Dank's POV

The Beginning The moment she spotted me, I knew it. Granted, she did a really good job of pretending she couldn't see me. The fact she halted in her steps the moment her eyes met mine, then quickly darted past me as she hurried into the school, gave her away. Students walked past me all morning without seeing me but this one saw me. I stood up from the wooden picnic table, where I'd been sitting awaiting her arrival. I could force her to acknowledge me by becoming visible to everyone else but I wasn‟t in the mood to do so just yet. The determination in her eyes intrigued me. If there hadn‟t been a parking lot full

When Pagan wasn‟t looking his way he pathetically ogled her.of witnesses. I sure as hell wasn‟t going to help him out. I‟d make him see the error of his ways. he acted as if he hadn‟t just two seconds ago been panting after her like a damn dog. I didn‟t like the fact she wanted his attention. I‟d play her games for awhile. If it wasn‟t for the incredibly odd possessive streak I felt toward the girl. Watching the ... I have the feeling she would have yelled at me instead of cowering like most humans. The monotony of my existence didn't hold much promise of entertainment. especially a female one. Then when she glanced over at him. Games were fun to play and it'd been much too long since I‟d come across a worthy opponent. Scene at the Lockers The only explanation was the kid must be an idiot.

I spoke up. I couldn‟t stand by and watch her so unhappy. Instead of staying in the background shadowing her like I‟d been doing for weeks in order to ease the strange tightness in my chest only her absence could provoke.” “I‟m not bothered. “Yes. It‟ll drive him crazy. “Don‟t look at him next time. but I can see it‟s bothering you. I couldn‟t place it exactly because it was a new emotion.disappointed little frown on her mouth made something inside me stir. Pagan tugged her book bag up higher on her shoulder as she pushed through the bodies of students filling the halls. Granted most people weren‟t crazy about me but I wanted Pagan to like me.” Her eyes flicked a quick glance over at me but she didn‟t miss a beat.” she responded through clenched teeth and opened her locker. you are. Not anything I was familiar with. There is this little wrinkle between your eyebrows that appears and you nibble your bottom lip when something bothers you. Kind of proves what a child he is. “He‟s trying to play hard to get.” . I didn‟t like it that her scowl deepened. Admitting that simple fact was humbling and it bugged the hell out of me. She stopped in front of her locker still ignoring me even though I made sure she could see me.

I faded away. Before she could respond. well.” I‟d barely glanced over at Miranda and Wyatt. I‟m positive my . She turned to walk toward her next class and I was glad she couldn‟t hear my laughter. I like it when you‟re smiling.. I wasn‟t about to answer to that minor slip of the tongue. If the football kid keeps making you frown I‟m going to take matters into my own hands. The scowl was gone and an odd feeling of accomplishment washed over me.That got her attention. Especially dark silk. They may need you to throw a bucket of ice water on them.. Why did something so simple make me feel like a freaking king? “You‟re missing the public display of affection across the hall between your two buddies. “There that‟s better. Pagan. Her shoulders lifted and fell back down as she let out a loud frustrated sigh. I liked silk. It reminded me of silk.” Did I really just say that? I was going to have to watch my words. But I knew making a joke about her friend‟s constant grope session would make that tiny smile break out into a full fledge grin.. All I could see when Pagan was around was. I‟d been the one to cause that tiny smile forming on her lips. She froze and turned her head slowly to peek at me through her cascade of dark hair.. She couldn‟t see me any longer although I hadn‟t moved.

But damn that girl fascinated me. Pagan wasn‟t hearing a word her friend was saying. Dammit! I had to do something. Pagan emerged from the building with tears glistening in her eyes. her eyes were scanning the hallway for the boy. Maybe it would be easier than I thought to change the course of fate. Change things somehow. The pull to take her soul. “Don‟t leave. I had a fight on my hands and this was the last thing I needed to witness. That was the grand plan. . this felt wrong. It wasn‟t stronger than my need to keep her alive. I stood watching her talk to her silly friend. I decided to wait outside. Death Breaks the Rules This was it.amusement at her frustration wouldn‟t please her. This was becoming a freaking runaway train I couldn‟t stop. Fate had played out just as planned and the idiot kid she was interested in would be the reason she left today. The pull to be there. Watching this was more than I could handle right now.” Of course she did. “I don‟t want to stay.” I heard the pleading in my voice as I fell into step beside her. For the first time in my existence. He isn‟t worth it. As if right on cue. Instead. I had to stop her. I‟m angry and I just want to leave.

