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Chapter Twenty-Two

Graten had flipped every piece of the furniture in the mansion, feeling slightly defeated when he failed to find her there. He was sure that she had vanished into Purgatory, but she would be here at the mansion, right? He wont rest until he finds her.

“Come on Saraid, where are you?” he asks the empty room.

Maybe she’s not even here. She could have just vanished to get away from me. Or maybe when she wound up here, she decided to go out to look for me.

“Hmph, Fat chance,” he mocked himself but decided that seeing if she was at his place was better than doing nothing.

He jogged through the mansion until he found himself seated on his motorcycle. The turn of the key left an echo like thunder in his wake as he went barreling down the old dirt road in the direction of his brewery. If nothing else maybe he will run into her along the way.

As the brewery came into sight, he noticed a familiar car in the lot. He couldn’t place where he had seen it before, but his gut told him that it was Saraid. He opened the throttle, sending his rear wheel to the left before he straightened it back up and gunned it again.

Once he reached the lot, he slowed the bike to a stop, turned the key and hopped off. He let the bike fall to the ground and went racing to the door. Something was off, he could feel it. When he opened the door, the sight that greeted him sent his heart straight into his throat.

“Saraid,” he yelled into the mess that was his brewery, “Saraid, where are you?”

Silence was the only reply. He raced forward, determined to find her and sending prayers to the heavens that he found her alive. There amidst the rubble was Saraid, laying feebly on her side in fetal position.

“Oh, Thank the Gods!”

Saraid turned her eyes to Graten, relief flooding her features. She looked too damn happy to see him. He leaned down to pick her up, noticing just how much weight she had lost in the past five months.

“What have you done to yourself, Saraid. I can barely recognize you. You have got to take better care of yourself!”

“I’m sorry. I’m trying,” her voice cracked.

To see her like this was not something he wanted. He would love to scoop her up in his arms and carry her all over the place, but not like this. If she continued this way, she was definitely going to die, and she would take those bound to her with her. When he reached the door to his apartment, he shifted her slight frame in his arms just enough to reach the knob to turn it just enough to pull the door open.

He sat down on the loveseat, placing Saraid in his lap and covered her with the throw blanket that had been draped on the back of the couch. She nestled her head into his neck.

“Thank you. I was freezing,” she stuttered.

“I could tell. You were cold to the touch.”

She shook violently as she fought to raise her core temperature. He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close to share his warmth.

“I don’t know why but I have a new power and it makes me cold when I use it.”

“What do you mean? What new power,” he asked even though he believed he already knew the answer.

“I can freeze things. James was here. I froze him and then I killed him. A ghost helped me do it.”

Maybe he didn’t know what was going on with her. As the Keeper of Souls, he sees ghosts but only long enough to rebirth them. They have never boosted nor diminished his powers before. This was something he had never seen or heard of before.

“How did the ghost help you?”

“She grabbed my arm and then she disappeared inside of me. Next thing I know, I froze James when he tried to kill me and then I used a piece of wood from the broken barrels and stabbed him. He turned to snow,” she still struggled to get it all out.

He didn’t know what to say. In all of his years as the Keeper, never has a spirit entered him. This was something entirely different and yet remarkably similar. It was time to tell her everything but first she needed to feed.

“Are you feeling any better?” he asked.

She nodded, “A little, yeah.”

He offered her a small nod in return, “Listen, I get you have a lot of stuff going on in that beautiful head of yours and I know you are in a great deal of pain, but Saraid you have got to feed. If you don’t you are going to kill yourself and everyone linked to you. Damon is going crazy back on the mortal plane. He is terrified of losing you. He even gave Wendy a scare.”

She nestled her head back into his neck, “I know. I have been selfish. I didn’t think about what I was doing to Chase and Jax and possibly, Lia-“

“What? What’s wrong?”

“James. I killed James so Liam might be Liam again and now I’m not there. I need to get back there so when he comes to find me, I can be there.”

He let her words sink in, “Wait, you were serious. You actually killed James?”

“Yes, and now I need to get home.”

“I have already traveled to the mortal plane too many times today. I can not return until tomorrow and I am afraid you are too weak to do it alone right now.”

She looked to be lost in thought for a few moments before she sat up in Graten’s lap, “Will you help me? I know I said I wouldn’t use you again and I feel horrible asking, but I have no other choice.”

“If that’s what you want to do than I will help. I know that you will never love me and that’s something I can learn to deal with as long as you are healthy and alive.”

