Vincent came back close to midnight. His shirt was torn, his face was bloodied and his shoulder had been torn out of the socket. He was nursing it as he rushed inside.
He shut the bathroom door, closing me out. I entered in behind him and watched as he washed himself. “What happened?”
“Well after using my face as batting practice, he moved on to fire. He torched my favorite shirt! What the hell did you and Karver meet about?” he snatched his shirt off and tossed it in the trash.
“I don’t know what they discussed. I was sitting too far away.”
I placed my hand on his back. He shivered under my touch and caught my eyes in the mirror.
He turned to face me and I helped wash the blood from his lip. He smiled as I dabbed the wet rag on his wounds.
“Well now doesn’t this bring back memories?”
I met his eyes. “I’m sorry about this Vincent.”
“It wasn’t your fault. You owe me another shirt though.”
“Wasn’t that the one I bought you for Christmas anyway?”
“Yes and it was your husband that killed it!”
“Fine, I’ll get you a new one!”
His gaze stayed fixed on mine and I watched as his wounds started to heal. My phone rang and I jumped. I reached into my pocket and looked at it. The caller ID read as “Drake’s cell”.
“Do you think it’s really him?” Vincent asked taking the phone from my hand before answering.
…“Vincent? Where’s Zoe…?”
“Standing in front of me. How are you feeling?”
…“Sore. Thanks for the kicks to the chest…” he said sarcastically.
“Should I thank you for nearly frying me?”
…“Are they ok…?”
“They’re fine. Chris is…sleeping?” Vincent looked at me for the answer before confirming it with Drake, I nodded my head. “Zo’s shaken but she’s fine. What the hell was that about?”
…“I don’t know. I saw what was happening but there was no stopping myself…”
“Well if it suits you, I’m keeping Chris and Zo for the night. I wouldn’t feel ok bringing them there.”
…“Keep them safe, Vincent…”
“You know I will.”
…“Let me talk to Zoe…”
“Hey,” I answered in a tiny voice. Vincent turned his attention back to the dried blood on his face and washed the smudges off.
…“Baby, I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I’d never hurt you. I didn’t mean to do that…”
“Drake I know that and I think that’s what scares me the most. It’s the demon blood or whatever it is Karver did to you. My deepest fear is this is going to affect Chris too! What if he has something that causes him to go berserk like that?”
…“I’ll go and find Karver and talk to him. Vincent’s going to watch over you tonight, please just stay safe and try not to worry about this too much. I’ll get answers. I love you Zoe…”
“I love you too, Drake.”
He disconnected the line and Vincent smiled and led me back to the living room. “So roomie! What do you want to do tonight? Paint each others’ nails? You could braid my hair!”
“You joke, but I’d braid your hair!”
He laughed. “I bet you would. Where’s Chris?”
“In your bed. I stuffed pillows all around him so he didn’t fall off. Though I’m not worried he would. He somehow was in bed with me today. Drake’s and his powers are really starting to scare me.”
“You and me both.”
Vincent took a seat on the couch and motioned for me to join him. “So you have been under constant attacks? What’s this thing with Karver?”
“Drake made a deal with him, that’s how he was able to come back from the dead.”
“That explains a lot. Why would he do that?”
“Because he learned I was pregnant. Karver manipulated his emotions for our child because the deal forced him to put demonic traits into CJ.”
“Your baby is part demon?”
I shook my head.
“Drake has to be out of his mind! Zo do you have any idea who Karver Styx is?”
“No Vincent. I gather he’s some all powerful ruler of the Pit or something but I don’t really know.”
“Zo, Karver Styx is the originator; he is the root of all evil you want to compare good versus evil, well as far as evil is concerned, he’s the one that started it all.”
“You’ve met him before?”
“Once, hundreds of years ago; he and Zavier were somewhat ‘close’. I briefly met him while living in Egypt, though he wasn’t a redhead.”
“Zo if anything happens to you…I don’t know what I would do. Karver isn’t one to mess with. Drake…I don’t know what to say about him and why he would even consider this deal. Karver is relentless and will do what he needs to get what he wants which includes killing anyone in his way.”
“He won’t hurt Christopher, he assured me.”
“And I’d take that with a grain of salt. Just be careful please, he’s ruthless. He can smile in your face while stabbing you in the back.”
“Thanks Vincent. I’ll be careful.”
“Zo, I’m being serious, don’t trust this guy. I’m disappointed hearing Drake ever made a pact with this man, there is no telling what he’ll do if doesn’t get what he’s after.”
