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  • Home > Samantha Young > Fire Spirits > Borrowed Ember (Page 44)     
  • Borrowed Ember(Fire Spirits #3)(44) by Samantha Young
  • Ari had gasped, as if she hadn’t quite realized he was no longer required to be her guardian any more.

    Meeting her stricken gaze, Jai sighed. He hadn’t realized that either.

    Not that it changed a damn thing.

    Standing up slowly, but as steadily as he could in an attempt to convince Luca that he was himself again and at ful strength, Jai braced his shoulders, readying himself to face his father for the first time—man to man. “Ari had an immortal Jinn King literaly rip something out of her body. She almost died. And the first thing she did when she woke up? She chose me. She came here to save me.” He turned to look at her, letting al the love he felt for her shine out of his eyes, deciding then and there that if he was going to hel for loving her, he was going to do it right. “That’s not about duty to one another. That’s about loyalty. Honor.” He looked back at Luca. “And because she loves me almost as much as I love her.”

    “Uh, just as much,” Ari corrected, eyebrows raised in warning.

    Jai smiled despite the fact that his father was unsurprised but disappointed by this revelation. Wel, it filed him with a sense of relief—relief because he no longer cared that Luca was disappointed in him. It had taken him a long time, but his father’s opinion—it just didn’t matter. What Luca had done to him, even under duress from The White King was, as people would say, the straw that broke the camel’s back.

    “I’m sure Ari is a perfectly nice girl,” Luca replied, his words clearly careful. “But you cannot possibly think of giving up your Tribe, your duty to the Ginnaye, to be with her.”

    Jai stared at his father in disbelief. This man realy had no clue. “Ari took a hit from an Haqeeqah to save me. She jumped in front of it for me,” he emphasized so his father could truly understand the significance of his point. “You stood by and watched Nicki beat me to a pulp for years for something I didn’t do. You even took your turn slapping me around to prove to her that you loved her more. A woman who didn’t even have the decency to stay faithful to you.” He shook his head, suddenly feeling pity for his father. “Ari is more than a perfectly nice girl. She’s my family. More than you’ve ever been.”

    Luca stared at him, a myriad of unnamed emotions in his eyes.

    “So yeah.” Jai nodded, trying to wil the exhaustion out of himself. “I’m going to give it al up for her, even if it means chasing after an idiot who was dumb enough to make a stupid wish.” He twisted his mouth in wry amusement as he shot her a look. The amusement, however, slipped away quickly as he took in her expression. Her face was open and her own heartfelt love for him was palpable in the air for al to feel.

    A rap at the door broke the spel between them and Jai turned, surprise jolting through him at the sight of Trey’s tal, familiar figure striding into the room.

    “Trey?”

    His best friend’s face darkened as he took in Jai’s appearance. Feeling self-conscious for the first time since he was a kid, Jai rubbed a hand over his beard. He needed a shower. He could have magicaly cleaned himself up, as wel as have gotten rid of the beard while in the bottle but it realy had been the furthest thing from his mind.

    “You look like hel,” Trey breathed, horrified.

    Jai smirked at his image-conscious friend. “Thanks. What are you doing here?”

    Trey cleared his throat, casting a quick look Ari’s way. “Uh, Glass came to me. Told me my friends might need me.”

    “Glass?” Jai raised an enquiring eyebrow. “You’re caling him Glass?”

    He shrugged casualy, like it was no big deal he was on a ‘first’ name basis with an immortal Jinn King. “Ari cals The Red King, Red.”

    “Because he’s my uncle,” Ari replied, her nose wrinkling with concern. “Trey, watch yourself. I don’t want Glass taking a shot at you for being disrespectful.”

    Trey chuckled throatily as he winked at her. “Don’t worry. I think Glass likes it when I’m disrespectful.”

    Ari’s eyebrows rose in curiosity but Jai had grown very stil. Crap. He knew his best friend better than anyone and he knew the look in Trey’s eyes. Please tell me

    you are not fooling around with a Jinn King? He telepathed, disbelieving Trey’s utter stupidity.

    His friend’s smirk slipped but his eyes stil glittered with humor. Fine, I won’t tell you. Spoil sport. Anyway, you have bigger problems. “Falon is with Charlie,” Trey announced out loud. “The Roes are heading out after them, but we’l get there quicker using the Peripatos. Plus, you have a trace on Falon which we can use if they’re not at the motel.” His gaze clouded with worry as it searched Jai’s face. “You up for this?”

