Home > Torn (Demon Kissed #3)(13)

Torn (Demon Kissed #3)(13)
Author: H.M. Ward

Finally I asked, "Is this the same car? The one you kidnapped me in?" My gaze turned to him with my mouth hanging open.

He winked at me, "Evil Valefar magic. I can make a car anytime I want." I wasn't sure if he was playing with me or not.

"Did you steal this car? You didn't. This is the same one. It's the same one that you drove me out East in the first time, before you knew about my mark. How'd you do that? Can you conjure up anything? Can you call people?"

He looked over at me surprised by my barrage of questions. Shaking his head he said, "There are things that you'll want to learn how to do, but this isn't one of them." His voice was stern as his gaze focused on non-existent traffic out the windshield. "You have me. I can do it for you. That's all you need."

Why wouldn't he tell me? What was the big deal? While I didn't understand his apprehension, I could sense that this topic was no longer open to discussion. It was one of the many aspects of being a Valefar that I didn't understand. Everything about being a Valefar came at a price. I wondered what the price of the car was, but I didn't ask.

We drove the rest of the way to the church in silence.


The floorboard creaked under my foot. I made sure that the little chapel was still in use before we went inside. The sign said they meet on Sunday mornings with no indication that they would be here late at night on a Thursday, so we went inside. Collin and I waded through the darkness. He insisted that we find some place that provided cover, but some place that wouldn't trap us. That ruled out the basement, so we went up to the ancient attic. The floorboards were wide old planks that were covered in dust. The room was mostly empty with a few pieces of furniture covered in dusty white cloths. The roof pitched to a steep point, leaving us walking bent over to avoid clunking our heads on rafter beams.

I pulled a sheet off a piece of furniture, and tossed the cover to the floor. It had protected a rose colored chaise with a scrolling back from a lifetime of dust. I was so tired that I thought I'd fall asleep when I sat down. Some of the springs were weird in the bottom cushion and poked into my thigh. I scooted down and leaned against the backrest. Collin walked past me and checked out the rest of the space. It had multiple points of entry, which made it harder to guard, but it also made it easier to escape. I felt the chaise shift as Collin sat on the end by my feet. He was silent so long that I finally opened my eyes and looked at him. There was something in his stance that made me uneasy, but I couldn't put my finger on why.

He finally asked, "Why won't you tell me?"

Swallowing hard, I asked, "Tell you what?" I sat up. "I'm fine. We didn't have to stop here, but I'm not sure what to do. I didn't think you knew either. I thought it was better to hole up here for a few days, rather than backtrack into Hell again." A shiver ran through me. I never wanted to go back there.

Collin's gaze was soft and questioning. It was clear that I didn't answer his question, but he didn't press. I knew exactly what he was asking me; Why wouldn't I tell him what was wrong with me. Why was I hiding it from him? The look on his face said he realized this simple truth. The bond confirmed it. I squirmed as my stomach flip-flopped, but he'd already turned away from me. He could have used the bond to press into me. If he did, he would sense the pain and weariness that plagued me. He'd realize I was losing my strength.

He'd realize I was dying.

I leaned back into the chaise intending to only close my eyes for a moment. Slow breaths of night air filled my lungs, and before I knew what happened, I was dreaming. That was the second time that Collin saw me sleep. It was the second time I was completely vulnerable in his presence. Apparently I trusted him more than I realized.

And as much as I wished it weren't true, the sapphire serum had left me severely weakened. Sleep seemed to be the only thing that repaired my body. The visions that had overcome me and pulled me into sleep before weren't the same as the dreams that plagued me now. Everything changed when I was poisoned. As much as I wanted to deny it, sleep was a requirement. Although I could stay awake longer than humans, I grew weary if I didn't rest. That would make me vulnerable, but I didn't know how to deal with it yet.

After I had the serum in my chest there was another notable change - my visions were gone. I hadn't had a vision and I no longer knew if I could, or if I would ever have another. I wasn't sure if I needed them, and the thing that bothered me most was that it marked that I was changing. I was no longer the same Ivy Taylor that I was a year ago, or even a few days ago. The fang slicing across my chest had severely altered me. I no longer needed to focus on becoming a Valefar before using those powers. They just came to me when I wanted them. And it wasn't necessary to shift back to being a Martis - it just happened. Using my basic power became more intrinsic, and I didn't have to think so much about what they were and how to use them. I was aware that anger ignited my ultimate power - the power described in the prophecy - but I was still uncertain of what it could do. The poison made me slow down. Perhaps that was why I noticed these things. It was possible that they would have happened anyway, but I couldn't be certain.

Sunlight was shining on my face as I cracked my eyelids open. Breathing deeply, I stretched and blinked until my eyes focused. Sunshine flooded through the small windows at the front and back of the attic. It was morning. I never thought I'd see the sun again. Delight in such a small thing strung a smile across my face, but it faded when my gaze fell on Collin's stormy eyes. He was sitting in an old chair across from me. His fingers were tee-peed as he tapped each one, watching me.

