Chapter 16: Right as gloomy rain
I stood up and ripped my hands from his, “I don’t believe in things like that.” I stepped away from him, “Please leave.” Avoiding his eyes I pointed towards the door.
Alexander didn’t move, he didn’t even look away from me. His voice cracked when he finally spoke, “Your blunt rejection hurts me, Ashira. I am surprised by it and yet not surprised at all.”
I didn’t say anything but I let my arm fall to my side dejectedly.
“I understand how you feel, you must hate me right now for everything my kind has done.” He said regretfully, “I will spend the rest of eternity trying to obtain your forgiveness and love.” He stood up and walked past me swiftly.
“Love?” I asked softly, “Why would you want that?”
He slowly turned around to face me again, “Because I love you. Is it so unreasonable that I would want you to love me back?”
I crumbled down into a little heap on the floor and firmly placed my hands over my ears. I tightly shut my eyes “Stop saying that. It isn’t true. It can’t be true.” I shook my head in protest.
He was next to me in an instant and he removed my hands from my ears. He looked at me sadly, “Do you really hate me that much?”
I wanted to brawl my eyes out and fall into his arms, “I don’t hate you.”
“Then why does my confession leave you like this?”
“Because it’s wrong, it’s a lie.” I said, “You can’t really love a human.”
He smiled for a split second and some of his cockiness shone through, “If you say I can’t love a human then you must be something else. You are something else, you are an angel to me. My Promise angel.”
“What if I don’t want to be?” I asked softly, I couldn’t bear to look at his reaction to my question.
“Then… my existence is meaningless.” Alexander said.
When he didn’t say anything else I turned to look at him, but there was no one in my room but me, he was gone.
Not very surprisingly my friends didn’t know what to say to me that night. Who could blame them? They’d witnessed a royal kissing me and confessing that he was in love with me.
Talk about awkward silences.
“Ash?” Someone asked and they derailed my train of thought.
“Hu? What?” I asked confusedly, startled that someone had actually spoken to me.
“We have to leave now,” Nadine said. “It’s going to be light soon and I think we could all use a good morning’s rest.”
I nodded absentmindedly, “Sure.”
“Bye Ash.” Kevin waved as they exited me room.
I waved back.
“I suppose we should go too.” Rose said and Troy took her hand. I nodded, expressionless. Rose frowned and looked at me worriedly, “Are you going to be alright?”
I gave her a weak smile, “Sure, don’t worry about me.” I winked at her, “You two have fun.”
Rose became as red as her name suggested and marched out my room. “Bye Ash!” she called when she was out of sight. Troy shut the door behind them.
An eerie silence filled the room after they were all gone and I turned around to look at Rustin. He was watching me intently. “What are you thinking about?” I asked him when he didn’t say anything.
“You.” He stated bluntly and then smiled when my cheeks became pink. His face soon turned sombre again, “What happened with you and the royal yesterday?” He pursed his lips, “He didn’t hurt you, did he?”
My heart missed a beat and Alexander’s words and voice echoed in my head.
’You are my true love Ashira.’
’Because I love you.’
‘Then… my existence is meaningless.’
A shiver pulled through me. How could he love me? The thought was absurd. He was a vampire royal, a demon. He was probably thousands of years old and yet… somehow I knew he’d always been alone. The pang of jealousy I’d heard in his voice when he’d spoken of Oberon meeting his mate in the first hundred years of his life made sense now. A lot of things made sense to me now, but I was more confused than ever. Was he a complete wacko for believing that I was his PA or was it real? What was the deal with the whole Promise angel thing anyway? Who came up with that lame term?
“Ash?” Rustin asked as he scooted closer to me on the bed. “Did he hurt you?”
“No.” My voice was empty. “I’m just confused.”
“Why?” Rustin asked.
“He’s a royal.”
“He said he loves me.”
Rustin pursed his lips and let out a string of curse, “Goodness, I hate that vampire.”
I grinned, “Don’t worry, he hates you too. I can’t understand why though, but he does.”
Rustin snorted “He’s probably jealous of me, I mean I do get to spend a lot more time with you than he does.” I didn’t comment or point out that that was slightly inaccurate, “What did he mean when he said that you wake up in his arms?”
My breath caught in my throat, “I don’t know?” I tried.
Rustin sighed and hugged me, “You are one confusing girl, Ash.” He was so nice and warm but he didn’t make me feel at peace with the world. It was just a hug, nothing more.
I wasn’t sure how I felt about the fact that I didn’t feel anything when he hugged me because when Alexander held me close the world didn’t matter anymore. I knew I was safe with him, safe with a vampire, a demon. There was definitely something wrong with me.
“Anyway,” Rustin said as he let go of me and slowly got up. “I have to get going as well. I have to work and all that, you look like you could use some sleep as well so I won’t keep you awake any longer.” He smiled as he opened the door, “Bye Ash.”
I smiled weakly again, “Bye.”
He closed the door and I ended up being unable to sleep and found myself staring at the ceiling.
The restless sleep I fell into a few torturing hours later didn’t last long since I woke up in a cold sweat because of a dream. It had been a terrible nightmare, one where Alexander and Teresa had been kissing wildly and I could only watch as they drank children’s blood.
