Chapter 44 - Rock
Gray’s figure standing above me is the first thing I’m made aware of when I wake up, and I groan before rolling away so I don’t have to see him. How long has he been standing here next to my bed?
I’m not sure I want to know.
“You’ve been in here for almost twenty hours now. Do you want me to tell Rock you aren’t coming today?” Gray questions.
I flinch as the weight of his hand is pressed into my hip, and reach out to shove him away. Gray’s shoes squeak against the floor as he backs away, and I take that as my cue to get up and throw on some clothes. The Incubus quietly watches as I walk into my closet to get dressed, and remains a polite distance away as I leave the room and head downstairs to my office.
He seems to have gotten the hint that I don’t want anything to do with him right now, and doesn’t try to speak as he follows.
Silas, Aziel, and Shay are in the dining room eating in tense silence, and all turn to watch as I step inside. Their gazes are heavy and honestly a bit intimidating, but I ignore them all and walk through the room toward the hallway that leads to our offices.
All but Shay pull back on their essence as I walk past, helping keep me from hunching over as I scurry past. The room’s uncomfortably quiet as they stare me down, but I pretend I don’t notice and continue forward.
The moment I turn the corner and they can no longer see, I’m speeding up into a slow jog, eager to get away. Gray’s footsteps come to a halt as he watches, waiting patiently until I turn the final corner and slam the door shut.
Rock’s head snaps up as I come barrelling inside, his eyebrow raised in interest as my chest heaves and I struggle to catch my breath. At some point I must have stopped breathing, and now my body’s screaming for oxygen.
“Do you want to talk or study?” He questions.
I heave, my eyes narrowing as I take in his calm disposition.
“Aren’t you angry?” I probe.
Rock’s head tilts upward as he looks toward the ceiling and lets out a quiet sigh. If I were him I’d be livid the men I serve kept such vital information from me. He sure seemed frustrated yesterday when he was reading the report to me, so I’m not sure what happened that he’s no longer feeling those emotions.
Especially when they’re currently eating me up inside.
“I am, but being angry isn’t going to get me anywhere.” He answers before turning and sitting in the chair opposite my desk. “And yelling at them like you did will only get me killed.” Rock continues.
My cheeks flush as he acknowledges my freak-out yesterday. I was hoping nobody would’ve heard. It’s unlike me to raise my voice and yell like that, and I shouldn’t have let my anger get the best of me.
The last thing I need is to give Aziel a reason to get rid of me, and throwing heavy iron objects at his head is doing precisely that.
“Although I did get a kick out of listening to you scold them like young children.” Rock admits with a laugh. “I’m sure it’s been hundreds of years since those males been put in their place.”
My lips quirk upward into a slight smirk, and I glance at the ground to try and hide it. It did feel pretty good to yell at them, even if I do regret it now.
“Well, they deserved it.” I acknowledge, taking a seat behind my desk.
Rock’s laid out my work for me already, and I hold back a groan as I scan it. He’s placed an ancient history book on top, which has very quickly become my most hated subject. Rock’s found it vital that I learn all about the human way of life before the collapse, but I think it’s just depressing.
Why do I need to learn about a culture that’ll long gone and will never return?
Pulling open the candy drawer Gray keeps stocked, I grab some sweets and flip to the page I left off on last time.
“I have a test for you to take after finishing this chapter.” Rock informs as I get settled into the reading.
My lips purse, but I don’t argue with him as I force my racing thoughts to settle so I can focus on the text. Rock scolds me whenever I get distracted and take a long time to get through the pages, accusing me of not paying attention.
He’s not wrong, but that doesn’t mean I’m happy hearing it.
I’m finishing the last question on Rock’s test when there’s a quiet knock on the door. Rock gets up to see who it is, and steps to the side as Silas appears in the doorway. My jaw clenches as I pretend not to notice him, my eyes locked in on my work.
Both men stand silently and watch until I’ve completed the assignment, their attention making my hands clammy.
What does Silas want that he’s waiting for me like this? He’s made it more than clear where his loyalties lie, and I have no interest in engaging with somebody who chose the Wraths at the detriment of hundreds of other breeds.
Rock grabs the paper off my desk as I set my pencil down, and I frown and stare up at him with pleading eyes as he tucks it into his bag and prepares to leave. I don’t want to be left alone with Silas, and Rock is my best form of protection from him right now.
Rock ignores my nonverbal pleas for help as he nods at Silas and leaves, gently shutting the door behind him.
I glare at Silas as he welcomes himself into my office and sits in the chair opposite my desk. Unlike Gray, he meets my stare head-on and refuses to back down. The defiance only serves to fuel my previously dulled anger, and I cross my arms over my chest before averting my gaze to the door behind him.
“I’m sorry.” He suddenly states.
Refusing to let my shock be shown, I blink slowly and continue staring a hole into the door behind his head.
If I ignore him for long enough he’ll go away.
“I’m not going to ask you not to be angry with me. It’s justified. We dropped the ball here, and it was, unfortunately, a pretty big fucking ball.” Silas continues when I don’t respond. “What can we do to make you feel better? Gray’s absolutely torn up.”
I resist the urge to roll my eyes. I feel the answer to that question is obvious.
“Telling everybody the truth would be a good start. Not just the Wraths.” I cautiously state after a moment’s hesitation.
Silas hums in agreement, seemingly not surprised by the demand. I’m sure he anticipated this would be my request. It’s the right thing to do, and they all know it.
“We can do that.” He responds. “It should have been done a long time ago.”
