“I believe it is a stupid idea for you to be meeting with this information broker,” Adeline said.
Charlotte jumped, startled. She could never read her sister, and she believed it was because Adeline was concealing herself purposefully. “I believe you should shut the hell up and mind your own business.”
“Such animosity for your dear sister?” Adeline asked. “I mean you no harm, really. I am trying to help.”
“Help grandpa. Thats all I need from you. I can handle myself,” Charlotte said coldly.
“We are sisters,” Adeline tried again. “Yet you refuse to talk to me. I have done nothing wrong.”
“Altiere says jump, and you do it!” Charlotte roared. “You’re his little lap dog, and I have no respect for someone like that!”
Adeline didn’t even flinch as her sister yelled at her. “You shouldn’t concern yourself with what I do.”
“But you can come in here, read my messages and tell me who I can and can’t see?” Charlotte demanded. “You hypocrite.”
“I did not read your messages, I read your mind, and your heart. It is quite different. Also, I am telling you not to meddle for your own safety. Your head says one thing, but your heart says another. You have much growing up to do.”
“Get the hell out!”
“We share a room,” Adeline said. “I came to pack. Jeff is going to help me bring my things to grandpa’s house.”
Adeline purposely mentioned Jeff to see if she could get a rise from her sister. She noticed Charlotte go rigid at the utterance. “Don’t drag Jeff into this.”
“Why not? You have.” Adeline shrugged. “He just wishes to live his life, and you continuously do things to hurt him.”
“Are you insane?” Charlotte asked, her anger starting to boil over. “You’ve got to be kidding me right now! You have some damn nerve!”
“Am I wrong, Charlotte?” Adeline asked calmly. “You cannot lie to me. We are connected, more intuitively than any other set of twins could possibly be. Even more than Astra and Millie. Everytime you hurt, I can feel it. Yet, you’re unaffected. You push away whatever bond we share because you are blinded by your hatred and insecurities.”
“I’ve heard enough,” Charlotte said in a low growl.
“I am not done,” Adeline answered in a stern voice. Charlotte widened her eyes in shock, Adeline had never raised her voice to anyone. “You will listen to what I have to say, if not for your sake, for Jeffrey’s.” Charlotte didn’t move, but she lowered her eyes at her twin. “You want to go and play vixen with this man, Dionysus, but he is an elf, and elfs take more than just your kisses. They want more, always more. Dionysus is one of the lustful ones, and he has his eyes set on you. He wants your body.”
“Good,” Charlotte said coldly. “Because I want his too.”
“You do not,” Adeline said. “Think of our birth. Our mother forced dad to sleep with her, she tricked his body into speeding up time to get what she wanted. He had two children before he was even ready to grow up, and he could not give us the childhood we had wanted. You could easily make that mistake with the elf. And, you are a virgin. Even if you do not get pregnant, you would be giving up a special connection that you could share with another person. Your first time only happens once, and it should not be to spite Jeff.”
“You think this is to spite Jeff?” Charlotte demanded. “I’d go that far? For a human?”
“Cry human all that you want, but you have feelings for him, I can sense it. You do not like the feelings that you have, but they are there. You just do not recognize what they are yet. You are in denial, and confused.” Charlotte’s heart began to beat faster. How the hell could Adeline read her so well? When Jeff had comforted her, Charlotte had seen the same soft side she had seen the day she tried to brainwash him. He was talking to his mother, as if she was still alive, and no matter what Charlotte did to him, he had stayed, listened to her and even told her about himself. No one had stayed that long, besides Silas and Zander, and she was sure they were both more convinced by Millie than her. She felt pain in her chest as she thought about Jeff. He was human. He had no powers, yet he still put himself in situations that could hurt him, and it angered her. And she was confused about it, which made her angrier and she took it out on him. She was hoping that by yelling at him, shouting at him, hitting him with every low blow she could, he would just leave and she would be able to think clearly. The truth was that she had been intrigued with Jeff the moment that she found out that he was immune from her powers. Her powers were weaker than Adeline’s but that didn’t mean that a human would be unaffected. But, the real moment, she could pinpoint, that she couldn’t stop thinking about Jeffrey Bennett was obviously the moment he had told her that his parents had been killed. She had felt his emotion, it had spoken to her. So much so, that she had the urge to hug him, a feeling foreign to her. She had never cared enough about someone to want to reach out to them, and Jeff was a human. A stupid…lowly…human. Right? But, that wasn’t love, or even a crush. That was just caring about another person. Caring about someone who thought she was worth something…then her mind flew to the feeling of Jeff’s hand caressing her face as he told her comforting things. As he told her that he cared about what she had to say, and the annoying human was the first to ever say that to her. And she wondered what it’d be like for him to hold her in his arms and speak about her the way that Zander had about Millie. That’s why, she hadn’t said anything when Silas teased her and said that they had like eachother, because she had wanted to see what Jeff would do, and he didn’t seem to mind, at least he didn’t protest…
“See?” Adeline was smirking now. “Your mind is like a child’s. I am going to pretend I did not just see that closeup image of Jeff’s lips.”
