I decide to cut straight through the dancefloor dancing my way across as I spy a guy reaching into Nina’s cage. I take a small swig of the fluid before blowing out a shooting flame beside her cage. He jumps back frightened and Nina smiles at me gratefully. “Our club has a strictly hands off policy.” I whisper darkly in his ear. Before I blow another flame into the air. The crowd around us jumps and cheers with excitement.
The few gathered around us can see me holding this drunk guy by the collar. “We wouldn’t want you to get burned.” I threaten him before flinging him back towards his group of buddies as they cheer.
“Dude you just got schooled by Satan’s mistress.” One of his friends congratulates him loudly. The music still pumping doesn’t drown out his words fast enough before they reach my ears and I try to contain the tremble threatening to wrack my body. Little does that moron know what fate awaits me, but his words still strike a strange fear into my heart.
I make my way up to the D.J. booth to grab my tools. I try to compose myself as I hear the music die down and feel the darkness fill the club and wrap around me ominously before the walls turn to flame. Something about the suddenness of this action tonight causes me to flinch sharply and I almost lose my balance as I crouch in the center of the dark stage. My heart rate is galloping behind my ribs and I’m amazed it hasn’t broken out of my chest with the force behind it.
The cold sweat that breaks out over my skin causes a deep internal shiver as I wait in the dark for the music to start. This all happens in a space of seconds. The intense ominous fear threatening to drown me where I crouch in the dark. Then suddenly a warm burst of energy springs into my core and I spy the familiar outline of Max’s silhouette at the front of the stage. His mere presence reassures me that nothing can get to me.
Even here in the dark with walls of flame surrounding me, he would keep me safe. My heart beat starts to calm into an excited rhythm as I blush violently thanks to my inappropriate thoughts about my own warrior protector. I take a deep breath as my body rises with the music. The show goes off without a hitch. I spot a few more than usual attempts to jump onto the stage but Max deflects every single one.
All anger I’ve been letting poison my mind tonight dissipates with every single time he stops someone from reaching me. The show comes to a close and I fade back into the darkness as Mitch releases the threatening devil voice. The crowd cheers and goes crazy. I emerge from the D.J. booth expecting to have to fight my way back to the bar. I’m shocked as a strong warm hand wraps around mine.
Max pulls me from the bottom step of the stage to fall into place behind him. He doesn’t look back as he grips my hand leading me through the sea of drunken club goers with no inhibitions. I feel a few hands grab for me but each one is snatched from my body in the same instant they touch me. The warm embers glowing in my stomach turn into a raging fire as I feel the warm energy travel down my arm into him.
Or perhaps the energy is travelling from him into me. I hug myself close to his back as we reach a throng of people falling over themselves. I feel him tense as my free hand splays over the strong back between his shoulder blades. The crowd would normally part for such a big guy like the red sea did fore Moses. But common sense tends to leave people with the more alcohol you ply them with. This crowd was well plied.
We’re almost two thirds of the way across the floor when Max stops suddenly causing me to crash into his hulk of a frame. It felt like hitting a wall of muscle. Then that warm glow in my belly disappears as though a bucket of ice water was thrown over it. The air around me cools as it takes physical form and wraps its icy fingers around my neck. I peer out from behind my shield and I spot them instantly.
Kane and his cronies heading up to the V.I.P lounge, taking a few of the pixies with them. I narrow my disapproving gaze at them. I know technically as human beings we all have free will and those girls can do what they like, but I don’t believe true free will exists unless you have all the facts. Those girls definitely have no idea who they’re being led away by. They all just giggle excitedly at the attention from the V.I. P’s as they head up to the lounge.
I ball the hand on Max’s back into a fist. He starts to move again towards the bar. When we reach it I jump the bar quickly to start making drinks. I feel Max’s gaze on me from the end of the bar. He doesn’t go back to the door and I look at him confused. His gaze just travels up to the V.I.P lounge in response to my unasked question. I shake my head at him.
I don’t want him anywhere near those guys. His protectiveness is going to get him hurt, or worse killed. His jaw tightens in response to my decline and I shake my head at him again more ardently. He pins me with an intense glare indicating that he was not approving of this decision. I grab up my tray of drinks and the lighter as I tuck it under the thick leather cuff around my wrist.
I take a couple of the ampules of flammable liquid into my mouth tucking them into my cheek. Max watches me as I straighten my back and ignore the terrified glances of the staff as I march boldly towards the V.I.P. lounge. Just as I’m about to push the door open I feel Max’s body close behind me and I let out an exasperated breath. “Fine.” I hiss angrily. “But if you get killed don’t come crying to me.”
I see a smirk fighting for a position on his lips before he schools it resuming his dark menacing glare that could stop the polar ice caps from melting out of fear of repercussions. As I enter the room I let my gaze narrow on one of the minion daemons with a pixie in his lap. I drop my tray of drinks with a clatter on the table in front of them to gain their attention.
“Ladies, please make your way back to the bar to have a cocktail on the house. Just tell them McKenna sent you.” I tell the girls sweetly. They look confused for a second. The one sitting on the minion’s lap squeals as he digs his hands into her thighs. “Out!” I order them more forcefully. The girls all jump up and flee for the door of the lounge. Except the one trapped on the minion’s lap.
