Home > Tegan's Magic (The Ultimate Power #3)(15)

Tegan's Magic (The Ultimate Power #3)(15)
Author: L.H. Cosway

I grip his shoulders, pulling him in closer. His hand moves from my breast, to my torso, to down between my legs, where his cups me gently over my thin black leggings. Then he starts rubbing, creating this delicious friction. For a little while I get lost in the vibrations that his hand cause to shoot through me. We continue to kiss, slow and languid, but intense. The movement of his hand gets more urgent and our breathing becomes hurried. My entire body explodes seconds later, as I tremble against him in orgasm.

“Fuck,” I hear him swear into my mouth.

I drag my lips from his and bury my face in the warm skin at the hollow of his neck. I love how he smells. Sort of like home, or maybe just homeliness? We stay like that for a while, holding each other, unsure whether to throw caution to the wind and run up the stairs to my bedroom.

“I thought you said you wanted to take things slow,” I mumble against him.

“Yeah, about that, it’s kinda hard sometimes.”

“I agree, it’s very…hard.”

He laughs and gives me a light slap on the thigh. He breathes out, pulling away from me. “I suppose we’ll just leave things where they are, for now.”

I look him up and down, embarrassed. “You sure you don’t want to, um…”

“I’m a big boy, I’ll be fine. I have some computer work I need to get done for Pamphrock, so I’ll be upstairs.”

He practically darts out of the room, as though afraid of what he might do if he stays around me a second longer. I saunter into the living room and flick on the television, but when I do all I find are a ton of news reports about muggings and fights, even a few murders. With a distinct chill, I switch it off and go back into the kitchen, deciding I’ll put the rubbish out.

I tie it all up in a black bin bag and make my way to the back door. When I first step into the garden I’m almost certain I can hear somebody’s voice. It’s a male voice and whoever it is sounds like they’re chanting, or praying maybe. It ceases immediately.

I squint my eyes in the darkness, making out Ira’s large form sitting cross-legged on the grass.

“Ira, what are you still doing out here?” I ask. “It’s getting late.”

Obviously it’s kind of stupid waiting for him to answer, but I do anyway. I’m convinced it was him I heard just now.

He sits still, watching me, not breathing a word. I put the bin down for a minute and walk over to him. Standing before him, I look around the garden. It’s dead quiet out here, and I can’t see any of the neighbours about. It had to have been him I heard.

“I thought I heard someone talking,” I say casually, turning back to glance at him. “You wouldn’t happen to know anything about that, would you?”

Nothing, not even a nod or a shake of his head. I’m not backing down though, so I plonk myself in front of him and cross my legs the same as his.

“It’s sort of nice out here at night – peaceful,” I say.

I might as well be talking to myself for all the response I get. Ira closes his eyes and begins breathing deeply, as though meditating. I’ve seen him doing this a few times now.

“You know,” I continue, “if you have a reason for not talking around everyone you can tell me. I promise to keep it a secret. That way you’ll have at least one person you can speak to.”

He opens his eyes then and seems to be looking at me in a speculative manner.

“Cross my heart,” I say. “I won’t breathe a word. You can trust me.”

I think I see him opening his mouth, as if about to say something, but the words never come.

“I know you can understand me. I can see it in your eyes when I look at you. I’d like to hear you speak, Ira. We’re friends, at least I think we are. When you were an animal I really loved you, you know. You were such a comfort to me.”

When I still get no reply I remain silent, resigning myself to the idea that he’s not going to speak to me tonight, even if it was him I heard before.

A couple of minutes pass. I lean my head back so that I can lie on the cool, damp grass. The feel of it soothes me.

“I don’t know how to…be like this anymore,” comes a strange, accented voice out of nowhere. It startles me and I realise that I’d closed my eyes. I open them and look at Ira.

“Please tell me that wasn’t my imagination,” I say. “You did just speak, didn’t you?”

He inclines his head, nodding. “I did.”

I give him a completely genuine smile and sit up to face him. “I’ve never heard your accent before. Where is it from?”

“It’s Polynesian. I was born on the island of Samoa.”

“That’s far away,” I reply.

“Very far away,” says Ira, a little mournful.

“What do you mean when you say you don’t know how to be like this anymore?”

He doesn’t speak for a long moment. When he does, he explains, “I don’t know how to be like a human. I spent twenty-five years confined in my animal form, voiceless, always on the outside looking in. Now that my true body has been restored I don’t know how to be in it. I feel like a stranger in my own skin.”

I stare at him, finding it odd to hear him speak so many words when he’s been silent all this time. “You’ll adapt. Twenty-five years is a long stretch. It’s going to take more than a few weeks for you to become the person you were.”

He soaks in my words, thinking them over. “I don’t speak because it’s my one last comfort to be without a voice, to be like I was as a dog.”

“Oh.” I reply, pausing. “Well, that makes a lot of sense. I’m sorry for being pushy. It’s just that I heard you praying and I really wanted you to talk to me. It’s strange living with a person who never speaks.”

That gets a small smile out of him. It transforms his tanned face into something warm and attractive, rather than the usual calm and detached expression he wears.

“You were praying, weren’t you?” I ask.

“Yes. I follow the Buddhist religion. It’s been so long since I could pray.”

“Are all the people on your island Buddhist?” I don’t think I know a single thing about Samoa, other than the fact it’s an island in Polynesia.

“No actually, most are Christian. My family was one of the few who were Buddhist.”

“How did you end up in Tribane?”

I’m asking a lot of questions, but I can’t help it. There’s so much I want to know about him.

