Chapter 45: Make Me
“You must be hungry.”
This is what I said - the words that sparked the fire. The catalyst for our fallout. Simple words that managed to anger him.
I walked over to Aza’s vanity and used my old cotton shirt to dry my hair in the mirror. “When’s the last time you’ve fed?” I asked him.
I heard him growl from behind me. “Lisa,” he said. “This ain’t funny.”
“I never said it was. I was just making an observation. Your vampiric powers strengthen the longer you don’t feed, which is why you’re so easily annoyed and angered with me right now.”
“I’m always annoyed with you. You’re a pain in the ass.”
I shrugged with a smug grin that pissed him off exponentially.
“Goddammit, you acting like a fucking child,” he hissed to me. I could see him in the mirror, waiting for me to answer. But I also saw my bruised nose and remember how he ghosted so quickly after the blow.
“I’m not the one who can’t control their emotions.”
Hezekiah rolled his eyes, “You still mad about that night?”
“Yes!” I had turned around then, shirt wrapped on my head like a mad woman. “Yes, I am mad! You just left, gone for days without a word. Then you come back and attack me with this Council bullshit?”
“What did you want me to do? Give you an ice pack? Feed you some orange slices? Aza didn’t want me there, so I left. What else is left to talk about?!”
“So much, ’Kiah!” He looked surprised when I addressed him by his shortened name. Even I had to take a moment to gather myself when I realized what I called him. “You just...leave. So abruptly. All the time. And it’s always when you don’t want to face a situation till the end. You wouldn’t even tell us anything about my time in the antebellum-fucking-south!”
“Because that ain’t my business to tell, that’s for you to figure out!”
“So, if you knew something that could potentially save my life, you still wouldn’t tell me?”
“No.” He shook his head. “It’d be easier for me to just figure it out myself, ’cause I don’t want to risk losing you if I did say anything.”
I didn’t expect those words. Not from him. He didn’t even realize what he said until he saw the softened look on my face.
“What I meant,” he began, “was that I...I don’t want to mess up time by telling you anything. Aza was right, time is delicate.”
“And we’re running out of it because the Council wants us with them for dinner this Thursday and we still have no idea how to stop this ritual if they find it.”
“You’re not going to that,” Hezekiah said in an ‘end-of-discussion’ tone. I couldn’t believe him. I couldn’t believe him, and I definitely couldn’t understand him. After refusing to tell me just what he and I were doing in the 1800s, he expected me to obey him and decline the invitation. I felt myself fuming; it was a constant, pestering feeling, being bossed around by others because I “couldn’t understand.” And to hear Hezekiah speak to me this way made my blood boil.
So, when Hezekiah wasn’t looking, I snatched the letter out of his hand.
I was shocked that his vampiric instincts didn’t catch me before I could take the paper from him, but in that split second, I had caught him well enough off guard.
“Stop telling me what I can and can’t do.” I set the letter on the vanity and began tying my hair up. “I’m a grown fucking woman, Hezekiah. I don’t care what you’re trying to protect me from, stop treating me like I’m an idiot. Whether you like it or not, I’m just as involved in this as the rest of you; I’m literally ”
“The moment you start being honest and transparent with me, the moment I’ll consider listening to you. Until then, you might as well just fuck off.”
I was running on pure adrenaline; my words were running out of my mouth like a stream. I was angry at Hezekiah, and I was also angry at the world. I didn’t want to be shut out and babied anymore, especially by Hezekiah. Was I vulgar? Yes, I was. But I got this way when I was upset.
And this did not make Hezekiah happy.
“What did you just say to me?” He asked lowly, his voice authoritative and laced with disbelief. I saw his head had cocked to the side like a confused dog at the sound of me telling him to fuck off. I turned around, adjusting my bun, and looked him straight in the eyes. His fingers were twitching; I clenched my teeth.
“You heard me,” I told him, trying to push past his body to get to my clothes. But he moved to the side and blocked my way, making me bump into him.
