Chapter 38: A Sweet Dream of His for Mine
This is becoming very frustrating…
I turned my head to a side, acknowledging Zeus’ presence. He entered the dungeon, ceasing his steps shortly after shutting the door to stand near the doorway behind me.
“Dinner’s ready.” he said.
I’m running out of time….
“Did you do what I told you to?” I asked calmly.
“She’s already there.” he confirmed.
I gave him a simple nod of approval and shortly after, I heard the door shut behind me, Zeus leaving Mardel and me alone with the witch as I had asked him to prior to coming in here.
The fact that I was being attacked from within my home was something that I couldn’t ignore nor could I waste another day not thinking about what my next actions should be. After I spent days wondering whether my Hope would ever wake up again, I realized that the next time, neither her or my sister may be so lucky. Prior to that, I had been so busy worried about the things that would ultimately not matter if something such as an attack happened within the same walls of my home.
If I could not keep my enemies out of my home and away from what was most sacred to me, then I’d really be unworthy of bearing my crowns.
My eyes shifted to the woman bound to the wall by chains. Blood trickled down her lip and the side of her face. Though she was in no position to so much as attempt or pretend that she had any sort of power in this room, she glared at me in a way that almost made me feel unsure of myself.
I wondered: what if I didn’t have the slightest clue as to who or what I was up against? After all, I knew nothing but her name and that she helped Hope crossover. Nobody, apart from the Seekers, roamed the realms freely because not every witch knew how to do it nor were they brave or strong enough to try.
What exactly or who exactly is this Doraime..?
“If you don’t start talking soon, I’m going to have to spill some blood.” I threatened.
Doraime scoffed, spitting the blood from her mouth shortly after. A chuckle emitted from the back of her throat and her eyes wandered between Mardel and I until they finally fixated on me. “Tell me something new and I just might do the same.” She spat.
I narrowed my eyes on her, studying her from the mere way that she stood to the way that she did her best not to show that she could be hurt.
That is where us, vampires, won. We could not truly be physically harmed, because as much as you beat us and try to break us, we heal in seconds. Witches, on the other hand, have the very same enemy that humans do: time.
I must have came off as hesitant while I studied her, because after I had gone silent for a while, she chuckled. “What? Have you gone soft, King?”
One swift movement and the whip that I gripped in my hand cracked against her skin, breaking the thin layers on her legs. A painful grunt emitted from the back of her throat, Doraime doing her best to bite her tongue to refrain from giving me any sort of satisfaction from the pain that I knew I was capable of and had inflicted on her. She was stubborn, and in no way was it wise on her part.
I allowed the whip to slip from my hold and I quickly moved to grip her bare neck with my strong hand. “Don’t think that I won’t kill you.” I growled.
The most frustrating thing was that it seemed as if no one was taking my threats seriously anymore. Not Hope and not the witch.
“Killing me won’t change a thing. In fact, you’ll probably be dead before I am.” She studied me between her words. “You’re a criminal, Erebus. And once the big bad finds out about what you’ve done, you’ll wish that I had been the one who killed you.”
The Seekers..? What is she talking about?
“You know, these little mind games that you’re playing are dangerous and not on my part…” My voice trailed off. “You don’t seem to be afraid.” I stated. “I stripped you of your magic; I’ve beaten you. I have beat you.”
I stepped closer to her, leaving nothing but a gap for her to breathe between us. This time, while my eyes stared at her face, her own locked with someone else’s.
There it is…
At first, I thought that her eyes were following Mardel. Then, I noticed that her eyes were looking in the opposite direction from where Mardel was standing.
“You’ve got friends on the other side, don’t you? That is how you did it.”
The corners of my lips tugged into a smirk before she could so much as look at me and attempt to deny it.
And attempt she did.
“You’ve answered my question, dear.” A sinister chuckle erupted from the back of my throat. “Thank you.”
I stepped back, and as soon as I had done so, the back of my hand cracked against her cheek, knocking her unconscious.
“Triple the dose.” I demanded Mardel as I handed the blood concealed whip to him.
“In fact, put her out for the next twelve hours. I’d like to have some peace at the dinner table.”
