Authors: Shannon Dermott
Tags: #Juvenile Fiction
Maggie came into the room later unable to find Brent. I hadn’t found Luke either. There was nothing we could do but wait because none of them had answered their phones. She told me some of the details of her reunion with Brent. It consisted mostly of talking but course they’d made out a lot. She said they didn’t go all the way, but I had a feeling it wouldn’t be long.
In the back of my mind, I wondered where the boys went. They weren’t in the house or out back. Still, talking to Maggie felt like old times. I didn’t tell her about dreamwalking with Flynn. I loved her and she claimed to understand my split feelings as she had her own. But she was back in Brent’s corner and I didn’t think she’d get it. I had enough guilt on my own without her adding to it. I did however tell her that I was still in the land of the Vs.
With so much sun and now resting on the bed, I fell asleep along the way. What I didn’t expect was to wake with Flynn looming over me.
Kicking my legs back, I scooted myself to a sitting position in bed. “What are you doing here?” I protested.
The expression on his face changed to incredulity. “Me? I could ask you the same. Why are you in my bed?”
His words awakened me to my surroundings. Like little red riding hood, I realized with horror I was indeed in Flynn’s bed. Not on the island, but back home.
My mouth fell open to sputter for words. “So I say again, why are you in my bed?” Flynn asked.
Some boys would be happy with a girl in their room. Some boys like Flynn. But there was no happiness anywhere in his face. Pushing my legs over the side of the bed, I scrambled to my feet and stormed for the door. I had no memory of coming home but I needed out of there. My mind was focused on my anger, so when I opened his door to nothingness and blinked, it still didn’t dawn on me where I was.
It took a second or two before our hallway materialized in front of us. “You don’t get it do you?” His tone mocked me.
Pissed off at his continual hot and cold treatment me of me, I turned and folded my arms preparing my arsenal of SAT vocabulary for some much needed use.
Concrete filled his expression as he looked down on me from such a distance. “You’re dreaming doll face. And you’ve brought me along.”
The words I’d pushed into my cannon for a mouth fizzled away. Other words spurted out. “Me,” I said pointing at myself. “I’m not the incubus here. Dreamwalking is your territory. So I should ask you why you brought me here in your bed. But of course I know don’t I.” He seemed to cool off a bit, yet I wasn’t done. “If you think I’m going to have sex with you again, think again.”
His face hardened and his eyes darkened like hell had frozen over. “I didn’t bring you here and you participated as much as I did the other night. And what does Golden Boy think about that? Should I prepare myself for his fury?”
Turning away and finding the ground with my eyes, I tapped my foot a second while an open door of space or my imagination filled my back. “I didn’t tell him.”
His chuckle was anything but humorous. “And tell me doll face, why not?”
Narrowing my eyes, I focused on his face forgetting the floor. “Because he deserves so much better than you and me,” I nearly yelled the words. No one would hear me.
In a blink of an eye, he was in front of me, tilting my chin up with his hand. His touch was like kyrpotonite, tearing all my walls down. I needed to be free of him and the spell he had over me. “You’re right about that. Now tell me why you brought me here.”
As if snapping his finger, again his suggestion that I was responsible for this predicament broke through the haze he created in me when I was in his presence. Pushing away from him, I walked back into his room. There was nowhere to run really and maybe we needed to have this talk once and for all. “Again, you act innocent yet we both know incubi are the only ones able to dreamwalk, not succubi.”
Pointing at me, he said, “But you are no ordinary succubus, are you? You can do things none of us can.” That stopped me. He challenged, “You don’t even need to feed like the rest of us. You can absorb power and hell only knows what else.” Making it over to his dream sofa in his dream room, I stood behind it as he walked over. In front of me again, he said, “Only you could date an angel and get away with it.”
“Jealous,” I snarled, not having anything to dispute his words.
“Yes,” he said with no hesitation.
