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I took a deep breath as the warmth of red eyes captured mine but I could feel no difference in my heart. Simply looking at Xion this way felt as though I was betraying Kaliska. It took all my strength not to turn away from him and think myself a harlot.

"A truly fascinating beast," Darius complimented the appearance of the guardian designed to be mine as he stood by my side. "However, I'm sure Kaliska could easily take your beast down after a few sessions of training with me, assuming she couldn't do a fine job now. In fact, I'm certain even Ethan's Siha could do the deed."

"These creatures are not present for your vulgar entertainment," I turned my head to look at my oldest brother. "They can feel and bleed as we do- as humans do. Ethan and I understand this, so why can't you?"

"Yes, I'll bet you'd know all about the sorts of entertainment they'd be good for, wouldn't you?" He flashed a smug smile. "I've seen the toys you bring back to your bed, little sister. In fact, I'd think your mother would be ashamed to see the little whore you are today."

"You're mistaken," I insisted. He knew very little about my life and from what he did know- he judged harshly.

"I'm mistaken?" He scoffed, "How fortunate that you won't see battle should it come to our gate. You would be blinded and killed, but then again you'd probably end up marrying Xion, correct? We know they harbor a human skin but even if you've yet to see him, you already know how you feel. I bet you'll be using his entire family to keep your bed warm at night. Typical human choices and repulsive no less."

Saying nothing, my gaze shifted to the white feline sitting beside him.

As if taken by sudden surprise, Kaliska's figure immediately straightened as my eyes met hers. I felt myself smiling as I realized that she'd been staring at me this entire time, studying every action and word that came from my body. Her ears perked up the second she'd seen my smile, allowing herself to relax as though I'd just given her permission to do so.

"Well, what do you think?" Darius asked.

"Beautiful," I complimented Kaliska directly as her eyes remained focused on mine. The feline's body had began trembling with anticipation, her head had tilted to the side cutely as she waited to hear what else I had to say about her.

"Beautiful?" He laughed at my choice of words, drawing my attention back to him. "I wouldn't call a ferocious man-eater beautiful but then I certainly would not a call another man beautiful either."

"Man?" I asked, confused. Weren't we discussing Kaliska?

"Xion, sister." Darius stared at me with a curious expression as I turned my head forward and noticed the large brown bear standing before me.

He grunted softly, blowing my bangs lightly with his hot breath as he greeted me for the first time in our lives. I was too busy staring at Kaliska to had even noticed the guardian before me. I didn't even know him and yet his bright red eyes carried warmth and love, waiting to discover how I would respond to him and if I would accept him as my warrior.

Suddenly, Xion began to glow bright white before erupting into such a fine light that it blinded me momentarily.

Following a rainbow-like haze, the light began to fade and I was stunned to find a naked man before me. I was ashamed to say that the first thing I noticed was his upper body, instead of his eyes this time. I swallowed hard and felt my cheeks burn furiously, turning away from his toned abdomen as I raised my hand to shield my gaze from moving any lower.

"I, uh..." I fell silent, trying to think of what to say.

"I apologize if I've made you uncomfortable," He chuckled wholeheartedly at my reaction and reached for the pile of white towels on the garden tables, but I could feel his apology wasn't sincere. He knew exactly what he was doing, and we both knew it. I lowered my hand as he gestured that he had finally covered himself with the towel. I felt a little better but I still wasn't ok speaking to a naked stranger when I knew Kaliska was nearby. If anything, it felt rather odd, but at least now everyone had cleared out of the garden long enough so that I could get to know him a bit better.

He was maybe three or four inches taller than I, and without the skin of his animal, his eyes and human skin were dark in color. His hair was black, short and cropped much like most of the angelic soldiers in the upper levels of Sanctuary. Michael said that he was warrior, and there was no mistaking it. He had the body of one- broad shoulders, toned abdomen, well-built arms. He looked chiseled to absolute perfection... they all did.

"Xion," He smiled, offering his hand.

I returned the smile and took his hand hesitantly.

"It's a pleasure to finally meet you," He raised my hand to his lips, planting a gentle kiss on my knuckles.