I gripped the sheets tighter as my brain ran over the dream, again and again and I tried to make sense of it.
“I hate to ask this when I can so clearly see the answer,” Zaiden said from across the room behind me, “But are you alright?”
I turned over to look at him, sitting all comfy like on the chair in the corner of my room, and sighed. “I’m fine.”
He raised a brow, “Are you now?”
“Right as rain.” I assured him with a stiff smile.
“Rain is very gloomy.” He said thoughtfully, he eyed me carefully, “I can see the resemblance now.”
I threw one of my pillows at him and he laughed as he easily dodged it, “I’m sorry!”
I grumbled something under my breath as I turned around again to look outside. Without realising I’d decided to go outside, my body got out of bed and I threw open the glass sliding doors. I sucked in the cool night air and let it out slowly.
I leaned against the railing, wondering what would happen if it were to suddenly break and I were to fall in. Would Zaiden save me? Or would he just leave me?
Would he save me because of Alexander?
I sighed as I looked over the peaceful waters. Apparently we’d been lucky that we hadn’t had more than a light drizzle out whole trip, the storms on the open ocean could get rough.
Zaiden came to stand next to me and watched me carefully, “So? How are you dealing with all of this?”
“All of what?” I asked, for a moment forgetting of my predicament, “The weather?”
Zaiden gave me a sarcastic look, “With being Alex’s PA.”
I sucked in a sharp breath and slowly let it out again. “Oh, that.” I shrugged, “I can’t believe you didn’t tell me who Alexander is and what I am to him.”
Zaiden looked at me apologetically, “I really am sorry, Ash, but I can’t disobey a royal and Alex told me not to tell you any of that.” He sighed, “I know you don’t believe anything about being his PA and things like that.”
I didn’t bother denying it.
“But whether or not you believe it, it is true.” Zaiden tried again.
“How would you know?” I asked him harshly.
“I’ve seen it.”
“What do you mean?” I asked, feeling about as confused as an old person with technology.
“As vampires, we are all brother and sisters. Every vampire is hand-picked by their royal, even the nobles hesitate before turning a human. In that way we are all the same, we respect and honour one another. So up to date, no vampire has killed another because that would be disrespectful.”
“I’ve heard of a vampire killing another vampire.” I said, remembering what Caleb and my sister had told us.
Zaiden’s eyes widened a fraction, “That’s impossible. When did this happen?”
“Right before I was taken.” I said, “My sister saw it happening in the park.”
Zaiden chuckled, “Oh, that’s alright then. That was actually what I wanted to tell you about.”
“Hu?” I asked, sounding like a foggy morning.
“Basically I’ve seen how much Alex loves you by just witnessing that one incident. He wouldn’t kill another vampire for nothing, never; it goes against everything he believes in.” Zaiden shook his head firmly, “And yet, that day…” He sighed again, “He killed that man without a second’s hesitation.”
My mouth dropped open in horror, “H-he r-really killed that vampire?” I was beyond terrified in that moment, “Why would he do that?”
Zaiden looked glad that he finally had my full attention and that I didn’t look so gloomy anymore, “Well, I might be better if I told you the full story…”
He paused and looked at me meaningfully, “Well?” I asked eagerly. “Continue! I’m dying here!”
He happily grinned at me before he frowned and looked over the waters. “Alex and I have known each other for as long as I can remember. We’re best friends so he trusts me with some of his problems. The day before the incident he was a bit…um… temperamental, I suppose, because we were going to have a boring meeting with his brother from North America – Viktor, that night. By then, Alex was fed up with being treated like some fragile piece of break ware so he snuck out to find some freedom.” Zaiden pursed his lips, “Gave me half a heart attack when I realised he was gone. Not that I was worried of course, he could take care of himself, but I was still worried.”
“Something happened, didn’t it?” I asked, I knew something must have happened.
“Oh, indeed, something did happen, Ash.” Zaiden’s face became serious, “He missed the meeting. Even though Alex hates things like that, I knew he would never miss one of them. So when he finally stumbled in somewhere past midnight I was absolutely furious with him. How could he do something like that, I couldn’t understand… until… until I got a good look at him.”
My voice shook, “What was wrong with him?”
“He looked like crap.” Zaiden said with a wide grin. “At first he refused to tell me where he’d been but eventually he told me everything.” Zaiden watched me intently, “He’d met his Promise angel.”
My breath caught in my throat, “Me?” I asked. “He was fine he last time I saw him that day. He was fine when he left me.”
Zaiden laughed like I’d said the funniest thing, “Do you really think that Alex would leave you all defenceless in the middle of the street?”
I took a step backwards, “He didn’t leave?”
Zaiden’s eyes softened, “No, Ash, he would never allow anything bad to happen to you. Anyway, getting back to the story. He told me that he’d followed you home, to make sure that you were alright and that he stayed and watched you and your family half the night.”
Warmth built up inside me and I couldn’t help but smile a bit, “That creepy stalker.”