“No, I want to hear you say it again,” he said down to me. “I don’t think I heard you right.”
He wasn’t used to being disrespected. To the outside world, Hezekiah was royalty to the bloodsuckers that roamed the city, and even far beyond via word of mouth. Wherever he walked, people parted. He was vampiric royalty, plain and simple.
I was speaking down to a king, and he didn’t know how to receive it.
“I said,” I began strongly, though this confidence seemed to falter, “fuck off -”
The feeling of Hezekiah’s hand around my arm stunned me. Effortlessly, he pulled me close to him, nearly lifting me off of the ground. I sucked in a sharp breath at the feeling of his cold, unforgiving grip around my limb, squeezing it tight enough for it to start to hurt. He cared not about the bruise he had given me on my face, nor did he care about the history between us; I was an insubordinate woman needing to be put back into place, and that’s all I was to him in that moment.
“You need to watch who the fuck you’re talking to,” he scolded. I was at a loss for words, shocked and upset that he had a hold on my arm in this way, but also frustrated with myself that Hezekiah was turning me on; the octave of his voice and the aggravation evident in his tone went straight between my legs. But what sent me to the point of enragement was the fact that Hezekiah could sense this; him being a creature of the night gave him these instincts that could sense the rise in someone’s body temperature, the sound of the increasing tempo of their heart, anyone’s laborious breathing. He could even sense, from his hand on my arm, that I was clenching my thighs. He knew I was suddenly aroused, but he was still upset with me, so he took no visible pleasure in the effect he was having on me.
At least not yet.
“When I tell you that you ain’t going to the Council’s party, it means that you not going. And when I tell you that you gone get rid of that dress Russell’s sending you, you s’possed to ask if you should burn it or shred it.” He shook me slightly, imprinting his point in my brain. “You are not going, you hear me? This ain’t no joke, Lisa. These bloodsuckers are dangerous. They sneaky, and they racist. Some these people owned people like you and me. They lynched them, whipped them, sold them, räped them, killed them. Some of them were part of the klan, Lisa! The Council is like nothing you ever dealt with before!”
“But the letter - ”
“To hell with that letter!” he barked. “I swear to the Lord above, if I see you at that goddamn party, I’ll -”
He couldn’t even finish his sentence, he was so angry; his eyes looked inflamed. He took a moment to gather himself before he spoke again.
“Promise me you’ll stay away from that party,” he said to me. He waited - we both waited because I couldn’t bring myself to promise him. My mind was set on going, regardless of the fears Hezekiah had explained to me.
“Promise me!” He said more passionately. But I couldn’t. Instead, I shook my head gently.
“I can’t,” I replied. Slowly, Hezekiah loosened his grip on my arm, his eyes focused on me like they couldn’t come off. I massaged my now free arm and turned back to the vanity to pick up the letter. “I can’t, Hezekiah. Russell wrote me this letter for a reason; he must know me from the past. If I go, I can probably get through to him in a way that no one else can.”
Hezekiah rubbed his eyes with an irritated groan, “Lisa...”
“It isn’t fair that everyone else is risking so much by going to this party; it isn’t fair that Mama and Aza and even you are risking so much for me! And I’m just supposed to sit here like a good girl and watch everyone else put their lives on the line? If it’s true that I’m the key to stopping these vampires from ending us, then I’m going to do whatever I can to make sure that this ‘prophecy’ the loa have set out for me is fulfilled. If it means saving my friends and family and any innocents in between, then so be it. I’m done being a bystander.”
Hezekiah wanted to explode. His fists were clenched and his mouth was pressed into a firm line. I tightened my towel around my body and held the letter up to him.
“Tell me how Russell knows me from the past, and I’ll consider skipping out on the party,” I told him. Hezekiah couldn’t help but laugh, but he saw the seriousness on my face and was suddenly conflicted.
“You know I can’t do that,” he answered.
“So, you know?”
“Not everything - ”
“Jesus, Lisa. Stop with this!”
