A Darker LovebyAMY_Monaco©
The crashing of a dish to the floor set off a series of events throughout the universe that was preordained long before words were even recorded.
"Damn it." Alaina swore softly. So lost in her thoughts while drying the dishes that she hadn't even felt the dish slip out of her hand.
She tucked a lock of loose raven black hair behind her ear and knelt down on the linoleum floor. She bumped into a dining room chair as she did so.
Her apartment was small to say the least. As a one bedroom, living room combined with dining room and kitchen and a tiny bathroom, it was barely comfortable for a single person to live in. On the bright side, it was in a good neighborhood and was walking distance to all the shops.
The shards of porcelain were soon dumped into the trash, and after sweeping up she straightened herself and sighed. What a way to spend Friday evening, she thought. Friends were busy and she didn't even want to think about her current relationship status. It hadn't changed since she started college.
She consoled herself with reasons why it was good she was single at the moment. During college she had been too focused on classes and grades to deal with the drama of dating. Then portfolio and graduation had gotten in the way.
Finding a job took a lot of time...and now she was busy saving up, working all the hours she could grab just so she could eat and live in this tiny little hole in the wall.
Alaina groaned to herself. She would soon run out of reasons to not date, she thought. She was twenty-three and a healthy, reasonably attractive young woman. Why should she be afraid to date?
Was it because she feared rejection? Of putting herself out there to complete strangers? Of worrying whether the man would expect sex immediately after they were established as a couple?
It was the latter reason. Alaina had an old soul. She'd always grown up thinking she'd save herself for someone she was in love with, or better yet for her husband.
Such ideas didn't quite work for the modern world, and this only made Alaina ponder her current situation more. Should she modernize? Just live life and enjoy the sexual freedom as everyone else?
Her cell phone rang and her friend Melissa was on the other line.
"You called just in time, Melissa." Alaina said, leaning against the counter of her kitchen.
"Then you're up to going out tonight? Turns out I won't have to work the night shift. We could just go to Sully's for a bit."
"Sully's sounds great. How about nine?"
"See you there."
Alaina dressed stylishly. To compliment her rather petite, but slim stature, she wore a flowing skirt and fitted, crisp shirt that tied at the waist, emphasizing her small waist. With heels on and a clutch in her hand, she headed out.
Sully's was their occasional haunt, a higher-classes bar that featured a dance floor where music people could slow dance to was played. She found herself sitting at a booth in the corner, the lights dimmed, Nat King Cole playing in the background. She liked this place. The tables weren't sticky and the atmosphere was intimate and classy.
She glanced at her watch. Still no sign of Melissa. Cole changed to a soft jazzy number and she shifted her focus to the couples on the floor. Then a waiter cut her line of vision.
"Compliments of the gentleman over there." The man said, setting down a colorful drink.
Alaina's lips automatically curved into a smile. This had never happened to her before. She looked up.
Across the floor at a table covered in the same white cloth as hers sat a man dressed in an immaculate suit. His hair was as dark as hers, brushed back yet a lock of hair strayed and fell over his wide forehead. He was very good looking; his angled featured made her think of Greek statues. His sensuous mouth was curved in acknowledgment.
She lifted the glass to him in a silent toast and touched only the tip of her tongue to the drink. His intense gaze remained on hers a bit longer and she felt something stir inside her belly, recognized it as yearning.
"Sorry I'm late." Melissa breathed, sitting down in the chair in front of her. Alaina turned to her friend.
"That's okay. I like just sitting here watching everything."
"Well, you started without me." Her friend said with a smile, indicating the drink.
"I didn't order it."
"Then you're really getting started without me." Melissa laughed. "Who sent it to you?"
Alaina turned her attention to the dancers.
"That man over there in the black suit and black hair."
"Ooh!" Alaina laughed when Melissa turned to look non-too subtly. "He's a cute one. Go ask him to dance."
Alaina shook her head. "I couldn't. Besides, he's probably the type who buys drinks for women all the time. It's just his thing."
"I wouldn't mind if he buys me one." Then her friend's smile widened. "Look, he's coming this way. I'll go and get my drink. Maybe you'll get lucky tonight."
