***SPOILER: you should read Darkness Calls (book #1 in the Blood Secret series) before you read any of the chapters for Against the Light that are on the blog***
Shaking my head, I cleared the thoughts bouncing around frantically. “What made him change his mind? We both know how he gets when his mind is set on something, and I don't see this as something he would easily cave on.”
“Well that's the thing. I have a friend who knows the young healer here in Seraphrost,” he began, but I was sure I misunderstood.
“Chicago you mean?”
“Nope. Surprise,” he said cautiously. “Welcome to Seraphrost.” He smiled, but it was strained. I couldn't make anything out over the last week from, what looked like, the inside of a psych ward room. I assumed I was in Chicago where I should be living. The dark curtains were drawn down over the one window in the room that sat way up by the ceiling. My curiosity spiked in spite of not wanting to be here.
“Right. We'll get to that I guess?” He nodded and continued answering my first question.
“So the young healer...I kind of had her do me a favor and slip your dad something in his dinner last night to knock him out for awhile so I could come in here.” Cam's eyes searched mine wearily, and I burst out laughing. “I don't know what you think is so funny, he's gonna be pissed if he finds out.”
Laughing felt good. Normal. Something I had missed in my life recently. The barrier that naturally went up after everything with Jesse started to slip gradually, but as soon as I sensed the change I slammed the brick wall back up. Emotions made people weak and got people hurt.
“Ari, you were slipping and fast. No one believed our bond was strong enough to put you through seeing me, but I knew better. They can crucify me for all I care, but I couldn't wait around any longer when I knew they weren't doing anything to actually help you.”
Cam maneuvered his hand inside the blanket, and his fingertips rolled over the skin at the bottom of my back tracing small circular patterns.
“Cam,” I leaned away from his touch, and the pain etched in lines surrounding his eyes pulled at my fractured soul, but I couldn't give in. “This isn't going to happen. Ever.”
“That's not why I'm here.” His hand receded from my skin and he wrapped the blanket tightly back in place.
“You say it isn't, but we both know otherwise. Look, everyone in my life lied to me, kept me in the dark and put my life at risk.” Darkness provoked me, hooked its dark claws into every pore of my body dripping itself into me. “Shit happened and it changed me more than I want to admit or talk about right now. I want to forget, Cam. Whatever I have to do to get back in school for my senior year and just move on...I'll do what I have to,” those last words escaped my lips as a promise.
“Then that's what we'll do.” The pause seemed to put substantial space between us. “Ari, you have to know I wasn't allowed to tell you anything. I didn't think I could do anything other than what I had. Yes, I should have tried to figure something out sooner, I get that now. But,” pools of blue sky urged me to understand. “I'm here. I'm not going anywhere, and now you know what I literally couldn't speak about before so there will never be secrets between us again.”
I wanted to tell him he was right, take his hand in mine, look deep in his eyes and reassure him that I would be fine, that I wasn't losing my mind. He knew though, knew I couldn't say those things because they weren't true, not anymore. Cam just lowered his head and slowly shook it in disappointment.
“ Right. Well, I know your dad has some people he wants you to meet here, then I'm sure you two can sit down and figure something out.” A sarcastic laugh came out louder than I anticipated. Cam expected miracles if he thought my dad would give two hoots about what I wanted for my life.
“Yeah, we'll see.” My gaze moved back to the chair in the corner and I saw clothes there. Suddenly I wanted nothing more than to get out of this bed and take an actual shower.
“I had some help, but I knew you'd want to shower and clean up the second you,” he stopped short not knowing how to continue.
“The second I what, Cam? Woke up to my old self again?” My eyes narrowed on his. That thought made me laugh even harder. I wasn't the same warm hearted, wanting to spend all my time with my best friend, get good grades, good girl as before. That ship sailed along with the innocence I lost over the summer.
“No, I just thought you'd want to get dressed, go out and about...thought I could show you around Seraphrost.” One thing I'd never deny is that smile, the one he reserved specifically for me because he knew it made my heart race and my knees weak. Even though I felt less like myself than ever before, his smile had the effect he was hoping it would.
“I'll let you show me around Seraphrost if you promise not to leave my side when I confront my dad. You have to tell him you think it's the right thing to do, for me and you to go back to school. Finish our senior year, that you'll be there every step of the way to protect me and see that I don't die.”
“Um, yeah, I mean...obviously I'd stay with you and protect you,” he eyes searched mine like he wanted to say more, but I cut in before he could.
“Because that's your job, Cam. To protect me and nothing else.” I walked past him into the bathroom and started the shower. Ridding myself of the gown I'd probably had on since arriving felt amazing. Bruises were lined all along my arms and down by my ankles. Considering how often the nurses had to strap me down it surprised me I didn't look worse.
The scalding water should have burned my skin, but I barely felt the warmth. I closed my eyes envisioning the heat and soap washing away all the blood from my hands and the darkness staining my soul.
Tears streamed down my cheeks, and I tried to let go of those horrible pictures stuck in my mind of my last moments with Jesse. When it stopped working I called on darkness to bring a sense of him. In it I was closer to him. People lied to me my whole life, my life was at stake, and I was a Collector. Any one of those things would change a person tremendously, but have all three happening at the same time and it's no coincidence I'm a different girl than before.
