Chapter 23 - Entrance
Gray holds my hand tightly as we walk downstairs to meet Alexander and Silas. No words are exchanged, but as he squeezes it and pulls me tighter, I know that he holds more nerves than he lets on.
Whether or not those nerves are caused by seeing his family tonight or the fact that Alexander is the one accompanying me, I’m unsure.
Glancing at my dress, I bundle up and lift the fabric as we make our descent down the stairs. Sucking in my stomach, I allow Gray to lead the way as I follow behind him. The emerald green silk is admittedly incredibly comfortable, but is more form-fitting than anything I would have ever chosen for myself.
Gray’s lusty gaze as he helped me into it made me feel slightly better about my figure. Still, no amount of admiration is going to make me feel completely confident about my soft stomach that protrudes slightly from the fabric.
“You look beautiful.” Gray murmurs as we reach the bottom landing, his eyes trailing down my body before settling on the high slit that runs up along my leg. I wasn’t aware that they could go as high as this one is, and am anxiously mindful that one wrong move would expose my underwear to whoever cares enough to look.
Hiding behind the face-framing pieces of hair that Gray left around my hairline, I will my cheeks to return to their natural color.
After another slow once over, Gray tugs on my hand and pulls me into the stuffy sitting room. My gaze snaps towards Alexander and Silas as we step inside, my attention captured by the angry face of the scariest Demon.
Both are dressed in stuffy-looking suits, their ties matching the green of my dress. I’m surprised that both of them decided to wear the formal, slim matching tie. Gray explained that matching is considered a way to publicly claim a female, and I only expected Alexander to wear one to make everything think that I am his.
Turning towards Gray, I frown as I take in his half unbuttoned shirt, admittedly more upset about his lack of tie than I’d care to admit. He could sense my emotions the moment he slipped on his jacket, and promised that he would match me in a heartbeat if he could.
At least I’ll get a good view of his chest all night long.
Turning back to the other two Demons, I try not to let my fear show as they both stand to their feet and approach us. Alexander comes to a halt a couple of feet away, his eyebrow quirking as his attention slides to Gray and I’s connected hands.
“Seems as if I’ve missed a lot this past week.” He laughs, stepping forward and holding out his arm for me to take.
Gray clears his throat, tugging me away before I can reach for Alexander.
I stumble back into Gray’s chest at the sudden motion, my hand flying out and gripping his forearm as I try to steady myself.
Alexander rolls his eyes as Silas coughs to cover up his laugh.
I gulp as Alexander’s heated gaze moves to me, his lips pulling down into a frown as he takes a deep breath.
“I pinky promise not to fuck with you tonight, Charlie.” Alexander murmurs, his sarcastic tone that of a small child when they are forced to apologize for being mean to their cousin.
I look up at Gray for confirmation, cringing at the loud scoff that Alexander lets out. Gray ignores it, his smile soft as he nods his head and nudges me in the angry Demon’s direction. My feet inch forward as I wearily approach him, my pulse racing as I accept his outstretched hand and let him pull me against his side.
Before I can register what’s happening, I’m standing in the middle of a bustling room, the music from within loud and almost as overwhelming as the hundreds of people that mill about. I’m blown away by the lack of pain or discomfort that accompanied the shift, and instinctively search around until I spot Gray and Silas appear on the other side of the room.
Silas holds onto Gray’s arm as they shift, and lets him go almost immediately after they solidify. A small part of wonders what that is all about, but know better than to shame Gray by asking. His painful admittance last night that he could barely shift me makes me wonder how hard it is for him.
I’m willing to bet that it was Silas who took the lead on it, taking some of the pressure off of the Incubus. Gray turns and scans the room, his shoulders visibly relaxing as he spots me. My lips quirk up in a small smile, but Gray turns around and walks away before I have the chance to do anything else.
I try not to show my disappointment as Silas locks eyes with Alexander and gestures to the bar. Gray told me that he would be staying by my side all night.
Alexander grabs my waist as I release his arm, the sudden contact making me jump in fear. Others must hear the loud squeak I let out as they turn to face me, their expressions shrouded in confusion as they look between the two of us.
