Approaching Phoenix

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Chapter 10

“Ash,” Blyth whispered but I refused to open my eyes to see him. I was still contemplating everything that I had just read. My mind was still lost somewhere in the eighteenth century with Violet. “Ash, hey, wake up.”

Unwilling to move or even wanting to be awake I ignored his words and just laid there the same as I was when he walked in. Instead of lying down in the bed, he sat on the edge next to me. Carefully he placed his finger on my temple and let it slid gently down my cheek unto my neck. “Ash, come on.”

It seemed that he had given up when I felt his weight being removed from the bed. I wanted to let out a sigh of relief but it would give me away. I was ready to turn over and pull the blanket over me to cut the light out when it disappeared on its own. I felt on edge once I realized that Blyth was now leaning over top of me. It wasn’t until I felt his breath against my lips that I opened my eyes. “Even Sleeping Beauty must wake.”

I threw up my hands when I saw his profound brown eyes staring into me. By the look on his face, and I’m sure mine, we were both quite stunned at what was happening at the moment. With my hands still in the air where they had been pressed against his chest he floated almost two feet from them. The astonishment left his face as he looked around the room, “I should have taken more precaution. Brownies.”

I turned my eyes from him as I found the plate on the nightstand empty of all but crumbs. Without warning I felt Blyth body collapsing from the air on top of me. The impact of his body would have hurt more except his fists landed on either side of me. As I looked back at him I feared moving for fear of what might happen to him if I did. A devilish grin crossed his face as he looked down on me, “You know if you wanted to you could have just let me kiss you. I must say though I am enjoying this much more.”

I understood what he was hinting at, but I still refused to move. My hands were now firmly placed on his chest as he lowered himself towards me. I closed my eyes and turned my head afraid that he was going to try to kiss me again. When I felt his weight being removed from my hands I opened my eyes, “As appealing as this is getting, you have to get ready.”

“Ready?” I questioned as I sat up watching Blyth sitting once again on the edge of the bed.

“I have a surprise for you. Well, not mine, but it is a surprise nonetheless so we have to go.” Blyth pulled at his hair making me realize that it was long again. Swiftly, almost as if it was a habit he retied it with a small piece of ribbon. “Come on. Go get ready.”

“Why do I have to go? I was enjoying life just lying here in bed.” I tossed myself back into the pillow, and started pulling the blanket back over me.

Blyth tried to yank the blanket from my hands, but when I pulled back it brought him over top of me again. This time instead of floating in the air he collided into the headboard above me and fell down to be right on top of me once more. “Damn it Ash that hurt.”

“I’m so sorry.” My words were muffled by his chest in my face, but I’m sure that it was clear enough for him to understand.

I remained frozen as Blyth began resituating himself to get off the bed, or that is what I thought. His eyes did not hold resentment or anger that his voice did before. They gazed over me as Blyth positioned himself just a few inches above me. “If this were another time I would enjoy this toying, but at this moment I have other plans.”

“What makes you think this is toying? If I could control it then trust me you would be on the other side of the room.” I tried not to laugh when the smile grew on his face, but it was no use. “Get off me.”

Blyth ignored me and continued to stay exactly where he was, “Perhaps your subconscious is telling you something because I would be wherever you wanted me if you couldn’t control it.”

“Well, I am trying to.” I cautiously placed my hands against his chest and slowly pushed him from me, “I don’t want to hurt you.”

“Too late for that dear.” Blyth ran his fingers across my forehead removing a small amount of hair from my face. “Perhaps we could delay our arrival just a little.”

After his mind went back on that subject I didn’t care whether I hurt him or not. I thrust my hands into his chest and watched as he flew back into the bookshelf. I heard him laughing but I wasn’t sure if it was before or during his flight that it started. It seemed that he had expected what I had done and braced himself. I sat up and watched him fall down onto his feet.

“That is more like it,” Blyth stretched out his arms almost as if he was hoping for more, “Is there any more damage you would like to do to me or will you get ready?”

I sighed and finally got up off the bed, “What am I getting ready for again?”

“A surprise.”

“Yes, but what should I wear?”

