Ember x, p.27
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       Ember X, p.27

         Part #1 of Death Collectors series by Jessica Sorensen
Page 27


  She collects the trash and tosses it in the garbage. “I never meant to blame Grandma’s death on you. ” She slips on her jacket and fastens the buttons. “I was just upset. ” She pats my shoulder and sweeps my hair back like how she did when I was a child. “If you ever need to talk about anything, I’m here. ” I nod, trying not to cry, and she grabs her keys from the counter. “I’ll see you in the morning. ”

  After she leaves, I head up to the bathroom and check her prescription bottle in the medicine cabinet. She’s been taking her meds again, which might explain the uplift in her attitude.

  I shut the cabinet and step out into the hallway. On the way to my room, I run into Ian.

  “You look like shit,” he discloses, eyeing my dirty clothes. “Ember, that guy didn’t… Did he try…”

  I shake my head before he can finish. “I tripped down a hill. ”

  He slips on a faded flannel jacket. “Hey, I got someone coming over later tonight, so don’t lock up. ”

  “I never lock up,” I say, plucking dry grass out of my hair. “And did you know mom’s been taking her meds again?”

  He ruffles his hair and pulls the hood of his jacket over his head “Yeah, I talked to her this morning. She showed up after you left, totally out of it, and I got her to take them. ”

  “What about you?” I ask. “Are you still taking yours?”

  He rolls his eyes. “Of course. ”

  “Is that the only drug you’re taking?”

  He tucks his hands in his pockets. “You know I don’t do that crap anymore. Not since… Well, anyway, I’m going to check out for a little bit. And like I said, leave the door unlocked just in case my friend shows up before me. ” He pauses at the top of the stairway. “Oh yeah, and if I were you, I’d go for the one with the dark hair. ”

  I grip my bedroom doorknob. “What are you talking about?”

  “The guy thing. ” He starts down the stairs. “I don’t like that Cameron guy… He’s too… I don’t know, cocky or something—definitely not your type. ”

  “You haven’t even met Asher yet,” I argue with no valid point because I want Asher too.

  He shrugs and vanishes down the stairs, and moments later, the front door slams shut. I sigh and open my bedroom door. All I want to do is take a hot shower and wash off today.

  “Hey. ”

  The sound of his voice sends my heart soaring. Asher sitting on my bed with the hood of his jacket pulled over his head, and he’s playing with the raven feather. The window is open and the wind gusts in, flapping the edges of the papers and pictures hanging on my walls.

  “How did you get in here?” I ask, shutting the door.

  He looks up from the feather with hooded eyes. “Your brother let me in. ”

  “So that’s what the remark was about,” I mumble and then search for the right words. “What happened earlier… with Cameron—I shouldn’t have done that. ”

  “Done what exactly?” There’s an underlying meaning in his words. He sets the feather down on the bed, slides the hood off his head, and rakes his fingers through his hair.

  “Do you really want me to tell you?” I slant back against the door and fold my arms.

  With his eyes secured on mine, he stands up. “I need to know—it’s driving me crazy not knowing. ” He skims my body. “Especially when you look like that. ”

  I rub the leftover dirt off my arm. “I fell down a hill. ”

  He shakes his head and takes slow strides toward me, inching closer, and eliminating some of the space between us. “I’m not talking about the dirt all over you. ”

  “Oh. ” I glance down at the ribbon on my shirt that’s halfway undone. “He took me up to the lake, jumped in the water, and got my necklace out my car at the bottom of the lake. ”

  Surprisingly, he’s unfazed. “And…” He takes another step toward me.

  “And then half the town showed up and I bailed. I started walking down the highway. A car swerved at me and I fell down a hill. ”

  He’s a sliver of space from me and I can feel the heat emitting from his body. “A car swerved at you?”

  I force the lump down in my throat. “That’s how I fell down the hill. ”

  “Did they do it on purpose?” he asks.

  I shrug. “It’s hard to say, but maybe. ”

  He shuts his eyes and inhales deeply through his nose. When he opens his eyelids back up, his pupils are dilated, only a slender ring of grey showing. He places his hands on the door, entrapping me between his arms. “Are you okay?” His eyes investigate my body for wounds, but every one of the cuts and bruises have already healed.

  I nod, unable to look away from his eyes. “I already told you, I’m a walking miracle. ”

  His gaze flicks to my lips and his voice deepens to a growl. “Did he kiss you?”


  “Cameron. ” His voice is gravelly. “Did he kiss you?”

  My stomach somersaults and I lick my cracked lips. “Do you really want to know the answer to that?”

  He drags his tongue ring along the edge of his teeth. “I need to know or else it will drive me fucking crazy. ”

  “He kissed my neck,” I divulge truthfully with a wince. “And kind of my chest. ”

  “That’s it?” His pierced eyebrow bows up. “That’s the only place he kissed you?”

