“No. Ido.” And I really did… most of the time. “But you just weren’t surprised at all.”
Seth sighed. “Nothing surprises me anymore.”
I thought of something else. “Do you know which of your parents was a half-blood?”
“I guess it had to be my father. Mother was a pure through and through.”
I didn’t know that. Then again, there was very little I knew about Seth. Sure, he liked to talk about himself, but it was all on a superficial level. Then there was the greatest mystery of all. “What’s your last name?”
“Alex, Alex, Alex,” he chided softly, rising to his knees.
I squeezed my hands together, recognizing the calculated edge to his gaze. He was so up to something. “What?”
“I want to try something.”
Since we were on my bed and Seth was a pervert most of the time, my suspicion level was pretty high. It showed in my voice. “Like what?”
Seth pressed me back until I was lying flat. He hovered above, a slight tilt to his lips. “Give me your left hand.”
“Why are you so damn inquisitive?”
I arched a brow. “Why do you always have to invade my personal space?”
“Because I like to.” He patted my stomach. “And deep down you like it when I do.”
My lips pressed together. I was pretty sure the bond between us liked it when he did. I could feel it right now. It practically purred. Whether I liked it was something I was still trying to figure out.
“Give me your left hand,” he ordered again. “We’re going to work on your blocking technique.”
“And we have to be holding hands to do this?” In my bed, I wanted to add.
Sighing loudly, I gave him my hand. “Are we going to sing songs now?”
“You wish.” He straddled my thighs, placing a knee on either side. “I have a lovely singing voice.”
“Do we have to do this right now? I’m not really feeling it after everything.” Practicing blocking techniques of the mental kind required concentration and determination—two things I was lacking right now. Well, to be honest, concentration was something I usually lacked on most days.
“Now is the best time. Your emotions are all over the place. You need to learn how to push through that.” Seth grabbed my other hand, threading his fingers through mine. He bent so far that the edges of his hair brushed my cheeks. “Close your eyes. Picture the walls.”
Closing my eyes was something I did not want to do with Seth sitting on me. The bond between us had been growing stronger every day. I could feel it moving low in my tummy, thrumming to the surface. My toes curled inside my fuzzy socks. The same feeling I had the day I blew up the boulder swamped me. I wanted to touch him. Or the bond wanted me to touch him.
Seth tipped his head to the side. “I know what you’re feeling right now. I totally approve of it.”
My cheeks burned. “Gods, I hate you.”
He chuckled. “Picture the walls. They’re solid, cannot be breached.”
I pictured the brick walls. In my mind, they were neon pink. With sparkles. I gave the walls sparkles because they gave me something to focus on. Seth had said the technique could work against compulsions if done correctly, but when dealing with emotions, the walls weren’t built around the mind, they were built through the stomach and over the heart. The walls formed in my mind first and then I shifted them down, giving myself a body of armor.
“I can still feel it,” Seth said, shifting restlessly above me.
This really must suck for him, I realized. He could tell I was still obsessed with Aiden, upset over my dad, and conflicted over him. And the only thing I got to pick up from him was when he was feeling randy.
The damn cord inside me—my connection to Seth—started to hum, demanding that I pay attention. It was like an annoying pet… or like Seth. I wondered if I could use the cord to block my emotions. Opening my eyes, I started to ask but then shut my mouth.
Seth had his eyes closed and he looked like he was really concentrating on something. His lids fluttered every so often, lips drawn into a tight, tense line. Then the marks flowed over his skin, moving so fast that the glyphs were nothing more than a blur as they raced down his neck, under the collar ofhis shirt.
My heart jumped. So did the cord inside me. I tried to pull my hand free before those marks reached my skin. “Seth.”
His eyes snapped open, glazed over. The marks glided over his skin. A burst of crackling amber light radiated from his forearm. Struggling to get out from underneath him and away from that damn cord, I only succeeded in having my hands pinned down.
Panic unfurled, ripping through me. “Seth!”
“It’s okay,” he said.
But it wasn’t okay. I didn’t want that cord to do what I knew it was going to do. And then it was doing it. The amber cord wrapped around our hands, snapping and sparking, spreading down my arm. I jerked back, trying to scoot sway, but Seth held on, his eyes locked with mine.
“The cord—it’s the purest power. Akasha,” he said. Akasha was the fifth and final element, and it could only be harnessed by the gods and the Apollyon. The hue of Seth’s eyes turned luminous. They almost looked crazy. “Hold on.”
He wasn’t giving me much of a choice. My gaze fell to our hands. Pulsating, the cord tightened and flared a brilliant amber. A blue cord wiggled out from underneath the amber cord, spilling drops of incandescent light onto the bedspread. Vaguely, I hoped we didn’t catch the bed on fire. That would be hard to explain.
The blue cord flickered in and out, fluttering. Vaguely, I realized it was mine and weaker than the amber one. Then the blue jumped and pulsed. My left hand started to burn as the skin pricked. Recognizing the feeling, I freaked.