“Marc, it’s me again. Please call.” I tossed the phone to the edge of the bed and looked to Buddy who seemed ready to pounce on it. “Do you think if I just called him over and over he would finally call back or answer? I honestly don’t get it. If he loved me as much as they say he did, why would he ignore my calls for so long?”
I laughed at myself as I lit up another cigarette. “Something tells me that he just doesn’t care anymore. I’m not sure if I do either. It’s been a month now. Thirty days worth of phone calls, learning who I am, but for what? I am still no closer to becoming who they want me to be. All I know is what they tell me, what Anthony tells me. Matt is too busy anymore to concern himself with me. Off with his Kristina, his new girlfriend. I guess not new, they’ve been together for how long? Longer than we were together I’m sure.”
Buddy lost interest in the phone. Instead he began snooping in the nightstand as soon as the drawer opened. After carefully examining each bottle I sat the prescriptions out in the open. I stared at the names trying to decipher which one was the sleeping medication. Each one said that they may cause drowsiness.
“It is amazing. Insomnia plagues me even now.” I looked to Buddy, but had gotten no response. “Can’t sleep, can’t think straight most of the time, depressed, and half the time I swear I see things that are not there. Worst of all I can’t even remember who I truly am.”
There was a light knock on the door then Anthony stuck his head inside. “Who are you talking to?”
Glancing at my clock I had seen that it was near four thirty. “What are you doing up?”
He came in and shut the door behind him quietly. “Just nerves I guess. You know Matt will kill you if he finds out that you are smoking in here.”
“Wouldn’t be the first time, from what I understand.” I didn’t care, haven’t cared what Matt would think or do. “Tomorrow is the big day huh?”
“Graduation day.” Anthony sighed. “You know this is the first time I think you’ve actually graduated. Matt said that you aren’t going. Why?”
“He won’t let me. I’m not allowed out of the house for any reason.” I griped as I flung my cigarette out the window. “I’m supposedly deathly sick to everyone on the outside so I have to stay here to keep up our façade.”
Anthony laughed as he flicked the pack of cigarettes sitting beside him. “It seems like you haven’t been staying as close to the house as he would like. I’ll keep your secret, but he will find out eventually. I must say though I’m shocked that you left that cat’s side long enough to get them.”
“I didn’t have to go very far since Ben has been getting them for me.” I laughed right back at his accusation of leaving without telling Matt. “You really should get some sleep though. Don’t you have to be up in just a few hours?”
Anthony got up from the edge of my bed and walked over to the nightstand beside me. He lifted each bottle that I had sat out then handed one to me. “I think this is the one you are searching for.”
“What? I was just thinking that it was finally time to flush them all.” I lied.
Anthony opened the bottle then sat two of the pills on the nightstand as well as letting a glass of water appear. “It is noticeable even when you look past your appearance. Mum, it doesn’t matter what time it is I know that you are sitting in here alone and awake.”
“I’m not alone.”
I had interrupted Anthony, but he continued as though I had said nothing at all. “Since I was ten years old I haven’t seen you sleep. Before that you would always wake up screaming or crying. I beg that you at least take these so that even though tomorrow you might not be with me at the graduation that you might find some peace in sleep.”
“Are you saying that I haven’t slept for eight years?” I questioned him seriously contemplating the two pills now.
“No, you did sleep, I just never saw it. You kept souvenirs from your outings.” Anthony shook his head and opened my closet doors without moving. “Your options for sleep lay either on your nightstand or in another’s bed.”
“It is funny, the thought.” I laughed at my own joke.
“What is that?”
“I don’t ever remember having sex, but yet I have you.” I reached for my cigarettes, but watched as they disappeared. “If everything you say is true.”
Anthony studied the cigarettes in his hand, “It is amazing, but something funnier is the fact that you always detested all of my habits and here you are with your own that are a lot worse than any of mine.”
Finally I was handed my cigarettes and I lit one up without regret, “I hid them well, until now that is.”
“Not too well. I had heard Matt and Pap once arguing over your use of illegal drugs. It was a long time ago.” Anthony paused as he began studying the bottles on my nightstand again. “Perhaps it would not be a good idea if you took these. I think maybe these are the reason why you can’t remember anything.”
“The last time you died with stuff in your system you had this same problem. That is why I had assumed you would just start remembering things. The last time you did.” Anthony picked up the bottle of sleeping pills then shook them. He continued down the line until he had shaken them all. “Do you mind if I?”
