All current and previous chapters for Chains of Nect: Obsidian's Obsession can also be found on Wattpad. And for an easy to access list of all chapters that have been posted to Born to Write, please visit the Table of Contents.
This is the last chapter that will be posted for some time. I have other writing projects that need my attention more than this one. However, if I have enough people contact me, requesting that I continue Chains of Nect, I will rearrange things to start posting again. You may post in the comments or use the contact form on my blog. I apologize for placing this on hiatus. I hope you've enjoyed what you're read so far!
He paused, gripping the door's edge, shook his head, then let her be. The door clicked closed behind him. Thankfully there wasn't a lock on it, or he would have been sure to pen her in.
She thumbed through the precepts absentmindedly, waiting until she thought Damian would be out of the library and not standing right outside the door waiting for her to break out.
Of course she understood his reasoning, and it was a risk to not remain sequestered in the study room, but she couldn't just sit here. Memorizing pointless rules was trying at the best of times. Now with Bishop stalking about the grounds, the thought of reading these stupid things made her imagine her eyes bleeding.
She'd be careful. Really.
And he should have known better than to put her in here alone. If he hadn't learned she had a penchant for not listening to orders by now, it was all his fault. Or perhaps he didn't care anymore whether she got caught or not. After all she had dragged him into, her getting snatched up by the Council would be a weight off his shoulders.
Sid hoped that wasn't it.
She turned a few more pages, then slammed the book shut when she couldn't stand to sit there any longer. Enough of this.
She left the book on the table and slipped out the door. No Damian looming on the outside with a disapproving glare. Thank the Ancients for small favors.
But then she stood there, not knowing where to go. She should have planned this better. Obviously, she didn't want to run into Damian. He also knew the House of Portals better than she did and likely wouldn't be questioned if he searched certain areas.
Sid looked up at the balconies above her, the mazes of bookshelves lined with books.
Of course. What better way to claim she was simply studying and taking a small break from the precepts than by starting her search here? Damian might already be weaving through the shelves, but she'd take that chance. At least he couldn't yell at her for leaving the library, and probably the worst he'd do was escort her back to the study room.
Surely Bishop wouldn't be among these dusty, useless tomes, though--most of the books were probably endless copies of the precepts. Sid bit her lip. She had promised herself to be careful, and by searching here first, she'd do just that.
She pulled at the collar of her robe and ascended the stairs to the next level.
So many books. She ran her hands along the spines as she passed, glimpsing a title here and there. It seemed this floor held a lot of information about Nect itself. Politics, agriculture, religion, and the like. They seemed to have information on each individual sanction and all of the towns in each of those. Dry reading, likely--Damian had probably read all of them.
And she kept her eye out for Bishop while she perused the titles. The Guardians and dedicants she passed paid her no heed. Just another dedicant searching the shelves, making a path around the oval while making sure she didn't get lost in the maze of stacks.
No luck on the second floor. Onto the third.
Finally on this floor there seemed to be a few more interesting books. Histories of Nect. That book Damian had absentmindedly pretended to read was probably up here. But in all the histories, she saw nothing about the portals. Like part of Nect's past had been expunged, burned away, as if it never existed.
The gates were a testament to that past existing. They couldn't burn those down. She wondered if they had ever tried, though. Perhaps not--that would mean all the Guardians would be out of a job, and they sure seemed to enjoy their air of superiority over the rest of Nect.
Desperate to find something, anything pertaining to the portals, she almost didn't see him. She nearly walked right past him, none the wiser.
Bishop sat leaning against one of the shelves in a quiet corner, books scattered about him. That's what had caught her attention--all the books. No Guardian would be so messy.
"You know, if you want to blend in better, you may want to put those back on the shelf."
He started, dropped the book he was reading, and looked up at her, scowling. "Nothing. Nothing but drivel in these books."
Sid picked up some books and slotted them back into place. "What were you hoping for?"
"Anything but this." He picked the book back up and shook it. "This is an insane list of rules, you know that?"
Ah, he'd found the precepts. "I'm expected to memorize all of those."
