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Patricia sighed as she entered the darkened kitchen, her hands on the small of her back as she stretched the sore muscles by leaning backwards. The lights came on before she reached the cabinets, briefly checking her phone to see if Ellanor had responded to her text. She sighed once more upon finding out that she hadn't, figuring she was either ignoring her or fast asleep after the unpleasant incident that took place earlier in the evening. She pulled a tall glass from the cabinet, turning around and gasping loudly at the figure standing at the other end of the kitchen. The glass fell from her hand and it froze in mid-air as the pair of familiar brown eyes stared at it.
"H-how did you…get through the barrier?" She asked as she remained tense against the counter, the glass placing itself on the counter quietly.
"I'm an old man, Patricia. You may be strong, but I can get past that barrier with a bit of struggle. Besides, you have a piece of me in this house, so that bond helps." Lazaro picked up the silver framed family picture that was taken two years ago of the smiling family. Ellanor and Dustin resembled each other and respectfully each parent, Kaelyn sitting in front of the family with a large smile on her face, her sandy brown hair in pigtails. "Nice family," he commented. He was dressed in a fitted grey suit, the white shirt underneath unbuttoned to expose the beginning of a strong chest. His sandy blonde hair was down and slightly disheveled, the tips touching the top of his shoulders.
The intense frown and glare never left her face as she brushed stray strands of her hair away from her face. "What do you want?" She wanted to scream at him, cause physical harm, anything to take her hatred out on him, but she knew better than to wake Pierce and Kaelyn with the unpredictable demon standing in their home and even with her experience with magic, he was still a threat.
He placed the picture down where it had been, his hand returning to rest in his pants pocket as his eyes returned to her angered blue. "Why do I get an attitude when I was the one there to protect Kaelyn that evening? If it weren't for me dropping what I was doing, I'm not sure what would've happened to her."
It took her a moment to respond. "Thank you," she reluctantly murmured, briefly glancing at the tiled floor as she forced those words out that made her fists clench.
A small smile crept onto his face. "You're doing a good job keeping her safe."
"Why wouldn't I? She's my daughter. I do love her."
"I wasn't certain if you'd be capable of that," he responded slowly, his eyes dropping to her protruding stomach. "Is it his?"
"Fuck you!" She hissed, her fists clenching almost painfully. "Kaelyn, she—you took advantage of me. We may as well call it what it is. You raped me and Kaelyn came out of it."
"Come now, I simply watched you and saw you as a worthy candidate to see if you could carry a half-breed. My shape shifting abilities just happen to be pretty spectacular and I had to put it to use since you aren't the type to stray from such a happy marriage…" The slow smile that crept to his face while he spoke grew as he watched the anger grow within the brunette. "He hasn't caught on about her?"
"No. Your spell on her worked. That side of her has remained suppressed."
"A little came out the night of the attack. I can continue performing spells, but that side of her can't be held down forever and the more we try to keep it in, the more unstable she'll become." He shrugged carelessly as his eyes roamed around the spotless kitchen, several more framed pictures of her family here and there. "I could always take her off your hands."
"Try it and see what happens," she spat without hesitation.
The smirk left his handsome face as his eyes reverted to their regular shade of red. She was cornered as he began to close the gap between them, his clawed hand gripping her chin to force her to keep his stare. "Once that side of her breaks free, you can't help her and I'll be damned if your fucking coven touches her." His grip tightened, but Patricia didn't back down, didn't lose her challenging glare. "Don't test me, Patricia. You meant nothing to me and that still remains. You were a fuck and you managed to carry my child; that's it. My threat against your family still stands if anything happens to her." He let go of her chin, but remained close to her with his gaze down at her. "I'll stay in touch. Spend as much time with her as possible because she won't be staying with you for much longer. Trust me."
Patricia stared at the empty space, letting out the shaky breathe she was holding during his threat.
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Ellanor awoke with a frown on her face due to the sun beams shining in through her window. A small groan came as she pulled the covers over her face, attempting to sleep in a bit longer even if she didn't know what time it was. The hangover was there and her stomach was feeling a bit testy, the brunette making a mental note to make a hangover remedy as soon as she pushed herself out of bed. Her blue eyes snapped open as the night came racing back to her in bits and pieces, her heart pounding in her chest as her thoughts led to the end of her night that involved her bold move on Zarin and the fact that the handsome man actually accepted her drunken proposition.
