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       Moonbeam, p.26

           Adrienne Woods

  The night progressed way too fast. I didn’t want it to stop. After our swim, we put on dry clothes again as the sun teetered to the west. I put on a low-cut red dress I’d been saving for this party.

  We played thirty seconds. Sammy and I partnered up. We got more or less everything we said.

  Blake, wearing tight, knee-length trousers, a clingy black shirt, and a button-down shirt rolled to his elbows, watched us intently. He and Isaac were ahead by a few points.

  Arianna flirted with Ty. Why was everyone flirting with fucking Ty? We all laughed so hard at some of the things they tried to explain without saying the forbidden words. Especially when Ty tried to explain a word with cock in it.

  As the sun’s rays lengthened, The Shifters played a few songs again. Sammy started drinking like there was no tomorrow. She threw back so many shots, I wondered if she knew what was in it.

  But nevertheless, we drank right along with her.

  “Break time!” Blake announced. He got up, went to the bar, and got himself another beer. A cigarette dangled between his lips. I stayed behind. I wasn’t going to interfere with anything tonight.

  “Elena!” he yelled.

  “What!” I shouted back playfully.

  “Step into my office.” The way he said it made everyone laugh.

  “Yes, go sort your shit out,” Isaac said and all our closest friends clapped their hands.

  “Ass,” Blake grunted.

  He was already walking up the stairs to the roof where Lucian and I had been sitting a few hours before, speaking about the devil.

  I followed him as my eyes caught on Sophie. He probably just wanted to know what her name was.

  I found him lying on his back, gazing at the sunset.

  I sat next to him. This was a gorgeous evening.

  “Her name is Sophie, she is in my classes, and yes, she is a really nice girl,” I said.

  Blake laughed. “For your information, I already know Sophie.”

  “You do?” I asked. Of course he did.

  “Yeah, don’t want to go there,” he said and pushed himself up, hugging his knees, looking at me. “So,” Blake said. “You didn’t get any of my crows?”

  Oh shit, he really wants to talk. “I told you I haven’t. Not one.”

  “I didn’t either, Elena.”

  “I sent you like a million fucking letters, Blake.” I sighed.

  “I did, too. I can promise you Lucian saw me when I sent the one after Mr. Pluggs died.” He fell quiet and looked at his hands. “I loved that monkey as much as you did. Since the first day I first saw him.”

  Tears welled up in my eyes again just thinking about Mr. Pluggs.

  “I wasn’t that big of a douchebag, okay?” he said and pulled me in for a hug.

  “I missed you,” I said. “I really thought you were pissed off with me.”

  “C’mon, you were fourteen years old. You didn’t even get the crow I sent that night?”

  I shook my head. He’d sent me a crow that night? To say what?

  He scowled.

  “What is it?”

  I could see him weighing whether to say the words on his chest. “You wonder…who may be behind this?”

  I blinked. “No. Why? You think it’s someone, like, sabotaging us?”

  “Elena.” He laughed morosely. “Crows are trained to deliver. Unless someone shot them down each and every time over the course of two long years.”

  He had a point. “What are you saying, Blake?”

  He didn’t answer, just sighed. Then he said it. “Your mother is a powerful woman.”

  I tensed. “Why would my mother have anything to do with this? She’s the one who phoned you guys for tonight’s party.”

  “Yeah, that does count a lot.”

  I laughed the way his nose wrinkled. It was always one of my favorite quirks about him.

  The reddening sky glowed on his skin. “I just don’t understand this.”

  I sighed. “It doesn’t matter anymore, okay? It’s in the past.”

  “Just like that?”

  “Yes, ever since I’ve been training, I’ve learned a lot about forgive-and-forget.”

  He laughed and shook his head.

  As the sun sank on the ocean, the sky went up in flames and the ocean turned the color of wine. Words spilled out of us, a floodgate opened. We talked about his darkness, how pissed off he was when he had to take other measures, measures he didn’t want to speak about, because I hadn’t gone to him. We always had this connection. I used to calm him down.