That heart-melting grin spread across his face. "Good thing I showed up to distract you from such boring studies."
"Do you think it was wise to leave Damian's room?" It took too much effort to ignore that comment. She felt the tug to become that girl--the one who batted her eyelashes and just smiled at a man while he complimented her.
"I didn't come here to remain a shut in."
There it was, her opening. "Then why did you come here?" She peered down at him, forcing herself to keep a straight face, to listen to his words objectively, without clouded vision. Either he'd tell her the reason, or he'd try to spin a lie--perhaps change the subject.
Bishop stood and handed her the book. "Because my world needs help."
Sid tilted her head. There was more to it than that. Damian was right, Bishop had no love for Guardians--he seemed to blame them. "And you thought tagging along with a Guardian and dedicant would get your world the help it needs?"
She shelved the precepts with all of the other copies, the book thunking into place. "No revenge planned? Take down the Guardians who abandoned your world how many decades or centuries ago?" When she turned back to him he had taken a step closer. His heat, his closeness made her heart pound.
"What can one man do against a bunch of Guardians?"
She would stay strong. She would. "It only takes one man to light a match."
Bishop laughed, a melodic sound. "No, Sid, I don't want to burn this place down." He took another step closer. "But I must admit, I did have a bit of an ulterior motive in coming here."
Yep, her heart was now in her throat, her brain, her stomach--anywhere but where it should be.
"Have you ever felt drawn to something?" His eyes shimmered in the light filtering in from a window.
"Something?" The portals came to mind, more specifically his portal.
"Or someone." He touched her chin and leaned in.
No, no, this was not her keeping control. She pushed on his chest before his lips touched hers, and she stumbled backwards. All the breath sucked out of her, her heart threatening to leave her body from numerous spots, she didn't know what else to do.
Sid couldn't let him kiss her. She steadied herself on a bookshelf.
A pained look crossed Bishop's face. "I thought..."
She shook her head--her breath was still lost to her, and she couldn't speak.
"Unless it's because you've never been kissed before." There was that smile again--mischievous and warm.
Heat flooded Sid's face. Her body needed to stop betraying her. No, she'd never been kissed, but that wasn't why she had stopped him.
Why exactly had she stopped him? Because of Damian's fears and warnings? Perhaps she was only looking for deception because of him.
Bishop quickly closed the distance between them, and before she could react again, he kissed her.
His lips were soft, the taste of him sweet like strawberries. The heat traveled from her face and spread throughout the rest of her body.
Obsidian kissed him back.
Thoughtless, foolish girl. Her logical, methodical side scolded her. Attraction and emotions would only mess up her ultimate goal, distract her.
But so much had already steered her off her path. The hope of opening her gate back home was even further away than it had been the first day she had discovered it.
So, she kissed him back.
Bishop wrapped his hand around the back of her neck, then pulled his lips from hers. "I have a confession."
Here it was. Now she'd have to admit to herself how she'd been stupid, gave into his pretty smile instead of truly paying attention to the truth behind his words.
"I've never kissed anyone before either."
She laughed, and then she kissed him again. Not bad for both of their first times.
"I guess I should have started in the library." Damian's words were followed by a soft growl.
Sid untangled herself from Bishop and stepped back. The heat coursing through her now had nothing to do with embarrassment or desire. Guilt throbbed unpleasantly at her temples.
Why in all of Nect would she feel guilty? "Damian."
"Did you know where he was all along? You did, didn't you?"
"No. Honest." How could he think she'd hide something like this from him? Oh, well, she had hidden a lot from him. He still didn't know about her portal.
And Bishop said nothing to refute Damian's claims. The doubt she had earlier rekindled itself. She'd lost her mind, that was it. The madness that had taken her when she had opened Turmoil still wormed its way through her. That had to be it.
One glance at Bishop, though, and Sid knew that wasn't the case. She'd officially become the damsel in distress who had fallen for her rescuer.
And another part of her hated herself for upsetting Damian so much, even if she hadn't truly done anything wrong.