Chapter 25 - Enter the Prince's Rival
Thirty minutes past twelve, I noticed the sudden change of weather when Andrea and the other volunteers attended to their last batch of diners.
I groaned to myself, expecting the rain soon.
I hate it.
I definitely hate this kind of gloomy weather because it makes me remember the past. It makes me remember the pain in my rotten heart when Sarah was wedded to Tobias. It makes me remember how I scampered to my feet, how I grovelled in the Egyptian sand as the bastard Archangel Raphael held me down. It makes me remember how I ultimately became a demon.
This kind of weather always puts me in a sour mood, but luckily, I have Andrea in my side now and the memory of last night to calm me down.
I direly wanted to stay in another place, maybe teleport to Dubai where the sun always shows itself. However, my will to stay and watch over Andrea won me over and dispersed the feeling of leaving the place.
I sat in the galvanized roof of the chief’s hut as I continuously monitored the activity in the ground where Andrea was.
Once again, she showed this aura of sincere affection on the tribespeople, especially the children. She beamed a warm smile to everyone who passes her way. She even shakes hands to the elders and bents her head to them as a sign of respect. Her actions didn’t look forced as oppose to the other volunteers.
After two more hours, Madame Ivana finally announced that they will have to leave early. Judging from the look on her face, she was worried over something, probably the impending rain. With such a mountainous area, I wasn’t surprised. Seeing how the driver had a difficult time earlier maneuvering the bus along the curvilinear roads while the sun was still high, he would most likely have an even difficult time when it will rain.
Once the bus was out of the village, I purposely tailed them from behind, disregarding the cold prick of the rain in my face and wings.
I hoped that the driver would keep a good grip on the steering wheel, but it seems my suspicions were exactly correct. Just a few moments later, I noticed the bus suddenly running in an unstable manner crossing between lanes. Luckily, there weren’t any vehicles in the opposite lane, but the way the bus moved, it was still enough to give me worries.
Thinking as fast as I could, I teleported inside the bus and saw that Andrea was already gripping the handrail tightly, the look on her face didn’t count as being calm.
I could actually easily teleport her into another place away from danger, but realizing she would berate me later if I didn’t save all the passengers from a possible accident, I decided to stay and help the driver.
Yes. My focus at first was to help the driver veer the bus safely. I quickly stood behind him and held the steering wheel too; my invisible hands molding together with his. This was my best option so far, but for some twisted reason, I couldn’t seem to control the wheel or even his hands.
The driver swerved the car to the left and stepped on the brakes at the same time. This produced a loud screeching sound of the tires.
I am a butler remember? And I am an adept driver too. I can easily tell that what this driver did was certainly not the right move.
As a consequence, the bus spun around out of control and it would have continuously spun towards its doom if not for my intervention. Luckily, I got to control his mind and I immediately forced him to take a quick step on the brakes. It took only three spins before the bus fell into a complete stop.
“Calm down!” I forced those words out of the driver’s mouth so that the passengers would not panic. But of course, humans as they are, they did the fucking opposite.
I whirled around to see Andrea. Her face looked disoriented and she looked like she was about to throw up. She had an angry red spot on her right temple, most likely from the hit she received when the bus spun around. My blood boiled in anger after seeing that single bruise on her.
Shit. I should have teleported her to safety in the beginning.
The driver, having been freed from my control, quickly yelled on his own accord, “Slowly exit the bus now!”
I then saw Andrea stood up and immediately looked around. She surveyed the damage on her fellow volunteers and right then and there, I could see desperation and fear in her eyes.
“No! No! Please don’t panic! Please be calm!!! Please!” she screamed loudly, but to no avail. These stupid-ass humans were too selfish to even care.
I glanced at the view ahead of us and the sloping landscape smiled at me cunningly then. Shit. This is not good!
Turning my attention to her again, I shouted loudly, “Andrea!” but she seemed to be deaf to my voice. I strolled speedily to her and grabbed her trembling arm but for some fucking reason again, my hands passed hers like I was just air!
That’s when I realized this was one of those rare times that a demon has no power over. This was one of those times that a demon was left helpless, unable to do anything. This was exactly the same as I experienced in the past; when Tobias married Sarah and jealously watched them consummate their marriage in a bed that Sarah and I had made love countless of times.
This was exactly what the bastard Raphael called a human’s destiny.
BUT SCREW IT! Screw destiny!
I certainly can’t have Andrea’s destiny be death!!! Not today! Never! Not now that I finally have a chance to be loved by her as me! As truly ME!
