My phone beeped. I pulled it out to check it. A text message from Zavier; I stifled my disbelief and read it.
I need a cloaking spell; I will summon you when I am ready.
“A cloaking spell? This relationship with Zavier is over,” Drake said looking over my shoulder. “We finally got rid of his eyes, now we can cut the strings. Only this time, we wait for everyone in the coven to help. I don’t need a repeat of last night.”
I shrugged. “I’ve stopped trying to figure him out. Have you been able to reach Teresa?”
“Not yet. Once she calls back we’ll start making plans.”
I wrapped my arms around his neck. “Fine, and until then, that’s enough about him. Why don’t you take me upstairs so we can work on Drake Junior?” I smiled. “You promised me a later.”
“Oh I love the sound of that!” He kissed my nose and I hopped on his back for a piggy ride.
Vincent was pacing, he too received a message from Zavier telling him that he was preparing the spell they’d discussed for Drake. He was excitedly contemplating the outcome.
Drake would be removed to a different realm, leaving Zo behind in my capable hands, or Drake would be forced to divorce Zo, leaving me her shoulder to cry on.
Zavier told Vincent he’d let him know when he was ready.
Fuck, he thought. He had Vanessa to look after and didn’t want to send her to Sarah. He grabbed his cell phone to call Zo after replying to Zavier’s text message. Thinking about his last encounter with Drake, he opted for texting her as well. No need in pissing him off more considering tonight would be his last night of happiness with Zo.
Drake’s hands were still teasing my thigh. His touch always gives me goosebumps. “I can never get enough of you, Husband.”
“And that makes me happy to hear,” he said kissing my hand.
My phone beeped again. This time it was from Vincent.
I need a huge favor please.
“Does he ever stop?” Drake asked hearing the phone once more. I placed it on the table and turned my attention back to the half naked man in my bed. Again the familiar tone of a text pierced the air.
It involves a deliciously cute bundle of joy! Vanessa wants to spend some time with you and who can blame her right? Ok seriously, I have something really important to take care of. Do you think you could watch Ness for a few hours? 3 tops?
“He wants to know if we can watch Vanessa for a few hours.”
“And we have to do this because he refuses to talk to Sarah? That’s her Mother Zoe; he can’t expect us to pick up the slack because he decided to take on full parental responsibilities by kicking her out!”
Hearing his words actually surprised me. He was always jumping at the chance to see Vanessa. “I’ll let him know.”
“Wait. I wouldn’t mind seeing her. I just don’t want him to think we’re going to always babysit for his lack of forethought for not realizing just how difficult it is to raise a child alone. I don’t want her to suffer though and right now the air isn’t what it should be between Vincent and Sarah, that wouldn’t be a great environment for her.”
“So which is it Drake?”
He sighed. I kissed his cheek before replying.
Vincent smiled when he read the text:
Feel free to drop her off here Vincent. But let’s not make this a habit. You really need to try and work things out with Sarah. Please don’t forget her bunny; she gets really agitated without it!
Finally! No more waiting. He dropped his phone in his pocket and grabbed Vanessa. “Tonight’s the night beautiful. Daddy’s getting what he wants and he’ll have the two most gorgeous women to share his life with.”
Vanessa laughed as Vincent’s fingers danced on her tummy. He packed her baby bag and headed over to Drake’s.
“Better get dressed. I don’t need Vincent trying to get another peek at you,” Drake said standing up. He groaned as the text alert sounded.
“I’m taking you on a nice vacation soon. We never had a honeymoon anyway; some place exotic to get away from everyone and everything is just what you and I need Zoe.”
I sat up and smiled at him, “That does sound incredible baby!” I checked Zavier’s message:
Don’t forget the grimoire.
“Drake I hate this too, I’m so tired of helping him. Do me a favor and call Teresa? She seems to be really busy lately. Hopefully she’s been watching us still. I better get going before he reverts to the migraines though.”
I got dressed and zoned over to his penthouse, which I was still not used to.
As I entered his hall I could hear voices from the other side of the door; one I recognized as Zavier, the other female, I knew was Lily. But why was she here? She told Drake she hadn’t seen him in over two weeks and avoided all contact. I stood closer, stealthily reaching the door to open it just a crack.
“Vincent will never go through with it! He talks a big game and I’m sure he’s proved himself to you before, but there is no way he’d do what you’re asking him to now.”
“If he expects me to keep my end of the deal, I’m certain he will Lilith. I have no doubt of his love for the witch. He won’t want her to visit my room again. I must say though I am quite pleased he’s reverting to his old self again!”
