Read Redefined Online

Authors: Jamie Magee

Redefined (page 6)

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His eyes slowly moved over me as he stepped closer.

“Are you sure you want to stay here, in Chara?” he asked, as if we were old friends.

“ have been trying to get here for a while, so yeah,” I said with the slightest tremble in my voice, not sure why he would ask such a question.

Whatever he had planned to say to me seemed to fade from his image. “Are you all right? You look pale,” he asked as concern built in his tall, dominant stance.

I don’t know why, but my bottom lip started to tremble. I didn’t know how to answer him. I wasn’t much for lying, and I didn’t care to explain the truth to anyone. I couldn’t speak about what I’d seen and gone through upstairs because that would make it real.

“No, you’re not,” he said as he slowly moved toward me and sympathy filled his dark eyes. “Did someone hurt you?”

The tears that were glassing over my eyes spilled down my cheeks.

“My entire life is a fabrication - some kind of orchestrated play or something. I was led to believe one thing, only to find out at the worst possible moment that it was just that - all fake. And the people who could soothe me, explain why - my parents – are gone, and I doubt I’ll ever see them again.”

He reached in his suit pocket and pulled loose a satin handkerchief, then wiped away my tears. Feeling like a fool, I took it from him and cleared away my face.

“I’m not a crier,” I muttered.

“Trust me, I am the last person that you have to justify yourself to.” Those dark eyes of his swept across my face in the tenderest way, leading me to find comfort with him. “Kinda know how you feel.”

I smirked. “I knew I liked you.”

“Did you?” he said, tilting his head and gazing down into my eyes.

“Draven doesn’t trust a lot of people, let them get close to him. He has found trust with you, and the two of you have barely spoken a paragraph to each other. Why is that?”

His eyes moved rapidly across my image. “Old souls, I suppose. I have to say I feel the same way. There is something very familiar about him.”

“He’s been looking for a mentor, someone to help him with…with the cravings he has.”


“Energy. I want to help him, but he puts a wall up between us.”

Drake seemed deeply perplexed as he glanced in the direction of the sound of guitars tuning up to play. “We are going to have to figure out how to get that wall down, then.”

“Make him strong for me. What happened in The Realm would not have happened if that dark energy had not poured into him. Can you teach him how to block that?”

His eyes looked deeply into mine. “Consider it done.”

I let out a jagged breath.

“You want to talk about what is going on with you now?” he asked quietly.

I moved my head from side to side. “I’ll be all right.”

“But you are not right now. You’re in shock.”

“I just don’t get it. Why could my parents have not laid it out? I almost feel like they didn’t think I could handle it. I should be mad, furious about that, but I can’t find the energy to be that way.”

He clenched his jaw before smiling slightly. “Sometimes, if you think back over what they said in ordinary moments, you will see that they were always pointing in the direction you needed to go, dropping clues here and there. No one knows where we are going to end up, but your parents had to have known what I sense right now.”

“Dare I ask?”

“Born royalty,” he said so quietly that I doubted I heard him correctly.

I cleared my throat. “Listen, I don’t know if you want my advice or not - or if you even care - but here goes.” I glanced over him. “I’ve watched my best friend sketch your image a million times over. She’s stubborn, obsessive, and jealous by nature. She can see clearly, and right now she feels like a replacement. It’s not your fault - this is just the second time this has happened to her.”

He raised his brow to question me.

“Don’t ask. He doesn’t matter - or he won’t before it’s all over with. Just be honest with her. And if you dare to get to know her and she dares to let you in, don’t hurt her - or I’ll find a way to hurt you.”

Those words made him smile slightly as he glanced away.

“No disrespect, but you gotta give her a break. I mean, she looks just like Willow, and she can see everything you’ve said to Willow.”

“They don’t look alike to me,” he said as his eyes met mine again.

I tilted my head to question him.

“I never saw Willow’s image, only her soul - and those two could not be more different if they tried.”

“Are you trying to suck up to me or something? Get points in with the best friend?” I teased, not believing I had the courage to do that with a king.

He smiled a smile that was so breathtaking that I felt my breath catch. Madison needed more than a ring if she was going to deal with this boy.

“Does your friend Madison not admire intelligence, a game of cat and mouse, surrounded by mystery?” His dark eyes gleamed with anticipation.

“No doubt,” I said with a smirk.

“Well,” he said, almost humbly, “I wanted to talk to Madison - alone. I knew she would never agree to such a thing,” he grinned boyishly, “so I followed you over here.”

My eyes grew wide when I realized that I had been used in a ploy.

He raised his hands, trying to hide a smile. “I saw how upset you looked at dinner. I wanted you to know I was going to protect you. I just figured Madison would surface, too.”

“Sorry that part failed, but thanks for making me feel better.”

He gently moved his head from side to side. “She’s bound to have felt the emotions I watched you battle. I would imagine that she closed her sketchbook and began scanning the crowd for you, perhaps stepping into the house, finally asking Draven where you went - and right about now she should step around the side of the house.”

Before I could say another word, Madison rounded the corner of the house. Her hasty walk halted when her eyes met Drake’s.

“Touché, Mr. Blakeshire,” I said under my breath, trying not to grin. Madison may be furious at this moment, but in the end she would definitely admire his tact, even if she never admitted it aloud.

Madison turned crimson. “They’re waiting on you to play.”

“Right.” I glanced up at Drake. “Good luck.”

As I walked by Madison, she reached for my arm. “The ring.”

“Not a chance.” I glanced at her to show her how tender he was with me. Compassion filled her eyes as I squeezed her shoulder. “Doesn’t hurt to talk.”

