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       Home, p.23

           J.W. Phillips
 

  Julie’s heart felt pulverized. Emily didn’t even have to look like Julie. Looking like the vixen she was, had gotten her more than her share of Trucker’s attention already. Emily reached over and stroked two fingers over the carotid artery in Julie’s neck and smiled.

  “Trucker have a taste yet?” She leaned toward Julie. “Maybe, he has in your sleep. Then he could have that delicious blood pool in his mouth and read your thoughts, too.”

  Before Julie could comprehend what she said, Trucker launched at them. The crashing of tables and shattering of glass echoed in Julie’s head. It was all too much for her. For the first time, she understood all that was around her. Trucker was not just living in the land of demons. He truly was one, his tricks were not cool, they were disgusting and were designed to cause pain. Julie fell to her knees, pulling at her hair. Her heart hammered in her chest as she took in the sight in front of her. Trucker’s hands were acting as a vice around Emily’s throat as he shoved her against the wall. Power rippled out of Trucker and spread across the room, causing sparks to rain down on them from the electrical surge racing through the overhead lights. A low growl emanated from his chest, the edges of his body shifted, the sharp and shapely lines of him changed, his wings were spread. He was on the verge of transforming. His veins had come alive as if a thousand snakes were crawling under his skin.

  Julie didn’t know what was the most startling, his skin or seeing herself dangling from the wall. Larry pulled at him. Trucker flipped his head around to face his dad. His mouth was snarled around long sharp teeth. The sudden menacing sound that came out of his chest was alarming.

  “Stop it! She’s not worth it, please, Truck,” Julie screamed, astounded to find that the words were coming from her very own vocal cords.

  Everyone turned to look at Julie. Trucker’s head snapped around. He dropped Emily immediately with a loud thud and was at Julie’s side. He fell down beside her and gently removed her hands from her hair.

  “It’s over,” he said, holding onto her hands.

  Julie opened her eyes to see his veins recede. His eyes were black. Not just black, but cold and emotionless.

  “Your eyes?” she whispered.

  Trucker squeezed them shut and forcibly rubbed them. When he opened them again, they were crystal clear, loving, and blue.

  “You can have all this. I don’t want it,” Julie blurted out and pushed Trucker away. The minute the words slipped out of her mouth she regretted them. Trucker pushed his hair off his forehead. The force of his will told her to keep it together. Her spine stiffened. It was not the place nor the time.

  “Get her out of here now,” Larry ordered. “Every human out.”

  Trucker started to help Julie to her feet, but Julie shoved him and clutched for Catherine instead. She stood and watched, out of the three hundred or so people there, about two dozen women and a dozen men raced for the door. Her eyes met Catherine’s warm eyes, they were not the only two humans trapped in this life. Told to leave one last time, she heard the door slam as they walked out.

  “Get in the car, now.” Trucker’s voice was . . . well, wrong. It was crude and hateful.

  Julie scurried to get in, knowing his other side had not fully regressed. His demon half was alive and fighting for the upper hand. She glanced back to Catherine who was in the back seat, her eyes were closed and she was mumbling a small prayer. See, not only do I love you, but so does your mom. I know you care about me, so why can’t you leave Emily alone. She doesn’t love you. She loves the power in you.

  They left the bright well-lit parking lot as Trucker drove into the dark depressing roads that led back to his house. She gazed at Trucker. His movements were harsh and forced. She wanted to reach out and touch him, but was afraid of her own feelings. His mouth drew taut; he took deep, even breaths exhaling through his nose.

  “Try,” he begged. His face often showed sadness, but never that depth of pain.

  “Try what?” Her eyes closed in fear.

  “Making us work, loving me.” He quickly wiped away a stray tear that was rolling down his face.

  She scratched her fingers through her hair, gripping the side of her head. Oh, baby, all I do is try.

  “All I’ve done is love you. This is a two way street, buddy. It’s her or me, you can’t have us both.”

