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Darkbeam part i, p.11
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       Darkbeam Part I, p.11

           Adrienne Woods
 
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  We went straight to Sam’s house and partied all night.

  Phil handed me my cut. It was a packet of Fire-Cain.

  “Phil,” I looked at him.

  “I’m not trying to get you hooked on this, Blake.” He came to sit down on the couch. “You know how calm the darkness is when you use. I’m trying to help you hold on.”

  I nodded.

  I didn’t want to get hooked either, but he was right. The beast wanted me to fail. It was its plan from the beginning. It had tricked me into doing all sorts of shit so I would think that was what it needed to stay calm. And then it snatched it away.

  Using a dirty razor blade from his wallet, Phil neatly cut us each two thin lines on the coffee table in front of us.

  “To better times, Blake.”

  “To better times.”

  Then we snorted.

  I crashed in one of Sam’s guest rooms. When I woke, I couldn’t remember much from the night before. My head wanted to explode.

  A girl with long, red hair and plenty of curls had caught my eyes. She didn’t have one freckle, but there was a huge purple bruise on her shoulder.

  A brunette was on my other side; she had a bruised arm. I lifted up the sheet and found a third girl sleeping under the covers.

  Three?

  Her neck carried the imprint of my hand.

  A cold finger rushed up my spine and my stomach turned. I had to get out of this bed, but my head was about to split in two.

  The high was one hell of a rush, a rush where I didn’t give a shit about who got hurt and who didn’t. But the low? The low was bad.

  I pushed my legs off the bed and could feel in my muscles that I’d had sex last night. Rough sex. A lot of it.

  I closed my eyes. Images jumped in front of my eyelids. Naked bodies everywhere.

  What the fuck happened?

  I pushed myself up and found my pair of jeans mixed up with leather pants, dresses, and fancy tops. I found my button-down shirt and almost tumbled over. I literally saw double.

  The room stopped spinning eventually and I forced myself up and put on my shirt.

  I kept glancing at the naked girl’s bruises.

  I did that.

  I was a monster on the high.

  I opened the door, my shoes were in my hands and the house was quiet. I had no idea how I was going to get back to the Academy, but I couldn’t stay there. I had to get out of this place.

  I lay low for the next few weeks.

  I felt stupid that I hadn’t accepted his offer. Remembering what Samuel said to me in the limo... it was all biting me in the ass right now.

  I could’ve gotten something out of this. I could’ve saved and maybe bought that beauty in the window of Andy’s bike shop. It was the most gorgeous piece I’d ever laid eyes on. Some called them sex on wheels. For me they represented freedom. The more exhilarating the better.

  I could’ve.

  I shouldn’t think about the what-ifs. They didn’t exist. No matter how vivid the dreams were, they would never become real because she didn’t exist.

  She couldn’t.

  I pushed the freckled face to the back of my mind when Lucian came in.

  He didn’t limp anymore. I hated the fact that he had opted not to heal like the rest of the humans did in Paegeia. It was stupid, the way he spoke about the pain, remembering it.

  He was never going to tame me.

  The nausea was present again but I could handle it slightly better. Thinking of it as a weakness had done the trick. My darkness didn’t like weakness. After that, it was easier to get closer to Lucian for short periods of time.

  I still barked at him a lot, a conversation style that couldn’t be easy for him.

  “Hey,” he greeted.

  I barely looked at him.

  He didn’t take any notice of it anymore. There wasn’t disappointment in his eyes like before and he didn’t ponder or huff each time I attempted to ignore him.

  He was sort of growing up. Maybe King Helmut had a weighty conversation with him about thinking twice about claiming me.

  He was the crown prince of Tith. His future was more important than a thirteen-year-old’s promise.

  I took a deep breath and my stomach turned slightly. I closed my eyes and make a mental note. No deep breaths when he is close. I let it out slowly. Trying to ease the roiling of my stomach.

  One could hope that Lucian would break his promise and never try and claim me again.

  I went to bed well past midnight. I struggled to sleep. When I woke up the next day, I found a silver envelope on the floor.

