The first book in our genre-bending epic superhero scifi urban fantasy series, Court of Nightfall, is coming on Sunday, December 14, but we SERIOUSLY could not wait to have you guys start reading it. So we’re not waiting! We’ve posted the first chapter in 3 parts: You can read the preface and Part 1 HERE, and part 2 HERE. The conclusion to Chapter 3 is below! We LOVE Nightfall, and we cannot wait to hear what you think, too!
Without further ado, we present to you: The end of the first chapter of Court of Nightfall: The Last Nephilim!
Shades of Grey
His words took time to sink in. “You’re leaving?” I asked, my burger and fries forgotten.
“Looks like it. It’s an amazing opportunity, and you and I both know Montana is a dead end for our careers.” He looked so earnest with his beautiful half-smile and handsome face. Even in shades of grey he radiated confidence that had been reducing me to jelly since the moment I hit puberty.
“But New York? That’s so far away. When do you leave?” I choked back my tears, refusing to cry in front of my best friend. But this whole thing felt surreal, and my heart was breaking as surely as if he were ending our friendship.
“In a week. Classes start on the first.”
I gulped. “That soon?” I wanted to grip his hand, to feel the physical presence of him, to assure myself that he was still here, still a part of my life, but I kept my hands in my lap instead.
He reached into the inside pocket of his leather bomber jacket and pulled out a slip of paper, handing it to me. The messy loops of his familiar handwriting filled the page.
“It’s my new address.” He tapped his e-Glass. “And with this we can talk anytime, day or night. See each other every day. We’ll keep in touch. I promise.”
I forced a smile and kicked myself for being so selfish that I’d make him feel bad for his dream coming true. Some friend I am. “I’m so happy for you, Jax. This is wonderful. You’re going to be the best pilot in the program!” And I meant it, even if a small corner of my heart withered in my chest. I meant it.
“You’ll be joining me soon,” he said. “As soon as you pass your test and get approval, I’ll make sure they have a place for you there.”
I excused myself to use the bathroom, and only then did I let the tears fall. It was silly, stupid and entirely juvenile, but I missed childhood. I missed, for just a moment, the simplicity of not having to wrestle with this kind of loss, these kinds of pressures. As a child I could imagine anything was possible. Now, barely eighteen, I knew some dreams weren’t meant to be, and never would.
I washed and dried my face, and studied my appearance in the mirror. I couldn’t tell if my eyes looked red from crying (“Your eyes look red—with some swelling,” Evie helpfully informed me.)
“Thanks, Evie.” I reapplied my mascara, careful lest I make myself into a clown without realizing it. I knew from the comments of others that my silver eyes were startling and my pale blonde hair coveted by those who grew theirs from a bottle. I’d always assumed my strange eyes were a result of my genetic color-blindness, but there’s no real proof that’s true. Regardless, it always struck me as odd that others could see me in a way I could not see myself.
Finishing up a light coat of pink lipstick, I shoved it into my purse and plastered a smile onto my face. I would not ruin Jax’s good news with my own maudlin desires and disappointments.
I returned to the table and, with my appetite gone, fiddled with my uneaten food.
“No hurry,” Jax said. “The server had to leave for her break, so I settled the bill, but we can hang out and talk.”
I didn’t know what we could talk about. Yes, we could ‘see’ each other daily, but that wasn’t the same as hanging out all night watching movies and eating popcorn and chocolate chip cookies until we were sick to our stomachs. That wouldn’t replace time spent in the sky together, sharing our passion of flight. That would never be enough for what I’d hoped would one day grow between us.
I tried to smile at him as I stood and grabbed my purse. “I should get home. It’s getting late.”
He stood and put his arm around me. “Cheer up, Scarlett. You’re still my best friend in the world. Nothing will ever change that.” Something in his eyes shifted as he looked down at me. “Please remember that. No matter what happens, no matter what life brings us, you have always meant more to me than you’ll ever know.”
Those words would come to haunt me, but at the time, they just broke my heart.
The voices carried through the kitchen and into the living room as I dropped my purse on the couch, my gift from Jax tucked inside. My parents rarely argued, and I shamelessly listened in concern.
My mom sounded frustrated, like she’d repeated herself too many times already and didn’t want to say it again. “We’ve been ordered to stay.”
“They’ve found us, Violet.” My dad sounded equally frustrated, though he did his best to hide it. Of the three of us, he had the most patience.
His words sent a chill up my spine. Who’d found us? And why would anyone be looking for us to begin with?
“We don’t know that for sure,” my mom said, walking out of the kitchen, my dad following. When her blue eyes landed on me she smiled, but it didn’t soften the anxiety on her face. “Hi, honey. We didn’t realize you were home.”
“I just got in,” I told her. “What’s going on? Who’s found us?”
My dad, his dark hair a mess, looked at my mom, and she shook her head, her eyes pleading him to… what? I didn’t know, but he didn’t listen. Turning his attention back to me, he took a breath. “Come with me. I’ll show you.”
“Marcus, we promised to keep her out of this.” My mom moved to stand between me and my dad, as if he was about to show me something dangerous.
His eyes were sad when he replied. “Perhaps we were wrong, Violet. Perhaps we’ve been wrong about everything.”