Home > Disarming (Reign of Blood #2)(15)

Disarming (Reign of Blood #2)(15)
Author: Alexia Purdy

“What happened? She lost her damn mind, that’s what happened! Before I got caught in this god forsaken underground tomb, she was locking herself in our supply room cage because she was afraid she was turning into a feral vampire.” I sat up and put my head in my hands, seething at my thoughts. “She’s afraid of hurting me and Jeremy. Now I can’t even help her or protect him because I’m here, stuck with you, of all people.” My head dropped back, bumping on the hard, unforgiving metal. Tears burned at my eyes, making me groan, frustrated at everything.

“I’m sorry.” His face saddened, remorse swimming across it.

I groaned loudly, hitting my fists against the warped mattress, wishing so much that I could change things. “This is nuts!” I ran my fingers through the tangles in my hair, pulling and taking some strands with them. “But you, you look fine! She’s not anywhere near fine. I can’t f**king believe you’re still alive.” Shaking my head, I managed to open my eyes and wipe the spilling tears as fast as they came. “No offense, but you’re an ass.”

Christian huffed and smiled, making him look even less threatening. His sallow color was disturbing. It made me feel like I was looking at a corpse. He was not emaciated yet, but he looked like he had missed quite a few meals.

As the moments ticked by, the anger fizzled away, leaving me confused, lost and uncertain of my fate. Of any of our fates.

“Hey, how long have you been down here anyway?”

“Long enough.”

“They’re starving you.” I stated. It was obvious. “Aren’t they?” I cocked my head and scrunched my eyes as I studied the lines of his pale face. I hadn’t bothered to do this before, back at that fateful battle up in the tower, when he had readily wanted to harvest me for blood before I nearly killed him by slicing him open. He had looked worse back then, sallow and green, filled with some mutating, vampiric withering sickness. But now his fair skin was translucent and smooth. His long maroon hair framed his face like a blood-fire halo.

Christian was not as repulsive as I’d thought he’d be; his eyes were definitely intriguing with their clash of colors. I was sure he had not been born that way, but the sickness and subsequent cure must’ve left him scarred in the most unusual ways. I wondered briefly who he had been before the outbreak, what had happened to make him who he was today, the leader of a vampire clan.

“Yeah, it’s the new and improved slim-fast diet.” He chuckled, but I could see the pain etched across his face. He was definitely suffering. It wouldn’t be too long before he was weakened enough to incapacitate him or probably kill him. Could vampires even die? Did it mean they were not in any way immortal? I had always thought that they were. Maybe not. Who knows? Things certainly had surprised me as of late. Anything could happen in this crazy world. Anything goes, I thought.

Being stuck in an underground prison cell with Christian was no exception.

Chapter Sixteen

Never You

April

“SO, HOW LONG?”

“How long what?” Christian’s irritation flooded his voice as my curiosity peaked. His face was pinched with pain periodically, making me wonder if starvation was that painful, or if my questions were driving him mad. Since we were stuck here together, with no way out, I figured I’d get to know him. Know thy enemy, right?

“How long before, you know, you kick the bucket?” I chewed on my lip, wondering if he was going to act all broody and uncooperative. It was going to be a hell of a long night if he didn’t want to chat. I was wide awake, and I had no intention on letting him rest while so many questions dwelled in my mind.

Christian snorted and turned his gaze in my direction. Something told me he was doing the same thing I was: trying to peel away the layers that I had so carefully wrapped around me. It was my own armored wall that I had stacked so high not even I could get out. I was certain there was no way in, which was perfect for this moment.

“What? Gonna miss me?” he snickered. “I don’t know. I’ve never starved to death before. I’ll let you know when I find out.” He shifted on the cot, sliding to the ground and crawling toward me. “Why do you care? You offering?”

“What? Oh hell no!” I shuddered and stood up, meandering to the bars and glancing down the hall. The place was as silent as a morgue. Concrete and the choke-inducing, stale air made me feel suffocated. I hated it. It was worse than Blaze’s hive, mostly due to the bars that held me entombed in this place.

