“Let me get this straight,” Ollie started in disbelief as the six of them sat in Scott’s hotel room two hours later. “You’re telling me that there is a witch out there who’s got it bad for Scott, and she’ll do whatever it takes to get to him?”
“That’s about the extent of it,” Evan answered calmly as he glanced from Ollie to Scott, then Elayne and back to Ollie. “At least that’s the best we can piece together. We think that she’s the girl who mysteriously got on the floor of the hotel in New York and she’s responsible for the van breaking down the night we met Elayne and Connie, as well as the bouquet of flowers Scott got in Boston.”
“And don’t forget what happened at the radio station yesterday,” Ronnie interjected.
“We’re not sure of that,” Scott added, “but we have a feeling it was her.”
Elayne had sat quietly while Ronnie, Evan and Scott filled the remaining two members of the band in on what had been going on. She understood that the three men knew Ollie and Raoul far better than she did and if anyone could make them understand what was going on and get them to believe it – it was them. She knew that Ollie and Raoul would have questions and she was prepared to tell them what they wanted to know when those questions were pointed in her direction. For the moment she would let Scott and the others handle the situation.
“What’s happened to make you guys think that this is what’s going on?” Raoul had been his usual quiet self up until that moment, but now he had finished putting things into perspective in his mind, he was willing to listen to his brothers before making a final decision.
Scott glanced down at Elayne. She had taken the only chair in the room when they had entered and he was sitting on its arm so that if things got ugly he could be right there to support her. He didn’t know how Ollie and Raoul were going to take what they were telling them and he surely didn’t want them to lash out at Elayne if the story seemed too ridiculous to them.
The room was silent for a minute after Raoul’s question and Elayne saw that no one knew how to proceed. She was thankful that Scott and the other two men wanted to protect her, but she felt that time was short so she spoke up.
“They know because the night the van broke down I had a premonition that something was happening and I felt magick in the air.” Her eyes were steady as she looked at first Raoul and then Ollie and saw their scrutiny as they listened to what she had to say. They had to understand the seriousness of the situation and that she would do what she could to help them. She took a deep breath then confessed, “I could feel magick being used because I am a witch, too.”
Ollie blinked in obvious surprise and quickly turned his head to gage Raoul’s reaction. They sat next to each other with Ronnie on the couch while Evan sat on the bed. Raoul’s brows rose slightly at Elayne’s admission then his eyes swung to Scott. “And you believe this?” he asked evenly.
Scott looked down at Elayne again before he answered. “At first I thought it was crazy, but do you remember how I lost my voice?”
“Yeah,” Ollie answered. “You said the doc gave you a shot and some throat spray and you were all good.”
“The doctor didn’t know what to do,” Scott informed him as he reached inside his tee shirt and pulled out the amulet that Elayne had given him. “If it weren’t for Elayne giving me this necklace I would probably still not be able to talk.”
Raoul and Ollie exchanged glances once again as Ronnie became frustrated. “Oh, come on. Elayne just show ‘em how you can make flames appear in the palm of your hand. They’ll believe that.”
“It’s not always that easy, Ronnie,” Elayne told him. She still felt that she had abused her power with the little display she given them in Lansing, but there was no way to take it back now. She had learned long ago to take what she could from her mistakes and move on.
“Flame in your hand?” Ollie asked astounded. Raoul was looking at her quietly again, but she could see that a shred of trust was growing in his eyes and she felt assured for the first time since coming in the room that things would be okay.
“It was so cool,” Ronnie told him as he turned on the couch to fully face him as he used his hands to illustrate what he was saying. “She just summoned this Goddess like they do in the movies and there it was in her hand.”
“We aren’t here to talk about fire,” Scott said as he put his hand on Elayne’s shoulder. During one of their many phone conversations Elayne had told him that she had handled that situation wrong when she showed them how she could manipulate fire so he understood her hesitancy to do so again. “Listen, I feel really bad about what happened to the girl at the radio station today and our only chance of finding this girl is for Elayne to come with us.” He looked at Raoul and Ollie then added, “She’s our only shot to stop this.”
“You can feel when someone else is using magick?” Raoul asked, watching her closely.
“Not all the time,” Elayne explained. “Usually my premonitions let me know when something important is about to happen. Not every premonition is the same, however,” she pointed out. “That night you came to our door, Raoul, I could feel that something was about to happen, even after all of you had come in. I didn’t know what the premonition was or if it had to do with one or all of you until Scott hugged me when you guys left.”
“What happened then?” Ollie asked, clearly wanting to know how we all came to be sitting there.
“If it has to do with a specific person, I can get a better reading for what the situation is about with physical contact. It was enough of a trigger when Scott hugged me to let me know it was with him where the problem lay.”
Ollie and Raoul both seemed to be accepting what they were being told, although they were still hesitant. “So what do we do now?” Raoul asked.
“Do you remember how Ronnie was the only one of us to see the girl in New York?” Scott asked. After everyone had nodded that they did he continued, “Elayne saw the same girl tonight at the concert.”
There was a chorus of sharp intakes of breath around the room as all sets of eyes fell on Elayne. She had managed to pull Ronnie aside for a minute before they left the arena and had been able to confirm with a small mind probe that the girl he had seen in New York was the same one that she had seen earlier in the audience. Elayne didn’t tell him then why she was asking about her so it was new information for everyone except for her and Scott.
He continued as he ran his hand up and down her arm reassuringly. “I didn’t want to ask Elayne to come because I didn’t want to put her in any danger, but right now with her abilities she’s the only way we can find this girl and counteract what she’s doing.”
The mood for the rest of the conversation was a somber one as they discussed the best way to approach the situation. It was obvious that the girl had the freedom to travel along with the tour because she had been at no fewer than four concert cities and had attended at least one concert itself. Elayne explained how her friends back home were continuing to do what they could to come up with a way to stop what the girl was doing but at this point what they really needed was more information to move forward.