We exchanged a brief look. One of which he gave me an understanding that he was obedient and loyal to me and I thankful for him.
The heel of my shoes clicked against the concrete floor, echoing in the dungeon as I excused myself from the wretched room that reeked of the witches blood.
She will not ruin this night. She is not my concern until tomorrow.
I walked down the corridor, wrapping my head around the thought of what I’d say to Hope once I saw her again. It was an awkward situation that I had put us both in, but I was prepared to deal with it head-on.
I was done pretending to be the man that wanted nothing but to harm her, because the fact of the matter was that that was far from what I wanted. My intentions changed from what they were on the day that I met her, and I wanted her to know it. Unfortunately, I didn’t know how to tell her.
I didn’t know how to tell her that I wanted something different from what I had shown her. I didn’t know how to tell her that I had somehow grown to care for her in more ways than one and I didn’t know how to tell her when or how it happened. The truth was, I didn’t know where my feelings towards her were when I was holding her dying body in my arms and everyday after that.
Things changed. They changed greatly and I didn’t want it to go back to the way that it was. I was finally beginning to feel like I had something more in me than cruelty and it didn’t feel wrong in the slightest bit. Maybe guilt consumed my cold heart, but I preferred to feel this guilt and concern towards her than to feel like this was an endless game of me trying to destroy her for…
…for nothing but a sick feeling of pleasurable dominance that’d eat me away soon after.
By the time that I had broke out of my thoughts, I found myself sitting across from the blue-eyed doll that not for a second left my thoughts.
My beautiful Hope sat before me, staring down at the bowl of tomato soup without so much as daring to touch it with the spoon sitting on the table cloth beside it.
“Your food’s going to get cold.” I said.
“I don’t like tomato soup.” She mumbled with a hint of disgust in her voice.
I sighed, snapping my fingers at the human slave standing by the set of double doors that lead to the kitchen.
“What do you like, then?” I asked sincerely.
Hope’s eyes lift from the table, shifting to lock with my own. She studied me for a while, not saying a word.
Finally, she bitterly responded, “not this.”
She was being difficult, and for a good reason.
In that moment, I wanted to stand up, grab her, and shake her until she told me what to do to make it up to her. I felt desperate—out of control of the situation. I wanted, with everything inside of me, to do things as I had been for as long as I could remember: forcing others to do what I wanted to get what I wanted. I wanted to force her to let go of whatever it was that made her dislike me so much, but I had to contain myself.
Why was I so aggressive towards everything? She hardly did anything to me. All she ever did was speak, as she had a right to. Things like that never called for the extreme measures that I took.
Patience is what I needed. And, for her, I was willing to fight for all of the patience in the world. After all, it was the least that I could do for her.
I sighed as I sat back on my seat and shooed the slave away. My eyes fell to the silverware set before me and I stared at it for a while. I could see the reflection of my own eyes on the handle of the knife, and I thought, “how could she ever take anything that I say seriously when all that she can see is the monster in my eyes?”
I reverted my sight to her and the second that I did so, she instantly shifted her own elsewhere. It was almost as if she didn’t want me to know that she had been looking at me, nervously waiting to see if I’d do anything or say anything else to her.
Was she afraid that I’d raise my voice at her again? Or worse, was she afraid that I’d raise my hand against her again?
Calmly, I stood from my seat.
“What do you want?” I asked.
I stepped to a side, clearing the path to her. With steady footsteps, I approached her, lowering my gaze to keep my sight on her until I stood beside her. Leaning back on the table, I crossed my arms before me and waited.
She stuttered, “I-I don’t —”
“There’s no way in hell I’m letting you leave.” I cut her off. “And I don’t want you to be miserable. You sit here as if I am restraining you to the chair. So, what do you want? What do I have to do to make you stop being so unhappy?”
Her body tensed beside me. I could tell that she was doing her very best to avoid saying whatever it was that was eating her away by looking everywhere but at me.
Steering away from the problem isn’t going to cut it anymore, love.
Gently, I drew her silver-white hair away from the side of her face and wrapped my hand around her chin. With my actions, she snapped her eyes to me and a light hum emitted from the back of her throat.
“What’s going through that head of yours, my little Hope?” I mumbled.
