Daybreak Ch. 06bypurefire©
There was no reason why she shouldn't have been able to sleep, but Charisma found herself walking through the semi-dark halls of the manor anyway. Three in the morning never seemed as lonely as now. It was his fault. Had he not kissed her before walking out of the kitchen, she would have been able to think of something else, anything else. But 'lo and behold, she'd been stuck tossing and turning in bed, wishing he was there with her.
There was feeling lonely, and then there was feeling like this. Charisma sighed dejectedly as she continued her walk. She smiled at the sound of Slade's voice sweet-talking a probable conquest. At the mention of his tongue going in a not so modest place, she increased the pace of her walk and took a right turn at the end of the hall. A very bare hallway led to large double doors that looked like something out of a medieval movie. It was obvious that someone was inside the room the doors protected because Charisma saw the flickering light of a fire through the crack in the doors. If she wasn't such a curious person, she would have headed back to her room. But she was a curious person and because of that, she found herself slowly pushing the door open.
Charisma felt her breath catch at the sight of the very large and beautiful library in front of her. Three walls were nothing but shelves filled with books. Wall ladders, much like the ones she'd seen in movies, were perched against the wall, patiently waiting for their next use. The fourth wall was heavily curtained, which made her think that they covered large windows. In the center of the curtained wall was a fireplace that housed the blazing fire that drew her into the room.
There was a small sitting area around the fireplace with large, plush chairs and one very comfortable looking burgundy couch. To the other side of the room were three desks, all covered with books. There were no plants or paintings in the library, but a very intricate brass chandelier hung from the center of the steepled ceiling and it only served to highlight the ornate contemporary rug that rested on the hardwood floors.
The room was amazing.
Charisma took a step into the room and it was then that she noticed Jameson sitting on the large couch. Why hadn't she seen him before? She walked toward him slowly and as she approached, it became clear that he was focused on something in his hands. A picture frame. In it was a beautiful hand-drawn photo of a man and woman she'd never seen before. They both looked... In love. Though the sketch also depicted what she suspected were the grounds of the manor, Charisma could only see the love and happiness of the couple. "Who are they?"
Jameson didn't bother to loop up or at her when she sat beside him as he said, "Two people I am slowly learning to envy." His brother and Nadia barely knew each other for six months and already they knew that they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. Andraemalek, one of the most brash, abrasive and reclusive men he'd ever known was able to find love. And with someone like Nadia. Two people so completely opposite, but so perfect for one another. How did they do it? Where did they bravery to ignore the dangers of this life come from?
And how could he, Jameson, find a way to have such a fearless connection?
It took him a minute to realize what he'd said to Charisma. To hide his embarrassment, he stood and placed the picture on the mantle. "What are you still doing up?"
"Couldn't sleep." She watched him for a moment. With his long ebony hair unbound, he looked more dangerous than when he groomed. But his eyes... They told her just how vulnerable he really was. "You know, it's ok to admit you're lonely sometimes."
"Not in my line of work." Jameson stared at the fire as he tried to control his emotions. It was Nadia's words that had him jumbled up and confused. Before her premonition, he was fine; better, in fact, when he kept his relationships light and impersonal. There were no attachments, no worries about emotions, and definitely no concerns for anyone's safety. There was no fear of leaving anyone behind or worse, having someone taken from him.
"So why are you sitting alone, starting at a picture of two people who are obviously so deeply in love that it's almost sickening?"
He turned to look at her and felt a tightening in his chest at the serene look on her face. The firelight danced gently over her face and for a moment, he could have sworn he was looking at an angel. Charisma's pale green eyes were warm and understanding, giving him more reason to want her. "I was prepared to live my life alone. It's easier that way."
"I'm better by myself," Jameson interrupted, "I don't want to have to worry about the things D. has to."
Charisma nodded slowly. She understood that his life was dangerous and that he didn't need the added strain of worrying about someone else on his brain. But his actions, especially with her, said something completely different. "So what about whatever it is between us? Have you made up your mind yet?"
