I woke up in bed soaked in my own sweat. Why was I sweating so bad? Was mother having another one of her freak out episodes where she’s freezing to death when it was actually 70 degrees outside? Then the memory of my horrible date hit me. Well it wasn’t too horrible. I did get to keep the motorcycle. We’ll call it a parting gift.
“You’re finally up?” Miriam sighed in relief.
“How long have I been out?”
Pierce answered for her. “Twenty six hours. What exactly happened on that date?”
I took a deep breath and scanned my room. My whole family huddled in to see me. “My date turned out to be a demon.”
“I knew I should have followed you.” Pierce was pissed. I understood he was only trying to protect me.
“It’s fine. I’m fine. I can take care of myself.”
He shook his head and Gabe was now joining him. It didn’t matter to them how many intimidating dark creatures I have killed, I was still their little sister.
“Obviously you can’t. Laken you were bitten.” Gabe felt the obligation to comment.
“He’s died. I killed it and I got home in time. I’m safe.” I was getting really annoyed with their big brother acts. I was freaking 21 years old. I was beyond legal.
“Laken what if you hadn’t? This isn’t a game. It’s your life we’re talking about.” Pierce said it like I didn’t know that.
Did I have the word stupid written on my forehead or something? “I can fight and process things faster than the both of you combined so what’s the big deal? You don’t seem to complain when I save you guys from being crushed by actively steroided demons.”
My mother was silent while holding my hand in hers. I could tell my father wanted to say something but decided against it. He preferred us work it out amongst ourselves. He hardly intervened unless it was necessary.
“That’s because we’re there for you too. We have your back but no one was there last night. You were alone and vulnerable.”
I threw my hand in the air dramatically. “Would you prefer I lock myself in my room and remain a spinster? This way I won’t be in the devil’s reach, right? Dude, wake up guys! God sends us in this broken world to mend what we can. I can’t just ignore the evils when you’re not around. They’re coming after us. We just need to prepare ourselves.”
My older brothers were huffing like a bunch of girls who didn’t get crowned prom queen. Whatever. They can soak in ignorance and stubbornness all they want but they knew it was true.
“She’s right,” my sister finally defended me. “We are their number one targets. Laken can’t always be in your grasps. Besides she did exactly what you guys would do in her situation last night.”
“All we can do is pray and be extra careful.” My mother smiled at me. It was the kind of smile that made you believe everything was going to be okay.
“Next time someone has to be out alone be sure to tell anyone of us in advance. No one goes out alone unless we know where you are.” My father directed towards all of us. My three brothers, sister, and I nodded in sync. There was no room in questioning our father.
I cautiously got up and stretched my arms. “I need to take a shower.”
Rob snorted. “Yeah you do.”
I took the sweaty pillow I was laying on and chucked it at him. His reflexes were a little slow and it touched his hands.
“Ewww that’s sick Laken.”
I laughed and passed through their bodies. “You’ll live.”
The shower was exactly what I needed to relax my tense and stiff muscles. And smelling like vanilla was definitely better than the funky odor I was supporting earlier. I threw on some sweat pants and a t-shirt before going back to my room. I was pleasantly surprised to see Paige sitting in my desk chair. She immediately got up and hugged me when she noticed me come in.
“I’m so glad you’re ok?” She was worried.
I pulled away and tried convincing her I was perfectly fine. “I’m more than ok.”
She bit her lip. “I guess I just feel a little guilty. I did tell you to go out with that guy.”
I put my hand on her shoulder and forced her to sit down. “No it’s not your fault. I should have seen it. I was the stupid one. And besides I am now the lucky owner of a new bike.”
I could see it was still bugging her. Paige thought that if she could see what I could that maybe she could have stopped me. It wasn’t that easy. Soon she was going to realize that too.
“So I was out for a few hours?” I seriously needed to change the subject.
“Mmhm. It’s already Friday night.”
