Blinding white light breaks the black coming out of my unconsciousness. Blinking, bloodied tools on a table come into focus. A victorious exhale brings my attention to Samuel, leaning against the wall. The t-shape scar on his cheek sits gloriously high. His sadistic blue eyes burn into me.
Growling at his presence, I swear; he won’t hurt me again. Baring my teeth in anger, I’m ready to give him a piece of his own perverse medicine. I lunge towards him but can’t move. Restraints embed into my wrists as I try again. Rapid breaths reveal my fear. Samuel will get his wicked way once more. Light sparkles his grey hair, throwing his head back, laughing wildly.
Grunting, I jerk my restraints, fruitlessly trying to free myself. A snort behind me sends my long black hair brushing against my face. It stops my struggle. My hairs stand on end at the low rumbling growl. I’ve heard this in my dreams. Snarls turn into blood curdling aggression. I urge myself to waken. Yanking at the restraints with force, Samuel’s still laughing. His gaze shifts over to the tools covered with my blood.
A dull ache rolls through my body. Old wounds have reappeared. My nails are gone, parts of my skin missing, scorch marks from the cattle prod, and the large gash in my leg.
The roaring behind me continues.
It’s only a dream! It’s only a dream!
One last heave with all my might; the restraints snap. I throw myself at Samuel, getting away from the unnerving growl.
Landing on the floor gives the jolt I need. I awaken from my dream safe and sound on a bed. It’s a gurney. The room is pristine. In a cupboard, I see phials of medicine. Beeping from an ECG monitor brings my attention to the sensors connected to me. A window allows me to see out to the corridor. Another medical room is opposite.
Am I in a hospital?
Making myself sit up, I remember the attack on Malcolm’s mansion. Conrad pulled me from the burning beams and gave me his blood. He healed me. Comfort and joy surge through me. Better than the pain and suffering my mind is wanting me to relive. Conrad’s back; the ritual worked! Beaming, I break a sigh of relief.
Tranquility vanishes as fast as it came. My shoulder jerks freely at the thought of a cattle prod. I knew the dangers before going there. Cole chose the right side. Helping me to rescue my kidnapped friends, he didn’t know about the trap. The Lustrate found a new vessel: Royce. They won’t need me now. A shudder rolls up my spine, thinking of what Samuel put me through.
I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again. Conrad’s alive; it was worth it. Pulling up my t-shirt, his blood has worked its magic. My wounds are healed. It’s like I’ve never been touched.
So, where am I now? Our house was destroyed so was Malcolm’s.
Cold white tile hits my feet getting out of bed. My toes rub over it, feeling glad I still have them. My fingers twitch at the thought. Silently opening the door, I peer outside. No guards—another good sign I’m somewhere safe. It’s quiet; there’s no one around. A set of double doors beside my room is the only exit. Tiptoeing to them, I keep myself pressed tight to the wall. No room for error until I’m sure I’m safe.
Peering through the circular window, I see a group of Immortals talking outside. They don’t notice me. Ready to fight if I need to, I push out from the corridor. The group looks up, but doesn’t react.
A strong grip clamps my shoulder. Instantly grabbing their fingers, I’m ready to rip them off. “Give me yer blood,” he jokes in a weird accent, shaking me. His Scottish tone isn’t masked well. It brings warmth.
Turning into Gawain’s beefy arms, he pulls me in for a warm hug. Reassurance seeps through our friendly squeeze. Sniffing immensely, he pushes me back as quick as he brought me close. His fingers dig into my arms. “If ye ever pull a trick like that again, running off ta save the day, I’ll save ye, but only ta torture ya myself.” His amber eyes gleam at the warning. Pulling me closer, I bang into his chest. This hug lasts longer. “But it’s great ta see ya looking better.”
Nuzzling into his shoulder, I give back some affection.
He breaks away, looking around the corridor. “We’re at the hotel now. Bit of a doer-upper.”
Taking in my surroundings, I see what he means. Moldy patterned wallpaper hangs on within an inch of its life. Threadbare red-carpet lines the floor. Holes in the walls don’t fill me with hope.
Sliding his arm across my shoulders, he rests it there. “Come on, I’ll take ya ta the rest. Ya were out for a week this time.”
My eyes pop, taking my first step. “A week!” When Immortal blood heals me it’s usually three days.
“We were kinda worried.” His hand gently squeezes my shoulder. “It might have been something ta do with the injuries ya got. Ya know with…” A low hiss escapes him instead of finishing his sentence.
