Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Succubus Heat CHAPTER 21 Free Essays

There was really only one thing I could say. â€Å"You’re here to kill me.† That would have been a great cue for him to say something like, â€Å"No, of course not† or â€Å"Why would you think that?† Any of those responses, or a variation, would have been immensely reassuring. We will write a custom essay sample on Succubus Heat CHAPTER 21 or any similar topic only for you Order Now Instead he said: â€Å"Not yet.† â€Å"Shit.† I took a couple steps back, knowing it wouldn’t do any good. Even if I’d been in full succubus mode, there was no way I could fight against him. Roman was a nephilim, Jerome’s half-human bastard son. Nephilim were a kind of odd mix between lesser and greater immortals. Nephilim hadn’t been around since the universe’s creation, but they had been born immortal and could potentially possess the same range of powers as a greater immortal. Roman was every bit as strong as Jerome, but unlike my boss or his equals, Roman didn’t answer to any higher power. He was rogue, which made him dangerous when he was pissed off. And he had every right to be pissed off at me. Angry at the way Heaven and Hell hunted their kind down, Roman and his twin sister Helena had gone on a vigilante hunting spree to get back at other immortals. I hadn’t known that when he and I were dating, and eventually, I’d been instrumental in stopping them-and getting his sister killed. â€Å"What are you doing here then?† I asked at last. Roman’s posture was casual as he crossed his arms and leaned against the wall. He looked exactly as I remembered, enormously tall compared to me, with soft black hair and those gorgeous eyes. â€Å"You sound disappointed,† he said. â€Å"Do you want me to kill you?† â€Å"No! Of course not. But I can’t really think of any other reason you’d be here. Somehow I doubt you’re here for a social call.† Despite my fear, my sarcasm still managed to function. Carter had told me it was unlikely Roman would ever return to Seattle, knowing that he and Jerome would be on the lookout. Except, I realized uneasily, Jerome was no longer here to keep watch. â€Å"I’m here to help find my illustrious sire.† Roman’s voice was smug as he spoke, and I was sure he was taking a great amount of pleasure in watching my reaction. I hoped he was satisfied because while my jaw didn’t exactly hit the floor, it came pretty close. â€Å"Bullshit.† â€Å"Why don’t you believe me?† â€Å"Because you have no reason to!† My fear was being overridden again, this time by incredulity. â€Å"You hate Jerome.† â€Å"Yeah, that’s true.† â€Å"Stop playing with me then. You’re not here to help.† â€Å"No? Then how come I helped you with the seal’s notes?† â€Å"You didn’t-† I froze for a moment. â€Å"Oh lord. That was you.† â€Å"Really,† said Roman amiably. â€Å"You should be a lot nicer, considering all the things I’ve done for you.† â€Å"Yeah? I don’t recall you wasting your time wandering aimlessly along beaches.† â€Å"Nah. I’ve been too busy blowing up stoves and carrying injured damsels to bed.† I sank into a chair and closed my eyes. â€Å"It really wasn’t Carter.† The angel had been telling the truth about noninterference. I opened my eyes again. â€Å"And you gave me the matches, didn’t you? That’s exactly the kind of fucked-up thing you’d do.† He put on an offended air. â€Å"That was pretty nice of me, considering how you looked like you were ready to have a withdrawal seizure then and there.† â€Å"This doesn’t make sense. You can’t be here to help find Jerome. What’s really going on?† â€Å"Does the reason matter if I help find him?† â€Å"Yes! It matters if you want to find him, only so you can promptly destroy him.† â€Å"I don’t want to destroy him.† â€Å"I have no reason to trust you.† His eyes narrowed a bit. â€Å"And I have no reason to trust you, if memory serves.† I shrugged, almost too weary to be afraid anymore. â€Å"Well, then, we’re even, huh? Except, of course, that you can channel your mistrust into blowing me off the face of the earth.† â€Å"And you could tell the demon horde out there that there’s a nephilim in the city.† Roman laughed. â€Å"Oh, they’d love that, wouldn’t they? If one of them could hunt down and kill a nephilim, that’d pretty much cinch their position here.† â€Å"Yeah, like I’d get a chance to tell anyone.† I sighed. â€Å"Roman, if you’re not going to destroy me, then what exactly do you want with me? Why did you save me all those times?† â€Å"Because you’re the only one in this fucking town with any chance of finding Jerome. And you can move around a lot more freely than I can.