I woke up in shambles the next morning. My blinds were fully pulled to the side so the sun had prefect entrance to ruin my day. I sat up on my elbow and tried to recall what happened last night. My memory was a bit fuzzy though. I remembered Cal coming over uninvited then...then the club? Why would I go to the club? Because I’m stupid, that’s why.
I ended up getting mad at Cal and then walked off only to be harassed but two hot guys. Every girl’s dream. But, but then Cal saved me. He took me home and put me to sleep.
I scanned my room but I couldn’t see Cal; not even lurking in the corners. He left me a note on my night stand thou. It read, ‘Don’t flatter yourself pumpkin. Your panties are still untouched.’
That was it. That was all he had to say to me. Did I really expect more? Maybe; kind of.
“Laken,” Pierce said my name as he walked in.
I scrunched the blankets closer to my body to hide the ridiculous outfit I wore the night before.
Pierce stared at me with pure concern. “Where were you last night?”
Oh no. Do I tell him the truth? Could I? Would he understand?
“Nowhere important,” I replied. I wasn’t exactly a lie.
His brown eyes narrowed in on me like a hawk. “Don’t lie to me. I’m your brother. Mother told me Cal was here last night and while I was visiting our parents I checked on you. You weren’t here. Where did you two go?”
He was in big brother mode and I knew how he felt about Cal; how he feels about every guy I date.
“Nothing happened.” I didn’t want to worry him.
“Nothing happened. Laken this isn’t you. You don’t sneak off into the night without telling us, with your acclaimed boyfriend. What’s going on?”
He saw right through me. “Nothing. I’m fine Pierce.”
“I’ll ask you again. Where did you go? You weren’t in your room.”
I had sweat beads running down my forehead. I hated getting interrogated by family. “I wanted some fresh air. Cal suggested a walk. We just went around the neighborhood.”
“I’m not buying it Laken. You mean to tell me you were sick, had your boyfriend over, then magically disappeared for a walk but didn’t want to use the front door.”
Breathe Laken. I hated lying to him but he wasn’t ready for the truth. Cal was evil and trying to kill me. I knew I should have told them who Cal really was but for some reason I couldn’t. Not yet. I wanted to figure this one out on my own. I couldn’t kill Cal, or let my family try. Not until I knew what his reasons for killing me were.
I nodded because I didn’t trust my voice to convince him.
“I don’t like this Cal guy.” He fumed. “There’s something about him that digs into my skin.”
“Even if that’s true, I can take care of myself.”
Pierce shook his head, disappointedly. “That’s the thing Laken. You think you can do everything by yourself. You maybe be part of the blessed but you are still not invincible.”
Our little conversation ran through my thoughts all throughout the day. He was right. Sometimes I believed I was indestructible. I guess it made me feel safe believing I was. Let’s face it I was lost, like spiritually lost. I wanted to believe Cal was just bluffing about killing me, after all what would my death mean to him. If I died the only thing that I could see benefiting him would be more demons roaming the earth. Maybe that was his plan. He, a strong fallen angel, had teamed up with the devil to kill my family off one by one; therefore causing hell on earth. That made great sense in my head.
I found myself at the church. A few of the women were gathering together to make food for the homeless. I contributed as much as I could but my cooking skills were not that good. I was placing the boxed food in the vans when I saw Mrs. Martin. It had been so long since I had spoken with her. I think a week after Alan left actually. Alan was my boyfriend for two years and I loved him but he couldn’t take my hectic lifestyle anymore. I knew I was dragging him down. He wouldn’t admit it thou. He loved me too much and that was why I had to be the stronger person. I ended it for him. I ended our relationship because he wouldn’t and I knew he deserved better. I was heartbroken but I had to do it.
The first few weeks he begged me to take him back. I could hardly take it when he said he could change. He wasn’t the problem. I was. I was putting him in danger. If anything had happened to him I would have died inside. Eventually he left to join his dream university and I hadn’t seen him since. When he did come for a visit I would never see him. But I figured it was for the best. I think I’d literally have a heart attack the whole time I was without him.
She was heading my way so I decided to greet her. “Mrs. Martin how are you?”
She smiled warmly. “Hi dear, I’m doing very well. How are you?”
“Good, good.” I swallowed my pride and asked anyway. “How is everyone else doing?”
She knew exactly who I was referring to.
“Sarah is loving community college and Alan is actually back home for the weekend.”
My heart skipped a beat. Alan was here. “That’s good to hear. If you’ll excuse me I think my mother is calling me.”
“Of course dear. Now don’t be a stranger.”
I waved goodbye as I maneuvered my way around her to get inside the church. I wasn’t sure if my mother was calling me but I didn’t want to seem to desperate for information.
It was sundown when we finally finished loading all the vehicles. I decided to skip the actual handing out food part. In honesty I wasn’t feeling well. Hearing that Alan was back was giving my a bad case of the stomach flops.
