Family Ties - (Book 3 of the Marvelous 3 Saga)

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9 - The Visit

“The Shapeshifter can take on any physical appearance. Depending on the originating culture, their forms can vary from animals to ordinary people,” Nicholas explained as he strolled in front of his class.

Kiara sat in the middle towards the back next to Rhea as she listened to Professor Nick’s lecture. She glanced over at Alexander sitting on the other side of the room to find his striking blue eyes watching her. She immediately blushed with an embarrassed smile as she looked down, pretending she didn’t see him. Alexander smirked to see how flustered she became when she met his gaze.

“In Southeast Asian legends, some shapeshifters transform from foxes to maidens who would use their beauty to seduce and kill men,” Nicholas continued.

“So basically, women in general,” one student joked.

“Oh, shut up, loser!” A couple of girls in the class booed him as they threw paper balls at him.

“I’m not even going to touch that,” Nicholas grinned. “In other mythology, shapeshifting is caused by those who hold the power to do so.” Rhea looked up at Nicholas and played with her pencil, her eyes trained on him. “In Greek and Roman mythology, the gods had the power to change the shapes of others as well as themselves. In Celtic folklore, witches and sorcerers would use magic to take on any form they wanted. Often in these stories, they placed curses on the protagonists, trapping them in distorted forms until the curse was broken.”

“There’s a reason why nobody likes witches,” Jenny spoke out. “They’re evil little monsters. No wonder they got burned at the stake right here in New England.”

Rhea glared at Jenny and broke her pencil in half just as Jenny’s chair broke and collapsed to the floor. The class erupted into laughter as Jenny floundered on the ground. Nicholas glared up at Rhea who tried to hide her face behind her notebook. He brought over an extra chair for Jenny to sit in. “Are you alright?” he asked, helping her up.

“Yes...” Jenny muttered flustered as she tried to fix her hair.

“Although witches are historically regarded as evil, they are also known to be a source for good. Provided that they’re seen using their powers... responsibly...” he said. He looked up at Rhea again who rolled her eyes before mouthing a “sorry.”

“But the topic of witches is for another time,” Nicholas said, walking to the front of his desk. Kiara raised her hand. “Yes, Ms. LaFleur?”

“So... a shapeshifter can be a person who turns into a different person or an animal?” Kiara asked her professor.

“Correct.”

“So basically, a werewolf, right? Would they be considered shapeshifters?” she asked.

Nicholas smirked as he locked eyes with her. “Yes, they would.”

“So then, is a werewolf a shapeshifter by choice or via curse from like... a sorcerer or the gods or something?” Kiara wondered.

“The most popular causation for the transformation of man to wolf is seen as a curse,” he answered.

“But by whom?” she asked.

Nicholas smiled as he leaned back against his desk. “Well, Ms. LaFleur, that’s part of your next assignment. I want a 5-8 page research paper on a historical shapeshifter. I would suggest using the library and not the wiki page. I’m talking to you, Mr. Rickards.” The class chuckled as Nicholas walked around his desk. “I’ll see you all on Thursday.”

“I’m guessing you’re going to write on the werewolf,” Rhea said, stuffing her notebook into her bag.

“I don’t know... seems kind of cliche,” Kiara said, heading out of the classroom. “I should watch Underworld for research so I have an excuse to ogle Theo James.”

“Girl, just go to the library. You know you’re dying to,” Rhea teased.

“My favorite place!” Kiara said excitedly as Rhea laughed. “Anyway, I’m excited! Wanna research together?”

Rhea went to speak when she saw Alexander approaching them. “Um... maybe... I’ll let you know. Gotta go,” she said, speed-walking away.

Kiara sighed in frustration, watching Rhea avoid Alexander once again. She turned around to meet his gaze. A bright, white smile immediately lit up her adorable face that warmed him all over.

“Alexander!”

“Kiara...”

