Spy Glass Page 88

Remembering my mother’s anger, I said, “I wouldn’t be so sure. Upsetting family members is pretty standard.” I watched the flames lick at the new log as if deciding to consume it or not. “Do you think of the plains as home?”

“No. What about you? Where’s home?”

“It used to be my parents’ house in Booruby.”

“Used to be? What about now?”

“I don’t know. No place really feels right.”

“Perhaps you should fire up one of those kilns downstairs.”

Surprised, I met his gaze. “I’m only here for tonight. Didn’t Nic tell you?”

“No. He said you had returned, but nothing else. I was just happy you came back.” He grabbed a poker and fished out a few coals. They glowed. He set the pot on top of them to heat the stew. “Was your mission a success?”

I should have kept the distance between us. But as I had told Kade, I needed him. And Yelena had even suggested I talk to him. So I did. “It was a disaster.” Once the words started to flow, everything poured forth. My immunity, Reema and Teegan, the detectors…everything.

Finally, from deep down where I had shoved it, a horrible admission bubbled to the surface. “Despite all that, I’d give anything to get my magic back. I’d do anything. Does that mean I’m addicted to magic?”

Devlen had listened without uttering a word. He spread his arms, inviting me close.

The knots already twisting in my stomach tugged harder. I remained in place. “I’m confused about that, too.”

He tried to cover his disappointment by ladling the stew into a bowl and handing it to me.

“I can’t—”

“Eat something. You’ll feel better,” he said.

“You sound like my mother before I landed on her bad side.”

“I’m sure her ire is temporary.”

I considered. “But how many times can you upset someone and still return to normal? Isn’t there a point when the person gives up on you?”

“It would depend on the person. I think in the case of mothers, you’d have to do more than be late for your sister’s wedding.”

What about with Kade? I filled my mouth with stew to keep from asking Devlen that question. The warm meat tasted divine, and I attacked the rest.

“Feel better?” he asked when I finished.

“I’m not hungry anymore.”

“One problem solved.” He moved to a more comfortable position on the couch.

“And only three hundred more to go.” I joked, but it was halfhearted.

Devlen smiled. “One at a time.”

Not good enough. I wanted to snap my fingers and be done with the decisions and the problems.

“Opal, come here.” He pointed to the cushion next to him. “To talk,” he added, sensing my reluctance.

I sat, but couldn’t relax. When I stood to pace, Devlen grabbed my wrist and pulled me back, tucking me under his arm. For a moment I stiffened. Then I leaned against him, resting my head on his shoulder.

“There’re no easy answers,” he said. “The only thing I can assure you of, is you are not addicted to magic. We both know there’re many things you wouldn’t do to get your magic back. Wishes and desires don’t mean an addiction. I know.”

“How about an obsession?”

“No. Otherwise you wouldn’t have gone to the Citadel to help Teegan. You would have stayed with Valek to hunt for your blood.”

“But—”

He put his fingers on my lips. “Stop second-guessing yourself. Do what you need to do. Don’t apologize. When the time comes, you’ll know what is important and what isn’t.” He dropped his hand.

“I thought you said there weren’t any easy answers.”

“I didn’t say it would be easy. Sometimes being true to yourself is the hardest thing to do.”

I straightened and met his gaze. “That sounded like a Story Weaver platitude.”

“Platitude number five. My favorite,” he teased.

I punched him. It was a light blow, but he winced. Before he could stop me, I pulled his shirt up, revealing a six-inch wound on his torso. It was stitched closed with black thread.

“Didn’t you go to the healer?” I asked.

“There aren’t any healers in prison.”

“Devlen, stopping riots and becoming a target isn’t necessary. You’ve proven your commitment.”

“I did it for me.”

“That doesn’t make sense.”

He tugged his shirt back down. “My actions earned me three hours with you here and not in a sterile visiting room. If I accumulate enough points, I could be released early. So I am being selfish.”

Released early? The words hit me hard. I sprang to my feet. This time he didn’t pull me back. I paced.

“What would you do?” I asked.

“Do you want the truth? Or for me to tell you something that wouldn’t scare you?”

I halted. “What does that mean?”

“Right now, I think the truth would scare you away.”

Unable to remain still, I carried the pot and stew bowl to the kitchen. Reema had worried about the same thing. But, damn it, I wasn’t easy to scare anymore. And I was tired of avoiding uncomfortable situations.

I returned to the living area. “Tell me.”

He kept his face neutral, but his gaze burned with intensity. “There’s only one thing I wish to do when I’m released. Be with you.”

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