“I’m sorry,” she whispered. “You’re my best friend, Kate. Please—I never meant for any of this to happen. I didn’t know.”
“You knew enough.”
She checked over her shoulder again. “Once this is over, you can rip me to shreds as much as you want. But right now I have to get you out of here.”
I scoffed. Now Ava wanted to rescue me, after Calliope had exactly what she wanted? “Like hell I’m going anywhere with you.”
“I can take you to your son.”
My heart pounded. In an instant, my disgust turned to desperation, and it took everything I had not to claw the door open with my fingernails. “You know where he is?”
Ava nodded. “And if you let me, I can help both of you get out of here.”
That was all I needed to hear. Forget the past nine months. Forget her betrayal. Forget the very real possibility that this was just another trap to make sure Henry couldn’t find me. If there was a chance she was telling the truth, if there was a chance I could save my son, I didn’t care.
I stepped back, and a breeze filled the room. The lock clicked, and the door swung open, revealing Ava. Now that it was light outside, I could see her properly. Her blond hair hung in limp curls, and the shadows made the dark circles underneath her eyes look hideous. I’d never seen her like this before, not even the night I’d met Henry by the river in Eden—the same night she’d taken a swan dive into the raging waters and crushed her skull against a rock.
Would I have saved her if I’d known less than a year and a half later, she would steal me away from everyone I love? That she would stand by Calliope as she manipulated me into a pregnancy only so she could hurt me as badly as humanly possible?
Would I have saved her if I’d known Ava had been fully aware of Calliope’s plan to kill my son the whole time?
I didn’t know. I didn’t care. If Ava helped save him, if she helped us escape, the past nine months wouldn’t matter anymore. I would never forget, but in time I might forgive.
I hurried out the door. Ava offered me her arm, but I pulled away. The thought of touching her made my stomach lurch. “Don’t bother. Cronus healed me. Which way?”
Ava wilted and dropped her hand, and a pang of guilt ran through me before I pushed it aside. She didn’t deserve my sympathy. We moved at an agonizingly slow pace, all but tiptoeing down the slate-paved corridor. Was I right? Was she just hiding me away so Henry couldn’t find me?
Didn’t matter. I had to try.
The walls around us shook, and Ava flung herself at me, covering my body with hers as the ceiling came crashing down around us. The back of my head slammed against the wall, but even though I expected pain, it never came. I was immortal now. Even if the entire world buried us, we would never die.
“Are you all right?” said Ava, gasping. The air had turned to thick dust, and as I sucked in a breath, the grit choked me.
“Need to keep going,” I said, coughing. Henry wouldn’t ask any questions—the moment he got his hands on me, he would take me back down to the Underworld. We had to find the baby before Henry found me.
I climbed over the rubble, groping my way through the dust as sharp edges tried to cut my impermeable skin. My foot caught on a rock I couldn’t see, and I stumbled, throwing my arms out to catch my fall. But instead a pair of strong hands caught me, and I looked up.
Dark hair, handsome face, broad shoulders. Henry.
I blinked rapidly, my eyes tearing up to flush out the dust, and his face swam into focus.
No, not Henry.
“Come, my dear,” he murmured, pulling me to my feet. His palms were hot coals against my skin, and bile rose in my throat. Where was Henry? Why wasn’t Cronus trying to stop him?
Because he didn’t need to. One god versus the King of the Titans—there was no question. And with Calliope’s weapon, it wouldn’t be a fair fight between siblings either. Henry wouldn’t know what was coming, and then—
I clenched my fists. I had to find the baby before Henry found me, and I had to find Henry before it was too late. No other option was acceptable.
“I want to see my son,” I said, jerking my arm away from Cronus and struggling to keep my voice steady. To my left, a gaping hole in the stone wall opened up to a golden sky and the sound of waves crashing against the shore. “Take me to him.”
“All in good time.” He led me through the wrecked corridor, and the rubble swept aside to make a path for us. For him. Ava trailed after us, dragging her feet and scattering the pebbles as if she were trying to make as much noise as possible. A warning to Calliope that we were coming? A signal to Henry to tell him where we were?
Suddenly the air changed as the dust vanished, and the salt-tinged wind blowing off the sea gave way to the thin wails of a newborn. I blinked. It’d been a long time since I’d slipped into a vision without meaning to.
I was surrounded by walls painted to resemble a sunset, and the room was empty except for a white cradle in the center. A lump formed in my throat, and I peered over the edge, barely daring to hope.
There, wrapped in a knit blanket, was my son.
His sobs paused, and he cracked open his eyes as if he were staring directly at me. But that was impossible—he couldn’t see me. No one could see me in my visions. I was an observer. Less than a ghost; I was nothing.
The lure of his blue eyes was irresistible, and I reached out to touch him. For a split second I imagined the warmth of his smooth skin and tiny fingers, and a smile crept onto my face.