She stood on her tiptoes to kiss him, but he quickly stepped back. She looked at him confused. “We shouldn’t be so public, Kiara...” he said to her.

“Oh, is that it...?” she smirked at him.

~

Kiara pushed Alexander against one of the shelves in the library’s empty basement. She wrapped her arms around his neck, kissing him fervently. Her skin felt scorching hot in comparison to his cold fingers that slipped underneath her shirt and held her firmly by her waist. She ran her fingers through his hair as he wrapped his hands around her mocha brown thick thighs and picked her up. Her legs instinctively wrapped around his waist. Alexander felt his intense desire overwhelming him again as he sat her down on one of the tables. His hands selfishly caressed her skin, tracing over every goosebump he elicited from her.

She ran her fingers down his firm biceps and over his chest before sneaking underneath his shirt. She touched his hard abdomen and felt herself pool between her legs. It felt sinful for a man to look and feel as good as he did. Her lips never left his as her nimble fingers played with his belt buckle. Alexander desperately wanted to take Kiara right there on the table. To hear her moan his name. Her arousal was sending his senses into overdrive. But he could feel that uncontrollable urge taking over him again. He quickly grabbed her by her shoulders, gently pushing her back.

She gave him a confused look. “What’s wrong?”

“I... I don’t think the library is the best place to do this,” he said, unable to think of a better excuse.

“There’s nobody here, Alexander,” she giggled, attempting to kiss him again.

“I don’t want you to be late for your next class, Kiara,” he said, reluctantly moving backward. She gave him a disconcerted look. “Let’s meet up after classes. We can... study together,” he added.

She pondered him for a moment before smiling. “Okay.” She hopped off the table and gave him a quick peck on the lips. She grabbed her things and ran up the stairs.

Alexander deeply exhaled as he ran his fingers through his hair. “What the fuck am I doing...”

~*~

Kiara walked to her locker to put some books away when she saw a group of students standing in the corner watching her. They looked rather upset with her. She turned back to her locker and continued sifting through her books when she heard murmuring behind her. She turned around to see Jenny standing there with her arms folded.

“Can I help you, Jenny,” Kiara said dryly, turning back to her locker.

“Not if it’s the same kind of help you gave Jerry Jones,” she said nastily.

Kiara looked at her like she was crazy. “Excuse me?!”

“Everyone feels sorry for poor Kiara. You’re probably the reason he’s dead. You were the last one to see him,” Jenny accused.

Kiara scoffed in disbelief. “I don’t even remember what happened!”

“Sure you don’t,” Jenny mocked before walking away.

Kiara stared wide-eyed, fuming as she watched Jenny and her gang of crows saunter off. She slammed her locker and turned furiously when she bumped right into Leo.

“Woah there, Angel! Where’s the fire?” Leo asked, catching her by her shoulders.

“... Sorry, Leo...” she muttered.

His eyes slightly flickered amber when he caught Alexander’s scent. He hated that her living with the Blackbournes also meant she often smelled like them. He bit back his frustration and urge to say anything when he noticed the distressed look on her face. “You okay?” he asked her concerned. “I heard what happened. I’m so sorry, Angel, that I wasn’t there to protect you.”

Kiara gave a sad chuckle. “There was nothing to protect me from, Leo. Don’t put that on yourself.” Leo fought the urge to say more as he didn’t want to risk Marshala and his brother’s wrath. Kiara frowned as she looked up at him. “Did… did they ever find out what happened to Jerry Jones? I mean... what attacked him?” she asked.

Leo anxiously rubbed the back of his neck. “I think they’re still looking into it, Angel...”

Kiara furrowed her brow as she looked down. “I feel so awful that I honestly can’t remember a thing. It’s like I wasn’t even there. I could have helped him.”

“Hey, hey,” he said, gently grabbing her shoulders. “Don’t blame yourself, okay? It’s not your fault.”

She looked up at him helplessly. “I can’t help but feel guilty, Leo. I didn’t even know the guy,” she sighed.

