Chapter 21: Raw flaming talent
For the next few days Alexander and I did what he liked to call ‘touring the country with my courtee’. Courtee in that sentence being me clinging to him like my life depended on it while we sped from one destination to the next. Getting over the initial fear of getting whiplash was the hardest thing, apart from that I loved it when he held me tightly to him and we flew across the countryside faster than any other creature.
He took me to the very top of a mountain called Table Mountain because it was very flat and The cradle of humankind, supposedly where the first humans lived. I forced him to hold me titanic style when we went to see an old ship in the harbour and after minutes’ worth of begging he reluctantly agreed muttering something about how we’d just spent a whole month on a ship and now I wanted to do this. I ignored him.
On our third day ‘touring’ we stayed on a nature reserve where Alexander told me lions and cheetahs roamed freely. This if course had me glancing around like a scared chicken and caused him to laugh.
“It’s not funny Alexander,” I told him firmly, “We could die! Lions are big strong beasts that could rip us to shreds on a matter of seconds! I mean, did you see those we passed yesterday?! They’re huge and vicious!”
Alexander merely looked at me amusedly and took a step closer to me, “Oh my love, you are so adorable.”
I blushed deep red while I could do no more but stare at him, “B-b-but,” I stuttered like some loser, “They could kill us in our sleep!”
With that Alexander gripped me tightly in his arms and shot me a terrifyingly seductive evil smirk, “I’m the most vicious predator on the face of the earth, love. If anything, you should be afraid of me.”
Oh, that look he was giving me made me want to see if I could rip his clothes off! “I… I uh… I…um…”
“Not to worry Ashira, I will protect you from anything that might harm you so you can sleep peacefully.” He finished what he was saying and let go of me.
He did buy me a cute little stuffed lion and scared me half to death with it before I grew very attached to it and named it Fluffy.
Anyway, moving on from that, the main thing I realised, traveling with my courter (Alexander) was that the way he ruled over his continent and its humans was completely different from how it was where I came from. These humans had electricity ALL THE TIME and they really did live like they wanted to, not restricted like we were. They could still pretty much do anything they wanted.
When I asked Alexander about the difference in dictatorship he merely distastefully stated that he was nothing like his younger brother. I hadn’t touched the subject since.
We talked about his family, his history, he even told me some stories about his life which I found immensely fascinating. He didn’t talk about his father or his sisters and I didn’t ask, it seemed to be a bit of a touchy subject.
All of this talk had of course led me to conclude that Alexander was the second eldest son of the demon. It made sense I suppose, in some strange way. What I couldn’t understand however, was what he, someone so important and powerful, could possibly see in me. Insignificant little old human me. Not that I was going to let that bother me but I still wondered.
Before I knew it, it had been a full week since we’d left the ship behind and I’d been alone with a royal.
The farm house where we would be spending the night was absolutely huge and looked nothing like a little farm house. Not that I’d ever seen a real life farm house before but I doubted they were surrounded by what seemed like miles and miles of short green grass and looked like British castles.
“So is this your house?” I asked for what felt like the millionth time since I’d been asking that at every stop we made. I looked around and stared at literally everything because I’d never seen anything like this house except in pictures.
Instead of putting me down on the ground like I thought he would after our long journey, he took hold of my thighs that were still around his middle. This pulled my attention away from staring and back to the vampire himself, “Hmmm?” I asked.
He gently put his forehead against mine and closed his eyes with a soft smile -something I’d come to realise he liked to do, “I just like seeing you in awe. But to answer your question, yes, this is one of my houses.”
I stared, “One of?”
Alexander shrugged casually, “I’ve had a long time to obtain wealth and enough strong vampires to help me built this place.”
“I suppose that’s true.” I relented, “But I haven’t seen a single other house that’s this impressive. Ever. In my life.” I added slowly to highlight my point. I tightened my hold around his neck.
He finally decided to put me down, “I take it you like it then?”
“Like is an understatement.” I said, “I mean love would be more accurate.”
He grinned proudly, “I’m glad.”
“I’m exhausted.” I complained as he let me go and I made my way to the front door. I stretched my stiff arms above me and with my stretched muscles I suddenly felt unbelievably peaceful and sleepy. I watched as Alexander took the keys out from one of the petunia pots on the porch and dust off the soil. He paged through the keys until he found the right one and inserted it in the lock. The door clicked open, “Goodness,” I said, “That makes you seem so human.”
He shrugged, “If it’s not broken don’t fix it.”
