’This is a type of treasure hunt, just for you. Read the cards, listen to the songs, and relive the memories. Maybe you’ll understand how I feel about you at the end.
First, you have to go back to the place where I first saw you but also almost lost you. We’ve both lost part of ourselves there, but it’s also the place where I realized that you are my everything and that I’ll never be able to live without you. You are my angel and I understand now what I’m fighting for, you’re everything I want and I’ll die for you in a heartbeat.’
Tears well into my eyes and slide down my cheeks again, but I’m not even trying to wipe them away, I just let them fall. Alejandro grabs my arms and pulls me up as if I’m a delicate snowflake. He wipes the tears from my face, his blue eyes full of love, warming up my shaking body.
So this is what Damion meant with his message about the hunt – it’s a treasure hunt and I suppose he’s the freaking treasure. Cocky bastard.
“I don’t know what you did to my brother, cause it seems that he lost his balls judging to this effeminate behavior, but fuck, what do I know? It’s not as if I’ve experienced a love like yours before.” His head angels to the side and he wipes the last tear away with his thumb, a softness still lingering in those ice-blue eyes.
“So, where are we going, little sister?”
I take a last look at the tombstone and give a little smile – Xander Blackburn, loving father, husband, and hero – written on the one side – Miranda Blackburn, loving mother, wife, and angel – written on the other side. And at the bottom in big curly letters – Together again!
I may not have peace in my heart, yet, but I know I’ll get there. I’ll get there with the help of my demonic angel, and the rest of my loving family, those that are blood-related and those that are not.
“The haunted house.” I know what Damion’s trying to do, he wants me to face my fears, my losses and the only way is to face the place where it all took place head-on. I take a last look at the tombstone with a sad little smile.
Alejandro helps me in my car – I’m not sure how he got here – and puts on a song from his phone and hands me another card.
‘Angel with a shotgun – The Cab. This song played on the radio just after I got the message that you’ve been kidnapped. The words made me realize just what I was fighting for and it gave me the strength I needed to get through the battle.’
The song starts to play and I swallow the burning feeling of tears in my throat, only now grasping the devastation he must have felt, the frustration, anger, fear … and the words of the song reach into my soul, just like it did with him.
’I’m an angel with a shotgun … shotgun …
Get out your guns, battles begun, are you a saint or a sinner …
They say before you start a war … You better know what you’re fighting for
Well baby, you are all that I adore … If love is what you need, a soldier I will be’
I bite the inside of my cheek to keep myself from crying some more, but the significance of this song, this moment is just too great. Not only is it his voice that sings the song, but Damion is my angel and my devil, my heaven and my hell, my everything and he’ll always fight for me, for us. I know from this moment on he’ll be there whenever I need him to be, always.
Suddenly the looming darkness of the house we’ve just stopped at is not that dark anymore. I know that the things and lives we’ve lost here, will always leave a hole, but the sadness will go away cause we have a bright future together – me and my demonic angel warrior.
A red fire truck from station 19 is parked next to the house and the men are standing around as if they’re waiting for us.
“Can I have the keys to the car?” One fireman asks politely. I hand over my keys, knowing that he’s friends with Axel.
“I’ll make sure to get it back to your place.” He walks away and I’m not sure how we’re going to get back to my place, but it seems that at least my car will make it there. I walk through the weathered door just to find Jackson sitting on the staircase.
“Hey sis, are you alright?” I swallow some imaginary spit down and give him a faint smile while clinging to Alejandro’s hand in mine. I give a quick glance to the right, the room I was tied up in is now just a dark hole of shadows.
“Yes, I’m fine.” He holds out a brown bag and I take it, vibrating with anticipation. I let out a deep breath and stick my hand into the bag, pulling out a box of matches and another handwritten card.
‘I want you and Jackson to burn this house – together we’ll make it a better place.’
I look at Jackson with confused eyes as he hands me a glass bottle filled with some kind of liquid fuel, a cloth stuck in the opening. The smell of petrol mixed with alcohol fills my nose and burns my throat.
“Just burn this fucking house down, sis.” I take the matches, my hands shaking so much I almost can’t light it up. Eventually, the cloth starts burning and Jackson throws it against the wall while shouting out. I light several more bottles, each of us taking a turn to relieve some of our anger towards this place, satisfied each time the glass shatters and the flames run up the bricks, eating into the wood.
It’s as if the disintegration of the bottles also breaks the enslavement the house had over us, freeing us. Standing there feels liberating as if all the anger, rage, and hate inside me are melting in those yellow licking flames. We watch the house getting engulfed by the fire as if hell was set loose to devour it until only ashes are left.
