Home > Torn (Demon Kissed #3)(27)

Torn (Demon Kissed #3)(27)
Author: H.M. Ward

But I jerked away from him. "No. Tell me first. Tell me now! Why didn't you say anything to me about his blood?" I stared up into Collin's eyes. His mouth hung open, like he wanted to tell me but no words would come out.

The voice came from behind a tree standing right in front of us. "I know why." Eric moved from the shadows and came into the little clearing filled with tables. "Want me to tell her?"

Collin moved in front of me quickly, as if he thought Eric might hurt me. But Eric laughed. "Ivy can choose whoever she wants. Some days she wants you. Some days she wants me..." Eric said, talking calmly, while he walked in circles us.

My heart was caught in my throat. I watched as he paced around us, unsure of what he was doing. Collin turned his body, pushing me behind him as Eric circled us. He was trying to keep him away from me.

"This isn't your place," Collin growled through his teeth. "Leave before I make you." Every muscle in Collin's body was tense, and ready to fight.

Eric stopped pacing and his golden eyes lingered on me as Collin stood in front of me. His voice was seductive, "Ask your question, Ivy. I have the answers. I'm not trying to be something I'm not. I don't pretend with you, and you know it. There's a simple reason why he didn't tell you about the blood... there's a simple reason why you're so enamored with him..." Eric's eyes gleamed.

I looked up at Collin, not following what Eric was saying, "What's he talking about?" I laughed as if what Eric was saying couldn't possibly be true. "He didn't feed me his blood. That isn't why I love him." Those sentences began as statements. I was telling Eric that he was wrong, but as I finished speaking I could barely breathe.

Watching the expression in Collin's eyes - I saw something that made me question him. "Collin?" I looked up at him. His jaw was tense, as he gazed over my head at Eric with hatred. When he looked back down at me, my stomach twisted as all the air was crushed from my lungs. "You didn't?" My voice trembled as I asked him, but I already knew the answer. Disbelief engulfed me. It couldn't be true. It couldn't be! I used the bond, expecting it to tell me that Collin loved me and would never do something like feed me demon blood. I pushed into him with my mind and was overwhelmed with feelings of regret. Wide-eyed, he stood in front of me unable to hide it any longer.

My heart sank as I felt my eyes sting, "When?" I breathed and slapped my hand against his chest. But Collin stood there, saying nothing, neither confirming nor denying my questions. He didn't have to. The bond filled with remorse so deep that I nearly doubled over in pain.

Horror filled me, as looked up into Collin's face. My fists beat against his chest as tears streaked my face, "When? When did you do this to me? And why didn't you tell me that what I felt for you was from your blood! Why didn't you tell me you made me addicted to you! All this time, I thought you loved me. I thought I loved you! How could you?" I shrieked as Collin failed to answer me. His lips pressed tightly together, as he struggled to speak, and more silence lingered between us. I smashed my fists into his chest harder this time, wanting to hurt him.

He grabbed my wrists gently finally, saying, "Ivy, it wasn't like that. The blood does have that effect - it can make you enamored with me - but you liked me before all that happened. It wasn't like that. It wasn't. Please believe me..." He dropped my hands, and held my face to make me look up at him. His bright blue eyes were terrified. The bond was overwhelming me with fear...he was afraid he'd lose me.

I pushed him away, feeling like his words tore a hole in my stomach.  Unable to accept what he did, I asked, "When? Why don't I remember it?" Collin stepped toward me, reaching for me, but I stepped away. I wouldn't let him come any closer. His touch, his voice, his scent - they could all be used to manipulate me.

Eric moved towards us, shoving his hands in his pockets. I'd forgotten he was there. When he spoke up, he surprised us both, saying, "It was the night you almost died, Ivy. When I found you in the woods, I could smell it. His blood was on your lips. It wasn't Jake's." Shock silenced Collin and I. Eric wasn't supposed to remember his previous life, but he remembered that. He remembered all of it. Before I could ask anything else, he kept going, moving closer and closer to me. "He gave you a little blood that night, to save you of course." Eric looked at Collin, with a lazy smile on his face, "And maybe you gave her a little later, when she didn't recover from a vision the way you wanted. You told her that you threw water on her, but water didn't affect her - but blood would. Anything like that happen, Ivy?"

My stomach was sinking as it twisted tighter and tighter. My heart was racing, hammering inside my head. The more Eric said, the larger the crushing fear that Collin was using me this entire time grew. I looked at Collin wondering if I knew him at all. He had doused me with water one night when I had a vision. I was soaking wet when I came to. He said he had to pull me out of a vision, and that he was worried something had happened to me. It was possible that he fed me more blood that night. I was unconscious and didn't actually see what he did. Did he? Did he feed me his blood to pull me out of the vision like that? Remembering back, Collin looked terrified. Was it possible that he did it? Looking into his face, I wanted him to deny it. I wanted him to say it never happened, but he didn't.

The bond swirled memories at me, memories laced with regret. Some of the thoughts were mine and some were his. I pushed through the haze trying to latch onto what I knew from the night Jake attacked me. I died. I felt my soul trying to leave my body. Most of it was devoured, but I suddenly wondered why Jake stopped. The memories from that night were so cloudy. Was it possible that Collin had demon kissed me, too? Repulsion and shock made my mouth fall open as fear ripped through my body.

