Read Burning Hearts Online

Authors: Melanie Matthews

Tags: #urban fantasy, #demon, #paranormal romance, #fantasy, #paranormal, #teen fantasy, #jinn

Burning Hearts (7 page)

BOOK: Burning Hearts
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Jenna smiled. “I remember that day. You
looked…shocked.”

His face softened. “I was. You never looked
at me before. And when you did, that day, I saw a changed person.
You were broken. Lost. I saw absolute sorrow in your green eyes. I
felt sorry for you. And I knew, in that moment, that Kylie was
right. You didn’t deserve the crap they’d been shoveling at you. So
I went back to the group and changed my vote.” He advanced and
grasped her hands. “To sum up my long-winded speech, what I’m
trying to say is this: in these few short months we’ve known each
other, I couldn’t imagine not being your friend. I don’t care what
crazy things you see or what crazy things you do. I’ll always be
here for you.”

Threatening tears finally fell as Jenna
wrapped her arms around Riddick, holding him in a tight hug. He
rubbed her back, trailing his fingertips up and down her spine.

Kylie started crying too. Even Pru sniffled.
Caleb held his head down, acting like he was rubbing something from
his eyes.


Okay this hug went from
nice to hurtful,” said Riddick, trying to disengage.

Jenna immediately backed away. “See? I
shouldn’t be around y’all. I’ll end up hurting someone.”


Is that why you wanted to
shake my hand in chemistry?” asked Kylie. “Were you testing your
strength?”


Yeah, sorry.”


Well, you didn’t hurt me.
Obviously, you can control it.”


Yeah, just practice,” said
Caleb. “I mean, if you were really outta control, you would’ve
snapped Riddick in half.”

Riddick lifted up his T-shirt, exposing his
muscle-defined stomach. “Everything looks good.” He smiled and
lowered his shirt. “Of course, I’ve always looked good.”

Pru stood up and went to Jenna, holding out
her hand. “Try.”


Ooh, I dunno.”


C’mon,” she
urged.


Imagine she’s an egg you
have to be delicate with,” Kylie suggested.


Or a baby,” said
Caleb.


Or a baby egg,” said
Riddick, joking around.

Jenna sighed. “Okay, here goes.” She gently
held Pru’s hand, gave her a slight squeeze, and released. “Are you
okay?”

Pru studied her hand; she still had all her
fingers. “It didn’t even hurt.”


See?” said Riddick. “You
can control it.” He was her biggest supporter. “Now what about
these visions of killing people?” he inquired, sounding like a
nonjudgmental psychiatrist.

Jenna pointed to the cedar chest. “I looked
inside.”


And?”

She waved everyone toward it. “Gather ’round
all.” She opened the lid before them.


Robes?” said Kylie,
confused.

Jenna removed the desert-wear clothes and
placed them on her bed.

Caleb peered inside. “A book, a necklace, and
a…knife?”


These were handed down to
me by my grandpa,” Jenna informed. “For months, it was locked, and
then the other night with Pru and Riddick here, it unlocked. By
itself. After they left, I opened it and discovered the clothes. I
got disappointed until I rummaged further down and saw these
items.” First, she picked up the knife, removed the sheath, and
showed it to them, balanced atop her hands. “Even before I held
this weapon, I saw it in my visions.”


Whoa,” said Riddick,
excited. “Can I see it?”

Jenna handed it over. For some reason, even
though she was new to the blade, she felt attached to it and
strangely upset that Riddick, another person, was holding it.


What’s the writing on it?
Or is it just a fancy swirly design?” he asked,
intrigued.


It’s a language. When I
made contact with Malcolm today, I was able to decipher it in my
mind until it quickly faded away and I forgot everything.” She took
it back from him. It felt good to be in her hands again. As she
held it longer, staring at the black cursive script, the engraving
started to come alive. “Do y’all see that?”


What?” Kylie
asked.


The writing. It’s
moving.”

Everyone shook their heads. “No, we don’t see
it,” said Pru.

It was apparent that all these weird
occurrences were for Jenna only. She just didn’t know why. As the
script continued to move, the black etchings morphed into
English.


