Authors: Shannon Dermott
Tags: #Juvenile Fiction
The next days at school were pretty uneventful. It had been hard to say goodbye to Luke that morning. He was off on his quest to neutralize the stain I’d put on his soul. He left on his own because we still hadn’t gotten in touch with Sebastian. Maggie was out with Brent and I was on alone. Lying on my bed, the TV hadn’t been enough to keep me out of my own head.
A crash in the hall had me bolting upright. After a couple days off, in which she watched me like a mother hen, Mom was back to working the overnight shift. For someone who had me on punishment, she wasn’t home much in the evenings. And when she was, she was always so angry, I’d been avoiding her wrath as much as I could.
Another crash and I headed for my door. A demon hunter could have gotten, maybe even two or three, but I wasn’t afraid. Since the house was warded against them, I’d ruled out demons and left the dagger where it was. I’d kick ass without it. And if it came down between the humans and my family, I’d do what I had to do to protect my own. There was no other choice.
Stepping into the hall, I saw a lump of a figure on the floor. Beating feet in time with a staccato of my heartbeat, I was crouched in front of the lying figure in a matter of seconds.
A bubble of laughter wafted me with an unpleasant bouquet of liquor and smoke—what I imagined a pool hall smelled like. Sitting back on my heels, I looked down at him. He wore no coat but a faded blue tee shirt that said
She Wants to Sleep With Me
, with arrows around the words pointing in all directions. Right, what more should I have expected except it was most likely entirely true. And his jeans-clad legs were sprawled out in front of him.
Now that I knew who it was, I looked around; a table that used to sit in the hall with a decorative vase was toppled on its side due to a missing leg. The vase, however, had survived. It had rolled across the hall—probably one of the thuds I’d heard. The heavy thing was made of strong stuff and would make a good weapon. I wondered quickly if that’s why David had it out here. It looked harmless enough, but could take someone out with a crack over the head.
“Meerrccyy,” Flynn slurred, still laughing to himself, like he’d made some inside joke.
“Flynn, get up, you need to sleep this off.” I took his bicep in my hand, intending to help haul him to his feet. His skin was ice. “Flynn, get up, you’re really cold. You need to get in bed.”
Looking up at me with innocent eyes, he said, “You know how long I’ve waited for you to say that?” Then he busted out laughing again.
Sighing and rolling my eyes, I tried to have patience but failed. He was drunk and prone to anything. And with Flynn that meant the crude remarks would only get worse. He pushed up on to his elbows but slid back to the floor. If I were looking in the mirror, I would have surely seen my face go ghostly white. His movement triggered a memory of him dying on the floor not too long ago. Sucking in a breath, I got angry. “Flynn, get up. Stop your tomfoolery. You can’t sleep on the floor.”
His eyes too had lost the drunken lunacy and in its place I saw fear. “Webster, I can’t, I can’t get up.” He sounded way more sober. At first the sudden reappearance of that nickname didn’t register. My words quickly replayed in my head. I’d meant to call him foolish, instead I used a word from my SAT studies which meant the same. Shaking my head, in any other circumstance I might have relished his pet name for me. In most ways, I preferred it over
. But fear lanced through me. “What’s wrong?”
“I don’t know. I feel numb, paralyzed.” His words rang out a little garbled, laced with a healthy dose of distress and a dash of dismay. Flynn certainly wasn’t a coward and he sounded afraid. He had to be telling the truth. To admit he was weak in any way wasn’t in his nature.
Adrenaline allowed me to strong arm him in a tug of war. Taking control, I realized he had moved. So he wasn’t paralyzed. “Where were you tonight?” I asked. I needed to understand what caused this. I wasn’t a doctor, but being around my nurse of a mother had taught me a few things.
“Where do you think I was?” he asked. Some of the humor was back in his eyes.
“Just tell me without giving me the gory details,” I said, before rolling my eyes. He was breathing, so I allowed the back and forth of words. Although he claimed paralysis, he didn’t seem like he was on the edge of death.
“Nothing I do is gory. Every girl except you loves it when I give them my attention,” he said, with a wicked grin that would in fact stop many hearts. I ignored it.