Looking at the expressions of the two men standing next to me, I know why Damion organized for them to be here, we all lost a little part of ourselves in this house and we needed this to heal.
Even the firefighters seem enthralled looking at the burning house. Jackson tells me that Damion and Alejandro are going to build some kind of orphanage in their sister’s name. Creating something good in the place of the bad.
When only smoke and ashes remain, Jackson hands me his envelope and I pull out the card.
‘It started with a purple dress and ended in a night I’ll never forget, a night of firsts for both of us. Get into the limo from that night and it will take you to your next destination.’
Just then a limousine pulls up to us hooting its horn. I smile thinking how much effort and thought Damion’s put into organizing this hunt. He thought of the smallest details to make this something special and remarkable. Our first Valentine’s day together and I for sure will never forget it. Who knew that my bad-boy player can be this romantic?
The driver gets out and holds open the doors for us, then he hands me another envelope.
‘The night you honored THE GUY by becoming his girlfriend you were waiting for me in a place where I had to think about an ugly guy naked to sink my boat because you looked so damn sexy’
I start laughing so loud that I need to cling to the limo to not fall over, remembering the goon Damion was staring at, and then the comment about the Titanic. Jackson takes the card and just shakes his head. He has this too-much-information bitter look on his face, telling me that he also knows about the trick of thinking about naked men to get his dick deflated.
Maybe it’s another thing guys learn at the BEAST academy. I direct the driver to the small pub, our secret meeting spot. This time Jackson plugs in his phone and hands me the song-card. I was so sure that it’s going to be the soppy Titanic song or even ‘Perfect’ from Ed Sheeran since we danced on it at the ball, but the message on the card totally threw me for a curveball.
‘Boy like you – Kesha. Have you figured out what to do with a boy like me yet? I can clearly say that you’ve got me hooked, wrapped around your finger – you blow my mind. But it was all part of my plan to make you fall in love with me.’
Cheesy, right – but so darn cute I want to scream and cry all at once. The small things he remembers from our time together fill me with love. Again, it’s his voice singing the song and again, the song fits perfectly into the circumstances.
‘… you’re so beautiful and dangerous …’
Now doesn’t that just describe my man to the T?
‘what do I do with a boy like you ...’
Well, I can think of a few things ... all 18R of course! I walk into the pub, this time with two hotties in tow, to find the oldest of my brothers at the bar, drink in hand. He winks at me as soon as he sees me and I can’t stop the huge smile from spreading over my face. He immediately hands me his envelope, not asking if I’m ok, but his doctor-eyes scanning my body doesn’t go unnoticed. I suppose it’s his way of a quick checkup.
‘Our first kiss was an experiment, that turned out perfectly and Vampire Diaries turned out to be my favorite show ever – I knew then that I’ll never let you go’
That freaking experiment of his ripped out my whole heart, handing it to my brother’s bad-boy best friend, even if I was still fighting it in my mind. I want him to be there at his house, but I also love the excitement and memories of this hunt! I’m must be the luckiest girl alive … I have the perfect boyfriend, almost …
“Ok, let’s get to his house. I’m starting to like this whole sissy-boy side of him.” Ilkay has the next song to entertain us on our drive to Damion’s living quarters – and this time I’m bomb-shocked, yet again.
‘Holding on and letting go – Ross Copperman. You better get this else you’re not the biggest TVD fan.’
I get it, it’s the song when Damon kissed Elena for the first time – again I must admit, he gave it some thought – deep thought!
‘It’s everything you wanted … it’s everything you don’t …’
Again, the words are ... eh ... descriptive ... at that stage my heart wanted Damion but my mind didn’t yet ... I rush through the door of his house with 3 followers this time to see Luke’s face lighting up from the sofa where the experiment took place.
He jumps up and down excitedly before almost throwing me with the next clue. Damn, will I ever get used to the Grimm boys’ wild ways? They are all 3 just like little bubbling overenergetic bouncing blobs ALL of the time. I wonder how poor Hayley manages sometimes. Must be why she enters them into such a lot of activities – to keep them busy and out of mischief.
I know for a fact that Luke got called into the principal’s office twice this week alone, and his brother was no better when he was in school. But right now his naughty hazel eyes are waiting anxiously for me to open the envelope.
‘I know you’re hungry – go grab a burger at the place I held your hand under the table under your brothers’ noses. It’s also where I declared my love openly for you when I sang you a song – and where you called my name.’
“Let me guess – we’re going to have lunch at Inferno?” Kiara smirks, strutting from the kitchen, and Luke jumps from the couch and runs through the door. The car is getting rather crowded now, but nobody wants to miss a thing. Luke puts on the song I was hoping to hear Damion sing again, this time I know it’s for me, no doubts –
‘In case you didn’t know – Brett Young. The words say it all – even when I couldn’t.’
