Home > Boundary Crossed (Boundary Magic #1)(11)

Boundary Crossed (Boundary Magic #1)(11)
Author: Melissa F. Olson

Quinn had said that the 911 operator “intercepted” the call from John’s house, which meant the police weren’t coming. Quinn was the only thing that stood between that house and Darcy and Victor, assuming that he got there in time. I lifted my head and looked Simon in the eye. “You don’t have to help me,” I said matter-of-factly. “But you’re not gonna stop me.”

“You can’t just . . . you’re not even—” he protested. Then he swallowed and took a breath. “Ah, hell. Wait a minute.”

He tore off his messenger bag and threw it onto the empty half of the bed. When he lifted the flap, the bottom of the canvas bag folded out, revealing rows and rows of plastic vials, weird little trinkets, and things that looked like bones, not to mention a bunch of stuff I didn’t recognize. It was all held in by little round straps, like a serious artist’s set. “What’s that?” I said tightly through the pain. “Eye of newt?”

Simon snorted, pulling out two vials. I couldn’t see what was inside them, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to. “More like a first-aid kit. Quinn told my mom you were stabbed, so I thought I’d bring it along. I’m going to make you a healing charm.”

“Will that work?”

“Maybe,” Simon hedged. “Magic doesn’t usually work on witches, so I’m not sure how much it’ll help you”—he tipped the contents of one vial into the other, covered the end with his thumb, and shook it furiously—“but it might. Once it’s active, a witch’s magic works like breast-feeding: the more you use it, the more of it you have to use. So if you haven’t been using it . . .”

“Then I can’t be very powerful, and your thingy might not even recognize me as a magic user,” I finished for him.

He handed me the vial. The liquid inside was dark and murky and making a sound, like the fizz of carbonation. “You’re catching on. Here, drink.”

I didn’t hesitate. I was desperate to get to John and Charlie, and I would have swallowed an actual eye of newt if it meant getting there faster. I downed the contents, which left a horrible aftertaste in my mouth, like a combination of basil leaves and cherry Nyquil.

“Blech,” I said, wincing. “Assuming this whole conversation hasn’t been an exercise in bullshit, how long will your spell take?”

“Charm. Should just be a minute or two,” Simon answered. “Give it a chance.”

I leaned forward very carefully, clutching the edges of the bed and hoping I wouldn’t pass out. I was dizzy, and it hurt to breathe. Simon was watching me attentively, so I cocked an eyebrow at him. “Breast-feeding?” I managed.

He grinned. “My mom and one of my sisters are doulas. You know what that is?”

“Like a midwife who gives hugs, right?”

Simon chuckled. “Pretty much.”

I was about to ask another question when a sharp tingling spread through my torso. At first it was actually kind of pleasant, but it began to burn as it spread toward the knife wounds on my back. I cried out once from the sudden pain, my fists digging into the hospital sheets. I gritted my teeth again. “What’s happening?” I hissed.

Simon shrugged apologetically. “The same thing that was going to happen: you’re healing. The spell is just speeding it up. Kind of like time-lapse photography.”

I couldn’t answer. The tingling was spreading down to my jammed fingers, where it turned molten again, and I was way past speaking. Simon reached over and took my good hand, letting me squeeze his. I was a little touched by the gesture—after all, the guy had met me all of fifteen minutes ago. I didn’t meet his eyes, but I also didn’t let go of his hand.

Minutes passed, and the pain coursing through my body only intensified. I struggled not to cry out again, and involuntary tears leaked out of the corners of my eyes. Simon didn’t say a word when I clutched his fingers hard enough to make his knuckles crack. “It’s okay,” he murmured. “You’re gonna be okay, Lex, I promise.”

Finally, the pain began to lessen, draining out of my body in increments. “Holy shit,” I breathed. It was like the pain was being rinsed away, and my injuries with it. Even my voice sounded more like me.

“Yeah, sorry. That’s the best healing charm I have, but it’s my sister Sybil’s magic. It can be . . . abrupt. Kind of like Sybil.” He gave my hand a gentle squeeze and let go. “How do you feel?”

“Like I’m just getting over the flu.” Experimentally, I sat up straighter on the edge of the bed. My back still ached, but in a tight, manageable kind of way. “But I think I can move around. Let’s go.”

I jumped to my feet—and Simon caught me as I crumpled to the ground. “Whoa, there, tiger.” He smelled like a field of wildflowers, and his sweater was scratchy under my fingers. He propped me back up against the bed. “Why don’t you take a moment, and I’ll go find you some scrubs to wear.”

I looked down at myself and realized I was wearing only a hospital gown. A backless hospital gown. No one had thought I’d be leaving for at least another week or two. “Right. Why don’t we do that?”

A few minutes later we were bumping out of the hospital parking lot in Simon’s car, some kind of Chevy station-wagon-type thing with an annoyingly low ceiling. “Where am I going?” he asked me.

“Just head toward the airport; John lives in one of those subdivisions off Kings Ridge Boulevard.” I dug through my handbag, a small distressed-leather cross-body that had been a present from Sam. I found my cell phone and tried to call John, but after three days the battery was dead.

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