"No," she whispered, "no, no, no!"
Rolling over onto her back, Ellanor slowly removed the sheet from her face to side eye the body lying next to her, currently in a peaceful sleep. Her fingers gripped the sheet tightly as she stared at the tan skin that was exposed, his side of the sheet covering his body up until his chest. She was frozen in her own bed, wondering what her first move should be. Should she wake him up and kindly get him to leave? It was her apartment and it was a spur of the moment occurrence, so it wouldn't be too rude of her to do so, she thought. Ellanor cringed as she imagined how that conversation would go and how awkward she would feel trying to get him out of her apartment. She never had a one night stand with any other man and she decided that it would never happen again due to the anxiety that was coming from it.
Zarin shifted in his sleep, but remained still as he exhaled through his parted lips. She continued to stare, her idea of a perfect world being that she could go back to sleep curled up against the warmth he was currently providing and continue their day without any awkward moments. She closed her eyes and pouted, realizing that this was the real world and her drunken hormones caused her to be in her current situation with a man she wasn't dating. She lied there longer than she would've liked, attempting to organize her scrambled thoughts until her only option turned out being to simply run and leave the scene.
She didn't bother to take the sheet with her as she slithered out from underneath it, scrambling to grab the nearest article of clothing in the nude. She threw what was his shirt in her hand, then her dress from the night before, landing on a pajama shirt of hers and spotting a pair of black shorts several feet away. Ellanor tossed one last look towards the sleeping man before biting her lip and hurriedly entering the hallway bathroom. She groaned once more as she brushed her fingers through her messy hair, her makeup smudged. A blush came to her cheeks at the noticeable hickey on her neck, a brush of her finger making the intimate blemish disappear along with the purple mark near her right breast. Cursing under her breathe, she pulled the shirt over her head, not bothering to check if it was inside out or not. She nearly stumbled as she slipped the shorts on as she exited the bathroom, a cough coming from her bedroom startling her. She voiced a surprised squeak before picking up the pace, mentally slapping herself as she left Zarin in her apartment.
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Lonni turned her gaze towards her longtime friend as she entered through the front door, casually dropping her teal purse on the carpet as she closed the door behind her. Lonni folded her legs beneath her, placing her cell phone down on the arm of the couch as the brunette made her way over with no expression on her face.
She plopped onto the couch, groaning as she ran a hand through her dark hair. "I did something horrible last night," she admitted with a whimper at the end of her sentence.
"...You have my full attention, but first, you totally ditched the party last night without even saying anything and ignored my calls."
"Ugh, I've tried to forget about that, too," she grumbled, giving her friend a side glance. The last thing Ellanor wanted to do was start an argument about the gathering. She knew that Lonni wouldn't be on the same page, so what was the point of discussing the evening? "I was...sorry, I just had to get out of there. I wasn't...expecting that, at all. I needed air and apparently a lot of liquor last night. I drank a lot more than I planned."
"You went out without me?!"
"I just needed some space," she murmured. "And then liquor appeared in my hand and stuff happened," she trailed off, suddenly finding her split ends more interesting than looking her friend in the face. Lonni squinted her eyes, taking in Ellanor's appearance of her smudged eye liner and tousled hair. She never overdressed when visiting, but to see her in a wrinkled shirt with the tag in the front and shorts with yesterday's makeup on caught her by surprise. There was a moment of silence before Lonni gasped and hit the arm of the couch.
"Please, tell me you did not have drunk sex with Seth!"
A look of disgust came quickly on Ellanor's face, followed by a scoff. "What? No-where the hell did that come from?"
"Seth left shortly after you did and you walked yourself in here looking like...that, so I assume..."
"No, it wasn't Seth."
Lonni glanced away for a moment as she tried to think of a worthy man in their life that Ellanor would give the time of day to. "...Sooo, you're saying that some type of sexual activity took place, but it wasn't Seth? Oh my God! No. Way. I wouldn't expect this coming from you since you like to play the whole innocent card."
"It-I didn't mean for it to happen. Yes, I was...a bit drunk and...I lost my mind for a second there, hormones took over, and I took a guy home and," she cringed, "may have left him there in my bed this morning hoping that he would see himself out by the time I get back."
"Ew, a stranger? Yikes. Yeesh."
