Authors: Shannon Dermott
Waiting for Mercy
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
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Copyright © 2012 Shannon Dermott
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To my family for just being
To Danyele Johnson, my beta reader and junior editor, thanks will never be enough.
to sneak away and hide
Today had to be the second-worst day of my life. The brilliant blue sky filled up the picture window with not one cloud to mar the pristine view. By all accounts, today was going to shape up to be simply beautiful. The promise of the day didn’t fill me with hope, instead I found myself sitting at the breakfast counter in the kitchen sulking. My mother oblivious to my mood or so it seemed, moved about the kitchen liked she really owned the place. She and I knew better. Her culinary skills were limited to breakfast, and today I obliged her in favor of sulking. What I wanted was nothing more than to play sick, hide and not go to school.
I closed my eyes, willing myself to find my resolve to make it through the day. But closing my lids only brought a flashback of the dream I’d been having for the last two months.
The dream, even the memory of it, wormed its way through my mind. Reliving it, I looked at my arm. Even though only a figment of my imagination, I could feel his fingertips slid up my arm like silk making my heart race and my breathing stop. With my eyes closed, I could sense his breath mingling with my skin like perfume at the base of my neck. I let out a small exhalation of air. My body responded to that touch feverishly more like molten flame. His kiss, although feather light, wasn’t sweet. There was a ferocity that was unbridled. I looked into his summer blue eyes wishing he could read my thoughts. Before I have a chance to speak or hear his voice, the memory shattered with the sound that came from my left.
My mother’s voice drew me back to the present. My eyes opened. “Mercy, don’t sulk. It’s going to be a great day. You’ll see,” she said while patting my head. Somehow the gesture only made me feel like a good dog following her will.
Things had gone back to semi-normal between us only because I’d stopped asking questions. There wasn’t a point to it. She’d told me, in no uncertain terms, that she’d tell me when the time was right. It didn’t matter anyway because I think I gained some control over the demon that lived inside me.
With my fists on my cheeks and my elbows planted on the counter, I met her eyes with the broodiness I felt. I couldn’t stop myself from lashing out. “You’re only saying that because I’ve sworn off boys again.” The petulant tone of my voice was venomous at best.
Her face filled with compassion, which only deepened my foul mood. “Mercy, it’s for the best,” she said, trying to placate me.
I rolled my eyes and looked around the kitchen that was still so foreign to me. I missed our old house where I knew just where everything went. This kitchen belonged to Flynn and his dad, David. Well, that was true until this past weekend. The wedding made everything official. I was never again going to live in our tiny little house that had been my home for the past seventeen years. However, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I’d found a rhythm in this new space. Cooking was my only solace and all that I really had
that made me happy these days. So I’d adapted, giving in again because I really had no choice in the matter.
I shifted my head slightly when my new roommate walked in. Flynn, the resident bad boy at our school, was pure lust on a stick. I could only be grateful he wasn’t walking around half naked like he normally did. His height had him dipping his head in the refrigerator to look for something. His faux Mohawk styled in that sexy messy hair perfection look galled me. When he stood up again, I saw he wore a navy long-sleeved shirt and dark wash jeans. His sleeves were pushed up to the elbow and he looked like a walking ad of high fashion. Even I had to admit he was gorgeous as always this morning.
When the succubus stirred inside me, I sucked in a breath and maybe a little too loudly. Flynn turned his attention back to me before I could hide my expression. He knew he looked good and gave me a sly smile to show that he saw I noticed. When our eyes locked, I turned my head away but not soon enough.
Hate was a strong word, but I had truly hated him for being so arrogant. The girls in the school didn’t help either. We were juniors and you’d think they would be used to him now. But no, they stopped, stared, and parted to give him room to walk or rather swagger. And he would just smile lifting his winter blue eyes in that way he did to show his confidence and expectation that all eyes would be on him.
