Authors: Shannon Dermott
Tags: #Juvenile Fiction
Tom waited outside when we pulled in. Opening the door, he scooped up Maggie, who was passed out, and headed inside the house.
“Do I get the Cinderella treatment?” I teased.
With my car door open, Luke eyes glittered with something I couldn’t describe in my current state. “Do you deserve it?”
“Kiss me,” I said, avoiding the question.
“I’m not sure I want to kiss you right now.”
Leaning back sideways on the seat, I sighed and teased, “I’m sure I can find someone to do it.” Then my heavy lids closed firmly.
I felt myself sliding across the leather seat and into Luke’s strong arms. “Not unless you want someone to die tonight.”
The corners of my mouth turned up slightly before I submitted to the darkness. I roused only when I felt myself enveloped in a cloud. “Stay with me,” I muttered.
Fitting himself to me like a glove, he kissed my cheek. I had enough presence of mind to turn into the kiss meeting it head on. “You want me, right?” I asked. Something I would have never done sober. But liquid courage had me asking.
“Yes,” he breathed. “And it takes every bit of self-control to say no.”
“You would have taken me last night until that girl stopped us. I bet she did it on purpose.”
He didn’t answer. I managed to open my eyes to look into his. A storm was brewing in the ocean depths. Slowly his head came forward before I felt the soft pressure of his lips on mine in the sweetest release. His hand clamped on my waist and molded us together. His hand skated up my back under my shirt until he had a hold of the back of my neck. “What you do to me should be outlawed,” he whispered. “Now sleep, Cinderella.”
“No fair,” I said, my eyes closing anyway.
Chuckling, he said “I’m the one that’s wound up tighter than a spring.
“I do that to you,” I said. Darkness closed in like a thief.
“That and more,” he said, still holding me close.
Like the last chord in a melody, I drifted off into the currents of space.
I wasn’t sure how long I slept, but Luke was still there when day claimed me for one of their own. When I opened my eyes, I immediately regretted it.
Closing them again against the drum beat of pain wasn’t worth the night of recklessness. My eyes popped open when I remembered one thing. “Did you leave Sara?” Luke hadn’t gotten her before we left. I may have been loopy but I remembered that much.
His eyes hardened. “She can take care of herself.”
“So you left her?” I asked. My Luke wouldn’t do such a thing.
“She got you guys drunk and left you to fend for yourselves.”
I closed my mouth. It was probably true. I didn’t say anything. I wanted to believe the best in people, but I didn’t want to be naïve. She most likely set us up.
Shortly after, Luke went to get ready for the day. I hadn’t told him about my headache. Instead, I got ready myself and headed downstairs.
I found Doug looking through cabinets. “Need help,” I said. The boy nearly jumped a mile. He turned and pushed some of his floppy brown hair from his eyes. “I take it you don’t cook.” Shaking his head, I teased, “And don’t speak either.”
“Sorry, Mercy.” Doug’s voice was surprisingly deeper than you would expect by looking at him. He sounded like he could belt out some notes and get you swooning.
“Sit,” I said, taking over. “Tom’s not around?”
“No,” he said. “He took Brent hiking.”
I stopped what I was doing. “Hiking?”
“Yeah, the plan is to get Brent tired out and hopefully leave him on one side of the island far from us.”
“Oh. “Tom was trying to take Brent out of the equation as best he could. “So Tom’s not going to be there for you all.”
“Um, I think that Sara girl is going to get him just before moon rise, leaving Brent far from us.”
“Oh.” I grabbed ingredients.
“You don’t like her,” he said slyly.
Facing away from him, reaching for a mixing bowl, I said, “What’s not to like?”
“Ah, maybe that she wants Luke.” That was obvious but I didn’t want to say it.
“Luke can make his own decisions about who he wants to be with. I don’t own him,” I said.
I was reaching for a mixing cup on a high shelf which seemed an odd place for it, when a hand got it for me. I turned assuming it was my knight in shining armor but was dead wrong.
“You need this doll face,” Flynn said holding it a bit out of my reach.
We were so close and as much as it hurts me to say, his presence unnerved me. “Yes.” Without preamble, he handed it to me. “Thanks,” I muttered, turning away from him trying to keep my cool.
“I should get you back for that little stunt you all pulled.” Flynn looked like he had ideas of how to do it when he spoke.