Sure that she had seen what I wanted her to - and not allowing her to argue with me - I continued my walk around the side of the house, finding Grayson and Draven discussing what they would play. Winston was staring at my father’s guitar, which had been placed on a stand next to Draven. Almost defensively, I walked over to it and let my hand rest on the stalk. Just before I went to tell him to leave it alone, a blue shock of energy thrashed out at Winston, giving him more of a warning to stay away than the idle threat I was planning on stating. Winston jumped back, screaming a slew of curse words. His charge backward landed him in Marc and Brady’s arms. Stiffly, they both pushed him to his feet, then inspected his hand, finding no damage.

“Don’t play that,” Winston said, scowling at me like I’d struck him.

“Why were you touching it anyway?” I said, as if I were defending my father himself.

Winston refused to answer. Instead, his eyes smoldered into me.

“She asked you a question,” Marc seethed, gripping the back of Winston’s arm. I knew then that Landen was totally serious when he said they didn’t trust him.

Brady stood in front him, glaring down, instantly Draven was there. He gently urged Brady out of his way, then proceeded to glare down at Winston.

“I’m only going to ask you once.”

“Thought I heard something,” Winston said so subtly that I barely heard him from where I was. “Don’t let her play it.”

Draven nodded for him to go to his guitar. Marc released him, trusting Draven’s judgment, then took a seat on the steps and prepared, like the others, to watch us play.

Draven walked over to me, to the guitar that I was unknowingly protecting with my body. I moved to the side to let him see it, as if it were a wounded child that belonged to us. Without hesitation, he reached for the stalk. I saw nothing, but I heard a slight gasp and looked to the source. Olivia had walked out of the house with Chrispin, her soul mate, in tow. I assumed her gasp was for the mock stage we had set up and turned my attention back to Draven. He’d placed it around him and was checking the power source, every part of it, finding no reason to believe that it would hurt me or was unsafe to play.

“What was that about?”

“I don’t know,” he almost whispered as he carefully took the strap off himself. “I want you to play it to spite him, but if you want me to take it home, I will.”

I felt this pull, this odd energy. At first I thought it was Draven, the way he always made me feel with a glance, but then I was almost sure it was coming from the guitar. It was the music in me wanting an escape.

“It’s mine. I’m playing it.”

Draven’s grin nearly took my breath away as he placed the guitar around me. I glanced at the growing audience on the porch, noticing that even though Aden was teasing them with his drums, their very own Brady was playing a commanding tune. They were staring at us, at me, and I couldn't figure out why. I noticed that Rose, Willow’s grandmother, was leaning close to August, whispering something to him with which he seemed to concur.

I glanced over my shoulder before taking a seat next to Draven and the microphone he had in front of him. This was as acoustic as we got, and I almost feared it would be too much for this crowd.

I noticed Drake and Madison lingering in the front yard in the moonlight, talking calmly. At least it appeared that way. Willow and Landen had joined everyone else on the porch. They were sitting with the children off to the side. Willow was staring at me in what looked like misguided admiration. I nodded in Madison’s direction, giving her some hope that her endless quest for a girl that looked just like her did have some positive effect. She grinned widely and gave them her stare instead.

The music was starting to shift into one of our original mild songs. I adjusted my fingers around the strings, and as I did I saw my father’s image cross my mind. I assumed it was only because of the simple desire to know that he was okay, but as Draven began to sing and I played more, I saw more images.

I squinted my eyes closed, seeing that home that I never lived in become more and more real in my mind. It was entirely more eccentric than the apartment in New York or our home in Salem, but I felt family there. My family. I felt an ache to find it once more, even though I knew it would be lifetimes before I was ever afforded such a pleasure.

I breathed in, just trying to tell my mind to store the memories, not unravel them - and when I did I heard one of my father’s songs. It was one of the most aggressive ones he’d ever written. I’d yet to master the rhythm of the guitar in it, but right now the song was blaring in my mind, so much so that I opened my eyes and glanced down at my hands, fearing I was playing the wrong song. Oddly, what I was playing, what Draven was singing, was not what I was hearing.

My heart began to race as my mind tried to grasp what I was seeing, hearing. The lyrics of this song held at the most 10-15 words, but I couldn’t remember them. An anxiety built within me, simply because I knew I was supposed to see something, hear something. I felt the warning, the direction, and I was blind to it. I decided that as soon as I was done playing I was going to talk to Monroe, make her explain to me what she was seeing, demand for her to tell me if it had anything to do with my parents.

I glanced in her direction, noticing Monroe standing in front of Willow and Landen, holding Landen’s hand. Fear spiked through me, knowing that with a touch Monroe could speak volumes. Before I could utter a “No” or even ponder an explanation as to what he might be seeing, Landen stood and jumped to the side of the porch, then ran at full force through the field to the opening of the string in the distance. Willow raced to the stairs and chased after him, closing the gap faster than I would have guessed possible. The others scrambled to their feet, unsure as to why they’d run. Instinctively, August, Nyla, and Landen’s parents stopped them all, knowing that they must now know. They knew Clarissa was dead.

Monroe locked stares with me as grief absorbed her expression. The music had stopped and we sat frozen, unsure of what to do. I stood, placing my guitar in its stand. Monroe’s eyes grew wide with fear. I stepped forward, but she shook her head, telling me not to. Then, as if it were the voice of God Himself, I heard my father’s song bolt from the night sky. It was fleeting, only lasting a few seconds. I turned to see a blue light gleam from the guitar, reaching for the sky then spider-webbing across the starry night.

Winston threw his guitar down and was daring to step closer to mine. Aden had abandoned his drums and was at Draven’s side. As if in slow motion, the blue light fell back to its source. Winston charged toward it and just as he reached it, it struck him once more. This time the force was so intent, so focused that when it hit him, his image flickered - and when it did, I saw a demon: Bianca. Before I could utter her name or bring a scowl to my expression, it was Winston again.

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