Somehow I found myself going back to the one place we always shared. It was a small secluded park by the lake. It had a path leading to a bridge over looking the ducks and swans. It was a calm place I always went to breathe but lately it only reminded me of him.
The sun was setting and turning the sky a vibrant purple and pink. It was literally breath taking.
“Still not as beautiful as you.”
That low husky voice could only come from one person. The only person that melted my heart at the simple sound of his voice.
Alan stood only a few feet away from me and once my eyes locked onto his hazel-gold orbs I felt my blood boiling to my cheeks.
“Alan?” This had to be a dream.
He grinned like I said a joke or something. “It’s nice to see you Laken.”
I shook my head a bit. Get it together Laken. “Your mother said you were in town.”
“Yeah,” he moved a little closer. “How have you been?”
I nodded like a goof. “Same old, same old.”
Alan gave me that ‘I don’t believe you’ smile. “This is me you’re talking to Laken. How are you? Really?”
I exhaled and grabbed onto the rail. “I’m surviving.”
The warm touch of his hand brushing up against my cheek felt like fire.
“I see that. No cuts or bruises.” He pressed back my hair behind my ear.
In that moment I was inconsolably lost in those beautiful gold eyes. “That you can see.”
The corners of his lips turned into a frown. “Laken...”
I didn’t want to talk about it. I took a step back and let his hand fall from my face. I already missed his warmth.
“How’s college treating you? Stressful, I bet. You’ll be a great lawyer thou, I know it.” I continued but I knew he hated when I’d change a subject. “You used to convince me to do anything you wanted.”
I laughed thinking about the time he made me go skydiving with him. I almost peed my pants. Heights were never really my thing.
“Except for one thing.”
I gulped, knowing very well he was talking about me letting him go. Giving him no choice but letting me go.
“It’s safer this way.”
He crossed his arms. “For who exactly?”
It was always hard thinking about it and discussing it. “I’m not good for you.”
Alan took a big step towards me and pressed his finger over my lips to stop me.
His eyes blazed with passion. “Don’t say that.”
“It’s true.” I needed him to see how wrong I was for him. “I live a life of danger. Everyone around me is at risk and if anything were to happen to you-”
“That was always it Laken. You never thought I was strong enough.”
I shook my head. “You don’t see the evil things I do. They would do anything to destroy me and that includes hurting you.”
He signed in frustration. None of his pleading would persuade me. I couldn’t let him. Alan was a persuader thou.
He snaked his arms around my waist and stupidly I let him. I was falling back into his gentle, safe bubble. I had yearned for it for so long and now that I had it back I wasn’t sure how I would let it go again.
“Why are you letting it control your life?”
“Because it scares me.” My palm lay flat against his chest. His beating heart was under the palm of my hand.
I closed my eyes when he pressed his forehead against mine. “I’ve missed you so much.”
“Don’t,” I shook my head relentlessly. “Don’t do this.”
“Your walls are falling Laken.” His warm breath tickled my ears with familiar sensations. “Just give us this moment. We deserve this moment.”
My heart fluttered at the possibility. I wanted so badly to let him in again but I couldn’t. I could give him this one final kiss though. That I could promise.
I cupped his face and easily found his luscious mouth. The taste of his lips were foreign. It felt so different from before maybe it was the time apart. My mind was swirling with unbelievable bliss. This was extremely different than our other kisses. This kiss was urgent yet passionate beyond belief.
He took over and with an interesting gentle roughness convinced me to open. I whimpered with acceptance. I wasn’t sure where this other side of him was coming from but I was strangely enjoying it. I was being devoured willingly. I tangled my fingers in the mess of his blond curls and pulled him closer.
Something suddenly felt so wrong. His taste, his scent, the aggressive way he was holding me; this was not Alan. As much as I wanted it to be him, in the depth of my heart I knew it wasn’t. I had let myself get blinded by the love I possessed for him. This wasn’t Alan.
I broke the kiss and didn’t hesitate to punch the disgusting imposter in the face. He released me and this gave me plenty of room to back away. He was surprised by my actions yet he almost immediately composed himself. Not even a scratch.
“You’re sick.” I growled.
His brows furrowed in confusion. “Laken what are you talking about? What’s wrong?”
“Stop!” I shouted covering my ears. “You’re not him. You’re not Alan.”
“Yes I am. Laken what’s going on?”
I wasn’t going to fall for it. I knew Alan almost better than myself. I shook my head like a madman trying to juggle my thoughts.
“You almost had me. You had every aspect of his physical appearance to the tee, even our history.” My anger was boiling. “But your scent is off. Whatever you are, you’re going to die for this?”
Who in their right minds would do this to me? Whatever demonic creature it was, I was sure going to have a fun time burning their ashes.
The Alan look alike started to laugh. It was one of those creepy serial killer laughs that made me cringe and think of Cal. Wait, Cal? He wouldn’t, would me?