  Trucker rammed his fist into the dashboard, cracking it down the middle. Julie intuitively jumped in her seat.

  “I’ve never tried harder. I don’t want her, damn it. I want you.”

  “You had a funny way of showing me tonight.”

  The car entered through the massive gates that led to his home. Trucker stared straight ahead, never responding to Julie. Shrouded in darkness, he camouflaged his thoughts from her. The glow from the house washed over his extraordinarily beautiful face. His face shadowed between light and dark, a perfect metaphor of his soul.

  “Julie, I want nothing more than for us to work.” He parked the car and paused. “No one is home.” He turned back to his mom. “Show her to my room.” Glancing back at Julie, he took her hand. “I’ll be back shortly.”

  “Are you going back for her?”

  “No, I’m going back for you.”

  Speechless, she unbuckled her seatbelt and climbed out of the car, never looking back. He was an amazing boy with serious and deep-seeded emotional issues. At the moment, Julie felt like she was drowning in the darkness that surrounded him. She was more than willing to join him briefly in the dark for a chance to bring him into the light.

  Julie followed Catherine to Trucker’s room, listening to her say it will be okay. Julie paused in front of those paintings. She swore that Trucker’s pinky was slipping from the grasp Emily had on it. Her head tilted as she inspected it closer. How could that be? It’s a painting. Paintings don’t change. Do they?

  Catherine placed her hand on Julie’s shoulder. “Sweetie, try to ignore them. I do, or I would’ve already been crazy.”

  Julie wished she could ignore them, but something told her the key to saving Trucker was in those paintings. Before she left, she touched his face on the canvas. How could he even pull at her heart when he looked like that? He was hers, monster or not.

  ******

  Julie was still reeling as she sat in Trucker’s bed waiting for him when he walked in with nothing on but his pajama bottoms. She’d thought earlier there was nothing more beautiful than him in a suit. Now, she realized she had been wrong. Seeing him standing there looking so handsome, brought a tear to her eye. How could the creature that I saw earlier tonight, stand here now, looking so godly?

  “Angel, can you forgive me?” He closed his eyes with a quick shake of his head. “Everything I did tonight was about keeping you safe.”

  “I don’t think I have a choice. I need you too.” She reached over to where he was standing, and slid her hand down his well-defined chest, tracing across the flat planes of his stomach. “Why didn’t you acknowledge me tonight? I felt invisible. You completely ignored me.”

  He yanked on her foot pulling her straight in the bed and started crawling over her. “I could never ignore you,” he whispered. He jerked up her shirt slightly exposing her mid-section and kissed her belly button.

  “It’s impossible.” He placed a line of kisses from her stomach to the hem of her shirt as he stretched himself over her body. Propping himself up with one arm, he smoothed his fingers gingerly over her cheek with the other. “When we’re in the same room I’m aware of every single movement you make, every single breath you take. I can think only of you,” he said before kissing the tip of her nose. He rolled off her to lay at her side. Resting on one elbow, he whispered, “I was keeping the wolves at bay.”

  She traced the muscles in his chest with the tips of her fingers.

  “I will do anything to keep you safe,” he informed her. “Even fraternize with the enemy.” He wrapped his hand tightly around hers. “You were beautiful tonight. I do love you in pink.”

  “I thought your f
avorite color was green.” She wanted to question him more about his behavior but was ready to change the stifling mood in the room.

  “For me, yes, but you look heavenly in pink. It accentuates your rosy cheeks. You’re perfect,” he said with a quick kiss. “I’m proud to say you’re mine.” He flipped on his back and draped his arm over his eyes. “Baby, this whole thing is almost over.”

  “Why did they make us leave and why was there so many humans there?”

  “They didn’t want any humans at the meeting part. They don’t want you to know what they are planning. Emily’s rude behavior cut the dinner part short for everybody.” He coughed. “Some humans have less humanity than we do. Our kind are drawn to them, the humans get a natural high off of us.” He kissed her temple. “It’s reverse for you and me. Your goodness gives me the high.”

