It was happening tonight and I was even more nervous this time than the first. Before I had Drake, I had Vincent, hell I even had Abigail. But this time I was alone. And this time I had a son who would join me, one that was a hot commodity in the magic community.
But it was important that I do this to show the magic world that they could still trust in their leader. “Are there a lot of people like me, Mommy?” Christopher asked dragging his teddy bear behind him as he entered into the living room.
“Yes sweetheart, tons. You’ll meet witches, mummies, ghosts…”
I nodded as I continued, “You might even get to meet a robot!”
He clapped excitedly. “Is Daddy coming too?”
I smiled at him, “I don’t know honey. But enough about that, we have to get you ready for school, Vincent will be here soon.”
I got him fed and changed and waited outside for Vincent to arrive. He pulled up 10 minutes late and I laughed as he tried to apologize.
“I guess I made us late this time,” he said parking in the front of the building. “I was a little…handcuffed.”
“Interesting. Do you still have your wallet?”
He quickly pat his pocket and I smiled. “It was a joke.”
“You never know,” he grinned. “Sorry again.”
“It’s ok; I’m not going to tease you mercilessly for causing our tardiness. I honestly think Giovanni would die of shock if I ever got to work on time.” We dropped off the children and walked back to the car.
He frowned at me as he heard that name again. “You know Zo, you should have just let Drake kill him. I mean what harm really would it have done?”
“Besides causing me to be broke and jobless? He hasn’t done anything to either of you to be killed!”
“Other than make a play for you!”
“You do that all the time, Vincent!”
“Yeah, but you and I love each other. You have no feelings for this guy and I backed off!”
We started towards “Inks”. “So I was planning on introducing Christopher tonight. I want everyone to see he isn’t someone they should fear. I think right now that’s the current consensus.”
“It’s not a bad idea, Zo, but don’t get your hopes up really. They’ll fear him anyway, he’s the son of a vampire who had dealings with primeval.”
He dropped me off and drove away. I said hello to everyone before heading to my workstation to begin the last painting.
Giovanni hadn’t shown up the last three days. I was starting to worry about him until the door to the paintings room opened and he walked in.
“Wow, you look a little rough for the wear.”
“I feel like it.”
“Your eye has healed at least. Are you ok? You’ve been missed by all.”
“I just needed to take a few personals, but I’m fine thank you Zoe,” he flashed me his smile and went over to the drafting table.
I approached him. His behavior was erratic and his mood was dark; he wasn’t the same man I was working with the last 3 months. “Do you want to talk about it? I’m a great listener.”
“I know you are. But it’s nothing I want to drop at your door. I just had to reevaluate some things in my current situation and…I don’t want to bore you. How’s the next painting coming along?”
I rubbed his shoulder and he took my hand in his. “You’re a good friend, Zoe. I don’t want to cause any trouble for you.”
“Gio what are you talking about?”
“I like you more than I should. And I’m afraid my past may come back at you because of it.”
“Your past? What does that mean?”
“Gio, the people from PrideWorks are here to see you,” Nathan said entering into the room.
“I’ll be right there, thank you.”
He smiled at me. “I have to go. We can talk about this a little later.” He stood and kissed my cheek before exiting the room.
I moved over to the easel and began painting.
Hours passed. I looked up at the clock and it was nearing the end of my shift. My favorite thing about Fridays is the half work day. I walked the brushes to the sink and placed them in the water for a night soak before shutting off the lights and walking to the productions room.
Everyone had already left for the evening and I had a few more hours before the Eve began. I saw a light on under Giovanni’s door and approached his office.
I overheard him talking to someone and didn’t want to interrupt. I started to leave until I heard him say my name. I crept a little closer to the door to listen.
“Zoe is not involved in this and I’m growing weary of your threats. You said I was the best and you weren’t mistaken. Come after me or come near her and you’ll see just how right you were. I’ve retired from hunting but I would have no problem putting your head on my wall.”
I gasped. Drake was right. He could sense something was up with Gio and I just took it as him being jealous. This whole time he knew what I was!
