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.As Thea’s scales shifted back into flesh, Gemma lowered her eyes and looked away.Thea wore a bikini top, but she was nude otherwise.She grabbed a sari that she’d left discarded on the sand and wrapped it around her waist as she walked over to where Gemma sat.“You really are a bore,” Thea said, and sat down next to her, stretching out her long tanned legs on the sand and propping herself up on her elbows.“This is a curse,” Gemma said matter-of-factly, and stared out at the waves.“So I’m treating it like one.I refuse to enjoy any part of it.”“This curse is your life,” Thea said, looking at her seriously.“And you’re going to live a very long time.You might as well enjoy it.”“What do you care if I enjoy it?” Gemma asked.“If I want to be miserable, what’s it matter to you?”“You’re one of us,” Thea replied.“I’m going to be stuck with you for a very long time.And it’d be nice to have someone to talk to that isn’t an insufferable idiot.”Gemma thought of something, and she turned to look at Thea.The wind blew her long red hair back, slowly drying it of the salty water.“What about your sister Aglaope? How long were you stuck with her?” Gemma asked.Thea visibly tensed up at the mere mention of her sister.The sirens hadn’t spoken much of her, but they’d said that Gemma was meant to replace Aglaope.When Gemma pressed to find out how Aglaope died or what had happened to her, the sirens hadn’t been very forthcoming.Well, it hadn’t been the sirens so much as Penn.Whenever Gemma tried to find out more, Penn changed the subject or brushed her off.Thea had seemed much more open to talking about Aglaope, so while it was just the two of them, Gemma decided to use the opportunity.“I wasn’t stuck with her,” Thea snapped.“And she’s really none of your business.”“You just said that I’m one of you now,” Gemma countered.“If I really am, shouldn’t I know what it means to be a siren? That means knowing stuff about the past, about the sirens that came before me.”“She lived for a very long time,” Thea said at last.“She was only two years younger than me, so she lived nearly as long as I have.”“She was an original siren, wasn’t she?” Gemma asked.“Demeter turned her in the beginning, and she wasn’t a replacement the way Lexi and I are.”“That’s right.” Thea took a deep breath and brushed sand off her bare knee.“Aggie was actually my full sister, unlike Penn, who is only our half sister.”“You had the same father as Penn but different mothers?” Gemma asked.“Yes, but our mothers were actually sisters,” Thea said with a wry smile.“It was all very incestuous back then.The gods often moved around, sleeping with each other’s siblings and children.”Gemma wrinkled her nose.“That’s gross.”“So it is,” Thea agreed.“But that’s how things were done.”“And you just went along with it?” Gemma asked.Thea thought about that for a moment, then nodded.“I tried to.”“But Penn didn’t,” Gemma said, turning her attention back out to the water, where Penn and Lexi were still taunting Sawyer.“Penn’s never really been a go-with-the-flow kind of girl.” Thea laughed, but it was a hollow, bitter sound.“What about Aggie?” Gemma asked, using the same pet name that Thea had used for her.“What was she like?”Something dark passed over Thea’s face, and any trace of a smile fell away.She lowered her eyes, staring off at nothing.“Aggie was kind,” Thea said.Her voice was naturally huskier than the other sirens’, but it became deeper now as she spoke, heavy with sadness.“Penn says that made her weak, and maybe it did.But compassion is still something that ought to be admired.”“So what happened?” Gemma asked.“Did Aggie die because she was nice?”Thea stared out at the ocean, and her expression went dark again.“Aggie thought we’d lived long enough.We’d had more than our share of time on this earth, and we’d experienced more and seen more and enjoyed more than maybe any other being here.“But all of that came with a cost,” Thea went on.“And Aggie thought that we’d caused far more than our fair share of death.She said that we had enough blood on our hands, and it was time for us to go.”“Go?” Gemma asked.“Yes,” Thea said [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]