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Revelle: Chapter 36


We ran toward the back exit, but one of Dewey’s guards stood in front of it. His eyes widened at our abrupt appearance. “Where’s Mr. Chronos?”

“In the restroom.” I dropped Jamison’s hand. “Excuse us. I could use some fresh air.”

The guard’s brow furrowed as he looked me over. Was there still blood on my face? Or on my leotard, Trevor’s blood—

Oh God. Trevor.

“What’s going on here?” the guard demanded.

Seven hells. I reached for my magic—no, no more magic.

The guard’s gaze snapped to Jamison. He lunged for him, but Jamison darted back, grabbing my hand.

I pulled Jamison through the maze of offices and dressing rooms, the guard’s heavy boots thundering right behind us. Somewhere backstage, mournful cries wafted over the crowd’s relentless chants for Dewey. Millie? Because Trevor was dead. I’d tried to stop him from speaking, but I’d only made it worse for him, and now—

Jamison pulled me into a dark room and locked the door. I nearly tripped on the pillows and blankets strewn all over the floor, from where my family had slept. Jamison hoisted himself onto the desk, opened the window, and stuck his head out. “Clear.”

I hopped onto the desk next to him. “You first.”

Banging erupted against the door. “Open this immediately!” a deep voice roared.

Jamison moved between the window and the rattling door. “Go. I’ll be right behind you.”

Sliding out the window was easy, and the drop was only six feet. I moved aside for him.

Jamison threw a blanket out. “Wrap this around you.”

Always thinking. I hid in the shadows as he hoisted himself out the window, his long legs tangling. Once he got to his feet again, he brushed off his pants. “Not bad for a non-acrobat.”

I risked the briefest kiss. “Let’s go.”

The cancan dancers’ song wafted over us as we hurried down the alley. Jamison kept his hand in mine, squeezing as if he feared he’d lose me. Again.

We rounded the corner—

Dewey’s guards. Two of them. They whirled to face us.

Please don’t recognize me, please don’t recognize me. But my silent pleas were useless without a jewel. Or shadow magic.

“You’re not supposed to be here.” He glared at Jamison and reached for his holster.

No! No more guns.

I knocked it out of his hand and sprinted past him.

“Stop those two!”

All these guards—at least a dozen for election night—had never been for my protection or even Dewey’s protection. They were another layer in Dewey’s plan, a barrier meant to keep Jamison from me.

Dropping the blanket, I sprinted even faster, my lungs lighter than they’d ever been, despite the dizziness from the Strattori magic. For years, my magic had eroded my strength. When was the last time I’d moved so fast, so freely?

No, not free. Not yet.

Jamison’s long legs kept pace with mine, but footsteps thundered in our wakes. More guards. “We need to hide.”

“We need to leave.” Grabbing Jamison’s hand, I darted down the next street. The bright lights of Main Street blurred ahead, the street music blaring as we raced through the crowd. Citizens of the Night milled about, drinking and eagerly awaiting the results of the election. Tourists, drunk and jolly, crowded the sidewalks. We slowed down, ducking our heads as we tried to blend in, but Jamison was too tall, and I wore nothing but a blood-speckled leotard. But this was the Night District. No one so much as blinked at us.

This was my home. Not Dewey’s, not his Day District guards’—mine. Even with the Big Tent’s glaring absence, I could have navigated these streets with my eyes shut.

Staying with the crowd, I zigzagged toward the promenade. The ferries were three blocks away. Two.

The crowed grew thinner, but there was no sign of the guards. Jamison shook off his jacket and put it over me. To hide my bloody leotard. Trevor’s blood. Because of me . . .

“Not yet.” Jamison squeezed my hand. “We’ll fall apart later, but not yet.”

Regret still shone in his fierce blue eyes. He’d taken a life today, and even though I loved him for it, Dewey’s loss had almost cost us Trys.

One block now. The neat row of Dewey’s long, elegant white ferries glinted in the moonlight, but in front of the entrance to the long dock, two police officers stood on the corner, talking.

Their gaze cut to us. Edwardians.

