Haunted Prey Ch. 10bypurefire©
She had to sit down. Alauria stumbled to the nearest chair and let herself fall onto it. She was shaking and was sure that she'd have another anxiety attack if she didn't calm down soon. Rachel was Raife. Raife was once the woman Lindsay loved above all others. No damned wonder the demon wanted to make her lunch meat.
A sudden thought made her look at Lindsay. He hadn't moved except to turn and face her. There was a pained expression on his face and for a moment, she wasn't sure if the pain was because of her reaction or because of what happened to Rachel. "When did you make the treaty?"
"After I buried my mother, I set out to kill her. The extra bulk of her new body made her a slower fighter so I was easily able to bring her down. But when it came down to it..."
"Why couldn't you kill her?" She had no idea what it must have been like for him, but she knew for a fact that she would have his blood if he did anything to her mother.
"Because I only saw Rachel when I looked at Raife."
"Is that how you feel now?"
The question was like a blow to the midsection. How was it, that after all this time, she still could not see what she meant to him? "You mean more to me than Rachel ever did."
Though she should have found comfort in the statement, Alauria was only able to become suspicious. "That doesn't mean that you don't still love her."
"What I felt for Rachel in the past has nothing to do with the hate I feel for Raife now."
"If there was a chance, even a small one, that you could get Rachel back, would you take it?"
He wasn't sure how to answer that question. On the one hand, if it meant saving the woman he once cared about, he would try; Rachel deserved a full and happy life. But to go as far as a reconciliation... That was a bit too much. What he felt for the confusing woman in front of him was too intense to ignore.
Just as he opened his mouth to speak, she held a hand up for silence. "Never mind I asked. That was a... a really stupid question on my part, especially when I already know the answer." Alauria stood up and moved to walk out of the kitchen. As an afterthought, she said, "I think it's better that we leave it like this."
Lindsay quickly reached out to gently take hold of her arm. "What the hell is that supposed to mean, Alauria?"
"It means that once this is done you don't have to worry about me replacing her."
"What the hell is wrong with you, Alauria? You aren't a replacement."
"If you say so." She disengaged her arm and slowly walked out of the kitchen, not once bothering to turn. Had she taken the time, she would have seen the longing pouring out of his soul and the desperate need to take her pain within himself.
* * * * *
"Tell me how to make this right."
Alauria sighed dejectedly as she rubbed her temples. She had a fierce stress related headache and added to Lindsay's constant pleas to work out their problems before she left, she was ready to pound her head against a wall to ease the pain. She'd reached the point where she realized that it made no sense for her to fight for him. If he wasn't pushing her away, she was left competing with who she was quite sure was still the love of his life. Alauria didn't know how she was supposed to compete with the past he had with Raife. What she did know was that no matter how she assessed her odds, she was on the losing end. And if there was one thing she'd always promised herself, it was that she'd never put herself in a situation where she'd be left behind. She had to face reality; if Lindsay couldn't kill Raife after she'd murdered his mother, there was no way in hell he'd kill the demon now after a simple kidnapping attempt.
In the end, she wasn't worth it, and she wasn't going to allow him to feed her the lies he'd forced himself to believe.
So she quietly packed the items she'd been given and remained silent as Lindsay stood against the door and watched her. With every attempt to reconcile, her headache intensified. It wasn't long until she was ready to start screaming like a lunatic to get him to leave her alone. It was torture being in his room with him, to look at the bed they'd made love in, knowing that after this, they'd be done. She turned to look at him and her breath caught at the heaviness in his gaze. He looked... sad. His stance was rigid, ready to fight as he leaned against the door, but he couldn't conceal what he felt in his eyes. The once brilliant green was slightly dulled, and there was an emptiness that confused her. "Are you upset because I'm leaving or because you have to fight her?"
Somehow he knew she'd try to make him compare his feelings for them again. This time, he was prepared. "I was young when I met Rachel and I didn't know or love my brothers then as much as I do now. Because of that, I made the mistake of thinking with my heart, even knowing that it would one day backfire on me." He pushed himself away from the door and took a few steps forward. She didn't back away or cringe, he was happy to observe, and newfound confidence prompted him to take another step forward. "With you, my head and my heart say the same exact thing. So I know it's not a mistake to listen."
