In this scene from PS, the girls (Elyse and Claire) are returning from their second visit to Aunt Hayley, Abby’s psychic aunt, in Mystic, CT. They went to visit her on an important mission — taking a huge risk that Lucie wouldn’t become aware of it. What I like about this scene is that it’s the first time Quinn actually talks to Elyse… so she gets to experience his actual personality. Will he do her any harm? Time will tell.
EXCERPT FROM: “PS, BOOK 1”
CH. 15, RESEARCH
Our return trip from Mystic was virtually silent, despite the music emanating from Claire’s car radio. She eyed me when Duran Duran began to sing Ordinary World, recognizing the irony it held for us tonight. But, beyond that, we were both lost in our own thoughts about the day’s events — and I was certain Claire’s were focused on coming up with a way to safely return Lucie’s belongings to her room.
When she pulled up in front of my apartment, I invited her inside, even though it was closing in on two in the morning and I was sure she was as exhausted as I was. That didn’t matter right now, though. We still had a bit of unfinished business to take care of before we could both rest easy tonight.
“So…” I began, “what can I do to help you get Lucie’s book back into her room?” I hated the idea of the responsibility of this adventure resting precariously on Claire’s shoulders. She shouldn’t be endangered on my account.
“Well… I’m not sure,” Claire began thoughtfully, but stopped abruptly when we heard something rapping on my kitchen window. We both fell into startled silence.
I turned out the lights and walked cautiously toward the noise, jumping back with my heart pacing quickly when I noticed the lean, dark figure standing just outside my window. I worked my way around the kitchen precariously, following along the wall until I reached the small set of cabinets. Then, grabbing the marble rolling pin I always kept on the counter by the sink, I positioned myself closer to the window, my hands shaking, my breath held tight.
The figure tapped rapidly against the pane of glass again, and finally shifted enough for me to make out Quinn’s statuesque form against the pale glow of lamplight coming from the corner of the street.
I took a deep breath and lifted the window sill, relaxing the rolling pin down to my side, feeling its weight pull away some of the anxiety that had been coursing through my body. Quinn swept into the room in one deft movement, swinging both legs onto the floor at once, ducking the top half of his body under the window.
Claire flipped on a light across the room. “Who’s this?”
“Quinn,” I told her, only vaguely relieved.
“You mean Lucie’s friend?” she asked, curtly.
Quinn ignored her, “Hey, Elyse.” His voice was calmer and more controlled than I’d ever heard it before. “So… did you guys take care of everything?”
I tensed. “How did you know?”
“Common sense,” he told me, weirdly.
“… And, why were you in the back yard? Why didn’t you just come through my front door? You scared us to—”
“Too obvious. I didn’t want to risk being seen here with you,” he stated carelessly.
“We’re not too thrilled to see you, either,” Claire interjected.
Quinn rolled his eyes, “Sorry. I didn’t mean it to sound as obnoxious as it came out.”
“Aren’t you supposed to be in Cambridge right now?” Claire redirected.
Quinn smiled broadly now, staring Claire down.
“What?” She asked him, her voice obviously strained from the uncertainty of his trustworthiness.
“The fact that you are even aware of where I should be right now means you went to the right person for help tonight,” Quinn spoke with an air of supremacy.
Claire and I exchanged looks and consented to his assessment. “He’s right,” I said. “We shouldn’t have known that about him, should we?”
“So who else is out in the back yard? Did you bring Lucie with you?” Claire continued to prod, rightfully concerned.
“No,” insisted Quinn. “She’s still in Cambridge with my family. They’re… watching over her. She has no idea I’m gone… no idea that I’m here.”
“So… why are you here?” I asked carefully.
Quinn refocused his sights on me, “I know what you have, and I came to help you put it back.”
“Umm, what is it you think we have?” Claire’s voice betrayed her — there was a definite twinge of fear in it.
Quinn walked toward her, almost hovering, “I’m here to help. Really. I know what Lucie’s been doing… to Brendon,” he turned to me, “and to you, Elyse. And I know where you’ve been tonight. I know what you’ve done… and I can get into Lucie’s room much easier than either one of you can. She’d never suspect me of any wrong-doing. So, you see… you’re going to have to trust me. You have to give me her book, and the tea. Everything.”