If they’d heard either of our thoughts, knew about Trevor—

“Sing a song,” I whispered to Jamison.

He shot me a confused look.

“In your head. Quick!”

The taller officer frowned at us. I had to think about something else, anything else.

The Day District fools go to sleep with their jewels

in bedrooms as lonely as hell.

But when the Big Tent’s your home, you’re never alone,

so raise a glass to the family Revelle!

I leaned into Jamison, letting my legs sway as though I couldn’t handle my liquor, and I kept repeating Nana’s drinking song in my head, like Trevor had taught me. Jamison played the part of my concerned beau well, mumbling a church hymn while propping me up. As we passed, he tipped his hat at the officers.

“Aren’t you Luxe Revelle?”

My heart stopped beating.

“Excuse me! You’re Miss Revelle, aren’t you?” The officer walked toward us.

We slowed to a stop. Wide-eyed, Jamison searched my face.

Back straight. Head high, just as my mother taught me. I turned to face them, flashing my stage smile. “Hello, gentlemen.”

The younger officer blinked rapidly. “You are her.”

“In the flesh.” I winked. “Are we acquainted?”

“No, but . . .” The officer shook his head as if to clear his thoughts. His thoughts. He could read minds.

The Day District fools go to sleep with their jewels

in bedrooms as lonely as hell.

“Where’s Mr. Chronos?” the second officer asked.

Jamison tensed beside me.

“How should I know?” I replied evenly.

“But the election. They should be announcing the results any moment.”

“He lost.” I wrapped my arm around Jamison’s. “He’s probably off sulking somewhere.”

They let us take one step. Two steps.

Jamison rested his hand on mine, squeezing as we stepped onto the dock.

“Stop them!”

Dewey’s guards—too many to count.

“Halt!” the Edwardian shouted. “Stop right there.”

The dock was narrow, with nothing but boats and water on either side. We kept running toward the end, but there was nowhere to hide.

We were trapped.

The guards slowed as they reached the dock, fanning out to block our exit. They knew they had us. The officers, too, their faces tense with concentration as they eavesdropped on our minds.

They’d drag Jamison to jail. Or worse.

But when the Big Tent’s your home, you’re never alone,

so raise a glass to the family Revelle.

Hand in hand, we jumped off the end of the dock.

The water was freezing, the quiet disconcerting as we plunged beneath the surface. Gone were the officers, the music. The salt burned my eyes as I squinted for Jamison, but I couldn’t see anything in the blackness. This was how my mother had died—in this very water, sinking to the bottom, that damn cinder block tied to her ankle . . .

Frantic hands bumped my arms. Jamison grabbed me, pulling me through the water, not yet surfacing, though my lungs burned. Deeper into the darkness, we waded. How he had any notion of where to go was beyond me.

I needed air. I couldn’t take it anymore.

We surfaced together, greedily pulling the cold night into our lungs.

“There they are!”

We’d only made it ten yards from the dock, where a dozen uniformed men stood, their flashlights in the water. Two jumped in.

“Hold your breath!” Jamison pulled me down, down, so deep, seaweed tickled my arm. The bottom, where my mother had been found. My throat squeezed tight, but I tried to ignore it, focusing instead on Jamison’s hand. Finally, mooring poles appeared. A dock.

Hidden underneath, we came up for air. There were guards right above us, flashlights forming spotlights in the dark water.

Even if we could manage to escape from beneath their noses, how could we possibly leave Charmant? Dewey owned all the ferries; for all I knew, he’d given them orders not to let us through. And even if, by some miracle, they didn’t recognize us, we had no money. No time.

Jamison pressed his forehead to mine. “I can turn myself in,” he whispered. “Or we can try to sneak onto a ferry and take our chances.”

I gripped his neck, our skin slick with salt water. “You told me there’s a whole world out there. I want to see it.”

He grinned, then sank into the water again. I followed him, diving so deep, my ears popped beneath the suffocating pressure. Still, we swam silently beneath the surface. Our only way out.

Darkness loomed over us as we passed underneath a large boat. A ferry. We surfaced again, slowly. The shouting was more distant now. I motioned to the ferry, but Jamison shook his head and pointed to the next.

