Hypnotic Ch. 07byCia81©
"So I can go home now?" I looked from the doctors watching me with pleased expressions to my mate. I couldn't get enough of looking at him. His yellow eyes with the black slit pupil that I thought were so sexy and the tips of his fangs dropping down when he smiled at me made me shiver. He hadn't left my sight since we realized I could see again.
He'd cleaned me up, and then held me for a little while as the effects of the venom wore off. When I could, I lifted my hand and caressed his face, tracing one eyebrow and then sliding my fingers down to cup his cheek. I was quietly euphoric; amazed at the simple pleasure I'd taken for granted as to see the soft skin I was touching as I'd traced his soft lips. His pupils had widened, and I'd felt his pleasure with an echo of our earlier need.
I'd called for the doctors as soon as he was ready; I'd wanted to get the sensors off and finish the tests the doctors were sure to run before they would let me leave. I was still full of the energy the venom pulsed through my body, a weird mix that made me feel as if I could run miles in an eye blink yet made my limbs almost too heavy to move. The tests had taken almost six more hours. Six hours of drinking in the sight of my mate was barely a taste of what I wanted, what I needed. I knew that life outside the hospital would have some serious complications before we could just relax, mainly having to do with my brother.
In order for me to tell Dav about Isiah, I needed some privacy. If he was going to freak out I didn't want him to do it where there were any witnesses. It felt like I was running out of time to tell him, which led me to bugging my doctors to release me every time they entered the room.
"We're going to need you to come to my office on Monday, Ellis," Dr. Bakier said. "We'll have some more results, and if you're going to be intimate again and involve more venom," he ignored Dav's snort, "we'll need to test the levels in your blood again. You aren't cured, and there are still a lot of questions about your own genetic make-up."
He consulted my chart and frowned. "You know, I don't think you have really spoken of him, but it says here you have a twin brother. Is that right?"
Dav hissed and Dr. Bakier jumped, his eyes widening as he stared at my mate with wide eyes.
I squeezed Dav's hand. "Stop that." Turning to the doctor, I gave him a shaky smile as I tried to hide the way my heart was racing. I hadn't expected him to bring up Isiah.
"You know, he could be carrying these same genetic anomalies that you have. Perhaps you could convince him to come and have a few tests run himself."
I could see Dr. Pannar's slight shake of his head when I opened my mouth; Dav was rigid beside me. I shrugged. It wasn't like Isiah would be a good candidate to study against my changes anyway since he had made a few of his own after mating with Ahsran.
"He might come but," I kept my voice as non-committal voice as possible, "he can be tough to get in touch with."
Dr. Bakier sighed. "Well do what you can. That could be an invaluable resource to create a benchmark. You are identical twins, correct?"
Shit! I caught that slip of the tongue as soon as I said it. Dav's head cranked around and he stared at me, his eyes narrowed. I thought fast.
"You said I seem to have changed so much that my tests were showing a strong presence of Snake characteristics. I hardly doubt we'd both be mated to Snakes no matter how many people go on and on about the supposed twin bond and how they have identical lives too."
I wasn't sure if I had convinced Dav with my comment or not, but he didn't say anything.
"Very true," Dr. Pannar agreed "We'll just have to do our best without him for now."
"But I can go home?"
Dr. Pannar nodded. "But no working. I'll do without you for a few days."
I smiled, happy and excited to get out of the hospital and back on familiar ground. Besides, to my new enhanced senses the hospital not only smelled bad; it tasted bad too.
"And we want you to have someone with you around the clock, just in case," Dr. Bakier added.
"That will be done anyway," Dav said. "I'm not going to let him out of my sight for more than a minute."
"Good," Dr. Pannar smiled. "Good."
"Can I get my release paperwork now and my clothes? If you're going to get me go, I don't want to waste any more of the day."
It was Thursday; I had only one more day until Velaku and everyone expected Isiah to get to town. I had to talk to Dav as soon as possible.
The trip out of the hospital was awful; everything had a strong smell and so many of them were disgusting enough to make me gag. I looked up at Dav and almost laughed at the grimace on his face. He smiled at me, and I sobered. Would this balance and harmony we had found disappear when I told him the secret I was keeping?