“Apparently, you only spend time on planet Moron. Because the girls you deal with are clueless.” We weren’t getting anywhere. I couldn’t get him to his feet. I took Flynn’s wrist in my hand. With two fingers on his pulse point at his wrist, I tried to count beats.
His head flopped from side to side, like he was dizzy on his feet only he was flat on the floor. “Your right, I am a moron for falling for a girl I can never have.”
Closing my eye, I breathed through the riot in my heart. I loved Luke. But I couldn’t deny the tiny thrill of his words. Was he admitting again that he loved me? I tamped that down. Tomorrow, he would blame it on being drunk. And it didn’t matter anyway; he was right. We could never be together.
Yanking my hand away, I realized I hadn’t really felt his pulse at all. His neck was preferable but I hadn’t wanted to go there. In his irrational state, he would most likely pull me down on top of him and that wouldn’t be good. Just because I wouldn’t ever do anything with Flynn that would jeopardize my relationship with Luke, didn’t mean that I was totally unaffected by him. Still I leaned over and placed my finger on his jugular vein at his throat. This time, he sat still only watching me as I tried to find something. Very faintly, I did. It wasn’t strong. If he’d been human, he probably wouldn’t be conscious.
Pierced through with trepidation, I moved both my hands to the hem of his shirt and pushed up with as much detachment as I could. What I did notice beside the hard plains of muscles was that his skin underneath his shirt was just as cold as his uncovered arms. Uneasy goosebumps crawled over my skin from more than the chilliness under my hands. “Well, if I knew you wanted me naked, I would have helped you out,” Flynn said. His voice held flippancy but lacked volume.
With no other option, I straddled his legs and ignored his comment. The faint beat pulsed through my ear as I lay my head against his chest. Then I raised my head up and looked into his eye but they were closed now. I tapped the side of his head with my palm trying to rouse his shadowed eyes. “What,” he said. “Just give me a minute and I’m sure I can get it—”
“Flynn, when was the last time you fed?” I asked when his eyes opened. I hoped I cut off the rest of his sentence. I didn’t want to hear it.
Looking bewildered, he blinked his eyes several times before saying, “I was with Sara tonight.”
Blondie. She said she was like me. Was she a succubus? Without thinking about the consequences, I pressed my lips to Flynn’s which felt very much like last time. Instead of taking, which my DNA was programmed for, I gave. I pushed what I had into him.
It didn’t take long for his arms to circle me and his mouth to part giving me entrance. I pushed once more giving him a jolt of what I had before I rolled off him panting. His embrace lack strength. It had been too easy for me to get away.
“If you wanted to kiss me, all you had to do was ask,” Flynn said, bringing my attention back in his direction.
With dark pools of color under his eyes, I knew he wasn’t out of the woods. “Can you get up?” I asked while pushing myself up. It was harder than I expected. I’d given him a lot of me. I hadn’t feed, so it wasn’t like I had much more than my human side to offer.
On my feet, I watched him as he rolled and push up with his forearms. His muscles corded and tightened as he gathered his feet under him. Damn if he still wasn’t a beautiful sight in a vulnerable state, probably more so.
When he stood, a weight fell away from me. He wasn’t on the verge of death any longer. But when he took a stumbling step, I knew I would have to do more. Opening the door to Flynn’s room, I ushered him inside. Over to his bed, I dropped him off like a sack of potatoes. “Wait here,” I commanded and ducked out of the room before he could protest.
With Luke out of the country, courtesy of a private plane, I knew my call wouldn’t connect but I dialed his number anyway, even if only to talk to his voicemail. I left him a message detailing what I’d found, done and was about to do.
Once inside my own room, I headed straight for the bathroom and assessed myself. Brief blooms of dark sprang under my eyes. I understood a part of myself I hadn’t before. Damn my mom for her lack of training. I felt tired, the exhaustion building up steadily. I was low on energy from giving all I had to Flynn.
The look of bruising had been so pronounced under his eyes, you’d have thought he’d been knocked around a few times by a heavy weight champ. It was clear Flynn was suffering from lack of feeding. Guilt was like a mirror, following me with a mocking glare. Something was wrong and no one was doing anything about it. I’d ignored it, wanted to keep my distance. I needed to make sure Luke knew even if he might not get my voicemail in time. Flynn would die if I didn’t do something.