“Mind if you what?” I questioned looking at him as he glanced towards the door. He nodded his head slightly then all of the bottles disappeared. When I heard the toilet I knew instantly that he had just flushed them all. It didn’t matter to me what he did with them. I had only been contemplating taking them. What concerned me more was his desperate stare into my door. “What are you looking at?”
“I thought I just saw something.” Anthony turned back around and went straight for the crystal balls on my dresser. There was one full of colors and one void except a cloudiness sitting in the very center of it. “Are these yours?”
“They must be. They were there as long as I can remember.” I chuckled for my own amusement, but it just seemed to agitate Anthony. I rolled my eyes at him and threw myself down on the bed. “I know what you saw, but I can’t tell you what it is.”
“Do you mind if I?” Anthony questioned me again and I shook my head. Whatever he was planning on doing he would do it regardless. This time I watched as he picked up the crystal full of colors and studied it intimately. “I think this might be where your memories are.”
Before I could object to his foolish thinking he crushed the glass ball within his grasp.
As I tried to reach out for him I knew it was over. My arm didn’t move and my fingers couldn’t even flinch. I was rendered completely useless with the ring setting right over my chest. This was far worse than when it was hidden in the bottom drawer of Blyth’s dresser. I was pinned in my own agony of being unable to do anything to save him.
I watched as everything within him lost the fight and he was gone. Even when death coursed through his veins it was nothing like this. Now the light that had always been in his eyes was lost forever. There would be no way to bring him back from this death. It took a hold of him and ripped out his life with no remorse.
The warmth of my tears filled the brim and fell over unto my cheeks. I could hear my voice inside crying out for his life hoping that somehow it might save him. I knew perfectly well that nothing I could do would bring him back, but my hope drove through me. It was more than hope, it was my love. I loved Matt as though I had loved no other. My best friend had just been stolen away never to be returned.
I couldn’t bear to look in the eyes of his brothers who just stood by and watched him die. They had done worse than just stood by. Both Anthony and Michael brought him here knowing that he would be killed. They knew that we would all die in the end, and Matt was just the first piece of the puzzle. Matt had his life taken, no not his life, his father’s life and power were taken.
The question arising in my mind now that the shock of everything happening eventually faded was: With Blyth’s soul still on Earth would his life be gone or would it go back to his body? His soul was still trapped inside that black crystal ball, which thankfully, Marcus still had hidden away. I was still staring into Matt’s lifeless eyes as I wondered what kind of man would Blyth return as if he had no soul. He would be an empty vessel, a life with no purpose.
One thing that these men, including Michael or Anthony, didn’t know was that their next step was about to be deterred greatly. They were going to kill me next and take his soul. None of them knew that Marcus had taken it from me. Another thing that they were not counting on was the power that I could still maintain while the ring was near me. Michael may have forgotten, but I certainly did not. I had no idea what I was going to do, but I had to do something quick.
I had only one idea, but I didn’t know if it would work. One could only hope, but so far my hope has brought me nothing but the death filled eyes I was staring into. My thoughts went from Matt’s body lying in front of me to Blyth’s body as I watched them bury him. I couldn’t go there physically, but I could feel it. My senses were thrown off when I reached into the grave to pull out Blyth’s body. It had already been taken, and I could only assume that whoever had taken it brought it here.
They wanted his life, his soul, and most likely his body as well. They were going to destroy every part of him in this world so that he would never be able to rise again. I knew what he was, but I had no idea on what he had done to deserve this horrid treatment. The man I knew was not the greatest man in the world, and he did have many faults none deserving of this though. Whatever he was, whatever they were trying to destroy was the thing in the crystal, and I was going to free him.
I was still searching for his body when finally I had sense it right in the room with me. Someone, most likely Michael, had brought it here. Unable to look to see what had become of him, I could sense though that his body was not dead. I could feel his heartbeat racing feverously within his chest, and I knew that his life went back to him once they had killed Matt.
Quickly I yanked the small clear crystal into the room. I could hear it ricocheting off the walls, floor and ceiling. Slowly I could feel it cracking, but none of the small crevices were leaking anything out. I pushed it harder and faster until I heard his voice cry out, “No, Ashley, don’t!”
Marcus pulled the ring off of my chest and pulled my body away from the center of the room. Several voices in the room began getting louder and most of them were shouting. I was able to catch a glimpse of Michael putting himself in front of Anthony protecting him. As Marcus pulled me closer to the wall I could see the charcoal smoke engulfing a thick cloud of crimson circling the center of the room where I had just been laying.