“Oh,” Blyth finally put his arms down, “Um, how about you get in the shower, and I will get your attire ready.”

I sighed and headed towards the bathroom, “If this isn’t your surprise, whose is it?”

“That’s a surprise too.” Blyth chuckled, “Give me your suitcase and I’ll fit your personal items to suit for tonight. I’ll use your kind of magic.”

“Funny.” I picked up my suitcase and tossed it out the door letting it land on the floor just in front of his feet. “Knowing you I’ll come out and everything will be gone.”

Before he could say another word I shut the door and started the shower without moving. As soon as the water started running I smiled, and wondered what else I could do. I did eat the entire plate full of brownies. I wasn’t about to risk traveling somewhere in case I didn’t end up there or couldn’t get back. The shower however wasn’t that far away. Quicker than I had expected I ended up there and completely clothed. This was a little harder than I remembered, but then again I was under the influence of drugs.

When I was finished and got out I stared at myself in the mirror. I couldn’t concentrate on one single thought for more than a few moments now that I was up moving around. Everything seemed to be traveling from one thing to another.

Using my power still I fixed my hair and makeup quicker than I would have doing it like everyone else. I was enjoying this feeling of finally being able to control it. Now that I knew it was there inside of me I could control it. Earlier it was uncontrollable because I didn’t know that I had this kind of power. It was like I was in the months before I had turned and Michael taught me how to control it.

I looked down at the towel around me and wondered what Blyth had gotten me to wear. I tried to stop them once they started, but the swirls enveloped the bathroom and opened to reveal the bedroom. Blyth was sitting at the desk looking straight at me. “Well, at least I know we can get there.”

My eyes left him and went the bed where he had laid out a simple pair of jeans and t-shirt. “Well, that is something I could have picked out myself.”

“Yes, but I added some spice to it.” Blyth walked over and picked up the black t-shirt. Across the front of it was red lettering. “Witticism Revolt.”

“What in the world it Witticism Revolt?”

“You’ll find out. Now finish getting ready we have about,” He looked quickly at his laptop sitting open, “One minute before we are officially late.”

I ripped the shirt out of his hand and got my jeans sitting on the bed, “Gee, you could have told me to hurry in the shower.”

“Well, I had thought about going in there with you, but I wasn’t feeling quite up to being abuse again so I decided against it.” Blyth nodded towards my suitcase, “I had thought about getting you some little sexy number to go under that, but I thought it would be best if you decided. That way I can be more surprised tonight.”

I lifted my hand quickly to send him across the room again, but he was faster grabbing mine. “Okay. That was wrong. I’m sorry.”

“Sure you are.” I quickly grabbed everything else that I needed to get dressed and went back into the bathroom. I wasn’t in there for more than a second or two as I put my clothes on. I walked back out and found my boots sitting beside the bed. “Can I wear sneakers?”

“No, I like the boots, plus I bought them so you can wear them more than once.” Blyth smiled as they disappeared. “Ready now?”

“First you have to tell me where we are going.” I held out my hand. I hated to admit it, but I kind of enjoyed the fact that I had power over someone. It was a lot nicer than relying on someone else for theirs.

Blyth took my hand in his as he twirled me around like he had done the other night except he held me in his arms close to his body. “First, I have to warn you. We where are going there are humans which means that we have to show up someplace inconspicuous. Once we get there you have to go straight to the bar, and you must drink whatever I give you.”

“Why?”

“Right now, you maybe in control, but as you noticed you aren’t in complete control. Alcohol helps drown out the magic.” I remembered in the diner how he started explaining the effects of drugs on magic, but I couldn’t remember what he had actually said. “Ash, you with me?”

“Yes, so where are we going?”

Blyth’s smile filled my eyes as he looked around, “Not here.”

His words confused me and I followed his example. We were standing in the middle of the diner. There were a couple of people staring at us and they seemed just as amused as Blyth. He smiled at them and nodded. Finally his eyes found their way back to mine, “Alright, close your eyes and envision someplace inconspicuous like perhaps the bathroom at the bar that we were at last Sunday.”

Blyth started a howling type of laugh, and curiously I opened my eyes to find that we had made it. Just were he wanted us. I looked up at him laughing, “What I got us here?”