Pushing the pain I suffered to the back of my mind, I’m ready to move forward. “Did we win?”
A buzzer sounds. Immortals flock out from rooms around us. Gawain gets courteous nods from those who recognize him, which he gestures back. Surprised stares follow me. The number of Guardians astonishes me. The magnitude of the war we’ve being preparing for becomes realization.
“Training session is over. These are some of the rooms down here. Ye were in the infirmary part of HQ.” Waiting until most of them are from earshot Gawain continues. “Cole came ta us and told us everything. While the Lustrate invaded a rigged base, we attacked the mansion. Malcolm’s house was destroyed and the temple with it.” His lips strain. A grunt of annoyance stirs. “Regrettably, Malcolm’s naw dead. Neither are the major assholes he runs with.”
Gawain stops outside a door. Opening it, he gestures for me to walk in. Jensen is sitting beside the window, studying some sheets of paper. His black hair soaks up the sun, creating a shadow falling on his shoulders. Peter sits opposite him, staring out of the window. His glistening-green eyes are lost in thought. David’s at the table. He’s different. He’s not the waffy geeky kid like before. His clothes hold tight against his muscular physique. He looks older. I’m amazed at the change of his body in a week. He’s reading the book without his glasses! Stepping into the room brings their attention to me. David sniffs. A strange glance fires his hazel eyes. Peter’s stare drops to the floor.
“You’re awake. How are you feeling?” Jensen asks, his lips rising weakly. He stands up and sets the sheets down on his seat.
“Good as new.” Sitting down in front of David, I beam. “Check you out! I’m impressed. You’ve really changed.”
Jensen stands by my side. David’s cheeks radiate with a smile. It lasts briefly. His lips plummet like an anchor has attached to them.
Reaching across the table, I take David’s hand in mine. “You were changing. The situation we were in didn’t help. Don’t persecute yourself.” Coming up to Jensen’s guarded grey eyes, reassurance fuels my stare. “You, too. You’re both in control now. I know people in control who would do a lot worse to me and not regret it.”
Jensen sets his hand on my shoulder and rubs gently.
David’s anchor lets go to allow his lips to rise easily. “I’m not the only one changed. You don’t have a scent the way a Noni should.” He glances to the others. “Or is it just me?”
Peter stands up. “I can’t smell Nikki either.” With his head bowed, shoulders hunched, Peter shuffles towards the table. “I shouldn’t have blamed you for Conrad’s death. I pushed you towards Malcolm.”
My tongue wets my lips. “It’s where I needed to be. Peter, I performed the Ritual of Emuti. It’s why my smell is gone. It’s why Conrad’s alive.”
Now Peter’s green eyes can meet mine. Jensen’s grip tightens on my shoulder.
Gawain drops into a seat beside David. His eyes narrow, and he leans across the table closer to me. “Did ye lose yer memory?”
“I was trapped under burning beams in the tunnel. Conrad pulled me from them and gave me his blood.”
“David?” Peter quizzes.
David shakes his head. “Alcott was only there.”
Tears of dread form. A knot ties in my stomach. “Conrad’s not here?”
Gawain rubs round his chin. “The area was covered with Guardians. We dinnae see him.”
“It was him!” I protest. “I touched him. I swear! The ritual worked! He’s alive.”
David ruffles his flaming hair. “Samuel had been around before we got there. I could smell him.” Looking up to Peter, his features lighten. “She did perform the ritual. I was there. The news is still talking about the purple lightning. It can’t be explained.”
Peter stands rigid with narrowed eyes. “I’m going to question Alcott.” He steps towards the door.
Jensen blocks his path. “I’ll do it. He’ll stay alive longer.”
Not waiting for Peter to argue, Jensen leaves the room. Peter runs his hands through his dark blond hair as exhales of frustration rush from him. “They have him. Samuel has him.”
“But we have Alcott,” Gawain counters. He stands up and walks to Peter. Placing his hand on his shoulder, he offers reassurance. “We’ll put Rookies out with the Guardians tanight. Call it their first assignment. We’ll get him back.”
My fingers curl towards the palm of my hands. Chills roll along my spine, thinking of Conrad in the Lustrate’s hands.
David’s hazel eyes twinkle. “How did he survive the blast of the last house? I saw the aftermath. Nothing was left. Not even Yin.”
