Spy Glass Page 54

Kade tucked an errant strand of hair behind my ear. “You’re kind, smart and tenacious, and I love the way you’re so quick to help others. And there lies the problem. You rush off to solve Sitia’s problems and you don’t need my help. But I want to be selfish, keeping you safe with me.”

“But I wasn’t rushing off for Sitia this time. I was the one being selfish.”

“An exception. What about next time?”

“Valek could teach—”

“I already have a job. I’d like a home and a family. Do you?”

“Eventually, I guess.”

“Guess?” An eyebrow spiked.

“I can’t see past this…uncertainty with my blood.” And while it was nice to think my spyglass would show me the future if I found the right focus point, I didn’t believe it.

“Whether or not you reclaim your magic, some decisions won’t change.”

He had a point. Yet, deep inside, I equated planning my future to giving up; if I agreed to stay with Kade and work for the Council, I was admitting defeat.

Kade watched me. “You’re conflicted about more than your blood. What’s wrong?”

Time for full disclosure. I resumed walking, but the beautiful scenery didn’t even register in my mind.

Matching my pace, Kade stayed next to me. After a few moments, he asked, “How bad is it?”

“Bad.”

“Have you and Janco decided to run away to Ixia together?” Kade joked.

He surprised a laugh from me. “I’d kill Janco before we reach the border.” Then all my humor drained away. “You’re not going to like this.”

“Just tell me, Opal.”

So I did. The words rushed out.

Kade stopped in disbelief. “Devlen? You kissed Devlen?”

Feeling miserable, I nodded.

“But he… How could…?”

“I don’t know why. Maybe because he understands what I’m going through right now.”

“I—”

“Can’t understand. I’m sorry it happened, but I can’t erase the past. I love you. I do, but I need him right now. The search for my blood had given me a purpose. Devlen gives me hope that if I don’t find it, I’ll be able to get on with my life.”

“With me?”

“I’m here.”

“What does that mean?” he asked.

“I knew that if I didn’t come here, we’d no longer be together. I don’t want to lose you, and I don’t want to lie to you, either. Can you just be with me for now?”

“I need to think about it,” he said. “The house is over there.” Kade pointed. “I’ll meet you later.” He strode away.

I hovered near the back porch of the house, feeling lost and heartsick. The unmistakable sounds of an argument reached me. I didn’t want to eavesdrop on Kade’s parents, so I let their voices flow past me. Instead I counted the number of clotheslines strung next to the shed—more than I would expect for three people. I was up to ten when my name was mentioned. Unable to avoid the now-loud conversation, I sank to the steps and rested my elbows on my knees.

“…took her sweet time,” Kade’s mother said.

A muttered reply from Ink. I covered my face with my hands.

“…don’t care… She’s nothing but trouble.”

At least she had that right. The door squeaked and I glanced up.

Ink leaned on the frame. “Where’s Kade?” he asked.

“He said he’d meet me here.”

“Don’t sit out in the sun. Come in.” Ink pushed the door wider.

I entered a workroom. Kegs of ink rested on a long table. Bolts of cloth littered the floor and open barrels of liquid lined the walls. I had known Kade worked on his family’s farm during the off-season, but had no idea exactly what they did with the ink.

Ink didn’t give me time to ask as he led me into the kitchen to introduce me to his wife. She stirred a pot heating on the hearth.

“Sarrah, this is—”

“Met her already,” she said without looking up. “Go wash up before supper.”

“Be nice. Opal’s our guest.” He shooed me from the kitchen and into the living room. He played host, telling me to sit down, fetching me a drink and asking how long I planned to visit.

“Not long,” I said. “My sister is getting married in fifteen days and I need to be home in time to help.”

Sarrah came out to set the formal table, setting down the plates with extra force. The bangs punctuated her ill humor.

“Can I help with supper?” I asked her.

“No.”

To break the awkward silence I asked Ink about his work. Before he could speak, Sarrah grumped. “She knows nothing about us.”

“Of course she doesn’t,” Ink said. “Opal’s been busy. Without her, they never would have fixed those orbs.”

“Tell that to Nisha and Kamlesh. I’m sure they would rather have their children home with them, than for all of them to be murdered.”

I missed a major connection between fixed orbs to murdered children. Ink rubbed his temples as if this were an old argument. I caught his eye and raised my eyebrows in question.

“Nisha and Kamlesh are Indra, Varun and Nodin’s parents. Or were.” Ink hunched over the table.

Grief welled. The three glassmakers had been killed by Sir and Tricky for the Stormdancers’ secret orb recipe—the special sand mixture used for the glass orbs. I also had the recipe, but when Sir couldn’t force it from me, he turned to them.

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