Cinder x, p.23
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       Cinder X, p.23

         Part #2 of Death Collectors series by Jessica Sorensen
Page 23


  “But then I won’t ever see you again, right? I mean, if you go back to wherever it is that Angels go, you’ll be there and I’ll be here. Alone. ”

  “You’ll never be alone. Even when I’m not here, you’ll still have your family. ”

  It’s hard to accept the fact that he’s not going to tell me what I want to hear. That he won’t be here after the battle ends. I wonder if it’s because he won’t be able to be here; if he’ll have to go back along with all the other Angels of Death and the Grim Reapers.

  “My family’s not that great,” I say miserably.

  “I know right now they aren’t, but they’re under possession, or at least, your brother is. ”

  “The last time I checked, my mother wasn’t. And she was never that great of a mother to me. ” I shake my head, feeling the tears burn in my eyes. “You know, I think she knew what I was all along and hated me for it. ”

  His forehead creases as he gazes down at me. “That can’t be possible. ”

  “But it is,” I whisper. “When I was younger, I took the life of my grandmother…” I swallow the large lump wedged in my throat, “because she was dying and asked me to, and even though my mom didn’t flat out come to me and say ‘hey, you’re a Grim Angel’, I could tell she knew because she kept telling me that I killed her. ”

  Asher stares deeply into my eyes as he strokes the corner of my eye with his fingertip. “She shouldn’t have known, unless your grandmother told her, but how would she even know?” The more he thinks about it, the more confused he looks. Then he pushes up, leaving my body cold as he sits up and pulls up one knee, resting his elbow on it. “What about your father? When all this was going on, where was he?”

  I sit up and reach for my shirt on the floor. “He’d moved out and was slowly starting to get the rep of the town crazy. ” I pull the shirt on over my head and flip my hair out of the collar. “Asher, you’re not… I mean, you don’t think my mom has anything to do with this, do you?”

  “I’m not sure exactly. I do know that the Grim Angel blood on your father’s side has been going on for many generations, which is one of the reason why I think you might be the last one standing, but if your mother is connected to it too, that would make you…. ” He trails off.

  “Make me what?” I press, even though I fear the answer.

  “You’d be so pure,” he says softly. “You’re entire blood pure Grim Angel and it’d give me even more of a reason to believe you’re going to be the last Grim Angel, because your blood line could be connected to what started this all. ” He shakes his head, staring out the window at the moon shining in the sky as he processes this revelation and I try not to freak out about what this all means, not just in terms of being the last Grim Angel, but in terms of the fact that my mother’s been connected to this the entire time.

  “I’d really like to talk to your mother and see is she knows about all of this. ” He looks over his shoulder at me, his head tipped to the side, strands of his black hair hanging in his eyes. “I’ve never even met her. ”

  “That’s sort of a good thing,” I tell him. “She’s not the nicest person. Or the most responsible. ” And honestly, if I didn’t know any better, I’d think she was a Grim Reaper, simply because of how much hate she carries inside her.

  His sympathy deepens. “Still, I think I should talk to her. ”

  “Well, if we can find her, you can,” I tell him. “But right now, I have no idea where she is. She was in a drug treatment facility up until a few days ago when she left without telling anyone and I haven’t been able to find her. ”

  He offers me a sympathetic look. “Well, if she’s human, then I can track her down rather easily. ”

  “How so?” I wonder.

  “By tracking down her soul. It’s what I do. . . or what I used to do. ” He pauses. “Shit. I’m not even sure I can do that anymore…” He ponders over this and then perks up a little. “But I’ll try to find her no matter what it takes. ”

  I gather my hair back behind my head and then reach for an elastic band on the nightstand. “Thank you. I know I’m not a fan of hers, but she’s all I have left and it’s been lonely without her living here, even if she was only ever here just to change her clothes, grab a bite to eat, and shower. And plus, if she is part of this whole Grim Angel thing, then she’s in trouble. ”

  “How long have you been living here by yourself?” he asks, glancing around at my room which is still a mess from when the shadows ransacked it.

  “Well, Ian was here off and on until about a few weeks ago. ” I scoot up next to him, needing to be near him, feel that I’m no longer alone. “Although, he never really is here, at least not mentally since I’m pretty sure he’s possessed. He hasn’t been home in about a week and he wouldn’t return any of my voicemails, but he showed up in the attic just a while ago… with Raven… Did you know he was a Grim Angel this entire time?”

  “As soon as I see someone, I know if they are,” he says guiltily.

  “Why did you never say anything about it to me?”

  “Because I couldn’t. ” He looks at me with pity in his eyes. “I’m so sorry Ember. That you lost your brother and that you’ve been so secluded… You must have been so lonely having no one to talk to. ”

  “I was, but I wasn’t entirely alone” I stretch my arms out in front of me and glance down at my exposed arms and the fading lines on them. “There was Cameron, but I think I prefer the solitude over that. ” Liar. Liar.

