Book 2 – Ch.#10
The plan was simple; Track down Kieran and demand he fix whatever he did to me.
With Noah tied up and locked inside a cupboard, I would head towards the hotel which had been listed i n Victor Lycroft’s information folder.
With any luck, his son had the same taste in accommodation.
Once I found him and got my answers, I’d then just have him undo the effects before going back to Noah t o finish the job.I’d complete my mission tonight and get back home without any issues.
As a result, Father would begin to trust me again and Gavin wouldn’t need to drag me back into the basement.
Everyone will be happy.
Well…except probably Noah.He’d be dead.
But that was unfortunately just the way it had to be.
‘C’est la vie’ some would say.Now to just pray that nothing went wrong.I hailed a taxi and gave the driver directions to the hotel, doing my best to make my clothes seem more casual on the way over.
There wasn’t much I could do but I worked with what I had.
By the time I arrived, there was nothing on me that would stand out too much in a public setting.
Upon stepping out of the car though, I found the hotel was surprisingly large.
The kind of place only the very wealthy could afford which, given he was the son of a literal mayor, I guess that made sense.
Though for a small town I’d never heard of before, they sure seemed to have the cash to spare.
Whilst this was an interesting thing to note, it unfortunately meant that sneaking in was going to be difficult.
The place would have security cameras and staff walking around everywhere.
So how was I meant to…And then I smelt it.
That intoxicating scent that I could recall so vividly now.
The one belonging to Kieran.
He was here or, at least, he’d been here sometime recently.I would just need to follow it and hopefully scope out the area before entering his room.
But the scent didn’t lead me towards the elevator as I expected.
No, it led me to the hotel’s bar area.
A place where far too many people would be around to witness.
Certainly not an ideal development in this plan.
“Apologies, madam,” a man at the entrance said, holding a hand out to pause me.
“I just need to quickly confirm your name and room number, or the room number of the person you’re here to see.” I stared at him blankly, confused.
This hotel was apparently far more exclusive than I’d realised.
However, I’d had to deal with far worse obstacles than this before.
“Oh! Is that so?” I asked innocently.
“That’s a little awkward…You see, I was sent here to surprise Mr Lycroft but no one told me his room number.I guess i t was just a mix-up.Isn’t there any way I could still g o inside? Just this once?”
He looked uncertain and taken a little off guard.
This wasn’t the kind of job where you’d want to accidentally insult the wrong influential person.
“Oh …Well I suppose I could quickly go in and find him to confirm.Mr Lycroft you said?”
He took a step away as if to enter, but I knew if he did that and Kieran told them to not let me in, then this whole plan would become messy.
“That won’t do,” I said a little too quickly.
I then walked over to gently touch his arm.
“As mentioned, it’s meant to be a surprise.We haven’t seen each other in the longest time and his father, Victor, told m e Kieran was in town.”
“Madam…we have precautions in place to ensure the safety and privacy of our gu—.”
“The whole family will be so disappointed if it’s ruined.We’ve been planning this for a while now.I know Victor likes to come here regularly when he’s here for business.It would be a shame if this one unpleasant experience tarnished that…Especially if I have to call the family so late for something so petty ”
Immediately, he became flustered, but I didn’t give him any more time to process the situation.
After all, bad decisions were always made under pressure.
“Please…,” I repeated, giving him my best smile.
And it only took a few more seconds before, finally, h e cracked.
“Okay…very well.I’ll just need your name for the record and you can head on inside.”
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A feeling of smug giddiness rose inside me as I won the small victory, and I instantly started walking towards the door.
“You can call me Raven,” I called back.
And I entered the bar before he could ask any further questions.
Inside, it was far quieter than I’d expected.It was mostly a lot of people sitting close together having intimate conversations in low voices.
The sort of atmosphere one would expect from a fancy establishment.
Definitely not the kind of place I personally liked to have a drink, but I was familiar with the vibe nevertheless.
However, I wasn’t here today for that.I was here to find *him*.
And, right now, I could still catch his scent as it slowly became stronger the further inside I traveled.
I followed it carefully, screening the faces of every person I walked past, but none were of the man I met days earlier.
In fact, by the time I’d done a lap of the entire floor, I was beginning to worry I’d walked past him entirely.
