Authors: Shannon Dermott
Tags: #Juvenile Fiction
Once my eyes landed on the four chairs surrounding the middle of the room, it was easy to know where I was. The Hamptons, in Luke’s father’s library. It only took an eighty degree turn to find him. His blond curls hung in his face while he focused on the book in his hand. He hadn’t yet noticed we were here.
Stepping out of Sebastian’s embrace caused the rustling of fabric to shatter the total silence in the room. Those gorgeous island blues looked up and landed on me with a splash. I wanted to run to him, I’d missed him so much. My eyes were filled with all the emotions I’d felt for the day.
Like a groupie, I took one step before I pounced on him. Leaping, I wrapped myself around him in a web of my love. My legs hook around his waist and he managed to stay standing while I buried my face in the crook of his neck. If today hadn’t shown me anything, it had shown me where my loyalties should lie.
“I missed you,” I said. You would have thought it had been years since I’d seen him. It wasn’t. However, he wasn’t around much and was always preoccupied of late.
Kissing my temple through the curtain of my hair, he said, “I’ve missed you too.”
Slowly, I untangled myself from him. Gently, he let me stand on my own while helping me keep my balance. When I turned, Sebastian was gone. Grateful, I didn’t comment about his departure. “You wanted to see me?” I said and looked back up at him.
“Always,” he said and made me smile. Just when I thought he would launch into the explanation of why he had me brought here, he did something else. Capturing my lips, he kissed me with all the passion that said he still in fact loved me even though his reason for being here had all to do with me condemning him to damnation. And yet his lips weren’t the first I had kissed today. I didn’t deserve him. I knew it and was waiting for him to figure it out.
“I found something,” he said, holding out his hand. I took it and he led me over to the four chairs. I sat in one, cross-legged forgetting I was only wearing a tee shirt.
He sat next to me in another of the big high back leather chairs. I uncurled myself and moved to sit on his lap. Slightly shocked, he adjusted himself so I could get comfortable. I missed being close to him. I had been so used to sleeping with him at night I was having a hard time doing so without him. As selfish as it was, I needed to be close to him. I needed the reminder of him pressed close to me. I needed to push all thoughts other than him, rather either of them, out of my mind and focus on Luke.
“I want to show you something,” he said, coaxing me out of curling into him like a baby. He was warm and still smelled like summer, a clean breeze off the sea untainted by pollution, the same color of his eyes.
Turning so half my back was on his chest and the other in the hook of his arm, my underwear clad bottom made contact with his lift off. For just a second, I felt powerful. Three guys and each time, something in my feminine wiles had set them off. Was it me or would it be like that for any girl, I wondered? His arm moved downward as he gripped my waist with a groan. “Mercy, you’re making things very hard to concentrate.”
A giggle escaped. I hadn’t meant it, but there it was. Moving around, I straddled him and kissed his mouth with all the pent up energy that was in me. In the distance, I heard a thud and knew the book he’d held bit the dust. Both his hands were on my waist and dipped under my tee shirt. His thumbs gently kneaded my bare flesh. Then, his fingers began to make their way up my back. A little past midway, his hands stilled. Cursing, he said, “No bra.”
My hovering lips curled into a smile. “No bra.”
Like a curtain after the final act, his eyes slid shut. “You realize we are alone.” After I nodded my agreement, he said, “We should stop before there isn’t any stopping.”
“I don’t want to,” I confessed. The time had come and I was so done with my virginity. It was like the bane of my existence. Added to that, Flynn’s near death experience only reminded me of how close to death we all were. I could die at any time with all the attempts being made on life in the past couple of months. And worse, Luke could die.
There were a few things I knew for sure. One was I wanted Luke to be my first. I truly loved him with all my heart. There was no denial of that. The other boy, the lost one, had my feelings muddled. Could one person love two boys? I wasn’t clear. I was sure that Luke would accept the one gift I had to offer like it was more precious than anything with the exception of my life. He would treasure that gift and treat it with care. Flynn had probably popped more cherries than I had fingers. And Sebastian, as much as he was right about a lot of what he said, I didn’t love him. I was very certain of that. He’d been a good friend, but that was it. And Paul, there might have been a time where I thought he could be the one. That time had long passed.
Hands filled with strength and love stopped caressing me. Falling away like stones on a mountain, he pulled on the sides of the shirt and released. “Were you dressed when Sebastian came to get you?”
The menace in his voice gave me pause. I nodded furiously and watched his eyes cloud over with a hurricane of dark emotions. I felt my Luke slipping away and the one I had created emerge. His hand drifted up between my breasts without touching. He pinched the fabric, pulling a bit again and released. “Why are you only half dressed? It’s the middle of the day.” The accusation hurt. Before I could speak, he asked, “Where was Flynn?”
Scrambling off his lap, I stumbled to my feet. “In his room, I guess,” I said, trying to hold back my own anger. In my head, I repeated
this isn’t my Luke
several times, trying to calm down.
Standing, he towered over me looking very pissed off. “You haven’t answered me. Why weren’t you dressed?”