“Are you going to tell the truth? That you’ve known about this for decades and kept it a secret to everybody but the Wraths.” I ask.
I already know what Silas’s answer will be as he sucks in a deep breath and glances away. They’re going to pretend like they just found out and play the role of hero. Revolting.
“Telling them that will cause needless drama.” Silas answers.
His eyes follow me as I lean forward in my chair and rest my elbows on my desk. Dropping my head into my hands, I let out a pained sigh. Why couldn’t they have just done the right thing when they had the opportunity? I wonder if they’d even bother entertaining the idea of sharing the information if it weren’t for me throwing a fit.
Neither Silas nor Gray seemed particularly eager to tell me the truth of their own volition, and I’m willing to bet they’d still be lying through their teeth if I hadn’t found the report.
I don’t respond to Silas, not having anything to say. He clears his throat and rubs the back of his neck, the action oddly human-like.
“I have a present for you.” He murmurs.
“Oh, wow. Make a girl mad, then buy her a present. So original.” I snap.
Silas raises a brow, clearly unamused by my snarky response. I purse my lips before gesturing for him to show me what he got, wanting the present even if I’m mad.
I try to keep any intrigue out of my expression as I watch him pull two navy blue gems out of his pocket. One is fastened into a necklace, a thin gold chain looped through a hole carved into the top of the rock, and the other is just the stone by itself.
Silas sets them both on the desk, giving me a second to admire them before explaining what they are. I hate to admit that they’re beautiful, the stones translucent and full of rich color.
“I had these fixed up a few days ago, so no, this isn’t a present I purchased just because you’re angry with me.” Silas states. “Your lack of essence makes you essentially helpless, no offense, so I had the mage shove a handful of mine into the stones.”
My eyes narrow as I inspect them, eager to see if I can spot the essence he speaks about. I didn’t realize you could stick it in objects, but I’m not surprised given how much I don’t know about Demon culture.
“They should be fairly straightforward to use. If you slam one into somebody with enough force, it’ll explode and, ideally, kill them. It won’t kill me since the essence is mine, and probably won’t work on Aziel since he’s stronger than me, but it’ll give you a line of defense in case anybody else ever tries to attack you.” He continues, pushing the stones across my desk and gesturing for me to pick them up.
I tentatively run my finger along the top of them. I have to admit that’s pretty cool.
“Won’t it kill me too?” I ask.
Silas shakes his head and grabs the stone not connected to the chain. He lifts it to the light to inspect before holding it out for me to take. I do so carefully, afraid to set it off.
“I gave the mage some of your hair, and he was able to extract your DNA and tie it to the stone so it won’t affect you. It’s a lot of intricate magic I don’t understand well enough to explain accurately. This one’s for you to test out on me. The other is for you to wear.” Silas states as he stands and gestures for me to follow.
He wants me to test it out on him? Under normal circumstances I’d be nervous about shoving an exploding rock against his chest, but right now, that sounds particularly exciting. I jump to my feet and hurry around my desk with the gem in hand. Silas squares up in front of me, his feet separating so he has a firm stance.
I pull my arm back for momentum before flinging it forward without hesitation. I open my hand mid-thrust so all that’s between it and his skin is the gem, and follow through until my palm is slamming into the center of his chest.
The stone heats just a second before Silas grunts and falls back, the sudden distance causing the stone to drop to the floor. I glance between it and Silas, noting that the once deep blue color’s vanished and all that’s left is a gray-looking pebble.
Silas’s head slams against the floor as he falls, and I watch from above as he flails and grips at the spot where the stone made contact.
I guess it worked.
Silas gives a thumbs-up as if reading my thoughts, a choked breath slipping from his lips as he struggles to regain his composure. His black eyes look darker than usual as he finally pushes himself back to his feet.
“Works.” He grunts.
I nod, watching through wide eyes as he rips open his shirt to look at the bare skin underneath. There’s a visible chunk missing where the rock seemed to explode against him, and I feel sick as the muscle and ligaments start to repair themselves in front of my eyes. Silas closes his shirt when I uncontrollably gag, and grabs the remaining necklace off my desk.
I’m still recovering from the sight of his wound as he moves to clasp it around my neck. He’s careful not to touch his skin to mine as he puts it on, and I remain stiff until he steps away once more.
“If a certain female in the house tries anything with you, don’t hesitate to use it. She wouldn’t hesitate to use it on you. The chain’s enchanted so nobody but you can take it off, and it’s thin enough that you should be able to break it easily in an emergency.” He explains, giving the necklace a firm tug to prove his point.
The metal bites into my neck, and I lean forward to relieve the pressure until he lets go.
“I’m still angry with you.” I state.
Silas nods, not looking surprised.
“This present is unrelated to the females. I don’t expect you to forgive me just because I give you something pretty and shiny.” Silas responds.
I sink my teeth into my bottom lip, hesitating.
“If you don’t do the right thing, I’ll do it myself.” I note. “Even if it gets me killed.”
This does seem to surprise Silas, and he tilts his head to the side as he looks me over. I refuse to back down, and hold my chin high as he scans my body. This issue with females is bigger than me, and I’m willing to do what it takes to spread the word.
I don’t quite know how I’ll do that yet, but I’m sure I’ll figure something out.
Silas reaches for me, his movements slow and calculated, and fixes a hair on the top of my head that must’ve fallen out of place during the exploding stone commotion.
“That’s frightening.” He finally admits.
I nod, holding my position until he leaves.
We love a man who gifts magical rocks
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