Dav kept glancing over at me on the drive home. I hadn't heard back from Matthew, but I was sure that if there had been a problem with him getting in touch with Isiah that he would have come back or at least called me at the hospital. I still wish I had been able to speak with him. All I had to do was break the news of my twin's innocence and his presence in town to my mate, and then track him down so we could figure out a plan on how to approach Velaku.
'That's all'. I snorted at that thought.
"What?" Dav asked.
I shook my head. "Nothing important," I sighed, "just glad to be out of there. And a little tired." I was still a bit lethargic from all the venom he'd pumped into me. It was like the peaceful heaviness after a great workout.
He reached over and took my hand, rubbing his thumb across my knuckles. "I'll have you home so you can rest soon."
Right. I tried to hide my anxiety, pushing it down so that Dav wouldn't sense it.
"Do you mind if we stop by the bar? I need to talk to Benny; he sent me a text before we left the hospital."
Immediately I felt my heart begin to race. I couldn't help but wonder what Benny wanted that was so important Dav had to speak with him in person. Did he know? Had someone seen Isiah or Ahsran? My hands started to shake, and I pulled away from Dav. Curling them into fists, I pressed them hard to my thighs to hide the tremors.
"Hey . . . hey," Dav's voice washed over me, penetrating the overwhelming panic, "What's the matter?"
I shook my head, my mouth too dry to say anything.
We stopped at a light and he turned his head to look at me. "I can feel your fear," he said. "Are you still afraid of Benny? He is sorry for hurting you."
I shrugged one shoulder and looked away from his intense stare. He sighed.
"How about you stay in the car? I really need to check in with Benny; he said that the liquor distributor is two days late with our delivery and our supplies of rum and tequila are getting low. I need to authorize a temporary purchase and he needs my signature before the new supplier will send over the cases. It won't take long, and if you're too afraid to come in to the bar you can wait in the car."
My breath left me in a whoosh. They didn't know. While I was still a little afraid of Benny, I knew that Dav wouldn't let him hurt me. But . . . if Dav thought I was too nervous to go into the bar that would give me some time to myself.
I could call Isiah.
"Thank you." My hands stopped shaking as I calmed, and I leaned my head back against the head rest. Closing my eyes, I wondered if my life with Dav would always be as stressful and crazy as the last few weeks. I shivered.
"Here." Dav turned up the heat and I felt a vent begin to blow warm air on me. It felt good, and while I didn't fall asleep, I could feel myself just basking quietly as the heat soaked into my body. I smiled when I realized exactly what I was doing.
"These little traits I'm picking up from you are interesting," I said in a lazy voice.
"Hmm?" Dav asked. The car stopped and I opened my eyes as I turned my head to look at him.
"Well, I was stressed. You turned up the heat, and I could almost feel the tension leaving my body as I relaxed. Just like a snake basking on a hot rock in the sun."
Dav tilted his head as he searched my eyes. "Does that bother you?"
I shook my head. "I told you before. I'm not going to get upset about becoming more like you. I've never had any bias against your kind, and I'm not about to start now that we've become mates." I smiled at him. "Frankly, I've always thought you were sexy with your fangs and your slit pupils. And we both know I'll never complain about your venom when you bite me." I shivered at the thought of him biting me again so soon.
I was half-hard just from the rubbing of my clothes and the leftover venom that hadn't burned off yet. If he bit me again. . .
Dav smirked when I shivered again and I knew he could feel the pleasure the thought brought me. He leaned over and kissed me, his forked tongue caressing the inside of my mouth, stroking my tongue and dancing along the roof. It tickled a little but in the best way, making me lean forward and deepen the kiss. Our tongues thrust back and forth, teasing each other until he pulled back with a moan.
One hand gripped his door handle. "Now I have to go in there with a hard on." He looked fierce, giving me a mock scowl.
I grinned at him. "Hey, you kissed me!"
"Can't help but want to do it again either." He leaned forward and gave me a brief kiss, sucking a little on my bottom lip. "Hmm . . . you taste good."
I nipped him in return and he jerked back. "So do you. But you need to go inside."
Dav sighed, running his hand through his hair. "I know. I'll be right back. Just stay here, okay?"
The door clicked softly as he shut it and the locks reengaged. I watched him as he walked away, my eyes zeroed in on his ass as he walked. His slacks cupped the curves of his body in a way that screamed custom tailoring. I never really thought about it but he was always so well dressed, so neat and tidy.
