Damien Night Ch. 02byAutumnRayven©
Sadly they closed the Barnes & Nobles near the Galleria. Apparently Amazon and Kindle are killing the book industry, but I will always buy books. There is just something wrong with reading a book without being able to touch the page, and I have a beautiful bookmark my husband got for me. I hope to one day see my own words in print in a book store somewhere. Regardless, here is the next instalment. I hope it's not too difficult to read. For some reason I cannot upload word files so the formatting sucks :(. Also if someone reading this has a thing for grammar and likes reading my stories I need an editor. Drop me a line. Thanks, Raven.
Honestly he'd had no intentions of doing anything but learning more about her, but she lied to him. It was impossible to resist proving just how much she was 'into men'. Unfortunately now he was frustrated. Another moment and she would have given in completely, but he'd come close to kissing her too soon. The remembrance of the penalty for that infraction effectively ended their interlude. In truth he was fine with that, frustrated but fine. He didn't want tired numb acceptance from her. It never tasted as good when a woman just gave in.
He still meant to learn. It was a challenge he had not undertaken in ages; digging deeper than just a fantasy. Add the fact that she knew he was more than just a good fuck and suddenly the tired game had new depth and dimension. Annabelle was a thoroughly fascinating change of pace.
Several hours later he was back on Westheimer, standing outside the Barnes & Nobles near the Galleria listening to the sounds of life around him. Going through the motions of existence might become tedious but humans were rarely boring. There was always something strange, disturbing, or comical in the minds that drifted around him. A stray thought regarding a fist and a long black pony tail spurred him inside.
Annabelle concentrated on placing the barcode labels before she shelved each smooth hard bound book. Her activities this morning had backfired on her a little. She was finding it hard not to think about his cock of all things. He looked like a freaking Calvin Klein model for fucks sake and all she could think about was what was between his legs.
'He's not even human!' She told herself silently as she slammed a book into place. A disturbing image of some wormlike creature with teeth dangling between his knees simultaneously disturbed her and made her laugh, but also served to abate some of her frustration.
"Correct me if I'm wrong, but I seriously doubt that book did anything to deserve that treatment." Annabelle jumped when she heard his voice then put her face against the coolness of her fingertips to calm herself before acknowledging him.
"Oh you. What a pleasant surprise." She said in an acerbic tone as she pulled a barcode sticker off the printed roll. "Plan to embarrass me in the store?"
"No. I was just curious."
"About?" She asked shelving a large coffee table style book bound in fantastical drawings of dragons.
"It's easy. I'm boring and a complete waste of your time. I work at a bookstore. How much more boring can you get?"
"I have a lot of time to waste, Annabelle, but I also find you anything but boring."
She sighed and shook her head in frustration, ignoring his eyes on her. There was no winning with him. She didn't bother asking why he found her interesting. She had a feeling knowing that wasn't going to help her resist him.
"Suit yourself. I'm shelving books today. If it interests you, eat your heart out." She said as she slammed a copy of HR Giger's, "Necronomicon", into place.
"If you don't like working here, I could make it so you never have to work again." He put his back to the bookshelf at her right side so he could see her face.
She looked up from her book and barcode she was working on. "Trying to strike a deal with me?" He simply smiled as he crossed his arms and leaned back.
"Don't bother. I don't care how good it sounds there is always a string attached when one deals with entities like yourself."
Her response didn't surprise him, but he thought he'd give it a try anyway.
"If that's what you think." He said as he watched her place another barcode.
"No, it's what I know. I'm already on to all your little tricks so you should go away." She looked straight at him, slipping another book into place near the level of his head. A moment later she frowned in confusion when he turned towards the book, closed his eyes and inhaled.
"Mmmm....what I wouldn't give for a taste. Enjoy yourself this morning did you?"
Annabelle jerked her hand back as if the book had burned her. She could feel the heat pooling in her cheeks and the butterflies dancing in her stomach. She was utterly mortified.
"Obviously I don't need you." She said as she stared at the barcode sheet having forgotten what she was doing with it.
"But you obviously want me."
She gritted her teeth and forced herself to look at him. "*I* don't want you. The response is beyond my control. The only p-thing that *wants* anything here is you and you can satisfy whatever bizarre craving you have with any other woman in this city and they are all far more accessible than I."
She trembled with anger, desire, and maybe a touch of fear but it was fast fading. She was beautiful, and if it wasn't for that cursed piece of metal nestled against the warmth of a body denied him the scene in the quiet little book store would have been the centerpiece for tomorrow's news.
"Then what do you want, Belle?"
"Nothing you have." She answered in an acid laced tone.
"Oh?" He smiled coming around the little cart and trapping her between the bookshelf and his body. "Tell me was it my tongue or my cock on your mind as those slender fingers toyed with your clit this morning?" he whispered.
"Shut up." She hissed, nails digging in to the palms of her fisted hands as she fought the urge to use to the one weapon she had against him.
