The Order Ch. 11bypurefire©
The first thing Nadia did when she stood in Andrae's chamber was look for Euan. She barely pain any mind to the fact that her bags were placed in the armoire as she looked under the bed.
"Euan's probably out getting answers."
Nadia huffed as she stood up and looked about the room. It was strange standing in the room with him, especially after what happened at her apartment. But she wasn't going to stay; she would be in another safe house before the end of the night. "Who else is here?"
"Liam and Caleb might be back." Andraemalek walked forward and took hold of her hand. She tried to pull away, but he held her fast. "Let's check downstairs." He led her out of the room and through the long hall that led to the main staircase. As he glanced at her, he felt the corners of his mouth pull up in a smile at the look of awe on her face. Euan had taken her out the back, meaning she'd only seen the old servants' quarters. "We have this house built about two hundred years ago."
House? The place was a friggin' castle! The long hall was lit to resemble candlelight and beautifully illuminated the rich crème walls that were adorned with tapestries and gorgeous oil paintings. On the marble floor was a rich Asian rug that was quite obviously custom made to fit the parameters of the hall. Beautiful bronze chandeliers hung from the arched ceiling, both adding height and a sense of history to the walkway. There were no plants or suits of armor to add flair to the hallway, but there were many small tables covered with various pieces of art from all over the world. "How do you afford all of this?" It was plain to see that The Brethren did not work regular nine-to-five jobs, so there had to be another explanation for their vast wealth.
"Ever heard of Wood Creek?"
"The huge conglomerate that specializes in manufacturing wood furniture?"
Andraemalek nodded his head as he continued to walk her down the hall. He was quite sure she thought that his was the only room along the walkway but in actuality, she shared the floor with two of his brothers, only they chose to have their doors look like the walls of the hall. "Yes, we also restore antique furniture and help customers purchase international pieces."
"We?" Nadia looked up at him as they walked, amazed by what she was hearing. Wood Creek had been in business for over a century.
"Yes. It's owned by The Brethren. Keeps up legitimate."
"We have to put the money somewhere."
Nadia said nothing to that statement. It led to questions she wasn't sure she wanted the answers to. She continued to gape at the beautiful art in the house as the walked down a flight of stairs that led to a modern kitchen that had to be bigger than her apartment. Again, there were marble floors that shone from the bright fluorescent ceiling lights. The large appliances were all stainless steel and did nothing but accent the rich chestnut cabinets that were covered with black marble. A large island covered with baskets of fruits, bread and peanuts stood in the center of the kitchen. Two men she'd never seen before sat on opposite ends of the island, both staring at the plasma television mounted high on the wall behind her. She stared at the men in shock as both were extremely gorgeous. The blonde with short, almost spiked hair was looking at her. His gaze was intense, almost as if he was studying her. Uncomfortable with his unwavering stare, she looked at the other man and immediately regretted the choice. The redhead's blue eyes were angry looking but curious and his face seemed to be in a permanent scowl. She wondered what had him angry and decided that Andraemalek was the one to upset him. It seemed to be what the demon did best, after upsetting her, anyway, she thought as she glared up at him. Stupid Andrae with his stupid mission and stupid face-
The sudden laugh from the blonde man pulled Nadia from her thoughts. She looked back at the television and frowned at the commercial for a children's hospital. Did this man find the thoughts of sick and dying children funny?
"So you're D.'s human."
Nadia looked at the redhead and blinked back her surprise at the velvet tone of his voice. He didn't sound angry when he addressed her, but that didn't stop him from glaring at his brother. "No, I'm no one's anything."
"You should tell him that."
She looked at the blonde haired man and tilted her head at the strange lilt of his voice. While the tone of his voice wasn't as deep as Andrae's or smooth like the redhead's, there was a calming quality about it, one that made her feel warm and safe. "I have, several times. But he won't listen."
Andraemalek pulled Nadia further into the room as he said, "And she won't accept that. Nadia, these are my brothers, Liam and Caleb."
Nadia nodded to them as she tried to pull her hand away from Andrae's. He still refused to let go, and she glared at him for the domineering behavior. His grin did nothing to better her mood, so she stepped on his foot to prove her point.
Andraemalek held in a laugh at her action and focused his attention on Caleb. It was obvious that his brother was busy reading Nadia's thoughts and he quickly bent to the task of seeing to her privacy.
Caleb winced at the harsh thought that penetrated through his focus on reading Nadia. He looked at his brother with a raised brow and grinned at the warning look he was given. The Brethren would laugh about this for years.
"Any news?" Andraemalek asked.
"The Order has it out for all of us," Liam said.
"Tell me something I don't know."
Liam angrily stood from his seat and leaned across the island. "Had you done what you were sent to-"
"You want me dead?" Nadia asked incredulously. He didn't even know her and he wanted her dead? What was that about?
