Home > Tegan's Magic (The Ultimate Power #3)(13)

Tegan's Magic (The Ultimate Power #3)(13)
Author: L.H. Cosway

“Oh just sit back down,” says Rita in annoyance. “You’re not leaving here until I allow you to go. It’ll be easier if you don’t fight this. You’ll only be wasting your energy.”

His shoulders slump. He lets out a long, dejected breath, turns on his heel and sits back down in the chair he vacated seconds ago.

Rita gives me a wink and pulls out the seat closest to Damien. She leans one elbow on the table and stares at him intently. “So, feeling chatty yet?” she asks cheerfully.

Damien cuts her a cold glare. “Piss off, witch. You can’t make me talk.”

“I believe I’ll be proving that statement wrong in – oh say about two minutes time.” She makes a show of checking the non-existent watch on her wrist.

“Have you ever done this before?” I ask her.

Her lip quirks just slightly. “Once or twice.”

“And it worked?”

The lip quirk transforms into a full-on grin. “Oh yeah.”

Damien, who was unassuming and a touch nervous when he first arrived, now stares hatefully at Rita. “It would be wise to let me go,” he grits. “My mistress won’t be happy if you hurt me.”

“Oh really? Who’s this mistress then?”

His eyes turn to slits and he turns his face away from her. Rita claps her hands.

“See? It’s starting to work already. Come on honey, tell me who she is, you know you want to.”

Damien makes a move to spit in Rita’s face, but she holds her hand up again and his jaw stills. “Don’t do that, it’s no way for a gentleman to behave.” She sweeps her hand downwards and I see Damien swallow the saliva back down his throat. Had Rita always been this good at magic? I know she was brilliant before, but it seems to be becoming even more effortless to her nowadays. When Damien turns his head again I catch a small glimpse of a wound on his neck.

“Oh my God,” I whisper, getting up and walking over to see if my suspicions are correct. I take a hold of his collar and pull it down further, revealing several fresh bite marks on his neck and a few old ones that have healed up. They remind me of the ones I’d seen on Amanda when I’d first come back to Tribane. I look to Rita. “I think he’s a vampire blood donor.”

“Oh,” she says, like she didn’t expect that. “I thought it might have been Theodore or Marcel who sent him.”

“Not judging from the bite marks all over his neck.”

Damien’s whole face tenses up, as though trying so very hard to keep from saying anything. A vein in his forehead bulges out with the effort.

“My mistress sent me here to spy on you,” he says in a rapid gush, the words spilling from his mouth involuntarily.

“Oh yeah? I repeat, who’s your mistress?”

Rita gives me a smug look that says, I told you it would work. His face goes tense again, but no matter how much he tries to stay quiet, he can’t fight Rita’s magic.

“Eliza Whitfield, daughter of the vampire governor, Jeremy Whitfield,” he sputters the words out against his will, before swearing, “Fuck!”

A shiver of fear runs through me. I’d hoped Eliza would move on from her hatred, but evidently she’s still gunning for me.

“Why did she send you here?”

“She told me to get as much information as I could about your routine, and to find out a time of the day when she would be alone.” He nods his head to me. He’s not bothering to try and fight against talking anymore.

“When Tegan’s alone? Why?”

“Because she wants me to take her and bring her across the river to be killed in front of all the vampires. She wants to make an example of her for deceiving them.”

Rita reaches out and slaps Damien hard across the face. She’s absolutely fuming, even more so than I am and I’m the one Eliza wants to murder.

“What kind of person are you, allowing vampires to use you to kill an innocent woman?” she spits harshly at him.

I still her hand as she moves to slap him again. “Hey, Rita, it’s okay. You don’t need to hit him. It’s not his fault, he’s just an addict. I remember when Amanda was like him. She would have done anything just to have Lucas feed from her one more time.”

She looks at me and for a split second her brown eyes seem almost black. She shakes off her anger quickly and replies, “Yeah, I suppose you’re right.”