Her guilt returned. She wished she could love him. He was a good man and an attractive one, not that his looks mattered with a heart like his. Taking the chance in toying with his emotions was not something she was looking forward to, but what other choice did she have? Everyone she loves could die if she didn’t do something.

“I’m not in the best of shape right now so please be gentle,” she shamefully whispered.

“I will not hurt you,” Graten vowed and he meant it.

This wasn’t about his feelings or his desire to have her. This was about keeping her alive. It was about wanting more time to sway her in his direction. Sure, that part was for his own selfish need, but mostly he wanted her back to herself again.

His arms cradled her gently so he could lift her from his lap and lay her down flat on the loveseat. Man was it killing him to see her staring up at him with eyes so full of desperation and despair. This isn’t what she really wanted or rather he wasn’t who she really wanted, and he knew that from the beginning. It didn’t make it hurt any less. Maybe one day his love for her would be enough.

He leaned over her, being sure to hold most of his weight above her and placed his mouth upon hers. Her lips were still for the slightest of moments before her mouth answered the call of his own. Her kiss tasted of the sweetest of honey and he found himself addicted to the flavor. Her tongue dipped into his mouth gently stroking against his, solidifying his erection against his now snug denim jeans. In all of his years, he never met a woman who could get a rise out of him with something as simple as a kiss.

He sat up and began to gently pull her nightshirt up over her head, exposing the bareness of her breasts to his greedy eyes. His hands moved precariously over every inch of her upper body, stopping just long enough to pinch her nipples between his thumbs and forefingers. He loved how her back arched, pushing her breasts closer to him. He leaned in and took one into his mouth, stroking it fast with the tip of his tongue. Her moans the verbal indication that she wanted more.

His hand dipped between her legs and massaged its way up and down until he found the hot, sticky, delicious goodness, that was his proof of what she wanted. He did that. Her body responded to him like that and it drove him crazy with need. He looked into her eyes as his thumb circled her clit, sending her into spasm after spasm. He loved seeing her like this. Completely lost within the moment.

Saraid reached down to release the button of his jeans, the task close to impossible with him sending her into another orgasm on the tail end of the last. Her strength was returning slowly, and he could see the change in her appearance as he slid his jeans down over his waist, freeing his bulging erection from its denim prison. Her once sunken eyes now seemed to come alive and regain their usual ivory color.

She wrapped her hand around the width of him and moved it along the length of him first downward and then back up, sending his eyes into the back of his head. The feel of her hands on him was the best feeling he had come to know. He gently moved her hands to the side and pulled her hips up to meet his own.

He started slow, not wanting to hurt her. He pushed himself into her warmth a little at a time, feeling pride at her slight gasp from the intrusion. Her hips began to rock against him, sending him further into her heat until every shred of his control had been shed. She was looking more and more like his Saraid and that was enough to motivate him further.

He slammed his cock deep into her pussy, forcing a cry of pleasure from her throat. She liked it a little rough, that much he learned from their first time together. He was still holding back a great deal out of fear but what he really wanted to do was bury himself inside of her, fast and hard until she came harder than she ever had. The thought sent him spiraling out of control and he began to quicken his thrusts.

He could feel her orgasm coming before it was fully there. The tight walls of her pussy were pulsating around his dick, forcing his seed to spill into her before she had even finished. No way was he going out like that. He always finishes a job. He continued thrusting his now semi- soft erection in and out until it hardened again in response. That was more like it.

Confident that she was strong enough he flipped Saraid to her stomach and slipped himself back inside her dampness from behind. She loved this position, at least she seems to. He grabs a fistful of her hair and slams himself inside her, sending screams into the air around them. Oh, she was getting beater alright. She began to meet his thrusts half-way until her body was overwhelmed with the sensations of her release and his second right behind her first. She collapsed underneath him, panting from the exertion. His heart sank, was she hurt? Did he misread her?

“I’m not hurt. I’m just trying to catch my breath,” she giggled. Her laughter like music to his ears.

“Wait. How did you know what I was thinking?” he asked, honestly confused.

She turned over on the loveseat, so she lay looking up at him, “Because I heard you think it.”

“But how?”

“I can hear you because of this,” she said, pointing to a new image on his right ribcage. The symbol mostly black with a gray detail interwoven into the design. It was the Triquetra. They each glance to her right ribcage to find another Triquetra identical to his own.

“We are now bound together.”

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