“Why don’t I…”
“No! He’ll take care of it. I know his desire and if it’s anywhere near as powerful as his blood lust, I can expect results soon.”
“Shh,” Lily said, “What was that?”
I stood perfectly still, did they hear me? I moved quickly down the hall before noisily re-approaching the door. I knocked before entering. “Zavier?” As I entered, I noticed Lily was nowhere in the room.
“What are you doing here, Zoe?”
I brandished the grimoire as I neared him. “You asked me to come by for a cloaking spell, remember?”
“I remember telling you I’d summon you! But no matter, you’re here now.”
“Who or what is the cloak for?”
“Why do you need to know that?”
“In order for the spell to be fully active; if you want a standard cloak, I’d be more than happy to provide that for you, but anyone with half a brain will be able to find you.”
He charged me, “You’re getting ballsy, Witch! Watch how you speak to me or deal or not your ass is going downstairs!”
I smiled and apologized and began setting up the materials to start the spell.
“All I need now is the person or persons you want to be cloaked from.”
With an evil smirk, he replied, “The entire magical world.”
“I can’t do that, Zavier.”
“I know you can, and I expect it to be done.”
“I cannot do that, Zavier. I don’t have that kind of power.”
He grabbed my arm and started twisting his hand into my flesh. “You have that and more! Reach into your source and get it done, Zoe!”
I jerked back and glared at him.
“Don’t look at me like that witch! You destroyed my sentries which you could only do with source magic! You’ve been holding out on me. And that stops right now! Get to work or I’ll show you what I’ve been hiding behind my back as well!”
“This is it, Zavier. I will not do what you are asking. I made my own promise and I won’t go back on it. No! I will not reach my source for you!”
He slapped me and I dropped to the ground. I could taste blood in my mouth from the force causing me to bite my tongue.
I swallowed hard, knowing what was next. He was surely taking me back to the torture chamber now.
He grabbed me by my hair and jerked me to my feet. He was snarling and looking fiercely at me. “You have no idea what you just did!”
“LET HER GO, ZAVIER!” Vincent yelled behind me.
“Fuck you, Vincent, this is your fault! I’ve kept my end, where is my payoff?”
“I’m working on it,” he glanced at me before turning his attention back to Zavier. “Let her go.”
Zavier threw me and I landed hard to the ground. I grabbed my grimoire and ran for the door.
“Zo, wait!”I heard Vincent yell after me. I refused to stop. I had to get out of there. What the hell are Vincent and Lily doing with him?
I’d asked them not to do anything on my behalf and now what? They made deals with him?
I got home and ran inside to find Drake. He was in the Den watching Vanessa play with her bunny. “Drake, we need to talk,” I said nearing him.
“Zoe, are you ok?” he rushed over to me hearing the desperation in my tone.
“I just came from Zavier’s and I overheard him and Lily speaking,” I paused to gauge his reaction.
“About what?” he said without an inflection in his tone.
“Us and Vincent; he apparently made some deal with Zavier and…I don’t know. You were right! But both of them seem to be involved with Zavier somehow!”
He looked at my lip and wiped the blood. “He hit you?” his eyes flashed with anger. “What happened? I thought he was happy with this arrangement and now this?” He began pacing.
“He asked…ordered me to summon a large amount of magic to cloak him from the entire magical world. I refused him and he slapped me.”
“Vincent came in and stopped him from doing more, but that’s not the issue, Drake. The issue is Vincent and Lily and whatever deals they’ve made with Zavier!”
“I’ll talk to Lily and see what’s going on. I’ll be home as soon as I can, ok?”
Drake left and I took over his position and paced, thinking over the events of the last few minutes. What is going on? And why didn’t they tell Drake or me what they were planning?
My phone rang and I checked the caller ID, Vincent. I put the phone back in my pocket. Drake would handle him. Again it went off.
I pulled it out to answer, “What? What do you want Vincent? To lie to me some more? Tell me how you have no idea about those skulls of Zavier’s when clearly you have something going with him?”
…“I can explain everything, Zo. Please. Will you come over so I can talk to you…?”
I stood silently holding the phone; he could sense my apprehension and added an extra …“Please…?”
“Fine, but when I get there, I want total truth!”
I drove Vanessa and myself over and met Vincent.
“What’s this thing with you and Zavier? I asked you to stay out of it! You made a deal with him and it involves me? Are you the one Lily was talking about coming after Drake?”
