Ember x, p.28
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       Ember X, p.28

         Part #1 of Death Collectors series by Jessica Sorensen
 
Page 28

 

  As my legs tighten around his waist, he moves his lips back from mine and brushes my hair out of my eyes. “Are you okay?” he asks, holding very still, halfway inside me, and his eyes are concealed by indecisiveness. “This is your first time… isn’t it?”

  Is it that obvious? I nod my head, and wanting to get it over, curve my hips up, gripping onto him and forcing him all the way in. I breathe in and out and his jaw tightens, not in pain, but in restrain.

  “It’s okay,” I tell him, loosening my legs up, getting use to him.

  He closes his eyes, his hand running down my side, tracing the bumps of my ribs, until he reaches my hips. Gripping tightly, he thrust himself inside me, and my eyes roll back as my back bends upward.

  “God… Ember…” His eyes open and his breathing is ragged, matching mine, and our chests rise and fall in harmony.

  I pull him closer and he rocks into me again, the pain subsides and is replaced by sheer and wonderful pleasure. I move my hips up, wanting more, and he moves with me, pushing harder and harder. He holds my gaze, watching me intently as I bite my lip to keep from crying out. I stab my nails into his back, and he lets out a throating groan as his movements become faster. All the pain dissipates and a deprived longing floods my body. I move with him, our bodies flawlessly colliding as he bites at my neck and grabs my breast. My skin is dampening and my entire body starts to tingle. With one last deep thrust, a jolt of heat spirals through my body and I tip my head back, my eyes shutting in sheer ecstasy as I fall apart. My legs tighten around him as I gasp, barely able to breathe.

  Moments later, Asher’s movements begin to slow and become jerkier, then he stills. His head is tipped down and his breath is rapid and hot against my neck as he kisses it.

  “Ember… that was…” he searches for words.

  “Amazing. Perfect. Flawless. Absolute. Undyingly and everlastingly wanted and needed. ” I whisper the words I will later sketch on my wall about this precise moment and everything I felt with it.

  He smiles as he leans back and looks me in the eye. “I was going to say incredible, but those work too. ”

  A smile turns at my lips and I pull him down so I can kiss him. After a very long, mouth-watering kiss, he pulls out of me and then we lie in bed together. His arm is tucked under me and my head rest on his chest. I’m distracted by tonight’s events. In the heat of the blistering moment, I’d forgotten about the car crash and my death. Just like that. But why? Because I had sex? For some reason I think there might be more to it than that. Like maybe Asher might have a gift himself? The gift of silence perhaps.

  “What are you thinking about?” he asks, playing with my hair.

  “Life and death,” I admit.

  He hesitates. “You know you can tell me stuff, right? I feel like… I don’t know. . . it feels like you keep things to yourself, like you think that for some reason you can’t trust anyone. ”

  My dad’s words dance through my head. Emmy, if there’s one thing you need to know about life, it’s to never ever trust anyone or anything. Life is a fucking mind game and you and I are the pawns.

  “I want you to get to know me and open up,” he adds. “I feel like you have a lot of things bottled up in you. ”

  “So do you, like with your father. You don’t like to talk about him and you never did fully explain why you moved here. ” I bite down on my tongue. “I’m so sorry. I don’t know what my problem is. ” Head trauma. Death. Or maybe it’s because my body tingles in every spot he touched me.

  He swallows hard. “No, it’s okay. ” He slides down so we are at eye level and presses our bare chests together. “You want to know something about me, then I’ll tell you… I moved here to escape the memory of my dad. Even after he died, the painful memories of when he was around still stayed in the house, which he left me in his will… every place we went together… the memories were everywhere and I needed an escape—an escape from death. ”

  “I completely understand. ” I feel like a bitch. “I shouldn’t have forced you to tell me that. ”

  “I wanted to tell you. ” He tucks a strand of my hair behind my ear and momentarily devours me with his lips. “Because I want you to feel comfortable sharing things with me. ”

  I open my mouth to tell him everything, spill out my heart and soul, but again, my dad’s words echo in my mind. “I sometimes feel like life is just one big test to see how long we can survive. ”

  I tuck my head into his chest and squeeze my eyes shut, waiting for him to leave.

  “Do you want to hear what my tattoo means?” he asks, his voice soft like a feather.

  I’m surprised. I thought he would get mad or think I was insane. “Yeah, I’d love to hear it. ”

  “It’s actually a story my father used to tell me all the time. ” He confines my hand against his chest and his heart beats swiftly against my palm. “Blackness caped the land and possessed the bodies of the mortals. Fire acquired over the fields and famine possessed the oceans. The wrath of death was winning and the Angels of Death suffered. It was the end, but a single sacrifice reversed it all. One beautiful Grim Angel with death in her blood and on her shoulders connected them all, and with a single choice she would save the world. But the fight would not be easy. Death would play with her mind and her life, but Angels would do everything they could to protect her. She would struggle with right and wrong and mess up along the way, but in the end, she would have to make the right choice; otherwise, Death would win and humans and Angels endure an eternity of suffering. ”

  “But what does that mean…” My eyelids grow heavy as I start to doze off. “And why were they fighting to begin with… Aren’t they both death? Or was it over…” Souls. I try to open my lips to ask him if he knows about the story in the book, but aching exhaustion possesses my body.

