The Dallas airport was busy as Elayne disembarked from her plane and made her way to the luggage claim with the other passengers. She found herself hoping for the twentieth time during her trip that her bags hadn’t been lost as she looked around the terminal in an effort to locate whoever was picking her up.
Scott had assured her that someone would be there. She remembered the guilt in his voice as he told her that he wished he could be there himself, but she understood that it wasn’t possible. Now more than ever he and the other members of the group had to be illusive until this situation with the girl was finally resolved.
“Miss Daniels?” a female voice asked and Elayne turned to find a cute brunette smiling up at her. Elayne immediately recognized Julia from the time she had spent backstage after the guy’s concert in Michigan and she smiled at the young woman in return.
“Julia, hello,” Elayne said as she held out her hand and the pretty girl took it enthusiastically.
“Scott sent me to pick you up,” she informed Elayne. “Shall we get your bags?”
Elayne nodded and the girl led the way to the baggage claim as if she were a professional in airport dos and don’ts. If Elayne remembered correctly, Julia was the assistant to the tour’s manager and Elayne hoped that she wasn’t taking the other woman away from anything important. A glance at her watch told Elayne that the concert was just beginning and she wondered how the guys were doing.
“Is there any word on the girl from the radio station?” Elayne asked.
“She’s going to be okay,” Julia informed her. “Evan and Ollie snuck into the hospital earlier this afternoon with a bouquet of roses. The girl’s parents were very gracious and assured the guys that they didn’t blame them in any way for what happened. They understand that these things happen sometimes and they were grateful that they stopped by.”
“I’m glad she’s alright.” Elayne breathed a sigh of relief and hoped that Scott was feeling better about the situation himself, knowing that the girl hadn’t been badly hurt. She slipped her hand into her pocket and allowed her fingers to lightly stroke the stone that she had placed there before she left for protection. The orange colored sunstone was one of her prized possessions because they were so hard to find, as well as for the fact that it served perfectly for the action that she desired.
Amy and Serena had made sure to carefully pack the ritual bag that hung over Elayne’s left shoulder. She knew that inside the leather bag were many herbs and other items that she might need if the situation warranted that she had to do some spellcasting. Also inside the bag was her grimoire, the book that Elayne kept her spells and rituals in so that they were organized and easy to reference.
“Call us if you need anything,” Amy had said in the airport in Detroit. “We will come to you as soon as possible.”
“Thank you,” Elayne replied quietly as she hugged her friend close. She had been nervous about the trip for many reasons, but hadn’t said anything to anyone. She was self conscious about sharing her feelings concerning Scott and what being with him could mean for her.
“Be careful,” Connie cautioned when it was her turn for a hug. The two women didn’t have much time to linger at the airport. Serena had said her good-byes at home where she was putting the final touches on the food for the dinner party. She had enlisted the help of her husband, Richard, to load the van they used to transfer their cuisine from their main kitchen to outside events, but Amy and Connie had to get back to help with the actual affair.
“I will,” Elayne told her earnestly. “Everything will be okay.” She understood that all of them were as worried about the outcome of this matter as she was. She hoped she was right and that everything would be alright in the end.
With Julia’s help, Elayne managed to collect her two large suitcases from the luggage claim and the two women quickly made their way out of the airport and to the arena. Once they arrived backstage Julia handed Elayne a special pass that allowed her ‘all access’ just as the guys were taking the stage to start their show. Scott was only able to wave at Elayne and say hi before he had to walk out with the others and as they started their first song Elayne took the opportunity to look around the backstage area as she tried to get a feel for how things worked and where holes in security might allow for a young girl to get past. As she scouted around Julia made arrangements for her luggage to be taken to the hotel.
She didn’t sense anything threatening to Scott and the others so she rested easy for the moment. Elayne smiled at the backstage crew, who nodded to her in return as she edged as close to the stage as she dared. That was when she felt something out in the audience. Something that was beckoning for her to come closer and reveal herself. The call was strong, almost too much for Elayne to resist as she moved closer to the curtain.
Elayne looked into the crowd from the wings and nearly jumped out of her skin when she saw a pair of glowing, green eyes looking in her direction from the floor in front of the stage. There were hundreds of girls screaming and dancing as Scott and the others performed, but this one girl stood as still as death as she regarded Elayne with hatred written plainly on her face, even though it was dark and hard to see anything clearly.
The girl was slight in build, probably only one hundred and ten pounds or so. Her hair was long and either dark brown or black, just like the girl Ronnie had described from the hotel in New York City. Her face was beautiful if you could get past the evil green glow that her eyes had taken on and from what Elayne could see she was dressed very stylish in the latest fashions, almost as if she spent a great deal of money on he appearance.
Elayne felt her heart race as she swallowed the lump that had suddenly formed in her throat. She glanced at Scott and the others as they performed for the audience, oblivious of the threat that was mere feet away from them. She slipped her hand into her pocket and closed her fingers around the stone as she called upon Bridget to once again aid her.
She closed her eyes and opened her mind toward the girl as she stood among the throng of dancing girls. Leave here, she commanded sternly through the channels of her mind as she felt the power of her gifts, especially that of fire, gather inside her. When Elayne opened her eyes to look at the girl, her own eyes glowed red with the power of the fire that ran through her entire being.
The girl had received her mental command, but it hadn’t seemed to scare her in the slightest. Elayne watched as she threw her head back and appeared to laugh. When her head leveled again and her eyes met Elayne’s she shook her head ‘no’ defiantly.
There was nothing more Elayne could do at that moment that wouldn’t endanger everyone around the girl and both of them knew it. If she had Serena’s power of telekinesis she might have been able to move the girl through the crowd to where the security guards could take her into custody, but that, unfortunately, wasn’t an option. If Amy were here she could stop time and they could enter the crowd and take control of the girl themselves. Again, not an option.