He took Nessa from my arms and walked her to her crib, laid her down, kissed her forehead and walked back to me.
“Answer me, Vincent! Were you planning to kill Drake?”
“Of course not Zo; if that were ever my intentions I’d have done it hundreds of years ago. Have you forgotten that I stopped you from killing him once?”
“Then what did your deal consist of with Zavier? As Drake said, he never does things for free!”
“He…he asked me to get him a source from your coven and promised me that in doing so he’d get rid of Drake and I’d have you all to myself.”
“You? He what? Vincent! You agreed to that?”
“No wait, calm down and let me explain. At first, I wasn’t controlling my actions. I did agree but I don’t know that it was me. He used my subconscious, Zo. I kept refusing his offer and he sucked me into this dream thing where I agreed.”
“When I woke up, I came to talk to you, remember what I told you that night?”
“Yes and you conveniently left out the thing with Drake!”
“Because I was afraid of your reaction, I didn’t want you going after him. I offered to help that night because I know him. He doesn’t take well to rejection and trust me, had you known the truth we would all be dead right now. So I played along with him, doing minor things like placing sentries, those skulls, in your magic room and new house until I could figure out a way to stop him for good. I prolonged much of what he wanted; I needed to find an escape for all of us.”
“I found him other witches to focus his anger on so that he didn’t hurt you,” he said through clinched teeth. “My goal was to keep him from hurting you or Drake. Zo, I would never have done this if it weren’t for the fact that he felt he could torture you whenever he pleased. I needed that to stop.”
“But…” I didn’t know what to say I was shocked. Zavier wanted Drake gone? And he contracted Vincent! I started to think about Lily, had he asked her to do the same?
“I made a deal with him for something else. He promised to leave Drake alive and he was going to break the two of you up for me; nothing more. Only I had to continue a supply of witches. He wanted me to deliver Jasmine to him. That’s my part. I wasn’t able to bring myself to do it. Instead, I took her necklace, her talisman to your coven’s magic. It’s in his possession now.”
“What? You told him about Jazz? Vincent how could you? Why would you do that?”
“He knew about Jasmine because of the sentry your sister brought you.”
“Oh my God. And we cast magic in front of it. It wasn’t until recently we realized what the skulls were for.” My head was pounding as the thoughts of what he knew flooded my mind. Jasmine was not safe; she’d never be safe again.
I waved him off. I didn’t want to hear his voice right now. I was too lost in what he’d said.
“Say something please the silence is killing me.”
I looked at him, still unable to form a thought. His eyes were pleading me; sadness enveloped his face.
I turned away before I started to cry.
He walked up behind me and placed his hands on my waist, “Talk to me please. I’m sorry Zo. I know lately my behavior has been a little out of the ordinary from what you’re used to, but…” his hands tightened around me, “I’d never do anything to hurt you, ever.”
I turned towards him and saw that sadness again. I wrapped my arms around his neck and hugged him tight.
I pulled away and slapped him. “You let this happen Vincent! You could have just said something to me, to Drake! What if he goes after Jasmine or her Dad? I promised her she’d be safe!”
“Zo she is safe. He isn’t interested in her passed you! He wanted to use her to get to you! He has the magic for that now, but you can stop him.
“No I can’t Vincent! I tried! I caught on fire the last time I went anywhere near my source.” I felt my gut tighten and I started to feel sick. I was stressed to the point of vomiting. The nauseous feeling wrenched at me and I did my best to stifle the need of running to the bathroom. I was reeling from this overflow of information. Zavier has a key to my magics now!
“Vincent do you know anything about what Lily has done? What deal has she made? I overheard her at his place shortly before you arrived.”
“I have no idea. But he did keep mentioning a ‘friend’ he had helping him along with some other parts of the plan.”
“Drake’s heading over to see Lily!”
“I don’t think she will hurt him. They’ve been friends for centuries. It would take a great deal more than Zavier to get her to turn against him.”
We stood silently; he was mind wrestling me, trying to hear my thoughts and figure out what was going on inside of me.
“Zo let me in. What are you thinking?”
“I think that I need Zavier out of my life but the only way to do that would be to die. There is no end to this is there?”
He held me again in comfort.
Drake was waiting for Lily to finish the tea she was brewing. He told her he wanted nothing but to talk, yet she insisted on preparing her favorite non plasma drink.
“No Lily,” he responded watching her swirl the teabag within the kettle before sitting it on the table in front of him.
“So what did you want to talk about?” she asked taking a seat across from him.
