Chapter Seven

As soon as the sound leaves my lips, I’m released.

It’s almost a panicked rush, like the person wasn’t expecting me to react in a way that any normal person would when they’re blindfolded and pushed up against someone they don’t know. I don’t expect him to let me go so quickly without a fight, so the stance I’ve taken to kick him quickly topples and I find myself on the ground, my hair covering my face and blinding my vision of my attacker.

“Hey! Who are…” my voice trails off as the wind brushes my hair aside for me.

Standing in front of me is what looks to be an exact carbon-copy of Jackson. Well, almost carbon-copy. There are a few differences. The man looks more like an impish boy – an elf, if you could. He has high, arrogant cheekbones and a curled smile. His hair is wispy and falls straight, like a frozen waterfall. He has Jackson’s complexion, though, and the same dark eyes, except his glimmer with the shine of a poised warrior – a killer, maybe.

He’s wearing nothing but a towel around his waist and my back is wet, so the water was probably the remains of a shower that he had neglected to wipe. He stares down at me with a mix of a smirk and a sneer, his hands planted proudly on his hips. He doesn’t say anything, but I already have a bright idea as to who this could be.

“Well, don’t you have a loud voice, huh?” Adonis pokes at his ear. “Perfect for screaming. Maybe that’s why my brother brought you. He always liked the screamers.”

“W-What?” I don’t completely comprehend what he’s referring to.

“Oh, you know.” Adonis offers me his hand. I take it, and he helps me up.

“Know what?”

He cocks his head to the side. “So, you don’t know,” he says instead.

I frown. “What? I – look,” I shake my head. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, but…actually, I don’t really want to know.” I take my hand out of his. “Sorry for screaming. You just took me by surprise.”

Adonis shrugs. “That’s my go-to,” he winks. “The ladies and gentlemen love it, didn’t you?”

“Um…no, not really,” I say, but Adonis isn’t paying any attention to me. He swaggers over to what I assume is Jackson’s bed and smooths his hand over some clothes.

“You know,” he picks up a shirt. “You’re pretty new. Not really his type, now that I think about it.” He pulls the shirt on. “Skinny. Tiny. Quiet.” He shakes his head. “Yeah, not really his type.”

“I…guess? I’m not so sure -!”

“Anvi!” The doors burst open and Jackson stands in front of the doorway, panting. His eyes are wild and he looks frantically from side to side before spotting me at the corner of the doorway.

“Um…hi?” I mumble, waving like an embarrassed child at a school fair.

“Hey big bro!” Adonis skips over to Jackson, grinning like a maniac. “Nice of you to join us. I was just getting to know your…new friend.”

“Adonis,” Jackson’s tone drops to an annoyed rumble. “What – did you scream? Who screamed?”

“Oh, um, that would have been me,” I bite my lip. “Adonis kinda scared me – “Jackson turns his glare to Adonis. “- But I’m okay! I just…” I wipe my face. “I just wasn’t expecting him to come up behind me, that’s all. Delia said this was your room, so I thought it was empty.”

“It usually is, and should be,” Jackson growls. “What are you doing in my room, Adonis? And why are you wearing my clothes?”

Adonis shrugs, indifferent. “I don’t see your name on them,” he says. “So, it’s fair game.”

“Whatever.” Jackson puts his hands on my shoulders and his eyes search mine, peering through every nook and cranny of my soul to make sure I’m alright.

“He didn’t hurt you, did he?” He asks. His voice has lowered to a gentle whisper and as I’m formulating my answer he gives Adonis a narrowed side glare. “My brother can be known for being quite…rough with the newcomers.”

“In both senses,” Adonis adds, laughs.

My lips press in a thin line and I shake my head. “No, I’m fine. I just…” I reach up and press my forehead like I’m suppressing the memory of my last day on Earth and my first day in Hell. “I’m fine. I told you, he just scared me, that’s all.”

Jackson’s chest drops in relief, but his gaze lingers on me, like he knows I’m hiding something from him. He doesn’t ask, though, and his attention is quickly diverted by the barrage of questions Adonis begins to pile on him.

