Chapter 19: What are you on?
In the days that followed I didn’t see Alexander at all and honestly it was making me a bit depressed. I mean, what man, even though technically he was a vampire, declares his undying love for you and saves your life and then disappears off the face of the earth? Life was dull without a certain obsessive stalker irritating me. At least my bruises were all healed up and faded.
Zaiden of course, being Zaiden, wanted to know everything that had gone down between Alexander and I and we’d talked about it right through the previous night I was supposed to be working. I swear he was more curious than a girl.
Being away from Alexander I had however realised one thing: he’d almost gotten me killed. Wasn’t I supposed to be so mad at him that I never wanted to speak to him again? He almost got me killed for heaven’s sake and there I was forgiving him on the spot! He’d literally just hugged me and I’d forgiven him! This wasn’t right, I had every right to be mad at him…
Why had I forgiven him so easily? What was wrong with me? Did this have something to do with the whole Promise angel thing? I hated the fact that one look from him could make me forget whatever I was mad about… that jerk.
And the more I thought about it the madder I became until I punched the wall and sprained my hand. Very clever of me indeed.
In the ship’s infirmary I had made a life changing decision, I was going to ignore Alexander when he finally appeared again. He should never have killed that poor mad man’s family even if he was being controlled. My decision was set in stone but I wasn’t sure how strong my resolve would stand the moment I came face to face with him. Ug, dammit, why did he have to be so damn hot?
But it wasn’t just the way he looked, it was the way he looked at me. With those beautiful kind eyes that saw right through me. Jerk.
So there I found myself, having absolutely nothing to do, hanging out with my dear friends who still treated me like an outsider after everything that had happened. I’d told them about what had happened of course but I suspect that that knowledge had only made things worse.
It wasn’t like they were avoiding me like some other people, (yes Alexander I’m talking about you and soon to be me avoiding you as well) it was just that there was some sort of invisible barrier between us now. I couldn’t talk to them anymore.
Were they afraid? I wasn’t sure. Did they lose trust in me? Possibly, but it was rather hard to tell.
I intently stared at Rose who was busy going through her clothes in search of something nice to wear since she was working tonight. I rolled over on her bed and watched her upside down, “I think you should wear something a bit more modest.” I suggested when she held a revealing shirt up in front of her.
She sighed and Nadine said, “I agree, don’t think that the other vampires are going to treat us better just because a royal is in love with our best friend.” They both shot pointed looks at me.
I nearly choked on air, “Alexander isn’t in love with me!” You see, while I might have told them almost anything, I didn’t tell them about being his PA or the fact that he was in love with me. I told them that the kiss they’d witnessed between us was merely a prank the vampires thought would be funny to watch unfold.
Rose sorted and Nadine silently shook her head in disappointment, “We might be a bit slow on the uptake, but we’re not blind Ash.” she said seriously.
“It’s true.” Rose seconded her, “Any idiot can see what’s right in front of them.”
I decided that denying any knowledge was my best option and I stood up to make sure my point got across, “You guys are insane! Delusional! He’s a vampire! And not only that, he’s a vampire royal, he’s never been human, his father is a demon! And he nearly got me killed…” I muttered as an afterthought.
My friends didn’t say anything to me but turned to each other and simultaneously said, “Denial.”
I glared at them, “You guys are wrong about this. Anyway, he doesn’t like me like that and apparently every royal has some sort of a true love.”
Rose and Nadine both gushed at the thought, “That’s so cute!”
I stared at them disbelievingly, “What’s wrong with you two?”
“Don’t you think it’s sweet that even a monster like a vampire has a true love?” Rose asked me in shock and I stared right back at her, “That is cruel, Ash. Of course we believe in things like that! What else do girls live for if not love?”
“Uh, food?” I asked like it was the most obvious thing in the world, “Besides, I just think that people have full control over their emotions and that something like a true love doesn’t exist.” I told them firmly, this whole thing of forgiving Alexander was getting on my nerves and I wanted to be in control of my emotions. Apparently being his promise angel meant I couldn’t stay mad at him.
