I closed the book and let it fall in my lap, my hands covering my face. The whirl of emotions inside me was turning from a tiny breeze to a hurricane threatening to destroy everything in its path.
Why was this happening to me? What was I supposed to do?
Should I believe my estranged father just because of a couple of entries in an old diary and trust his judgment that Samael was the evilest creature in the world? Or should I follow my instincts that were telling me there was more to him that meets the eye?
My father had to be right. There were other entries before him, from other hunters, and I was sure that they would say the same. Elijah had died trying to kill me, the little girl that he made laugh, play with, told stories to. He must have thought I was compromised by Samael’s influence. But I was not, I would not be. My father was dead, Elijah was dead, and I was the only one who can control him - if only I could control myself. He was my responsibility.
Gritting my teeth, I opened the book again, this time in the beginning. My eyes moved to page after page written by people for centuries back. The first entry was from 1329. Every next one grew more and more desperate, scribing scenes that played vividly in my mind. Most of the owners of the diary never succeeded to imprison him - and it was always the same demon, although the names varied from Smil to Samil to Samiel, and the last few entries mentioned him as I knew him - Samael.
When I reached my father’s entries my body had grown numb from fear, anger, and regret. This monster they described - I had seen him. I had seen his true form, I had seen his victims; I had seen the fire in his eyes. They called him destroyer and seducer and they warned not to fall victim to his image since he could sense your desires and play on them until you let your guard down. That was usually when he struck - merciless and lethal like a poisonous snake.
I opened the bottom drawer and dropped the book under my picture that was still lying there. I closed the drawer and locked it, hoping he wouldn’t start snooping around. Knowing I know what he really was would put me at a disadvantage, and he might decide to force me to release him by threatening the life of others. I couldn’t have that. He could only threaten me - the one person he cannot kill.
You can hurt me without touching me, my own words echoed through my mind, and pushed them aside, getting to my feet. My butt was stiff from the long stay in an uncomfortable position, so I stretched for a moment before heading for my bedroom. The clock on the wall showed five in the morning and my head was pounding from the pressure in my eyes and the need to quiet the million thoughts and questions fighting for attention in my mind.
The door to my bedroom was ajar and I took a few uncertain steps, squinting my eyes at the sudden movement in my bed. I stopped halfway to it, eyes locking on the figure sleeping comfortably in it. He was naked, at least from the waist up, the rest of him was covered with a thin purple sheet - thank god - and he was lying on his stomach, his shoulders perfectly chiseled and back reminding me that I was a weak human with even weaker knees.
I bit back a frustrated groan and turned on my heel, exiting the room. I restrained myself from slamming the door since that would just wake him up and then I would have to deal with his wicked smile and god knows what else.
Instead, I made a left turn towards my father’s bedroom. I hadn’t entered it ever since my mother died. I used to wake them up every morning by jumping on their bed and giggling like crazy until one of them got up to make pancakes. Soon after my mother’s funeral, I found the door locked in the morning when I sneaked to go to my dad. I almost expected it to be locked now when I turned the handle, but to my surprise, it budged easily, just like it did when I was a child.
The accommodation was dark and cold, the curtains drawn. The room had a northern exposure, so it was always cool, even in summer. I hesitated whether I should switch the lights on, but decided against it. Instead, I pulled the curtains, wrinkling my nose as a thick cloud of dust swirled around me. The full moonlight fell on the right side of the bed, my mother’s side.
I turned around and climbed on the bed, snuggling against the blanket. It still held my father’s scent, albeit it slowly gave way to dust. He always smelled of old paper and spices, and on one day in the year - on my mother’s death anniversary - he smelled of tulips.
I closed my eyes, my memories quickly lulling me to sleep.
* * * * *
When I opened my eyes in the morning, I found Samael’s face inches away from mine. One of his long hands was resting underneath his cheek, the other on the space between us. The usual smirk was lacking and when I jumped he seemed just as surprised.
“Jesus Christ!” I groaned as I almost fell from the bed. “What the hell is wrong with you?”
“What did I do?” I asked with an innocent voice.
You exist, okay? I wanted to say. Instead, I snapped.
“My bed was not enough for you, you had to claim this one too?”
The now-familiar smile that made my heart beat faster returned to his lips, and he moved an inch closer to me. I forced myself not to move, painfully aware that my butt was literally hanging from the bed.
“Your bed could easily fit both of us.” He said suggestively.
