The closer we got to the house, the more fear started to choke me from the inside, wrapping around my heart like a fist. I hadn’t been this scared since I had the nightmare about losing Lennox, and maybe that was why I was so afraid now, because I knew Valentina wouldn’t stop until either we were dead or she was. My hands began to ache, and I realized that I had a death grip on the steering wheel. I loosened it up a bit, but reflexively tightened it when we turned a corner and saw the house on the hill.
From here, nothing looked out of place. Then again, looks could be very deceiving. Lennox looked at me worriedly, and I freed my right hand to take hers into it. She gripped my hand tight, the warmth from her skin warming me. I knew that no matter what happened, I would either save Lennox, or die by her side.
We pulled into the garage and got our things from the trunk. With a collective sigh, we headed into the house. Silence greeted us, and we weren’t sure how to feel. Jackson saw us from across the foyer and came running to speak to me.
“Sir? Valentina.. She’s…”
“Yes?” I asked, worried about his response. What he said next shocked me to the core.
“She’s gone. She disappeared a few days ago. Things have been crazy here. There are important matters that need to be seen to, and as she was the one who usually handled things… you’ll need to take care of them.”
I nodded, giving Lennox a quick hug. The shock that Valentina had been gone was clearly displayed on both of the girls’ faces. I ran to my room to drop off my bag, and then headed to the throne room to meet Jackson and deal with the issues that had arisen in my absence. We spent hours making phone calls and signing papers, and when everything was over with, I breathed a sigh of relief. Even though she was toxic and a terrible person, I had never realized how much Val had done around the kingdom. Still, some of the choices she’d made regarding it were choices that I’d rather she hadn’t made.
It had gotten dark out faster than I could keep track of. I made my way to my room, and I felt relief when I saw Lennox sitting on my bed. She was so engrossed in working on her laptop that she didn’t notice my presence until I placed a kiss on the top of her head. She jumped a little which made me laugh. She gave me a playful scowl as she set her laptop aside.
“You okay?” She asked, sensing how tired I felt.
“Yeah. Val left a pretty big mess behind. I wish someone had called me before everything had gotten so out of whack.”
“I still don’t understand what happened. Why isn’t she here? Where did she go?” Lennox asked, biting her lip out of worry.
“Jackson says that on the day you brought me back, she trashed her room and then took off. No one knew where she was going or when she will be back, but you and I both know she will return. It’s just a matter of when. For now, we should be on high alert.”
“I know, but I also think we should take a break. We’re home. She’s nowhere to be seen. We can have the guards look out for her and we can take a breather. I really want to see Riecher,” Lennox said, begging me with her eyes.
“I’ll give him a call right now,” I agreed, and she gave me a smile as thanks. He picked up on the second ring. I explained what had happened since we’d left him in Ireland, and he happily accepted the invite to stay with us for a while. I hung up when we were done talking, giving the good news to Noxx who hugged me tightly.
“So what do we do now?” Noxx giggled. I swear I could hear that sound and only that sound for the rest of my life and be content.
“How about we do this?” I leaned in to kiss her, pulling her as close to me as she could be. Immediately her arms wrapped around my neck to pull me further down to her. It wasn’t long until the innocent kiss turned into a fire igniting one that I could feel all the way to my toes.
“I thought you wanted to wait,” she said, breaking the kiss long enough to catch her breath.
“I really don’t think I can wait any longer. Please let me love you.” I begged and she pulled me back into her lips. As I deepened the kiss, her hands slowly undid the buttons of my shirt, making my breath hitch as her skin made contact with mine. I felt her smile on my lips she affected me and she knew it, but I wouldn't let her win this. I tugged her hair, pulling her back, and the act brought a moan from those lips I adored so much. I smirked before leaning down pushing my fangs out so that they could make contact with the base of her neck. Slowly I pushed them into her, tasting her blood and instantly becoming drunk at the taste. Her knees went weak at the sensation. I picked her up, wrapping her legs around my waist. I didn’t break my mouth from her neck as I pushed her up against the wall.
“Fuck, Elias,” was all she said, causing me to pull away to smile at the sight before me. “God, that feels so good. I have never had anyone do that to me before... well not since the change.”
“Good, because I want to be the only one who gets to have the pleasure of making you feel like that,” I replied, ripping the dress she was wearing in half. The lust returned in her eyes, and while still holding her, I moved her to the bed, tossing her on it before removing my pants. Slowly I crawled up to her like an animal stalking their prey, not breaking eye contact the whole time. She shivered with anticipation and soon we were intertwined. I had never felt this was before. It didn't matter who the woman was, they could never make me feel the way she did. It made me realize even more that she was the one I was meant to be with. When we were finally both spent, I pulled her into me, wrapping her in my arms. I never wanted to let go and I definitely never wanted to leave this room.
When I awoke the next day, the last thing I wanted was to leave her but I had work to attend to. With Valentina gone, I had a world to run and that in itself was more stress that was needed. I left her to her slumber while I attended to business. By the time it was taken care of, I realized it was already night time once again. As I retired to my room, I was pleased to see not only Lennox, but dinner as well. My beautiful girlfriend met me at my door with a kiss and dragged me to the table to enjoy our meal together.
“What is this for?” I asked, wondering what I did to deserve such a welcoming sight.