I stared at him for a second. My head still rang with the aftershocks of my drinking. “You know the lipstick.” I couldn’t help myself, I laughed. “Funny huh? We’ll get you back.” He looked at Doug, who nodded in agreement.
“We have pictures. So if you retaliate, they will end up on Facebook.”
Doug looked horrified, “You took pictures.”
Maggie walked in. “Of course we did, silly.”
Flynn looked disgusted as he headed out the back door over the bridge and out of sight. “Crap, I forgot my iPod.” Maggie muttered, as she left the room.
Once I assumed she was out of ear shot, I asked the one question I had. “How are you doing with all this?”
Mixing ingredients, I didn’t see his reaction only heard it. His voice was very steady. “It’s crazy if you think about it. I’m not sure how much I believe… I mean you all aren’t human, yet I haven’t really seen you guys do anything not human.”
“Trust me, I totally get it,” I said.
He didn’t respond, so I glanced over and saw his perplexed look. “I didn’t find out what I was until a couple of years ago and it was quite a shock to me too.”
“Oh,” he said. “I thought you knew all along like the rest.”
Not much later Luke and Maggie found their way into the kitchen. We all ate pancakes and talked about what the night would bring. Flynn didn’t show up. We spent a leisurely day in the sun waiting for night.
An hour or so before sunset, I pulled my shorts and a tank top over my bikini when Luke huddled us together after Flynn’s reappearance.
“It’s time,” he said.
Maggie and Doug looked at each other. Maggie swallowed. I pulled her in a hug. “It’s going to be okay,” I murmured in her ear.
“Sure,” she said. They retrieved backpacks they had stashed outside.
Luke walked over to me. “Flynn’s going to stay with you.” He looked at Flynn who stood shirtless in shorts. Then Flynn took one step and splashed in the pool. “I have my cell if you need me,” Luke said. I’d overheard his conversation with Maggie where he told her that cell phones did, in fact, work on the island. I also just realized I hadn’t told him that I’d overhead the two of them.
He wrapped me in his arms and kissed me. “We’ll be back.”
And off they went. They didn’t take the car. The strategy was for them to be a bit tired as well. That made it easier to handle them if they went all werewolf, or so Tom said. I worried about Luke. He looked tired. He was taking care of all of us and it was a big job. I still had no idea what I’d done to him the other day when I’d lost myself to my demon. He refused to say and told me not to worry about it. But I did. What had that other side of me done?
With Flynn on the other side of the pool, I decided to make my escape. We were so close to a beach, yet we spent most of our time at the house and pool. I sat watching and listening to the waves crash into the shore after I made it down the path. The sound was oddly soothing. I thought about all that had happened to me in the past several months and wondered if I’d do it all again if I could. Would I say no to Luke so he’d be protected and untainted? Flynn would still be in my life because of our parents but what would I have done about him?
The sun began to set in the horizon and I found myself lonely in the presence of such beauty. So I stood. When I turned, Flynn stood behind me. I clutched my shirt at heart level. “Jeez Flynn, you scared the shit out of me.”
For a second he just stood there, silent, sure that I was in danger.
“What are you doing down here by yourself?” he asked. There was a subtle difference in his voice that was just slightly off. His tone was darker, almost predatory in nature.
“I’m not a baby,” I said, deflecting. “I can take care of myself.”
“Really,” he said, eyes frosting over. I expected him to breathe out condensation with his chilly look.
“Maybe if you or Luke would teach me what I needed to know to protect myself I could be safe on my own.”
I had no time to react. I found myself flat on my back underneath him. “What the hell?” I cried not liking being pinned unable to move.
“You wanted a lesson,” he said, with no amusement in his voice.
An excuse was quick to leave my mouth. “You didn’t give me warning.”
“You think anyone out to hurt you will warn you first.”
Pursing my lips, I said nothing at first because it was true. “Well, get off me.”
Flynn on his best of days was nothing short of glorious. Even on days like this with dark circles under his eyes, he was easily the most beautiful guy I’d ever seen. “Lesson one, make me.”
Squirming made no difference. He had me trapped like a mouse. “You’re only stirring other things Mercy. Think. What should you do to get you out of this?”
I ceased all movement. I’d had a close enough encounter with Flynn unhinged not too long ago. It had been hot and scary all at once to be trapped with him in his car when he was on the edge. Luke was my future, not Flynn. I needed to proceed with caution because he could lose control at any time.