“Well... if you want, you can visit his memorial,” Leo suggested.

“I’ve kind of been avoiding it for a reason... I feel like everyone keeps staring at me... like... they blame me or something.”

“Don’t take that burden on yourself, Angel. You had nothing to do with it,” Leo assured her.

She looked up at him gratefully. “Would you... go with me? To see his memorial I mean?”

“Of course,” he smiled at her. She latched onto his arm as they headed out of the building.

~*~

Kiara stared at the picture of Jerry for what must have been half an hour. Leo sat on the steps behind, watching her. He played with his hands just to keep down the temptation of wanting to hold her. He felt a sinking feeling in his chest. She was hurting. He could feel it. And she didn’t know why. Leo didn’t agree with his brother or Marshala about how to handle Kiara’s secret. He felt it would do more harm than good. But he was often overruled by the Alpha Wolf and his High Priestess mate. Leo couldn’t wait for the time to make Kiara his mate, not only because he was deeply in love with her, but also because he wanted to help give her a voice she didn’t currently have: a say in her future.

Kiara ran her fingers over various items of the memorial and touched a baseball with his signature on it. Her mind immediately flashed to an image of Jerry opening the classroom door to a large menacing creature. The creature opened its mouth and chomped on his shoulder, ripping his arm off as he screamed in agony.

Kiara shrieked, falling backward onto the floor, knocking over one of the glass picture frames of Jerry. “Angel!” Leo blurted. He quickly got up and ran to her side. She trembled terrified as she looked at the baseball and then at the picture of Jerry smiling. “Angel, are you okay? Talk to me, Angel. Tell me what’s wrong,” Leo said as he grabbed her shoulders.

“Great job, you jerk!” someone yelled at her.

“Like you didn’t do enough to Jerry! You gotta ruin his memorial too?!” another said. She gawked at them in shock as they walked by her, shaking their heads.

“How about you assholes fuck right off! How about that, you dumb pieces of shit?!” Leo snarled at them.

Kiara scrambled to the ground, picking up the picture and broken glass. She could hear people murmuring and looked up to see people looking at her disdainfully. Her eyes started to blur from her tears.

Leo continued to curse people out until he felt a shift in her. He looked down to see her holding broken pieces of the glass frame. “Angel, be careful. You’ll cut yourself. Just leave it,” he said, pushing the broken pieces out of her hand. He looked at her again when she didn’t respond, and it was then that he realized she was crying. “Hey! Hey, come on, don’t cry,” he said, pulling her into his arms.

“Th-they blame me, Leo! They b-blame me for his death!” she cried into his chest.

~*~

Marshala looked up with a smile that quickly turned into a frown when she saw Leo walk into her office, holding a tearful Kiara. “What happened?!” she asked.

“These dumb fucking assholes outside were-” Leo started angrily.

“Leo, please…” Marshala sighed. He was so much like his brother.

“Sorry,” Leo said apologetically. “Kiara’s been having a rough day…. because of those dumb fucking assholes outside,” he said quickly. He carefully sat Kiara down in the chair in front of Marshala’s desk.

Marshala shook her head with a sigh. “Thank you, Leo… you can leave her with me.” Leo looked at Kiara worriedly, not wanting to leave her side. “I got her, Leo. I promise… I’ll take care of her for you…” Marshala assured him. Leo smiled a bit at the tail-end of her sentence. He nodded and respectfully stepped out, closing the door behind him.

“Hey...” Marshala said. She walked over to Kiara and crouched down next to her. “Tell me what’s wrong.”

Kiara wiped her face and tried to compose herself. “I’m used to being the outcast because I grew up without a family,” she said. “I try not to let that keep me down. I try to be optimistic. I try to be a good person. It’s why I went on to become a nurse. So I can help others.” She took a deep breath. “People can be cruel. I get it. I’m pretty freaking weird. But... dammit, this hurts,” Kiara sniffled.

