“You’re supposed to be dead,” I whispered, my tone filled with surprise.
“What are you talking about?” He asked me, his face scrunched in confusion.
“You were dead, Jake. I found your body that night at the lake.”
“I’m obviously not dead, Bri.” He was right. He clearly was alive, but still I studied him. He had the same boyish face. His dark brown hair was fixed in the same messy way it always was. His kind eyes were the same, but at the same time there was something different about them.
I peered over at Julian who was staring intently at Jake. He stared at him like he was ready to snap Jake’s neck in an instant, but after past events I couldn’t really blame him for being weary about someone that was supposed to be dead.
“What happened that night?” I finally asked.
“I went to go pee,” he began. “After I went to head back, Regina, that girl from the bar I was telling you about, found me. She was all over me, then the next thing I know I wake up in some old barn.” I blink rapidly taking this all in.
“Where have you been these past few weeks?” I asked, my excitement of his being alive taking over.
“Here and there. I’ve just been traveling around. I have so much energy lately. Bria you had better get over here and give me a hug that’s way overdue.” I chuckled slightly and strode over, engulfing my best friend in a hug. I could feel Julian’s eyes on me the entire time. I pulled away from him moments later. “So who is this?” He was referring to Julian.
“I’m Julian,” Julian introduced himself in an icy tone.
“And he’s your?” I furrowed my brows unsure of how to answer that question, as I returned to my place next to Julian. Quite frankly I wasn’t sure what to call Julian.
“Boyfriend.” He thinks of himself as my boyfriend? The thought made me smile. “If you’ll have me.” The last part was directed toward me. I faced him.
“Of course, I’ll have you,” I told him with a smile. He returned my smile instantly, but it was sort lived as he looked from me to Jake. “Stop. He’s not going to hurt me.” My voice was in whispers as I spoke. Julian bent down, his lips just inches from my ear.
“How could you possibly know that?” His whisper was so quiet that if I hadn’t felt his breath in my ear I’d have assumed I’d imagined it.
“He’s my best friend. He would never hurt me.” Julian looked at me. I could tell he wasn’t convinced, but he didn’t press any further.
“Now, Eliza, where’s my hug?” He asked. Eliza looked at him and then at her bloodied self.
“After my shower,” she replied. He ignored her and engulfed her in a hug. Eliza looked so small next to him and it made me wonder how small I was compared to Julian’s muscular frame.
“Okay, now you can shower.” She laughed slightly.
“You can borrow some of my clothes,” I told her.
“Okay.” That was the last thing she said before making her way toward my room.
“So, Bri,” Jake began, grabbing my attention. “How did you and Julian meet?”
“We met the night you supposedly died,” Julian answered.
“He was there for me that night,” I added. “He’s saved my life.”
“From what?” Jake asked.
“This Regina lady you were telling me about came out of nowhere one night in an alley by the bar,” I explained. “She was going to kill me if Julian hadn’t saved me.”
“So Regina’s dead?” I nodded.
“It was the weirdest thing! There was some weird glowing light and—”
“Bri,” Julian said, cutting me off. “You had a long night that night and you imagined some things. Nothing happened that night in that alley we talked and it started raining so I took you home. Nobody tried to kill you that night.” What was he talking about? I know what happened that night. It was the same night we first shared an intimate night together. I remember everything about that night.
“Julian, I know what happened that night.”
“I think you must have imagined it.”
“No! I know I didn’t!” I couldn’t believe this. “Things happening in this town are really weird and I know I’m not imagining it!”
“Let’s not talk about this here,” Julian whispered calmly. “We can talk about this in your room.” I nodded. Julian took my hand.
“There are blankets and pillows in the closet there by the entertainment center,” I told them, before allowing Julian to lead me into my bedroom. “Julian, please, just tell me what’s going on around here. I know what I saw that night. I know it was real.” He placed a hand on my cheek, caressing it gently with his thumb.
“I know you’re not crazy, Bri,” he said finally.
“I know you know what’s going on.” He stopped caressing my cheek and took my face in his hands. “So tell me. Tell me why there are people dying and bodies going missing. Explain to me how Jake could possibly be alive when I saw his body. Explain why Regina had those nightmare snake eyes. What was she and how did just vanish in a bright gold light?”
“I can’t explain any of those things, but it’s important that you tell nobody about anything you saw or heard that night.” I sighed and took his hands away from my face and took a seat on my bed. “Don’t be upset with me. Please? I want to tell you. I want to tell you everything, Bria, but I can’t. I’m not allowed to tell you anything. I’ve broken so many rules already.”
“Then what’s one more, Julian, please? Please, tell me.”
“I can’t. I’ve broken too many rules just being with you the way I am. That alone; it’s not allowed in so many ways.”
