When Hell Awakens, what's left is a very Grim World...
***This is book 2... I suggest you begin here**
“You can always come and stay with me, you know,” Lacy said as she handed Abbi another sweet tea. Lacy noticed her best friend wasn’t acting herself and seemed very depressed and sad. Abbi wasn’t eating much and was wearing a loose t-shirt, baggy sweatpants, and had her hair pulled back in a messy bun.
“I appreciate your offer, but you know I’m staying with Arlington right now,” Abbi said, taking a bite of her fries just to appease Lacy. She pushed her plate away and Lacy looked down to her unfinished food.
“I think you should consider it, Abs. You look terrible. I’m your best friend and I’m concerned for you. You always finish your favorite,” Lacy said, removing Abbi’s half-eaten plate of fries and fried chicken tenders, and turning to wait on the man next to her.
“Jeez, thanks Lace.”
Lacy glanced back to Abbi, and creased her eyebrows, giving her an annoyed expression. “I wasn’t trying to insult you, girl, just pointing out the obvious. When’s the last time you slept? Look at these dark rings.” Lacy pointed to the dark circles developing underneath Abbi’s puffy, swollen eyes. “What’s with you. Who is this guy who’s hurt my BFF's heart? I’m gonna kill him.”
“Heh,” Abbi chuckled as her eyes startled to tear up. “I wish you could. I’m mad at him too.” Abbi dripped a tear and Lacy’s usually tough interior turned soft, and she wondered what to say or if there was even anything to do to help Abbi. She knew from her own experiences that breakups were hard to get over, and it seemed to her that this one was going to take some serious ice cream and retail therapy in order to help Abbi out of an unusually low slump.
“Abs, I hate seeing you this way. What can I do for you? Please come to my house. You know I inherited all my dad’s money when he died and I want to use it to our advantage. We can have girl’s night every night and whoever this guy is…”
“I know, Lace. I want to stay with you,” Abbi interrupted, not wanting to think any more on Tom, “But Arlington has been treating me really good and I don’t want him to feel like I’m ungrateful.” She dropped her head onto her arms and sighed.
“But you hate it there, as would anyone. Admit it Abs, your dad is a freak.”
Abbi knew Lacy was right about Arlington, but she wasn’t ready to admit it out loud. She also wasn’t ready to admit that the true reason she was prolonging her stay at Arlington’s was to see if Tom would get resurrected from Hell. However, her hopes for that were diminishing, and Abbi’s hurting heart needed to move on. Abbi peeked her eyes up over her arms to glance up at Lacy as she continued wiping up the area around Abbi and waited on other customers.
“I know,” Abbi gave in and admitted. “Arlington has always been… different. But since my mom died, he’s changed. He’s been treating me better. It’s almost like he’s trying to make up for it or something.”
“Well, okay. But my offer stands. It’s only me in that huge house and it gets lonely.”
“What happened to that guy you were dating?” Abbi asked, finally lifting her head and taking a sip of her tea.
Lacy paused in front of Abbi and leaned forward. As she pulled her shoulder-length black hair into a short ponytail and rested her elbows onto the bar, Lacy said, “I kicked him to the curb.”
Abbi laughed, shaking her head. “Lace, you are so funny about your boyfriends. What was the matter with him?”
Lacy turned and grabbed a bottle of vodka and filled a shot glass, handing it to someone a few places down from Abbi. “Nothing was wrong with him. He just snored too loudly. I wasn’t getting any sleep and the dark circles under my eyes were not working out. He had to go.”
Abbi smiled and admired her sassy best friend. As Lacy bounced around the bar, Abbi thought about Lacy’s proposition and she swirled her straw around in her glass, pondering over how much she hated staying in the spare bedroom at Arlington’s house…
As much as Arlington has been treating me better, staying with Arlington is nothing like it would be if I were at Lacy’s. It would be girl’s night every night. Plus, she has that cozy guest room and a private bathroom. I hate sharing that small bathroom in Arlington’s old house…
“Hey, Lace?” Abbi lifted her head up as Lacy returned.