Friday? Dang. I felt like I was supposed to be doing something today. But what was it? What was I forgetting? Sometimes I felt like I honestly had short term memory loss. Wait? Today was Paige’s bachelorette party night. How could I forget?
“Paige what are we doing here? Tonight’s your bachelorette party night.” I clapped my hands together, totally pumped now.
She waved her hands up, contradicting me. “Oh no. Not tonight. You just woke up.”
She was making it sound like I was in a coma for months. It was just a little bed rest. In our family we were used to random coincidences. There was this one time when Pierce got bitten twice and was out for a week. Honestly a little rest did us good. In my opinion being bitten and sleeping for a week was kind of a blessing, like a mini vacation. We didn’t get those opportunities often.
“Exactly,” I exaggerated far too dramatically. “I’m so rested and ready to dance and paint the town red.” I refused to let her get out of this. It was her night. “Nope. No excuses. We’re going.”
“Laken, I don’t think that’s a good idea at the moment. Your brothers are-”
I cut her off. “Who cares what my brothers think. We’re going out tonight and we’re going to have a blast. Period.” I whipped out my phone. It was time to call the rest of the girls. This was a night to never forget.
Obviously I would let my family know where we going, after our heated discussion there was no way in avoiding it. It would also make me feel a bit safer knowing I had back up on speed dial if I needed it.
Two hours later I had the most fun group of girls dressed in flashy glamour and ready to dance till our feet hurt. Which I was predicting wouldn’t take too long since we were all wearing really high strappy heels.
“So we’re going to the salsa club?” Hannah asked. She was a little skeptical about going downtown. She wasn’t much of a rebel and I wasn’t too sure she was comfortable dancing in front of an audience.
“Yes, don’t worry. This place is pretty classy. You won’t have sleazy dirtbags hitting on you until at least midnight.” Kristy checked her watch. “We have two hours.”
Kristy was a beautiful blonde who knew her way around the town probably because she lived in the middle of it. She was an old friend and I loved her tough chick attitude. Her tattoos and rock leather look was just a glimpse of what she was capable of.
We finally got to our destination and I was really impressed with Kristy’s suggestive location. It was her idea to go to the new salsa club and so far I was liking this decision. It looked clean and really hip with neon lights flashing from the inside. Kristy led us to the front, passing everyone in the long awaiting line. The dirty looks we were getting from the half-naked girls was classic. They were obviously annoyed but Kristy had the hook up. She knew the big bouncer at the entrance and worked her magic. There were only five of us girls so he easily let us walk in. The music blasting in my ears was incredible and extremely movable. My hips seriously couldn’t stop shaking to the tempo engrossed in the air. It was contagious.
Kristy got us a table and we all settled down. The atmosphere was unbelievable. I turned to Paige and was satisfied to see her excited expression. She was ready to go have some fun. Hannah was slowly accepting the chaotic atmosphere and Bianca was already convincing us to hit the dance floor.
Bianca, our long time bubbly friend, took a few classes in college so she was more than equipped to show everyone here how it was done.
“Who’s going to join me for drinks?” Kristy yelled over the music.
I wasn’t much of a drinker. Alcohol just wasn’t my thing but I never judged anyone else who did. I believed you can make things a sin. We typically know our limits so why not stop before you start acting a fool. Being drunk gives you no benefits and a huge headache in the morning. Plus with what I went through with that demon bite the last thing I needed in my system was alcohol. Who knows what could happen if the two mixed? I wasn’t ready to take any chances.
Instead I grabbed Bianca’s hand and led her to the dance floor. It was a bit crowded but that didn’t bother us one bit. I was having an amazing time goofing off and learning a few salsa moves from her. She was surprisingly really good and never missed a beat. She made me look like a complete amateur next to her. A couple of songs later the rest of our gang showed up. Paige was in her own world dancing to the rhythmic beat and honestly she wasn’t bad at all. I was just so happy she was enjoying herself.
