Complicated

Cataline Mercier Wintour had spent her whole life training to be an Olympic athlete, but when a tragic accident lands her and her party-oriented sister, Carson, across the country back in their old childhood home in Cape May, New Jersey. Cat can't help but give up on her dreams, but when she unexpectedly runs into striking, young, Frenchman Archer Corbett Henri Demonte and his group of strange friends her entire world is flipped upside down. Old secrets from the past start to unravel and when Cat becomes entrusted with the secrets of Archer and his friends things start to become a little complicated...

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18. Chapter 18

Cat?” I heard Archer’s voice, but I couldn’t see him. Everything was so dark.

    “Archer? I can’t see, I’m scared.” I breathed shakily, my hands moving, searching for something to hold on.

    “It’s okay ma belle. I’m right here.” He said softly as I felt his fingers lock with mine. I suddenly felt a wave of calm wash over my body. He was right there, I couldn’t see him, but just knowing he was in my presence made me feel safer.

    “I miss you,” I said softly, as tears welled in your eyes, “I miss your voice, I miss your touch, I miss seeing you every day. I love you so much that it hurts, that it’s killing me. I’m dreaming of you and you aren’t even here.”

    “I am here. Please excuse my invasion of your thoughts, but I had to see you ma belle. All of those things you said I feel them too. I haven’t eaten or slept in days. I can’t close my eyes without seeing you.” He said softly, I could hear his voice shake as he squeezed my hand.

    “Luc and I broke up.” I told him, sadly.

    “I know, he told me.” I looked up to where I heard his voice, hoping he would say something about Grace.

    “You know I’ll always love you right? Even though I am with Grace, my heart belongs to you.” He whispered as he pressed his lips to my forehead and then his voice disappeared.

    “Archer?” I called out, my own voice echoing back at me from the blackness that blanketed me.

    “Archer!”

 

    My eyes fluttered open, as I became aware of the tears due to my blurred vision. He was in my head, I didn’t know he could do that blurred vision. He was in my head, my dreams. I certainly didn't know he could do that and maybe he didn't tell me for a reason, but why would he do that, say those things? If he loved me why was he still with Grace. Why would you ever be with someone you didn't love? I thought to myself and then realized

I was a complete and total hypocrite. I had been with Luc even though I didn't love him, I did it to get over Archer, but that didn't help. Was Archer only with Grace to get over me?

"Cat! Let's go, we have school!" Carson called from the bottom of the stairs. I groaned as I rolled out of bed, I had forgotten about school completely. Dealing with a breakup from an angel, a dead guy, and trying to keep the moon from killing me was exhausting and took up most of my time, school wasn't as much of a priority to me as it was when I lived in Los Angeles. I slipped on a gray dress and a red leather jacket with my black converse. I may not have been as outgoing or fashion-forward as my sister, but I knew how to put an outfit together, my mother made sure of that.

I was silent the whole car ride to school, the sky was bleak as light rain fell from the sky. I was still too weak to force myself to be happy.

"Lots of rain, recently. Wonder if it's going to flood?" Carson said, trying to break the awkward silence between us. I cracked a small smile to myself at her comment.

"You have no idea." I murmured under my breath.

"What was that?" She asked, her eyes glancing over at me before regaining focus on the road.

“Nothing.” I responded nonchalantly, brushing her question off.

“I’m worried about you, Cat and so are Pops and Gran.”

“Don’t be.” I said deadpan, turning my attention back to the rain droplets on thee car window.

“You won’t talk to me anymore, Cat! You’ve stopped going out, even to museums. You sit, locked away in your room, pining for Archer and don’t think that I don’t know about your breakup with Luc.” Carson said through gritted teeth as she pulled off to the side of the road, parking the car.

“I’m sorry that I don’t want to talk Carson, I just have a lot going on and I’m still reeling from Mom and Dad’s death.”

“And I’m not?! Why do you think I party and go out so much, Cat? It’s because I don’t want to feel the pain that comes whenever let myself think of them.” I looked at my sister, the girl who I had always envisioned as so strong and brave, was here, staring at me. It wasn’t until I looked into her eyes that I could see her heart breaking.

“I heard Gran and Pops talking last night, Cat. They want to send us both to their home in Paris after school ends in a few weeks.”

“What?!” I shouted, my eyes squeezing shut as I rubbed my temples in an attempt to process. This couldn’t be happening, if I spent the whole off season from school in Paris I would never complete the transition, my body would burn out and die before the summer even ended.

“I think it could be good for us, Cat. We love Paris and it would give us a chance to get away from the memory of our parents and their death.” I couldn’t lie, Carson did have a point, but I was weak as is, I wouldn’t survive a trip to Paris, no matter how much I wanted or needed to go.

