When Thea opened the door, she didn’t seem that surprised to see Gemma, but then, she’d probably spotted Harper’s car in the driveway.
“Looking for something?” Thea asked, surveying the state of the house.
“What are you doing home?” Gemma countered, trying to hold off answering the question until she figured out what she wanted to say. “Shouldn’t you be at play rehearsal?”
“When I saw you weren’t there, I knew you were up to something.” Thea sat down on a chair in the living room and leaned back, putting her feet up on the coffee table across from her. “So I left early to find out what it was.”
“How did you know I would be here?” Gemma asked.
Thea shrugged. “I didn’t know. I just had a hunch. And with Penn and Lexi out of town for the evening, I thought I’d better follow up on it.”
“Where are Penn and Lexi?” Gemma asked.
“Gone.” Thea rested her green eyes squarely on Gemma. “So, are you going to tell me what exactly you’re looking for?”
Gemma debated on how to answer before finally deciding to go with the truth. “The scroll,” she said as she descended the steps.
“The scroll?” Thea arched an eyebrow but appeared otherwise unfazed. “You say that as if I should know which one you’re referring to.”
“The one with the curse written on it.” Gemma sat down across from Thea and tried to play it as cool as Thea was. “It has everything the curse entails, what the rules are, maybe even how to break it.”
The side of Thea’s mouth curled up in an amused smirk. “I can assure you that it has no way to break the curse on it. Although I can see why you’d find some of the other information interesting, particularly how to kill a siren.”
“So…” Gemma licked her lips. “You do know what I’m talking about.”
“Of course I do.” Thea laughed. “Did you really expect I wouldn’t?”
“No, I guess not,” Gemma admitted. “But I thought you might lie about it.”
“I have no reason to lie. If you already know, what’s the point?” Thea tilted her head. “Though I am curious. How did you find out about it?”
“I have my sources,” Gemma replied quickly.
Thea may have been Gemma’s closest friend at this point, but that didn’t change the fact that she was still a siren. She wasn’t about to give up Lydia or Marcy’s name, in case Penn or even Thea decided to retaliate later on.
“Well, whoever your sources may be, if they told you the scroll is the key to breaking the curse, they’ve misled you,” Thea said.
“Maybe,” Gemma said. “But why don’t you let me see for myself?”
Thea laughed, throwing her head back as she did. “Oh, Gemma, please.”
“What?” Gemma asked. “Why is that so funny?”
“Your arrogance.” Thea subdued her laughter but smiled broadly. “You presume that you can solve a puzzle that we’ve spent hundreds of years analyzing. Do you really think me and my sisters are that stupid?”
“No, of course not,” Gemma said in a hurried apology. “Penn may be many things, but stupid isn’t one of them.”
“Then what do you think you’ll see that we haven’t already seen?” Thea asked.
“I don’t know. Maybe nothing,” Gemma admitted. “But I have to try. My only other option is giving up, and I won’t do that. Not until I’ve exhausted every avenue, and until I see this scroll for myself, I still have one more path to explore.”
Thea shook her head. “That’s not the only option. You can embrace this life. There are parts of being a siren that are truly wonderful.”
“Don’t try to sell me on it, Thea,” Gemma cut her off. “I just want to know where the scroll is.”
“Why do you think I would tell you?” Thea asked.
“You told me you would. You said you’d do whatever you could to help me.”
“If it didn’t end up with me or my sisters dead,” Thea corrected her.
“You think that if I find the scroll, it will kill you?” Gemma asked.
“Not exactly.” Thea stood up and started walking over to the kitchen. “Would you like something to drink?”
“No, I’m fine.” Gemma turned in her chair to watch Thea. “What do you mean, ‘not exactly’?”
“I don’t know how much you really know about the scroll.” Thea opened the wine fridge located in the kitchen island. She debated a few seconds before pulling out a bottle. “It’s supposed to be indestructible.”
“I had heard that,” Gemma said.
“And it is, as far as I know.” Thea pulled out a corkscrew, then shut some of the drawers that Gemma had left open. “At various times over the centuries, other mortals have tried to destroy our scroll. Even Aggie went through a phase where she tried to burn it.”
“But it didn’t work?” Gemma asked.
“Nope.” Thea uncorked the wine and pulled out a glass. “Are you sure you wouldn’t like a glass?”
“No. I make a point of not drinking anything from a siren,” Gemma said wryly, and Thea smiled.
“That’s probably a good rule.” Thea poured herself a large glass of wine and took a long drink before continuing on. “We’re not the only cursed creature in the world, as I’m sure you can imagine. And almost all of them have tried to break their curse by destroying their scrolls.”