Daybreak Ch. 07bypurefire©
Charisma stretched lazily and yawned as she slowly came awake. She felt rested and energized, ready to take on anything that came at her. The memory of last night made her feel like an idiot and a coward, however, primarily because she wasn't prepared to give Jameson what she desperately wanted from him. She should have found the bravery to let him in, to trust him. Jameson wouldn't turn his back on her, not unless she asked him to. But that was hard when she wasn't used to it. Trust was something she needed to learn.
Charisma sat up and smiled at the sight of Jameson standing at the door. Based on the damp hair and fresh clothing, he'd showered. Possibly in the past half hour. He looked delectable in a simple black t-shirt and blue jeans. His damp hair was left loose, no doubt in order to dry before he pulled it back. "Good morning."
Jameson walked into the room and sat down on the edge of the bed. He couldn't help himself and found himself finger-combing her silky hair. "You look absolutely beautiful in the morning."
She looked down at the sheets as she felt her cheeks heat. Leave it to Jameson to charm her after last night. "I want to learn how to control my power."
The abrupt change of subject made him frown, but he ran with it. "Well, your trigger is fear, so use it."
"Yes, but something tells me that I won't always need to be scared to use it. I want complete control over all of this."
It was then that Jameson realized that she wasn't only talking about her powers. Charisma was the type of woman who needed to feel like she had complete control of all aspects of her life. No wonder she ran from him at every turn; he was pushing her too hard to face the truth of her feelings instead of giving her the space she needed to embrace them. "All right. I'll work with you when Nadia takes lessons with D. and Lexi."
Her dazzling smile prompted him to lean down and kiss her. It was a lazy kiss, one meant to tell her to take what she wanted from him. He moaned when she gingerly brushed her fingertips over his cheeks. Charisma was quick to become the aggressor of their kiss; her tongue brushed over his lips once, then twice, before he granted her entrance. He loved the way she tasted, and the sweet way she pressed herself against him.
"I should have figured you'd be in here."
Jameson groaned inwardly before he looked to the doorway. Slade leaned against the frame with arms crossed over his chest. His brother had a knowing look in his eyes and grinned mischievously at the sight of them. "Get out, little brother."
Slade grinned at the domineering tone in his brother's voice. "Why don't you give up all the pent up frustration to Charisma?" When Jameson conjured a very threatening-looking fireball, Slade laughed and said, "Save all the fire for your woman." Straightening himself, he stepped away from the door and slowly closed it after leaving the room. "He's with her!" he shouted down the hall.
Charisma shook her head slowly at the amusing interaction. "We should get to the others. They're obviously looking for you." She moved to get out of bed but was stopped by Jameson's hot kiss. His lips seared her with passion and all too soon, she found herself pressed against him. God, the man was raw sex when he wanted to be. Just as she was about to rip his shirt off, he pulled away. "What-"
"We'll finish this later."
Jameson knew what she asked but couldn't exactly say that his answer depended on her. "We'll see." Though he hated to be vague, he knew that it was the only way to keep her from becoming hesitant again. "I'll meet you downstairs."
Charisma was only able to watch as Jameson walked out of the room. That was almost awkward. "What else is new?" She sighed as she got out of bed and went about preparing herself for her day. Hopefully there would be no new adjustments to be made. God only knew that she had enough to get used to.
Charisma skipped down the steps quickly when she saw Euan walk into the kitchen. This was the third time she'd seen him in clothes. She had to admit that he was a sexy man and based on the tight, firm ass that was beautifully framed in his black jeans, he wore his clothing well.
"I heard from M. that they're all still alive and apparently Zaide needs them for the same reason he wants her."
Charisma came to a stop at Euan's words. "They can transfer powers too?"
"No." Jameson beckoned her over to the vacated seat next to Nadia and waited for her to sit before saying, "No, which only tells us that he plans on using your power to either put their powers into other people or he's found a way to harness them in you."
"You mean he might want to-"
"Make you his new favorite toy? It's not a ridiculous idea."
Charisma glared at Draco. She liked his classic one-liners, but this was hardly a joking matter. She looked at Euan's serious face and asked, "What do you think?"
"Why are you asking me?"