“Just kiss me and get it over with,” I said defeated.
A flicker of light passed in his eyes. A moment later, he dipped his head down. I dug my head back as far back in the packed sand as I could manage before snapping it back up and crashing our foreheads together. That did it. I was free. I moved quickly to extricate myself from beneath him. He held his head and I wanted to do the same. It wasn’t like in the movies. My head rang with pain, but determination to get away had me on my feet and running for the path that led up to the house.
But without warning I went down. My pulse pounding in my ears, I hadn’t heard Flynn’s pursuit. I was face down eating sand with my hands trapped underneath me. “Good but not good enough.”
“Get off me,” I yelled.
“Your ass is a fine piece of art,” he said. “You wanted to learn. How would you get yourself out of this one?”
My head rang like the liberty bell but I tossed it back trying to connect with that pretty face of his. His head wasn’t there. In fact his lips ended up on my neck and I squirmed again. “Stop.”
“I told you that wasn’t the best idea,” he crooned in my ear. Ignoring him, I continued with my efforts. Finally, I got an arm free and jabbed back into him with an elbow. Rocking back, he lost hold by sheer momentum. I scrambled to my feet.
Knowing that running wasn’t an option, I faced him with hands balled tight. “Very good, doll face.”
“I’m not your doll face anymore,” I said, trying to keep him off balance with my words.
Facing off, his stance with legs spread shoulder width and one foot forward, suggested he was ready to leap at me any moment. “Oh you’re a doll alright. Flawless face, silky hair, amazing tits. You’re like brunette Barbie.”
“You’re no Ken,” I said.
“No, that’s Luke for you. But I’d make a great rock star doll. Can you image it with a mohawk and all? The kids would love it.”
“They don’t make X-rated dolls for kids.”
“So true,” he said. “They probably couldn’t make pants to fit my—”
“You are so hard to deal with,” I said.
“That’s what she said.”
Shaking my head, I saw an opening and kicked out. But he grabbed my leg. “Bad move. Never open with a kick. A true fighter will see that coming a mile away.”
Surprising us both, I sacrificed my foot and kicked out with my other leg going down in the process, but I was rewarded by connected with his thigh. He went backwards letting go of my foot. I got to my feet quickly.
“Good,” he said. “What you need to remember is that in most situations you will be out classed.”
“That’s complimentary,” I said.
“It’s true. Most likely they will be better than you in some way. Faster, stronger, or better trained. What you have is the element of surprise. They will see you as a succubus, a piece of lovely ass. If it’s a girl, she will most likely be jealous. You have to use that to your advantage and strike only when there is a clear opening or your life is in immediate jeopardy.”
His speech was clear and I relaxed a bit. He hadn’t totally lost it yet. He gave out more pointers and taught me how to get out of holds if I found myself trapped. I was sweaty and panting when he finally said, “You should go get some rest. Maybe sit in the hot tub. It will relax your muscles so you won’t be stiff tomorrow.”
Back top side, I crossed one bridge and ended up lying back on the grassy island in the pool playground catching my breath. I hadn’t had a workout in a while. “Don’t forget the hot tub,” he said before heading over the second bridge and inside the house.
Lying there under the stars, I realized with awe that he’d managed to teach me and keep my mind off my friends. How was Maggie doing right about now? Closing my eyes for a second, I almost drifted off. But then, I remember Flynn’s words and got to my feet. I looked around into the darkened windows of the second level of the house and the ground level ones to see that Flynn wasn’t watching. I peeled off my tank and shorts. He’d seen me in the bikini from earlier, but it felt different now with us all alone. The thing covered less than my normal bra and boy shorts.
Walking over the bridge I headed to the hot tub and sank in. I moaned with the pleasure of soothing my poor aching muscles. I rested my arms on the lip of the edge while the rest of my body was submerged.
So lost, I didn’t register Flynn’s presence until he was in the hot water next to me. “What are you doing?” I asked.
But it was too late, I saw the flicker of blue and he was there kissing me. “Flynn,” I said pulling away.
“Tell me to stop and I will,” he whispered in my ear.
“Flynn,” I said with shallow breaths as he kissed his way down my neck. It felt like he was fate and I was destiny. I swear the temperature of the hot tub was at nuclear levels. My body was a bomb and it was about to go off.