  She cuddled up in his arms. She didn’t bite her lips or nails though. She didn’t need too. He had already eased her nerves. “Are you sure my mom was okay with me staying over tonight?” she asked as she lightly trailed her fingers over his chest.

  “Yeah, my dad is better than me at getting what he wants.” He took her hand in his again, threading his fingers with hers.

  “Your dad?” The very thought of his dad, the embodiment of pure evil, socializing with her parents was too much. Her head shook involuntarily.

  “Does it bother you to sleep here, with all this craziness around you?” he asked.

  “No, because my prince is here,” Julie answered and kissed his chest. She felt him flinch at the word prince. It didn’t bother her to be with him. It did, however, bother her that her parents were involved.

  Although, the mood had shifted, she could still tell he was battling to keep his demon buried. She didn’t speak, letting him fight with the inner-struggle raging in him. There was nowhere on her body he didn’t touch, her back, her face, her hair. His body was pressed to her thighs, her shoulders, even his feet and legs were threaded with hers.

  “I miss your curls,” he finally said breaking the silence between them.

  In all the primping his mom had done earlier that day, one thing Julie had fought was the straightening of her hair. Catherine thought it would make her appear more polished. Trucker didn’t argue the point, but at that moment, Julie wasn’t sure he’d even realized what the condition of her hair was.

  “I thought you like straight hair. You seemed to enjoy talking to all the women with straight hair when you first moved to town,” she teased.

  “They were easier to talk to. The only curls I wanted to see were yours. I’ve always had a thing for curls.” His eyes were so clear, so expressive; she believed she could see his soul.

  “Truck, were you about to turn tonight?”

  “Yes,” he answered and drew her close to him. “Are you scared at all? I don’t want you to be scared.”

  “Yes,” she said with disappointment. He shivered. “I’m terrified of all of this, but I’m not scared of you. Tonight, you didn’t think about it, it was second nature for you to protect me.”

  “Always.” He kissed the top of her head.

  “Why did you take me, tonight? What if I got hurt?” she asked.

  “I knew you wouldn’t get hurt. It was a test to see what you were willing to do for me.”

  “You were scared,” Julie stated.

  He paused a few moments before speaking. “I was afraid . . . I was afraid you would tell me that you didn’t want me.” He ran a hand through his hair, his expression agonizing. She cupped the nape of his neck. She had told him that but she didn’t mean it. He was truly all she wanted, just as much as he wanted her.

  “Sweetheart, when I said that earlier, I was scared. I thought they . . . you might hurt me. I didn’t mean it.”

  “I know. I knew it when you said it.”

  “How?”

  “The way you were looking at me. But my sweet, beautiful Angel, no one was going to hurt you, especially not me.”

  “How do you know for sure they wouldn’t have hurt me?”

  “Because we go by a very strict code. This will sound odd because of what we are, but my kind are very loyal and committed to the greater cause. When we give our oath, we stand behind it. It’s the only way we’ll ever achieve our goals. They gave me their oath that you are safe.” With trembling hands, he stroked her hair. “Every test we are put through is to prove to them that you deserve me, but baby, it is only a few more days. Then it will be over.”

  “Demons are loyal?”

  “Angel, I told you the worldview made us into something they can resist, but sin is strong and cunning.”

  She started to trace his face, and was stunned by what she saw. She slowly ran her finger down his nose. Her brow knitting together.

  “What’s making that gorgeous little face frown?” he asked.

  “Your nose, it’s crooked.” She kept staring at it. How many times has she studied his face and marveled at its perfection?

  “Very, I’ve broken it five times.” His laughter was contagious.

  “I’ve never noticed. Why?” She felt like she didn’t know him at all.

  “I told you, I’m like sin and your mind sees what it wants to see. I also have a scar on my lip.” He pointed to a tiny scar running down from his bottom lip. “I bit part of my lip off the first time I changed.” He then pointed to an indention in his arm and a large scar on his side. “My first change was not the best experience.”

