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  • Home > Samantha Young > Fire Spirits > Borrowed Ember (Page 17)     
  • Borrowed Ember(Fire Spirits #3)(17) by Samantha Young
  • “She has taken you by surprise, Master,” Rabir murmured carefuly from the corner of the room.

    White glanced up at his servant, his expression bland and calm despite his inner storm. “Ari changed the game.”

    “I was certain the blackmail would have worked, Master.”

    “Oh it would have. However, she no longer intends to let her affection for the people in her life rule her actions. My daughter has more of me in her than I anticipated.”

    “So what now, Master? I fear we no longer have time to take it slowly. The trial has resurfaced the old rumors. Your people have grown curious and I fear what they may unearth. I fear they may seek Ari out before you have her in your grasp.”

    White nodded a little numbly now. Time was running out. He needed a new plan. If only he could make her understand what was at stake. If only he could make her see that her sacrifice would save them al. “I fear you are right, Rabir. I must reconsider tactics. And quickly.”

    Catching movement out of the corner of his eye, White glanced up to see Rabir was standing beside the purple bottle he kept safe in his bedroom. Throwing him a very tentative smile, Rabir gestured at the bottle. “And what Ari said about Sala, Master? Is that out of the question?”

    His first instinct was to rage at Rabir’s impudence. To even suggest such a thing… White shuddered inwardly, pushing the fury down so he could think more clearly.

    Finaly, when he felt calm enough to speak, he shot the bottle that throbbed with the taste of Sala’s essence an unfathomably dark look before snapping his gaze away and back at the storm outside.

    “I’l think about it.”

    10 - Without Fear, I Wrap My Shadows Around You

    “What are you guys doing?” Charlie asked with laughter in his voice as he eyed Mikey and Ari. They were in the Creagh’s kitchen surrounded by

    newspaper, paint and paste. And there was some kind of lump in between them that had their complete focus.

    Ari pasted another piece of newspaper onto the lump, biting her lip in concentration. Seeming satisfied that it was wrinkle-free, she picked up another

    strip without looking at him. “Mikey’s art project is due tomorrow so I’m helping him.”

    Scooting onto the stool across from them, Charlie tried to stifle his smile as Mikey frowned at the plans in front of him and then at the lump Ari was so busy with. “Uh… and what’s your project, Mikey?”

    His little brother looked up at him, a pained expression on his young face. “We had to make a household item but with a theme. I picked space.”

    “Oh,” Charlie nodded and gestured at the lump. “Are you making a moon ornament?” A lopsided moon ornament, he added inwardly.

    “No,” Ari huffed, glaring at him now.

    Charlie tried not to smile. “You’ve got a blob of paste on your nose.”

    She wiped it roughly away and blew her hair out of her face. “It’s a lampshade. A lampshade shaped like an alien.”

    Choking back his laughter, Charlie reached for the plans Mikey held out to him. They were supposed to be making a green alien lampshade with three

    arms on either side. “This is ambitious.”

    “Yes. But we can do it.”

    “Charlie…” Mikey begged silently with his eyes.

    “Ari, you ever done papier-mâché before?”

    “Of course. Remember we made planets in fourth grade.”

    “No,” Charlie gently shoved her out of the way and took her seat, “I made planets. You ate paste.”

    “You can’t just manhandle me out of this. I’m project manager.”

    Laughing, Charlie eyed his brother. “You want to fire her or will I?”

    Looking serious and regretful, Mikey turned to Ari who was standing over them with her hands on her hips. “I’m sorry, Ari. You’re fired.”

    She made a few spluttering noises before crossing her arms over her chest. “That was so harsh.”

    Like always, Ari’s silent treatment lasted five minutes. She hovered over them as they started from scratch, making them snacks and bringing them soda,

    and offering commentary and suggestions that were ignored as he and Mikey spent three hours creating a papier-mâché alien lampshade. By the time they

    were finished, Mikey’s eyes were drooping.

    “Right, it’ll be dry in the morning. You better get to bed.” Charlie steered Mikey towards the hall.

    Mumbling thanks to Charlie, his little brother sleepily stumbled his way up to bed, calling a lazy goodnight out to his mom as he passed the sitting room.

    Sighing wearily himself, Charlie went back inside the kitchen to see Ari had miraculously cleared everything away in seconds. He smiled at her gratefully as he pulled his backpack up off the floor.

    “I suppose I better get going.” Ari yawned and then eyed him as he took out the math chapter he had to finish for tomorrow’s class. “You haven’t done it yet?”