† â€Å"Um, last time I checked, you’re the one in the Junior Smiting League, not me. I don’t have any pow-abilities right now to defend myself.† â€Å"Yeah, but if you’re caught poking around, people aren’t going to declare open season on you†¦I mean, aside from that bitch demoness.† I grimaced at the memory, and Roman pushed forward. â€Å"Look, Georgina, we can sit and argue whether I’m going to kill you or not, or we can try to figure this out and get your boss back. Then we can explore me killing you in more depth.† â€Å"God,† I groaned, standing up. I needed my cigarettes. Roman watched me light up. â€Å"New habit since I was last around.† â€Å"Old one, actually. And I’m not in the mood for lecturing.† I sat back down, feeling much more settled with my nicotine. Aubrey wandered out shortly thereafter, apparently not afraid of a sociopathic-yet still eerily sexy-immortal hanging out with us. â€Å"So, what’s there to figure out? It was Grace. You said you saw the seal around her neck.† Roman eased himself into a chair from my kitchen table and scooted up. â€Å"I did. Makes sense that she’d keep it as close to her as possible, though that takes some balls to have it out in the open that much.† â€Å"So why won’t you let me tell anyone, then?† He tsked. â€Å"Think, Georgina. Who are you going to tell? Which demon in this whole mess do you think you can trust? None of them like Jerome. None of them want him back.† â€Å"I was going to tell Hugh.† â€Å"You can’t tell anybody . I was walking along with you today when Cedric popped in.† It figured. There was no telling how long Roman had been following me invisibly. â€Å"If he was telling the truth about not telling Nanette about your theories, then that means one of your friends tipped her off.† â€Å"No,† I said stubbornly. â€Å"It’s more likely that Cedric was lying. None of them would have betrayed me.† To my complete and utter astonishment, Aubrey jumped on Roman’s lap. He scratched her head absentmindedly. â€Å"Well, believe what you want, but I don’t think it’s safe to tell anyone yet. Except me, of course.† â€Å"Right. The guy who wants me dead.† â€Å"Eh, we can talk about that later. For now, let’s go over what we know.† I wasn’t really keen on the casual way we were tossing around my impending doom, nor did I like that I still didn’t know why he was here. Keeping my mind on Jerome did help, though, and it was nice to finally have someone to truly brainstorm this stuff with. â€Å"We know Grace was the demon who helped with the summoning,† I said. â€Å"There could be more, you know.† â€Å"Yeah, but there’s only one archdemon position.† â€Å"True. Just don’t rule other possibilities out. She and that other demoness here are pretty tight.† I thought about Mei, whose poker face was as good as Grace’s. â€Å"Yeah†¦although, they seem to be operating pretty independently now. But, for the sake of argument, we’ll stick with Grace. So, we know she was part of the summoning and has half of the seal. What we don’t know: where the other half of the seal is, who helped her, and where Jerome actually is.† â€Å"Kind of daunting,† he mused. A thought suddenly came to me. â€Å"Wait a minute†¦you might make this simpler. A greater immortal can break up Jerome’s prison. With you, we don’t need to actually find the whole seal to free him-or get the half we know about from Grace.† Roman turned sheepish. â€Å"Well†¦I don’t know for sure that I can do that.† â€Å"Why not? You’ve got the same powers as Jerome.† â€Å"My strength is the same as his when it comes to fighting and whatnot, but I don’t have exactly the same powers. I’m not truly a greater immortal. I don’t know if I could break him out without the seal.† â€Å"Lovely. We’re back to where we started.† â€Å"I don’t know. We should just take this one step at a time. Let’s keep trying to find him and figure out where the other half of the seal is.† â€Å"We’re running out of time,† I murmured, stubbing out the cigarette. â€Å"So, why are you smoking again?† â€Å"That’s not really important right now,† I snapped. â€Å"I don’t know. If I had a mortal body, I’d be kind of worried about that.† â€Å"I’m not mortal. And I’ll be back to my normal self in a few days at most. Probably much sooner.† â€Å"Is it because of Mortensen?† â€Å"We are not talking about that right now.† â€Å"Never thought you’d be one to take a break-up so hard, seeing how easily you deal them out. In fact†¦has anyone ever even broken up with you before?† I fixed him with a glare, so annoyed that I didn’t care if he wanted to try to kill me. â€Å"We are not talking about that right now.† â€Å"Fine, fine. What other info do we have, then?