Music: 'Stockholm Syndrome' by One Direction.

Chapter 14 – Long Island Iced Tea


Abruptly, Cage stood to his feet and walked across the room to her. They spoke too softly for me to hear their words, but her body language said it all.  Her hands balled into fists, and if glares were daggers, he would be more than dead right now.

I sat silently. Kieran and Talia both looked uncomfortable. At one point, I even saw Talia cringe. It was obvious they could hear them perfectly.

Without warning, Cage took the woman by the arm and they both walked out the door.

I was stunned.

I couldn't believe that he left me here, without even a backward glance. I had no claim over him and no right to be upset – particularly when I planned to escape as soon as possible – but I couldn't help the disappointment and jealously that flooded through me.

My expression must have given away my internal struggle, because Talia suddenly joined me on the couch and took my hand. She murmured softly, "It's not what it looks like."

I met her eyes. "Really? Because it looks a lot like a lover's quarrel."

She cringed again.

I was right. Shit.

It never occurred to me that he might have an ongoing serious relationship. Most of the women I had seen were not particularly pleased to see me, but this one was clearly different. There had obviously been much more between the two of them.

Talia tried to explain, "He was the most eligible bachelor. Some of them will take a little bit more time to understand he is no longer available."

Her words were meant to comfort, but all I heard was the plural pronoun. How many women felt they had a claim on him? I leveled my gaze at her again. "Some of them? How many exactly would that be?"

Her eyebrows furrowed in anxiety. She opened her mouth to reply and then gave up, closing it again. Kieran jumped to his feet, looked pointedly at Talia, and interjected, "I am sure when Cage returns, he can explain it better. Why don't we show you around the library?"

I appreciated his attempt at diversion. I didn't want to think about it anymore. And I doubted Cage was going to be able to tell me anything I didn't already witness for myself.

As I followed them around the library, Kieran explained many of the historical artifacts. I listened without hearing much, except for my internal clock ticking off the minutes and still no sign of Cage.

When we came upon a wall with several coat of arms and family crests, I stopped and studied one of them carefully. For some reason, it looked very familiar to me. Where had I seen that before? I struggled to pull the memory to the forefront of my brain. And then I remembered. It was the same tattoo that I had seen on Armand!

Kieran said, "It is the crest of Armand Vânătorul otherwise known as..."

I interrupted him. I knew what it meant and breathed, "Armand the Slayer." What history did he have that he would be known as Armand the Slayer? I wasn't sure I wanted to know, and shuddered hard.

Kieran confirmed, "None have been more victorious or fierce in battle than him. Thankfully, the wars are less frequent now, and it has been many years since anyone had the courage to attack him."

"You have wars?"

His eyes glazed over, remembering the past. "Far too much blood has been shed."

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