Dense tentacles of flames shot themselves around the room from the beast that I had just released. They lashed wildly throughout the room beating themselves against every human leaving Michael, Anthony, Marcus and I alone. Screams from life ending horrendous torture shot through the room as each flame retracted from their bodies.
Whether by purpose or accident the flames reached out for Matt’s body but recoiled quickly. The deep red of the flames drown out leaving a deep blue glow resonating from the center of the black smoke. Whatever Blyth had become, whatever it was that I had released still did not take any form other than that it had shown up in. His voice came, but it was different. Lucid and exonerated it rang as though it were music chiming against the walls. “Who is this man that is made of me?”
I tried to fight out of Marcus’ arms, but he still held the ring in the palm of his hand. Unable to move or speak I could only watch as the dark cloud and fire dissipated leaving only the putrid flesh of what was Blyth’s body. As he knelt down beside Matt’s lifeless body the pieces of his own body began mending itself. After Blyth had examined the hole in his chest he questioned, “Who did this?”
He repeated himself once more and louder, but silence brought the room to a standstill. I prayed with everything that I had within myself that Marcus would send the ring away, but he clutched it firmly. The only thing I was able to do was lie there lifeless just like Matt inside of his arms. I was sure that Marcus had no intention of helping them, but he wasn’t making any progress in stopping them. Michael and Anthony still believed that Blyth’s soul was still locked inside of me. Matt, Marcus, and I were the only ones that knew the truth.
“Where is he?” Blyth finally rose realizing that there was no hope for Matt. His eyes went straight to Michael guarding Anthony. Michael nodded slightly in my direction and Blyth stepped closer.
When he was directly in front of Marcus and me he knelt down so that he was now face to face with me. Blyth’s breathing was laborious as though the short distance had worn him out. His hands were trembling violently brought them up into my sight. His fingers fell over my face and he studied me crucially.
Inside of his eyes he was not so different. It was almost like I was looking into his eyes when I had first landed on top of him outside of the school. Free from every worry in the world and filled with complete contentment. They were blue of course the same as when I had first met him, but that was the color he had always chosen. “I know you. I’ve felt your soul. You released me. Can you tell me where he is?”
Marcus’ arms tightened around me and pulled me further from Blyth. “She can’t help you.”
“But of course she can.” Blyth tilted his head slightly with a grin growing. Marcus’ hand that had been holding the ring began shaking uncontrollably. Finally he cursed and opened his fingers allowing the ring to drop unto the floor. I tried to look to see what had caused him to drop it, but Blyth picked it up. He glanced at it momentarily then I could see him looking through it at me. “A curious thing. Are you so dangerous that you must be bound?”
“She is.” Marcus exclaimed. What was he talking about? I was not. The only reason that the ring was even brought here was because Michael couldn’t destroy it.
“We are one in the same you and I.” Suddenly an eruption of laughter exploded from Blyth. I watched as the ring melted between his finger and thumb. As it dissolved into nothing, I could feel my body regain its strength. Ready to throw my arms around him appreciative of what he had just done for me I was interrupted. Blyth ripped his body around facing Michael and Anthony, “Oh, no, you two can’t just leave. I’m not done with you.”
Without thinking twice about it I ripped myself out of Marcus’ arms. I was not gentle about it either. Several times I elbowed him in the ribs and once I was happy about the distance between us I sent him even further into the wall. Slowly I began finding my way to unsteady legs when I saw Blyth hold his hand out for me to take. “Thank you.”
Just as I had gotten up Blyth smiled and let his eyes shine into mine, “Anything for you.”
His words rang in my ears from days gone past. This time I allowed my fingers to trace over the curves of his face. Slowly they found their way into his hair which was much longer than I remembered. “You’re really here.”
Blyth pulled my hands into his own. “Tell me where he is.”
“The other me, of course.” He chuckled lightly and stepped back. “If I am in control of the body, where is he?”
I hesitantly stepped back away from the man who I thought was Blyth, “Who are you if you aren’t Blyth?”
“Blyth? That is what he calls himself. Of course he was never one to pick decent names.” The man who had taken a hold over Blyth’s body bowed down in front of me, “My lady, why I am, Asmodeus, just as he is, or was. I am a fallen forever scorn and degraded. You see, he trapped me inside of that crystal so that he could feel more human. He never liked the power. Always telling everyone that it was given to us by the light and since we were cast down we no longer deserved it. So he took the greatest part of him, me, bound me with my own powers and got rid of me.”
“She has him trapped within herself,” Michael stepped forward now causing Asmodeus to swiftly turn his head. “His soul is somewhere inside of her.”