“Really,” I said, my voice filled with menace. “Is that why you continue to try and break us up? I bet you use your compulsion on me to get me to feel the things I do about you.”
“So you admit you have feelings for me now?” he questioned.
“Only of your design,” I said tightly.
His fingertips were on my arm, creating a trail blaze of fire. They coursed up my neck to cup my cheek. It was far too close for comfort. “If your mother only taught you, it would be drilled into your head that we can only make others act, forget, or remember. We cannot create feelings or anything to do with emotions. The things you feel can only be blamed on you.”
Turning away from his touch like I’d been slapped, I tried to move away. His other hand came up capturing my face and I was trapped and forced to look into his eyes. There I found the deep shadows were back. His gorgeousness was marred with the ugly marks of fatigue. “Why do you look like you haven’t fed for weeks?” I asked. His hands fell away. “Who were you with tonight?” I continued because he hadn’t said a thing. “I bet you were with her,” I accused. The blonde. “And I bet she’s doing this to you.”
“You sound like a jealous girlfriend,” he mocked.
“You wish,” I said finally pushing away from him, unable to meet his eyes.
Stopping me with a hand on my arm and spinning me to face him. “You want to know who’s doing this to me?” he asked pointing to his face. I nodded. Answering me, he pointed at my chest with firm but gentle pressure on my skin. I got the feeling he didn’t even realize where his finger landed. “You. You are doing this to me.”
Chin up, I breathed in fire. This was so not me doing this. Flynn said, “Luke doesn’t deserve us and I’m beginning to think we don’t deserve each other.”
“I never wanted you,” I spit out, wondering why we were so connected and not for the first time. We weren’t compatible.
“Yeah, well, tell that to the bond that’s formed between us. Here I thought when I met ‘the’ Cambion girl, my life would change for the better. But it’s only turned into a nightmare.”
“I didn’t ask for this,” I said venomously.
“Then just let me out of this dreamscape.”
“I didn’t put us here,” I said, shoving him. My anger had grown violent. Of course, he didn’t budge. He was like stone. Then something flared in his eyes. Blue flame.
“Need a reason to leave this place,” he said, a moment later he was in my face again. With his hand against the base of my skull, he pulled my head back and leaned down.
“Stop,” I protested, but his mouth descended on mine.
Sputtering, I came awake kicking out.
Luke reached out. “It was only a dream.”
If only he knew. My shame had me pulling from his embrace to sit with my legs dangling over the side of the bed. I faced away from him.
The rustle of fabric said he was moving behind me. The heat of his loving arms around me made me feel worse and colder inside despite it. “Do you want to tell me about it?”
, I said in my head. “No,” came out of my mouth. He would hate me. And I already hated myself.
“Okay,” he said. “It’s still late. You should try and sleep.”
Gently he tried to lean me back. I shrugged him off, got to my feet and turned to face him. I saw that my actions had turned his kindness to embers of fire. His flame was so different than Flynn’s. It was like hell fire. Which only reminded me that I’d put it there. I’d tarnished his existence.
“What’s wrong?” he asked like he was reigning in his anger.
“Nothing,” I answered way too quickly. “I’m just a little freaked out.” And I was.
“Are you sure?” he asked knowingly. I’d flinched from his touch and he’d felt it, I was sure. How to explain? It’s not you, it’s me. That was lame and even I knew it. It felt wrong to be with him until I was honest about what I’d done. He was better than me, better than all of us.
He got up. He was shirtless with just long shorts to cover him. His lean muscled frame was superb. Flynn maybe the most beautiful guy I’d ever seen, but Luke was also spectacular.
“Do you want me to leave?” he asked, standing inches from me.
Shaking my head, I couldn’t speak the words. He stepped over to me and put his hand up to cup my cheek. The movement reminded me of Flynn and I closed my eyes tightly and turned my head. When his touch never came, I opened my eyes to see he had silently moved back a step.