“My bed could hardly fit your own arrogance,” I mumbled as he reached out and removed a string of hair that was falling in front of my eyes. I slapped his hand away. “What do you want?”
“Nothing.” He shrugged and I eyed him with a heavy dose of disbelief. “Okay, I got bored. Watching you sleep was much more interesting. You make weird faces when you dream.”
“I’m not even going to ask.” I sighed, pushing the covers off me. His eyes glanced at my body as if expecting me to be naked instead of wearing my sweatpants and a long-sleeved top. Sleeping naked in this cold room, in my father’s bed, was never going to happen. And now that Samael roamed freely around, it probably wasn’t going to happen in any other room either.
I headed towards the door, hearing the bed screech under his weight as he got off it. I sped down the stairs, hoping for a moment of peace and quiet. The coffee machine was already on, so I just watched as the black liquid poured into the pot. When it finally stopped dripping, I poured myself a cup and turned almost pumping into Samael. I spilled half my coffee over my sweater, gritting my teeth as it burned my skin.
“Please, I can’t deal with you this early,” I said through gritted teeth as I put the cup on the table and slid the sweater off, gasping as it brushed against the red skin. Samael watched me with mild curiosity, his eyes inspecting my exposed shoulders. I thrust the sweater in his stomach, getting even angrier when my blow met tight muscles.
“You said you’ll fix the hole in the wall. Do it.” I said, holding his eyes. His jaw tightened for a moment as he sensed the order in my voice.
That’s right, I meant it.
His lips curved into a smile and he bowed his head, turning on his heel and leaving the kitchen. I let out a heavy sigh, taking my coffee cup, and raising it to my lips. Finally, some peace and…
A loud knock came from the front door, then another one. I closed my eyes.
“God give me patience…” I whispered as I dragged my feet towards the door, bringing my cup with me. A familiar face peeked at me from the broken window, and I had to bite my lip to stop myself from flinching. I unlocked the door, forcing a smile. Krystal stared at me from the threshold, her hands grasping a glass container full of something black and smelling of chocolate.
“We heard what happened, Nora, and I had to come to see you. This is so, so horrible. First your father’s death and now his friend getting killed in your house… may I come in?”
I opened my mouth to say it was not the best time, but she snuggled her bony butt past me, swaying her hips towards my kitchen. I threw my hand in the air, letting it fall helplessly.
By all means, come in!
I followed her in the kitchen, eager to get the little reunion over with and send her back to the hole she crawled from. She placed her offering on the kitchen counter, looking around.
“I heard that it was one of them wolves that attacked Elijah.” She murmured, shaking her head. “I’m so glad you were not hurt! I could not bear to lose your father and you within a week’s time. You are the only family I have left.”
“You have your husband.” I pointed out, taking a sip out of my coffee. She looked at me like I had just told her the sky was purple.
“Well, yes, obviously. But he is not like family-family. You’re my blood.” She explained, but I failed to see the logic. I didn’t care enough to argue, though.
“Right, well, I am fine, Krystal. Thank you for coming by. And thank you for bringing…” my eyes lingered on the pastry in the glass container, but I couldn’t decide what it was. It looked like a chocolate cake married a brownie and they had a litter of square babies that were neatly lined in the dish that lay between us.
“I call it chocolate orgasm.” She said, giving me a wink. Lovely. I was not calling it that, especially with Samael around. “So is your boyfriend around? Can I meet him?”
I needed a minute to process the question, and even then I didn’t know how to answer that.
“My boyfriend?” I repeated slowly, hoping to buy some time. “How do you…?”
“Randy told Peter that your boyfriend was here when it happened. I didn’t even know you had a boyfriend, let alone that he was here. He wasn’t at your father’s funeral…”
“Yeah, he had a thing,” I mumbled. “Who is Randy and how did he know that?”
“Oh, Randy? It’s Randy Moore, he works at the police station.” She said waving her hand. “They used to be classmates with Peter and they all go out Friday night to get drunk at ‘Miley’s Pub’. You know how men are.”
“Right.” I nodded, taking the coffee back up to my lips to avoid saying anything else.
“So about your boyfriend. Is he… holy moly!” Her eyes turned wide as plates and I didn’t have to turn to figure out who was standing behind me.
