My Life isn't a Fairytale prt 23, a short story by J.Morgan. Date added: 2012-03-01. Times viewed: 527.
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I looked up at her, biting her lower lip to stay quiet. She was also holding a small ice pack that I gave her, against the side of her face, to keep the swelling down. “He came at me. He wanted me to give him what I gave you. I told him I didn’t know how, but he didn’t believe me.” She let the icepack down and touched the back of her head. “He slammed me against the mirror shattering it. I don’t know how, but I got hold of a piece and then May got in the way, it's all a blur but I caught his face when he tried to grab me again.”
I moved too fast making her flinch as I went around. Right where she had touched a moment ago was a large lump that was split and bleeding, just a little. The heat inside of me flared, I roared away rushing to the door. I knew I wanted to hurt Taranis, I wanted to tear him apart, but I stopped at the door. My hand gripped the metal handle, while I tried to slow my rapid breathing. If I did what I wanted, I would ruin everything. I couldn’t. Hitting my head off the door I roared all my rage out, it echoed in the room like a hurricane threatening to tear into whatever got in its way. My vision doubled again, forcing me to clench my eyes shut.
“Drake?” Beth’s soft voice carried across the fathomless void I was drifting inside, a sweet lilt, where only animalistic urges thundered. Short bursts faded into smooth breaths, I had to fight against the need to destroy, to bite and claw and kill. I was on the verge of losing myself.
No. I couldn’t allow myself to do that. Not here, with Beth so close. “I’m sorry,” I said turning my head just slightly, not wanting to look at her. I slid down to the floor and leaned against the door staring at the ceiling. How many days and nights had I done the same, wondering if I would ever be strong enough to lead? Now I knew I wasn’t worthy to lead, how could I be when it was obvious how weak I am? To fall for a human woman, run away when I lost Sienna, there were countless examples to attest that I was not worthy.
“Can I ask you something?” Beth spoke up from across the room. I could hear how tired she was.
“Ask.” I didn’t look at her, I’m unsure why, perhaps I knew how I must appear. Unhinged, an animal who was on the verge of flipping out and tearing the place apart.
“If this is your mark…then that means…what about Sam? Was he a part of this?”
I didn’t even pause. “No. No I was just lucky. Whatever got into him to take you to get a tattoo, it was just coincidence. Dart was my man, I had him change the mark and offer a more appropriate placement.”
I heard her sigh with relief and closed my eyes again. Hearing faint footsteps coming towards the door I got up from the floor brushing off my clothing. I couldn’t look upset or weak, appearing weak can be a death sentence if it is in front of the wrong person. I opened the door before the knock came startling the woman who was holding a tray and had clothes draped on her arm. “Forgive me for taking so long master but..” I raised my hand stopping her babbling. I was in no mood and it was obvious she was newly entrusted.
“It’s fine.” I motioned her inside. Wearing a tan maid like dress she put the large tray on the bed-stand and with a passing glance at the shivering Beth left the clothes and scurried out with a quick murmur to me. I closed the door.
“You must really enjoy that.” Beth’s voice was bitter, “Everyone bowing and scraping to do what you want. Why did you ever leave?”
“Because my father is the one who killed Sienna,” I snapped. I walked over to the clothes on the bed, a black button up shirt and a knee length skirt that happened to have a slit up the thigh. Good enough. I turned away. “Get dressed, then you can eat.”
I suppose I shouldn’t have been upset about the clothes that were brought. At least it wasn’t a slinky number like the dress, but still. I did get out of the wet clothes, carefully trying not to use my injured hand too much. It throbbed every now and then when I flexed it or bumped it. Drake didn’t leave, but he did turn away looking out the window, never once hinting that he would turn. In fact he was stiff and seemed angry. If he was angry with me I wasn’t sure, but I was trying not to care at the moment.
The button up shirt had rectangle buttons that were giving me trouble, my injured hand was too stiff to help the other. I grunted but the button slipped out of the hole again. It didn’t help that my bra was wet or that I was exhausted. I could smell the food on the tray but I wasn’t about to go around with an open shirt.