“So what were you doing there today?”
“Honestly, I was coming to check on you. I hadn’t heard anything from you since seeing Karver at your place. When I pulled up I heard yelling and that’s when I found you.”
“Zo, if you need a place to stay I have several places in town, or you could always just crash with me. Drake is making it hard to protect your child and now with this craziness with that fire thing…it’s just not safe for you and Christopher.”
“I know. I’m trying to give him the benefit of the doubt. I can’t just walk out on him, I think he needs me too.”
“Well the offer still stands.”
He leaned closer and pulled me into his arms and I thought about everything we’d been through together. “Hey, I’ve been wondering something about you.”
“Oh yeah? What’s that? The secret to my flawless good looks?”
I laughed. “No, what’s with the name Vincenzo?”
“That’s a long history of pain I’d rather not get into right now.”
I looked up at him, “Well promise me you’ll tell me one day?”
“Of course, Zo. It’s nothing you’ll want to know but, I’ll tell you when I’m ready.”
“What’s this?” I asked noticing an invoice on his table. “Liquor stocks, inventory lists?”
“It’s for my club. Just doing the ‘boss’ thing.”
“I didn’t realize you were still running the place.”
“I’ve been a little distracted but I figured with Vanessa’s arrival I should take a more active role again since she’ll be inheriting it from me.”
“Aww that’s really sweet, Vincent. I love how she’s really transformed you into this new man.”
“No Zo, you transformed me, Vanessa is reaping the benefits. But I’d be hard pressed to ever deny her anything.”
I smiled to myself and stood from the couch. “I’m going to go sleep with my baby. I’ll see you in the morning.”
Vincent stood and followed me into the room. He shut the door, locking it behind him and took a seat in an armchair near the wall. “Rest well, Zo, I’ll be here when you awaken.”
I climbed into the bed next to my sleeping child and soon joined him in rhythmic snores.
It was a little after 9 am when Vincent drove Chris and me home. He entered inside first to make sure all was well.
“Coast is clear,” Vincent smiled as he escorted Chris and me inside.
“Thank you, Vincent, for everything.”
“You don’t have to thank me, I like making sure you’re ok,” he paused. “And Chris and Drake.”
“Can you stay a little longer?”
“Actually, I am spending time with Sarah and Vanessa today. We can stop by though if you’d like.”
“Please? I’d really like the company,” I said nodding towards Drake. He was in the backyard again examining the damaged he’d done to the small garden.
Vincent acknowledged my concerns. “I’ll be back in an hour.”
I walked into the kitchen to fix Chris some breakfast.
Drake came in and had him in the living room talking to him and listening to him try to form words. He was convinced he could get him to say “Dah Dah.”
An hour quickly came and passed and as promised Vincent along with Sarah and Vanessa were making their way to the backyard. Christopher was trying to keep up with Vanessa and I laughed as he fought the strength of his legs to hold on to her.
Drake came up and slid his arm around my shoulder. His lips grazed the nape of my neck and his kisses sent chills down my spine. “Hey beautiful,” he said as we watched Christopher and Vanessa play together out in the backyard.
“Hey,” I smiled turning around in his arms to face him. “Are you better?”
“Zoe you have no idea how shitty I feel about what happened.”
“I know, Drake, but what’s done is done. We need to figure out how these powers are going to affect Christopher. He’s really my only concern right now.”
“Ouch, ok I guess I deserved that.”
“That’s not what I meant.”
“I know, baby.” He brushed the hair from my face and kissed my forehead. “We’ll figure this out together. As much as it pains me to say this, I don’t regret the deal I made. I love you and I love Chris and I wanted to be here with you. We have all we need to get through this, Zoe; I hope you believe in that.”
“I do,” I said listening to Chris and Vanessa giggling behind me. “You know, Drake, I was thinking…”
“I know and I couldn’t agree more. A little girl would be a great addition to the family,” he smiled.
“You know Drake it’s not fair you’re listening in on my thoughts but you won’t allow me to read you anymore.”
“It’s scary in my head baby, it’s best you remain out of it.”
I sighed. “So about my little girl?”
“We can start immediately,” he smirked. His lips met mine and his tongue rolled sweetly around my mouth. His hands slid down my sides and his fingers rubbed under my shirt tracing the small of my back and the waistline of my panties. I moaned feeling his body against me. My fingers stroked his hair, gently running each strand between my fingers.