  “It’s getting late,” Asher whispers, tenderly kissing the tip of my ear. “I’ll stay here until you fall asleep. ”

  My eyelids flutter open. “Okay…”

  Seconds later, I drift off into a dreamless, death-free, sleep.

  Chapter 15

  I’m woken up by a banging on the front door that continues to grow louder the longer it goes on. Finally, I throw the blanket off me and climb out of bed. Asher is gone and my room is pitch black, and blue and red lights flash outside my window. I pull on a t-shirt and a pair of shorts and stumble into the hall.

  The last time the cops showed up, Ian had wrecked the car. My mom went easy on him because Alyssa’s death was a fresh wound, but he was in the hospital for two days recovering from severe head trauma.

  I throw open the front door. Two uniformed officers stand on the front porch. One’s short and lumpy and the other tall and bulky. A cop car is parked in the driveway and my neighbors have congregated on their porches, watching the scene in their pajamas, the red and blue sirens lighting up their burn-her-at-the-stake expressions.

  The shorter officer reads a paper attached to a clipboard in his hands. “Are you Ember Rose Edwards?”

  My pulse skips a beat. “Yeah, I am. ”

  “And are you the owner of a 1970 Dodge Challenger?”

  Oh shit. “Umm…”

  “And lying will only get you into more trouble,” the officer warns.

  “It’s mine. ” There’s a crumb in his mustache and I can’t stop staring at it. “Or my dad’s and mine. ”

  “Your dad’s Patrick Edwards?” The tall one asks and I nod. “He’s the one who disappeared a few years ago and you were brought in for questioning. ”

  I nod. “Yeah, so?”

  He scowls at me and skims the paper with his finger. “It says on here that you’re on probation for drug possession. ”

  I bite at my tongue. The drugs weren’t mine—they were Ian’s. But I took the wrap for it because he’d just suffered a manic episode. “Yeah, I am. ”

  “You’re going to need to come with us. ” He takes off the handcuffs from his belt and ho
lds them in his hand as a warning that I better behave. “Your car was pulled out of the lake tonight. ”

  “I didn’t know it was a crime for your car to be in a lake,” I say, leaning against the doorway.

  He offers me zero tolerance. “Actually it is and it’s a little suspicious you never reported it, then it’s discovered near a crime scene. ”

  “What?” I stammer, standing up straight. “What crime scene?”

  “There was an incident at the lake,” the shorter cop explains. “A girl came up missing tonight and we got an anonymous tip that your car could be found at the bottom of the lake at the last spot she was seen. ”

  “That’s bullshit” I argue. “I was here at my house all day. ”

  “What about your car?” he asks with a condescending smirk that crinkles the skin around his eyes.

  I hesitate. “That’s been gone for a week or so. ”

  “Stolen?” he asks and I shake my head. “Then why didn’t you report the accident?”

  I shrug and lie, “I didn’t want my mom to get mad at me. ”

  The cops exchange consequential looks and the shorter one steps off the porch and heads to the cop car.

  The taller one says, “I’m Officer McKinley and that’s Officer Adams. We’re going to need to take you down to the station for questioning. If you’ll go easy, we won’t use the handcuffs. ”

  I glance around at the ridiculing eyes of my neighbors, planning an escape. I disappeared once, and I can do it again. “Fine. Can I at least get some shoes on?”

  He points behind me at a pair of my flip flops. “Those should work. ”

  Asshole. I slip on the flip flops and follow him out. The garage door is open and Ian’s car isn’t parked inside. Raven runs out of her house in her silky pajamas and slippers, stopping at the edge of the driveway.

  “What’s happening?” she whispers, glancing cautiously at the cops.

  “Get your brother and come down to the station in case you have to bail me out,” I hiss. “Not Ian and not my mom. I don’t want them dealing with this. ”

  She nods with wide eyes. “Okay, we’ll meet you at the station. ”

  I duck my head as I climb into the back of the cop car. The last time I was in one it smelled like sweat, smoke, and old meat. It smells just about the same.

  The officers climb in and slam the doors. We back onto the road and I spot Cameron climbing out of his Jeep in front of his house. Looking in my direction, he smiles and gives me a little wave. Suddenly, I have an idea of who told the cops my car was at the bottom of the lake.

  Chapter 16

  I wait in the holding room for about an hour, a little cop trick before they try to break me. They forced me to take off all my jewelry and empty out my pockets. I’m slouched back in the chair, with my head resting against the back of it, as I alternate between staring at the clock, the brick walls, and trying to see through the glass. My muscles ache and burn from either the wreck or from having sex—maybe both—and I keep massaging my legs, trying to get the pain to subside.