"You too," I leaned forward and politely placed a soft kiss on his cheek.

"I'm honored to be accepted as yours," His smile grew as I realized my kiss may have sealed the deal, but what if I had rejected him?

What would Michael think if I turned his gift away?

"Politeness isn't the same as acceptance," An unfamiliar voice said from behind me.

I turned around to the sight of a sprightly ashen-haired girl standing before me in robes. She'd been bouncing excitedly on her feet as if she'd been waiting her entire life just to say hello to me, and I couldn't help but be drawn to her energy. Unlike Xion, this girl let out an untamed spirit of passion and aggression, and she certainly wasn't afraid to show it but what puzzled me the most was how she knew I was only being polite to him.

"Ashaa," She said with great assertion before reaching out and touching my hand. The moment our skin touched, I felt the same flutter from before- when I had laid eyes on Kaliska- but this time it was different. I didn't get the chance to touch her when she emerged from the pool but now? She touched me, and it left my heart aching for more.

"Kaliska," I smiled as I took her hand and watched as she responded happily to it.

"I'm leaving with my family to another area, do you want to come with me?" She squeezed my hand gently as she began trying to talk me into leaving with her. With every little suggestion, she grew more and more excited. "We could play a game together or go deeper into the gardens or have a family gathering or go swimming or-!"

"Shouldn't you be asking your keeper to join you for a family event?" I felt a knot in my stomach as Xion responded to her in a cold voice that I knew all too well. They were about to start fighting again.

"Oh," Kaliska let her disappointment show as she looked to me in the hopes that I would join her anyway, "well, if you don't want to go, I'll understand."

"Kali, I-"

"You should go," Xion stepped between the both of us abruptly, forcing us to let go of each others hands. "I'm sure Darius will wonder where you are, especially when you insist on spending all your time with his sister. I don't suppose a child will bode well with someone as strict as Darius."

"I don't remember asking for your opinion," Kaliska's eyes had suddenly become red as her voice had lost it's child-like innocence and became threatening, embracing who and what she really was. "I am not only your equal but I was chosen by Michael himself. You don't have the right to talk down to me, and you certainly do not tell me how to spend my time with-!"

"You're finished speaking," I interrupted her as her focus shifted onto me. Her eyes held great panic and dejection, not knowing how to respond and it pained me to think that she believed I was actually picking sides.

"You heard her. Leave," Xion ordered, grinning as though he had won the argument between the both of them but he was very wrong.

"Under no circumstances do you speak for me," I pushed the sudden newly dressed man aside as he became startled by my actions. "I will not condone the separation of the families. This incessant fighting stops now, am I clear?"

"I hope your constant bedding with Kali was worth it, Ashaa." Xion growled as a sharp, sudden pain struck across my own abdomen.

I gasped in pain, frozen in shock as my thoughts traveled onto the well-being of my unborn child. Numb and tingling sensations erupted all across my flesh, and as I looked down to the source of my pain, I found that my white garments had been drenched in a foul, rustic smell and covered in crimson liquid.

Xion would be responsible if the baby had been harmed...

No, it was Xion's fault for the baby ever been harmed.

"Ash!" Kali appeared by my side instantly, catching my body before I had collapsed.

Xion's eyes widened as he stared at the both of us, realizing what he had done. In his panic, he attempted to reach out and help us but the second his hand moved towards me, Kali snapped.

"Get away from them!"

She bared her canines at him, snarling viciously as I felt the presence of our family moving in to protect their alphas from harm. But she was already engulfed with a fury unmatched. Looking between the both of us, her breathing grew heavier and hate began to take root inside her heart.

"You were her guardian!" She flashed in front of the opposing alpha, and shoved him back several yards with a great strength.

I gasped desperately for air, jumping out of the seat from the sudden cool, wet fabric on my forehead. My heart had been pounding madly as I fought to catch my breath and check my stomach for wounds. The sound of a loud speed boat's engine roared heavily in the background but the noise fell silent the moment I recognized a familiar voice.