“Yes, but not after going back to my bathroom.” His laugh quieted, and I heard a familiar song. “We made it though. You should be proud.”

“I know this song.” I pushed Blyth away from me, and started towards the door.

Blyth caught my hand, “First we have to go to the bar.”

I fought against myself and let Blyth lead me out of the bathroom as I listened to the beat. I knew this song. It was so familiar, but I couldn’t place it. Once we were out of the bathroom the music filled the room, and I saw the band up on a stage taking up half of the dance floor that was there last week. Most of the tables had been removed to allow more room inside. “Blyth, who is this?”

He ignored me as he pulled my hand taking me straight to the bar. Instead of waiting for the bartender he reached over the bar, and grabbed a bottle. “Drink this.”

“What is it?”

“Just drink it.”

Without looking at the label I opened it and drank some. I stared at the band up on the stage and listened intently. I closed my eyes trying to figure out where I heard them before. The words of the song ran through my mind as he sang.

I grabbed Blyth’s arm, “I know this band.”

As I opened my eyes he was smiling down at me, “That is what I heard. I also heard that you like them to.”

The blank CD came into my mind from back at the hotel. It was the band that Marcus listened to for weeks on end without interruption. “Marcus.”

Blyth leaned in closer as I kept my eyes on the band, “See the drummer?”

I nodded looking at the blonde guy sitting behind the drums.

“That is Kasey’s brother.”

No wonder he didn’t mention who it was. How would he explain to me then that it was his great-great-whatever grandson? This wasn’t Blyth surprise as he had said. It was Marcus’, but why would he do something like this? It didn’t make any sense.

“I can’t believe you made it!” I heard Kasey’s voice yelling as she came into view. “You’ve been missing for, well, you’ve been just gone.”

I looked to Blyth for the answer, and he did just that, “Well, she’s been hanging with me. Apparently she just can’t get over this whole suicide thing.”

I elbowed him quickly in the side almost knocking his drink out of his hand.

“Well, I heard some vicious rumor that she tried to kill you or something and then took off.” Kasey looked at us trying to figure out what was truly going on.

“She did throw a desk at me, but you should know that I can’t be taken out that easily.” Blyth started laughing and threw his arm over my shoulders.

I bowed out from underneath his arm, “Don’t.”

He threw his hands up in surrender. “No contact got it.”

“Hair cut and now brown eyes, this isn’t like you.” Kasey noted his real eyes.

“It isn’t by choice.” The smile faded from Blyth’s face. He narrowed his eyes as he stared at her.

After a minute of silence I took my eyes from them and watched the band still playing. It wasn’t long before I found my way towards the stage. I didn’t care if Blyth was with me or not. I had never seen a real band like this before. The music got louder as I got closer, but it sounded great. I watched in enthusiasm, but the thought never escaped me wondering what the point was of Marcus bringing them here.

The beat slowed down, and I leaned against the post beside me. I knew exactly which song they were playing. It would only be a moment or two before the drums would start a faster beat, and the guitar would get heavier entering the course sound of the voice. I closed my eyes as the song opened up. It was so odd it seemed knowing every single note before they even played it.

“I don’t know what they are going to do in two days.” I was startled by the calmness in his voice as he spoke so close to me. I tried not to look in his direction, but it was no use. Marcus was leaning against the same pole. The kindness that I had first seen in his eyes came back as well as his simple none complex smile. “I thought you might like to see them.”

“This is your surprise. Why?” I didn’t want to ruin the moment, but I had to know.

“I made you listen until you like them, so I thought you would like to see them before they make it big.” Marcus looked over me, “I like your shirt. Compliments of Blyth I assume.”

I nodded, “What did you mean when you said you don’t know what they are going to do in two days?”

“It seems that their songwriter is going to die.” I don’t know if he meant to time that perfectly, but then everything stopped allowing the piano to finish the song creating a solemn mood.

I couldn’t help but gasp at the thought, “Can’t you do something about it? I mean you’ve seen everything that the future has to offer, and you just said that they are going to get more popular.”