He said nothing for a long minute. Instead of speaking, he chose to watch the emotions that played across her face. She seemed disappointed by the thought of his turning his back on his feelings for her. At the same time, she completely understood his reasons if he decided to change his mind. He didn't know how to feel about that, or anything concerning her, for that matter. "I don't think I was the one chosen to find you simply because of this situation."
"There were demons after me," she reasoned. She didn't like the thought of his walking away from her, but there wasn't much she could do about it; it was his decision. On top of that was the fact that she was confused about what she felt about him as well. She wasn't experiencing a weird form of hero-worship, and the feelings she had for him were intense. It was the fact that her feelings were so strong after only a handful of days that terrified her. Those feelings took her control away from her, and she needed that control. It was her lifeline.
"We both know that that's not what I'm talking about." Jameson moved to sit beside her and took a breath when she briefly looked away. She wanted him, but only if he was patient with her and was sure about what he wanted, which he wasn't. Charisma made it clear that she only wanted a physical relationship. He wanted more. But at the same time, he couldn't bear to put her through the stress that came with his life.
"We don't know each other." How could she give him what he wanted if she didn't know him? That was way too much faith to put into a virtual stranger.
"I know what I feel."
"Jameson, why can't it just be light for now?"
"I like a challenge." He smiled when she looked away again. "You do something to me, Charisma." To emphasize his point, he pulled her to him and sighed contentedly at the way she melted into him. "You feel it too."
Charisma couldn't lie. But she wasn't comfortable enough to go passed physical attraction. "What if it's a passing thing?" He could wake up one morning and realize that he never really wanted her. That wasn't something she could deal with.
"That's bullshit and you know it." He turned her head to face him and captured her soft lips with his. The eagerness with which she kissed him told him all he needed to know. She wanted him, just as much as much as he wanted her. If he was to seriously set his fears aside for her, he would not settle for less than what he wanted. "I want you. All of you." He kissed her again and had to force himself to pull her hands away from the hem of his shirt. "But I won't have you until you're as sure as I am." He had his concerns, but his own selfish needs outweighed everything else.
She looked into his eyes and realized how serious he was. He put his cards on the table; he wanted all or nothing. "What if I'm never sure?"
"You will be." Jameson ran his fingers through her hair a moment before he kissed her forehead. She was terrified of putting her faith in someone. Though he understood, he wasn't about to make allowances. "You will be."
* * * * *
The small commotion brought Jameson and Charisma awake. Groggily, they looked at each other and said nothing to the feeling of being the first people they saw. They also said nothing to the fact that sleeping in each others' arms gave them both a sense of peace they hadn't expected. They simply smiled at each one another before following the noise to the kitchen. There, all the brothers gathered around the island with the couple from the picture. Charisma regarded the two figures closely; the man, Andraemalek, if she remembered correctly, was an imposing figure. He was one of the taller men in the room, but that wasn't what gave him the menacing quality; no, it was the almost angry looking square shaped faced and black, almost empty eyes that made her wary. They seemed to look straight into the soul. Thick, dark eyebrows added a dramatic effect to his eyes and when paired with his slightly crooked nose and ridiculously toned body, he was almost scary. The warm toffee color of his skin did nothing to soften him.
He looked more like someone the brothers would fight and not one of them.
The plump woman beside Andraemalek, however, had to be his complete opposite. Nadia stood a good six to seven inches shorter than him and had a warm smile. Her unusual grey eyes were bright and displayed her excitement to see everyone. Mocha skin glowed almost unnaturally, especially when compared to the deep red hair piled atop her head. In her own way, Nadia was a very beautiful woman, but there was something about her, something mysterious that gave her an edge.
The brothers looked very excited to see her. Alexis hugged her tightly as he expressed his relief at seeing her no worse for wear. Liam didn't look so mean, though he did make a fuss concerning the length of her absence. The twins took turns introducing themselves before Slade took the opportunity to state that he always had a thing for redheads. Andraemalek didn't like the remark at all and had Nadia not stood in his way, he would have shown his brother just how much.
"Where's Caleb?" Nadia asked.
"Wait, Cale was here?"
Alexis nodded to answer Slade's question before he answered Nadia's. "He had to head back for a business thing."