† I racked my brain. â€Å"The cult†¦the Army of Darkness. I think there’s a connection with Jerome’s summoning and their activities. Whoever’s controlling them-well, Grace, I guess-times their stunts to take attention away from other things.† I recapped what I knew of their stunts and what they lined up with. â€Å"Not all of their activities correspond exactly to some part of the summoning, though. At least not that I know about.† Roman was thoughtful. â€Å"Hmm†¦well, it’s possible some may not line up with anything. A few may be red herrings, sort of to establish their presence. I didn’t always follow you to Canada, so I don’t know exactly what they’re like.† â€Å"Wow. Your stalkerdom has limitations.† â€Å"Seemed like a big pain,† he said. â€Å"Aside from maybe going to Tim Hortons.† Nephilim couldn’t teleport like greater immortals, so he was limited with normal transportation when following me around. Uneasily, thinking of my activities with Seth, I wondered just how much Roman had spied on me. It wouldn’t have been the first time he’d taken a front-row seat to my intimate activities. If he wasn’t going to mention it, I wasn’t going to. â€Å"They’ve been quiet ever since the day of the summoning, when they were down here. I guess Grace has nothing left for them to do,† I said. â€Å"Likely†¦Ã¢â‚¬  His mind was still apparently spinning with suspicion. â€Å"But if I were you, I’d talk to them again.† I cringed. â€Å"No†¦I want to be done with them. You don’t know these guys like I do. It’s ridiculous.† â€Å"All I know is that you’ve got to turn over every rock you can find-no pun intended-if you’re going to rescue Jerome.† â€Å"Oh, I’ve got to, huh?† I asked. I didn’t really like the presumption in his voice. â€Å"I thought you were going to help find him too?† â€Å"I will. Tomorrow. When are you going to search again?† I thought about it. â€Å"Noon. After work.† There was a knock at the door, and I moved over to the eye hole. â€Å"It’s Dante,† I murmured. To his credit, he usually knocked first before using his key. I rested my hand on the knob and gave Roman a questioning look. â€Å"I’ll find you at noon,† he said. â€Å"Hold the door open a sec after you let him in.† Roman turned invisible, and I pulled the door open. Dante came in, and I stood there a few more moments until I felt the sweep of someone moving past me. Everything had happened so quickly today that I barely had time to realize that not only I had just made contact with the guy who wanted to kill me, but I’d also just made arrangements to spend time with him. Man. This was going to keep me up when I tried to sleep later. I shut the door and gave Dante a quick kiss on the cheek. He was carrying a bag, and I had to do a double-take. â€Å"Did you buy something from Macy’s?† I exclaimed. â€Å"I somehow imagined you stepping into a department store would be like a vampire stepping into the sunlight-I mean, current situation aside.† Dante rolled his eyes and set the bag down. Crossings his arms, he leaned against the wall. â€Å"Well, maybe I’m in stasis too. Forget about this for a sec and tell me if you’ve gotten yourself on any demon’s shit list today.† There it was again, the sweet concern in spite of his best efforts. â€Å"Not that I know of, but hey, the day’s not over yet.† I glossed over the specifics of who I’d gone searching with, mainly emphasizing that my time at the beach hadn’t turned up anything. I also mentioned Cedric’s visit and his claims that he hadn’t told Nanette about my suspicions. Dante seemed skeptical of that. Finally, I wrapped up with Grace’s appearance, and at that point I faltered. I wanted to tell Dante about my amazing discovery, about how Grace had the seal. Yet Roman had urged me to keep it all to myself. Why? Was he really that mistrustful of everyone? Did he have his own ulterior motives? Against my better judgment, I bit my lip on telling Dante about my discovery. It killed me to do it, particularly since I had a feeling Dante could have some insight. Roman’s warning was too strong, however, as was my fear that he might actually still be around invisibly. And of course, I could hardly tell Dante about Roman. Fortunately, Dante didn’t pick up on any omission of information. â€Å"You had kind of a full day, succubus. Did the corporate demon ever come talk to you?† â€Å"Not yet. I haven’t had a chance to talk with the gang to see if he’s been making the rounds.† I eyed the Macy’s bag, dying to know what was in it. Dante kicked it behind him. â€Å"What are you going to tell him?