Chapter 3

I feel your presence in my dreams.

Waiting just around the corner, hoping I will find you.

But each time I look, you've already disappeared.

I felt nervous the next day at work, unable to shake a sense of unease that hung around me since I had woken up. I felt guilty deep down. It wasn't really Varaac's fault that I had shut him out of my life. That I had made him intensely popular with teenage girls wanting to experiment with demon summoning. He had always been there for me. Supportive, caring, never hesitating to be by my side.

I was the one who wanted something more.

I sighed, stretching in the corner, feeling satisfaction as my spine made a loud cracking noise.

"Rough night?" I turned to the familiar voice. It was Mal, the werewolf alpha. His territory dispute was slotted to be discussed before the council today.

"Not too bad." I answered cautiously. I wasn't sure what to make of him. The werewolf had approached me several more times since I had seen him at the bar with Alice, asking me out, trying to buy me drinks. I had always said no. I couldn't honestly tell at this point if it was to help win my vote on the council or if he was just offended that I wasn't interested.

"Your nights could always be rougher." He winked at me, inching close enough to make me uncomfortable.

Ugh. Definitely an ego thing.

"Thanks for the offer, but no."

His face darkened, a faint yellow glow radiating from his eyes. "Don't be so frigid. You could use a good date." He reached out and grabbed my arm.

Hell. No.

I reached within me, summoning the natural powers around me and weaving them around my hand.

"I will give you five seconds to release my arm, otherwise you will not have a hand to let go with." I spoke through clenched teeth.

"Oh, sweetheart, don't be like that." He chuckled. The stupid wolf had obviously forgotten why they made me the representative for witches on the Council.

It was time to remind him.

"Everything okay here?" An all too familiar voice called out. Surprised, I turned to see Valaac standing there before me.

"This is a private conversation." Mal spoke up, making me want to hit him.

Valaac didn't even glance at him. Instead, he stared directly at me, radiating concern. "Do you need help?" Or just someone to hide the body?"

I laughed. "Just give me a moment." I turned back to the werewolf alpha. "Your five seconds are up."

"Don't make me... ARRRGH!" He trailed off on a pained scream and the hand clutching me incinerated into ash, destroyed into a thousand pieces by my power.

"I warned you."

He snarled with rage and pain, launching towards me with teeth bared. Feeling slightly tired, I sighed.

"Don't be foolish." I waved a hand and he hung in the air, frozen, unable to move a single muscle. He had been interestingly in mid transformation, silver fur replacing human skin, wolf's teeth set in an otherwise normal appearing mouth. His yellow eyes looked desperately around the room, as if asking for help.

Unfortunately for him the other council members ignored his silent plea. Even if they hadn't seen me warn him, anyone stupid enough to take on the second strongest witch was obviously not worth saving. Even the Were Council member, a tall female wolf shifter, simply glanced in my direction before lifting her glass, toasting to show her approval. Smiling, I strolled forward, leaning over to whisper into his ear.

"Next time a girl tells you to back off, back off. Or next time, the punishment will be a lot more ... creative. And permanent." I threw him to the back of the room, not bothering to dissipate the freezing spell. It would naturally disappear after a day or so. Given werewolf regeneration powers, the hand would grow back as well... eventually.

Having settled that matter, I turned back to Valaac, curious. "What brings you here?"

He smiled, and despite not having even broken a sweat in a deadly fight with a werewolf earlier, I felt my heart start to race, but I kept my face expressionless, refusing to show it.

"Meet the new demon representative for the council." He chuckled at my shock, taking advantage of my surprise to close the gap between us.


"Satan owes me a favor." He rubbed his forehead, "Plus I agreed to autograph one of your books. Apparently one of his grandkids is a fan."

Figures. You could never count on the devil to be useful.

Varaac studied my expression closely, his face slightly guarded. "This means we'll be seeing each other everyday now."

"I guess so."

"Can't you just tell me why we're not talking?" He reached out and brushed a strand of hair from my face, startling me.

We were both sixteen. I was tired, having left my parents behind arguing for the thousandth time. My father hadn't known what he was getting into when he married my mother. He didn't know about magic, demons, the supernatural, any of it. His rude awakening occurred once their little girl started levitating her toys across the room. Once my powers manifested themselves, the secret was out.

It might have been better if they hadn't loved each other as much as they had. If it had been less they could have just divorced, and he would have had his memory wiped. They didn't want to separate. But they didn't love each other enough to move past such a big mistake, either. Instead, trapped by their own promises and feeling, they turned on each other, and of course on me.

No one ever told me that I was the source of my parent's unhappiness. They didn't have to. It was laced into every word they spoke to me.

I escaped their screams and name calling, finding Varaac at the school we both went to. Sitting on the soccer field, I rested my head against his shoulder, while he idly stroked my hair.

"I'm scared to ever love anyone. What if I end up like them?" I whispered.

His hand paused. "I'm probably not the best person to ask." His smile was bitter. "I'm a demon. We're not able to love. It's not our nature."

We stared at the empty field ahead of us, watching the sunset.

"Do you think they'll leave me?" My parents could barely stand to be in the same room as me as it was.

"Perhaps." Varaac was never one to lie. "But even if they do, I'll be there for you."

"Liar." I chuckled, burying my head into his shoulder.

He held his hand up, biting his fingertip. "I'll form a blood contract with you."

That was enough to shock me out of my daze. "A blood contract... but that's..." forever... permanent, a once in a lifetime deal between two souls. I didn't say those words but they hung in the air between us.

His eyes never wavered. "Only if you want to. Either way I'll never leave you." He shrugged, a slight grin tugging at his features. "This just makes it more official."

I reached over, putting my fingertip between his lips. Wincing slightly as his fangs pierced the skin, I pulled down the collar of his shirt, touching the bloody digit to the skin over his heart. At the same time I felt him grip my shoulder, his blood sinking into my skin.

Our souls were linked.

We could never be separated.

We stared at each other for a few breathless moments, and then both started laughing.

I stepped back from Varaac, leaving his outstretched hand still hanging in the air.

"The meeting will be starting shortly. "

Walking away, I could still feel his gaze following me.

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