Just where the hell was he? I kept walking, heading towards another small group seated…
and that’s when I finally found it.
His scent, not within the room itself, but veering off through a door to somewhere else.
A door that held a sign saying ‘Staff Only’.
Well, obviously that wasn’t going to stop me.
Waiting until I was certain all the servers and staff weren’t looking, I slipped through the door and continued to follow his scent until it led me into a back storage area.
The space seemed pretty untouched for the most part, clearly not used very often.
The only question I had though was why was he here of all places…? It was almost as if he knew I was tracking him…but that was impossible.
For that, he would have to know I could trace his scent, which was already unnatural in itself.
So many questions were swimming in my head but, as I rounded the corner, everything seemed to just…slip away.
And once again I found myself falling into that trance as [ met his expectant hazel eyes.
It was hard to explain, but seeing him again made me start to feel almost calm.
Like something inside that had been scratching away was finally ceasing.
All because he was here.
Because I was in front of him, within feet of being able to touch him.
Just like the night we first met, he wore a perfectly fitted suit, his dark brown hair styled to match.
Gorgeous in every possible way.
Almost impossibly so.It took everything I had inside me to not just immediately rush into his arms…though I couldn’t say the same for him.
As soon as he caught my eye, he instantly moved forward as if to embrace me, but it was that very same movement that made me remember why I was here.
A reason that was to fix this exact issue, one which was causing me to feel this way about a complete stranger.
He quickly stopped himself as I took a step back warily.
“Raven,” he said, sounding almost relieved, and it caused a shiver to spread through me at the sound of his voice.
“I’ve been looking for you for days.Do you have any idea how worried I was?”
Here I was thinking that I was the one losing my mind, and yet this guy was almost certifiable, acting a s though we were close friends.
Was I missing something?
“What…? ” was all I managed to say, so extremely confused by this turn of events.
“I wanted to give you some time to cool down before I explained a few things to you, but it’s almost as if you don’t exist,” he said.
“I asked several different people about you, trying to find out how I could contact you, but out of everyone I spoke to, only one person seemed to know of you.Something that they even admitted to not knowing prior to the charity event.”
Mayor Lewis.It would have to be him since I didn’t end up slaying at the event long enough to meet anyone else.
“Why the hell were you looking for me?” I asked.
“Is this your grand scheme? Drug a girl then stalk her? Why are you even doing this?”
“I didn’t do anything.What you’re experiencing is completely natural.It’s—”
“Bullshit!” I said, cutting him off.
“People don’t just meet someone and instantly become infatuated.It doesn’t stop them from being able to function…or work…or do anything.I tracked you down for the sole purpose of making you reverse this.I want my life back.”
No, I needed it.I needed it more than anything if I wanted to stay in my father’s good book.
“Raven, it doesn’t work like that.I can’t just undo it.It has to be—.”
“Enough!” I yelled, and I pulled out my dagger.
“Fix what you did to me.Right now.”
I was hoping this would be a civil conversation but he was proving to be stubborn, giving me excuses rather than solutions.
If it was between drawing blood or going back to my father empty-handed, the choice Was easy.
“Woah…slow down,” he said.
“Just take it easy fora second.”
But I didn’t let him lull me into another trance, choosing to act instead.
I charged towards him with the intent of holding him up at knifepoint; just enough to scare him into taking me seriously.I was quick and had training, so it should have been a piece of cake…
I forgot that h e was also just as skilled, proving that back when we’d met the first time.
Before I could get my dagger anywhere near him, suddenly he was wielding one of his own as he deflected off my attack easily.
A weapon that looked awfully familiar.
..In fact, upon closer inspection, it was definitely mine.He must have kept it this whole time.
“Calm down!” he yelled.
“I can explain everything but you need to just chill for a minute.”
But I was angry.
Angrier than I’d ever felt before in m y entire life.
So many feelings bubbling inside that I wasn’t used to, all jumbling around confused with whatever he’d done to me.
I was angry at him, at my own new inability to function.
Angry at my failures, at my situation… and I was scared.
Scared of going home, knowing I would b e losing both my father’s respect and my usefulness t o him.
..And so I swiped my dagger again, angry tears beginning to form at my eyes as my desperation increased.