In the end they all agreed that Elayne would keep the same schedule as the rest of the guys, Scott in particular because he was the object of the girl’s desire, in hopes that she would make some sort of a mistake that they in turn could use against her.
Now that Elayne’s magical abilities were common knowledge Evan asked her at one point if there were anything she could do with her own magick to stop the girl and she was saddened to tell him no. “Well, I guess that isn’t entirely true,” she continued. “I use my magick a great deal differently than this girl does.”
She looked around the room and saw that the guys were eyeing her questioningly so she explained, “In Wicca there is something known as the Law of Three or the Three-Fold Rule, that states whatever you do will come back to you three times over. If you were to wish that someone losses the money they bet on a horse race you could loss three times that amount when you are, for instance, robbed or if you have to replace something valuable that broke like your car or your washing machine.”
“Not a bad way to live,” Raoul commented as he looked around the room at the others. Elayne knew that his family was strict Catholics, so for him to be so accepting of her made Elayne feel relieved and well received.
“Thank you,” she told him, then turned her attention back to the rest of the group. “This girl obviously doesn’t practice the Craft by the same standards or we wouldn’t be sitting here. Given what I felt from her tonight she is very powerful. I think that the best course of action would be to attempt to bind her so that she can no longer use her power. But in order to do that I need to know more about her. Like her name for starters.”
Scott glanced at his watch and saw that it was nearly three in the morning. “It’s getting late,” he said as he stood, “and Elayne is probably tired from her flight. Why don’t we talk about this more tomorrow?”
Everyone agreed and within minutes Scott’s room had been cleared after a round of hugs and goodnight kisses for Elayne. After the door was closed Scott turned to her, a serious expression on his face. “I’ve already arranged for you to have a room of your own. It’s just down the hall.”
“Thank you so much, Scott,” she told him with a slight smile. Now that he had mentioned her flight, she realized just how tired she was and that she would be glad to get a good night’s sleep.
“It’s me that should be thanking you,” he said as he pulled her into his arms and rested his chin on the top of her head. “You’re the one who dropped her entire life to be here.”
“I don’t mind, really,” she said into his chest. She raised her head and looked up at him before saying, “I just wish there was a way to resolve this quickly. You don’t deserve this kind of craziness.” She liked this closeness with him and knew she would miss it when this was all said and done. He was naturally warm and his body heat was making her feel even sleepier.
Scott laughed slightly as he smoothed her hair back from her face. “I’m used to craziness. Just not on this scale.” He sobered and looked deep into her eyes. “I want to ask you something, but I have to explain why first.”
Elayne frowned, wondering what he wanted to ask her. “What?”
“When I realized the girl at the radio station was hurt because of me…” he broke off as he pulled his gaze from hers and stared across the room over her shoulder. “I don’t know how to explain it. I felt, no feel, so responsible about the whole thing.”
Elayne started to say something, but his gaze returned to hers and he silenced her with a finger over her lips. “I don’t want anything to happen to you,” he said fiercely. “I couldn’t live with myself if you were hurt because of me.”
Elayne pulled his finger away gently with a hand on his. “Scott,” she began in a low voice, “I know you’re concerned about me, but this is what we have to do to stop this girl. She’s out of control and we have to do something before she really hurts someone.”
“I don’t want you to stay by yourself,” he said in a rush, as if he would chicken out if he didn’t say the words right away. It was something that he had been thinking about most of the day. He just wasn’t sure what his suggestion would mean for the both of them.
Elayne laughed as she thought about his words. What did he want her to do, bunk with Ronnie? Ollie? She was about to voice her thoughts when he spoke again. “I want you to stay with me,” he said as he brought his hand to her face again to caress her cheek with the backs of his fingers. “I promise nothing will happen. But if she wants to hurt you, she’ll have to go through me first.”
Elayne blinked in surprise, suddenly understanding his hesitancy. Scott was torn between his need to see that nothing happened to her and their agreement to be just friends. She had to admit that staying in the same room with him would be tempting in many ways, but the desire to be close to him had her agreeing to his suggestion before she knew what she was saying.
“Okay,” she told him quietly, causing him to smile at her consent.
“I’ll go down to your room and get your bags,” Scott told her, relief edging his statement. Before she had a chance to change her mind he was out the door with her passkey and she was left to think about what she had just committed herself to.
Elayne knew that Scott wanted to keep their relationship strictly on a friendly level for many reasons and she had to admit that she had her own reservations about any deeper involvement with him. If he weren’t so damn handsome, she told herself, then maybe this would be a lot easier.
As he moved down the corridor Scott thanked his lucky stars that he hadn’t bungled the suggestion of Elayne staying in his room with him. He intended to live up to the agreement they had made three weeks earlier in the elevator, especially if it meant that he could be assured of her safety. He wasn’t going to kid himself into thinking that he wasn’t attracted to Elayne, but some things were simply more important. Like her safety. He knew that he would be able to sleep at night if he knew that she were next to him.
The room he had reserved for her was just down the hall from his so within minutes he was heading back the way he had come with her two suitcases in his hands. He didn’t see the shadow without a body connected to it in the cut out area of the hall where a plant decorated the walkway.
The girl raven hair may have hidden herself from his view, but when she saw Scott return to his room with the suitcases that she knew belonged to the woman from Michigan she was livid and nearly gave her location away. She watched as he opened the door to his room with the luggage and she was barely able to control her fury at his audacity.
How dare he take her into his bed, she thought hatefully to herself as she quietly made her way to the stairwell where she could return to her own room one floor below. This newest betrayal was too much. She had to consult her book to find out what to do next.
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