He had moved toward me so that I could hear him through the noise. "Now they all know," he said in a low voice. "They all know you for what you are."

"It's not true," I said through my tears. "You know it isn't."

"No one will have you now," he continued. "No one worth having. You'll spend the rest of your life on your back, spreading your legs for whoever comes along. And ultimately, you'll be alone. No one will have you."

I squeezed my eyes shut to try to stop the tears, and when I opened them again, I was surrounded in blackness.

Well, not entirely in blackness.

Before me, the Oneroi glowed more brightly than before, lit from within by that eerie light.

"An interesting dream," said Two, with what I think passed for a smile. "One that gave us much to feed on."

"It's not true," I said. There were tears on my cheeks in waking, just as there had been in sleep. "That wasn't true. It was a lie. That wasn't how things happened."

The dream was muddling my brain, almost making me question myself, but my own memories soon won out. I remembered that day. I remembered kissing Kyriakos by the building and how we'd then gone separate ways, strengthened by the knowledge that we would soon be man and wife, making our wedding night that much sweeter. And it had been. It hadn't been rushed against a wall. We'd taken time to learn and explore each other's bodies. He'd been on top of me, staring into my eyes - not my back. He'd told me I was his life. He'd told me I was his world.

"It was a lie," I repeated more firmly, fixing the Oneroi with a glare. "That's not how it happened. That's not how it happened." I knew I was right, yet I felt the need to keep repeating it, to make sure the words were true.

One gave a small shrug, unconcerned. "It doesn't matter. I told you: Mother shows the truth. But dreams? Dreams are dreams. They can be truth or lies, and all provide food for us. And you?" He smiled a smile that was the mirror of his twin's. "You will dream...and dream...and dream..."

Chapter 11

I was in Seattle. Modern-day Seattle, thankfully. I wanted to be nowhere near the fourth century, even though I dreaded what awful vision the Oneroi would show me now.

Not only was I in Seattle, I was with Roman. He had just parked on Cherry Street and was striding toward the heart of Pioneer Square, which was buzzing today with tourists and others enjoying the clear autumn night. This time, I wasn't in the dream. I was an observer only, following along with him like a ghost or maybe a documentary camera. I wanted to talk to him, to communicate in some way, but I had no mouth with which to speak. I had no form whatsoever, only my consciousness watching this vision.

His pace was brisk, and he pushed through the meandering crowd with no concern for the dirty looks and occasional comment. He was focused on his destination, one I recognized immediately: the Cellar. Our favorite immortal hangout was crowded with mortals tonight. Yet, for whatever reason, no matter how busy the bar was, Jerome always managed to get the same corner table in the back. He sat there now with Carter but didn't wear the usual unconcerned look we often found him with while drinking. The demon's face was filled with agitation, and he and Carter were arguing about something.

Roman's signature was masked, so neither angel nor demon noticed his approach. Jerome shot him a glare, no doubt thinking some human was bothering them. Jerome's expression promptly changed when he saw who it was, and he opened his mouth to say something. He didn't get the chance because Roman spoke first.

"Where is she?" demanded Roman. He sat in a chair and jerked it toward Jerome so that father and son could look eye to eye. "Where the f**k is Georgina?"

The music and conversation covered most of his shouting, but a few nearby patrons gave him startled looks. Roman was oblivious. His attention was all on Jerome. Anger crackled around the nephilim like an aura itself.

Jerome had been clearly distressed about something when Roman had entered, but now, in the presence of an underling, the demon put on the cold, haughty expression that was so typical for him.

"Funny," said Jerome. "I was going to ask you the same thing."

Roman glowered. "How the hell would I know? She vanished right before my eyes! You're the one that's supposed to have some sort of divine connection to her."

Jerome's face didn't twitch, but his words were like a gut punch to both me and Roman. "I can't feel her anymore. She's disappeared for me too."

I might have had no physical form, but cold fear ran through me nonetheless. An archdemon was connected to his subordinates. He always knew where they were and could tell if they were in pain. When Jerome had been summoned, that connection had shattered, cutting us off from our hellish "gifts." Now, the opposite had happened. I had been summoned, so to speak, and torn from Jerome. The Oneroi's words came back to me: He won't find you. He can't find you. You no longer exist for him.

"That's impossible," growled Roman. "Unless..." A troubled look came over him. "Someone's hiding her signature?" It would be terribly ironic if the scheme he'd once planned came to be through someone else.

Jerome shook his head and gestured to a waiter for another round. "I wouldn't be able to find her if that happened, but the connection would be there. I'd know she still existed."

You no longer exist for him.

"Is she...is she dead?" Some of Roman's initial fury had dimmed a little.

It wasn't an unreasonable question, really. I kind of felt dead.

"No. Her soul would have shown up in Hell." Jerome took a sip of his new drink and narrowed his eyes at Roman. "But it's not your job to ask questions. What do you know? You said she disappeared. Literally?"

Roman's face was downright bleak now. He glanced between Jerome and a grim, thus far silent, Carter. "Yes. Literally. She's been having these...I don't know how to explain it. She couldn't even explain it."

"I was there," Jerome reminded him. "She told me. The music. The colors." The sneer in his voice made it clear that he regarded those types of things as nuisances.

"It was like this weird force pulling her, enchanting her. It wanted her to come to it." Roman was repeating known info, possibly to make Jerome take it more seriously. "She called it a siren song and kept sleepwalking, trying to get to it. And then...and then tonight, she went to it."

"Did you see it?" asked Carter. It was odd to see him so serious and...well, confused. The former emotion I'd seen only a handful of times. The latter I'd never seen on him.

"I saw her disappear. Like, vanish into thin air. But I didn't see it exactly. I felt it. I could sense whenever it was around."

"What did it feel like?" asked Jerome.

Roman shrugged. "I don't know. Just...a force. A power. Not an entity exactly. And not something I could identify. Not a greater immortal or anything."

"That," declared Jerome, "is absolutely useless information."

Roman's anger returned. "It's all I've got! If you'd listened to her more, this wouldn't have happened. You let this happen. You didn't take it seriously, and now she's gone!"

Yelling at Jerome. Not a good thing.

"Be careful, lest I revoke your invitation," hissed the demon, eyes boring into his son. "And I did listen. I set you to protect her. You, apparently, are the one who 'let' this happen."

Roman flushed. "I was in the other room when that thing showed up again. I hurried in as fast as I could, but it was too late. Georgina'd already given herself up, and honestly...I'm not sure I could have stopped it anyway."

It was a big concession for Roman. Nephilim could inherit anywhere from none to all of their immortal parent's power. Roman was very close to having as much strength as Jerome but still lagged behind just a little. Additionally, the types of power wielded by greater and lesser immortals differed. As a type of hybrid, Roman might not have been able to fight what Jerome could have.

Jerome didn't push that point further. "So, we still know nothing."

"We know that whatever did this isn't one of ours," said Carter quietly, speaking at last.

"Yes," snapped Jerome. "Which only leaves a billion other things it could be. Unless..."

He glanced over at one of the chairs at their table. One moment it was empty. The next, Simone sat there. Carter didn't seem surprised, but Roman and I certainly were. And she was especially surprised, as shown by her squeal of fear and befuddled expression. Being teleported by a greater immortal was not a pleasant experience.

Tags: Richelle Mead Georgina Kincaid Fantasy
Source: www.StudyNovels.com
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