"I wasn't there, Belle, and yet you still *wanted* something so wrong again." He pressed closer, his hands going to either side of her shoulders so she could no longer move without risking his earlier threat. Wielding his presence like this wasn't exactly helping to further his goals but if acid was all the girl had for him then he had no problem dishing it right back at her.
"Go away, Damien." She said through gritted teeth wondering how the hell he kept getting her into this position.
"Never." He whispered calmly.
"Is there a problem here?"
Mara, Annabelle's boss, stood at one end of the little isle and for once she was elated to see her. Normally she couldn't stand the overly cheerful petite brunette and her pixie haircut, but the unexpected interruption gave her a chance to refocus the thoughts Damien so easily scattered.
When his heated gaze focused on Mara, Annabelle watched her take an involuntary step back and then immediately try to collect herself as she batted her dark eyelashes at the otherworldly stalker.
"Well hello there." She said in a shy sweet voice. Annabelle looked backed at Damien and jumped. The sandy blond hair was gone revealing a slick sun-bronzed skull that stood at least another 2 inches higher than before. Rippling muscle was easily visible beneath the form fitting t-shirt that tapered to a narrow waste hugged by a pair of jean shorts. Jesus, he could have crushed her in his forearms alone. The hungry look her boss was throwing his way indicated she had no clue a few seconds before he'd looked completely different.
Damien stepped back and gave Mara a curt nod of acknowledgement but the twitter pated girl didn't seem to notice his cool reaction toward her.
Annabelle contemplated bolting, but it obviously wasn't going to do her any good. Looking at her smiling boss an idea struck her.
"No, Mara, no problem here." She laughed lightly. "I was just helping my friend pick out a book for his new coffee table. Damien, this is Mara. Mara, Damien."
"Wow, aren't you just...I mean...is there anything I could help you with?" She stumbled over the words a little as she edged closer to the hulking presence that was Damien at the moment. Anna was still trying to wrap her mind around that one.
"Actually, Damien," she said smiling a bit too brightly, "I am really busy. Why don't you let Mara help you out?"
Damien's laugh was low enough that Annabelle didn't think Mara could hear it.
"Yes, Mara, let's see what you can do for me." He moved forward, making Mara look positively tiny in comparison. As the two disappeared around the end cap Damien's eyes cut back towards Annabelle with a wicked smile which she shook off. Whatever Mara did was her choice, and Annabelle wasn't about to feel guilty for pawning the bastard off on her.
She piled everything on the cart and pushed it back to the center kiosk before heading to one of the reading areas for a little light cleaning. Her shift was almost up and things needed to be tidy before she left. She revelled in the moments of silence swearing she would never again begrudge her lonely life as she straightened magazines and stacked a few small books in the crook of her arm.
"Can you imagine what this body would do to that woman?"
The jolt of surprised caused her to drop the little pile of books as she turned to find Damien sitting casually in one of the chairs.
"If it were that easy to get rid of me I would have gone sniffing after the first skirt that walked by don't you think? Besides, if they found your boss dead in the back room you'd be out of a job for at least a few days."
Annabelle's stomach twisted into a hard knot.
"So you do...kill."
"Not generally, no, but in the state I'm in now I doubt it'd end well for your little boss, freak or not."
"Good now I have ample reasons not to take off this necklace." She snapped, stooping to pick up the books and trying like hell not to cry out of sheer frustration.
"I wouldn't kill you, Annabelle. I might want to come back for seconds."
"Wow, I'm flattered." She all but growled sarcastically as she reached for the last book that had slid just out of reach of the others. She jumped back, dropping the books again when the sandy haired Calvin Klein model appeared crouched in front of her holding the book she sought.
"I'm not going anywhere, Belle, so you could make this a little easier on yourself and just play a little nice. I will reciprocate."
It wasn't easier. She needed to hate him. He'd already gotten far enough under her skin and anything that made him any less a monster only let him in that much more, but how long could she keep up this venomous attitude? It had only been a day and she was already exhausted. Annabelle was far from a bubbly socialite, but she wasn't the type to spit nails either. She touched the little pendant beneath her uniform polo shirt as she stood and let out a slow breath.
"The musical appearances are unnerving. Why didn't Mara see you do it?" she said in an even tone as she watched him stand to a height only slightly taller than her. She didn't lie, the constantly changing shapes were unnerving, but she was glad he was no longer the overgrown body builder from a moment before.
"Human's tend to process the impossible by simply ignoring it altogether." He answered with a light smile.
"Why change if you weren't interested in her?"
"It wasn't my choice."
"Apparently she likes'em big."
Annabelle shuddered at the unwanted knowledge regarding her rather annoying boss.
"So what do you really look like?"
He hesitated. Annabelle was damn good at reading people. It was why she so rarely liked them; so many were two faced as they come and the rest she just didn't get. Most of the time the creature in front of her was self-assured and un-plagued by doubt, collected and even wise, but the question obviously jarred him even if only for a fraction of a moment.
"What do you want me to look like?"
"Sounds like something a whore would say."
"So we are back to venom? Do you really want to push me little Belle?" He stood over her now, one eyebrow arched over a dark gaze that made her feel like she was shrinking. The pleasure in actually pushing a button of his was small as she kept her eyes lowered in silence until he backed off.
