I knew from the beginning that he was destined to kill me. He was exciting! I was thrilled to be around him, but he was dangerous, unpredictable. I didn't know why I was so intrigued by death, by him. I had no idea how he was going to kill me; I had no idea why he would kill me; but the most frightening thing, I had no idea what he was.
I worked at Snoodles and Companions and was half way through my senior year in high school. I couldn't wait to leave all the hullabaloo behind and go to college. I wasn't sure what I wanted to study yet, but I got into my college of choice as an undecided and at this point in my life that's all that mattered.
It was a crisp Saturday morning in early spring that death marked me. He had strong lean muscles that elegantly linked his long, tall bones together. He had piercing steal grey eyes and a long thin nose that flared at the end perfectly framing his full pink lips. He licked them as he studied the menu for less than a second before he ordered a regular mushroom stroganoff with chicken and a bottled water.
"That'll be $7.49." I said ringing up his order trying not to stare. He didn't seem to notice me at all as he paid with cash. I gave him his change and said, "Thank you sir we'll bring that right out to you." I gave him a number so we knew where to take the food. He mumbled what I thought was a thank you and made his way right in the center of the restaurant. He set down and pulled out a book, which I never could see the title of, and read peacefully.
The swarms of people that came after him blended into a blur of fake smiles and thank yous. After the afternoon rush, I took a break from the counter to "wipe tables." I really just wanted to get closer, so I could further investigate this stranger that had me so captivated. I was trying to be inconspicuous as I wiped the tables around his taking long glances in his direction. He looked to be in his very early twenties his jet black hair laid in thick rolling waves tight to his head. His skin was a light caramel brown, natural not tanned. I looked down realizing I went from observing to staring. I moved to the next table this one to his left. I wiped and cleaned the only thought on my mind was when I should look at him again. After a couple seconds I decided it was okay.
When I looked up, I froze, for only a moment when I saw him staring at me. His gaze was even his book was still propped up like he was only glancing in my direction. I looked down quickly wondering if he caught me. I finished this table quickly moving on to the next one right next to the one I just finished. Was I even doing a good job cleaning these tables? I looked back at my work and saw each table still had a wet wipe that was drying. I shrugged and figured that was good enough.
I started rigorously wiping this table not daring to look at the stranger, but when I was almost done I couldn't stop myself. This time when I looked up at him he was staring at me, not glancing. His book was closed now laying stationary on the table as if he had no intentions of picking it back up. I looked down faster now a heat of embarrassment rushing through my cheeks. I could feel his stare as I made my way to the next three tables.
I heard Meagan, a fellow co-worker, ask him if he needed anything else. I didn't wait to hear his answer. I took that opportunity to escape.
Once inside, I leaned against the door to the kitchen using this time to catch my breath. I couldn't go back in there.
"Lia, I thought you were on registers." Lacey, my boss, said in her usual attitude.
"I'm uh about to take out the trash." I said looking around my eyes landing on the three bags of garbage waiting by the back door. No body volunteered for trash duty. Everything made at Snoodles was organic and therefore, when it spoiled it was atrocious. I didn't care, I needed to get out of this building.
"Good don't forget to lock the back door when you come back." She said returning to her office to answer the ringing phone.
I took a deep breath of the dirt ladened spring air. It was crisp and a relief to my lungs when I waddled awkwardly to the dumpster, the three bags banging against my leg. I hoped they didn't leak.
It all happened in an incoherent flash. Pain! Bright red and orange! I bang then silence. The world moved slowly around me, but I heard nothing. I was freaking out inside but only for a moment.
I brought my heavy hand to my head.
I would have cried or screamed, but the darkness took me first.
A dull thud...voices...familiar smell... darkness.
Unfamiliar faces... distant voices... shouting that sounded like whispers... darkness.
Monotonous beep, beep, beep... white... a chair... darkness.
They said I was lucky, but I couldn't stop thinking about those that weren't. It was on the news even after I finally woke up from my two week coma. Even now, four months after, I still heard about the explosion at my old job on the news. I wanted to rip the stupid news caster through the t.v screen as she pointed out all the over looked mistakes that lead up to the "inevitable accident several months before. Officials are investigating several restaurants to make sure they are following code regulations..." No shit Sherlock. They should all be following code anyway. Those stupid government officials should have been doing their jobs. If they had, I wouldn't have lost... Meagan, annoying Lacey, Kurt, and not to mention all the faceless customers and... him. I almost felt guilty for feeling sorrow and pain deeper for the beautiful stranger than for the people I knew and worked with for over a year. I couldn't get his face out of my mind, and many nights he would haunt me.
