I spent the following morning asking myself questions that I couldn’t answer. What was I going to do about Vance? Or Leo for that matter? What other powers did I have? How would I use them? How did my life become so complicated in such a short amount of time? My brain was running a marathon in my head with no finish line in sight. Around eleven, my buzzer rang.
“Who is it?” I asked.
“Hey, Kar. It’s me, Roxy. Is now a good time for me to come look around for my phone?”
I had totally forgotten about that. “Yeah, sure, Roxy. C’mon up.”
She knocked on my door a couple of minutes later. “Hey, Kar, I’m here,” she called.
I opened the door and noticed that no one was stationed out front. “Where’s Dex?” I asked.
“The big blonde guy?”
“Yeah,” I replied.
“Oh, he said he needed to run down to his car for something. He said he’d be right back.”
“Oh, okay.” I stepped aside. “Come in.”
Roxy walked through the door and looked around. “Wow!” She said. “Looks like you’ve been doing some remodeling. How the hell did you accomplish so much in one day?”
Shit! I hadn’t even thought about that when I told her she could come over. “Um…I’ve been working on some new transformation spells. Pretty nice, huh?”
“I’ll say! Nice doesn’t cut it. You wanna come over and do my place next?” She winked.
“Yeah, sure,” I lied. “So, um…I haven’t really had the chance to look for your phone. With all the renovations I wouldn’t even know where to start.”
“That’s okay, Kar. I’m sure it’s around here somewhere.” She started looking around the living room, and then back down the hall. “Are you here by yourself?” she asked. “I hope I’m not interrupting anything like Erica did yesterday morning.”
I blushed. “No, um, it’s just the two of us.”
She came back and sat on the couch. “I smell coffee. Do you have any left? I had a long night.”
“Sure.” I went into the kitchen to pour her a cup. “Do you take cream and sugar?”
“Yes, that’d be great,” she answered.
I walked into the living room and handed her a steaming mug of java. “So, do you want me to try calling your phone? Maybe we can find it that way.”
“No, that’s okay. It would have been out in the open if it were here. Do you mind if I just enjoy my coffee before taking off?”
“Of course not.” I joined her on the couch.
“So, we haven’t been able to talk much lately,” she said. “What’s the deal with you and Tanner? He was totally bummed when you left so abruptly the other night. He said he thought you two had a connection.”
Oh God. I blushed in embarrassment. “Um, Tanner was a mistake. He seemed really nice but I have enough guy drama on my plate at the moment. I don’t need to add any more.”
“Guy drama? With Leo?”
“Jesus, does everyone know about me and Leo?” I whined.
She patted me on the arm as she set her mug on the table. “It’s okay, sweetie. The gals at work are all pretty envious. Well, except for Kendra who’s just flat out pissed. He’s quite a catch.”
“How do they even know? Did Erica say something?”
“No, not at all,” she replied. “It’s obvious, that’s all. It’s pretty hard to miss the way you two look at each other.”
“The way we look at each other?” I shrieked. “How do we look at each other?”
She chuckled. “You seriously don’t know? You two are constantly either eye fucking each other or you’re just plain ol’ googly-eyed.”
I hid my face with my hands. “Oh God, I’m so embarrassed.”
“You shouldn’t be. There’s nothing wrong with---”A loud scream from someone down the hall interrupted her sentence.
I jumped out of my seat and looked towards the door. “What the hell was that?”
“Oh shit,” she pouted. “I had hoped we’d have more time.”
I gave her a confused look. “Huh? Time for what?”
She stood up and started walking towards me. “Time to talk. Since this is the last chance we’ll get and all. It really is a shame, Karli, because I do like you. Unfortunately, it sounds like one of your neighbors just found your dead bodyguard in the stairwell so we’ll need to get on with it.”
“What? What the hell are you talking about, Roxy?”
She was backing me into a corner. “You see, Karli, this is all your fault really. You just couldn’t be satisfied with the sexy vampire or even the detective, could you? You had to go after my man instead.”
“Roxy, I have no idea what you’re talking about!” I screamed. What the hell was going on here?
“Don’t play dumb with me, you little slut!” I saw a blur of knuckles before pain shot through my jaw.
“Aaaaah God, what was that for?” I rubbed my stinging cheek.
“You shouldn’t have led Chad to believe that there was hope for a second chance between the two of you,” she explained. “He was finally starting to focus his attention on me until he saw you in Leo’s club that night. From that point on, you’re all he could talk about. All he could think about. He even had the nerve to call out your name in bed the other night! That’s when I knew that he and I would never be happy until you were removed from the picture.”