“He is no longer there.” Asmodeus growled. I watched as the sapphire within his eyes began shifting and turning to a familiar color. It wasn’t brown, but the same ember that Michael and Marcus had. “I know what you are. I know whose you are.”
Asmodeus paused as he examined both Michael and Marcus. The look in his eye nearly frightened me, but I did not fear him. Finally his eyes rested back on Michael and he stepped away from me closer to Michael. “I can see that you want to be forgiven for sinning against the light. You, a bastard child of Leviathan, will never reach Heaven no matter how hard you try. Even if you release us to death, the light can never take you neither the dark. You have taken your father’s power. Therefore you have accepted his fate. There will be no second coming for you. No being reborn or risen after death.”
Anger and agony dwelled deep within Michael’s eyes. I could see it filling them, but he did nothing against Asmodeus. Each muscle in Michael’s body was tensed as though he was ready to spring at him, but he restrained as he did much of the time near Blyth. “You lie.”
“It is not within me to lie.” Asmodeus answered simply. “Who is that handsome young man standing behind you? Another piece of me brought into this world?”
Anthony stepped around Michael allowing himself to finally seen completely. He refused to look up from the ground though. With his eyes firmly planted in one spot he spoke. “I am Anthony. Matthew’s brother.”
“Look at me boy. I am just as much of your father as he was.” Asmodeus demanded and when Anthony looked up Asmodeus stepped back looking at me. “Am I wrong to assume that you both have the same eyes?”
“No,” I answered, “He is ours.”
“Ours?” Asmodeus stepped closer to them. Michael once more took his place in front of Anthony backing him into the wall. Asmodeus then looked to Marcus who was now standing further away than anyone. His eyes fell back into mine. “It is unbelievable in this room. The amount of fear and trepidation is controlling the air. Why are they all so apprehensive?”
I took Asmodeus’ hand in my own, “Michael and Anthony were planning to end your life. As for Marcus he holds what you are looking for.”
“Really?” Asmodeus studied all three of them again before he let his gaze stay on Marcus, “He is safe?”
Mark began speaking, but I kept my eyes planted on the man who now had control over Blyth’s body wondering what he was. “Until now they thought she still held him within herself, so yes I would consider him quite safe at the moment.”
“Good. Keep him that way until I call you and then I will take care of him.” Quickly I yanked on his hand pulling his attention. A simple smile came over him as his free hand caressed my cheek, “I wouldn’t harm myself. My intentions are utterly pure him. Don’t fret.”
Asmodeus glanced in Michael’s direction, “You try to harm me or my son again I will rip out your heart myself. Do you understand?”
Michael looked at him just as confused as I did, but nodded. Asmodeus turned and held out his hand to Matt, “Come, take me away from here.”
There were no words for the astonishment filling me. Right beside Asmodeus was Matt standing as though he had never fallen. I reached out for him, but the swirls began removing him from my sight. I didn’t care for our destination as we reached it. My eyes were still fixed on Matt and nothing could hold me back as I started towards him. I wrapped my arms around his neck as he embraced me with just as much enthusiasm. “I thought I had lost you forever.”
“You would have, lost him forever, if you weren’t clever enough to bring me back.” Asmodeus broke Matt’s and my reunion. “That atrocious man took his life, and I just stole it back. It is unbelievable how many lives he’s stolen, but I wasn’t about to let him keep my son’s.”
Matt released me and then started away from the beach that we had appeared on. “Come on.”
Asmodeus took my hand once more as Matt led us up over top of the sand dunes. I stood there amazed that I couldn’t see it from the beach. There was a glorious old roman villa with several trees surrounding it. A small garden covered the lawn and a large fountain was the center piece to put it all together. Asmodeus pulled my hand leading me down the other side and toward the house.
“It was my father’s, but he had abandoned it completely after living in America for a few years.” He explained somewhat as he slowed his pace slightly coming into the garden. Matt laughed and turned to Asmodeus. “Well, it is yours.”
“Sir, I wasn’t aware that you were returning today. Would you like me to have Yvette prepare,” A middle aged man was standing in the doorway and it was apparent that he was surprised at seeing Matt here, but had a loss for words when he had seen Asmodeus and I following him. He cleared his throat and spoke again. “Would you like me to have Yvette prepare a meal for three?”
“Yes,” Matt stopped at the top of the stairs and the man he was talking to stared at the gaping hole in Matt’s shirt covered in blood. “I would also like the Master bedroom prepared for my father and Ashley.”
“Perhaps a change of wardrobe is needed as well.” The man eyed up Asmodeus in the rags that were clinging to his body. After twenty years in the ground there wasn’t much material left. “I will send Maria to town. Would the young lady like a change of clothes as well?”