† I shrugged. â€Å"I don’t know. I’ll tell him what I know about Seattle, and as far as recommendations†¦well, I don’t know.† I could no longer trust Grace, and Mei’s role was still a mystery. Dante noted my change of feelings but not the reasons. â€Å"From what you’d said before, I thought you were a fan of Grace and that other demoness.† â€Å"Mei,† I supplied. â€Å"I don’t know. It’s all just wearying.† Eager to shift away from the subject, I pointed at the bag. â€Å"Are you going to tell me what’s in that?† He gave me one of his mocking grins. â€Å"Why do you think it has anything to do with you?† â€Å"Because there’s no way you’d shop at Macy’s for yourself. You dress only marginally better than Carter.† Dante shook his head, wearing a long-suffering look. â€Å"Fine, fine. I’ll keep it for myself.† He picked up the bag and headed off down the hall. After a few moments, I followed and tackled him in the doorway to my bedroom. â€Å"Come on! Give it up.† I snatched the bag away, but my victory was small since he didn’t put up a fight. I opened it up and gasped at what I found. Folds and folds of shimmering purple fabric, silk the color of new spring crocuses. Hesitantly, I lifted it out of the bag, revealing a long, ankle-length robe. I looked up at him in astonishment. â€Å"What’s this?† â€Å"You’re the one with years and years of higher learning,† he pointed out, looking extremely pleased with himself. â€Å"You tell me.† I held it up, gauging its height. It looked just about perfect. â€Å"It’s gorgeous. What’s the occasion?† â€Å"I was tired of hearing you bitch about that ratty one you’ve got. And tired of seeing it, to be honest.† He ignored my glare. â€Å"Besides, you’ve had a, uh, difficult time lately. Even for you.† I thought back to other things, like the flowers and breakfast. All the attempts at dinners. â€Å"Dante-â€Å" He pressed a finger to my lips. â€Å"Look, be quiet a second. I’m not blind. I can tell how much all of this is stressing you out. And fuck, if I could get my hands on that bitch demon†¦Ã¢â‚¬  Anger glinted in his eyes, and he took a moment to shake it off. â€Å"Anyway, you can keep making your jokes or whatever and keep doggedly doing your best to sleuth away and find Jerome, but you’re running yourself into the ground. You’re depressed. You’re distracted. When we talk, it’s like your mind’s somewhere else. Same with our sex life.† I opened my mouth to argue, but I wasn’t sure what to say. He was right. I had been distracted, but a good part of that-particularly during intimate activities-hadn’t had anything to do with Jerome. It had been Seth on my mind. Dante kept speaking before I could get a word out. â€Å"See, now, you’re going to apologize. Because that’s what you do-but there’s no need, succubus. If anyone gets some selfish time right now, it’s you. In another week or so, things’ll be back to normal, and I’ll be the selfish one.† Something in my heart twisted. Everyone said he was scum, but in the end, it turned out I was the untrustworthy one. I averted my eyes. â€Å"So where’s the robe fit in?† â€Å"Something to cheer you up. Since your wardrobe’s been trimmed.† â€Å"Dante, you’ve been getting me a lot of stuff lately. You don’t have to throw money at me-money you don’t have-to make me feel better.† â€Å"If I didn’t have it, I wouldn’t ‘throw’ it,† he remarked dryly. â€Å"And anyway†¦I’m not really the kind of guy who does, like†¦the candles or the moonlit beaches or recites poetry.† I grimaced. â€Å"I don’t mind staying away from beaches for a while.† â€Å"But,† he continued, â€Å"I know you well enough to know that mochas and silk make you smile, and that, at least, is something I can do.† My heart twisted further, and I reached out to catch hold of his hand. I understood what he was saying. It wasn’t in his nature to do over-the-top romantic gestures, but material purchases were something he could handle, and it was the only way to show me he cared. My guilt redoubled because no matter what he said, I knew he was tight on cash. Yet, my actions and fixation with Seth were worrying Dante enough that he felt he had to do something. I was driving him to it. â€Å"You’re sweet,† I said. â€Å"But don’t worry. It’ll be our secret.† He brushed his fingers through my hair. â€Å"Not that sweet. Look in the bag.† I did. Underneath the robe, unnoticed by me, was a bottle of bubble bath. I held it up questioningly. â€Å"I thought we could take a bath together.† I laughed. â€Å"That’s almost romantic. You might be closer to moonlit beaches than you think. Although, my bathtub’s kind of small.