 

***

 

“Paris? They want to move you to Paris?!” Madelaine exclaimed. I nodded, it was nice to see Madelaine after everything that happened. I had barely gotten to see her since the day Archer and I ended things and then the month I was with Luc, I had made it a priority not to visit Le Ménage.

“But what about school? You have a life and friends here, Cat, you can’t just leave.” I could hear the shakiness in her voice, as tears began to well in her eyes.

“I know. I don’t want to leave, but school goes on Spring holiday in a month and I can my credits switched over to a school in Paris where I’ll attend until Summer.” I explained.

“And you’ll come back after the summer ends?”

“If I live that long, with my state I don’t think I’d survive a trip to Paris. The longer I’m around the renaître, without the Signum Magia, the weaker I become.”

“I didn’t even think of that! What are you going to do?” She asked, leaning forward so we didn’t have to speak so loud.

“I guess I’ll wait to the next full moon, complete the spell, and then leave.”

“You know that would crush Archer. You finally ‘becoming’ one of us only to leave.”

I sighed, dropping my head on to the table. I did know that would crush him and if I was being honest with myself it would crush me too. I didn’t want to leave him, especially not after the conversation we had had when he popped into my head. But I didn’t have a choice, not after Gran and Pops made up their mind. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t die after I became a renaître, once Gran said her peace with the matter that was it.

“I know, which is what kills me. I don’t have any other choice, Madelaine.”

“You could stay with us, once you’re accepted, you can talk to your grandparents and explain why you can’t leave Cape May.”

“How am I supposed to tell them that,” I asked, “‘oh hi Gran, yeah so I’m in love with a guardian angel and my best friend is a nature faerie and they just preformed this really complicated spell so their immortal guardian will accept me and I won’t die, so I can’t really leave now. K?’”

“Okay. Maybe not that way exactly, but you could have Jean-Philippe talk to them, explain how everything works.”

“I don’t think it’s that simple, Maddy. Jean-Philippe may be an immortal being, but Gran is quite a force to be reckoned with.”

“You need to figure out something to tell her because there’s no way you’ll survive that trip.”

    I stared at my best friend, I could see the hurt in her eyes when I told her I was leaving. I didn't want to leave them, but a part of me wanted to go. To start over. I thought I would be able to start my life over in Cape May and for the most part I did, but in Paris no one knew me. I wouldn't have to live with the constant pain of Archer and Grace looming over me everywhere I went.

"We need you here, Cat. I'm not supposed to say anything, Jean-Philippe asked me not to, but I think you should know. There's something coming, something terrible and we'll need every single renaître to stop it." Madelaine whispered, keeping her voice low as her eyes darted around the coffee house. From the expression on her face and her fear-filled eyes, I could tell she wasn't kidding.

"How do you know?" I asked, slightly intrigued.

"Most of the household, other than Jean-Philippe and Archer, don't know that I'm a Seer."

"I thought you were a faerie?" I asked, realizing how utterly ridiculous this must have sounded to the people at the surrounding tables.

"I am, but I'm also our household's Seer. It means that I can see the light someone emits when they become a renaître, if they're in close enough proximity. I can also see events in the future, more commonly known as premonitions."

"Do you know what's coming?"

Madelaine shook her head, "I only see glimpses, but if I had to guess... Traître.” Her voice darkened as the word rolled off her tongue.

"The betrayer?" I asked, repeating the word in English.

"When a renaître dies, it was because they were murdered at a young age, but when a traître dies and awakens the next day, it means not only did they die, but they murdered someone else. Most traître are the reason people like me exist." Madelaine explained.

"So, there are just immortal murderers living on the streets?" I choked out.

"Not just murderers. Serial killers, crime bosses, kingpins, domestic abusers. All those bad guys you hear about on the news, most of them came back. It's the universes cruel way of creating a supernatural equilibrium. It brings us back to keep people like us from dying again, but they also bring people back like the traître."

"So, we're about to go to war against a bunch of immortal criminals, with powers like ours? That's a great way to end the school year." I joked bitterly. My thoughts returning back to the first night I had ever seen Archer. The men he was fighting with and the man who almost ran me over. Could they have been traître? I thought to myself. Madelaine’s words about the equilibrium of the universe rang in my head, something she said didn’t add up to me.

“You said the universe brought you back to keep humans from dying the way you did,  I know that Archer will save people because of what he is, but all of you keep people like me from being murdered?” I asked her.

    “As best as we can, anyway.” She answered solemnly. Archer had told me once the photos that decorated his wall were of the people he had saved; it never occurred to me that there were probably many more who he couldn’t save.

 

 

 

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