“I’m not doing that.”
“Come on, Dakota. You can’t say that to every suggestion.” I rolled my eyes.
She laughed. “You’re seriously gonna roll your eyes right now? You literally just told me to jump off a cliff… and meant it!”
I couldn’t help but smile. “Yeah, well, either result would make me happy.”
Okay, that pushed a few too many buttons. She stood up with her lips pressed tightly together and poured her ice cold fucking water all over me. “You asshole!”
She turned and walked quickly away, towards the forest. Not surprising. “Dakota stop.” I went after her while trying to shake some of the water off of me. “It was a joke. Why are you taking it so seriously?”
“Why?!” She practically screamed back at me as she kept walking. “You’re not the one that everyone keeps staring at, the one that everyone is expecting to do some magic trick like I’m some freak!” I saw Rex running towards her. She didn’t even flinch. She knew he was there for her. That he would probably bite me if he thought she wanted him to.
Another body came from the trees, bounding down the path. His wild hair and unkempt look seemed to make his malnourished body even more intimidating, not that I’d ever admit it. He walked past her and stopped in front of me. “You’re done here.”
I ground my teeth and stopped. “We need to work.”
He stepped closer to me and that was when I realized that he had actually bathed. “You will leave my sister alone.” He said the words softly, yet with such firmness that I actually did take a step back. “She’ll be back when she’s ready.”
I looked up at the sun. It was still pretty early. I had worked her pretty hard yesterday evening and I had made her go for a jog this morning before we started going through the notes that Denni had left for us. “Fine. But I would like to try something today.”
“When she’s ready, not you.” He turned and walked away, slipping soundlessly into the trees. “I’ll take good care of her Wolf. Now leave.” The last words filtered through the dense woods and I had to stand there for a moment, fighting the urge to follow.
“Fuck.” I tapped my fingers rapidly on my leg, then turned and walked back to the deck. Denni and Corey stood there waiting for me. Their heads tilted curiously. “She needed a break.”
“From what?” Corey asked as he sat down with coffee and a handful of papers.
Denni and Corey both started laughing. It wasn’t that funny. “Big shocker. Are you trying to big brother her or fuck her?” Corey sat down and grinned as his question resonated in my brain.
“What?!” I asked with disgust. Denni smacked him upside the head, but not without laughing herself.
She looked at me innocently. “Oh, come on. You rarely have a middle ground. You try to control everything and everyone.”
“I do not.” I clipped the words bitterly as I sat down to go through more notes. “Just help me figure this shit out.”
“Actually,” Denni started as she sat the baby monitor on the table, “I was thinking about that. What if what Moiragetes meant was to use more than one element?”
I pursued my lips in thought for a moment. “You think that’s it?”
“Could be. Not to look too deeply into that cobra, but maybe…” she stopped and looked around before leaning in to whisper, “maybe it means exactly what we think it means.”
“Goddess, you mean?” Corey interjected. We both looked at him. “Well, we know Hawthorne isn’t part God, right? And that’s how they’re related, through their father, so it would have to mean that her mother was either a Goddess or part Goddess.”
I thought about that, wondering, if Corey was right, which goddess out of the hundreds it could possibly be. But Dakota did have something unique about her. Her eyes. Her amber eyes were so intense, you would think they had their own internal light. Only one time in my life have I seen eyes like that. Damn. He might just be right. “She’s gonna freak out if you tell her that.”
“Tell her what?”
We all turned around to see Jerome standing at the edge of the deck. He had his face clear of wild hair, while still leaving a slight shadow, and his clothes looked new and far more stylish than usual. “Hey there. You going on a date tonight?”
He looked at me and smiled. “Nah, I just decided to clean up a little. No sense in letting this nice package go to waste.” For a man that’s supposed to be more in tune with earth and all that crap, he sure was pretty quick to boast about his good looks.
“Careful, Bear. One day, someone’s gonna come along and deflate that little bubble.”
“It’s a pretty big bubble to burst, Sage.” He gave me a malicious stare and sat down at one of the empty tables. “So, I hear you’re trying to figure out this whole ‘unlock her powers’ thing. Any luck?”
“Yeah, not really. Every time I suggest something to her, she shoots it down.”
“Maybe you should try this little thing called ‘finesse’. Works for me.” He laughed and then leaned forward, glancing at the notes that Denni had made. “Where’d you get all this information from?”
“Moiragetes, himself. Gave it to Dakota to give to me.” He looked up at me and I knew then exactly why he had dressed up. He wanted her. I felt my jaw clench. “I was taking a nap, Moiragetes showed up and gave her the book. Interesting, huh?”
“You two were napping together? How cute.”
“They weren’t napping together,” Corey explained with a loud chuckle. “He was pissing her off again and Moiragetes came around and knocked his ass out so he could have a talk with her.”
“You’re really good at pissing her off, I hear.” I began tapping my fingers again, harder this time. Jerome laughed. “Alright, let’s just take a step back and go over what we know. How about you three fill me in on where we’re at.”