It’s been so long since I’ve been inside Death-Rose manor. I still remember it. I remember playing in these halls as I walk down with the others. Kitoshy helped Hailey and I dress for the party instead of Alaric. He dressed my girlfriend in a golden mini dress with a bow in the middle of her back. It’s plain but I don’t need her standing out.
As for me, he decided on a plain black suit with golden cuffs with my initials engraved in them. My shirt is black and thin enough to still see my tattoos through the sleeves. But the suit jacket covers my ink. With some of Alaric’s gel, I slicked my hair back and put on some slacks.
“Where are we?”
“In a very special place.”
Hailey has been at my side since we left Alaric’s apartment. She’s been really quiet, not that I mind, but Alaric’s been chattering nonstop ever since he found out we were invited to this party. I bite down hard on my lip and watch closely as a small group of nobles dressed in elegant gowns and suits strut by my little group.
Letting Alaric lead the way, Kitoshy and I form a barrier around Hailey so no trouble starts. We need to get into the ballroom with no attention. But then there’s the problem with Aszurya. She won’t be happy to see Hailey. Hopefully, Alaric can take her mind off of her. That’s what we agreed on when I pulled Alaric aside yesterday.
“Why are we all going to this party?”
“Aszurya invited us all.”
Alaric nodded his head but frowned right after. “I know how weird it seems. I asked her if she meant ‘all’ too. Something was off about her.”
“I would assume so.”
We made a plan. I look after Hailey and he finds out what is wrong with Aszurya and how to fix it. Now, it’s time to set it in action. Finally, we make it to the entrance to the ballroom where we descend the wide velvet-covered steps. At the end of the steps stand, Blithe and Richard Death-Rose greeting everyone who comes in. It is Blithe who spots me first, her brown eyes widening.
I step to the side and walk over to an unoccupied corner, waiting patiently for the mother of a certain devilish woman to find me. As soon as she canis able to get away from her husband and makes her way over to me, she brings me into a tight hug.
“Oh, Theodore! It’s been too long since I’ve seen you. By the first! It’s been twenty-two years! But who let you back into the realm? Does your father know you’re here? He’s been worried about you.”
“I came back with Alaric because my father wouldn’t let me back in. Don’t worry I know everything now.”
“Then you know why we kept you in the dark.”
I clench my jaw and look to the side to find Hailey eyeing us. They don’t understand it is their fault. Had they let me talk to Aszurya she would’ve known I didn’t abandon her. I could have stopped her from attempting suicide.
“You still shouldn’t have kept me away from her. I could have stopped all of this from happening.”
Blithe reaches out her hand and places it on my shoulder as an act of reassurance. “She’s going to be here tonight. And to be honest, you are not in our family’s good graces, so be careful.”
I nod my head and we part ways quickly, almost as if we hadn’t spoken. I walk over to Hailey and plant a quick kiss on her lips to stop her from asking questions. Though Blithe is a few centuries older than us she still looks fairly young. I’m sure Hailey would think of something to bug me about.
Just as I slip my arm around her waist the doors to the ballroom are tossed open revealing the women of the Death-Rose clan standing side by side. There’s six of them in total, but in the middle stands a tall beauty with jet black hair styled into heated curls.
My mouth falls open as I stare at her, something coming alive as my eyes rake her body. She’s wearing a dress of some sort. It’s royal purple, making her green eyes pop out, with a black belt around the middle, showing off her voluptuous body. Her tattoos are even showing beneath her lace sleeves.
My heart breaks just a little, knowing what could have been had I stayed, as she smiles at her parents. Her family erupts in applause because of her achievement. I clap along and smile to myself, looking down at the floor, devastation slipping into my heart. Swallowing the knot in my throat, I lead my girlfriend over to the refreshments table feeling just a bit proud.
She’s come so far in the past few years. I know back then, when we first met, she wouldn’t have worn anything like that. She would have lost her shit at the idea of coming to a party. She would be wearing that mask of hers. Giving everybody dirty looks. Not giving a fuck about what people think as she strolled around with her weapons showing off.
“Are you all right, Theodore?”
I nod my head, not paying attention to who it is. Alaric comes into my line of vision with a troubled look on his face as I down a glass of sparkling wine. I shift my gaze past him, not wanting to be bothered about how I’m really feeling, to see Aszurya staring right at me. She tilts her gorgeous head to the side, her tendrils falling to the side, with a look of confusion written all over her face.