“So, I didn’t know you were back to having one-nighters.” His smile gleams wickedly in the moonlight. “Where’d you get her from? The forest?”

“She has a name, Adonis. Don’t be rude,” Jackson chastises, his voice filled with half-energy. “Anvi, this is Adonis, my obnoxious little brother who I’ve already warned you about.” Adonis makes a protesting crackle in his throat but Jackson ignores him. “Adonis, this is Anvi. She’s my mate.

“Mate?” The word captures Adonis’s attention and he stops giving Jackson the big pleading goo-goo eyes. “You’re the new Luna Queen?”

“New?” My eyes dart to Jackson. He looks away. “Delia said the same thing. What do you mean, new?”

Adonis frowns and looks to Jackson. He opens his mouth but Jackson puts his hand up, silencing him. Something passes between both brothers and Adonis seems to acquiesce, albeit a bit unwillingly based on the number of times he opens his mouth to protest.

“It’s…one of those trust things that mates always go through, you know?” He finally says. He’s not giving me an answer, but then again he hasn’t answered any of my previous questions, so whether this is something that Jackson told him to say through the mind-link or not, I’ll never know.

“Oh, okay then.” I twiddle my fingers. “So…Adonis…do you have a mate?”

Jackson groans and Adonis bursts out laughing.

“A mate?” He sneers. “Nah, who needs one? I mean, maybe you do big bro but me?” He waves his hand dismissively. “I’m cool. Besides, I prefer to have more than one person for company if you catch my drift.” His eyebrows raise suggestively.

“Adonis, please just leave,” Jackson sounds exhausted.

Adonis scoffs. “You’re just jealous because I can easily woo your mate faster than you can,” he says. Jackson doesn’t dignify him with a response, and Adonis grunts, pleased with himself.

“He’s a bit of a party pooper,” he whispers to me, nudging my shoulder. His elbow is pointed and hard, like the tip of a knife, and I just barely hide my whimper with a uneasy smile.

“He didn’t seem to be one at the ball,” I say in his defense. Jackson’s eye catches mine, and he grins. It’s a fatigued smile, but still one strong enough to convey to me that he’s happy I’m sticking up for him. That makes me feel even prouder.

“That’s because he was probably drunk,” Adonis says, but his smirk falters a little. Jackson and I both watch him as he saunters to the door, a towel still wrapped around his waist. He takes his time exiting, but just before he does, his eyes fog over, and when I look at Jackson, his eyes are cloudy too, but his cheeks slowly turn pink.

“Get lost, Adonis!” He snaps and Adonis cackles with glee, bouncing down the hallway.

Jackson sighs. He wipes a tired hand over his face and drags his feet over to the door, shutting it gently and with a resounding click. He stands there for a moment, just staring at the patterns on the door, then comes back towards me and gives me a small smile.

“I’m sorry about Adonis,” he says and the fatigue in his voice makes his words slightly raspy. “I didn’t know he’d be in my room, and I certainly wasn’t aware of his new way of introducing himself.”

“It’s okay. He didn’t hurt me anyway,” I assure him. I watch him as he sinks into the side of his bed, burying his face into his hands.

“Tired?”

“Very,” Jackson nods towards the space next to him and I oblige, carefully sitting. He immediately wraps his arm around my shoulder and tugs me closer to him. Our heads touch and he sighs.

“Some wolf went mad,” he finally whispers, his voice back to normal.

“They did?” I’m too tired to sound surprised, and my throat hurts from yelling earlier.

“Yeah. They couldn’t catch him, though.” Jackson snorts. “Nobody even saw who it was.”

“It’s late,” I yawn. “I can’t blame them.”

Jackson strokes my hair, smiling down at me. His fingers are soothing and it reminds me of when my mother used to comb my hair with her hands when I was a child. The memory stings, but only momentarily.

“You can take the bathroom,” he says quietly. “I’m gonna use Adonis’s.” He winks at me. “Fair game and all.

I giggle. “Not too sure how much he’d like that, but okay.” I stretch, then pause. “Wait, I don’t have anything to brush my teeth with or wear?”

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