    Charlie shook his head. “I got waylaid, remember.” At her silence and unwavering stare, Charlie frowned. “What?”

    She smiled at him suddenly and impulsively reached over and kissed his cheek. Charlie felt his skin burn hot where her lips had touched him and he

    laughed a little nervously.

    “What was that for?”

    “You’re such a good brother.” She slipped onto the stool beside him. “I’ve finished this chapter. I can help you get it done quicker.”

    “You don’t have to, Ari. What I did tonight… it was nothing. It was a stupid lampshade.”

    “A stupid lampshade that meant a lot to Mikey. I wish I had someone like you. Admit it.” She nudged his shoulder playfully. “You’d do anything for your


    Huffing, Charlie rolled his eyes. “Are you helping me or what?”

    “Not until you admit it.”

    Seeing she was serious, Charlie smirked, giving in. “Fine. I admit. I’d do absolutely anything for the little creep.” He shoved the math book at her. “Now will you help me or not?”

    … Charlie gazed at the ceiling, light from the street lamps outside casting shadows across it. He watched shadows of the leaves of the tree outside dance in front of him and wished, like he wished every day, that he could dance the shadows out of his soul. Not a day went by when he didn’t have a flashback to some ordinary day with Mikey – ordinary days that had suddenly grown extraordinary now, if only for the fact that they alowed Charlie to talk to Mikey again in his memories.

    Part of him kept waiting, like Ari kept waiting, for him to come to his senses. To let this dangerous plan for vengeance go. But the need was just getting stronger. A few weeks had passed since his and Ari’s arrival at the Roe’s home, and Charlie stil hadn’t let go. He was training every day with Jack, learning more and more about power. Tempted every day to take out the emerald Red had given him. So far he’d been strong enough to resist.

    Jack had started searching for the Labartu for him and they could both feel the bitch getting closer to them. Jack understood. He knew. He got it. Charlie had spent his young life doing everything for Mikey, looking after him, keeping him safe, keeping him happy. Wel… this was the one last thing he had to do for him.

    And it helped having Jack. But it also helped having Falon too. She was like the most non-judgmental person he’d ever met.

    Sighing, Charlie sat up in bed and glanced back down at Falon. She was sleeping peacefuly, her hand tucked under her chin like a little girl. A rush of affection washed over him and Charlie tried hard to push it back down. But he couldn’t. It was too exhausting. Reluctant to wake her but knowing Jack would be waiting for him, Charlie brushed her cheek until her eyelashes fluttered open.

    “You better get back before your parents notice you’re gone,” he told her softly and enjoyed the sight of her as she sat up, stretching languidly.

    She yawned and then shot him a wicked smile that did funny things to his insides. “It’s not even light out. Is that why you’re up so early? To wake me and protect my reputation?”

    Charlie chuckled. “No. Jack likes to train early.” He eyed her thoughtfuly. “You want to train with us today? It was fun last time.”

    Shaking her head regretfuly, Falon slipped out of bed and shuffled her short but gorgeous legs into her jeans. “Can’t. Got my own training with Ari. That girl is awesome. Dad’s realy impressed with her.”

    Her name made Charlie tense, an inexplicable feeling of guilt chipping at his good mood. He didn’t know what had happened with Ari and Jai but he wasn’t fooled by their pretense that nothing had happened. He had a feeling they were keeping their relationship on the down-low to protect Jai. So Ari had moved on. Why did Charlie then feel like he was cheating on her? He’d always felt that way, ever since Mikey… every time he fooled around with another girl, he felt like an unfaithful boyfriend.

    Falon sighed and Charlie glanced up at her from under his eyelashes, wary of the heaviness in that sigh. “Charlie, you know you just think you’re hung up on her, right?”

    “There is no think about it,” he replied gruffly, not wanting to hurt her but prickling at the condescending suggestion that he didn’t know his own mind. Confused, he shook his head. “Anyway, you stil had sex with me knowing what the deal was.”

    “Yeah, I did.” She shrugged nonchalantly before puling on his Twin Atlantic shirt. He should be pissed that she’d borrowed it without asking because it hadn’t been easy to find… but she looked realy hot in it. “You and I have been vibing since we met. You seriously think you can honestly be in love with Ari and stil want to fool around with other girls?”

    “She doesn’t want me. I’m moving on.”

    “Right. That’s why you’ve been flirting with me since the get-go, before you knew for sure Ari didn’t want you.” She shook her head at him, not angry but almost pleading. “Even though Ari and Jai won’t admit to how they feel for each other, Jai hasn’t looked at one other girl but Ari since I met him.”

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