Page 41

“This isn’t play rehearsal,” Gemma said. “That’s over.”

“Are you serious?” Lexi groaned. “Where the hell is Thea, then?”

Gemma shook her head. “I don’t know. I thought Penn picked her up.”

“No, Penn was busy…”—Lexi stopped to choose her words carefully, smiling wickedly as she did—“entertaining a guest. So I came down to get Thea.”

“She probably started walking home,” Gemma said and set Aiden’s script aside.

“Great. Now I have to go track her down,” Lexi said.

Gemma hopped down off the table, almost bumping into Aiden, who’d moved closer to her as she’d been talking.

“I can go with you,” Gemma offered, brushing past Aiden to talk to Lexi. “I could help you look.” If she couldn’t find the scroll, she could at least try to ingratiate herself with the sirens to buy herself a bit more time to look.

“I’m pretty sure I can handle it myself, but thanks anyway,” Lexi said, her silken voice dripping with venom. “You can go back to playing grab-ass.” She turned to Aiden then. “Watch out for this one. She’s a real man-eater.”

Lexi winked at Gemma, then turned to walk away. Gemma hurried after her, stopping her before she even made it to the back stairs.

“We’re running lines,” Gemma explained quickly. “But why don’t I go with you? It’s been a few days since I’ve gone swimming. Maybe we could all go out to the bay.”

“What is with you?” Lexi whirled around to face her. “Since when do you want to do anything with me or Penn?”

“I—I—I don’t,” Gemma stammered. “I just … I wanted to … We haven’t talked much lately.”

“There’s nothing to talk about,” Lexi snapped, then she glanced around. “Wait a second. Where is that scruffy plumber or whatever that Penn is all hung up on?”

“Daniel?” Gemma asked. “He’s not a plumber. He’s a handyman.”

Lexi glared at her. “Like I care what he does. I was just wondering where he is.”

“He’s at Pearl’s Diner, helping Pearl fix an overhead fan,” Gemma said.

Lexi made a retching sound. “He’s so gross. I have no idea what Penn’s problem is. She’s…” She trailed off and shook her head. “Whatever. I should go find Thea.”

“You’re sure you don’t want me to come with?” Gemma asked again, trying to keep the desperation out of her voice. “I’m sure I could help.”

“Honestly, I would love to leave you in charge, wandering around this tiny little shithole until you found Thea, but that would take too long,” Lexi said. “I need to get Thea, and I need to get back.”

“Because Penn’s entertaining a guest?” Gemma asked, recalling what Lexi said earlier. She assumed that Penn had a guy over she was getting frisky with.

Lexi tilted her head. “That’s what this is all about? You’re trying to figure out who our ‘guest’ is?”

“I’m just a little curious, that’s all,” she admitted.

“You’re worried, aren’t you?” Lexi stepped forward so she was standing right in front of her. Lexi was taller than her, but thanks to the wedge heels, she now towered over Gemma. “You’re afraid we might be interviewing replacements for you? That we might have found a replacement?”

Gemma swallowed hard. “That actually hadn’t crossed my mind before.”

“Well, we are. And she’s marvelous.” Lexi smiled. “Thea’s meeting her tonight, and if it all goes well, then it’s all over for you.”

Gemma really didn’t have anything to say to that, so Lexi just laughed. She turned and walked toward the door.

“It’s a good thing I found the scroll, then,” Gemma said, stopping her.

Lexi paused and narrowed her eyes at her. “What?”

Gemma swallowed hard and decided to plunge ahead. Thea wouldn’t tell her where the scroll was, so there was no way that Lexi would, either. At least not if Gemma came right out and asked for it.

“The scroll that has your curse on it. If I destroy it, then I destroy all of you,” Gemma said.

“You did not find it.” Lexi stepped away from the door and moved closer to Gemma, but Gemma just held her ground and stared up at her.

“I did,” Gemma said. “It was the second place I looked, and if you don’t help me break the curse, I’ll find a way to destroy it.”

“Ugh.” Lexi groaned and rolled her eyes. “I told Penn we shouldn’t have hid it there. Once you knew who her dad was, it was, like, obvious.”

“Yeah, well…” Gemma licked her lips. “I did meet her dad, and I got it.”

“Met her dad?” Lexi smirked. “You little liar. You didn’t find anything. Her dad’s dead.”

“I’m close, Lexi,” Gemma insisted as Lexi backed away to the door. “I’m going to find it, and when I do, I’ll destroy the scroll and you along with it. If you help me break it, maybe there’s a way that we can all live.”

“Nice try. You won’t find it, you won’t stop us. At least not before we replace you. You’re out of time, Gemma.” Lexi laughed and walked out of the theater, letting the door slam shut behind her.