Matt waved for us to follow as he walked past the man, “I’m sure that she could manage just fine.”
I had expected to be taken back in time walking in through the door, but I was shocked to find it quite modernized. A grand room had welcomed us with a small pool in the center and several columns filling the room. Burgundy silk curtains hung between the columns. On one side it was set up like a normal living room and on the other a desk was set up with a computer. There were several plants filling the room, and it had the atmosphere that we were still outside.
As we continued further inside the door I couldn’t help but notice all of the paintings covering the walls. I reached out and caught Matt by the shoulder, “Is this where you’ve been staying?”
“This made the perfect getaway in seventeen thirty-eight. It has been my home ever since then.” Suddenly he held up his hand stopping us, “Wait here for just a moment. I have something for you.”
Matt disappeared leaving us alone. Asmodeus walked over towards the pool dragging me with him. Once we were on the other side of the curtains he smiled as his eyes looked up at the glass skylight illuminating the pool. He continued to walk around the pool until we were on the other side. He didn’t say one word, but he kept looking back as though he were about to say something. It wasn’t long before Matt appeared beside the couch and called us over.
Matt seemed pleased with himself as he glanced between us and the box on the table. I looked it over, but nothing about it seemed to be valuable. It looked to me like a wooden shoebox. It was a dark brown with no markings on it. As I looked closer there was nothing holding it together. To me it looked like a wooden block once I was right next to it.
“He said that these walls held secrets of their own, and I thought he was just figuratively speaking. That was until I had the electric put in, and they found this in a solid rock wall.” Matt pulled a chair over to him and sat down in front of the box. Asmodeus nodded for me to sit on the couch beside him as he turned the box around on the table. “Nothing that I’ve tried has opened it.”
Asmodeus turned it over and over studying it. He tapped it lightly on the corner as I thought he was just pondering himself on how to open it. He tapped one last time and beautiful engravings of angels appeared all over it. As soon as the engravings covered the box they transfigured into horrid demons crawling over the entire thing. “I think it was best that you weren’t able to open it.”
“What is it?” I questioned.
Asmodeus slid it over so that it was sitting directly in front of me. “Pandora’s box. Do you want to see what’s inside?”
With all seriousness plastered on his face, I slid it back to him using my powers refusing to touch it. “No thank you.”
All of a sudden the top flipped open causing both of Matt and me to jump in our seats away from it. Asmodeus’ laugh rang harmoniously against the room. “You two are fun.”
The top shut itself as the man who greeted us cleared his throat making his presence known. “The bedrooms are prepared as well as the baths for any who desire to clean before dinner is served.”
“Very well, thank you.” Matt motioned the man to leave with his eyes fixed on the box. “So what is really in it?”
Asmodeus laughed as he stood up taking the box into his hands. He held it out to me, “It opened with her magic, so it belongs to her. So you two have fun with it while I go bathe. Couldn’t say why, but I have this awful feeling that there are bugs crawling all over me. How many years was this body in the ground?”
“Ewe, maybe they’re in me.” Asmodeus cringed. I couldn’t help but laugh at his comment. “Ah, she does laugh.”
Without another word Asmodeus turned around and disappeared. My eyes went straight to Matt’s and his were fixed on the box. It wasn’t any more than an hour ago that the life had left his eyes and now they were filled with curiosity. He got up and took the seat next to me. “Matt?”
I sat the box back down on the table and laid my hand on Matt’s arm, “I’m really sorry I couldn’t save you.”
Matt laid his hand on top of mine as he finally looked at me, “But you did save me. You brought my, well, him back, and he saved me. I don’t know what you did or how you did it, but you saved us all by bringing him here. So I am a grateful and thank you for saving my life twice.”
I rested my head against Matt’s shoulder. The day’s events had worn me down and I was especially feeling it now that I had time to release the stress that had been pushing itself through my body. “Matt?”
“Do you really think he is a part of Blyth?” I questioned him as my eyes closed.
Matt was quiet for some time as he turned the box around and around. “Yes.”
“Alright, if you believe it too,” I sighed and pushed the lid open on the box. I lost my pillow as Matt leaned forward to see what was in the box. “So what is it?”
“Look for yourself.” Matt sat back allowing me to look inside.
I leaned over top of the box, but it was empty. A bit confused I picked up the box and turned it upside down to see if anything would fall out. Nothing. I sat it back down and started closing the lid when I saw something engraved on the bottom of it. It was a language that I didn’t know or ever seen before. “What does it say?”