Just as she was wondering about the possibility of security cameras, Elayne felt a strong pair of hands close around her upper arms. “Elayne,” Scott was saying fiercely as he gave her a gentle shake and pulled her away from the stage. “What’s going on?”
She blinked as she looked up at him. Her eyes returned to their normal blue color and she realized that Scott and the others had come off stage to change into their next outfits.
“She’s out there,” Elayne choked out as she mirrored Scott’s hold on her arms. “She’s out there and she’s very strong. She’s not afraid of me.”
Scott paled as he glanced over his shoulder into the crowd of screaming girls that were waiting for the show to continue. He thought he glimpsed something glowing green in the crowd on the floor, but he didn’t think anything was out of the ordinary. When he had come off the stage and saw Elayne standing there and Scott had felt a great rush of joy through his entire body at the knowledge that she was really here. Then he saw that her eyes were glowing red and that an expression of menace had crossed her features and he had immediately become alarmed. Instead of going right to the dressing room where he had to go to change he had gone to her to find out what was going on. “Where is she?” he asked.
“On the floor, just a few feet from the stage,” Elayne lifted her hand and laid her palm on his cheek that was slick with sweat. “There’s nothing I can do to her right now without endangering the others around her.”
“Scott you need to get changed,” Ollie said from behind him. He was already wearing his next outfit and was about to hit the stage again. His body was practically humming with the energy it required to do this night after night and he was ready to continue the show. “You can talk to Elayne later.”
“Go,” she urged as she pushed Scott toward the backstage area. “I’ll see what I can find out.”
There was no time for him to argue so Scott dashed off to change while Elayne turned to Ollie. “Are there any cameras monitoring the stage and audience?” she asked.
Ollie regarded her question oddly for a moment as he thought about what she had asked. “Not that I know of, why?”
Elayne knew that Ollie and Raoul had been purposefully left out of the loop about what was happening with Scott and Elayne didn’t have the time to explain everything now. Her mind whirled in an effort to come up with a believable story until she had a chance to talk to Scott or Evan.
“I thought I saw someone I knew a long time ago and I was wondering if the audience was monitored so I could try to get a better look,” Elayne replied offhandedly, silently praying that he bought her story as she moved closer to the stage entrance again, hoping that she could once again find the girl in the crowd. Ollie’s cue to go back on stage was about to come so that was in her favor as well. “You look good,” she told him as she glanced back at him and surveyed the white tux that he was wearing. As usual, the shirt was unbuttoned to show the white tank top he had on underneath.
Ollie smiled widely as he shrugged his shoulders to settle the jacket better on his narrow shoulders. “Thanks. Scott made the comment that you were coming to hang for a few days.” With that he ran on stage to start the intro to the next song.
It was at that moment that Scott came running back into her view the tails of his tux fluttering out behind him. He was busy tucking in his shirt and the tie still hung around his neck undone. “Stay right here,” he said when he stopped momentarily next to her. “I told Dan to come stay with you until the show is over. I don’t want you to go anywhere without him.”
“Scott, if she wants to try something there is no way that Dan could stop her,” Elayne reasoned, not liking the idea of having a babysitter.
“Just humor me okay?” He had to get back on stage, but he was worried about Elayne. He would never forgive himself if something happened to her.
Elayne attempted a small smile that did a great deal to set his mind at ease. She knew that he was worried about her getting hurt because of him and that helped her courage lift. He needed her so she would have to do what needed to be done. “Get out there and do what you do best and let me worry about our little guest.”
Scott smiled at her, then raced back onstage to where his keyboards were set up. Elayne stayed near the stage for the rest of the show and scanned the crowd, but she never got another glimpse of the girl or her glowing green eyes. She had managed to get a good enough look at her to be able to recognize her if she had to and that in and of itself was a large step.
Scott’s bodyguard found her within moments of his employer going back on stage so Elayne shared with him the girl’s description as best as she could. Because he protected Scott on a daily basis it was determined early on that Dan should know exactly what was going on. Every detail. He had taken the whole story in stride, saying that his grandmother was from New Orleans and had known many voodoo priestesses. He said he could tell you stories that would curl your dead uncle’s toes. Elayne was glad that she didn’t have to pretend with him like she did with Ollie and Raoul.
After the concert Scott came off stage and immediately looked for Elayne. Once his eyes found her, relief filled his face and he came over to put an arm around her shoulders. “Did anything else happen?” he asked as they made their way toward the dressing room where the others were already taking off their sweat soaked clothes and heading for the bathroom to shower.
Elayne shook her head no as she averted her eyes from the men, as more and more skin became visible. “I lost her in the crowd again. But I did manage to get a good look at her.”
Scott nodded as he took off his jacket and threw it on the floor with his other discarded clothes. “Talk to Ronnie later and see if it’s the same person as the girl in New York.”
“I planned on it.” Elayne pointed to the door as she continued to avert her gaze, “I-I’m just going to wait down the hall for you to finish.”
Scott realized that the others were going through their post performance ritual without any thought that Elayne was in the room. He had been more concerned about her safety than anyone’s modesty and now he saw that she was embarrassed. Silently he cursed his stupidity as he caught Dan’s eye and gave him the signal to stay with Elayne.
Dan nodded in agreement as Elayne edged toward him and the door. “I’ll be out soon,” Scott assured her then grabbed a towel and headed for the shower.
Of course she had recognized the woman from Michigan and she had wondered why she was there. Who did she think she was invading her mind and telling her to leave? What a joke! This was her domain and the older woman was the interloper, not her. Scott was hers and she would do whatever she had to do to get what belonged to her.
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