“Change your mind? It’s written all over your face, Abs. I’ve known you a long time.” Lacy smiled as the man directly to Abbi’s left asked for a beer and Lacy turned to get it. “Why don’t you plan to move in tomorrow. I’ll ask if Jack can help us move your things. Since I’m covering tonight, I’m off the weekend. What do you think?”
“Okay.” Abbi nodded. “I’m good with that. I’ll tell Arlington tonight when I pack my room.”
Lacy stopped in front of Abbi before moving on to another customer as she glanced down the length of the bar to the man on the end. “By the way, Jack was in here yesterday asking about you.”
“Oh? Why? What was he asking?”
“You know why, Abs. Jack is so in love with you he can’t handle it. Maybe you should stop in at the Sheriff’s department and at least say hi. You and Jack have been friends longer than we have. I’m sure he’d appreciate the thought.” Lacy tapped the counter and turned to hand another vodka to the man at the end of the bar, also handing him his bill. She paused there for a moment as he handed her $500 and discreetly whispered to her then stood to walk out. Abbi didn’t notice who was there, however, as her thoughts were still distracted by Tom, and now by worries on what to do about Jack.
When Lacy returned to Abbi, she said, “Well? Are you going to stop in and see Jack?”
Abbi shrugged. “Maybe. Thanks for the food. Arlington’s cooking is… interesting. How much is my bill?”
“Your bill was already covered,” Lacy said as she reached into her pocket and pulled out a wad of cash, handing it to Abbi. “This is for you.”
Abbi gasped and shuffled through the money. “This is $475!” When she looked around the bar— not seeing anyone she knew—Abbi asked, “Who paid it and what is this?!”
Lacy looked for the man. “He left.”
“What did he say to you?”
“Nothing. He just said to give you that money after paying your bill. I knew I should take my tip—he always tips well as he’s a regular—I took the cost of your meal, my tip, and then gave you that.”
“Who was he?”
Lacy shrugged. “Not sure. He keeps to himself, but he’s a regular and comes in all the time.”
“Lacy! This is so much money! What did he look like?”
“Um…” Lacy gestured her hand over her head and tipped up on her toes to show Abbi how tall he was. “He’s tall with dark hair… very handsome… “He comes in really late, almost close to closing and drinks far too much vodka…”
When Lacy said that, Abbi had suspicions of either Tom or Henry.
“Tell me what he’s like, I mean, what’s his attitude like?”
Lacy contemplated for a moment on what to say, not really sure what Abbi wanted to know.
“You mean like…”
“Is he rude or a gentleman?”
“Hm… well, he doesn’t say enough for me to notice that, not really. But he is polite, I would say. He’s very quiet. He only walks in, sits on the same stool,” Lacy pointed to the stool on the far end, “And he orders his shots. That’s it. He never holds conversation.”
Abbi’s thoughts immediately turned to Tom. Is it possible? Could he really be here? I shouldn’t get my hopes up.
“I need to know more about him, Lace. Think of anything… anything at all. If he’s a regular, you must know something.”
Lacy deliberated more on the handsome stranger but really didn’t know what else to tell Abbi.
“I’m not sure, Abs. He’s kind of a loner, but he’s never rude. He never eats anything and always drinks the same thing.”
“Straight shots of vodka.”
“That’s all you know?”
“Pretty much. Sometimes he comes in with an olive-skinned friend who is rougher in demeaner and usually has a pretty blonde-haired woman with him, but I don’t know anything other than that. Like I said, he really does keep to himself, so much so that I’ve wondered if he’s gay.”
“Well, because when drunk women hit on him, he just ignores them and looks away. That’s mostly why I haven’t asked him out because I figured he was gay.”
When Lacy said that, Abbi rolled her eyes but knew immediately it had to be Tom, but she didn’t see how it could be possible. Trying to remain collected as she freaked internally, she said, “Okay. Well, I’m off then. See you later.”
“Where are you going?”
“Alright. Bye, girl. See you tomorrow at my house? Text me!” Lacy watched with concern as Abbi turned and waved and left.
Lacy returned to her duties and noticed not too long thereafter about seven barstools from where Abbi had been seated, Abbi’s mystery admirer had returned.
