Love spells cause restlessness. Layla learns about her father and visits Chris.
Chris didn't sleep soundly at all.
His little, one-bedroom apartment felt too tight fitting, like a shrunken pair of pants. It was Layla. He couldn't get her out of his head for more than five minutes at a time. What had he done to make her change her mind like that? She'd been a virgin; she couldn't have been playing with him, could she? The thought made his blood boil. Then he chastised himself. How could he think badly of her? His Layla...
He laughed as much as sobbed. His Layla? What the hell was wrong with him?
Groaning, he rolled onto his side. Her skin... God, her skin! And those grey eyes that weren't afraid or suspicious of him. She had opened herself to him like they'd known each other forever. ...he'd done the same for her: rolling over on his back like a puppy.
A few times he'd found himself pulling on his shirt, ready to drive over to her house and throw rocks at her window or something. Then, frustrated, he'd ripped his shirt back over his head and flopped back onto his pillow.
Galen was in a similar situation, but calmer. He was also awake, but keeping busy. He'd painted a picture. It was abstract, but portrayed many red curves, much like Vix's hair. He'd also written a song that was quite beautiful, and filled several pages of his journal. Finally he lay down, feeling happier than he ever remembered being in his life.
Erik Daughtry, however, was sound asleep. Ursa's binder was resting beside him on the bed. For the first time in almost two decades, Erik wasn't under a spell.
"She's still under that spell," Layla told Vix as she drove them to school. "I guess I just thought that she'd snap out of it after what happened."
"Remember how she said something about mom taking something from her?" Vix asked.
"Yeah, I thought she was talking about her feelings for Daughtry."
"Me too, but maybe she meant something else. Maybe that light was what she took from us."
Layla took a quick glance at Vix. "What was it?"
"You don't know?"
"No, Vix." Layla shook her head, annoyed.
"Oh. Well, honestly, I think it was our magic."
The station wagon swerved a little. "Our magic?"
"Yeah. Maybe mom kept us out of the woods because she didn't want us to have any magic."
Layla frowned as she strode down the hall. She didn't like all this worry bogging her down. She wanted to go with the flow, dammit!
The thought of having magic didn't thrill her the way one would imagine. She was too busy thinking about Chris. She was dying to ditch school and go see him. Her morning classes dragged on, and finally, she bailed at lunch, promising herself that she'd be back in time to pick up Vix.
She slowed when she neared Daughtry's lot to be sure that neither Ursa nor Cassandra was there.
She parked, and, full of nervous energy, walked into the shop.
"Welcome," Daughtry called out, staring at a form on his desk. Then he looked up. "Oh. Layla. Are you skipping school again?" He wasn't exactly scolding her.
"Yeah, well, I couldn't concentrate." Sometimes the truth was the best option.
Immediately Daughtry's expression became somber. "I see. Well, good news: I found a few pictures of your dad."
Layla walked slowly to the desk and glanced out into the car bay. She caught a glimpse of a dark-blue-covered ass sticking out from the hood of a car. Her temperature went up about ten degrees.
Daughtry pulled out a binder and took a small stack of photos from the inside pocket.
"Hey!" Layla said, startled. "Isn't that Ursa's book?"
"Hmm?" Daughtry asked, looking up. He looked very guilty. "Oh, yeah. Your sister let me read one of her stories."
Layla watched him carefully. "Really? When?"
Yesterday? So that meant Ursa was still reaching for some kind of connection with the old man. Layla reached for the pictures.
Daughtry passed them but didn't let go for a moment. "Do not let your mother see these, alright? I don't want her pissed at me."
Layla chuckled, pulling the pictures away. "She can be pretty scary, right?" Then, the auto shop fell away. Daughtry and Chris fell away. All that existed was the image of a young man around twenty in Layla's hand. He had scruffy, brown hair, swept to the side, a lazy smile and knowing grey eyes.
"This..." She peered into those eyes, finding so many similarities between his appearance and hers.
"Yeah, that's your dad."
Layla looked at the next picture. In it, her father was around ten and he was on a tire swing, a calm expression of enjoyment on his face. A younger girl with long brown hair stood beside him and for a moment, Layla thought it was herself. "Who is that?"
Daughtry smiled down at the picture. "That's Anna, your dad's little sister."
Then a question so important dawned on Layla that she was baffled she'd never asked it. "What's my dad's name?"
Daughtry looked at Layla and she thought she saw pity in his eyes. "Sam."
"Sam?" Layla felt like crying but instead burst out laughing. "Sam?"
She went through the other pictures: her dad graduating, her dad wearing a thin leather jacket, straddling a motorcycle. When she got to the last one, she had a strong urge to crumple it up. It was of her dad and her mom. Cassandra looked so young and they both looked so happy. It made her furiously jealous. Why had her mother kept him such a secret?
"You okay?" Daughtry asked.
Layla looked up at him with her eyes burning. "Uh, yeah. Sure." She didn't want to ask the question on her lips. She felt she already knew the answer. "What happened to him?"
Daughtry's eyebrows knitted together and his blue eyes were worried. "He vanished."
Layla frowned. At least he hadn't said that her father was definitely dead. "You have no idea what happened to him?"
