Blue Lily, Lily Blue Page 33

Even as he said it, he knew it wasn’t what he meant.

But Persephone just said, in her tiny voice, “But I see now that it could never be. You’re like me. We’re not really like the others.”

Other what? Humans?

You are unknowable.

He thought of that moment on the mountaintop with him and Blue and Noah. Or in the courtroom, him and Ronan and Gansey.

He wasn’t sure anymore.

“We’re really better in our own company,” Persephone said. “It makes it hard, sometimes, for others, when they can’t understand us.”

She was trying to get him to say something, to make some connection, but he wasn’t sure what. He said, “Don’t tell me Maura is dead.”

She rocked and rocked. Then she stopped and looked at him with her black, black eyes. The sun eased down behind the tree line, making a black lace of the leaves and a white lace of her hair.

Adam’s breath caught. He asked in a low voice, “Can you see your own death?”

“Everyone sees it,” Persephone said mildly. “Most people make themselves stop looking, though.”

“I don’t see my own death,” Adam said. But even as he said it, he felt the corner of the knowledge bite into him. It was now, it was coming, it had already happened. Somewhere, somewhen, he was dying.

“Ah, you see,” she said.

“That’s not the same as knowing how.”

“You didn’t say how.”

What he wanted to say, but couldn’t, because Persephone wouldn’t understand, was that he was afraid. Not of seeing things like this. But of one day not being able to see everything else. The real. The mundane. The … human things.

We’re not really like the others.

But he thought that maybe he was. He thought he must be, because he cared deeply about Maura’s disappearance, and he cared even more deeply about Gansey’s death, and now that he knew about these things, he wanted to do something about them. He needed to. He was Cabeswater, stretching out to others.

He took a shaky breath. “Do you know how Gansey dies?”

Persephone stuck her tongue out, just a little. She didn’t seem to notice she was doing it. Then she said, “Here is three more dollars. Go get yourself a cherry cola.”

He didn’t take the money. He said, “I want to know how long you’ve known about Gansey. From the beginning? From the beginning. You knew it when he walked in the door for the reading! Were you ever going to tell us?”

“I don’t know why I would do such a ridiculous thing. Get your cola.”

Adam still didn’t take the bills. Bracing his hands on the arms of his rocker, he said, “When I find Glendower, I’m asking him for Gansey’s life and that’ll be that.”

Persephone just looked at him.

In his head, Gansey shook and kicked, covered with blood. Only now it was Ronan’s face — Ronan had already died, Gansey was going to die — somewhere, somewhen, was this happening?

He didn’t want to know. He wanted to know.

“Tell me, then!” he said. “Tell me what to do!”

“What do you want me to say?”

Adam leapt out of the chair so quickly that it rocked frantically without him. “Tell me how to save him!”

“For how long?” Persephone asked.

“Stop!” he said. “Stop that! Stop being so — so — zoomed out! I can’t look at the big picture all the time, or what’s the point? Just tell me how I can keep from killing him!”

Persephone cocked her head. “What makes you think you kill him?”

He stared at her. Then went back inside for another cherry cola.

“Thirsty?” asked the clerk as Adam handed over his money.

“The other one was for my friend,” Adam said, although he wasn’t sure anyone was Persephone’s friend.

“Your friend?” asked the clerk.


He went back outside and found the porch empty. His rocker was still rocking, just a little. The other cherry cola was sitting beside it.


With sudden misgiving, he rushed to the rocker she had been sitting in. He put his hand on the seat. Cool. He put his hand on the seat of his. Warm.

He craned his neck, looking to see if she was back inside the car. There was nothing. The parking lot was still; even the bird was gone.

“No,” he said, though there was no one to hear him. His mind — a mind curiously remade by Cabeswater — frantically pulled from everything he knew and felt, everything Persephone had said, every moment since he had arrived. The sun crept behind the trees.

“No,” he said again.

The clerk was at the door, locking it for the night.

“Wait,” Adam said. “Did you see my friend? Or did I come here alone?”

She raised one eyebrow.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I know how it sounds. Please. Was it just me?”

The clerk hesitated, waiting for the prank. Then she nodded.

Adam’s heart felt bottomless. “I need to use your phone. Please, ma’am. Just for a second.”


“Something terrible has happened.”


“I’m here,” Blue said, whirling in the door of 300 Fox Way. She was sweaty and irritable and nervous, torn between hoping for a false alarm and hoping it was important enough to justify begging off in the middle of her Nino’s shift.

Calla met her in the hall as she dropped her bag by the door. “Come here and help Adam.”

“What’s wrong with Adam!”

“Nothing,” Calla snapped. “Besides the usual. He’s looking for Persephone!”

They reached the reading room door. Inside, Adam sat at the head of the reading room table. He was very still, and his eyes were closed. In front of him was the black scrying bowl from Maura’s room. The only light was from three flickering candles. Blue’s stomach did something unpleasant.

“I don’t think this is a good idea,” she said. “Last time —”

“I know. He told me,” Calla said. “But he’s willing to risk it. And it’ll be better with three of us.”

“Why is he looking for Persephone?”

“He thinks something’s wrong with her.”

“Where is she? Did she tell you where she went?”

Calla gave Blue a withering look. Of course. Persephone never told anyone anything.

“Okay,” Blue said.

Calla closed the reading room doors behind her and pointed for Blue to sit beside Adam.

Adam opened his eyes. She wasn’t sure what to ask him, and he just shook his head a little, like he was angry at himself or Persephone or the world.

Calla sat opposite and took one of Adam’s hands. She ordered Blue, “You take the other. I’ll ground him, and you’ll amplify him.”

Blue and Adam exchanged a look. They had not held hands since their breakup. She slid her hand across the table and he linked his fingers through hers. Gingerly. Not pushing the issue. Blue closed her fingers around his hand.

