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Darkbeam part i, p.14
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       Darkbeam Part I, p.14

           Adrienne Woods
 
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  Maybe I should have asked Arianna; her father was one of the asses who kept denying my request. She was going to attend Dragonia next year, and I was sure that she would be in our room often now that she and Lucian were a couple.

  Finally the three-week break was over and the new year started. Everyone made a fuss about the Princess of Areeth finally starting at Dragonia Academy.

  There were so many cameras, I wanted to fly away. I hated the press. They always showed up at the most annoying times for their pictures.

  “Blake!” Some of them ran in my direction. I put my shades on my face and my hand in their lenses.

  “Tell us, how does it feel to know that the Princess of Areeth is going to try and claim you?”

  I stopped. Turned and stared at the woman asking the question. I laughed. “She what?”

  More rapid-fire questions about Arianna and me. I walked away, laughing and shaking my head.

  Lucian didn’t stand a chance, and there was no way in hell Arianna Kingsley was going to tame me either.

  I snuck up to the tower later that night. I missed Irene. I had to see her.

  She opened the door as I was still climbing up the stairs and then suddenly she was in my arms. Our lips met greedily. Grunts came from deep within. I was hungry, hungry for her, hungry to be inside of her. I was starving.

  I kicked the door shut and took her right there on the floor.

  Her nails dented deep in my skin as I pounded her hard. The sounds from her lips were music to my ears. I could fuck Irene forever and ever. It would never get boring.

  We ended up on her bed sharing her pipe.

  “She could easily claim you, Blake.”

  “It’s Arianna, for crying out loud.”

  “You have no idea who she is. You don’t know her fears. You don’t know anything. Lucian is another story. Him you still know.”

  I got what she was saying. I don’t know Arianna and I had no idea what she needed to hear to back off. “What do you suggest?”

  “I shouldn’t even think this, but she isn’t worthy of you.”

  I liked the way she said it.

  “It’s not a jealousy thing. I would give anything for someone to claim you, but that girl…” She huffed.

  “Yeah, my sister isn’t fond of her, either.”

  “Discover her fears.”

  I chuckled. “Believe me, she wouldn’t tell me, not this close to a claiming. She is a fashion doll, but not stupid.”

  She traced a lazy circle around my hardening nipple. “Not what I meant. There’s something about you. I don’t know if it’s the Green-Vapor coming out.”

  I frowned. The ability had finally come during Summer and it was strong. If I wasn’t the Rubicon, the I would’ve been a Green-Vapor.

  “People tend to spill things around you they normally wouldn’t. You’d be surprised at what she might tell you.”

  “Tell me?” I didn’t follow where Irene was going with this.

  “In bed.”

  My eyebrows rose. “You want me to sleep with Arianna? She’s with Lucian.”

  “Blake, like you said. You are the Rubicon. You’ll need to do whatever it is to not get claimed.

  I was speechless. “You’re serious.”

  “It’s the only way she will spill her worst fears. They used the tactic a lot during war.”

  “I can’t do that to Lucian.”

  “Why? Because he’s such a great friend to you? He used to be. It’s over. You need to think about yourself now. Do you want Arianna to be your rider?”

  “No,” I said, way too fast.

  “Then do this.”

  “And you’re okay with this?”

  She touched my cheek and it was as if her touch just put everything into perspective. “I only care for you.”

  I nodded and gave her another kiss. It lead to another wild session, after which I literally passed out in her arms. Sleeping in Irene’s bed was always blissful. No dreams came, no nightmares, no knights, no redheaded girls. Just serenity.

  The announcement of the ridiculous claiming came over the school PA system the next Thursday.

  I couldn’t help but laugh.

  “Something funny, Blake?” Sir Edward asked.

  “Yes, Arianna does not have what it takes to claim me.”

  He nodded. “And you think her trying is hilarious?”

  “Come on, Eddie, seriously. It’s Arianna. The fashion princess.”

  “Just think how hilarious it would be if that fashion princess became your rider.”

