Ashes Magic

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With every step that decreased the distance from her room, Kate’s heart quickened. She could feel the increasingly strong beats within her chest while Jake accompanied her silent. They were so close that she could smell his scent; the smell was too good. She also noticed how sexy he looked wearing dark jeans with a black leather jacket that was zipped up to the collar. His dark brown hair, Kate imagined running her hands several times, falling disheveled on the forehead. To complete everything, he had gorgeous green eyes which at this time expressed extreme tiredness, with strong, gray circles under them.

Jake showed a visible apathy as if he were on the edge, completely dejected and exhausted. Another fact that caught her attention was his trembling hands and the way he walked which was unsure and hesitant. Over all, even if he was burnt out, she had to admit Jake was still very attractive. It was not just his beauty that drew her attention. She loved the witty and flippant nature that was part of his character, not to mention his fascinating smile especially when he was with that affectionate knack talking with that husky voice.

Opening the door of the room, Kate entered and motioned for him to sit. Jake caught himself looking at the clothes she wore. With a twinkle in his eyes, he asked suspiciously, “Were you out before I got here? Were you with Tiago?” He nodded. “Sam?”

“Is this a joke? Is the hidden intention of this question to make me laugh, or is it to annoy me?” she said skeptically, with hands on her hips.

“I do not know ...” he said, taking her by the hand and pulling her into the room, closing the door behind him. “You tell me. From what I’ve noticed, these two morons are interested or fixed with the idea of keeping you here, away from me.” He whispered in her ear, “Why are you running from me? I told you I could do nothing to prevent the attack that night! I also did not take advantage of you at the party, but if it’s any consolation, I’m going to hell to catch the person responsible for the murders. This is a promise, Kate. Now, I want you to be a good girl, pack your things, and come with me.” He asked with a grim expression as he stared in her eyes. Kate was separated from him. She began to pace the room, somewhat apprehensive. The Guardian intimidated her intensely. Panting, she began to sweat on the palms and realized that he analyzed her, with a mischievous smile forming on his lips. Jake was fully aware that she was nervous. However, she was not stupid and knew that the Guardian was already used to triggering the behavior of any girl. Kate would have to say something to get on with the awkwardness of the situation.

Gathering courage, she decided to ask, “Julio promised he would help me. I feel safe and welcome here. Despite that mess before, they all treat me very well and no creature can come in here and make me wrong.” She moved the hem of her blouse. She lifted her head, looked in his eyes, and asked quietly, “Answer me frankly, Jake. You do not know at least what my true origin is or what I am! Why is it so important that I go with you?”

Without saying a word, he walked quietly to the edge of the window where she was leaning. He ran his hands around her waist and pulled her towards him until there was no more space between them. He pressed his nose against her neck; he adored her smell. Moving his lips to her ear, Jake replied softly and hoarsely, “Actually, I do not know what you are, but I know what you mean to me ...”

Kate was having difficulty breathing and was unable to formulate any coherent thought. Her face was leaning against Jake’s chest. She could feel his warm breath and his lips, which now strolled through her neck. They were so close that she could feel his whole body vibrate. He lowered his face and stared at her with a lustful glance. Before she could utter a word, he was with his lips glued to hers. The kiss started slowly innocent, but soon after, he opened his mouth a little more, putting her tongue to her. When Kate responded, the kiss became more ardent and intense. Jake squeezed her tightly as he kissed her. Without breaking the kiss, he lifted her and placed Kate on the window ledge. With one hand, he squeezed her thigh and with the other, held the hair. This delicious and blissful feeling of being so close to Jake was inexplicable to her. With her arms around his neck, Kate moaned softly as he slowly bit her lower lip. Panting and her heart racing, Kate ran a hand through his silky hair and among some caresses, she confessed, “I knew this was going to be my first kiss. You should have gotten lighter. Now, you will have to search for a psychoanalyst.”

“You did not leave me much choice. I was almost crazy when you fled from me. I had to make my own arrangements,” he said quietly as he wrapped his fingers with a strand of her hair.

“So, you think that can convince me to go with you? What is this cheap trick? Like I’ll fall for that ... I regret to tell you that you must try harder.” She could not help but smile, realizing the uncertainty of it.

Jake captured her gaze and held her face in his hands. He said full of audacity, “Maybe, with a little practice. Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it.” Still holding her face, he approached her mouth and returned to kiss her intensely, leaving her practically breathless. After some time, he broke the kiss with her heart beating a mile. Stuck to her forehead and with closed eyes, he asked, “Now, can we get your bag?”

