Chapter 19

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Nate wrapped his arm around my waist and led me out of the ball room. Shaun waved and smiled as if everyone was changing partners and continued dancing with a 'Cleopatra'.

I look around and tried to spot my friends. I hoped I could give a signal or send up a flare, but they all were surrounded by the party.

He dragged me outside, to the back where the hedges resembled a maze. This was designed for little kids who came to the mansion in the fun of a 'Halloween Hay Ride'. Large bolts of fabric hung with small strands of orange lights and floral print. Groups of laughing guys and giggling girls walked by, I watched them and longed to escape with any group.

Nate's lovely eyes glinted with anger as he stepped closer to me. Reflexively, I pulled back. My earlier tipsy feeling had quickly dissipated. I stood still and faced him. This was a silent and somewhat equal contest until he pulled me into his arms which forced our bodies to align. I squirmed, feeling uncomfortable. But Nate only whispered, "Now you want some space, but with that other guy you couldn't get close enough."

I shook my head in response. I looked around to see if there was anyone I could expect to interrupt this strange interaction. Perhaps I should scream for help. My eyes strained to see any figures in the parking lot. The people who had been milling about were suddenly nowhere to be seen. All my friends were inside. With a smirk he tested my state of panic. "Your watchers are nowhere to be found."

I glared up at him, his height should have intimidated me. "Nate, do I look blonde to you?" I asked with as much indignation possible. "I can take care of myself, thank-you very much."

I jerked away from him, sensing an opening I shoved him back a step and I took a quick-step toward areas with more people. I pushed past several groups before I found steps that led up to what look like a private deck.

DJ Sheen's posse seemed to have had an abundant amount of decorative lights, since they had adorned this deck. Several couples had retreated out here for a semi-private break from the crowd. The outdoor couches were covered in tasteful luxury pillows and ornaments, a very comfortable arrangement. I felt as if I had entered a magical space. Such nice décor, it was a lucky thing it hadn't rained or it would have ruined the scene.


I recognized his voice and turned confidently. "Stop following me. We are not doing the couple thing." With confidence I said, "I'm not doing this." I muttered some more epithets as I moved back towards the entrance, but he blocked me. Forced to look at him, I'm sure my glare became more heated as I gritted my teeth and hissed, "Leave me the hell alone, Kronus!"

He shook his head slowly and responded most casually, "No". He raised his hand-to touch my face, I assumed-but I stepped back. I would allow no proximity. He made me lose control. "Don't, just don't. I really need you to keep your distance from me."

I saw a flash of light in his eyes, but in the same instant it was gone. Quickly his face was twisted with anger, he commanded, "You can't avoid this. We can't avoid this. What is between us, must be." His frustration showed as he squeezed his hands in a fist by his side.

At the sound of those words, I could only think 'this dude had lost his mind'. I couldn't understand his desperation at all. I crossed my arms to comfort myself and wondered what kind of game of delusion was being played. This time I responded, "No, there isn't any 'us'. There was never any 'us'. I'm seriously wondering what mental hospital you escaped from. I mean you're constantly watching me, following me. I know that some movies make that out to be something attractive but-news flash-it isn't!"

This situation was getting the best of me. I should calm down, but my skin was starting to itch. I had to get distance from him, in the voice of my father--a battle-hardened veteran, I needed to make that space ASAP! I went to walk past him, only to feel him touch my hand, and reacted with a violent scream. I was not aware of my response until I felt the skin under my nails and saw the marks I created on his face.

"No!" I yelled with rage.

"Augh!" Nate snarled in a low voice, as he released me to raise a hand to cover the torn area of his pretty face.

I stared in shock at his face. I was surprised by my own strength. I felt a twinge of regret and started to take a step towards him. But, when I heard a noise near the edge of the deck, I turned to face whatever horror that might be there.

Nate seemed to have heard the same thing. He spun around as he moved away from me.

My eyes seemed to be playing tricks on me. I strained to see around him, only to see to the horror that his skin seemed to be cracking. In a moment if fell off like a ceramic veneer.


When he faced me again, he noticed my shocked expression, and raised his hand to touch the side of his face, he eyes wide. He reached out to me and pleaded, "Wait, let me explain..."

I pulled away from him, rubbed my eyes, and shook my head to clear my mind. A loud crash caused us both to focus our attention on the edge of the deck.

As if in slow motion, a large black cat-like claw shot toward me. Nate engulfed me and turned, protecting me with his body. We both fell to the ground hard, his arms my fall as we rolled out of the reach of those menacing claws. Debris fell around us. My eyes were wide as I turned toward were the claw was jutting out of Nate's left shoulder.

My voice came out small and shaky. "Nate, your shoulder..."

I couldn't stop my hand as it reached up to touch him, but he blocked my touch. "Don't touch it, it's poison." He gritted his teeth in pain.

My emotions were a confusing mess. Now I wanted to help him. Before I could move, Nate jumped forward with lightning speed. Blood spilling from his wound snaked around his arm and solidified into a shining metal. Something came at us quickly from the shadows. I had no idea what it was. Nate seemed to move faster than I could comprehend. Protruding from his arm I saw what appeared to be a sword. Nate used this to pierce the creature straight through its core.

As the animal gasped for air, I could not believe my ears. It sounded like it spoke one word, "Fun."

The creature fell to the ground with a thud. The sound when Nate pulled his fist from the creature's chest, was a sickening, wet pop! I could not move, I was paralyzed, and I wondered what had been put in the drinks. I stared as the thing turned into a young man. The shadows that had surrounded us melted away.

This had to be hallucination. A man with a hole in his chest was at my feet. I slowly brought my eyes over to the severely bleeding Nate. I tried to absorb everything around me, but I couldn't. Though I'm not proud of it, my eyes rolled into the back of my head and I passed out. My head hit the deck flooring with a thud.

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