† â€Å"I know,† he said. â€Å"That’s what I meant about it not being very sweet. Mostly I want to see what kind of interesting positions we can cram ourselves into while naked and in a small space.† â€Å"Well, thank God that in a world gone mad, some people never change.† It turned into a wet, soapy mess, but it was more fun than I expected. No matter what he claimed, the whole feat was semi-romantic. Conversation was easy and light, and we laughed and joked a lot. I almost forgot about Seth-almost. But when things started to get a little hot and heavy, I pulled back. No matter how sexy it was to be wet and naked with someone, it just didn’t feel right if that person wasn’t Seth. What made me feel worse was that Dante was accommodating about my mood. He figured my lack of desire was part of my stress, and so we eventually left the tub as chastely as we’d entered. We toweled each other off and then curled up on the couch and watched TV together while I tried not to feel too guilty about the purple robe wrapped around me. I decided the next day to finally add myself back to the bookstore’s work schedule. I only put me down for part-time shifts until the demon business was settled, but at this point, it seemed unlikely I’d be recalled to Canada again. My limbo status couldn’t last forever if I wanted to keep my job; Warren’s leniency would only last so long. Roman and I had our plans to go to Edmonds at noon, so for my first official day back, I only worked a morning shift. Part of that shift involved coming in before the store was even open, and I welcomed the solitude. The store always soothed me, and if ever there was a time I needed soothing, it was right now. It was short-lived, however, since my other coworkers began trickling in not long after my arrival. Maddie was among them. â€Å"Hey,† she said brightly, popping into my office. â€Å"Is this another check-in or are you back for good?† â€Å"For good, I think. Not that it matters. It looks like everything’s been fine without me.† She grinned and shut the door behind her. â€Å"Oh, we’ve missed you, believe me. No one’s been here to referee my fights with Doug.† I laughed and watched her sit down. â€Å"Well then, I guess I got back just in time. Nice shoes.† Maddie extended her legs and admired her candy apple red pumps. â€Å"Thanks. Nordstrom’s having a sale.† The brown leather Mia heels I currently wore were among my favorites, but after a week now with no shape-shifting, my wardrobe was starting to make me stir-crazy. It was kind of like my hair, I realized. I hadn’t realized how dependent I was on shape-shifting to enhance my appearance. I’d lauded myself for living like a human when in truth, I’d been cheating the whole time. Seeing my wistful look, Maddie asked, â€Å"You want to go downtown for lunch and check it out?† I shook my head with regret. Looking at shoes sounded a lot better than looking at rocks. â€Å"Can’t. I’ve got to meet someone.† â€Å"Ah, well, let me know when you get some time. You know I’m game.† Silence fell, and Maddie shifted uncomfortably. She bit her lip, like she wanted to say something. I started to prompt her, but she spoke first. â€Å"So, what did you think of the condo listings?† â€Å"Oh, they were†¦Ã¢â‚¬  Fuck. I’d never even read through them. Roman and Dante had spent more time looking at them than I had. Which one had Dante mentioned? â€Å"They were great. I really liked that new one-the one where you can still get in on the choices and stuff.† Her eyes lit up. â€Å"Ooh, yeah. I loved that one too. I actually looked them up on the builder’s website. It doesn’t look like there are many left, but there has to be at least one, or they wouldn’t be listed. We should go down there and talk to them in person.† I smiled, feeling horrible about the lie. â€Å"Sure†¦but it may be awhile before I can get a break. We’ll have to do it and the shoe trip at the same time.† Maddie nodded, face kind and sympathetic. â€Å"No problem. I understand.† More silence fell, and I realized it wasn’t the condos that she wanted to talk to me about. That had been a distraction to build up her own courage. â€Å"Maddie, what’s going on?† Her cheery look disintegrated into something much more glum. It was startling. I was so used to her always being in a good mood that the thought of something upsetting her was on par with the laws of physics breaking down. She met my eyes and immediately looked away. â€Å"Oh God. I can’t believe I’m about to bring this up.† I was seriously worried now. â€Å"You can tell me. It’s okay. What’s up?† She sighed. â€Å"It’s Seth.† Oh, fuck. How to cite Succubus Heat CHAPTER 21, Essay examples

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