“It depends ... I have a condition,” she demanded, capping his own eyes.

“You are not easy even. Tell me you’re up to something,” he said suspiciously. Taking his hands from her face, he continued, “You already know that I’ll do anything you ask. So quit that mischievous and cocky grin on your face! Spit it out before I regret it.”

“Okay, here goes ...” She blinked at him, causing charm through the lashes. “I will only go with you if you recite a poem. It has to be romantic as well!”

He widened his eyes, not believing what she had asked. Crafty girl, he thought. She knew how pathetic it was for a man to recite a poem. Kate might just be kidding or taking revenge on the day he was at her house and was making fun of the book collections of romance she had. He groaned, rubbing his hair and said in a tone of supplication, “Ask me anything but that.”

She found it unkind. “Jake, this is not a request! Take it or leave it!” Still smiling, she continued, “It will not hurt. You have been through worse situations and have become embarrassed for me. Remember the beating you took from Tiago in front of the whole university?”

Now, she was exaggerating, trying to provoke him. Very smart. Jake would rather take a thousand creatures and land two thousand kicks on Tiago instead of reciting one of those cheesy poems. “Hey! That was no beating! We were just some boys playing! You won’t give up?” He begged in a gesture with his hands clasped, “Please, do not be evil!”

Kate pulled away from him and jumped off the window ledge she was sitting on. She went to the drawer and pulled out her book of poems that she was able to bring along the trail. She threw the book at him and sat up in bed, hugging her legs with her arms and putting her chin on her knees. “Open the book to the page marked and read the poem that is circled in ink. It is my favorite. I’ve always fantasized my charming prince reciting to me,” she said with an inquisitive look, still amused.

“For the love of the Gods, what have I done to deserve this? It’s a good thing there’s nobody watching this degrading episode. I guess I could never live in peace with myself, for life ...” he muttered like a child.

“Hey! Do not exaggerate! It’s so I will think that I am worth the sacrifice!” she complained, pouting.

Jake looked at her with a piercing gaze, unable to explain how he could be so lost with this girl. To be more exact, he was crazy about her. He opened the book to the page marked and moaning softly, he thought, “Fuck!” He followed the edge of the bed and sat down. Swallowing hard, he held up the book with trembling hands and recited somewhat:

“Let me not to the marriage of true minds; Admit impediments. Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove: O no! it is an ever-fixed mark; That looks on tempests and is never shaken; It is the star to every wandering bark; Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken. Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks ; Within his bending sickle’s compass come: Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks; But bears it out even to the edge of doom. If this be error and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved.”

- William Shakespeare -

She looked totally dazed at Jake. She felt an overwhelming desire go through her body. She had to be careful and keep all her self-control especially because they were alone. She lost all logical reasoning when she could smell him and plunged into his blue eyes.

“What are you’re waiting for? Aren’t you going to pack?” Jake said, shaking her hands in front of her face. “Would you stop looking at me like that? You are scaring me!”

Kate said, “See, it wasn’t so bad! I just found that it lacked excitement. You could have been inspired more and put a little bit of realism, and also ...” He threw the book at her, interrupting her complaints.

“Kate, starting today, you can consider yourself the luckiest woman in the world. What just happened here,” Jake gestured to the book and to himself, “will never be repeated. This tacky and shameful moment will be written well in your memory!”

“How much exaggeration! If I knew that this simple act of reading a poem would affect your manhood, I would not have asked you!” she hissed, getting up from the bed and put the book aside. She took the empty bag that was under the bed and gave him a sullen look. She began to empty the closet. As she folded her clothes, he came across a box with some photos. Tensed, he realized that she had frozen to see the photo he held. It was a photo of Kate in a zoo embracing her parents. She should have been more or less ten years old then.

“Sorry!” he said, keeping the photo and quickly closing the box.

“This day was one of the happiest of my childhood. It was the first time I’ve been to a zoo. I liked animals but my parents always kept them well away. I could never have a dog or a cat.” She opened the box, took the photo, and went looking for more nostalgia. “After that day, I managed to return to the zoo a number of times, always going alone and hidden.”

“Come here,” he said, approaching her and giving her a tight hug. He placed a kiss on her head and said, “I promise that I will do everything to protect you and make you happy. I will also find the bloody murderers.”