Her lips parted to speak as if I had seduced her into talking to me. “I want my freedom.” She said without hesitation.
“I told you...I’m not letting you go.” I breathed out.
She wasn’t the slightest bit fazed by my response, but that didn’t refrain her from giving me a look of exhaustion as she pushed my hand away from her face. She bowed her head, her gaze shifting to the sight of her hands. After a moment’s pause, she sighed. She drew her lip between her teeth, gently biting down as she thought to herself for a while.
Had she remained silent for a while longer, I’d have thought of something else to give her. Maybe...giving her a bit of freedom wouldn’t be such a bad idea. However, then, she spoke.
“Stop treating me like a slave and stop making me behave like one.”
“Deal.” I didn’t falter.
With that, I straightened on my feet and gave my back to her. “You’re sleeping with me tonight.” I said as I began my movements for the opposite side of the table.
I turned and halted on my feet, swiftly turning to look at her.
“You are not a guest nor are you a slave.” I calmly explained. “You do not play a role in my empire as everyone living here does, so you will not be staying in a bedroom that is designed for any of those mentioned.”
Her lips fell ajar, her eyes boring into mine. Just above a whisper, she stated, “What am I, then?”
Have I been that vague?
“Mine.” I said.
I turned on my heels, just briefly pausing as my eyelids fell shut.
“You are mine.”
I sat on his bed, staring at my hands as I waited for Erebus to come out of the bathroom.
Lately, my hands were all that I could look at because they served as a reminder of all of the power in them that I couldn’t and refused to use.
My father and mother...grandfather and grandmother…
...I had so much power on me, but none in me.
What am I doing here?
The door opened, Erebus emerging from the darkness of the bathroom and into the small lighting in the room that the single lighted lamp offered.
He stood there, staring at me just as I did him. There were so many questions that flooded my mind, and he must have known it because if it were otherwise, I knew that he wouldn’t be standing there, waiting for me to say what was on my mind.
Since when did he care about what I think?
I must’ve been silent for longer than I thought because after a moment, he looked at me with eyes that urged me to speak.
“What did you mean?” I asked. “I am yours..?”
I spoke quickly, with little control over holding my tongue.
...I was losing control.
It had happened at the dinner table as well. All he did was look at me and I did as he wanted me to or as I thought he wanted me to.
“I-I don’t love you!” I blurted. “I-I can barely stand to be around you. I’m not your beloved. I never will be!”
I shot up on my feet, the air leaving my lungs.
Why did I do that..? Why did I say that?!
My eyes widened at my own actions. I was in shock, and all the while, I was afraid of what I’d do or say next. I truly began to feel and believe that I had no control over myself anymore.
“You don’t want me?” Erebus asked. He began taking dangerous, steady steps toward me until his chest brushed against my own. “Not even a little?” He teased.
“No.” I fought, and though I fought hard, my body betrayed me.
Again, I had no control.
“Then, why does it make you nervous when I get this close to you?” He whispered as he lowered his lips to my ear.
I swallowed hard, a shaky breath passing my trembling lips. “You’ve abused me in more ways than one. These shivers aren’t of desire.”
It was true. Every bit of what I said was true; however, that was not the only reason my body quivered beneath him.
“Why can I smell your arousal?”
I could hear the lust in his voice, and it was that very same lust that he felt toward me that made me want him that much more.
“Stop it…” I growled.
Whether it was him who I threatened or my own thoughts, I wasn’t sure. Nonetheless, it worked. Because after only a second, Erebus brushed past me as he muttered, “Fine.”
A noiseless sigh passed my lips and I sank down on the bed behind me. I glanced at my hands just once more before I decided to put it all to rest and laid down, giving Erebus my back.
I hoped that he wouldn’t touch me.
I hoped that he’d stay away from me.
I want nothing to do with you…
I felt the bed dip behind me and shift as he too laid down.
“Will you at least try to stop avoiding me?” He asked.
“I have nothing to say to you, Erebus.” I snapped back.
Neither did he move nor did he speak. He must’ve stayed that way for a while before I heard the lamp click and the room darkened completely.
Then, he shifted again. This time, it was to move closer to me.
