Sarah gave Axin a kiss before he vanished into the smoke. She stood in her apartment, the sun pouring in from the windows. Once he was gone, she bit her lip and smiled wide. She had some serious feelings for the man, and with every moment she spent with him, they grew stronger. Maybe I need a break from him, just to clear my head.
A quick call to Lexi confirmed that she was on her way to the coffee house, so Sarah grabbed her keys and headed down to the street. The local cafe and a favorite place for her and Lexi to get their morning caffeine fix was only two blocks away. It took Sarah ten minutes to get there, and she found a table outside and waited for Lex.
The waitress brought her two cappuccinos when Sarah spotted Lexi turning the corner.
She stood to greet her with a hug. “Hey, Lex. I’ve missed you so much.”
Lexi returned the hug, then sat down next to her. “You saw me yesterday.”
“I know. It just feels like it was ages ago. How are you?”
Lexi frowned, reaching for the sugar packets in the stand on the table. “Fine… And you?”
Sarah couldn’t wipe the smile off her face. No matter how hard she tried, her mind was still filled with the wonderful feelings she felt the night before.
“I’m good. I have a lot to tell you about, but I want to know what happened with Jake first.”
Lexi sighed, pouring four packets of sugar into her coffee. “I don’t know what I should do about him. I was thinking about it all this morning, and I really want to take him back. To believe that he meant everything he said to me. But at the back of my mind, I just keep thinking that he’s gonna do another runner on me, and end up breaking my heart again. I can’t go through that over and over.”
“Did he tell you where he went?”
Sarah wanted to know how much truth Lexi already knew, and how much she would need to tell her. There was no way Jake had told Lexi about what he did to her grandmother, but if he mentioned something she could build on, it would be a good start.
“He said he had something to take care of, but that it didn’t go to plan, and now he needs to rethink his whole life. He said that no matter what happens, he wants me to be with him. I have no idea what that means. To be honest, I think he lost his job and he’s worried that I might not love him if he isn’t rich. Which is bullshit, because I fell for him, not his money.”
Great. So nothing I can work with. This is gonna be harder than I thought.
“What do you think I should do?” Lexi asked, but the question held far more weight than she realized.
Sarah took a breath to think, sipping her coffee. If she convinced Lexi to take him back, she would be putting her life at risk. If she told her to stay away from him, he would have nothing left to fight for and may turn against Axin and the others.
“I think that’s something only you can decide. But don’t do it yet. Give yourself time to learn more about… everything, you know?”
Lexi frowned, “I love him, Sarah. There’s nothing more to it. I love the man he is, the way he treats me. The way he loves me back. I don’t care about his job, or how much money he makes. All I care about is that he is honest with me, and tells me what it was that freaked him out. If he can do that, then we might be able to move past this.”
Sarah sipped her coffee in silence. Axin was right. Telling her all this was not a good idea. It wasn’t her place to tell.
“Yeah?” Her friend asked, licking the mustache of foam off her lip.
“I met someone.”
Lexi’s eyes went wide. “You did? When?”
Again the question had a far more complicated answer.
“A while ago.”
“How did I not know about this? You never said anything to me.”
“I know,” She placed a hand on Lexi’s arm, “But there is more to the story. I want to tell you about it, but I want you to meet him first. He’s… at my apartment. Let’s go back there after this and I will tell you everything.”
Lexi looked angry. “I thought I was your best friend. We never keep secrets from each other. Why wouldn’t you tell me about this?”
“I’m sorry, Lex, it’s really complicated. I know I suck as a best friend lately, but I swear, you will understand why I never told anyone when you meet him.”
“Is he a criminal? Are you dating a mob boss?”
Sarah chuckled. “No.”
Sarah was about to speak when a glass shattering from behind her made both women turn to look.
A woman approached them, her long black hair hanging down to her shoulders, and her hands outstretched at her sides. The people sitting at the tables she passed fell to the sides, their skin turning grey and their eyes dead. Sarah’s heart fell when she recognized the same piercing blue eyes as Jake’s.
“Lexi, run!” she cried out, grabbing Lexi by the arm and pulling her away from the approaching woman. A waitress came out to see what was going on and instantly fell to her knees, her skin turning a deathly pale color and her eyes vacant.
Sarah spun to her friend. “Run Lexi! Go to my apartment and scream for Axin until a guy with red eyes shows up”
“Just do it! Go!”
Panic flooded Lexi’s eyes. “What about you?”
“I’ll be fine. Please, Lex, just do what I said. Go, now!” Sarah shoved Lexi towards her apartment, putting herself between the approaching woman and her best friend.
With a sinister smile, the woman stopped in front of her, eyeing her up and down.
“Sarah, I presume?”
“Good. The pleasantries are over. You’re coming with me.”
“Purgatory. I have a job for you.” She laughed. “Or rather... That little piece of flesh inside you. What happens to the rest of you depends on how much trouble you give me.”
Sarah swallowed as her nerves rose to an all-time high.
“What did you do to these people?”
Fasia raised a brow, looking behind her at everyone lying on the ground.
“They’re dead, sweetheart. Now, unless you want this entire city to end up like them, I suggest you shut your mouth and do what I say.”
Sarah swallowed, closing her mouth as her eyes drifted to the bodies lining the sidewalk.
She met Fasia’s burning gaze and nodded.
Fasia raised a hand in front of her, moving it in a motion that resembled grabbing the air in front of them and twisted her fist. Thick dark smoke boiled around them and a moment later, Sarah stood in the middle of a dark, burnt forest. The sky above, what little she could see of it rolled with fast-moving storm clouds, and screams of pain and terror came from somewhere in the distance.