Shrugging my shoulders, I gulp back a lump forming in my throat. Yin. Another casualty lost to this war. As helpful as David, she was the innocence of our group.
Gawain comes back to sit beside David again. “All of ya, try naw ta think about it. The Big Lad can look after himself.”
Peter folds his arms across his chest. “We should have pulled him out with us. I thought he was dead.”
Peter wasn’t the only one to make the choice. I won’t let him take the burden. “We all thought he was dead. How did we end up with Alcott?”
Gawain gives David a well-done pat on the back. “It was David who did it. All by himself.” He beams with pride.
David’s cheeks glow. His chest, however, pushes forward. “I found him with you. In one of my lucid states, I snuck up on him.”
Gawain leans across the table and points to himself. “But thanks ta me we have the Book and two rubies.” He gives himself a congratulatory nod.
Pushing through my mournful state, my cheeks rise naturally. “Yeah, Alcott isn’t important at all.”
Peter leans onto the table. “Especially for a Juvi trying to find control.”
David’s cheeks flush the color of beetroot. However, the smile on his face shows he’s appreciative of the compliments. Gawain gives David another congratulatory pat on the back.
“He’s a Guardian now.”
My nose crinkles. “Are the people who join us not called Guardians anyway?”
“Any new recruit will be trained first. They’re Rookies,” Gawain says. “When we’re happy they aren’t a danger ta anyone, they’re promoted ta Guardians and stationed at specific locations. We already have places set up.”
“We’re calling them Houses. Those in charge are Heads,” Peter explains. “They’ve been with Conrad and Jensen from the start.”
Houses. The name’s been used before. They were constituted after the Second Uprising. Every Immortal in the country had to belong to one before the Rogue option was given in the latter part of the twentieth century. Now, they house our warriors.
The side of my cheek rises, glad he’s getting recognition. “So, David skipped the training? Favoritism has nothing to do with it?”
Chuckling between themselves, the sour mood creeps back in as the laughs die. Peter stands straight, folding his arms across his chest again. Staring at me, he mushes his lips together. Gawain looks at the table, rapping his fingers off it.
Rolling my eyes, I grunt in annoyance. I know my friends well enough to know this isn’t a good sign. “What is it?”
Gawain taps his hand off the table before answering. “There’s another temple.”
“Are you havin’ a laugh?”
Peter drops himself loosely into the chair beside me with a sigh. “Unfortunately not, Plum.”
“How far did the lightning actually go?” I ask for clarity.
“Sightings of it all over the world.”
A sigh of ire forms in a growl. “I suppose we’ve proved we’re good at temples,” I joke, bringing the brighter side to the revelation.
Peter looks slyly towards Gawain. His cheek cocks. “A bit too good.”
Gawain sits back and folds his arms. “My plan worked. I dinnae naw the building would burn as quick as it did.”
Indulging the return of the upbeat atmosphere, I want to keep focused. I may just be awake, but the world hasn’t stopped for me. “Where do we stand now?”
Peter straightens up and leans on the table. “Immortals are coming in from all over the world. Our fight last week has attracted attention for both sides. Malcolm also knows about the new temple. We know he’s informed the Lustrate as penance for our attack.”
“I think there’s others controlling Malcolm.” Curious looks cross their faces as I explain. “How would he know that? Conrad and I were to be kept alive when they attacked. Alcott said those orders came from above him. Malcolm went against them, and Alcott was pretty pissed. Malcolm told me he was more a face for the campaign.” I think out loud. “Elementals were behind the Second Uprising. What’s to say they’re not behind this war?”
“Sounds like you’re onto something,” Peter agrees. “We’re being careful about who we take in now. There are key cards for the hotel. Everyone has one, logging where they go. It allows access to all the general areas like training rooms and the kitchen. Then access to their rooms. Only Nonies have access to the Noni sleeping area. Immortals need to have a Noni escort. Certain areas are cut off from the Rookies. Select few of us have access to everything. If you meet someone without a keycard then there’s a problem.”
I nod in understanding. “Where’s Cole? Did he make it through?”
Gawain opens his mouth to speak, but Peter cuts in. “He’s here in one piece. Enough business talk for now. You’re only just awake. Come with me. There’s something you need to see.”
I leave with him. Walking down the corridor, Peter stops abruptly. His gaze drops to the floor. Sighing, he turns to me. “I’m a dick, Plum. I shouldn’t have blamed Conrad’s death on you. I saw you in Malcolm’s mansion.” His eyes turn to slits, and he shakes his head. “You shouldn’t have gone through that.”