Yet there’s a hint of recognition.
A lean man with blonde hair walks behind her, slipping his hands around her body and stealing away her attention. A smile pulls at her full lips when she turns around, facing the other man. I watch as she leans her head up and the two kiss. Something wet and sharp touches my hand and I look down to see that it is glass. I must have squeezed the flute too tightly, breaking it.
“Go take a walk. I’ll deal with this.”
With a clenched jaw, I nod my head and walk out of the grand ballroom. I stand out in the hallway for about a half-hour staring up at the curved ceiling thinking about how happy she was with me. She was invincible with me. We were a team together. I’m the one that got her to admit that she was scared and hurt. But I’m not sure it was me that got her to wear a dress.
How close are they? Has he fucked her the way I want to? This isn’t why I came here. I didn’t come here to suddenly have regrets about something I couldn’t help. I swore I would stop being completely useless.
With that on my mind, I straighten my spine and walk back into the ballroom. I find my girlfriend standing in the middle of the dancefloor with Alaric and Kitoshy glaring at her. Everyone’s attention is on her, even those of the Death-Rose clan. My steps falter as I reach the trio I came with.
“Maybe you should tell him now.”
I look at Alaric to see just how fearful he can be. He has this dark look in his eyes, green sparks flying from his body as he struggles not to break. And all that anger, every last ounce of it, is directed towards Hailey. I could almost groan at the unwanted attention. This is the last thing I wanted.
Hailey walks to my side and slips her hand in mine, earning a few hisses from the crowd. Only then do I begin to understand the true reason for the standoff. A human isn’t wanted here. To my left stands my father with a sad look on his face. A look of disappointment I can’t bear to see. Even Blithe and Richard wear similar looks of disdain on their faces.
“What? Is there something I need to know?”
I look between Hailey and Alaric. Human to warlock. Right to wrong. Alaric nods his head but his features shift to sympathy. I frown, looking down at the blonde holding my hand. What could she possibly need to tell me that can’t wait any longer? Until a time when we are just by ourselves.
“Theo… there’s something that I need to tell you. I’m… I’m…”
“What? You’re what?”
I stop and stare at my girlfriend. A smile draws on my lips as I look at the love of my life. This is good news! We can finally start a family. Yet something feels off. Why is it that everyone is upset? Hailey isn’t even smiling back at me.
“That’s great,” I say, lifting her chin with two fingers. “But why is no one happy?”
Alaric clears his throat and gestures for her to go on. I tilt my head to the side and watch my girlfriend’s brown eyes as they dilate. She opens her mouth but no noise comes out. My heart begins to race, knowing there’s nothing good to come of it. Is this what Aszurya’s grandmother meant? What’s the bad news?
“What? Just say it.”
“I’m sorry, Theodore, boy. But… it’s not yours.”
Everything stops suddenly. My breath hitches in my throat as I look from Alaric to Kitoshy. They both wear a similar look of pity. I stumble away from Hailey as Alaric’s words sink into my mind. My eyes widen and my skin begins to burn up as the anger sets in. I clench my fists, trying to keep the emotions contained, as I look at the green warlock.
“You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me. This is a joke, right?”
I look to Hailey for confirmation and see all that I need to. Her lip begins to tremble and tears bud in her eyes, but I don’t feel sorry for her. After all this time. All the accusations…
“This is true. You’re a fucking joke, Hailey. You’ve been accusing me of cheating for years now. You’re always telling me that I’m not loyal and you know what? I just passed it off as insecurities. So many people told me to give up on you. But my dumbass stayed with you. I did everything for you. I hurt someone that I hold dear to my heart just for you. And this is how you repay me?”
“No. Don’t fucking ‘babe’ me, Hailey. There’s a girl out there who almost died when I wasn’t there for her. She almost took her fucking life because I had left without saying anything to her. I wasn’t there for her because I was with you. So many years have gone by and she had to grow up without her lifelong best friend. So, fuck you and that baby. I’m done with you, Hailey. You can kiss our marriage goodbye.”
Staggering back, I shake my head and walk out of the ballroom. I dash up the stairs and down a few hallways, onto one of the side balconies. Gripping the silver rail until my hands are pale, I stare up into the sky wishing I had something to punch. Something to take the anger out on. Tears slip past my defences just as my entire life begins to crumble.
