Larger Font   Reset Font Size   Smaller Font  

Leif (Existence), Page 2

Abbi Glines

  I leaned back in my chair. “It sure seems to me that you’ve got a lot of ideas where I’m concerned. You sure have put a lot of thought into someone you don’t like very much.” The instant blush on her cheeks told me that I’d made some progress. If I could show her I wasn’t the guy she thought I was then I had hope that she’d love me back someday. Preferably soon. “Who knows Pagan, you may like me before this is over.”


  She was warming up to me. From the way her eyes followed me down the hall and studied me from across the cafeteria, I knew her feelings toward me were changing. Our nights spent studying were now easy. We talked and laughed with none of the awkwardness that I’d been faced with in the beginning. She wasn’t nervous around me anymore. My only problem was the fact Death was still watching her.

  I could feel her gaze on me as she walked down the hallway. She wanted me to turn and look at her. The attraction was like a tingling sensation running through my body. But I couldn’t. Death was near her. He was the cold barrier keeping me from saying anything to her or even meeting her gaze. He’d see me and study me too closely. I didn’t want him to realize the soulless being that he was obviously dismissing was more than he assumed. I wasn’t one of Hell’s many servants. I was the Prince of Voodoo. Dankmar didn’t need to realize that too soon. It would mess up everything.

  He spoke … and Pagan heard him. What? Could she see Death too? I knew my claim on her soul allowed her to see lost souls but could it also let her see Death as well? Listening to the guys around me talking about Friday night’s game was impossible. I needed to hear what he was saying. Why was Dankmar talking to a soul? What could he possibly have to say to her? He was here to take her, or at least try to. This was not normal. I needed to speak to my father. He would understand this.

  I tuned out everyone around me but Pagan. I couldn’t see Dankmar. I could only feel him. I also couldn’t hear him. But she could. She was speaking to him. How?

  “I’m not bothered,” she hissed through her teeth as she opened her locker door. What did that mean? Dammit I needed to hear what he was saying too.

  Slowly she turned her head to look at him. He must be beside her. I still could only see her. But she was studying him closely. Was her time drawing near and he was letting her know? Didn’t he normally just do that with children? Why would he be giving her a heads-up?

  “Staring at them will only make things worse. Ghede would advise against making a scene,” Kendra’s icy tone reminded me to speak with Father again about getting rid of her. She wasn’t helping things. She’d grown attached to me. That had never been the plan.

  “This isn’t your business, Kendra,” I reminded her in a hard voice. If she didn’t step out of my way I would remove her myself.

  “I wonder if he’s as sexy as everyone says,” she purred.

  “Who says Dankmar is sexy?” An alarm went off in my head. Was Death attractive?

  “Everyone who has seen him. I’ve heard he has the bluest eyes ever created and thick black hair that is slightly too long. His smile is always cocky and his body is built for—“

  “Okay that’s enough. I don’t want to hear anymore of your bullshit. He’s Death. He can’t be sexy.” That made no sense. I watched as Pagan’s expression turned soft. What was he saying to her? Was she attracted to him?

  “It makes perfect sense, my prince. To ease a soul’s fear at its time of death wouldn’t it be easier if the one taking their soul was easy on the eyes?”

  “For a girl maybe,” I replied as Pagan turned and walked away from her locker. Death was gone. I let out a sigh of relief.

  “Men too. Beauty would ease their fears as well. Something dark and sinister would be terrifying,” she went on explaining. “I’ve heard of others who have seen him and some who have touched him or been touched by him. It’s like nothing they’ve ever experienced. What I’d give to have him crawl between—“

  “Enough!” I stopped her from anymore of her lustful thoughts. I didn’t want to hear about the sexiness of Death. I needed to find a way to keep him away from Pagan.


  “Hey.” Pagan said stepping back to let me inside her house. Since earlier today when I’d caught her talking to Dankmar, she’d ignored me. I’d been anxious to get here. I needed to fix whatever was wrong. We had been making progress and then— nothing.

  “Hey,” I replied studying her closely as I followed her over to the table. The silence wasn’t good. “Safe sex,” I announced hoping to get some reaction out of her. I wanted the Pagan who smiled easily up at me. This quiet reserved Pagan, who ignored me, was unsettling.

  She froze and gaped up at me, with her mouth slightly open and mixture of surprise and horror in her eyes. That was more like it, some animation in her gorgeous face.

  “I wish you could see your face,” I said unable to keep from laughing.

  “You did say ‘safe sex’ then?” she asked, still looking completely confused.

  I held up my paper, “The topic for this week’s speech.”

  She let out a weak laugh. “Okay, well that was one way to announce it.”