“I’m afraid, Jake ... What if something bad happens to you? Something catastrophic always happens with people who are close to me. I cannot allow this to happen to you.” She trembled at the thought of losing him and asked, “Swear to me that nothing bad will happen to you or to separate us?” she pleaded with a look. “And will act you cautiously and be careful?”

“Ah, beautiful. You do not know me ... No demon, creature, or Guardian can hurt me or push me away.” As he made the promise, he looked at her tenderly, passing his thumb on her bottom lip. “Will you trust me?”

“Yes, I have always trusted you.” She stood on tiptoe and kissed him.

She left Julio’s congregation. Jake had no car and had to call a taxi to take them home. Lost in her thoughts, Kate observed the heavy drops of rain that lashed the windshield of the car. She was upset to leave them all as they really showed affection and welcomed her. Kate noted that the concern about her was genuine unlike the feeling she had in relation to the Mark’s congregation with the exception of Jake, of course. They had promised each other they would be together and would not be part again.

After they arrived at the congregation, going up the stairs, they heard a noise. The front door burst open and Olivia went out sulkily, pounding the door behind her. She walked out snorting like a bull, purposely bumping into Kate and almost knocking her off the pass.

Jake thought about the possibility of being a woman for just five minutes to give a good lesson to this abusive girl. This short period would be necessary to provide her with some “wonders.” “Are you okay?” He seemed worried. “Do not let this immature girl frighten you or change your mind.”

Kate replied, “Pay attention. To scare me, you need much more than an angry and jealous girl. I’ve been through worse things. I was still so small when I had not learned to speak, and I’ve had to live with all of this for many years. I believe that neither of you can imagine how my life was.”

“I just do not want anyone to mistreat you or anything bad to happen to you. Olivia does not understand me and continues to be stubborn ...” Jake said.

“Jake, it is natural for her to react that way. She’s jealous. I don’t think I’ve been told about anything between the two of you?”

He looked surprised, folding his hands behind his head. “Kate ... I have nothing with her. What happened between us was long ago and only once, during a night Since then, she hasn’t given up ...”

“Oh damn!” She closed her eyes and let out a long sigh, feeling jealous. Olivia was beautiful. “It’s ... Hearing it from you seems much worse. I just hope this crazy girl will not stab me in the heart while I’m sleeping at night.”

“For this case, don’t worry. I have a solution.” He pushed her until Kate was fully against the door. He came close to her and put a hand on each side of the door, leaning. Looking at the girl with a desire, he said, “Can I sleep with you and protect you from Olivia among other malevolent creatures? I guarantee that if I do what I have in mind, you will sleep like an angel.”

Her heart thundered in her chest. She became increasingly flushed. Skillful, she thought. Jake was playing with his heavy artillery and managed to leave her without any intelligent response. At that moment, the door opened again, causing the two who were leaning on it to fall into the house and reach the living room floor.

Mark laughed at the scene he had just witnessed. Jake ended up falling on top of Kate and rolled off of her, cursing and staring at the conductor. Soon after, he said in a tone of austerity, “I see nothing funny about it!” Rolling his eyes, he continued with the protest. “Damn ... What’s wrong with you? Can you not stay inside the house? It’s raining ugly out there!”

“Okay! I’ll stop laughing and endeavor to delete that comical scene in my mind,” Mark said as he laughed. He stretched out his arm to help them stand up. He pointed towards Jake. “Sorry Kate, but it’s not every day that we see our big boy here playing Romeo!” He motioned for the two to follow him, leading to the library.

She noticed that the decor and features between the congregations of Mark and Julio were well diversified. While Julio was more chic and in style, the other conductor was simple and stripped. This fact even reflected the personal style of the two. Julio dressed in a formal and classic way while Mark opted for the casual and sportswear.

He said, “Kate, I will officially introduce you to the other Guardians. Only Olivia is not present; it should give you an output.”

“Of course, she left to suck the blood of a little child,” Jake said, grimacing. “I noticed the way she behaved when she passed me earlier. She must have known about Kate coming here to live with us.” He asked, worried, “Did Julio call you?”

Mark suddenly stopped and looked hard at him. He gave Jake a nudge.

“What now?” Jake asked, knowing the answer. It was not very clever or friendly of him to invade the home of Julio and moreover, destroy his French bowls.