“You know I can’t!” I snapped. “You’re the one making this difficult by keeping secrets from me. If you would just tell me what I want to know, half of this shit could be avoided.”
“I am not fucking up time by opening up my mouth again!” he shouted. “I’ve already told you too much!”
“Who’s the one who told you this bullshit?”
“You did,” he answered.
The air went still once again, and as Hezekiah frustratingly began pacing the room, I leaned back against the dresser and pondered his short but effective answer.
“You did,” he said again. “You said to me, no matter what, I had to try not to say nothing to you about your time back then. You told me you’d beg, and you’d plead, and you said you were a stubborn little thing and I agree. You said, in this time, you knew a lot less than you did when I first met you. And you were right - when I first met you, you were...different.”
“How different?” I asked, my nails digging into the wood of the vanity.
“You were just different, Lisa. I can’t give you an exact answer, but you were different. But you made me promise not to say anything ’cause it might mess everything up; that you were too naive to handle anything I would tell you.”
I scoffed, “Well, I’m a bitch to myself, then.”
“You were right, Lisa. It isn’t the right time for you to know what you do in the future. You got to figure that out yourself.”
“So, even though you could warn me about Russell Van Doren -”
“The answer is no,” Hezekiah said sternly. I knew he wouldn’t crack, and I wanted to respect his decision, but ‘future’ me was right. I am right; I was stubborn, and I was naive. I was also impulsive. These were traits I had to unlearn as time began to unravel itself, but in that time, I wasn’t ready.
I sighed, trying not to show Hezekiah that I was irritated with him, “Can you at least tell me one thing?”
Hezekiah rolled his eyes, “Lisa, I swear -”
“Did you really fall in love with me?” I asked him. “Like Marie II said?”
Hezekiah looked at me, his expression teetering like he was unsure of what answer to give me. Could he hear how fast my heart was beating?
“No,” he said. I tried to see any sign of him lying, but it was hard to tell. “It wasn’t like that. We were just messing around.”
“But Marie -”
“Was jealous,” Hezekiah said quickly before I could finish. “She was jealous. I didn’t want her; I hated her. But she wanted me, so things got complicated.”
“Marie II was in love with you?” I asked, my brain making up scenarios on how that could have possibly went. But Hezekiah shook his head.
“No. It was lust. And she hated that she lusted over one of Terah’s boys.”
I wanted to know more. I felt like I needed to. Hezekiah told me little about this time I would roam, but this little was like a taste of a drug I craved. But that’s all that it was - a taste. That’s all Hezekiah would give me.
“I already said too much,” Hezekiah said. He had hoped that these words would sway my stance on the Council’s party, but it contrarily drew me closer to it; I needed to go. I needed to know what it was that Hezekiah wasn’t telling me.
“Then, in that case, I’m going,” I said. “I’m sorry, but there’s nothing you can do to make sure I don’t.”
The look on Hezekiah’s face was menacing. For a second, I was afraid of him; I hadn’t felt afraid of him since he nearly choked my mother to death. But in this room, with us two alone together, I felt afraid.
Suddenly, Hezekiah came forward and took the letter out of my hand. I stared at him with alarmed eyes and watched as he walked towards the window to leave. And in a split second decision, I grabbed a silver-trimmed cross from Aza’s dresser that was wrapped with red ribbon. I threw it at him; I barely remembered even thrusting it towards him. All I remember was seeing red. The moment the cross almost came into contact with his arm, he moved to the left, causing it to hit the wall and bounce off and onto the floor. He had moved so quickly, it was like a blur; one blink, and it would have been missed. He stared at the cross, shocked and wide-eyed. Would that cross have done something, had it hit him? Probably, probably not. But by the look on his face, I liked to believe it would have.
“Give me that letter,” I ordered as I approached him. I bent down to pick up the cross, and I held it towards him as if I was going to do any significant damage. He looked at my hand, looked back at me with the towel around my body and shirt on my head, then chuckled insultingly; it was as if he was baring his fangs purposefully, with how wide his smile was.
