It took them long enough to grow up, but Markus is finally willing to train them to use their born abilities. Maven dove right into the studies, reading every book their dad gave them and studying until his eyes hurt, and at last he’s capable of creating some sort of effect.
Marise hasn’t done any studying and hasn’t even looked at the books. She’s just a natural.
Gem becomes a young adult. He doesn’t feel any different.
Coral had told him that when she’d woken up as a vampire everything had been brighter, the sun had burned her skin but the power that came with it was more than worth the pain.
Gem has no power, no amazing increase of strength and ability following his birthday. But he also feels no burn from sitting out in the sun. He still has the glowing skin, but for how much longer?
He runs into Gator at random, while out walking around town. He’s doing good. Working as a lab tech at the local science laboratory, wealthy, set to inherit daddy’s mansion. Oh, and single.
“You dumped her?” Gem can’t believe his ears.
Gator nods, then answers Gem’s next question before he says it. “It’s complicated. I don’t want to talk about it. Let’s just have some fun, forget about her.”
They play darts at the local werewolf lounge. If the vampire lounge Sophie’s dad owns is posh and formal, the werewolf lounge is the opposite. Heck, the back yard doubles as the local junkyard and there’s this awful smell of rotting meat in the air.
He misses and Gator laughs in success. “Hah! Dude I can’t believe how much you suck at this! I thought vampires were supposed to be good at everything!”
Gem could kill him.
“I’m not a vampire anymore.” He reminds him.
“You still feel like one.” Gator shrugs. “Either way you’re still just Gem. I’m here for you, we aren’t going to hate you for being a human.”
Gem doesn’t know who his friend is talking about anymore. Who does “we” refer to? Sophie perhaps? She and Gator broke up, it doesn’t mean they’re no longer friends.
After her birthday, Sophie’s dad bought her a new house. It’s actually just down the street from Gem’s own and as he passes it on his way back home he can’t help but turn up the walk way.
She’s every bit as beautiful as he remembers her, but he still can’t understand why he even came.
They have the typical small talk. She says she’s working as a writer, but Gem knows she’s really working at the warehouse with his dad. Nico had offered to trick her into taking a fall for the team, but instead Gem had asked his dad to take good care of her. She may have broken his heart, but he still cares about her.
He interrupts her mid sentence. “Where did things go wrong between us?”
Her voice trails off, her face falling as she tries to think of an answer. “I don’t know... I really thought you were the one, Gem, I really liked you but every time I got comfortable I’d get scared you’d lost interest in me. I saw Fawn as competition and I thought I’d lost you so I... I just didn’t want to be alone. I know it doesn’t excuse cheating on you, but that’s how I felt, that’s why I did it.”
Surprisingly, he knows how she must have felt. “When you cheated on me, when you hurt Fawn, you left me alone too. And unlike you I had no one to lean on but my own family, and they couldn’t really understand how I was feeling.”
He shakes his head. “Don’t. I’m over it. I mean, it still hurts but it already happened and we can’t take it back. All we can really do it keep going and try to keep from making the same mistakes again.”
“Are you... offering me a second chance?”
There’s a kind of hope in her eyes that hits Gem straight in the heart. The house she’s living in is large, but modest. Her clothing isn’t hand made but its isn’t the designer brand outfits she used to wear in high school. Perhaps when she’d talked to him about compromise she’d been speaking honestly.
Either way, he just wants to believe things can go back to the way they were. “I am.”
As teenagers he’d always wanted to be with her completely, but her brother’s threat had always scared him into behave himself. Now they’re both adults, and they can do whatever they want. She asks him to come upstairs with her and he doesn’t argue.
“I’m leaving for medical school in the morning.” He tells her before they get too intimate, in case that scares her off.
She smiles at him. “A doctor? I always knew you’d do great things.”
“It’ll be a while before I’m back in town.”
“Promise you’ll call me every day until you’re here?”
It until they’re dozing off, her hand holding his in an almost vice like grip that he thinks about breaking that promise. After all, she just said she loved him but called him Gator.
By the time he gets home his parents are out, for which he is thankful, but the second Trinity looks at him he knows she’s read his mind. She runs up the stairs away from him but he follows after her. “Trin... don’t do this.”
“Don’t do WHAT?” She demands, turning to glare at him. “You’re such a whore! You know full well she doesn’t love you, you don’t NEED to be a mind reader to figure that out!”
She goes on. “Hell, you don’t give a crap about her either! So why would you do something so bloody stupid?”
Okay, he’d expected her to be disappointed in him but not angry at this level!
“Trin you can’t understand what I’m going through. You don’t know what love is, and you’ve never felt alone or abandoned before. You don’t know how I felt when I found out Sophie betrayed me with Gator, how it felt to have Fawn turn her back on me, and then to have to turn my back on my best friend and my girlfriend.”
“I do know how it feels.” Trinity growls. “I feel it every time I look at you. We’re siblings, Gemmy. You’re a part of me and since you’re human I feel what you do more easily than I should be able to. When you’re sad and I look at you I get sad too. I know what you’re feeling and thats why I’m so friggin angry right now! You’re just such an idiot!”
“I’m not an idiot...”
“You are! I mean, did you even use protection? Did you consider that maybe Gator was lying about them breaking up? Did you even think for a second that Sophie won’t go running back to Gator the SECOND you’re out of town? She won’t wait for you! And she’s nothing but a good for nothing thief!”
“Crime runs in the family and you’ll be smart to remember that.” He points out, refusing to look at her. “It’s a noble profession and you will NOT look down on her for that. I love her and I’d appreciate you support me.”
Trinity scoffs. “You don’t love her. Don’t lie to yourself like that.”
“I’m not lying.”
She turns her back on him. “Whatever, Gemmy. Don’t come crying to me when you realize Sophie’s a terrible idea.”
Gem watches her go sadly. She right and he knows it. But on the other hand, Sophie doesn’t know what she wants, and he could make a relationship work if he tried hard enough. Perhaps if he weren’t going to school he could win her over, but what would be the point? He has to go, and if she’s still waiting for him like she said she would be he’d make his decision then.
This was a fun chapter to write. : D