  Students sniggered. I shook my head. This was a ridiculous claim. I didn’t care what they said.

  I found Lucian in our room doing some homework. I felt bad about what Irene had suggested, but the beast was enthralled.

  “You should tell your girlfriend she is going to get hurt. It is not too late to take back her claiming.”

  Lucian laughed. “Oh, I told her that many times. But Arianna has a strong mind. She’s not far from believing what I do. One of us will claim you. That is a promise.”

  I laughed. “You don’t know what you’re talking about. None of you do. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, Lucian.”

  Later, I found the two lovebirds in the cafeteria.

  They couldn’t keep their hands off one another.

  I shouldn’t do this. It’s Arianna. She wouldn’t have what it took anyway. But Irene’s words kept pounding in my mind.

  What if she found a way to get the upper hand? I couldn’t show her hell, or whatever her fears were, because I didn’t know.

  It was the only way to get it out of Arianna.

  The next day I found her having breakfast with some other girls.

  I plunged down on the pillow opposite to her.

  I met her eyes and held them in my gaze.

  “What do you want, Blake?”

  “Oh, you know. Just getting acquainted a bit, Arianna. If you’re going to be my rider, I need to know a few things about you first.”

  She gloated. Of course she would. “Like what?”

  “I don’t know... what you like, what you don’t like, that type of thing?” My voice was as sweet as honey.

  She blushed but flirted back. “Well, knowing someone that intimately, Blake, takes time. Patience is the key. I’ll show you everything in due time.”

  “Is that a promise?” I flirted.

  “You bet,” she said.

  I got up and left.

  This was going to be easy. Arianna didn’t give a crap about Lucian. I would do him a huge favor.

  “What’s your worst fear?” I whispered in her ear as I slid in and out of her slowly.

  Getting Arianna to follow me all the way to the library wasn’t hard. It was actually the opposite. Less than two days and she was eating out of my palm.

  She wasn’t a virgin, but she wasn’t an experienced lover, either. She was lazy.

  “Being naked,” she whispered back through deep breaths. “Scorpions, spiders,” she laughed. “Being poor. Being a nobody. I need to claim you. You are mine.”

  She started to get rough, and so did I.

  She didn’t have what it took. Not one bit. She was shallow. Her possessions were what she feared losing, her status. Not the ones she loved—or pretended to love.

  I finished and kissed her one more time as I buckled up my trousers. I had to wear a condom this time because she was human. She could get pregnant and that was the last thing I wanted. “I’ll see you in the ring.”

  She chuckled. “You bet your sexy ass.”

  “Oh and another thing,” I said before I left. “I’m a very jealous dragon.”

  She narrowed her eyes. She’d get it. Hopefully she would tell Lucian the truth.

  I actually felt sorry for her. She was going to learn the hard way just how dark and twisted the Rubicon was.

  I went back to Irene. I used her shower to get rid of Arianna’s scent, which still clung to me.

  “It’s done, what is her fear?
Irene asked near the bathroom door.

  “She’s shallow. It’s her possessions. Scorpions, spiders. But the first is her worst.”

  “See? I told you it would work.”

  “I hope so. I felt bad for Lucian though. He really liked her.”

  “He’ll meet someone else. I’ve seen it.”

  “What?”

  She left the bathroom. I finished my shower. I needed to know what she’d seen. Was he really going to be happy with another?

  I wrapped the towel around my waist. No need to get fully robed; it would just disappear in a few minutes anyway. I walked out and found Irene’s eyes lingering on my body with lust.

  “He’s really going to find someone?” I had to know and she snapped out of it.

  “He will. Not anytime soon, but I’ve seen him happy. Like true love, making others sick, type of happy.” She came toward me and put her hand gently on my cheek. “I promise.”

  Our lips touched again. The kiss was passionate.

  I knew what Arianna’s fear was. I’d done my friend a favor by showing him how little he meant to her, and I had this amazing dragon to call my own.

