~Coming June 19th, 2017~
It was on the way to Aurea Regia for the Springtide ball two weeks later when Jet and Will were alone again. Will had arranged a hike of one of the old passages into the palace compound. They waved off Harrie and Chace and made their way to Indigo Beach and the ancient ruins there.
As they walked, Will asked, “Why don’t you have any guards?”
Jet stifled a laugh. Even now someone was following them, and she had no idea where or who they were. She had to notify Bevan ahead of time of what she was doing. But she didn’t always tell him everything, yet he always found her. She didn’t want any of her friends to be uncomfortable with the idea of being spied on. It was weird even for her—and she’d had someone watching her for her entire life. She pictured Bevan. He was just doing his job, but she still wasn’t going to volunteer that she had hidden guards following her. She chose her words with care.
“There hasn’t been a threat against the royal family in thousands of years. Humans don’t know we exist, and even though I’m the heir, I’m not threatening anyone’s way of life, so why would anyone bother?” Jet shrugged, and Will grinned.
“So it’s been discussed, then. And here I am thinking I just brought it up.”
“My security has been discussed, believe me.” Jet laughed. “They have me covered. Plus, my parents wanted me to try and have somewhat of a normal existence here.” Jet looked at Will through her lashes. “Why do you ask?”
“It just seemed weird to me that the next in line for the throne would be allowed to wander free whenever she wanted. I didn’t think to ask about it until this point because, up to now, we haven’t been off grounds except that once in Indigo City.” He took her hand in his warm grip. “I just want to make sure you’re safe.”
She offered a smile. “That’s sweet, Will.” Jet delighted in his flushed cheeks at her praise. “But the worry isn’t necessary. I’m not really allowed to ‘wander free,’ as you say. I made my parents a deal when they allowed me to come to Quadrivium. I promised I wouldn’t do anything stupid.” The shell path leading to the ruins of the old passage crunched under their sandals.
“I have to wonder, though, if taking the ancient passage down alone with you could be labeled as ‘stupid.’” Jet raised an eyebrow in mock uncertainty. “You do know what you’re doing, don’t you?”
“Trust me. I’ve got this.” Will said.
He and Jet continued along the path in companionable silence until a thought occurred to her.
“I’ve got a question for you.”
“I’m all yours, Princess.” Will said the words without his usual joking tone.
For a moment it flustered Jet. She tripped a bit on the walkway, but Will held her steady.
“What’s the question?” he prodded, and Jet forced herself to recover.
“You told me you wanted us to go this way for a reason. I just wondered what the reason was.”
Will looked chagrined. “I had a couple of reasons really, but the main one was to get you alone. We haven’t had a chance to talk about anything important since Family Faire.” He shrugged. “I want to make sure you’re doing okay.”
Jet wasn’t sure she liked the direction this conversation was headed. “I’m great, Will. I appreciate you looking out for me. You’re kind of like a big brother or one of the guards you seem to think I need.” Will’s slate eyes turned stormy, and he stopped and spun her toward him. “I don’t have brotherly feelings toward you, Jet,” Will growled.
“That’s quite a relief.” Fury built in the pit of her stomach. “Because I can take care of myself.”
“It isn’t a crime to care about a friend,” Will protested.
“No crime at all, as long as you don’t patronize that friend,” Jet argued.
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“It means that since Morwenna handed me my backside last term, you’ve been different. If we really are friends, you’ll respect the fact that I don’t need looking after any more than you do.” Jet, panting with anger now, continued. “I had an off day or I trusted the wrong person, or whatever we want to call it. It doesn’t make me weak or stupid. It makes me just like everyone else, including you. Or have you forgotten that Morwenna was your ‘best friend’ before all of this happened?”
“I haven’t forgotten anything!” Will shouted. “I blame myself for what she did to you. I pushed you into being friends with her,” Will admitted.
Jet’s peal of laughter echoed in the tree-lined pathway. “Oh, my goodness, whatever would I have done before I met you?” She placed her hands on her cheeks in mock uncertainty. “I never made a decision on my own or even made a mistake.” Jet shook her head. “You’re making my point for me. You didn’t push me into anything. I chose to ask Morwenna to help me with Movement. I chose to befriend her. You continue to insult my intelligence by suggesting you had anything at all to do with it.” Jet thought she explained this with great patience, given how exasperating he was behaving.
Will’s jaw clenched, and Jet observed this display of anger with wonder.
“Fine. You can take care of yourself. I got it.” Will turned back to the path and strode forward.
Jet rolled her eyes behind his back. “This is shaping up to be a lovely afternoon. Whatever will we do on our third date to top this one?” Jet asked.
Will couldn’t seem to help himself. His large muscular frame shook with laughter, and he stopped on the path to wait for Jet. “I got to hand it to you, Jet. You sure don’t need lessons in diplomacy. Your witty comebacks will have them lying at your feet.”
Jet beamed at his dry tone. “I’ll take the compliment and suggest a subject change,” she offered.
“I’ll grab that subject change like a lifeline,” Will answered, his frown relaxed into a smile.
Children of Neptune
Sixteen-year-old Jet can talk to animals with her mind, but she gets tongue-tied with someone her own age. She can use her ancient powers to hydroshift, but she's still figuring out how to be smooth out of the water.
Sheltered behind the palace walls, Jet trains to become queen of a secret island. All that changes when she's forced to accept a mission she isn't prepared for—fitting in at high school. Her powers, never before tested, are pushed to their limits.
She learns that handling high school life is just as complicated and dangerous as the mystery that brought her there. Her journey leads her to friendship, romance, and her first taste of freedom. But betrayal threatens to take all that away.