“Abbi was asking questions about you. Are you somehow involved with Abbi?” Lacy said, staring the dark-haired mystery admirer down.
“I overheard, and… that’s not really a question I’m willing to answer. Also, I’m not gay,” he replied.
“That means yes. You could hear our conversation?”
Tom grimaced at her question and realized he shouldn’t have said that in this very loud, rowdy bar.
“Uh… it doesn’t matter.”
“Whatever,” Lacy replied, waving her hand, figuring he was a creep just like the rest of Grundy. “Did you want another vodka? Or are you just here to stalk my best friend?” Lacy asked, narrowing her eyes and leaned her hand on her hip, giving him some sass.
“No,” he replied and slipped his phone out of his pocket, sending a text to someone.
Text to Antonius:
Meet me at 2am. I need a little extra time.
“No… you don’t want a vodka or no you aren’t here just stalking…”
Tom’s eyes shot an irritated glance up to Lacy as he paused in his texting and he said, “Are you very good friends with Abigail?”
“Yeah. She’s been my best friend my whole life. Why do you ask?”
“No reason,” he said as he pocketed his phone and glanced around the bar.
“What’s your business with Abigail?” Lacy asked him.
Tom didn’t answer but said, “Why are you so decided upon Abigail moving into your house?”
Lacy tilted her head and crossed her arms over her chest “What’s it to you? Wait a minute. Don’t tell me you’re the boyfriend she’s been crying about for weeks!” Lacy yelled, slapping the bar and attracting attention from nearly everyone in the vicinity.
“That’s not your concern,” he said, looking around to everyone who was now staring at them.
“It is my concern if my best friend has been crying over you. Why did you break up with her and why did you give her money tonight if you have no intentions on dating her?”
“I didn’t.” Tom laid more money on the bar and stood to walk out the door and follow Abigail wherever she was going.
“Hey! You can’t just leave! I want answers!” Lacy yelled as Tom walked out the side door.
He turned in the doorway and paused as he looked back to her, “Goodbye.”
“Well! That definitely can’t be the boyfriend. There’s no way! He was so rude! Abbi would never date a guy like that! Not with Jack available. He was probably just a friend of her boyfriend or a brother or something.” Lacy sighed deeply and continued pouring drinks on this busy Friday evening. “I’m sure he was just her boyfriend’s… ex boyfriend’s friend… he has to be… right?” Lacy tried convincing herself.
Concerned for Abbi’s safety Lacy pulled out her cell to text Abbi and caution her that the admirer was back in the bar asking about her.
Lacy: Abs, Be careful. I have a feeling he is following you home.
Lacy: Your mystery rich hunk. Just be safe and go straight home. K?
Abbi didn’t reply because she didn’t want to lie to Lacy. Abbi was also very hopeful that she would run into the mystery hunk who she thought was Tom or—at the very worst—Henry. Abbi just wanted to get back to what she felt was her new place in life: vampires. Now that she had been introduced to a life of the underworld, she felt out of place in regular society and actually wanted no part of it anymore.
Lacy stared at her phone anticipating Abbi’s reply but was soon distracted by a familiar face sitting at the bar.
“Vodka,” he said.
Lacy spun around, staring directly at who she thought was the same man that had been there only minutes previously. She noticed, however, that he was wearing a different shirt— a white shirt only buttoned to the third button from the top with the sleeves rolled to the elbows. He was also with a pretty woman that had long, strawberry blonde hair and was dressed in a mint green dress that scooped low in the front and had ¾ length sleeves.
“Did you just go change?” Lacy asked, curling her brow and biting her lip, letting Henry know she was very confused.
Henry looked to Claire, giving her a wink, and Claire knew that Henry was going to have some fun.
“Ugh,” Claire mumbled, “I thought he just wanted a quick shot before he went hunting. Now I’ll never leave.”
“I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about,” Henry said to Lacy, resting his elbows on the bar and cocking his head to the side.
“Just tell me who you are and what you want with Abbi or I’m going to call Sheriff Lacombe,” Lacy threatened and pointed her finger in Henry’s face.
Claire laughed and looked to Henry as she leaned forward and rested her elbows on the bar. “You better give her everything she wants, Henry. She’s going to call the sheriff.”