She blinked back the sudden onslaught of tears and swallowed hard in an attempt to ease the lump forming in her throat. His words were too right, too perfect for her to believe. "That doesn't answer my question."
Lindsay watched her fight the tears threatening to fall. He wanted to reach out and comfort her, but this was the first civil conversation they'd had in what felt like decades. "I'm upset because I wish that I could have known that I would meet you one day because then I would have found the strength to do what I should have done after she killed my mother." As she stared up at him in amazement, a single tear slid down her soft cheek. Her chin trembled, emphasizing its small indent. "I don't think you understand how deeply my feelings for you run." He would have never thought that she'd be the one running at every turn when he met her. It seemed more like she would have been set to chase him around until he finally gave into his feelings. Very odd, how things worked themselves out.
God, how she wanted to believe him. He looked so sure in what he said. But how could she believe him when all she had was his words? Though words meant so much, they could also mean nothing at all; a valuable lesson she'd learned from her father. "Lindsay..." Alauria trialed off, unsure of what to say. She broke eye contact and shook her head to clear the clutter of thoughts in her head. "Lindsay, I-"
"Why are you so afraid of me, Alauria?"
Though he'd only whispered the question, it felt as if he'd shouted it. "Because you're going to leave me." She flinched and let out a small sob. She brought her hands up to cover her face and turned away from him. Crying in front of him wasn't something she wanted to do anymore. The tears made her seem weak and needy, two things she wasn't. But it was hard to keep her emotions at bay when he was near. Alauria cried harder when he pulled her into his soft embrace. To simply be in his arms was heaven. And hell. She wanted to trust him, wanted to know that when he said he wanted only her, he meant it. As she turned to press her tear streaked face against his chest, she felt her chest seize as overwhelming love washed over her. She was in love with him, more in love than she though was possible for anyone. The pain that came with the possibility of his leaving her increased tenfold. Her body shook with fear and love; she couldn't decide if she should hold him tighter or push him away.
Finally, an answer for her behavior. Lindsay tightened his hold on her and placed a small kiss on the top of her head. The violent shakes of her body tore at him. "Baby, I'm not going anywhere." How could he when she'd irrevocably changed his life in the short time they'd known each other? The woman was a drug in his veins, an addiction he wanted no cure for. He couldn't let her go. He wouldn't.
"Yes-you-are," she hiccupped. She felt his sharp intake of breath but ignored it was she continued, "You let her live this long."
"What will it take to get you to believe me?" When she only shrugged in answer, Lindsay found himself laughing. He wasn't even sure why; whether it was the near ridiculous turn of their conversation or the fact that he'd finally found the root of her radical mood swings, it did not matter. He'd finally managed to worm his way passed her hostility to a place that would allow them a proper reconciliation once Raife was gone.
The sudden knock on the door made him curse and her pull away to hastily wipe her eyes. "What?" Lindsay called out.
"Maels is here."
"We'll be down in a minute, Lex." He turned to Alauria, who'd quickly gone back to the task of packing her minimal belongings. She refused to look at him, but he did not take offense; the flush of her skin gave him the answer he needed. "I'm not going to leave you, Alauria. I'll be back to get you in a few days." Her simple nod annoyed him, but not enough to make an issue of the action. She was listening to what he told her; that was enough for now.
She waited until all of her bags were packed before she looked at him. Funny; it didn't hurt so much to look at him anymore. Fear still coursed through her veins, but it was primarily fear for his safety. If what he said was true, he had to live so that he could come back to her. "Ok, I'm ready."
Lindsay's brow quirked as she lifted the black duffel bag he gave her. There was a faint blush on her cheeks and while her eyes didn't glisten with impending tears, they were red. That did nothing to diminish her startling beauty, however, and he found his heart swelling at just the sight of her. "No you aren't."
"What are you talking about? I have everything I need and you heard Alexis said that Maels is here."
"You will kiss me goodbye first."