“Hold on,” he said and placed the phone on the desk. He started towards me and I searched the room for a place to hide or an escape. The open floor design left hiding nearly impossible.
I rushed to the open window in the far right corner and jumped to the ground; landing on my feet I ran to the edge of the property and ducked behind the wall.
I saw him appear at the window before heading back to his office.
“Hey Beautiful! You going my way?” Vincent asked smiling at me from the driver window.
“Just in time!”
“Who are we hiding from?”
I jumped in beside him and told him to drive.
“You want to tell me what that was about now?” he asked after we were a few blocks away.
“Giovanni is a hunter.”
“What?!” he did a quick U-turn and headed back towards my job.
“Where are we going?”
“To kill him, which is what you should have let Drake do in the first place, Zo.”
“No,” I said turning the wheel again. He slammed on the brakes and looked at me.
“And why not? Do you have feelings for him Zo? And answer me honestly this time!”
“No, my relationship with him doesn’t extend past work. It never will.”
“Then why are you stopping me from taking care of this? You and I both know hunters are nothing but trouble.”
“He’s retired. I overheard a conversation he was having with someone and he threatened them. He told them that if they came here, he’d kill them.”
“And what makes you think he wasn’t just acting? How do you know he wasn’t aware you were listening in?”
“Because I’m a little sneakier than that, Vincent. At least let me talk to him before you rip his throat out. Find out what’s going on and if we are heading into another confrontation with their kind.”
“Fine Zo, but at the first sign of trouble, you’d better let me know. Otherwise I’ll just take matters into my own hands.”
“I promise. Now can we get our kids? The Eve starts soon and I need to make sure everything is in order.”
Vincent drove me home and I got CJ ready before taking a shower and preparing myself. He returned shortly after to pick me up dressed in a brown pants suit. Sarah had on a red and black mini and Vanessa wore a gorgeous turquoise evening dress.
“Wow you guys look great,” I said grabbing Chris and walking out the door with them.
“I want to thank you both for helping today! You have no idea what it means to me.”
“It should be fun. This will be Vanessa and Chris’ first and Brad said he’d join us there also,” Sarah said.
We arrived to the nightclub in record time; I figured a less formal setting would put everyone more at ease. The catering crew was just finishing setup and I took Chris inside to a seat near the back wall.
“Now Chris tonight you are going to meet some very interesting people. Remember what Mommy told you?”
“Don’t stare and don’t cast magic on them.”
“That’s right baby, you have to be on your best behavior for Mommy.”
“I will!” he smiled. He looked incredibly handsome in his little suit and I could see him as the gentleman I hoped he was growing to become.
Sarah and Brad walked with Vanessa as she explored the different types of people and Vincent found a potential prospect for his bed and took off with a kiss to my cheek.
“Looks like it’s just you and me, CJ.”
I started towards the table I’d made out for the base when a familiar redhead bumped my arm. “Oh excuse me dear,” she smiled and started back towards the refreshments table.
“Wait. Georgia right?” I asked taking a hold of her arm slightly before releasing. “You’re Sarah’s mom.”
“Zoe! But close,” I smiled. “You’re a witch?”
“I don’t really practice anymore. But yes, I am.”
“Does Sarah know that?”
“No and please don’t tell her. I’ve wanted to hide that part of our lives. I never even told her Father. So you’re THAT Zoe?”
“Does my daughter know what you are?”
“And she’s ok with it, Zana?”
“Zoe, and yes, of course she is! She’s a…good friend.” I stopped myself before revealing to Georgia the fact that Sarah was a vampire. I don’t think this family is really into sharing secrets.
“My Sarah. She’s such a loving girl. As a child she read all day in her room; books about whimsical tales, knights, fairies, dragons. I didn’t think she’d ever learn that world really existed. She told me one day that she aspired to become a Princess and live forever!”
I smiled. She got one part of that wish.
“I don’t know how she’d take the news that all the stares from people in our hometown was because I really am the thing they accused me of.”
“I think she’ll be a little more open to the idea. You should have a chat with her. I mean if she’s ok with her friend being a witch, there’s hope.”