Opening my fist, I covered my eyes with my hand. I cringed thinking about how I succumbed to his charms just yesterday. For some reason, I’d gone outside to ask Flynn a question. The memory rushed back like the water he’d been using to wash his new car. Well actually, the mammoth thing was a humongous SUV. He’d totaled yet another car, one which he didn't have that long. That one had been a replacement for a previously wrecked vehicle. And like everything else, he’d been rewarded no matter his actions. This time he earned himself a Hummer H2 despite his careless behavior. It doesn't seem fair, but David had a blind eye when it came to Flynn. To hear David tell his reasons for getting him a new car, he wanted his son protected. I couldn’t help but wonder who was protecting the rest of the population with Flynn behind the wheel.
With my eyes closed underneath my hand, I let the events of yesterday afternoon take root in vivid color. It had been a warm pre-spring day, and Flynn was taking advantage. He was washing his car even though it would have been easier to take it to be professionally done. Boys and their cars, I didn’t understand it. When I’d walked outside and saw him, my mind went completely blank. I forgot my question while taking in his appearance.
“What’s up?” he’d asked me, looking up from his crouch position with a crooked half grin.
“Um,” I said desperately trying to remember what I’d wanted. My eyes were glued to an eight pack of well-defined muscles in his abdomen. How did I know there were eight? Because I counted them. I blinked several times trying to regain my composure. I hated myself for being flustered at his attractiveness. He got enough of that at school. I didn’t want to add to his ego. I tucked my hands in the pockets of my cutoff shorts I’d worn to take advantage of a little sun. Stupidly, I said, “You need some help?”
His grin only widened. The next thing I knew, he stood and had the spray nozzle of the water hose pointed at me like a weapon. At once, my hands were in the air in a gesture for leniency. Almost immediately, my too thin cotton tee-shirt was sopping wet. He laughed. I lunged. We both ended up in the grass tussling over the water hose. We rolled a few times while the water still sprayed us, only making us magnets for grass clippings. Rapidly, they were pressed all over us like green fur. Just when things might have gotten awkward with us rolling on the ground together, I managed to wrench the hose from him. My victory was most likely because he’d been caught up in a fit of laughter at my anger. I pushed away from him, fumbling to my feet. Clicking off the hose, I managed to keep it aimed it at him. I used my free hand to wipe strands of my wet hair from my face.
Panic crept over me when something in his eyes changed. The playfulness that had been in the air now seemed to be gone. His stare, almost primal, looked hungry.
“Flynn, if you take one more step,” I barked.
He cracked a boisterous laugh and said, “What are you going to do?” His voice was low and gruff. His grin was cunning and telling. Frosted blue eyes gleaming like icicles, promising me what could be. And I knew all too well what that was. I’d kissed him on more than one occasion and it wasn’t a hardship. But I was still in love with his best friend, something we both needed to remember even though Luke and I were no longer together.
He took a tentative step. “Don’t make me hurt you,” I said, as if that would stop him. My hands shook slightly because I was afraid. Afraid of myself. Afraid if he stepped forward, then he might do something we shouldn’t. Would I have the will to stop him?
“What are you going to hurt me with?” he taunted, taking another step forward. His grin said it all. We were cambions which meant we were half human and half demon. He was half incubus, and I was part succubus. But we weren’t created equal. Both his parents were cambions, and my mother was but my dad was human. That meant Flynn like our parents had to survive on the life force of human given through an act of lust, even a kiss. I, on the other hand, didn’t need to feed to survive. For that I was extremely grateful.
Fortunately or unfortunately, our only weapons were lust-related. We were possibly the sorriest supernatural being out there, in my opinion. So two months ago, I began taking self-defense classes. I wasn’t sure that I would ever be able to best a full demon, but maybe I could put up a better fight.
My hands were now steady as I remembered my training. There were a few key moves from my class I’d learned thus far. Flynn was in my range. I matched his step forward and shot my foot in between his. Then quickly, I swept my foot out to the right and forced his foot from the ground resulting in him losing his balance. He wasn’t expecting it and easily went down. I moved to stand over him to gloat. With my triumphant grin at how effortlessly I'd gained an advantage with that simple move, I replied, “That’s what I’m going to do.”