Nervous excitement rolled through her body at the command. Alauria's first instinct was to shake her head but the brilliance was back in his eyes and the mesmerizing green called to her. Before she could stop herself, she'd walked to stand in front of him. A second later, she gasped as she was pulled into his embrace and met him halfway as he leaned down to kiss her. He showed no mercy as he slanted his lips over hers. Within seconds, her body was on fire and trembling with need as pulses of electricity rolled off his body and through her. Alauria moaned as she pulled his lower lip between her teeth and gasped again at the feel of his hard arousal pressed against her. His harsh groan of approval made her take more and it wasn't long before she was the aggressor of their kiss; her tongue thrust into his willing mouth, coaxing him to mimic the action. Lindsay's arms tightened around her, pulling her close while still keeping them torturously far apart. It was almost too much for her to take.
He had a good mind to rip her clothes off and take her right then. The others could wait an hour... or five. The unique mixture of her natural scent and his soap ignited a dangerous level of passion within him he knew he would not be able to tame, not if he kept his hands on her. But that didn't stop him from cupping her perfect bottom in his hands so that he could press her closer to his aching member. He loved the way she clung to him; her body could not deny her true feelings for him. No matter how problematic she became, this part of her would never change.
Lindsay had to force himself to put space between them when he caught himself lifting the hem of her shirt. It would have been so easy to let it happen, but making sure she was safe enough to go home was more important than giving into the needs of his body. He fought to control his ragged breathing but smiled at the deep flush of her skin. How he loved the way she blushed.
Alauria cleared her throat nervously as she tried to control her racing heart. Her legs felt weak; she wanted to laugh at the realization. Instead, she retreated to the bed and retrieved her bag. Lindsay still stared at her and his gaze was hot enough to burn her clothes off. Lord knew that she wanted him to; her body still thrummed from the electricity that rolled off him. "They're waiting."
He said nothing to her comment, but the side of his mouth quirked up in a devilish smile that made her breathless. She thought that he would command her to kiss him again and only blinked when he walked to the door to escort her downstairs. Alauria followed his lead and stopped to murmur thanks when he took her bag from her. Together, they walked down the hall and staircase in silence. It wasn't an awkward or tense silence, but it was enough to make her periodically glance up at him. His demeanor changed; he seemed to get harder and withdraw more into himself the closer they got to the kitchen. Was it preparation for what was to come, or a method of keeping his emotions from others?
She stopped short at the sight of the three strange men standing with Lindsay's brothers in the kitchen. They weren't as beautiful as the men she was familiar with, but there was a rugged handsomeness about them that made them quite intriguing. The tallest of the three was by far the most gripping; dirty blonde hair bordering on brown ran down to rest against broad, muscular shoulders. His eyebrows were black, forcing Alauria to wonder if he colored the shiny locks on his head, but when she looked into penetrating amber eyes, her focus shifted. As she stared at him, she found herself remembering bits and pieces of her life; most of the memories were pleasant and it wasn't until the memories became focused on Lindsay and her activities since meeting him did she wonder if her thoughts were the result of someone's abilities.
"Maels," Lindsay warned. He knew what his ally was about; the de-facto Nagual leader had the ability to read the intentions of others and used his gift to screen Alauria. Though he knew that his friend only thought of his safety, he was still insulted.
"I will protect her for you," Maels responded. As he stared at the wide-eyed human, he used his abilities to read the intentions of his ally. He almost smiled at what he'd discovered; Lindsay's history with females was always entertaining. If the demon hunter did not change his mind, his life would be comparable to a musical.
Alauria shook her head slowly as she felt her thoughts focusing on the present. Maels hadn't taken his gaze off her as he spoke, but she was able to focus on something other than his eyes. His nose was straight but thin and led to even thinner lips set into a serious line. The set of his jaw betrayed his boyish oval face, but she was sure that beneath his calm exterior was a vicious warrior.
