The last two days I‘ve spent stuffing my face with food from my Grandmother and loitering around the security station. Well, I wouldn’t really call it loitering. More like ordering around Siethen’s old enough to my grandparents, I suppose. Granny May told me not to worry about his dormant abilities but she didn’t say I couldn’t worry about his safety.
Finally, a woman of utmost beauty probably in her second century brings me a stack of records for the lesser-used portals to the human world. The woman with blue eyes like periwinkle and auburn hair smiles and rests the files in front of me. I can’t help but think she’s beyond perfect. My skin begins to itch for the feel of her skin under my own. I mutter my words of gratitude as I blink and reign in both my demons and hormones.
My eyelid twitches as I go through the papers, searching for potential suspects. I’ve ruled Myra and Nadia out already. They know not to go behind my back and have no reason to go after Ray’s son. If only I had a specific period of time in which this ‘incident’ happened, then I could search that block.
I swear under my breath and send Alaric a quick text asking for a favour. While watching for his response, I look up to see the same gorgeous Siethen working only a few feet away. I ignore the better half of me and walk over to her station after making sure no other employees are around.
“Hey, babes, would you mind helping me out over here? Where it’s quiet and abandoned by your colleagues.”
I lead the lovely lady over to a quiet corner, where no one is around, and entertain myself. It’s been too long since I’ve gotten the chance to be this way. I bite her lip and slide one hand down her waist, making her giggle with delight. I run my other hand up her abdomen and caress her breast, taking her tongue into my mouth. I am just about to take it to the next level when my phone buzzes against my thigh. I groan softly and tell the woman I enjoyed myself, before letting her go back to her job.
Short and simple, just exactly what I need to find more suspects. Appetized, I sit down at the table and flip back 16 months. I find a few people including our fathers which I pay no attention to. To my surprise, I find a familiar name written down a few times for travelling to the human world.
That’s strange. 16 months back he was with me out in the woods training nonstop. Something ticks at the back of my mind but one of the security managers interrupts my thoughts.
“Excuse me, but, are you done with these files?”
Nodding my head, I roll my eyes and memorize the dates in my head. If anything, I’ll just stop by again to have another look. And, maybe, pay a visit to my new lady friend. I escort myself out of the security building and step out onto the barely occupied street. A blonde head catches my attention as I descend the stairs. Aiden walks towards me and slips his arm around my waist bringing me closer to his body. I lean up and brush my lips against his.
“What were you doing at the security office?”
“I was just checking some things, for Alaric,” I lie. My blonde bed buddy furrows his eyebrows but I switch up the tables on him. “I haven’t seen you in a while. Where ya been?”
“I’ve been busy.”
“Tying up a few loose ends. You know, checking in on some things I neglected when we were together. Well, where are you heading now?”
“Over to the manor…”
“Mind if I join. I feel like I haven’t seen you in ages.”
Before I can answer, Aiden warps us into my old bed-chambers at Death-Rose manor. He takes me by surprise with a passionate kiss as he leads me to the bed, kissing my body softly. I bite my lip but don’t move to stop him. All the sexual desire I had a half-hour ago diminishes quickly. I have no desire to have sex with Aiden. We’ve been so far apart, I can’t manage to muster anything towards him.
So, I pretend. I fake it until he’s satisfied, laying on the bed next to me. I stare up at the ceiling as Aiden kisses me softly on the head. There’s nothing I can do but fake a smile towards the man.
“You seem out of it.”
I shrug my shoulders and kiss him on the mouth hoping he will leave me to myself. He does for a few short minutes, eventually touching me again and leaving me uncomfortable.
“What have you been doing while we’ve been apart?”
“A clone mostly.”
“And the other times?”
“With whoever I can find.”
Aiden nods his small head and pulls me on top of his lap. I raise an eyebrow as he leans forward and kisses me. This kiss is different. It’s like our first kiss, leaving such a haze over my mind. I begin to feel drowsy as soon as he pulls away and rests me by his side.