“I haven’t the slightest.” Matt shook his head as I picked up the box and sat it on my lap. Slowly I ran my finger over the scripture. Each symbol lit up underneath my touch. I didn’t know what it said, but there was something about it that just put me in a state of awe. Matt followed my finger with his own finger, but it didn’t react the same way as it had with mine. “He was right. It reacts to you alone.”
“Yes, but what does it say?”
“Don’t know.” Matt shrugged his shoulders, “Maybe you should go ask him.”
I shut the lid quickly and sat it back down on the table. Matt picked it up to hand it back to me, but the engravings appeared again leaving the demons lay covering it until he let go. It was obvious that those who weren’t able to open it demons appeared, but when I held it in my hands nothing happened. Touching it with my magic opened it, but it was empty. There was nothing inside. It was a puzzle that I didn’t want to figure out. Maybe Matt was right and I should just go ask him.
“Where is he?”
“Down that hallway to the very end and you will find a door leading to your room. The bath is just inside to the right.” Matt pointed at the door on the far side of the room then he looked down at the bloody shirt that he had on, “I think I need a bath myself. I’ll see you two at dinner.”
Just like Asmodeus he disappeared. I didn’t sit there long before I took left the room. I found myself standing outside the door of the bedroom where he was. I opened it slowly and heard his voice in the room to the right of me exactly where Matt said he would be. He was singing, well not really singing, but humming. After I was inside I shut the door so that he was aware of someone entering the room. The humming stopped, but his voice continued, “Did you like my gift?”
“I don’t understand it. I can’t read what it says.” I answered him as I walked over to the canopy bed decorated with beautiful golden lilies. “What language is that?”
“Aramaic.” He answered as water splashed echoing off the walls of the room he was in. “You can’t read it?”
“No.” I opened the lid once more and let my fingers slid over the words again.
I heard him sigh against my ear as I felt his hand removing the hair from my shoulder. The bed pressed under the weight of his setting behind me. He took my finger and moved it over the words as he read them aloud. “Inside this box is nothing. Nothing more than you deserve and nothing less than you can receive. You will be given nothing less than you what desire and nothing more than what I can give you. I offer you nothing more than myself. If you can accept this gift of nothing then the seal will be broken. If the seal is unlocked you are the one who stole my very essence.”
My memory rebounded to when I had read something similar. Blyth had used that same phrase to address a letter to me, but he removed it from me. I knew that it was something beyond magic that broke the seal and I should feel more than what I had in that moment. I couldn’t stop my tears or the pain from shooting from my heart. The past had made it clear that we were never truly allowed to be together. If this man was a part of Blyth or Blyth was a part of him, the same would amount to us that was in the box. There was a reason that the box was hidden inside the walls of this home. It was never suppose to be found. I was never meant to open it, but here we were.
I shut the lid of the box and sat it down next to me. Asmodeus laid his chin on my shoulder as he let his hands run down my arms allowing our fingers to intertwine. “Those are not tears that I wish to see. I hoped that my gift would give happiness, not to sting the heart.”
“I’m sorry.” I felt ashamed that I had not felt more than pain. “It was beautiful.”
“Why such pain then?”
Asmodeus lifted our hands together as he wiped away my tears. “To the one who has stolen my very essence. He wrote that to me, but in that same night he tore it away demanding that I love another. If you are a part of him, I fear that it won’t last, just as it never did with him.”
He sighed as he let his hands fall from mine and he lay down so that he was facing me. He took my hand in his once he was situated and comfortable. He traced the lines on my palm with his finger. “Sometimes, quite a bit lately, I don’t really like what he’s made us become. You held me so close to your heart after he was taken from you because I was the only thing you had left of him. Please forgive me if I go too far, but I might not have been there in any form that you could feel or see I was there with you though. Each tear that you let fall I saw it. Every pain that you felt in your heart I suffered as well. You stared into my soul questioning what I was and I was staring right back wishing that I could answer.
I swear that I never would send you away. Your soul is far too precious and beautiful to discard. It is clear that you two had something in the past otherwise he would have never broken his own vow to never have children. One thing that is also apparent is that he never told you how valuable you truly are to our heart. I can promise you something though. He does love you just as I do.”
“Love tears us apart and leaves us with nothing.” I repeated Blyth’s words.
“I couldn’t have said it any better myself.”
I shook my head at the thought as Asmodeus placed my hand directly over his beating heart. “You were the one who said it.”