I walked into the room in my towel to have a little fun with Cam and get out of my head for a while. His eyes about bugged out of his head when he saw me. The towel was big enough to wrap around me, and it covered all the important parts, just not much else. Usually my face turned an embarrassing shade of red, this time his did the honors.
My eyes lingered on Cam as I walked past heading to the chair where the clothes sat. Lust emitted from him as he moved to stand behind me. Strong, warm arms circled my waist, pulling me back against him so I was flush against his chest. My hair swept off my shoulder as his fingertips brushed my skin, and the smell of sunshine on a warm summer morning engulfed me.
My head rolled to the side, his lips met my skin. Soft and gentle they caressed the length of my neck from my shoulder up to my jaw. Turning quickly, my chest pressed into his. Magically the towel fell to the floor, and a mischievous grin fell on my lips. Cam's eyes dropped slightly, but there wasn't much to see since we were pressed tightly together.
His hands started at my bare shoulders and made their way down my exposed back, goosebumps marked my flesh with the effect Cam had on me, and his lips came within centimeters of mine. I called darkness, winding it around his eyes like a blindfold as I snaked my way out of his grasp.
“That was fun,” I laughed, prancing for the bathroom with my clothes in my hand.
This manipulating darkness to get what I want wasn't so bad. I used to feel the Guardian's light within me, but a connection to the shadows was my present. Whether by choice, a subconscious decision to link myself to Jesse, or by evolution of what I needed to keep myself alive, I wasn't sure.
I threw on my gray skinnies, a white tank with a loose fitting black tank vest over it, and my well loved high tops. My hair hung in super loose beachy waves down my back, but I didn't have the means to do anything to it right this moment, so I headed back out to the room. Cam sat on the end of the bed waiting for me.
He sauntered over to me, eyes locked on mine. I took a couple steps back, surprised by the intense sexy smoulder in his eyes making my legs want a mind of their own. He followed until he was inches in front of me. My arms hung down at my sides but I couldn't break the hold his gaze had on me. Cam linked his fingers with mine, walking me back until I felt the cool wall touch my skin.
Cam deliberately lifted my hands up the wall at a minute pace. Warm breath caressed my cheek, his mouth moved to the corner of my lips, but didn't touch me. Both my hands were locked in one of his as his free hand made its way down the length of my torso scantily touching areas he never dared to before.
His lips hovered over mine now, my pulse began to speed up as his tongue traced my bottom lip. My hands were no longer held by his but they didn't move. One of his hands grabbed my hip tightly pressing me into him, while the other tangled in the hair at the base of my neck. Anticipation of his lips on mine grew, I was at a breaking point. My hands wound around his neck, and he eliminated any area of space between every millimeter of our bodies.
And then he let me go, walked toward the door, and moved to leave me in the room alone. He took all the heat from my body with him, my breath left me behind to follow him, and my heart beat faster remembering the places his hands just touched.
I grabbed his wrist turning him around to face me. “What the hell was,” I was flailing my hands all around in front of myself. “That?” I demanded, pointing with aggression back to where we had stood seconds before.
“You know what. That little stunt you just pulled, that's what.”
A sultry smirk played across his lips as he looked at me with hooded eyes. “If you want to play games Ari, I can play games. Don't think for one second I don't know what's going on with you because I do. But if you want to use the darkness to try and toy with me, or make yourself feel better, or whatever other reason you can get yourself to believe is good enough, then by all means, I'll use the lust and the want you have for me deep down. Notice I don't have to use something I'm not against you, like you using the darkness. I'm pulling your true emotions out of you. Too bad you can't say the same for yourself.”
“Oh piss off, Cam. I can do what I want whether you like it or not.” I leveled him with daggers shooting out of my eyes.
“And I will take advantage of your new found bad girl persona whenever you want to let it loose on me. Making you hot, knowing you want me,” he stepped right to me wrapping his arms around my waist as his voice dropped low, warm breath caressing my cheek. “Knowing I can turn you inside out in ways you could never imagine,” his lips were at my ear making me feel every word throughout my entire body. “I'm more than happy to play along and give you whatever you need.” Pulling back he winked at me, giving me a heartbreakingly gorgeous smile.
If I wasn't careful I was going to get into some serious trouble. I honestly didn't know what I was doing. I knew the light and goodness in me wasn't as strong as it used to be, and therefore the darkness stepped in and filled the void. But, I would never be like the Watchers in Andaemon. Bottom line, I'd begun to get comfortable in my hybrid-blooded self.
Growing uncomfortable under Cam's gaze, I shifted my eyes away breaking the hold.
“Let's go and see Seraphrost,” he said with a smile lighting up his entire face, and he took my hand. I yanked it away shooting a glare in his direction but he didn't care, he just chuckled and took it again. This side of Cam, this confident, physical, expressing his want for me side caught me off guard.
“You keep this crap up Cam and I'm going to unleash darkness in droves.”
“And I'll be right here with the light to bring you back from the dark side.” He was serious now. “Always and forever, Ari.”
I rolled my eyes at him, smacking his arm as we left the room. One nurse tried to stop us, telling Cam she was calling my dad immediately, but he waved her off and kept walking. There were obviously things he wanted to show me before we were chastised by my dad, so Cam kept moving not giving the nurse a second glance.
*** This is an unedited chapter...please excuse any typos as of now!!***
© Heather Wiginton December 2013