WARNING: This chapter contains strong language.
I swear I’m in a dream. Surely this can’t be real. How can it be? I hadn’t even heard Dominic come in! I’m probably still in bed, having a nightmare, that will jar me awake at any moment.
But there’s no point in kidding myself. Dominic saw everything. The confrontation between me and my sister wasn’t physical; it was supernatural.
He showed me his dark side in his apartment when he confessed to being a dominant in bed. Now, he’s seeing my dark side.
I think I win.
“Dominic,” I say as I step toward him tentatively. “I can explain...”
“What the fuck was that?” he demands, slight trepidation apparent in his voice.
I just told him that I could explain. But what the hell am I supposed to say? That he stumbled upon a major case of sibling rivalry? No shit. But it’s much deeper than that.
“Oh, for God’s sake, Lydia,” Ebony says, exasperated. “Just tell him. He’s already seen what happened.”
“Dominic,” Ebony interjects, much to my chagrin, “what did you see just now?”
“It looked like Lydia was shooting some sort of magical spell at you.”
Ebony beams at me, her expression irritatingly triumphant as she takes on a goody-two-shoes pose indisputably for Dominic’s benefit. “There, see? He saw. Now spill it.”
It’s almost as if she planned for this to happen. She wanted Dominic to discover my secret. Because then I’d have to let him die rather than forsake my powers.
But the joke’s on her. Because I won’t let that happen. I won’t allow Dominic to die. Even if I’m not completely sure that I love him, I do care a great deal for him. More than I care about my magic.
Unfortunately, Ebony will never realize this. The only feelings she’s ever concerned herself with are her own. She has no remorse, no regards for anyone else.
“Someone better give me some damn answers,” Dominic booms, his voice rising in anger.
“I’ll tell you everything,” I say. Then I shoot Ebony a death glare. “And you. Get the fuck out of here, and if I ever see you again, I really will kill you.”
“I’d like to see you try.”
I flip her the bird.
This sends her into a howl of (appropriate) cackling laughter as she vacates the premises.
I know that I should put a seal on the house right away, but Dominic is staring at me, waiting for an explanation. Maybe I can kill two birds with one stone here.
“I’ll explain as I do something,” I tell him. He just glowers, but I detect a trace of fear in his eyes.
I can feel his blatant reluctance to listen to anything I have to say as I lift my arms parallel to my chest. Lightning surges through my fingers as I recite the necessary chant to seal the house.
When the house is sealed, no physical evidence exists. But I can feel it, so I know it’s working.
“Okay,” I say to Dominic as I face him. “Let’s talk.”
“Yeah, let’s,” he barks, obviously peeved. “What the fuck was that?! That wasn’t normal! And why was your sister here?”
“Dominic, I’ll tell you everything. I promise. But you have to keep an open mind, because there’s a lot at stake here.”
“A lot at stake? Yeah, like our relationship. You better start talking, Lydia.”
“And I will. Now sit down and stop yelling at me.”
Dominic is still fuming, but he obliges. I want to sit next to him on the couch, but given the circumstances, I doubt that’s a good idea. So I settle for the adjacent couch instead.
I heave a sigh, realizing belatedly that I have no idea where to start. My latest goal involving Dominic was to ensure that he never discovered my secret.
But now, thanks to my bitch of a sister, I involuntarily exposed myself for what I truly am.
“What are you?” Dominic asks me, almost as though he’s reading my thoughts.
“You know what I am. You saw it.”
“I’ve seen Aborigines in Australia, and I’ve heard of black magic and voodoo. But those were basically all old stories. What I saw you do, that isn’t normal. What are you, Lydia?”
“You know. Please, just say it. Don’t make me say it.”
“Why the hell not?”
“Because if I do and it’s not what you’re really thinking, there will be serious consequences.”
“Seriously? That’s what you’re going with?”
Dominic furrows his brow as I risk scooting closer to him but still remaining on the other couch. He doesn’t like this, and I can’t say that I blame him. Why has my life become so fucked up? When did it steer so far off course?
Oh, right. The night my sister was killed, and when I got it in my head that she was murdered.
Was it truly all bad? If I hadn’t left Cedar Grove, I never would have met Dominic. And I’m tired of hiding how I really feel. I have to tell him. But how can I now? If he’s to love me, he has to love all of me.
“You want me to say it out loud?” he replies. “Fine. Lydia Brewster, you’re a witch.”
Damn. I was hoping he wouldn’t quite be able to guess. Maybe he’d think of some weird science fiction explanation or something. But alas, that’s too good to be true. That’s hoping for too much.
I can’t meet his eyes, nor can I formulate words with my tongue. I just nod.
I expect him to demand I leave, never come back, and do it all with a raised voice.
What he says instead surprises me.
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
I honestly don’t know how to respond to this inquiry. It doesn’t matter what the situation is; I’m always finding myself surprised by the person I’m closest to.
But now, I have nothing to hide. And I might as well be blunt with everything, regardless of the consequences. So I just throw it right out there in the open. What more do I have to lose?
“I told you I was no good for you. And this is why.”
“Because you’re a witch?”
“No. Because since you know the secret, something will have to be sacrificed. Either my powers, or your life.”
This causes Dominic to sit up straight and gape at me in astonishment.
“What do you mean?” he prods.
So I have no choice but to sit here and explain in a forlorn voice all about the curse that I have no control over. He sits and listens carefully, never interrupting, never wavering. He takes it all in, and I actually see sympathy in his deep brown eyes as I include the story of my grandmother and mother and the fates of their loved ones.
Finally, in summarization, Dominic speaks.
“So…you really are a witch. And you really did enchant me like I said.”
“No. You can’t cast a spell on someone to alter their feelings. Everything that’s happened between us hasn’t been because of a spell or anything like that.”
“So, then everything I feel is real? It’s not you…”
“No. And even if I did have that power, I wouldn’t use it for that. Love isn’t something to be played with.”
I bite my lip. Have I said too much? I want Dominic to know how I truly feel, but maybe it shouldn’t have been thrust on him so fast. Like right after he discovered that I’m a witch.
But he’s already heard me. I’m basically caught in the act. I might as well admit to it.
“Yes,” I reply. “Love. I’m in love with you, Dominic. I’ve wanted to tell you for so long, but I was afraid to. And now you know why.”
I don’t know how I expected Dominic would react, but he surprises me when he joins me on the opposite couch and pulls me onto his lap.
“What are you doing?” I ask him quizzically.
He looks me in the eye, his expression sincere and determined, and for a moment I fear the worst. I begin to recoil, but Dominic places his hand on mine and says, “Lydia Brewster, I haven’t known you for very long, but in one crazy moment, I fell in love with you. I love you, too. More than I thought could ever be possible.”
I’m genuinely astounded at this confession. It seems too good to be true. This wonderful, sexy, kind-hearted, exotic man shares my feelings? I’ve been hurt so many times before, and yet I willingly allowed myself to get closer and closer to this man. And now it turns out that his feelings for me are a reflection of my own for him.
“One crazy moment?” I manage to reply. “What moment was that?”
“The moment I first saw you.”
“But when you first saw me, I was...”
“Sprawled across the floor because you tripped over my barbell. Maybe fate put it there, so we could meet. Maybe there was some ancient spell that made us destined for each other. I don’t know, and I honestly don’t care. All I know is that when I first saw you, something hit me like a spark. And it wasn’t witchcraft.”
“It wasn’t. I promise. I would never do that, even if I could.”
“I know that. I trust you. Lydia, I love you.”
“I love you too, Dominic.”
And then we seal our love with a kiss.