“Andrea!!!!” I shouted again when I felt the bus tip towards the slope.
I used my wings to forcefully produce a strong wind, enough to guide her back in her seat. I was glad to see that she immediately reacted and held the handrail tightly as she could, but my alarm was far from over. There was still the issue of a cliff waiting for them in the end of this slope.
Shit. Although small trees, shrubs, and other greenery could help slow down the careening bus, it wouldn’t be enough to stop it on time from falling right off the cliff.
As quickly as I could, I teleported out of the bus and into a grass clearing some distance away. I honestly wished I was Superman so I would have the option of facing the bus head on and stop it with my bare hands.
But no, I am not, so a different method was warranted in this kind of situation. To grow a humongous tree was what I decided to do to block the bus.
I am no nymph. I am no Earth God. I am not even Apollo who can easily grow trees in just a flick of a hand, but I do have a way to channel my power into the soil and summon a fucking dinosaur of a tree!
Quickly, I did this before the bus could pass by. It was a monster and I was proud of myself for creating it. Right after it grew, I teleported back inside and focused myself on saving the passengers, the driver and most especially my woman.
Screw destiny alright. I will save Andrea from death whether the Divine Realm likes it or not.
I focused on my demonic energy; summoning all of my darkness outside my body in order to nullify whatever force of destiny blocking my way from touching... from saving Andrea.
I did so successfully and it was just in time as the face of the bus forcefully collided with the tree. After throwing the driver into the back of the bus, I immediately focused on saving my Dear Heart.
First, it was shattered glass that met her skin. Next was the hand railing bending towards her stomach. The metal pole would have torn her in half if not for my interference.
I immediately teleported her away from the blasted deadly wreckage but not before I heard her thoughts scream my name and my other long-lost name.
“Save me Aeshma, please!!!”
I felt suddenly unchained by my own drowning sadness and pain. True. I have longed... so longed for her to say that name. And finally, now she did! I can’t believe it! My rotten heart felt rejuvenated consequently.
I flew in the sky, reaching past the angry gray clouds and stopped where the clear orange and blue sky were seen.
Andrea was safely secured in my arms, passed out, without any idea that she was already away from danger.
I smiled silently when I stared at her sleeping face, contented with just being like this with her, but my mind somehow considerably started darting many questions then.
Did she finally remember? Had she remembered us in the past? Did she remember me as her Guardian Angel? Or did she remember me as her fallen one? Did her heart remember her feelings for me? Will she be able to accept me then?
Oh Cronus! I really wanted to know right away, but she needs medical attention as soon as possible judging from the bruises and cuts of her skin. It would be only proper to defer my questions at a later date and bring her to an ambulance.
“Andrea... Sweet, how are you feeling?” I asked her quickly the moment she opened her eyes.
I sat in a stool, inside her hospital bedroom, whilst holding her right hand that was free of an intravenous line.
Her left hand didn’t have one too, which was a good thing. Intravenous solutions are only given to those patients that have an unstable health condition. Andrea luckily only got minor injuries from the accident so she doesn’t need the bothersome IV line.
It has been six hours since she was admitted in the nearest hospital of the villa. This was also where the other volunteers were brought and treated for their minor injuries.
Luckily, EMS promptly arrived in the accident site to take care of the passengers. Helicopters and a number of ambulances were parked on the roads waiting for the passengers to be placed on the gurney.
In one of the ambulances, I placed Andrea inside. I instructed the medical personnel to send her directly to a nearest hospital which was exactly the one we were in right now.
“Eriol...?” she replied, but very weakly. She produced a smile but it was brief.
“How are you feeling? Do you want anything?”
She shook her head. “I feel a little bit dizzy, but other than that, I’m good.”
I released a long sigh. “Hmmm... that’s a relief to hear.”
I caressed her pinkish pale cheeks and moved to kiss her forehead.
An hour ago, Raver, Janine and Madame Ivana visited her. Andrea was still sleeping at that time so they didn’t bother waking her up.
My doppelganger told me that Andrea’s auntie will be coming here, so I already expected her to arrive anytime soon.
I am the only one who stayed beside her the whole time. Private doctors of Madame Ivana did some workup on her including diagnostic and imaging tests and it was good that no grave problems were seen in the results. Except, of course, for the small glass lacerations of her arms and face.
“Eriol, thank you...for saving me. I may not remember it but I know you did.”
“Hmmm, no problem Andrea. I would most certainly save you from anywhere, anytime. You don’t need to ask at all. You don’t even need to scream my name. I am always with you.”