Adam said, “I’m …”

He stopped. He was looking at the scrying bowl out of the corner of his eye, not dead-on.

“You’re what?” Calla said.

He finished, “I’m trusting you guys.”

Blue held his hand a little tighter. Calla said, “We won’t let you fall.”

The bowl shimmered darkly, and he looked into it.

He looked and looked, the candles flickering, and Blue felt the precise moment his body released his soul, because the candles went strange in the reflections and his fingers went limp in hers.

Blue looked sharply to Calla, but Calla merely remained as she was, his light hand lying in her dark one, her chin tilted up, her eyes cut over to Adam watchfully.

His lips moved, like he was mumbling to himself, but no sound came out.

Blue thought of how she amplified his scrying, forcing him further down into the ether. Adam wandered now, traveling out from his body, unwinding the thread that tied him back to it. Calla hung on to the thread, but Blue pushed on him.

Adam’s eyebrows furrowed. His lips parted. His eyes were utterly black — the black of the mirrored scrying bowl. Every so often, the three twisted flames reflected in the bowl appeared in his irises. Only sometimes there were two in one eye and only one in the other, or three in one, and none in the other, or three in both, and then blackness.

“No,” whispered Adam. His voice sounded unlike his own. Blue was reminded terribly of the night she had stumbled upon Neeve scrying in the roots of the beech tree.

Again Blue looked to Calla.

Again Calla remained still and watchful.

“Maura?” Adam called. “Maura?”

Only it was Persephone’s voice coming out of Adam’s mouth.

I can’t do this, Blue thought suddenly. Her heart couldn’t manage it, being afraid.

Calla’s other hand reached across the table to take Blue’s. They were joined in a circle around the scrying bowl.

Adam’s breathing hitched and slowed.

Not again.

Blue felt Calla’s body shifting as she gripped Adam’s hand tighter.

“No,” he said again, and this was his own voice.

The flames were huge in his eyes.

Then they went back to black.

He didn’t breathe.

The room was silent for one beat. Two beats. Three beats.

The candles went out in the scrying bowl.

“PERSEPHONE!” he shouted.

“Now,” Calla said, releasing Blue’s hand. “Let go of him!”

Blue released his hand, but nothing happened.

“Cut him off,” Calla snarled. “I know you can. I’ll pull him back!”

As Calla used her free hand to press a thumb to the center of Adam’s forehead, Blue frantically imagined what she had done to pull the plug on Noah back in Monmouth. Only it had been one thing to do it while Noah threw things about. It was another thing to do it as she watched Adam’s still chest and his empty eyes. Another thing as his shoulders sagged and his face fell into Calla’s waiting hands just before he slumped into the scrying bowl.

He’s trusting us. He never trusts anyone, and he’s trusting us.

He’s trusting you, Blue.

She jumped out of her chair and put up her walls. She tried to visualize the white light pouring down to strengthen them, but it was hard when she could see Adam’s body sprawled limply across the end of the reading table. Calla slapped his face.

“Come on, you bastard! Remember your body!”

Blue turned her back on the scene.

She closed her eyes.

And she did it.

There was silence.

Then the overhead lights came on and Adam’s voice said, “She’s here.”

Blue spun.

“What do you mean, here?” Calla demanded.

“Here,” Adam said. He shoved out of his chair. “Upstairs.”

“But we checked her room,” Calla said.

“Not in her room.” Adam waved a hand impatiently. “The highest — where’s the highest place?”

“The attic,” Blue said. “Why would she be up there? Gwenllian —?”

“Gwenllian’s in the tree in the backyard,” Calla said. “She’s singing at some birds who hate her.”

“Are there mirrors?” Adam asked. “Some place she would go to look for Maura?”

Calla swore.

She tore open the attic door and charged up first, Blue and Adam close on her heels. At the top of the stairs, she said, “No.”

Blue jumped past her.

In between Neeve’s two mirrors was a pile of lace, canvas, and —


Adam hurried forward, but Calla seized his arm. “No, you idiot. You can’t reach between them! Blue, stop!”

“I can,” Blue replied. She slid to kneel beside Persephone. She was collapsed in a way that was clearly unintentional. She was on her knees with her arms bent behind her and her chin hitched up, caught on the feet of one of the mirrors. Her black eyes stared into nothing.

“We’ll get her back,” Adam said.

But Calla was already crying.

Blue, unconcerned with dignity, dragged Persephone out by her armpits. She was light and unresisting.

They would pull her back, just as Adam said.

Calla sank to her knees and covered her face.

“Stop it,” snapped Blue, voice cracking. “Get over here and help.”

She took Persephone’s hand. It was as cold as the cave walls.

Adam stood with his arms wrapped around himself, a question in his eyes.

Blue already knew the answer, but she couldn’t say it.

Calla did: “She’s dead.”


Blue had never believed in death until then.

Not in a real way.

It happened to other people, other families, in other places. It happened in hospitals or automobile crashes or battle zones. It happened — now she remembered Gansey’s words outside Gwenllian’s tomb — with ceremony. With some announcement of itself.

It didn’t just happen in the attic on a sunny day while she was sitting in the reading room. It didn’t just happen, in only a moment, an irreversible moment.

It didn’t happen to people she had always known.

But it did.

And there would now forever be two Blues: the Blue that was before, and the Blue that was after. The one who didn’t believe, and the one who did.


Gansey arrived at 300 Fox Way after the ambulance had left, not because of a lack of haste, but because of a lack of communication. It took twenty-four calls from Adam to Ronan’s cell phone before Ronan could be persuaded to pick up, and then it took Ronan a bit of doing to track down Gansey on campus. Malory was still out and about with the Dog somewhere, prowling Virginia in the Suburban, but he would be fine not knowing for a while.

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