A smirk now replaced his simple smile, “If I did do something I wouldn’t be the malicious debauched hollow man that you make me out to be.”

“That you wouldn’t be,” I quickly took another drink hoping that it would calm the feeling of forcing him away from me.

My attention was drawn to the stage as the singer started talking, “This song was written for a woman, but it sounds so much better being sung by someone other than me. Kasey, could you?”

My eyes searched the room as Kasey started walking towards the stage. It seemed that she wasn’t one bit frightful of being in the center of attention. She walked right up on the stage and took the microphone without hesitation. She closed her eyes readying herself as the drums slowly started. The acoustic picked up, and I listened to each word trying to remember the song. This is one that I had never heard.

She sang of being tortured by love. Not knowing whether to choose between the darkness of the world and the light of life. She sang of someone who has been haunted by the visions of love, but not being able to truly touch them. My heart sank with each word that she sang thinking of Michael.

As the song ended applause and hollering filled the room except for Marcus. I had expected him to at least applause his own descendant. His voice finally came as a whisper into my ear, “That one, I wrote just for you.”

I found myself turning to him no matter how close he was I need to make sure that I heard him just right, but he was gone. I know that he didn’t just disappear so I looked past the pole and searched through the crowd. He wasn’t hard to find being one of the taller men here. I quickly chased after him calling his name.

After he had gotten to the back of the room he finally stopped and faced me. There was the plain smile on his face. He seemed quite content, “Do you think I am still horrid?”

“Yes,” I instantly answered, “What did you just say? You wrote that song, but you said that… How is that even possible?”

Marcus sat down at a table and closed his eyes. He traced the line down over his face then nodded for me to sit with him. Was it possible that he was going to be honest with me now? As I sat down he leaned in on the table, “He’s going to do it. Finally everything I’ve worked for is going to be worth it.”

“So then you’ve already had this conversation with me?” I raised my brow and tried not to laugh as he started to.

“Yes.”

“That has to suck.” I bit my lip still trying not to laugh, that has to be odd even for him.

“It happens quite often really.” Marcus leaned into his seat and off of the table. He seemed more at ease now as he looked back at the stage. “I am truly sorry for all that I put you through. I just want you to know in the end you find out everything. Both Michael and Blyth will be free of this, and so will you.”

“But Blyth thinks or is actually hoping…”

“I know.” Marcus’ eyes came back to me, “It is going to be alright. I promise you.”

“Why didn’t you tell me about him before?” Now I leaned in on the table, “Or Michael. He is obviously a big part of your lives. It just doesn’t make sense.”

“I kept you in the dark with everything.” Marcus smirked, “As for Michael, if you hadn’t of went to the grave to force out the spell, you would have met him.”

“That is who he was going to get to bind the spell with the magic.” I bowed my head in shame that I hadn’t realized it before. “Did I ever choose to stay there and let them try?”

“We wouldn’t be here if you did.”

“Keeping your friends close but your enemies closer I see.” Blyth’s voice broke into the conversation, “Would you mind if I joined you?”

“No.” I looked up to find Marcus carelessly rejecting him. Unless he hadn’t told me earlier that he had already done this I would be objecting his answer. Instead I listened attentively, “I’ve seen your purpose in coming over here, and I can only let you know those are not my intentions. Unlike you I now respect that her heart belongs to another.”

“As do I,” Blyth seemed happy still, “I’m only trying to help her get over a man that hasn’t learned to love her, and might not in this future. Well, since I am unwelcome here I will go drink myself into a stupor.”

“Sir,” Blyth turned to leave until Marcus called him back, “I may be the actual cause of her death, but it is you that have killed her.”

Swiftly Blyth was right in Marcus’ face, “Do not make me threaten your life once more in this day, Marcus.”

Marcus remained seated and quite calm even though he was invoking Blyth in the worst way. “Will you threaten me with your own blood again? Blyth, you have played me for a puppet and with so few days remaining I will live as I wish. If that so means that I seek forgiveness, rather than die a monstrous beast that you have made me to be, then that is what I will chose. So go drink until you cannot stand, and when you retire for the evening search for another to warm your bed. Tonight you will not have her.”

