I stared at my grandmother, the look on her face was so serious, I held back my laughter. “Why do I need to be worried? Isn’t he supposed to be nice?”
I mean, he’s God right? Shouldn’t he be able to forgive and forget everything? Wasn’t that how it was suppose to work?
“Well…” my grandmother started, a coy smile on her face and a twinkle in her eyes. “All those years ago, I tricked your grandfather into thinking I was a fey.” Imagining my grandmother when she was young made my skin crawl. She was devious now, what would her tricks have been like back then? “That was how your father came to be. But as soon as he found out I was the ruler of Tartarus, he kicked me out and sent hundreds of thousands to kill me.” I just kind of gaped at her. God trying to kill Satan, pretty much. Well now. I’m glad I wasn’t alive to see that battle. She had a far away look in her eyes as she continued, “I managed to escape, but your father was born too early because of it.”
There seemed to be a lot of information she was holding back on me, but I didn’t pry. It sounded like a story that could take a while to get through.
“Why does my grandfather hate Tartarus so much?” I was legitimately confused. These stories were screwing up my preconceptions of Tartarus and Elysium.
“I do not know,” was her response, she sighed and pat the back of my hand that was still laced through her arm. “Maybe it is because your father and I are here. He has never met your father before, even though it’s almost been a thousand years.”
I coughed, hard. “T..thousand years???” I stared at her, unwilling to believe that astronomical number. “My father is a thousand? Then how old are you?”
“I’m close to being six thousand, why?” Having no clue how to answer that, I just stared at her dumbly with my mouth hanging open. But, as I thought about it, I guess it made sense. How many years and stories had been left behind on Earth side about the rulers of both dimensions? How far did they go back? Realizing that my grandmother was telling the truth, I cleared my throat and tried to turn us back to the original topic.
“How do you know he found out about me?” My grandmother squeezed my arm to her and smiled softly.
“I am not sure. But I do not know what he will do if he finds you.” The look she gave me told me that even she did not know exactly what would happen.
“So,” I wanted to clarify, “it will be bad if he finds me?”
She breathed in deeply and then gazed up at the white clouds drifting in the sky. “It very well could be.”
“That’s reassuring…” I muttered to myself, frowning. My grandmother pat my arm and then smiled happily.
“While I have you away from Zane, let us wander until we so desire.” The two of us spent the rest of the day talking about my powers and about all the demons and angels I had met up until now. She gave me more insights on my powers as an incubus. There were certain things that she disclosed that I never would have thought of. By the time I returned to the office, no one else was there. The couches and desks were empty. Sighing gratefully, I collapsed onto the couch and closed my eyes.
At the sound of a door slightly shutting, my eyes snapped open and I found myself looking at a tall demon. She was taller than even I was, maybe only slightly shorter than Zane. Her breasts were huge, taking up her entire chest, but her waist was the smallest it could be. She almost didn’t look real, like a doll. Her long hair cascaded down to her hips, it was a reddish orange color, like flames. Her bright red eyes scanned the room until they landed on me where they narrowed into mere slits.
“Can I help you?” I asked, standing up and taking a few steps toward her. I had to look up at her, my chin tilted back to glance into those fire like eyes. This close I noticed that she wore many different earrings and necklaces, they shined in the light. The demon flipped her hair behind her shoulder and put one hand on her hip, staring down at me with a cold demeanor.
“Where is Zane?” She hissed, her eyes still slitted. The way she posed herself and talked made me think that she was of the amphibian race, but with her height, she had to be a matured higher species. Maybe she was even a dragon.
Wondering why she was looking for him, I raised an eyebrow and answered truthfully. “I do not know, I have not seen him since this morning.”
She snarled, her eyes glowing with power. “You useless human. This is why I hate your race.”
Astonished, I felt my own power surge in response, as if my inner demon wanted to push down this existence in front of me. Calming down my instinct, I gave the woman my most devilish grin, letting my own powers turn my eyes black. Her own eyes widened in response to the color shift and she took a step back.
“You are not human,” she hissed, her eyes flaring wide.
“No, I am not.” I took a step forward for every step back from her. She watched me suspiciously. “Did no one ever tell you to not assume? Humans can be more frightening than you believe.”
“What are you?”
“Neither this nor that. What do you need Zane for?”
“I am Persephone and Zane is my fiancee.” I felt my heart thud beneath my chest, and I froze at the thought. I glanced at this woman once again and stared into her eyes. My anger flooded my senses and my power escaped little by little, turning my skin black with my tattoos. Persephone took another step back and flames appeared at her hands. “Where is he?” She hissed again, not backing down.
“I am here.” A masculine voice floated in from behind us, both of our heads snapped over to see Zane watching us with his arms crossed over his chest, his eyes narrowed. “This is a neutral zone, both of you stand down.” Persephone hissed, but the flames disappeared from her hands. Seeing this, Zane took a step forward, my tattoos still stayed on my skin, eclipsing any part of my skin.
Zane sent me a glance and I could see a myriad of emotions blaze in those eyes. He turned his head away from me before I could pinpoint any of those emotions. As he walked forward, he made sure to not get close to me, to avoid contact with me. Normally, he would have gently placed a hand on my shoulder, telling me to calm down, but now, because of me, he was avoiding me.
