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The ride to the ball is suffocating with silence. It feels weird to sit in the car with this stupid ballroom dress. Mary sits in the backseat looking at me and Augustus while Augustus drives us there. I, on the other hand, am staring at the town of Jesseltown but my mind is somewhere further.

The memory of the kiss keeps repeating in my head like a broken repeat machine. Never in my life have I kissed anyone other than Augustus. Technically, he’s the only person I’ve ever kissed. He makes me feel like I matter. It is comforting to know that he didn’t even deny that the kiss is an accident.

It is also confusing that he doesn’t say anything to me ever since he left the room.

“Your mother called just now,” Augustus informs me with controlled tone.

I turn to look at him in surprise. “Oh. What did she say about the humans’ involvement in the war?”

“Your father is going to contact with the President soon. The Demigods from Blanefield arrived earlier this afternoon so your mother and Lisbeth are required to stay away from each other for precaution. The agents you sent, Jake and Jane, are there too. And Aurora has news that Sirens are on Thomas’s side.”

“Sirens?” Mary and I echo in curiosity.

Augustus nods. His eyes are trained on the road before him. “Most Sirens are mistaken for mermaids. Sirens lure sailors to them and then kill them. This is the place, right?”

Mary squints her eyes when we drive past a large monument with pillars holding up the roof. Every pillar has a face carved on it.

“Yes,” Mary replies. “This is it. Pull over in the woods in case we need to make a run for it. I really hope Ester is able to forgive me.” She mumbles towards the end of the sentence.

For a brief moment, I wonder who is this Ester and what did Mary do. Augustus follows her order and park the car close to the woods. Mary is the first to get out of the car, holding out her hand in front of her like a lunatic.

I come out of the car, watching her with furrow eyebrows.

“Mary, what are you doing?” I ask.

“Eureka,” she says out the blue. She stops walking slowly towards the monument and then bangs her hand into thin air. The thing is, her hand stopped halfway and there is a loud sound that reminds me of an explosion.

“What is that?” I question, also walking up towards her.

Augustus, being an impatient Evolved Lizard he is, come up towards us and then cries out loud, rubbing his nose.

“What the f*ck is that?” he curses, rubbing his nose beside me.

“A forcefield,” Mary replies, putting down her hand. “Witches are very protective whenever there is a large gathering. The only ones who are allowed to enter are witches and certain vampires.”

“Does this mean we’re stuck here?” Augustus says in disbelief. I can tell he’s close to hitting his boiling point as his face turn red and hands clenched by his sides.

“Calm down, Augustus,” I whisper, wanting to so badly touch him but I don’t want him to pull away from me after the kiss. My fingers twitch in anticipation yet my head controls them to stay by my sides.

“I was a witch hunter. I’m always prepared,” Mary tells him, taking out something from her purse. “This might take a few minutes.”

Augustus’s body relaxes instantly close to me. I want to talk to him about what happened. Did he regret kissing me? Am I a bad kisser? I have been saving myself for a person who I feel deserves me. I remember the time Nate was protective over me and he told me that he would hunt down anyone who dares as much as pecks his baby sister. It irritated me then that he called me his baby sister even if he’s older than me in just a few minutes.

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