"Ivy," Collin pleaded, "don't listen to him. He's lying. That's not what happened. I would never..." he reached for me, but I backed away from him. My mouth was hanging open and no matter what I did, I couldn't push past the shock. Why would he do this to me? Why would Collin use demon blood like this on me? If his words were true, if we liked each other before, why did he do it?

Eric strode between us and cut him off, "You'd never... what? Never want her to know the truth? Never want her to know how much you wanted her, when she didn't want you. Blood kinda changes that, doesn't it? Now she can't stop thinking about you. Now she wants you even if she doesn't know why." Eric looked back at me. I couldn't speak. Every inch of my body felt like it was going to rip apart. When Eric smiled at me, I knew it was going to get worse. He turned back to Collin, asking, "But what about you? You'd never want to know what secrets she's been hiding from you?"

Turning sharply toward Eric, my stomach went cold. "Eric, don't!" But it was too late. Nothing I said or did could have stopped what happened next. I watched in horror as the last bits of my world were torn apart.

"Ask her how many times she kissed me," Eric said. He walked next to me, but I couldn't look at him. I couldn't make him stop. I wanted to flee, but he grabbed my arm and spoke calmly to Collin like this conversation didn't bother him in the least.

Collin's gaze shifted between us, suddenly thinking we'd been more than friends. Tears were streaming down my face as I said, "Collin, no! Don't listen to him!"

Collin's voice was faint, "Is he lying? You kissed him? More than once?" Collin shook his head. His eyes were wide, and tore into me in a way only Collin could do.

I opened my mouth to answer - to tell him that it wasn't like that. That I'd never hurt him, but Eric cut me off. I gazed at Eric, willing him to stop, but he didn't. It felt like every stitch that held me together was unraveling, and all I could manage was to stand there and watch. Power is useless unless you use it, and at that moment I was utterly powerless.

Eric nodded, "Several times, actually. And in the Lorren, did you tell him about that, Ivy? Did you tell him that you gave me a special kiss - a demon kiss. Did you tell him that you made me what I am? Does he know that you were the one who stole my soul?"

The bond erupted. Anger poured through it in uncontrollable waves. Collin rounded on me, but Eric stood between us. He wouldn't let Collin get closer.

Collin screamed, "You turned him Valefar! You gave him a demon kiss? How could you? How could you do something so evil after I've told you everything?" He reached for me again. I couldn't fight back. I didn't try to defend myself. As far as I was concerned, he was right. Tears streaked my face. This couldn't be happening. I cowered behind Eric unable to speak. "Ivy, answer me!" Collin roared.

But I had no answers. I couldn't tell Collin what I'd done to Eric. I couldn't admit the fascination I'd had as I drank Eric's soul. I couldn't do it.

Eric stood next to me and assured him calmly, "It wasn't the way you think. I only told you because you two have been lying to each other. Come clean and pick up the pieces." His words were lies. I could hear it in his voice. He meant for this to happen. He took everything he knew and used it against me.

I looked up at Eric with a tearstained face. The winter wind bit at my cheeks, but I didn't care. "I trusted you. You were supposed to read the book and go."

Collin was still fuming, but when Eric grabbed for me, he stepped between us. Collin shoved me back and I was out of Eric's reach. Eric leaned toward me, narrowly evading Collin's fist, and said sternly, "I told you - never trust a Valefar."

I pushed past Collin, walking up to Eric and screaming in his face, "How could you possibly remember that? What did you do?" He told me that months ago, when he was a Martis.

Eric only smiled at me, saying, "It wasn't me, Ivy. It was you." His body turned to mist and disappeared. I looked up at Collin, shocked for a moment, without realizing what was about to happen. Across the field there was a surge of pure blue light as Al held the book in one arm and threw a blast of light at her former student. Eric danced around her with ease, snapping brimstone chains on a short black stick at her hands. He was trying to get the book.

Collin and I stared at each other. Without another word, I took off as fast my feet could go. Efanonting would peel my skin off and weaken me. It wasn't an option. But, I had to get there now. Collin's figure disappeared from my side, and reappeared behind Eric. Collin didn't have celestial silver with him to kill Eric. And I was the only one who knew it wouldn't work. Al didn't know. I never had the chance to tell her. Eric was immune to for some reason, and the reason had to do with me. It didn't matter what they did to him - Eric would win. My heart was about to tear my chest in two as I ran at them, so close but still too far away to stop them.

There was a matter of seconds before Eric took the book from Al. The old woman never faltered once in her life. She instantly melded balls of light and sent them crashing into Eric. Eric staggered, but he resumed his attack every single time. Collin and Al closed in on him, thinking they had him. But they didn't know.

My feet pounded towards them as I screamed, "No!" But it was too late.

When the nun pulled out her silver weapon, it took the shape of a cutlass with a single shining blade made for decapitation. She swung it at Eric, and hit her mark, but as the blade came into contact with Eric's neck it shattered. A million pieces of celestial silver fragments glittered in the air as they exploded from Al's weapon. Collin backed away as the lethal substance flew in every direction.

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