"That's a shame. Who else am I going to yell at for reading my thoughts?" Nadia looked toward the entryway and smiled at the two very quiet people standing there. "No wonder Jameson isn't busy trying to piss you off, Andrae." She pushed her way through the wall of men in front of her and stopped in front of them. As she regarded the new woman standing in front of her, she asked, "Is this her?"
Jameson smiled at the excitement in Nadia's eyes. He'd missed that particular glint and knew that things at the manor would run smoother with her return. "Yes. This is Charisma."
Charisma held her hand out and gasped in surprise when Nadia pulled her into a hug instead. Either the redhead woman was extremely open and affectionate, or she was very excited to meet her. "Hi its-"
"You cannot avoid what is to happen. It is your destiny. Shame must not be felt."
Charisma felt her eyes go wide as Nadia's glowing eyes slowly dimmed. Was she a demi-god as well?
Jameson reached over when Nadia stumbled backward. A second later, he gingerly handed her over to Andraemalek. "What did the Council say about that?"
Andraemalek helped Nadia to a chair before he said, "She's a Daemis."
"I thought she was because of the red hair and grey eyes, but I wasn't sure," Alexis said.
"A what?" Charisma frowned at the new events unfolding before her. Would it ever end?
"A Daemis is an oracle of sorts," Jameson answered. The confusion and disbelief on her face would have made him laugh if he didn't have Nadia's words on his mind. "Actually that's a really bad comparison." He looked at Alexis as he said, "Lex can be called an oracle. He has flashes of the future, but it's always uncertain. The smallest change can alter what he sees. Nadia on the other hand," he looked at the Daemis as he finished, "Nadia sees what will happen no matter what. There is no way around her visions."
"What does that mean, exactly?" Charisma frowned.
Charisma looked at Nadia and frowned at the pained expression in her grey eyes. "What?"
"Alexis can tell you that he sees children in your future. That can very easily mean that you'll be babysitting or somewhere there are children present. That doesn't mean that you are going to have any."
"But if you say children in my future-"
"If I say to you you'll have seven children to call your own, nothing you do will stop you from having to raise seven children. Be it by adoption or people dying and leaving their kids to you."
"So basically her word is law," Jameson added. "You think her powers work like yours? Or will she always have to touch people to-"
"She's sitting right over there," Liam growled, "Don't talk about her like she's not in the room."
"Wait a minute," Draco interrupted, "Did Liam just get pissed for someone else?" He looked at his twin as he continued, "We've been gone too long."
"Can we get back to the heart of the matter, please?" Alexis asked. He looked over to Nadia who sat quietly. "What else did the Council say?"
Nadia took a shaky breath before she spoke. " Like Andrae said, I'm a Daemis and it's my responsibility to serve The Brethren. They actually said 'serve.'"
"So this means I could ask you to come in my room at night when I need a little-" Slade stopped cold when Andraemalek took a threatening step forward. "Chillax man, I was going to say guidance."
"What else?" Alexis asked to get the conversation back on track.
"Basically I work for and with you guys and it's my job to make yours a little easier."
"Good news for you, huh, D.?"
There was a moment of silence as Andraemalek and Nadia looked at each other before simultaneously staring at the ground.
"What aren't you telling us?" Roman asked.
"We have a problem," Euan said as he walked into the kitchen. He stopped and looked at Nadia a scant second before he crouched in front of her and rested his head on her shoulder. "It'll be all right," he comforted.
Charisma glanced at Jameson's worried face. She was beyond confused. "What's happening?"
"Something's wrong with Nadia but she won't talk about it," he whispered in reply.
"How do you know something's wrong?"
"Euan's a partial empath."
"So he feels what she feels?"
"Which is why he's trying to make her feel better." Jameson looked down when Charisma took hold of his hand. Was she trying to comfort him or was she seeking comfort for herself? "What's going on, Euan?"
Euan stood up and pulled a sheet of paper out of his pocket. "I went to see Quila earlier today, but she wasn't home."
"That explains why you have clothes on," Draco said.
Euan nodded as he continued, "I thought she might be able to tell us something."
