My Life isn't a Fairytale prt 12, a short story by J.Morgan. Date added: 2012-01-05. Times viewed: 548.
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“Take it easy,” Drake said helping me to sit up. Each movement was pure torture, but I knew if I didn’t drink, I would die. I felt it to my bones, my body was trying to shut down. He put the cup to my lips and I coughed as it went down my throat. I tried to swallow but the taste was so nasty I swear this batch was worse than before. “Swallow it all,” he prompted when I pulled away, unsure if I could drink anymore. My stomach was protesting but Drake wasn’t taking no for an answer. When it was gone I gasped and coughed more, intensifying the headache that was throbbing inside of my skull.
“If I have to drink anymore of that stuff I’d rather die.” I moaned holding my head.
He gave me a half smile he probably meant to be heartening, but it looked more like he was the one in pain. “Just sit there for a moment and let it go through your system. If you’re still feeling the poison I’ll have to make more.”
I cringed at the thought of having to drink more of that stuff. “What is in it anyway?”
“You don’t want to know,” he said setting the cup down on the floor. I caught him looking at Sam and figured he was worried that he hadn’t woken yet.
The room was still spinning but I put my hand on his making him turn to me. “You and Sam go way back don’t you?” There was something in those green eyes that broke, like shattering glass, when I asked him that.
“It’s only been eight years since we first met. But we have been through a lot together.”
“It’s good to have a friend when everything else is going wrong. I know that from experience.”
Drake frowned and stood up. “We’re not exactly friends Beth. Our partnership is based on a promise. He stays around me because I swore that I would protect him from my family and because I make him money, so he can drown himself in women and alcohol.”
I was shocked, I mean they weren’t exactly buddy-buddy, but the tone in Drake’s voice was hard and emotionless. “That’s not true. I know you two are friends. Why else would Sam be so loyal to you.”
“Loyal,” Drake laughed but then it faded and he sighed. “I don’t want to talk about Sam anymore. How do you feel?”
I didn’t want to push, so I took stock of my body. The wooziness in my stomach was gone, I could see straight without the dull ache behind my eyes. “I’m starting to feel better.” I smiled at him and touched my head. My hair felt like straw there were dozens of tangles and probably looked like I stuck my finger in a light socket. “I think I need to take a shower. I probably smell like a dog.”
Drake smirked which was a nice sight after the expression he had before. “Dogs smell a bit better actually.”
I grumped and threw my pillow at him; he held up his hand deflecting it and laughed. I laughed too. “Funny. I’ll need some clean clothes.”
He nodded, with a small smile still tugging on his lips. It was amazing really, he looked like a lizard had a baby with a human, with a cloak that was actually his wings. He wasn’t anything like I imagined a dragon looking like. There was a part of me that wanted to see him fly. He offered me his hand and I took it allowing him to lift me up to my feet. His other hand came to steady me as I adjusted. Most of the dizziness was gone anyway. It was a good sign, right? “I’ll go and get you something from your room while you get in the shower. If you think you can handle it without me.” I eyed Drake up hearing the seductive tone in his voice. This was a change. Or I suppose I was just surprised that he was showing that sort of attraction to me again.
“I think I can manage,” I said lightly, my heart pounding in my chest. I didn’t even know if we were compatible to be honest; physically. I mean from what I saw that one night when I walked in on him, we were, but there was no way to be sure.
He stepped away gently letting go of my hand, heading towards the door. “I’ll be right back then.”
He held my gaze and I began to think about actually inviting him into the shower. “Just leave the clothes on the sink.” I pulled my eyes away from him to force my brain to work.
When I got under the water, I felt the rest of the numbness in my body relax away. I knew then that I was in the clear. I might have to rest for a few days, but I was going to be fine. Of course now my mind was thinking about Sam, and about Aria. She was still out there. The idea made me shiver, even under the hot water. I worked all the knots out of my hair with my fingers and that’s when I heard the door to the bathroom open.
I peeked out from behind the curtain that was mostly clear, and saw Drake’s arm setting a pile of my clothes on the sink. Not once did he peer in.
“Are you hungry?” his voice echoed over the sound of the water, the mist from the hot water was escaping through the open door, letting in a cool breeze.
“I guess, as long as it isn’t that stuff you gave me before.” I commented and the door started to close. “Drake,” I said stopping him, I waited and finally his head came in, his eyes downcast. He really was an interesting man or whatever; one moment teasing me about joining me in the shower, but never pushing. “Thank you.”
His gaze flickered for just a second up to me. “You never have to thank me Beth. I will always be here for you.”
He closed the door.
There was something in his voice that struck me, I pushed my face back under the hard pulsing of the showerhead, my eyes closed and my mouth open. The thrumming on my face helped because I knew there were tears streaming down my cheeks. His words were so ultimately sweet and perfect that I realized something.
This isn’t how I wanted my life. The tears came harder and I shook sitting down in the tub hugging my knees to my chest. My twisted, stupid life had just taken a turn I could never return from. All this time I never once really thought about what it’d be like. I wanted Drake, the human Drake to have this, but now it was so much more complicated. Still, I knew it in the deepest parts of me. I was in love. I loved Drake. My body shuddered as the reality of it sank in. Love was supposed to make people happy wasn’t it? Then why was I terrified?