“True that.” I seconded him and stepped inside. I eyes nearly bulged out of their sockets when I realised the interior of the house was even larger than it had looked from the outside. “Wow…” I trailed off because there really wasn’t another word to describe it. The ceiling was high and the first room had doors that led to other rooms - this must be a foyer- and two the staircases that went upstairs. Definitely not a farm house. The floors were made of shiny stone, which I took to be marble even if I’d never actually seen it before.
“So?” Alexander asked, his eyes analysing me, “What do you think?”
I looked at him before I pointed to the open front door, “Did you see that?” he frowned as he looked at empty space, “That was my mind running out the door.” he shook his head and smiled, getting it “I really can’t think right now, this is too overwhelming.”
He put an arm around my shoulders and steered me up one of the staircases, “I’m sure you’ll be able to think tomorrow morning, but right now I think sleep is your best option.”
“It isn’t even dark yet.” I complained, “I want to see the rest of the house.”
“I think changing your sleeping schedule back to night time is taking its toll, you’d better take a nap before you fall over.” He said, “Besides, the house isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, I’ll show you around when you wake up.”
“Fine.” I said, actually realising how tired I was. Maybe sleep was my best option.
I walked with half closed eyes, trusting that Alexander would tell me if I were about to walk into something. It really was crazy how much I trusted the stupid demon. I’d taken up sleeping at night again since Alexander had told me that it would do no good we toured the country but I couldn’t see anything because it was pitch black night. So that had been it, we travelled at day to do sightseeing.
“Here we are.” He said and we came to a stop.
With a lot of effort I managed to open my eyes and look at the room we’d arrived in. I lazily pointed to the open curtains where light shone in, “Light.” I said.
No sooner the words were out of my mouth the curtains were closed and the room was fairly dark. Perfect sleeping conditions. “So whose room is this that I will be sleeping in?” I asked as I made my way over to the bed that was looking very inviting.
“This is our room.” Alexander said, still standing in the doorway to the massive room.
I turned around to look at him, “Our?”
“Our.” He confirmed.
I smiled and fell onto the double bed face first and hugged Fluffy, “That’s nice.”
The thing that caused my consciousness to arise again was the smell of smoke. I sat up wildly, confused for a moment before I realised where I was. The massive room with the huge windows and blue drapes looked beautiful in the moonlight.
Right, the smoke, I’d almost forgotten. I raced down the stairs, following my nose since I had absolutely no idea where on earth I was going.
I knew I was getting close because a layer of smoke had formed under the ceiling and it was getting thicker.
I rounded a corner and stopped running abruptly to take in the scene in front of me. There Alexander stood in the middle of what seemed to be the kitchen waving a magazine to try and get all the smoke that emanated from a pot of the stove out the window. “What…”
His head snapped up and he slammed the lid on the pot, “Nothing is going on here.” He assured me.
I pointed to the layer of smoke under the ceiling, “Nothing?” I watched him doubtfully. A mini explosion in the pot caused a puff of smoke to escape and it hit Alexander right in the face.
He gave an awkward cough, “I have this under complete control.”
I pointed towards the oven where balls of smoke came out at the sides of the door, “I think whatever you have in there is on fire.” I told him.
His calm expression erupted in shock and he dove to open the oven door, “The meat!” he reached for the pot.
“Wait! That’s-” I started screaming, alarmed.
He took out the dish with his bare hands and put it down on the counter before he looked at his hand and slowly said, “Ouch.”
“Hot.” I finished my previous sentence.
Alexander looked at me and honestly it looked like he was about to start crying. He sat down on one of the chairs dejectedly, “I-I-I…” he sighed heavily. “I have failed you.”
I walked over to him and took his hands in mine, causing him to look at me carefully. I inspected them carefully, the burns were healing right before my eyes and I couldn’t help but stare in wonder. “So…” I said, “Care to tell me what exactly you were doing?”
He sighed once more, “Well, I was thinking you might be hungry when you woke up so…”
I let go of his hands and walked over to the pot and opened the lid. A puff of smoke drifted up to join the layer and I just barely avoided it hitting me right in the face. I quickly shut off the power before I looked inside and put the lid on again. Pitch black, “You thought some charcoal might do me good?” I asked him with a small laugh.
He cursed under his breath and I laughed harder, “To be fair, I have never needed to cook anything in my entire life.” He said stubbornly.
I laughed harder, “Raw talent you have Alexander. Oh, no, wait,” I said, “Your talent went up in flames.” I laughed at my own lame joke.
He muttered something that sounded quite unpleasant.
I threw my arms around him and hugged him, “You can be glad you didn’t singe your eyebrows off; that would have been bad. I think from now on you should just leave the cooking to me.” I told him. He grumbled something again and I happily planted a kiss on his cheek. Oh goodness I kissed him… crap, I’d been so caught up in the moment. “Thanks anyway,” said, trying to avoid his wide eyes, “It was thoughtful even if it literally went up in flames.”
