Home > Torn (Demon Kissed #3)(24)

Torn (Demon Kissed #3)(24)
Author: H.M. Ward

Transfixed, I stared at the wound, with my weapon poised over my right shoulder, ready to sever his neck. In that moment, I saw what I was - who I'd become. Anger filled my body, and mingled with lust for the boy's blood - the boy who was pinned beneath me - the boy who saved my life more than once - the boy I turned Valefar.

Disgust crept through me as my thoughts collided with my actions. The weight of my arms grew so heavy and I was so disgusted with myself. The silver slipped from my fingers and the comb clattered to the floor. Sliding off of Eric, I sat down hard and pushed my flaming purple hair out of my face. What was I doing? I didn't want to kill Eric. What was I doing? Fear coursed through my body wildly, subduing the anger. Swallowing hard, I looked up at him. Eric sat across from me, watching. He said nothing. He didn't move, or do any of the things that I'd expect the new Eric to do. He just sat opposite me, with his jaw hanging open slightly, watching me.

My fingers threaded through my hair and pulled. After a few seconds I couldn't tolerate his gaze anymore. "You know exactly what you're doing! You always have, Eric. You're so damn smart that I was glad we were on the same side before - even though you hated my guts for most of that time." I pulled my hair out of my face and drew my knees up to my chest, wrapping my arms around my ankles.

"Mmmm. But, I was wrong. It didn't matter how smart I was because I was just severely wrong." He hesitated before asking, "My blood had no effect on you just then? Did it?"

Staring at him, stunned, I replied without thinking, "I wanted it, but it didn't stop me." I could admit that I was an addict. It wasn't my fault that Eric forced blood down my throat. I wanted his blood, but something else was dominating me.

"What did?" Eric asked.

Swallowing hard, I knew exactly what stopped me, but I wasn't telling him that. Becoming the sword yielding bitch that kills everyone scared me more than anything. And again, Eric was proof that I was capable of becoming her completely. Not killing him, kept her away for another day. It helped make sure that I wouldn't become the Prophecy One that much sooner. Instead of answering him, I threw back, "How'd you shatter the chains? In the diner - when they trapped you - you should have been screaming in pain. But you weren't, and then the chains shattered like glass. What'd you do?"

He shook his head, not wanting to tell me. His eyes narrowed to slits as we stared at each other, both wanting information, but neither of us wanting to give it. Finally, he suggested, "A secret for a secret? You tell me and I'll tell you."

"You go first," I replied. I expected to give him what he wanted and get nothing in return. Neither of us trusted the other. And why would we? Eric was terrifying, but I finally had a glimpse of the new Eric, and he was equally afraid of me. I could see it in his eyes, and in the way that he carried himself.

We stared at each other, neither of us making any motion to move. Neither of us had any intention of telling our secrets, but Eric surprised me when his lips parted and he spoke first. "It has something to do with how I was made." His jaw clenched shut, and every muscle in his body flexed. He was enraged that I'd made him what he was. He swallowed hard, and continued, "I'm not a normal Valefar. Celestial silver doesn't affect me the way it does other Valefar. It hurts like hell, but it can't kill me. That's why I wanted you. That's why I brought you here. I need to know what happened to me in the Lorren."

I hesitated, not wanting to tell him anything, but part of me wanted to come clean. I promised myself that if I had the chance, I would confess what happened in the Lorren. And he answered my question. He shattered the chains because it was something I could do. Without knowing it, I'd made him into a different kind of Valefar - one that was more powerful. Eric watched me as time passed, and all I could do was stare at him willing myself to speak, but not finding the words.

Finally, I broke his gaze, knowing what I would say. I pulled my knees tightly to my chest, and said, "I never intended to kill you. I found you lying on the ground, writhing in pain. Your body was dusted from head to toe with brimstone dust. I knew what it was, because you'd told me about it. That was the first time I'd ever seen it used on someone." I swallowed hard. "I didn't see who did it to you. Since I knew it couldn't hurt me, I tried to comfort you. I was just going to stay with you until you died, but I thought," I opened my mouth, willing the words to come out, but they were stuck in my throat. Eric was hanging on my words, waiting for me to finish. "I thought I could save you. So I gave you a demon kiss. I thought that I could fix you. I thought..." but words wouldn't form.

"You thought that you'd be immune to the allure of the demon kiss, but you weren't - were you?" Eric's words stung. That was the part that haunted me. I could still taste his soul sliding down my throat, and I craved him even more.

"No," I breathed. "I wasn't immune. I'd thought that I'd save you the way I saved...someone else. But, he wasn't hurt the way you were. To make the pain stop, I had to kiss you. I had to take your soul away so you weren't a Martis anymore. I thought if I turned you Valefar, that I could help you. But, I couldn't..." my voice dropped so low I wasn't sure he could hear me. My mouth hung open, as he finished my thought.

"You couldn't stop." Eric's eyes were wide as he watched me. I nodded, unable to speak.

