I crash into Maximus’s hulking form as I flee the church flying on a cloud of hope. He looks at me curiously as he steadies my arms. I reach up on my tiptoes to kiss him deeply. He surrenders picking me up off the ground and walking us into the shadowed alcove of the brick wall of the church.
“I’m a little concerned that a priest has put you in this mood.” Max queries suspiciously breaking our kiss and allowing my body to slide back down the front of his deliberately. “Just what did he have to say to you?” He asks spying the smile I can’t wipe off my face. I shrug innocently.
“He offered me the absolution my soul needed.” I whisper my coy confession. He crooks a disbelieving eyebrow up at me. “I’m a terrible person, smiling like this after just burying my father.” I admonish guiltily as I drop my head. I feel Max’s fingertip force my chin back up to look in his eyes.
“Your father loved your smile. I don’t believe for one second he would begrudge you any happiness in life, especially today.” I smile brightly at him.
“You’re pretty smart, do you know that?” I ask him playfully. He smiles a sad smile at me.
“After meeting your mother today, I have to believe that you primarily stem from your father’s bloodline. I’m amazed at the woman you became after being raised by her.” Max seethes protectively. I caress his cheek before making a move to lead us back to the car. Our drive home is a silent one. During my private memories of my life with my mother I glance sideways and I catch Max’s eyes swirling in a storm of obsidian.
I reach over to take his free hand with mine and squeeze it gently. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to let my mind go there. I think it’s just the process of finally letting go of her.” I tell him sadly. He shakes his head in disbelief.
“I want to kill her. I want to kill everyone who ever hurt you.” He whispers like a sinful confession. I look at him sympathetically.
“That’s possibly the sweetest thing anyone has ever said to me, but I don’t want any more blood spilled. Human beings by nature are destined to hurt one another. We’re primitive creatures driven by greed and selfishness.” I remind him of his words. He looks forlorn.
“You’re not like that.” I shrug noncommittally.
“I don’t know about that.” I tell him smiling wickedly determined to get his mind on other things. He looks at me curiously. “I’m feel like my greedy need for you lately has kept you from your home, and selfishly, I don’t care.”
He smiles crookedly at me as his eyes swim back to the pure oceanic blue. My heart soars at the effect. We pull up in the driveway and the rest of the day becomes a blissful haze of entwining bodies and blue flaming eyes looking at me like I’m some kind of precious creature.
I can hardly believe I have to go to the club tonight to work. How am I ever going to be able to concentrate on work with Max there as well. Almost like her heard me call his name his arms wrap around my waist from behind me in the shower. I lose myself to him again and again. We barely make it to work on time and Nina covers her mouth to hide her smile when she sees us try to sneak in during Vladik’s pre-open speech.
“Damn hooker you are glowing.” Nina whispers urgently in my ear before linking my arm through hers to walk over towards her cage. She eyes me expectantly. “So fess up.” She orders. I shake my head at her defiantly still wearing my distracted smile. She laughs out loud as she shakes her head at me.
“Well I may not approve of your choice of doctor but I definitely approve of your healing process.” She teases as she steps up into her cage. I smile affectionately at her before heading back to the bar. She let me off the hook too easily. I turn on my heel and march back over to her and place my hands on my hips and glare at her disapprovingly. She laughs a nervous laugh as she blows her bangs out of her eyes.
“What did you do?” I demand in a playfully scolding tone. She bites her lip and shrugs innocently. “Oh no.” I put two and two together. “Not Vanni.” Nina looks like a teenager busted about a crush. “Sweetie he’s just using you again. You know how he treats women. Why would you do this to yourself? You always feel great for a minute, then you feel like shit.”
“Like you can talk. You’re knocking boots with a creature physically incapable of feeling anything for you.” She snaps before recoiling herself. I take a deep calming breath at her words. “I’m sorry Kenna.” She cries jumping out of her cage and off the stage to wrap her arms around me.
“You know how scared I am of losing you. You’ve always been there for me, through all my escapades. Now the second you get some action here I am judging you, I’m a terrible friend. I just love you too much to let anything happen to you. I just don’t trust him, and I don’t think you should either.” I squeeze her tightly as Vladik’s voice booms down from the upper level demanding the bouncers to open the doors.
I let go of Nina so she can climb back up into her cage. “We’re good right?” She calls down to me. I wink at her and smile. She smiles back at me. “Just don’t do anything crazy like fall for the guy.” She commands a bit more quietly. I turn my head away from her but she calls my name to get my attention. I know she can see the guilty look in my eyes. She looks like her heart is breaking inside her chest.
“Oh Kenna.” She whispers sadly as a tear slips down her cheek. I reach out to take her hand in mine through her cage and squeeze it as I try to smile reassuringly at her. It must not work because she still looks heartbroken as I turn away from her to get to my station behind the bar. I can feel Max’s eyes on me from the doorway and I look at find him studying me curiously.
I look around the club after a short while and signal for the guys to cut entrance. The staff are giving Maximus an even wider berth than usual after learning what he is. I’ve drilled into these guys for years not to associate with Daemons, yet here I am doing more than that. Then again Max will never be a daemon to me.
When the time for the fire show comes around I don’t even need to look up to see if Max is at the front of the stage. I can feel him underneath my skin as it seems to hum with excited electricity. I lose myself to the fire dance, succumbing to the rhythm. The flames whip around my body trying to consume, but I control this fire. I refuse to let myself burn, other than the fire in the pit of my stomach at the sight of Maximus.
The crowd goes insane at the end of the dance, even Nina is looking at me from the wings like she just witnessed something amazing. I smile at her before ducking off the stage behind the D.J to change again. I feel a strong set of hands grab my waist as I crouch down, I don’t scream from the surprise as my body recognize the hands instantly.
Max lifts me off the stage to the floor behind him to make our way back across the dancefloor. When we reach the bar his hand snatches around behind him to grab my arm as he leads me out the side door to the break area. I follow him silently confused. The door doesn’t even get to close behind us before I’m lifted up against the brick wall.
Max’s lips devour mine in a possessive claim and I feel my entire body mold to his. My arms wrap around his neck trying to pull him closer. He breaks away from our kiss breathless, his eyes look at mine pleadingly. I caress his face and smile at him. “Are you alright?” I whisper against his lips. He exhales looking conquered by my words as his lips take mine again.