"No! I know him-not know him, know him, but-it's that guy...Dustin's friend that I told you about."
"...The guy I never got a picture of texted to me?"
Ellanor rolled her eyes and leaned over, pressing two fingers to Lonni's forehead, sending a mental picture of Zarin at the club smiling before removing her fingers. "There. Satisfied?"
Lonni blinked once as she absorbed the mental image before a grin slid onto her face. "...Damn, girl! I can't even judge you with him looking like that. I, personally, wouldn't be so down in the dumps. Do you remember any of it?" She let out a small, girlish squeal. "Details!"
Ellanor closed her eyes as she rested her elbow on the arm of the couch, rubbing her temple as she hurriedly attempted to think of something else other than let the images of her night with the man replay themselves. A few spots were missing during the night, so Ellanor took it upon herself to do a spell of remembrance to fill in the blanks. As she drove to Lonni's place, she couldn't help the blush that lasted the entire car ride. She didn't want to remember how perfect it felt with his body against hers, how his intense kisses sent her senses spinning, or how his hands took it upon themselves to become acquainted with the curves of her body. She frowned, glancing at the Asian woman sitting with her. She was happy that she didn't have to sit on the large secret and loved it that she could confide in her childhood friend and not get scolded or lectured on her bad decision, but she didn't want to discuss the details of something she wanted to overlook. "Gross. Stop."
She smacked Ellanor's arm, leading to a quick smack fest between the two friends. "Stop being a prude!"
"I'm not! I just-I'd rather forget that it happened. I think that I've just been...lonely, stressed...I don't know."
"Relax. We're adults and it's okay to have fun. It's not like you killed someone and you don't sleep around like some skank, so, no biggie! No judgment here, but let me high-five you because he is to die for." Ellanor ignored the hand held out for a high-five. Lonni rolled her eyes, pulling her hand back. "If you don't want to pursue him after this, though, throw him my way or send me some mental images of him naked..."
Her cheeks warmed as she covered her face as she briefly recalled his lean body over hers after he removed his shirt. "I hate you."
"I'm kiddiiing, crybaby! Lighten up...and you can use my shower if you'd like. I'll grab you some clothes."
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Dustin found himself muting his phone as he drove for an hour in silence, his eyes staring at the open road with little scenery to find interest in. He tore into the graveled driveway and climbed out, the shack of a house showing no sign that Perkins would be available for the day.
"Can I help you?"
Dustin flinched at the sudden sound of a female voice, backing up into his car as he stared at the tall woman standing a few feet away from him in the grass. She was dressed in black slacks and a simply tank top, but it was her deformed face and sharp teeth that caught him off guard.
"He's harmless," came the familiar voice belonging to Perkins. Dustin looked to the porch of the house, the demon gone as he glanced back. Dustin stood straight, clearing his throat as he took a few steps towards the older man who was surprisingly more presentable than the last time they saw each other. "Interesting that you can see her true form, isn't it?"
"Why is that? What didn't you tell me?"
"My job wasn't to give you a Demon 101 flash course. You're the one that jumped to the occasion knowing very little information. How's your demon?"
"He's…cooperative. He's…oddly, easy to get along with and I forget that he's a demon most of the time. You keep demons around?"
"I have many friends in low places. I'm old and a professional with the dark arts, so friendships and alliances were bound to happen with demons that weren't completely homicidal. Besides, I need a little backup from time to time when everyone seems to hate me among the covens. If anyone finds out that you have a demon up your sleeve, you might want to watch your back yourself. How is that coming along? Keeping him hidden?" Perkins waved for the younger man to come into the house, Dustin finding himself transported into the small living room. Dustin glanced at the ratty couch, moving books aside to take a seat as Perkins sat down in an armchair. His blue eyes quickly scanned the interior of the home, books lying everywhere there was space, some stacked along the walls with languages he couldn't decipher. Plates and bowls were stacked on the small table with several papers, his only thought being that Perkins was probably one of those sloppy geniuses that can work in such clutter and filth. He shifted, his eyes stopping on an 8x10 framed photograph of a woman and three young girls', one being a newborn in her arms. He glanced at Perkins, assuming that the old photograph consisted of his deceased family. He didn't need to pry.
"He's met my sister, but she has no suspicions. But…I'm not here to talk about Zarin-"
"Zarin?" His brows lifted in mild surprise. "Wow. You snagged a good one. I had no idea. I heard he was back, but I didn't make that connection…"
"You know him?"