He cleared his throat, sounding a bit baffled as I walked away, “Well… you know… I tried…”
“What was it supposed to be?” I asked as I unlocked the kitchen door after I’d found the keys.
“Stew with rice.” He said softly.
I looked at the pot of charcoal and the dish of liquid charcoal, “I think it’ll be better if I don’t say anything.” I told him before I opened the door to let the smoke out.
It literally took us an hour to get all the smoke out of the house and another hour of trying to clean the pots before Alexander said I could throw them away. That I was very grateful for.
I threw open one of the cupboards when hunger started gnawing at me, “Please tell me you have food in this house.”
“There should be cans in the cupboard to your left.” He told me from where he was sitting at the kitchen island. I opened the cupboard only to find it empty. I was about to comment when he said, “Your other left.”
“Oh,” I said bashfully.
I gorged on canned sweetcorn while we sat outside on the porch. Alexander leaning against the wall of the house and me sitting between his legs. I sighed peacefully, “Speaking about hunger,” I said “Aren’t you hungry?” I looked at him. I hadn’t ever seen him feeding on anyone before and since he was with me the whole time over the past week he must have been starving.
His eyes glinted, “I took down two cattle while you were sleeping, so I’m good, you don’t have to be afraid.”
“That wasn’t really what I meant…” I said quietly, “I wasn’t afraid, I was just,” our eyes met, “Worried about you.” I was sure he could hear my hear thudding wildly in my chest when I looked away and pretended to be concentrating on the rising sun.
“I’m sorry to have worried you.” He finally said.
I shrugged and sniffed him, “You smell like a fire.” I told him, “All smoky.”
“I’m never doing anything nice for you again if you don’t let this go.” He threatened.
I giggled, “I won’t dare tell anyone this but I will secretly taunt you with it for as long as I live.” I promised him.
“You really stink like smoke.” I said with a little wave of my hand, “Take a shower or something.”
“You smell like smoke too. Join me?” he asked hopefully.
I snorted, “Not even in your wildest dreams buddy.”
“I’m the one who has to go and get you food you know.” Alexander said, “Besides, you have no idea what happens in my wildest dreams.” And there it was. That unbelievably seductive and suggestive smirk that caused my heart to beat three times faster than normal.
“I’m sure I can live off the canned sweetcorn for at least a week before I get tired of it. And there is enough to last about two weeks so don’t think I have to do anything for you. And just for the record, you don’t sleep so you can’t have dreams so de!” I stuck my tongue out at him.
Alexander frowned, “You are one complicated human Ashira.” I merely smiled in return. He sighed after a moment of silence, “You should enjoy this last day of peace and quiet before the storm comes.”
“What?” I asked, “Why? What storm?”
Alexander grimaced, “Once a year my brothers and I hold a get together, just to catch up. This year unfortunately the person whose house will be thrashed by the end of the week will be mine. They’ll be arriving the day after tomorrow most likely.”
I chuckled, “We all feel that way about our relatives, Alexander, I’m sure it won’t be that bad.”
“No,” he insisted firmly, “They really have the power to turn this place into dust, I’m not exaggerating.”
All seven royals in the same house? Seven of the most powerful creatures on earth in the same house? Maybe he did have a point, “Well, have fun with that. Where will I be staying while you spend some quality alone time with your family?”
He hesitated for a moment, “Here?” he half asked unsurely.
I laughed, “Funny.” I stopped laughing when he didn’t join in, “Wait, you’re being serious?”
“I want you to meet them.” Alexander said seriously, “I mean they might be a little rough around the edges but they’re still my family.”
My breaths came out quick. Was this how it felt to be hyperventilating? “I can’t meet you family! What if they don’t like me? Or worse!” I said, absolutely horrified, “What if they hate me? Oh goodness!”
Alexander laughed and hugged me tightly to him to keep me quiet, “Oh hush Ashira, they’ll love you.” He said, “Not as much as I do, but I’m sure they’ll love you nonetheless.”
My heart missed a beat and my eyes widened. I shook my head, “I still can’t believe you can say that so casually.”
“What?” He asked “That I love you?” I nodded awkwardly, “The truth is easy Ashira, lies are hard.”
I cleared my throat, “Anyway, back to the problem at hand. How should I act? What should I say? What should I do with my hair? What am I going to wear?” Alexander opened his mouth to say something and I cut him off, “Don’t you dare say nothing.” I glared as he smiled evilly.
The stupid vampire was getting more perverted by the day and yet I couldn’t find it within myself to hate him.