Daughtry shook his head. "You were about two, I guess. It was right after Christmas. There was a blizzard. They... Well, the cops found his car over on Franklin, but he wasn't in it."
"Franklin? By the forest?"
"Yeah. There was a huge investigation but nobody found anything. Nothing."
A dark feeling washed over her. There were too many questions, but her cousin obviously wasn't the person to ask. "What about Anna? Where's Anna? What about my grandparents?"
"Well, they all live in Glenport. Anna's got a few kids of her own. Two boys. Well, I don't know, I guess they might be men by now."
Layla dropped her pack on the counter and wrestled out a pen. She swiped a sheet from Daughtry's work notepad. She wrote Glenport and Anna. "What's their last name?"
He looked at her sideways. "Your grandparents are Daughtrys. Your aunt's last name is Clayton. You're not planning on going now, are you?"
That startled her. Yes, she had been planning on hopping in the car and taking the hour drive to Glenport. "I guess I'll wait until tomorrow."
"What will you tell your mother?"
"I don't know... It'll be Saturday. I'll tell her I'm going out with some friends."
Daughtry sighed. "I'm so sorry, kid. I should have told you sooner. Honestly, I don't know why I let your mom talk me into keeping it from you."
Though Layla didn't feel much like smiling, she smirked at him. "She's got a knack for getting what she wants."
He nodded. "That she does. I'll call my dad, okay?"
Layla bit her lip and glanced at the door to the garage. "Listen, is it okay if I go say hi to Chris?"
"Yeah, sure. Just don't sneak up on him."
Layla was so worried about how Chris would react to seeing her. She pushed open the door and stepped out into the garage.
Chris was still leaning over the same engine. He was blasting Tool on his radio and Layla waited for a moment, listening to him sing along.
She cleared her throat. "Chris?"
His head whipped around, and when he saw her, his eyes narrowed.
She stepped back. "Hi."
His eyes softened a little. He stood up and wiped his hands on a rag. "Hey, Layla."
"I'm so sorry about yesterday. I was pretty freaked out."
His mouth cracked into a smirk. "No, I get it. It was a crazy day."
She stepped forward. "I was worried that it was some kind of uncontrollable thing. Like, I could have done it with anyone."
He didn't seem to like the sound of that. "Ouch."
"Well, um... I was wrong."
One of his eyebrows shot up. "Yeah?"
She nodded and tilted her head to the side. She was feeling the same way as yesterday in the shop. She stepped forward again. "I was around this hot guy... only he didn't get me hot, you know?"
He grinned and stepped forward too, looking down into her eyes, making her shiver. "You sure I didn't just wear you out?"
Her brow furrowed, she was about to feel out of control again. "Chris," she said. It felt like she was begging.
"Oh, God, Layla," he moaned. "Don't, or I'll throw you down on this dirty floor."
She closed her eyes and quietly whimpered. She really wanted him to do that; to be on top of her. "Can you get off work? Can we go somewhere?"
Chris jerked his head to look at the clock. "Half an hour until lunch." He never hated a clock so much. He was so stiff. He needed her and it was all so much better knowing that she needed him too.
She pouted, and it wasn't the kind of pout women use to get what they want. Hers was a pout of need. He noticed Erik coming to the door. "Here he comes," Chris said, not bothering to hide his irritation.
To his surprise and ultimate joy, Layla fell into his arms and put her head on his shoulder. What he didn't expect was for her to start crying. He put his hand on her head, trying to comfort her and that's how Erik found them.
"Oh," Erik said.
Layla sobbed. Chris didn't understand at all and he sent Erik a look of confusion.
Erik's face was full of sympathy. He came into the garage and said, "Damn, I'm so sorry Layla. Maybe I shouldn't have told you."
Chris suddenly felt extremely jealous. He had the urge to rip out Erik's throat, whipping an arc of blood into the air. What did the bastard do to his Layla?
But then, Erik looked at Chris and said, "Chris, man, I hate to ask you this, but could you follow Layla home? I think she's pretty shocked. I want to make sure she gets there okay."
The one who was shocked was Chris. Between their bodies and masked by the sound of her crying, Layla had slipped her hand under his shirt and was rubbing his stomach.
"Uh," that sound came out so wrong, so Chris tried again. "Yeah, of course, man. It's okay, Layla." He patted her head again, trying his best not to burst into laughter. She was too good.
"Thanks," Erik said, heading back into the shop. "I had no idea that you two were so close."
After the boss was inside and away from the window, Chris pulled Layla up to kiss her. Her eyes were completely dry. He rubbed against her and reveled in the feeling of her climbing him. She was making such cute little noises and tugging on his clothes so impatiently that he almost came in his pants.
"Let's go," she whined. "Right fucking now, Chris. Take me to your place."
He grunted an affirmative and she jumped down. Near her ear, in a low voice, he said, "It's not too far, I'll follow you down the road, then I'll pass and you can follow me."
She nodded, letting her dark hair fall into her eyes.
Erik watched Layla get into her car feeling worried. What if he'd made the wrong decision in telling her about Sam?
He picked up the phone and called his dad. Maybe the old man would know Anna's number.