“What do you mean?” He bent to his knees in front of me and took my hands in his as he studied my eyes.
“Being with you so intimately and loving you the way that I do, with such intensity, I’m breaking the biggest rules we all have.” What did he mean? Is he trying to tell me he can’t be with me?
“So you tell me you love me and then tell me you can't be with me and for what? Some stupid 'rules'? That’s not fair!” I could feel the unwelcome tears brimming in my eyes.
“It's not like that and it's not that simple Bria. I am dangerous. You want to know what's not fair? The physical danger that comes with being with you, the danger I put your heart in every time I touch you, that’s what’s not fair. It’s not fair to you that I’m so selfish with you that I can’t bring myself to keep you away from loving a monster like me.”
“Monster?” How could he say something like that? The man on his knees in front of me couldn’t be a monster.
“A monster.” He said. This time his eyes were brimmed with tears and it broke my heart to see that. “That’s what I am, Bria. I’m a monster.” Tears fell unwelcome down my cheeks.
“How could you say something like that? You’re not a monster.”
“I can see that you love me and it’s because you love me the way that you do, that you don’t see it. You don’t want to see it. You don’t want to know that the thing that you’re in love with isn’t a human, but a monster that doesn’t belong in the world you live in.”
How could he call himself a thing, when he looks, breathes, and talks the way I do. How could he call himself a thing when his heart beats in the way mine does? He’s not a thing. He’s Julian and even if he’s being literal when he says he doesn’t belong in the same world I live in, he’s still a man; the man I’ve fallen helplessly in love with, regardless of what he believes.
“How could you say all those things? You’re still you. No matter who or what you are, that won’t change. You’ll still be the same Julian I’ve come to know. The same Julian I’ve come to love. Your heart beats the same way mine does. Monsters and things, they can't love. They have no emotions. But you, you can. That makes you nearly as humane as I am.”
“Stop that!” He exclaimed, letting go of my hands and returning to a stand in one fluid motion. “Stop making me into something good! Stop making me out to be the good guy! That’s not what I am! I'm not good, and especially not good for you! I have killed people, innocent people!"
"But, you saved people too! You've saved me! Time and time again, you've saved me!"
"That doesn't justify the things I've done, Bria, it doesn't work like that! You know nothing about the monster I am!”
“Then show me. Show me what I don’t know.” He inhaled deeply and emotion flooded his tone even more than in his eyes.
“I would like nothing more than to tell you, but as I’ve said, I just can’t.” His tone was calm now.
“I didn’t say tell me. I said show me.” He looked at me for a brief moment and shook his head, chuckling.
"Show you?” He asked. I nodded.
“Show me. Show me the monster you claim you are. Show me your world.”
“You’ll have to figure it out, Bri. I can’t just show you.”
“Then help me figure it out?” He chuckled softly.
“You don’t give up do you?” I shook my head.
“Give up, at least for tonight.” He stared into my eyes. “Please?” I sighed in defeat.
“Only for tonight.” He chuckled softly and took my hand. I smiled as he softly traced his thumb across the top of my hand. I could feel the warmth of his skin against mine and it was a magical feeling. He placed a gentle kiss on my knuckles and then one on each finger.
Julian tugged gently at my hand and I got up from my bed in immediate response. He pulled me closer to him; my body inches away from his, my heart raced being so close to him. The things this made me feel just with a simple touch were nothing compared to anything anyone has ever described; even in the novels. It was far better. He placed his hand on my jawline and I leaned my face further into his hand and placed my hand on his as stroked my cheek with his thumb.
“The things you make me feel,” Julian murmured softly. “It all makes breaking the rules so worth it.” I bit the left side of my bottom lip and smiled.
“The things you make me feel,” I muttered to him, “I’ve never felt such a desire to feel a simple touch of someone’s hand until I met you.” I searched his eyes as I spoke. He answered me with a smile.
He slowly bent his head down and placed his lips against mine. I stood on my tip-toes in immediate response and wrapped one arm around his neck pulling myself closer. He released my hair from its hair tie so that it falls freely down my shoulders in perfect ringlets. With my free hand rested against his muscular back. He walked forward, leaving me taking steps backward until I was pressed firmly against the wall; his mouth consuming mine completely. I pulled away, unable to breathe, my heart racing so fast it felt as if it were to explode from my chest. I let my neck tilt as Julian worked his way down my jaw, leaving a trail of delicious kisses. I felt his teeth against my neck as he left little nips.
“Mm,” I moaned softly.