“What are you talking about, Kiara? What’s going on?” Marshala asked.

Kiara breathed out as she tried to gather her thoughts. “Things... have been weird since I got here, Marshala...”

“Like what?”

Kiara looked at her apprehensively. “You’re going to think I’m totally crazy and send my black ass to a loony bin...”

Marshala let out a slight chuckle. “I would never, Kiara. Your feelings are valid. Talk to me,” she encouraged her.

Kiara took a deep breath. “I’ve been... seeing things. Having really weird and disturbing dreams. I mean I used to before but now they’re more frequent and... they feel more real... too real. Sometimes they’re nice. Some confusing. Some incredibly terrifying.” Marshala nodded, listening. “I have a lot of dreams about Evangeline and this... this other woman I don’t recognize,” Kiara continued.

“Did she ever say her name in the dream?” Marshala asked.

Kiara looked at Marshala surprised that she was even entertaining this. “Um...Mellie, I think.” Marshala masked her emotions and nodded for Kiara to continue. “I just had another terrifying- I don’t really know what to call it- of Jerry being attacked, which doesn’t make sense because I don’t even remember seeing him! And now people think I’m responsible for his death and I just feel like I’m totally losing my mind!” she said, hyperventilating.

“Alright, hun, calm down,” Marshala said. She patted Kiara’s hand and leaned back against the desk. “From now on, I want you to come talk to me about these... dreams you keep having.”

Kiara looked at her startled. “But why?”

“So that you have someone you feel comfortable talking to about them,” Marshala smiled.

“You don’t think I’m crazy?” Kiara asked.

“Far from it. Remember I’m here to support you.”

“You’re honestly the best guidance counselor I’ve ever had,” Kiara said. She stood up and hugged her. “Thank you.”

~*~

“Marshala... what a lovely surprise,” Elijah smiled warmly as he stepped to the side to let her in.

She gave him a knowing smirk. “As if you didn’t know I was coming.”

“I always know when you’re coming...” Elijah said suggestively with an innocent smile.

She ignored his provocative remark and allowed her eyes to wander the large living room. “Still as homey as I remember,” she said.

“That’s because I haven’t changed a thing since you left. Wanted to keep that... woman’s touch,” he said, taking in her form.

Marshala turned around to face him and caught his gaze lingering on her body. “Speaking of woman’s touch, I came to see Evangeline,” she said, catching his attention.

“And all this time I thought you came for me,” he smiled.

“Elijah...”

“It is but a joke, Marshala. You always told me I needed a sense of humor,” he smirked as he led her up the stairs.

“That’s not the kind of humor I was referring to...” she said, following him. Elijah pushed the door to Evangeline’s room open, allowing Marshala to step inside. He watched as she perched herself on the bed next to Evangeline. She gently took Evangeline’s small frail hand in hers and ran her fingers across her forearm as she peered down at her face. “She’s already improving,” Marshala said as she got off the bed.

“Is she?” Elijah said surprised.

“Kiara will think it’s because of her research of this.. ‘Soul Death,’ that Evangeline is healing. But it’s because of her presence... her energy. Her connection to Melissa is already helping to reverse Evangeline’s sickness.” Marshala dug in her bag and took out several lavender petals that she proceeded to sprinkle around the room. “The more time Kiara spends with Evangeline, the quicker Evangeline will heal. The sooner Kiara will discover who she really is,” Marshala said, placing a final petal underneath Evangeline’s pillow.

“I can’t... possibly repay you... for everything you’ve done for Evangeline,” Elijah said softly.

“No, Elijah. Unfortunately, you can’t...” Marshala said bitterly. She was still looking at Evangeline but Elijah could tell that Marshala was tense with him. The pain of their past still lingered despite how much he tried to remind her of his love. He took a deep breath as he went to touch her. “Where are the boys?” she said, turning around suddenly, causing him to take a step back.

“They should be coming home from university any minute... Peter may still be sleeping.”

