That was a relief, but that was what Gemma had suspected. She hadn’t spoken to Alex since they’d broken up, but she’d found out from Thea that the sirens had had a few conversations with him. None of them had sounded too terrible, mostly because Penn found Alex simple and boring.
Penn had her sights set on somebody else entirely, and Gemma turned her attention to him. Back past where Tom was instructing Aiden and Kirby, working quietly so as not to disturb them, Daniel was crouched down, with the blueprints for the sets spread out on the stage.
The sleeves of his flannel shirt were rolled up far enough that the black tendrils of his tattoo reached out from beneath one. He ran a hand through his dirty blond hair absently. His jaw was set firmly in thought, the dark line of his stubble like a shadow across his face.
While Penn’s interest in Daniel was growing more apparent, neither Gemma nor Daniel had really told Harper about it. She was aware that the sirens were trying to figure out the source of his immunity, but that was all. Gemma thought it would be better if Harper had one less thing to worry about.
“Maybe…” Thea sighed and tossed her long red hair back over her shoulder. “You need to try harder, Gemma.”
“What?” Gemma turned to face her.
“Penn and Lexi won’t stay here forever.” Thea’s green eyes were serious. “And I would like it if you left with us. So you need to try harder to get along with them.”
“Thanks, but…” Gemma shook her head. “I don’t want to go with you.”
“I know you want to break the curse, and if you find a way, good for you,” Thea said. “I mean that honestly. If you can find a way out of this that doesn’t involve my death, then more power to you. But if you can’t, then you should find a way to make this work.”
“Thea, I can’t.” Gemma swallowed hard. “I can’t be a siren.”
“You already are,” Thea told her emphatically. “And if it comes down to being a siren or being dead, you should pick the siren. It’s not as bad as it seems.”
“If it comes down to it, I’ll think about it,” Gemma said finally, but she wasn’t sure if she would. “But you really don’t know a way to break the curse?”
“Not one that doesn’t end up with us all dead, yourself included.” Thea shook her head. “And I can assure you that being a siren is better than that.”
“I’ll try and get along with Penn and Lexi more,” Gemma allowed. “But if you know anything about breaking the curse, will you tell me?”
“Assuming it doesn’t kill me or my sisters, yeah, I will.” Thea turned back to the stage, and her tone sounded brighter than it had a few moments ago. “We’re not leaving just yet, anyway. I know I’m definitely finishing this play.”
“You really like acting?” Gemma asked, glad to be off the subject.
Thea laughed. “This whole curse started because we were so obsessed with performing for an audience that we weren’t doing our jobs. I don’t like it—I love it.”
“Kate?” Tom was saying from the stage. “Kate? Katherine?”
“Oh, right, that’s me,” Thea said.
“Would you care to join us onstage, please?” Tom asked.
She was on her feet in an instant. “Yes. I’m coming.” As she slid past Gemma out toward the aisle, she said, “Told you I was used to being Bianca.”
Thea went up onto the stage, apologizing for not coming sooner, and Gemma realized that Thea really did care about this part. The only time Thea had appeared even remotely happy since Gemma had met her was when she was onstage, and there was something captivating about her. Even though she was just running lines with Aiden, who usually missed his cue and fumbled his words, it was hard for Gemma to take her eyes off Thea.
In fact, she was so entranced by Thea’s performance that she didn’t notice that Penn had sat down in the row behind her. Not until Penn leaned forward on the back of the seat next to her and spoke.
“What is Daniel doing hiding way in the back while Thea hogs the stage?” Penn asked, and Gemma jumped. Penn laughed, loudly enough to cause everyone to look back at her. “Did I frighten you?”
“You know it takes more than the sound of your voice to frighten me,” Gemma said, giving her a thin smile.
“You say that, but we both know the truth, don’t we?” Penn asked and winked at her. “And you didn’t answer my question.”
“Daniel’s building the sets.” Gemma sat back in the seat. She’d been leaning forward as she watched Thea’s performance, but she knew Penn wouldn’t let Gemma be interested in anything other than her.
“That’s dumb.” Penn looked genuinely disgusted by this fact and watched him as he walked across the stage, disappearing behind the curtains as he exited stage right. “He should be starring in it. He’s way better-looking than that loser up there.”
She pointed to Aiden, who Gemma had already realized wasn’t the best actor in the world, but he was definitely hot. He had sandy blond hair, blue eyes, and a bright smile. But apparently Daniel’s unshaven look and hazel eyes appealed to Penn more.
Gemma knew that wasn’t exactly the case—it wasn’t so much about the way Daniel looked. He may have been attractive in his own right, but Penn’s interest stemmed from the fact that he was immune to her siren song. So he talked back to her, he challenged her, he formed his own opinions.