Chapter Fifty Eight: A Decision

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Within moments Eugene reacted. Snapping Annalise out of her shock for a second, as he placed himself firmly in front of her like a barrier. Immediately going on the defence, snapping at Astaroth as though she was hell incarnate. Perhaps she was, Annalise didn't know for sure yet. But she seemed nice enough.

"No she's not! Why would she go with you!" Eugene deterred, clenching and un-clenching his fist. Stepping slightly to the side of him, Anna placed a hand on his shoulder. Watching as his fists began to unconsciously uncurl. She frowned, holding her breath as she faced her 'auntie'.

"Stop Eugene." She spoke softly, almost afraid to step into the violent energy between them. Astaroth herself seemed to be fuming at Eugene's refusal, eyes squinted and jaw clenched. She looked like she was holding herself back from leaping at Gene's throat. Raul had placed himself closer between, shoulders back and chest leaning forward, getting ready to pounce at a moment's notice.

"Let her speak, Gene." Annalise demanded, crossing her arm in front of her chest. His head snapped back to her, eyes wide in incredulity. She felt the need to wince under his scrutiny but held strong. Astaroth positively beamed, all tension sapped from her body.

"Thank you!" Astaroth praised, looking at Annalise like she'd just hung the moon and stars. All kinds of goofiness faded from her as she became more serious. "To be honest, I'd love to take you to hell for my own selfish reasons. You're family. I'd love to have you there. But that's not the case. I felt your power explode recently. That kind of power can't go unchecked. It needs training. Harnessing. You could cause accidents. You could hurt someone,"

Annalise bit her lip, twisting her hands nervously on her biceps. What she was saying made sense. Ever since she had returned to her body, she had felt something, lingering and lurking under the surface. A type of power. A sense of foreboding that was hibernating waiting for the next opportunity to burst open. It was a ticking time bomb. She was a ticking time bomb. It was only a matter of when, not if.

"I tried to visit you multiple times when you were younger. But when your mum and dad broke up, she refused to let me see you. I only stopped trying six years ago, things in hell got a bit busier and I wasn't allowed to come here. My brother had betrayed us for some vampire, and left a mess in his wake. I was left to clean it up but I felt your power burst, and I knew I couldn't just sit there and be complacent anymore. I came as soon as i could,". Annalise wasn't sure how to handle the bombardment of information.

She loved her mother, but to learn that she had been hiding Annalise from her family members for so long. It was disconcerting. She must have had a reason to. The first culprit that came to her mind was her father. Annalise was sure of it.

"It's safer for you to be in hell right now, Annalise. I've heard about what Amaros wants. You probably know by now too. He wants you dead. I think, but I don't know, that he's scared you'll be like him. He's afraid of your power and he doesn't want the competition. He wouldn't dare show his head again in hell after the wreckage he made," Astaroth continued, face scrunching up in disgust as she mentioned Annalise's father. She matched the sentiment.

"Besides! You can meet more of our family, more of your kind. You can learn our ways, our traditions and celebrations,". Annalise chewed on her lip thoughtfully. She couldn't lie to herself. It was a tempting offer. Logically, she knew she was in danger. Vitus proved that point quite literally. She knew her father was after her, and she could feel the dormant power tightening in her chest like a vice.

Then she looked at Eugene and her thoughts faltered.

God, how could she leave him. Any of them really. "You can't really be thinking of going with her, can you?" Gene spat, seeing through her. Just like he always did. She couldn't look at him, and that as of itself was enough of an answer for him. He grunted, shifting back to Astaroth.

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