  Lucian was still sleeping. It could be for him, but it didn’t stop me from getting off the bed and picking it up.

  My heart flipped as I saw my name on it.

  She was summoning me again.

  I still felt like a shit for what I’d done to her. I hadn’t even spoken to Tabitha since that day.

  Master Longwei could’ve easily forced her to meet with me. I hoped that it wasn’t that, but it was possible.

  Time crawled. I hated my sweaty palms and lack of concentration. Not that I really had any concentration to begin with, but I felt so wired. I didn’t know if it was seeing Irene again or the darkness creeping back.

  When the time finally came, I packed up my books and walked out of the classroom before the professor could say anything.

  I reached the tower, dreading each step. Why was I so nervous?

  It was times like this that I wished I already had my sight—my Moon-Bolt ability. To know what was going to happen.

  I reached out to knock on the door.

  “Enter,” she said before my fist connected with the door.

  She always knew. It was scary yet amazing at the same time, how strong her sight was.

  I opened the door.

  Her eyes immediately found mine and I looked away, back to the door as I closed it.

  Please, no more fighting.

  Neither of us said a word as I skulked toward the chair.

  She grabbed her pipe and lit it. She didn’t do that in front of others; the pipe held weed. You could smell it a mile away.

  She took a few drags as she took the opposite chair at the table.

  My eyes fixed on her.

  The smoke blew out in a big white puffs. The smell of weed filled her room, it made the hair on my arms rise as I inhaled.

  She put the pipe down and looked at me. “I’m sorry I acted like a little girl.” She pinched her nose.

  “You okay?” I asked.

  “Slight headache.” She frowned slightly and looked at me again. “I don’t want to fight.”

  I got up from my chair and sat on top of the table in front of her. I bent down and hugged her. Her hair smelled like strawberries mixed with honey or vanilla. This sweet scent had become one of my favorite smells.

  “I’m sorry, too. It was stupid and I thought maybe Master Longwei wouldn’t get suspicious if I was with a girl my own age. It meant nothing.”

  “I got that through the little visions I do catch of you. It’s so hard to see where you are going lately.”

  Why couldn’t she see my fate? It didn’t make any sense.

  “Is it the reason why you are getting the headaches?”

  She shrugged. “I have to force it lately.”

  “Why?”

  “I don’t know. I guess it’s got to do with who you were created for, Blake. Even though your true rider doesn’t exist, their blood is attached to yours. They still protect you, like Al used to protect your father. And I guess the more peril your soul is in, the harder it becomes to see.”

  I nodded. Why was I even trying?

  She stroked my arm. Then her hand touched mine and our fingers intertwined.

  Silence filled the tower.

  Finally, Irene stood up in front of me. I stared at her for a few moments and then our lips touched. The kiss was soft and gentle at first, but soon it turned into something much stronger, a hunger I couldn’t ign
ore.

  We shared a cigarette afterward. The beast was satisfied again. Finally.

  I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to get another chance with Irene. She wasn’t the type of woman who gave those out easily. I knew Moon-Bolts, and giving second chances was one of the hardest things for them.

  “I need to go.” I pushed myself upright. I swung my legs off her bed and grabbed my boxers from the floor by my feet.

  As I pulled them on, her hands traced whorls on my back. Her soft lips caressed my skin. Goosebumps flushed over my body.

  I smiled.

  “You were right about the girl.” She was resting on one arm, the linen covering her perfect breasts.

  “I don’t follow.”

  “She’s a great distraction when it comes to Master Longwei, Blake. We’ll need that if you want this relationship to succeed.”

  What? Was I hearing her correctly? “You want me to see Tabitha?”

  She smiled. “Yes, I guess that would make you the luckiest guy under this sun. Having two girls to do whatever you want with.”

  I chuckled disbelievingly. “You’re insane.”

  “No, I mean it. He cannot know, Blake. If he thinks you’re dating the Snow Dragon, it’ll be much easier to see one another.”

  I squinted.