"Hey, take it easy." Kali pressed her hand firmly against my chest, pushing me back down onto the seat as she reassured me that I was fine. She pressed the cold, wet cloth back against my forehead again. "You just fell asleep, babe. You're perfectly fine."

"Where are we?" I said, trying to settle down from the dream starring my ex-lover.

"We're almost ho-... to the island, I mean." She corrected herself as she continued tending to me, wiping the sweat from my face. I wasn't sure how long I'd been asleep but the last thing I wanted was to remember the child before Kylan. Be it bad luck or having been met with a terrible fate, but it started to seem more and more like we were being punished for what we did to Xion.

Her expression faltered slightly, confirming that she'd been listening in once again but she said nothing to either argue against or ease such thoughts. Maybe she'd been thinking the same as well. We could've prevented everything if I had plainly rejected him as my guardian, but I didn't. I accepted him... and then I caused the separation of the families.

It was my fault, wasn't it? 

All of it...

"Raines," Kali tore her eyes from me and called out to our escort. I looked off the boat as we both tried to put our attention elsewhere.

The sight of the island and its shore seemed to grow larger and clearer, but I wouldn't call it home... not anymore.

Without tossing either of us a single glance, the male Original, Raines, responded with the highest vigilance and respect while keeping his hands on the steering wheel of the small speed boat. "Your will, alpha."

"I need you to tell me where I can find your alpha," Kali said as she took my chin in her hand and pulled my head to look back at her. Tossing the cloth aside, she leaned forward and placed a kiss atop my head.

"Sineca leader, Murrain and his mate, Vivian, are the newly rotated alphas in command of Lantau," He answered promptly. "In your absence, alpha Maiandra relinquished her command and left the isle with half of my family tribe. Any remaining members of my family have stayed behind at her request."

"Of course she did," Kali rolled her eyes as I began to focus more intensely on her lips. "Now how about giving me a reason why."



"In your absence, Maiandra summoned those on the island and chose to step down." Raines touched on the subject with delicacy, keeping his eyes forward. "She gave no reason behind her actions, but I think she may have left because of what happened during her rotation with-"

"Has Ethan checked in?" Ash changed the subject abruptly.

Asking about her twin brother, she knowingly casted an uncomfortable silence between the three of us. Ethan was never going to check in on the island and yet she continued to ask as though maybe one day we'd all might provide a different answer. Ash was lucky to have me but my brother-by-law didn't have Siha... not anymore. No, whatever memories we had of Siha wasn't enough to bring him back but it was plenty for him to stay away from Lantau.

"We both know Ethan won't be there," I whispered into her ear. I had already had my arms slipped around her, body close.

"Yeah," She shifted more comfortably in my arms. Couldn't complain. She was very comfortable. "I was just thinking about-"

Always thinking. Her mind never rested. If it wasn't one thing, it was something else. Family troubles, relationship troubles. She just couldn't possibly let anything go. Attached, as she always was.

"I know what you were thinking," Held her a bit tighter, "but everything happened a really long time ago."

"That doesn't make it any less forgotten," She said grimly, and she wasn't wrong.

But wait...

Emptiness. Stomach was empty. No food, hungry. Steak, maybe? No, too early for just one steak. Maybe if I asked, she'd happily provide me with more. But then I could just hunt for myself. Of course, did it often. But then there were hunts that didn't quite go as planned. Or maybe it did. Hunts for pleasure, yes. Sometimes hunts ended very well. Naked but well none-the-less.

Without warning, I spun her around.

I was hungry and she would be too, right?

For food... or something better?

Something sexier...?

"What?" She asked with a soft laugh. Cute, very cute.

"I'm hungry," I whimpered. Food, sex. I could enjoy either with her.

"For what exactly?" She mused with a raised brow.

"For food," I leaned forward and kissed gently along her jaw. While doing so, I bowed my head just enough to show her how much I respected her... and how much I'd be ok with the idea of her being my alpha. Ideas forming in my head, acts performed. Moaning, soft whimpers. Kisses to her lips and face as I grew more aggressive with each passing thought of having her right here on this boat. "And maybe a little for you."