Vanessa started crying and I pulled away to face her. Sarah walked over and picked her up. “Zoe, your son bit my daughter!”
I joined her by the garden and examined her wound. “I’m sorry about that Sarah. He hasn’t done that in a while.” She placed her back on the ground and Ness wiped the tears from her eyes.
Drake picked CJ up and spoke in his ear. Chris understood what he did was wrong and he put him back down.
Chris walked over to the rose bushes and picked one up.
He brought it back to Vanessa and sat with her. She started laughing again and playing with her feet and he joined in.
“Aww look,” Sarah said. “He’s apologizing with roses!”
I smiled and looked over at Drake. He was grinning watching his Son woo the women.
“Don’t make my child some sort of playboy, Drake! I’m keeping my eyes on you two!”
“Yeah I’m not sure I’m comfortable with your little Casanova, there,” Vincent agreed.
“Whoa,” he put his hands up defensively. “He’s a vampire and he likes her. How else would he show her that?” he asked before returning to the porch.
I joined him under the veranda. “So what did you learn from Karver?”
“I got a history lesson!”
“What does that mean? What did he do to Chris? To you?”
“Drake! Give me something! I don’t want to have to fight my husband or possibly my child!”
“Ok, Zoe. I’ll start from the beginning from what Karver told me, I just don’t think it helps much.”
Vincent and Sarah walked over to join us as Drake began.
“Back before Zavier, before any of this started there was Karver. He was known as the “Butcher of Al Simhara“. He gained that reputation from being the most brutal, merciless being that ever existed.”
“I don’t really know the specifics of how, but once he became the source of all evil, he made it his mission to spread as much misery as he could. He has the ability to create and form demons from sand and it just so happens vampires became his little pet project.”
“Stumbling onto Zavier was the best day of his life. He’d finally met someone almost as evil and manipulative and he could use him to gain more power and become an important ruler of some realm he’d had one of his ‘pets’ create.”
“That sounds similar to what Zavier was trying to accomplish. He’d been searching for a witch with portal summoning and realm creation,” I chimed in.
“And that’s where he came into his multiple problems. With the existence of the pit, basically there could be only one. Even if Zavier was successful with locating a witch, he wouldn’t have been able to create a new realm. So instead, Zavier revolted, he continued collecting as much magic as he could get his hands on. When he found your Mom and saw her doing exactly what he’d spent years doing, he thought gaining control over her he’d have full access to every coven she’d ever encountered.”
“Karver spent years after that hunting him. Zavier owed him those powers he was collecting. He was to empower Karver but instead he kept him from the covens and magics he’d absorbed.”
“I don’t understand what this has to do with Christopher.”
“Christopher is part vampire, part Vale witch and part demon creation via Karver. He’s a very powerful baby and the heir to your magics.”
“So they are trying to steal my baby to use him against Karver or create their own world with him?”
Drake nodded his head. “The demon blood in him makes him stronger; it makes him more capable to defend himself so it’s less of a strain on you or me, Zoe. That is the only reason I agreed to any of this. Had I known the attacks would be endless…,” he looked at Christopher.
He’d finally found the strength in his legs to keep up with Vanessa and he was after her with a huge smile on his face. Drake grinned.
Ness tackled Chris to the ground and the two rolled around the dirt. “Ah, I just bought that dress!” Sarah exclaimed.
“They’re having fun, Sarah relax. You can buy her a new one, I gave you access to my accounts,” Vincent said.
“So what’s happening now all stems from what Zavier has done?” I continued.
“He’s the reason for it all. We have to find him and drain his magic.”
“Zavier’s the king of hiding,” Vincent said. “I hadn’t realized that’s what he was doing when he discovered me. When I met Karver, Zavier and I had just got to Egypt. This was right around the time we built the infamous torture room. Karver had been tracking us, not that we made it very hard. We were leaving trails of bodies all over the continent.”
“Anyway, when he finally caught up to us, he and Zavier had words…lots of them. Apparently he had defaulted on some deal they’d made and Karver was waiting for his payoff. They fought, I think mostly Karver was toying with him because he could have easily killed him; one punch left Zavier’s face a mangled mess.”
“Realizing that his desire to get his hands on Agnes and the other witches we’d been hunting was to screw over Karver, he and I parted ways. I wanted no part of his deal and didn’t want to be associated with him in that same respect. Karver isn’t someone I’d want to meet in a dark alley.”
I stood shocked hearing Vincent say these things. If he were afraid of Karver, what did that mean for the rest of us?