"Of course I don't want you dead," Liam muttered. "But since D. won't kill you, we have a shit load of trouble coming."
"Don't mind Liam," said Caleb as he stood up from his seat. After motioning her to sit down, he continued, "What he means to say is that there is a lot of chaos going on in the underworld after hearing about the possibility of being discovered."
"Was there anything useful to us?" Andraemalek asked as he watched Nadia settle herself. She seemed more at ease in the kitchen, no doubt because they weren't alone. He almost laughed at the thought.
"The good news; we only have to deal with The Order," Liam said. He glanced at Nadia and noticed the curious stare she gave him. The look reminded him of Caleb when he decided to invade his thoughts. "What are you staring at?"
Naida didn't hide her surprise at his bold question. He seriously didn't like her.
"Don't worry about Liam," Caleb said again, "He's always in a bad mood."
"No, I'm not."
"See what I mean?" Caleb smiled at Nadia's frown before he turned to his brother. "You remind her of a friend. He has red hair too."
"How did you know that?" Nadia looked at all three brothers in disbelief. There as absolutely no way Caleb would know what she thought unless-
"Yes, I can read your thoughts."
She gaped at him incredulously as she said, "Stop it this instant."
"Then don't think so loud."
"I don't..." Nadia looked at Andraemalek and found herself frowning again at his wink. "I don't think loudly," she told him.
Andraemalek wanted to laugh because his brothers were clearly pushing Nadia to find her breaking point. "Caleb can read minds and Liam is the resident healer."
"Like a medicine man?" She frowned at Andrae when he tightened his hold on the hand he still hadn't released.
"No, not like a worthless medicine man," Liam scoffed. "All I need to do is touch someone willing to be healed and my life force will do just that."
"He's the one who brought you back," Caleb said.
"They both did," Andraemalek added.
"Thank you both," said Nadia, "I owe you my life."
"Yeah, so stay out of trouble."
Andraemalek glared at Liam as he asked, "What was the bad news?" When everyone looked at him in confusion, he added, "You said that the good news was that we only had to deal with The Order. What's the bad news?"
"We have to deal with The Order," both Liam and Caleb said at the same time. Without the added strain of middlemen, the members of The Order were free to unleash massive amounts of hell. This meant that they had to prepare themselves for any and every outcome.
Andraemalek sighed and said, "I'll go out tonight."
"After you take me to another safe house." There was a tense moment of silence as the brothers looked at each other. Instantly, Nadia knew that she was going to hear something she wouldn't agree with. "You told me that you'd take me to another safe house."
"I told you that we'd figure something out when we got here."
"Which means that we'd discuss which safe house you'd put me in." Nadia stood, ready to hit him again. "I can't stay here." It was bad enough that she couldn't graduate because of her extended absences-
"Your G.P.A. is high and it's only a few weeks. I'll talk to your professors in the morning."
"Get out of my head, Caleb."
"I'm just trying to tell you that you graduated." Caleb shrugged helplessly when she glared at him. So much for putting her mind at ease.
"I can't stay here," she said again. She couldn't stay at the manor. Andrae would be here and she'd have to see him everyday. "Take me somewhere else."
"You're staying here, Nadia." To show that he was done with the conversation, he released his hold on her hand and walked toward the door. "In my room," he added as an afterthought.
Nadia didn't think. In her rage, she grabbed a handful of peanuts and hurled them at his back. "You ass-"
"And if you even think of enlisting Euan to help you out of here again, I'll kill you both." Andraemalek would be damned if he allowed anyone, even his own blood to take her from him. He'd been through enough already.
"Hold on a second," Liam said, "You got Euan to get you out of the manor?" Euan was the type to follow others around and watch their actions, not take them where they wanted. "He took human form?"
Caleb laughed at the situation and pulled Nadia into a hug as he said, "Welcome to the family."
Nadia kept her gaze centered on Andraemalek's back as she repeated, "No, I can't stay here."
The panicked sound to her voice did nothing to dissuade him. "Whether you can or can't leave doesn't mean that you want to leave."
"I'll be back as soon as I get some answers. Liam, Caleb, help her get settled in my room."
"D., don't you think-"
"My room, Caleb."
Nadia gritted her teeth in anger as she watched Andraemalek walk out of the kitchen. The nerve of him to boss her around like he did. Thoughts of murder filled her head for the briefest of moments and she felt her fists clench in anticipation.
"Why don't we get you settled in," Caleb offered. He tried to lead her out of the room and stopped to laugh at her thoughts of beating him. "Her temper might be worse than yours, Liam."
"Impossible," the redhead mumbled. But he grinned at her back after she shot him a murderous glare.