I spent the rest of my high school career in the hospital refusing to take time off. I would graduate on time. I had to get out of here. I wasn't even sure why I was in the hospital for so long after I woke up. The doctors were insisting I stay even though I didn't have any broken bones.
My mother tried desperately to convince me to go to the local community college for the first year. She was obviously not ready to let go yet. I wasn't sure if it was my decision on a major: psychology, or the fact that I laughed out loud in her face that made her change her mind, but it didn't really matter. I'd been saving up for years now to get the hell out. After all the scholarships, and grants my parents just gave me cash to spend.
They said I was the only survivor. Saved by trash who would have thought? Saved by running away from the only person I wanted to see alive right now, as horrible as that sounds. I should have said something to him. I should have... It didn't matter any more. I'd been telling myself to forget about him, but it was as impossible as all the water in all seven oceans drying up instantaneously.
The plane ride took an eternity. I thought I'd never make it to my dorm. It was stuffy and smelled funny as dorms usually did. After visiting several colleges the past fall I knew the best and the worst.
My room mate was cool. We acknowledged each other's presence, but I didn't bother her and she didn't bother me. It didn't bother me that her boy toy was over before we even got our stuff unpacked. I left them to their privacy and walked to the theater on campus. I flashed my student i.d. and disappeared among the other loud freshman that obviously had nothing else to do besides watch what ever we were here to watch.
I didn't remember falling asleep during the movie, but when I woke up I was snug under my blankets, my roommate and her boy breathing deep in the opposite corner of the room.
It was the light that forced me to start my first day of class. I felt like I got hit by a ton of bricks, but it was probably the jet lag. I got ready for my advanced water color class and left the dorm in time to be thirty minutes early if I walked straight there. I decided to take a long meandering path through the campus between buildings until I arrived to class with only ten minutes to sit and wait.
The professor was already there scribbling madly on the chalk board his back to me. The ten minutes flew by, and right before the professor started talking about the syllabus that he handed out a few minutes before one more student came in and filled the only seat left, which was of course next to me. Did I smell or something? I sniffed my self discreetly, but didn't smell anything out of the ordinary. Maybe I just subconsciously turned people off. Oh well, I thought and refocused my attention on the professor.
"I can tell you are all so very excited to be in my class this semester, and I'm excited to have you." The prof. droned unenthusiastically. My attention diverted to something... something I couldn't explain. It was a smell, but more than that a feeling. Danger, intrigue, unwavering attraction. I finally looked over at my desk partner and froze inside out. It was him! He was alive! He was here! But why was he here? How could this be happening? What should I do? My instincts told me to leave, run, but the yearning in my heart told me to stay, to talk to him. I wasn't sure if I would get another chance. Maybe this was my chance.
"The person you're sitting next to now will be your partner for the rest of the semester so get to know them well. We have six projects in this course and four of them are partner exercises. Starting with the first one..." I forgot all about what the prof. was saying when I heard the most alluring low voice whisper softly in my ear. If I didn't smell the sweat lingering scent that I knew now to belong to him alone I would have thought I was imagining it.
I looked at the beautiful stranger. I frowned as I searched his fathomless eyes. They spiraled down, down, down for eternity. He was looking at me calmly no hint that he remembered me from the explosion. Was it really him? A sweet whiff of his scent told me it was without a doubt.
He smiled with just the slight movement at the corner of his mouth. Actually I wouldn't have been sure it was a smile had his slate grey eyes not sparkled a little. "You have no name?" He asked in a smooth low baritone. A shiver ran up my spine and stopped abruptly at the back of my head. It set there sending the strangest feeling through my body.
"Lia." I heard myself whisper. He smiled for real this time showing an all too perfect white smile. His glistening white eye-teeth were a little sharper than I thought they should be, but the warm feeling that his smile made run through me was enough to make that observation vanish into the back of my mind. He was every bit as lovely as I remembered. Maybe even more lovely which I couldn't figure out how that could possibly be.
He looked over at me again, and I had never taken my eyes off of him. I was less than a foot away from him and when he looked at me he leaned closer assaulting my senses with his sweet scent. From so close I could see that his eyes were not completely grey, but flecked with a rich grass green and golden yellow. It was subtle and took me a back, but it drove me deeper and deeper into them. I couldn't stop counting the flecks of color in is eyes.
Any normal human would have looked away at my insistent staring, but he just gazed back at me. Examining, assessing. He didn't look away or shift uncomfortably. I should have been embarrassed, but after almost loosing him I couldn't find it in myself to be embarrassed. I wouldn't lose him again, not if I could help it.
His gaze and my insistent stare broke off as his eyes drifted to some unseen place, and when they returned he straightened up in his chair bringing his attention back to the professor.
