Home > The Soul's Mark: FOUND (The Soul's Mark #1)(3)

The Soul's Mark: FOUND (The Soul's Mark #1)(3)
Author: Ashley Stoyanoff

“Ouch,” he groaned, sounding a bit amused. His arms were raised in an attempt to protect himself from the blows of a broom swishing furiously at him. “It was an accident!” he cried out.

On the other end of the broom was an elderly woman who looked to Amelia like she was made of circles, with a round pudgy face and plump round body. She had on a flowery apron splattered with some kind of yellowy goo and she was screaming unintelligible utterances at the man as she continued to beat him relentlessly.

Suddenly, Amelia saw the stove light up, fire crackling and blazing. Forgetting the scene in front of her, she dropped her bag and rushed in. What had her mother said about grease fires? Baking soda, use baking soda, Amelia thought, that was it. She whipped open the fridge, frantically searching and grabbed a box of baking soda from the door. She dumped it on the burning grease-lit frying pan. The fire extinguished in a billowing cloud of smoke and she coughed when she sucked in a breath.

“What the hell is going on?” Angelle yelled, jumping in between them. She snatched the broom out of the woman’s hands and tossed it out of reach. It flew across the room, and slammed into the wall before clattering to the marble floor. “That’s enough.” She grabbed the man by the shoulders and shoved him away.

“He’s ruining my kitchen. Look at this mess,” the elderly woman said in a tizzy, surveying the mess. Amelia followed her gaze and noticed that the yellowy goo was splattered everywhere, smeared across the large cherry island, globbed on the weathered black wall cabinets, dripping from the ceiling, as if a bomb of stickiness had gone off.

The man was rubbing his shoulders, looking at Angelle as if she had really hurt him. Amelia stood back and watched, trying to stay out of the way. He was just as tall as Angelle, and bulky with muscles like a football player, a really hot football player. “I was just trying to make pancakes for Amelia,” he said, smiling bashfully at Amelia. Then he looked back over at Angelle, “And in case you missed it, she was hitting me. Why did you shove me like that?”

Angelle rolled her eyes in a dramatic show of annoyance, “I’m sure you deserved it Eric. You usually do.” She looked over at the woman, who was now scurrying around the kitchen trying to clean up the mess. “What did he do, Mabel?”

That’s Eric, Amelia realized. She giggled. He really was looking green. That’s what the guard had been talking about. His shaggy, uneven, punk style haircut was dyed in a vibrant, bright green. Hot, she thought. Green hair, hot? Well, on him, yes, it was really hot. He was covered in the same sticky goo—pancake batter?

“He used a blender without the lid,” Mabel said. Her voice was stern and a touch motherly and she had a soft accent, maybe English, Amelia thought. And she looked absolutely fit to be tied.

He just shrugged. “Stirring was taking too long.”

“You’re such a dork—and what’s with the hair?” Angelle laughed. “You look like a little punk.”

“Don’t knock the hair,” Eric said, leaning back against the island, arms folded across his chest.

“You can’t go to the office like that,” Angelle said.

“Don’t have to. I’ve been promoted to personal chauffeur. And I think it looks great. I thought you would appreciate it.” He batted his eyes and struck a pose. “It totally matches my eyes.” He looked Amelia over and then pushed off from the counter, strolling towards her with a mischievous grin on his face.

Amelia had hoped they had forgotten about her and she really hoped she wasn’t drooling, because man, he was sexy, like head to toe sexy. He stopped about a foot away from her and she met his eyes, which indeed matched his new hair color.

Eric dropped into a gallant bow and she giggled like a little schoolgirl. He took her hand in his, and kissed it lightly. “Welcome my lady,” he said playfully.

Angelle groaned. “You are such a moron.”

Eric laughed and dropped Amelia’s hand. Wow, what a laugh. She felt it vibrate in the air. Clear, loud and full of raw energy. He strolled back over to the island, and leaned lazily, elbows propping him up.

Amelia couldn’t take her eyes off him and he was grinning at her as if he knew why she was staring. She was sure he knew exactly how sexy he was. If Angelle hadn’t spoken up, Amelia would have been happy just to stay there and stare. “This is Mabel,” Angelle said with laughter in her voice. “She’s our housekeeper, cook and den mother.”

“Hello dear. How was your trip?” Mabel asked distractedly.

“It was okay,” Amelia answered.

“That’s good, dear. Look at this disaster.” Mabel let out a long, exasperated sigh. “At least I caught him before he burnt the house down.” She paused, scrubbing at the counters. “Why in the world were you making pancakes? It’s almost dinner time.”