A cold shiver rippled through me, as I pushed myself up. My senses were in overdrive as the bond transmitted discombobulated messages radiating from Collin's violent mind. It felt as if I'd awoken peacefully only to be cast head first into a raging sea. Emotions were flowing through the bond with such rage that it was crushing me. My breaths became jagged as my skin prickled. Everything inside of me was screaming to run, but my mind wasn't listening to my body. I sat in front of him, frozen with fear. The eyes that were usually full of vibrancy were rimmed in violet, and filling with red, as sheets of rage poured off of him. He said nothing, staring at me as he ticked off each finger.

When I finally found my voice I asked, "What's wrong?" Part of me wondered if the slew of emotions struggling within him had anything to do with Kreturus. Could a demon live in someone without me knowing it? I needed to find someone who knew more about these things. My only links to this kind of knowledge weren't available at the moment, so I had to improvise.

His jaw locked. It looked like he'd been sitting like that for hours. When he finally spoke, his voice was low and freakishly calm. "I'm trying, God knows how hard I'm trying to help you, but it never seems to matter because, no matter what I do, you somehow launch yourself right back into the damn prophecy." His hands dropped to his knees, and he looked up at the ceiling while pulling his fingers through his hair. He finally returned his exasperated gaze to me. Damn it. I did something stupid. This was Collin, not Kreturus. And he was a completely pissed off, angry Collin. I slid my tongue over the back of my teeth trying to think of what to say was say. I opened my mouth a few times to try to explain, but no words came to me. What did he want me to say? He finally broke the silence, as he leaned forward in his chair and asked, "Do you want to be the Prophecy One, Ivy?"

I visibly recoiled as my face contorted, "NO! How could you even ask me that?"

"You're kidding, right?" he laughed. "You don't tell me anything. I have no idea what you're doing, but no matter what, you keep throwing yourself back to becoming the demon queen. Maybe he was right. Maybe you wanted him all along and you were using me. Gah," he said as he ran his fingers through his hair and slouched back into the chair. The turmoil that was radiating off of him was massive. It suffocated me like a lead blanket and I wasn't even experiencing it firsthand.


Cautiously I asked, "He who? Who said I wanted to be demon queen? Who said I was using you?" That was ridiculous. Collin was my best friend, and more. I loved him. I'd do anything for him, which is why it was totally ridiculous that he would believe such a ludicrous accusation. As if I could like anyone else. Collin used to tease me about the guys I dated, but I never really dated any of them. They were the means to make myself feel better. As calloused as it sounded, I didn't like them - I didn't even know them. But Collin knew my past, which is why it was crazy for him to have believed whoever said that.

When he wouldn't answer me, I guessed. The bond shot an icy confirmation that I was right. "Kreturus. He told you that." I jumped off the chaise and slid onto my knees in front of him. Collin never made any indication of insecurity. He was the complete opposite, which is why this entire situation was unreal. Collin's emotions were stormy because he doubted himself. He doubted what he knew and who he was. It was like the pillars that made him were breaking apart. "Kreturus is a liar. Of course he'd tell you that I'd want him and his power; but I don't. I only want you." I reached for his hands, but he shot out of the chair before I could touch him.

"I don't believe you," he snapped. I flinched. The words stung. His eyes burned, as his gaze tore into me. "I've never lied to you, Ivy. And yet, here we are, and you can't tell me the truth."

Jumping to my feet I walked over to him. I wanted to blurt out that I'd told him the truth, but I didn't - I couldn't - and he knew it. Sorrow flooded through the bond and we just stared at each other. It felt like I didn't know him anymore, and he didn't know me. There was a sense of distance and loss flooding through us. It was laced with so much remorse that I couldn't stand it. Slowly, the red faded from his deep blue eyes as his anger receded.

I made a few false starts, but words utterly failed me. Pressing my lips together hard, I finally said, "I don't want to lie to you, but I don't know what else to do. You can't fix what I've broken. You can't save me from myself, Collin. And I've screwed up really bad this time."

The expression on his face remained hard and impassive. "Trust me with everything, or trust me with nothing. I can't live like this. I can't watch this happen to you." His words were stated calmly and rationally, but they hurt anyway. Revealing the truth would hurt him more. The poison in my chest was lethal. He'd blame himself. I knew he would. How was I supposed to explain this? How was I supposed to tell him I was mostly healed, but that it wasn't enough?

Swallowing hard, I didn't think. I just acted, feeling that it was right. Reaching for the edge of my sweatshirt, I pulled it over my head, revealing my pale skin and a black bra. Collin's lips parted as he watched me. Confusion lit his face, but he'd see it in a minute. He'd see I wasn't coming onto him. He'd see that I was showing him the secret I was hiding. The room was cold, and I fought back a shiver. I had to intentionally make my hands stay at my sides, so I shoved them in my pockets. My heart raced as he stood in front of me. Fear ran wild in my chest, making my heart race and my hands sweat. I was afraid of what he'd do when he saw the scar that stretched across my chest. He stepped slowly towards me, his eyes fixated on the line that marred my smooth skin. He raised his hand slowly and touched his finger to the scar between my br**sts. The pale line disappeared behind my bra on my left breast, reappearing on the other side until it ended on my shoulder.

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