I can read it.”


What does it say?” asked
Caleb.

“‘
Before there was darkness,
there was light. Before there was evil, there was good. Before
there were Jinn, there were Magi.” She flipped the blade over.
“‘Destined Mage, fulfill your ancestral struggle against the ruin
and calamity of the world. Smite down the casters of wicked
persuasion and wanton destruction. Set free the chains of
mankind.’”


What’s a Jinn?” Kylie
asked.


I think it’s like a genie,”
Caleb guessed.

Kylie smiled. “Ooh, like the
movie
Aladdin
?”


So I’m destined to kill big
blue genies with comic relief?” Jenna mused
sarcastically.

Riddick snapped his fingers. “That guy,
Malcolm. Doesn’t he have fiery blue eyes? What about what happened
when you touched him? That’s gotta be a sign of…something.”

Jenna didn’t like Riddick accusing Malcolm of
being an evil genie. She wasn’t too sure about him, but when he
helped her out during calculus, well, it endeared her a little more
to him.


Let’s see what the other
stuff has to say,” she encouraged, wanting to find something to
debunk Riddick’s claim that Malcolm was up to no good.

She sheathed the dagger, securing it behind
her belt, at her hip. Then she picked up the bronze pendant with
the same black script, shimmering alive, now translated to
English.

“‘
Before there was darkness,
there was light. Before there was evil, there was good. Before
there were Jinn, there were Magi.” She flipped the pendant over.
“‘Destined Mage, in the shadows you will go, to hide from your foe.
Sight unseen they will scour, failing to find in that hour, your
righteous power.’”

Kylie pointed to it and smiled. “That one
rhymes.”


I like it,” said Riddick.
“A fellow poet.”


But does it really do
that?” asked Caleb. “Make you invisible?”


Is that what you think it
does?” Jenna asked him.

Caleb shrugged. “‘In the shadows you will go,
to hide from your foe.’ Sounds like it.”


Try it on,” Pru
suggested.

Riddick smiled. “Yeah, and let’s see if you
turn invisible.”


Well, I hope it doesn’t
work on y’all ’cause if it does, then that means y’all are evil,
and”—she gripped the hilt of the blade at her hip—“I’d have to kill
y’all.”

She caught their unmistakable looks of
concern, tinged with fear. “Don’t worry.” She took her hand away
from her shiny new knife. “Seriously. I’m not gonna kill
y’all.”


Put on the pendant,”
Riddick suggested, changing the macabre subject.

Jenna timidly placed the chain around her
neck. The pendant was lighter than she’d expected. “Well, can
everyone see me?”

Riddick furrowed his brow, looking around the
room. “Jenna? Where are you? I can’t see you.”

Jenna took off the pendant and stood in front
of him. He focused his eyes on hers.


Are you serious?” she
asked.

He smiled. “Just kidding. I could still see
your pretty face.”

She gently slapped his good arm. “I could
hurt you, you know.”


All girls do,” he commented
philosophically.


Well, I guess when you see
a Jinn, put it on,” Kylie suggested, redirecting the focus to
Jenna—and away from Riddick’s dilemma at not having the girl of his
dreams.


What about the book?” Pru
asked, pointing to the last remaining heirloom in the chest. “Maybe
it’ll give us more information about the Jinn and the
Magi.”


I doubt it,” said Jenna,
retrieving the book. “It’s blank.”

She opened the black weathered cover and
gasped.


What is it?” asked
Kylie.


It’s no longer blank. And
it’s not just any book.”

She showed them the front
page that read:
The Journal of Simon
Wesley Love
. A piece of yellow legal paper
fell out, landing on the floor.

Riddick picked it up and handed it to Jenna.
It was folded in thirds, like a letter. She could see the stains of
blue ink from the other side.


Open it,” he
urged.

As soon as she unfolded a third, a car horn
honked in the yard. Caleb’s mom, Mrs. Henrietta Dasher—a friendly,
plump woman—had arrived in her minivan to pick Jenna’s guests
up.