  “She’s going to expect certain things from me, Irene, if I’m going to pretend to be her boyfriend.” I pushed out the hated word.

  “Then give it to her. I’m not the jealous type, as long as you promise that you know where you belong.”

  The beast liked that. She didn’t say to whom I belonged; she said where. She wasn’t possessive. The fact that this was so forbidden heightened everything times ten.

  “Okay, but I swear if you get upset with…”

  She lay her finger on my lips and brought her face real close to mine. “I won’t fight.” She kissed my lips while her finger was still there.

  This was so hot. She was hot. I wanted more. I growled as I pushed her on the bed and pinned her down again. My boxers disappeared instantly and in a few seconds, I groaned. Pure euphoria.

  I finally made my way out of her tower.

  Today had been insane. It seemed too good to be true.

  Sure, Tabitha was by far the most beautiful girl in school, but not on the school grounds. Irene was way above her.

  I entered my room to my Cammy’s light flashing. I had like twenty missed calls from Isaac. I listened to the voicemails. He sounded desperate to get a hold of me. A gig.

  I sure could use the money and wouldn’t say no to the high of performing, either.

  He picked up on the first ring.

  “Hey bud, you looking for me?”

  “It’s a big one, some rich kid’s eighteenth at Jimmy’s. The theme is vampires and werewolves, some book or movie that’s the big thing right now.”

  “Seriously, vampires?”

  “You’re a dragon, I’m sure vampires won’t be that difficult.”

  I shook my head.

  “Money is really good. What you say?”

  “Yeah, sure.”

  We said goodbye after he gave me the date: this Friday.

  It was nice to be back with Irene. She made me feel less dark. More worth saving. Friday came fast and before I knew it we were getting ready in the VIP section of Jimmy’s club. I knew this pub like the back of my hand, with its booths, small kitchen, the stage, and one mother of a dance floor. We owed a lot to Jimmy; everyone knew us because of him—that and the fact that I was the Rubicon.

  “I look like shit,” I muttered to Isaac, staring at myself in the mirror. My fangs were fake, my clothes were costume-ish, my hair was teased to ridiculous heights.

  “You look like Count Dracula mixed with Elvis,” Isaac joked.

  “Suck your blood, blah, blah, blah,” I joked. The band laughed. “It’s time.”

  We walked out of the VIP room, down the stairs, and onto the stage.

  Longbottom’s was packed. The banners that hung on the walls all read “Happy Birthday Lee.” It must be nice to have a rich daddy.

  “Are you ready?” My voice boomed over the speakers. They cheered and Isaac counted down with Ty hitting the drums.

  The first song burst into life.

  We sang about eight, then took a break. My voice wasn’t used to full gigs anymore.

  It was nice to finally be back with the band.

  We downed a few shots to get our throats all nice and warm.

  Then a knock came on the VIP door. Ron, one of Jimmy’s bouncers, opened it.

  “Hi.” A guy’s voice.

  Ron grunted something.

  “I’m Lee, the birthday boy. May I please speak to Blake?”

  A weird feeling, almost like déjà vu, crept into my gut. I’d heard that voice before, but I don’t know where.

  He walked in. He had stubble on his chin and ruffed-up hair. He extended a hand to me.

  I hesitated. Where did I know him from? My memory was great, but this guy was a walking mystery. Yet I got the feeling that I knew him.

  “Do I know you?” I asked.

  “I don’t think so. This is the first time we’ve met. I’m Lee. It’s my birthday today. Thank you so much for playing, dude.”

  “Part of the job,” I said.

  “I was wondering if a few of us could, you know, hang with you guys for a few hours.”

  “Hang with us?” I repeated.

  “Sure,” Ty said. “As long as you bring girls.”

  I looked at Ty and then at Isaac.

  “Blake?” Isaac asked.

  “Fine, whatever.” I took another shot as Isaac chatted with Lee. I knew him from somewhere but I had no idea where. I never forgot a face and this was going to haunt me.

  Lee left as our break ended. Time for act two.