I made the biggest mistake of my life thinking about her two years ago. Even in January, asking her to marry me. If only someone had warned me…
Except someone did. But I didn’t heed her warning. And like a fool I hurt both of us. I let the tears fall until all that is left is the pain and regret in my heart.
Some time goes by before someone knocks on the glass doors behind me. I look around to see a familiar green-eyed girl watching me. Turning around, I lean against the silver, rolling my eyes. There’s only one reason she’s out here with me.
“I heard what happened.”
“And so you’ve come to make fun of me? Tell me that you were right? Rub salt on the wound?”
Aszurya looks down and fidgets with her belt.
“You sound just like them.”
Pushing off the railing, I close the distance between us. Sighing, I pause the hateful thoughts and pull her closer to me. It was wrong for me to snap at her like that. Especially when she looks like that. She places her hands on my chest and looks into my eyes, worrying at her bottom lip.
“Don’t be. It’s something I would do. I would be doing it… except, you were right about me too. And the last thing you did was rub it in.”
I think back to when I made her fess up about Eddie. She was more than reluctant to spill such a dark secret. But I know more now. More than she thinks I know. I was right about a wealthy portion of her life but she predicted this years ago. She said some shit was going to fuck me over and that I would come running to her. And here I am, already wishing it was just her and no one else.
“When did you start this?”
I distract her and myself by placing my thumb on her lip. There’s already a split in the flesh. Her tongue darts out her mouth and brushes my thumb, sending sparks down my spine. I’m tempted to kiss her but I know it’s too soon for me. I’d just be using her to drown out my pain. That wouldn’t be right.
“Worrying at your lip.”
“A few weeks ago I guess. When I started training you.”
“What made you do it?”
Aszurya shrugs her shoulders and shakes her head as if something is bothering her. She steps away from me and touches her lip as she squints her eyes and lets her head fall back. I take her back in my arms and brush my lips against her forehead.
“It was me, right? The one you called your lifelong best friend?”
“It was you. C’était toujours toi. Je t’ai toujours aimé.” I whisper in her ear, my lips against her soft skin. My French sends shudders down her back, taking her breath away. I kiss her sensual spot, making her moan and slip her hand into my hair. She tugs softly as I grab her ass and press her up against my body.
She pulls back just the slightest bit, leaving her fingers tangled in my hair. We stare into each other’s eyes, foreheads pressed against each other. Our lips are just barely touching. Aszurya’s free hand cups my face as her brilliant eyes close. My body yearns to touch more of her. All I can think about is kissing her soft lips.
I watch as she continues to worry at her lips, just making me want her even more. I slip my hand into hers and push her hair out of her face. Aszurya’s eyes trace my face as I smile, encouraging her.
“Come on, you’re in a dress, we’re at a party. Why not enjoy ourselves?”
“Are you sure you want to go back in there?”
I nod my head and lead her out into the hallway. Her hand feels perfect for me. As soon as we get to the doors leading into the ballroom Aszurya stops and furrows her eyebrows at me. I smile and nod my head, answering her silent question. Together we open the heavy wooden doors and descend the steps hand in hand.
Someone in the crowd, probably Alaric, whistles at us when we get to the bottom. I lead my beautiful woman over to the dancefloor as a familiar song comes over the speakers. She bites her lip as I lead her in a dance. I leave my hands on her waist. She wraps her hands around my neck as I rest my face in the crevice of her neck, whispering the lyrics to her as I breathe in her scent.
When I raise my head again, I notice others on the dance floor moving around us to the music. I rest my forehead on Aszurya’s and continue to sing softly to her, knowing she’s loving every part of it. Aszurya joins along with me, singing in the most beautiful voice I’ve ever heard.
I’ll practice my patienceWhile you’re getting wastedTill fate bring you homeI’ll wait through your phases
Ignoring everyone in the room, Aszurya and I dance around each other serenading each other. Getting everything off of our chest. I can’t help but tickle and tease laughter out of the woman dressed in royal purple.
Her dimples wink in and out as we dance. Even after her family members join us on the dance floor. Hours pass by, welcoming the next day, but no one wants to stop having a good time. Eventually, when the sky gets pitch black, guests begin to leave. Aszurya excuses us from the festivities and leads me over to her room in the manor.
It’s dark, spacious, and beautiful with a king-sized bed covered in silky black and red sheets in the middle. Her thick black curtains are drawn closed, and most of her furniture is covered in black polish with red roses burned in the wood.
