Ch.4: Join Me
💙 Sienna’s POV 💙
Slowly his hand reached up, running its fingertips down my cheek. My skin tingled wherever he touched. Shivering under his heated gaze, I watched him through my lashes. As I stared into his glistening blue eyes, the world around me seemed to disappear. An enchanted place called out to me, its invitations echoing in my mind.
‘Come to us.’ It called to me.
“Shall we dance, my beloved Queen?” He spoke, voice softer than velvet but deep and masculine. It was like music to my ears, and I never wanted him to stop moving his lips. Nodding my head, I found myself agreeing to whatever he wanted. I didn’t know why I felt this way or why I didn’t question his words. Perhaps it was the alcohol in my system clouding my judgment.
His hands captured my own, and he placed them on his shoulders. Then his arms wound around my waist, spreading fire through my entire body. We danced on a tune of our own, ignoring the band. I never learned to dance, it was never in my skill set. However, my movements were graceful and in rhythm with his own. I didn’t feel in control of my body. It carried itself, free of my control.
As we danced, we began to drift away from the encampment, going deeper into the forest, the fog below our feet. Everything about the bonfire and the party seemed so far away, almost as if they were never real. He was my reality. The others were an illusion—a distraction.
“Won’t you come with me, my Queen?” He whispered, his lips so close, brushing over mine as he spoke. I was about to nod and follow him when Jax’s face shone in my mind, unignorable and brighter than the sun.
With a gasp, my mind broke out of its haze, guilt clutching my heart. What the hell was I doing out here in the middle of the forest, dancing with a strange man? He seemed to have bewitched me somehow, taken away the control of my body.
“No!” I yelled, pushing his arms away. A look of pure agony crossed over his beautiful features. I felt slight guilt by my words, it was a bizarre feeling and most likely misplaced. I shouldn’t regret rejecting a strange man in the middle of the forest.
“Do you know how long I have waited for you?” He said. Voice wounded like a bird whose wings were ripped off.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about! I think you’ve got the wrong person, mister.” I snapped, turning to walk away. I needed to get back to the others before they notice I left and come looking.
I collided into a hard body, arms wrapping around me in an embrace. “How did you move so fast?” I said in shock, he was standing over there only seconds ago. I didn’t even hear the crunching of leaves beneath his feet as he moved. I wondered if he was even human. His beauty was too unnatural, too perfect.
“My name is Luthius.” He said, stroking a hand across my jawline. “I am not bound by the same physical restraints as...humans.” He said, placing a displeased emphasis on the word human. As if they were far inferior to him. Doesn’t that place me below him as well?
“I never asked for your name,” I said, annoyed, trying to hide how his name bounced around my mind, making my heart skip a beat. The bastard had a beautiful name, such a waste.
“Soon it shall be the only name you scream,” He whispered in a husky voice. His eyes dark, gleaming with unrestrained desire. As his words registered in my mind, I felt all my body heat gather in my face.
“You wish, I have a boyfriend.” I snapped, shoving him away.
"What?” He growled, staring at me with scorching eyes. The coolness of his eyes dissipating as they filled with blue flames. I swallowed nervously, feeling a strange sense of guilt again. Why should I be guilty when I spoke the truth? I owed him nothing, and yet he looked at me as I betrayed him.
“What is his name?” Luthius asked, his voice low and full of dark promises.
“Why would I tell you only for you to hurt him?” I said, backing away from him and trying to run back to the encampment.
I didn’t get far as my back was slammed into a tree, a hard body pinning me down. I felt each rise and fall of his chest against my own, his gleaming sapphire eyes piercing through me.
“Sienna Ramones, you have five days to sever all ties with the mortal world. This includes ties to other men. You are the destined queen of the Azure court. Fated to rule by my side.” Luthius said, his voice serious and full of determination.
“There must be a mistake. I am no one special! I am just a small-town girl. How do you even know my name?” I said in disbelief.
“You bear the mark of the Azure Queen. Fate never makes mistakes.” He said, planting a soft kiss on my forehead.
I felt something tingle in the spot he kissed even as his lips were gone. As I reached up to touch my forehead, his face leaned in, only centimeters from mine. His alluring eyes trained on my lips, watching as I nervously licked my lips.
His lips captured mine, and instead of fighting him, my eyes fluttered closed. My heart pounded in my chest as my body betrayed me. The kiss only lasted a split second, before I no longer felt his lips on mine. The warmth of his entire body was gone, replaced with the chill of the night. Disappointment filled me as my body craved the heat of his touch.
As I opened my eyes, I took a sharp intake of breath.
Luthias was gone, and so was the fog. It was almost as though they were never there in the first place. My mind wanted to make this out to be a hallucination or a dream. However, given what I encountered just the other day, I wasn’t so sure anymore. I had to come up with a better explanation.
