“We’re really doing this?” Serephin asked, looking between her two best friends.
“Yes,” Carami said. “We have nothing to lose.”
Just their lives, but Serephin wasn’t going to voice that thought. Brahman nodded and they were off. One of the privileges of having the appearance of a human was that, outside the queen’s inner circle, they were seen as slaves, and ignored for the most part. Soon, they were far into the chamber of catacombs and away from the heart of her mother’s realm. She prayed Carami’s memory didn’t fail them.
After almost exactly two hours, Carami finally stopped them.
“There it is,” she said and pointed.
Serephin saw nothing, just deep shadows amidst a swirling gray mist. “Where? All I see is the mist.”
“The map said it was there,” Carami insisted.
“Well, let’s go check it out,” Serephin sighed. They’d made it this far without setting off any alarms or being seen. It would serve them right if it turned out to be all for naught.
“Should I go before you, Princess?” Brahman asked her. She could tell he was unsure on where the most danger might lie, the mist before them or the possibility of discovery behind them.
“Yeah, you go first,” Carami said and pushed him ahead of them.
“Princess?” he asked, sending a hard look towards Carami.
“I’m right behind you,” Serephin said and grabbed hold of his belt. The mist was thick and looked as if it might swallow them whole.
Carami grabbed her free hand. Then Serephin felt her friend grab onto Brahman’s belt with her other one.
The mist did swallow them. Serephin couldn’t see anything around her. She could feel Brahman and Carami, but was unable to see them.
“Serephin?” Carami’s voice sounded as if it were right in her ear.
“I’m here,” Serephin said, squeezing Carami’s hand.
“It is old magic, ancient magic,” Brahman said. “This is no portal.”
“But the portal is supposed to be here,” Carami swore. “I memorized this exact location.”
“It is no portal, or at least not the kind we are thinking of,” Brahman said. “It is a summoning mist. You have only to tell it where you wish to go, and it will send you there.”
“We all wish to go to Zandova,” Carami said. “So, we’ll all wish the same and go together.”
“Will that work?” Serephin asked.
“I’m unsure of how it works, Princess,” Brahman said, and his voice sounded uneasy.
“We’ll just hold tight and all say it together,” Serephin said. She felt Brahman touch the hand she had on his belt, and he laced their fingers together before turning around. She could only assume he did the same with Carami’s hand. “All ready?”
“Yes,” Carami said.
“On your count, Princess,” Brahman said.
“On three then,” she said. “One. Two. Three. I wish to be in Zandova.”
There was a pulling sensation. Then, it was as if the earth fell from beneath her feet. She was falling, falling and unable to hold on. Carami’s fingers slipped from her grasp. She tried to fling her suddenly free hand at Brahman, to tighten her grip there, but she couldn’t. A harsh blast of air and his fingers were ripped from hers. She heard his yell, echoed it with one of her own, and continued to fall.
“I will find you, Princess,” Brahman yelled.
They were the last words she heard before the darkness sucked her in.
“Forget asshat,” Mischa said. “You were friends, you had sex, he moved on. You can still be friends or you can move on completely. Either way, you really don’t have feelings for him. You just thought you did, or wanted to.”
“How can you say that?”
“Because, you don’t get the look when you talk about him,” Jacey said and Mischa nodded.
“What look?” Dee wanted to know.
“Jack,” Jacey said.
“That look,” Mischa laughed.
Dee looked appalled. “I get a look when you say Jack’s name?”
“Honey, you have since we were twelve and you saw him in a towel.”
“The best memory of my life,” Dee agreed and picked up the napkin to fan herself. “God, he is so hot.”
“So do something about it,” Jacey said.
“Like what?” Dee asked shaking her head. “I’m not you, Jacey. I don’t have the balls to just walk up to a guy and talk that way.”
Jacey snorted. “What way?”
“About sex and stuff.”
“So just pretend for a minute then,” Jacey urged.
“Jacey,” Mischa warned but Jacey shook her head and focused on Dee again.
“Just pretend that Jack is here in front of you…”
“Behind you,” Mischa murmured.
“Wherever,” Jacey glared at Mischa. “If you could say anything to him, what would you say?”
“I’d ask how he was doing? How he felt about not being in the Marines anymore.”
Jacey snorted. “Good grief, Dee. Would you admit how much you want him or not?”
“Hello, this is me remember,” Dee shook her head. “Maybe with a few more drinks I could.”
“What would you tell him?” Jacey encouraged. “If you had enough liquid courage in your veins.”
“What?” Jacey asked.
“I was just picturing your brother’s face if I went up to him and said what I’ve wanted to for years. ‘Jack, I’ve wanted you forever. Take me home and fuck me until neither one of us has the strength to move.’”
“How did you picture his face?” Mischa asked softly.
“Appalled,” Dee snorted another laugh.
“Maybe you should look then,” Mischa said and nodded over Dee’s shoulder.
Dee’s eyes were huge and her face lost all color before a blush rose from the collar of her shirt, up her neck, to spread over her face.
“So my place or yours?” Jack asked as he took the fourth chair at the table and grinned at Dee.