She turns back to Damien now.

“So you’re a blood donor of Eliza’s, eh. Tell me, what are the vampires planning? They’ve been very quiet.”

Damien lets out a derisive snort. “How would I know? Eliza only uses me for my blood and my body. Occasionally she gives me daytime tasks – like this one.”

I suppress a shudder at his mention of her using his body. He doesn’t even sound like he’s annoyed over it. He just states it as fact.

“Well if you don’t know then you’re no use to me. I’ll give you the poison now I suppose,” says Rita with a flippant sigh, dusting off her hands and standing up. She walks over to one of the cupboards and opens it, making a show of searching for something.

“Poison?” Damien asks, with a slight quiver.

Rita peeks her head around the door of the cupboard. “Yes, arsenic to be specific. I like to think it adds a certain historical touch. You didn’t think I was going to just let you walk out of here, did you?”

“But you said before that you’d let me go once you were done with me,” Damien argues in desperation.

She points a finger at him. “I did. But that was before you told me you were going to help kill my friend. For that you get the poison.”

“Rita…” I say and trail off, worried that she might be serious. She gives me a silencing look, pulling a clear glass bottle containing a yellow-ish liquid from the cupboard. Jesus, does she just keep poison sitting nestled between the salt and pepper or something?

“Please don’t – don’t make me drink that. Eliza is very protective of her donors. She will kill you.”

“I’m not afraid of a vampire,” Rita snorts, bringing the bottle over and setting it down on the table. She doesn’t say anything. Instead she starts sliding the bottle back and forth over the formica surface, creating a weird sense of tension in the room. She reminds me of a cat toying with a mouse.

“I swear it, I have nothing else I can tell you,” he pleads, his eyes staring at the bottle in fear.

“I think he’s telling the truth,” I venture softly. “He ate the herbs. He can’t lie even if he wants to.”

Rita doesn’t acknowledge what I’ve said. She lifts her eyes to Damien. “Are you scared?” she asks. “Does it terrify you, the idea of being forced to drink this?”

“Yes,” he whispers, a tear rolling down his cheek.

“Good. Now you know how Tegan would have felt if you’d taken her to be killed by your bitch of a mistress.”

I let out a relieved sigh, thinking she was only trying to teach him a lesson. She wasn’t really going to make him drink it. But then, just as I’ve started to relax, Rita shoots up from her seat, rapidly uncorking the bottle. She grabs Damien by the jaw, forces his lips open and spills the contents into his mouth. She does it so quickly that he barely has time to react before he’s pulling away from her and trying to spit it out. He’s already swallowed too much of it though.

I pull Rita back harshly by the shoulders. “What the f**k have you done?” I yell at her.

She laughs and gestures to Damien, who’s no longer trying to spit out the poison but is sitting down placidly in his chair with a vacant expression on his face.

“Why are you laughing? Have you gone mad? You’ve poisoned him!”

“It’s not poison,” Rita explains, pulling away from me and walking over to Damien. “It’s a mild hypnotic. See,” she waves her fingers in his face but he doesn’t react.

I put my hand to my heart in relief. “You scared the life out of me!”

“Yeah. Sorry about that. I thought he deserved a bit of a scare and there was no way for me to explain to you what I was doing without giving the game away,” she replies casually, which annoys me a little.

She puts both of her hands on each side of Damien’s head. His eyes follow her in an empty sort of way. “You won’t remember any of this,” she says to him, her voice a low monotone. “You will tell Eliza that Tegan is never left alone, so there’s no time when you could successfully take her. Tell her that her witch friend keeps a constant watch over her and she’s extremely powerful. You will say that even ten of her strongest vampires wouldn’t be able to get past me.”

She clicks her fingers in his face and he blinks, waking up from whatever kind of trance he’d been in. “Now that’s you all done, honey. Let’s hope you get that work promotion you were hoping for,” she says with a big smile.