“I was sleeping, okay!” I yelled. Then in words meant to hurt, I said, “I haven’t been sleeping well without you.”
The pinched expression he held began to fade away. The darkness within him began to recede. Bending over, he picked up the book. When his eye met mine again, they were no longer the churning waters of an ocean brewing a storm.
He ran a hand through his hair. “I’m sorry Mercy. Sometime I can’t help it. I love you so much it hurts.” His fingers pushed my hair behind my ear. His thumbs caressed my mouth. His touch sent shivers through me.
“I love you too.”
Nodding, he picked up the book from the floor. Then he flipped furiously to get to a page. As if the past few moments hadn’t happened, he pointed, “See here.” What I saw was a bunch of gibberish. He watched me and said, “You probably don’t read Latin.” I shook my head. “I’ve been looking through books about Succubi.” He looked back at the book, but not before I caught the slight guilt in his eyes. The cure for the damnation I’d bestowed on him would obviously be in books about my species. “And I came across this.” Pointing again, I looked because he wanted me to.
“It talks about someone who should have been born without a soul stopping something like the apocalypse,” he said, eyes focused on the book in front of him.
Stumbling back, it felt like his words shoved me. “What does it say exactly?” Only holding myself up with the possibility of truth and answers, I waited.
“Well, it translates something like this,” he began.
The damned shall begot the damned.
And so it will come to pass with a
soul not it’s own and will be protected
by heaven and hell alike
Hell’s vehicle shall prove itself worthy
of the gift of a soul through an act
so selfless as it will call unto the heavens
And so it will be born to save all
from rivers of demons flowing like water
through the street of the earth
spreading corruption and death to all
stopping prophesied darkness upon the earth.
Not totally sure of the entire meaning, I understood enough. “That’s not me,” I denied. “It can’t be.”
Luke looked at me through a veil of pity so apparent it pissed me off. Shoving at him, my frustration poured through my limbs like concrete. Yet he was unmoved. What was it with these rock solid boys? Tossing the book to the reading table, he took my hands and wrapped me in his heartfelt embrace. “Mercy, I know it’s a lot to bear. I have my own cross.”
Closing my eyes, I wasn’t sure of what he meant. All I knew was that I wasn’t worthy of such things. I’d made such a mess of my own life. How in the world could I possibly stop the apocalypse? I wasn’t that girl. “It’s not me.”
“You can’t deny the facts,” he started. Pushing him, I turned away with no destination in mind. I just needed to get away from his truths. “I tried that and look where it got me.”
Swiveling around like I got slapped, I saw the pain on his face. “You’re right. I’m poison. Look what I did to you. You deserve so much better than me. Sebastian is right. I should let you go.”
Stepping forward, he held out a hand, “No.” He shook his head.
My backwards step was not enough for his advancing movement. Spinning on my heels, I did what I did best and fled the room with tears that burned like hell’s lava. My transgressions weighing me down, I didn’t get far.
Scooping me in his arms, he whispered words that should ease my pain. “Not you. Me, what I did to ignore what I was and who I was meant to be. You are my shining achievement. The love I feel for you could never be wrong. You make me want to deserve you.”
Not wanting to cry but unable to stop it, I said, “But I damned you.”
“No, I damned myself.” He sighed and ran a hand through his curls. When they fell back where they started I had an urge to put my own hands there. I hadn’t known I moved until he stopped me. “Mercy, you can’t hide from this. It’s better if you face it head on. Learn from my mistakes.”
“Yeah, and how am I supposed to save the world? I’m just a girl who can kill humans with a kiss?” It was a reasonable question. I didn’t have any special powers that I knew of. How was I supposed to stop demons from entering this plane of existence?
Lacing his fingers with mine, his eyes solid on me, I could feel his love physically and emotionally. “There is more to you than meets the eye. We both know this. You have the ability to borrow the abilities of other beings.”
I paused giving it some thought. “No, you guys pushed your power to me.”
In a move so fast I didn’t have time to brace for it, he pressed his mouth to mine. Normally, this would be welcome. But it wasn’t feverish kisses he was after. Power flowed into me igniting my other half. I was thrown back and out of control. It’d been a while since I’d found myself in that position and one I didn’t relish.
“Wait, stop,” I breathed.
“You need to see that you can do it,” he said.
Panting, I said, “No, I feel you pushing the power at me.”
Shaking his head, he said, “That’s not me. I’m just kissing you.” And he began again.
It was amazing. His life force was strong and brought me alive. I felt as though my power grid was reset. Every sense was heightened. I felt each thread of his shirt against my hand. I tasted coffee on his tongue, hazelnut.
A corner of my mouth tilted up in a half grin that wasn’t my making. “Well, look who brought the cat out to play,” my demon said through my lips.
His eyes swirled and darkened as if to match the darkness that spoke to him. “McKayla.”
“Yes, who else.”
His lashes cast shadows under his eyes for how low they were. Licking his lips, he said, “I was expecting you.”