“I shouldn’t have touched him.”
“I shouldn’t have touched him.”
“I shouldn’t have touched him.”
I repeat it to myself over and over. It is a simple handshake in the form of the host he thinks is here, but all it does is ignite a fire inside of me that wants to burn him and this fucking place to the ground. It feels like a stab in the chest when I arrive at this overtly atrocious building. The blinding lights, the over touchy females, and him. His fucking perfect face that I now want to rip to shreds.
I stay downstairs as long as I can handle before I sneak off. Did he have to touch them? Laugh with them? While I was left to rot. He doesn’t even know I am out, and this is what he is doing. He lied to me. Made me feel bad for all those fake years thinking I had hurt him. He was wrong. So wrong. If he thought what I said before was painful, just wait until I am finished here.
Massaging my temples once more in the bathroom, I use a single hand to turn the water on. I reach forward, cupping my hands under the spray, and splash my face. My eyes shine bright gold, Harrison’s reflection staring back at me in the pitch-black bathroom.
The lights are blinding and hurt my eyes while the darkness brings me some comfort since leaving Tartarus. I had busted every light in his room. It is like my emotions, along with my powers, are a scattered mess. I have barely any control over them. I feel irritable, erratic, paranoid, and just crazy. Well, more so.
Wiping my face off with the hand towel closest to me, I turn and exit the room, heading back downstairs. The sound of glasses clinking and laughter greets me as I make my way around the large foyer. I have already picked up conversations about women wanting their turns to speak to him, and they are pissed that he keeps getting pulled away. I stay mostly to the shadows of the place. I am learning names, what they are here for, and keeping an eye on him. Every laugh they force at everything he says or the way they playfully touch his hand or arm, burns a hole in my chest. Feelings I can no longer hide from myself rage at the surface, and it is more than I can stand.
I watch as another overly excited mortal drags Erebus away, leaving the annoying loud one named Clare behind. Perfect.
Checking around me, I make sure everyone is preoccupied. I walk over to the quiet corner of the monstrous penthouse where she is having a fit. I can hear her murmuring to herself as I approach.
“Trouble in paradise already?” I ask, coming around the corner and leaning against it with my hands in my pockets.
Startled, she jumps, almost spilling her glass. “Mr. Rex, you scared me.”
“Did I? Hmm,” I smirk, “I haven’t even got to the good part yet.”
She swallows, dropping her gaze. “I-I should get back.”
She moves to step around me, and I block her with my arm, stopping her in her tracks. She stares from my arm to my face before her brows furrow. A look of confusion passes across her features.
“How did you? Your eyes have changed.” She asks with a touch of fear tingeing her tone.
I raise a single hand to touch the spot under my eye. “Did they? If you think that’s cool, watch this.”
My smile turns wicked as I let my power free from its cage. Black smoke rolls off of me as my features shift from that of Harrison’s to my true self. Long thick waves of ebony hair fall from my scalp, my height grows a few inches. Nails sharp as knives and red as sin replace his hands, and I hold them up in mock claws.
Her scream fills the hallway as she runs down a side hallway. I turn back briefly to make sure no one heard, but from the sounds of the party on the other end, they are more concerned with Erebus and how fast they can get into his pants. I head after her, the sound of her footsteps fading. I round the corner she took, which opens up into a longer hallway ending in a set of stairs. From the sounds of it, she took those up to the next level. Amateur. You never take the stairs when you are running from the bad guy. Its horror rule 101.
I walk up the stairs one by one, humming to myself as I drag my nails along the railing. The end of the staircase opens up into a foyer with a few doors littering the sides. I turn to the sound of a lock twisting shut. Smiling to myself, I dissipate completely and shoot through the air. I find the room where she decided to hide. I go underneath the door, sneaking past her, and forming solid in the chair off to the far right. I sit in the chair with my feet dangling off the side as I check my nails. She holds her ear to the door, listening for me, her palms spread against the door. The room we are in seems so nice and neat, with a freshly made bed and all the accommodations a lovely bachelorette would need. It makes me sick.
“It’s so over the top, you know?” I ask, waving my hand around the room.
She jumps and spins, leaning against the door frame. “How did you—? You’re one of them, aren’t you?”
I watch as she tries to fiddle with the lock and then meet her eyes. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you. I would just have to catch you again, and I have to be back downstairs soon, pretending to be Harrison. I just don’t have time.”
Swinging my legs over, I hop up and stalk towards her slowly, deliberately.
“Who are you?”
My nails scrape along the dresser as I walk towards her. “Mischief to some…Ruin to others.”
“Are you an ex? Because they said—”
I cut off her sentence as I form right in front of her. Raising a single hand, I gently cup her face and bring a single finger up to my lips, silencing her. “Shh, shh, all you do is talk, that’s all I heard downstairs. I would prefer the screams of the damned over your voice. Please, just stop talking. You see, the problem is that you are all in the way of unfinished business. It’s just that simple.”
She shakes her head. “I don’t understand. Look, all I wanted was a leg up in the competition.”
“I bet you did,” I snap, my eyes roaming over the front of her dress that even I admire.
I let her go, pushing off the door frame as I turn, one hand rubbing my temple. My head starts to pound, once more the painful echo of The Pit, making it hard for me to even focus on her current begging. Turning back, I catch the tail end of it as her hands dance in the air after every word.
“…what I wanted was fame, lights, and glitz. You know, like the Kardashians.”
I snort, rolling my eyes, my hands going to my hips as I look from the ceiling back to her. “You know what I wanted?”
She shakes her head from side to side, glancing at the door then back to me just as quickly.
“Peace. Maybe a puppy? A dream of a white picket fence?” I throw my hands off my hips, laughing at myself. “Who am I kidding? Maybe I wanted not to feel this aching pit in my gut.” I pause, waving a hand to my midsection. “A thousand years for me and all I felt was guilt for what I did to him, what I said. I tried to do one thing right. Send him away, and he what? Fucks twelve women in a month in some overly done penthouse?”
She flinches as my voice rises, but it’s not from that alone. The room begins to shake as the floor beneath my feet sends tiny cracks towards her. I take a calming breath, drawing what I can back in, but it’s too much. My feelings are too much. I feel the moisture graze my cheek as I wipe a single tear away. My eyes refocus on hers as I lower my hand.
“I think I tried to be good. Once. A long time ago. Tried to be different. To be anything but what I am. But this is who I am. I get hurt, I lash out, and I do terrible, terrible things.”
I form closer to her, our faces inches apart as the back of my hand slowly caresses the side of her face. She flinches from me as she closes her eyes. My insanity has terrified her, but I don’t blame her. I know without a shadow of a doubt I have lost it. My mind, myself. Lost everything, again.
“Do you get it now? Do you see? I can’t change. I don’t know how.”
She swallows, peeking through her closed eyelids. “You could. There is still time.”
My answer was barely a whisper, “No. There’s not.”