“This one wants to stay.” His voice slithers as the girl squirms. I wait for my opportunity as she forces her face away from his trying to push herself free from his lap as her survival instincts finally kick in. I raise my hand quickly and send a breath of flame directly onto the daemons face. He drops the girl to the floor as he recoils screaming into the corner of the room.
His hands clutch his face as his falls to the floor. I wrap my arm around the girl’s shoulders as I help her towards the door. Terror filled tears stream down her face. I smile at her. “It’s just part of the show sweetheart. It’s not real.” I assure her and she exhales deeply. “This room is for private shows.” I explain with a wink. “Don’t come back in here.” She nods understandingly as she flees from the room.
I turn to fix Kane with a withering stare. He didn’t so much as blink as I set his minion’s face on fire. The minion has managed to stop screaming and pull himself back to the booth lounge. Half his face looks like it melted off as he brings the shot glass to his lips. I smile wickedly before I enflame the rest of the drinks on the table. Kane makes a single sweeping gesture of his arm extinguishing all of the flames.
His minion looks on annoyed that he didn’t do that when his face was on fire. Kane stares back at me as he takes a drink. “You and your dog’s know the rules of this place. Hands off, especially the humans.” I remind him evenly. He jumps up like a flash standing directly in front of me.
“How dare you command me in my own club.” He spits.
“I don’t command it. HE does.” I tell him pointing up. “He gave all humans free will. Your daemon whores choose to drape themselves across your lap, that’s their problem. You will not take away a human’s free will in the place.” His back hand is hard and I fear my neck may snap if he hit my face any harder. I turn my tear stung eyes to stare back at him defiantly.
“I will handle humans however I see fit. I’m not subjected to His rule.” Kane spits indicating his head upwards. I smirk at him.
“But you are subject to His.” I remind him pointing down. Kane raises his eyebrow at me questioningly.
“Do you think you’re special because he’s claimed your soul?” He laughs amused. I cross my arms across my chest. I nod. He looks incredulous.
“Because if I wasn’t, you would’ve killed me already.” I announce knowingly. He ignores my reasoning and I see a brief glimmer of resignation in his eyes and I know I’m right.
“I don’t give a flying fuck if you’re Lucifer’s intended pet bitch you don’t just set my face on fire and think you’re getting away with it.” The minion daemons bellows as he lunges for me. A strong arm reaches out and grabs the daemon by the throat. I don’t remove my gaze from Kane’s as I hear Maximus’s body throw the daemons through the wall of the lounge behind me. I’m impressed by his strength as I hear the sound of the crumbling wall.
I hope Max survives this as I pray for his safety. Kane simply looks bored as he picks up another drink. “I guess he won’t be needing this anymore.” He announces coldly and I feel ice flood my veins as I realize there is just silence behind me now. I risk looking over my shoulder to see Max dusting the plaster board off him as he steps over the body of the broken daemon.
He’s dead. Max had the strength to kill a daemon. My eyes connect with his pure black ones for a moment before I turn my head back to Kane. He shrugs at us. “I didn’t get to meet your new guard dog when I was here last time.” He looks at Max curiously. “What’s your name?” Max doesn’t answer. The other minion sitting on the lounge chuckles and lightning fast Kane moves and snaps his neck.
“What is your name?” He asks again wiping his hand on his pant leg. I look at him unable to hide the shock from my face. Max moves to stand between me and Kane as he raises his head to lean over Kane slightly. “Maximus.” He hisses darkly and I’m sure my eyes are playing tricks on me when I see Kane flinch with recognition. Kane reaches back down to the table and grabs the last drink and downs it.
He pulls his lapels of his jacket to straighten it. “I leave you to deal with this mess.” He announces coldly. “You do have such extensive experience after all.” I look between them confused but Kane just stares at Maximus seemingly trying to figure him out. Good luck with that. I’ve been trying to figure him out for weeks.
I feel Max’s arm spread out over me as Kane makes a move too close into me. He smiles a smile of pure malice. “Interesting.” He crooks an eyebrow at Max’s arm across my waist.
“Kane. You’re really just going to leave your friends like that?” I ask incredulous as he reaches the door. He lets out a deep hearty laugh.
“Oh. Daarnya you are amusing.” He says thoughtfully then his gaze turns almost reminiscent. “I recently came across a soul who told me just how amusing you can be given the proper motivation. Sweet little Daarnya, do you still hide under your bed at night hoping he won’t find you?”
“Shut the hell up.” I spit at him angrily. How dare he bring that horror up?
“What fun we shall have when you finally descend to my world, sweet little Daarnya.”
“Get out.” Max’s voice seethes. I can’t see his face but something about his expression causes Kane to pay attention.
“I must be off. New ‘friends’ to pick up.” He laughs maniacally as he leaves the room. I almost collapse from relief as the cold air returns to room temperature. My knees tremble slightly as Max turns to face me. His eyes are searching mine and I’m honestly grateful that he came in her tonight. But how am I going to explain this to Vladik. I can’t even explain it to myself.