It was unbelievable that his heart was beating. It was hard to believe that he was still here. Since he had come back I could feel myself waiting for him to disappear and not be real. Asmodeus broke my thought as he lifted my hand and placed his lips on my palm. “What is it?”
I looked back down into his brilliant cerulean eyes as he placed my hand back over his heart. “I’m just waiting for you to leave.”
Asmodeus immediately sat up, but I kept my hand on his heart. He smiled and his eyes gleamed incredibly as he moved strands of hair from in front of my face. “He hid it from you didn’t he.”
“He hid it from you just as he hid the box. He feared love above everything in this world. He said it was a weakness that he would never possess. He loved you more than anything in this world, except his children.” Asmodeus grinned lightly, “The one thing he hid from you was that he loved you the moment he looked at you. He might have tried to change you, manipulate you into something that he couldn’t desire, but it didn’t work. He would have tried to bed you to rid him of the feelings, but it would only make them stronger. Sending you away to love another would be his last option.”
I shook my head in disbelief. “That is not how it happened. I mean yes, kind of, but I only pushed him from me.”
“You defied him?” Asmodeus got a devilish grin on his face, but I already knew what it had done to him. “You bad girl.”
“In short, my lady, he would have never left you. I don’t know how you kept him even after death or how you lost him, but I was there. Since we are one in the same, you were never without him or me.” Asmodeus grew closer as he spoke and the light in eyes became deeper, “Would it be acceptable if I kissed you?”
With the desire that I had seen leaking through his eyes I imagined that he would have pounced the moment that I closed my eyes. Instead his hands caressed my cheeks. His thumbs ran over my lips as I could feel his heartbeat rising under my palm. His chest rose and fell quickly with his deep breathing. Once more his fingers ran over my face as though he were memorizing each shape. As his lips brushed lightly against mine, I was now feeling like the one ready to pounce.
“I am afraid of allowing my lips to meet yours.” Asmodeus backed away and let his hands fall away from my face. I opened my eyes to find him staring down between us. I lifted his chin allowing his eyes to grace mine once more. The fear he held was right there for me to see, but what I wasn’t sure of was, what exactly he was afraid of. I slid out from around him on the bed taking the box and setting it on the stand. As I crawled back onto the bed I let the curtains fall completely removing the world. While he situated himself at the top of the bed I began taking my shirt off. “Whoa! What is that?”
“What is what?” I questioned looking around me. Here I was trying to be sexy, but something broke into the mood. After gazing around seeing the curtains still surrounding us nothing was out of place. I looked back at Asmodeus who was staring at me with his eyes wide and in complete amazement. “What?”
Asmodeus got to his knees directly in front of me with his eyes firmly planted on my chest. I lowered my face ashamed of my scars. They were no doubt what his eyes were glued to. Slowly his hands came up and I was just waiting for him to star tracing the lines. That wasn’t the case as his hands never touched my skin, but they moved with the curves of my body. It was as though he had never laid eyes on a woman’s chest before. It was an odd feeling having him survey my body. “What is it? There is black lace wrapping around your bodice holding your breast perfectly. I’ve never seen anything like it. It makes your breasts sumptuous.”
I tried so hard not to laugh at him, but the best I could do was keep a large grin. “It’s a bra. Would you like to see the matching panties?”
“Panties?” Asmodeus questioned finally looking away from my breasts. “What are panties?”
I covered my face to keep from laughing as I backed off the bed. I had thought about just letting my pants disappear and showing him. It seemed to me that undressing behind the curtain would be more enthralling for him. I backed completely away from the bed and stood just on the outside of the curtain. All that I could see of Asmodeus was a dark silhouette and I knew that was all he would be able to see of me. After undoing my jeans I let them fall to the floor and stepped out of them.
I opened the curtain and held it open bracing myself against the pole. Asmodeus immediately fell down off of his knees, “I think I love this age’s idea of bra and panties.”
I allowed myself to chuckle lightly as I crawled towards him on the bed. “Are you afraid to kiss me now?”
“Even more so now.” I could tell in his eyes that he wanted me, but he removed himself further away from me. “Do you know how long it has been since I’ve been with a woman?”
I pushed myself further knowing that it was what he wanted. “Nineteen years.”
“Do you know what that does to a man?” I now had him backed up against the headboard with no place left to go.
I smiled as I got onto my knees just over him with my arms pinning him against the wall, “Do you know what it does to a woman who has craved the touch of one man for that long?”
I couldn’t hold it any longer as I leaned forward and I saw him coming towards me. As soon as our lips met again I sent all of my cravings, my yearnings, and my lust straight into him. He moaned louder than Blyth had and fell back against the wall. To my own heartbreak our lips still did not seal. “Do it again.”