Because he isn’t human. Because his world is dangerous. Because I don’t even know if we can be together in the way that I want. All these things listed themselves almost automatically. I laughed as the water hitting me began to cool. How many times had I told Janine that love wasn’t some fairytale story where everyone lives happily ever after? Of course this was far more complicated than her obsession with Dog.
I got up finally managing to reign in my emotional breakdown and turned off the water stepping out, my skin shivering involuntarily as a cool breeze hit me from under the door. I quickly dried and dressed. I rubbed the fog off the mirror and looked at myself thinking I should have asked for a brush too. He picked out a pair of Riders and a low cut purple shirt I rarely wore because it was too tight. I used the towel to dry my hair as much as possible before going out.
The steam rolled out with me as I stepped into the mangled upstairs, getting used to the oddness of Drake’s apartment. Seeing him sitting on the chair that he moved, his wings were laying back across the armrests while he sat forward on his knees staring. It was easy to tell at what. A tall, empty glass was set on the shelf across from him. His focus was intent, so much so that as I approached him it didn’t shift in the least.
“Was that Sam’s dose?” I asked quietly, feeling that there was a reason he was just sitting there. Drake’s head nodded infinitesimally.
It was then he looked up at me, and smiled painfully. “He should recover now.” He offered his hand and I took it, the size of it swallowing mine. He pulled my down onto his lap and wrapped his arms around me.
“Are you alright?” I asked him touching his cheek. Up close I could see that his face wasn’t covered in scales, but more like a tough skin that held subtle textures that were smooth to the touch, like conditioned leather.
His hand came up caressing my cheek. I was sitting comfortably across his lap leaning into him as our eyes locked. “Promise me, you’ll never forget this.”
“What do you mean, what’s wrong?”
I watched him breathe in and out as if he was trying not to explode, but I wanted him to. I wanted him to tell me what it was that upset him so much. He wasn’t easily rattled, I knew because of how he handled what happened with Aria. He was able to take care of me and Sam, without being too bothered, even though I could tell he was worried. Instead of answering me he leaned in cupping the back of my neck. Pieces of me wanted to pull away; this was too weird, but the dominant part of me won over and I met him halfway, kissing him with every bit of energy I had, which surprisingly I had a lot. The mythra, whatever it was-was working just fine. Okay so the idea of kissing a guy with scales, spikes and don’t forget wings, seems completely strange. I know. I’m not a furry or anything, but he was Drake; Drake who I met a few months ago and who cooked my supper for weeks, who paid my hospital bills and who took me to the park. It didn’t really matter what he was, because he was Drake.
Of all the times we’d kissed, three I think, if you don’t count the little pecks on the cheek, this one was different. Maybe because he was different from the times before, or maybe, I think it was because I had realized only a few moments ago that I loved him. I shifted myself in his lap so that I was straddling him, his arms encasing me, our bodies pressed tightly together. I wasn’t oblivious to the desperation in his movements, but I gave into them, hoping to draw him into opening up to me. I didn’t care about how strong he was and how hard he held me, the tightness making it difficult to breathe, or the soreness his scales caused rubbing against my skin.
When I broke the kiss he pressed his face into my chest and held me, I caressed his shoulders, never letting him go. His wings came around, enveloping me in the silky softness, further cutting us off to the world. It was like he was afraid I was going somewhere, so I said quietly, “I’m not going anywhere. Whatever is wrong you can tell me.”
Drake’s embrace loosened and he let me go, the world opening up as his wings retracted. He leaned back on the chair, his eyes focused slowly on mine. I froze, suddenly afraid that this wasn’t about me leaving him, but him leaving me. He tilted his head and forced a small smile. “Sam is waking up.”
I looked over instantly and saw him breathing deeply. I glanced back at Drake and kissed his lips lightly. “We’ll talk about this later,” I said with one last touch to his bare chest, or rather his scaled chest. I still noted some missing scales that showed parts of his skin underneath, that was an angry red color.
I pushed the fear that Drake was going somewhere away, when I saw Sam stir. He groaned and lifted his hand putting it to his forehead. “Hey sleepyhead,” I said quietly, knowing for a fact that he had a headache. When his eyes opened and focused on me I smiled big. “You had us worried for a while.”
“Us,” he whispered and that’s when I noticed Drake hadn’t come over. He was sitting stiffly a few feet away looking at Sam in a strange manner. Sam’s hand took mine forcing my attention back to him. “How are you feeling?”
I laughed. “I’m fine, you’re the one who’s as white as a sheet. Give it a moment and you’ll feel like new, well except for the gash in your chest.”
Sam grunted, I helped him as he sat up, his hair was messed and stuck in clumps of greasy dirty blond masses. “The mythra will help me to heal that quicker too.” His eyes slid up with what looked like realization that he focused on Drake, they narrowed. “So that’s why. You were giving her mythra to help her heal faster.”
I looked to Drake wondering what he was talking about, he shrugged. “Maybe I did. I won’t apologize for it.” His green eyes met mine.
“How?” I asked, finally catching on.