Mark said, “You have to be compassionate regarding Olivia. You’re the oldest here and have had a good time on Earth. You know that the feelings and attitudes of a Guardian are different from humans. See for yourself what you feel about Kate. I was able to witness with my own eyes how you went crazy when she fled. So do not judge Olivia. She is not guilty of what she feels.”

“She is not guilty of what she feels? I’m just warning you Mark, if she gives one of those neurotic ...”

Kate took his hand and shook her head. Mark gave Jake a look and continued, “And what’s this about you entering Julio’s house uninvited? Tapping into a Guardian inside his own home, and on top of that, knocking a damn cabinet down with all of his French bowls? Do you know how many centuries I have to put up with him, Jake?”

“Because no one is in my favor and never supports me?” Jake said, disgusted. "To top it all off, they were trying to separate me from Kate. If busybody Tiago had kept his mouth shut, Julio could be drinking delicious wine from one of his French glasses now. Obviously, the fault is not mine. Do not restrict me.”

“Do not play hurt and innocent to me! You know that’s not true!” Mark yelled.

Kate looked at the relationship between the two and realized how much Mark loved Jake. It was obvious in all aspects, in the way he talked, how he acted, and the way in which he advised him. The conductor of the Guardians certainly had more than just a feeling about the boy. By observing the two interacting as a family, images of her murdered parents invaded her mind. Being so strong and sudden, she could not hold it. Immediately, her eyes filled with tears. The guilt and sorrow manifested, carrying away the little joy she felt.

“What is it, beautiful?” Jake hugged her, wiping a tear that rolled off her face.

“Kate, if you are not feeling well, we can meet the others tomorrow,” Mark said, worried.

Jake did not let her answer. He nodded to the conductor and led her straight into the room where she would be staying. The girl was surprised upon entering the room. The first thing that caught her attention was a bookcase filled with books. Noticing that there was something strange, she came closer to check, and found that they were all her beloved books. How could they be there? She looked over her shoulder and noticed Jake smiling at her. “How did you get them? Did you bring them with you on the night I fled?” She was breathless. “I saw when the firefighters went towards my house to put out the fire!”

“Yes, I have laid them up for you. I wanted to surprise you ...” he came from behind, hugging her waist and putting his face in her neck.

“Thank you, Jake!” She turned to hug him. “You’re the only person I have in this world. Please never leave me.”

“I would not be so crazy!” he said, putting a chaste kiss on her lips. He then continued, “Get some sleep. You need to relax and unwind. I know it’s not getting any easier to overcome your loss, but you are strong and will get better. I’ll always be by your side.” He patted her face and started walking towards the door. “If you need anything, just call me. My room is across the hall. Good night, beautiful!”

She was exhausted. Put her nightgown on, she went straight to bed with her box full of photos and her old teddy which was inseparable to her. She decided to kill a bit of nostalgia for her last family, whom unfortunately had the bad idea of adopting her one day. After going through the whole box and shedding many tears, she fell asleep.

Kate was tired of running through the woods. Her hands burnt as if they were caught fire. She screamed for help and mercy. “Please don’t do this. Don’t hurt me! We can solve this,” she begged the darkness that surrounded her. The smoke engulfed much of the vegetation and Kate could not get anywhere. When she saw a flash a few yards away, she stopped when she felt the blade of a sword pierce her chest. Blood soon began to emerge from her mouth and wound. She fell to the ground screaming, “No! No! Why did you do that?”

Feeling an arm around her back, she rose from her bed with her heart pounding. Opening her eyes, Jake held her in his arms with a frightened look.

“It alright now, I’m here!” He said, taking a lock of her hair which was capping one eye.

“I’m sorry! I was going to tell you about it yesterday but I forgot and ...” She stopped talking the moment she looked around the room and that once again, her nightmare had been a good show. A crowd had gathered and looked with amazement, just like in Julio’s house. Kate was upset and sat up on the bed, all messed up. She was in a deplorable state, disheveled, sweaty, and still shaking uncontrollably. She tasted blood. She had bitten her lip during the nightmare. She also noticed she was hot and sore. The feeling she had was the same as if she were present, in flesh and blood, in her dream.

“The nightmare must have been horrible. I never knew of anyone who had dreams to this extent.” The conductor pointed to her hands from which emanated a visible vapor.

“She is very hot, above the normal temperature. What’s going on Mark?” Jake was worried seeing her in that sorry state.

“Is it possible that she can transport her mind to another place while the physical body is still asleep?” Lana wondered, fascinated.