    Reluctantly shoving aside his concern over his best friend’s possible affair with The Glass King, Jai nodded and wiped a hand over his face to clear the beard. His magic shimmered around him, cleaning his body and replacing his dirty clothes with clean ones from the wardrobe in his condo. It wasn’t the same as a soothing shower or a calming shave, but it would have to do.

    Feeling a little better, he gave Ari a nod to let her know he was behind her one hundred percent. “Let’s do this.”

    27 - Being Too Early is Almost as Rude as Being Too Late

    It was six o’ clock. Six hours until the meet. The meet that would change it al. He hoped.

    Too much adrenaline was making his nerves ragged and his stomach sick. Charlie heaved another huge sigh, running a hand through his hair as he paced up and

    down the motel room. He just wanted out. He wanted out now. He wanted his hand around the emerald and he wanted to torture the evil scum who had destroyed his family’s life.

    He wanted to be at peace at last.

    He wanted Mikey to be at peace at last.

    He needed Mikey to know that he cared…

    … The late afternoon sun beat down on the car as Charlie waited outside the grounds of the park Mike’s Little League team used for practice. His knee

    shaking up and down with growing impatience, Charlie checked the clock. Crap. He was going to be late to pick up Ari, and if they didn’t make their dinner reservations the whole night would start to fall to pieces. It had to be perfect. He had her sixteenth birthday all planned out. This was the night. This was the night they finally became a couple.

    So where the hell was his little brother?

    Charlie growled, watching the other kids come out to meet their parents. The practice had obviously run over, but nearly every other single kid had been picked up.

    Fear suddenly knifed Charlie in the chest.

    Had something happened to Mikey?

    Unbuckling his seat belt, fingers fumbling with worry now, Charlie launched out of the car heading in towards the park. Some of the moms threw him

    curious smiles. He was wearing slacks and a dress shirt. He felt like a dork.

    Seeing Mrs. Myer and her daughter, Jane, Charlie stopped them. “Have you seen Mike?”

    Mrs. Myer looked down at Jane expectantly. The little girl from Mike’s grade shook her head, her tongue gluing down in Charlie’s presence as it always

    did. Mrs. Myer smiled apologetically at Charlie. “I guess that’s a no. Check the park. There are still some kids in there.”

    “Thanks.”

    He hurried down the path bordered by a chain link fence and growled with a mixture of relief and anger as the park came into view behind the dugout.

    Mikey was standing in the middle of the field with a bunch of friends, messing around.

    Little pain in the ass, Charlie seethed. He knew Charlie had to be on time and he was kicking around with his friends? Where the hell was the coach?

    “Get your ass over here now, Mike!” Charlie yelled.

    “Mr. Creagh!” a familiar voice snapped as Mike blanched at the sight of his big brother, shoving a friend aside as they sing-songed ‘ooh, you’re in

    trouble’. Charlie turned to face Mike’s Little League coach who was busy clearing equipment away. She glared at him. “Watch your mouth.”

    “Sorry, Coach, but I’m late for something and the little sh… idiot knows it.”

    “Hmm. Mikey, get moving!” Coach yelled and Charlie gave her a brittle nod of thanks.

    Mike trundled towards him, dragging his feet. As soon as he was in reaching distance, Charlie snagged him by the scruff of his shirt and gently pushed

    him in front of him.

    “Hey, watch it!” Mike snapped.

    “Watch it?” Charlie huffed. “Watch it? I’m going to be late for my date with Ari. The date I told you about! Get in the damn car.” He jumped into the

    driver’s seat, slamming the door.

    Deliberately riling him, Mike took painfully slow steps towards the car until Charlie smacked his hand on the horn. He picked his pace up a little, but not enough to temper Charlie’s growing anger.

    “You’re a little shit, you know that,” Charlie groaned as Mike buckled up. He sighed, trying to rein in his bad mood.

    “You’re an a**hole.”

    “Mike…” Clenching the steering wheel, Charlie took deep breaths as he pulled away from the curb. “I told you I had dinner reservations with Ari and

    that you needed to be ready and waiting for me to pick you up, and not only does Little League run over its time, but you hung out back with your friends with a complete disregard to what I asked you to do!”

    “You’re not dad.” Mike shrugged. “You don’t get to tell me what to do.”

    “What is your problem?” Charlie asked in disbelief.

    “I forgot! Okay! You didn’t have to pull me away from my friends and make me look like a baby.”

    “You’re acting like a baby.”

    “I’m acting like a baby? You’re the one who swore in front of Coach Delia and then called me a little shit.”

    “You called me an a**hole,” Charlie’s voice lowered as he winced at the underlying tone of hurt in Mike’s voice. He was taking his nervousness over

    tonight out on Mike. It wasn’t fair.

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