Seer (The Seeker Series Book 3) (13 page)


Me: I have kidnapped your sister. She’s already here, so just bring your gorgeous self tonight.


Jack: OK. THX. See u 2nite. Luv u.


Mom and Brian dropped Elijah off in the early evening. Mom fussed, worrying about leaving her baby, while Brian tried to get her out of the house before she changed her mind. It helped that Elijah was excited to see Megan, barely noticing when his parents left. I waved them out to their car, promising to keep my phone close so Mom could call frequently to check in.

“Whew,” I said to Megan as I leaned against the closed door. “I never thought they’d leave. Now we can have some fun.”

“Lee-Lee!” My little brother held his arms up, bouncing ecstatically on his diaper-clad bottom. I was charmed that this form of my name was one of his few words. He was not walking yet, but was pulling himself up on the furniture, so it wouldn’t be long. I obliged his desire to be picked up, holding him close until he squirmed to be let back down to play with Megan. She was extremely patient with him, playing blocks and reading him endless picture books. She was eight and proud of her ability to read any of the books I kept at the house for him. Because he was a frequent visitor, I kept a high chair, toys, books, and a playpen here for him. I had a car seat for him in the backseat of my SUV and I had bought a portable crib just for this visit. My dad gave me a generous monthly stipend and I enjoyed spending some of it on my little brother.

Jack arrived soon after, hair wet from the shower he had taken after work. I met him at the door, throwing myself into his arms and reveling in his warm, clean scent as I kissed him thoroughly.

“Ugh! Mind the young children present!” Megan stood up and took the baby’s hands, helping him toddle on his chubby legs. “Come on, Elijah. We’ll wait in the kitchen while they make out. Gross.”

“Why did you want the brat here again?” Jack joked.

“I heard that,” Megan called from the kitchen door.

“Hmm.” I was distracted by his freshly shaven jaw that demanded my lips’ attention. “Maybe because I know you missed her while you were gone. And because I love spending time with her. You should be glad she thinks kissing is gross. She won’t always.”

“God, I dread that day,” he replied. “Can’t she stay little and cute forever?”

“That’s not the way it works. Okay, I could kiss you all night, but we better go take care of the children.”

Elijah’s little face lit up with delight when he saw Jack. He didn’t try to say his name, but he held his arms out to him, wanting Jack to hold him. He was an affectionate baby, and I watched my tough, rugged boyfriend melt into a puddle right there in my kitchen.

“Hey, little buddy. Aww, you got so big this summer! Come here.” He picked him up from the floor. “Oof! You got fat too. What have they been feeding you, huh?”

I smiled at the adorable picture they made and then bustled around the kitchen getting the items for our picnic packed. Megan helped, and when were done, Jack carried the heavy basket out to my car. I loaded Elijah into his car seat and while Megan buckled herself into the seat beside him I handed Jack the keys and he drove us to a nearby park that had a nice play area with baby swings for Elijah.

Twenty minutes later, we had a blanket spread under a shady tree and were diving into the dinner I had packed. I fed Elijah his baby food, but he was more interested in Megan’s food. I managed to get a small amount of food into him before he demanded to be taken to the swings. It amazed me that such a small child could absolutely direct the actions of two adults and a young girl. Elijah was clearly the one in charge of our agenda this evening. He finally wore down an hour later and crashed for a nap on the blanket next to Jack and me. Megan headed off to the playground to play with some new friends, so Jack and I finally had a few quiet moments to ourselves.

“Tell me about your summer, querida. You didn’t tell me very much last night,” Jack ordered, combing his hands through my hair as I lay my head in his lap.

“Probably because I couldn’t keep my hands to myself. I missed you, Jack. I’m tired of being apart.”

“Me too, babe. Me too. Now spill.”

“Yes, sir. Well, it was pretty much the same as last summer: we spent a month with Kate and the rest of the Conseil. We mostly trained with short breaks for Kate to question me endlessly about any visions I’ve had. I think she hopes I’ll make a prophecy of some sort soon. It was pretty miserable,” I sighed.

“What about that creepy guy, Lance? Larry? I forget his name.”