“You’re right. I’ll tell her…just not anytime soon. It was great seeing you again, Zori.”
“It’s…you too.” I stopped myself from correcting my name a third time and chalked it up to her hippie habit.
Vincent stopped off at the bar and ordered a Sex on the Beach and Bourbon. He downed the Bourbon in one gulp and after checking his reflection in the mirror, he headed for the terrace.
“Hello Gorgeous,” Vincent said with a smile behind the newcomer. “I’m Vincent, and you are?”
“Looking for someone.”
“Because they don’t reek of bourbon and cheap cologne.”
He laughed. “Nothing about me is cheap.” He looked her in the eyes; the light brown iris ran deep pools around golden flecks and complimented her honey brown complexion. Her dark hair cascaded down her shoulders and he licked his lips as he continued eyeing her. His eyes stopped on her bosom; two perfectly round globes sitting high and perky calling his name. Her breasts heaved with each breath she took and he toyed with the idea of compelling her and kissing his way down her tight frame, taking her on the terrace with the others watching.
“Let me know when you’re done ogling my chest!” she snapped, her annoyed tone prompting Vincent to take a step back.
“Men are horrible with things like that.” He extended the drink to her with an apology. “This is a Sex on the Beach but we could go back to my place instead. I’m sure I could make it up to you,” he grinned.
She smirked at him as she reached for the drink. The moment her hand brushed his, she sent a jolt of electricity through him. He fell to his knees clutching at his chest. “You just did,” she said pouring the drink on his head before walking towards the ballroom entry.
“Saucy!” Vincent smiled as he stood to find the restroom and get cleaned up.
I was sitting inside helping a few others that I hadn’t seen since the last Eve. They were looking to consolidate their powers with another coven of equal powers so I played matchmaker with a brood of Cyborgs.
“Wobot,” CJ said pointing at one of the guests. He stood from his seat and walked over to him.
I excused myself and followed.
“Wobot!” he yelled at the man.
“The technical term is actual Mechanical Human, Lad,” he said in a robotic voice. “I am capable of performing basic human tasks such as feeding, sleeping and relieving myself. But because of my robotic nature, I am highly intelligent and able to do slightly more advanced tasks than a normal person,” he explained to Chris.
“I’m sorry. He’s just excited.”
“As well he should be. This is his first of many Eves and he will meet many wonderful and exotic beings.”
“The Wobot tawks funny Mommy,” he looked up at me. “DADDY!” he yelled and again took off.
I glanced in the area he was headed and saw Drake enter. With a smile towards me he lifted CJ in his arms and swung him around. “Oh you’re going to be too big for Daddy to lift soon, son.”
CJ laughed. “No, Daddy.”
I walked towards them and Drake kissed my cheek. “You look Gorgeous.”
“Thank you for coming Drake.”
“I couldn’t miss my son’s first Eve!” He smiled. “I noticed you weren’t as dressed up as last time.”
I giggled. “Yeah, I learned my lesson. Last time I couldn’t really move in the dress I was wearing. I feel much more comfortable now.”
“Well, you’re beautiful.” He kept his eyes on me and I stood locked in his gaze.
“I noticed you stuck with the classic jeans and tuxedo top.”
“Hey,” he shrugged. “I go with what works.”
“Drake! Zoe!” Jasmine yelled running up to us. “There are tons of people here! I can’t believe the buzz I feel in this room! And they are all magic related! This is exciting!”
Drake smiled at her. “So I take it that means you are having fun?”
She grabbed Chris into her arms. “You are so adorable! He looks just like you Drake. And yes, I am having TONS of fun! How often do these take place?”
“One per season, supposedly. This is the second one I’ve hosted since becoming Vale leader but I will do them much more as my Mother before me. Have you met anyone interesting?”
“A family of Mummies! They are all hilarious! Well once I was able to understand what they were saying!” Chris grabbed at her hair and she smiled.
“That reminds me of Vanessa. She liked pulling my hair too.”
“Banessa!” Chris laughed.