“I am not your fiance, Persephone.” Zane hissed. My heart fluttered, flying in my chest from where it had just collapsed. “And I never wanted to be.”
Persephone took a step forward and pointed a finger at Zane’s chest. “You made a deal with my father.”
Zane shook his head, his arms crossing over his chest once again. “Wrong. Your father made a deal with himself.” Persephone’s face turned ugly at those words and she bared her teeth even as Zane continued talking, “I never agreed.”
“You are mine, Zane.” Her voice flared with power as if she believed she was the one who was right.
“No,” Zane said quietly, his powers filling the room with abundance. Persephone shrank back as the power hit her, causing her to flinch and pale at the same time. “I am not. I’ve already been promised to another by the Prince of Darkness.”
Dad? My dad already set up Zane with someone else? Feeling my heart sink at the thought, my tattoos vanished and all the energy I had left fled. No longer wanting to be around for this conversation, I turned and began to walk away.
The hand that wrapped around my wrist surprised me. I glanced down at the hand Zane had used to grab me and I felt my heart explode within my chest. I looked up, expecting him to be looking at me, but his eyes were still trained on Persephone. Her eyes latched onto the hand around my wrist and her eyes narrowed. She stomped her foot.
“This is not finished, Zane. I am going to speak with my father. Even you cannot deny a lord of our dragon race!” She turned around and stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind her, it rattled the entire foundation of the building.
Ah, I thought, so she was a dragon. But she had included Zane in that comment…did that mean he was a dragon as well? Lost in my thoughts, I did not notice the grip on my wrist tighten. When Zane’s voice came out, it was raspy.
“Why did you leave earlier?” I shifted my gaze toward him before looking away, my cheeks beginning to turn red from embarrassment. I could feel the heat of his hand seeping into my skin, alighting the instincts within my blood. I was boiling, and I wished he would let me go.
I answered with as little emotion as I could. “My grandmother was here.”
I could feel Zane’s eyes on me, but I still did not look his way. “What did she need?”
“Apparently,” I drawled with a bored tone, “my grandfather found me and he might do something.” Zane’s grip became harsh on my wrist, I could feel my bones grinding against each other. I winced, my other hand touching his, trying to pull him off, but his strength at the moment out matched mine and I couldn’t budge him.
“How?” Zane hissed, his eyes narrowing on me. His grip lessened, but was still tight around my wrist. I still did not look at him, my eyes only focussed on our hands. His demanding tone made my eyes fly up to his face at his next sentence. “You’re no longer allowed to leave this room.”
“What!?” I screeched, astonished at his overbearing attitude. “Since when are you my father?”
“Your father left your protection to me,” Zane hissed, his hand still on mine, that heat still coursing through my veins. But the heat was boiling for another reason this time. “And that is what I am doing.”
“No,” I exclaimed, struggling with the hand around my wrist, trying to shove it off. “You’re being an ass! I can protect myself.” I pushed at his hand harder. “Let go of me.”
“No,” Zane was suddenly in front of me, both of his hands capturing both of my wrists in his, ceasing my struggles. I glared at him, my eyes caught in his silver ones. I was tempted to stick my tongue out at him like a four year old, but I was so mad that I couldn’t even make this a joke. His voice flowed on, inciting an even worse response from me, “You will do as I say, and you will never talk to Persephone again.”
“I don’t even care about her!” I yelled at the stupid man, “Why would I talk to her?”
“Do as I say, Keiran.” Zane hissed, his hands still tight on my wrists. He leaned in close until his nose almost touched mine. I could feel his breath fan my face with every word. “I do not care how you feel about it. Do not leave this room without me.”
I suppressed my desire to throttle him and instead glared into his eyes with as much venom as I could. “You missed the point completely! You’re acting…” The word stuck in my throat, unable to make itself known.
He didn’t hesitate to say it. “Jealous?” When I nodded, he continued, “Now you’re missing the point. It isn’t jealousy. It’s fear.”
“Fear?” Finally, at last, his hands began to loosen and I ripped mine from his grasp. That was not the emotion I expected. I rubbed my raw wrists as I glared at him, his arms still dangled uselessly at his sides as if he did not know what to do with them now.
“Yes” He whispered, looking at his feet. When he glanced up, his eyelashes fluttered making his silver eyes flash. “Fear. I’m afraid you’ll be hurt or killed. I’m afraid I won’t be able to protect you. I’m afraid I’ll lose you to another man.” I knew that by another man, he meant my grandfather, but I still felt my heart palpitate at his choice of words.
“If you’re that afraid of someone else taking me,” I intoned, my anger still there along with the pain in my wrists. “Why do you never come near me anymore?” The smile that reached his lips was amused and it made my heart beat stutter.
“For your own safety.”
“How is it for my safety?”
“Because, for some unfathomable reason,” he replied in an amused drawl, “I like you.”
“L-like me?” I stuttered. I gaped at him, my eyes wide as I stared at him. This answer made me forget about the pain in my wrists as I just watched him dumbly.
“You only have my attention right now, Kei.” Those words stung as they pierced my heart. I almost turned away with tears in my eyes but his voice continued, “Give me what I want, and you can have everything.”