I could keep her alive. It was an odd feeling. don‟t get in your car. Pagan‟s life was still marked.“Please. The pull was still there. an emotion. Nothing short of physically holding her here would keep her from getting in that blasted car and leaving. I‟d only slowed it down.” “Why?” A growl of frustration erupted from my chest. “Do you have to question everything? Can‟t you just listen for once?” Annoyance took the place of hurt in her eyes and her posture snapped to attention.” She stopped walking and hope soared inside my chest. I could change things. Go back inside.. I‟d tried. A strong one.” She spun around and headed to her car. Forget the stupid kid and enjoy the rest of your day. She was so stubborn. You can‟t stop me. “I‟m begging you to go back in the school. I was experiencing an emotion. It was. Nothing I‟d done had changed anything. I don‟t have to listen to you.. If you don‟t have a good excuse then there is no reason for me to stay. “Why do you care if I leave? Are you the new hall monitor and I missed the memo?” This was it. Don‟t let something that idiot did send you running. “I‟m leaving here. Pagan. .

I didn‟t want her body damaged. If I was going to completely alter fate. She couldn‟t see me sitting in the passenger‟s seat beside her. She wasn‟t going to stop. It hit . The stop sign loomed up ahead but Pagan was looking in her mirror. I made sure of that. I did the only thing I could do. I wasn‟t ready to let her go. This was it...” I roared again wishing I could just make myself visible or at the least speak to her soul but I‟d only make matters worse if I did. I‟d made sure of that. I watched as her car spun out of the parking lot before joining her in order to completely change her soul‟s fate. There was so much she hadn‟t experienced yet. What the penalty was I wasn‟t sure but I wouldn‟t be able to continue on if I had to take Pagan‟s soul. The large truck wasn‟t slowing down either. I grabbed the steering wheel and kept the car from rolling down the side of the embankment. I sat anxiously watching her wondering at what moment the accident would happen. How it would happen. And.I was going to have to break the rules. I was selfish. I at least needed to keep some things hidden from her. The truck‟s horn blared and the impact wasn‟t directly on Pagan‟s side. “Pagan please look at the road. “THE ROAD. So instead. She was young.” I begged even though I knew she couldn‟t hear me.

I wanted to rush her to the hospital myself keeping her safe in my arms. Feeling fear was a part of my life. I was immune to the familiar bitter taste .the front pushing the steering wheel towards her chest. I realized she‟d been unable to breathe. I didn‟t stop until they lifted her and placed her securely in the ambulance. Followed Her Home Fear hung heavy in the air. Quickly. I laid her gently on the ground and held her hand whispering promises I knew I could keep while I waited on the ambulance. She didn‟t trust my promise to keep her safe. I didn‟t stop when they began working over her body. I‟d already done too much. Her heart was beating. She didn‟t move. Gasping for air loudly as I held her. I unbuckled her seatbelt and lifted her gently from the car. Her eyes didn‟t even flutter but she was breathing. A panicked murmur escaped her lips and I bent down to sing in her ear. That simple truth infuriated me. I didn‟t stop when I heard the sirens. I wasn‟t taking this soul today. My presence created fear. But I couldn‟t. Pagan was unaware I‟d followed her home. Damn I hated this.

” she gasped pressing her hand against her heart. I stood in her doorway watching as she nibbled on her bottom lip nervously. watching her closely as she sank back down onto the bed she‟d jumped up from when I‟d startled her. I didn‟t like it. Fear shouldn‟t be an emotion she had to deal with anymore. I could hear it racing inside her chest from across the room. I‟d saved her from death. But Pagan‟s fear bothered me. “What‟s wrong?” I asked.” She shot me an accusatory look. talking to me and touching me freak me out a little. “Well excuse me if strange souls showing up in my house. “Then.it left in my mouth. “Dank. I ask you about it and you curse into the darkness and get all angry.” I walked into the room. “Sorry. This was not how it was supposed to be. Her scream died almost instantly as her eyes focused on me. I didn‟t realize you were so wound up about this.” .

