Chapter Seventeen: Vivian
“Girls! It is so good to see you again!” Olivia greeted them. “How are you all doing? Good, I hope?”
Vivian fidgeted in her chair and glanced around Olivia’s office, avoiding eye contact with the elderly woman. She didn’t want to tell Olivia about Ryan, especially when Olivia was so excited to see the girls. Fortunately for Vivian, Emma was the one to speak up.
“We’re doing okay now,” Emma began, “but earlier today we were in a bit of a mess.” Olivia’s face became worried. “What happened, darling?” she asked with deep concern.
Emma looked at Meg. “I think you should tell her, Meg. You know more than Vivian and I do.” Meg cleared her throat.
“The night I found the gem, I saw a boy named Ryan. When we returned from our visit with you, he made contact with me. He seemed really nice, but I discovered he wasn’t interested in me as a person. All he cared about was the gem.”
“I’m sorry dear,” Olivia said. “How did you find out he was after the gem?” she asked. Meg lowered her voice. “I researched Kaitlyn Daniels,” she admitted. Olivia nodded her head with understanding.
Vivian was confused. Who was Kaitlyn Daniels? She wanted to ask, but she bit her lip and let Meg continue explaining their story. While listening, Vivian realized Meg had a lot more information than she did.
“When I discovered the truth, I called Emma so they could meet me. I wanted to speak to them in person. Ryan saw Vivian and Em driving toward the school, and he followed them.” Vivian’s heart pounded while Meg told Olivia the events of the day.
When Meg finished her story, Olivia looked at Vivian. “When he grabbed you from the water, what happened?” she asked. Meg and Emma looked at Vivian with interest. They were just as curious for her response as Olivia was.
“After Ryan grabbed me, we swam downstream until we reached a tree branch hanging over the water. Ryan latched onto the branch, and we climbed out of the water. Then, Ryan put his hand around my arms, locking them in place. He sat his other hand on my head and said, ‘The power of the mind? I can use this.’ Then, he spoke to Meg and told her to meet at the cars. The rest of it you’ve heard.”
“That is quite an adventure you all had,” Olivia stated. “I’m thankful none of you were harmed. I’d like to hear more about the man Ryan mentioned to you,” she said, looking at Vivian. “Did he mention any names or other pertinent information?”
“He wouldn’t tell us much. Ryan just said he was very powerful. He said something about a Brotherhood when I told Ryan we would catch the man.” Olivia leaned forward in her chair. “What exactly did he mention about the Brotherhood?” she probed.
Vivian thought for a second. “Ryan said we would never capture his boss because the Brotherhood would give up their lives before they’d let that happen,” she recalled.
“Is that all?” Olivia asked. Vivian nodded her head. “That’s everything I know,” she said. “I don’t know about Em or Meg, though,” she clarified. Emma and Meg shook their heads.
“Okay girls. Thank you for telling me about Ryan and his threats to your life. I will be sure to tell the Council members about your stories before his trial. I want to assure you everything will be okay. Ryan is the only person aware of Meg’s gift. As far as we know, the others just knew Ryan was after the gem. They don’t have a name or a face to go with it.”
Meg sighed and glanced at Emma and Vivian. They all remembered Jonathan and Cameron’s faces, and in reality the men had seen Meg’s face. The only face Vivian saw in her mind was Avery’s, and suddenly she felt guilty for keeping that information to herself. Vivian was going to confess when there was a quick knock on the door, and Avery walked in. Vivian gasped in surprise, and saw her friends eyeing her from her peripheral vision.
“Ladies, I’d like to introduce you to a close friend of mine. This is Avery Parker, and she and her parents are members of the Council of Good.”
Vivian was flabbergasted. She watched silently as Avery spoke to Olivia like she had known her for years. “I’m sorry to interrupt, but may I speak to you for a second?” she asked Olivia. While the two women talked, Vivian inspected Avery. The first thing she noticed was Avery’s red hair was gone. In its place was short, blonde hair.
As Vivian tried to adjust to Avery’s new look, Meg nudged Vivian’s arm. She looked at her friend and saw Emma’s eyes were on her, too. They wanted to know about Avery. I’ll explain later, she thought to them.