I felt completely nak*d at that moment, vulnerable, and exposed. That was the worst mistake that I'd ever made, and I was telling Eric. He didn't force me to say it. He didn't put the thoughts in my head. They were always there, swimming at the back of mind, trying to come forward - but I wouldn't let them. I couldn't accept that I'd stolen his soul and enjoyed every second of it.


The rest of that night was weird. Eric moved around me like a spooked cat. Before then, it was clear that he had control over me, but now he knew that was a façade. I could kill him whenever the urge struck me. Tension was building. I didn't want to leave and face Collin. I couldn't tell Al that I got away from Eric because I became the girl everyone said I'd become. The thought made me want to crawl under a rock and die. Eric didn't try to comfort me. I would have punched him if he tried. I wanted to punish him for making me lust after his blood. Whenever he got too close to me, I'd lose my thoughts and want nothing but for him to give me a taste - a tiny drop of his blood. I fought the longings, but it was impossible to deny. If Eric wanted to give me more of his blood, he could - and I'd eagerly accept.

Finally, Eric broke the silence. "I need to know," he demanded. "You have to tell me what happened in the Lorren."

I looked up at him, "What do you mean; you're not the same as other Valefar?" He'd said it before, but being more powerful and smarter, well, Eric was powerful and smart before. What's the difference?

"I shattered the celestial silver chains. They splintered like cheap glass." He touched his arms, where he still had welt marks from the chains. "The silver can still kill me, it still hurt, but I was able to shatter it. I'm stronger, faster, and you already know I have proficiency with blood."

"So," I asked. "You said all Valefar do." I didn't like him mentioning blood. It made me long for him again. Damn it! Focus Ivy!

"Yeah, but mine's more powerful. And the cost factor seems to be...unusual," he answered. "I can't tell you more than that, but it's enough that I know something's different. I need you to retell what happened the night I died." Eric rose and gestured for me to come. "We're going to a different room."

I got up and followed him. He walked swiftly down an elaborate hallway lined with framed pieces of art. When I recognized that a few of the oil paintings were real, I stopped and blurted out, "Where the hell are we? Did you break into some rich guy's house?"

Eric kept walking, and looked annoyed that I stopped. "Keep moving. And no. He gave it to me. And he's still here." He winked at me over his shoulder, and my stomach turned to ice.

"Where? Eric!" I ran up behind him, and he flinched turning toward me.

He slammed his body into mine and pinned me to the wall. I tried to push him away, thinking he was playing, but he breathed, "Nothing's changed, Taylor. It takes you time to flame out into the psycho chick. Seconds that I could use to kill you." My heart raced as he stared at me with wild eyes. I could feel his heart beating rapidly as he crushed me to the wall. "I know you're still here because you're afraid to tell them what you are. Fine by me, but never think you're safe around me. I intend to make the person who did this to me pay for it tenfold. Even if it turns out to be you..." With that, he pushed off me and continued walking down the hall.

My eyes narrowed to slits as I followed him. What was I doing? Eric was crazy and totally unpredictable. Collin told me as much. And I knew it watching him, but there was something inside of me that couldn't leave. Not yet. I hadn't come to terms with what I'd done. And if I left, I'd have to tell Collin that I turned Eric into a Valefar. And I couldn't bear it. The look on his face would be crushing. No, I had to stay here longer.

The interior of the house was dark. Eric and I slid through the hallways with ease. It seemed like no one else was in the entire house. And it was huge. The enormous windows that would have lit the corridor from the sides and above where obscured by large velvet draperies that stretched to impossible heights. The paintings along the walls kept coming, showcasing a fine art collection that rivaled some museums. The size of the house and the riches within made me think we were in the Hamptons. I didn't bother to ask Eric, because it didn't matter. I could get home by effonating and Collin could heal me. A pang of longing washed over me. I wanted to tell him everything, but I was afraid he wouldn't understand. Or worse.

Eric swung opened a door and stopped, indicating that I should pass him and enter the room. It made me uneasy when I passed him. He glared down at me with an intensity that was difficult to endure. His amber eyes burned into me, and his jaw locked while I passed. The scent of his blood subtly slowed my movements as I passed him. Without thinking my tongue licked my upper lip as I passed him, causing a slight smile to spread across his face.

I looked up at him, realizing what I'd done, and muttered, "You suck."

He smiled back, "Yeah, but I also saved you from yourself." He let the door close and walked across the dark room to a high wing backed chair that was facing away from us. I froze when I realized someone was sitting in it. An old man looked up at me from behind round glasses. His pale skin and slumped form made me think he'd been sitting like this for some time.

"Eric?" I questioned, but he waved a hand at me to shut up. Eyes wide, I watched him cross the room to a small closet. There was a black padlock on the outside of the door. He inserted a key and twisted. The brimstone lock opened in his hands. As he undid the lock from the latch, and I realized that someone powerful was locked in that tiny room. My heart sank into my feet. What if it was Collin? Or Al? And I'd been sitting down the hall with him for hours. Repulsion at my stupidity shot through me. Eric was a Valefar and acted like it. I had to stop thinking he was something else. He completely screwed me. My thoughts shifted back to the closet as he finished unlocking it.

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