Henry smirked and said to Lacy, “Simmer down, now. Just the vodka and anything you know about the man who was just in here.”
Confused and unsure what to think, Lacy only said, “You mean…”
“No. I am not he and he is not I,” Henry replied.
“Twins?” Lacy said.
“She’s perceptive,” Clare said, rolling her eyes and letting out an impatient sigh. “Henry, come on. Let’s just go. I’m bored.”
Henry leaned close to Claire, ran his finger along her jawline and whispered, “In a minute. Now, behave.”
He looked back to Lacy and rubbed his chin with his thumb and index finger as he said, “Bartender. How about a Bloody Mary for this pretty lady right here while you tell me what you know about the man who was just in here.”
Lacy turned to make the bloody Mary, thinking on her conversation with Abigail and how the other man had watched them very closely but didn’t actually interact at all until he paid for Abbi’s meal.
Once Lacy was finished with the cocktail, she turned back to Henry and gave the drink to the woman.
“Now,” Henry said, “Are you ready to give me the information I need?”
Unsure exactly what details Henry wanted to know, she only muttered, “Uh, I, uh…”
Frustrated with Lacy’s lack of cooperation—eyes encircled in crimson and fangs extended— Henry leaned forward. Gripping her throat in one hand, he took hold of her arm in the other to pull her ear to his mouth. “I’m going to say this only one time, so listen carefully. Understand?”
Lacy slowly nodded as her heart pounded in her chest and Henry continued speaking.
“What did the man who was in here, the one who looks noticeably like me, have to say?”
Lacy breathed deeply and tried her best to swallow through Henry’s tightening grip on her throat, “He wanted to know if I was Abigail’s friend.”
“And what was your reply?”
“What else did he say?”
“Nothing!” she squeaked as Henry tightened his grip.
Tossing her back and into the wall of liquor, gaining attention and horrified gasps from surrounding customers, he said, “You know what? I believe you.”
Everyone in the bar had turned to watch as he had created quite the scene, and one man decided to be a hero and approach Henry.
“You have a problem with Lacy?” he said to Henry, tapping Henry on the shoulder.
Henry chuckled and stood as he turned to look at the man. “Look, buddy. You don’t want to do this.”
The half-drunk man was persistent. “If you have a problem with her, then you’ve got a problem with me,” he said, shoving Henry.
“Fabulous,” Claire said with an eyeroll, “Now, I’m really never going to leave.”
“Alright, then. Be a real man and let’s take this outside,” Henry said and pointed to the side door.
“Fine by me,” the man replied and headed to the side entrance.
Henry winked to Claire and said, “Be right back.” He turned to follow the man out the doors.
Claire sighed and sat back down on the barstool as she watched Henry mosey over to the side entrance and look back to her with a wide smile flashing his canines and red eyes as he did.
“What’s your problem with Lacy, pal?” the man said as he and Henry stepped outside.
“Over there.” Henry pointed to the shadows of the edge of the lot.
Henry sauntered over and tossed that man against the side of the building and repeated the phrase he’d said inside, “I told you that you didn’t want to do this. By the way, we didn’t get properly introduced. I’m Henry.”
Only minutes later, Henry rejoined Claire at the bar. “Ready to go?”
“You have blood on you,” Claire said, pointing to his white shirt.
“Damnit,” he replied, looking down at the few drops of blood on the sleeve of his shirt. “I’m usually so careful but that idiot pissed me off.”
“Are you done strutting your stuff? Can we go now?” Claire asked and reached for Henry’s sleeve to roll it up and hide the blood droplets.
Henry only motioned his head to the door as he pulled money from his wallet and left it on the bar.
“What do you think Tom is up to?” Claire whispered in Henry’s ear as she straightened his shirt collar and gently kissed his cheek.
“I don’t know. But I’m going to find out. Let’s go,” Henry replied, taking Claire’s hand and walking outside again.
“Wait!” Claire said as they approached his car.
“What?” he said, turning to face her before he opened his car door.
“What about the bartender? She might tell Abigail or Tom she saw you.”