"Melissa," Alaina shook her head, laughing. "I love you, but you're just a bit much sometimes."
"Back at you." She gave Alaina the thumbs up expression before walking away.
The man approached her, his movements fluid and confident. He took the seat Melissa abandoned.
"You do not like the drink or do you just not approve of me?"
She gave him a curious look. His accent was soft and none that she recognized. And on closer inspection, he was even more handsome. His dark eyes flecked with silver bore into her as he waited for her answer.
"I don't know you to approve or disapprove."
"We could correct that, of course." He stood up suddenly and held his hand out. "Would you care to dance?"
This was something out of a movie, she thought. Right out of those old ones where she would be in Audrey Hepburn's position and he, in William Holden's.
Ah, but there was the difference. The dark looks of this man contrasted greatly with the golden image of William Holden.
She took his hand. The band struck up and singers were up doing a Sinatra number, which made Alaina smile.
"I don't drink alcohol." She said, looking up at him. He was very tall, at least a foot taller than she and beneath her hands, she could feel the hard cords of muscle flex.
"I have never met a woman who doesn't drink." He answered skeptically.
"I was never able to tolerate alcohol. A few sips will make me turn so unattractively red. And I get very sick. But I sipped your drink because I didn't want to be rude." She added sheepishly.
His soft chuckle was deep and rich, his breath brushing against her temple. He held her very close for someone she didn't know. This was so strange, meeting like this. She had to admit she wanted to fall for his charm, even if it was just for tonight.
"What's your name, by the way?"
He looked at her. "Cosimo de D'Alessandro."
The way his name rolled off his accented tongue made her shiver and he felt it. She saw the flecks of silver flash in his eyes.
"Alaina." His sensual lips curved into a slow smile. The white of his teeth stood out against his tanned skin.
He was probably here on business. He looked like a businessman, a very prosperous one by the looks of his suit and the manner he carried himself. He moved like a man who owned the world and everything in it, like a man who'd had nothing denied to him, a man who's passion was only just contained.
His hand slid down to the small of her back, keeping her close as the song ended, another began.
"I should go back to my friend." She said, after the third song was over. She enjoyed the rush he brought her and even now, her heart raced just for being in his arms. There was something about being near him that made every nerve in her body come alive. She was aware of his every movement, his every breath as if they were both connected somehow.
Alaina pushed these thoughts aside. These things -- meeting these types of people -- always came to an end.
"I want you to come home with me." His dark promise was a whisper in her ear. She felt his warm lips brush against her and she sucked in a breath.
"I just met you." Her voice didn't come out as strongly as she wished it to, but rather it was breathless and soft.
"Look, it was really nice dancing with you, but I have to go."
If it was possible, his eyes darkened. "Alaina, do not do this."
He held her firmly, keeping her on the dance floor. She didn't want to cause a scene and slowly pulled her arm from his grasp.
"It was nice meeting you, Cosimo. Thanks for the drink."
With that, she turned her back to him. When she couldn't find Melissa, she dug her cell out from her clutch as she left Sully's. Her heels clicked in time to her racing heart as she hurried down the street. Melissa wasn't picking up.
Something about that man made her bolt. For a minute she regretted having done so. There it was again, that fear of being intimate with a man who might not have serious intentions. And there was his intensity, it simply radiated from him as strongly as his body heat. It was intimidating.
Suddenly someone yanked her by the waist into a dark alleyway. The scream was ready at her throat, but a solid hand clamped over her mouth. She felt the man's chest press tightly to her. Oh god, she was going to die.
"I would never hurt you, Alaina." The deep voice said into her ear. It was Cosimo.
"I admire your spirit, my love." He continued. "But tonight, you cannot fight me. You are meant to come home with me."
His words sent fear coursing through her. She struggled, but to no avail. He was too big, too strong. She whimpered, trying to speak, but his hand muffled her words. She was going to die, she kept thinking. This crazed man was going to kill her in an alleyway. No one was going to find her until it was too late.
A tear slide down her cheek, landing on his fingers. The feel of it caused his hand to gentle.