  He lowers his knees and allows our bodies to touch, our sides and shoulders pressing together. “We’re going to figure all this out and I’m not going to leave you until we do, okay?”

  I nod, choking up more than I like. “Okay. ”

  The corners of his lips quirk. “Now, I can help you with one thing right now, if you trust me enough to do something. ”

  I rack my mind for what I’m truly feeling; whether or not I trust him. “Okay, I trust you. ”

  A full smile shines through as he reaches for my hand. “Come here. ”

  I lace my fingers through his and then he entices me onto his lap as he reclines against the wall just to the side of the window so I have a view of the dark, deserted street where even the police car is gone, which is unusual at night.

  Asher’s places a palm on each one of my cheeks and wets his lips with his tongue as he glimpses down at my lips with a slow burning fire in his eyes. “I want you to drink some of my life,” he says softly.

  I instinctively jerk back, repulsed and frighteningly a little turned on. “Asher, I can’t do that. ”

  His hold on me is firm and I can barely put any space between us. “You’ll be okay. I promise. And it will erase the death Cameron put on your arms. ”

  “And what will happen in its place?” I ask worriedly.

  His lips inch towards mine, his breath dusting my cheeks. “More of your Angel blood will emerge. ”

  “Could I… I mean, if I took enough, could I become an Angel of Death?”

  His face turns a little white. “You could, but I won’t let that happen. ”

  “Why not?” I feel gravely disappointed, yet grateful at the same time, proving again that I have no idea what I want. Evil or good? You’ll have to decide eventually.

  “Because Michael would never accept you,” he says. I can feel his pulse pounding through his fingertips. “He’d make you come back to serve your purpose. It’s how he is. ”

  “So, he’d make me a Grim Angel again?”

  He nods. “I’m sorry, but there isn’t really any easy way out of this. ”

  “You don’t have to be sorry. It’s not your fault. ” I pause, my undivided attention centering on his luscious lips. “So how will I know when to stop drinking?”

  The half-smile appears again. “I promise I won’t let you take too much, even though I’m sure I’ll want you to,” he says as he slides his palm up my side, his hand stopping just beneath my breast
. “Although, if I could, I’d love to let you. ”

  I’m not really sure what he means by that, but I trust him enough that I don’t question him on it further. “Okay, but it doesn’t hurt you, right?”

  He shakes his head, his eyes glimmering like the stars just outside the window. “It won’t hurt at all. ”

  I nod nervously and then slant in closer so that my lips are brushing against his. I can hear his heart beating steadily inside his chest at the same time that I feel the warmth of his breath and body surrounding me. I inhale, and when I let it out, I eliminate the space between our mouths and seal my lips to his, focusing on drinking the life from him.

  His lips instantly scald mine and I tug my fingers through his hair, crushing my chest against his. He gasps as I breathe in, feeling what’s inside him transferring to the inside of me. It feels lighter than Cameron’s, like I’m drinking the sun. When it spills through my veins, it feels cool and soothing.

  “Take more,” Asher whispers and I do, stealing larger breaths full of air as our tongues explore each other, entangle, become one. I want to stay like this forever, always linked to him and whatever it is that’s inside him because it’s the most potently wonderful thing I’ve ever come across. I never want to let it go.

  Eventually, though, he starts gasping for air and finally pulls away, breaking the connection.

  “I’m sorry,” he pants, his pupils immense, his lips swollen. “I just had to get some air. ”

  My chest raggedly rises and falls as I inspect him for any damage, but he looks just the same; inky black hair that hangs in his slate grey eyes, smooth skin, luscious lips, and lean muscles that make up his near perfect body.

  “I didn’t take too much, did I?” I ask breathlessly.

  He shakes his head, looking tired yet content. “You took the perfect amount,” he says, his fingers finding my wrist and delving into my flesh. “And it got rid of these, too. ”

  I glance down at my arm and can’t help smiling at the sight of my mark free skin. Deep down, though—way, way down—disappointment burns at the fact that I can no longer have the connection to Cameron, which makes me wonder who I am. If I really am evil but have been hiding behind the good because it’s all I know.

  Chapter 12

  I wake up to the sunlight hitting my eyes, my face pressed against Asher’s chest and my hand on his stomach. Somehow in our sleep, we tangled ourselves together, so I can barely figure out where he starts and I end. After a little bit of struggling, I manage to get my legs untangled from his and then I slip out from underneath his arm. I stretch my arms above my head and smile up at them, free from Cameron’s death; realizing that despite my doubting thoughts, I am really glad that they’re gone.