Henry thought about that for a moment before he walked over to Claire, kissed her, and said, “This is why I keep you around, my sweet apricot.” Then he tapped her nose with his index finger, pointed to the bar, and hurried in through the back door.
Immediately after Henry had walked out, Lacy called Jack.
“I think Abbi is in some kind of trouble. There was a man in here asking about her…”
Abbi laid on Tom’s bed flipping through channels, unable to fall asleep when she was alarmed by a noise at the window.
“Hello? Tom? Is that you?” Abbi asked and sat up, startled by someone opening and closing the door.
Seconds later, she heard Charlotte struggling downstairs.
“Charlotte?! Are you alright?”
Having received no answer but continuing to hear loud movement, she assumed Charlotte was in trouble and she hurried into the hallway to see what was going on.
“Abbi, go hide!” Charlotte yelled.
Without hesitation, Abbi ran back into the bedroom and into the bathroom, pulling the door closed behind her and tucked herself against the door, pulling her legs against her chest. She thought for a moment on what she should do and if Charlotte was okay. Nervous that something terrible was happening to Charlotte and unsure of how to help her, she sent a text to Tom’s cell.
Abbi: There’s someone or something inside the house. I’m really scared. I’ve locked myself inside the bathroom. Hurry.
Less than a minute went by and he texted back.
Tom: I’m kind of in the middle of something. Where the bloody hell is Charlotte?
Angered by his response, Abbi decided to take matters into her own hands and a surge of adrenaline ran through her. She opened the door, peering her head around the doorframe.
Abbi jumped back at the sound of the man’s voice, and he hurled himself at her.
“Stay away!” she screeched as the man lunged himself onto her, pinning her beneath him.
“Cooperate or I’ll make this even more unbearable than it already will be for you.” He stood and grabbed her up by her throat, holding her so tightly that she couldn’t breathe. “Understand?”
She nodded and reached her hands up to his arm where his wrist was exposed.
“I understand,” she replied, hoping that he was a human but now knowing that even if he was a vampire her touch would still have some sort of effect on him.
As her skin made contact with his, she was disconcerted and startled by something that had never before happened. Her touch didn’t affect him, not at all.
“Pleasure to meet you, Slayer.”
“You don’t mean that,” Abbi squeaked.
The man nodded and said, “You’re right. Now I kidnap you.”
“Drop her,” Tom said, gripping the attacker’s neck from behind.
“Easy, Tom. I was hired,” said the demon as he transformed from what was a regular man’s figure back into the larger image of one of Hell’s demons, with a contorted face and a pushed-in snout and extended claws, and height that towered Tom’s six feet five inches.
“Who hired you?”
“Information will cost you.”
Tom tossed the creature onto the bathroom floor and motioned for Abbi to join him as he straddled its waist. Tom commanded a pair of silver scissors off the bathroom sink with his mind and handed them to Abbi.
“Take these and plunge them into the demon’s heart with all your might.”
“To send him back to Hell. That’s your job.”
Abbi stared at the scissors in her hand for a moment as the demon thrashed its body underneath them as Tom struggled to control it with both his strength and his mind. She glanced behind herself to Tom. “I can’t.”
“You have to do it.” Tom looked at the fear on her face and in a flash, he switched their positions. “Reach around me. Hurry, Abbi! I can’t hold it down much longer!”
Abbi closed her eyes, reached her arms around Tom, pushed her body against Tom’s back and shoved the scissors deep into the demon’s heart as it squealed from the piercing blow.
Tom took the scissors from her bloody grip and tossed them to the floor as he leaned back and whispered, “Nicely done.”
“Where did it go?” Abbi asked as she watched the demon disappear and a pool of blood appear beneath them.
Tom stood and stripped his shirt, tossing it to the floor next to Abbi’s wet clothes as he answered. “Back to Hell, like I said.”
Abbi ogled Tom’s bare chest for a moment while she soaked in reality of what had just happened. “What will your maid think of this?” she asked as she looked to the mess on the floor.
Tom didn’t answer but pointed to the door. “I’m getting a shower. Unless you want to take this relationship to an entirely new level, wait in the bedroom.”