I refuse to make eye contact with anybody, choosing instead to avert my gaze to the floor and stare at everybody’s shoes.
This is more than I anticipated, and I find myself immediately overwhelmed by the commotion inside. The entire room is cast in a dark, red glow, resembling more of a nightclub than a formal dinner party. Loud music beats all around me, seemingly having no source as it hits me from every angle.
My knees go weak at the sheer amount of suffocating essence within the room, but Alexander gracefully holds me up with his arm. I practically slump into his side as it consumes me, tears prickling at my eyes as my body is rendered immobile.
I avoid looking too closely at anybody as I scan over the large round tables that fill the room and the bar that sits along the far wall.
“Where are our seats?” I whisper, desperate to move away from the center of the room and put some space between us and everybody else.
Alexander shrugs, seemingly unconcerned as he glances around.
“We are probably at the head table.” He comments, his arm tightening around my waist as he begins to lead us away from all the people.
I’m surprised by the straightforward answer and follow his lead, slightly comforted as he continues to take on most of my weight. I doubt my knees have the strength to walk on their own right now.
Alexander comes to a pause as I stumble over my own two feet, his breath hitting my cheek as he bends towards me.
“Breathe in through your nose. It won’t fix the problem, but it will help.” He whispers, pressing a quick kiss to my cheek as his words cause two men standing nearby to turn and look at us.
I flinch at the contact, but nod my head and snap my mouth shut. It feels harder to breathe through my nose when my body is desperately telling me that I need more oxygen, but after a minute I do start to feel a bit better.
Alexander remains still as I calm myself down, his arm loosening slightly around me before he continues to guide us forward.
I’m not surprised as he leads me to the largest table that sits in the very front of the room, the chairs all turned so that whoever is at it is facing the crowd. My eyes scan over the small name cards at each seat before finding my own.
I practically throw myself down the second I spot it.
Alexander lowers himself into the seat next to mine before reaching over and switching Gray and Silas’s name cards so that it will be Silas who is on the other side of me. I don’t love that Gray will be a person away, but understand why Alexander did it.
My pulse continues to race as I finally lift my gaze from the table to the room, my eyes widening as I take in the people for the first time.
“There are,” I start, pausing as I continue to take in everybody’s faces. “There are so many women.” I eventually choke out.
It almost appears as if every man is accompanied by a female. I’ve never seen so many in one place before, and the sight of it is mind-blowing. There weren’t even this many at the facility.
My mouth runs dry as I watch the absurdly beautiful women stroll around the room, their posture showing no signs of the hesitation or fear that I’m used to seeing on females.
Almost all of their eyes are blackened as well, giving away their breed.
Alexander’s laugh draws my attention, and I hesitantly tear my gaze away from the elegant women to look at him in question. Where did all these females come from? It feels unrealistic that all these men would have been able to find and acquire one of their breed.
“Your shock is amusing.” He states, giving no answers to my unspoken question.
I fight the urge to turn and glare at him, reminding myself that while Gray and Silas handle, and even seem to enjoy, my attitude, Alexander most definitely will not. The last thing I want is to make him angry.
Alexander and I sit in tense silence as I continue to scan the large room.
Silas finally approaches a few minutes later with a wide grin, three drinks held in his hand as he walks around the table and sits in the empty seat next to me.
The sight of him makes me think of Gray, and nervously I turn and search for the Incubus, my hunt not once pausing as a couple approaches Alexander and strike up a conversation.
The lust they emit has me clenching my thighs with need, and I nervously remain still in the hopes that they won’t smell any arousal coming from me. I know it’s not my fault, but I can’t help but worry that Gray will be upset with me for my reaction towards other Incubi.
A hand dropping on my thigh grabs my attention, my head snapping towards where Alexander’s hand slips underneath the slit of my dress and painfully squeezes my leg. My throat goes dry as I raise my head and meet his gaze, my attention lingering on his tight smile before shifting the man and woman that stare at me.
I plaster a smile on my face as I acknowledge them, worried they are sensing my emotions. Thankfully they don’t comment on it as they grin down at me and nod their head in greeting.