"Because you seem to be the only one with updates on this thing."
Euan shrugged as he said, "I have friends that they don't."
"Can these friends tell you anything else?" Charisma asked.
"Not at the moment." Euan turned his focus to Nadia, who stared at Jameson quietly.
There was a long moment of silence as all the men in the room stared at the Daemis. She looked confused for a minute before Liam openly pointed to Charisma.
"Oh... right." Nadia smiled to cover her embarrassment before she turned to Charisma. "This might not work. I mean, I'm not trained enough to know how to focus on what needs to be seen and not just what's shown."
"Anything you can do would be much appreciated."
Nadia nodded before she held her hands out to Charisma. "Whenever you're ready." She watched as Charisma hesitated for a moment before taking her hands. Nadia gasped in horror as flashes of a naked Jameson and Charisma in the throes of intense passion came to her. "Oh, Jesus!" She quickly released Charisma's hands and felt her cheeks heat to lava-like proportions.
"Nadia-" Charisma pulled back the hand she wanted to place on the Daemis' shoulder when she bolted out of her seat.
"Watch what you're doing!"
Nadia smiled in apology to Liam. "Sorry, I didn't mean to step on your foot." She looked at the very confused and worried looking woman seated at the island. "Uh, you and Jameson are certainly headed in the right direction."
Slade was quick to catch onto Nadia's meaning. "Based on what I saw earlier, I could have sworn they were already there."
"Shut up, Slade," the twins admonished.
Slade held his hands up as a show of innocence. "I'm just saying what I saw."
"I'm sorry," Nadia said to a scarlet-faced Charisma. "I can't control what I see yet."
"It's ok," Charisma said. How she wished she could hold onto Jameson's hand. He hadn't said anything in too long of a time.
"I'm taking her to the solarium," Nadia announced. She beckoned Charisma over with a quick motion of her head and smiled up at Andraemalek when he blocked her path. "Girls only, babe."
"You know how I feel about that room." Just four weeks before, he'd been forced to watch the love of his life die before she was returned as a Daemis. Paranoia made him keep them both from that room.
"Nothing's going to happen." Nadia placed a soft kiss on his lips before she led Charisma to the solarium. She waited until they were both seated and comfortable before asking, "Hard couple of days, huh?"
"More unbelievable than hard."
"What's the hardest to believe? The fact that not only is the paranormal real, but you're part of it, or you and Jameson?"
"You surely waste no time getting straight to the point."
"When you live with these guys, you quickly learn that there is no time to beat around the bush."
Charisma nodded slowly as she thought of how to explain her feelings for Jameson. "It's terrifying, these feelings I have for him."
"Falling for someone usually is a scary thing."
"Yes, I know, but... You sent him to protect me."
Nadia shook her head in denial. "No, the High Council sent someone capable to protect you. I'd like to think that fate brought a man to a woman." She smiled at the disbelieving look in Charisma's eyes as she said, "They could have sent a Nariko since their specialty is the Mordecai. But they sent a member of The Brethren, people who use the Mordecai as a warm-up exercise."
Charisma hadn't thought of that. Could it be possible that she and Jameson were somehow meant for each other? "But we just met."
"At least he wasn't sent to kill you before accidentally handing you over to the enemy."
Nadia shook her head as she said, "Never mind."
Charisma nodded as she processed the information she'd been given. "What is the High Council? Jameson touched on it, but never explained. Are they gods?"
"It seems like the best comparison, but it's best if you never say that when they can hear you." Nadia smiled and nodded at Charisma's shocked expression before she continued. "Think of it this way; they are like every god worshipped by every culture to ever exist rolled up into five beings."
"That's seriously hardcore."
"Yes, and they show it by being seriously unfair."
Nadia shook her head as she said, "Nothing."
Charisma looked at Nadia and had she not watched closely, she would have never seen the look of sadness in her eyes. It was the same look she had when they met. "I know that we just met, but if you need someone to talk to, I'm here."
Nadia considered dropping the subject but realized that she needed someone who could be objective. This was also the perfect opportunity for them to bond. "I'm not sure if you heard, but I died a few weeks back."