“Nora, do you know where I can find your father’s tools?” His velvet voice came out even more seductive than usual and by the look on Krystal’s face, I was positive she was ready to go and help him find all the tools he needed. I suddenly felt better about myself and my self-restraint. I raised the cup back to my lips in an attempt to hide my satisfied smile. I turned to look at Samael just to find him shirtless, his belt tightened just at the point where a little lower would be pretty much the same as no pants.
I choked on my coffee and his smile grew wider. His eyes moved away from me and to Krystal.
“I don’t believe I had the pleasure.” He said with the same tone, crossing the kitchen and extending a hand towards her. She took it, her eyes still as big as Jupiter’s moons. “I’m Samael. And you are?”
“I’m… Krystal. You can call me Krys if you want.” Her startled expression gave way to what she thought may be a seductive smile and I rolled my eyes. If he was really my boyfriend, this would really be out of line. She was literally undressing him with her eyes - what was left to be undressed. But the way his eyes lingered on her tight breasts and the way he smiled at her was what really made my stomach turn.
“Samael, let me show you where those tools are,” I said with a growl, putting the cup down and snatching his hand. He followed without a word until I dragged him outside in the yard. “What are you doing?”
“I am going to fix the hole in the wall as you ordered.” He said innocently.
“That’s not what I’m talking about. The kitchen, Krystal, she was ready to fuck you in front of me. Whatever you’re doing, stop it.”
“I am a demon, Nora,” he laughed. “It’s in my nature to bring the desire out of people. And Krystal, she is a very unsatisfied woman, so it is really not that hard. I could sense her desire from the other room, just like I sense you.”
“You’ll sense my knee in your balls if you don’t stop. She is married, Samael. Don’t you dare touch her. Or let her touch you.” I said, pointing a finger at him. He stared at it for a moment before his eyes returned to mine.
“If I didn’t know better, I would say you are jealous, Nora.” He purred as he leaned towards me. “Is it possible that you don’t want to share me with Krystal? Because if I go back right now, I bet she’ll submit to me in ten seconds.”
“I’m serious, Samael,” I said with as much intensity as I could. “She is family. You won’t touch her or make her do anything that will jeopardize her marriage. Am I clear?”
He bit his lower lip, staring at me.
I swallowed with difficulty at the sound of my name on his tongue and pointed at the shed in the back.
“My father kept his tools there. Stay out until she leaves.”
He gave me a mocking salute, then moved past me towards the shed. I headed back for the house when I heard him calling my name again.
“Oh, and Nora,” even from across the yard his voice sounded almost as if he was standing right behind me. “Your desire just rose to her levels, so I guess I win either way.”
“Go to hell.” I murmured, slapping the bug net behind me. I swore I heard him chuckle, but I strode through the corridor taking a deep breath. I found Krystal in the kitchen where we left her, peeking over one of the tiny windows above the sink that overviewed the backyard.
“You didn’t tell me he is that hot!” She said with an exasperated sigh, fanning herself with her hand. “Man, I would murder to be in your place.” She bit her lower lip, her eyes returning to the window.
“Yes, yes, I am very lucky,” I said, hoping Samael couldn’t hear. “I’m sorry, Krystal, but I think you should go. After everything that happened, I am really not up for guests. I promise I’ll drop by before I leave.”
Disappointment flooded her angular features as she turned to look at me.
“Oh, okay. I understand.” She nodded, looking down. The front door opened and closed and I turned, ready to scream.
“Oh, hi Nora,” Peter said as he stopped at the kitchen threshold. “I was waiting in the car. Krystal said she’ll only take a minute but… you look nice, by the way, considering…” his lips turned upwards for a second then back to a straight line. It took all of me not to scowl.
“Krystal,” I said, turning to find her stretching her neck to look through the windows over the sink. “Krystal, Peter is waiting for you. You should go.”
“Oh, yeah.” She said looking back at her husband with such disappointment that I was afraid Samael had done too much damage already. I watched as the odd couple left, Krystal towering with half a step over her husband thanks to her ten-inch heels; his hand slid over her butt as he turned over his shoulder and looked at me. I shuddered, slamming the door and locking. I went back to the kitchen and snatched the tablecloth, returning to the door and hanging it where the small window used to be.
Trying to calm my whirlpool of emotions, I returned to the kitchen, glancing at my now cold coffee. I would probably need something stronger. My eyes landed on the brownie cake, the smell of chocolate and freshly baked crust making my mouth water. I armed myself with a fork and pulled the wrapping foil off the top, taking out a big chunk of the corner piece. I eyed it suspiciously, then slowly took a big bite. My mouth exploded with a sensation of flavors - chocolate, cocoa, vanilla, and soft crust. It literally melted on my tongue.