“We just wanted to stop by and say hello. We’ve heard much about you and are excited to finally put a face to the name. I’m Lust, and this is my wife, Nicollette.” The man introduces.
Understanding why Alexander grabbed me so painfully, I try to will my thundering heart to settle as I nervously laugh and sink into his side. They don’t look to be a day over forty, making me wonder just exactly how old Gray is.
With a frown, I note that I’ve never really taken the time to ask. As much information he knows about me, I don’t really know anything about him.
“We appreciate you coming over. I’m sure that you are incredibly busy tonight, but we do love when you host the annual gatherings.” Silas smoothly responds, thankfully taking some of the attention off of me.
Lust’s cocky smile grows as he takes a moment to glance around, his gaze predatory as he watches the debauchery happening in the dark corners of the room. I’ve made a pointed effort not to look over there, my interest in watching people get fucked nonexistent.
“Ah, there he is.” Lust laughs, grabbing his wife’s arm and gesturing towards one of the sinful corners. His gaze slides back to us three, but lingers on me. “If you’ll excuse us. Nicollette is quite excited to see her old friend.”
Alexander nods as I give the couple a weak smile, my fisted hands finally softening as they turn to leave. I turn to watch where they are heading, my attention captured as I realize that their target is Gray.
My lips purse as I watch them, red hot anger flaring inside of me as he stands eerily close to the sex. He wears a wide grin as he speaks to an admittedly quite beautiful woman. I can only see the side of her face from this angle, but it’s enough to ignite my insecurities.
Instinctively I sit up straighter and fix my posture, my eyes narrowing as he grabs her arm and pulls her further into the darkened portion of the room. Is he going to have sex with her? It sure looks like it from here.
I understood that he wasn’t going to spend any time with me tonight, but I didn’t realize that he would be whoring himself out as well.
Alexander groans and pulls me onto his lap, his hands pinning my arms to my side as he forces me to sit on him. My body heats in anger as I try to fight him, my body jerking to the side as I try to pry myself away from his touch.
“Charlie, you need to calm the fuck down.” He murmurs into my ear, his arms tightening painfully around me.
I cry out as he grabs my chin and forces me to look away from Gray. He continues to push out his essence until I have no choice but to submit, my body slumping on top of his. Tears prick my eyes at my reaction to him.
His voice is much quieter as he continues his scolding.
“To stare so publicly is a claim.” He informs me. “Now sit on my lap like a good girl and Silas will take you home before dinner starts.”
I look to Silas for help, but he offers me none, his expression wary as he glances around the room. As if sensing my gaze, he turns and nods in my direction before holding out one of the drinks that he grabbed for us earlier.
My hand is visibly shaky as I reach out and grab it, my nerves at an all-time high as I bring it to my mouth and tentatively take a sip. It’s bitter on my tongue, and I wince as it slides down my throat.
Both Silas and Alexander laugh at my reaction, Alexander’s heartier as he pries the drink from my hand and sets it on the table out of my reach.
“We don’t need you getting drunk tonight, my love.” He loudly shouts, drawing the attention of the Demons standing nearby.
Unintentionally, I shrivel back into his chest and search around for Gray. He is nowhere to be seen, and my heart drops as I worry that he’s gone away with that woman. What are they doing right now? I get that he can’t give me any attention tonight, but don’t understand why he can’t stick around Alexander and Silas.
My head continues to swim as I breathe in the power within the room, each Demon suffocating and overwhelming my senses. Both Alexander and Silas are noticeably holding it back, but even they don’t keep it completely tucked away.
I bet it’s a pride thing.
I tense as Alex adjusts and gently pushes me to my feet. His breath hits my ear before he begins to whisper to me again.
“Let’s go take a lap around the room. Try to keep your staring to a minimum.” He says, nodding to Silas as he supports most of my weight with his arm.
My body feels like it’s been drugged as I practically slump against him, allowing him complete control of my limbs as Silas stands and moves to stand on the other side of me. He shoves my drink back in my hand with the order not to drink it.
I nod, my jaw clenching shut as Alexander begins to parade me around.
It’s like I know I should hate Alexander but I still simp for him I can’t stop myself
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