Oh fuck, Roxy’s the killer! Oh damn! Shit! Fuck! My phone started ringing, making me jump. Roxy picked it up and looked at the display before she continued. “I let you get away from me once, Kar. I made the mistake of underestimating your connection to Leo. Speaking of which, look who’s calling.” She held up the phone so I could see his name on the caller ID. “You must realize I cannot allow that to happen again, hence the daylight timing of my little visit here.” She threw the phone against the wall, silencing the ringer. “Now I’m going to go against tradition, and kill you in my human form so you can see the face of the woman Chad will enjoy fucking from now on.”
Oh shit, I have to stall her until I can figure out a way out of here. “Hold on, Roxy. I just want to know one thing.”
She smirked. “Oh, this should be interesting…what would you like to know?”
“How did you mask your essence? Leo and his men should have been able to sense your presence, and the cops could never pick up anything incriminating at any of the crime scenes.”
She laughed and pulled out an amethyst pendant hanging from a silver chain under her shirt. “It was so simple that it almost took the fun out of it. Just your everyday cloaking amulet. It also makes me invisible anytime I want, which comes in handy when I’m keeping an eye on Chad…or for watching a little after hours soft core in the bar.”
I gasped. “Oh my God, you were in the bar that night!”
“Yes, I was,” she admitted. “And I must say I was a little disappointed when you two stopped. I was so turned on that I couldn’t stop touching myself while I was watching you. I came so hard that I lost my balance. You heard me stumble because my panties were around my ankles.”
“Ack! Way too much information, Roxy!”
“Oh please, Karli…we both know you’re not as innocent as you pretend to be.” She cracked her knuckles. “Now, if you don’t mind, I’d really like to get this over with.”
With preternatural speed, she swung her arm out and back handed me. I flew into the wall with a teeth-chattering thud. She might have been in her human form, but she definitely still had her demon strength. I was stunned from the impact. She took advantage of that by grabbing me by the shirt and throwing me into the coffee table, shattering it into a million pieces. While I was doubling over in pain, she kicked me, hard. Bile rose up in my throat. I was pretty sure at least a few of my ribs were broken. Breathing was excruciating.
She straddled me, as the blows continued to rain down. My eyes were filled with tears, making my vision blurry. One was so swollen that I could barely keep it open. I could feel small pieces of glass embedded into my back. Anxiety, panic, and fear all surfaced simultaneously. The pain was becoming more than I could handle. I could feel my consciousness drifting away. The room blurred in and out of focus.
“Oh no, you don’t.” She slapped me across the face. “You’re going to stay awake until you take your dying breath.” Just when I thought the pain couldn’t get any worse, it felt like a white hot poker sliced through my gut. Instinctively, I reached down with my hand. Blood was oozing out of my stomach. I looked down and could barely make out a large shard of glass, sticking straight up from my abdomen with Roxy’s hand on one end, grinding it even further into me. I began choking on the hot, metallic liquid that was rising up from my throat. I turned my head, vomiting up blood. Roxy sat back with a smug look of satisfaction on her face. It was then that I knew I was going to die. Blood was pooling onto the new carpeting below my body. I was too weak to fight anymore. Everything was in slow motion now. Just as my lids were about to close, I heard the voice of an angel in my head.
Karli, can you hear me?
Vance? Is that you?
Yes, baby, it’s me. Leo called me and told me you were in trouble.
Vance, it’s too late. I’m so sorry for everything. Please know that----
Karli, don’t. It’s not too late. I’m coming into your building right now. Just hold on a few more seconds.
Suddenly, my front door was blasted off its hinges. Roxy turned her head in surprise just as Vance waved his arm, chanting something in what I thought was Latin. She flew off of me, slumping down the wall, unconscious. I looked up and saw him towering over me. His eyes met mine and widened in panic as he knelt down beside me. He framed my face with his powerful hands. “Karli, oh God, look at you! What did she do to you?”
“Shh, honey, don’t talk. I’m going to fix this. You’re going to be okay. Just don’t give up on me. I can make this better.”
I couldn’t hold on, no matter how badly I wanted to. I felt myself slipping away with each labored breath. I focused on Vance’s beautiful face. I figured if I had to die, I could at least have a moment of peace beforehand. I could feel the blood filling my lungs. I tried forming words but I had no voice anymore. My lids were becoming heavy. I was blinking very slowly. I felt my heart giving up, and I was cold. Sooo unbelievably cold. Vance closed his eyes for a moment and then sprinkled dust over my gushing wound. A blue glow started radiating from his palm as he muttered something unintelligible. I smiled faintly, happy to have him with me in the end before I gave into the blackness.