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The Legacy of Androva Series

New Book, New Series, Eighteenth Chapter 📖

Another weekend, another chapter of Spell Tracker! Luca shows Devin one of his past lives in an attempt to explain what happened between him and Cass. It doesn't go well. Then Luca almost misses his audition for the play. In spite of his feelings for Devin, Luca remains determined to save Cass from the Spell Tracker, but it's becoming more and more difficult for him to remain objective.

You can catch up on chapters one through seventeen via the New series label at the top of this post, and thank you very much for reading 💕.

(Update: October 2019. Spell Tracker is now available in full via the New series label. Just scroll down to the bottom of the page to start 📙)

18 A Past Life

I kept reading. Like vultures offered a brand-new carcass, everyone had jumped on the change of subject, asking questions, speculating, and making crude suggestions.
Where had Mina gotten her information from? It couldn’t have been Devin. He hadn’t mentioned anything on Saturday. Gabe, then. Perhaps he went looking for me after I rushed out of the gym. Damnit. Gabe probably thought I was an asshole, and I didn’t blame him. As far as he was concerned, I’d moved straight from Cass to Devin with only a day in between.
I wasn’t completely innocent, either. I had nearly kissed her. I looked at Devin, bent over his work. The tip of his tongue was sticking out of the corner of his mouth again. I couldn’t bear the idea of hurting him. I already have. And there was still half an hour of this interminable Math lesson to sit through before I could explain.
Suddenly I noticed something I’d missed the first time around. Mina’s relationship status. It said she was with Gabe. Not Nate, but Gabe. I tapped on Gabe’s profile, just to be sure, but it said the same thing. Mina was apparently his girlfriend. Since ten minutes to midnight. Just before Mina posted her toxic little Cavi update. What the hell?
I’d only been offline for half the weekend but it seemed like I’d missed enough drama to create an entire miniseries. Except Mina and Gabe going out was hardly a happy ending. Even if Gabe were straight—which he’s not—there was the small matter of his brother. Mina must have whiplash. I winced. Remember you’re a guardian, Luca. Don’t judge.
I willed the time to pass. Mr. Fennick continued to drone on about partial derivatives.
Devin chewed the end of his pencil. He caught me staring at his mouth and blushed, shifting his gaze back to the textbook. His ears gradually got more and more red.
“Stop,” he whispered, kicking me underneath our shared table.
The bell rang and there was a collective rush to pack up and get to the door. No one hung around after double Math.
“Were you with Cass on Friday?” said Devin, blocking my path. “Were you?”
“Yes. But not in the way you think.”
He shook his head. “What were you doing in secret all that time? Playing chess? Brushing each other’s hair?”
“We were mostly just talking,” I said.
He scowled. “Yeah. Gabe told us he heard you both talking. About how much you wanted to kiss each other, he said.”
Thanks, Gabe. That’s really helpful.
“Look,” I said, “I have to get to Drama for this audition. Will you walk with me?”
“Not unless you answer my question first. I thought… I thought I was the only one who could touch you. Did you kiss her?”
“No. I swear.”
We stared at each other for a few seconds and Devin’s scowl gradually softened. “But you did talk about it. Unless Gabe was lying?” he added hopefully.
I was so tempted to say yes. Gods, Luca. Remember what you are.
“No,” I admitted. “He wasn’t. But you make it sound like we debated it. It was just one of those crazy moments, you know?”
From Devin’s expression, he obviously didn’t know. I felt like a total shit. “So… are you bi or something?” he asked.
“It’s not what you think.” I glanced up at the clock. “I really have to go. Please can we talk about it later?”
“Maybe. I need to… I… I don’t know if I can do this.”
 He turned away and all I could think was No. With every step he took toward the door, the fear that I’d screwed up, perhaps irredeemably, squeezed my throat a little more. The classroom was empty. It was just the two of us.
Occludo… sero,” I said, panic making my voice higher and louder than usual. The door slammed shut in front of Devin, and he spun back to face me with an expression of alarm. I’d have to be quick, or he’d be calling for help.
“Please,” I said, walking up to him. “Let me show you what I mean by a crazy moment.”
“What?” His face made it clear he thought I was the one going crazy.
I grabbed his hand, simultaneously reaching out with my magic to search his historic life path for a time and place that would prove my point.
