Nail in Her Coffin (Devil's Witch Book 1)

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Chapter 22-The First Date

DARREN

The Parway girl looks restless in her sleep. Dark circles mark the skin below her large eyes. Her frame is a far cry from skeletal. I suppose she must have missed her days of indulging in sweets. She must be trying to catch up for the ten years she missed.

Drops of sweat smear her long platinum hair across her forehead in a disgusting coat of grease. Her makeup is smudged messily around her face to hide her ghostly pale complexion.

It makes me wonder what my eldest brother is doing at the foot of her bed, coiled all nice and cozy at her feet.

He wants to be the martyr, jump-starting the war with vampires and the witches. Originally, I had planned on being the one to free the hybrids and our kind too. However, seeing all the punishments the coven has in wait for him, I will gladly let him do the dirty work for me.

All I thought I would have to do is keep my lips sealed until he finished doing the deed with the white witch, then I planned on stepping forward to turn him in.

However, he’s taking too long and our family grows nervous with the coven hounding them daily. When I came out of hiding today, I turned myself in only to the McCasters. They tested my magic and found it did not match the magic used at the portal. Of course it didn’t. My brother was the one who summoned the demon first. I merely came in time to catch a word with it, only I was too late.

My brother is a power-hungry vampire. It makes sense why he shoved me out of his way to steal my destiny. What I do not understand is why he let the girl turn him into a familiar, just what is he playing at?

The large black snake unravels from its coil. When its diamond-shaped head raises off the bed, recognition grows within those red and black demonic eyes. Slowly, he retreats from his napping position. I doubt he would completely ever let down his guard, as carefree as he may pretend to be.

Slithering up onto the witch girl’s sleeping form, he stops at her waist. The movement isn’t predatory to the girl, but to me. He is acting as though I have come to steal the object of our salvation.

He couldn’t be more far off, for now, that is.

***

Beep, beep, beep!

An annoying sound blasts into my ear, waking me up with a start. I slam my hand down on my alarm clock, silencing it.

“Thanks for waking me up, ma’am,” Nick grumbles sleepily after falling onto the floor.

He slithers towards my closet.

“Sorry!” I apologize frantically while tearing the covers off. I’m going to be late if I don’t hurry!

It’s been two weeks since I accidentally turned officer Nick into my familiar. He only managed to sleep in his tank for a few days, then one day I woke up and found him at the foot of my bed slithering around into a coil. Kind of like how a dog walks in a circle before laying down.

It freaked me out at first, but I had a feeling he wouldn’t like staying cramped up in his tank for long hours. Ever since, he’s been sleeping on my bed, nestled in a coil below my feet.

I pick out a red short-sleeved shirt and black jeans. After I get changed in the bathroom, I come back in my room to find Nick fully dressed in all his human glory.

To think I have a cop like him curled up at the foot of my bed, it’s weird to think about and most nights I try to ignore the fact that he’s a man. If only Will was the one I turned into my familiar. We would definitely become closer and maybe he would start to see the coven for what it is.

As awful as it sounds, I wish I had made Will my familiar instead of this...strange policeman. Officer Nick’s bizarre attitude really does catch me off guard sometimes. Any normal human would be miserable in his position, but he never really complains about being a snake or the fact that I cursed him.

“A-are you ready?” I ask him in a waver, wondering if he still hasn’t changed his mind. I was pretty surprised by how eager he was to come along.

Will and Melissa broke up a few days ago. Apparently, she was cheating on him with some guy up in New York City. Then I guess Crystal told Will how I felt about him. At least, that’s what he told me when we last talked.

It was a very awkward conversation and I’m glad it was on the phone, so he couldn’t see how mortified I looked. Even so, Will had apologized to me for not picking up on my feelings and offered to take me out to a pizza parlor today.

Unfortunately, I have no choice, but to drag Nick along with me so it was a relief when he didn’t put up any argument. Stella’s on a weekend getaway with Colin at his parents’ vacation home so Nick won’t have to bother hiding in his snake form this weekend.