  Her robe disappeared and so did my towel. The rest was one hell of a trip.

  The day of Arianna’s claim drew near. She hadn’t told Lucian yet what she’d done. What we’d done.

  I left her a note, reminding her what I was. She ignored it, so I took matters into my own hands. Lucian needed to know.

  “You are a dragon,” she said.

  I smiled and pretended not to hear a word that she was saying and just wanted to kiss her. She wasn’t just a fashion doll. She was a snake. Lucian needed to know about her snaky ways.

  “Blake, stop.” She chuckled. “I’m the Princess of Areeth. I have to marry…” I didn’t let her finish and planted my lips on hers.

  We were by the staircase that led to the gym. It was a dark corner.

  “You drive me insane.” She started to unbuckle my pants.

  I had to admit, this was actually fun. I lifted her skirt and dispensed of her lace panties as I pushed myself inside her again and again.

  “What the fuck?” I heard Tabitha’s voice.

  A small smile tugged at the corner of my mouth. Mission complete. I raised my voice in defense. “This isn’t what you think.”

  “Arianna?” Tabitha asked.

  “Tabitha, wait!” I feigned panic. I buttoned my pants and buckled my belt as Tabitha stormed off.

  “This is not happening.” Tears filled Arianna’s eyes.

  “You going to cry?”

  “No offense, but I am dating the Prince of Tith,” she snapped.

  “Well he didn’t mean that much to you a few seconds ago, now, did he?”

  She spun around with her finger in my face. “I swear to you, Blake Leaf, if you planned this, I will skin off all your scales.”

  I laughed. “You and what army, sweetheart?” I strode past her up the stairs.

  “Tabitha!” I yelled. She needed to throw a scene and Lucian needed to find out the truth.

  I found her in the cafeteria. Tears were pouring out of her eyes. I pulled her back by her arm and she hit me in the face.

  “I fucking hate you. When is this going to stop, Blake? Why her? She is shallow and only cares about the fashion tip of the week.”

  “I know. I’m sorry.”

  “Is it because she is royalty?” she yelled.

  Okay, that I didn’t expect. This scene was a bit too much.

  “What?” Lucian’s voice.

  I turned my head to where his voice came from and only saw his fist. It connected hard with my face.

  “Not again,” George grunted as Lucian lunged.

  “You did what?” he yelled.

  “I did you a fucking favor.” I blocked his kick.

  “Lucian, don’t.” Arianna’s voice came from the door. “It was a mistake. He’s nothing to me.”

  “Don’t touch me. I gave you everything.” His voice broke and tears glistened in his eyes. “I thought you were different.”

  “I am different,” she cried.

  “No, you’re not!” He curled his lip at me, shaking his fist, then whirled and stomped out.

  “Lucian, please!” She went after him, her hair and blouse still askew.

  “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.” Tabitha wiped her tears away. “That’s why you did it?”

  “Enough.” I got up. “I told you before. If you cannot handle my needs, leave.”

  I rushed out the door, and as soon as I was outside, my wings tore through my flesh and the beast took over.

  I’d just broken my best friend. I hoped Irene really did see someone in his life, someone worthy of him.

  The day of the claiming finally arrived.

  Lucian had crashed in Dean’s room the past few days. He hadn’t spoken to me since that day.

  I hadn’t tried either, but Arianna wasn’t right for him.

  Tabitha came with me to the waiting area. I didn’t want to calm the beast this time, to reign in the potential destruction. Arianna was going to learn the hard way that she should stick to fashion tips instead of claiming me. If she died... well. Maybe I didn’t care.

  “It’s time,” Tabitha said and she gave me a tender kiss that I didn’t really want to return. “I said I was sorry.”

  I wasn’t doing this right. What was wrong with this chick? I shook my head and remembered what she was. Cover. I kissed her back.

  I walked out into the Colosseum. It was a royal claiming, so it was choked with cameras and flashing bulbs.

  King Caleb was sitting next to Queen Gabriella. I hated them.