  It was so far-fetched, but here he was at my side, being normal as always. No hint of darkness. Not one.

  We talked about Lee. He teased me about him good-naturedly…like a brother. Not a good sign, but at least I knew where I stood with him.

  He’s still not there. Just be patient, Elena.

  I told him what Lee had done because I didn’t want to have sex, how he went after Clair who had put out. It didn’t even bother me.

  Blake just shook his head.

  “What? It doesn’t!”

  He cocked a disbelieving eyebrow at me.

  I just shrugged. “I made peace with how things are. I just try to have fun.”

  He roared again. “So breaking boys’ hearts is what you call fun?”

  “Oh, shut up. Speaking of boys…what is the—what does Sammy call her? —Ice Queen doing?”

  Blake laughed. “She’s good. Still doing the ice thing.”

  “Oh, good,” I said and finished my drink. So they were still together. “Then where the hell does Soph come in?”

  He laughed again and shook his head. “If I told you, I’d have to kill you.”

  I laughed. “Then you won’t get claimed, so it’s a bit of a situation.” But despite how lighthearted I was, I wanted to know exactly how he knew her.

  My eyes caught on Lee lurking in the stairwell. What the fuck does he want? Blake grinned at my irritation.

  “Sammy’s throwing up in the bathroom.”

  “Ugh.” I looked up. “Your Fire-Tail sister can so not handle her drinks.”

  Blake laughed.

  “I need to go and see if she’s okay.” I got up.

  I reached the stairs and looked back at Blake. “No hard feelings?”

  “What hard feelings?” he said.

  Smiling, I went downstairs in the gathering gloom to the bathroom.

  Sammy was hurling violently. I held her hair out of her face. I tried not to breathe in the horrible smell of vomit. When she was finally done, I handed her a bottle of water, washed her face, and helped her to go back upstairs. We struggled to get up the stairs. She was all legs and no stability, and every rock of the boat sent her tumbling.

  “I shouldn’t have had that last shot,” she whined.

  “Babes, you shouldn’t have had those last ten shots,” I corrected her. She laughed.

  She needed fresh air.

  I opened the door of the deck and caught Blake speaking to Soph. He had his shield over them. I sighed. Anything he wants, Elena. Anything he wants. It wasn’t worth losing him again.

  Lee came over and helped me settle Sammy on a seat. She immediately lay down.

  “Okay, so fresh air isn’t good after all,” I amended. “She needs to go lay down in the cabin,” I said.

  “I’ll help,” Lee offered.

  I glanced over my shoulder and saw Blake hugging Sophie. His shield was still over them.

  Anything. I kept telling myself, but in reality I wasn’t ready for this.

  “You never fucking listen.” Lee gave me his two-cent comment.

  “You’re a fucking asshole. You knew he was here. That was why you wanted to talk so desperately.”

  “I meant every word I said.”

  “Like hell you did.” I felt so angry. I lifted Sammy up. Her head and limbs flopped like a doll’s. Her dead weight was crazy heavy. Lee helped me get her onto her feet.

  She moaned.

  If I didn’t need hi
s help, I would’ve told him to fuck off. To my surprise, I saw Blake hurrying toward us.

  “I’ve got this,” he said to Lee with a smile and lifted Sammy over his shoulder as if she weighed nothing.

  “I’ll show you the way,” I said and led him to the cabin where she could go and sleep it off. I was so happy that he was helping and not the ass. Her head smacked against the wall three times. I scolded him to be more careful. We reached the cabin at the end of the yacht and opened the door. I switched on the light and heard Sammy’s head smack against another wall.

  “Blake!” I said. “Be careful.” I started to laugh when he did.

  “She’s a big girl, Elena. Should teach her not to drink this much.”

  He laid her gently on the bed. I covered her with a blanket I found in the cupboard.

  I tucked her hair out of her face and went down on my haunches and just smiled at her. She was by far my best friend.

  “You think she needs a bucket?” I looked up at Blake.

  “You worry way too much. Let her sleep it off.”