“Aww that’s so cute!” she blew a kiss into his cheek and he giggled uncontrollably.
“Did Tabitha come with you?”
“Yes, she’s over there,” Jazz pointed in the direction of her familiar.
“Have you had any problems adjusting after she helped you?” Drake asked.
“No, everything has been going really smooth, though Tabby keeps everything and everyone at bay.”
“Zoe, do you know that lady over there?” she asked pointing towards a woman dressed in a grey mini dress.
“No. I’ve never seen her before. Why?”
“I don’t know. She’s scared. I’m going to talk to her.” She handed Chris over to Drake and watched as the woman made her way out to the terrace.
“Jasmine? Jasmine wait!” Tabitha shouted after her.
She followed her outside and watched as she approached the dark haired woman leaning against the rail.
“Who are you? You know me, don’t you?” Jasmine asked looking at the woman. Her brown eyes seemed to glow in the light of the moon and her face looked vaguely familiar, almost as if she were seeing a ghost.
The woman reached her hand towards Jasmine and touched her arm. “Do you feel that?” she asked as her hand remained steady on the girls’ shoulder. “I mean you no harm.”
She smiled as Jasmine read her more. “You’re scared. You shouldn’t be scared; I’m not a bad witch either.”
“You have your mothers’ gift, Jasmine.”
“How do you know my name? And you know my Mom?”
Tabitha approached the two and hissed in the direction of the woman touching Jasmine. “Your familiar I take it.”
“She won’t hurt you. She’s just really protective.”
The woman closed her eyes and then stared in the direction of the front entry. “I have to go. It was great seeing you again!”
“Again? Wait!” Jasmine tried to run after her again but as she got to the end of the stairs, she watched as she ported out.
“Do you know her?” Tabitha asked standing beside her.
“I don’t know.”
“Let’s get back inside ok? It’s too chilly out here.”
The woman approached me, nervous and obviously scared. “Are you Zoe Vale?”
“Steele…yes, I’m Zoe Vale.”
Drake sighed next to me and a pained look crossed his face.
“My name is Jade Allen. I was told you could help me.”
“Of course, that’s why we’re here Jade. What can I do for you?”
She kept searching the room and she wouldn’t make direct eye contact with me. They stopped darting around and landed on the far right corner. “Oh no,” she said breathlessly.
I turned to follow her gaze. There were caterers and wait staff loitering around the desserts table having small conversations and a few attendees of the Eve snagging small fruit or slices of cake from the trays.
“I don’t see…” I turned back to Jade but she was gone.
“Drake, where did she go?”
“I don’t know Miss Vale. I wasn’t watching her.”
“Drake don’t be upset about that. Many people here don’t know we were wed and they are looking for a certain person. I did tell her my new last name.”
“Yeah,” was his one word reply.
“Mommy are we bampiras?” CJ asked looking up at me.
“Vampires, and yes Sweetie.” I picked him up and kissed his cheek. He laughed and pushed me away.
“Does that mean I have to eat bug blood?”
“Ew! Animals eat bugs! Are you an animal?”
He growled at me showing his fangs and laughed. “Yes!”
“You are? I gave birth to an animal? Ok, bug eater, I give up, what kind of animal are you?”
He put his finger to his lip and thought for a minute. “I’m a Tiger!”
“A tiger? I thought you were the man of the house! How did you become a tiger?”
“Like this, rawr!” he said clawing at me again.
“Ahh!” I screamed inciting his laughter once more. “So Mommy doesn’t have her little man anymore? I think you would be a great man!”
“No, I think he is a tiger.” Drake said taking him from my arms. He’s the leader of the pack; he protects Mommy from danger when Daddy isn’t there.”
“I like to help Banessa too,” he corrected him.
I smiled. “He keeps pronouncing his ‘V’s like that.”
He looked behind me and screamed. “Look Mommy another Wobot!”
“Well that CJ is a Mummy,” I corrected him.
Drake snickered and I shook my head at him.