Christian leaned on the bars on one side of his cot and let one arm hang outside the bars, watching me pace as he relaxed. The halos of his eyes reflected what little light seeped over his side, making him wince from the brightness. I had the urge to slap him, like an annoying fly that kept hovering about my head. But he wasn’t a fly. He was a full-fledged hybrid blood-sucker, now immune to the deadly vampire sickness that had caused havoc throughout his and Blaze’s hives. I could see his hunger in every twitch of his lips and every flash of fang as he gazed hungrily at me.

“Oh come on, why not?” Christian closed his eyelids, sweat gleaming across his forehead as time ticked by. I definitely wanted to swat him across the face for his request. I couldn’t believe he would ask me for blood. What the hell? I seethed in silence as I dug my heels into the ground. “Tell you what,” he continued, “how ‘bout we do this the right way, April.” Nothing but calm radiated from him as he waited for me to let the fire inside me die down. I didn’t want to listen to him. I already knew what he was going to say. “My name is Christian Hall. What’s your name, beautiful lady?” The slight twang in his voice reminded me of a Texan cowboy. It was subtle, as though he had not spent the entirety of his life in the southern states but had moved there when he was quite young. I had to admit that I was curious about him too.

“We start over, a clean slate for both of us.” He held out his pale hand.

An offer to start over? I really didn’t know what to make of it. What was he playing at? Collapsing onto the cot, I leaned on my legs as I glared back at him. I sighed, feeling defeated.

“April. April Tate. And the pleasure is not mine,” I hissed.

The smile Christian cracked made my anger fade a bit more as his hand returned to his side. He was amused by my little fit. His tongue ran along the sharp tips of his fangs, licking his lips but looking quite nonchalant about it all, like it was just a subconscious habit. His indifference made me feel pathetic, like I was over-reacting.

I stood up and approached him, staring him down, hoping to get a rise out of him. But would I? He was weak and hungry, craving nothing but to sink his fangs into my jugular. Still, I inched closer until I met the edge of his cot. Sinking down to my knees until our faces were nearly even with one another, I narrowed my eyes at him.

His hand reached over and carefully stroked my cheek. I wanted to flinch away, but I couldn’t move my limbs at all. His eyes were hypnotizing and swirled into deep wells until I couldn’t see anything but the endless emerald and brown abyss of their colors. My breath arrested and my eyes refused to close or pull away from his unrelenting stare. Everything inside me twisted as I suddenly felt a wave of nausea fill me. Breathing faster and faster, I wanted to pull away and find the air that my lungs screamed for. It was then that Christian reached out and grabbed my shoulders to give me a sharp shake, breaking the trance.

“Wake up!” A flash in my vision knocked me to the floor, leaving me gasping. All the while, my throat burned and my eyes felt like they were on fire. I choked down gulps of air into my searing chest, catching my breath. Finally, the silence engulfed me and calmer, slower breaths finally filled the void. My heart was pounding in my ears, but it eventually slowed its frantic pace.

What in the world?

What had happened was beyond me. I had never felt anything like it. It had been a rush, and the flash had been my sudden disconnection from him, from his touch.

As I regained my senses, still lying on the floor, I rolled my head toward Christian, anger burning in my eyes. “What did you do to me?” I demanded. The look on his face immediately told me that he seemed to know what he had done but was definitely as shocked as I was. His surprise made me feel a prick of fear as his voice slowly invaded my weakened consciousness.

“I–I don’t know. That’s never happened before….”

“Don’t bullshit me!”

“I’m not.” He kneeled beside me, slipping his arm behind my head and pulling me up to a sitting position. I frowned at him but let him help me back up. “I swear. I don’t know what that was.”

I groaned. Still dizzy from the shock which had incapacitated me. I scooted back to lean against the bars. I watched him suspiciously, wondering again why he hadn’t already just bitten me. I was so close to him and now, kind of helpless. He could have drained me if he’d wanted to. Why hadn’t he done so?

