Chapter 29

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Cupid folds the piece of paper and puts it quickly into his jeans pocket

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Cupid folds the piece of paper and puts it quickly into his jeans pocket.

"What does it say?" I ask, struggling up from the floor. "Who are The Arrows?"

I brush myself off and look defiantly from one brother to the other. Both of them ignore me.

"Meet me at the garage," Cupid tells Cal. "They could still be here. It's too dangerous for the girl to be seen with me."

I scowl.

"I have a name," I respond. "Now is someone going to tell me what's going on?"

I think of the screams by the pool just moments before, and the bronze and pink arrow that almost hit me.

Cupid looks at me – his eyes piercing through mine. An uncharacteristically dark look crosses his face.

"Later," he says. "There isn't time now. You just need to trust us."

He turns and heads hurriedly through the glass door – leaving Cal and I alone on the terrace.

Without quite meeting my eyes the Matchmaking Agent waits a moment and then turns to follow his brother.

"Are we going somewhere?" I ask Cal, not moving from the spot.

His silvery eyes lock onto mine and he gives a solemn nod.

"Where?" I demand. "I don't want to go anywhere. Can you please tell me what is happening?"

He looks sad for a moment then shakes his head.

"Please Lila," he says. "If you can't trust Cupid then trust me. I'll explain in the car."

I frown again, folding my arms against my chest.

"But..." I protest, "you didn't even see what the message said. How are you so sure that this is a good idea...you told me Cupid was dangerous and now you're saying we should just go along with him?!"

Cal runs his hand through his hair, a gesture I have learnt to associate with him feeling stressed. He looks at me almost pityingly.

"Cupid is dangerous," he replies. "But The Arrows are worse. I trust him that they are here – and I believe him when he says you are in danger. Now please..."

He looks at his hand for a moment then awkwardly extends it for me to take. I look at the pained vulnerable expression on his face that seems to come with the offer of making physical contact, and my resolve softens.

I sigh.

"Fine," I say. "But I want an explanation as soon as we get in the car."

I look at him directly and raise an eyebrow.

"And don't worry – we don't have to hold hands."

Relief washes over his face mixed with embarrassment - and something else.

Hurt?

He quickly pulls back his arm and turns on his heel.

"Come on then," he says sharply.

I sigh and follow him back into the building.

We hurry down the winding black staircase to the ground floor, and then Cal leads me down an unfamiliar corridor.

"The garage is just down this way," he says.

The thought that Cal seems to know his way around Cupid's house pretty well skims across my mind.

Has he been here before? They are brothers ; Did they always hate each other?

We're just reaching the end of the long hallway when Crystal steps out from a doorway just ahead. Her face is masked with trepidation.

"Cal," she says, holding up her arms, "I know what it looks like but I swear it wasn't me. They were hit by the Capax –both of them - I think The Arrows are here."

Cal frowns then pushes past into the room she has just emerged from. The blonde receptionist moves in front of me, blocking my entry.

Moments later he comes out and grabs my arm.

"Come on, we need to go," he says urgently, pulling me forwards.

I furrow my eyebrows, and look past, trying to get a view of what is inside.

"What is it?" I say "What did you see in there?"

It's then that I hear the familiar male voice.

"I've always liked you" he murmurs softly. "You must know that."

I frown, pulling myself sharply from Cal's grip, and rush back to the open doorway – sidling Crystal out of the way.

The male figure is leaning close to someone; a girl.

"I like you too," she replies. "But what about Lila?"

I feel a jolt in my stomach.

The male shrugs then moves his face towards hers, his hand skimming her cheek.

They kiss.

My heartbeat accelerates and a wave of nausea consumes me.

It's James and Charlie.

Cal grabs my arm again and swirls me around. He takes my face in his musician hands and focuses my gaze on his. Another wave of screams suddenly sound from another room in the house along with the whoosh of another stream of arrows but the noise seems dulled somehow.

"It's the Capax Lila," he says. "That's all. Just the Capax."

A bit further down the corridor I can hear the faint sound of a car starting.

"The Arrows are still here," he says – his hands stay cupped gently around my face. "We need to go. Now."

Then he drags me along the hallway, down some steps and into the garage. I am too shocked even to resist. In a blur he bundles me into the back of a cream Aston Martin then jumps through the passenger door.

Cupid looks once over his shoulder from the driver's seat. He grins.

"Well, shall we go then?"

"Well, shall we go then?"

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