Nadia nodded as she said, "Demon poison. Anyway, their father brought me back - you know that their father is one of the High Council, right?" When Charisma nodded, she continued, "To bring me back, he had to give me a part of himself. Unfortunately, that part turned out to be demonic."
"Long story short, Roycelyn, their father, has the ability to absorb demonic powers. Somewhere along the line, he took the powers of an oracle who happened to be part demon."
"Which is what he passed on."
With a nod, Nadia said, "Bingo. So now, even though I'm genetically human, I'm also partially demonic."
Charisma frowned in confusion. "I don't understand how that's a problem."
"After Roycelyn made the mistake of procreating with a demon- Andrae's mother," she added when Charisma began to ask, "The rest of the Council forbade any of their blood to breed with anything demonic. So while Andrae and I can be together, because let's face it; he's not hearing anything else, we can't have children."
Charisma felt horrible on Nadia's behalf. That must have been one hell of a gut punch after dying. "Man, that's harsh."
"Tell me about it." Nadia looked towards the windows as she fought to contain her tears. "After I died, Andrae and I both realized that we didn't want him to be alone when I'm gone since his Council-demon mix gives him a ridiculously long life-span. Children are a must for us."
"But you're part demon now. You'll live longer."
"Not as long as him. He'll even outlive his brothers."
"And there's no way around it?"
Nadia turned to look at Charisma and became comforted by the look of concern in her green eyes. "Luckily, yes. He and I both have a test to complete. Until we both pass, no children."
"I don't get it."
"Basically, the tests started the second we agreed and will end when the last of us passes. No matter how long it takes."
Suddenly, Charisma realized that her problems were nothing compared to Nadia's. "What does Andrae say?"
Nadia shrugged as she said, "He's acting like nothing's wrong. We're still having our house in Martinique built and he's waiting for the tests to kick into full gear."
"Well that's good."
"It's not him I'm worried about." Nadia sighed in frustration as she tried to cope with the new changes in her life. "They're sticklers for rules so these tests could be impossible. I don't want to fail him."
"I think I know what you mean."
Nadia looked at Charisma and smiled as a show of support. As she placed a hand on her new friend's shoulder, she said, "You are on the right path. Doubt will only take you off course."
"Time for practice."
Both women turned toward the entrance as Andraemalek walked into the room. Nadia smiled warmly as she blinked away the sting in her eyes. "I thought we agreed to take the week off training."
Andraemalek nodded towards Charisma as he walked to Nadia and lifted her into his arms. He still loved the panicked look in her eyes when he did that. When would she learn that he wouldn't drop her? "That's not the practice I'm talking about."
Nadia laughed before she looked at Charisma. "It was really nice talking to you."
"You too." Charisma smiled at the couple as she watched them exit the room. It was quite inspiring to see them determined to be together despite the challenges they faced. Seeing Nadia and Andrae together gave her faith in the fact that it wasn't a bad idea to be with Jameson. Nadia said herself that they were headed in the right direction and that they were pretty much fated to be together. There was no other explanation for the fact that she'd been found by him just as she lost everything.
Though she was quickly annoyed with the constant cycle of thoughts concerning Jameson, Charisma had to remember that she did have feelings for him, feelings she knew would evolve into love if she'd only let go. Yes, it was possibly the dumbest idea ever to pursue a relationship with a man in his line of work, but she still wanted to. And now that she was pretty much being told that it was meant to be by an oracle...
"What crawled up your ass and died?"
Charisma looked toward the entryway and felt her brows raise high at the sight of Liam standing there with his arms crossed over his chest. The epitome of mean. "I was just thinking about my life and how much it's changing."
"What is that supposed to mean?"
She waited until he'd moved to stand next to the fireplace before she spoke again. "Why are you so angry?"
Liam said nothing to her question. Instead, he thought back to the time Nadia asked him the same question. He hadn't answered her either, but she surprised the hell out of him when she said, 'It is when you release your past and embrace the unknown that you will find what you search for.' He hadn't been aware that he was looking for anything other than more demons to kill. Since then, he'd been awash with old memories that he tried to put behind him.
When he remembered that Charisma sat quietly as she waited for an answer, he shrugged and said, "Someone has to be."
She was only able to gape at his back as he walked out of the room. The man had some serious unresolved issues.