“Zavier; Zoe came home and told me she’d heard you and him talking and that you and Vincent struck some sort of deals. What is going on Lily? Why are you making deals with him knowing the kind of person he is?”
“I didn’t make any deal with him, Drake. I’ve actually refused to play his sick game. I’ve wanted nothing more than to watch him twist and squirm in his own excrements as I stand over him watching him bleed out. Whatever Zoe heard was either fabricated by flights of fancy or stuck in her head by Vincent. You and I both know he’s been after her for a while now. It would be just like him to mess with her head like this.”
Drake nodded. “He’s done that before. So you think he’s made a deal with Zavier? For what?”
“Zoe’s love, what else? The two of you were always after the same girl. You won the last round with Abigail; Vincent has to get even. I doubt he’s ever truly loved Zoe. He’s just been hounding her to get back at you.”
“You know he’s been hanging around Zavier more? That incident at Waylon’s? That was them! Had their signature written all over it.”
“Why would he do this just to get even? That doesn’t make sense Lily. This is a little extreme, don’t you think? Zoe said she didn’t love him.”
“And you believed her?” Lily watched Drake’s face react. “My guess, he’ll probably convince her to come over to his place tonight and try again. He’ll make up some piss poor excuse about his true intentions and she’ll eat it up.”
Drake jumped up and headed for the door. His anger and rage was boiling over, Vincent should have been put down like the dog he is hundreds of years ago. Well tonight, he’d play the executioner, tonight, Vincent will be stopped cold.
I pulled away from Vincent and he brought me back into his arms. “No, just a little longer, please.”
“Vincent, don’t. This changes nothing.”
“You love me Zo; hearing those words from you changed everything. It made me realize just how foolish I’d been not telling you everyday how I felt. I’ve wanted you since the first time my lips touched yours and maybe before.”
I jerked away. “I’m married to Drake. I don’t want this, Vincent. I may have told you my feelings, but I don’t want you as I want Drake. Please.”
I turned to leave and stopped. “Be careful around Zavier. If he knows you told me the truth, he may come after Vanessa. I would die if anything happened to her.”
He stepped closer, “And me? Would you have the same heartache if anything were to happen to me?” he smiled tenderly.
“Of course I would, Vincent.” He reached for me again.
Drake arrived and was walking up to Vincent’s door. He heard voices inside and immediately recognized that of his wife. He walked to the back window and peered in. Vincent had Zoe in his arms and he was caressing her back. He pulled her into a kiss and held her tight.
“See? What did I tell you?” Lily said behind him. “This whole time he’s been after her and it doesn’t look as though she’s putting up much of a fight.”
Vincent ripped off his shirt and rubbed his chest tight against his wife, Drake turned afraid of watching more. He wanted Vincent dead but he knew he hadn’t the strength. He could hear Zoe’s low moans and he turned back watching as she allowed him to undress her.
He picked her up and carried her to the bedroom.
Drake rushed to his car, his heart was breaking in two. He started home as quickly as he could. How could he have been so blind? His wife, the woman he married, the one he fell hard for was cheating on him. How many times had she done that? She looked really at home in his arms. How long had Zoe Steele been Vincent’s playmate and how did he not suspect a thing?
He stopped at a club downtown. He had to have release. He found a group of dancers just in the alley outback enjoying a smoke. Without a word, he walked into the group and began tearing the flesh from their necks, drinking all he wanted before throwing them to the ground.
Blood dripped from his lips as he compelled them one at a time. “Get the fuck out of here before you die.”
“What are you doing here?” Vincent said opening the front door.
“I came to see my daughter, Vincent!” Sarah said pushing her way into the house.
She walked over to the crib and picked her up.
“Sarah you don’t seem to be taking my threats to heart. I will kill you if anything happens to her.”
She ignored him and walked with Vanessa making sure she was fine. “What did you feed her today?”
“Two bottles for breakfast, two for lunch and one for dinner; I know how to take care of her.”
He watched her a little longer holding Vanessa to her chest and playing with her.
“You know what? I have something to do, Sarah. Stay in this house with my little girl. I’ll be back soon.”
I got home in less than 15 minutes after parting from Vincent. All the lights were off inside. Drake must still be at Lily’s, I thought as I entered the foyer.
“How was he?” Drake’s voice pierced the darkness.
“Who?” I asked. “Why are you sitting in the dark?”
He turned on the lights and approached me. His face bore a stern and serious look; I could tell he was upset.
“Don’t lie to me Zoe, not after everything we’ve been through together, you can at least give me this one piece of truth which is something we haven’t had in this relationship in a very long time!”