We’ll see about that.
Nadine narrowed her eyes at me, “What’s with all this talk about true love Ash?” She looked at me measuredly for a moment more before her eyes widened in realisation. “Don’t tell me! Are you Alexander’s PA?”
Well oh dear good golly gosh. This girl was too cleaver for her own good. I laughed nervously, “What? No of course not. I mean what does that even mean?”
Nadine jumped up and chucked a pillow at me, “Ash! Why didn’t you tell us? This is huge!”
Rose stormed closer to us, “What’s huge? What’s going on?”
Nadine looked at me accusingly and pointed at me, “She’s Alex’s PA and she didn’t even bother to tell us!”
“You file papers for Alex, Ash?” Rose asked, looking a bit lost, “I suppose now it makes sense why the two of you are always together.”
Nadine hit her forehead with her palm and blurted out the whole story.
And that was how the whole ship knew by nightfall -because of Rose’s squealing and ecstatic screaming- that Alexander had found his PA.
To say that I wasn’t all that thrilled to tag along with Rose that night was an understatement. This time I was ready to jump overboard. I mean if we were to run into that –that jerk, I didn’t know what I’d do.
I was wearing the same red hoody with jeans and boots I had been wearing the previous time I’d tagged along. But this time I was wearing my hair down to cover my neck because I knew that was what Alexander would want. When did I start caring about what he would want anyway?
I sighed heavily as I sat back against the wall of Rose’s room. The latter still deciding which shoes to put on with her red dress. Black stilettoes were her final choice and I drifted off thinking that that was a dangerous choice.
A knock on the door jolted me awake and I snorted rather unladylike on my awakening. Rose chuckled and she walked to the door as I glared at her back.
She opened the door chirpily and embraced Fabian warmly. I heard her greet him and talk bubbly.
I walked past them, not even looking at them and gave him a wave, “Hey Fabian. I’m tagging along tonight.”
Suddenly he was in front of me and I stopped abruptly. He grinned down on me, “You know what I heard?”
I groaned, “I don’t know and I don’t want to know.”
He continued like I hadn’t even spoken, “I heard that you’re Alexander’s-“
“Hold it!” I said throwing my hands into his face to shut him up, “Stop right there! I’m sure that whatever you’re about to say is untrue.”
Fabian frowned and pushed my hands away, “Let me finish my lines, will you?”
I looked at him, clueless, “Your what?”
He held up a finger, “Just watch.” He dramatically cleared his throat and continued, “I heard that you’re Alexander’s PA. Is this true?”
Before I could even open my mouth to answer Alexander spoke dramatically behind me, “It is true, my noble man!”
I spun around to stare at him. That jerk nearly got me – oh wow I’d never noticed quite how tall he was before… and the shirt he was wearing wow… it looked… good… he was so ripped and- Hold on! I was mad at him, yes, furious with him so I snapped, “Are you crazy?! You almost gave me an heart attack! What are you on? Drugs?”
Alexander’s face didn’t fall but his smile turned seductive, “I could be on you, if you only asked.”
I stared. Rose burst out laughing. Fabian snickered quietly to himself.
Rose looked like she was close to crying with hysteria, “You walked right into that one Ash.”
I stared and turned around. “And now I’m walking away while I still have some of my dignity.”
Alexander was standing in front of me before I could take a step and he pulled me into his chest, “Are you in a bad mood, love?”
“No.” I huffed angrily as I melted into his embrace. I’d missed him so much- I was mad at him, I needed to remind myself again.
He brought his face closer to mine and tapped his index finger on my nose, “I think you are.” He said seriously, “What’s wrong?”
“Well you-” I stopped, there was no way I was telling him, I was supposed to be ignoring him. “Never mind, forget I said anything.”
“I was the one who upset you?” He asked, truly sounding forlorn about it.
“No, no, don’t worry about it.” I said quickly, not wanting to make anything if it, seeing him looking so sad was doing weird things so my mind.