“I don’t have to hurt you,” I answered.
“Just fix me and we can go our separate ways.”
He deflected the dagger again and proceeded to be on the defensive as I advanced.
Moving fluidly as if he’d been doing this sort of thing his entire life.
For me, it was the first time facing someone who was anywhere near as skilled, if not more so, than I was.
Something that was both impressive and concerning at the same time.
It meant that this might not be as easy as I’d anticipated.
I kept on attacking, aiming for areas that I thought he left open, and yet he somehow managed to defend perfectly every time.
Faster and faster I moved, but nothing seemed to work.
Soon, he was moving as quickly as I was at full speed.
…A speed that I knew wasn’t normal.
“Who are you! ?” I yelled in frustration.
“Why won’t you just help me?”
Another swipe.I could feel as my angry tears started to overflow and began falling down my face in defeat.
..And, slowly, I came to a stop.
“I don’t understand why you’re doing this…What do you want from me?”
That seemed to make him falter for a moment and I saw as he relaxed in his stance.
Only, of course, I didn’t let that chance go to waste.I moved in quickly again, catching him off guard, and pushed him against the wall to hold the knife to his throat.
“Go on,” he said, his face so close to mine that I could feel his heavy breathing almost mixing with my own.
“Go on and do it then.Just try.”
“Are you crazy?” I asked incredulously.
“Why are you so ready to die for this?”
And then I felt it.His hand coming up and touching mine.Those same intense sparks erupting through m e, instantly making my head become clouded.
“Stop that,” I hissed, trying to press past it.
Trying to go through with the threat I’d issued.
However, the more I tried to resist, the more I struggled to remain firm in my resolve.
“Just stop telling me excuses already! You think I won’t do it?” But, truthfully, he’d called a bluff I didn’t even know was an issue.
Because he was right.
..I couldn’t do it.
Just like with Noah.
Just like every time I’d met Kieran.
He had a hold over me…and I was apparently helpless to it.
“I can’t tell you without giving you context first,” he said, trying to slowly move my hand away.
“There are things you don’t understand about yourself and, honestly, I probably should have been more upfront about it.I guess I got carried away and found it a little amusing that you didn’t know.That was my mistake and I’m sorry, Raven.I shouldn’t have teased you and, instead, I should have just immediately told you the truth.”
“You don’t know anything about me.Stop acting like you do.”
“Don’t I?” he asked.
“Didn’t I guess every single thought in your head as if I were reading you like a book? It wasn’t a drug, Raven.It’s biology.
“What about that unnatural speed and strength you seem to have? Senses that don’t even come close to being comparable to others? How else could I know that you would be able to follow me back here without seeing me?”
I felt as my hand loosened a little from surprise and Kieran instantly took advantage of that lapse to grab the dagger from my grip.
He knew far more about me than I realised, things that would be difficult to find out even after investigating me thoroughly.
Somehow, he knew it all.He knew it all…and, to my surprise, he knew my secret too.
The one I kept hidden, buried so deep from everyone for my own safety.
The one that only my father and I knew about.
The creature I kept locked up inside.
“And I know about the wolf,” he said simply.
A statement that made my blood run cold.
“I bet it was a bit surprising on your eighteenth birthday, right?” he said gently, as if that was going t o make any of this better.
“Having no idea what you were and then suddenly you have four paws and a tail? I can’t imagine going through that alone, completely in the dark about what was happening.Having no one around to explain it to you.”
I took a few steps back in fear, terrified over how he could possibly know that.
Even if he had witnessed me change on accident, there was no way he could have found out that it had started on my eighteenth birthday.
“I saw how overwhelmed you were over just meeting me so I didn’t want to rush you into this world,” he continued.
“…But I also didn’t expect you to accuse m e of drugging you or to attack me.”
“I -I don’t understand how you know this,” I fumbled, taking another shaky step backwards.
But he didn’t even hesitate to match my step, moving towards me.
“You’re not human, Raven.You’ve never been human,” he said.
“I know…because I’m the same.We’re exactly the same.”
He took a deep breath, as if prepping himself for whatever he was going to say next, and looked me dead in the eye as he answered.
“You’re a werewolf, Raven.”