“He said you seemed like you had a happy life and that he didn’t want to destroy it, so we both thought it best if he forgot about you. He tried, Ash, he really did. But he’d tasted your blood and basically he was on a high of some sorts. He was like a caged animal in his own body and he was very short tempered.” Zaiden paused for a moment and turned his head to the side, “The next day, the day of the incident, he looked awful. He was rigid and really not in the mood for the meeting that had been rescheduled to the middle of the day in the bloody sun. Everything was fine… until he caught you scent.”
My hands reflexively went over my mouth, “Oh gosh.”
Zaiden nodded, “And not only your scent but the scent of you blood. Maybe if the vampire hadn’t been talking about you he wouldn’t have snapped.” He snorted, “All I know is that one moment Alex is fine and he next he’s looking ready to kill everyone around him. The vampire was going on about what an easy pretty victim you’d been and how he drank you dry until you passed out and how he left you there. Alex just snapped when he heard that. He ripped the poor guy’s head clean off before he even knew it.”
“He killed because of me?” I asked. Alexander. He wanted to protect me.
“Yes Ash.” Zaiden said, “Calm collected Alexander completely lost it because someone hurt a human girl.”
I backed away from him and fell into one of the deck chairs. My mind was spinning around the world, refusing to focus on anything, “Why would he do that?”
“Why do you think?” Zaiden asked softly, “You are everything to him. He’s been alone for so long, Ash, when he met you he-“
“He didn’t know what to do.” I finished for him. I smiled without realising, “Who could blame him for not knowing how to react around someone he’s been waiting his whole life to meet?”
“Precisely.” Zaiden said, “He was afraid to be around you after that so once again he tried to get you out of his mind. He was sure everything would be better if he was just out of your life and back in Africa. We never considered the possibility of you coming with us.”
“You mean you didn’t choose me because he wanted you to?” I asked, it seemed a bit too convenient.
“No, I only found out that you were his PA when he told me on the second day of our trip and he agreed to let me feed on you as long as I didn’t hurt you or let you pass out.” Zaiden smiled, “I think he was overjoyed to see you were with us.” He swallowed, “You know Alex isn’t very good with words so I highly doubt you’ll get a decent apology for the things he didn’t tell you. You should just forgive him.”
“He already asked me to forgive him.” I said a bit distractedly.
“And?” Zaiden asked eagerly, “What did you tell him?”
I sighed, “Ultimately I asked him what would happen if I didn’t want to be his PA and he vanished saying that his existence had no meaning.”
Zaiden let out a defeated sigh as he fell down in the deck chair next to mine, “No wonder he’s doing this to himself. You rejected him.”
I sat up quickly, alarmed, “What is he doing to himself?”
Zaiden hesitated, “First he tried drowning his sorrows in wine and found out that no matter how much he drank he couldn’t get drunk. He just sits there, staring off into space, refusing to talk to anyone, refusing to eat. So he’s moved on to considering the second attempt.”
“He’s close to giving the females what they’ve always wanted from him.” Zaiden said, “Himself.”
Before I knew it I was standing, “No.”
“No?” Zaiden asked, sounding surprised. “What no?”
“That jerk can’t do that to himself, I have to do something. I caused this.” I looked Zaiden square in the eyes and determinedly said, “Take me to him.”
“It’s too late Ash.”
“Then just please go tell him.” I begged. “Tell him I’m sorry.” I couldn’t bear the thought of seeing him with Teresa or Susanna or any other female. It made the nightmare too real.
“If it will make you feel better, I will tell him. I mean being what you are to him means you are ranked higher than even me so I have to obey.” Zaiden said as he stood up.
I walked with him to my door and shot him one last pleading look before I said, “Go, go fast.”
Like a breeze of air Zaiden was gone and I was standing outside my suite all alone. I couldn’t believe it. Did I really matter to Alexander that much? It was unbelievable.
The air around me suddenly chilled and an arm went around my neck from behind. A big hand was roughly placed over my mouth to keep me from screaming and I found it hard to breathe.
I tried to break free, but considering I was facing a vampire he didn’t even move, “Let go!” I tried to scream but it came out as a soft mumble.
I struggled against him with all my might but to no avail. What was going on? Who was this vampire? What did he want with me?
A dark laugh came from my captor, “Why hello there, Ash. Good to see you have some spirit in you.” He breathed in my ear and I started to tremble in fear.
I was absolutely petrified. This wasn’t like the other vampire’s I’d encountered on the ship, this one meant to kill me.
“Stop squirming, will you.” he ordered and gave me a hard shake that made my head spin.
I screamed curses at him but they were all muffled. “Who are you?” I asked, hoping that he could at least hear me.
“Oh, Ash.” He said with a deep laugh, “I am the one thing your dear royal Alex hasn’t lied to you about.” He turned me around to face him and winked, “I’m the rumour he told you about, you know, the one that’s been killing humans.”
I squirmed again. He was going to kill me. He was going to kill me.
“And now,” he said, “your boyfriend isn’t here to protect you. You are all alone.” He grinned evilly. “I think I have enough gal to piss off a royal. Don’t you think so too, Ash?”
He pulled my head to the side and bit into my exposed neck and drank until I passed out with tears streaming down my cheeks.
And I wished I could have seen Alexander one last time before the never ending blackness came for me.