I stumbled back as I witnessed my nightmare coming to life right in front of my eyes. Alan’s face morphed into the blue eyed gorgeous monster that was now haunting my every thought. My mind was blown to shreds as Cal’s face entered my vision. This was just some twisted nightmare. Why would he do this to me? Physically hurting me and threatening me was one thing but now he was getting way inside my head. He was trying to get to me emotionally. How dare he pretend to be the man I once loved? This was low, even for him.
I was starting to hyperventilate. This couldn’t be happening. He wasn’t Alan? No, no, no... I wanted to be wrong so bad.
“You’re the devil.” Only someone as screwed up as Satan could do something like this.
“Awww are you trying to flatter me?” Cal leaned against the railing of the bridge.
“How do you know so much about Alan?” If he had done anything to Alan I wouldn’t hesitate to stab him.
Cal rolled his ice blue eyes. “Don’t worry; your boy toy is fine. I’m a very skilled individual. It kind of wounds me to have you forget it. Finding out information on lover boy was a synch once I read your diary.”
Noooooo. Cal...how...when...wait... Cal read my diary. It must have been when I was passed out cold from his stupid poison crap. Oh gosh, this was not good. What else did he know?
“Why did you do it? Why in the heck would you impersonate my ex boyfriend?”
He shrugged his broad shoulders. “You taste like minty cotton candy. That was a sweet surprise.”
I swung my leg up and jabbed him in the ribs. He hunched over a bit and snared.
“Don’t act like you didn’t enjoy it cupcake. You even pulled me closer.”
I shook my head and felt the waterworks. What have I done? “I thought you were Alan.”
“Stop trying to kid yourself. Deep down you knew something was up to begin with. And even after you felt it wasn’t Alan, you were still kissing me back, feverishly I might add.”
I hated him so much. Cal was a disgusting bug I needed to squash. “Why did you do it?”
“Why not? You’ve been sexually frustrated for weeks now. I was practically doing you a favor.”
I couldn’t take his cockiness any longer. He had hurt me deep and I was wounded to the core. All I wanted to do now was bash his head in. I latched onto both sides of the rail and full forced kicked Cal’s chest with both my horse muscle legs. The impact sent him flying back onto the other side of the bridge, on the patch of land. I stampeded towards him like a savaged beast. My fist collided with his perfect jaw over and over again. I was startling him and hardly noticed when he lifted me up of the ground. How the heck did he manage that while I was going ham on his face?
Cal crushed me against a tree, knocking the wind out of me. I had to stop and breathe. That was when Cal took his advantage and punched me once or twice. His strikes were hard and clean leaving my jaw throbbing, possibly dislocated.
“Awww baby you’re getting yourself all worked up. How about we kiss and makeup?”
“How about you eat your heart out first? I’ll even feed it to you.”
He smirked. “I think I’d much rather enjoy yours.”
I gripped my dagger and paced myself for a surprise attack. “I hate you.”
“That’s nothing new darling.” He leaned in to whisper into my ear. “I’m just beginning my mission to make your life hell. We have plenty of blissful moments to come.”
I lifted the dagger and aimed for his heart. He blocked it last minute barely missing my target. He gasped then grunted before pulling my hair. My head dropped back because he was yanking my hair with too much force.
“You can’t kill me. This is the last time I’ll prove it to you. No matter where you stab me with that stupid holy blade I will not burn to its touch.” He bit my exposed throat but not deep enough to puncture my skin. “Next time you try that stunt I’ll chop your hands off and feed them to a pack of lions.”
“Somethings has to kill you.” I kneed him in the side. “And when I find out what it is, you’re history.”
“So confident you are my little Lara Croft.” My head was forced back further as he strangely but affectionately brushed my hair. “I’m afraid you won’t even live long enough to find out my weakness.”
So he admits he has one. I clinched my nails into his neck and tugged him closer. I rammed him head into the trees with all the abnormal strength running through my veins. My anger helped tremendously. Cal had blood running down his forehead and I smirked. Finally. I twisted our bodies and used my weight to cause him to fall. His back collided with the ground and he huffed.
“I know why you did it.” I smeared the blood on his forehead. “I know why you kissed me.”
The sudden entranced locked daze I was getting from him slowed the universe around us. We were both breathing heavily and in that small fraction of an instant I felt like there was more between us than just hatred, death, or torture. This feeling was beyond my comprehension and confusion. And in that instant I could honestly say I didn’t hate him. I felt sorry for him. He was just a lost soul in my eyes.
I leaned closer and thrived on the intake of his breath. Either he was nervous or I smelled. I’m going with the first one.
“And one day you’ll admit it to yourself.” I teased sensualy knowing it would drive any man crazy.
I pushed myself up off him and grinned like I knew his secret. Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t. I had a theory I just wasn’t sure if it was true.
“I’m sure I’ll be seeing you very soon. Goodbye fruitcake.” I might as well add in my own nickname.
Cal didn’t even try to get up while I walked off. He must have really been thinking about what I said and wondering if I really knew. If only I did.