With her neck completely exposed, the sound of her heartbeat echoed. Each pump, stronger than the last, seemed to intensify with every breath taken. I swallowed hard and attempted to focus on anything else, but nothing I did could ever change the facts.

She was my person, my best friend.

And yet... I longed to see her lie submissive beneath me.

I licked my lips as my senses became attuned to her, desperately struggling to return from the high but nothing ever worked. Every second I spent staring at her neck, my throat grew tighter... so much that I could nearly taste the warmth of her blood.

"Take it easy," I muttered, holding back buried moans.

"Only if you stop undressing me," She perked up with a counter of words, tilting her head cutely to the side. Her gaze immediately shifted to my lips, causing her blue eyes to suddenly flash red. Something had caught her attention and I assumed it to be my fangs.

"Watch it," She growled in a playful, suggestive manner. "You already know that I bite back."

"Not today, ok?" I closed my eyes momentarily, taking a deep breath as the sound of her heartbeat continued to thrash against my ear drums. Just listening to her, I knew she'd realize my own breathing becoming labored.

If I had breathed through my nose, I probably would've already bitten her and been done with this already.

"Thirsty?" She spoke softly against my ear, nuzzling her nose against me for encouragement and subsequently causing me to groan softly from her touch.

"No," I swallowed hard and tried to shake off the feeling. "Not today."

Because I wasn't born a vampyre, I had no need to feed but the desire was still there.

... It was always there.

"It's fine," She said matter-of-fact-like. "It wouldn't be my first blood draw."

"We made this arrangement for a reason," I replied.

"Eden every decade for me, and a hot session of sexually driven feedings every other year for you." She answered back with little interest on the matter. "Yeah, yeah. We've lived on the arrangement for a while now but it's-"

"We're not talking about this," I cut her off as I focused on putting a wall between her thoughts and mine.

We vowed to keep this arrangement. Not because I wanted to starve myself and count to my thousands, but because she needed someone to take that first step with her. No one should ever have to be tempted every single day by the cursed fruit that was forced upon her.

"Why not?" She asked curiously, clearly not understanding why.

"I limit myself out of respect for you," I gave the usual lie. "You and the families' hunt lures. Vampyres and succubi are the most hunted among the Original family. The only reason I'm allowed on Lantau is because of your word."

But my word is a lie. 

Her voice echoed within my mind.

They all know that I could never hurt you, even if you did lose control. 

They all know that neither of us can control Lexi. 

"It doesn't matter whether they know that or not," I stared at the white-haired girl atop of me. "The point is that I know you tolerate my feeding and I don't want to burden you with constant feedings."

"You don't burden me!" She argued loudly.

"I know, I know." I ran my fingers through her hair to put her mind at ease. I didn't mean offend or upset her. I just needed to get her away from the truth.

"Then don't concern yourself with limitations," She huffed irritably. "You're not like me. In fact, you're nothing like me!"

"But I certainly do love you," I said with an attempt to redirect the conversation.

"Of course you do," She said with a cocky grin. "You couldn't possibly live without me."

"I know," I smiled at her arrogance, "but I'm still not taking any blood from you."

"Really?" She frowned with great disappointment and focused on my lips. "Because I remember a time when you rarely stopped."

"If you truly have no quarrels with it, all you need is to say so. I'd be more than happy to perform a pleasured feed on you right now." I said in an attempt to rule the idea out of her mind. She had always shown little to no interest with public affairs and I knew she'd never agree to do anything intimate in-front of others, not unless she were showing me off.

Realizing how serious I'd been, she lifted her head briefly and looked to Raines as though she'd actually been considering the consequences of performing such an act.

Not surprisingly at all, Kali shrugged it off and chose not to answer.

Instead, she leaned in closer and rested our foreheads against one another as her hands immediately reached for mine.

"I'm still hungry," She said, raising my hand to her lips and kissing my knuckles gently.

"Steaks again?"

"I could go for a steak or two," She answered lightheartedly as the sound of her stomach growled between the both of us.

Submitted: February 04, 2016

© Copyright 2020 JaayAnon. All rights reserved.


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