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“What’s wrong with Elayne?” Evan asked Ronnie quietly. The two were standing in the center of the stage in Albuquerque for the final sound check before the show and they could see Elayne just as she was entering the backstage area.

It had been over a week since the decision had been made that Elayne’s friends would meet them in Los Angeles to deal with the girl. In that time the rest of the guy’s had seen very little of Scott and even less of Elayne. Since it had been assumed that the girl was no longer trailing them across the country, Elayne had been using her time to go to any new age bookstore or physic she could find as they wound their way west and when he could, Scott went with her.

“She looks like hell,” Ronnie commented uneasily as he craned his neck to watch her glance toward the stage. He figured that she was looking for Scott and Ronnie knew that he was in the stands, checking the sound in the nose bleed seats like he always did before a show. It never failed to amaze him that Scott was always so concerned with every minute detail even with all the shit that was going on with him right now.

They watched as alarm filled Elayne’s features when she didn’t find Scott right away and Evan pointed to the stands in order to set her mind at ease. She caught his gesture and turned her head to look in the direction he indicated. As soon as her eyes fell on Scott, relief smoothed Elayne’s features and a tentative smile tugged her lips. As if he sensed she was there, Scott turned to face the stage and found her stiff figure immediately. He smiled affectionately and waved at her, a motion that she returned with a visible jerking effort.

“She looks like she hasn’t slept in days,” Evan muttered to his friend. When he had asked his cousin that morning how everything was going, Scott told him that Elayne was doing all she could to gather information that she thought they might need when they reached California.

That meant little to Evan since he had only a basic understanding of what Elayne and her friends were planning. He did understand how frustrated Elayne was considering the fact that she didn’t know for sure if that’s were the girl was for sure and he wished that there was something more he could do to help.

Unfortunately he had problems of his own to deal with. Evan’s wife, Leeann, had called the day before to say that she planned on meeting the tour in California for the end of this leg of the tour. The couple lived in Texas most of the time, but she suggested that they could stay in Los Angeles during his break, that way they had more time together and he wouldn’t have to continue traveling in order to get home.

Evan had immediately become alarmed by the thought of his wife’s presence in California. It looked like the culmination of the situation with the girl would take place there and Evan didn’t want to take the chance that his wife could be hurt as well. Of course he couldn’t fully explain the reason why he didn’t want his wife in Los Angeles and he knew that Leeann’s feelings were hurt by the lame excuse he had given her, but he couldn’t take the chance. He would have to make it up to her somehow and thankfully he had a few days to figure out how. His was hoping everything would be resolved by the time he went home.

Elayne stood backstage while the band finished the sound check, watching Scott the entire time. She couldn’t wait to share with him the news she had been given by the tarot card reader she had gone to see that day. Normally she didn’t put much stock into readings like that, but this woman had been exceptionally good and had managed to give her some optimism.

In an effort to find out if the reader was actually intuitive, Elayne hadn’t mentioned anything about the reason why she had come. Unfortunately the woman hadn’t been able to give her any details, but she had been very sure that in the end everything would come out in their favor. It was the first ray of sunshine Elayne had been able to find in this mess and she was eager to tell Scott about it.

She saw that Evan and Ronnie kept an eye on her from where they stood on stage and she knew that she didn’t look well. She hadn’t slept in over a week, since the night that Ravenmyst had entered her dreams, and she didn’t know how much longer she could go on like this. Luckily she had been able to work a spell that was able to fortify her strength enough to keep her going and a little glamour hid most of the large circles under her eyes. It wasn’t healthy by any means, but it was all she could do for now until she had a better solution.

So far Scott was unaware of her lack of sleep, but Elayne knew his ignorance wouldn’t last much longer, if he didn’t have an idea already. She went to bed with him every night, but she lay awake and listened to his breathing until she was sure that he was asleep. Then she would ease out from his arms and sit close by so that she could watch over him.

She had also been very careful not to let him read anything about her current situation from her thoughts. Elayne hadn’t been able to prove that Scott could really read them, but she’d made sure to put up mental blocks so that nothing slipped out.

She hadn’t told Connie or any of the others in the coven about the dream either. She was afraid that they would insist that she come home and allow them to deal with the girl. She couldn’t let that happen. She loved Scott and she had a responsibility to see this through to the finish.

Thankfully, Ravenmyst hadn’t entered Scott’s dreams and Elayne hoped that meant that the visit to hers was in some way related to the rituals that the girl was doing in preparation for her grand finale. There was just no way to be sure.

At first Elayne had hoped that she could find an old magickal text of some kind that would aid in figuring out what the girl was up to. In every city she would hit the yellow pages or the internet and look for places that sold new age wares and old books. She visited as many as she could and when it was possible, Scott was with her. But much of the time Elayne was alone because of the public appearances that he had to appear at and the shows themselves. She knew that he didn’t like her going off by herself, but for the time being they were safe so long as Ravenmyst wasn’t trailing them and Elayne had to make the most of the time she had left before they reached California. So far she had come up empty handed in her research, until the visit to the tarot card reader that afternoon. Silently she waited until the sound check was finished so that she could have a word in private with Scott.