“Forget about it, Peter. What matters is Conrad’s alive, and he’ll be back with us soon.” I wrap my arm around his waist to show no bad feelings. “Tell me about this hotel.” Stepping forward, I hope to get him going again.
He moves too. “Before all that, I have some news. I don’t want you to make a big deal out of it. The child from the orphanage Malcolm kidnapped, he’s under my care. I’ve named him Joshua.”
My cheeks curve up as my jaw drops. “Really?”
“Yeah. He’s with Marietta now.” He clears his throat. “Moving on… This is Headquarters or HQ.”
Letting my hand drop back to my side, I keep pace beside him, listening intently.
“There’s Guardians out there already. Our numbers should double within the next two weeks,” Peter says. “The Houses filter Immortals through to us. Once they’re trained, they get their locations. Some go through faster than others. It just depends on how well they can handle themselves or a gun, what they would do in certain scenarios…you know the rest. The Boss kindly acquired this dormant hotel. Conrad and Jensen got it Immortal proofed and fixed up so it was livable.” He looks at the crumbly wall beside us. His bottom jaw protrudes in distaste. “Although the décor is a lot to be desired. Rookies restore it at night as Nonies are sleeping. It builds on teamwork and keeps the chance of thrill kills to a minimum. There’s some sections on the second and fourth floor still uninhabitable.”
The pipes are rusting. Bricks are either missing or falling out of place. The wallpaper is barely hanging on. The carpet has more holes than Swiss cheese. “Restore it? It might take a bulldozer and a new building permit.”
“Don’t let it fool you. HQ is a fortress.”
We walk past some people who stop and stare. Whispers commence. I’m out of earshot, but Peter looks back to them.
He continues talking. “When there are enough Guardians in the Houses to cope, we’ll filter the Guardian wannabes through them and abandon this place. Right now, here suits our needs, and we’re safe. You’ll need to familiarize yourself with everyone, so you know who you’re fighting with. Bottom floor has some of the training rooms, kitchen, dining room, and the cells. Majority of the training rooms are on the first floor. Washrooms for clothes on each floor. The top floor is a penthouse. Probably used for the people of importance back in its heyday. It’s out of bounds to Rookies, Guardians, and Nonies who aren’t us. There’s one main way up through an elevator.”
We turn the corner.
“The small infirmary you were in,” Peter carries on, “is run by Heidi. She’s another one who’s been with Conrad and Jensen from the start. Involved with some of the training, too. Garage is the underground level. Weapons and ammunition department is on the first floor. R.J., he’s a Noni, runs it.”
“R.J., he’s the weapons guy who made the high explosive rounds?” I ask, remembering his name being mentioned before. “The H.E.R.’s?”
“Yes. Apart from that all other spaces are occupied by the people living here.”
Peter comes to a stop outside of metal doors. He pushes a button on a panel, which lights green.
There’s a low ding. The doors open. We step inside the shiny room. Peter takes a card out of his pocket and swipes it against a glass panel. It lights green again. He pushes the Penthouse button. It surprises me. The building is barely hanging together, but the elevator has top notch security. I’m taken back by the deceptiveness.
Peter turns the card in his hand then holds it up. “I’ll get you one of these.”
I get back to the matter at hand. “We should focus on Immortals coming into the country and where they’re staying. No doubt the Noc-dens will increase again. Malcolm’s only going to up his game now. We have the rubies and necklace he needs.”
Peter laughs and pats me on the back. “Spoken like a true warrior. You’re only up. Don’t worry, I’m not going to put you on a plane.”
I smile at the joke.
“You’re not the only vessel, so don’t be in a rush to leave HQ. It’s safer for you here.”
The elevator comes to a stop. With a ding, the metal slides open. It leads out into a hallway. Peter points to the first door we pass. “Mine and Marietta’s room. Gawain, David, and Jensen stay down in the Immortal quarters.”
Dark tainted cream wallpaper enhances how uninhabited the hotel has been. The bulbs in the lights above us are new. They emphasize the cobwebs decorating them. The filth makes me stop in my step. Taking in the squalor he wants me to live in I see a door behind us at the end of the corridor. It’s been welded shut.
Peter follows my gaze. “Only one way in or out, this is it.” He points to the elevator.