“You will not talk to me as such. If I wish her there, that is where she will be damn it.” Blyth threw his fist against the table causing everything to shake.

I couldn’t take anymore of being just a toy in their battle so I stood up and pushed Blyth away from Marcus, “I am not going to do as you wish, and I will do only as I wish at this moment. I swear that I will not be her, or anything that you want me to be if you persist on me being a possession that you can summon.”

Blyth’s eyes dug into mine as they narrowed, and then they went straight to Marcus still sat peacefully behind me. Without removing his eyes from Marcus he took another drink from the bottle in his hand right before he threw it at Marcus barely missing me. “You know that she fears the very sight of you.”

“Only because of what you made me become.” I could hear the chair behind me being forced back as I could only imagine that Marcus was now on his feet, “I would have never become this kind of evil had you not placed your strings over my life.”

“Was the great Giacomo not evil as well, for he was exiled from most of Europe?” Blyth scoffed at Marcus now.

I turned and looked at Marcus questioning, “Giacomo?”

There was a grin slowly growing on his face as he looked passed me, “Thank you Juan. Now you may go drink.”

I had no idea what the name calling was about, but I’m sure it wasn’t meant to hurt each other. They only meant to bring up the past, a past that I didn’t know about. This was turning into a battle that slightly resembled when Marcus and Michael tried to win me over in each of their favors.

The music finally started up again in the background making me realize that at some point this whole incident caught everyone’s attention. When Marcus sat back in his seat I realized that whatever he was trying to do he had succeeded, and Blyth was most likely on his way to the bar. I stared down on Marcus who was now tapping his fingers lightly against the table and staring straight ahead towards the band.

Beyond the name calling which had me more than intrigued I found something else more of note inside their conversation. “Why does he continue to threaten your life when he knows that you want to die? Wouldn’t it just be more of a reason to oppose him?”

Without taking his eyes from the scene in front of him he answered me plainly as if he were thinking deeply, “You know that I do not wish to die. Tell me Ashley was Blyth surprised when you mentioned to him that I could see the future or did he just let it pass?”

I found my seat again, “Why do you ask questions if you already know the answer?”

“I haven’t asked this one yet.”

“Oh,” I fought my memories to remember exactly what happened in the classroom, “He seemed confused at first, and then changed the subject to me seeing my fate.”

“Who does he believe was responsible for the cat being in his room?” Marcus moved his head in my direction but didn’t take his eyes from the stage.

“Are you serious” I couldn’t stop myself from laughing. When Marcus finally let his eyes come at me I shrank back in my seat nearly afraid to even answer. “You and Kasey.”

Calm replaced the irritation as he left his eyes on me. “Has he ever struck you?”

“What?” I couldn’t believe my ears as he questioned it.

“When I first saw you against the wall and his hand against your throat I would have killed him for touching you so, but I realized that it was being staged. Has he ever struck you or harmed you in anyway?” Marcus fought to keep my eyes on his even though I wanted to search for Blyth in the crowd ahead of us. “Ashley, please.”

“He did it once before.” I sheepishly answered remembering that is when Blyth actually questioned me about Marcus seeing the future, “When I told him it was you that could see the future.”

“I thought you said he was confused and passed it off as merely nothing.” Marcus seemed quite intrigued now, “Which one was it?”

“When it was first brought up he changed the subject because we were surrounded by people. The next time he brought it up and we were alone.” I bowed my head removing my eyes from his. My fear of him was starting to consume me again. That is what caused Blyth to place his hand around my throat in the first place.

“Did you strike him first?”

“No.”

“Ever?”

“Yes,” I tried to understand where he was going with this, but I didn’t, “I hit and shoved him from me. Never in those times did he ever cause me any harm.”

“And he wouldn’t.” Marcus leaned back in his chair, but he did not relax. He seemed on edge, “It is all fair to him now. He will strike you whenever he deems it is necessary. I can’t let you go back with him.”

I felt the rage boiling inside of me, “And this is coming from a man who brutally beat and killed me. I wish I had control over my own fate. Then maybe I could kill you both.”

“And it shall be so.”

