Chapter 6 - Angeline
Dead before sunrise! Angeline gulped hard. “Yes, there is a place,” she confided softly. She looked down at her clothes and then cast her eyes to take in his appearance as well. A little alley that spurred off the street they now walked was just to their right, and she pulled him hard into it when they were close enough. Giving a wave of her hand over her entire body, she said, “We will have to be a little more discreet. Looks like we have waged war.”
“You don’t know the half of it.” His face no longer held the soft lines and jovial smile, and instead were replaced with worry lines and tight lips. Although the softness of those lips had fell from them, they still held the same sensual promise that she could get lost in.
They trudged along in the shadows, Angeline guiding the way as Lawson paced himself less than a couple of feet behind her. There was not a sound, a breeze, a scent that he was not acutely aware of as they made their way through a few more squares.
Catching her arm, he made her turn her head to look at him. “You would not be foolish enough to go to your home, would you?”
Shrugging, she smiled at him as if she were harbouring a secret. The pause that counted itself down for several seconds left them staring at each other, he with unanswered questions, her with uncertainty. Finally, she caved. “It won’t make a difference. I only moved in two weeks ago, and I never called the DMV to change my address.” Cocking her head, she smiled and pulled her arm out of his grip.
The smile that played at the corners of his mouth did not escape her as she turned and continued to make her way home. “That’s my girl.” At first she thought she must be mistaken. Did he really just call her his girl? Warring thoughts played in her mind. She bristled at being anyone’s girl but her own, but the possessive suggestion in those words and his tone sent a heat through her that caused a flush of embarrassment to rise to her cheeks. Thankfully, she was in the lead, so he missed her torment, or so she hoped.
“I presume you have a name?”
“Naturally.” She smiled, and she heard him chuckle behind her.
Staying hidden from the masses was not as difficult as it could have been due to the late hour. After a few minutes of silence between them, she heard him speak. “So, you want to enlighten me about why they are after you?”
It was not a conversation she wanted to have with him, at least not now. Although, she knew he would not stop asking. “I was given a file. Something in code.” As she started talking, she found that it was easy to share her passion with him. “It was fascinating. The code was beautiful. I thought I was so lucky to have it drop in my lap. Matt, my co-worker, somehow managed to get it and thought I would be perfect to decode it.”
“And you broke the code.”
“It took some time, but once I realized the basis for the code, I finally broke it. What I wasn’t counting on is what the code was hiding.” She frowned.
“And what was that?”
Angeline stopped and turned her head towards Lawson, looking at him with disbelief. “Monsters, and where to find them all. Every coven, every pack, every faction, every hive, everything. Things that are out there that I had only believed were fairy tales.” She shook her head. “There are so many of them. I know it all sounds crazy. If Matt had not been,” she paused, the reminder of what kind of predicament she had managed to get herself involved with even more pronounced, “killed for that drive…” She let the rest of her words trail off.
His words were soft, and she was grateful. “I don’t think you are crazy.” He reached out and grabbed her fingers and squeezed them gently. “We will get through this.”
We. It was such a simple word, and it felt good not to be alone, at least for now.
Within a few more blocks, she had turned into the alleyway of a three-story home that had since been turned into a few apartments. Climbing the three steps to the side door, she heard him say her name and she froze. “Angeline Armand. Quite fitting.”
The words glared at her with its bold letters stuck to their shiny bin. The landlords were efficient, if nothing. She muttered a few words that were unintelligent to her own ears before she flung the door open and entered. They climbed the narrow set of stairs to her apartment, passing an alcove on each story that was decorated with plant stands, flowers, and little silver watering splinters that were shoved into each of the pots of flowers. In addition, there was a small circular table and chair that resided there with a few older books stacked precariously to give that little touch that made the apartments feel interconnected and more like home. It was part of the charm that drew Angeline to the place.
When she reached the second floor alcove, she pulled one of the pots from its perch, and grabbed a copper key that was neatly tucked at the bottom of the pot. Once she had the key, she climbed the remaining few stairs to her door and unlocked it. She held the key up and looked at Lawson. “I can be a bit forgetful at times. Would not be the first time I have lost my keys and locked myself out.” She flashed a small, bitter smile as she turned and entered the apartment.
The apartment was a bit chilly, and she moved to the thermostat first before she went to her bedroom and into the master bath. When she looked into the mirror, she was horrified at what stared back at her. She turned the shower on, and quickly disrobed. Looking back at the door, she slid a bit to lock it, unsure what Lawson was up to while she was trying to clean up. If he was smart, he would be trying to clean the dried mess she had left on his jeans.
Although she was quick about taking her shower, she did spend a few minutes longer to wash her hair out a couple of times before she felt comfortable enough to grudgingly leave its soothing warmth and gentle massage that played against her skin. She sighed and made herself presentable before rejoining Lawson.
When she left her room and entered her open area living room/dining room/kitchen combo, she could not help but notice how quiet it was. She glanced around, but did not see any sign of him. Noticing the open door, she was flooded by concern, fear, and irritation. Moving to the door, she brought her hand out to close the door when she saw him.
On the top step, he lounged across it with one of the books from the second floor table. Shaking her head, she allowed her weight to press against the door jamb as she crossed her arms in front of her. “What are you doing?”
Taking his eyes from the book, he glanced at her and held the book out in front of him. “Taking in a bit of reading while I waited for you.” He gave her a crooked smile that was turned up on one side of his mouth.
She cocked her eyebrow at him. “And why are you out here?”
“I don’t presume to invite myself into a lady’s residence.”
Where did this man come from? It was as if he jumped from the pages of an old Victorian book, and yet there he was. And she wanted more of him. Wanted his pale skin against hers. Wanted that dark, smoldering look to burn through her, tantalizing every part of her. Wanted those cool, sculpted, masculine hands to move over her as they explored the pleasures she had to offer. Wanted those teeth nipping at her flesh as his tongue left trails of warmth that melted her to the core.
Wait! Her eyes grew wide, and she straightened her shoulders a bit. The words were barely whispered, but she finally understood. “I know what you are.”