#Chapter 221: Learning Curve
I felt utterly hopeless. What was I supposed to do? Selena put some sort of hex on Luke to keep him from opening a portal, which was not only shocking as I wasn’t even sure how she knew that he was coming, but the rest of us also couldn’t open a portal.
“We’ll try again tomorrow, Nina,” Luke said gently. He reached out to squeeze my shoulder, but I flinched away. I was too angry for comfort, not at him, but at Selena.
“We have to get to Enzo tonight,” I insisted, my voice shaking as my eyes began to well up with tears. “Please. I can’t explain it, but I think that tomorrow might be too late.”
Luke paused. Between the five of us, the air was silent.
“Nina, I… I really can’t open a portal,”
Luke said quietly. “I’m sorry, but I just can’t. She put a hex on me. She may have put a hex on the whole area so no one could even open a portal.”
“Nina, Enzo will be okay until the morning,” Jessica said, stepping forward and placing her hand on my arm. When I looked over at her, she had a pained and apologetic expression on her face. Even in the darkness, I could see that there were tears in her own eyes. “He’s strong. He’ll be okay.”
I shook my head and let out a wry chuckle as the tears began to stream down my cheeks.
“That’s what you keep saying,” I growled, “but it’s not true. Selena already has her claws sunken in far enough. I saw how easily she made Enzo forget everything just now. He… He was practically an entirely different person. If we don’t get to him soon, she’ll only strengthen her grip on him.”
The air fell silent again as all of my
friends stared at me. I felt as though they were looking at me like I was a crazy person, and it made me sick. Why epuldn’t they understand that we needed to figure this out now? Enzo was in danger. His father was in danger. The Alpha King was in danger, and so was the entire world if we didn’t get help against the Crescents. Tonight was the one night that we had left. Selena was too smart and cunning, and she would act quickly. Even though we hadn’t been raised together, we were still twins… And somehow, I knew what she was going to do next. It was like a sixth sense. It made me wonder if that was why she knew that Luke was coming; maybe she had that same sixth sense about me.
“Nina, I’m sorry…” Luke whispered.
A sob caught in my throat. I looked around frantically at all of my friends, pleading them to do something,
anything. Deep down, the logical part of me knew that there was nothing that any of them could do… But the illogical part of me was angry that they weren’t eyen trying.
Suddenly, Matt stepped forward.
“Let me try,” he said, lifting his chin up with a brave expression on his face. ” I’m a werewolf now. Maybe if you show me how to do it, Luke, I can open a portal.”
Luke’s eyes went wide. “It’s not quite as simple as just teaching someone,” he said. “You either have the ability or you don’t. But I suppose that you could have the ability, and maybe it’s just dormant.”
Matt nodded. “That’s all the hope I need. Let’s try it.”
I felt my heart leap into my throat, and I took a step back to join Lori and Jessica while Matt and Luke gathered together in the middle of the clearing.
As I watched Luke begin to demonstrate how to open a portal to Matt, Lori and Jessica both took each of my hands, and together the three of us watched with bated breath.
“It’s like this,” Luke began. He turned to the side, then held his left arm out with his index finger and his middle finger extended. Matt imitated him.” Widen your stance,” Luke said. “There you go. And keep your middle finger and index finger together, like they’re glued together. Perfect. Now…” Luke began to move his hand slowly in a counter-clockwise circle, his eyes focused on the space in front of him. Matt followed his movement, and once Luke was satisfied with Matt’s form, he stepped back and observed.
“While you make that motion, picture something in your mind that gives you strength. It can be anything… In your case, you could use your wolf. By picturing that thing, you’re taking strength from it and using that strength to open the portal. But you have to stay focused on it.”
Matt nodded silently. I could see him furrowing his brow, like he was thinking hard, focusing on one thing. Without a wolf, I wondered what Luke thought of when he needed to open a portal.
Several long, palpable seconds passed. Matt stayed firmly focused on the air in front of him, his hand moving continuously in that same counter- clockwise motion. Lori and Jessica tightened their grips on my hand, and the three of us barely even breathed as we watched.
But finally, Matt dropped his hand back to his side and shook his head solemnly.
“I can’t do it,” he said quietly, turning back to face the rest of us. “I’m sorry. I don’t think I have that ability.”
I felt my heart sink. My friends all gave me an apologetic look, but I only felt anger bubbling up inside of me.
“Let me try,” I said, dropping Lori and Jessica’s hands and storming into the center of the clearing. “Get out of the way.”
Matt jumped out of my way. The rest of my friends stared at me in shock. I could practically feel the pity emanating off of them; they knew that it wasn’t going to work. But I had to try.
I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t.
“But, Nina,” Luke said, walking up to me, “your wolf-”
“I don’t care.” I knew that my wolf had gone dormant again. It didn’t matter to me; I still needed to try. “Just show me how.”
Luke let out a sigh. I got into the position that he showed Matt, waiting for Luke’s instructions. Without a word, he finally reached out and adjusted my arm and my hand.
I shut my eyes then and pictured something that gave me strength. I pictured… Enzo. And all of my other friends. I pictured the night that Luke first saved me from the rogue. I pictured Lori and Jessica’s smiling faces around the campfire. I pictured Matt and Enzo carrying us through the woods in their wolf forms. All of those things gave me strength.
As I pictured all of these things, over and over again, I moved my hand in the motion that Luke demonstrated. I focused hard, harder than I ever thought I could. I pictured Tiffany, and how warm her hugs were. I pictured my mom… And my brother.
I didn’t know how long I did this for. I was so focused, that it could have been an eternity. I only stopped and opened my eyes when I felt Luke’s hand on my arm, and I opened my eyes to see him slowly shaking his head.
My heart fell into the depths of my stomach again. I felt so heavy that I was certain that a hole would bore into the ground below me and I would sink into the center of the earth.
“I’m sorry, Nina,” Luke said quietly. ” Let’s go home. We’ll come back tomorrow.”
When I turned back to face my friends, the tears in my eyes were so thick that they were nothing but shapeless blobs. But they were right; there was nothing we could do now. We would have to wait until Selena’s hex wore off before we could get to Enzo, and we could only pray that he wasn’t too far gone – or even dead – by the time we got to him.
I nodded and allowed my friends to guide me away. My feet felt heavy as I walked, like my body was filled with bricks. Everything felt numb -even the feeling of my friends’ hands on my back as we began to walk away felt distant.
But then, I heard something. And so did
they. We all stopped, our eyes widening, as the sound of something electric buzzed behind us.
I whipped around. My mouth dropped open to see that a portal was opening there, where I had been standing before.
My friends and I all stared at each other, each of us equally as shocked; but the portal was already beginning to close, and we didn’t have time to stand there frozen in our places.
And so, with a chorus of amazed laughter, the five of us all grabbed each other’s hands and leaped into the portal.