“Arh!” I sat hard on the bed wanting to cry. I was just so tired. “You would think that t-shirts are endangered around here!”
Drake sighed and I could tell I had interrupted his thoughts. “My father prefers a more formal environment.”
I could still remember the hatred in his eyes when he told me that it was his father who killed his sister. Yet now he just sounded as tired as I felt. “Yeah well I could care less what he wants. I still can’t figure out why you care.”
“He is my father,” Drake said with yet another sigh. “Besides, he’s the one keeping us alive.”
My finger slipped again and I groaned, “Stupid button.”
Drake turned around and walked over, making me freeze. I wasn’t sure what to do when he began buttoning up my shirt. I was sitting on a bed, his bed, I was marked with his mark. “Why did you have Dart put your mark here?” I gently touched my shirt where the tattoo was, healed oddly. He stopped on the third to the top button, his eyes fixed in a place that was making my face begin to burn.
“The mark itself means only that you’re attached to me. Its placement decides how important that attachment is.”
“And what does it mean?”
His green eyes met mine, there was something in them, something different that I couldn’t figure out. “It makes you a Kon, the highest level of confidants to our people. They are….our closest allies. They protect us, serve us…we share our thoughts and sometimes…” His eyes flickered away and he quickly did up the next button and turned. “…our beds.”
The little blossom of heat in my face bloomed and flared. “So you made me your concubine?” I stood up shaking. “You made me your hooker!”
“We don’t pay the Kon, they live here..”
“So I’m not even a paid hooker, I’m just a slave. That’s even worse!”
“Don’t be ridiculous.” He turned on me. “You know I would never…”
“Never what?” I interrupted him stepping forward. “I don’t know you. I thought I did….” Tears burned down my bruised face.
Intensity teemed in his eyes when he grabbed the sides of my head. A slight twinge of pain in the side of my face was pushed to the back as he closed in on me. “Listen to me. There is no way I could ever express how sorry I am. I will not argue with you about this, but it is necessary that you learn what will happen, so that you can survive this.” His touch lessened and he sighed hard letting his hot breath wash over me. I wanted to believe him, I wanted to let him hold me and forget everything that had happened. I wanted to, but I wasn’t sure I could.
“If I was the one, who was the cause of everything, then why did you make me go with Sam?” I asked suddenly. The words just came out, I wasn’t sure why or how he would react.
His expression went from stern to soft, almost despairingly vulnerable. It was hard to decipher which face was truly his, the hard feral temperamental one, or the one that was intense and caring, or if they all were. He drew back, his fingers falling down my cheeks, the warmth of them shooting through me before they dropped. “You should eat. You’ll need your strength for tomorrow.” His cold expression was back and he went back to the window.
I eventually ate and slipped into bed with a full stomach. I did hesitate, once I realized that there was only one bed, but Drake never moved from the window, I wasn’t sure if he needed to sleep. Instead of striking up yet another conversation that would inevitably end with me or Drake getting angry, or both, I just turned off the lamp and closed my eyes. I listened for a while, afraid he would try something, then cursing myself for thinking it. I held onto the need to hate him. After all he was the reason for all of this wasn’t he?
No. It was all me. If he’s right, then I caused this. So now I have to be a part of this world. But I’m not going to bow or scrape, I’m not one of these people that will debase myself for another. They’re not gods or even godlike. If anything, these Draconians were just animals.
What about Drake? A little voice whispered.
I forced the picture of his raging just a little while ago, when he saw the bump on the back of my head proving my claim, roaring, growling and scaring the hell out of me.
But he was only angry because someone hurt you.
Or maybe it was because someone touched his Kon. I am his property right?
As I fell asleep I could still hear the voice in my head, it was my voice, and yet it began to change.
Standing in a dark room that had heavy red curtains draping across the floor I shivered, my breath coming in clouds. Wind berated me, beating at my skin like a thousand needles. I realized I was wearing that dress May left for me, spaghetti straps, lace and silk. I rubbed my arms and didn’t feel even a twinge of pain from my hand that was still bandaged. I felt something and heard a faint breathing from somewhere. “Hello?”