But I couldn‟t tell her any of that. I shouldn‟t have scared you that way. Knowledge was dangerous. If I let myself look into those pleading dark pools of hers. I made it my choice. . then?” Because they were trying to fix what I‟d done. I needed to keep her safe.” “Well. Her hair always smelled completely edible. They wouldn‟t just leave it alone. I‟d cave.” She sighed and sat up straighter. I was Death. I could decide to allow life. “No. Needing to be near her. who she is?” I shook my head turning my eyes away from her. that‟s the only thing I can‟t do for you.Damn. It always came back to this. “I‟m sorry about that. and I‟ll make sure it‟s yours but that I cannot do. I sat down beside her on the small bed. “Why‟re you here. can you tell me what is happening. Ask me anything else in the world. Pagan. She wanted to know too much. It was my choice. Things I couldn‟t tell her. The smell of honey warmed me.

I‟ll make sure you‟re completely safe while you do so.. “If you want to take that shower. I‟ll be spending the nights here in your room.until I take care of what must be done.” She studied me for a moment as if remembering something that confused her. It‟s more like I can feel your fears so strongly I can hear them. I wanted her to understand that she had nothing to fear.” . “ You heard me in the cafeteria when you were with Kendra.” I paused then motioned toward the door. “Not exactly.” I turned my eyes back to hers and held her gaze. “I have to protect you. Interesting.” Relief came over her face then a small frown quickly replaced it.“Until I know everything is fine. I wasn‟t scared then.. “Can you read my mind?” She didn‟t want me reading her thoughts.

I didn‟t like to be the reason she was . “You weren‟t?” I asked unable to keep the smirk off my face.Ah. But watching her pout over my going to this stupid dance with Kendra was difficult. The Bedroom Scene “I hate the color red almost as much as I hate blond hair. I‟d reveled in that fear. Knowing she cared about the blond flirting with me eased the ache in my chest caused from the sight of her snuggled up against Leif‟s side. yes I felt her fear that day. Her face turned an adorable shade of red before she spun around and rushed out of the room.” My need to reassure her was going to completely botch my plan to push her away.

Wrapping my arms around her. “I would never lie to you. Inhaling the intoxicating aroma it presented. The fear that I‟d never be able to release her now I‟d held her. Standing. I continued kissing the delicate skin along her face. I couldn‟t leave her like this. “She means nothing to me. As my chest brushed against her back. her small body shivered.” I whispered against her ear. This was a form of control I‟d never had to exercise. seeped into my thoughts. She tilted her head back to stare up at me. The smell of her skin was delicious. My . Just this once I‟d forget why touching Pagan was wrong.” Her body trembled and my need to own her became unbearable. Lowering my head I kissed the soft skin on the top of her ear. I wasn‟t sure I even knew how. Unlike anything I‟d ever experienced. Closing my eyes I bit back a curse. Pleasure coursed through me and I tightened my hold. Couldn‟t she see this was what was best for her? The frown on her face and range of emotions flashing in her eyes told me she didn‟t believe me. I wouldn‟t be able to stop myself now. I closed the distance between us. Pagan. As much as I needed to put distance between us.unhappy. I pressed her back firmly against my chest.