“Okay, I’m sorry about that. Avery is skilled at seeing the future, so she keeps me informed. It was Avery who told Devin to find y’all in the woods. She had a vision of Ryan harming Vivian, but I see she was able to avoid that happening,” she said, glancing at Vivian. Olivia cleared her throat. “As I said before, there is no reason to worry. Thanks to you three, the only eye-witness to Meg’s new gift is behind power-proof bars.”
Meg spoke with disgrace in her voice. “Actually, now that you mention it, there is something else. We didn’t think it was significant at the time, but now I realize it is important.”
“What is it, honey?” Olivia asked. Meg bit her lip. “The day we first met you, two men approached us in the woods. They kept asking to see the amulet and were congratulating me on becoming the new Keeper.”
Olivia raised her eyebrows. “What did you tell them?” she asked.
“I told them I didn’t know what they were talking about, and they attacked us. Devin saved our lives that time, too,” Meg responded.
“Did Devin know who they were?” Olivia wondered.
“No. He arrived when we were cornered,” Meg explained. “I think he knew we were in trouble. When Devin arrived the men disappeared, and I thought they were just confused or crazy. I never would have thought they would be of importance.”
“I am glad you told me that information. Do any of you remember their names or what they looked like? Anything would help,” Olivia urged. The girls told Olivia the men’s names and described their clothing and features.
“Did Ryan dress in a similar manner?” Olivia asked Meg.
“No. He dressed like a regular college boy,” she answered.
The last question surprised Vivian. “Do you think Cameron and Jonathan are linked to Ryan?” she asked. Olivia nodded her head. “It would appear so,” she revealed. “Ryan knew about Emma’s power, and he admitted that there were others who knew who the Keeper was.”
“If that is true, then the men know who we are, too,” Emma deduced.
Olivia stood up. “Precisely,” she agreed. “I would suggest you spend the last few weeks of college being very discreet and low-key. Then, when summer vacation starts, go home and spend a few months with your friends and families. Take a break from your apartment.”
“You want us to stay home the whole summer?” Emma asked. “Can we visit you?”
Olivia’s face lit up. “Of course you can visit!” she confirmed. “Each of you is a part of the Council now. You make up the Key Three!”
Vivian smiled at the sound of their new title, but she still had a question about their summer plans. “I don’t mind going back home because I would love to see my family again,” she began, “but if we are living with our parents in our old homes, how will we be able to protect ourselves without revealing our powers?” she asked.
Meg and Emma nodded their heads, and Vivian knew they were wondering the same thing. “Devin will spend his summer vacation with y’all to make sure everything is secure. Anytime you want to visit the Council, just tell him. He will have you over here in no time,” Olivia explained.
On any other occasion, Vivian would have made a comment to Meg about Devin’s new living arrangements. Today, she didn’t have the heart for it. “Not that I’m upset by it or anything,” Vivian said, “but is there a reason for all of these restrictions?” she asked. Vivian had a strange feeling something was wrong. Summer was a time for parties and hanging out; not hiding out. This year would definitely be different.
“There is a reason for the restrictions,” Olivia admitted. “I don’t want you to worry, but I do want you to be aware of the situation at hand. Based on everything I’ve heard today, I have a strong sense of certainty that Ryan and the other men you met are in the same Brotherhood.”
Vivian froze in her chair and listened as Olivia explained her theory. “The Brotherhood of Damien DeLauro was a rival group that waged war against my parents. The ringleader of that Brotherhood murdered my parents when they had no magic to defend themselves. I believe DeLauro still has unfinished business with the Council of Good. The men you described fit the portrayal of how DeLauro made his followers dress. I know we haven’t seen the last of them; they will be back.”
“What does DeLauro want with the gem?”” Emma asked. Olivia looked at the girls and sighed. “If DeLauro gets the gem, he will not only have my parents’ powers, but also the powers of every Keeper since their death. The jewel is the key to DeLauro fulfilling his plan to take over the magical world and turn mankind into his slaves. He must not get the jewel! If I am correct in my thinking, then all of us are in for a battle bigger than you would ever believe.”
The room was quiet as each of the girls let Olivia Nathaniel’s warning sink in. Vivian was speechless for the first time in her life. Never in her wildest dreams would she have ever thought she would be in a battle against evil. The thought was almost overwhelming.
Vivian looked at Meg and Emma and realized she wasn’t alone. We can do this, she thought. We’re the Key Three!