His words came quietly as he turned his attention away from me. “What?”

“And it shall be so.” He repeated louder.

Maybe I was too hasty in my choice of words, and I hoped that I could take them back. I had already taken Marcus’ life, and it was the worst decision of my life. “I think I would rather have you live than take your life than feel that pain again.”

“And it shall be so.”

The repetition of his words confused me, “What are you, mad? Make up your mind. Will I kill you or not?”

“I give you complete control over you own fate. I have changed this night already allowing you the freedom to make your own choices.” Marcus now seemed to relax completely into his chair, “I wash my hands of this revolting masquerade. Blyth can find himself a new pawn.”

“Are you saying that you were just a puppet as I was yours?” I hated the idea that this was not Marcus’ fault. I wanted to blame the entire thing on him as I had already done.

“Why else would I find you searching for a way to break the spell between us?” Marcus turned back my way and leaned against the table, “I was told to find the phoenix of who would break the spell and take his life. He wanted to know how much longer he had to live. Constantly he asked me to change different aspects of your life so that you would be close to him because as I said before Michael took your life the first time before you even had a chance to fulfill your fate. He told me it was my love that kept you from him. Therefore I tried not to, yet Michael killed you again and again. Each and every time that you fell into Michael’s arms I couldn’t stop myself from wanting to kill you to hurt him for doing the same to me. Now that I have gotten you, with much effort persuading your father, close to Blyth as he wished, I fear I have been wrong in all that he pushed me to do. That is the other reason I had for protecting you from Michael.”

Even though Marcus did seem sincere I knew I couldn’t believe him. He had lied to me before, “Do you have any proof?”

“All my books are at the hotel, but,” Marcus leaned in closer allowing his reddish brown eyes gaze boldly into mine, “Think back when you were suffering with the spell inside of you. Did you not feel my love for you? Why do you think I pushed for you to end your life? I didn’t want you to suffer the pain of living with it inside of you again. I wanted nothing more than to push you to the edge so that you would end it, and I could try again. This time it was too late. You suffered and saw your fate. I swear I love you. You will have complete control now. If you find it within your power to end my life then do so. If you allow me to live, I will once again become what I was before entering this twisted mess that Blyth employed me for, and you will never see me unless you call upon me.”

I let his words sink in as I searched the crowd for Blyth who seemed to be missing from it. “What were you before?”

“A man, a libertine, and most of all a lover,” Marcus’ fingers fell onto mine, but not for long. As soon as I had felt his touch I ripped my skin away from his. My stomach rose to my throat with his words and nearly came out with his touch. “I will become Giacomo once again.”

“Giacomo, who?” I found myself saying the name again. It sounded familiar, but coming from my lips it sounded foreign.

A smile lit up Marcus’ face, “Have you ever heard of Don Juan?”

“Of course, what woman hasn’t?”

“An alias, or at the time his real name, now an alias that he has assumed a new name. Living so long has its drawbacks, but it is nice to change a name to become someone new.” Marcus, I hoped would answer my question on what he truly was. “Blyth was born as a Don. After being cast from Florence when the plague hit and killed his family he turned. While he turned he was consumed with the feeling of death therefore taking the cat’s life hoping to save his own. Several generations later he had become the infamous Don Juan. Creating his family papers going down each generation one son at a time, he concealed his own life and death.

When Blyth had coaxed Michael into the same position so that he would forever have his sons next to him it didn’t take me long to discover how he had remained anonymous. I had undertaken his papers, since he had taken a new name and home. He agreed to allow me to do such, but it was rumored that a young Casanova had left Venice for schooling enabling him to gain years before his return. I took his place at Padua, and slowly I transformed myself into Giacomo Casanova.”

“You expect me to believe that you are the great Casanova, the lover of every woman in Venice.” I tried not to laugh, and I did listen to his story without interruption. It all seemed plausible, but the Marcus that I had known couldn’t be such a man.

“Ashley, while you were within my company at the hotel, would you disagree?” I thought about each moment that I had spent there, and I shook my head. He was the perfect gentleman, and loving in every sense of the word. “I must say it took every ounce of me not to take you as my own whenever the opportunity arose.”

