There wasn’t any doubt in my mind. The extreme jealousy and powerful emotions came from the man in the car. I needed to get to the bottom of the situation. I am nobody’s puppet, and I don’t play games.
I looked at Jealousy. He stared at me with a sinful grin on his face. The sparkle in his eye revealed his excitement for the act that was to come. I wasn’t sure how I would handle the situation, but I knew it would be with violence. Jealousy could feel it as I did.
“If it was him,” I whispered, “then why was he wounded?”
I turned to look at the snuggled couple. The man, spooning the woman, didn’t have a rough-looking exterior. He had the look of an investment banker. At least, that’s how he appeared from what I could deduce through the darkness and the round prescription glasses that rested on the nightstand on his side of the bed.
“Looks can be deceiving,” Jealousy said, peering over my shoulder at the sleeping man. “You know that personally, Din.”
“I don’t know what to do,” I said.
“Sure you do, Din,” he replied. “This situation is yours. This is the type of situation that’s tailor-made for you, for us. Just being in this house, near the deceiver in the car, makes my being vibrate with anticipation.”
“I’m glad one of us is having fun,” I interjected, keeping my eyes focused on the pair of sleeping mortals.
I couldn’t deny what Jealousy said because my soul vibrated wildly with power. The emotions of jealousy and hatred fueled my being. When the tremors were at their peak, my abilities became limitless.
Hatred, I’d completely forgotten about her and what this situation could cause. If I brought the two men together, that could summon her here. That was not something I wished for. I had been trying to avoid it this whole time.
“You’re wise to separate them, Din,” Jealousy said, interrupting my thoughts about Hatred.
“Yes, but how do I get the truth?”
“Trust your judgment,” he answered. “Trust yourself. There’s more to you than just influence and control over us.”
I leaned against the door jamb, rubbing my temples. I moved my hand down, over my mouth, as I looked to the sleeping couple for an answer. Inside, I hoped for a sign, something that would reveal the correct reaction to the circumstances I had been thrust into.
The pull from the car, that unmistakable feeling, was too great. My heart pumped harder every second I thought about it. My senses all heightened at once, making my mind race and hindering my critical thinking skills.
I knew the longer I stood there, the greater the risk the man would leave the car and make his way to the house. I couldn’t allow that to happen. If these men were to be in the same place at the same time, especially if they fought to the point of death, Hatred would arrive. That wouldn’t be good for me. Even with her miles away and underground, I could feel her ferocious anger burning.
The man snorted awake for a moment, then turned over to his side. His back faced me, leaving the woman isolated on her side of the bed. She must have felt the chill from his absence. She awoke, leaning upward and turning her body to the edge of the bed.
I carefully twisted myself away from the doorway, placing my back against the hallway wall. Jealousy chuckled, staring at the woman. I could hear her yawn before the floor creaked, announcing her arrival into the hallway.
Turning in the other direction toward the kitchen, she didn’t notice me. This was my opportunity. It was the only way to obtain the answers I needed to react appropriately to the delicate situation.
I walked behind her, keeping my footsteps light enough to avoid revealing my position at her back. The last thing I needed was for her to scream and alert the mortal sleeping in their bedroom. I would have to act swiftly to prevent Hatred’s potential arrival. I wanted to know the truth.
The woman moved into the kitchen, retrieving a glass from one of the cupboards. She filled it with water from the sink faucet. I crept behind her and stood at her back. When she finished the water, she placed the glass in the sink and turned around.
I pressed my hand over her mouth as I wrapped my other hand around her throat. I wanted to muffle any screams while letting her know I meant business. Her blue eyes widened with fear, heightened by the faint light shining in from the window. To my surprise, she didn’t put up a fight or try to scream.
“I’m not going to hurt you,” I assured, with a quiet tone. I didn’t want my voice to awaken the mortal in the other room and complicate things. “I’m only here to talk. I’m going to remove my hand from your mouth, but if you scream, I will break your neck.” I squeezed tighter around her neck. “Blink if you understand.” She blinked quickly.