“Yeah, right. You really think we’re going to trust you? You have to earn our trust… you can’t just show up here in the middle of the night and expect us to hand over the very thing that has caused all this trouble. You can’t expect us to think you would do something for us… for Elyse and Brendon.” Claire challenged him.
Quinn hung his head somewhat shamefully. He spoke quieter then, sincerely, “I know. I knew it wouldn’t be easy to win you over. But we don’t have a lot of time, so I’d really appreciate it if you’d just let me do this for you. Let me erase your part in this. She… Lucie… will never know that you’ve thwarted her plans. She’ll just eventually see that she no longer has power over Brendon… or you, Elyse. Let me help you set yourselves free.”
“But why would you do that for me?” I asked him. “You’ve never had any interest in getting to know me before now. What do you care if Lucie’s done something to—”
“All I can tell you,” Quinn shrugged his shoulders, perching himself against the wall of my fireplace, with his elbow resting casually on the mantel, “and I know it’s been a long time coming… is that I don’t have complete control over everything. You’ve seen only a hint of Lucie’s power for yourselves. I’ve known her for a long, long time. You really do need to trust me when I tell you… under her grasp is not where you want to be. Let me do this for you.”
“Well, what about you?” I asked him seriously. “If you know her so well… and what she’s capable of, why don’t you break away from her?”
“I will… someday. Just not now,” he stated, sounding a bit defeated.
Claire and I looked at each other trying to decide what to do. Perhaps it was because the hour was so late and we couldn’t think clearly, or because some part of us knew that Quinn was right about how much easier it would be for him to replace Lucie’s book than either one of us, that we simultaneously agreed to hand over Lucie’s belongings to him.
A huge smile crossed Quinn’s face when he had the items in his hands. He thanked us quickly and moved a few steps into the kitchen before tossing a worrying look at Claire, as though he’d just had a sudden premonition. He shook Lucie’s little black book at her, “How much of this have you read?”
Claire looked back at him incredulously and trembled slightly, “Only the r-recipe. It was the first thing I noticed, and the only thing that seemed important.” Her uncharacteristic stutter did not escape either of us.
Quinn glared at her, “Are you sure?”
“Yes,” she stated emphatically. “I haven’t read anything else. I didn’t need to.” She lifted her chin in defiance against his subtle accusation.
“Good,” he told her. “Do yourself a favor — both of you — and forget all about this.” And in an instant he had swept himself back out the kitchen window, back into the darkness of the night. He was gone before Claire and I even had time to cross the floor to follow him and watch him leave.
“Well, I guess that’s that,” I told Claire. “Nothing we can do about it now. What’s done is done… for better or for worse.”
“Not quite,” said Claire, who was now ruffling through her bag looking for her Blackberry. She found it beneath a bundled stack of yellowed papers that were sticking partially out of her purse. She promptly dialed a number and put the call on speaker.
Aunt Hayley’s voice answered informally, “Hello, girls. Don’t worry, everything’s okay. You did the right thing. You did the best thing.”
“So… what about Quinn—” Claire began.
“All is as it should be,” Aunt Hayley assured us in a very soothing, almost monotone voice. “Now go get a good night’s sleep and enjoy the holiday, ladies. You deserve it, and you won’t regret it.”
“Thank you, Aunt Hayley,” I told her. My voice came out in a surprisingly cheerful tone.
“You’re welcome. I’m glad I could help. Take care girls, and… happy Thanksgiving.” Her voice was joyous, relaxed and motherly.
“Happy Thanksgiving,” Claire and I said together, and I suddenly realized I actually did believe it would now be a happy holiday.
Claire dropped her Blackberry back into her bag and hugged me goodnight before stepping out into the dark toward her little silver car. “See you after the holiday,” she said before driving away.
Charmant was at my ankles waiting impatiently to be fed his usual late-night snack. I obliged him, then fell to sleep soundly on my bed. It was the most peaceful rest I’d had in weeks, but it didn’t resolve any of the thoughts going through my mind.
Lucie’s spell may have been broken, but that didn’t change the fact that one of these days Brendon was going to leave.
In one way or another, we would always be separated.