“Avi,” he said. “It feels like there’s a bunch of spiders inside my head. You’re scaring me.”
There. I didn’t need to say anything out loud, not like when Cass and I had visited the Globe. This was Devin’s timeline. I just had to connect to it. He was trying to pull his hand away when our surroundings shifted into something different.
“It’s OK,” I said in a low voice. “She won’t know we’re here.”
“Then why are you whispering? For God’s sake, Avi, this is someone’s bedroom.”
“It’s your bedroom. Or it was. 1857. Nice four-poster, isn’t it? You were quite the gentleman.”
The room was half in shadow, lit only by a dozen or so candles. They softened the yellow and red furnishings and created flickering shapes on the walls. A young woman about our age entered, wearing a modest cream-colored nightdress. Devin stiffened with shock.
She held up her left hand, admiring the band of gold on one slender finger.
“I know her,” said Devin, almost too quietly for me to hear him.
“Of course you do. She’s your wife. You were married today.”
“She’s my—what? What did you say?”
“Come on, we have to be quick. You’ll be here any minute. I mean… the 1857 you. He’ll be here any minute. And that will make things too confusing.”
I drew Devin closer. Soon we were close enough that his instincts took over and he leaned in, unable to help himself. Their life paths had crossed several times. They’d been friends and lovers.
She tilted her head. She couldn’t see us or hear us, but part of her would recognize his energy signature the same as he recognized hers. Her eyes became sad. An echo of contact like this, across lifetimes, was always emotionally painful. Devin reached out and brushed his fingers against one of her curls. “I can’t believe it. Elizabeth. I have missed you so much.” He sighed.
 “Elizabeth?” came a voice from the door.
Rescindo,” I said, and Mr. Fennick’s classroom crashed back into focus. The transformation was jarring, even for me, and I looked at Devin anxiously.
“Are you OK?”
“I…” He staggered, and I helped him to lean against one of the tables. “What just happened?”
“I took you back to a past life. You already know about the chance to do things over, so I figured there was no harm…”
I trailed off as he glared at me. “How am I supposed to go back to this life knowing I could be with her? Answer me that? How?”
He gripped the table and turned away from my sympathetic expression. “Give it a minute,” I said. “I know it’s intense, but it will fade. I’m sorry.”
“Why would you even do that?”
All of a sudden, my reasons for placing him into a past-life recollection seemed incredibly selfish. Probably because they are, you idiot.
I waited before answering, giving his current life the chance to reassert itself. After a little while, his hands weren’t holding onto the table quite so tightly, and his expression wasn’t quite so furious.
“Um. I know it was stupid,” I said, “but I was trying to explain. You… and Elizabeth. Me… and Cass. I didn’t want to kiss her, Devin. I just remembered… and I couldn’t help wanting to.”
He didn’t speak.
“Say something, Devin.”
“What do you want me to say? This is so screwed up.”
“I’m sorry.”
“Are you? How sorry? Would you make me forget all of this if I asked you to?”
He pushed himself off the table and folded his arms.
Are you asking?” I said. Please don’t.
“I think so.” He avoided my gaze.
“How… how much do you want to forget?”
“All of it. From enrolment to now.”
It took me a couple of seconds before his words registered properly. All of it? I would have to edit his life path to take out so much. It would require a lot of magic. I blinked. The lettering on his T-shirt looked blurry. Don’t get emotional. You brought this on yourself.
The door handle turned, then, with increasing force, a second and third time. A woman’s voice called, “Who’s in there? Why is this door locked?”
Resero,” I said.
The teaching assistant on the other side half fell into the room, and the topmost book from a pile she was carrying slid onto the floor with a thud. She frowned at us. “What’s going on in here?”
“Nothing,” said Devin. He walked out, not saying another word, and I didn’t know whether to go after him or leave him alone.
“Shouldn’t you be in class?”
I stared at the woman like she was speaking another language. Class? I don’t care about what class I… Oh, shit. Drama. The audition.
Running past her, I cursed the fact that the classroom I needed was on the other side of the school. My phone buzzed in my pocket. It must be Cass, wondering where the hell I was. I glanced down and nearly tripped over my own feet when I saw what it said.