I peeled my hand from her lips while keeping a firm grip on her neck. She complied and didn’t scream or make a sound. Tears rolled from the corners of both eyes, disappearing behind her tilted jaw.
“All I’m going to do is ask you a few questions,” I instructed. “Answer them truthfully, and I will leave. You’ll never see me again. If you lie to me, I’ll know, and you’ll wish you never saw me. Understand? Blink twice if you understand.”
She blinked twice with two rapid flutters.
“Who’s that man in there?”
“My husband,” she answered with a throaty whisper.
“I knew it,” Jealousy added with a snicker.
“Where was he tonight?”
“With his brother.”
“When did he get home?”
“A couple of hours ago.”
“She’s being truthful, Din,” Jealousy interjected.
“Was anything off about him or anything strange when he came home?” I asked, implying I knew the answer. She nodded. “What?”
“He had blood on his hands and clothes,” she explained. I loosened my grip on her neck slightly. “He rushed into the shower with his clothes on. When I asked him about it, he said he got into a fight with his brother and didn’t want to talk about it.”
“Does this happen frequently?”
“Din, stop asking the useless questions,” Jealousy groaned.
“Not like that,” she replied.
“Before you open your mouth again, asking whatever you’re going to ask, think about the mortal we left in the car,” Jealousy urged. “We’ve kept him waiting long enough.”
“Are you in love with his brother?”
“There you go, Din,” Jealousy added.
“No,” she replied, shaking her head in confusion. “What does that have to do with—”
“I’m asking the questions,” I growled, reaffirming my grip on her throat. “Have you slept with him or carried on some sort of affair?”
“No, of course not. I love my husband. What is this about?”
“Enter our complication,” Jealousy joked.
“What the hell is going on?” The man shouted, turning the kitchen light on.
My head snapped around to find her husband standing at the kitchen entrance. His fist was balled up, and he had a murderous look. His eyes were opened wide, staring at his wife, with his nostrils flared.
“Calm down,” I instructed calmly.
“Calm down?” he yelled. “You broke into my house, and you’re holding my wife.”
“He’s asking about your brother,” she shrieked, choking under my grip. “And the blood.”
The man’s demeanor softened. His shoulders slouched slightly as he peered into my eyes. He seemed to struggle with holding back his emotions. His eyes welled up with tears, and he breathed rapidly.
“How do you know my brother?” he growled.
“We just met,” I answered. “I found him bleeding out, half-dead, in the snow off the road a bit. Your wife just told me you came home covered in blood.”
“Mention the fact he showered with his clothes on,” Jealousy added, propping himself onto the countertop.
“It’s not what you think,” he advised.
“What did you do?” his wife cried out.
“You know how he is, how he can get,” the man said to his wife.
“You didn’t…?” she said.
“I had to,” he shouted. “He would have done it to me if I hadn’t done it first.” The man shifted his stare to me. “He was delusional. He was always jealous of me and our marriage.”
“That’s true,” Jealousy interjected.
“He convinced himself she loved him and wanted to run off with him,” he continued. “He wasn’t right in the head. He thought if I was no longer around that she would actually—”
“Hello, Brother,” the man from the car said, standing at the open back door.
He seethed as he glared at the husband from across the room. His face trembled uncontrollably with anger. The undeniable pull toward the man I had saved tripled in strength. It was obvious he boiled with angry jealousy.
This is not what I wanted. I thought I could slip in, obtain the answers I needed, and slip out before this altercation could manifest itself. The feeling of jealousy was overwhelming, and hate would soon follow. I didn’t want to intervene in mortal life, but this squabble I had inserted myself into assured me I could no longer act as a spectator.
“This situation has reached an unhealthy level, Din,” Jealousy said, leaning close to my ear. “You need to act quickly, or do I have to remind you what typically follows angry jealousy? So, who’s it going to be, Din?”