"Deep breath, Alaina."
His words confused her. Suddenly his arms tightened around her and the alleyway fell away, melding into colors and then, nothing.
What remained of their existence in that alleyway was a puff of liquid smoke that floated densely in the air before disappearing.
He had known the world before civilization began. He'd seen wars ravage the lands, storms wipe out cities and death, so much death. He'd been witness to unspeakable things.
The room he occupied was the master bedchamber, a large expanse of columns and well-crafted furniture. The floors were of rich black marble veined with white and like the rest of the floors in his home, were heated from below. The ceilings were covered in frescoes of gods and allegories of war and love.
Ormolu chests and wardrobes contained items he'd collected over the millennia, clothes for every occasion. Oil paintings hung on damask covered walls and oil lamps burned softly. He lived in decadence.
Cosimo watched Alaina sleep peacefully in his large bed, a structure wide enough to sleep eight. The headboard was carved of marble, the same black as the floor. He moved to the edge where she lay, touched her cheek softly. The shift of realms to bring her here had made her faint and she'd yet to come out of it. There would be a lot of explanations to be voiced when she woke, he knew.
He no longer wore the suit, having discarded it long ago. He went bare-chested, with only a cloth wrapped around his waist to cover himself. These robes were the traditional attire he wore at home.
Alaina stirred, coming awake slowly. She knew even before her mind was clear that her sleep must have been fitful, for her body felt heavy. Her thoughts were slightly clouded and she blinked several times, trying to adjust to the images before her.
The colors of the room did not match her bedroom. She sat up quickly, gasping when she saw Cosimo sitting on the edge of the bed. She felt the sheets caress her skin and realized she was naked. She clutched the sheets to her chest, pushing herself up against the headboard.
"Where am I?" She demanded. "Where have you taken me?"
It was impossible that he took her to another country, yet the architecture of this place suggested just that. The style was too old, the things that filled it too ornate and beautiful even for a modern day home.
"This is my home, Alaina. Your new home." He answered. He lifted her chin, forcing her mouth to his. She clenched her teeth together, trying to push away. But he held her, coaxing her lips apart. He pushed her back onto the bed until he lay on top of her.
"It is no use fighting. There is no where you can go."
"Why did you bring me here?" She shouted. "If you're going to kill me, why didn't you do it in the alley? Why bring me here?"
"I'm not going to kill you, my love." He said harshly. He stilled her hands at her sides and frowned at her. "I wouldn't harm you. Ever."
"You're insane." She announced. "Is this what you do with your money? Kidnap women and pay others to look the other way while you rape them?"
"It will not be rape with you," he murmured, lowering his head once again to kiss her. His lower body pressed to the junction at her parted legs. She could feel his arousal and gasped. The only barrier between them was the robe around his waist.
"I have waited an eternity to feel you beneath me."
His words only made her heart beat faster. Men didn't really say these things to women. Coming from Cosimo, it sounded so natural, so genuine.
He brought his hips forward, pressing himself closer and Alaina arched to him. Her body betrayed her mind without a second's delay. His fingers twined with hers as he moved with her, showing her exactly how his touches wouldn't lead to rape. The things he made her feel were too strong to fight, and some part of her wanted to feel it -- to feel him. She'd never slept with a man before and just once, she wanted to experience it.
"What are you doing to me?" She whispered, desperate to break from this spell he had over her. His eyes flashed, as they never left her face. He let one of her hands go and trailed it over her body, exploring every inch of her.
"All will be explained to you once I have you."
His other hand came to join the other, leaving a trail of heat with each inch of flesh he touched. Her full breasts were soon cupped in his calloused hands.
She couldn't tell when her hands started to wind around his neck or run through his thick, black hair.
"Cosimo," she whispered. The need within her burned like fire, leaving her mindless and alert. He was her only succor.
His robe was discarded and she felt the heaviness of his cock rest between her thighs. His hand moved over the smooth plane of her stomach, down to her waiting sex. She whispered his name again when he touched her there, separating the slick folds with his skilled fingers.
The sensations he brought her were so intense, so new. He traced the folds gently before plunging a finger inside her.