  King Helmut and Queen Magerite were also there, with Lucian seated next to his mother. His eyes found mine. He was still pissed.

  I was not sorry. She didn’t deserve him. She would never deserve him. Even though it hurt, he would get over it and thank me later.

  The crowd cheered as I lifted my hands.

  Then she came out.

  She was wearing a vest and a short gladiator skirt with long boots that reached her knees. Even I could see she was built to last. Her hair was tied back into a bun, sharpening her long, oval face. She was beautiful, but still a snake, and no snake was worthy of me.

  “You and me, let’s get this over with.” A song started to play. Everything about this girl was corny. The song, who she was, all of it was a big joke.

  I transformed. She backed away, eyes widening.

  I doubted she’d really thought this through. According to the size of the last Rubicon, I wasn’t even close to what I would be eventually. But I could see the fear that it instilled in Arianna.

  “There is no you and me,” I spoke in Latin. “But you are right about the let’s get it over part.”

  She screamed and charged.

  I closed my eyes and gave her, her worst fear. The image in my head was easy. One second Arianna was in the ring, the next she was in City Hall. She was in handcuffs. Standing beside her were her mother and father, their hands cuffed too.

  “What is this?” she asked her father.

  “I’m sorry, sweetheart,” I spoke for King Caleb. “I fucked up.”

  Her eye twitched. Maybe he didn’t talk like that, but I maintained the strength of the illusion.

  “Daddy, where are we?”

  “They have sentenced me to death.”

  “No, no!” she yelled. “Please, whatever it is you think my father did, Your Honor, he is innocent.”

  I laughed. So easy. I lay down. This was going to be so much fun.

  The real King Caleb clamped the bridge of his nose as if he didn’t want to watch the scene unfold.

  The queen’s expression was priceless. Gabriella was beautiful but she wasn’t the brightest. Arianna was so much like her mother. She was confused by what was going on with Arianna.

  Arianna was still begging. Everyone tittered. King Helmut and Queen Magerite started looking mutinous.

  “
Stop this now,” King Helmut commanded. The professors came in.

  “Enough, Blake,” Mia said as I spoke the verdict.

  “Just when I was having fun.” I let go of the vision in my mind.

  Arianna found herself on her knees begging. She stopped as she looked around.

  I changed back. “A tip,” I said. “Stay with fashion. Don’t ever try to claim me again, and never reveal your worst fears to anyone.”

  She shot me a look of hurt and disgust. Her eyes filled with tears. She didn’t say anything as I sauntered out of the Colosseum, victorious.

  I actually expected a little more from her. Part of me was actually disappointed.

  Arianna simply wasn’t a match. And I hurt my best friend in the process.

  Lucian finally came back. It took him a week to look at me again.

  “I’m sorry for what I did,” I said.

  “Are you? You have no idea what you have done, Blake.”

  “C’mon, she’s not worthy of you.”

  He chuckled. “Worthy of me?” He shook his head as if defeated. “I have no fucking choice, Blake. I have to marry her. You just annihilated what little affection for her I had. I could’ve made this work, but you just had to destroy everything.”

  I got what he was saying. It wasn’t about whether Arianna was worthy of him. He had to marry her whether he wanted to or not. And he really wanted to love her.

  My actions weighed more all of a sudden. “I’m sorry. I didn’t think.”

  “No you never do. But it’s done. I’ll find a way to move on.”

  I wanted to tell him what Irene told me, but what good would that do? He had to marry Arianna. It wouldn’t be welcome news, so I kept my mouth shut.

  For the next few weeks, I had to make peace with the fact that Lucian didn’t want to speak to me.

  But I also knew he wasn’t going anywhere. He was planning another claim.

  I didn’t know if it was because he was pissed at me. I hated it either way. He refused to hear that he wasn’t the royal Irene had foreseen.

  He was blind and believed in his heart that he didn’t need to be my true rider to claim me. His friendship and promise was enough. But he would never be enough.

 
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