My eyes narrow. “What if there’s a fire? I don’t want to throw myself from the top floor.”
Peter opens his mouth to say something. All that comes out is rushed wind before he walks on. Following behind him, I pass two more doors before entering the spacious lounge. Three doors are spaced around the room. I assume bedrooms.
“It’s only me,” Peter announces. “Nikki’s here.”
“One moment,” a man answers.
The royal blue wallpaper in the room is exactly like it is around the rest of the hotel, hanging on for its life. The furniture is new, the smell of freshness looms in the otherwise dusty air. I look over to the far wall. The fireplace has been used within the past day or so. A basket sitting in front of it makes me smile from ear to ear; it’s full of baby toys.
The door closest to the fireplace opens. A young man with mousey hair steps through. He moves out of the way to let a middle-aged, red-haired woman pass. Alex is in her arms. My legs turn to jelly. I latch onto Peter for support. Biting my lip keeps my tears at bay. She gives him to me. Alex clamps his chubby arms around my neck. His head rests on my shoulder. The woman guides me to the sofa. Sitting down, I keep Alex tight; I don’t want to let go.
“I’m Anna.” She holds her hand out. I accept and shake it. “It’s nice to finally meet you. We’ve heard a lot.”
The young man sits in the chair opposite us. “I’m Loris.”
A tear of heaven escapes me. Having Alex here fills the void lurking in my heart. “Thank you for keeping Alex safe and bringing him back to me.” I nuzzle my nose into his hair and kiss his head. Inhaling, I take in the smells I’ve missed.
Peter motions in the direction of the lift with his thumb. “I’m going to go. I want to hear what Alcott says.”
Loris crosses his legs. “Is he cooperating now?”
“No.” Peter’s gaze drops to me. “But Nikki swears she saw Conrad.”
“I did,” I enforce. “He was there.”
Loris holds his hands out. He subtlety glances at Anna. “Dare I say it given he is not here, but more good news.”
Peter walks back to the exit. “I’ll let you guys fill her in on the Alex situation.”
Anxiety forms on my forehead. “What does he mean Alex situation?” Turning him on my knee, I inspect all over him. It’s when I rest my eyes on his I notice. “There’s green speckles in his blue eyes now! What does that mean?”
Anna’s sparkly blue eyes drop to the floor before coming back to meet mine. “There are a few things you need to know.” She shifts closer to me. “No one knows Alex is up here. They’ve seen us and think Loris is training here. Alex doesn’t leave the Penthouse. Joshua was seen when the Guardians attacked the Lustrate’s mansion. They’ve brought him downstairs a couple times to keep up the charade he’s yours.”
My jaw drops in horror. “What?” A different fear rolls through me for Joshua’s safety. “If they think he’s Alex, they’ll hurt him to hurt me.”
“Someone from your group is always with him,” Loris assures me.
“That’s not the point!”
Loris catches Anna’s stare. Gazing intently into each other’s blue eyes, she blushes. They are a mismatched pair. Loris looks my age, but Anna is older. He breaks his moment of weakness and brings his attention back to me. My mouth gapes in wonder. Instead of his blue irises, he has purple! Leaning closer, I try for a better look. I’ve never seen this type of Immortal before.
Loris’s cheek rises. “I’m a Dymal. Born a vampire. I have all the advantages, and the sun doesn’t hurt me.” Loris looks at Anna. She gives him a slight smile and nods. He looks at Alex before giving me his attention. “Your son is one, too.”
Glimmers of hope widen my eyes. “Serious? How? Is that why his eyes have changed?”
“I love hearing the Irish tone in your voice,” Anna chirps in.
Ignoring Anna’s pleasantry, I think back to when Alex was conceived. It was around the time my vessel nature came to light.
I realize what’s happened with a gasp. “Petrov’s house! I was nearly dead. Conrad saved me with his blood. But wait, I thought with my vessel genes we couldn’t be Immortals?”
Loris’s smile widens. “Conrad’s blood was healing you. Alex acquired this gift through that.”
Delight burns into my cheeks. My son doesn’t have to worry about my curse. Instead, he has a gift more exciting to look forward to. He chews on his hand while making baby noises. I kiss him softly on the head.
Bringing my stare to his, only human eyes stare back at me. “Why can’t I see his true Immortal eyes?”
“You will not until his transformation in adolescence,” Loris replies. “He will be different than other children. Stronger than them. Some of his characteristics may change, slightly. The green in his eyes now are an example.”