Something more blunt replaced the finger. Alain opened her eyes to see him loom over her as he pushed in.
She moaned when he thrust into her deeply. The pain cut her moan off and she dug her nails into his back.
With each thrust, she was aware of his slick flesh sliding against hers. He filled her so deeply, stretching her until she thought she could be stretched no more. Something wound tightly within her as he moved. It was hot, unbearably wonderful. She wrapped her legs around him, wanting to bring him in deeper still.
They kissed, their moans fusing as their bodies did. She breathed him in, his musk, that erotic scent of the unknown.
He started moving faster, each thrust burying him as deeply as he could within her. Her wet muscles clamped around him and soon, she was falling off the edge of pleasure and crying out his name. A second later, he followed, filling her womb with his seed.
He remained inside of her.
"Now take me home." She demanded. Anger flashed in his eyes as he rolled them to their sides so they faced each other.
"You would dismiss what we just shared?"
"It was practically rape! We shared nothing!"
She tried to push at him, but he grabbed her wrists. "I was saving myself, too." Tears welled up in her eyes.
"You were saving yourself for me, Alaina." He said in a hard voice. "You are mine, you were always mine."
"Why do you keep repeating that? I'm not your possession."
"I own you body and soul, Alaina. As you own mine. It was meant to be, preordained by the stars, by the Fates or whatever you like to call it. But it remains true. Your place is beside me."
"I want to leave this place. Take me home, please." She pleaded, feeling a tear slide down her cheek. She had always thought when such words were spoken to her, she'd melt and confess her own love to that man. Yet these very words only scared her.
Cosimo de D'Alessandro was a stranger.
"You cannot leave this place because it's a different realm."
This made her stop. "A different realm."
"It has no name or direction. One only senses where it is in this universe."
She stared at him. "You're insane."
His handsome jaw tightened. "I am sound of mind, I give you my word, Alaina. Just listen to me if you want answers."
When she gave no indication of fighting him again, he let go of her hands and propped himself on one elbow.
"Are you immortal?" She couldn't quite believe she'd just voiced such a question.
"I'm a demon."
Upon hearing those words, she started to bolt, but he held her down, calming her fears with a loving hand.
"I told you I wouldn't ever harm you." He murmured. "Not all demons look like monsters or kill mercilessly or possess such evilness that everything around it dies. That is stereotyped by your Hollywood."
She swallowed. "Then what sort of demon are you?"
"It is complicated to explain...you could say I rule over the chaos of the world -- several worlds. In life there are paths and with each decision one person makes, there is a counter-decision. My powers preside over both paths -- both decisions -- so whichever an individual makes, their fate is controlled by me."
"But doesn't that make you god?"
He laughed. "No, I am no god. I control the fate of chaos and bad things. All the good is controlled by beings of a pure-soul."
He shook his head. "I control only the decision to kill or be killed. These things coordinate with the intentions of the pure-souls."
"So you work together then?"
He thought for a moment. "It is more of instinct than of actually working together."
"Why am I here? What does any of this have to do with me?"
"Because you were meant to be mine."
His words were too tempting, yet it was all too surreal. She pushed at him and this time, he let her go. She grabbed the sheet and pulled it around her.
"I can't do this. Just take me back, please. I've done nothing to you, Cosimo. Just let me go back home."
He stood up, naked and stalked toward her. "This is your home, Alaina. You must remember this. Your place is beside me now."
"Am I to kill others, too?" She asked, the very thought completely ludicrous. He was a demon, she a human. Demons were evil and grotesque, yet Cosimo stood before her as the perfect example of a male beauty.
She moved from him, her feet padding along the heated marble floor as she pushed through the double doors of the bedroom into a wide hall, as richly decorated as the bedroom. Busts sat on consoles along the hall, more paintings hung on the walls.
It was so strange that there were no windows, yet light seemed to illuminate the rooms, light that was more powerful and natural than from the oil lamps and candles.
The halls were empty, but her eyes searched for someone -- anyone -- to help her. Still naked, Cosimo followed her, jerking her around to look at her. Temper flaring in his eyes, he held her.