“Drake I don’t know what you’re talking about. How much have you eaten today? I can smell the blood of at least four people on you.”
“Don’t change the fucking subject Zoe, I saw you with him! I can smell him all over you! How long have you been sneaking off to be with him? How long have you and Vincent been fucking behind my back, Zoe?”
“What? Drake are you crazy? I’ve never slept with Vincent.” I noticed the talisman around his neck had a dim green glow as he spoke.
“Zoe don’t you know I’d have died for you? I’d have given my life to make you happy!” He stepped closer to me and raised his hand in anger. He stopped himself before his hand connected to my face and punched the wall behind me, cracking the plaster.
“It all makes sense now! Why you are always defending his actions! Always finding excuses for him to be near! If you’ve wanted him this whole time, why did you marry me? Why did you tell me you loved me?”
“Because I do love you Drake and I want to be with you for as long as I walk this Earth.”
“Then why did I find this in your jewelry box? You told me you’d given it back to him,” he asked brandishing the bracelet Vincent had given to me. “What did he buy you a new one for being his plaything? Or was that just another lie?”
“I accepted it back from him when I went to tell him about Sarah’s pregnancy. But I told him I would never wear it again, he just wanted me to have it since it was a gift.”
“I saw you kiss him, I saw you in his bed tonight. You haven’t wanted to start a family with me have you? That’s why it’s taking so long! What are you doing? Taking birth control?”
“Drake I don’t know what you saw or what you think you saw but I’ve never slept with Vincent. Someone is messing with your head. It never happened! Vincent hugged me and I pushed him away and that was it! I came home after talking to him about this thing with Zavier, I swear! And as far as a family, it is of course something I want with you! I think you’d make a great Father.”
“Drake please; you have to believe me. I’d never betray you like that baby. I love you. I love you so much! You’re the love of my life and all I’ve ever wanted!” Tears began streaking down my face as Drake’s expression changed to one of even more rage. It seemed the more I said the angrier he became.
“Oh come on, don’t lie to him like that, Zoe. You can at least be honest. We both saw it,” Lily said walking into the living room. “I tried telling him the first moment he bumped into you in Bridgeport to keep his distance from you. I knew you would end up hurting him like this. He never listened, he refused. He formed this relationship with you that has cost him so much with the Syndicate. And now look…at the first chance you could, you’ve betrayed him! Slept with another man you’ve sworn you had no feelings for. You might as well have just ripped his heart from his chest!” Lily said.
“Lily! You’re doing this aren’t you? What is it? Zavier convince you to turn against us? To hurt Drake? Someone you’ve known for hundreds of years? You’re pushing thoughts into his head. Why? Why are you doing this Lily?”
She glared at me. “You are the one that nearly killed him! Electrocuted him with no rhyme or reason and have the gall to accuse me?”
“Do you love him, Zoe?” Drake asked turning back to me.
“Answer me damn it! Do you love him?” he yelled.
I dropped my eyes, I felt trapped; they were ganging up on me and I had nowhere to turn.
He threw his arms at me. “So I’m the love of your life? I asked you a question, Zoe! You took my last name and now I want to know how true those vows are that you spoke to me! DO YOU LOVE HIM?”
“Yes, I do,” I replied quietly. But I’d never do anything with him. I’d never do anything to jeopardize my relationship with you Drake! I swear it!”
“You lied to me, Zoe! You made me look like a damned fool! This whole time? This whole time you’ve been in love with Vincent?”
“No! I love you Drake. I don’t want him I want you, I’ve always wanted you!”
“Pathetic. You and Vincent! Zavier was an idiot to trust this with him. I knew he’d never do it.” She turned to Drake with a twisted grin. “Do you know how much love hurts, Drake?”
Before he could answered, she punched a hole into his chest and yanked out his heart.
She dropped his beet red muscle to the ground and it splashed softly in a puddle of blood beside his still corpse and then she was gone.
“DRAKE!” I stood frozen, my emotions were running high. I dropped to my knees. “Oh my God no, please no! No baby, wake up! Please, don’t go…not like this, please!”
“Don’t leave me here Drake! Please!” Tears ran down my cheeks and landed softly on his face as I held him close.
Zavier got her…he used Lily to get to Drake…to get what he wanted.
I snatched the talisman off his neck. She tricked him and now he was gone.
“Please Drake! It can’t be over, you can’t leave me! I love you! Please!!” I begged and sobbed in vain, Zavier had won and Drake was out of his hair.