Home > Boundary Crossed (Boundary Magic #1)(17)

Boundary Crossed (Boundary Magic #1)(17)
Author: Melissa F. Olson

An hour later, John loaded Charlie’s car seat into the backseat of his big 4x4 truck and came over to help me climb into the passenger seat. I could have done it myself, working around the soreness, but I was trying to cover up the extent of my healing, so I made a point to look pained as I got in. It wasn’t that much of a stretch.

The ride to the cabin was peacefully quiet, but as soon as John pulled into my driveway we could hear the barking. The herd was awake and in full house-protection mode. John put the truck in park and smiled over at me. “You want us to come in with you?” he asked.

“Nah.” I leaned over the backseat and squeezed Charlie’s hand. “She’s with my mom today, right?” Darcy’s parting shot, This isn’t over, was bouncing around the inside of my sore head.

He nodded. “Then your folks and Elise are coming over for supper tonight,” he said. “I’m making chili to thank them for helping with the baby this week. If you’re feeling up to it, do you want to come?”

“Thanks,” I told him, “but I should probably rest.” I kissed my fingers and touched them to Charlie’s tufts of dark hair. “Bye, babe,” I said, leaning over to kiss the top of her head. “Thanks for the ride, John. See you in a couple days.” I had a standing date to babysit on Friday afternoons.

“I’ll text that morning to make sure you feel up to it,” he suggested. I nodded and started to open the door, but John touched my wrist. “Lex. . .” he began, “I don’t know how to—”

“You don’t have to thank me,” I interrupted him. I tilted my head toward the backseat. “That’s Sam’s daughter back there. You never have to thank me.”

John nodded, his face set. “See you Friday.”

I showered right away and slowly pulled on clean sweatpants and a soft flannel button-down, wearing nothing underneath. A bra would only irritate my already-irritated stitches, and my chest wasn’t so buxom that I’d miss it much. Then I turned my attention to the herd, who weren’t used to being left alone for any real amount of time. Rescue animals don’t deal with separation well, and even though my family members had been stopping by, there were demonstrations of the animals’ unhappiness all over the house. One of the dogs had defecated in a corner of the basement. There were new, jagged tears the size of cat claws through the screen window in my bedroom. A few lamps and books had gotten knocked around, too, probably by Cody and Chip, inseparable mutts who had been found together and tended to lapse into calamitous chases when bored. I didn’t yell at any of them, because I understood. I just cleaned it all up and gave them extra attention.

The movement was hard on all my sore muscles, so at lunchtime I had four Advil and a liter of water with my grilled cheese sandwich. I also remembered to charge my cell phone, finally. I had seventeen voicemails, mostly from my family and the real police, who wanted a statement. I wasn’t ready to call everyone back yet, so instead I called my store manager, an anxious, heavyset guy who liked to see himself as a generous man of the people, at least until the store owner started breathing down his neck about something. Big Scott—he actually preferred that we call him that—seemed excessively worried about my health, and he offered me two weeks off: one paid, one not. I volunteered to return to work the next day, once the stiffness had gone down a bit, but he insisted on the paid week, which was pretty fair of him. And pretty surprising, considering how hard it would be to cover my undesirable 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. shift. He was probably worried about some kind of a lawsuit.

By then I was getting tired again. My body had done a lot of healing in a short amount of time, so it made sense that it needed extra energy. I went upstairs to the lofted master bedroom and crawled into bed on my stomach.

I expected to pass out immediately, but my thoughts were whirling again. Witches. I actually didn’t have too much trouble accepting the idea that witches were real. Boulder is a liberal town with a lot of “alternative lifestyles”—my own father was a semi-reformed hippie who’d gone to Woodstock as a kid—and three of the girls in my senior class had claimed to be Wiccan. As far as I could tell, this meant they wore a lot of long skirts and black lipstick and chokers, and watched some movie about teenage witches over and over, but still . . . It wasn’t that much of a stretch to consider that some of the people who called themselves witches could actually do some things that others couldn’t, like create a medication that could heal me.

It was the other part I was having trouble with. Vampires. I didn’t read or watch much horror, but even I knew vampires were silly movie monsters, like Frankenstein or the Wolfman. And Quinn had said something about werewolves, too. That was just too ridiculous. How could I possibly take that seriously?

And yet . . . the little voice in my head insisted. Even if I wrote off Victor’s eyes healing as a weird blood-loss hallucination, I knew I had seen Darcy’s nose set itself. And John had truly believed the story about the raccoon, which meant Quinn really had done something to his brain. So, like it or not, at least some of what Quinn and Simon had told me had to be true.

But even if vampires were real, what the hell did they want with my niece? Was it possible that whatever was weird about me, this witchblood stuff, had been inherited by Charlie too? I replayed my conversation with Simon in my head. He’d said witchblood was hereditary, that it was passed down within families. But he’d also told me it was dormant until puberty. There would be no reason for someone to kidnap a baby witch. Maybe it had just been a weird coincidence?

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