“My love,” Alexander said firmly, taking hold of my shoulders and forcing me to look at him, “I’m still courting you, you need to take my flirtations with a smile and you need to tell me if something is wrong. So,” he said intensely, “you have to tell me what’s wrong.”
I sighed, “Nothing is-“
I sighed again, relenting to his demand. “Fine.” I grabbed hold of his shirt collar and putted him down to my level. I turned his face and whispered in his ear, “You almost got me killed Alexander, but I just can find to in myself to be mad at you.” And before I could stop myself I admitted what I was really thinking, “I missed you.”
And then I turned around and marched away, “Come Rose, Fabian, you’re leaving so I can tag along.”
The only thing running through my mind the whole way to the upper deck was: I said it, I couldn’t believe I’d actually said it. I said I missed him… why would I have said that… I mean I was mad at him… Right?
Oh this was so confusing.
I glanced back only once to look at Alexander’s expression. He was staring after me disbelievingly with the ghost of a smile playing around the corners of his mouth that hung agape.
The elevator ride passed in a dizzy blur and Rose started bugging me for what I’d said to him to leave him like that the moment the doors opened and Fabian allowed us to go our own merry way as long as we stayed on the royal’s side of the deck. All and all a fair trade if you were to look at it like that.
“Certain things can leave even a royal speechless,” I told her mysteriously, “You just have to know what to say.” I winked and she looked at me disapprovingly.
“Did you say something dirty to him?”
I did a double take, “What! No! Are you insane?”
“Well…” she said thoughtfully, “It would have been appropriate after what he said to you…”
“No. It’s never happening Rose. Nope. Never.” I shook my head firmly. “Nope.” I said again to make sure she’d understood me the first four times.
“But-” she started.
“Don’t but me Rose. It’s not happening.” I suddenly grinned, “Now enough of my love life, tell me about yours.”
That of course took her thoughts away from Alexander and all the way to her date -apparently the fourth she told me- with Troy.
Oh and how she could talk about him! She droned on and on and on about how wonderful he was until my brain went on auto pilot and I just nodded and said ‘umm hmm’ and ‘that’s nice’ at the right times.
It was almost like Fabian was heaven sent when he finally came to fetch her for a drink.
I enjoyed the silence over the waters for as long as I could. Lately I’d realised that I found peace in isolation. Go figure, I finally have friends and now I realise that.
“Fancy meeting you here, Ashira.”
I looked past him to search for any other being on deck with us but found none. I pursed my lips but couldn’t help but smile, “Did you order everyone to go away so we’d be alone up here?” I could only pray that he wouldn’t say anything about what I’d told him earlier and it seemed like my prayer was answered.
Alexander faked shock, “Is that really the kind of man you take me for Ashira? I’m ashamed and stunned by your accusation.”
I chuckled at his antics, “You’re very dramatic tonight, aren’t you? Did you eat an actor or something?”
He smiled at me innocently, “I’m just happy. But honestly, I didn’t order anyone to go anywhere.”
I watched him with doubt.
“I might have hinted for them to leave and threatened their loved ones if they refused.” He finally admitted and I nearly snorted.
I shook my head and patted his arm, “Such a gentleman.”
He grinned, “That’s me.” We were quiet for a moment.
“Is part of not being able to stay mad at you part of my curse for being your Promise angel?” I asked abruptly.
Alexander’s eyes held mine and he answered honestly, “Yes, I think… you’re compelled in a way… to want to make me happy and seeing you mad at me really doesn’t make me happy.”
“Oh, I can be mad at you alright.” I said and to make a point I walked to the other side of the deck where I shouted, “If I’m far away from you I can be pissed at you!” I continued to scream my anger out at him but he slowly came closer and by the time he was standing in front of me the only words I could manage were, “Maybe I can forgive you after yelling at you like that.”