Eric was still leaning against the counter, watching her. Amelia could feel his eyes scanning over her and her heart started jumping, beating erratically. “She had a long trip,” he shrugged. “Thought she’d be hungry.”

“We just finished rebuilding the kitchen from the last time Eric tried to cook,” Angelle added.

“Um, can I help clean up?” Amelia asked and took a small step towards the sink, looking for another cloth.

“That’s okay, dear,” Mabel said. “You two run along now and I’ll clean up this mess.” Mabel made a shoo-ing gesture and shot Eric a look, not a good one.

“That’s her nice way of saying get out of my space,” Angelle said, ushering Amelia away from the mess. “Believe me, you don’t want to stay and help. Come on, I’ll give you the grand tour.” Angelle pulled Amelia along through the kitchen. “Eric, bring Millie’s bag to her room,” she called over her shoulder.

“Make the tour quick,” Mabel said. “I don’t want you to be late for dinner. I’m making your favorite Amelia, Fettuccini Alfredo with chicken.”

“That sounds great,” Amelia said, and Angelle towed her through an open doorway, out of the kitchen.

They entered a cozy looking room with crisp white walls and rich wood floors. “This is one of the living rooms,” Angelle said. There was a fireplace on one side and on the other, an entryway to a veranda and traditional comfy-looking couches.

Amelia snuck a peek over her shoulder, back into the kitchen, at Eric who was watching her with a curious expression. His intense green eyes met hers. They drew her in and everything around her seemed to melt away. Her body flushed and her pulse quickened. She had an overwhelming urge to run to him, throw her arms around his neck and kiss him. She was sure he would be a good kisser. Those full lips definitely looked kissable. She licked her lips, imagining how it would feel.

Suddenly, he blinked and gave his head a little shake, breaking the spell and Amelia realized with a sucking, gasping breath that she had stopped breathing. A lopsided grin stretched out on his face, he winked at her and turned away leaving the kitchen, Amelia guessed, to get cleaned up.

“He’s… oh my God… hot,” Amelia said under her breath, and Angelle shot her a surprised and somewhat confused look. Amelia instantly clapped her hands over her mouth and a fire flared in her cheeks as she flushed. “Please tell me I didn’t just say that out loud.”

“I’ll totally pretend I didn’t hear you,” Angelle replied, and she wrinkled her nose, “because, ewwwwwww.” She continued to pull Amelia through the living room out into a brightly lit hallway. “Here is a powder room,” she pointed to the right at a closed door. They took a few more steps, “and this is my room.” She pointed to the left. The door was open and Amelia was able to sneak a quick peek before being pulled up the stairs. The walls were a bright shade of buttery yellow and the bed was covered in a fiery orange with mounds of pillows, all the bright colors of flowers and sunlight. It somehow seemed perfect and matched Angelle’s bubbly personality. There were clothes strewn on every surface and spilling out of the overstuffed closet.

They started up the steps, hidden off to the side, just past Angelle’s room. “To get to the second floor you can use the staircases on the east and west wings of the house and then there is also the main stairs in the foyer,” Angelle explained.

On the way up the twenty-six steps, Amelia caught the muffled sounds of splashing water and a whiff of a clean, soapy scent. At the top Angelle paused for just a second and pointed to a closed door on the left, “That’s Eric’s room.”

He’s in the shower, Amelia’s mind drifted, looking at the closed door and realizing he must have snuck upstairs while Angelle was showing her around. She could almost imagine his muscular form all covered in suds. Her heart rate quickened and Angelle shot her a look, grabbed her hand, and dragged her on a bit too roughly, and she stumbled.

“Again... ewwww,” Angelle said. “You seriously have to stop that. He’s like your brother.”

“What?” Amelia asked, flushing a bright cherry red. “My brother?”

“Yeah, your brother. You’re part of the family now so that makes him family, hence brother.” She stopped in front of the next room beside Eric’s room. “This is the media room but good luck getting it ‘cause Eric’s always playing those stupid video games.” The room was the same crisp white and rich wood that flowed throughout the house. There were two plush couches and a few beanbag chairs. A massive television hung on the wall, and the built-in entertainment stand was cluttered with gaming equipment.

They continued on. “And this is the games room,” Angelle said, before dragging Amelia onward. She caught a glimpse of what might have been a pool table, but she wasn’t completely sure.

As Amelia was dragged on, a thought dawned on her, like a flash of lightening. Mabel had said she was making her favorite dinner—but how would she know that? “Hey Angelle… how did Mabel know that my favorite dish is Fettuccini Alfredo?”

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