"I've run into him several times, but that was a long time ago…almost sixty years or so, I believe."
Dustin didn't respond, but mentally calculated that Perkins only looked to be late forties, early fifties.
"He's in several books here and there. He's old enough to have a reputation, but young enough not to be considered an elder. Last I heard, he was in Purgatory or something like that, but with summoning demons, they can be pulled from anywhere. Now, I understand why you said he was easy to get along with…he was quite the lazy demon before he got sent away all those years ago. How's life been treating you since he came along? I saw in the paper that you're moving on up in that technology company."
Dustin frowned, "I didn't come here to talk about any of that. I've been trying to research about…side effects, whatever you want to call it, after summoning a demon. I thought that I wouldn't be affected because I didn't personally perform-"
"You're bound by blood to a demon, kid. I may have given you that extra push to perform the spell, but that was your blood that was spilled; not mine. What are you complaining about, anyway? Isn't life going swell for you?"
"I'm having nightmares, I can see demons everywhere-I don't know if I'm seeing things or if they're really there. You didn't tell me any of this."
"I'm not a teacher," came his dry response. "Demons are everywhere, masked with human appearances. They need to survive, after all. Because you're bound to a demon, you're able to see his kind now and they're able to see that you are mingling with a demon. Whenever we summon or associate with demons, our aura changes and basically protect us from other demons if you want to look at it in a positive way." He shrugged, "You'll be fine. I wouldn't worry about it unless you get on somebody's bad side."
"I feel like…I don't care what happens to anyone to get what I need," he confessed slowly. "I feel-"
"You had darkness in your heart long before Zarin came around. His presence is simply bringing out who you really are…it does that to us. The longer you're connected to him, the faster that darkness will consume you. I wish you good luck."
"…Is that what happened to you? I…heard the stories of your family. Do you regret it? Anything?"
His brown eyes stared at the wall, his face vacant of any emotion. "Sometimes, I'll feel something…remorse? I'm not sure because it's been a long time since I have felt anything. I keep their pictures, but I can't say that I regret anything I've done because look at me now. I'm one of the strongest that practices dark magic, people fear me, people want me dead and they've never succeeded…I've gained a lot with my families sacrifice. That's the only thought I'm left with when people ask about them."
Dustin didn't reply, but his eyes momentarily went back to the family photo. He tried to wrap his mind around it; how could Perkins do such a thing? Dustin could never imagine doing anything to Nev to gain more power. She was everything to him and she was part of the reason why he chose to do the things he did, but as much as he thought about ending his contract with Zarin, the other half only thought about how much more he could accomplish. Was that where Perkins lost himself? Dustin shook his head. Clearly, he was saner than Perkins ever was and he knew he could end things with Zarin if he truly wanted to or if things began to get out of hand. That's what he told himself, anyway.
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Ellanor stood in front of the white door of a studio apartment, shifting on her feet as she knocked again. The door swung open, revealing a smiling Bianca with her hair tossed into a heavy, messy bun on top of her head. Ellanor returned the smile, stepping in as Bianca stepped out of the way.
"I'm glad you could make it!"
"I wasn't doing anything, so…" Ellanor trailed off, eyeing the spacious apartment that had large graffiti paintings of different natures. "This place is huge," she commented, finally focusing on the unfamiliar people standing in small groups and engulfed in their conversations to even notice she arrived. "It's beautiful, though."
"It's Nico's-I just moved in a few months ago. No more bachelor pad," she quipped, motioning for her to follow her to the kitchen. "What can I get you to drink?"
"Ah, I think I'll pass on a drink. Last time we drank together…"
Bianca let out a laugh, offering a canned pop instead. "Yes, that was…even I woke up with a shitty headache the next morning."
Ellanor waited for Bianca to bring up the fact that Zarin and she finished the night off with a nightcap at her apartment, but it never came.
"Come, Zarin's here! Come say hi!"
Her face fell as she removed the can from her lips. "I thought you said he wasn't going to be here."
"He showed up last minute and I got a little busy with the guests. Did something happen between you two or you're still too shy around him without that liquid courage?" She didn't quite catch the mumbled answer from the raven-haired girl, but smiled and led her to one of the couches where Nico and Zarin were sitting with several other people.