The other two men looked annoyed; they were scowling hard enough to scare an angry bear away. They both had sandy brown hair that made their dark eyes look black and menacing. The bulkier of the two, a round faced beast of a man, looked out of his comfort zone and ready to leave. It was obvious that he was impatient and ready to take care of more important tasks. As was the third man. He actually took a second to look at her and through the scowl that slightly distorted his triangular face, she saw a flash of curiosity in his eyes.
"Thank you," Lindsay said with a nod.
"Pick up the phone and ask yourself next time."
"Didn't know your clan decided to live as part of the twenty-first century." He smiled when Alauria took a protective step toward him in response to Maels' reaction to his statement.
"Settle yourself, Brock," Maels instructed the larger of his two associates.
"It is time to leave."
"We will in a moment." Maels brought his attention Alexis as he said, "You might want to sweep the northern perimeter of your land."
"How close?" Alexis asked.
"Three miles. Maybe less now."
Alauria watched as Liam and Jameson quickly walked out of the kitchen before glancing at Lindsay. He didn't look upset or worried, but she wouldn't be able to tell anyway; he was a master at concealing his emotions. If she heard the conversation correctly, people who were not friends of anyone in the room were three miles north of the manor and Brock was very ready to leave. No wonder he and the third man looked ready to kill someone. "I guess we should get going then."
"It would be the wisest decision," Maels agreed.
"Thank you for your assistance," Alexis said as he walked toward the entryway. As he passed Alauria, he nodded his farewell.
Lindsay placed his hand on the small of her back as he led her toward the garage. He did not take offense when Maels and his men split up in order to flank him and Alauria, but he did elbow Brock when the irritated man bumped into her. "Watch yourself."
"Suck my dick, demon hunter."
"Brock," Maels said, "I told you to be nice."
Brock grumbled as he walked to the black Porsche Cayenne Turbo S parked near the garage exit.
"Forgive him; both he and Hunter get anxious when there are demons near."
Alauria would have commented on Maels' apology had he not abruptly walked away from her. "Ok..."
"They won't hurt you," Lindsay assured.
"I know; you wouldn't have let me go with them if you thought I wouldn't be safe."
Her faith in his judgment pleased him enough to make him smile. He nodded once before walking her to the truck. "I'll be back before the end of the week."
Her heart was beating a million miles a minute it seemed. Reality was setting in and it seemed as if she wasn't strong enough to handle it. Alauria nodded to show that she'd heard what he said before she settled herself in the truck. The window had been rolled down, allowing her the freedom to lean out once Lindsay closed the door behind her. "Be careful."
He only nodded once more before leaning down to place a fierce but quick kiss on her lips. He faintly heard Brock let out an impatient breath and resisted the urge to laugh. Instead, he only pulled away and handed her the duffel bag through the window. Then he leaned in and directed his next statement to Maels, who'd decided to share the back seat with her. "Take the bend that leads to the backwoods then veer right. The road will be clear by the time you get there."
"You should be telling me this, demon hunter."
"Suck my dick, Brock."
Alauria smiled at the glint in Lindsay's eyes as he winked at her. Suddenly, she wasn't so nervous. That didn't stop her from wanting to reach out and beg him to go with her, however. Though she could do it alone, she didn't want to. "See you in a few days."
"Yes, you will." He took a step back as the truck's engine revved to life. As he placed his hands in his pockets, Lindsay watched the car exit the driveway. He had to force himself to keep from following it; the urge to rip Brock away from the wheel and take her to safety himself made him rigid. She would be safe, and in a few short days he would see her again.
Knowing that they would both soon be free kept him rooted in place.
* * * * *
Alauria wasn't sure how long she slept, but when she woke up, she jumped up in surprise. Her face was pressed against the back of the driver's seat, forcing her neck to bend at an awkward angle. Her hands dangled on either side of her, nearly touching the floor. It was the harsh, foreign language being spoken between the men in the car that brought her out of her slumber, and the uncomfortable position that made her jump up.
"Seatbelts are quite the nifty little device," Maels commented before going back to his language.
She would have scowled had her neck not felt as if she'd spent the day letting someone balance a building on it. She decided to concentrate on stretching the tension out. The action served to cool her down enough to remember to be civil to the men set to guard her. "Where are you taking me?"