“Your skin tastes delicious, ” he whispered against my neck. He lifted me up, I instinctively wrapped my leg around his waist. His mouth kissed and nipped my neck once more and I groaned softly in blissfully, sweet pleasure. I tangled my fingers in his hair and tugged gently to the right, his head tilting in response. I placed sweet kisses on his neck trailing to his lips. He nipped my bottom lip gently as he looked into my eyes. His mouth returned to my neck nipping my skin softly, then it grew harder.
“Ow,” I groaned in pain. He didn’t stop. He began sucking on the bite mark and the pain grew. “Ow, Julian, stop. That hurts.” He looked up at me. His eyes grew darker and darker by the second. I raised my hand to my neck and pulled it back taking a look. A small amount of blood was on my hand. I looked back up at him. His eyes appeared black, they were so dark. His canine teeth were long than they used to be and they came to a pointed end, as if he had fangs. I laughed slightly.
“You think this is funny?” He growled as he pinned my arms to the wall and put my feet on the floor. I tried to escape his grasp but his grip was too strong. I struggled against him and his grip tightened.
“Ow!” I screeched. “Julian that hurts! Please stop! This isn’t funny anymore! Stop it!” He chuckled maliciously. This was starting to freak me out.
He wasn’t joking. As hard as it was to believe, what I was seeing was real. Before I had any time to react, Jake busted through the door, grabbing Julian by the shirt and throwing him across the room. Julian was up on his feet and in a crouching position before I’d even had time to blink. Jake looked over at me only it didn’t look like Jake. What I was seeing in front of me looked like a wolf man hybrid thing.
His eyes glowed a golden color, nose was elongated into a snout, and his ears were long and pointed. He had hair everywhere and had the canines of a wolf. This was a lot to take in and it seemed as if an hour had passed, but it’d only been a few seconds. He looked from me to Julian in an instant, baring his teeth and snarling. A low growl came from Julian’s lips as he too, bared his.
“Both of you stop it!” I hissed, putting myself between them. “That is enough!” Jake looked at me. His eyes calmer as he transformed back into Jake before my very eyes. Julian stood from his crouching position and he too returned to normal. “Oh, my God.” was all I could manage. I couldn’t believe what I’d just witnessed. “Are you alright?” Julian asked. He was the first to speak. I nodded hugging him. “I could have killed you.” He didn’t touch me. I took his hands and wrapped them around me.
“But you didn’t and that’s all that matters to me.”
“No it’s not. You should steer clear of me.”
“Are you kidding me?” Jake snapped. “He nearly killed you and you’re just going to forgive him like it was nothing?!”
“It was nothing,” I said. “Jake, just go.”
“Bri" He began to protest.
“No. Just go.” He sighed and walked out.
"Bri " Julian began but I cut him off.
“Stop. I’m alive. That’s all that matters.”
"Bri, I’m too dangerous. I’m a danger to you and everyone in this house.”
“I don’t believe that.” He sighed and tangled his fingers in his hair.
“I don’t,” He trailed off. “I don’t have the strength to stay away from you.”
“Then don’t. Don’t stay away.”
“I have to. You have to tell me...tell me that you never want to see me again.”
“No. I can’t say that. Seeing you like that, yeah, it scared me, but it’s who you are. I love you, Julian. Fangs and a thirst for blood doesn’t change that and it doesn’t change who you are. You’re still you and Nothing can change the way I feel about you.” I searched his eyes.
“I could kill you at any moment. I don’t have control over it.”
“I trust you.” I placed a hand on his cheek and stroked it softly with my thumb.
“Don’t.” I bit my lip, contemplating my next move. I knew what I had to do to show him how much I trusted him. I tilted my neck to the side exposing my wound. I knew he smelt the blood that was previously shed when his eyes darkened and his fangs appeared again.
“Bri!” He began. “Don’t!” He turned away from me and was at the wall within a millisecond.
“I trust you. Drink.”
“What?” He said, scrunching his face in confusion as if I were speaking another language.
“Drink.” I repeated. His eyes widened.
No!” Jake protested, rather loudly might I add, walking in. “No way! I’m not allowing this!” I turn to look at him for a brief moment, silencing him, then turn back to Julian.
“If you get out of hand Jake will stop you.” I tilt my head and move my hair. “Drink.” He inhaled sharply and bent down. I felt his fangs pierce my skin once more. I gasped at the feeling. He sucked on my neck as he drank from my veins. It was an intensely arousing feeling that left chills down every part of my body. He placed his hands against the back of my neck as he brought my neck closer to him. My mouth was agape as I moaned softly.
“Ew, I can’t watch this,” Jake said. Julian pulled away from me a few brief moments later, my blood staining his perfectly shaped mouth.
“You’re either really brave or really stupid,” He whispered as he wiped away the blood on his lips. I chuckled.
“I guess you could say I’m little bit of both.” I smiled. I rose on my toes to place a small kiss on his lips.