The Secret Circle: The Divide Chapter 29

The Secret Circle: The Divide Chapter 29

They all recovered from the morning’s battle miraculously well. A little soap and water, and a change of clothes, and each of them were mostly back to their old selves.

Diana prepared an herbal tea in the kitchen and returned to the living room carrying a tray. “Is Faye here yet?” she asked.

The Circle was desperate to hear what had happened at Cape Cod before they arrived and to fill in the holes of what they still didn’t understand.

“We should start without her,” Suzan said, picking at her nail cuticles.

Diana shot Adam a concerned look and asked Suzan,

“Where is she?”

“We know exactly where she is,” Laurel said. “She’s with Max.”

“I didn’t tell you that,” Suzan said.

“Maybe we should begin without her,” Cassie said. She knew how unbelievably lucky it was that none of them had been badly hurt, and she was anxious to apologize again for her mistakes. “I want to make sure I don’t ever put any of you at risk again. So I have a lot to tell you.” Just then Faye swept through the door. Her eyes were infused with an energy that was palpable. Her cheeks were flushed, and her plump red lips looked almost like they were swol en with blood.

“Sorry I’m late,” she said.

“You need to quit it with Max already,” Adam said. “How many times do we have to tell you? We don’t know if we can trust him.”

Faye felt for a black pendant hanging from her neck, and Cassie caught something unusual in her eyes.

“I said I was sorry.” Faye continued toying with the pendant. She always wore a red star ruby necklace, but the pendant was new. It was a shimmering black opal.

“Did Max give you that?” Cassie asked.

Faye let go of the necklace immediately and shot Cassie a threatening look, but Cassie noticed that she also blushed. All at once, Cassie realized the truth: Faye’s feelings for Max were real.

Melanie exhaled loudly. “Don’t we have more important things to talk about than Faye’s love life?”

“Yes, we do,” Diana said. “Cassie, why don’t you fill us in on what we missed?”

Cassie stepped to the center of the room. “First, I want to apologize formally to all of you,” she said. “I should have never betrayed you the way I did. Especially my fell ow leaders, Diana and Faye.”

“An apology isn’t necessary,” Nick said from where he was sitting in the corner.

There were nods all around.

Faye scoffed. “I can’t believe you pansies are letting her off this easy. If it were me who’d stolen the Master Tools, and then lost them to boot – “

“The Circle forgives you, Cassie,” Diana said, cutting Faye off. “But remember, for the future, that we’re your family, too.”

“I know that now,” Cassie said. “I knew it before, but I guess it slipped away from me.”

Cassie’s heart was thumping in her chest. “You’ve been a sister to me since I arrived here,” she said to Diana. “And you’re the only sister I’ll ever need.”

Diana’s eyes misted over. “Thank you,” she said.

Melanie cleared her throat. “I hate to interrupt this sentimental moment, but maybe Cassie can tell us what she learned about Scarlett, so we know what we’re up against.”

“Of course,” Cassie said. She went on to explain how Scarlett had tricked her, to lure her away from the protective spell, and that Scarlett was the daughter Black John intended for the Circle.

Nick walked solemnly over to Cassie. “So Scarlett wants to kill you.”

“Yes,” Cassie said. “So she can have my place in the Circle, because we’re the same bloodline.”

“What about the witch hunters?” Melanie asked. “Who killed Great-Aunt Constance and Portia?”

“And who burned the symbol onto my front lawn?” Laurel asked, her voice high-pitched with fright.

Cassie took a deep breath. “The hunters are real, and they’re still out there. But Scarlett had nothing to do with them. She just seized the opportunity to use our fear of the hunters against us.”

“We are so screwed,” Faye said, and Cassie noticed her reach for the pendant again. There was something about it drawing Cassie in, the way it caught the light.

“Can I get a closer look at that?” she asked, reaching for it. Before Faye could resist, Cassie caught the stone in her hand and studied its surface. It was slightly translucent, not totally black, but a play of green and blue and red. As Cassie tilted it back and forth, she noticed how it diffracted the light in a continually changing play of color.

The moment Cassie saw it, her blood ran cold.

Camouflaged within the opal’s fascinating surface was the hunter symbol, shimmering iridescently.

“Oh my God,” Cassie said. “Faye, you’ve been marked.” The rest of the group gasped.

“That’s not possible,” Faye said. She looked down at the necklace. “No!” she screamed, recognizing the symbol immediately. “He couldn’t have!”

For a few minutes, nobody spoke. Cassie glanced around the room at each of her friends. How quickly the energy of the room had shifted. The almighty Faye had fall en.

Faye looked like a different person. Her broad shoulders were rounded forward, and all the color had drained from her face. She sat down on the couch, slumped over crying.

It was a sight none of them could fathom.

“How?” she asked. Her eyes were bloodshot, and black mascara streamed down her face. It was the first time Cassie had ever seen Faye cry. “I just don’t understand how this could have happened.”

“Max is a witch hunter,” Melanie said declaratively. “He’s the one who gave that to you.”

“And that means the principal is probably a hunter, too.” Adam glanced at Cassie with meaning. “Just like you suspected.”

Melanie nodded. “Like father, like son.” Cassie couldn’t feel good about being right about the principal, especially at a moment like this. She would rather it had turned out to be silly paranoia.

Diana sat down beside Faye and gently took her hand. “I know you’re still in shock, Faye, but we need to know everything you’ve told Max.”

Faye lifted her head. Tears hung from her dark lashes, and her expression was beyond stricken. “I don’t even remember.”

She unclasped the necklace from behind her neck and dropped it onto the table. “I thought he really liked me,” she said softly, almost to herself. “I didn’t want to tell you all this, but I undid the love spell a while ago. To see if his feelings were . . .” She couldn’t even say it.

Diana wrapped both her arms around Faye and, unbelievably, she let her. Cassie had to look away. Seeing Faye heartbroken was nearly as brutal as seeing her marked.

“But he seemed so overpowered by the spell,” Laurel said.

“He might have been resistant to her magic the whole time, but was playing along to get close to us,” Adam said.

Cassie shot Adam a look to quiet him. He and Laurel may have been putting the necessary pieces together, but they could do it in the other room, where Faye wouldn’t hear them. They were unaware of the effect their words were having on her as she began crying harder. But Cassie understood. When Faye undid the love spell and Max was still acting like he couldn’t live without her, she mistook it for true love.

Melanie shook her head in disbelief. “So the hunters know about two of us,” she said. “And without the Master Tools, we’re not strong enough to fight them.”

“And Scarlett still wants to kill Cassie,” Nick said.

Diana continued holding Faye in her arms. “There’s no time to panic,” she said, but her voice was trembling. “It’s time to come together to support and protect one another.” She focused her eyes directly on Cassie. “We’ll figure out a way,” she said. “We always do.”