  I tapped her nose. She was seriously a stunner.

  “You sure about Lee, Elena?”

  I got up from my haunches. “Yes, why? He say something?” Lee was so possessive.

  “There were words, but nothing I can’t handle.” He had a huge grin on his face. He was teasing me about something I felt was going to be my biggest fucking mistake.

  I closed my eyes. Lee, you fucking idiot. I opened them. Blake couldn’t contain his glee.

  “What did he say?” I was all serious. Blake just laughed.

  “Nothing for you to worry about.”

  “What did he say?”

  He cuffed my shoulder with a playful fist. “I think it’s really sweet.”

  “I don’t care if it’s sweet. I need to know what he said to you.” I was getting angry.

  “Okay, chill. What happened to forgive-and-forget?”

  “Not that fast,” I chirped. I was ready to go kick Lee’s ass.

  “Just that there isn’t really any room for me in your life.”

  I gasped. Was he out of his freakin’ mind? Blake laughed as I marched to the door. “Relax, Elena. It’s not as bad as you think. The guy just cares about you.”

  “You’re my dragon, Blake.” I groaned inwardly, walking fast toward the end of the hallway. Lee was more than just possessive; he was insane. Then again, everyone had warned me about that. I hadn’t listened. No, I’d just wanted some fun. I wanted to kick my own ass.

  Then one of the cabins opened. Nobody came out. Blake grabbed my arm and pulled me in. He wasn’t going to calm me down. I didn’t care what he said.

  But what happened next…I didn’t expect at all.

  Elena disappeared down the stairs. So, if Lee had come and tried to take her away to help Sammy, then why was the idiot still standing on the stairs?

  He seriously isn’t going to do this, is he?

  I met his stare and squared my shoulders. They were a hell of a lot broader than his.

  “What are you doing here?” Lee had a smirk on his face. “She’s done great without you the past two years. Do us a favor and fuck off.”

  I smiled. He didn’t just say that. Easy, Blake. You don’t want to hurt this guy.

  “There’s no room for you in her life.”

  “Yeah?” I scoffed. “Then why’s she spending tonight with me and not you?”

  He didn’t have anything to say back. I chuckled. He had balls; I had to give him that.

  I walked past him and went downstairs.

  Sophie caught my eye. I had to speak to the girl. To tell her I was sorry for my fucking dog-like actions. I wielded my shield around us. She listened and made me feel extra shitty by being so understanding.

  “She really makes you normal, doesn’t she?”

  “Yes,” I said honestly. “As fucked up as that sounds. She’s always had that effect on me.” I smiled.

  She smiled kindly.

  “No hard feelings,” I said.

  “You serious? None.” She gave me a hug. It lasted a bit longer than I wanted to, but when I saw Elena struggling with my sister, who’d clearly just passed out, I told her I had to go. She smiled as she saw the messy situation. I lowered my shield and went to help.

  “I’ve got this,” I told the ass and lifted Sammy over my shoulder without any effort. Something he couldn’t even do. Wuss.

  Sammy’s head was bumping against every corner we took. Elena scolded me and I just laughed.

  She’d been driving me insane the entire night. That song, fuck, the guys had forced me to sing the song which was all about my happy place, about her. I had to think of something. Now that I thought about it, it had been fucking hilarious, but I’d been so annoyed with them a few hours ago. However, Elena had totally bought it.

  I had to find out where she stood with fucknut. Not that it would have changed anything; I would’ve just upped my game then. But she’d made a mistake, told me that. She’d said she felt nothing for him. And in my experience, girls only admitted they were wrong if they really didn’t want to be in that sort of situation. I should know. I’d heard that so many fucking times whenever a girl was hitting on me and I’d say, “But isn’t that your boyfriend?” Not that I cared, I just wanted to make them feel shitty for what it was they were about to do.

  Elena, well…she was a completely different story.

  I kept staring at her tattoo. Why had she gotten my mark? I would love to know the story behind it.

  We finally got to a cabin and she opened the door. Sammy’s head smacked against the door. Oops. Elena scolded me to be careful but laughed.