“Luc. Ugh. Yeah, he is creepy. It seems like every time I turned around, he was there watching me. Thankfully, I didn’t have to talk to him much and he was gone a lot of the time. I don’t know…I just don’t like him.”

“What about the wedding?” Jack changed the subject to something much more pleasant. “How did that go?”

“Oh, Jack! It was the best part of the whole summer! Genevieve was so beautiful and radiant! And Arnaud looked at her like she was the best thing that ever happened to him. It was so romantic.” Rémy’s cousin had finally managed to get the much older Arnaud to admit his feelings for her. They had only dated for a few months before he proposed. I was so glad I was able to attend the wedding.

“It sounds nice. I’m glad there was something good about the trip. What about Ireland?”

“It was okay. More of the same: train, talk, train some more. I’m not really sure how much good the training is doing. I don’t see any real improvement in my abilities.”

“What do you call what you did to me this morning?” he asked incredulously.

“That’s different. We’ve never told the council members, French or Irish, about the extent of our mental abilities. We think it’s better to keep that to ourselves for now,” I admitted.

“Probably a good idea. From what I’ve heard, I don’t totally trust that either group has your best interests at heart. Do they still think you’re going to be the next Oracle?”

I nodded. “Yeah, but we’re no closer to knowing for certain. It’s so frustrating! I don’t want any of this! I just want to live my life!” Elijah whimpered in his sleep and I realized that I had been nearly yelling.

“Shh, babe. It’s okay. We’ll figure this out. I’m just glad you’re back. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I missed you. I don’t want you to go next summer.”

“I don’t want to, either.” We were silent for a while, enjoying the quiet evening and the respite from watching the children, although we were careful to keep Megan in our sight the entire time.

“Excuse me,” an older woman said as she and a man approached. I sat up to see what they wanted. “We just wanted to tell you what an adorable little family you are. It reminded us of when our children were small. Enjoy them while they’re young; they grow up too soon,” she sighed wistfully. “You two don’t look old enough to have two kids already.”

Really? Some people might find this sweet, but I found it intrusive and shot a warning look at Jack. I was thoroughly sick of people telling me what I should do. “Well, I got knocked up back in junior high. He’s not around anymore. This is my new baby daddy.” I leaned against Jack as I said this. I could feel him trying to hold in his laughter. “We’re not married or nothin’.”

“Oh. Well,” the woman said. “Um, have a nice evening.” She and her husband rushed away, whispering to each other, no doubt about the shocking lack of morals in today’s youth.

Jack chuckled and pulled me down on the blanket with him. “You’re awful! That poor woman.”

“Poor woman, my foot! Nosy old biddy is more like it. It’s none of her business how old we are or how many kids we have. Or don’t have. Whatever!”

“Remind me to stay on your good side, querida,” he softened his comment with a kiss, so I didn’t mind. Since we were in public and supposed to be watching Megan, it was brief. As I sat back up, I got that creepy feeling again that I was being watched. I stiffened, fighting the urge to look around. “What is it? What’s wrong?” Jack was always so in tune with my emotions; it was impossible to hide anything from him.

I couldn’t stop myself from looking around. I gasped when I caught a glimpse of a dark, hooded figure amidst the trees at the far corner of the park. It reminded me of the dream from this morning. “There!” I pointed to where the figure had been seconds before. “I swear that guy is watching me!”

“Stay here!” Jack ordered. “Watch the kids.” He jumped up from the blanket and took off at a run toward the trees. I saw him look around the stand of trees and then disappear out of the park and up the residential street. I made sure I could see Megan on the playground and I scooted closer to the sleeping Elijah, trying to calm my racing heart. Jack was back moments later. He flopped down on the blanket, out of breath from his sprint.

“Did you see where he went?”

Jack shook his head, not willing to meet my eyes. With a sinking heart, I realized that he hadn’t seen the figure at all. He had run toward the trees on my word alone. I loved him for it, but dreaded what it meant.

I dropped my head into my hands and groaned. “Am I going crazy, Jack? Why do I keep getting this feeling? That’s what my nightmare was about this morning. The one I didn’t want to tell you about. What’s wrong with me?”

He pulled me against his side. “There’s nothing wrong with you, Ally. I don’t know why you keep getting this feeling, but it could be all the stress this whole Seer-thing has put you under. I just wish I could make it go away, babe. I really do.”