"She can see the future," Jameson supplied when Charisma glanced at him questioningly. "Alexis doesn't see things as clearly as we would like when it comes to us."
"Not only was she not home, but a Forkai was there. And he wasn't a friendly."
"Shit," Liam muttered.
"Did you kill him?" Alexis asked.
Euan nodded before he held up his hand. "But not before I got this." He opened the piece of paper and handed it to Alexis. When his brother frowned, he said to everyone else, "On that sheet of paper are the names of all powerful beings in the city. Witches, demons, humans with abilities... They're all there. And they're all missing."
Alexis let out a frustrated breath as he said, "Dion is on this list."
"Shit," Liam said again.
"Who's Dion?" Nadia asked.
"The son of a human with an ability and a witch," Jameson answered. "Not all of his powers have developed."
"Which one has?" Charisma asked.
"Fear," the men said at once.
"He can read your greatest fear and use it to control and manipulate you." Roman supplied.
"And the day walking vampire guy had the list?"
Euan nodded in response to Charisma's question as he said, "Which means he would have been turned as payment."
Jameson looked at Charisma's confused expression. This was too much for her, but she needed to know. "Most Forkai are happy to be as they are but the new trend is to become a Mordecai because they're deadlier. So as payment for carrying out a daytime task, a Forkai will be turned."
"So the missing people..."
"Zaide," Jameson said in answer.
"Try to find them," Nadia said, "If you can find them, you'll find Zaide. He can't be too far away if he's taking people from the city."
"If they're still alive anyway," Alexis said. "Their blood is like heroin to his kind."
"It's a start," Jameson said.
"Yes, it is," Alexis agreed on a sigh, "We'll start after sunset."
* * * * *
Again, Charisma found that she couldn't sleep. Not because of insomnia, but because she hadn't heard anything from Jameson. As Alexis said, the men went out after sunset and every second that they were gone added to her worry. She wasn't the only one involved in this sordid situation anymore; innocent people, Jameson's friends were being taken or maybe killed. There weren't any real leads, meaning they were all still in the dark. Charisma knew that she should have been calm, should have had faith in the men who protected her, but how could she? Other than her adoptive parents, who she barely spoke to anymore, she didn't trust anyone. And now she had no choice but to trust men she'd never believed existed had someone else told her about them. And one of those men...
Charisma expelled a frustrated breath as she paced the length of her room. Jameson. What was it about the man that made her a jumble of emotions whenever she thought about him? The man was the sexiest thing ever and there was no denying the fact that she wanted him. But he wanted more. He wanted a relationship. Hope for a future together. Jameson wanted her to trust him enough to let herself become attached to him. He had to know that he was asking too much of her. They barely knew each other. How could he expect her to just jump into something serious while everything else was going on?
Talking to Maria would have been nice. The too happy assistant would have easily made her forget about her inner turmoil. Charisma smiled at the thought of Maria telling her to 'go with the flow' and to figure out how she really felt as time went on. Maria would also tell her that life was too short to try to control every aspect of it. Though her perky assistant would have had a point, it still wasn't something Charisma wanted to consider.
Charisma whipped around and frowned at Jameson as he walked into the room. He didn't look hurt; in fact, he looked all kinds of delicious in black cargo pants and a charcoal grey sweater that only highlighted his eyes. "I thought you were out patrolling."
"The guys are still out." Jameson stepped further into the room before he slowly closed it. Turning to her, he said, "Nadia called me and said that I should come back to check on you. Are you all right?"
"I'm fine." No she wasn't. The man's presence was wreaking havoc on her senses. "Just worried."
He nodded slowly and tried to ignore the fact that she only wore a pink tank top with red shorts that should have been called underwear. What was he thinking when he bought those for her? Her lithe body was showcased beautifully and those long, muscular legs... "Nothing to be worried about."
Charisma found herself blushing at the new, foreign tone of his voice. "Only being kidnapped and probably killed." She gasped when he crossed the room in threes strides. His legs were longer than she thought. The feel of his ultra-warm hands as the cupped her face made her shudder with need. How was he doing this to her?