My body tensed when I felt his touch on my shoulder. I clenched my jaw, shutting my eyes tightly as I felt his lips plant a kiss on the side of my head.
“Sleep well, Hope.” He stated with a sadness in his voice.
The bed shifted again and I knew then that he had laid down and closed his eyes to sleep. As much as I wanted to do the same to forget all of this for a while, I couldn’t.
I laid there, silently, and it seemed that I couldn’t think about anything other than him. It felt as if hours passed and still, he was all that I could think about. I wished that I had it in me to say that I hated him with everything inside of me, because the truth is that I should have. I should have hated him to death, but I didn’t.
I didn’t hate him at all.
It disgusted me. My own sick desire for wanting him disgusted me to the point that I began to hate myself the longer that I laid there, in my thoughts.
He is everything that stands against everything that I am and everything that I want.
I shifted my body, turning to look at him. He appeared peacefully asleep to me. Oh, so peacefully. My eyes traced his soft features, admiring every little detail. And in that moment, he was beautiful. He became beautiful to me and I finally understood what he meant when he talked about my eyes.
There were parts of each other that we couldn’t destroy even if our lives were held hostage. We became vulnerable to one another—we became weak.
With my pride buried under my thick skin and my fears hiding beneath my heart, I pushed myself to him and laid my head softly against his strong chest. It was the ultimate solitude for the heavy burdens that broke my mind. The peacefulness that I saw on his face when I stared at him was the same peacefulness that I felt in my heart when I laid so close to him.
As I let out a heavy sign, I closed my eyes and felt his strong arm wrap itself around me, pulling me closer—if at all possible—to him.
“Can’t sleep?” he asked softly.
“No.” I mumbled.
He brought his hand up to the side of my face and gently brushed my hair to the back of my ear. With this, he laid his sinful touch on my cheek and brushed his thumb against my skin. It was warm. I hadn’t felt that much relief in so long, and I longed for it to never go away.
“You feel it too?” He whispered.
He didn’t have to explain. I knew exactly what he meant.
“How do you make it stop?” I sincerely asked.
“I don’t know.”
The tugs in our hearts were frightening to us, both. The most horrifying part of it all was not that we felt it but that neither of us understood why or how to make it go away.
Did we really want it to go away?
...because in truth, it was bliss—utter blissfulness.
Erebus’ voice was stern, and that was enough to make me snap my head up to look at him.
“I should’ve never treated you the way that I did. I should’ve spoken to you, the way that Purebloods do.”
I couldn’t help but look at him as if he was wounded, and maybe he was. Maybe the Great King Erebus was so deeply wounded because the Erebus that I had came to know would’ve never apologized to me unless done out of despair, the way that he had for Kevin.
My eyes looked into his remorseful eyes and he let out a shaky breath. With the greatest helplessness in his voice, he said, “You’re a prize, Hope. And, I fancy you.”
My heart sank to my stomach. Whether it was disgust or despair, I couldn’t say. In that moment, he didn’t make me feel wanted at all. Instead, he made me feel even more vulnerable than I already did.
Vulnerability—that was the enemy.
And as a great wave of hope shot out of my body, I drew myself closer to him and pressed my lips against his. My eyelids fell shut, my hands touched his strong chest, and I laid still on top of him.
Everything became nothing, and his lips and touch became everything. Or, at least, it was so until I felt a string of pain shock my heart. Then, I remembered who he was.
This man...this man is Erebus Dubois, the Vampire King. This man is cold and cruel and shouldn’t make me feel this way.
My lips broke away from his, and without a word, I lowered myself onto his chest and returned to my thoughts.
Was it so wrong for me to forget all that he had done to me and enjoy what I was feeling in that moment?
I just wanted to be happy, but I also wanted to be free.
He is not freedom.
“Are you alright?” He asked.
I felt his body tense beneath me. I wasn’t sure what he was thinking or how he felt, but I imagined that he was very confused. Knowing this—assuming this—I didn’t feel the need or want to explain myself or my actions to him.
“Sleep.” I said.
I just wanted to sleep.
“Get some rest.” He whispered.
With this, he planted a gentle kiss on the top of my head and laid still with me until we fell into deep slumber.