“Go to sleep, Aszurya. Go to…”
I wake up feeling both well-rested and groggy as I sit up in bed. My mind feels foggy, my thoughts are all muddled. I feel like I’ve just come out of a coma. How long did I sleep?
I stand up, stretch and throw open the door. My mom stops mid-step and stares at me as I yawn a few times. She’s all dressed for the day and judging by the way she stopped she was either in a hurry or determined. Maybe both.
“Aszurya. What… when in Obsidian did you get here?”
“Um… last time I checked it was Friday… about Midday.”
“Well, it’s Sunday afternoon. Why don’t you get something to eat and then meet me in the blue room.”
I nod my head and re-enter my bed-chambers to freshen up. About an hour later, I arrive in the manor’s blue room feeling much better. The cook fetched me a hot plate of food knowing my diet and we sat down to catch up. She was in complete shock when I told her that Aiden forbade me from eating meat before commenting on my weight. Apparently, my significant weight loss has been on everyone’s mind. They all are sceptical about my health and Aiden. Cute but not cute.
Now, I’m in the blue room with my mug filled with hot nelomo laced with mint and rose. Just the way I like it. My mother has been pacing the room since before I walked in. I’m almost tempted to ask her what is wrong. Instead, I sink into my brother’s sweater and enjoy my sweet drink.
“Mom, stop pacing. You’re giving me a headache.”
“I’m sorry, Zurya. I’m stressed about Friday.”
“What’s happening on Friday?”
“We are hosting a party in the great ballroom and I want to make sure everything is right.”
My mother stares at me for a short moment, clearly misunderstanding my question. She walks over and takes a seat next to me, beginning to play with my dark hair. Everyone says I looked like my mom when I was younger except the eyes. But as I got older, I began to look like Grandmother May, my father’s mother, in her youthful days. And though this is true, I still have my mother’s beautifully arched jet black wings that look silver when bathed in moonlight. That’s the one thing of hers no one else has. And I’m glad I was the one to inherit it.
“I’m not sure why I decided to host a party. It has been so long since our last and you are here. You will join us, right?”
“I didn’t really think I had a choice. I just won’t wear a dress.”
My mother rolls her eyes and smiles at me. “Do be fanciful, though.” We both start laughing at our ongoing inside joke from years back when she always tried to force me to wear dresses. “Oh, and invite your friends too.”
“What if I have no friends?”
“There’s Alaric and the other warlock. And D’nai. You two haven’t spoken in years!”
I wince and recall that last time I saw my blue-haired friend. It was before my episode when they came to check on me. That didn’t end well. I shrug my shoulders and look toward the other side of the room where a large wardrobe from a few hundred years back stands. Scrunching up my eyebrows, I try to remember the last time I saw it. I believe that I was just turning 16.
Yes, it was the last time my mother tried to force me into a dress. The scratches and splintering are from when I lost control of my feelings and destroyed my old room. Hard to believe that was about 10 years ago. It’s even worse to know I still don’t have a better hold over my emotions and demons.
“What’s that doing here?”
“Oh… don’t worry, it’s not for you. It’s for the younger ones. I had a few of the maids get some dresses and suits and have them tailored according to previously made clothes.”
“And you think that will work. I mean haven’t they grown?”
“I know your siblings quite well, young lady. You’ve been MIA in their lives for quite some time.”
“So, why did you want me here?”
“Because you are brutally honest, even with your mother. You are perfect for what I have in mind. Delilah!”
An unfamiliar face hurries through the door and bows her head to my regal mother. She’s fit to be a ruler and always has been. Her posture and composure along with her charisma, beauty, and an air of dominance make her royalty. I’ve always secretly admired her. She’s such a strong independent woman.
My mother gestures towards me and smiles as the maid looks at me. I nod at the new girl and tune them out once more. Some time passes as I reminisce about a few good times we had as mother and daughter. The door flings open startling both me and my mom as we sit together in deep thought.
I look over to see the “younger ones” as my mother called them. The 3 younger siblings of mine excluding Lucian and Azinaraa. Then, there are the children of my three older brothers. It was the eldest and, by far, my favourite nephew, Jordan. I get up, leap over the couch, and smother the kid with a hug.