“I’ll need to speak to you all when they get in,” she said, walking towards the door.

“Marshala, I did come to you that night for a reason...” Elijah said, blocking her.

She looked up at him and sighed. “I know, Elijah. That’s partly why I’m here.” He held her gaze for a moment before she put on a polite smile. “Show me around until the boys get here. Have you changed much?” He looked at her intently trying to figure her out. “Don’t do that, Elijah,” she said quickly. “Not on me...”

He quickly exhaled, putting his hand in his pocket. “Not much has changed,” he said, leading her out of the room. He walked her down the hallway as she smiled fondly at the old Victorian decor.

“You should seriously consider redecorating,” she chuckled.

“You’ll never stop making fun of me for my tastes, will you?” Elijah smirked.

“Nope!” Marshala giggled warmly before she realized where they had ended up. “Wow... you weren’t kidding about not changing a thing!” she said, looking around his room. She rubbed her finger against the wood of one of the dressers. “You’ve always been such a neat freak,” she smirked at him.

“You’ve never complained before,” he chuckled. He leaned back against the wall, watching her explore his room.

“Are you kidding? I always complained! You used to clean my things without even asking!”

“I was being nice.”

“You were being annoying. Moving all my stuff around like that. I could never find anything,” she smirked at him.

“I was just... looking for other ways to pamper you,” he said fondly.

She looked at him and smiled a bit flustered before she turned her eyes back to the room. “Look at these adorable knick-knacks,” she chuckled, lifting up old Christmas ornaments. “Ha! This one moves! Wow! I can’t remember the last time I was even here.”

“The last time you were here... I ravished you in my bed, on top of that dresser, and on this carpet,” Elijah said to her.

Marshala immediately stopped her movements as her words got caught in her throat. She carefully put the ornament down. “I... don’t remember that...” she said hesitantly.

She heard him chuckle ironically. “Of course, you don’t, mon coeur...”

She turned around to face him, masking her emotions. “Are the boys here yet?” she asked again with a bit of apprehension in her voice.

He quirked an amused brow and went to speak when they heard the door open and shut followed by loud arguing. “It seems they are,” Elijah sighed, shaking his head.

~*~

“You’re such a fucking asshole!” Alexander shouted.

“Asshole?! I did your ungrateful ass a favor,” Cole sneered.

“What’s going on here?” Elijah said, descending the stairs.

“Oh, nothing! Just our brother being a fucking prima donna again!” Cole said, plopping himself down on the couch.

“Look who’s fucking talking! You have to make everything about you, Cole! You can never just leave shit alone!” Alexander growled at him.

“Enough!” Elijah boomed, quickly silencing them. “If you haven’t noticed... we have a guest...”

Cole and Alexander looked up at Marshala on the stairs. “Marshala!” Alexander smiled.

“Well, now! Look at that smile! Quite rare from you, Alexander. I feel special,” she smiled as she walked down the stairs.

“You are special, Marshala,” Alexander blushed slightly as she embraced him.

“Don’t try to suck up to her so she can take your side. I was in the right this time, Marshala. Don’t let Alexander’s puppy dog eyes fool you,” Cole smirked as he stretched his arms over the couch.

“You boys know I don’t take sides,” she said, affectionately running her fingers through Alexander’s hair. “Unless, of course... it has to do with you using your abilities to lure more women at school again...” she said, looking at Cole sharply.

“BINGO!” Alexander said.

“Ugh. Cole...” Marshala said, looking at him with disappointment.

“I thought we discussed this,” Elijah said sternly.

Cole rolled his eyes. “I don’t have to use any such abilities if they’re already desperate to suck my dick.”

“COLE!” Elijah snapped angrily.

Marshala shook her head. “Try to ease up on how many of my students you bed, will you, Cole?”

“Marshala, you haven’t visited us in how long, and the first bit of love I get from you when you do visit is a total buzzkill,” Cole smirked. “Do those mangy mutts know you’re here?”