  She still appeared unsure. I’d wanted to ease the tension in the room not make her nervous. So, I tried again. “I’m hoping you’re well educated on this topic because I haven’t got a clue.”

  “What?” she squeaked in reply.

  I couldn’t keep from laughing again at her expression. “I’m sorry. It’s just that you’re so cute when you’re shocked.”

  She froze at my words and I immediately stopped laughing. What had I said wrong?

  “I think having had actual experience isn’t necessary. It’s basically supposed to be about your beliefs on the subject or the importance of it.” The tightness in her voice alarmed me. She was embarrassed. That hadn’t been my intention.

  I reached over and slid my finger under her chin lifting her face up so she would have to look at me. “You’re embarrassed. That’s cute.”

  My words once again didn’t get the reaction I’d been hoping for. Her annoyed expression was back. “Please stop saying I’m cute. It’s kind of insulting.”

  Insulting? What? I dropped my hand from her chin and tried hard to figure out how that was insulting. Nothing came to mind. “How’s that insulting?”

  Pagan shrugged, “It just is. No one wants to be cute. Puppies are cute.” She didn’t make eye contact with me. Instead, she started reading my notes.

  “Well, you definitely don’t look like a puppy,” I replied with a chuckle. I’d always thought I was good with females. Pagan was proving me wrong.

  “Well, that’s something at least.” She replied in a clipped tone. “Okay, so what are the three main reasons you believe safe sex is important?” She was trying to change the subject. I didn’t want to change the subject. “Are you not sure?” she asked.

  I didn’t say anything. I needed to figure out how to fix my latest screw up. “Um, okay, what about teenage pregnancy? That’s a good point. No one needs to become a parent while they’re still a kid.” She continued as if I had responded.

  She began writing in my notebook determined that this conversation was over.

  “Your feelings are hurt,” I said as the realization came to me. “I didn’t mean to say something to hurt your feelings,” I assured her.

  She still wouldn’t look at me, “It’s fine. Let’s get working on your essay.”

  Staring down at the paper, I replied, “Teenage pregnancy is definitely one reason.”

  “Okay, so what about STD’s?” she suggested writing it down before I could respond. This wasn’t getting us anywhere. She was still upset.

  “That’s another good one.” I agreed.

  I reached over and took the notebook from her. We were going to settle this. I didn’t like knowing I’d hurt her feelings. I adored her. If only I could tell her exactly how much. “Sorry, but I couldn’t think of any other way to get your attention.” Her silence allowed me to continue. “You are
n’t just cute. Yes, you make cute faces and do cute things but you aren’t just cute.” Had I said too much?

  “Okay,” she whispered. That was enough for now. I couldn’t say more or I’d give myself away.

  I slid the notebook back to her, “Now, let’s see...what about the fact that using a condom takes away from the pleasure, should we discuss that?”

  She began choking on her soda and I patted her gently on the back trying hard not to laugh. “Again, you do a lot of cute things but you aren’t just cute.”

  3. Death broke the rules - Leif

  “I don’t have time for this now, Kendra. I told you last night that if you keep this up I will have Ghede remove you. I thought you liked the attention of the human boys. You want to stay here? Then leave me alone. Back away. I don’t need you here. All I have to do is tell my father and you’ll be back in Vilokan. Do you want to be back under Ghede’s sexual beck and call? Hmm? Didn’t think so.”

  “I didn’t do anything wrong last night. I thought you’d like to know that Death is here to take Pagan’s soul. Her time is up, again. You go and get all pissy about missing your study date with her but the info I had was kind of important.”

  She was right, of course. Pagan’s soul was of utmost importance. If Death was here to take it, then I needed to get ready.

  “Now play nice, my prince. I was just doing my job,” she cooed reaching up and running a hand through my hair. Kendra really couldn’t take a hint. “You sure coming over last night wasn’t a big deal? I would hate to mess things up with you and your girlfriend.”

  Damn she was going to screw things up for me with Pagan if she didn’t shut up. The last thing Pagan needed to hear was that I had claimed her as my girlfriend. She’d be furious. “You know she isn’t my girlfriend Kendra. Stop calling her that. You’ll start talk.” The pleased smile that came over Kendra’s face confused me. What had I said that would cause her to smile? The girl was insane.

  “You spend a lot of time at her house and she’s always looking at you.” I was sure the people around us could hear her.

  I needed to do something. Say something to fix this. Pagan did not need to hear this from someone else. I hadn’t progressed that far with her. I needed to build her trust first. So, I glared down at Kendra and said the only thing that would shut everyone’s gossip up. “She’s my tutor and no, she isn’t looking at me. You’re just being paranoid when you have no reason to be.”

  Kendra’s voice dropped to a whisper so low only I would be able to hear it. “Oops, my prince. Bad move.”

