Previous instalments of the story here.
Not a Moment’s Rest
by Liberty Gilmore, 02/11/12
Ava and Adam deal with the aftermath of Ava’s actions.
‘Ava, what did you do?’
Her mother’s words echoed round her head, but honestly, Ava wasn’t sure. She wasn’t sure about anything that had happened in the past half an hour or so…
Had she really controlled the weather?
… but she knew one thing.
Her mother was not going to let her out of this clearing without some serious repercussion. With Adam sat behind her, all human and vulnerable, Ava could just imagine what that repercussion would be. The thought made the wind around her pick up.
‘Ava,’ Natalia snapped, voice harsh, as she stepped forwards.
Faolan, Ava’s wolf totem, growled. She didn’t think too hard about how she knew his name, concentrating instead on the wary step backwards her mother took.
‘Ava,’ Natalia tried again, gentler. ‘You need to come home before you find yourself in trouble you don’t know how to handle.’
There was a measure of care, even love in her voice, but Ava knew better than to trust that. Natalia had never shown an ounce of maternal care for her daughter, and she wouldn’t now unless she hoped it would get her something.
Ava stood. ‘What makes you think I can’t handle it, Mother.’ She glanced down at Faolan, who was beside her, hackles raised. ‘Called from the spirit world by extreme power? Maybe I’m better equipped to handle things than you think.’
Natalia schooled herself, but Ava saw the shock that passed over her face.
‘Alright,’ Natalia said, all cool businesswoman now, ‘I won’t hurt your little pet. We just need to go home and discuss this.’
‘No, I really don’t think we do,’ Ava said. She knew when Natalia said ‘pet’ she didn’t mean the wolf, but there wasn’t even a tremble in her voice. The warmth of Faolan’s body beside her leg was calming her mind, filling her with confidence.
‘Are you sure, Ava? I think you will regret trying to cross me, trying to refuse your duty.’
‘I want no part of your duty!’ Ava felt the tornado of emotions whip up again, whipping up the wind with it. She took a deep breath, centred herself. ‘I never did.’
If defiance had made Natalia angry, outright refusal to fulfil the sacred duty of the Fey made her livid. Her face twisted, losing its human veneer, sharp teeth, dark eyes, ghost-pale skin coming clear into view. Behind Ava, Adam yelped in surprise.
Natalia launched for her daughter, ice claws where her fingers had been. Acting on instinct, Ava sent a blast of wind at her, throwing her backwards into a tree. Faolan leapt through the space between them in one graceful bound and sank his teeth into Natalia’s shoulder. Natalia tried to stand, but fell back to the floor, gripping her arm. The wolf huffed a warning breath in her face, then trotted back to Ava’s side, licking his bloody maw.
Before this evening, Ava knew she would have gone to her mother, helped her. Now, she turned her back and went to Adam instead, helping him to his feet. He was pale with shock, but did as he was told without protest.
‘Ava, what the Hell?’ he managed to mutter, between gawping vacantly, mouth opening and closing like a fish.
‘Come on, we have to get out of here,’ she said, steering him away from Natalia’s prone form.
They walked, slowly at first, but speeding up the further they got from the trees. Faolan bounced playfully beside them, running between their legs and jumping up to nudge their bodies with his nose. Adam’s face remained sheet white, and Ava felt her stomach sinking with every step, despite her totem’s antics. Natalia would not take this lying down. She would hurt Ava. She couldn’t hurt her physically, but she could go after her friends.
‘We need to go back to your house.’
‘Uh, okay…’ Adam said, though he didn’t sound terribly convinced it was.
Ava picked up the pace, pushing Adam along with the arm she held around his waist. It wasn’t a romantic gesture. She thought she was literally holding him upright, as he had done for her just minutes ago. It felt like hours.
By the time they reached Adam’s house, he was so shell shocked, he didn’t even protest about letting a wolf into his kitchen. Ava told her totem to wait in the corner, out of the way, as she carried Adam into the living room, sitting him on the sofa. Ava crouched in front of him, worried by his pallor and the shock she could see in his eyes.
Before she could say anything else, Adam’s mother came into the room. She took one look at her son, then with a cry she was across the room, checking his temperature, fussing over him, asking what was wrong.
‘Ava, what happened?’ she said.
Ava took a deep breath and did the thing she vowed she would never do to any of Adam’s family. ‘Mrs Clements, I need you to start packing your bags. For you and your family.’ A gentle push, a touch of Fey glamour. Adam’s mother’s concern for her son was strong, as she glanced at him again, breaking the eye contact Ava needed. Ava turned her face with a hand, pushing a little harder. ‘Concentrate Mrs Clements, you need to pack your bags, then you’re going to drive your family to the airport and get on the first plane out of here. You won’t tell anybody where you’re going, you’re going to leave behind your mobiles, delete your email accounts, and when you get there, you’re going to start your lives again. Change your names, get visas, get jobs, make friends. Okay?’