We met with several families who all thanked me for once again providing them with a meeting place. I made an announcement at the end of the Eve thanking everyone for attending and apologizing for not continuing with the tradition for the extent of the hiatus and ensured them we’d continue with the Eves for as long as I was in control of the coven.
“I think that went well,” I smiled watching Sarah and Brad exit with Vanessa.
“Yeah, everyone was satisfied, even with Chris pointing out their anomalies,” Vincent laughed.
“You know we’d talked about that. He told me he would be a good boy but apparently we define that differently.”
I picked him up and prepared to leave.
“So Zo, don’t forget to talk to the hunter and figure out what he wants,” Vincent blurted in front of Drake with a smile.
“Thanks Vincent!” I said through clenched teeth and a glare.
“Hunter?” Drake looked over at me. “What is he talking about?”
“Yeah Zo, tell your husband what you discovered about your boss.”
“Zoe? Giovanni’s a hunter?”
“I think he’s retired…” Before I could get more of an explanation out, Drake was storming for the door.
“Drake no! Wait.” I grabbed his arm and spun him to face me.
“I told you there was something not right about that guy. What is his interest in you besides the obvious Zoe?”
“The obvious? Drake are you implying that I…”
“You didn’t want to listen and insisted on having dinner with this asshole and who knows what else. All I want to know is what does he want with you, Zoe?”
“I don’t know! But there isn’t anything you’re going to do about it!”
“You don’t know what he wants or what he’s doing here. This is a dangerous situation! And you are out of your damned mind if you think for one second I am letting him anywhere near you or Chris again!” His words were delivered in anger and the expression on his face scared me, but his eyes remained blue; steady and piercing my face with each word.
“Drake, I am telling you to back off and let me handle Gio. You have always made the decisions about things like this WHEN we were together. If you ever expect me to trust you again, you’ll do as I ask and let this go.”
I turned to exit the building.
“Do you need a ride, Zo?”
“Fuck off, Vincent.”
I caught a cab back home and got Chris to bed. He had a long night and really seemed to enjoy the event.
The weekend arrived with the break from work that I needed. I had to figure out how to talk to Gio about what I’d heard and wanted time to get my thoughts together. I’d made plans to spend the day with Drake at the park with CJ. He really did miss having him around as much as he used to and I wanted them to see each other.
There was a knock on the door. I handed CJ his bottle before heading to answer it.
“Jade, right?” I asked noticing it was one of the witches I’d met last night.
“Yes. Can we talk?” she asked nervously.
I backed away from the door and let her in. She took a seat across from CJ and he smiled at her as he finished his bottle.
“Would you like anything?”
She again looked at CJ, “You have anything other than blood?”
I smiled and walked into the kitchen to retrieve a glass of lemonade. “So how can I help you? Are you in trouble?”
She took a sip before responding. “I didn’t know where else to turn. I’d learned of the Eve from my sister, Justine.” She paused to gauge my reaction.
“Justine? Dubrick? Jasmine’s Mother? You’re Jazz’s Aunt?”
She gave me a slight nod and placed the glass back on the table. “I am.”
“I wasn’t aware that she had an Aunt. She said it was just her and her Dad.”
“And there’s a reason for that. I was kidnapped and have been held hostage by the man you knew as Zavier Kayne.”
I dropped my head as I remembered the last warlock Zavier had mentioned. It was shortly before I regained my memories. “Jade, I’m sorry. I wasn’t myself.”
“I know. I was the reason for that. Zavier made me cast the blinder on you using a necklace I immediately recognized as one from my own family,” she sighed. “I was finally able to escape; I freed myself after learning Zavier was dead and I could cast magics as I wanted in that room. The things I was subjected to…,” she dropped her head in her lap as memories began flooding her thoughts.
I could see them all very vividly; it was as if she was trying to erase the last years of her life and in doing so was forced to relive those events again.
“Zavier found me one night after I’d left Barnacle Bay! He took me and three others to this dark room and he forced us into submission.”
“His favorite method was by means of the rack. For hours he stretched the girls on that table, drilling the spikes into the joints of their bodies until their screams filled the room. He got off on it! He loved the pain it caused all of them! He promised me every day that my turn was next.”