“Damn, Jordan! You’ve grown since I last saw you. Wow, I can’t believe you’re 18 now.”
I shake my head at the grinning boy. He’s starting to look a lot like Chris. He’s got the dark brown hair, strong jaw, height, and broadness of my oldest brother. It’s crazy how I watched him grow up from such a young age.
“Right now is not the time to catch up with Jordan and the others. Please sit while I deal with the clothing.”
I hold back a snicker as I realize that my mom is a grandmother. At age 7, I was made an aunt and by the time I was 16, I was proclaimed the Deathmother of Chris and Julie’s next child, Bailey. As soon as Jordan could speak he was stuck to me. Now he’s like a little brother to me. And I’m his big sister/aunt.
“Jordy, Jordy, who is dis?”
I look over to see Little Bailey watching me with bright green eyes. I frown at their radiance, knowing that it could only mean one thing. His brother tells him that I’m their father’s sister and his Deathmother. I smile at the baby boy and pick him up so sits on my lap.
“Jordan… Have your parents found… it? Is Bailey…?”
“No. Strangely, his eyes are like yours and great-grandpa Azazel. So far, you are the only one alive.”
“So he’s not… tainted?”
I sigh and tickle the little guy. He laughs and it spreads like a disease to Jordan and me. We barely even hear my mom telling us to undress Bailey and put him in a little toddler suit. I let Jordan do the honours and yank Steph over to me so I can fix her red dress and golden brown curls.
I let her go over to our mother for closer inspection. And that’s how we continue with the others. I help them into their dresses or suits and then send them over to Mom. If she’s not sure, then my opinion comes in. In the end, everyone is wearing formal clothes minus Jordan and I in our sweaters and joggers. My mother is satisfied, that’s all that matters.
Finally, Mom lets us all go and Jordan along with the small ones drag me into a spacious playroom I didn’t even know was there. I stand in the doorway awestruck and even envious. This is a room made for all kinds of kids and all ages. There are beanbags, books, swings, everything that would entertain any child.
“When since was this in the manor?” I ask aloud. Jordan turns around with his youngest cousin in his arms and tilts his head to the side, confused.
“What do you mean? This has always been in the manor. Dad told me that you guys would always play here.”
I look to the side, finally understanding. Of course, everyone played here... except me. I was always held back. Mom had to do everything for me because the maids and just about everyone else were too scared to go near me. It was King who comforted me, and then Mom when he left. I shake my head and plop down on a grey bean bag in the corner to watch everyone play.
Some time goes by before Jordan drags a green beanbag over and James tottles over to lay down on my stomach. I smile and stroke his soft golden hair before directing my attention to Christopher’s sons.
“What have you been up to while I was gone, Jay?”
“Not much. I finally made a name for myself in the academy. And I won over Peach’s brother.”
“Aye, good for you. That’s what I like to hear from a Death-Rose. So are you two dating?”
“Yeah… I also talked to Dad…”
I turn and stare hard at my nephew. The last time we hung out repeatedly, he was super depressed and in denial. He was afraid to talk to anyone besides me. Julie would always ask me what was wrong but understood that I was sworn to secrecy. I kind of felt bad for her ’cause she cares a ton about her children. But, a fair amount of shit must have happened for Jordan to go to his parents. I understand his mother, maybe, but not his father.
“Really? How… what made you go to Chris?”
“I don’t know. One day I was just feeling terrible and I told him everything since you weren’t around.”
I frown and continue playing with baby James’ hair. Everyone keeps bringing up my absence; it’s so annoying. They blame things on it, make me feel bad about it. Yet, all I was trying to do was better me. Something they always pushed on me.
“I wasn’t blaming anything on you, Aszurya. I’m glad you took time off. It benefitted both of us. If it wasn’t for you leaving I would never have told my dad and I probably would still be self-harming.”
I nod my head and try to relax. I close my eyes and join my baby brother in ‘sleepy land’ as he would have it.