“I missed you and who knows how long we have to have moments like these. Not to mention after last night…” She blushed and my mind wandered to the memory of last night. I grinned at the thought before engulfing her hand in mine.
“Keep this up and I won’t ever let you go.”
“Who said I wanted you to?” The night was a pretty relaxed one with some light conversation before we laid back down for bed. “I love you, Eli,” she whispered, laying her head on my chest before drifting into unconsciousness.
“I love you too.” I lightly kissed the top of her head before joining her myself.
My father's arrival brought a little more excitement into our lives the following morning as he wrapped Lennox in a hug that was filled with pure love. It still made me feel good that my father had loved her almost as fast as I did. Leaving the two of them to their own plans, I once again attended to business.
Reicher filled my heart with so much joy the moment I saw him. I never knew my father, but I had hoped he would have been as kind and gentle hearted as Riecher. When Elias went to work, it was just the two of us and before I knew it, we were in deep conversation about everything that had happened since.
“So what happened that caused the wicked witch to change her mind?” Reicher questioned, causing me to laugh.
“Well, I did. I went back behind Eli’s back and begged her to perform the ritual. And after a deal was struck, she kindly agreed. The hardest part, though, was waiting. After the new heart was in, I wasn’t sure he would make it. It felt like forever. I couldn’t even begin to think what would have happened had it not panned out the way it did.”
“Ya did a good job there, Lass,” Riecher grinned. “I am glad you didn’t give up so easily. My son doesn’t think he is worth fighting for.”
“I would do more than just fight for him.”
“I know ya would. Look, I am not the most affectionate man, but I want you to know that I love you as if you were my own daughter. You remind me so much of my late wife that sometimes it’s hard to believe that you aren’t.” The words brought tears to my eyes. “And when my son finally pulls his head out of his ass and marries you, I would be proud to make you a part of this family.” I pulled him into a hug, which he kindly returned. We spent the day talking about everything we could think of, and soon it was evening.
“So how about we hijack the royal kitchen and cook dinner? I think we could all use a nice, quiet dinner, maybe out in the garden tonight.” I proposed, him giving him a look that said ‘You know you want to’.
“Anything to get those Valentina supporters out of the kitchen and to make my son jealous that I have done something with you before he has.” He winked, causing me to crack up laughing. When we got to the kitchen, the staff was surprisingly easy to shoo out of there and soon we were dancing around the kitchen while cooking my favorite dish: Chicken Alfredo.
“What are you guys doing and why wasn’t I invited?” Ramsey chimed in, laughing at the fools we were being.
“There is my other favorite lady! Come and join us. There is always room for one more lunatic.” Riecher waved at her to enter and soon the three of us were laughing and cooking, carrying on like a family would. When dinner was finally prepared, I gave everyone a job. While I was setting up the garden for our family dinner, Rams was in charge of letting Elias know when to be there, while Riecher was in charge of picking out the perfect wine to go with the delicious meal the three of us prepared. Finally everything was done, and soon the only thing that was missing was Eli. As if on cue, right at 8pm, he rounded the corner with a very unexpected but pleasant guest.
“Niall decided to take us up on the offer and stay with us for a little while. My guess is that he just couldn’t stay away from this one,” Elias joked, pointing at Ramsey who immediately tackled Niall with a hug.
“I missed you too,” he said, kissing her temple. It was in the simple actions like that, that made me see how much Eli loved me and from the look on her face, I knew she was the same.
“I am so blessed to have my whole family here... my two sons and my future two daughters.” The look on the faces of both brothers confirmed that they felt the same way he did. In the short amount of time, we had become a family. As we sat down at the dinner table to eat, we all noticed that for the first time everything was simple. I think we all kinda wondered why of all places, we were here, but still, it was nice to have this time to enjoy the company of the people we loved most in this world. Dinner was full of laughter and embarrassing stories, and soon one bottle of wine turned into seven. It was night of pure happiness. But all good things must come to an end, and soon we realized that fact.
“Did nobody think to invite me to the family dinner that was being held at MY house?” Valentina’s shrill voice filled the air, causing us all to jump up in unison.
“By all means, don’t get up on my account. Please, continue to talk about the way I was betrayed by my husband and his whore, with the help of his decrepit father, his waste of a space brother, and his whore.”
“Don’t talk about Lennox or any of them like that,” Elias demanded, taking a step in front of me.
“Aww, look. I see you really have fallen for her. How disgusting. Tell me, did my sister aid you in your endeavor?” Valentina spat. “She is the only one you could have possibly gotten ahold of to perform it. So just tell me. Was it her?”
“Actually. Miss My-Shit-Don’t-Stink, I happened to locate one of the other two witches. We all knew anything that came from your blood couldn’t be trusted, so maybe you should think before you speak.” Ramsey chimed in, only to be instantly pulled behind Niall so he could be her personal shield. Something in Val snapped, and her demeanor became extremely calm.
“Elias, I would love to ask if you realize what you have done, but I don't think you understand just how severe it is. So allow me to enlighten you.” Valentina said. In an instant, she had Riecher up off the ground by his throat. “Since you have taken away someone I love, I shall take away someone you love.” With that, she slammed her hand into his chest, ripping Riecher’s heart out and crushing it in her hand. Everybody stood stunned as his lifeless body fell to the ground, and Valentina disappeared once again.
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