Ira frowns. “My father lived here when he was a young man. He developed a gambling addiction and found himself in serious debt. Being a shapeshifter like me, he also moved in supernatural circles. One day a very rich warlock offered to loan him the money to pay off his debts in return for him spending the rest of his days as a bodyguard for the warlock’s family. My father agreed to the loan, but instead of staying and paying off his debt through labour, he left the city and returned home to Samoa.

“There he met my mother, who introduced him to Buddhism. They got married and started a family. Years later the warlock showed up at our home, demanding the money to be repaid. I was a young man of eighteen at this time and we were not a family of means. The warlock said that he would write off my father’s debt if he gave him his only son. I felt I needed to go with the warlock so that my parents and sisters could live out their lives in peace. So, that’s how I found myself in your city.”

“So you came here to work as a bodyguard for the warlock, what happened then?”

“I worked. The home of the warlock was where I first met Noel, the man who originally owned this house.”

I nod, remembering the picture I’ve seen of him on Finn’s mantelpiece time and time again.

“We became fast friends. Noel was a slayer for the DOH, but he moonlighted as a bodyguard. The warlock’s family were practically royalty among the magical people of this city. They had many vampire enemies and that’s why they needed round the clock security. I was quite happy in my job for about two years. That was before the lady of the house, Emilia, began to take an interest in me.

“Her husband was unaware of the fact that she was having numerous affairs behind his back. They had only one child, a daughter, and the warlock spent most of his time obsessing over keeping her protected from their vampire enemies. I had no intention of becoming involved in Emilia’s adultery and I told her so. For months she made various attempts to lure me into her bed. I continued to decline her advances until finally she’d had enough of my rejection.

“Being a witch, she could weave many spells, and she decided that I needed to be punished for my rejection of her. She cursed me to live out my life in my animal form, never again knowing the pleasures of the human body. And that is how I remained, up until the recent magic released me from my imprisonment.”

I stare at him, gob-smacked both by his story and also by the amount he’s just spoken after not breathing a word for so long. I can’t believe he spent all this time cursed, and for doing the right thing! “I hope that she got her comeuppance in the end,” I say, because I just can’t accept her having gotten away scot free after what she did to poor Ira.

“I don’t know. Perhaps her husband discovered her deceit. He was a powerful warlock, and not a forgiving one. She might very well be suffering under her own curse right now.”

“She better be,” I say fervently. “There’s definitely something wrong with the world if she isn’t.” I stop and look at him. “If this all happened twenty-five years ago, that means you’re now forty-five. You barely look thirty.”

“Shapeshifters age slowly. Our life expectancy is about 150 years.”

“That’s a nice length of time. It’s not too long like a vampire’s life, or too short like a human’s.”

“It is. Especially so since I have already lost a substantial portion of mine.”

“So,” I go on, “are you going to speak to the others now? I’m sure Finn would be delighted to hear you talk.”

“Finn is a good man. He is very enamoured of you.”

Okay, that was a little random. I tense up. “What do you mean?”

“He loves you as only a man can love a woman. I can see it in his eyes. He will take good care of you.”

Letting out a nervous snort, I say, “He doesn’t love me.”

“Maybe not yet, but I can it growing. Do you believe the vampire loves you?”

“Ethan? Why do you ask that?”

“When you are silent, you see more than those who speak.”

I cross my arms. “Hmm, that’s a very vague answer. But no, I don’t think the vampire loves me.”

“You are wise to think that. Creatures of his age are not insusceptible to love, but they do not love in the way a human needs to be loved. Only a human can love a human like that.”

I send him a wry look. “Okay, I get it, you’re on team Finn. But what about you, what way do shapeshifters love?”

“We love as humans love, because we are human at our core. Vampires are not human at all. They are their own species.”

A few moments of thoughtful silence pass. I break it when I ask, “You never answered my question. Are you going to talk to the others?”

“I’ll consider it. However, I’d prefer not to speak with the witches, especially the younger one.”

“Rita? Why not?”

“Because I can see a malevolence in her, one not too different from Emilia’s. When it comes down to it, she will do what works best to her own advantage.”

I’m about to defend Rita, because in the time I’ve known her she’s done so many selfless things for me. But I don’t think my protests will work to change Ira’s mind, and I can’t blame him. If I just spent a quarter of a century trapped by a curse, I’d hate every witch that crossed my path, too.

“Don’t you consider me to be a witch? I have magic.”

“You’re only half a witch, and you were not raised in the way of magic. You’re very human in your ways. You don’t understand your magic, but that’s not a bad thing. Those who understand their power are susceptible to being corrupted by it.”

I let that sink in. Perhaps my ignorance isn’t such a bad thing after all.

“You’re very insightful, you know.”

“I see the world and I interpret it as best I can. If that is insight, then I suppose you are right.”

“Come on, let’s go inside. It’s getting cold out here. Do you want to help me build a fire?”

“Yes, I’d like that,” Ira replies, following me into the house.

Finn keeps a spare bucket of coal in the closet under the stairs, so I take it out and with Ira’s help I load up the fireplace before topping it off with a few fire lighters. I put one of Finn’s DVDs on and we sit and watch it. About half way through Finn comes downstairs, exclaiming loudly about how nice it is to walk into a toasty living room with the fire going. He scoops me up into his arms and we lie cuddling for the rest of the film, him running his hands under my top. He keeps fiddling with the elastic waist of my leggings.

By the time the film has ended I still haven’t told Finn about Ira’s new-found voice. I’ve almost fallen asleep lying with him on the couch, but I get a little jolt of excitement when I remember. We’re all really tired though, so I decide to leave my little revelation until the morning.

Ira retreats quietly to his room and Finn walks up the stairs behind me.

“You’ve got a great arse,” he says, giving me a pinch on the bottom.

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