I blinked for the first time in who knew how long and did the same glancing at him from time to time only to see him staring forward.
Finally, after what felt like a decade of gabbing from professor Transin he gave us our first assignment which was a still life. We had to find an object that reminded us of our table partner and then paint them with it in another place and time. This guy was nuts, but I wouldn't mind spending an entire class period looking at Aechton. What a strange name. I like it though. It fit him well.
I shoved the syllabus in my backpack aggressively ignoring the wrinkled edges and zipped part of the paper up as well. I impatiently unzipped and shoved the paper further in and zipped quickly before it could unwrinkle and cause more problems.
"Throwing it away before you left the room would have been a lot easier." I heard Aechton say calmly a hint of laughter in his tone. I looked up at him, he was standing now. How long was he standing there? I felt the heat from my insides run up quickly to my cheeks before I could stop them. Obviously long enough to see me idiotically futzing with that stupid syllabus.
"Yeah, I guess you're right." I said standing upright. Maybe a little too quickly the blood rushed right to my head. He grabbed me right before I swayed slightly as if he already knew what was going to happen. When I steadied he let me go.
"What class you got next?" We both slowly started walking to the door.
"Uh... chemistry." I said looking at the schedule that would probably be pasted to my hand until the end of the semester. Took me forever to remember what order and day.
"Me too. What are the odds of that?" He said a smile tugging at his beautiful full lips. "Wanna walk?"
My mouth opened, but words never came out. I nodded instead of trying to make sense verbally.
We set by each other in chemistry as well, and it was almost too much smelling him through two classes. I reveled in it and wished for this half of my day to never end. Inevitably, it had to.
I couldn't sleep when the moon was out high in the night sky. I wanted to just skip the next day because I didn't have any classes with Aechton. Would I be able to make it through the next day? I laughed at my own desperate thoughts. I'd gone so many months without the stranger I haven't talked to until today. I was being foolish, but I didn't want to lose him again as strange as that may sound.
Every time I looked at the clock it was like it never moved so I told myself not to look. I didn't want to know that my life was poking by at an unnaturally slow rate. I had three classes today and I was determined to make the best out of them. After the first two classes I had a long three hour break so I got some lunch and decided I would use this time to find something that reminded me of him. Well jeez what didn't remind me of him? I couldn't stop thinking about him; so, therefore, everything reminded me of him. I decided to choose one aspect of his complete perfection to focus on: his eyes.
I was walking by the man made pond on campus trying to think of something I might have back at my dorm that would remind me of his eyes when I found exactly what I was looking for. Of course it was in the water just far enough where I would have to reach for it. It was the most alluring stone. It was mostly grey, but the water and the sun reflected hints of green yellow and shades of brown. It was perfect; if only I could reach it.
I knelt on the ground next to the pond and reached as far as I could my weight barely able to balance on the large stone on the water's edge. I dipped my hand into the pond and stretched to the bottom where I found my jagged grey treasure. I had it firmly in my hand and I was readjusting my weight to haul my body back in when I jumped at the reflection I saw in the water.
Before I could recover gravity did what it does best and I feel head first into the pond. I flew up surprised and dripping wet only to hear Aechton's low harmonious laughter echoing in my ears. I had to laugh too to keep from crying or blushing. The warm breeze made my wet body shiver as I walked to the edge of the pond to get out. He helped me out by taking a hand and pulling gently until I was far enough out of the water for him to wrap a hand around my waist where he hoisted me the rest of the way to dry land. It seemed almost effortless to him he was smiling the entire time, but said nothing. He was so beautiful.
"We should get you into some warm clothes." He said softly his breath brushing over my face gently as if it were the breeze. I was hopeless really. Why and how could I be so draw to him? This could only end badly right? Things this great don't last forever.
"So, why were you leaning so far over the pond? It was as if you were asking to fall in." Aechton said a smile spreading across his face remembering my embarrassing moment. I stepped out of the bathroom in shorts and tank-top while I combed my freshly washed hair. I washed it in the sink not willing to go to my last class smelling like a wet dog fish girl.
"Doing homework, and I was just fine until you scared the crap out of me." I said trying to glare at him. I must not have been too convincing because he smiled again with just the corner of his mouth this time. I loved that half smile he did where most of the smile was in his eyes. I stepped back into the bathroom and combed out my tangled mass of curls. Why did I even try?
His cool scent filled my nose as he appeared leaning casually against the frame to the bathroom door."Homework?" He asked crossing his arms across his muscled chest which was obvious now with the tight long sleeve black shirt he was wearing. Even in all this heat he was wearing black? He looked comfortable though as he waiting patiently for me to elaborate. I really didn't want to. With the whole falling in the lake I would look pretty stupid saying 'I was retrieving a rock that looked like the color of your eyes.' How dumb would that sound? "Not going to tell me?"
