I’m a little giddy to share this piece of chapter four. Because this is where the story kicks it up a notch and you start to get a more tangible view of what is going to happen. It’s told from Caleb’s perspective, who is a bit of a double-agent at this time. And being inside his head is quite different than Ramona’s.
Alas, I’ll be quiet now and let you read…
Immolation: Chapter Four
Head resting against his shoulder, her body hung limply in his arms. Even though her eyes were only half-closed, the shadow of her mind was swirling and disturbed, dreams already tickling her thoughts. With a mild grimace, Caleb placed her gently in the back seat of the cab.
“I’m so sorry about this,” Liz said from behind him. “She’s going to be so embarrassed… This isn’t like her, I promise. She’s got some health issues — I’m sure it’s just a reaction to the alcohol.”
“Mrs. Matthews, please. It is no trouble,” Caleb said, giving her a soft smile. “I’m the one who is embarrassed. I shouldn’t have encouraged her to drink.”
Liz smiled back, though still wringing her hands. “That’s very kind of you. I know she appreciated tonight. You were delightful company. But I really should get her home.”
Holding the door, he ushered her into the cab. As Liz slid in next to the semi-unconscious woman, he leveled the driver with a stern look. “Take good care of these ladies.”
“You got it, Mate,” Cory said.
Closing the door, Caleb stepped back from the curb. He watched the cab slowly disappear into the heavy traffic, paying no attention to the mass of people brushing past him.
Alternately flexing and clenching his hands at his sides, he drew a slow breath. He had touched her again – just like in the museum. He had actually touched her. Years of being in the shadows, watching from a distance, only imagining what her skin felt like, how soft and supple and elegant it was. Now he knew, and selfishly he wanted more. He needed more. It wasn’t enough that her subconscious whispered constantly inside of his mind, he needed to be near her. So tonight, he had been careful, saying the right things and moving the right way. And ever so slightly, she had welcomed his attention. It was exciting. Too bad all of it was a lie.
Too bad he was going to have to hurt her.
Suddenly glowering at the dark reality of his thoughts, he turned away from the curb and moved back into the depth of the alley. Stubbornly he silently argued it wasn’t all a lie, there was some truth laced into their conversations. After all, he couldn’t be completely dishonest with her. No, not with her. Because eventually she would know everything. And maybe those tiny truths would redeem him slightly in her sight.
But for now, he would keep up the persona and – if he was lucky – get to be near her and touch her again, before completing his mission. Of course the Meister would disapprove, too much contact could awaken her too soon, and that would jeopardize everything he was working toward. So he would be careful. After all, being careful was what he was good at.
It was almost three in the morning and a long line still waited outside the Alley Cat, the crowd growing more obnoxious and loud as the night progressed. Uninterested in the ridiculous frivolity, he cut through the bodies like a steel blade.
When he reached the opposite end of the alley, he went to his midnight-blue motorcycle. Mounting the machine, he gripped the handle, pressing the lingering sensation of her touch deeper into his flesh. The Law of Blood was strong in her, invisibly leaning against his own fortitude. It filled him with a strange exhilaration — and dread.
Putting on his sunglasses, he stilled. There was movement near the edge of the building. Someone was approaching. His hand slowly went to a knife strapped under his forearm, discreetly concealed by his shirt sleeve.
Turning his head slightly, he couldn’t see anyone from the corner of his eye. So he boldly looked around. The darkness didn’t matter — he could see as well as in the daylight. But nothing was there. Literally, there wasn’t another person in sight, human or otherwise. Tentatively he turned the key and the motorcycle roared to life.
Illuminated by the headlight, a man stood half a block away at the street corner. Red shirt, black jeans… if Caleb remembered correctly, it was her agent – Jarrod. The same man Ramona had mentioned in the club. And from his posture, he was not friendly.
For a brief second, he met Caleb’s eye then walked calmly from the corner and disappeared behind a building.
Sickening alarm filled him. Gunning the bike, Caleb shot down the sidewalk. But by the time he reached the corner the man was gone.
Pulling his cell phone from his pocket, he hit speed dial.
“Yo,” a youngish male voice greeted.
“Lucian, they know,” he said, still searching the darkness. “I believe her agent is one of them. We have to proceed.”
“Are you sure?” his voice sounded worried. “I mean, we have to be completely sure—”
“I’m sure enough. If we wait, we will lose her.”
Till next time…
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