“You’ve come.” A raspy, slightly terrifying voice echoed.
“Who are you?” I walked forward, getting a sense that the voice came from in front of me.
I thought I saw for a moment a form huddled on the floor but when I blinked, it was gone. My entire body began to shiver, my jaw trembled, I bounced a little as I walked to try and stay warm. I know I mentioned how much I hate the cold. “A little petal on the flower,” the voice laughed and I stopped walking. “Petal floating high, the wind is blowing by, dropping into a pool of mother’s blood.”
Okay my shaking wasn’t just from it being cold anymore. “What do you want?” I asked the darkness turning and looking around, the presence I felt seemed to be surrounding me.
“What do you want?” the voice echoed amusedly, but then turned to a sob. “I want……” It groaned and began to cry so loud I had to cover my ears. “You’ve come!” The wailing grew and I fell to my knees trying to block it out. The fear I felt was so thick I could taste it like an acid burning my insides and turning them into quivering jelly.
“No!” I flew up in bed, surrounded by darkness, terrified. “Drake?!” I called out for my one hope that I wasn’t alone, if I was alone then the presence would consume me, hurt me. “Drake!” It would come for me. I knew it, I searched in the darkness huddling closer to the headboard of the bed curling into a small ball. I felt a movement on the bed. My first thought was that it was that presence, whoever he was, he was going to hurt me. I was about to run when its hand caught me, I was cold, but it was hot, burning. I screamed. “No!”
“Beth, it’s me.” Drake’s comforting voice washed over me and I broke. Tearful and sobbing I launched at him, I didn’t care about anything but feeling safe. My arms wrapped around him as I cried, shaking I felt his arms encase me tentatively. “It’s alright. What’s wrong?” I wanted to answer him, to tell him, but I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t feel anything but relived that the voice…. and whatever was attached to it, wasn’t going to hurt me as long as I was close to him. I tightened my grip and slowly tried to calm down. All the while he rubbed my back and hushed me, telling me it was alright, that he wasn’t going anywhere.
I felt his breath in my hair as he kissed the top of my head, rocking me back and forth. All pretense and defenses were cast away in that moment. I felt my breathing smooth and I opened my eyes to the pitch blackness, the sense that the presence was surrounding me, was gone. I lifted my head to peer up at his face, though it was so dark I could only make out the vague outline. “I’m sorry,” I said sniffling like a big baby that I realized I was; freaking out over a dream, even if it was terrifying and more realistic than I have ever felt.
Drake didn’t say anything, the lingering of his touch withdrew leaving me alone in the dark. “Wait,” I said quietly. “Will you stay close, until I fall back asleep?” His movement stopped and I got the impression he was frowning though I couldn’t truly tell. The silhouette of his face was barley a silver lining from the moonlight. He sat back down on the edge of the bed near me, the weight of him indenting the mattress was a comfort.
As I managed to calm down, I realized how strange I was. One minute trying to convince myself I hated him, the next calling out for him to protect me. I lay down on my side, staring at Drake’s dark form, his face was aimed towards me, but his eyes were covered in shadow, the eerie sight somehow didn’t frighten me. His masculine form reminded me of the dreams I had back at Sam’s apartment, there were only glimmers, but I remember how safe I felt. “Why do you stay?” I asked him finally, my voice breaking the heavy silence.
“I am never far from you,” he answered turning his head towards the windows. What was so entrancing out there? Was he wishing he could be free of me? I could see now the curve of his nose and lips, the outline of them like a painting, with contrasting colors of blue, white and black. “Try and sleep, the brothers have probably arrived and will want to see you in the morning.”
Tucking my hand carefully near the side of my head I asked, “What will they do to me?”
His head dropped. “I don’t really know. But you are too valuable to damage, so I wouldn’t worry. But you have to behave, my father isn’t a forgiving man and the brothers are the oldest of us, they are the ones who have shaped the way we live and believe.”
