Chapter 3: Code Red
When Damien finally got out of the string of meetings that afternoon, he walked into the kitchen with his tie loosened and the top button on his suit undone. I watched him pour himself a drink and sit down before emerging from the shadows.
“Did the fire torches and pitchforks finally leave you alone?” I smiled.
He was soundless as he pulled me into a bear hug, wrapping his arms around me entirely.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do,” he murmured into my shoulder. “I’ve never been good at keeping the peace, that’s your territory.”
“You keep the peace just fine,” I assured.
“The way you were with that family earlier; I could have never done that.”
“There’s a reason that your people need a Luna and and Alpha,” I reminded, fixing his hair as I poured myself a drink.
“You’re underage,” he reminded.
“And werewolves don’t exist,” I taunted. I raised my glass in the air, turning out of the kitchen and heading back to our bedroom. Once I got there, I placed it on the coaster next to my bed, and heard him close the door behind me. Butterflies swarmed my stomach as I heard the faint click of the lock, and soon his arms wrapped around me from behind.
His lips pressed against my neck, and he whirled me around and moved them to my lips. Soon, we were in rhythm, and his hands rolled over my body like clockwork, feeling each hill and valley while they traced me like a picture. As his kisses trailed down my stomach, I let out a whimper of anticipation. His smell was flooding my system.
“Lyon!” I screeched his name in warning as I coiled, pulling my button down back across my torso. Damien shot up, his eyes swirled black.
“The sky had better be falling,” he growled.
“The sky? No. But you might want to come see this.”
“Why?” I asked, my breathing rapid.
“Because if this continues, your kingdom might be.”
I exchanged a look with Damien, buttoning up my shirt as I rushed out after Lyon. I half-walked, half-ran until I got to the front door which was crowded with guards. Parting them like a curtain, I felt the color drain from my face at the sight at the bottom of the steps. There were two cloth mannequins strung up right inside the gate, soaked in claw marks of blood. They had nooses hanging around their neck, with crowns on each of them. On the floor of the concrete, there was a message painted in blood.
Damien blew into his office, swiping everything off of the surface of his desk. I flinched, but Lyon and Evan remained still.
“How in the hell did they get past our guards?” He thundered.
“I don’t know—”
“Then find out,” he roared.
“I know that you wanted to put more security out there but let’s face it, you need all your resources up here right now. That was a threat to not only your life, but Cyan’s life too.”
“It’s my job to keep you safe,” Lyon interrupted. “You need to go organize with the guard, Cyan, come with me.”
“Since when do you order me around?” Damien challenged.
“Since I have spent the past 2 years keeping you alive.”
He turned without another word, and I was surprised by his boldness. He took me by the hand and led me down to the library, closing the door behind us.
“You need to go see Xander.”
“You want me to leave the palace after the charade that was just pulled?” My eyes were nearly bulging out of my head at this request.
“Well we know for a fact that he didn’t do it, so you need to go find out who did. Odds are, it’s one of his people. If not, we can eliminate them as a suspect.”
“Damien is going to notice that I’m gone,” I frowned.
“Leave it to me.”
I took the keys from his hand reluctantly, heading out once more. This time, there were more nerves involved. My eyes grazed the street for threats even though I knew my windows were tinted. When I finally pulled up to the mansion this time, there was another car in the circle. I walked in the front door tentatively, not even bothering to knock on the door this time. I spotted a random blonde in the living room, intertwining her limbs with Xander’s.
“Knock knock,” I said, rolling my eyes. She didn’t scramble to get off of him, but instead sulked back like a lioness, pulling a blanket up and against her chest. “I need to speak with you alone.”
“Anything you say to me you can say in front of my lady friend, your majesty.”
“Okay, let’s talk about the fiasco your people just pulled in front of my palace, written with the blood of a dead girl.”
His eyes flickered up to the girl, and he dismissed her upstairs. She fake-pouted before sulking away like the snake she was.
“Don’t assume it was my people,” he said in a warning tone. I tried to avert my eyes from his near naked body, but as per usual, he made it awfully hard.
“Don’t you own a shirt?” I kept my eyes trained on the ceiling.
“You don’t have to act like it’s anything you haven’t seen before,” he whispered close to my ear. I swatted him away as he strolled into the kitchen. “I caught wind of what happened at the palace. If I didn’t know any better, I would say that you’re afraid.”
“Of course I’m afraid, someone just painted a fake mannequin of me with blood of a dead girl and told me I was next. Your people are instigating terror and threatening a mutiny; this is not something I take likely. You’re lucky I’m making the house call instead of Damien.”
“He doesn’t know you’re here,” Xander smirked. “Don’t try and pretend otherwise. That car isn’t his, which means you’re going behind his back. Don’t worry, my lips are sealed.”
“I need to know who it is so that I can put a stop to it.”
“Maybe you should focus a little less on trying to smoke them out, and worry a little bit more about getting me out of this mansion so that I can lead my people away from the palace, and back into our happy little bubble of exile.”
“That’s your grand plan?” I frowned.
He tapped the watch on his wrist. “Time’s a-tickin’, honey.”
I whirled around to see Damien in the doorway, looking strangely calm. I realized what the situation looked like; me in the living room with his half naked brother. He didn’t seem angry about that, however.
“I saw Lyon’s car pulling out of the driveway on my way to come see you and comfort you about what happened at the palace this morning. You can imagine my surprise when Lyon knocked on my door thirty seconds later. Tell me, how many forbidden encounters have you had with my brother, Cyan?”
“Don’t lie to me,” he seethed, pressing me against the wall with his hand around my throat. I clawed at his hand to no avail, and Xander ripped him off me.
“Look, little brother, as much as I would absolutely love to be leading your wife into her wildest temptations that even you cannot provide, she’s been making house calls like a cop on your behalf.”
“How long has it been going on,” he seethed.
“This is the second time she came to visit me, so loosen your corset, would you?”
“We’re leaving,” Damien spat. He gripped me by my forearm and pulled me out the door before I could do so much as look at Xander. I was thrown roughly into the passenger seat before he entered in the driver’s side, child locking me in. I knew I had no right to rage and scream. I had kept him in the dark purposely, and it was coming around to bite me in the ass yet again.
When we arrived back at the palace, he didn’t even wait for me to get out. He went inside, leaving me behind, and part of me wanted to stay there. If I never went in, I would never have to deal with the confrontation. The past nine months had left me sleeping next to a man that I didn’t recognize, but now I was only starting to recognize the not so pretty parts.
After finally gathering the courage to go inside, I didn’t see him in his office, so I continued down to the bedroom. He was perched on his side of the bed, facing away from me with his head in his hands. I knew he was showing some amount of control, because he hadn’t torn the room to shreds yet.
“Why would you go behind my back like that?” The words came out so soft I barely heard them.
“You had a line out the door here, I had to go know what happened,”
“We agreed that we would never see him again, Cyan. We agreed that he was out of our lives forever.”
“Look where that got us,” I croaked. “The only way we’re going to be able to put a stop to this civil war is with the help of your brother.”
“I was afraid you were going to say that,” he muttered.
I felt a prick in my neck, and everything faded to black.