Chapter 34 - A Hairsbreadth Away
The second I left Andrea in her bedroom, Raphael didn’t waste time rattling me with his unending questions.
I purposely teleported to where my doppelganger was, in Madame Winner’s gazebo garden, to take its place. Apparently, the doppelganger was preparing a lunch gathering for her best of friends. It was Friday of course, the Baccarat day, and it was her time to host the event. Pretty much a fitting time though since her step-son was in the house.
I was inside the gazebo, putting up plates and utensils in their correct position in the round table when the damn archangel showed up.
Mind me, he didn’t even greet a fucking good morning and just went to demand an explanation and demand to answer his harebrained questions. All I did was ignore him and focused on my butler duties.
Where did you take Andrea? Why did you touch her? Why didn’t you return her last night? Why bring her only this morning? Is your lust too much to handle? Do you know that you are a bothersome demon?
Shit. Holy-fucking shit.
My ears almost bled because of his questions.
But questioning was all he can do. He becomes helpless when I teleport to another place. Luckily, angels like him don’t have a GPS system, so he cannot keep track of me wherever I go. Not unless I use my demon powers in order to enthrall a human, that’s when he finds me and my footprints.
In light with this, he doesn’t know where I kept Andrea the whole night.
The enthralling thing ain’t my style. Not for Andrea that is. I had already promised myself not to tweak her mind and her emotions. I had promised myself to be always true. I don’t want to lie to her anymore, just like what I did in the past. Lying always causes detrimental endings.
Look at me as a demon now, that’s a clear-cut evidence of a bad end.
“I thought I told you to stay away from their relationship?”
That’s Raphael’s last question that captured my attention. I gave him a raised brow and clenched my teeth. He really thinks he can boss around with me huh?
“Their relationship is doomed to end,” I commented, focusing my eyes on the bastard.
He hissed and scrunched up his nose.
Shifting to take a seat on one of the prepared cushioned chairs, he crossed his arms and legs to make himself look intimidating. He was definitely not a sight for sore eyes with all the golden hair sparkling under the morning sunlight. I had to stop my table preparations in order to distance myself away from the holiness.
“Why? Because you will be there to make sure it is in disorder?” he asked daringly. I frowned. “I know you mean to cut their destiny strings Asmodeus, but bear in mind, you cannot do that.”
This time, I lifted my chin up and gave him a blank but icy glare.
“I believe I haven’t made myself clear Raphael. Andrea belongs to me and me alone. I am willing to kill again if that’s what it takes.”
With this, Raphael immediately stood up, creating a loud thud on the table with his fists.
“You won’t dare!” he shouted, golden eyes sprout up with sickening depth.
“I dare,” I said, my own eyes of red shot back at him.
He didn’t cower nor showed submission over my brash declaration. He gave me a scathing look instead and pressed his lips into a hard line. I wouldn’t say his visage was angelic now with this not-so-holy frown.
“Then, I will just have to tackle this matter a little bit rougher now,” he announced. His words were ambiguous, but it gave me enough memory in the past to strike back at him.
“Yeah, like what you did to Sarah in her dream?” I expelled, quirking a brow. “For all I know, you brainwashed her into believing spiteful things about me.”
Crossing my arms and showing a sneer, I waited for him to respond. Because of my new-found demon powers, I was able to see that angels weren’t as innocent as they appear to be. This archangel was particularly included.
I may not know exactly what transpired in Sarah’s dream that time, what lies Raphael had planted on her head, but I do know that this bastard being wasn’t that completely holy at all.
He shook his head and replied to me calmly, “I only made her see sense Asmodeus. I only made her realize how ridiculous your relationship is. I showed her that she is better off with Tobias. That her love for you will only give her despair.”
I was instantly irked by his words. How dare he toy with her feelings for me!
“And that is why I refuse to stay away in Andrea and Lorde’s relationship!” my voice exploded. Keeping my anger in check became an emergency struggle, but damn, my hands started getting itchy, demanding for a fight. “I thought angel’s play fair! I never realized you’d sink that low in order to win Raphael!”
“I only do what I deem is right,” he simply answered, but I saw an angelic haughtiness in his face.
“Fuck you,” I replied. “I will warn you now Holy One, since you are so keen on minding other people’s business, don’t you dare push my buttons. Don’t you dare do it again. Don’t you fucking meddle with Andrea’s feelings.”
“Huh, do you think that she will choose you over Lorde this time?” he queried not-so-politely.
I would have answered his question with a resounding yes, but my senses immediately flared when I felt Andrea’s beating heart somersaulting into surrender. Surrender to whom? That’s what instantly rang in my mind, but the answer to it, I already knew.
Lorde... Bloody hell.
Dismissing Raphael, I hissed and clenched my teeth tightly as I teleported to where Andrea and Lorde was.
My eyes blinked a couple of times as an instant reaction when I felt Lorde’s lips touch mine. I did as much as I could to close my mouth, but his tongue darted inside with eagerness. Saucer eyes immediately took shape and I looked heavenward briefly before my lids tightly closed.