“Cole, you are testing my patience,” Elijah threatened.

“It’s fine,” Marshala smiled calmly. She walked over to Cole and sat down on the couch next to him. “No, the Volkovs don’t know I’m here. And you know that’s for a reason,” Marshala said.

“Because you’re ashamed of us...” Alexander said.

She looked at him shocked. “No, Alexander! Because I’m trying to protect you! All of you!”

“Right, right all that shit about keeping the peace with that lame treaty,” Cole said flippantly.

“That ‘lame’ treaty is the reason why this town hasn’t turned into a war zone,” Marshala said to him.

“Look around, Marshala. It already is a war zone! More vampires are turning into those damn creatures every day,” he said, getting up annoyed. “Look, I get that you’re trying to be this... Yoda-type peacemaker. But your pacifism can only last for so long in a town like this.”

Marshala looked at Cole curiously. It wasn’t usual for him to mention the treaty let alone take issue with her approach to the tension between the Blackbournes and the Volkovs. Mainly because he didn’t seem to care. “I understand why you’re upset, Cole. But I promise you this is not all in vain,” she assured him.

“Why? Because you think Kiara is some special fairy that can shit cures and settle a century-old feud?”

“Cole, that’s enough!” Elijah finally snapped. Cole scoffed as he stalked out of the living room and headed upstairs. “Forgive him. He forgets himself,” Elijah said tensely as he watched Cole leave.

“I... know this is fairly difficult for everyone. Especially with the increase in attacks. We just have to hold out for hope,” Marshala said with as much encouragement she could muster. Elijah tried to agree with her, but even he felt the uncomfortable sting of doubt. “Oh, Alexander,” Marshala said, going through her bag. “I made this for you.” She handed him a small vial.

“What’s this?” Alexander asked, eyeing it.

“Just something to help with the cravings,” she said to him with a smile.

Alexander looked at her almost embarrassed. “I’ve gotten better, Marshala, really.”

“I’m not doubting that, Alexander. It’s just some insurance,” she reassured him. He thought for a minute before nodding in gratitude and stuffing it in his pocket. “If you don’t mind getting your brother, I actually did need to speak to you all about something,” she said to him.

Alexander rolled his eyes. “Sure, I’ll go fetch the resident asshole.” Marshala shook her head with a smirk as he walked away.

“Insurance?” Elijah said, looking at her curiously.

“I’m not blind, Elijah... I see the way he looks at Kiara... like-”

“Like the way I look at you?” Elijah said, cutting her off.

She took a deep breath and averted her eyes from his gaze. “...I was going to say like he’s hungry.”

“Hunger and desire often mean the same thing in our world...” Elijah said.

“Yes, well... that’s what I’m afraid of,” she said, glancing at Peter who came running into the living room.

“SHALA!” Peter screamed as he ran into her arms.

“Look at you!” she said, picking him up. “You look just as handsome as ever!”

“I missed you!” Peter said, hugging her tightly. “Why don’t you visit anymore?”

“Oh, you know... I’ve been busy,” she smiled.

“Elijah is so sad without you. You should visit more so he can be happy again,” Peter said, smiling at Elijah who shifted uncomfortably.

Marshala nervously bit her lip before smiling back at Peter. “Hey, look what I got you,” she said, pulling out a book.

“I’ve read so many books already, Shala,” Peter pouted.

“But not this one,” she said, handing him a Stephen King book. Peter looked curiously at the morbid cover before grabbing it out of her hand. He wiggled out of her arms and onto the couch, diving into his world of reading.

“Stephen King? Did you run out of children’s books,” Elijah joked.

“Peter isn’t entirely a child... Besides, he deserves to have his mind fed and developed like any other undead child,” she teased. She headed to the kitchen as Elijah trailed behind her. She scoured the cabinets when she heard Alexander and Cole arrive. “Did you guys seriously get her all this food??” she said bewildered.