It made me want to muss him.
Preferably in bed.
I shook my head when the back door to the bar closed behind him. Clearly our bond was doing its' job. We were closer than ever and I couldn't imagine not having him in my life. I wanted him too much to deny the rightness of our being mates. Even with everything that had happened, I knew inside Dav was a good man and the right one for me.
Besides, that tongue of his could make a man forget a laundry list of his sins.
I waited another minute so I could be sure that he wasn't going to come back for something, and then pulled my phone out of my pocket. Turning it on, several messages dinged at me on the screen. I ignored them and dialed Isiah's number.
It went straight to voicemail.
There could be a lot of good reasons for that; I refused to panic, yet. I dialed Matthew's number. It rang several times, and then went to his voicemail too.
Damn it! Why wasn't anyone picking up? I tried Isiah's again.
"Come on, come on." This time the phone rang eight times, but he still didn't answer.
Not good, not good at all.
I stared at my phone, one foot tapping nervously as I chewed on my lip. I couldn't think of anyone else to call, I'd told them to check out of the hotel, so I couldn't call there and ask for a message to be sent to the room. I had no idea where my brother or my best friend were and no way to find out.
Then I remembered the messages. My hands trembled as I tapped the voicemail option, and then held the phone to my ear, listening to the automated voicemail spiel before my messages began. There were two of them. One was Matthew saying that he'd gotten my message to Isiah. The second was from a telemarketer, and I almost threw my phone in frustration.
I'd hoped there would be a message telling me where they were and why they weren't answering their phones. I hung up and then shoved my phone in my pocket. I brooded, staring out the window until I saw Dav come back out, a small brown bag over his shoulder. The car beeped as he unlocked the doors.
He opened up the back and slung his bag onto the seat before he got into the car. "I thought I'd grab some clothes. It's been a bit since I showered."
He'd been by my side every minute in the hospital. He was a bit pungent, but since it was his scent I actually enjoyed it. I wasn't much better; a wet washcloth wasn't that effective for a full body clean up and I just hadn't been able to stomach the idea of the hospital's soap on my body. It reeked.
"We can take one when we get home," I said with a yawn.
"Then you can eat something and take a nap," he said, looking both ways as he pulled out of the parking lot.
I just went along with his plans. I knew that we needed to talk, but maybe if I got him relaxed in a hot shower and he ate with me, we could talk in bed. I seriously doubted he would take what I had to say well, but I was willing to be a little sneaky if it would help keep him calm.
I looked at Matthew's apartment as we drove by and his car was there, but his curtains were closed. When he was home his curtains were always open. I wondered where he was, but the thought slipped my mind as Dav pulled into my guest space and turned off the car.
I sighed heavily.
Home. I didn't get out of the car immediately.
"Do you need some help?" Dav asked, already getting his bag out of the backseat.
I snorted and shook my head as I opened my door. "No. I went blind and could have died; I didn't become a cripple."
Dav hissed a little as his eyes narrowed. "Yeah, let's not talk about that, okay?" He took the small bag of stuff the hospital gave me out of my hand and followed me up the sidewalk.
I rolled my eyes but fell silent. My key slid easily into the lock and I turned the handle. My apartment was dark when I walked in; all the shades and curtains were closed. I frowned. I never closed the curtains, but maybe Dav did before he took me to the hospital. I headed for the hall.
I spun around when I heard scuffling at the door before it slammed shut.
"What the fuck," I yelled, lunging for the light switch in the hallway. I spun around just in time to see my twin's mate snarl at Dav and wrestle him to the floor so that my twin could slap a pair of cuffs around his wrists. I stared at them in shock as they continued to bind him, shoving his feet together and slipping a flex cuff around his ankles before drawing them up and linking the wrist and ankle cuffs together.
I rushed toward them when they slapped a tape gag over Dav's mouth. His rage flooded our bond.
I jerked back when Ahsran turned his head and snarled at me. My heart was racing and I sank to the floor at the hard look Isiah gave me when he stood up and turned around. He loomed over me, his thick fangs bared.
"What is going on? Why are you doing this?"
"Velaku's men tracked us at the hotel room," he said with snarl. "We barely got away. They were shooting at us, Ellis!"
