Home > Requiem (Providence #2)(15)

Requiem (Providence #2)(15)
Author: Jamie McGuire

“What is it?” Jared asked, his eyes bouncing between the two of us.

“Nina slept al night. She didn’t budge until seven this morning.”

Jared let his words sink in. It was several moments before he moved, and then nodded. His hand searched for the closest chair to pul beneath him. He fel into it, and stared at the floor. “So that’s it.”

“Jared, that doesn’t mean anything,” I said, reaching for him.

He looked to his younger brother. “Now we just have to see how far away I have to be to keep the dreams away.”

“This is ridiculous!” I said. “It’s happened three times, that isn’t a definitive trial by anyone’s standards!”

“So we’l test the theory,” Jared said. “Starting tonight.”

“No,” I said, shaking my head. “Absolutely not. I didn’t move in with you to have to sleep alone every night.”

“It’s just until we figure this out,” Jared said.


“Yes,” Jared said, his tone final.

The air was knocked out of me. I couldn’t believe what he was saying, but I was too tired to argue. Tears wel ed up in my eyes, and I looked away from him.


“I get it…it’s okay.”

“Let’s just try it. See if it works. I’ll start out just outside town, and then come a bit closer every half hour. If you have the dream, we’l know.”

“This is ridiculous!” I said. “How are you going to find the damn book if you’re experimenting with my dream?”

“She has a point,” Bex said.

Jared frowned. “I have to know.”

We tested his theory. The first night, I lay in bed for what seemed like an eternity, waiting to fal asleep. Being alone in our bed felt so cold and depressing. My fingers traced the wrinkles in the sheets, remembering the first time I woke in his bed. That perfect morning, after the night he told me who—and what—he real y was, seemed like light years away. A tear formed in the corner of my eye, and slipped over the bridge of my nose to the white fabric beneath me.

Jared began just on the outskirts of Providence. When he felt I was asleep, he made his way to the loft, a block at a time, every ten minutes or so.

He was just over two blocks away when he felt my anxiety. In Shax’s building, it was apparent the moment Jared backed off, because my surroundings blurred away, forming into the hal s of my old high school.

The alarm bleated, and my eyes peeled open. Two ful nights of sleep. My body felt a bit closer to normal. Jared walked in the front door, trotted up the stairs, and crawled into bed beside me, wrapping his warm arms snugly around me. We didn’t speak, we were just stil , letting reality sink in.

“Why would Dad do this? It doesn’t seem fair,” Bex said from the first floor.

Jared didn’t answer. He simply pressed his forehead against my temple and sighed.

Night after night, I slept alone. Jared used that time to harass every connection he had, and pursue every lead to learn the location of the book.

Seconds after I woke in the mornings, he was at my side.

The days slowly returned to normal. Lectures in class were written down, and my hours at Titan were used for work instead of naps. Beth gladly decreased the number of times she fetched coffee, and excuses to Grant.

One afternoon she brought me a file and sat in the plump, green leather chair in front of my desk. She had bought new clothes, and her auburn hair had a new shape to it. Stil short, but different. Embarrassed that I had no idea how long it had been that way, I took the file from her and sat it to the side.

“I love the shoes,” I said.

“Thanks,” she said, picking one foot off the floor to bring the yel ow stilettos into view. They boasted a big bow on the side, and the heel, sole and strap were black. “It’s a lot easier to dress for work when you have money. Thanks again, Nina. Things at home have been a lot better since you hired me.”

I shook my head. “You know I don’t mind. You’ve been a huge help around here.”

“Things seem to be better for you, too.”

“I feel better.”

“Have you heard from Ryan? No one’s heard from him since he joined that special thing.”

My mouth turned to the side. Most of the time I tried not to think of Ryan, the sand, or the bul ets flying every where while he carried his his pipe bomb backpack.

“No,” I said.

Beth nodded. The desk phone rang and she stood, pushing Line One and answering without hesitation. “Nina Grey’s office…no, that file is in the…oh Lord, Sasha, I’ll just come find it for you. How long have you worked here?”

Beth hung up the phone, and I smiled. “Don’t let her take advantage of you. Do you want me to say something?”

“No. I do plenty of that,” Beth said, winking.

“I’m heading home. Wil you lock up for me?” I asked.

“I always do,” she said, waving behind her.

Jared stood beside his SUV with a smile, waiting with arms wide. He had let me fal asleep in his arms the last few weeks and then left sometime after. Jack and Gabe stayed out of my head, and I slept through the night, never realizing Jared was gone. He was getting so good at pinpointing when I would rouse he usual y slid next to me just before I awoke. Once again, life was semi-normal.

His hand slid over mind as it rested on the console of the Escalade. “Something came for you today.”

“A letter?” I asked, nervous.

Jared let go of my hand, pul ing an envelope from his jacket pocket. Ryan had final y written again.

Nigh, I s ti l l thi nk about y ou ev ery day. S ometi mes w hether I w ant to or not. Thi ngs hav e been pretty bus y. The new c ompany I’ m i n i s a w hol e new breed of s ol di ers . I l i k e i t, but I mi s s y ou. W hen I get a c hanc e, I s i t and w atc h the s uns et, and thi nk about our game, and the pub, and y our s tupi d temper tantrums . I mi s s i t al l . Tel l ev ery one I s ai d hi .

Ry an I folded the paper back to its original shape.

“Do I have to remind you that this isn’t your fault?” Jared asked.

Ryan’s sudden departure was too much of a coincidence to believe that it wasn’t my fault, but Jared, Kim, and Beth al assured me quite regularly that his reasons were purely financial.

He didn’t write again after that, and I relied on Jared’s intermittent phone call s from Claire to hear of his whereabouts, and that he was okay.

Claire stil had to pul a multitude of strings to keep a close eye on Ryan. She call ed home frequently to complain of Ryan’s lack of self- preservation, which helped to get him accepted so quickly into the Special Forces in the first place. Claire’s phone call s were reason to fear; for Ryan and for her. I chewed my thumbnail each time Jared answered the phone, waiting for him to assure me that Ryan’s commando behavior hadn’t gotten him kil ed.

As our smal , but close group of friends waved goodbye on the last day of our sophomore year at Brown, Ryan came to the forefront of my mind.

“He should be here,” I said to Beth.

She held my arm as we walked to the parking lot. “I know.”

“No, he’s in the middle of nowhere, prone on a sand dune, trying not to get shot so he didn’t have to watch me be with Jared. It’s not fair. He should be here with us.”

Josh and Tucker were heading to their dorm to pack and head home, and Kim walked with them, punching Josh in the arm. The opening of Summer Break was bittersweet, and we al knew why.

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