“We didn’t know what she liked...” Alexander said.

“So you got her EVERYTHING?!” Marshala blurted.

“Pretty much...” Cole snickered.

Marshala laughed hysterically as the three of them eyed her amused. “For the world’s most dangerous predator, you guys are absolutely adorable,” she teased.

“Can we skip the infantilization and get straight to what you had to tell us?” Elijah said frustrated.

Marshala gave him a sarcastic smirk. “Sorry. Listen, I think Kiara is being bullied at school and-”

“WHAT?!” Alexander blurted angrily. “Who’s bullying her?!”

Cole and Elijah looked at Alexander, surprised by his outburst. “You’re not even subtle, brother,” Cole smirked.

“She didn’t necessarily say who or even use the term, but I’ve been in education long enough to see the signs. But that’s not what I want you to focus on. Kiara is part of your family now. She has nothing but good things to say about you all, but I think it’s time you put in a little more effort to make her feel... loved,” Marshala said.

Cole smirked and went to say something. “NOT like that, Cole!” she said sharply.

“Did you have something in mind?” Elijah asked.

Marshala smiled hesitantly. “Yes, but you may not like it...”

“I’m out,” Cole said, turning around. Marshala flicked her hand and the door closed shut before he could exit.

“It’s the least you guys could do,” she said to them.

The three brothers exchanged looks before looking up at her. “What did you have in mind?” Elijah asked.

~*~

“Wait... are you guys serious?” Kiara asked. She stared up at the three Blackbourne brothers from her seat on the couch in the living room. “You guys wanna go apple picking?”

“Yeah... sure... we totally love that...” Cole said flatly.

“You hardly sound convincing, Cole,” she smirked.

“That’s just how he expresses his excitement,” Alexander said. Cole glared at him as Alexander returned a mocking smirk.

“I’m surprised. It doesn’t seem like your kind of thing,” she said.

“Nonsense. New England is beautiful in the fall. And what better way to enjoy the foliage than to go apple picking,” Elijah smiled.

“I’m so excited that you guys really want to do this!” she beamed. “It was the one thing I really enjoyed those times I was without a family and staying at the orphanage. There’s a really fantastic one called... Northborough Applefest. They have hot apple cider, apple cider donuts, caramel candy apples!”

“Mm... sounds like a lot of apples...” Cole said, trying to hold in his disgust.

“We look forward to it. Let’s plan for tomorrow,” Elijah said, clapping his hands together. Kiara ran up the stairs full of excitement.

“I know that I’m technically already dead. But can you kill me again before tomorrow?” Cole groaned as Alexander laughed.

~*~

Alexander laid out his paintbrushes on his desk when he heard a knock on his bedroom door. He turned to see Kiara.

“Can I come in?” she asked. He hesitantly nodded. “I missed you after classes today,” she said, approaching him.

“I’m sorry I... got caught up in the studio.” He took a step back from her and she looked up at him confused.

“Alexander... am I reading this wrong?” He looked at her curiously. “This,” she said, gesturing between the two of them. “I feel like... you’re trying to distance yourself from me. Are you not attracted to me? Is this like a pity thing?”

“What?! No, no way,” he said quickly. “I’m definitely attracted to you, Kiara. I really like you,” he said sincerely.

She frowned and looked at him with doubt etched on her face. She bit at her bottom lip and he desperately wanted to pull it between his teeth. “It doesn’t really feel that way… I don’t want you to think that I-”

As if on reflex, Alexander quickly grabbed her hips, pulling her against him. He cut her off with a ferocious kiss as his tongue barged its way into her mouth. She wrapped her arms around his neck as he wrapped his hands around her thighs and lifted her unto his waist.

Walking towards the bed he dropped her onto the comforter. His mouth dominated hers as his hands roamed down her waist and over her hips. His lips scoured her jawline and underneath her chin, as he pushed her shirt up towards her neck and tenderly squeezed her breasts.