I let out a moan of pleasure, looking back down at the pastry and taking another big bite, this time without hesitation. I rose to my toes and glanced through the small window, but I could not see Samael out there. I couldn’t hear him in the hallway either.
Mildly concerned he was up to something again, I took another bite from the pastry, closing my eyes and letting out a happy sigh. For all her flaws, Krystal knew how to bake, I’ll give her that.
Eating that brownie cake was almost like a warm embrace. Almost like hands caressing your skin…
My eyes sprung open just as a hard body pressed against my back and a pair of strong, hot arms slid over mine, his right hand tightening around my fingers still holding the fork. He guided my hand to take another piece of the brownie cake and then slowly toward my face. Contrary to my better judgment I opened my mouth and my lips closed around the fork before he pulled it away. Chewing while his body outfitted mine was hard and I almost jumped as the fork clattered as it fell into the glass container.
I swallowed the cake, preparing myself to push him back and get as far away as possible when his hands turned me around so quickly I felt my head spin. Before I could wiggle away, he closed the distance between us pinning me between his body and the counter. I managed to surprise him by placing my fingers on his lips right before they connected with mine.
“That’s enough,” I said, swallowing the last remnants of the cake. I stood perfectly still, trying to avoid any further contact points between us. His left hand reached out wrapping around my wrist and pulling it down.
“I don’t think so.” He whispered with confidence that shook my faltering resolve. His mouth moved against mine with desperate need, his tongue exploring every inch of my mouth. His free hand slid to the small of my back pulling my hips firmly against his. “Stop fighting me, Nora.” He whispered in my lips as we pulled for breath.
“No.” I said with a voice that sounded more like a squirm than a firm conviction. His lips locked on my neck where he had attacked me the first night and he licked the sore skin sending a jolt of exaltation through my body. His hold around my body tightened as if sensing my knees growing weaker.
This was not what you should be doing, a tiny voice in my head whispered hushed down by the blinding desire and need for him. Every part of me longed for him - for his fingers caressing my naked skin, for his mouth exploring every inch of my body, for his eyes bringing me to the brink of madness.
I felt his hand slide down my stomach and hitch on the brim of my sweatpants for a second before moving in them. All I could do was let out a surprised gasp as his fingers moved up and down between my legs.
Remember his true face, the tiny annoying voice tried one final time and the memory of his body covered in black marble, death dancing on his fingertips and his horrifically inhuman face brought me back to reality.
I pushed him back, surprising both of us. His stupor lasted only a moment and a loud growl of frustration started at the back of his throat.
“Stop,” I said, my mind slowly clearing. My body was still shivering from his haunting touch but he had no control over my mind. As long as he didn’t touch me I had my marbles in check.
He dug his heels right in front of me, unable to move further. Disbelief flashed in his eyes replaced with pure anger. For a moment I thought his eyes flashed pure black but it was all gone with a blink of an eye so I was not entirely sure if I hadn’t imagined it.
“Why?” He demanded, his fingers twitching as if trying to grab onto me.
“You really have to ask?” I said breathlessly. “You are a demon who feeds on humans. You swore to kill me and you said it plenty of times that if I set you free this is exactly what you’ll do. Now you’re playing with my head, waiting for me to slip and say the words. I won’t allow it.”
“I’m not asking you to release me from the bond.” He said through his teeth. “All I am asking is for you to stop fighting your desire. I know you want me, I could sense it in your bones. And I want you more than I have ever wanted a human in my life. I’m a demon, everything you feel I feel ten times stronger.”
“No.” I said, my breathing finally coming out even.
Samael turned his back on me, a vicious growl coming from his body as he reached out, swiping his hands over the kitchen counter with the few remaining glasses drying and sending them flying at the floor. I tried not to flinch as they exploded into tiny pieces. My eyes locked on Samael’s back as he rushed towards the door.
“Samael, stop.” He froze, slowly turning to look at me. There was no trace of his mischievous grin or even the thoughtful expression he got from time to time. His face was empty. “I forbid you from killing any more people, human or otherwise.” His jaw tightened as if I had slapped him. “And stay away from Krystal and her family.”
His eyes turned black and he disappeared with a sharp crack followed by a slammed door.