Then a group of tanned, black haired men came flaunting our way. I was positive they were from some kind of South America country. I noticed their fluid dancing and figured they had to be professional salsa dancers or something.
One of the guys extended his hand towards me. Oh gosh, could I keep up with him? I took it and thought what the heck, why not? His feet moved so swiftly, they practically glided around everyone around us. He placed his hands about my body respectfully and led me into the movements. It was incredible. I never thought I’d ever be able to keep up but he made it so easy. My flowy red dress lifted and swayed and I was grateful I decided to wear black leggings underneath. The song was quickly ending and my dance partner finished off by spinning me in the ultimate twirl. I was extremely dizzy but I couldn’t stop smiling. It was so much fun.
My eyes drifted to the back where I spotted a familiar face. My mouth almost dropped when my brain finally recognized where I knew him from. It was the beautiful angel from the cafe shop.
Wait, wasn’t he just a dream? What was he doing here? Was I dreaming this?
His enticing cool blue eyes were swallowing me whole. I all of a sudden felt paralyzed under his spellbound stare. His large tattooed arms shifted from his chest to his pant pockets. His black v neck shirt contradicted his deep sun kissed skin tone making him look that much more exotic.
What was he doing here? The unbelievably beautiful man licked his lips before turning and walking out of my vision. Noooo.
Something inside of me possessed me to follow him. I pushed through the crowd, trying to distinguish the direction he went. I ended up in the hallway leading to the bathrooms. There was no one in sight. Could that have been more planned out?
The swing of the men’s bathroom caught my eye. Oh, come on. I swallowed. Man I was going to regret this but I had to find out if he was in there. I bet it smelled like pee in there too. I debated on holding my nose but held my breath instead. My heels clicked even louder inside the empty bathroom except it wasn’t exactly empty. To my relief the mystery angel was in here.
He was grinning at me; a grin that was playful yet dangerous at the same time. He ran a hand slowly through his thick black hair, flexing his bicep. “You do know this is the men’s restroom.”
I nodded, not exactly trusting my voice at the moment.
He arched a sexy brow my way. “So you do know this. Then your presence here makes me question your...” His eyes devoured my body up and down, thoroughly. I literally felt like I was being undressed. “...gender.”
I crossed my arms over my chest, my boobs pushed up. Jerk. I was 100% woman. Was he trying to tick me off? “I assure you, I’m a woman.”
He leaned his head back against the wall and again openly scanned my body. I had never felt more uncomfortable. What did I look like, a McDonald’s meal? Was my milkshake really that questionable?
Prove it? I needed to prove I was a woman. Oh hell no. Now I know he was messing with me. “Is this your dumb way to get me to take my clothes off? Sorry to disappoint but I’m not one of those gullible whores who drop their panties at the first sight of hotness. Trust me I can control myself in front of you.”
His devilish smirk made me regret my words. “Aww you think I’m hot?”
I didn’t answer but I was sure my cheeks were turning a little red. Dang it. Why did I have a big mouth? I didn’t even know this guy and he was already taunting me but he had every right. He was easily the HOTTEST guy on the planet. The man pushed himself off the wall and closed the space between us with leisurely strides.
“Is that why you followed me in here? You’re attracted to me.” His voice was silky and way too enjoyable. He was having fun watching me burn up and turn beet red.
I shook my head; doing everything I could to stop my nerves from combusting. “Who are you? Why do I keep seeing you?”
I was wearing 6 inch heels and his enormous body was still towering over me like a skyscraper. The heat radiating off his body felt like it was melting me. Then his toxic woodsy spice male scent forced my heart into a rampage. Everything about him was turning me into a puddle of teenage hormones. I mentally slapped myself. I seriously needed to take a chill pill before I died of a pathetic teen crush.
“Who am I? Who do you think I am, honey bun?” His tone was more than mocking me. I hated that nickname. I even hated honey buns.
I clinched my teeth. “I don’t know. That’s why I’m asking.”