* * * * *
Andraemalek laughed to himself as he walked through the dark streets, searching for informants. It wasn't unusual for them to force him to find them, but the quiet streets were more deserted than usual, as if his informants had left their shelters. This was new; they loved to hide in the human realm. What had them so scared that they fled?
The Order had something big planned. There was no other explanation for the sudden lack of demons in the large city known for them. Maybe Euan was able to get information from his sources. It was hard to say; too much had changed too soon.
Andraemalek grunted humorlessly as he crossed the street to enter the empty parking lot that led to the old, deserted glass factory. There was one very important informant, a gatlik demon that would be able to use its powers as a mind walker to read the thoughts of demons in the underworld. He ignored the familiar sounds of rats scurrying to get out of the way as he walked through the building. There was a strange scent, very reminiscent of hot metal and burning oil. Demon blood. Immediately alert, Andraemalek balled his fists.
The gatlik demon had been brutally ripped apart, as evidence by the burnt yellow colored blood covering the floor. There went any leads. There was nothing he could do for the demon, but at the some time, there nothing more he could do for Nadia tonight. The simple thought of the woman made his blood boil. What the hell was he going to do about her? She obviously hated him, an emotion he provoked to keep her from focusing on fear. It meant that he had to suffer her wrath, but he preferred that to her tears. Who would have known that liquid would force his stomach to cramp uncomfortably?
As Andraemalek walked toward the exit of the factory, he told himself that he would deal with Nadia as he needed to. Right now, the main focus was her survival. After that, he would concentrate on reminding her that she belonged to him. Yes, that was the simplest course of action.
The stinging pain taking control of his shoulder forced him backward. Before he was able to regain his feet, he was knocked down by the swift kick administered to his midsection. "What the-"
The attack took place before he had a chance to blink. Andraemalek didn't know how many there were, but he knew that every single one of the bastards landed a hit. Their goal wasn't to kill him; they'd had him down repeatedly but continued to give him the opportunity to gain his feet. He'd managed to kill three before realized that it was the Vartek that had been sent after him. There unmistakable deep purple and black faces were clear in the bright moonlight that filtered into the factory. Andraemalek knew that one of their few weaknesses was a pressure point just below the ribcage, but the area wasn't easy to access due to their speed and strength.
The thought of Nadia at the mercy of The Order pushed him forward to fight. He grabbed two of them by the neck and flung them across the room just as he was grabbed from behind. Two other Vartek bend to the task of pummeling him. They hit harder than he remembered. Much harder.
"Need a hand?"
Andraemalek looked up and scowled at the two figures standing at the far end of the factory. Had he not been busy, he would have beaten them both for the stupid question. "More like a light." He grunted as another blow connected with his midsection and had to shield his eyes at the bright lights of the fire the covered the Vartek in the factory. Within seconds, the dull glow from the still burning demons faded to dark ashes that littered the floor. Grasping his shoulder, Andraemalek walked to the two new figures and nodded in thanks before he said, "How did you know I was here?"
"D., Lexi can see the future."
"It doesn't always work with those of his blood," Andraemalek said as he stared at the man who spoke. His long black hair was tied in a queue that accentuated his strong angular face. His grey eyes looked amused but annoyed.
"Yeah, well, you tell that to his visions, brother."
Andraemalek looked at his other brother and almost smiled at the serious expression plastered across his face. His dark brown hair was in disarray, evidence of his participation in a battle. The sickle-shaped scar on his face was white from his tense demeanor. "Nice to see you're still the same, Alexis."
Alexis looked at his brother and would have smiled at seeing him if it wasn't for the small army he'd had to fight. "They sent the entire Vartek after you."
"All this trouble for a human."
"Jameson, cut the shit," Alexis admonished, "Our job is to kill demons as well as protect humans, even ones our brother was sent to kill."
"Is she at least hot?" Jameson grinned at the threatening step Andraemalek took toward him before he said, "So she's more than just a human to you."
"We need to get back to the manor," was all Andraemalek said.
"Yes, we need to formulate a plan. News of the Vartek's failure is sure to reach The Order soon." Alexis took a step toward his brother as he said, "Shimmer us back and we'll pick the car up later."
"No need," Jameson said, "You threw three of those annoying bastards at it. Pretty much totaled."
"Is this your need to get to work or curiosity about her?" Andraemalek asked Alexis.
"A little bit of both, but we just killed a shit load of Vartek. I don't want to be here for whatever's next."
"Whatever's next is going to be hard to fight," Jameson said, "It's about time we got a good fight."
"No, it's about time our brother came home, even if it had to be for this."
Andraemalek said nothing to Alexis' statement. As he placed his hands on his brothers' shoulders, he felt a sense of calm. Not only had he barely escaped whatever the Vartek had in store for him, but he was going back to Nadia. His human.
The only reason he had to fight.