  I don’t get why he doesn’t seem to think that it’s bad, because it is. In fact, I feel kind of slutty. “That’s the only place he kissed me… but I don’t get why you’re acting like it’s not a big deal, because it is. ”

  “Was it a big deal to you?” he questions. “Did you… did you like it?”

  I consider what he said. Did I like it? Honestly, thinking about it now, the feelings that I felt with Cameron were based more on powerful seduction then actually feelings. With Asher, things are powerful on an intense emotional aspect.

  “I like when you kiss me,” I say, running my hand up the front of his shirt, feeling the hardness of his firm muscles beneath it. “I don’t want him to kiss me again… just you…”

  His breathing quickens and his eyes turn animalistic, the small amount of grey diminishing, so there’s nothing but the pupil. “Can I kiss you now?”

  Why does he always ask first? I clutch the front of his shirt and jerk him against me, our lips uniting with a yielding static. His lips don’t protest and he easily slips his tongue inside my very enthusiastic mouth, bringing passion to every portion of my body.

  Grabbing the backs of my legs, he lifts me up and my legs hook around his waist, then he carries me to the bed where we fall together. I feel alive and invigorated. Nothing exists at the moment, but him and me.

  My hands find the zipper of his jacket and I start to unzip it. He takes the hint, leaning up enough to slip his arms out of the sleeves and shuck it off. He has a plaid shirt on underneath and I fumble to unbutton it, but he catches my hand and ceases me.

  “Are you sure you’re okay?” he asks, breathless, his lips swollen. “You seem anxious. ”

  I flick another button undone. “I’m fine. ”

  “But I don’t want us to move too fast,” he says as I unfasten a button. “Things have already moved too fast and I’m afraid if we start up again… in the heat of the moment… we might not be able to stop. ”

  “You don’t want this?” God, please say no.

  “No. ” He cups my cheek with his hand. “But it doesn’t matter what I want… it’s what you want. ”

  “I want you,” I say, breathing in the stillness of his touch as he grazes the pad of his thumb across my cheek. “I feel like… I feel like I’ve been waiting around for you for forever. ” It sounds stupid, but it’s the truth and it makes him smile a little.

  He slowly unbuttons the rest of his shirt, slips it off, and tosses it next to his jacket. My breath catches at his lean muscles and the tattoos inked on his smooth skin. On the front section of his right rib is an Ang
el with black feathers spanning from her back and there are tears falling from her eyes. Her black hair flows to her back and the feathers are molting. On his opposing rib there’s an inscription tattooed and I run my fingers along the cursive writing:

  Nigredo caped terra et possederunt corpora mortale.

  Ignis acquiritur super agros et fames possederunt maria.

  Mors vincit iram et Angelos morte. Erat, sed omne sacrificium unum contrarium.

  Morte puellae umero uno utrisque coniunctum esset electio salvificem mundum.

  Sed non facile ad pugnam.

  He covers his body with mine, so every part of us is aligned perfectly, and I wrap my arms around him, gripping his shoulder blades, and urge him closer. He kisses me, sucking on my bottom lip, biting it, grazing his tongue ring along the inside, before trailing delicate kisses down my neck. My body conforms to his, steaming with desire, and the need for more silence. I want to forget about this night. I want to be with him.

  My chest heaves as he unties the ribbon of my shirt and it slides open, then, pulling me up by the arms, he jerks it over my head and unclips my bra. I shut my eyes and let the beautiful moment swallow me up, before his lips seal back to mine.

  Every time he takes a breath, my nipples graze his chest. I keep gasping and moaning until he can’t take it anymore. There’s something inside me that needs to be filled, a burning sensation that almost hurts, and I need it taken care of.

  He slides off my boots and then rips my shorts and panties off, and then he takes off his jeans and boxers, before covering his body with mine.

  I take a deep breath, trying to calm myself down. I’m nervous, not about the actual act of intimacy, but about the pain. Raven told me horror stories of when she lost her virginity and how badly it hurt, but she assured me it was worth it.

  Smoothing my hair back, he looks me in the eye. “Are you sure?”

  I nod without hesitation, knowing this is the right moment. For me. “Positive. ”

  His throat muscles work as he swallows hard and then he straightens his arms and pushes himself off me. I’m stunned that he’s leaving and I cover my chest, wondering why.

  “What’s wrong?” I ask.

  He grabs his jeans off the floor and then reaches into the back pocket, taking out a condom, and I release a breath trapped in my chest. He moves back over to the bed and the mattress concaves beneath his weight as he crawls back over me.

  “You’re beautiful,” he says, tucking my hair out of my face. “That’s the first thing I thought when I saw you at the party. ”

  I lick my lips, anxious and excited as he situates himself between my legs, with one arm on each side of my head.

  My heart thumps in my chest as I bend my knees up and glide my hands up his back as he leans down to passionately kiss me. My legs wrap around his waist as he begins to slide into me.

  Holy hell it hurts. Like I’m being torn apart in the most unnatural way possible. The further he goes in, the worse the pain gets and I struggle not to cry out.