His eyes glistened with mischief. “Alrighty then Ms. Sassy Pants.”
How was it even when he was making fun of me I was still completely turned on? It was his stinking voice. It was so deep and sultry and beyond my expectation of what an angel really sounded like. I wasn’t even sure why I still distinguished him as an angel. I didn’t know for sure and right now he was acting more like the devil. I was way out of my game.
He began to circle around me. I felt so trapped. His shadow was like a dark canopy covering my whole body no matter where his body moved. I tried not to act too intimated; after all I killed demons bigger than him. But it was obvious he was taller and presumably larger than any normal man.
His hot breath tickled my ear when he spoke again. “I’m just a part of your dreams,” I about shivered when I felt his lips touch my neck as he whispered, “and your fantasies if you’re lucky.”
I bit my lip to keep my cool. This was not happening. Was he a dream? My gut was telling me he wasn’t. “You’re lying.”
His low chuckle filled my ears. “Am I kitten? How can you be sure?”
I don’t know. I was getting really frustrated and his nicknames were not helping. My thoughts were all over the place when he whirled me around and slammed me against the tiled wall, not gently I might add. My head was throbbing from the impact but all I could concentrate on was the closeness of his face to mine. His peppermint breath was numbing my thought process. His body wasn’t exactly touching mine but I still felt crushed by his muscular mass.
“And for a second I thought you were the ‘man of my dreams’.” Literally.
He slammed my head even harder against the wall, a warning I suppose. I was used to pain but not used to letting them get away with it.
“I’m far from it sweetheart. I’m more on the nightmare side of things. But then again how can you even be sure I really exist? Can you usually feel this much pain in your dreams?” He was talking about my bashed head.
I gritted my teeth together and took a slow breath. “I don’t know, haven’t thought about it before. Can you?”
He grinned ear to ear. “Depends on the dream and how,” His finger curled into my long brown hair, “naughty I’ve been?”
What? I was drawing a blank. What was he rambling about? I guess he caught onto my confused expression and continued.
“Oh kitten you have such an innocent mind. But don’t worry perhaps we’ll have our own fun one day.”
“Fun? Aren’t we getting a bit ahead of ourselves? Who says I want any of your fun.” That burst of courage came out of nowhere. Then again I did hate cocky guys. But this guy had every reason to be cocky. Darn him.
He briskly dropped his gaze to his body then back up like checking the status of his hotness. “You don’t have to say. Your flushed face speaks wonders.”
I mentally rolled my eyes. Great, betrayed by my own flesh and blood. “What’s your name?”
“I’m a figment of your imagination. Call me whatever you wish.”
His teasing games were getting on my nerves. I was positive I wasn’t making him up. He was trying to confuse me.
“Why did you warn me last time? What were you warning me about?” I needed answers.
“You’ll soon find out princess.”
I wanted to kick his butt for all the stupid names but I couldn’t even get my legs to function a movement. “Stop with the nicknames!”
He only laughed at my misery and annoyance. “But Laken is such a boring name.”
He knew my name? Maybe he was just part of my imagination. “At least I have a name.”
The bathroom door began to open but he stretched out his right hand and the door magically shut and locked. His now hooded eyes were back on me.
“Just think of me as an occurring imaginary friend.”
Seriously? “I outgrew imaginary friends when I was five.”
His menacing brow arched. “You see products of evil every day and you’re telling me you outgrew imaginary friends. Honey, you live in an imaginary world that no one knows exists but you. So don’t try and convince me you don’t believe in the supernatural. Lying is a sin you know.” His wicked grin was terrorizing me with thoughts of miserable teasing.
“What do you know of sin?”
“Far more than you’ll ever understand cupcake.”
There was a loud bang at the door and for a split second I turned to look but when I got back around he was gone. That beautiful twisted angel and possibly dream was not there anymore; like I made it all up in my head. I was really starting to hate mind tricks.