I didn’t want to do it, but what choice did I have? I sigh as I grab another handful of clothes out of the closet and make my way back to the bed I never use. Although looking at it, you would have thought I did, given its crooked appearance. But I tossed it across the room a few days ago, and since I am officially moving out, I need to clean up. Sort of. You can barely tell the Goddess of Ruin lived here for a few weeks, I tell myself as I try to ignore the scratches on the far left wall.
Dammit. I can’t do this. There is still so much about myself Erebus doesn’t know, nor do I want him too. How am I going to hide my nightmares from him? My late night pacing? The conversations I have with..well, myself? My random outings in the middle of the night when I get a new lead? Will he even let me leave the house? Oh, and the other thing. I sigh again as I shove more clothes into my second suitcase. Maybe this is for the best. He can see how completely mental I am and decide, You know what? She isn’t worth it, and then let me leave. No amount of crazy hot sex will make anyone want to stay with a raging psychopath.
Hey, there we go. Look at me thinking positive.
Diavoláki bounces through the room, his little wings and screeching breaking me out of my thoughts. I head back into the bathroom, packing my makeup and essentials.
“You know he calls you Ebhot still, right?” I shout into the other room. A screech is my only response as if the little hellion is saying what? I snort as I put my more expensive lipsticks and eyeshadows into the sides of my makeup bag. “You don’t answer to that, okay? You are on my side.” I eye him as I come out, his tiny claws trying to zip my suitcase. His head bobs up and down as I enter the room. “I’m serious. You turn on me, and I will skin you alive.”
Okay, I wouldn’t, I had to admit I love the little guy, but I can pretend at least. He stops mid-motion, his small slit for eyes widening just as my phone buzzes. Sighing, I turn my head toward it as the screen lights up two more times before going black. I finish packing and move to the dresser that is propped against the wall just enough so that it won’t fall to pieces. Grabbing my phone, I read the messages. One from Sarah, reminding me of our next meeting and how she would like Erebus to attend. I narrow my eyes. Yeah, I bet you would. And then the other two are from Erebus. Surprise surprise. The first one is an address, which from the looks of it, is farther away than I expected. Hmm weird. The second one is more of a demand.
Erebus: There is a car out front. Don’t be late. And don’t make me come and get you.
I squeeze my phone in my palm before realizing I don’t need to replace another one. Taking a deep breath, I curse beneath it. Uuugghh! I should ignore him and make him drag his Primordial ass up here to Get me. No, no, that would only result in another fight. I know too well that fighting with him would lead to my clothes coming off, and I have no intention of ever getting hot and sweaty with him again. My foot shoots out, kicking the already half-demolished dresser into pieces. I wasn’t going to survive this.
The car pulls up on a large curved stone driveway and stops. I move my sunglasses down the bridge of my nose with a single finger as I take in the so-called condo. Condo my perfectly toned ass. This is a house and not just any house. It looks like it was built into a fucking mountain. The outside is extravagant in the this probably cost a couple million dollars sort of way. The colors of the house range from a cold grey stone to different shades of beige. The front is high enough that I have to actually look up. Parts of the darkened edges of the mountain juts out, surrounding the house itself. Large pane windows decorate the first and second stories. Twin pillars support the entrance, holding up a wrap-around balcony area on the second floor.
Lights flicker, telling me he is home. Not like I need a reminder, I had gotten a few more texts when I gold-eyed the driver to stop and get me food. Oh, and to also take a longer detour. You know, just to be a bitch. The car’s trunk shutting snaps me out of my gawking. I step out, grabbing the few bags I had in the seat with me. Diavoláki flies out immediately, circling me in excitement as I kick the car door closed behind me. The driver, you know I never did catch his name, already has my luggage halfway to the front door by the time I catch up to him. I guess he is tired of me, too.
The driver drops the last of my bags on the porch, gives me a once over, then looks at the house before hurrying back to the car. If I didn’t know any better, I would say he was scared by how he practically speeds out of the driveway. Shrugging, I turn, letting out a deep breath as I look at my new residence. Well, my temporary one. Ebhot squawks once before landing on my shoulder as I take the key from my pocket and place it in the lock. One turn, a slight shove, and the door swings open. A large foyer greets me as I make my way inside. An overly large sectional spreads out in the massive living room area. I step further inside, to find the lights dim and not too overbearing. I can see the start of an expensive kitchen tucked away to my left. Ebhot flies past me, doing circles as he screeches. He heads towards the staircase located toward the back and goes up. Shaking my head, I turn and try to carry the many bags I brought with me. This would be so much easier not in heels. I scan the inside, thinking I am alone, then I feel the power radiating from the kitchen.
Erebus sits on a stool at the kitchen island watching me. “Make sure you take your shoes off. I wouldn’t want you to track sand all through the house. The maid doesn’t come for another day.” He turns his attention back to his meal and the paper he is reading. “Your room is at the top of the stairs.”
I straighten, let out a breath, and narrow my eyes in his direction. Turning on my heel, I grab a few more bags and sling them into the foyer. I stomp my perfectly sandy high heels through the house and toward the staircase.
Erebus mumbles under his breath, “You’ll be sorry when your Egyptian cotton sheets feel like sandpaper.”
I roll my eyes, making a face before stopping and turning back around. Wait, what? I walk back into the main area and toward the kitchen. I stop in the doorway with one hand on my hip and a scowl. “Egyptian cotton sheets? Did you buy me sheets?”
He looks up, turning on the stool to face me. “Well, I thought you might want something to sleep on. There’s a duvet in the closet. If you don’t like it, we can get you something else.”
He’s not serious? He’s joking, right? He didn’t really buy me sheets to sleep on. I wait for a smirk or the punch line, but none comes. Oh fuck, he’s serious.