I kissed her hand and massaged it gently. She gave me another smile and this time, it had more life, more warmth than before.
“Thanks again,” she whispered.
The soft chiming of the small bells that were hung on the door abruptly interrupted our conversation. The sound meant that the door was being opened from the outside.
Andrea instantly smiled when her Auntie stepped inside the room, the woman I exactly expected to see, all dressed up like a hostess in a party.
Turning on my power of invisibility, I eyed my doppelganger that followed Marcella from behind. It immediately vanished and I replaced basically myself, now posing as a butler. My clothes even changed to one that the doppelganger wore which was a white shirt and black denim pants.
“Andi!” my employer immediately shouted, hurriedly giving Andrea a big, worried hug.
“Auntie...” Her voice sounded a bit muffled because she was being smothered by Marcella’s bosom.
After their embrace, Andrea propped her pillows up to elevate herself.
“Oh dear! How are you? Do you feel any pain now? Do you need some pain medications?! Oh God! I was so worried about you!” my employer stated, obviously in hysterics again.
“Oh Auntie, you don’t really need to worry. I am fine. I just have a few cuts on my skin, nothing else,” she reassured with a weak smile.
Marcella sat down where I had sat awhile ago and I just stood right beside the closed door. I looked at them, smiling, feeling the genuineness of their bond as auntie and niece.
“It is truly a miracle that you and the others are safe! I saw the damage of the bus. It is a good thing that huge tree was there to cut your fall!”
I noticed Andrea’s eyes shift to me and in her thoughts I read the words ‘thank you’ again. I nodded once silently, giving her a ‘you’re welcome’ smile.
“True. It was definitely a miracle. I actually don’t remember all that happened Auntie. The events were too fast. The only thing I remembered was how the bus spun around and how it hurtled down the slope. An angel surely helped us when that happened because I and all the passengers in the bus are surprisingly safe.”
I caught Andrea looking at me again and this time, I cleared my throat audibly and moved to stand in the back of my employer. If she keeps on looking at me indiscreetly, Marcella would probably think something was up between us.
“Yes, yes! I do also think an angel’s intervention had saved all of you! Oh, thank God if that’s the case!” My employer then drew her eyes up the ceiling and made a human sign of the cross.
“Thank you for coming here Auntie. I really appreciate your deep concern. I hope you didn’t call mother about this. She would definitely freak out if she knows what happened.”
“No. No.” Marcella quickly waved her hands. “I didn’t inform her about this. I know your mother can overreact sometimes. She might seriously take the earliest flight going here from Wisconsin! That would be unnecessary right?”
“Yes, definitely,” Andrea nodded. “Like I said, I am fine. Mother has nothing to worry about.”
“By the way Andi, I have talked to Ivana before coming here. She informed me that because of the recent accident, the last day of your stay in the villa would be postponed. You can come back home now after you are discharged from here.”
I noticed Andrea’s face form a slight disappointment then.
“Oh, that’s sad to hear,” she said. “I am actually anticipating to visit her famous vineyard.”
“Oh don’t you worry about that dear. There’s another time for that. As of now, we should focus on getting you back home, because you know, Lorde will be coming home two days from now!” Marcella’s voice heightened in excitement.
I know that she was missing her step-son greatly, but something was amiss.
“Isn’t it great?!” she added whilst holding Andrea’s hands tightly.
Andrea seemed to be tongue-tied for a few seconds. She looked surprised. Her mouth even dropped slightly after hearing Marcella’s announcement.
“Hah? Lorde? He is...coming...home?” Her voice squeaked a bit and because of this, it made me lift my brows and cross my arms. It made me wonder why she suddenly became stiff, why she looked uncomfortable, and why she quickly averted my gaze.
“Yes! You haven’t seen him for two years right? He said he is also excited to see you again!” my employer replied, looking ecstatic.
“Wow, that’s...that’s great,” Andrea whispered hesitantly. She batted her eyelashes a couple of times before turning her gaze back on her Auntie wearing a fake smile.
Why? Why is she like this?!
Her mood change definitely was worthy to be noted. I could easily sense something different inside her and I could hear her heartbeat increase a hundredfold.
Curious as to why she suddenly behaved like this, I purposely read her mind and what I found out made me instantly jealous. Angry even.
Her thoughts were shouting enough words to give me information, but the last words really dug a deep hole in my chest:
“Lorde... He is coming?! My childhood sweetheart is coming?! My first and only boyfriend is coming?!”