‘It’s lovely to be standing here chatting, Ava, but I really should be packing our bags. Big trip starts tonight!’ Mrs Clements said with the sunny smile Ava always wished Natalia would give her.
‘Did you just brainwash my mum?’ Adam said.
Ava winced, turning to him. ‘Sorry. I had to. Natalia isn’t going to let my actions go unpunished. She’ll start with your family, Adam, I can’t let that happen.’
She sat next to him. He pushed himself upright, a little colour returning. Ava opened her mouth to speak, but Adam put his hand over it. ‘Don’t you dare try and do it to me.’
‘Adam, it would be safer if…’
A whining sound cut through their glaring contest, both turning to see Faolan sitting before them, looking hurt. The wolf edged forwards, eyes wide and shimmery, like a sad dog, and placed his head on Adam’s lap, whimpering. Adam’s terror lasted a moment before he relaxed, placing a hand over Faolan’s head, petting him gently.
‘See, he doesn’t want me to go,’ Adam said.
‘Because I don’t,’ Ava said, exasperated. ‘Adam, believe me, this is breaking my heart, but…’
‘Anyone care to explain why Mother is packing her bags like a woman possessed?’ Holly said, bursting into the room
‘Holly,’ Ava said, standing and walking to her friend. Tears ran freely down her cheeks. ‘You’re going on holiday…’
With the rest of the Clements family packing their bags, Ava dragged Adam to his room and started looking for a suitcase.
‘I won’t trick you, if that’s not what you want, but you still have to go, Adam, you aren’t safe here.’
‘Ava!’ he grabbed her by the arm, hard enough that Ava thought she might bruise. She could have pushed him away, but his touch robbed her of that strength. ‘I don’t pretend to have a clue what’s happening, but I told you I wasn’t going anywhere. Remember?’
‘Adam, I don’t have time for this! I’m going to have to stop at Graham’s and persuade him his girlfriend hasn’t suddenly disappeared and to lose all interest in her so he can’t be used by my mother to find you.’
Graham was too removed to be in any real danger himself – it had always been Holly and Adam, for as long as Ava had been walking and talking, Graham was just an add on – but Ava knew her mother was clever enough to realise he could be useful. She had to make it so he wasn’t.
‘And what are you going to do?’ Adam said, not letting her go. ‘Once you’re done getting rid of everyone who ever cared about you, what are you going to do then?’
‘I’ve got an idea,’ Ava said, which was half true. She had an idea, but no real clue how she could act on it. ‘I can take care of myself, Adam, I’ll be fine.’
‘And I’m supposed to believe that after you totally freaked out earlier and couldn’t even stand up?’
‘I lost control. I didn’t know what was happening. Still don’t, really. But I had enough about me before all that – I can still take care of myself.’
‘So why can’t I come with you, help you?’
‘And leave your family behind, Adam, I could never ask you do that.’
‘And what about you, Ava? Are you going to ask me to leave you behind? Because I don’t want to do that.’
‘As long as I am near you, you are not safe!’
‘I’m starting to realise that,’ Adam said, voice suddenly softer. ‘But I don’t care. All I ever wanted was to be with you.’
He kissed her, and though Ava turned her head, he just kissed her face, her neck, until Ava turned her lips back to his and kissed him hard, her arms around his neck, his holding her body tight against his. They kissed until Ava thought she might drown in him.
‘Ava, please,’ Adam said when he broke away.
‘We’d have to keep moving. To stay ahead of them, my mother and the others, we’d have to be constantly on the move, not a moment’s rest…’
‘I can deal with that.’
‘I don’t know how long it will take. How long you’d have to stay away from your family.’
‘I know,’ he said. ‘And that will suck. Really bad. But I also know that if you let me go off to God knows where with my family now, I’ll never see you again. And that would suck more.’
After a long moment, Ava nodded, and Adam released the breath he’d been holding.
‘What can I do?’ he asked.
Ava glanced at his computer. ‘Can you delete them from the internet?’
Adam’s shoulders sagged a little, but he picked himself up and went to the computer.
As the Clements kissed their son goodbye and drove off to their new futures, Ava picked up the rucksack she’d packed with Holly’s clothes and other supplies they might need, including the money she’d emptied from her bank account and Adam’s at a cashpoint in town.
Between her brain washing, and Adam’s computer genius, the Clements wouldn’t be easy for anyone to trace except for Adam and Ava themselves. New names, new identities. A bit of top up ‘brainwashing’ and the ‘Andrews’ family had accepted it all without question.
Adam looked a bit shaken as he came back to her, the emotion thick on his face. Faolan bumped against his leg, and Adam sunk a hand into the wolf’s fur. It seemed to steady him.
‘Ready?’ Ava said.
‘Ready,’ he said, taking her hand in his.