The corner of my lips turn upwards. “What is this?”
I fold my arms as I tap my foot. “My hot little therapist isn’t here. You don’t have to pretend you actually care, you know?”
His jaw clenches for a split second before he pushes off the table and stands from the stool in one solid motion, almost toppling it over. He walks towards me, and for a moment, I remember exactly what kind of Primordial I am dealing with.
“I can’t believe, after everything, you still think I don’t care for you. Let’s not forget, you were the one who bailed the minute things actually changed between us.”
I take a cautious step back before catching myself and squaring my shoulders. I would be lying again if I said I wasn’t a little apprehensive. Not because I know I can’t take him. Pfft, I now have no weapon whatsoever that could hurt him. But because I knew if he got any closer to me, I won’t be able to control myself. All those feelings and the false bravado I hide will be out the window. Because I love him. Even after everything.
Lame. Even after he abandoned you and moved on without you. Plus, all your old friends want his head and not in a fun screaming way. Alright, the voice has a point. Snap out of it.
“Yes, because you have a great way of showing it, hmm?” I shake my head before heading back into the living room.
I hide the shiver his throaty chuckle sends through me. “You don’t plan on leaving your bags in the foyer, do you?”
I stop, not turning around, rubbing the bridge of my nose. “You know what? This isn’t going to work. It’s barely been five minutes, and you’ve already annoyed me enough to want to kill you. You know. Again.”
“And we know how well that turned out.”
I turn in an instant, feeling my eyes light up as my emotions cloud with anger, hurt, and lust. I lift my arms, wanting to drop the ceiling on his smug perfect face. I expect the room to vibrate or shake or well shit anything, but nothing happens. Impossible. He can control my mists from forming but not my ruin. What the fuck.
“Well. That’s weird.”
He doesn’t even move from where he leans against the kitchen door frame. Smug. Arrogant. He looks at me up and down before waving a single hand at my failed attempt. “Oh, did you think your regular tricks would work here? The whole point of this little experiment is for me to help you control your childish outbursts. You won’t be bringing down the roof here. Sorry to disappoint you.”
My eyes scan the ceiling, the walls, and then him. “H-How?”
He plays it off, waving his hands in the air like he’s a magician. “I’m not telling. Just know that it can’t be done.”
He must have noticed my expression change or the fear that suddenly set into my eyes because he pushes off the wall, coming a little bit closer.
His voice was serious now, less playful. “I know that it’s hard for you to believe, Atë, but I really do want you to be happy.”
I look into his eyes, knowing that a part of me deep down believes him, whereas another part of me is still hurt. Looking away, I glance at the house I am in, and it hits me. I can’t use my powers here with him. He can help me gain back some control, even if his mere presence causes me to do the opposite. And like Sarah said, the faster I get control back, the sooner I can leave.
I clear my throat, placing my hands on my hips like I am not utterly terrified. “So how does this work? Hmm? I do whatever you say while I’m here or something?”
He chuckles to himself, taking in my new stance. “Well, no. You can come and go as you please, but I’ll need to accompany you. If you need to go somewhere and I have plans, you will have to have a god or goddess from the approved list accompany you.” He pulls out a piece of paper from his pocket with said list.
I shake my head, blowing out a breath, knowing my temper just reached an all-time high. Escorted. Are you kidding me? I clench and unclench my fists, knowing I have no choice. Except I do have a choice over one thing. I fold my arms. “Fine, but let’s set some ground rules, shall we?”
“Rules?” He raises a single dark brow, stuffing the paper back into his pocket. “Oh-Kay…what did you have in mind?”
I shake my head slightly as I toss my hair out of my way. “Simple, in no way shape or form is this some way for us to get back to whatever you thought we were. I’m not having sex with you ever again. And me being here isn’t because I want to be, it’s because I have to be. Understand?”
He shows no emotion whatsoever. “Fine by me. I think you made it perfectly clear when you left me in the shambles of that penthouse, ready to be caught by the police for your dirty work.”
Okay, ouch. I expected some reaction. Maybe an eyebrow tick like he usually does when he’s annoyed. But nothing? That hurt. Also, that’s not why I left, you idiot! My head screams, but my mouth says the opposite.
I force a smile, lying as usual. “Exactly. Now,” I pause, removing my heels one by one so I don’t get sand all over the place, “we have come to an agreement. I’m going to finish taking my stuff up to my room.”
A high-pitched screech and the sound of leathery wings soon fills the house as Ebhot flies downstairs, heading straight for Erebus.
“Whatever,” he says, returning to his breakfast in the kitchen. Ebhot wastes no time landing on his shoulder and going with him. “Hey guy, I’ve missed you.”
I turn away from them, both taking one last look as they seem to bond over whatever Erebus cooked to eat. I grab my bags and head upstairs to the room he so kindly instructed me to. It takes me two trips to get everything I brought with me upstairs. Once I do, I shut the door behind me, leaning against it. I let out a shaky breath as I take in the room.
The color scheme inside my room matches the whole house. A mix of greys and blacks. I push off the door, making my way around, taking in what would be considered mine for this rehab stint. The room has everything a goddess would need. From the dressers that line the walls, the large walk-in closet that was practically another room, to the bathroom that could fit a small army, plus a bed that was big enough for seven people. But all of that was not what got me. It was the little things. The assorted decorations like I had in Italy that I never told anyone I liked. The window that showcased the ocean before it, but was tinted so the sunlight won’t blind me, dimmer switches in every room to adjust to what I could stand, and then those sheets. Those damned sheets. Regardless of what happened between us and my callous ways, it proves one thing. Erebus cares for me. Which is a problem. So me being me, I do what I always do. I destroy it. Everything he bought, everything he gave me. Ruined.