I still didn’t like it but it was better. Alex’s hands were full with his bags and I had bags too but that didn’t stop Alex from pressing himself against me while we rode up in the elevator, “Just in case.” He said as if he was preparing for me to freak out.
I leaned against him more than I leaned against the wall, I pressed my face to his neck and caught a nose full of the things I had been avoiding. “Fuck!” I whispered out without meaning to but I never moved from his body. He was warm and comforting and in all reality I didn’t care what he smelled like I could block it out but I liked the way he smelled. Wanted to drown in him and just him.
Alex whispered, “I can take another shower if you think it’ll help.” The doors dinged open and we walked off the elevator to my floor. Alex looked around a little lost. “How the fuck do you find your way around this place?”
“You get used to it. Just think about my room and the door will glow, and if you get lost the doors will point the way.” I pointed at the glowing runes and the direction the colors were changing. It was like the dangerous curve lights on the side of the highways up in the mountains. ‘Go this way’, they said.
“Still, I don’t know how you do it. What about your human friends?”
“Mia and Jace see what they expect to see. The human eyes are trained to see what they expect. They don’t see what they don’t believe in.”
“You mean magic?”
I shrugged. “I guess, but there are people who are attuned to the occult, and see the magic of your world.”
“Why do I?”
“Because you’re a path. Your brain is wired differently and you can see the truth of thing.”
“I’m nothing special.”
I smiled at him. “You are special, even if you don’t feel that much different from anyone else. I mean you can hear someone else’s thoughts. You don’t think that’s special?”
Alex let out a curt laugh, “Looks who’s talking?”
I grinned at him. “I’m not special in my world. I’m just like everyone else except not as good as they are.” I shrugged. “I’m special in your world because I can do unfathomable things, but here, I’m just another grunt doing the work.”
“So I’m special you aren’t?” He grinned at me – mocking my words. “I can live with that.”
“Me too.” I said. The door to our right started blinking furiously. “Touch the door.”
Alex looked at me, and a smirk grew on his face, “Sounds kinda kinky.”
I laughed. “Please?”
“Ah, fuck! Don’t say it like that.” Alex sighed and touched the door and it swung inward. “What the fuck?”
“It’s attuned to you.”
“Why? You barely know me I could walk in now, steal your stuff and walk out and you’d never know.”
“I’d know when the things were missing and I’d know who did it. The runes can be read and understood and keep records of things.”
“But there are no cameras?” Alex said looking around.
“It’s dna encoded, or magic or something, but it uses something very specific to you to open for you.” Alex pushed the door open and I used a weave of air to shut it behind us.
“Where’s your cat?”
I shrugged. “Dunno, she’ll show up around dinner time. The door is attuned to Fee too. She can come and go as she pleases. She just has to walk by it and it’ll open for her then close behind her.”
“Handy. Where do you want me to put this?” He lifted the bag of beverages he purchased.
I shrugged. “Find a place. I usually keep the wine in the fridge.”
Alex grinned, “I could leave it here on the counter so it looked like you were a lush.”
“And then my father might drink it all and you’d not have anything to drink when you came over.” I taunted back.
“Just blame it on your Dad.” He grinned. He set the other bag on the bar and stood near the door. I was afraid he was going to bolt without his pancakes. I’d said a lot, thought a lot and now he was running away again.
He shook his head, “I’m going to grab a shower, see if I can’t make you feel a little more comfortable.” He headed off in the direction of my drawers, “I’m going to borrow a pair of shorts and a t-shirt.” He turned and looked at me almost as if he were afraid I’d say no it would make things worse.
“Borrow whatever you want.” I grinned and watched him open up the top drawer tentatively.
He was smirking as he made a visible sigh of relief. “You think I have some red lingerie in there or something?”
Alex guffawed with a grin and grabbed a t-shirt. Then opened up the second to bottom drawer on the other side and pulled out a pair of shorts. He even did so from the right spot so I wouldn’t freak out later. “Reading my mind are you?”
He smiled. “You are an open book. I’m truly amazed at what just sits on top. I don’t even have to dig for those deep dark secrets.” He looked up and his smile slipped a little, “Making your own porns?”
I shook my head. “No. But…” I sighed, “I’m sure Sage has kept some of the things he’s seen on it.”
I sighed. “The camera was installed to see if we could catch anything on video while I went through my nightmares. Sage hacked it the first time he was here after i installed it. We had an arrangement.”
“You let him what, watch you get fucked?” His anger grew on his face.
“I’ve never brought anyone home until you. You are the first person other than my friends to walk in this door.”
“What about your fucking vampire prince? He’s been here.”
“I’ve never had sex with Ant. Not once, not ever. There was a time, a very short time in which it might have happened, but I didn’t go through with it.”
I dropped my eyes again and I heard him growl as he stalked towards me. “Because I was in love with someone else. It’s not Ant’s fault his bite is intoxicating. And it’s not my fault the power is like bacon to vampires.” I wanted to laugh, to lighten the mood, but the tension in the room was so high that even the joke Armande made had me wanting to curl up and forget things – forget the world and just die. I closed myself off, not from Alex but from myself. He could read me, I didn’t care if he got it all. It was better if he saw how fucked up I was now and left before I got too attached. “But I never had sex with him. We are close but it’s not romantic, or sexual even if it looks that way on the outside. I already told you I have a desire, a need to touch and Ant isn’t shy and… ” I stopped talking. I was only going to make things worse. So I started putting the groceries away.
The baking supplies except for the eggs and milk went above the stove and I reached up and shoved them into the cabinet. And sighed as I turned around. Alex was still standing by the drawers watching me. “If the camera is a big deal.” I reached out my hand and wove a plate of air and smashed the camera that had been stuck to my ceiling for the past 5 years. “We never see anything on it anyway.” Just me sleeping and the blood flowing through the sheets. My power wasn’t captured on camera, just the physical representations they made. The tentacles of elements were raw material not actual things but they felt real. Did real damage.
The weave of air floated down with the debris on it from the camera and I put it in the garbage bin . I’d remove the remaining black plate on the ceiling later. I risked meeting Alex’s eyes and frowned, “Are you staying for pancakes?”
He blinked at me and then up at the ceiling. “I think I should go.” Alex set the shirt and shorts on the top of my dresser and looked at me. “I’ve lost my appetite and I just keep setting you off.”
“No. Don’t go.” I whined and clamped my mouth shut at the sound of my own voice. I took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Whatever you need to do Alex.”
“If I stay I’m only going to make you worse. And I know you have an important case and I’m just a distraction.”
I sighed and turned around. “If you leave I’m just going to curl up in bed and do nothing anyway.” I said as I put away the bacon, eggs and milk. I could call Ant but that would be exactly what Alex thought I’d do and I was pretty sure he already hated the vampire. I don’t need to give Alex another reason to do so. Ant was my friend. Nothing more.
I stood there waiting for him to move. To do something. He just watched me. I felt his touch in my head. He wasn’t digging just listening to the mess in my head. Everything hurt. I was having a hard time breathing. My thoughts reached in every direction. I could barely think straight. I couldn’t do it anymore. I sat down on the kitchen floor, my back to the corner cabinets. My arms hung over my knees and my head hung low. I didn’t cry. I just sat there taking deep breaths and trying to get a hold of myself.
The door opened and closed without so much as a goodbye. I felt the tears fall then. Why was I so broken?