Alexander looked at me with sad eyes, “I’m sorry my actions almost got you killed Ashira. And I’m sorry you can’t be mad at me at your own will, that you’re forced to…” It seemed like he couldn’t find the words. “I really am sorry.”
Seeing him sad made my want to do anything to make it better… Geez when did I turn into this pathetic love sick person? It took all of my willpower but I managed to pull away from him and stay silent.
“Do you know what it means to be a Promise angel?” he asked suddenly and I shook my head, “It means your soul is so true and pure you can find it within yourself to love a demon. It isn’t just a name, to me, the son of a demon, you really are an angel.”
My heart was hammering loudly in my chest by now and I couldn’t get any words out.
“Anyway,” He finally said when the silence started to get awkward, “I wanted to talk to you about what’s going to happen tomorrow.”
I frowned in confusion, “What is going to happen tomorrow?”
Alexander sounded surprised, “You don’t know?” I shook my head again and he continued, “We’re arriving in Africa tomorrow. We finally get to leave this boring and crammed ship.”
I tried not to let my disappointment show, “Oh.” Truth be told I wasn’t all that excited to give up the life I had had on the ship, it had been nice, in its own strange way. Not to mention it had gotten infinitely better in last week. Minus my close call to death’s door of course, I was just thinking about Alexander (who I was still trying to be mad at). “What about it?” I finally asked.
“Well, you see…” Alexander started and all my hopes crashed to the ground. This sounded like one of those ‘I’m dumping you but don’t worry it’s you not me’ speeches. I’ve seen those in the movies before. But maybe that was best…
“What?” I asked softly.
Alexander’s eyes met mine and he gave me a brief smile before he continued, “I don’t know what you plan to do with the rest of your life, but I was hoping… that…. maybe, I don’t know you… might like to… tour the countryside with me for a while?” He looked at me hopefully and uncertainly. Like a little lost puppy.
My grin probably stretched from my one ear to the other. “I’d like that very much.”
His eyes perked up and I imagined that if he had doggy ears they would have gone from being flat on his head to tree straight, “Really?”
I deadpanned, “No.”
His face fell at first but then he looked at me with cute confusion in his eyes and I threw my arms around him, “Of course I’ll tour the country with you, Alexander. I mean, I don’t have anything better to do and it is part of our courting deal.”
“Ouch.” He said, freighting hurt. He sighed, “I’m still a bit dramatic, aren’t I?”
I shrugged, “A little, but don’t worry you can pull anything off so just continue with whatever you were doing before. It’s very amusing.”
He looked away from me before he cockily asked, “You think I can pull anything off, hu?”
I shrugged nonchalantly ,”To be fair, you have had a long time to practice.”
“What will happen to the other humans when we arrive tomorrow?” I asked, feeling concerned for the future of my friends.
Alexander’s eyes caught mine and held them. Every time I looked into his eyes it was like he was seeing right through me, right into my soul and this time was no different.
I was just starting to wonder if he’d even heard my question and wondering what exactly my question had been when he said, “Rose will have to stay with Fabian for a few years, only until he gets bored with her and then she will be free. Nadine will continue to work on the ship when it sets sail again, whenever that may be, but until then she can do as she pleases.” He shuddered and his brow furrowed as he muttered darkly under his breath, “The same goes for that other friend of yours.”
It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out he was talking about Rustin. I sighed in relief, glad that he’d been so forward about what would happen to each of them. “Thanks.”
“Sure thing love.” He wrapped his arms around me from behind and pulled my back flush against his front.
“I can hear your heart beat you know.” He informed my happily, like he was glad he could send my pulse through the roof.
I elbowed him in the ribs, “Oh shut up.”
He chuckled and put his head down on my shoulder as we both stared at the dark horizon, “Ashira?” He asked softly against my ear.
“What is it Alexander?”
He paused a moment before he said, “I’m sorry you’re trying to be mad at me, but i just have to tell you… I missed you too.”
Now how could I stay mad at that?
Being his Promise angel was starting look like some cruel curse, but I wasn’t sure I minded… must be another part of the curse…