"Don't mind him. Women have always been a sore spot for him."
Charisma shook her head in wonder as she watched Roman materialize near the window. The man did not look remorseful for spying. In fact, he looked proud. "I guess he makes a little more sense now." With a curious tilt of her head, she added, "You're a nosy one."
"Someone has to be."
She had to laugh at that. "Where are the rest of you?"
"I thought you were twelve brothers or some other ridiculous number."
Roman nodded as he said, "Yes, twelve. You've already met Lex, Liam, Euan, D., Drake, Jay, Caleb, and Slade. Rufus rarely comes home."
With a shrug he answered, "He wanders a lot." He moved to stand in front of her before he continued. "Lindsay wanders too, but he's one of those tortured soul types." That brother of his had more problems than the rest of the brothers put together. "Giles... Well, no one ever knows where that one is. And that's us in a nutshell." Roman smiled at her amazed expression. From what he knew about the woman, everything was more than hard for her to believe. With hope, she'd learn to accept things as they came. She'd never survive otherwise. "Hope you're surviving the crash course."
"I'm doing my best."
Both Roman and Charisma turned to the entryway to watch Jameson walk into the room carrying a very sinister looking dagger. He only had eyes for Charisma and smiled warmly at her as he approached.
Christ, the man became even sexier every time she saw him. His hair was pulled back again, which only meant that it was dry. It didn't matter; she still wanted to jump his bones. "My best at dealing with all this stuff."
Jameson nodded before he sat next to her. As he adjusted himself on the seat, he said, "You'd better be gone and not invisible, Rome." He smiled at Charisma's small laugh.
The house was a virtual zoo, but she liked it. A glint from the dagger gave her the impulse to take it into her hands. It was amazingly light and had a black hilt made much like the ones hunters used. "This is nice. Titanium, right?"
Jameson nodded in approval at the way she handled the ultra sharp, double-edged knife. Of course, she knew how to handle a blade; she was, after all, a chef. "Yes, it's the only thing outside of burning and decapitation that'll kill a Mordecai."
"Why is that?"
"Seems to be some kind of weird allergic reaction or poison. Kills instantly if you stab in the chest or abdomen."
"What about Zaide?"
"He seems to be immune. There's something about him being the first that makes him special in a lot of ways."
"Awesome," she said with a roll of her eyes. Looking down at the knife in her hands, she asked, "Can I have one of these?"
"Let's concentrate on getting you out of dodge first," he said as he gently pulled the dagger out of her hands. "We'll have more time to do whatever you want then."
"You say that like you know that I'll still be here when this is all over."
"That's probably because I want you to stay."
Charisma didn't say anything for a long moment. Hearing him say those words made her feel as if she walked on clouds. Even after the hot and cold attitude she fed him, he still wanted her. Taking hold of his hand, she kissed his knuckles. "There are still a couple of things I need to work out in my head."
"I can wait a little longer." He couldn't simply let go of what he felt for her. Now that he understood that she needed to be in control, he was perfectly comfortable easing up on the pressure he put on her.
"That's good to know."
* * * * *
Two men, both large and fearsome looking, stalked the deserted alleyways slowly, determined to catch their prey. The tiny blonde had been quicker than the others. One hell of a fighter too; she'd managed to draw blood from them both before she shape-shifted into a black cat and ran off.
But she didn't understand that they were under strict orders to bring her back. If they didn't, they faced a very gruesome fate. Luckily, the daylight was on their side; it was easier to see a black cat scurrying down the street during the day. Even better was the fact that she'd chosen shelter in the old miller's factory - right in the center of the abandoned section of town.
"Why do they always run?"
The taller of the two, a strapping man with rich mahogany hair and empty red eyes looked at his companion and shrugged. "Fight or flight, I guess."
"It's fight, flight, or freeze and I really wish that they'd freeze. Just once."
The tall one laughed as he said, "You need the exercise."
"You'll need it more than I do if we go back empty handed."
"We won't. Zaide counted on us to bring the shape-shifter back."
The shorter of the two, a boyish blonde monster, stopped and listened for any sound of the woman in her shifted form. "What would he want with a helpless shifter?"