“We were forced to kill for him, just as you were. He made us hurt innocent people and our own kind for his own pleasure and gains. But he soon realized we couldn’t give him everything he was after. He needed someone more powerful to extract the magics from the witches in his ‘collection’ he called it.”
“I didn’t know those other women, but we became close. That is until the day he found us useless. One by one he took us into a room with cages lining the walls and slowly he had you extract the magic from us. Once you left…I begged for my life. I found a usefulness and…I let him have what he wanted from me.”
“Every night he came for me. He made me do things…I can still feel his hands on my body. Scratching, pulling, clawing; I can still feel the way his body covered mine. He wasn’t gentle; he didn’t care about the pain. He was greedy, dominating; he made sure he showed me who was in control.” She swallowed hard. “It was…” she let out a contented sigh and looked at me.
“Jade…” I looked at her confused and thought I misread what she was saying.
“When he was finished he let me have free reign of the place as long as he could have what he wanted every night. It became routine for us. Though I couldn’t get out, his magic holds were too much to escape from, I could stretch, see the sun, even conjure images of my family. I haven’t seen my niece in forever. It broke me watching the day my sister died.”
We sat in silence for a moment and there was another knock on the door.
Jasmine arrived right on time. I was taking her with me to see Drake. When she entered into the living room she was already in tears.
“Jazz are you ok?”
“I’m fine. I just felt pain.” She eyed the woman in the room. “You again!”
“You know her?”
“I saw her last night at the Eve. We talked for a moment and she ran off.”
I looked over at Jade. “Jasmine, I’d like to introduce you to Jade Allen. She’s your Aunt.”
Jasmine looked at me in disbelief. She’d long since wiped the tears from her cheek, and they been replaced with defiant eyes. “I don’t have an Aunt. My mother would have told me.”
“Unless she was still mad at me,” Jade said.
“If you’re my Aunt then where have you been all my life?”
“I’ve not been the best at contact I know. When I found out what I was, what we were I needed to get out. Your mother and I didn’t see eye to eye, Jasmine. I didn’t want to be a freak but she was never scared. When you were born, it was the happiest day of her life. She’d asked me to help cast a protection spell on you and bless your arrival but I couldn’t. I never wanted these powers and the danger I knew came with them.”
“We argued into the night until finally I packed up and left town. I ran from her, from you and from my heritage.” She looked at Jasmine, her niece, a teenage girl she hadn’t seen since she was born. Tears began welling up in her eyes. “I’ve missed so much with you Jasmine and I’m sorry.”
“Sorry? You’re sorry?” she jumped up from her seat and Jade followed her.
“Where were you when she died and I needed someone? Why didn’t you ever call or write? How could you abandon your family? People you were supposed to love?” Jasmine’s emotions were getting too worked up and I quickly moved over to her.
“Jazz, Sweetie calm down,” I said placing a comforting hand on her shoulder. My words came too late; things began flying around the room and tables and chairs thrown at my head and that of her Aunt’s.
“Silencio,” Jade said raising her hand. The moment she spoke the word the room became calm again and Jasmine’s eyes returned to green.
“What was that? What did you do to me?” she asked as her heartbeat finally stopped torturing my ears.
“I made you still; relaxed. Jasmine I know you’re angry with me. You might even hate me and I’m sorry. But I want you to know a large part of my disappearance was not by choice. I was captured and held hostage. I never would have left like that.”
Jasmine looked up at me and I nodded in agreement. “Remember the man I warned you about with your last visit? He took her and he’s had her there for years.”
Jasmine burst into tears before running over and hugging Jade. “I’m sorry.”
“I’m sorry too, Sweetheart.”
I excused myself from the room to allow them time to catch up and put Chris down for a nap in his room.
“So where were you?” Drake asked walking into the kitchen.
I looked at him and smiled. “I’m sorry about our plans, something came up.”
“I figured as much, it’s why I dropped by. Are you ok?”
“You didn’t have to stop by for that, Drake. You could have called. What did you really want? If you came for Chris he is up in his room asleep.”