I have years yet, but the prospect of his transformation has me eager already. Even the subtle changes. He’s already picking up some of Conrad’s traits.
My thoughts turn to Alex’s dad. “Has Cole come to see him yet? Does he know?”
Anna looks cautiously at Loris, then back to me. Her cheek twitches. “He’s in the infirmary. You didn’t see him there?”
My eyes pop. “No!”
“He was attacked. It happened two days ago.”
My jaw comes forward in ire. Exhaling annoyance, I can’t find the words to say. Now I know why Peter brushed past the subject of Cole.
Knowing I have time to spend with Alex appeases me. As day becomes night, Alex’s yawning becomes frequent. Putting him to bed, Loris follows me in.
I glance in Loris’s direction whilst getting Alex ready for bed. “How do you know Conrad?”
Loris looks to the side as if he’s reminiscing. “Alcott was kind enough to offer me sanctuary after the Second Uprising. I left when the Rogue option was given. Truly awful what happened with Conrad’s family. When he joined, he was very skeptical of the Immortals around him.” Loris leans against the wall. “Alas, he became and still is a great friend. Alcott Quenell was a good friend, too. It saddens me to think of the person he has become. I used to regard him highly.”
Alex yawns again as I set him in his crib. He stretches out and fights to keep his eyes open.
I stroke the side of his cheek, his soft skin soothing me. “I don’t know what I can do to repay you for keeping my son safe. I owe you my life.”
Loris comes beside me. “You are important, and it is hard to trust people. I know what has happened for you to get here. It is our pleasure to help. Anything to make it easier on you.”
“Conrad trusts you. That’s good enough for me.”
Loris nods with an appreciative smile. We leave Alex to fall asleep. Thanking Loris and Anna again, I take Loris’s access card and leave. As the elevator doors open on the bottom floor, Jensen nearly walks into me.
He takes a step back. “I was just coming up to see you. How’s Alex? Glad to see his mom?”
Bliss pushes my cheeks up naturally at the thought of him being here. “He’s great.” Remembering where he was stifles my happy mood. I’m eager to find out what he knows. “What has Alcott said?”
Jensen shakes his head. “He’s adamant he was the only one in the corridor.”
My hands roll into fists. “Conrad was there.”
He rests his hand on my shoulder. “I believe you. We’ll keep pushing him. Sooner or later, he’ll slip up. We’ll get Conrad back.” Letting go of my shoulder, he reaches into his trouser pocket. He pulls out my necklace. Clipping it around my neck, he straightens it until the pendant sits at the front and clasp at the back. “Back where it belongs.”
Cole gave this to them; it makes me think of where he is. “One of you should have told me Cole was in the infirmary.”
“You didn’t see him down there?”
“Was he strategically placed so he wouldn’t be the first thing I saw when I woke up?”
Jensen lets out an agonized exhale. “All I know is he was jumped. Gawain broke it up. I’ll take you to him.”
“Have you punished them?”
Jensen turns his heel towards the infirmary’s direction. I follow him.
“It’s not that easy, Nikki. We can’t be seen to be taking sides. A lot want to see him suffer for what he’s done.”
I throw my hands up in the air in protest. “He’s on our side now.”
Jensen stops walking and faces me. His eyebrows sit high in annoyance. “He was part of the Lustrate. The same group who want to kill millions of people and harvest the rest. The group who changed me for revenge. That killed Yin and are going to kill Conrad.”
“Part of a group, Jensen. He wasn’t the one. Cole helped us when we needed it. Don’t forget he was surrendering to us when they attacked you.”
Hatred fills in Jensen’s eyes. For a brief second, they turn black. It doesn’t stop me continuing.
“I haven’t forgotten what he’s done up until now. But if it weren’t for him, most of the Immortals here now wouldn’t be. I would be dead. The Lustrate would be laughing their way to the ritual date. That should mean something.”
Jensen doesn’t answer me. Spinning on his heel, he walks on. I roll my eyes and follow.
He leads me past the kitchen and dining room to a set of double doors. There are five rooms. Stopping outside a window at the end, Jensen holds his hand up in a revealing motion. I’m just about to speak when I see Cole lying in a bed. He’s badly bruised.
“Oh my God!” I gasp. My shock turns to anger. “If this was a different Noni, you would be setting examples.”
Jensen stays silent but holds his glare at me. I sigh and shake my head before walking into Cole’s room and closing the door.