My mind reeled with the sensation inside me. Lorde’s kiss felt reminiscent of his kisses in the past, but the taste sure was heightened now. I don’t know why, but maybe it had been too much a long time that my desire for it probably made it roughly...concentrated.
Lorde’s fingers raked my hair, pressing my face to solidify our union.
He explored my mouth, creating too much havoc in my mind when I felt his tongue tenderly flick with my own.
With the deliciousness of it, you may as well expect me standing between the borderline of reciprocating and withdrawing. I chose neither of the two though for I was too stunned to process a sane decision, but I did move my mouth slightly and that unfortunately gave Lorde an opportunity to see it as my welcoming response.
He angled his head more to the side and gave me scorching, breathless kisses. I felt weak in my knees instantly and I absentmindedly touched his perfect jawline.
My resurfacing desire, only a heartbeat more, would have finally been born out of his kisses, but I chose...I chose to hold it back. It wasn’t that I was unaffected with his ardor, it wasn’t that I was unaffected with his hands worming all over my back, but I soon realized that I needed to resist now, as in now, for my sake and for Er-.
My eyes shot open when I was instantly yanked away with a vice-like grip in my arm. I was more than relieved that Lorde’s kisses ended but to my horror, I was immediately welcomed with an incredibly pissed-off demon standing beside the door and holding my arm.
A breath was caught in my throat before I shouted - or more like squealed - “Er-iol!”
I felt like I was being arrested in the middle of an ill-favored love affair. The soreness of my lips and the resurfacing desire I had for Lorde consequently became a figment of my imagination.
He gave me an icy look that was as cold as the icebergs in Antarctica and with that, a shiver crawled down my spine when his orbs traveled the length of my figure before finally resting on my flushed face. I felt a rush of guilt then when I reactively bent my head on the ground.
Damn... why do I feel that I have just sinned against him?
In a sudden motion, Eriol’s strong arms pulled me behind him, shielding me with his body.
I glanced up and saw that the two men already squared each other; handsome face to a handsome face, pale blue eyes to a grey-violet one. Lorde was with gritted teeth, while the other with an unreadable expression.
I realized then, they were both of the same height. I stepped forward just enough to be on Eriol’s side and not on his back. I wasn’t a damsel-in-distress in the first place.
“Stay. Away. From. Her.” Eriol broke the silence, albeit with a loud growling sound.
I don’t need a mirror to show that my face turned white, and I don’t need an ECG machine in order to report that my heart just flatlined momentarily.
He was meaning every single damn word alright! No debating that!
I saw Lorde grit his teeth further and adjusted his stance to a more guarded posture.
They both gave each other a measuring look. I could immediately see the flaring tension between the two of them because of it.
Shit. Shit. Shit! Lorde is going to get in trouble when he continues to be this bold! He doesn’t even know that standing in front of him was a powerful demon that could easily turn him into a rotten vegetable.
I wanted to step in between them, I wanted to decrease the tension, but then I stopped when Lorde finally spoke in a deep voice laced with disappointment, “Oh, I thought Andrea is alone in the room. I didn’t notice you at all. I’m afraid we haven’t properly been introduced?”
I have to say, who wouldn’t be disappointed when their make-out session was rudely interrupted right? But I was thankful, very, very thankful that his fist didn’t launch on Eriol’s pretty face.
My ‘knight’ nodded slightly with Mr. CEO’s statement but it was still with a neutral expression. “Of course we haven’t,” he answered matter-of-a-factly.
“I am Lorde Axel Winner. Son of Michael Winner. The step-son of Marcella. And I am the Master of this house.” He enumerated with confidence, basically highlighting the word Master in case the employee missed out the missive. He didn’t extend his arm for a handshake.
Eriol scoffed lightly. “I do know who you are.”
It was expected for a butler to know his Masters though, so it didn’t surprise me at all. However, when he introduced himself, my mouth immediately dropped in surprise.
“You, unfortunately, don’t know me. I am Asmodeus,” he said in a cool and collected fashion.
Goodness! He isn’t going to reveal his true self is he?!
I immediately placed a hand on his back, hoping he would read my mind asking him not to do it.
He glanced at me and then showed a smirk.
“But you can call me Eriol,” he added when he moved his attention back to Lorde. “I am the head butler of the Winner Mansion.”
Lorde quirked a brow and crossed his arms. “Huh, butler,” he whispered but his tone was acidic with discrimination.
"And Andrea’s boyfriend and lover,” Eriol added once again and this time my heart flipped out. As in really flipped out.
No, he didn’t! He didn’t just mention the BF word!
Me and Silence became the two witnesses of the thickening tension in between the two men. If there was a barometer in the center, it would have read a beginning super typhoon. Unfortunately though, that typhoon was directed on me. Yep. I could feel Lorde and Eriol’s inspector-like gazes on me and because of that, I immediately felt that the Solar System’s center shifted on the planet, Andrea.
“True?” Lorde said. It was a simple, simple word but it was edged with irritation and disbelief.