  I found myself on the back of a yacht. It was a beautiful evening. A warm breeze blew against my face. I felt different. Content, happy... over-the-top happy. Shit, I knew what this was. It was one of those dreams.

  She wasn’t here though.

  I looked around. A party unfolding. I could hear Ty and Isaac’s voices, even Lucian’s and others I didn’t know.

  In the corner of my eyes, I caught a figure.

  “Blake.” Lee looked different.

  “You shouldn’t have come back. She’s doing great without you.”

  She? Without me? What was he talking about? But dream Blake didn’t share these questions; he knew exactly what was going on here.

  “And yet she is spending all her time with me.” I sounded so cocky even to my own ears.

  The dream faded.

  I woke up as the sunlight peeked through the curtains. My dreams couldn’t be where I knew Lee from. That didn’t happen? Did it?

  Reality seeped through. Although I didn’t see the redhead at all this most recent dream, I felt achingly lonely. My dreams were so messed up.

  Still, last night wasn’t so bad. After the show, we drank a lot and I ended up crashing at Isaac’s.

  Missy was sitting next to my bed. I could feel her yellow eyes on me before I even opened mine.

  “You know it’s rude to watch people sleep. Creepy too.”

  “I really don’t care. You know you’re hot, right?”

  I chuckled. That was Missy for you. No filter whatsoever. She was intimidating in a good way. If she hadn’t been Isaac’s sister, it would’ve been a completely different story.

  I got up and asked her to hand me the sweater by her feet.

  She picked it up and tossed it at me. “My dad made breakfast. Food’s getting cold.”

  She left as I pulled my arms into the sweater. I stepped into my jeans and went upstairs to the kitchen.

  That dream about Lee still occupied my thoughts. For the love of me I couldn’t place where I knew him from. Maybe Irene would be able to help.

  Isaac and Missy’s banter came from the kitchen.

  “Good morning Blake,” Yuri, Isaac’s dad, said.

&
nbsp; “Morning, sir.”

  “Long night, I presume.”

  “Hard one.” My voice cracked.

  He laughed as Missy handed me a plate. Isaac was frying eggs. Balancing an egg on the spatula, he walked to where I sat and plopped it onto my plate. “Five more?” he asked and chuckled.

  I dished up some bacon, hash browns and sausages. Isaac’s dad knew how to serve a mean breakfast. The kind that clogged arteries for sure. The best kind.

  We ate as Yuri kept throwing around topics. Only then did I realize how long ago we’d actually talked.

  I missed my father. He hadn’t been one for a long time. Would this wedge between us ever disappear?

  We finished, washed up, and went back down to Isaac’s room.

  He picked up his guitar and strummed it. I smiled. He always played—didn’t matter if it was for fun or for a gig, Isaac always had a guitar in his hands.

  He was born to play.

  He fell onto a beanbag with the guitar still secure in his arms. “So, have you thought about an album for ‘Never-Breath’?”

  I looked at the floor. “Inspiration is dry, Isaac. We have the single. It should do great for a while, don’t you think?”

  “The people want an album, Blake. We’ve got three great deals if we can just whip up ten more songs.”

  “Whip up? You make it sound as if I just have to drink water, pore over a dictionary, and voila! You have ten new songs.”

  Isaac laughed. “Think about it. That’s all I want. We need at least one more album, dude.”

  Need. Before what? I got what he was saying, though. Before I became dark.

  “Fine, I’ll think about more songs. Speaking of, I actually do have the beginnings of one. It’s called ‘Forever Last.’ I only have a few verses, but if you want to hear it…”

  His eyes lit up. “Fuck, sure. Hit me.”

  I closed my eyes as I tried to arrange my memory to the words I’d written in my journal.

  Mind, heart, and soul.

  Should be good, pure as gold.

  Darkness free was my forecast.

  Because I’m evil, I’m fading fast.

  I’m forever lost.

  I’ll be forever last.

  We jammed all morning. Around noon, I left Isaac to tinker with the song. He was in seventh heaven.

 
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