He’s going to get paid overtime for patrolling the block while I’m on my date. So it won’t be a total waste of his time, which pretty much includes him sitting in his police car outside the restaurant while I enjoy my Friday evening with Will.

Officer Nick and I walk outside and start on our way into town. We have to walk a couple of blocks to reach the pizza parlor. When we pass the police station, he gets in his car and follows me down the sidewalk. He ends up parking right outside a laundromat next door to the pizza place.

Then he gives me a wave, not taking either hand off the steering wheel. An older couple passes by, glaring at his police vehicle once hearing his obnoxiously loud rap music. With a sigh, I turn away from his strangeness and enter the pizza parlor.

My face brightens seeing Will waiting at a table for me.

I slide into the booth across from him.

“So how is Stella treating you?” Will asks me after we order a plain pizza to share, he folds his menu up and places it down in front of him. Then he rests his hands on top of it and I mirror him.

A ceiling fan above us blows cool air down onto us and I hug my arms.

“Fine,” I beam, watching the light brown natural highlights in his dark hair sway back and forth.

“Don’t tell Stella, but Darren turned himself into us. Not the coven, just my family. We tested his magic and it does not match the magic traced back at your grave. No one else in the coven knows he’s staying with my parents.” He whispers across to me, leaning in dangerously close.

Why would Darren just come back all of the sudden? Maybe Crystal persuaded him to. All this time, she was right about him being innocent. It still bothers me that he was talking to a demon. Even if he isn’t the necromancer, he’s been caught breaking coven law fairly equal in penalty to performing necromancy.

They will still want his life.

“He thinks it’s his brother. My parents promised they wouldn’t hand him over to the headmistress until he comes forward with this brother of his," Will tells me. "We thought he went out to get him last night, but he came back with bites all over him. Chunks of his skin were missing, it was gruesome. He can’t even talk, my parents are healing him now. He must have barely had the strength to transport back to my parents’ place,” he adds.

I sigh, hoping Darren will hurry up and heal so he can hand over his brother to the coven before someone else dies.

I hadn’t wanted our date to be all about the coven, I had hoped we would be able to talk about something else. Each time I try to change the subject away from the necromancer though, he somehow manages to shift it back to the topic.

By the time our pizza arrives, I give up and just nod my head at his theories of where the necromancer could be hiding.

The pizza is pretty good. When I reach for my third slice he raises an eyebrow and I shrug my shoulders. I didn’t have breakfast this morning, besides he ate five pieces already!

“Could you not, Val?” he asks me while rubbing his temples, looking deep in thought.

I stop loudly slurping the last of my soda, thinking I’ve probably given him a headache. It’s already pretty loud in this crowded place. Feeling embarrassed, I shove my soda away from me with a sour look that I fail to hide from him.

I’m really trying to enjoy this time with him, but I’m starting to think I’m the only one who thinks it is a date.

I know finding the necromancer is important, but I thought we could get to know each other more or at least talk about something...else. Like if we are going to hang out like this again.

He did call this a date, maybe he was joking and I was taking him too seriously.

I’ll just do what Stella told me, remind him of my feelings. She suggested I say my feelings to verify what Crystal told him, plus he should really have heard the truth from me from the beginning.

With a gulp, I look around the busy pizza parlor and bring my gaze back to Will. His square jaw, mesmerizing eyes and warm smile calm my nerves and I take a deep breath.

The sound of the heavy beat of music coming from outside makes the light hanging above us vibrate in place.

His eyes are focused on something over my head and beyond our booth.

The doorbell chimes when someone enters, bringing in the sound of loud rap music. My jaw drops and I follow Will’s hard stare. I glance over my shoulder to look outside the restaurant, seeing a cop car parked right outside.

The windows of the police vehicle are all down. The cop leans against the patrol car with his arms crossed. He stares into the glass windows of the restaurant from behind the shades of his black sunglasses with a smug look pasted on his face.

What is he doing here? I thought he would at least try to be discreet.

The door of the restaurant swings shut, but we can still hear the hum of the music.

I turn around to find Will still glaring at the source of the noise, Nick.

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