  “You sure she knows she isn’t your girlfriend because it looks like she is stalking you?” Kendra purred and her gaze was directed over my shoulder.

  If Pagan was standing behind me, I was going to extinguish Kendra with my bare hands. Turning around my horror was complete when I found Pagan’s hurt eyes taking in the scene she thought she’d just witnessed. The red splotches on her cheeks told me more than I feared. FUCK. What had Kendra done? I needed to do something. But what?

  “Oh, uh, Pagan. I was going to come find you and explain about last night,” I began.

  Pagan nodded stiffly and held out a paper toward me. “Thought you might need this.”

  I reached out to take it, staring down at it trying to figure out what she had for me. But as soon as I took it from her she turned to walk away. “Wait, I was going to call you last night. I just got tied up. Thanks,” I held up the paper in my hands as I realized she’d finished my speech for me.

  Kendra slipped her arm inside my arm, “That’s not true, Leif, I never tied you up.”

  I was going to kill her. Voodoo spirit or not she was going to die. Grabbing Kendra’s hand, I ripped it off my body and slung her backward before taking off after Pagan.

  “Pagan,” I called out to her.

  Slowly she turned around and faced me, “Yes?”

  “Look, about last night, I’m really sorry. I hadn’t expected you to finish the speech for me. I messed up and I was going to take the bad grade. I should’ve called, but –”

  She shook her head, “It’s not a big deal. However, from now on would you please let me know in advance when you won’t be able to make it to the appointed time for your session? Now, if you’ll excuse me.” The cold clipped sound of her voice felt like ice water through my veins. NO. This could not be happening. I’d come so far with her.

  “Pagan wait, please.” I begged chasing after her.

  She stopped, paused then turned back around to level me with a glare so hard I knew I’d ruined everything. “What?”

  “I was coming over and Kendra called.” I started

  “I don’t care. Just call next time, please.” She snapped then spun back around and walked away. I wanted to go after her and beg her not to go. But what could I say to make this better?

  I followed quietly after her. I needed to make sure she was going to be okay. There had been unshed tears in her eyes. It ripped me apart thinking about her hurting. The idea that she was going to cry made me want to roar in frustration.

  She didn’t go to her classroom. Instead, she headed for the parking lot. I stopped short when I saw a dark figure appear by her side. I knew it was Dankmar. I could feel his presence. This was it. Her death was near. She wasn’t in love with me but she had feelings for me. That would have to be enough. Because when her body died, I was going to be there to take her soul.

  But her death didn’t happen…

  Instead, Death broke the rules. Why? It had been Pagan’s time to die, again. But this time, it hadn’t been me that saved her soul. Death had saved her. I backed away from the wreck scene as Death cuddled Pagan safely in his arms. Her soul was weak and trying to release but Dankmar refused to allow it. This wasn’t right. It was his job. He couldn’t just choose not to take her. Could he? His cold glare lifted to meet mine. He knew I was near. A possessive gleam startled me. What did that mean? Did Death know of my claim on her soul? Was he challenging me? Did he… did he want… Pagan, too? Shaking my head, I backed away. No. That couldn’t be it. That wasn’t right. Death didn’t care for souls. I should talk to Father about this but first I needed to get back to school. She’d be in the hospital soon and I needed to be there when she woke up.

  The sound of the ambulance was the last thing I heard before I left her there in Death’s arms.


  “Listen here, Leif Montgomery, I don’t care who you are. All I care about is the fact my best friend is lying in that hospital room lucky to be alive because YOU upset her. I don’t know what you did but this is your fault. She. Liked. You.” Miranda stood like a tiny warrior pointing her finger at me with a snarl on her face. Everything she said was correct. I wasn’t going to argue or even defend myself. I deserved more. I wished Wyatt would take a swing at me. I needed to feel something. Everything inside me was numb from fear.

  “You aren’t worthy of her. Do you hear me? NOT WORTHY. So stay the hell away from her. I love her. She is like my sister. If something had happened to her,” Miranda stopped and sobbed loudly. Wyatt was instantly at her side pulling her into his arms. He wasn’t happy with me either. The worried frown on his face as he held Miranda in his arms told me he would have words with me when Miranda wasn’t around.

  “I know I don’t deserve her,” I replied in a low whisper. I’d protected her from the time I’d saved her soul from Death. But now, when she needed me most, I’d sent her away right back into Death’s embrace. Why he hadn’t taken her soul, I couldn’t figure out. It didn’t make sense.

  “Why Kendra? She is so, so, Ugh,” Miranda hissed.

  I couldn’t argue with that. “It wasn’t anything like you think. I’m in love with Pagan. Kendra is an annoying pest that can’t accept I’ve moved on.”