Abbi nodded and washed her hands off at the sink as she watched Tom move toward the shower and looked to her own blood-spattered clothes, wondering if he knew her thoughts about him and also wondered if it would be okay if she explored his closet.
It’s not like he reads minds. He only controls them…
With that thought, she exited the bathroom and heard the shower turn on and the smallest part of her wanted to peek in and check out his tushy, however, she refrained and went to the closet to get clean clothes. She browsed his clothes for several minutes, trying to find something cozy to wear.
Designer labels like mad! So, this is what 12 million dollars looks like!
Abbi spun around and saw what was probably the most beautiful sight in all of her life.
“What are you doing?”
“I have blood on me. I was looking for clean clothes, and you?” Abbi said, pointing to Tom standing in front of her wrapped waist down in only a towel.
“I too need clothes.”
Embarrassed, Abbi turned and walked out of the closet, brushing against him on her way past.
“Abbi,” Tom said when he saw her frustration.
She stopped but didn’t turn to face him. “Yes?”
“Did you want clothes?”
“Tell me when you’re dressed.”
Tom smiled and closed the closet door and Abbi went to sit on the edge of the bed. A few minutes later, Tom emerged in only boxers and Abbi’s heart fluttered. Tom knew it too, which sent his ego soaring.
“I brought you a shirt and some shorts. You should get some rest.”
Abbi settled in on the bed, wrapping herself up in the blankets. Tom situated himself next to her and turned on the tv, which surprised Abbi, so she turned to look at him and began conversation.
“Are you already done hunting?”
“I wasn’t, but I can’t leave now.”
“Oh. I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be sorry. It’s not your fault.
Abbi nodded and laid her head into the pillow to think on how drastically her life had changed this night and also on the creatures that had attacked her. As she laid there thinking, tears pricked her eyes and she became overwhelmed with emotions, which stirred Tom’s blood.
“Abbi? Are you okay?” Tom asked and looked her way, leaning slightly in her direction.
Abbi sniffled and wiped her eyes, pulling the blankets tighter around herself.
“No. I’m not. But would it matter what I say?”
Puzzled, Tom said, “Just so you know, I have very little experience with emotional drama.”
“Can I go home?”
Abbi sat up, excited at the prospect of going home. “Really? I can go home?”
Tom shrugged. “I don’t give a rip what you do. Don’t text me in 30 minutes when a demon breaks into your house ready to eat you for breakfast. I’m not going to put down my bottle of vodka.”
Abbi stared at him for a moment trying to gauge his cynicism. Unable to do that, she said, “Then let me die.”
Tom let out a deep growl and replied, “You’re already here, why don’t you just go to sleep?”
“How do I know you aren’t going to rape me in my sleep? You were pretty quick to feel me up earlier.”
Tom rolled his eyes. “Your father sent you here. Why would he send you to a rapist’s house?”
“Maybe Arlington doesn’t know the real you.”
“You’re impossible. Does Arlington know how impossible you are?”
“He must be in the dark on a lot apparently. I’m impossible and you’re a rapist.”
Tom growled and stood. “I’m not a rapist! Would you just sleep!”
“Prove you’re not a rapist.”
“I already did.”
Abbi tilted her head lifted her brow, waiting for an answer.
Tom sat on the bed, moved Abbi’s hair away from her neck and whispered in her ear.
“I haven’t raped you!”
Abbi let out a frustrated “huff!” and moved away.
Moving over to the window and watching out it for a few minutes, Tom finally said, “You’re going to be exhausted. Just accept that I’m not going to hurt you…” He turned to look at Abbi, she had fallen asleep. Tom walked over to the bed and covered her with the blankets. He paused for a moment to admire how beautiful she was, noticing the delicacy of her face and once again he thought Abbi might’ve been the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen.
This woman could be dangerous for me. I need to be careful.
Patrick sat in Katherine’s mansion stewing over the realization that his plan didn’t accomplish exactly what he’d hoped, and all he did was probably make matters just a tad bit worse.
“Damn it all!” he screamed and threw his brass key ring at the wall. “I fear it is all so far messed up that I cannot fix any of it and now… Damnit!!!!” He picked up a stack of books on his desk, banging them down. “I must consult with Aldestine.”