  “I don’t understand. I noticed your eyes.” She was bewildered. He was still the most beautiful person she had ever laid her eyes on, but now she could see he had flaws.

  “My sweet Angel, sin is so deceiving your mind tricked you. Nothing is perfect including me. Do you still want me?” He wondered.

  “Yeah, very much so.”

  “For the record, I think you’re sort of perfect.”

  She went to kiss him when a yawn escaped her lips.

  “Tired, baby?” he asked. She nodded. “You’ve had a long day and late night, sleep my love,” he told her as he kissed the top of her head and snuggled her onto his chest.

  He watched her, as she quickly drifted off to sleep, in his arms.

  My innocent baby fell asleep in my arms almost immediately tonight. I know she’s both physically and emotionally drained. I doubt she would sleep this peaceful if she realized how much I could do to her. But one glance at her angelic face and I realize I’m powerless when it comes to her. I wonder how this weekend will affect her. Will she ever know how much I love her? She’s this bright sun beating down in the darkness that’s my life. Her presence pulsates against me. I don’t want to live without her. I refuse to rule without her by my side. Will she ever know how I cherish her and most of all, will she ever fall asleep in my arms again after this weekend? Truck

  Trucker tucked his journal back in his desk drawer. He stood beside the bed taking in her beauty for a moment, before softly pushing a stray hair off her cheek.

  “Good night, my love. Sleep tight, you still have a few hard days to go.”

  After one last kiss, he curled up beside her and watched her sleep as he counted each precious breath she took.

  ******

  A bright beam of sunlight danced across her face. Julie laid her arms across her groggy eyes to block out the light. Still in a daze, she took in her surroundings. It startled her to wake up in his room. She glanced up and saw Trucker sitting at the foot of the bed already dressed for the day.

  Oh gosh, how long has he been here watching me sleep? Suddenly, she felt unworthy of his attention. He needed so much love, and she didn’t know how to give it to him. All at once, he broke out in a breathtaking smile. His beauty lit up the room almost as much as his smile lit up her heart.

  “You’re already up?” she asked, ducking her head onto her chest.

  He nodded his head with a slow steady yes. “It’s one in the afternoon.”

  “Crap, I’ve never slept this long.” She sat up and stretched.

&
nbsp; “It’s okay, sweetie. You were tired. How did you sleep?”

  “Great, I was in your arms.” She grinned. “Come here.” She motioned with her finger for him to come hither. In his unearthly blinding speed, he had her snuggled in his arms. She let out a startled breath. “Will I ever get use to your speed?”

  “I hope you get use to all of my tricks. I plan on spending so much time with you, that you don’t even notice anymore?” His voice rumbled in his chest and vibrated throughout her.

  “I’d like that.”

  “I like you. What do you want to do today?” Trucker asked.

  “No more monsters?”

  “The only monster you have to deal with today is me.” He pushed his hand through his hair. “However, being a monster, I can think of a few things I would like to do today,” he said, and brushed a finger down her neck, between her breasts, and circled around her belly button.

  Julie sighed. Trucker still seemed almost unreal to her. Nobody should be that appealing. She scratched the light stubble covering his jawline. Noting how the light smattering of facial hair only added to his inconceivable beauty. “You’re beautiful,” she whispered.

  “Beautiful,” he repeated and laughed. “Is that what I am?”

  She simply nodded.

  He rolled over on top of her, pinning her under him. “I thought I was more manly than beautiful.” He emphasized his point by pushing his groin onto her leg. She gasped. “But, maybe, I need to prove that point.”

  The heat in his eyes made Julie’s insides warm. The thought of all those incredibly striking women or beasts or whatever last night; each trying to outdo the other with the hopes of gaining a sliver of Trucker’s attention.

  “You can have any of those women there last night. Why me?”

  He hooked a finger in the waistband of her pants. “I’ve had half the women there.” He dragged his finger across her belly. “This is what I want.”

 
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