Warning: nsfw (no nudity), violence, questionable consent and a good dose of clueless cringe.
By the time Seth and his troublesome tutee had materialised back at their miniscule lodgings, her fight and panic had dissipated. He turned her face side-to-side, studying her for a hint of that delectable offering, but found none.
Frustration rolled through him and it was all he could do not to lash out at her in frustration. After all this planning, all this effort – nothing? Had he missed yet another chance?
She snarled and bucked beneath him, her bony knee finally finding a landing that hurt like all manner of hell and he had no choice but to let her go. She wasted no time as she scrambled to her feet, once again frantic and raving.
“We need to go back!” she wailed. “Take me back! I need to know she’s OK!”
Rage erupted in him like hot lava that he was powerless to quell. He’d never before found a nut he couldn’t crack, but this one? No matter what he tried, no matter how much he manipulated her, she thwarted him.
He felt for sure that visiting Joy, arguably the only person other than herself that Faith truly gave a damn about, would finally force her to open up, but no. Every time he thought he’d turned the tables, turned her mirror, enough for him to reach it without fear of repercussion, she managed to turn it back. So defensive, so lacking in self-confidence, unable to truly let anyone in, himself included, this whole task felt impossible.
Infuriated, humiliated and sick to death of the whole dance, he was on the verge of giving up.
“Take you back?” He snarled. “Why, so you can finish draining your eight-year-old sister? What is wrong with you? I gave you one bloody instruction; I was gone for five bloody minutes!”
“I d-didn’t… she was upset!” Faith stammered. “And y-you were taking so long—”
“’She was upset’,” he mimicked. “’You were taking so long’.”
“Y-you were,” Faith replied in a choked whisper.
Seth stepped closer, watching her shrink before him. His voice laced with venom. “Don’t you dare blame this on her – or me.”
Faith blinked rapidly; a flicker of that delicious gift flashing over her consciousness as she almost caved to admission. But, naturally, that damn defence mechanism kicked in again.
“You were gone ages. What, was my blind, human mother too tricky for you to brain fuck?”
Seth’s fingers twitched at his side as he resisted the urge to launch a mental attack that he knew would only be retaliated. “You’re pushing it, Faith.”
“Aw, diddles,” she said mockingly. “Am I hurting your wittle ego? What are you gonna do? Break my other arm? Wring my nec—?”
Don’t tempt me.
She fell still and silent as Seth’s gloved hand slid up her throat until he was cradling her jaw, again turning her head to and fro and gazing, lost, into those vibrant blue irises.
Vatore irises, he realised with resentment. The highly-prized sign of an unpolluted vampire lineage. The only colourway more revered was…
Seth felt like he’d been punched in the gut as a new memory broke through the barriers in his mind.
Layne October. Former society vampire and self-proclaimed leader of the rogues. Seth wondered what had become of the red-eyed rebel; had he survived the ambush? Had any of the others?
Seth mused a moment, recalling the fragmented details of the day – night? – that his memory had begun to recall. He recalled Kitty standing beside him. Layne, Cole and Patrick seated before him. He could hear Kitty arguing with Layne in a mixture of internal and external voices; insisting that what she did with her creation in her chambers was none of his business.
Had she been wearing a wedding gown?
Faith’s voice swam through the haze, stubborn, as usual. “Don’t you dare.”
Seth shook his head, losing the emerging memory and realising that he may have been squeezing a certain pretty neck a little too keenly. “Huh?”
“I can feel you fiddling around in my head. Don’t change my memory again.”
“Again?” he repeated, dumbly.
Wait, a second… she could feel him fiddling? But he wasn’t even trying…
“Joy said she saw me at the arcade. The night when I – conveniently – couldn’t remember anything. It was you, wasn’t it? How many times have you erased my memory, Seth?”
He growled as the answer wheedled its way through his reluctant lips. “A few,” he groaned. “I know how it looks, but allow me to explain. The first was an undoing – I slipped a confidence. The second was intended to be a swift reversal of a conversation gone awry – it was in your best interests—”
“Not fucking likely,” Faith snorted. “What else have you erased?”