“I came to check on you and make sure everything is going well, Zoe. Just because you and I are apart doesn’t mean my concern or responsibilities to you have changed. You’re my fucking wife!”
“Keep your voice down. Your son is sleeping and I have company in the next room.”
I ushered him towards the den and shut the door.
“Let me guess, Giovanni?” he mocked.
“Damn it Drake I work for him, nothing more. But if you would like I can start fucking him to make you happy! That way you won’t have to ask anymore, you’d know it was true when you smelled him all over me!”
“No, I’m sorry,” he said wrapping me in his arms. “I don’t mean to come off as an angry, jealous husband. I trust you Zoe, I do. It’s him that bothers me. I just love you so much.” He tenderly kissed my forehead and I pulled out of his arms.
“So who’s the company?”
“Jasmine and her Aunt Jade.”
I nodded. The woman that asked if I was Zoe Vale last night, that’s Jasmine’s aunt.
“Are you sure? What do you think about her?” he asked sitting on the edge of the desk.
“I think she’s genuine. Jazz picked up on that too. I feel bad for her because I know what Zavier put her through had to have been rough. I also feel bad because she was the last person he wanted me to extract but then I started getting my memories back and forgot about her. She’s been locked up with them ever since.”
“Zoe what happened with Zavier wasn’t your fault and I’m sure she understands that.”
I watched the fish in the tank float by. They were happy and oblivious and seemed to enjoy living in their water world even with the numerous amounts of eyes gawking at them.
“You smell like sulfur. Did you just come from that place?”
“Drake you were coming to see your child. Don’t you remember what I said about that place?” He refused to look at me. “CJ’s upstairs in his bed. Please kiss him goodnight and leave,” I said exiting the room.
“Zoe, wait!” he whipped me around to face him. “There wasn’t time for me to get home and cleaned up before I was to meet you and I didn’t want to be late and risk you leaving before I could get there.”
“There is always time, Drake. You have speed.”
“I’m never going to be what you want again, am I?”
“Drake, what I want is my husband back.”
“And I’m right here! This is the man you married Zoe! Please just tell me what I gotta do?”
“I need to be able to trust my life in your hands again.” I closed the door behind me and walked towards the living room.
“Zoe!” Jasmine’s happy feet came pounding towards me. “Aunt Jade is coming to sunset to live with us for a while! Dad’s already agreed!”
“That’s great Jazz! I hope the two of you really get to know each other.”
I walked over to Jade and handed her my cell phone number. “Jasmine has this as well if you need anything please just let me know.”
She grabbed for the paper and shuddered. Her eyes went blank and she began speaking in Latin. “Jade?” I called to her, but she didn’t respond. “Jade?” I reached for her and was shocked. I jerked my hand back in pain.
Her body convulsed violently before falling to the couch behind her.
“What’s happening to her?”
“She’s getting a vision,” I quickly explained. “Nothing to worry about Jazz, she’ll be fine.”
When Jade came to, her head was throbbing and she was dizzied. She tried to stand and I handed her a glass of water. “Are you ok?”
“He’s coming. I can’t stay here, and you have to stay away from me Jasmine,” she said.
She jumped up and rushed towards the door.
“Aunt Jade wait!” Jasmine yelled after her.
“I’m sorry! I love you!” she hurriedly reached the end of the lot and disappeared down the street.
“Zoe! We have to go after her!”
“Please! I can’t lose her now!”
“I’ll take care of it,” Drake said rushing out the door.
“Stay here with me, Jazz, Drake will bring her back.”
Drake picked up Jade’s scent and found her running towards the center of downtown.
“Jade!” he yelled for her. “Jade stop!”
He got in front of her and grabbed her by the arms. “Why are you running?”
“Because if I don’t, Karver Styx will find Jasmine and I can’t allow that to happen.”
“Do you know him?” she looked down at the hands he gripped her with. “How am I not frying you right now? What are you?”
“I’m a vampire and part fire demon now thanks to Karver. I work for him.”
“You what? He sent you after me?” she pushed at him to try and get away.