“Adeline!” Charlotte shrieked. And for a moment, it was like they were children again laughing and joking with each other. “Do not tease me, I do not like him!”
“No, you love him. Because he challenges you, he is the only one who hasn’t backed down from your challenge, and it drives you insane. You should just admit it-” Adeline frowned. “You cannot combat this by going to see Dionysus. Stop that line of thinking, right now.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about, you made me think of Jeff that way,” Charlotte said. “That was not fair.”
“That was all you,” Adeline answered. “You cannot tell your heart what it feels. You have feelings, whatever they may be, for Jeff. You should cherish a friendship like his. Dionysus wants a pretty vampire on his arm. You do not think he cares about you?”
“Actually, I don’t doubt Dionysus’ intentions. He’s a nice guy. I wanted to sleep with him but then, Jeff texted me and Dionysus told me he would wait for a time when my mind was more in it,” Charlotte said. She had been so busy trying to deny her feelings for Jeff that she not only confessed her preoccupation for the man but also told Adeline what she almost did.
“You almost slept with him?” Adeline asked. She had known that. But, Dionysus had turnd her down that night, that was a shock. What was he after?
“I don’t want to talk to you anymore,” Charlotte said. “I’ll be meeting him later, you can’t stop me.” Charlotte crossed the room and began to walk away.
Adeline shook her head. She knew where her sister was going, and she would most definitely stop her. Thanks to Jeff’s presence, she was finally able to have a reason to talk to and help her sister. It was a sad truth.
“Charlotte, beautiful, it’s great to see you again,” Dionysus said.
“It is,” Charlotte said seductively. “I see you can dress like a normal person and not some sort of play boy.”
“Playboy?” Dionysus feigned shock. “Is that such a bad thing, beautiful?” He leaned forward and let his hand caress her cheek.
In a swift moment, Charlotte flinched and pulled back. Her eyes were wide with shock. That sensation…his hand had felt cold and foreign against her skin. Nothing like the way she had felt when Jeff had touched her cheek. His hand was warm, yet it sent shivers down her spine. He had been whispering sweet comforting words to her…Dionysus had been saying empty words. She knew that her sister was right, but…she would not ever admit that to her or to Jeff. She could not. Would not. “Are you alright?” Dionysus asked in concern. “I didn’t hurt you, did I?”
“No, I just uh…” Charlotte bit her lip.
Dionysus nodded. “It’s the texter from the other night, isn’t it? He on your mind again?”
“What? No!” Charlotte exclaimed. “That’s stupid.”
“It’s not,” Dionysus said. “I knew that a beautiful woman like yourself would be wrapped up in another man’s presence.”
They were at the consignment shop. Dionysus sat down on a red chair and stretched his legs out. “Beautiful gorgeous, I know when I’m not wanted. I’ll still tell you my information free of charge, and then you can be on your way.”
Charlotte bit her lip. “Whats the catch?”
“No catch, precious. I really am wildly attracted to you. Have you seen yourself, my dear?” He smirked at the red he had caused to rise on her cheeks. “I may be a sneaky man, but not in matters of the heart. I know when to butt out. But, I also don’t go back on my word and I promised you information.”
“This better be good information,” Charlotte said, unable to settle her quickly beating heart.
“It’s always good information,” Dionysus said. “I don’t give out bad information, I do have a reputation to uphold you know.”
“Just tell me!”
“Careful, Charlotte, I’m really into fiesty girls,” Dionysus teased. “But, in all seriousness, there is someone…no. Multiple people here who do not belong. Ancient Elven tradition allows us to tell when the natural order is imbalanced. Its a complicated tradition, but we can tell.”
“I already knew that,” Charlotte said. “Can you tell me who they are?”
“I can tell you where to locate one of them,” Dionysus said. “For some reason, my reading on the other is a bit hazy.”
Charlotte’s lips tunred into a large smile. “You’re not messing with me?”
Dionysus reached into his pocket and pulled out an amulet. “I happen to not only be an elf, I happen to be the elf. I’m leader of the Elven tribe.”
Charlotte’s mouth flew open. “Elven leader!? But you…we almost, what!?”
Dionysus chuckled. “I knew who you were when you walked in that night. I wante dto talk to you, I admit, to find out information about your father and his little rebellion, but you were far more captivating.”
Dionysus stood up and approached Charlotte. “I wish to offer your father my aid. If he wants an army of elves, he’ll get it.”
“I’m sorry…what?” Charlotte was taken aback by the entire sitaution. “You just offered to help us?”
“Darling, thats what I said,” Dionysus answered with a small smile. “I like you, and your spark. And Damian has stood in our way for too long. I wanted to make sure that your father knew what he was doing and not rushing into a fight that would kill all of my men. I do apologize for being a bit sneaky.”
Charlotte rubbed the back of her neck nervously. “It’s fine, if you forgive me for kind of, trying to sleep with you?”
Dionysus winked at her. “I will take you up on that offer anytime you want beautiful, but on one condition. You must be as willing of a party as me. I cannot, and will not take advantage of a pretty woman. If that thing doesn’t work out, with your texting buddy, then you know how to get in contact with me. If you’re a good girl, I’ll take you to my place, and it’s quite the humble abode. Elves live in very mysterious places.”