‘In case you didn’t know, baby I’m crazy bout you … and I would be lying if I said that I could live this life without you …’
“Ug, he’s pussywhipped for sure or maybe his dick is turning into one.” Jackson snorts and then blushes when Luke giggles openly next to him, finding his words funny. I’m guessing to find Enrique at the club, and I was not wrong. My brother is waiting with a spread of finger food on the bar for us to eat. My tummy rumbles and I stuff myself so full, I almost want to puke. Then he hands me the next message.
‘Remember the day Jackson almost castrated me for taking you for a drive on my bike? Go to the place I won you that dragon teddy that’s still on your bed. I wanted to tell you all my secrets that day – the biggest being that I loved you, but I couldn’t. Loving you like that scared the everlasting shit out of me, so I fucked up and ended up hurting you. I could see it in your eyes each time you looked at me. But no more secrets. And I’ll try my best to never hurt you again.’
I read it out loud so everybody can hear and Jackson hits his head with his hand.
“Fuck, I almost lost it that day when he saw you sitting squashed against his back on that bike.”
“Um yeh, I would say you lost it. You both ended up with black eyes and bloody noses.” He takes my hand and leads me to the car. While we drive I tell them about the day mentioned on the card. The recollections of that day hit me in my gut with more force than I ever expected.
Just after he won his first GP championship, he arrived on his bike at my school, handed me a helmet and we took off to the Boardwalk. We spent the whole day just having fun, holding hands, he even won me a dragon teddy. I thought we were in love, or maybe I hoped we were, cause I was. Needless to say, when he dropped me off at home, Jackson was mad as hell and they ended up fighting. The next day Damion came to visit Logan, another girl at the back of his bike. He broke my young heart, but I kept the dragon to remind me of how stupid I was.
“Ok, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.” I can’t wait to hear which song he picked for this. Enrique connects the Bluetooth to the radio and hands me the song-card.
‘Monsters – Katie Sky. I hope that you will still stand brave, cause I’m going to let you see all my monsters – you are my light and you’ll always be the one to drag me from the dark.’
I almost cry when I hear him singing, his voice husky and sad. I never knew then that he felt that way, I thought he didn’t give a damn about me, so I tried hating him, but I never fully succeeded. Alejandro takes my hand again and we walk into the Boardwalk to find the place where Damion won the soft toy years ago, just to find Dean holding a huge pink cotton candy and another envelope.
“Before I hand you the next clue, Damion asked me to tell you everything. You already know about his sister. Then there’s the boy that got killed. There was no bribing or buying him out. It was an accident and ruled as one, but Damion never really got over it and still blames himself. But if you ask me the kid’s parents were to blame.” Dean looks almost mad, angry, or agitated, I’m not sure cause my mind just went blank. “The boy was only five and he ran onto the track in front of Damion. He was in the middle of a jump and couldn’t do a thing even though he tried pulling his bike away, ending up with broken bones. The short of the long is that he landed on the boy that died on the scene, leaving a 15-year-old Damion devasted. Damion secretly and anonymously gave the boy’s parents a lot of money, they were poor and had 4 more kids. The press found out about it and figured he was buying his way out. Then, when he was 17 his teammate, before Sean, died on the track during a race. Soon after that, Thalia’s parents traveled in Damion’s private jet and it fell because of a storm. They both died as well as the whole crew. And dare I say demon number five arrived with the accident last year where he lost his championship because he got hurt. One of the Honda riders died in the accident and Graham, blames Damion for the death, but again, it wasn’t his fault. Yes, he did an evasive maneuver, wild even, but the Honda guy tried to copy him and lost control, hitting Damion from behind. So you see, he has a lot of baggage, but he wanted me to tell you so there are no more secrets between you two.”
I feel the blood drain from my face, my hands getting sweaty. I can understand why the therapists called him ‘broken’. Anyone with that much guilt can not stay whole. I’m glad Dean told me all this, now I understand my angelic devil a little better. And I know that he’s blaming himself for all of it, even though he was not responsible.
“Are you ok, or do you need to rest?” Alejandro looks me up and down, probably trying to figure out if I’m not getting ready to fall down dead or something. I suppose I can’t blame them, I did almost die, but it’s getting a bit much.
“I’m fine. Just give me the freaking clue will you?” He smiles but doesn’t hand over the envelope, instead, he pulls out the card and reads it to me.
‘We slipped out one night, without your brothers knowing, to break in and watch some animals doing it. That’s when I knew you were a drug – and that I was totally addicted to you.’
