dark black magic: chapter 33: tangled web

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Stephanie POV

I stood in front of a giant gold mirror twirling about in an overpriced Italinan boutique dress. Loki sat slumped on a chair with a bottle of champagne watching me spin. The store assistant grinned as Loki said in Italian, "We'll buy that."

Slipping into the dressing room I took off the dress and put another dress on that he had picked. I stepped out and Loki said, "We're getting that one as well."

This was so much fun. Loki had already taken me to a real pizzeria to get dinner and now we were shopping. For the first time in a long while I was having fun. Loki stood up and twirled me around, "Your hair is growing back quickly." he commented. My hair had fallen out because I was being bullied so badly but then I turned into an immortal and suddenly my whole body has woken up. In the last few days my hair has grown a couple of inches. My mother can't believe it. Although I'm worried she might try and send me back to school again. Turning to Loki I said, "Yeah it's growing back really quick."

"Why did it fall out." He asked.

Taking a sip of champagne I told him the truth, "I was bullied by these bitches. I couldn't escape, I had no one to turn. My life was so hopeless." I replied.

"Mortality is not an issue for you anymore. In a couple of decades those girls will be toothless hags." Loki said.

I burst out laughing. I never really thought of it like that. All those girls will grow old and loose their beauty while my lovliness will stay will me forever. Sitting on Loki's lap I teasingly bit his lip.

"You're so funny." I smiled.

Loki peered past me at the shop assistant and spoke something in Italian. Nuzzling his neck I asked, "What did you just say?"

"I asked her to call a cab."

"Are we doing more shopping?"

"No we are going to a hotel."

"Great." I smiled and kissed him until the shop assistant interrupted us. Our cab had come. Loki paid for my dresses and we went to the nearest hotel. Loki got the penthouse suite that looked over Rome. The whole thing was magical. The bed was enormous. Loki picked me up and placed me down on the bed. My fingers were tangled in his hair and everything seemed to melt around us. I couldn't believe this was happening for a second time and so soon. Looking up at the ceiling I kept thinking to myself, I shouldn't be doing this. What about Aidan? I only met the man last night- but then I only met Loki last night. Ignoring the little nagging voices in my head I focused on the chemistry between Loki and me. He was deliciously intoxicating. After our love making I lay in bed feeling dazed. Loki was wandering about in a black suit.

"I hate to hurry you but we are going to be late for dinner." He said.

Groaning I rolled off the bed and headed for the shower. Loki had choosen what I was going to wear. Laid out on the chair was a beautiful dress and matching shoes. After I cleaned up I slipped on the dress and shoes. Loki smiled approvingly as I came out of the bathroom. Taking his hand the room melted away into a large marble foyer of a palace. Amazed I glanced around at the rich tapestries and large oil paintings.

"This is amazing." I whispered.

An accented male voice from behind me said, "Welcome to my home."

Loki smiled, "Hey, Jack. Long time no see, I've brought you a friend to meet." he said pushing me forward.

The stranger stepped forward, he looked no older than thirty and had beautiful dark hair and dark eyes. He took my hand and kissed it.

"Pleasure to make your acquaintance. My name is Giacomo Valente."

Afer dinner Giacomo took me aside to show me his private collection. He took me too a long corridor full of display cabinets packed with items from different centuries.

"You must have seen so many fantastic eras in history." I said looking at the vast cabinets full of priceless artefacts. Giacomo did not speak, his reflection in the cabinet glass was a quiet sort of sadness like he didn't want to contradict me.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"Nothing," he waved with a dismissive hand.

"Seriously what's wrong? You seem so sad."

Giacomo sighed, "All these beautiful items become trivial after a while. I would trade them all to spend one day with my family or my wife."

"You had a wife?"

"We all do Stephanie. We all have soul mates. Our time with them is brief then we spend centuries alone cooped up with nothing but gilded paintings and silly relics to remind us each day that once upon a time we really did belong somewhere. I'd trade all these trinkets for one day with Eleanor."

The thought never occurred to me that one day I would outlive all my friends and family. One day all that I am now would be a figment of history forgotten in time. Suddenly this life of luxury seemed an imprisonment.

"I never even thought about it- my mom and my dad." I rambled.

Giacomo shook his head, "I am sorry to burden you with such thoughts. That was unforgivable of me."

"I would have realised this sooner or later."

"Do you have someone you love?"

"Kinda of. A werewolf, but I only met him yesterday, apparently I am his mate."

"You should be with him. Spend every day with him because those are the memories that will be your companion for the rest of your life."

I nodded my head in agreement. Giacomo stared at hesitantly then said, "Stephanie, if I may be so bold I have proposal to make. In decades to come when you find yourself alone after friends, family and lovers have passed, please come to me and let us make a home together." He said.

"So you want me to live with you when everyone I know dies."

"Yes, it is a lonely life and to know there is another immortal like myself is ever so comforting."

I thought about it then agreed. Giacomo smiled and for the umpteenth time kissed my hand. "Thank you." he whispered.

Loki barged in, "Time's moving on Jack! Stephanie and I got to fly!" Loki said abruptly.

Giacomo smiled and nodded, "Take care Stephanie and remember your promise." he said.

The room melted away into my little bedroom. The floor was filled with hundreds of bags of clothes and shoes. Loki looked at his watch, "I've gotta fly Steph! Been a pleasure. Have fun with Aidan and remember if you need me just shout." He said disappearing into thin air.

Rayne POV

There was nothing I could do but hold her hand while her world fell apart. I loved her so much it killed me to see her so sad. Sat on the couch I held her as she cried softly into my chest.

"I swear I will hunt down the person responsible for this." I vowed to Skyler.

"This is my fault. I did this." She said.

Stroking her hair I replied, "This is not your fault. Don't say such stupid things."

"I lost the wolf strap."

"Saving Stephanie. Then some psycho bitch stole it and used it to murder your Grandmother. Skyler you did not kill her. That evil bitch in your dream did."

Skyler fell silent overwhelmed by emotion and sadness. Her desolation beat into me.

Days and weeks past. Nothing happened of any significance. We attended Grandma's funeral. We came back. Skyler went to work, Matthias and Dalton got a job. Stephanie and Aidan grew closer and so did Matthias and Skyler. Loki disappeared as did Rudolph. Our lives were quieting down or so I thought...

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