“No. I’m not here for him I want to help. Jasmine is a friend of mine.”
“Help? If I stay around you he’ll find me for sure!”
“That’s not true. In fact it’s the opposite. If you stay around me I can cloak you from that place. Please, you have to trust me.”
She nodded her head. “Good. First things first, I have to get you off the street.” He grabbed her in his arms and ran towards his car heading for the house.
“So you’re Zoe’s husband?”
He nodded as he sat a glass on the table in front of her.
“Thank you.” She took a sip and smiled as Drake sat across from her.
“I’m curious Jade.” Drake leaned against the arm of the chair, “You were scared of me when you thought I was sent by Karver and you mentioned him coming for Jasmine. Why would he come for Jasmine and is he after you?”
Jade looked away with sorrow turning her features and fiddled with her fingers as she took a deep sigh. “I can’t explain why he’s after me but there is no telling what he’d do to her to get what he wants.” She looked up at him with tears pooling in the corners of her eyes.
“She misses you, you know?” Jade sniffled quickly changing the subject. “Zoe misses you.”
“I hope so. She doesn’t act like it and I’ve been dying without her.” He moved into the empty space besides Jade allowing their previous conversation to fade. “Has she said anything about me?”
“What?” he questioned with an innocent face.
“You. You’re acting like a high school kid trying to get hooked up with my best friend! ‘Has she said anything about me?’” She laughed again mimicking his voice and taking another drink of water.
“No, she doesn’t have to say anything. I can see it. Whenever you’re around her she changes. She’s happier even when she’s mad at you. She needs you Drake and I can see why.”
“I want her back Jade. I just don’t know what I have to do. I’ve tried to convince her that she’d be safe again with me; that our son would be protected. But she isn’t hearing me.”
“Are you asking me for help?”
He smiled at her. “Let’s think of it as a mutual relationship. I’ll keep you safe and away from Karver and you can…persuade my wife to come home.”
“I’d say it sounds like blackmail, but your job is a lot harder than mine. She wants to come home; she’s just looking for the invitation.” Jade stood from her seat. “Deal.”
“Alright. Give me a minute, I’ll call and let Zoe know you’re safe and show you to a room.”
A few minutes later he guided her towards a large suite decorated in a one color scheme.
“So, did she decorate?”
“This isn’t the house we shared together. I was going to surprise her with it later. I hired someone,” he said reading her thoughts.
“And uh…did you pay them?”
“It’s her favorite color, purple. I didn’t care much else about anything else. I figured she could have a room that was completely hers and she could escape and relax if she wanted.”
“That’s really thoughtful,” Jade smiled. “But I can do better and trust me; you’re going to need all the help you can get!”
“It’s all yours. And you know where the kitchen is, the bathroom and here,” he placed a few credit cards on the table beside her bed. “Buy what you need because there isn’t any food in this house.”
“The keys to the cars are on the wall next to the door and last, I keep strange hours so if you hear loud thumping in the halls at 3 am, ignore it.”
“Wait! Are you leaving?”
“I’m going to make sure Zoe gets the protection spell on you.” He saw her expression saddened. “I can just call her again if you’d like and stay here with you.”
“Please? I kinda don’t want to be alone right now.”
“Ok. Well grab the phone book from the computer desk and order yourself a pizza or something and I’ll make the call.”
“Jade is fine,” I informed Jasmine and she breathed a sigh of relief. “Would you like to help me cast a protection spell on her? One that will safeguard her from Karver and also hide her location.”
“Of course! Jasmine ran to the shelves and pulled off a few candles, placed them in a pentagram shape and sat with me. “This reminds me of old times,” she smiled. “I’m so much stronger now Zoe, you’ll be proud!”
“I knew you could do it, Jazzy. Why don’t you start us off?”
I waited until she opened the chant and joined in.
“We call upon the powers of the Vales’ Goddess
Protect the witch in question from harm and distress.
Lend now your aide with ancient powers
and guide her to strength within these hours.”
I felt Jasmine’s cast touch on the source as her spell went into effect.