Damien nods, still a little dazed. He shoves his hand in his pocket, pulls out a wad of cash, hands it to Rita and leaves the RV.

I shake my head at her. “I can’t believe you just did that.” I pause, looking out the window to make sure he’s really gone. “I also can’t believe you took all that money from him.”

“Yeah, you’re right. Since he was here to help kill you I should give you at least 50%.” She divides the bills and shoves half of them into my hand.

“You’re nuts,” I say, shaking my head at her in awe. I really don’t know what to think of her right now. I had been frightened of her actions, but maybe that’s just Rita. You certainly never know what she’s going to turn around and do next.

“Why thanks,” she replies, deadpan, before going to clean up the herbs scattered across the table.

Finn and Ira arrive home later in the evening. Ira goes straight out to the back garden to meditate. He seems happy that the mists have been cleared from the shed, thanks to Rita and the vamps. It’s his favourite place to be, yet he hardly set foot in the garden when those things had been out there. Perhaps they gave off bad karma or something.

I bump into Finn in the kitchen. He’s standing by the fridge, taking big gulps out of a bottle of water. I feel weirdly vulnerable around him after spending last night wrapped up together in his bed. Even though we’ve slept together before, it had always been with an invisible barrier between us. Now I don’t really know where the line is drawn, or if there’s a line at all. More to the point, I’m not sure whether or not I want there to be one.

“Hey,” I greet him, so quietly it’s almost a whisper.

“Hey yourself,” he replies with a small smirk. It quickly turns smouldering, probably because of the way I’m looking at him. He’s all sweaty after spending the day out in the city chasing and killing chaos entities. His t-shirt is stuck to him, providing a very attractive effect.

He takes a small sip from the water now. “You should stop looking at me like that.”

I can’t help it when I answer back with a teasing, “Why?”

“Because it makes me want to throw you over my shoulder and carry you upstairs like a caveman.”

I give him a little smile. “You’re a grown adult. Surely you can have me look at you like this and keep yourself under control.”

“Under other circumstances, yeah I probably could. But it’s been a rough few weeks – it’s also been a while.”

“A while?” I question.

All he does is raise an eyebrow at me.

“Oh,” I say, my gaze widening in understanding. “How much of a while are we talking?”

He shakes his head, putting the water back into the fridge and grinning. “Just a while, Petal.” He steps forward so that we’re almost chest to chest and pinches me on the nose. “You’re inquisitive today.”

He allows his fingers to drift down from my nose. I suck in a breath at the sensation of his touch as he presses his finger softly to my lips. “What’s with the whole “Petal” thing?” I ask, in an effort to distract myself from how close he is to slipping a finger into my mouth.

“It’s a good name for you. You’re like a petal, all delicate and soft.”

I almost snort at that. “I am not.”

“You are. On the outside you’ve certainly got a hard shell, but on the inside you’re just this lovely little sensitive creature.”

“Shut up or I won’t hesitate to bite you,” I warn. I’m seriously incapable of acknowledging what he’s just said to me. I hate how he so easily sees through my bitchy façade.

Finn pulls his hand away then. “I better go and get cleaned up.”

“Yeah,” I agree, coughing to cover up my embarrassment. “You better.”

About an hour later Rita comes into the house with a huge amount of Chinese takeaway for dinner. It’s a good thing Finn and Ira eat so much or we’d never get through it all. Rita tells Finn all about our encounter with Damien today, to which he curses and gives my knee a subtle squeeze.

He asks me if I’m okay and I tell him I’m fine. I don’t know how to react to this new Finn, the one who says sweet, concerned things to me and calls me Petal, as opposed to the one who would tell me off for trusting vampires and flirt with me in an aggressively sexual fashion.

Just as we’ve finished cleaning away the dinner there’s a knock at the door. I can tell it’s Ethan when the last remnants of the lust spell wake up. It feels more like a dull fizzing in my belly now, rather than an all-consuming…passion. He strolls into the house like he owns the place, as per usual, followed by Lucas and Delilah.

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