I ran my fingers down over his chest feeling each of his muscles flex under my touch. I wet my lips as I leaned into whisper into his ear, “Only if you give me what I want.”
Asmodeus rose up from against the wall wrapping his arms tightly around me. We fell back into the bed as he was now on top of me. His lips were so close that I could feel his breath upon my own. “You must tell me what you desire so that I may provide you with it.”
“Just kiss me, and I am yours.”
There was a light knock at the door, but I had ignored it completely. Not that I had wanted to ignore it, but I didn’t have the energy left in me to even move to get out of bed to answer it. I grumbled to Asmodeus as he took himself away from the bed. Nothing that I had said made any audible word, but it was enough for him to lay his lips on my cheek. “Go back to sleep.”
He covered me with the blanket to replace the warmth that he had taken away from me. I turned over slightly to see him on the other side of the curtain dressing. When he started to the door I realized that he wasn’t coming back and turned back over. The door creaked faintly as he opened it. I heard Matt’s voice, “Dinner is ready.”
“I think she might pass for right now, but I will join you.” Asmodeus spoke quieter than Matt. “Tell me something first. Who is she?”
Matt laughed and suddenly his voice fell as though he was hushed. “It’s Ashley.”
“Ashley.” Asmodeus’ voice echoed my name. “That man was right. She is dangerous.”
When I finally woke up I wanted nothing more than to see Asmodeus beside me, but his spot remained unfilled. My initial fear of losing him into a reflection had subsided as well as the thought of him disappearing anywhere. As I turned over the curtains rose on the bed and I looked into the bathroom. I had expected something normal, but to my surprise it was just a large hole in the floor still filled with the filthy water that he bathed in earlier. I sat up and stared at it. I saw the lever to expel the water from the tub and immediately released it.
I got up and ventured inside the room. There was a sink and counter with a toilet in the far corner, but no shower. I didn’t have in me to take a bath. I wanted a quick shower. I sighed and dressed myself. No sooner than I was dressed I appeared in the living area with Asmodeus and Matt.
I laid my hand on Asmodeus’ shoulder letting him know that I was there. He took my hand and pressed it with his lips. His eyes remained fixed on the tv screen though. “Do you see this?”
“I see it.” I looked up noticing that he was watching some kind of porn, but I didn’t watch it for long. “Are you enjoying it?”
“It is just amazing. I could have never imagined anything like this in my time. It is truly amazing.” He finally turned and looked at me like a little boy with a brand new toy. “Anyone, anywhere, can watch this.”
I patted his shoulder, “As long as they have the money to pay for it.”
I left him with his new plaything while I walked over to Matt who noticed me and sat down his book. “How did you sleep?”
“Fine. I didn’t sleep for long did I?” I questioned hoping it was for no more than a day. I have been sleeping regularly, but after sex I always found I slept a bit longer.
“Only an hour.” Matt looked over to Asmodeus still amused as ever. “He’s enjoying this. Don’t you think?”
“Yes, but I was wondering, is there a shower here?”
Matt started laughing at me. “Are you serious?”
“If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be asking.”
Matt held out his hand, “Come on.”
I took his hand as we ended up back in the bathroom that I had just left. He walked over to the wall and touched it. I watched in amazement as a square tile turned over exposing a control pad. He pressed a button and I turned around to the tub when I heard the water falling. A piece of the ceiling had fallen down with water pouring from it. “That wasn’t so hard was it?”
“Call me old fashioned, but I like a shower with knobs to turn on the water.” I turned to face him again, but he was staring out into the bedroom. “Matt?”
“He is quite an open book you know. There was no question that I asked him that he didn’t answer.” Matt seemed lost in his thoughts as I waved my hand in front of him. “Sorry. He is just so much like him, but so different.”
“What do we do now?”
“Take your shower and then we’ll talk about it.”
“You painted all of these yourself?” Asmodeus asked Matt as he browsed the canvases covering the walls.
I appeared from the shower directly in front of Matt. I knew what I had to do. I decided in the shower my best course of action in this moment. “I have to go.”
Matt scrunched his eyebrows together at my whispering and copied my tone, “Where do you have to go now?”
“I have to find him.” I watched Asmodeus. Even though he seemed enthralled by the paintings I had this peculiar feeling that he was listening. “I can’t just leave him out there.”
“He’s with Michael now.” Matt grew angry and I accepted his resentment. “I don’t want him here.”
“I have to go.”
Matt scowled, “Fine. Do what you must, but he is not welcome here.”