I promptly threw a brief, forced laugh and made a quick witty suggestion. “Hey, I think we should leave now,” I said, blatantly ignoring his question. Leave to where? I don’t even care, so as long as I could escape this kind of hot boiling-pot interrogation.
I stepped forward, targeting to drag Lorde out of Eriol’s sight, but the latter suddenly grabbed my elbow and yanked me back closer to him.
It was so fast that Lorde’s hand missed my other elbow just millimeters away.
Cliche scene right? Certainly a cliche scene in most Chick Flick movies in HBO. Here it is, two boys in love with the same woman, vying for her attention but she ended up with neither of them because she dies in a freak accident. It wasn’t even funny when I watched it and damn, it got me all teary eyed.
“Eriol, please, unhand me,” I whispered as low as I could. Unfortunately, this was no Chick Flick and one of the boys trying to steal me was a hot-as-hell demon, literally!
Lorde being too engrossed with knowing the answer, questioned me again stiffly, “Andrea. Is it true?”
I still didn’t answer him and continued to yank myself free of Eriol’s hold. It was torture to keep myself silent. I hesitated to tell him the truth because I essentially don’t know what my relationship with Eriol was called. Like I said before, fuck-buddies? Friends-with-benefits? A master-to-servant relationship? Or lovers?
I simply wasn’t sure.
With that resounding one word, my eyes gunned the source of it: Eriol.
“I am not talking to you,” Lorde stated, expressing sharp disapproval.
“What’s the point in clarifying it? Isn’t it already obvious? You have seen the kissmark in her neck. Why do you keep a blind eye to it?” Eriol stated, mirthless.
Wait what!? Oh shit. But of course, the kissmark Eriol gave me yesterday. I wasn’t sure if Lorde noticed it but judging from his firm, knitted brows, he indeed had seen it.
Lorde stepped closer to hold my other elbow. I, in the process, felt like melted cheese in two big burger buns. “You could be just a casual fling for all I know,” he said frankly.
I felt Eriol’s grip tighten and heat seemed to envelope the skin he touched. My mind snowballed the demon information frantically. Surely, he wasn’t planning on using his demon powers on Lorde now?!
In a frenzied attempt, I touched Eriol’s chest and gave him a pleading look.
“Eriol, please, no,” I earnestly appealed.
I am not so sure how much willpower he needed to have his demon powers kept in tight check, but I hoped that by touching his chest where his heart lay, it would aid him to refrain from doing any damage on my childhood friend.
I had seen what he did to Mr. DaisVita and I am quite sure he could do worse with Lorde. I do not want that to happen because I simply care for him as a human would do to who they deem as family.
Only a hairsbreadth away... only that much was left before the tension explodes, but then, Auntie Marcella’s squeaky voice shattered the gloomy air around the three of us.
“Lorde dear! My friends are here to see you!”
I saw her stop right in the threshold and stared, with outright confusion, on us.
She looked at me and then Eriol and then to Lorde, and then back at me. Her well-penciled brows lifted up thereafter.
“What are you guys planning out here without me?” she questioned, obviously clueless of the pressure she had thankfully destroyed.
“Nothing Tia.” It was Lorde who immediately replied, stepping back a little and releasing my elbow.
I looked at Eriol with wary eyes. His hand was still holding me and I feel that if Auntie would see it, she would think something was up between the two of us.
Probably reading my thoughts, he loosened his hold and stepped back away like a butler giving me privacy.
“Andrea and I are supposed to be going for a horse ride,” Lorde added. I glanced at both of them; Auntie Marcella’s excited, beaming eyes contrasted her step-son’s hooded one.
“Oh! That’s a good idea!” she exclaimed. “But, isn’t it a little gloomy outside?”
Lorde produced an agreeable mumble. “I thought so too Tia. That’s why I decided to cancel the ride. I want to discuss something with you instead.”
“Oh? You want to talk to me now?” It was clear that Auntie was taken aback.
“Yes. It’s...urgent,” he replied, stealing a look on Eriol who was still standing stiff like a guard dog.
Lighthearted as ever, she smiled on his way and mine. “I see. Then, I’ll meet you in your father’s study room,” she settled. “I will follow you there. I need to give Eriol some instructions first.”
Throwing a fleeting grin, Lorde eyed me again. “Right. Come Andrea,” he said and grabbed my hand.
“Wait Lorde!” I yanked it as I shouted, but he pulled me easily out of my room and into the hallway. My eyes frantically looked back and saw Aunt Marcella stepping inside the room and talking to Eriol.
His attention was glued on me however and I could see that he was more than pissed with the development.
We strode along the hallway and made a hard turn on the left where Uncle Michael’s study room was located. The whole time we did so, Lorde was very much silent. He didn’t once gave me a glance. I, however, examined the expression on his face and it showed that he was very, very angry.
When we entered the study, I thought I would be given some time-out, but Lorde immediately hooked his arm around my waist, pushed me against a wooden shelf and bit my neck.
Yes. I repeat. He bit my neck.
But no. Not the vampire-biting effect, but the hickey-biting effect. And that’s where my senses...quickly erupted.