I wanted to cringe and shrink into nothing. Why was this happening to me? I closed my eyes forcing the need to cry away. I felt the blanket being pulled up over my shoulders and Drake’s hand brush against my cheek. I sighed. Well, there was no point in worrying over it now. I just hoped that I didn’t dream again.
I watched the sun come up over the town, the rooftops were a familiar sight, though there were a few additions that had popped up over the years. I had been listening to Beth’s rhythmic breathing, like the sound of my heartbeat, she would be waking soon. Too many things were uncertain for me to relax, I couldn’t allow things to get out of hand.
Beth yawned, but I didn’t turn around. What was I going to say? Good morning? I heard her slip out of bed and pad across the floor to my side, from the corner of my vision I could see her, the bruise that marred the face I had come to know, had deepened and come full to the surface, and yet somehow her eyes were bright, teeming with determination. “I can’t decide how I feel,” she began, staring through the thin lace curtains. “Whatever we have, or don’t have, I’ve decided to trust you.”
I was about to thank her when she turned to face me, her mouth pulled into a thin line. “This doesn’t mean I forgive you, or that you can expect me to fall into your arms whenever you wish it.” She took a breath and almost lifted herself up to my height. “I’m not a concubine, and don’t think that we’re going to be sleeping together anytime soon, or at all.” I opened my mouth but she continued. “I don’t know why this is happening to me, but you better not let me down.”
I smirked which seemed to surprise her. “Yes mam.”
After that, breakfast came and she ate, her clothes were wrinkled and slept in and yet she managed to straighten herself out by the time the knocking came. “You never did tell me how the fire started,” I said just before walking to answer the door.
Her cheeks flushed. “I was trying to burn the dress they gave me.” It was obvious by her tone and expression she hadn’t meant it to get so out of hand. I pushed my hair back with an annoyed huff. “Why not cut it off?”
I shrugged, “The second I shift forms it’ll grow back.” My hand twisted the knob and I smiled seeing Taranis standing there. The cut on his cheek was barely a scratch, but for some reason the fact that she had caused him even the slightest pain was suddenly very amusing. He seemed to know what I was thinking and glared at me.
“It’s time for the Pet, to be taken to the brothers.”
I reached out to the side and waited until Beth’s hand took mine. “Lead the way,” I said to Taranis who glanced a moment at Beth. I could see the lust in his eyes, he wanted her manna, just as they all would.
“I will take her myself,” he said, eyes never breaking from hers.
I stepped in between them forcing my brother to face me. “I don’t think so. I’m not going to let you try again to defy our father.”
Taranis smirked darkly. “Whatever that little tripe told you….”
I frowned. “Be careful Taranis. We aren’t children anymore, I won’t stop at a broken bone.”
“You think that I haven’t grown since the last time we fought brother?” Taranis shot back. “I think you’ll find I’m more of a challenge than I was back then.”
“You’ve gotten better since yesterday, when he put you down?” Beth spoke up defiantly.
Taranis glared, hatred boiling in his green eyes. “Your Pet needs to learn manners.”
“You won’t be the one to teach her.” I snapped, tightening my grip on her hand. Eventually Taranis growled and turned.
“Father is waiting, the brothers got here last night.”
As we walked I felt her grip tighten, I tried to comfort her, but there was nothing I could do, not in front of Taranis. Through to the next building, we walked in silence, Beth’s scent growing more pungent with fear, but also I could feel a tingling where our skin touched. I glanced a Beth, her eyes were intent on the floor. I gave her hand a squeeze and that seemed to shake her out of whatever thoughts she was consumed by. The tingling stopped. If she had given me her manna again, it wouldn’t have gone over well with the brothers. Though it would have been proof that she was a Carana, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t have survived the proclamation to see it.
The door to the grand room stood closed as we stopped. I unlatched my fingers from hers and stood straight schooling my features to a cold façade of strength. She would have to get through this, without me.
Taranis opened the doors.
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