I sank into my seat now completely engrossed in hearing his story, “So tell me then Casanova, how many woman have you loved besides me.”

“More than I can count.”

“Then why would you love me more than the rest?” I toyed on.

Marcus cleared his throat as he leaned closer towards me, “I do not, but in the same way I do. Each woman is different therefore the love is of different equality. I have loved you more because I have made love to you more. I do not love you more than the rest because you always break my heart.”

“Tell me then Marcus, how is it possible that you have made love to me more,” I couldn’t keep it in any longer, and I tried my hardest not to laugh, “When I have never truly felt your skin against mine until tonight.”

I watched the smile grow on his face to match my own. He clasped his hands together and rested his chin on them. “Very well spoken then. Could we remedy that before I die in two days?”

“No.” I was taken back slightly, but I should have known that it was what he was after. Like I had told Blyth, he did not want to die. He wanted me to love him. “Never will you touch me in such a way. Just as Blyth never will.”

“And Michael?”

“In this future, Michael is the only one who has not thrown himself at me as you two have done.” I was the one who threw myself at him. “Speaking of Michael, where is he tonight?”

“At the bar,” Marcus nodded in the direction where I found Michael sitting beside a beautiful woman with brunette hair falling over her shoulders. My heart dropped an inch or more into my stomach as I watched them smiling at one another. I closed my eyes as she ran her fingers through his hair. No doubt commenting on how golden it was. “Remember Ashley, as you said, in this future he has not thrown himself at you because he does not love you.”

“Doesn’t he care that you are right here with me? Isn’t he supposed to want to protect me from you?” I tried to find some excuse for him to care for me even if it was just a small amount.

“He feels that you are safer as you are now, except with Blyth.” Marcus nodded and smiled when Michael noticed us staring at him. “We each have our separate reasons for wanting to keep you from him.”

“Michael said that Blyth would become infatuated with me if I didn’t take the antibiotics.” I took my eyes from Michael and stared at the table afraid to even look at Marcus now. “Is it because I was bitten by the kitten like your mother and have a sense of power over him?”

“You seen for yourself that to him you are no more than a possession for his own enjoyment. I don’t know personally what he wants with you, but he has been obsessed with the thought of you for the past two hundred and seventy two years, more so than I.” I cringed at feeling Marcus’ hand run down through my hair, but I feared his words more. “My thoughts remain on him wanting you near him so that he can guarantee his life or death. He says he wants to die, but both Michael and I believe he wishes to use you to kill us. That is why Michael gave you the prescription.”

“When the time comes that they no longer threaten each other.” I repeated his mother’s words out loud. They were now working together and Blyth feared them. “Her fear will become your fear.”

“Michael and I stand united against him. He does not have the guts to stand against him like I do, but I cannot blame him.” Marcus lifted my chin with his fingers, “It was Blyth himself who stabbed him though the heart.”

“What?” I remember Blyth mentioned it before, but I had thought it was meant only as a reference to my scar.

“How do you suppose Blyth got him so near death that he would take on the cat’s life?” Just then Marcus lifted his shirt revealing a scar more wretched than the one over my heart, “He knew that I would never do it, so he sent a most beloved beauty to me first, and then went for Michael himself. To kill one of us you have to kill both of us in the same way at the same time. Wouldn’t you be afraid of your father as well if you were in Michael’s place?”

“Isn’t the fear I have of you enough to prove what I would feel in his place?” I let my sad eyes fall on Michael who was still with the brunette at the bar having a more than a fun time it seemed as his hand rested carelessly on her inner thigh. “Can I leave? I know that you invited the band here as a gesture of kindness, but I need to get out of this place.”

“I rented a room for you at the inn.” Marcus stood up and held out his hand for me to take, “I promise that I mean you no harm. I only wish to escort you there safely, and then I will return to my home.”

“Should I fear Blyth?” I hated to ask it, but it seemed that even Michael had reason enough for me to fear him. “Will I be safe there?”

“You will be safe there.” Marcus pulled me up out of the seat as he took one last glance towards the bar, and mumbled something under his breath. He let a small smile appear on his lips as he led me to the door.


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