  I laid my sister down on the bed. Elena was so gentle with her. She made sure there was water on her nightstand and considered bringing her a bucket.

  I’d missed her so fucking much.

  Lucian was right. That fourteen-year-old girl was gone. Heck, that five-year-old was gone. I had no idea who this person was, but I wanted to know her so badly.

  “She’ll be fine. Just let her sleep it off,” I said and she tapped Sammy’s nose.

  I told her about Lee. She got really pissed off. It was sort of funny. I mean, I’m the Rubicon. I could kill him with a stroke of my hand.

  “I don’t care if it’s sweet!” She insisted on hearing what he said.

  Wow, she was feisty.

  I laughed again. She had no idea what she was doing to me. So I told her. She gasped in horrified rage. Then she gave me what I wanted. She said the words I had been aching to hear.

  “You’re my dragon, Blake.”

  Peace descended on my soul for the first time in twenty-four excruciating months. It was what I needed.

  “Elena, just relax.”

  Fuming, she marched to the door with huge strides.

  I kept staring at her tattoo. I wonder what her mother had said about that.

  I sighed. Lucian was always right. Elena had that dash of trouble. An entire bucket.

  I couldn’t hold my facade anymore. I opened a door with my telekinesis. Startled, she shuddered to a halt. I pulled her into the dark room.

  I shut the door and pushed her against the wall hard. I kissed her.

  Her heart almost skipped a few beats and then it was beating like crazy.

  At first, the kiss was normal, like other girls. She didn’t even kiss me back at first, she was so surprised. But then she did. And this sensation I’d only felt when I snorted Fire Caine flowed through me. It was like I was getting high. She was my fucking fix, too.

  My hands cupped her firm ass and pulled her close. The kiss became faster, deeper. I just couldn’t get enough. She was driving me insane. She kissed me back, her hot breath flowing into me, her tongue vibrating with a barely audible moan.

  My teeth scraped her lips. Animalistic sounds of wanting more escaped my core.

  What the hell was this? I couldn’t stop.

  My hands finally touched her the way I’d wanted to since the minu
te I’d secretly marked her tonight. What had started out as a game had become something much more. Something terrifyingly powerful and totally addictive.

  I pressed her harder against the wall. My fingers scrabbled at the spaghetti straps of that crimson dress of hers.

  She smelled so fucking amazing, like vanilla and sunshine. She tasted sweet on my tongue. Everything was just right. Zero steps away from perfect. Just… perfect.

  My lips left hers. She was out of breath. I grabbed her leg and pushed her even harder into me. A small whimpering sound left her as I sucked on her neck softly. A million goosebumps coursed over her skin.

  My own hormones were skyrocketing.

  “What are you doing?” A husky whisper.

  She was not going to get out of this so fast. She whimpered again.

  “Blake,” she said a bit louder. I stopped and looked at her. “What are you doing?” she asked again with her eyes closed.

  “Are you shitting me, Elena?” I asked and her lips broke out into a smile. A good sign. Then she laughed.

  “I know what this is. I just want to know why.” She opened those striking emerald eyes of hers.

  I smiled. “You’ve been driving me insane since the fucking minute I saw you.” I spoke the truth. I couldn’t lie to her. Even if I tried. I didn’t want to.

  She squinted. “I don’t understand.”

  She didn’t see herself as the gorgeous being she was.

  “Just shut up,” I said. My lips found hers again.

  I had no idea where any of this came from, but all I knew was that kissing him was the best thing I’d ever experienced. My hormones were everywhere, like a pinball going for the high score. My skin sizzled at his touch.

  I didn’t want to stop him anymore. I’d speak to him later. Just enjoy this. I wanted this. I’d deal with the consequences later.

  His hands got grabbier. He lifted my other leg off the floor and placed it around his waist.

  The kissing got easier now that I was a head taller than him, my hands cupping his face. He walked me over to the bed and threw me down.

  I yelped and burst out in laughter. Two seconds later, he was on me again.

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