Brushing sleep tangles out of my hair, I thought about the harsh reality of how far was I willing to go to save his life.
After brushing my teeth and washing my face, I added some shimmer to my lips with my
gloss. Then I pulled my hair up in a slick ponytail, the quickest solution. It was late, but I needed to look decent for what I had planned.
Shrugging out of my shirt, I hooked on a bra on and took off my pale blue Juicy pants. I was bent over sliding one leg into a pair of skinny jeans when Flynn walked in unannounced with my bottom pointed up in the air in invitation.
Frozen, neither of us were willing to speak. I grumbled searching for the right epithet to hurl at him. I didn’t let another second pass before I swiveled around, teetered over and landed my backside on the floor. “Don’t you know what a closed door means?” I asked still pondering the best word to confuse him.
“Don’t you know how to lock a door if you don’t want someone to enter?” he said sounding a lot better but barely keeping his eyes on my face before they blazed a trail down my body. “White.”
His clarification of the color of my underwear, as if I didn’t know, made mortification bloom in my cheeks. “Get out,” I yelled.
“Where are you going?” he asked. His eyes narrowed and his consternation was evident. Frown marked were etched on his face. I looked to see his hands were balled in fist.
“Nowhere, if you don’t get out of my room.” Only when his gaze strayed south of my face and north of my stomach did I remember, I only wore a bra. I covered my chest immediately.
“Too late for that love,” he said softy, still focused on my chest.
? I realized I’d only managed to put the girls more on display. Spinning, I turned my back on him and pulled out the first shirt I could reach. Over my head and through my arms, I turned around to see him still there.
“I’m not your love,” I said, pushing my other leg in my pants and hobbled to my feet, pulling up my jeans at the same time.
“Yeah, don’t I know,” he muttered.
As I hopped around from foot to foot pulling on skin tight jeans, I fell on my back forced to use leverage to pull them over my non-existent hips. My jeans begged to differ on that point.
Buttoning the top after zipping, I got to my feet and glared at him.
No thank you
. Folding my arms still remembering his burning eyes on me, I said, “Can you please leave so I can finish getting ready?” My tone was pleasant because threats hadn’t worked.
“Where are you going?” he asked.
Drawing a deep breath, I said, “
are going to Georgetown.”
His hand grabbed the door frame as he swayed on his feet. Knowing my words hadn’t elicited that response, I moved forward a bit before fierce blue storms stilled my feet. At least
show no weakness
was back in his eyes. His helpless look from before had nearly torn my heart apart.
“Why?” he asked, breathing hard. His eyes closed as his energy waned. What I’d been able to give him was wearing off entirely too quickly.
There were many things I could say to cut his ego to lows he’d never experienced before. However, I wasn’t that mean. “I need to power up and I can’t go out alone.” He’d know why my energy was low, but he wouldn’t figure that I was trolling for prey so he could get energy too. I knew it would take more than one human to clear the murky color under his eyes that stared at me like an ugly stain. It only reminded me again that I was the cause of so much strife to those around me.
His pride wouldn’t allow him to tell me he was too weak to babysit me. Even if he was well enough to protest that, I was doing this for him. The way his white knuckled hand clung to the doorframe like a life line was enough of an indicator that he was barely holding himself up. “What if I say no?”
“Then I’ll go by myself,” I lied. Reaching in my drawer, I searched for one of the few shirts that I owned that didn’t totally cover me up. Finding a blood red top, I grabbed it and tried not to think about the comparison to vampires and my kind. I headed to the bathroom because I wasn’t going to ask a drained Flynn to leave one more time.
“Wait,” Flynn uttered. I turned to meet his cool blue stare. We stood there for lingering moment in a stare down contest. He was vulnerable and I planned to get him what he so desperately needed.
Silently, I entered my bathroom with a heavy heart. Leaning against the door, I swallowed my fears from seeing him like that. Need was weighing him down. I had no idea how this night would end up, but I wouldn’t let him suffer. How could I?