“You tempt me. They aren‟t supposed to. But now I know.. you tempt me. I lowered my head and kissed the gentle curve there.hands found her hips and I worried the fierce grip I had on her might bruise her.” Instead of cowering away from me in fear.” I needed to touch more of her. From the moment I came for you I was drawn in.” I trailed kisses up her neck as she shifted closer to me full of expectation. I ran a hand along the exposed skin on her arm. It heated under my touch. Souls mean nothing to me. “You make me crazy with need. But I couldn‟t force myself to relax my demanding hold. I‟m not made to be tempted but you. like a normal human would when Death was admitting to being obsessed with them. But yours has become my obsession. I . With want.. Enjoying the excitement of her racing pulse beneath my lips. “I want to kill that boy every time I see his hands on you. That skin would be warm and delicate. Pagan Moore. It‟s your soul calling to me. Everything about you. “I want to rip his arms from his body so he can‟t touch you again.” Unable to hold back the growl inside of me caused by the possessive emotion that only Pagan had ever managed bring out of Death. This was wrong. Her neck exposed as her head fell back on my shoulder. I didn‟t understand it at first. I can‟t be tempted. Pagan leaned against me full of trust.

I couldn‟t have her. “Please. But I couldn‟t. Agony ripped through me. Pagan. Make her understand. She was human. You‟re not meant for me. The safer she was. I was Death. “But I can‟t have you. The less she knew. I told her the only thing I could. Wanting more than anything to change this. It would destroy us both. I needed to leave her. So instead.” Without opening my eyes to see her one last time. I couldn‟t continue to touch her.” I whispered harshly. Pagan. Closing my eyes tightly I wanted to explain it all.couldn't own her. I couldn‟t witness the pleading etched on her face. then I laid her on the bed and quickly stood up. I cradled her against me for only a moment.” she whispered. I vanished. I couldn‟t claim her soul for myself. “I can‟t. This was only going to hurt her more in the end. Filing away the memory of how she felt wrapped up in my arms. Picking her up. The Kiss .

No one had ever defended me.” I ordered before detaching myself from her claws. If I didn‟t know better I‟d swear she wasn‟t real. touching her. I‟d stayed because of Pagan. I almost felt sympathy toward him. He hadn‟t meant to upset her. talented. This isn‟t where I wanted to be. Yet. honest. “Go play with your friends for awhile Kendra. and compassionate. Glaring angrily toward the boy she‟d left behind. The gulf breeze caused her hair to gently dance around her shoulders giving her an ethereal appearance. watching her. here I stood forcing myself to tolerate the annoying girl draping her body against mine. I needed to guard Pagan. Intelligent. anger were all .She was defending me. sadness. She knew this. The door to the gym opened as Pagan shot one last look my way then disappeared outside. But the simple fact their fight was over me gave me some ridiculous amount of joy. The confusion. those were all the reasons I‟d made this choice. The silly blond in my arms let out a trill of giggles unappealingly similar to the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard. Being near her. What was she thinking? She didn‟t need to be alone.

It would only torture me further. “Why aren‟t you inside dancing with your date?” I asked. she shook her head no.” I said softly hoping to defuse the real reason I was here.rolling off her in waves. have you decided to try the ignoring me thing again. Her attempt at acting as if she wasn‟t just as happy to have me alone as I was to have her all to myself was cute. I couldn‟t keep from letting the amused laughter escape me. “I know that doesn‟t work with you. Why? I wasn‟t sure. “So. Knowing I had something to do with those emotions pained me. “He‟s looking rather forlorn sitting at a table all alone. She did‟t need to know how desperately I needed to be near her. But I needed to know she desired me too. She shrugged again and continued to study her feet.” “Why are you out here. Pagan? What‟s wrong?” I wanted to hear her say it. Her head snapped up and relief flickered in her eyes before she shrugged and turned her gaze from mine so she could stare at her feet. . to see if I go away?” Biting her bottom lip.

This dress hadn‟t been bought for the quarterback. Grinning at her attempt to act indifferent when I could hear her heart racing in her chest. The need to growl my approval was overwhelming.” Her pale throat constricted as she swallowed hard. I‟d suggested this color. “I knew pale pink would suit you. “Really?” I asked “Really. . I affected her. I reveled in that knowledge.” she tartly replied. I let my eyes travel down her dress and enjoyed the simple fact she‟d bought it for me. I managed to keep from out right laughing.“Nothing that concerns you. “Seeing me dance with Kendra doesn‟t bother you?” She shook her head and her chest began rising and falling erratically with each quick breath.” I closed the distance between us. Most girls can‟t pull it off but on you it‟s perfect.

