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 Now that, my boy, was your grandmother s idea. Ivan relaxed
back into his seat and drummed his fingers against the steering wheel.
The sound grated on his already frayed nerves.  She is also the one to
name you. Giving you that wretched moniker made it easy to find
you. It s such a feminine name for a young man. But on the off
chance you were smart enough to escape, she thought it would make
locating you easier since you have such an uncommon name..
Astrid let the smart-enough comment roll off his shoulders. He
was more interested in this grandmother he had. There were more
members to this twisted family?
Astrid s Wish 157
 But we sent you to live with Malcolm so he could toughen you
up and make a man out of you. I couldn t very well raise you, being
as your grandfather is still on the council. But I can now see all those
years spent with Malcolm did nothing to make you a strong and
obedient warrior. But I intend on rectifying that.
 Make me strong? Obedient? Did you know that Lucian beat me,
and when he wasn t beating me he raped me?
 I didn t know the particulars, but after all that, you still kept that
fairy goodness inside you. Ivan eyed him warily.  I find it
fascinating that you are even sane. You must be more powerful than
we thought.
 I still don t understand any of this, he whispered, more to
himself than for Ivan to hear. All the information of his past and his
family came crashing down on him. He didn t know if he could take
any more.
 As I m sure you already know, you re part fairy, part witch, and
that means, in theory, magic without consequence. Ivan flicked on
his blinker and took the corner hard.  Mother and I were tired of
being subjected to the righteousness of others and more than willing
to assist in the destruction of the council by any means necessary.
Believe me, we re not the only ones itching to break out of this prison
of a life we are forced to live.
 You would destroy and kill all those you have ever known just so
you can use your magic as you see fit? It was plan lunacy. Ivan kept
referring to  they  they who? Others were helping his deranged
father, but Astrid couldn t figure out how he played a part in any of
this. He wasn t powerful by any means.
 Son, you re thinking too hard. Let it go. All will become clear
soon enough. He flinched away when Ivan reached out to touch his
hair. Not being fazed by his reaction, Ivan dropped his hand.
He truly and honestly cared for no one. Maybe it was that little
boy living inside him, but he had to know something, anything about
his mother. And Ivan was his only option to get that information.
158 AJ Jarrett
 What about my mother? Did you even love her? It was pointless
to ask, because he had a sinking suspicion he already knew the
answer, but he held out a shred of hope.
 Love? Ivan sound shocked by the idea.  Love is for fools. I seek
and want only power. You would do yourself right by learning that,
son. The more power you obtain, the more respect you get from
others.
 That s not respect. That s fear, he retorted back.
 Call it what you will, but it doesn t matter because in the end it s
what I want. But to answer your question, did I love your mother, no.
She was the means to get me you, and once you were born, she was
disposed of.
 So you just killed her? His breath hitched as he sobbed for the
woman he would never get to know.
 Not me, your grandmother. She hated knowing our pure
bloodlines were tainted by me impregnating a fairy. So naturally, after
you were born, she had to erase any evidence that you were part
fairy.
He tried to stop his tears. The truths Ivan spoke were about as
much as he expected. Evil beings did evil things, and that was what
his family seemed to be, pure evil. Any other questions he might have
had faded into the haze. It was weak of him to admit, but he had
learned enough for one day. He stayed quiet as Ivan drove down a
dark, deserted dirt road. Trees flew by his window in a rush, in blurs
of blackness. Outside his window, the world looked cold and cruel,
but the harsh realities inside the car he sat in were ten times worse.
A few miles down the road, a building came into view. It looked
like a metal barn of some sort. Ivan slowed up then put the car into
park. As the car came to a stop, the metal doors slid open. Two people
came walking out. Clouds filled the sky, preventing any stars from
shining through, lighting the earth below. His eyes had adjusted, but
he still couldn t make out who came out to greet them. Ivan got out of
the car to meet them halfway. He shook hands with one and hugged
Astrid s Wish 159
the smaller person. They stood outside the car talking, and then as
one, they all turned in his direction.
He tugged at the leather binding around his neck, trying
desperately to break it free. The small group started toward the car.
Astrid began to panic and dug his fingernails into his skin, trying
frantically to get the stripe of leather loose. The clouds parted, and as
they reached his door, the moonlight shone on the smaller person s
face. He couldn t believe what he was seeing. It had to be a
nightmare. Ivan pulled open the passenger door.
 It s been quite some time, Astrid.
Astrid held still. There were no words he could use to express the
horror that held him paralyzed under the watchful stare of the woman
he had thought to be his mother.
 Oh, I didn t tell you. Ivan chuckled.  Astrid, let me introduce
you to your grandmother Constance.
What? Still, nothing verbal came out of his mouth. His breathing
came in heavy pants. It was as if he had been transported back in
time. Astrid felt like that frightened little boy who used to hide under
his bed to escape the wrath of his mother. But Astrid knew now she
was his grandmother.  I see some things never change, Constance
said bitterly.  You better do as we say, or you will find yourself six
feet under with your dead mother.
Her callous words were delivered without batting an eyelash. She
meant what she said. She would kill him if he got too out of line. A
cold sweat broke out across his body, and his hands began to shake.
Klaus, I wish you were here.
160 AJ Jarrett
Chapter Nineteen
It had been four hours since Klaus discovered Astrid missing, but
it felt like an eternity. And they still were no closer to finding him
now than they were then. If only he could think of anywhere Ivan
could have taken Astrid, anywhere. But he couldn t. Until a few days
ago, he himself had never been to Missouri for more than a pass-
through, so there was not a chance Ivan knew much more than him.
He had to have had help from someone.
He sat numbly at the table and tapped the pen resting in between
his fingers against the tabletop. The light tap-tap filled the quiet void
in his brain. All around him people sat talking and planning ways to
find Astrid, but all he could hear was the tap-tap.
 Klaus? a small voice whispered from his left. He still didn t
move. He just concentrated on the soft tap-tap.  Klaus! The voice
steadily rose in volume.
Shaking himself from his thoughts, he turned to see Miles sitting
next to him, his face drawn in sadness. His eyes were red from
shedding so many tears. Klaus could relate, but he kept his grief on
the inside. To shed one tear would cause his resolve to crumble to the
ground like a house of cards, and then how would he be any good to
Astrid?
 Sorry about that, Miles. He looked away from the men plotting
at the table to focus on Miles.  How you holding up?
 Me? Your mate has been taken to god knows where, and you re
asking me how I m doing? I was all wrong about you. Miles smiled
apologetically at him.  Sitting here watching you, I can see how much [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]