"Why me?" She asked into the quiet as she once again tried to pick up the little pile of books. "Is it just that you can't have me? I promise you I'm not worth it."
Damien cocked his head to the side and watched her. Strong, lithe, fiery, not unlike the one hunter he'd met in the many years he'd walked this Earth, though that one was also silent as the grave and focused to a fault. Of course that hunter had also been male and nearly killed him. This one was proving to be far more entertaining.
She frowned at his simple answer that answered nothing.
"And what does that have to do with me?"
"Boredom can be deadly when you live long enough. You, my dear, are currently alleviating my ailment."
She stopped in her tracks. She'd resolved not to ask this question only an hour ago but there had always been something so different about her and this creature knew what it was. It had to be the reason he found her so interesting. He could confirm she wasn't crazy though with the shit she'd put up with from him already she found herself wishing she was. Of course if wishes were horses, or some such nonsense, regardless there was no going back now and she had a feeling whatever riptide of events she'd gotten caught up in was going to sweep her out of her personal reality whether she went with it willingly or not. She might as well get what information she could.
"Why is that?" she asked after she turned toward him.
"Part of the interest is that you don't know."
"Dick." Annabelle muttered and headed towards the computer to drop off the books and clock out.
He'd give her that one. Not that he honestly cared, but there were the dynamics of the game to consider. And while telling her would most likely get him a point in the endearment category and a good step closer to getting that damn necklace off her, among other things, there were more consequences than he was prepared to deal with. Looking across the store at the Starbucks an idea struck him, and he caught up to her before she could leave the little workstation.
"Have coffee with me." Damien requested, leaning over the counter.
Her response was a sharp 'no' followed by a polite 'thank you' a moment later.
"Have coffee with me and I'll let you sleep in tomorrow."
Annabelle resisted the urge the glare at him as he smiled at across the partition that divided them. There were two rules that should never be broken; the first being the removal of her amulet and the second having to do with deals: never. make. one. A replay of this morning clicked on in her head and how very nearly she'd given into him causing her to decide right there that this deal was the lesser of two evils.
"Deal." He answered with a grin.
She walked faster than she meant to, threading through the shelves as she concentrated on the menu in her head. No matter how hard she tried she only managed to entice him. Gram had her terrified of these creatures. She never once mentioned they had the capability of being so unbelievably hard to resist.
Suddenly that off feeling she got when Damien showed up doubled itself. Something caught her eye, a man standing in one of the sections close the coffee shop. She looked twice to make sure she'd seen it. Something dark and wormlike wound its way around his neck, across his shoulders and down his chest. It looked like a shadow, but there was nothing to cast it. It undulated across his skin making her own skin crawl. She came to a dead stop.
'What the fuck?!'
Damien followed her line of sight settling on the weak-minded fool mumbling to himself as he stared unseeing at a row of books. To any human he must look like a mild lunatic, but the pallor of his little siren suggested she was seeing much more. The thing was the lowest of his kind, no better than a hagfish feeding on the most base of emotions, those that didn't have names and were chalked up to insanity. Any question he had left as to whether or not she should have been a hunter or not died right there.
"See something?" Damien said from somewhere to her right.
"What did you do to me?" She snapped.
"Nothing." He said innocently. "Apparently you are very open to us."
The man caught her staring before she could turn away, drawing a chill across her shoulder blades.
"Us? Is that what you look like?" she whispered, glaring at Damien.
"No, that's what it looks like. I'm quite different I assure you."
"Whatever." She picked up the pace and headed toward the coffee shop, a small hard ball of fear settling in her stomach. What else had her Gram kept from and why the hell was all this happening now?
Damien watched her stomp towards the counter of the coffee shop. It was an interesting development, and not a wholly good one. Some of the creatures that existed alongside her world made the most vile haunted house look like a walk through Disneyland replete with singing princesses. There were, frankly, some things few humans could imagine. Not something he needed her associating him with. On the other hand he was now her only guidepost in a world she was not prepared for. A somewhat twisted guidepost but it wasn't like there were a lot of choices available to her.
He entered the coffee shop and claimed an empty table while she ordered her drink. She took the seat across from him after the barista got her order to her. She said nothing, simply staring at the steaming cup of dark bitter and creamy liquid while he watched.
Life could change in the blink of an eye, even after five thousand years. The last 24 hours had changed more than he thought possible. It was a strange feeling. It was stranger still not knowing how to proceed with her. Suddenly not being able to read her mind irked him considerably. Even her body language gave nothing away.
"What is it you know about me, Damien?" She said finally breaking her silence.
"Make you a deal." He answered with a mischievous grin.
"You couldn't do it out of the goodness of your heart?" She sighed.
"Love to but I'm missing one crucial variable to complete that equation."
"Right. No heart." She took a slow slip and looked around nervously wondering what else was going to jump out at her now.
She heard him laugh softly and looked back to him.
"What's so funny?"
"Irony." He paused and watched her pretty brow crease into a frown. "I think you might need me now, love."