She didn’t have to wait long. A half an hour later Scott strolled off the stage and stopped to kiss her lightly on the cheek. He tried not to make it obvious that he noticed how tired she was, but Elayne couldn’t help but see the concern in his green eyes. Soon, she thought. Soon this will be over and he won’t have to worry anymore.

“Hi,” he said in greeting. “How’s it going?”

“Okay,” she replied. She wanted to blurt out to him what she had learned, but Ronnie and Evan had followed Scott and she didn’t want to share with them just yet.

Scott was worried. Elayne had been so quiet and withdrawn the past few days that he thought maybe he had done something wrong. When he had woke up last night and found that she wasn’t beside him, he opened his eyes and saw that she was sitting on the couch across the room from the bed in their hotel room. How long she had sat there he didn’t know, but he sensed that she didn’t want to be disturbed. With all his heart Scott had wanted to go to her and gather her in his arms if only to reassure her of his love. He lay there for a time, waiting for Elayne to come back to bed so that he could then pretend to pull her to him in his sleep, but she never came. Eventually he had drifted off again but the worry was still there when he woke that morning.

“Hey, Elayne,” Ronnie said eagerly.

“How’s my favorite groupie?” Evan asked as he dropped a quick kiss on her cheek and gave her a brief, one-armed hug.

“Good,” Elayne answered. “Really good. Sound check sounded good.”

“Thanks,” Ronnie said with a shy grin. “Evan and I were thinking about getting some lunch. You guys want to come along?”

Scott looked to Elayne questioningly and she knew that it would be rude to not accept the invitation. “Sounds great to me,” she said, putting forth the effort of sounding enthusiastic. The foursome went off together and, after much begging on Ronnie’s part, when they got outside they linked arms and did the Monkee walk to the SUV that would carry them back to the hotel where they would eat. As she and Scott rode together in the back seat, Elayne’s heart felt light for the first time since her last dream.

Evan and Ronnie did everything they could during lunch to make her laugh and Scott was glad to see that they were in part successful. By the time he and Elayne went back to their room so that he could lie down before the show, both their sides ached from the two guys antics and Scott was pleased that everyone had been able to relax even if it was for only an hour. For the time being Elayne forgot about the happy news the tarot reader had given her and just enjoyed being with the man she loved.

She picked up a book that she had been reading from the nightstand as Scott stretched out on the other side of the bed. “Aren’t you going to take a nap with me?” he asked when he saw that she intended to read.

She shook her head, purposefully avoiding his gaze as she skimmed the page in front of her. “No. I passed by this section earlier that was talking about complex spells that I wanted to go over. It seems to me that if we could just-”

Scott sat up and took the book out of her hands and firmly closed it. “Elayne, you need to get some rest. You’ve been running around every city we’ve been through trying to find answers. I’m just as worried about this as you are, but you’re killing yourself.”

Happiness that had flooded her senses just the moment before came crashing down as Elayne’s exhausted body reacted to Scott’s direct accusation and tears instantly filled her eyes. Under normal circumstances she would have been able to hide her emotions better, but the lack of sleep was beginning to take its toll on her body and she knew it.

She told herself that she had to be strong, for the both of them, so she quickly blinked the tears away before Scott saw them. Ravenmyst meant business and Elayne had to be prepared to do whatever necessary to keep Scott alive and out of the girl’s clutches. “I can rest after Ravenmyst has been stopped,” she said quietly, still not meeting Scott’s gaze. She didn’t realize that she had used the girl’s name, something she hadn’t told Scott yet because to do so would mean that she would have to admit to him the dreams she had.

“Ravenmyst?” he said questioningly as his brows came together in a frown. “Who’s Ravenmyst?”

Elayne’s eyes locked with his and she stared at him stupidly, mentally cursing herself for the slip. Scott could tell by her expression that she was holding back something, probably a lot by the looks of it, and he could now see that he was going to have to start pumping her for information. Hopefully, with as tired as she appeared, it wouldn’t be hard to get her to open up.

“Elayne,” he said evenly as he took her upper arms and turned her so that she faced him on the bed. “Who’s Ravenmyst?” He dreaded the answers she might give him, but he had to know anyhow.

Elayne knew that she would have to tell him something. There was no way that Scott was going to let the subject drop without an explanation and she knew that she couldn’t lie to him any longer, so she wasn’t about to try. What she could do was keep what she did tell him to a minimum.

“That’s what the girl calls herself,” she said finally, dropping her eyes again.

His voice was quiet. “How do you know that?”

Silence hung over the two of them as Elayne considered exactly what she was going to tell him. She knew that she was the world’s worst liar and decided to be a vague as possible and see how far that got her. “She came to me in my dreams the other night.”




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