We went under again, their shouting blurred by the rush of water over my ears.

Jamison pulled me toward the third ferry. The lights were on, illuminating the massive engine in front of us. If it turned on while we were in the water, it’d pull us into it and tear us to shreds.

“This one,” he whispered.

They all looked the same to me. None had ladders or stairs or any way to board. Still, Jamison lunged for the lower deck. When he missed—by a lot—he cursed under his breath.

“Should we try another?” I whispered. But there was no time. Even now, the guards’ yells drew closer, panning out to search each dock, each ferry.

“It has to be this one.”

“Then get me on your shoulders.”

He looked at me like I had three heads, but there was no time to protest. He sank under the water, and I climbed atop him awkwardly, kicking him in the head. A six-foot-something man treading water was ridiculously unstable, but I’d balanced on less.

With my feet planted squarely on his shoulders, I leaped for the platform—and missed, my body smacking the side of the ferry. But I managed to grab the railing.

“I heard something! This way!”

My sides screaming, I pulled myself up and scrambled onto my belly. Hooking my legs around a pole on the lower deck, I lowered my arms in the water. Damnit, he was heavy; we both began sliding in, but he grabbed the bottom of the railing and hoisted himself over me.

“Check that one!”

We scrambled across the deck. Passengers laughed from inside Dewey’s new luxury ferry, but on the cool August night, no one else was outside. At least not down here.

“Stop right there!” someone yelled from the upper deck.

We scrambled to our feet, but the captain thundered down the stairs. There was no place to hide on the deck. Nowhere to go but back in the water.

We were caught.

The captain’s deep belly laugh froze me in place. “You did it. You really did it.”

“I told you, sir.” Jamison wrapped a hand around my waist. “Will you help us?”

Jamison and the captain knew each other?

“Dewey Chronos will have my neck.”

Jamison winced. “I can guarantee he won’t be a problem, sir.”

“Is that so?” The captain studied us, his fingers twisting the golden band on his finger.

If only I could dip into my magic. Just one more time, and we’d be okay.

“Please, sir,” I begged. “My family can pay you.”

“I’ve had enough Revelle jewels for a night.” He unlocked a door behind him. “If you get caught, tell them you found this storage room unlocked. I was never here.”

The storage room was more like a closet, but we gladly scrambled inside.

Before we could thank him, he shut the door, cloaking us in darkness, save the sliver of moonlight sneaking underneath the door. Jamison wrapped his wet arms around me. Water dripped from his shirt each time he shifted. From my hair, too.

We shivered against each other. Freezing, but so, so alive.

And almost free.

Feet pounded on the deck, and we tensed. The captain’s voice boomed, his deep laugh unmistakable. I held my breath. If they opened this closet, we were dead. They’d put Jamison in jail. Maybe even me, too, because if it wasn’t for me, Trevor would still be alive.

After an eternity, the deck quieted. No more footsteps. No more captain.

I leaned into Jamison and checked my memories. Dewey was gone; he couldn’t erase this timeline anymore. Only another Chronos could, and with every passing moment, the cost to them grew a hundredfold. Without Dewey, George could be mayor. Knowing my uncle, he’d declare him the winner and let the audience think Dewey was off sulking somewhere, just as I’d claimed to the officers. With enough charms and bribes, the election officials could report the same, and no one would be any wiser for it. The rest of the Chronoses might not even look for him.

The floor rumbled as the engines roared to life.

Hope made my heart race faster than the Revelle drums. We were really leaving Charmant. We could go anywhere. Together.

In the pitch black, I tilted my head toward Jamison, my mouth grazing his chin, his cool cheek, before finding his lips. His heart beat wildly beneath his drenched shirt, and I laid a hand over it.

For the first time in a long time, I let myself picture those magazine photos I used to hang on my wall. Mainland cities. Mountains. Pyramids.

The ferry surged into motion, and we nearly tumbled apart. Laughing, Jamison pulled me back into his lap. “Where do you want to go first?” he murmured in my ear.

I nestled against him, smiling into the darkness. “Everywhere.”


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