Nico glanced, doing a double take when he saw the witch standing in his home, dressed in ripped jeans and laced black tank top. He didn't greet her, smile, but simply gave Bianca a glance before he stood up and excused the both of them. Ellanor panicked as soon as Zarin noticed her and when Nico decided to steal Bianca away from the scene. Her palms became damp and she hurriedly tried to think of an escape plan, but soon enough was trapped as Zarin stood and took a few steps towards her with a small smile.
"Fancy meeting you here."
"Um…we-Bianca and I, exchanged numbers and she said she was having a little get together tonight, so…" She looked over her shoulder, Bianca and Nico nowhere to be seen. "Care to tell me why he hates me?"
"Don't mind him," he reassured, taking a sip of his drink. "So, do you always leave a man to fend for himself in the morning?"
Her face warmed immediately and she shook her head, "No! That wasn't…no, that's not like me-at all. I-"
"Your alter ego came out with all that drinking?" He teased.
"…It would seem that way," she murmured in embarrassment, hoping that he wouldn't bring up the topic at all, but he clearly wanted to make her suffer. "Can we just pretend that didn't happen-I mean, I don't mind that it did-"
He watched the younger girl in amusement. Suddenly, his interest was only set on her at the small party as she rambled.
"Not that I wanted that to happen, though, because I don't sleep around like that, so when I saw you there that morning, I didn't know what to do-"
He finished off his glass. "No hard feelings."
"…I'm honestly not that kind of girl," she helplessly admitted.
"No judgment. Besides, we're both adults, aren't we? We're allowed to a little fun. You came onto be and being the gentlemen I am, I had a duty to fulfill-"
"Jesus," she muttered in mortification, her cheeks red, and her eyes glaring due to his teasing.
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"I take it you did a masking spell?"
Bianca motioned towards the demon that passed them, his curled horns visible. "Duh. You know I have human friends."
"The witch is a friend, now?"
"She is harmless and it's okay if you call her by her name."
"You're naïve-and young," Nico pointed out as he closed the fridge. "I've told you before-"
Bianca rolled her eyes, "I know, Dad-"
"Knock it off. She may be harmless now because she doesn't know what we are, but do you think for a minute that the moment she finds out what you are that she'll give a shit about you?"
Bianca didn't respond, but held his glare with her vulnerable stare.
"Zarin was an idiot the first time trusting a witch because where did that get him? A dead brother and locked away for years." He sighed, scratching the back of his head, "I worry, call me paranoid, that's fine, but I don't need trouble."
"Do you want me to ask her to leave, then?"
His hazel eyes glanced at her, the conversation causing her mood to sour, he could tell. He ran a hand over his face, "No. Just…be careful with her-and warn me next time that you're bringing her around. I don't ask for much, B," she smiled, "not bringing a possible threat into my home where I feel safe is reasonable to me."
"I like her. Get to know her. Certainly not all witches are the same. One did spare my life once, remember?" She gave his hard stomach a pat before leaving the taller demon in the kitchen.
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Zarin stood out in the cold with Ellanor next to her car. She finally found her keys in her purse, giving him a small smile and thanking him for walking her to her car. They spent the night talking, not as much as she would've liked due to other guests getting his attention, but enough. Nico warmed up, slightly, actually responding during conversations when it related to him. Ellanor wasn't sure what to make of the Aussie, but she was there for Bianca, so she didn't let his prior attitude bother her too much.
"This is the last time I'll say anything about that incident, but you didn't say anything to my brother, did you?"
"No. I'm not a kid."
"No, but…men talk."
"I don't tell my business," he answered with a hint of a smile. "It's our secret."
Ellanor beamed inside, holding out her hand for his phone, to which he obliged. He watched as she entered her number into his phone, handing it back. Ellanor said her goodbye, momentarily wondering if it was appropriate to place a kiss to his cheek. She decided against it. Maybe if she would've taken shots upstairs in the apartment, she would have the guts to do so. She nervously waved before getting into her car. Zarin gave a little wave, his eyes returning to their normal pale yellow. Nico was behind him, silently, his hazel turned to a clear blue as he watched the car drive off.
"What're you doing?"
Zarin took a moment to respond, "Nothing." He looked over his shoulder to his good friend, "You're being paranoid."
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I apologize for any mistakes! As always, reviews are appreciated!