I’m staying,” said Riddick.
“I don’t care if I gotta walk home.” He gave Jenna’s hand a gentle
squeeze. “This is major news, and I’m not gonna leave you alone
with it.”


I wish I could stay,” Kylie
began, “but I have to help my little sister with her school
project.” She gave a slight smile. “It involves lots of glitter and
glue.”


And my mom wants to have
mother-daughter time tonight,” said Pru, sounding
less-than-thrilled.


My mom’s here, so I can’t
just not leave,” said Caleb. “I’d stay if I could. Let us know
tomorrow what you find out—or better yet, bring the journal to
school.”


How about during the game?”
Kylie suggested.


What game?” Jenna
asked.

Kylie furrowed her brow as if Jenna had asked
her the dumbest question.


Hello? Football. Oasis is
playing Deadfall.”

Jenna had been dreading football season. Val
was quarterback. Barrie was center and Aidan was wide receiver. Kit
never cared for football, but with his six-foot, five-inch height,
he got bullied into playing basketball by Coach Robert Hardy--who’d
famously made it known on several occasions that girls were only
good for standing on the sidelines at games, not playing in
them.

Jenna groaned. “Really?”


I really, really wanna go!
Please!” Kylie pouted at everyone.


You know I’m gonna have to
sit in the handicapped section,” Caleb informed.

Kylie kissed his cheek. “We’ll be up
close!”


Why are you so keen to go?”
Jenna smiled. “A boy you fancy?”

Kylie waved her off. “It’s our last year in
high school! I’ve never been to a football game.”


Might be fun,” said Pru,
unexpectedly.

Riddick rolled his eyes. “Fine. We’ll go, but
all I care about is that book.”


That’s all you care about?”
Pru asked, smiling.


Shut up.”

Riddick swept his eyes past Jenna, not daring
to look at her. She liked him a lot, but it wasn’t enough to risk a
presumably short relationship. They’d be graduating soon and
according to Pru, he had plans to flee to Houston. Besides, she
couldn’t get Malcolm out of her head. She didn’t expect any sort of
relationship, not even a friendship, but she was drawn to him—more
than she was ever drawn to Val, who she thought she’d loved.
Malcolm could be the best thing for her. Or the absolute worst. She
was willing to risk it.

Even if he was truly a bad boy.

The car horn honked again.


Caleb, your mom’s here to
pick everyone up,” Jenna’s mom said loudly from the living
room.

Jenna opened her bedroom door. “Why don’t
y’all go on, and I’ll bring the journal tomorrow. We’ll pour over
my destiny while watching the Scorpions lose another game.”

Everyone said their goodbyes, except Riddick,
who wanted to stay.


I’m actually really tired,
so let’s discuss the journal tomorrow, okay?” she entreated,
desiring to be alone.


I wanna be here when you
read it,” he pushed.

She shook her head. “I’m not gonna open it
tonight.”

He gave her an I’m-not-stupid kind of look.
“Yeah, right. You’re just as curious as I am.”


Oh, yeah?”

She took her heirlooms, along with the yellow
piece of paper, and placed them at the bottom of the chest. Then
she piled the clothes on top and closed the lid.


It’s still unlocked,” he
reminded her.


I won’t go in it.” She held
her hands together in prayer. “I promise.”


Don’t forget it tomorrow,
or we’ll just come here instead of the big game.”


I won’t forget it. I don’t
wanna disappoint Kylie. She’s really excited to go.”

He just rolled his eyes. She walked him to
the front door. Everyone was already in Mrs. Dasher’s minivan.


You know,” he began, “the
Scorpions were doing pretty well until Val broke up with you. I
think you were his good luck charm.”

She chuckled. “Yeah, maybe I should go back
out with him—or better yet, have sex with him, and Oasis High will
finally”—she raised her fist, feigning hope—“win that
championship.”

His face fell. “Please tell me you’re
joking.”

She smiled. “Always am.”

He hesitated at the door. “Remember at school
when I said I needed to talk to you?”


Yeah?” She acted cool, but
she was really nervous.

BOOK: Burning Hearts
4.4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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