spending too much time with her, getting attached. We were afraid of losing you. I had to follow you both.”

“Anything could have come through! We don’t know what is roaming around here now. You probably even let in another Reaper.”

She shook her head and held up her hand. “No.”

Jared’s fists were turning white from how tightly he was clutching them. Mina thought she could actually hear his knuckles pop from the strain.

“Ever!”

She bit the bottom of her lip in worry, and, finally realizing there was no other option, she got up and dug through her purse. Her hands were shaking, and Mina thought she heard a few sniffs come from the pixie’s direction. Ever turned with her fist closed and held it out to Jared.

He snatched it out of her hand fast as lightning and bolted for the door. Her shoulders dropped and she nodded. Before grabbing the doorknob, Ever turned and spoke, her voice ringing with fear. “Please don’t hold this against me, Jared. I did this for you. I did this for us.”

Jared ran his hands through his dark hair and spun on her angrily. “No, you did this for you. I forget how selfish pixies are—they are unable to truly care about anyone other than themselves.”

“You don’t mean that.”

“Then prove it. Prove that your race doesn’t define who you are. Show me that you are not just like all the other pixies. That you care more about others than yourself.”

Ever’s beautiful eyes filled with tears, which she tried to blink away. Her head dropped to her chest, and she took a deep breath before closing the door.

Jared stared at the object in his hand and tucked it into his pocket before making eye contact with Mina. He smiled wanly, but the smile didn’t reach his eyes; he looked tired, worn-out.

“Let’s get you home,” he said.

She didn’t respond, just sat stiffly on the bike as he once again drove her home. This was becoming the night that would never end. When he once again pulled up to her house, he sat on his bike, immobile.

She got off the bike and stared at him. She knew then from the angry look in his eyes that he had no intention of ever helping her save her brother. He did all of that to take the seam ripper for himself, not to help her. He could just give her the seam ripper and she could go alone. He wouldn’t have to even cross over and endanger himself.

Jared left her no other choice—she was going to betray him, betray what little trust they had gained. And once she finished her quest, she would deal with the repercussions then. She closed her eyes and opened her senses, willing the feeling of power to come to her. It did. She was living in a home made of Fae magic, close to a royal Fae prince. It was becoming easier and easier to recognize the lingering power that was always there, just on the edges. She remembered when she’d called out for help and Jared had answered. He didn’t come because he wanted to; he came because she commanded him to help her. Now she was about to do the same thing.

“Jared, give me the seam ripper.” She pushed all of the power into those words.

His eyes went wide in shock, and he backed away from her in horror.

“Mina! What are you doing?”

“Just as you are bound to the Grimoire, you are bound to me and my will. I command you to give me the seam ripper.”

“Don’t do this, Mina. You don’t know what you’re messing with. You can’t trust Fae magic—you’re not Fae.” Even as he said the words, she could see that he was fighting with himself and the power of the command. His hand thrust into his pocket and gripped the seam ripper and pulled it out.

“I know what I am asking you to do, and I’m sorry that it has to be this way.”

“Mina, don’t make me do this!” Jared’s eyes were pleading, his whole body struggling with inner turmoil as he fought the Fae magic. “Please,” he called out.

The tears she had been holding back flowed freely. She was taking away his free will.

“If you do this, Mina, I won’t forgive you!” He yelled out the words as he fell to his knees in pain, his fist flung out in front of her.

“I have to, Jared. There’s something I have to do.”

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