She lifted an eyebrow. “So fucking tricky. What else have you erased, amended or otherwise fiddled with in my head, Seth?”
“Ah… I haven’t… I have— damn. A few times since then, I… I tried to, ah… ughk… gah!… A-amend your memory of Joy,” he blurted.
“Amend?” Faith gasped. “Amend how?”
“I tried to… wipe how you felt… I…”
“You tried to erase my love for Joy?” Faith gasped, clutching her arm. “You absolute fucking twat. You massive asshole. Why would you do that?”
The answer that bubbled up inside him was eerily familiar.
So that you would be entirely mine.
Seth licked his lips. A heavy sense of unease settled in the pit of his stomach. “I… Ah…”
“I thought I could trust you.”
“Then you have terrible judgment,” Seth murmured.
“Woah,” Faith gasped. “You’ve been fucking with me this whole time.”
Not a question, but still he felt compelled to answer. “I have.”
Faith jolted at this blunt response; she clearly hadn’t expected it. She stepped back, bumping into the wall. “Holy fuck. I need to leave. I need to go and check on Joy.”
“You can’t go back to Joy, Faith. You attacking her, I swear, that wasn’t me. I intended to orchestrate a finality, for certain, but not that final.”
“You planned for something awful to happen?” Faith asked, aghast. “You… you…”
“Monster?” Seth finished with a smirk that felt entirely false.
Faith hesitated, fixing her wide, blue eyes on Seth’s face. He could hear thoughts as clear as a song, as she finally realised the game she was part of, the extent of how wrong she had been. Replaying their brief relationship, looking for things she had overlooked, signs she had missed. She channelled all that hurt, all that anger at her target as not only did she begin to question if this relationship was redeemable, but if he was.
Seth maintained his outward composure as the unease in his gut became a writhing, tangled mess, restricting the little blood flow he had and threatening to end him. As her internal debate was laid bare for him to witness, her whole mind opened before him like a plump fruit, ripe for the picking.
She hates me.
And then, suddenly, a revelation.
She is focused entirely on me.
Seth approached Faith tenderly under the pretence that he was about to embrace her. He felt her body tense as moved nearer but she made no effort to resist, her eyes never leaving his, her mind racing.
“Why are you doing all this?” she whimpered. “What do you want from me?”
She was ready, he was ready. Finally the planets were aligned. He would lose her, he knew it, but it was worth it for what he would surely gain.
It had to be worth it.
“Everything,” he whispered, stroking her cheek and ignoring the nagging doubt that he was about to make a huge mistake. “I want everything I can get.”
Wyatt had stopped asking silly, garbled questions and had curled up on the sofa beside April for a little sleep, emitting no further noise except for the occasional snore.
“What do you think he was asking me to do?” April asked Caleb, the only other person who had managed to resist the effects of the magical tea. “Oh, I hope he wasn’t asking me to help him go to the bathroom. Imagine if he wets the bed because I misheard him! That would be awful!”
“Awful,” Caleb repeated with a strange little smile.
“Should we put him to bed?” she asked. “I know that he’s stinky and you don’t want to be near him, but would you take him to bed? For me?”
Caleb was still looking at her with that odd expression.
“He seems comfortable there,” he murmured.
“Oh, OK,” April said quietly. She didn’t like the look in Caleb’s eyes. It looked like he was up to something.
Almost as if he’d read her mind, Caleb beckoned her over and, when she stayed put, he commanded her over.
April went reluctantly, seating herself gingerly on Caleb’s knee.
“Please don’t tell me to do things,” she asked. “What if I don’t want to sit on you?”
“I’ll make you want to,” he smirked, tickling her inner thigh.
In her tea-induced dreamworld, April couldn’t decide if that was a joke, a threat or some strange combination of the two, so, with her addled sense of bravado, she simply asked, “How will you make me want to?”
Caleb’s response was a physical one. His hand moved with lightning speed to the opening at the leg of her shorts and slid under. April glanced down, part stunned and part embarrassed that he could fit his whole hand up her shorts leg.
She wondered if that meant that everyone had been able to see up them. Had she been flashing Caleb all night? Was that why he knew he could fit his hand in? Had she been teasing him all night without meaning to?
