The Darker Side of Me
Why did she have to be so bitter? The better question was why couldn’t I get her out of my head? She was fabulous, up until the heel of her boot sliced through me. She was right. I definitely remember what that felt like. The silver lining of her stiletto heels burned against my skin as it sliced clean through me. Skewering me like I was nothing more than a slab of butter. Oh, but I remember other things, more pleasant things. Like the way her skin tasted of strawberries. How her hair smelt of peppermint, and the silky-smooth caress of her flesh against mine.
If I were to be truthful with myself, I’d say the first thing I think of when I see her red tresses out of the corner of my eye, is how her eyes glowed the night she was turned. I don’t doubt she’ll hate me just for being there when she finds out, but I’ll take my chances. The Ancient One put me in that predicament. It’s not as if I had known what game he was playing. I was his prisoner just as much as she. As far as I’m concerned, she got the better end of the deal.
Sure, she’d changed her hair, and her looks. She was a small thing when the Ancient One grabbed her off the street. She wore an outfit of a beggar boy. Her hair was in a messy brown mass on top of her head, dirt smudges on her face, and the most amusing look was in her eye after she’d come to. I hardly recognized her in the bar six months ago.
It took a good three hours of sweating against each other; in the bathroom, down the alley, and eventually in my bed for me to notice the same look of excitement and anger in her eyes. Awakening had done wonders for her character. Turning a small stubborn hunter into a tall, sexy, immortal creature and it suited her. I also had to admit, red turned me on.
It figured no matter how hard I tried to stay away from her, it didn’t work. I stumbled into her fight with a notorious vampire in an alley in the Central District. Then from Lincoln Park to Harbor Island, and again in the Industrial District. She seemed to be looking for someone to pummel. If I were smart I’d have stayed away, but I’d never confess to being smart.
Instead I sauntered up to the fight just as Ravana ran at her opponent. She flung herself at him, her legs flipped up and wrapped around the vampire’s neck, then she was upright again, and the nightwalker was lying in the ground, her silver dagger sliced against its throat. The flesh at the edges of the laceration began to smolder and dissolve like it had been doused with acid. I almost missed her flip around another vampire, and when she removed herself from his body he was strung upside down by a chain wrapped around his ankles.
“Can’t get enough of me, can you?” She asked, but instead of answering I leaned against the building. Casually crossed my arms in front of me. “How do you keep finding me?”
“I just used my GPS. Had it set to bad-ass-bitch.”
“Massimo, what do you want?”
“You. Just you.”
“Well, that’s not going to happen.”
She turned to walk away from me, but I wanted her to know what she was walking away from. With quick agility, I reached her before she could leave. My arms wrapped around her body, holding her tightly to me. My face close to her hers. Her red-bottomed heels keeping us at a level height.
In a hushed breath, I asked. “Why, why can’t you accept this?”
“I’ll accept it when I fix you,” she pivoted in my hold and before I could blink I was pinned against the Smith Tower, her forearm pushing my shoulder blades against the building.
“What do you mean, fix me?”
“Kyron seems to think this is reversible. If the Ancient One saw fit to make methis way, he can change you as well. If not, then maybe we can find the formula ourselves.”
“Emerick is not just going to hand it over.”
She moved two feet away from me. “Emerick? How do you know his name?”
“He held me captive, working his experiments on me for over a year. How could I not know his name? He held me there afterward, while you got away.” I took a chance and moved next to her again, but didn’t touch her. “How is it you got away?”
“I didn’t get away. I was abandoned. Much like I want to do to you right now.”
“You’re willing to fix me, to make me like you, so you can stop denying what is between us. Yet, you can’t even stand to be in my presence this way. Why?”
“Your everything I was ever taught to despise. Even though I can’t remember my life before, I remember that. Yet, for some reason, I can’t bring myself to kill you. I have an overwhelming need to take you in me again, but my nature won’t let me.”
“I don’t have a problem with what I am. I don’t know that I want to be fixed.”
“Well, then maybe you need to turn off your GPS.” She turned to leave me, but I couldn’t let her have the last word.
“Maybe you need to just kill me.” I moved to her again. The dagger from her thigh plunged into her hand and I wrapped mine around hers. I held the tip of the blade to my neck with our hands and scratched the skin. I could smell the flesh before I felt the burn.
I watched as her nostrils flared, her eyes grew wide and glowed and unnatural green. “What are you doing?” She gasped.
“Why not? All I am is a constant reminder of what you could have become had things been different. The one thing you were raised to loathe. Well, guess what. I was raised the same way. I came to terms with it. If you can’t, you should just kill me now.” I hit my skin once more with the metal in her hand.
“No.” She pulled her hand from mine and the sound of metal hitting the ground filled the air. I looked at the silver object at my feet, backed up again and she was gone.
I couldn’t say why I grabbed the damned thing, or why I shoved it in the pocket of my trench. I just know it was an extension of her that I could keep close. Even if it was something that could kill me. It could kill me, but for some reason, she couldn’t. Or wouldn’t.
Dust lifted from the blankets piled in a clump on my bed as I let myself fall into them. I didn’t bother to undress. There was really no need. Sure, there was a comfort thing to consider, but I didn’t particularly feel like being comfortable. I stared up at the ceiling. The spackling had split from years of abuse. I suspected my neighbor to be well over three hundred pounds by the way he stomped about. The small spray of white that floated down with each step he took. Some nights I swore I could see the mushrooms growing steadily from the ceiling where the last water leak sprung in the night.
“Why don’t you live somewhere nicer?”
I bolted upright at the sound of his voice. The soft hum of his tenor. He was hidden in the shadows. His white teeth glowed from behind red lips. I don’t know how I missed the smell before then. Oh, yes, I do. Ravana. Damn her.
“What are you doing here?”
“I came to see a friend about a goat.”
“Don’t piss me off. I’m not in the mood.”
“Have a little tussle with a certain red-head?” He wiped the fresh blood with a cloth from his chest pocket.
“I all but offed myself with her hand.”
“What do you care? Why are you here anyway?”
“I just thought you’d like to know a certain red-head is looking for a certain Ancient One.”
“I know.” I blew out a breath and laid back on my bed. “Now, I know why.”
“You don’t seem excited.”
“Ya think? Why would I want that?”
“To get close to the one thing you can’t have.”
“I can’t have ice cream, you don’t see me buying a dairy farm? Just get the hell outta here, Sebastián. If she ever saw you here, then I’d really be done for.”
“Very well. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
I sat up again as the breeze from his movements hit my face. “You didn’t,” I yelled but it was no use, he was long gone. “Asshole!"