Drake’s expression was stone when he said, “Your food.” So that was how I healed so quick from being shot. He cooked all those meals for me and slipped mythra into them. If it wasn’t such a shock I probably wouldn’t have cared. I mean he did it to help me. In fact, I decided it was sweet that he cared so much.
Sam laughed mirthlessly. “So are we going to do this?” The question was aimed at Drake obviously, and the tone of his voice said that it was a bitter subject that I wasn’t privy to knowing about.
Drake’s lip curled up threateningly when he stood and turned away. His hands were curled into fists and his wings weren’t gently laid around his shoulders, but were taught into folds on his back. It was clear he was upset, and Sam knew why. In fact, when I looked at Sam his own posture was tight and angry. His complexion was slowly getting pinker. His blue eyes alight with something I never thought of him showing. Hatred.
I moved away from Sam wanting to keep neutral on whatever argument they were having until I knew the details. “One of you is going to tell me what this is about,” I stated forcefully eyeing each of them, though Drake’s back was still to me.
“What do you know about Drake’s people sweetie?” Sam started barely shifting his glare to me. “What has he told you?”
I looked at Drake, who hadn’t moved, other than his shoulders hunching slightly, almost unnoticeable. I refocused on Sam. “I know what he is, what Arai is.”
Sam frowned almost like an afterthought. Did he expect more? I sat down crossing my legs, getting the feeling this was going to take a while. The adrenaline from my kiss with Drake was wearing off and I was getting tired again. “His people are cursed,” Sam said in more of a conversational tone than I expected. “By a wizard, wasn’t it?” His gaze flickered to Drake but he stayed silent, unmoving as if he’d turned to a statue. “Their true form was taken from them and instead they were forced into this.” He motioned to Drake up and down. “But able to change into human facades to blend in. Since then, almost a thousand years, they have been trying to break that curse.”
Curses, wizards, it sounded crazy, but then after everything what right did I have to believe that. Even so I was having difficulty swallowing what Sam was saying. He continued. “So, after a few hundred years the first sacrifices began.”
“Sam,” Drake growled low, sounding defeated.
“If you wish to tell her, then by all means.” Sam motioned flamboyantly to me, some of his usual energy resurfacing.
There was a silence, like the stillness before a thunderstorm, or after one. I was waiting for the thunderclap to shake me to my very core. It was lingering on my tongue like a bitter aftertaste, waiting for my stomach to churn and purge the bile. “Manna, is the life energy of my people,” Drake began. “Humanity has no need of it, but mine does. Of course, we have our own, but it is nothing compared to what we used to have. Humans are born with manna inside of them, some like Sam, have very little. Some……” I heard him swallow, his head almost turning. “…have an abundance. My people, well most of us, have our own ways of extracting the manna from these rare humans. Vessels we call them. It is believed that if we ingest enough manna it will break the curse.”
I looked from Drake to Sam. “Okay, that sounds logical. I guess.”
Sam sniffed. “You don’t get it sweetie. They kill humans for their manna.”
“No.” I shook my head and smiled easily at Sam. “He just said that humans don’t need it.”
“They don’t.” Drake spoke before Sam could. “But you see, when we take the manna it comes out all at once, severing the spirit’s connection to it; or that’s what I thought.”
“You’re a vessel Beth.” Sam spat standing up, a bit shaky, but on his feet. “He’s been draining you, feeding off of you.”
I was glad I sat down because I would have fallen over in shock. Of course then I decided to stand up, furious, but not at Drake; at Sam. This had to be a lie. “Stop it Sam. I’m not going to listen to this. What is wrong with you? Why are you saying these things?” I looked at Drake who had half turned giving me and Sam a reluctant glance, his green eyes never meeting mine. Horror struck through me as surely as an arrow would pierce my heart, tearing it out on the barbs. “Drake. Tell me this is a lie. Tell me…” My lips trembled. No. I wasn’t going to cry. I wouldn’t. Never. But even with my protests tears bubble as he stayed silent. “Damn it Drake tell me!” I screamed and took a step closer staring hard at him until his eyes met mine.
“It only happened twice.” Drake began and the floor slipped, I couldn’t focus, I couldn’t breathe. I know he continued. I vaguely heard him claim it was an accident the first time.
“What about the second?” Sam asked cruelly. I think I looked at him, but my eyes couldn’t see past the blurry shapes, the sound of my heart cracking drowned out pieces of Drake’s answer.
“But I’m not dead.” I said numbly my mind struggling to find something to prove this wasn’t true. I blinked and clung to this new realization. “I’m alive so that means….” Drake’s gaze trapped me, cutting off my words.
“Beth, I never meant for this to happen; but you should go with Sam. I’ll hunt down Aria, she won’t bother you again.”
Crack. Another deafening sound echoed in my ears. Of course only I could hear it. I went into shut down, it’d never happened before but it’s the only way to describe it. I was an observer inside of a shell. Sam glared at Drake, but he gave a nod, as if he agreed with this whole insane idea! I watched the scene before me, Sam walking around, Drake avoiding looking at me. Before I knew it Sam’s hand touched my arm.
“Come on sweetie.”
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