"I didn't know!" I stammered. "I've been trying to call you since I left the hospital. I asked Matthew to get a message to you, to tell you what happened and to leave."
The disbelief on his face was like a blow.
"I'm supposed to just believe you?" The sneer on his face was too much. I snapped, everything catching up with me at once.
I jerked to my feet and got in his face. He was a bit bulkier than I was now, but we stood eye to eye as I stabbed my finger into his chest.
"Yes," I snapped, "like I believed you weren't a heartless murderer because you said so! Because I'm your brother, and I've never done anything but try to have your back no matter what you were off doing. I wasn't planning any attack on you; I was lying in a hospital bed for the last day, and I only left the hospital because of a small miracle. The doctors told me that I could die! The only reason why I didn't was because my mate," I stressed the word, "was willing to do whatever it took to save my life."
His mouth dropped open, but I didn't give him a moment to speak.
"I lay there in that bed right after my doctors told me there was something weird in my blood and that they had no cure. There was a chance Dav could keep me from dying, if I was lucky, but instead of worrying about me, I worried that something could happen to you because I wasn't here to help you. I sent my best friend away when I needed comfort from those I cared about most around me because I wanted you to be safe."
I stabbed my finger into his chest when my voice broke. "I needed you there. But you're caught up in some grand conspiracy; working undercover and doing gods know what while you leave me behind. Like always. I'm here to help fix your mistakes and cover your ass and god damn it the one time I needed you, really needed my family, I couldn't even call you!
"When are you going to grow the hell up and stop playing these games? I'm tired of being the good twin that's always stuck cleaning up the mess." I blinked back tears, my throat tight. "Now either untie my mate and talk to us, or get the hell out of my apartment and don't come back."
Isiah looked pained, glancing between me and where his mate still hovered over mine. I didn't look at Dav's face; I could feel several emotions roiling through our bond.
This was not how I wanted to break the news of Isiah's innocence to him. Fat chance he'd believe me now that he knew I had been keeping secrets from him.
Isiah bit at his lip, clearly undecided.
"I mean it Isiah," I said, my voice suddenly devoid of emotion. "Do it or leave. I'm not doing this anymore, and I won't let you tie up my mate because you fucked up and are afraid he's going to kick your ass."
Ahsran snarled. "You're mated to Davis Retic; he's The Snake. He wouldn't kick our ass; he'd kill us. I won't let you do it, Isiah. I won't let you put yourself at risk."
I sighed. "Dav, nod if you promise not to attack until you hear what we have to say. Isiah's innocent, and he can explain. I wanted to tell you but I couldn't, not at the hospital."
Dav practically vibrated as he fought his bonds, but he didn't nod. I pinched the bridge of my nose and groaned as the stress began to get to me. His eyes flicked to my face and I could hear his hiss from behind the gag, but he nodded. Grudgingly.
Ahsran snarled when Isiah nodded too.
It was my twin's turn to talk sternly to his mate.
"Ellis is right, Ahsran. I never agreed with you that he was the one who sent Velaku's men to the hotel. That just made no sense; he could have had us ambushed when we first got there, or during the night. If we want them to trust us, we have to trust them."
I could see the Tiger's protective instincts practically screaming at him as he slowly began to undo the cuffs and bands holding Dav captive. Isiah stepped away from me and away from Dav, backing away toward the couch. I barely caught the keys Ahsran tossed at me before he went to stand protectively in front of Isiah; his knees bent a little as he prepared to tackle my mate if Dav attacked. His eyes were locked onto my mate as they both waited to see what he would do.
I shook my head as I bent over to unlock Dav's cuffs, but I understood his caution when Dav sort of rippled to his feet in the space of an eye blink, yanking the gag off his face as he glared at the large Tiger. He shifted until he stood partially in front of me.
I could sense his anger and could see his hands flexing and releasing at his sides as he let out a long hiss. I bent my head around his arm and looked at his face. The tip of his forked tongue was just visible and his pupils had expanded. He was still vibrating, and I could sense his need to strike.
I wrapped my hands around his arm and slipped underneath it, leaning into his side and shifting one foot between his. His entire body was practically vibrating and his muscles were rigid; this way he couldn't rush forward without tripping up with me. I concentrated on sending him waves of love; my only hope that I hadn't damaged the trust between us irrevocably was the bond still open between us.