“Fuck, how long have you two been going on behind our backs?” Enrique acts mad, but I don’t fall for that act. Yes, Damion took gullible me out TWO times while we were at school, but then he just went back to being the bad-boy man-whore as if nothing happened, leaving me hurting and hating him. Now I know that he was scared of his feelings.
“The zoo, we’ve slipped into the zoo one night.” I laugh, thinking about how we almost got caught by a fat security guard. We ran away and hid in the turtle enclosure, only after one bit him on his leg did we realize they were snapping turtles. He won’t admit it, but he’s still a little afraid of turtles. Jackson puts the song-choice Dean handed him on and I look at the card with a huge grin. This time he’s not such a wimp – seems he got his balls back.
‘Animals – Maroon 5. Baby, you’re like a wonderful drug that’s killing me. I like doing it with you’
“No!” All the boys shout out almost in unison while Luke wants to know if ‘doing it’ means having sex. The limo stops as close to the gates as it can. We all get out and this time Luke takes my hand, hopping and skipping beside me while we walk to the turtle enclosure. Logan sits on the side, his finger popped in his mouth, his face in pain. He looks up when he sees us, pulling his finger with a POP from his mouth.
“The little suckers bit me.” He points towards the snapping turtles with his bleeding finger and gives them a savage glare. Luke picks up the envelope that must have fallen to the ground during Logan’s epic battle with the reptiles and opens it. I let him read it out this time and his shining eyes tell me that he’s enjoying this just as much as me.
‘Angel, I’m waiting at the place where fate brought me back to my angel, where I lost my heart, soul, and mind – forever.’
“The school … he’s at the school,” I shout out overexcited and overwhelmed, my heart so full of love it’s bursting at the seams. Alejandro throws me onto his back and piggy-rides me to the car. I don’t mind cause I must admit that I’m a little tired after the whole hunting escapade and I can’t wait to see my devil, the BEAST smirk on his face, and that thing he does with his eyes that drives me insane. He’s the one, the only one for me.
Logan gives me the last song card and sends the song from his phone to the radio.
‘I lost control – Alan Walker. I’m no angel and I lose control when I’m around you, but you are the one that can bring me back from the darkness, my light, my angel.’
Now my heart is not just full, it’s overflowing with rapid speed, flooding my body with the tingly feelings of love only Damion can create. I have a permanent smile plastered on my face when we walk through my old school doors and down the hall.
I gasp at the beauty of him standing next to my old locker in all his glory. I focus on putting one foot in front of the other without stumbling, as I hear ’Fairytale’ playing softly on the intercom system.
“Hello,” He greets me the same way as the first time, the word that ripped out my heart unexpectedly and placed it solidly in his hands, and that’s where it stayed all these years. I’m desperate to touch him, kiss him, feel him, oh boy I want to run into his arms and kiss him brutally unconscious, but instead, I look at the bad-boy I love with all my heart, his hands stuck deep in the pockets of his jeans, the sun forming a halo around his head, leaving his eyes black.
I can’t decide if he’s my demonic angel or my angelic devil … it doesn’t matter, heaven or hell, I love him.
“How was your hunt?” He moves closer, but I bite my lip to keep myself from falling in his arms.
“Unbelievable.” He moves even closer, a misleading smile on his face. His eyes back to those dark orbs – the devilish emotions in there are overpowering, leaving me breathless and my mouth dry.
“Mel,” He gets down on one knee, forces down a swallow, and takes my hand. “I hope now you understand how I feel about you. I’m no prince charming, and this is life, not a fairytale, but I’ve won you a dragon and I know this is as real as it gets … so will you marry me?”
He holds a perfect dainty diamond ring out at me. A surge of emotions floods my body, my hand moving over my mouth, as I stare at the ring with huge eyes. The world around me becomes a blur, but somebody is holding me up. I can’t speak or form words, and I’m sure my body went into shock.
“Mel, I’m dying here …” His hand is shaking slightly, showing me that he’s nervous. It makes me smile, my cocky bastard is scared I might reject him – sweet. I find my voice.
“I have a few demands.” Everybody suddenly freeze, waiting to hear my next words.
“Firstly, you’ll never do anything to break my heart. Secondly, you’ll get rid of your guilt - it’s what your demons feed on.” My angel doesn’t say a word, but a tear rolls over his cheek.
“And lastly, your racing ... ”
A few of the witnesses standing in a circle around us gasp, pulling in their breath. I notice a very worried look in my racer’s eyes, and I can’t help but smile seductively.
“You have to promise to be careful when you do your famous tricks and stunts. I mean, if you lose a limb I might just have to get myself a new husband.” He moves so fast, grabbing me in his arms, his lips claiming mine with force.
“Fuck, I love you.” He says, looking into my eyes, his one hand moving protectively over the small bump under my shirt. “Both of you.”