I brought my gaze where my mind already was and stared at him trying to look indifferent. It probably wasn't working, because the moment my eyes came in contact with any part of his body they melted as did every other part of me. "You'll laugh."
He smiled still looking at me calmly carefully reading me, trying to figure out if I'll tell or not. "Is that a bad thing?"
I laughed this time. "If it's at my expense again, yes. You can get me once, but twice in one day, not so sure I can do that."
He just leaned there waiting. Did he not hear me? I said I wasn't going to tell him.
"It's for water color class." My mouth blurted out without permission. I scolded myself inside as I quickly diverted my attention back to the image in the mirror.
"What, at the bottom of a pond could possibly remind you of me?" He asked a smile evident in his voice.
I sighed deciding the cat was out the bag thanks to my big mouth, so I might as well get the embarrassment over with. At least it wouldn't be a surprise tomorrow in class. I wondered what he found for me? I bent over and picked up my jeans rummaging through the pockets until I found the fist full of stone in the palm of my hand. I held it out to him and he took it rolling it around in his rather large hands. They looked like they didn't belong to him since he was such a trim person, but I guess he was tall.
I turned my gaze away from him waiting for the inevitable laughter. I rubbed too much lotion on my face and worked it in aggressively.
"A rock?" I heard him ask quizzically. "I'm waiting for an explanation, or I just may be offended."
I turned to him frowning. Offended? How could he be offended? Obviously it wasn't some random rock on the side of the road. I was reaching bending stretch, for no reason because I ended up soaking wet anyway, for that rock. "First of all it is not a rock, it is a stone. And you have no reason to be offended. Remember I was reaching over a body of water to retrieve this stone." I emphasized the last word.
He just stared at me; his glistening slate grey eyes assessing me gently, searching, debating, deciding. "But why go through so much trouble when their were plenty of stones on the shore?" He asked still calm still assessing.
"Because I wanted that one." I looked desperately into his eyes seeing if there was any hint that he would just drop it, but there wasn't even a speckle of hope in the depths of his bottomless eyes. I sighed loudly leaning against the counter looking at my feet. Then I approached him, only inches away, and took the rock gently from his hands and pointed to the colors. "It's like your eyes. You know grey, ordinary at first glance, but they have all these flecks of color in them too. Greens and yellows, and browns." I stepped back before daring to look at his face.
His expression was unreadable. I turned back to the mirror thinking of something to keep me busy, but there was nothing. I started cleaning my stuff off the counters.
It seemed like forever before he said, "My eyes?" But it was almost not a question. I looked over in time to see him effortlessly push himself away from the door frame smoothly, and approach me at a steady confident pace. His eyes gazing at me intently determined, sure. His steps didn't falter as I stepped back until my back was against the wall. My breath stopped in my lungs when he took his final step closing the small space between us. I looked up at his towering form. He was so close I could feel the heat radiating from his body.
"What colors are in my eyes now?"
His warm breath sent a rush of heat from my head to my toes every nerve in my body was standing on end. His face closed the inches between us and when his lips touched mine my body arched to form perfectly to his. His lips sent my mind reeling and spinning almost to unconsciousness. His strong hands were touching... moving... caressing...stroking my body gently with heated passion. To my surprise mine were exploring his body as well.
My mind told me I only knew him for a day, but my heart told me I knew him for an eternity. We stroked, touched ,and kissed until we both reached the inevitable: oblivion.
Even the time I spent away from him physically wasn't long enough to make me forget what it would be like to be in his arms again. I was so gone. A hopeless case. He made me focus on my classes because I wasn't paying any attention in any of them except water color when all I had to do was look at him, think about him, or paint him which was... well you get it.
I was waiting in chemistry for Aechton to return from the bathroom. He rushed into class right before the professor started talking. She explained the lab to us and sent us to our task. We walked down the hall to the lab and Aechton put an arm up stopping me from entering the room. He sniffed the air a frown deforming his beautiful face.
"You smell that?" He asked his face contorted, focused.
I sniffed the air too. "Yeah, It's sulphur. We're in a chemistry building." I tried to push to go passed him, but his arm didn't budge.
"We gotta get out of here." He looked down at me a hard wall closing off his eyes. I couldn't read them! I didn't know what he was thinking! I didn't know what was wrong!
"What is it?"
He didn't answer, but grabbed me and pulled me away from the room as fast as he could.
A familiar noise dampened my hearing as our bodies flew apart from each other.