“Why you keep putting yourself in these situations, babygirl?” he asked me, but I only furrowed my brows; it was amazing, how quickly he had switched on me. One moment, he was deathly serious about me not attending Russell’s party, drilling it into my mind and growing upset at the lightheartedness of my attitude. Now, he found our ‘situation’ amusing.
I shook my head, “You get nothing out of calling me that,” I told him.
“I know you enjoy it,” he said lowly. “You enjoyed the way I called you that while I fucked you on that counter the other night, right?”
My hand tightened around the cross, “You’re something else.”
“You think reminding me of the time we had sex is going to make me forget everything we just talked about? This method of ‘seduction’ might work on other women and true, it used to work on me, but not anymore, Hezekiah.”
His smile faded, while mine began to surface.
“Honestly, I don’t think you’re as ‘scary’ as you make yourself out to be. You’re just scared and unsure of yourself, so you use this to intimidate others. You think choking my mother and slapping me in the face makes you so ‘menacing,’ does it?”
“That was an accident,” he growled.
“Really. An ‘accident.’ It didn’t look like much of an accident to me.”
“‘Who the fuck I’m talking to,’” I finished in a mocking tone. ”Right. Listen, Hezekiah. I appreciate you ‘trying’ to look out for me by sneaking around behind Abraham’s back and not telling me about things I did in the past. I especially love how you threatened me when I entertained the idea of going to the Council’s party. But there’s no need for any of that anymore. I’m going to this party.”
We were very close at this point. I still held the cross up towards him, but I began to believe that it had little effect at all.
“You a fool to tease me like this,” he said. I was sure this sentence had a double meaning; he stared down at me in my flimsy towel with seductive eyes, and his jaw clenched; something I noticed he did when he was hungry.
“It isn’t a tease. It’s a promise.”
“Really?” he said, his voice near to a mumble.
“Yes.” I breathed out, staring at his mouth - his lips, ones that I hated to miss so deeply.
“If I see you at this party - ”
“What are you going to do?” I asked him, almost begging him to tell me. To show me. My conscience was scolding me for being so aroused; for being so adamant on wanting his body again. It was the worst time, but I couldn’t help it. It was as if we both forgot all sense when we were together in ways so close and intimate.
Suddenly, Hezekiah grabbed my neck. I gasped and dropped the cross on the ground. I felt his thumb and index finger pressed against either side of my jaw while the base of his palm pressed against me. I looked at him, waiting. But I wasn’t waiting for death; he wasn’t going to hurt me. His grip wasn’t hard with intentions of injury. It was only firm to show his dominance. And as the moments progressed, I found myself enjoying his grip on my neck; I was wet for him now. I wanted him to choke me a little harder, but I was embarrassed and too prideful to admit this to him. I somehow knew, though, that he knew I was enjoying this. I liked sex rough. I liked when humans were animalistic during sex. Unfortunately, I could never find a man that could satisfy these needs for me, so I always thought I was odd for enjoying them.
As my conscience continued to scold me for being so submissive to him, I held my hands up over his, still wary about showing him that I enjoyed being handled this way. He almost let up, but he saw it in my eyes; I didn’t want him too. And with both hands over his hand and none of them holding up my towel, it began to slip off my body and fall onto the floor. I felt the draft all over my bare skin and froze. We both froze. Hezekiah’s eyes slowly lowered until they were focused directly on my exposed pussy. My body was a complete inferno now. This was the first time Hezekiah had seen me completely naked, not half so. Completely.
Hezekiah visibly weakened when he saw me this way. He almost looked as if he had missed seeing my body; like I was here to finally quench his prolonged thirst. He couldn’t stop staring down there. He wouldn’t. Until he finally looked up at me.
“When you get that dress,” he whispered, his lips grazing over mine. “You’re going to burn it.”
“Make me,” I whispered back to him, a coldness icing my tongue. And for once, Hezekiah had nothing to say. He was done with words.
We both were.