Caleb had paused briefly as his hand had made contact with that place. Maybe he’d been anticipating finding another layer and she couldn’t blame him for that. It was very improper to forego underwear – Mother would’ve been livid! – but the shorts were so flimsy that all of April’s underwear had showed through them. She hadn’t realised that they were so flimsy he could actually shove half his arm under them, though. He could probably climb into them with her, they were that loose! Oh my goodness. What would he think?
Caleb let out a little laugh and slowly, but somehow still roughly, began to explore, until he touched a bit that made her jolt with electricity. His smile widened.
Oh dear god.
April had had every intention to tell him ‘no’ – not least because Wyatt was only a few feet away and they’d get into so much trouble if Sage came home! But somehow, Caleb’s slow, almost frustratingly so, ministrations were making that word impossible.
“Caleb,” she gasped as he pulled her firmer to his lap and she felt that thing of his, that thing which always seemed to be hard, beneath her bum. “Caleb, we shouldn’t be doing this.”
“I know,” he purred. “But I need you, April. I’m going mad.”
April tried again, “I’m not sure I want to.”
He smirked. She squirmed as she remembered the last time he’d been near there, how sore and uncomfortable and dry it had been, and braced herself. She was super surprised to feel his finger slip smoothly inside her. Effortlessly, almost. It almost felt… nice?
“I think you do want to,” he whispered. “I’ve barely touched you and yet you’re soaked.”
“I am?” April asked with wonder, to which her downstairs area answered with a very unladylike squelch.
“Oh!” she gasped, flushing with embarrassment, but Caleb smiled, unbothered. Or perhaps he even liked it? April didn’t know, she didn’t care, she suddenly couldn’t think. It was like he’d taken whole ownership of her body. She was a mere hand puppet at the will of its puppeteer, a dancer following her leader, rocking her hips in time with the movements of his hand.
The throaty moan that left her lips barely sounded like her at all. It sounded like a noise Faith would make when she was doing her rude impressions.
How did the feeling just keep getting nicer? How was that possible? It was building, building. Higher, higher. Even when she closed her eyes she could see all the colours, taste the colours. She was colours! She was sure it couldn’t get any more intense. It couldn’t… or she might just… she’d…
With no breath to catch, April’s body instead became a floppy, dopey mess as she fell back onto Caleb. Her body shook with tremors, oversensitive and overcharged, as his movement stilled.
April became slowly aware of the damp fabric on her legs and the soft snores from across the room – that she was even in a room. That should have brought her back from the cosmos with a bump but, oddly, it didn’t. She ran her fingers through Caleb’s hair, gazing at him full of wonder and this weird, fuzzy, heated feeling.
“Ohh!” April said, drawing out the sound as understanding dawned. “That was an orgasm!”
Caleb looked deflated for the tiniest moment. “You’ve never had an orgasm before?”
April shook her head. “No,” she said softly. “At least, not like that. But now I get what people were always on about! Wow.”
Caleb’s laugh was hearty. He pulled April to him, trapping her in a forceful kiss that previously would’ve made her cringe but now, somehow, made her want to throw all caution to the wind and do all manner of unladylike, squelchy things with him.
“Caleb,” she said coyly, breathlessly, breaking the kiss and shifting against the unyielding arm of the chair. “Can we please go and find a nice, comfy bed?”
“Why?” he teased, pressing his fangs into her lower lip and eliciting a little squeal from her. “Are you tired?”
“Mm. No, I’m not tired…”
“Oh, so you want to have a pillow fight?”
“No!” April sucked on her punctured lip. Hot and needy and yet, despite the chart, despite the inhibition-destroying tea, despite everything, she was still totally unable to form the words.
He chuckled. “Is this one of those times when you just ‘need a fuck’, April?”
If she could’ve blushed, her face would’ve been scarlet. Her voice was tiny, unsure. “I-I think so…? Maybe?”
His eyes bored into hers imploringly; they flashed to their icy blue. “Maybe or yes?”
“Will you be gentle?” she asked uncertainly.
He kissed her so very softly that it was like a butterfly had landed on her lips. “I’m really going to try.”
“OK. Then I guess… yes— oof!”