With Luthias’ words echoing in my mind, I wondered what the hell the Azure court was. How could I possibly be a queen? It just wasn’t possible, not that I would ever want to be the queen of beasts. The creatures who attacked me wanted to prevent me from becoming queen. It was frustrating because it wasn’t even my intention. Why should I pay for something I never once desired?
“Sienna!” A voice called out me, echoing throughout the forest. I recognized the voice as belonging to Jax. As the thought of Jax entered my mind, guilt clutched me. I didn’t know what I should do or what to say. How can I tell my boyfriend that I let some strange man lead me out into the forest and let him kiss me? This was definitely along the lines of cheating, and I felt horrible.
I took a moment to compose myself, smoothing my dress before answering him, my voice echoing in the night. “I’m over here!”
I turned my head as I saw the beams of a flashlight and a rustling sound in the bushes. Soon, Jax and Evelyn emerged from the trees, a look of concern etched on their faces.
“Oh my god, Sienna! Never go wandering in the forest alone ever again. You gave me a freaking heart attack, and I’m still young.” Evelyn shouted, throwing her arms around me.
“I wasn’t alone. I was with...” I said but thought it best to leave my encounter with Luthias a secret for now. I didn’t know what to say to Jax.
“Someone said they saw you wandering into the forest on your own. There wasn’t anyone walking with you.” Jax said, wrapping his arms around me as Evelyn let go. Knowing how much I didn’t deserve his affection, I hugged him weakly. Guilt gripped me tighter as I imagined his hurt expression when I tell him the truth. What I did.
No one saw Luthias, just like no one saw the old lady. Why the hell was I the only one who could see them? I thought the monsters had decided to move on after getting bored with me. They just had to send a handsome one. I was so ashamed that I let my guard down around someone who could have dropped their disguise’s mask and tried to kill me.
He would never hurt me.
The thought came out of nowhere, aggressively defending the strange man. While it sounded ridiculous to trust someone you only just met, I found myself trusting Luthias as naturally as I found breathing. I don’t know what weird magic he enchanted me with, but I needed to get the home. He said five days to sev-
“Are you even listening to me?” Evelyn said, snapping me out of my thoughts. I realized we were already by the parked cars, I was so deep in thought I didn’t notice us walking.
“Oh, sorry I was thinking,” I said sheepishly, noticing we were in front of a blue, unfamiliar van. I looked puzzled at Evelyn, and she rolled her eyes.
“If you were listening, you would’ve heard me say that since we’re all drunk, that my friend Josh here will take us home. We arranged it last week cause he’s the only person I know who doesn’t drink. I will get my car in the morning.” she said, opening the back door for me.
I slid into the backseat of the blue van, and Evelyn followed after me. With Jax sitting in the front next to Josh, we pulled onto the road and drove back to town.
“Probably shouldn’t have wandered into the forest alone there, Sienna, lost of creatures hiding,” Josh said, glancing over at me in the rearview mirror. Your warning came a little late, my friend.
“Oh, please save us the superstitious nonsense, Josh. I hear enough of it from my nana every single day.” Evelyn whined, leaning forward in her seat to smack Josh’s shoulder.
“Are you crazy? I’m driving!” Josh shouted, pretending to swerve and making Evelyn scream.
‘You have no idea that that same superstitious nonsense is real.’ I wanted to say but just continued to stare out the window at the rising sun.
What had felt like the span of minutes to me was actually hours. I had been in the forest with Luthias for two hours. Two freaking hours.
I got home that night, just as the clock struck five in the morning. I tiptoed into the house, being careful of the creaking floorboards. There were many as the house was ancient, making getting to my room, a mission impossible movie. I didn’t mean to be so late, but a certain someone occupied my night.
As I tiptoed up the stairs to the second floor, I finally noticed the eerie silence of the house. Sure it was five in the morning, and mom should be asleep, but something felt wrong. The house seemed devoid of life except for mine. An uneasy feeling weighed down on my heart.
I abandoned being stealthy and headed straight for my mom’s room. As I knocked on the door, it creaked open. It was already unlocked. The bedroom was empty, and the bed was neatly made.
“Mom?” I called out, my voice echoing over the old walls of the house. No answer came. “Mom!” I called again. No one answered
I searched outside in the gardens, but she wasn’t there either. I was beyond puzzled, where she could have gone as our truck was still sitting on the driveway. Mom wasn’t the type to go for walks. She often warned me against forest hiking as bears and coyotes were not an uncommon sight around here.
I called her cellphone only to hear it ringing in the living room. There, mom’s phone sat on the couch, without its owner.
I was beyond exhausted, my eyes crossing as I force to keep them open. I went back up to my room and flopped on the bed. Hoping mom would be back by the time I woke up.
My eyes fluttered closed, and I fell asleep.