His hands were in fists at his sides. His eyes were half lidded but not in a good way. If it were possible, steam would be coming out of his ears. Not speaking, he turned and walked out of my room. I could have cried out. I could have stopped him. Instead, I just watched him walk away.
I crumbled at the sound of my door closing. He didn’t slam it. And that only hurt worse. I slid my way down to the floor in disgrace. My pain engulfed me in heartbreak. It felt like the beginning to the end. And I didn’t know if I would survive.
Tears fell like claw marks down my cheek. Their warmth was my only reminder that I was crying; my sobs were silent. They rocked through my body like aftershocks. The earthquake already brought me to my knees. I should get up and go to him and beg forgiveness. But was that right of me. Did I have any right to him?
Finally, I got to my feet realizing what I was giving up. I loved him. He loved me. I padded over to the door and got it opened a crack when I heard two people speaking in the hallway. The murmurs were intelligible. But I did make out the tones of their voices. The first was Blondie herself. The second…was Luke.
Freezing, I held the door at a crack unwilling to barge through like the jealous girlfriend I’d become. Then, I watched in horror as they passed my door headed somewhere… together. Trust, I told myself. But then again, I’d just given Luke every indication that I didn’t want him. Had I broken up with him without saying the words? I wasn’t sure. This was my first real boyfriend. Paul and I hadn’t really been officially boyfriend and girlfriend. And we hadn’t broken up after I’d nearly killed him. It had just been understood. Is that what happened now? Did he understand that I’d broken up with him? Not that I had. But my actions did speak louder than words.
Confused as what to do next I stood frozen at the door. Part of me wanted to follow. And the other part of me was afraid to. I didn’t want to know if they ended up hooking up. In the end, I thought it was better not to know. I closed the door and fell back on my bed. My tears were my only company. My eyes eventually drifted shut. And in them, I found the peace I needed.
Waking again, I knew instantly I was in a dreamscape. It wasn’t the same as before. I turned around doing a three sixty to see I was standing atop a mountain. Sunshine filled my vision. Green was everywhere with blue circling it. When my revolution stopped I stood where I’d begun. He stood watching me.
“Grandfather,” I said.
Quirking a brow, he watched me. I hadn’t caused this dreamscape.
“I brought you,” he said as if he plucked the thought from my mind. “I did. It seems Julie has kept you in the dark about a great many things. We incubi can hear all your thoughts in dreams.”
My chest constricted. “Yes, your Flynn would know all your thoughts. Even the ones you keep hidden from yourself.”
It was balmy in my dream. I couldn’t, however, stop the chill that came over me. I wrapped myself in my arms. “I’d be happy to school you in everything you need to know.”
Answers. My heart leaped at the idea. “You’d help me.”
A sardonic grin spread over his handsome face. “Why yes, my dear. You deserve the truth.” Wasn’t that a true statement? “But of course, there would be a price.”
That stopped my happiness. “You would charge me?”
“Nothing in life is free,” he said, answering my unspoken question.
It didn’t seem to matter that I knew he could hear my thoughts. I couldn’t stop them from coming. “Why my little dove, you forget I’m not human. I don’t possess the emotions you think I should have. You are of my lineage, which garners you a far less price than I would charge others for the answers you seek.”
Sebastian. Was he this cold? “Ah, yes, the Prince. A deceiver if ever there was one.”
I didn’t believe him. Sebastian had saved me and given me advice more than any other person, if I was honest with myself. “Ask yourself,” my grandfather said. “What is his end game? Does he not seek something from you as well? He just chooses to pay you in advance.”
I didn’t want to play his game any longer. “What do you want from me?” I nearly yelled. I wanted to scream out of frustration. I was tired of being manipulated, lied to, and dragged into things that weren’t my making. I didn’t ask for this life.
“Mercy,” a voice came. “Mercy.”
Opening my eyes, I saw Maggie crouched over me. “What?”
“You were screaming,” she said with concern. “Luke heard you and sent me to check on you.”