, Tara, and I started our sophomore year in college the following Monday. Freshman year had gone well: I got A’s in all my English and humanities classes, a B in my science class, and eked out a C in my Math for Dummies class with much help from Jack. I had helped him pass English 101, so I didn’t feel completely stupid. I was, thankfully, done with math—hopefully forever. I was required to take a foreign language and decided to begin studying French since I spent so much time over there. Rémy was a huge help/pain in the ass, forcing me to practice simple conversations with him all the time. Last year, Jack, Tara, and I had taken psychology together, which was fun, but we weren’t able to get any of our classes together this semester. The University of New Mexico was a sprawling urban university serving upwards of 25,000 students so we had to plan to meet or we would never see each other. Tara was majoring in biochemistry and spent the majority of her time on the north campus where all the science labs were, so I rarely saw her at school any more. The engineering building, where Jack had the majority of his classes, was near the humanities building, where I had several of my classes, so we could meet for lunch, at least. I had more classes this year in the education building, which was on the other side of campus and not at all convenient; I would be getting plenty of exercise this year with all the walking between classes.

I settled into my mid-morning literature class, a survey of Shakespeare’s tragedies, which I had hesitated to take after my community college experience with King Lear, but it fit well in my schedule. I was tired and cranky, having been woken at 4:00 a.m. by the recurring nightmare where I searched for something in a parking garage while someone watched me. This time I had followed the shadowy figure, but had awakened right before I reached it. I hadn’t been able to get back to sleep, so I had sat on my back porch, watching the sunrise and drinking too much coffee. This is what I blame my bad manners on.

A soft tenor voice asked if the seat next to me was taken. I merely shrugged and proceeded to ignore the tall, lanky guy who took it. I glanced at him when he nudged me with the sign-in clipboard. He smiled shyly, but frowned and looked away when I just raised my eyebrows.

Crap. You just kicked a puppy, Ally,
I told myself. The guy was skinny and awkward, with a large Adam’s apple and messy, brown hair falling in his eyes. He seemed to shrink back into himself at my look.
Don’t take your sleepless night out on the poor guy. You’re better than that.
So, I smiled and said, “Thanks,” noting his name, Michael Conner, above mine on the sign-in sheet. He obviously took my change in temperament as license to become my best buddy, judging by the way he chatted continually to me during class whenever there was a break from the professor. I guess he was starved for conversation or something, because he followed me out of class, all the way to the Student Union Building, or SUB, where I was supposed to meet Jack for lunch. I couldn’t shake him.

He followed me to a table by the pizza counter. “Why don’t you save our table while I get our lunch? What kind of pizza do you like?”

When did this turn into a lunch date? “Just cheese, but I can get my own lunch.”

“Oh, no. Let me, please,” he begged.

“Okay, fine, but here’s some…” I fished in my bag for a five-dollar bill as he raced away to the counter. I sighed in defeat and put my money away.

He returned a few minutes later, holding a tray laden with food. “I didn’t know what you wanted to go with your pizza, so I got a side salad, a pasta salad, and a fruit cup.” He placed everything in front of me with a hopeful expression. “Do you want the Sprite or the Coke? I got both so you could choose. Or I could go get something else. Whatever you want.”

His over-eagerness to please melted my heart and I again thought of a puppy. I was reluctant to stomp on his feelings for the second time, so I said, “Sprite is great. Thanks, Michael. This was really nice of you.” I chose the side salad and the cheese pizza he had bought for me and his face lit up with a huge smile. He could probably be decent-looking if he stood up straight, got a haircut, and grew a spine. I cringed at the uncharitable direction of my thoughts, but what had I done to encourage this level of slavish devotion in such a short time? Whatever it was, I needed to reverse it—fast. It was uncomfortable and kind of creepy, to be honest. I was so flustered I had forgotten Jack was meeting me.

Other books

T*Witches: The Power of Two by Randi Reisfeld, H.B. Gilmour
Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
Kassie's Service by Silvestri, Elliot
Shadow Cave by Angie West
(1995) By Any Name by Katherine John
The Khufu Equation by Sharifov, Rail
His Surprise Son by Wendy Warren Copyright 2016 - 2024