He hesitated as his lips caressed the soft skin on her neck and willed himself to carry on as he kissed down her chest. His lips peppered the swell above her nipple before his tongue trailed down to her navel. She moaned softly, interlacing her fingers in his hair. She felt his hands possessively squeeze her thighs, his face just nestled between her legs.

Alexander toyed with the waistband of her jeans and seemed to have a quiet debate in his head as he nuzzled her inner thigh. He could smell her arousal which created a heartbeat in his pants. He angrily cursed in his mind from how badly he wanted to taste it. To taste her. He was so close. And so hungry.

Kiara opened her eyes when she realized Alexander wasn’t going to remove any of her clothes. She looked down at him to see his sharp blue eyes staring up at her and it nearly scared her half to death.

“There’s a reason why I tend to distance myself from you, Kiara,” he said, kissing the side of her thigh. He crawled back up and lay down next to her.

She closed her legs, feeling sexually frustrated. “Because you’re a tease?” she said, trying to hide her frustration.

He chuckled as he turned on his side and ran his fingers down her bare stomach until he reached between her legs. He tickled the sides of her thighs and lightly touched her sensitivity. “Because I have an increasingly hard time controlling myself around you...” he said, rubbing her provocatively over her jeans.

She hitched her breath as his probing fingers made her feel dizzy. “You’re pretty good at hiding it,” she said, getting lost in the feeling.

“If you only knew...” he smirked, watching her pant. “You have no idea how badly I want you, Kiara…”

Kiara felt herself dampening and Alexander wasn’t even touching her skin to skin. “What if I don’t want you to control yourself,” she said, closing her eyes. She moved her hips in rhythm with his hand.

He analyzed the delicate features of her face as he pondered her, his fingers never letting up their movements. “I don’t want to scare you...” he said, leaning down towards her.

Her breathing got heavier as small moans escaped her lips. “Are you a monster in bed or something?” she said, biting her lip.

Alexander couldn’t help but smirk at the irony. “Something like that...”

He closed the distance between their lips and kissed her deeply as he intensified his movements. Her thighs clutched around his wrist as she moaned into his mouth. Alexander felt the craving overwhelming him again but he didn’t want to stop when she was so close to her release. He removed his lips from hers and buried his head in her neck as he focused on staying in control. With every titillating whimper that escaped her lips, he felt his hunger intensify. He could hear her heartbeat quicken as the blood rushing through her veins made him want to explode.

“Shit..” he groaned as his primal urges kicked in. He bit down on his own lip to keep himself from biting her. Even though she tried to quiet her moans with her hand, he still tried desperately to tune her out. His member throbbed uncontrollably in his strained jeans. Tempted to touch, but daring not to as he knew where he wanted it to be. Her wet arousal invaded his nostrils and he started to salivate.

He was all too relieved as she slowly came down from her high. He lifted his head to look at her and she smiled lazily at him when her eyes widened. “Oh my gosh, your lip! Are you okay?!” she said, touching his punctured bleeding lip.

“Yea,” he said, quickly turning away from her as he sat up. “It’s nothing.” She sat up and looked at him concerned. “You should head to your room, Kiara... It’s getting late,” he said, not looking at her.

She looked at him concerned. She wanted to kiss him but considering he seemed embarrassed by his bleeding lip, she settled for kissing his cheek. “Goodnight, Alexander,” she said, heading towards his door.

“Goodnight, Kiara...”

~*~

Elijah sat alone in the kitchen, thinking back on his conversation with Marshala before she left:

Elijah grabbed Marshala’s coat. He walked over to help her put it on when she took a step back from him in hesitation. He eyed her curiously when a smile came to his face. “You still tremble when I’m near you, Marshala... Is that fear... or want...?”

Marshala looked at him before grabbing her jacket from his grasp. “I’m not responding to a question you already know the answer to... Goodnight Elijah...”

He smiled to himself as he watched her leave.

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