“Mysterious places she won’t be seeing.” Charlotte knew that voice. She whirled around to see Jeff, and…Adeline. Seeing them together angered her.
“One,” Charlotte began. “You need to mind your damn business Jeff, though I shouldn’t blame you. I’m sure Adeline dragged you into this.”
“I dragged myself into this,” Jeff said. “You need to stop whatever this is, and listen to me, alright? Your family needs you. They’re important, stop playing detective.”
“Should I leave that to you, Mr. Police officer?” Charlotte demanded, inching towards him.
Jeff stepped closer to her, accepting her challenge. “Yeah, if you have a resource like me laying around, why don’t you use me?”
“Oh, I’m sure she’ll use you.” Came Dionysus’ whimsical voice. “Charlotte, I was hoping for a finer being, but I guess it’s up to you.”
“Mind your business,” Jeff said angrily to the man. “I have no time to argue with you, luring young girls out here-”
“She is not a child, nor your female. Am I correct in both assertions?” DIonysus looked Jeff over. “I am correct. Until you man up and claim her, you cannot tell her what to do.” TO anger Jeff, he slinked his arm around Charlotte’s waist and held her tightly.
It was now Jeff’s move, but the male didn’t act. Dionysus moved in closer to Charlotte, and pulled her towards him. She didn’t resist, she knew he was up to something, and was intrigued to find out what. She was also half hoping that Jeff would (try to) defend her honor. Or something stupid and cheesy like that. “Should I just kiss her then? If you won’t make a move then I will.”
“If she wants you to, then go ahead,” Jeff said. “I won’t stop you or her. I don’t care who she gets romantically involved with. What I care is that she doesn’t try to go into a sitaution alone and get herself hurt.”
Charlotte could feel her heart shatter into thousands of pieces. She shouldn’t have cared about what an idiotic, inferior human said. But it was a rejection, the same rejection she was hoping wouldn’t come from him, of all people. She dug her fingers into Dionysus’ shoulder without realizing it, and he tightened his grip around her. “I’m sorry, I was hoping to elicit a different reaction, but such is the human male.”
“I want to see your home, your village,” Charlotte said. “I was right about humans.”
“You are being hasty,” Dionysus whispered into her ear.
“Enough! Do not toy with my sister!” Adeline grabbed the male, pried him from her sister and bared her teeth.
“I take back what I said before about feisty women, you are quite scary. A purebred vampire is a thing of legend, and now I’m seeing one up close. I am indeed, almost the luckiest man alive,” Dionysus said.
“I said enough, elf. Do not put your hands on my sister any longer. You have giver her information yes? Now be gone. Do not make me say it again.”
“Are you going to hurt me?” Dionysus asked in an amused voice. “That might be fun, but I only have eyes for your sister.”
“You miscreant, I will not have anyone else try to slide in and destroy the Gray name!” She unleashed a devestating blast on the elf, knocking him unconscious. After it was over, she let out an anguished breath and looked down at her hands. “Oh no, it is happening again…”
“Adeline, what the hell!” Charlotte shouted. “Do you know what you just did? That guy was the chief of the Elven tribe!” Charlotte kneeled by his body and produced the amulet. “He was offering to help us dethrone Dam-” Charlotte stopped talking and shook her head. “Of course, Altiere set you up for this, didn’t he?”
“No, Charlotte, listen to me,” Adeline said. “I thought he was going to harm you. He was putting such tempting thoughts into your head, I did not want for you to fall for them and into the hands of an evil power. You have all of the power of the Gray name right now, and there are people out there who hate that, I just-”
“No,” Charlotte said angrily. “That’s not how you handle it!” She approached her sister and bared her teeth. “Get the hell out of here before I kill you myself! And bring your little human pet with you!”
Even Jeff stood back from the angry girl. She was often infuriated, but never to this extent. It was terrifying. He didnt say a word to her. Instead he looked to Adeline. “Ade, we should leave.”
“Ade?” Charlotte shouted. “Oh, so after exactly, I don’t know, a few hours of actually having one conversation with my sister, you guys are on a pet name basis?”
Adeline stood between her sister and Jeff. “Charlotte! Do not hurt him!”
“Shut the hell up you pawn!” Charloote readied her power. “I told you to leave, this doesn’t concern you! You ruin everything you touch! EVERYTHING!”
Adeline’s breath quickened. Her head began to pound and she dropped to her knees. “I did not mean to ruin your life. I did not mean it…”
“Charlotte!” Jeff demanded. “What the hell?”
She leaned forward, clutching his collar tightly. She was a few inches from his face. Her teeth were bared and for a moment, Jeff actually thought, it may have been the end. Then, just like that, she released him. “Get out of here, now. Both of you. I will not say it again.”
Adeline struggled to her feet and held the boy’s arm for support. “I am weak from helping grandpa…” She mumbled. “I think Charlotte may actually be able to end me, if she tried hard enough. We must leave.”
Jeff nodded, a look of disgust on his face as he watched the girl he had contemplated his attraction for. No, he was wrong. Whatever he had felt earlier was gone. This was not the girl he would give everything up for. This was madness, pure evil.