“Who knows? However, there are common factors that can explain the real reasons for Kate to be suffering these torments.” Mark sat on the other side of the bed and asked her, “How long have you suffered from these kinds of nightmares?”

Kate tried to compose herself. She fixed her hair a little and took off her sweater, baring her panties. She was ashamed to realize that Jake watched her without disguise. She looked tired and towards Mark, she weakly replied, “Always.”

“I’m sorry about that.” Feeling compassion, Mark continued, “I know that Julio had promised to help you. Kate, I want you to know that I will do everything in my power to find out who is doing this to you. You can trust me, too. I give you my word.”

“Thanks, Mark!” she replied.

Olivia laughed, raked the ground of the old teddy and said to Kate, “I believe the reason behind these nightmares is that ugly bear! Why does this little girl sleep with a stuffed animal?”

“Olivia, what are you doing here? I don’t remember inviting you to join us in Kate’s room,” said Jake with a glaring look.

“I’m not doing anything. The problem is that this freak woke me in the middle of the night screaming like crazy, scaring me. So, I came to check if any creature could have invaded the Congregation.”

“I checked and there’s nothing here! You can get out now,” he said sternly.

“Alright, Romeo!” she spoke harshly, playing hard. She put the teddy back on the bed.

Kate was outraged at Olivia’s lack of respect. Her teddy was old but it was not junk. It was the only memory she had of her true parents. Furious, she said, “Listen to me, you bitch! What makes you think you’re better than me? As far I’m concerned, you’re human! You are here to provide a service and if that job is running well, I don’t know. I have my doubts.”

Nathan and Lana looked at each other and said, “Oops ...”

Olivia was one of the best Guardians in the region. It was no wonder the girl was relentless in the art of killing and destroying demons. She stopped, turned to Jake and growled, “If you do not put a muzzle on your pet, I’ll take care of gagging her.”

In a fit of anger, Kate angrily jumped out of bed and headed towards the redhead. Pointing her finger at Olivia, she said, “If you insult me again, I swear that when you’re sleeping, I will tie you to the bed and shave all your hair with just a razor, cheeky bitch!” Kate said, narrowing her eyes towards the beautiful hair of the Guardian who had smooth, long, and bright red hair.

Lana, Nathan, and Mark were laughing. Jake did not find anything funny and ran to get in between the two. He knew how Olivia was proud and could not score silly. Looking seriously at the Guardian, he asked, “Olivia, please leave.”

“All right! Don’t think you will get away with it though,” threatened Olivia and left the room.

Kate picked up her poor teddy and motioned to Jake to ask the others to leave the room.

Jake said, “Mark, can we continue talking tomorrow? She is tired and needs to go back to sleep.” Mark nodded, retreating along with the others and closing the door behind him. Jake let out a long sigh of relief. He took the girl by the hand and led her to the bed. “Come to bed. It’s late.” He got the sheets and pillow. He took the teddy from her hand and said in a low tone, “Kate, you can’t talk to Olivia that way. Let me take charge of that, okay? She is dangerous when she’s angry. Just ignore her.”

Jake pulled her into a hug and stroked her back down to the hip, lingering a bit longer there. Being so close to Kate drove him crazy. He took her face at her neck, going toward his mouth, and began to kiss her slowly. At the moment Kate put her tongue inside his mouth, he kissed her with great fervor. It was as if he spontaneously combusted. Filled with desire, he stroked her neck, going up to her hair, curling them with his hands. The kiss intensified, leaving Jake panting and he had to stop. A second more would certainly be his undoing.

“Jake ... Do not stop ...” she asked breathlessly and with a palpitating heart. She pulled him by the neck and returned to the kiss. Kate was not ready for the next step. He barely gave her the first kiss. He would need to be prudent even it felt like a chore.

“You’d better go to sleep,” he sighed shakily, and walked away from her.

“I’m not sleepy!” she protested and wanted him to continue kissing her. The excitement she felt to be near him and when he kissed her like that made her completely insane.

“Trust me, it will be better.” Jake pulled away.

Kate said nothing and lay down under the covers, noting that he was still in her bed. “Are you not going to your room?” she asked suspiciously.

“No. I’ll stay with you. When you have those horrifying dreams, I want to be around.” He lay down on top of the covers and hugged her from behind, putting his face in her neck. He turned off the lamp and said, “Now, stay quiet and sleep a bit, you troublesome girl.”

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