Jaded Jewels (The Coveted Saga #2)(3)

By: C.M. Owens

When did it all get so complicated? Why did everything in life have to be such a battle? A simple kiss had just decimated so much.

"I'm sorry, Allaysia. I just… love him. I never meant for this to happen."

"I know you love him, sweet girl. But I really do think some separation would be good for both of you right now. I know his link to you is way too strong. The magic just intensifies everything. In a few months, things will be better. The link will eventually die down."

Now she sounded just like Jaslene, Anesta, Iris and, well, everyone else for that matter. I was sick of all of them and their magical reasoning threaded with hints of inadvertent condescension.

A white car pulled down the driveway, and a flash of blonde was all I had time to glimpse as serenity-wielder blurred toward the house with her unnatural speed.

My voice returned to the cold tone it had carried with Jaslene earlier. "I have to go. Ayla just got here."

I didn't wait for her response. I just hung up before she said anything else to break my heart even more. I thought she understood my feelings. Now I just felt betrayed by everyone who doubted me, and I was on my own.

"Aria?" Ayla's incredibly soft voice rang like a wave of calm as she came into my room, approaching me quickly, but not with inhuman speed. "Aria, just wait a minute and everything will be okay."

She stuck her hand to my head, but I roughly grabbed it in objection. "I don't want it to be okay. I don't want to feel like this isn't real. I don't want to mask my pain with a false sense of serenity. I want to know everything painful means that our being apart is wrong. I don't want to feel for a moment that it's okay for him to be gone, because it isn't. I don't want to be at peace. I want to feel every bit of misery, so I can hold on to the hope that it's painful for a reason."

Wiping my face seemed pointless, because a fresh wave of tears spilled every time I managed to stop for a second. Those tears held meaning.

Jay walked in and wrapped his arm around Ayla, gently tugging her in an effort to give me back my privacy. His presence enabled her to feel my anguish. A harsh flash of realization and understanding jaded her eyes in that instant, and her tears welled up with almost the same magnitude as mine.

"I have never understood this emotion. I am so sorry, Aria. Please, let me help you."

"No. Just go away. I want to be alone."

I rolled over in my bed and clutched my stomach where I could feel the dreadful knots growing even bigger. It was too much, but I wasn't going to let her make it all disappear. It would be like giving into everyone's belief that we weren't supposed to be together. And I refused to even entertain that horrid thought.

Chapter 2

Never the Same

They say change can be a good thing. I wish it would hurry up and be good.

School had started back, and now I had all new classes. I still hadn't heard from Tallis, but Ayla had told me he would be back at school to keep an eye on me. She told me he would be different, though.

She warned me to keep my hopes low, saying he would not let himself become as attached. I wondered if he would even really be there. His adamant endeavor to avoid me seemed to contradict the fact he was suddenly going to be keeping an eye on me.

McKee opened the door to my car the second I parked at school, and I managed a weak smile. He was talking, but I couldn't hear a word he was saying. I was distracted as my eyes scoured the parking lot, desperately seeking to find Tallis's car or hummer. Then McKee was finally successful in interrupting my relentless search.

"Aria, I'll save you some time. He's not here yet." He sounded irritated by my complete indifference toward him.

I fought back enormous wave of disappointment and the tears that were struggling to reach my eyes. "Oh. Sorry. I just wanted to talk to him. I need to go to class. See ya later, McKee."

He scoffed, "Yeah. See ya."

The anger rolling off of him was almost tangible. The last thing I was worried about was McKee, though. He stomped off, throwing his tantrum by snapping a pencil in two. Seemed like a small feat for an invincible.

Butterflies fluttered anxiously, and the knots in my stomach doubled in size when I walked into the school. He was here. There was Tallis leaned up against the lockers and talking to Everett. He turned as if he sensed my presence. A forced smile was the only warning I got before he warily made his way toward me.

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