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The movie credits began to roll. Kess put on his jacket and picked up Sara's. He began to make his way up the to the exit. What had happened? Was she sick? He frowned, not liking that idea at all. Surely Kyden hadn't...
No. His fist had clenched and he forced his fingers to relax before someone noticed and got scared. If anything happened to Sara, he would be the first to know. There was no mistaking that. She was his. It was his right and his duty to know if she was in danger.
The lights came on and he gave himself a moment to adjust to the sudden brightness. There she was. Sitting with those losers from the shopping mall. Making out with Josh Gray. No shame about anyone seeing. Including him.
He threw her jacket at her. "I'm leaving. You coming or not?"
She pushed away from the guy like he had a disease. A little late for that now. She put on her jacket and walked beside him, her head lowered. Good. At last she had the sense to look a little guilty.
Little pellets of hail slapped against the pavement, mirroring his mood. He put the key in the ignition and began to drive away.
"Kess, I can explain everything--"
"Save it." He spared her a glance before returning his attention to the road. She looked like she was going to be sick. Awesome; they matched. She looked how he felt. "You do this shit every time I take you anywhere. I'm done being used."
"What?" She touched his arm and he shrugged her hand away. "He tried to put me under compulsion. I had no choice."
"He tried. Did he succeed?"
"Then choice was the one thing you did have." His hands gripped the steering wheel tight. If he kept that up he'd break it. "And you chose to kiss him."
"What could you have done? You were six rows down."
His foot slammed the breaks, only catching the red light at the last minute. A horn from the car in front shared its driver's displeasure.
"Watch the road! I'd like to arrive alive, thanks." She reached down and began to fiddle with the radio.
He grabbed her hand and pushed it away; the radio went off. "Did I say I was finished yet? Where were we... Ah, what could I have done?"
"I didn't want to see my friends end up like the gingerbread--"
The light turned green and Kess pressed the gas. He knew he was going too fast but he didn't give a damn. He couldn't believe what she'd just said. "First up: your friends suck. They treat you like crap. I hate them. Yet they're still breathing."
"You missed the turn."
He kept driving, taking an on ramp a few miles up the road and putting them out on the 401. "I know where I'm going. I just can't believe you chose to be at something's mercy rather then to trust me."
"I didn't want to cause a scene." She sounded like she was talking about the weather.
"Something tried to use compulsion on you. You are human. You can die." How could she place so little value on her life? He let out a slow breath, fighting to keep his temper under control. He knew he wasn't winning. "If the choice is between your life or the fucking theatre exploding, I don't care. Let it go boom. You come first."
"I've busted my butt to make a place for myself here. I don't want to ruin it."
He pulled the car to the side of the highway and brought it to a stop. "That's it? I'd ruin your perfect existance? That we both know is a pile of shit?"
"I've done my best." Her eyes were glossy. "Don't feel bad. I didn't expect it to be good enough for you."
"You don't get it." Lightning flashed a few feet away, lighting the inside of the SUV. She wasn't even looking at him. She seemed busy looking at the beads on her pants. He reached over and shook her shoulder. "Do you fucking know who I am?"
"If I don't that's your fault." She had a point. "Then again, do you even know who you are really? I had to tell you about the Inklings."
"I'm a Sealer. You know what that is?"
The look on her face told him she did. "The one person I have worked to avoid. Why are you telling me this now?"
"I've been having trouble judging your case." Her hand rested on the unlock button for the door and he smiled. "Don't. It's useless. Just let me finish."
"Like hell I won't." Sara opened the door and jumped out. The rain soaked through her coat as if it was not there. Oh yeah, this had been a bright idea.
So had going on a date with a Sealer. Dammit. How had she been this stupid? How had she not figured it out? Then again he was what, a year older then her?
"Get back in the car. It's dangerous out here." As if to proove his point, a bolt of lightning struck a few feet away, luminating the area with its brilliance. In a blink Sara felt Kess' arms around her. She found herself back in the car before she even had time to protest. "You want to throw your life away? Fine. But not in front of me."
"I don't understand. You--"
"I'll always protect you. No matter what." His arms circled her and she let herself be held. How was it that he stayed warm and dry when the heavens seemed to be weeping? She felt his breath, warm against her ear. His lips pressed a kiss to its lobe. "Sarena, forget you ever met me."
She jerked away from him like he'd slapped her. She could feel the power of his voice as the compulsion traveled through her body. She scrambled to put up shields, only to have each of them collapse under the intensity of his power. When had he gotten this strong?
Her throat tightened and tears welled up, threatening to fall. She blinked rapidly to hold them in. No way she would give him the satisfaction. Her shields became smaller, weaker. It wasn't doing any good trying to hold back her reaction to his power. She couldn't fight both. Either he or the tears were going to win. The tears could have it.
She focused and imagined herself giving his compulsion a large push. She wanted to force it from her body. Kess stumbled back and landed on his ass. He blinked looking up at her. Mud, dirt and blades of grass were stuck to his black leather coat. "Not bad for a human. I don't get why you fought me, though."
"For a human?" She got back into the SUV but left the door open so he could hear her. "Fine. I'll take that as a compliment. What you did wasn't bad either. For a coward."
The drive back to the house was filled with uneasy silence. Kess had turned on the heat to help dry their clothes, but without the usual chatter between them the dry air made her mind foggy. The car finally rounded the last turn and pulled into the driveway.
She went to open the door, but Kess' hand stopped her. She turned to see what he wanted. "About the compulsion--"
"It's okay. I forgive you. You were mad."
He shook his head. His eyes still looked like they had no iris whatsoever. He reached out and touched her face, his fingers cool against her warm skin. She smiled at him. Trusted him. Everything would be fine.
"Pretend that it worked." He took his hand from her face and began to open the door. "You're good at that."
The door slammed shut behind him. Sara watched him walk up the stairs and go through the front door. Yet she sat where she was, unable to move. She could feel her stomach knotting. It was like she had eaten raw worms; or at least it was as slimy as she imagined that would be.
It was over, whatever it had been. He didn't want her anymore. Her mind still in a daze she went into the house and took the stairs to her bedroom two at a time. Closing the door behind her she flopped onto her bed.
It didn't matter that she was soaking wet. It didn't matter that her boots were covered in mud. The only thing that mattered was that it felt like there was a hole in her heart and she had no idea how she was going to fill it back in.
She noticed that someone had put her Hello Kitty back on her bed. She pulled it against her and curled up in a little ball. This time when the tears came she surrenedered to them. She'd only known him a week. It shouldn't have hurt this much. She stared at her iPhone sitting on her bedside table. She could not think of one person to call who wasn't going to say "I told you so."
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Now to quit being lazy and get to work on Chapter 10. :D Anyway, let me know what you think.