I sent the boy to that classroom on Friday. Though even I couldn’t have predicted it would cause you quite this much trouble. Run all you like, Luca. You won’t be allowed to audition.
I directed my anger into running faster. When I arrived, the door was firmly shut and the blind was drawn. I wondered if I should knock or just go in. I was reaching for the door handle when someone came up behind me. I only just moved my fingers out of the way in time.
Based on her height and anxious expression I guessed she was a freshman. She was holding a piece of folded paper with both hands like she was worried about losing it. “Aren’t you going in?” she said.
“What have you got there?” I asked.
“A note from Principal Morris for Miss Randall,” she said, tightening her grip on the paper.
“I’ll take it,” I said immediately.
“I’m supposed to hand it to her,” she said, taking a step back.
Mihi crede,” I said, adding a smile for good measure.
“Oh. OK,” she replied, handing me the note. I took hold of it by its corner, careful not to touch her hand. She gave me a tentative smile in return and walked away.
Thank the gods for Sherbourne High’s cellphone policy. Teachers were  not supposed to use their phones during class to set a good example to students, which meant this school relied on the time-honored tradition of handwritten notes for urgent messages.
I opened it up. Miss Randall had been asked to send Mina Daylin straight to the principal’s office if she showed up for Drama today. I guessed that meant Mina was still missing.
It was a simple spell to amend the note and put my absence down to the fact that I’d been helping to look for Mina. And I will. I will look for her. After I’ve made sure Cass is OK.
Miss Randall accepted the note at face value, telling me she would allow me to audition. Tom, the boy who was Miss Randall’s second choice for Benedick, glared at me as he was forced to retake his seat in the audience. I didn’t care. There was more at stake than a part in a play.
“Sorry,” I said to Cass, who wasn’t looking too happy with me either.
“Getting into character a little early, aren’t we?” said Cass. “There’s no need to be an asshole until the scene starts.”
The audience laughed. I took a bow.
“You can do that afterward,” said Miss Randall. “If your acting skills win you a round of applause, of course.”
We began the first of our two additional scenes, set at a party to welcome Benedick and his fellow officers. Benedick, wearing a mask as part of his costume, pretended to be someone else, and Beatrice, knowing full well who he was, took advantage of the situation to mock him mercilessly.
The second scene was right at the end of the play, when Hero and Claudio are reconciled, and all that’s left is for Benedick and Beatrice to admit their love for each other in front of everyone. Except they both lose their nerve.
“What is your will?” said Cass hopefully.
I waited, letting Benedick’s fear of rejection guide the speed of my response. “Do not you love me?”
Her eyes narrowed. “Why no, no more than reason,” she replied, mixing Beatrice’s defiance with just the right amount of vulnerability.
I pointed out in an aggrieved tone that everyone else had sworn she did. There was a pause, filled with a murmur of laughter from our audience.
“Do not you love me?” she asked hesitantly.
“No. No more than reason,” I said, hiding my character’s hurt behind his customary sarcasm. Several of the watching students laughed out loud.
In the final play, it would be Claudio and Hero who produced love-sonnets stolen from our pockets to prove we did, in fact, love each other. In our audition scene, we skipped over that part.
“Come,” I said, adopting a condescending tone. “I will have thee. But, by this light, I take thee for pity.”
“I would not deny you,” replied Cass, with a put-upon sigh, adding that she’d only been persuaded after being told I was mortally ill.
“Peace! I will stop your mouth,” I said. At this point, we were supposed to lean close enough to fake a kiss, but in our rehearsals we’d always stopped before going that far. Caught up in the moment, I realized almost too late that Cass was actually going to do it. If she touched me, the scene would be memorable for all the wrong reasons. Instead I bent her backward in an exaggerated embrace and pretended to shower her with kisses. She burst out laughing, and our audience clapped.
“Excellent,” said Miss Randall. “You made me believe in your characters’ shared history and your emotions. Bravo. The parts are yours.”
We sat down to watch the rest of the auditions. The hope surrounding Cass had brightened by a factor of at least three. Shit.

“Can we have lunch together after this?” she whispered. “I want to tell you my idea.”

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