As though he could hear my thoughts, he answered back. “Not without your permission. I’m not that person anymore.” His soft voice felt like a feather being dragged across my skin, making me shudder. He was so close he could have kissed my cheek. It was an invasion I didn’t want, but I could not bring myself to shove him away. I sucked in a breath as I slid my eyes to meet his again. Would he try to control me again? How was he reading my thoughts?

“What do you mean, not without my permission?” I inquired, watching his face turn sullen as he avoided my gaze. It darkened, and I was left even more confused. I didn’t yet want to crawl back to my cot. I did want to get the hell out of there and run from whatever it was that he had done to me, but in a way, I didn’t want to run at all. Conflicted, I felt eerily scared. These were things I’ve found seductive in ways that were inexplicable.

“I will never taste your blood without your permission first. Not without your permission, ever.” His promise rippled along my skin, making me shudder again. “I apologize for the way I was before. I was deranged, crazed from the sickness, not myself. It’s not like that anymore.”

I didn’t know what this was or why it was happening now that I was sitting so close to him, stuck in a prison cell. Was he sincere? My thoughts drifted to Rye, and I missed him more than anything right then. It was Rye who made my skin shiver and his voice that sent ripples of want through me. What was this, then? It had to be some sort of trick. Maybe if I moved away from Christian, it would go away. Maybe his hold on me would wane if I inched back just a bit. If this was some sort of persuasive influence, I wanted nothing to do with it. I called on every bit of my will power and crept back, slowly sliding away.

“Don’t go, please, April….” He begged as he reached out for me. “I do need blood, but I don’t need much. I won’t hurt you, I swear.” He sounded desperate, but I managed to make it back to the cot and pull myself into it. Why did I want to give him what he wanted? Why did I want to run back and let him sever my veins and suck my crimson life into him, just like that? My body ached to let him. I groaned as I turned away from him, hoping the ridiculous urge would eventually pass.

“What’s happening? Why do I feel so strange?” I moaned, curling up into a ball. “What did you do to me?”

“I−I don’t know, but….” A quiver shook in his voice as he continued. “I swear I didn’t do anything to you. This only happens if…but…I’m not sure. Look, I know you won’t like what I have to tell you, if it is what I think it is.” He paused, waiting to hear from me and searching for words.

“Spit it out already!”

“We connected now, matched. Simple as that. I−I never thought that I would match with anyone, let alone you.” I could feel his gaze on my back, probably secretly enjoying my shock.

“What?” I shook my head, not believing what I was hearing. Shifting on the mattress to face him, I scanned his face for trickery. It had to be there, right? “How do you know?”

“Well,” he said, rubbing his head as he sat up and slowly breathing out as he thought of what to say. “This connection… you’ll feel my pain, my suffering as if it’s your own. It will be the same for me too, it goes both ways. That’s how this vampire connection thing goes. We’re now one. We can share each other’s powers too. But,” he let a long breath out, looking more and more tired, “this shouldn’t be happening. You’re a human, not a vampire.”

“No!” I sat up and gritted my teeth. “You’re lying!” He watched me calmly, complete despair spilling from him. “Why didn’t we connect the last time we met? I don’t believe you.”

“Maybe the sickness blocked it somehow. I don’t know, April, I swear I don’t know. We’re all new to this; it’s not like I planned it,” he sighed letting his head drop back against the concrete wall.

I felt my stomach drop as a creepy feeling of dread seeped into my stomach. “We can’t be mates, that’s impossible.” I shook my head, unbelieving. “I love Rye, not you!” I dropped back onto the pillow, tears streaming down my cheeks, soaking into my hair and onto the cot.

What if it was true? Could it be his way of manipulating me to get what he wanted? Nothing made sense; nothing turned this chaos in my head into a calmer ocean.

“Not you.” My sobs filled the air now, and a strong overwhelming exhaustion filled me. “Never you….”

Chapter Seventeen

Never Is A Promise

April

THE FLOURESCENT LIGHT seeped through my eyelids, making me groan and turn away from its assault. I didn’t know what time it was, but I knew I had slept for quite a while and still felt like utter crap.

   
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