When his fingers released the knot at the back of my bikini, I had a moment, just a second before things went from explainable to the unexplainable. The strings at my hips fell away and I was left exposed. My brain just wasn’t working. And before I knew it, Flynn and I were joined as one. The gasp that escaped me was the only other sound to pierce the darkness.
In that moment, a tear escaped my eye because I’d just crossed a line I could never cross back. “It was meant to be,” he said at some point. It hadn’t hurt as much as I thought it would. In fact, I barely registered pain. And I couldn’t deny the heat between us. But somewhere in my blackened heart, it fissured at the loss of my one true love. He would never forgive this betrayal.
Then it was just over. I opened my eyes and found myself lying on the grass. Fingers were entwined with mine. With more inspection I found myself fully dressed. Yanking my hand away, I sat up. “What was that?”
Flynn sat up leaning back on his arms while I wrapped my arms around my knees. “Don’t worry, nothing happened for real at least.”
Outraged, I got on my knees and leaned over and slapped him. “You dreamwalked me?” He didn’t apologize for what he done. “Hedonistic Licentious Fucktard,” I added.
“Maybe.” Clenching his jaw, he added, “I deserve that, but you didn’t exactly stop me. I gave you an out.”
Viscously, I hauled out to slap him again, but he snagged my hand out of the air. “I had my reasons.”
“What backward reasons could you possibly have to do that to me?” I demanded hearing a tremor in my voice. I wanted to cry. Happy tears or sad I wasn’t sure at the moment. At least I hadn’t completely betrayed Luke. Or had I?
Peeling off his shirt, I narrowed my eyes. “See,” he said pointing to the place where the axe had impaled him. There wasn’t a scar.
“Oh,” I said. A mark had been there even though we weren’t supposed to be able to scar, only to heal. But Flynn hadn’t. “So tell me the truth right now. What the hell has been going on with you? And why are you just healing now?”
On a heavy extended breath, he said, “It started a while ago.” I didn’t speak and he didn’t look like he wanted to tell me this. “You probably already know that full demons of our breed mate with humans to produce offspring. Those offspring are us, Cambions. But we, Cambions can only have children with another kind.” For a long second his eyes stayed on mine. I was about to asked him what when he continued. “And why would two Cambions want to be together if they have to cheat on each other to feed on humans in order to survive?”
Okay, I’d often wondered this. That had been one of my main arguments about not getting involved him if I hadn’t already chosen Luke. He continued, “If two of us fall in love and are destined to be together… don’t look at me like that. It’s not that soul mate thing you girls talk about. Just two people who don’t just like each other, but love… you know.” He waved his hands like he couldn’t explain anymore. “They will create a permanent bond that will allow them to survive off each other and not humans.”
“My mom and your dad?” I asked the first question that leaped into my mind.
“No, my mom and dad were bonded. And it’s a onetime deal. So our parents don’t have that bond.” I gestured for him to move on. I really didn’t want to know about my mom’s sex life.
“So what does that have to do with you?” Because I still didn’t get it.
“Us,” he said deadpan.
My brow arched at his words. “Us… I don’t love you.”
He just looked at me. “Mercy, I know you don’t want to say it. But this isn’t a one way street. You love me on some level or this wouldn’t be happening. I’m not healing because no matter how many human girls I get with, they aren’t you.”
“This isn’t true,” I challenged getting to my feet.
“Your mom and my dad know what’s going on.”
That stopped me. “But you said you lied when you told me that you loved me.”
“What the hell else am I supposed to say to my best friend’s girlfriend?”
That gave me pause. “So how do we stop it?” There was no need to argue the semantics of this. He no longer had any shadows under his eyes. So clearly dream walking with me worked when it hadn’t with anyone else.
“I tried. I needed to be away from you. I left to go that demon school and there you were coming after me. I tried to stay and you and Sebastian forced me to come back. You even came for me before you went for Luke. So tell me you don’t love me.”
I turned away. I couldn’t love Flynn. I wouldn’t be with Flynn. “So instead of telling me what was going on, you just dreamwalked your way into my pants.”
“I was dying Mercy. I tried very hard to stay away from you. But instinct took over even when I forced myself away.”
“I can’t do this with you, Flynn. I love him.”
“Don’t you think I know that? You’ve told and showed me just how much,” he said bitterly.
“So we need to be apart. We will find away to not see each other.”
“I’ve been trying with everything I have to stay away from you.”