“Are you happy with yourself?” Katherine asked as she walked into his study and slammed the door closed behind herself.
Letting out a loud and frustrated sigh, he said, “I know that you have a particular fondness for that son and his happiness, but could you please keep in mind that his attachment to this Slayer is not what is best? Truly, my dearest wife, I too have Thomas’s best interest in mind.”
Katherine let out a mocking laugh and sat in the chair situated in front of his desk as she said, “Husband of mine, I have been cursed to you for 285 long years and I fear I am to be doomed for all of eternity. However, one thing I have learned in all that terrible time is that you never have anyone’s best interest in mind, not anyone other than yourself that is.”
Patrick studied his wife’s eyes for many minutes before he said, “I think that deserves you a time out.” He blew her a kiss and Katherine vanished, leaving behind only an image of where she’d been.
“No one mocks me and gets away with it. You will return when I’m being more agreeable.”
He paced the room wondering how he was going to fix the mess he’d put himself in when he realized…
“Abigail’s been in some kind of mourning, over you, I presume.”
Tom’s focus returned to Arlington. “Mourning?”
Arlington crossed his arms over his chest as he began to walk the length of the porch and he waved one hand in the air to accent his words. “Abigail hardly eats but drinks a lot of coffee. She sleeps a lot one day but will stay up all night watching terrible reality television the next. She stopped working and is expecting me to support her like she’s a teenager.”
“She’s wearing my clothes.” Tom stopped him and glanced back in the window.
Arlington nodded. “Yes. It’s quite severe if you ask me.”
“Tell me what it is you want of me if I’m not to protect her just yet.”
“Make it right again. Make all of this go away. I need the Slayer back.”
Tom’s puzzled look told Arlington that Tom was absolutely unsure of the role Arlington wanted Tom to pursue at this very moment. Arlington continued his explanation, “I know you have resources which far-surpass that of my own. I want you to use them.”
Tom’s face turned from puzzled to questioning as he watched Abigail plop down onto the couch with a bag of microwave popcorn and a can of diet soda as she turned on the tv.
“You mean Charlotte,” Tom said.
“Interpret as you see fit.”
Arlington turned and walked inside, leaving Tom alone on his front porch. After watching Abbi through the window for a few minutes as she flipped stations on the tv and held a conversation with Arlington, Tom hurried away from Arlington’s house to make sense of the words Arlington had said to him.
His first stop was Antonius’s mine shaft. Without warning of his arrival, he broke down Antonius’s front door and entered.
“Tom! What’s with the grand entrance? Glad to see you alive…eh, glad to see you out of Hell and walking the soil again,” Antonius responded as Tom approached and his eyes reddened.
“You knew?!” Tom yelled in a fury.
“Of course I knew. I’ve been around for 800 years, Tom.”
Tom’s fury overtook him and he lunged at Antonius with all of his strength, pummeling him to the floor with a loud thud and shaking the mine, causing Claudine to emerge from her bedroom.
“Tony? Tom? What’s happening? What did Tony do now?”
“No need to worry, Claudine. Tom’s only pissed because I knew that Demetrius…”
Tom’s anger overwhelmed him once again and Tom laid into Antonius with a couple fierce right hooks.
“You bastard!” Tom yelled.
“You bitch!” Antonius yelled back as he wiped his bleeding lip.
“You deserved it! How could you not tell me?”
Antonius pushed Tom of himself. He shrugged Tom’s comment off as he waited for his lip to heal and he said, “Take a deep breath and think for a moment, Tom. That slayer is mixed up with the underworld’s prince of darkness and I’m going to come crying for you to save her? Ha! Why would I? I know that you have some sick infatuation with her, but it’s not my problem, pal. If there’s a way to have her destroyed and you not be involved, so be it.”
Tom paced the room for a few moments trying to keep his cool in order to not completely lose control on the one other vampire he could actually tolerate.
“Demetrius resurrected me. Why would he do that?”
Antonius shrugged as he took his time walking over to his supply of vodka. “Arlington knew?”
Tom nodded. “I ended up on his kitchen floor.”