I sit on the bed, careful not to mess up the sheets, and pull Aszurya onto my lap. We curl up in her bed, with a thick comforter the colour of blood. As I tug on the bottom of her clothes I realize that it wasn’t the dress I had thought it to be. It was just one of those romper things with the flowy outside. No easy access to her alluring female parts.
“Fuck, you really had me thinking something else with this.”
Smiling, Aszurya takes off my tie and suit jacket. I let her unbutton my black dress shirt so that she can place her hands on my bare chest as she straddles me. I pout and pull at her sleeves, wanting them desperately to disappear. My wish is granted immediately, her dress disappearing and reappearing at the end of the bed. I run my hands over her hot skin, taking in her scars and tattoos. Remembering what I saw at the archives.
Humming, Aszurya lets my hands move down to a familiar scar. It’s been there for a while. Before I didn’t know where it came from but now I do. And I feel just as bad as when I first realized that I didn’t know this woman in my arms. It’s time for me to hear the truth from her mouth.
“I saw your file at the archives.”
Aszurya’s hands halt, her sharp eyebrows furrowing as she realizes what I know. I watch as she swallows hard and looks away, her eyes becoming glassy. Her bronze chest begins to rise up and down as she takes deep breaths, grinding her waist against my body.
“Why? Why is it that someone always has to ruin something for me? First your mother, my demons, her, and now this. Who showed you? Who?!”
I grab Aszurya’s waist and shift so she’s pinned under my body. I feel her demons roaring beneath her skin, her emotions stirring them out of their slumber. She doesn’t even move to fight me. She just closes her eyes, misery plastered on her face.
“Aszurya, just calm down.”
“Why? I didn’t want anyone knowing about that part of my life. And certainly not you.”
“I would have found out anyway. It’s my fault. I wasn’t there for you when you most needed me. The strip clubs, the bars, the older men not asking for consent. I saw it all.”
Aszurya’s eyes are pleading with me, asking me to stop her from reliving the horrible memories. But I can’t. I need to talk about this with her. Aszurya arches her back while biting her lip and apologizing over and over again.
“Don’t apologize. It’s not your fault.”
“Yes, it is. I was a mess, King. Hell, I did so many things when I was so young. I was a slut. He was fucking right all along.”
“No… He wasn’t right. He’s never been right about you. Forget about him. Forget about everyone but me.”
“How can I? I’ve let everyone else touch me, kiss me, fuck me. Everyone besides you. The only one that ever cared for me. The only one I want in me, right now.”
Her waist touches mine, igniting my nerves and testosterone. She slips her hand into my hair, her eyes dilating as her hips jerk against me. I could drown out both of our feelings. I could make her all mine. She’d let me.
I shake my head and take a deep breath. The reality is I can’t. There’s still…
“Fuck you and your baby…”
I’ve never been into the whole Catholic religion like my mom was. But right now, I think this woman here is my god. I toss everything my mother taught me out the window and take my Goddess, my queen, my everything, by her lips. Our bodies are like two flames as I kiss her, catching her off guard.
Her body stiffens but quickly relaxes, moulding with mine. I moan against her lips as my tongue parts the seam of her lips, euphoria taking over my body. It’s nothing like I dreamt it would be. It’s even better.
I run my tongue over hers, tasting her mouth. She’s sweet and spicy. Just the way I like it. She moans against my mouth as I bring out her dangerous side. I don’t need to open my eyes to know that her hair is red. I’m erect. I just want her. So I bring back the moments we stole years ago.
Removing my mouth from hers, I run my tongue down to the peaks of her breast. The melodious sound of her gasp reaches my ears as I bite her. Her legs spread wider apart, leaving her weak point open to me. I kiss and nibble on the inside of her thighs before diving deep into her wet sex. Flicking my tongue deep into her pink walls, I rub my finger against her cluster of nerve endings.
“Merde. Pourquoi ai-je attendu si longtemps?”
“If you keep on talking to me like that…”
Aszurya pulls away from me, leaving me lonely. She gets up and grabs her robe before walking out of her own room. I swallow hard and run my hand through my hair. My body’s still on fire. I can feel it racing through my veins.
I groan as the pain sets in. It’s not like I’ve experienced before. I feel like every atom in my body is splitting in half yet I still want to be pleasured. She should be here. I should be in her creating new beings. I grip the sheets tightly, growling as the pain worsens. The room begins to darken as I pass out from the pain.