I hadn‟t meant to hurt her. But right now.” I paused and let my gaze drop to her full pink lips. Something happens. I needed more. You make me feel things I‟ve never felt before.“You think I don‟t want to touch you the way I touch Kendra. "When I touch Kendra I mentally cringe at having to continue to pull off the farce of being interested in her. Immediately. The more we touched the stronger my need to possess her became. “And when you react the way you do. The silky texture caused a sharp hot painful need to grip me. I needed to erase the look in her eyes. Nothing else mattered. I feel the clawing inside me to take what I want. I closed my eyes from the intoxicating sight of her mouth and tried hard to fight for control. “when I‟m near you like this. Gently I ran my thumb over her bottom lip. When I can‟t control my need for you and allow myself to touch you it ignites a monster inside of me that I‟m afraid I‟ll lose control over. This was what I‟d tried so hard to keep from happening.” . The pain in her eyes almost brought me to my knees.” Pagan stepped back away from me.” I couldn‟t stop myself. You‟re right. I reached out and grabbed her hand and pulled her against me.

“You‟re the one thing I want the most in the world yet the one thing I cannot have. I needed her to understand. honest. Until now it has been all I‟ve known. Desperate to save her from myself. I quickly stepped away from her. Because to have you completely would be impossible. Making me hers. I couldn‟t harm her. “Go.” . run. You want to know what I am and I can‟t tell you. Pagan. “The purpose of my existence is not to have a mate. You can‟t go where I walk. It is lonely and cold. Opening my eyes.” Something irreparable was happening.” Unable to step away. I am not „intelligent. To let me go. I cradled her face in my hands. If you knew. I wouldn‟t have to beg you to run. risked her life with my obsessive need. Then you became the appointed and everything changed. Terrified I‟d gone too far. Run.The soft warm breaths against my thumb might as well have been iron bars wrapping around me pulling me toward her. please. I am not what you think I am. and compassionate‟ although hearing you say those words in my defense felt like warm liquid pouring through my cold veins. talented. I stared directly into hers. I wasn‟t meant for her.

I needed to leave now. reaching out a hand that I push away. you stay. As I began walking off. you stay. Souls feared me. But the instant I saw it flicker across her face. Holding on to me. Stopping. But not her. I recoiled. This was a mistake. “I don‟t care what you are. I heard her running after me. Didn‟t she hear me? I‟d told her so much more than she was supposed to know. I couldn‟t scare her.” she stated loudly taking a step toward me. My chest felt as if someone had ripped it in two." She‟d memorized my words to her. The cold is not meant for you yet you stay. . That wasn‟t what I wanted. yet you stay. What is it the song you sing to me says? „Yet you stay. “You can‟t scare me off and I‟m not running away. I slowly turned back around and glared at her. Never her. Maybe fear was the only solution. When I know it‟s not right for you‟.

Her small hands grabbed handfuls of my shirt and I wanted to roar in triumph. I was no longer in control of my choices. Now. Pagan was. I‟d do anything to keep her. She was delicious. This was the only chance I‟d have to taste her and I wanted it all.” I managed to whisper through my pain. She was exotic. Pagan. Instead. I can‟t control myself much longer. My mouth was on hers instantly. The sweet taste that I could give no label because it was uniquely hers consumed me. The pleading look in her eyes was my undoing. I needed to know her flavor. I needed more. To experience it. . she took another cautious step toward me. I nipped her bottom lip then gently soothed the bite with my tongue.“Go. How could I stay away? A growl erupted from my chest and I seized her in one swift movement.

Then I recognized the danger. I needed more. More. With each hungry touch from Death she relinquished herself to me. . Her soul owned me. I fled. She was mine. Her soul was releasing from her body. The touch of her hands sent a tremble through me as she grabbed my face and claimed my mouth. Pagan.” Before she could stop me. Terror washed over me as I jerked out of her embrace and stepped back. But I can‟t. I want this so damn bad. Mine. “I can‟t. But Pagan controlled me now. I began tasting the soft skin along her neck as words Death should never promise anyone spilled from my lips.Somewhere in the haze of the ecstasy I sensed danger.

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