My vision was gone, but I could hear his voice. It was hushed, whispering harshly to another.
"...if you don't one of us will have to. The job can not go undone. You knew the rules Aechton. Not to get involved. Staying away from home so long can get to us after a while. You're not usually known for a sloppy job. You should have finished her off at that restaurant all those months ago." There was silence until the other one started talking again. "You could offer her the choice if you so choose. She could be useful to him."
Who? my mind wondered? What were they talking about he should have finished her. Who was she? I was so confused. The voices disappeared, or I just couldn't hear them anymore. I couldn't tell if I was alive or dead, awake or sleep. I just set there in the darkness waiting.
Slate grey eyes flecked with green and yellow with varying hues of brown was the first thing that I saw upon waking. I scoffed at the familiar sterile smell of the hospital and the monotonous sound of the beep, beep, beep of my heart monitor. His eyes returned from far away as they focused on me.
"How do you feel?" He asked calmly the shield still covering the liquid silver I'd grown accustomed to over the past couple weeks.
"Like I got ran over by a bus. W-why aren't you all busted up?" I ask assessing him carefully.
He laughed maybe at an inside joke that I was obviously not in on and ignored the question.
"Who were you talking to the day of the explosion? Who should you have finished off months ago? What choice are you offering who?" I blabbered out after holding it in for who knew how long I was out this time. I wanted answers. I needed them. No, better yet I demanded them.
He looked at me seriously. "You heard that." It seemed like it should have been a question, but it was a statement. "It's a long story."
"I'm not going anywhere anytime soon." I said my eyebrow raised in suspicion.
He sighed for the first time I'd known him. His calm disappeared for a moment as he looked down at his feet. Then he said, "You weren't supposed to walk away from the first explosion."
I shook me head trying to understand the words coming from his mouth. "W-what do you mean? It was meant for me? The Snoodles explosion?"
He nodded quickly.
"I don't understand." I was confused. Shocked and a million other things that I couldn't explain with words.
"I'm a vampire." He said his eyes gazing into mine carefully. He waited for my response. What was I supposed to say? I wanted to laugh because it sounded absurd.
"W-what does that mean?" A small voice that I barely recognized as my own stammered out.
"We're assassins for Satan. You were on his list. You weren't supposed to live through the first explosion, and Rendaph wasn't planning on you living through the second one either." He stood up and walked up to my bed. I wouldn't have lived through the second explosion had he not pulled me away. I was scared, but I couldn't move.
He put his hand on the nob for the morphine. "You have a choice. Die here, now; or live with me forever." He looked at me, but his eyes were as cold as stone. He was waiting for me to choose. It seemed obvious: live with him forever, but I knew there was a catch. I would have to be a monster like him taking lives working for Satan spending the rest of eternity taking lives for the benefit of the kingdom of destruction and chaos. Could love drive me to that? Would what I have with Aechton be worth the pain I would feel taking lives.
He had already tried to kill me, what changed?
"You know what changed Lia. I was dumb enough to fall for you." He said startling me a bit. Had I said that out loud or was he in my head?
"No, I'm in your head. Now choose, your time is running out."
Either way I had to die he said. Which way should I go? Which direction should I choose? I knew the right way, it was obvious choose death. Live with God for eternity. He would make everything all right.
"Will he?" Aechton bit out his eyes far away and cold as a dark cave.
I stared, eyes wide at Aechton who hovered, waiting to end my life patiently.
Yes! I screamed in my head. Could he read my thoughts this whole time?
"No." He answered calmly. "Just now, when I give you the choice of a life time."
I knew from the moment I saw him at Snoodles and Companions he was destined to kill me. He was exciting! I was thrilled to be around him, but he was dangerous, unpredictable. I didn't know why I was so intrigued by death, by him.
The time ticked by slowly as the options played tennis in my mind. Was I happy with him?
Did I love him? Obviously yes.
The next question caught me off guard. The answer was vital. Was he even capable of this question? I looked up at him my eyes worried, prodding, searching his blank expression. I knew he was listening to my thoughts.
Do you love me? I asked in my head. I waited. His eyes stayed in that distant place.
I was about to look away when I saw his eyes return. They looked deep into mine and he tried to hold the wall, but it faltered for a moment. Just long enough for me to make my decision.
I was too intrigued by him to let him go. I had to be with him even if it meant burning in hell for eternity.
He smiled as he heard the decision echo in my head. He leaned down his mouth hovering over my neck and whispered, "You were mine. You've always been. Us, it is inevitable." Then his sharp teeth dug into my flesh and slowly I felt this life fade away until the monotonous beep, beep, beep of my mortality turned into a constant unending beep of eternity.