“That’s interesting. Why wouldn’t Arlington just bring you out of Hell himself?”
“I never know what Arlington is up to. He only claimed he wasn’t powerful enough to do the job. You’ve been around a long time. Tell me what you know about Demetrius.”
After pouring himself a shot and Tom one as well, Antonius sat on a bar stool and said, “Demetrius? Other than him being desperately in love with your human, I don’t know too much.”
Tom stared blank-faced at Antonius and said, “Are you incapable of being serious for even two seconds?”
“Lighten up. I am being serious. I know that he is born into different families and lives out the lives of various humans.”
“Yes. I know that. Tell me what I don’t know.”
“You know, Tom, you’ve never really been one for small talk or patience. How is your relationship with that human? I hear humans like small talk. You know what else they like?”
A small growl escaped from Tom’s throat causing Antonius to down another shot.
“Okay. Back to business. Things must not be too good for you in that department. Is it her old man? You know, I hear the old saying that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar is actually true, and you especially might want to put that into practice. You’re carrying a putrid odor of vodka these days. Maybe go home, shower, and put on something nice?” Antonius suggested and grinned from ear to ear as he patted Tom on the shoulder.
“Could you just focus on Demetrius and leave me alone? I didn’t come here for relationship advice or criticism.”
“Right. I get you. I’m just trying to help. Are you feeling tense? Human chicks are so damn moody.” Antonius turned and opened the mini fridge, pulling out several vials of blood. “You look like you need one of these. If you need a release, I’m sure you could call Regina…”
“Antonius! Enough!” Tom slammed his fists onto the bar, shattering several bottles of vodka and blood vials onto Antonius.
“Alright, man. No need to waste good alcohol and blood. I’m going to answer your questions. Just trying to be a good friend and help a vampire out. Now… Demetrius… he isn’t supposed to fall in love or ever be in a relationship. Obviously, he never follows that rule and mostly does what he wants but your old man doesn’t keep him in check because Demetrius is with women all the time. When I was living in Boston right before I met you, he went by the name Lewis Geraldi, but that was back in the early 1800s. He was with a lot of women back then. I witnessed it. Although, I don’t think he ever had the infatuation for any of them like he has for your human. I think his obsession for this human might be almost as bad as yours is.”
Tom drank down a vial and said, “What would make you say that?”
“Demetrius is immortal and he exhibits feelings much like we do, well like you did until that slayer came along. Mostly he exhibits feelings like me.”
“No one exhibits feelings like you do.”
“That’s probably true,” Antonius raised his eyebrows and gave a crooked smile as he downed a vial.
“Well, he’s at least supposed to keep a completely unbiased objective, naturally in his line of work.”
“Because he’s basically the guardian of Hell. I understand. I don’t get his deal with Abigail then.”
Antonius turned and opened the fridge, pulling out several new vials of blood as he answered. “I haven’t the slightest. Maybe her powers turned him on the same way they’ve got you all in a mess. I mean, you’re turning into some kind of subdued pet.”
Tom took a vial of blood from Antonius, breathing in deeply as he gulped it down and then another straight after. “I am not,” he said, setting the vial on the bar counter top. “How does Demetrius send souls to the Demortusmaros?”
“I’m not sure. I already told you I don’t know a lot about him. You know who would? Call up your old man. He’s the guy you need to chat. Possibly even your mother might know.”
“Thanks,” Tom said as he hurried to suck down a few more vials. Then he stood and ran his hands through his hair, contemplating where he should go next. “I’ve got to go.”
“Want to hunt later?” Antonius hollered as he chugged a bottle of vodka and watched Tom leave.
“Meet me by my house tonight at 1 o’clock. I’m on Slayer watch for a little while before then.”
“Exactly my point, my friend.”
Tom turned to face him in the doorway. “What’s your point?”
“She’s got you wrapped around her finger. You owe me a door by the way!” Antonius shouted as Tom ran down the tunnel.
Tom thought on the conversation as he ran through the mine.
Maybe Tony is right. Perhaps I am too mixed up with Abigail.
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© 2020 Meg Sechrest All Rights Reserved
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