CHAPTER FIFTEEN:

Lies


I finally make a friend, I thought, Unwillingly though it may have begun, and now I have to lie to him –and probably screw him over-- so he doesn't get killed. God, Damien, I swear if I could I'd kill you slowly and painfully.

I sat in my room with my head in my hands, trying not to pass out before I sorted everything out. It was difficult, but I would manage. What could I do? His conditions were painfully clear. When Aiden came back, surprised and confused that Damien had never shown for their meeting, I must act surprised. There would be no indication whatsoever that I had been the one to meet with the bloodsucking fiend. I would not speak of my counselor's death. He had moved her body, and disposed of it… I shivered and wrapped my arms around myself…so that it would look like she had never shown for the appointment, therefore casting any potential suspicion off of me.

It sickened me to think of him dumping her body in a ditch or a river, but what could I do? Going to the police would only endanger them, and also make me look like a suspect or a psychopath. Telling the truth to anyone, at all, was completely out of the question.

"You tell him," He said, leaning over my limp body, as I gasped for air after he had hit my mind too many times, "Anything you want. But if I ever see the two of you together again…and make no mistake about it, I will, if you make contact… he will die on the spot. Tell him whatever you'd like. But he is out of your life. Once he gives up on you and moves on, I will change you. This is inevitable either way, but lying to him will prevent Aiden from going down with you."

"Why aren't you killing him?" I had gritted out. "I know you hate each other."

"Aiden amuses me. The two of you together….that is not entertaining anymore in the least, for it could possibly jeopardize my getting what I want. But his pain is my pleasure, and I like to watch him suffer. Losing yet another battle to me will be a crushing blow to him, especially when the girl whom he has come to care about is the one to push him away."

I gritted my teeth. Damn sadist. What could I say? There was the option of telling Aiden that I'd given up, but he wouldn't believe that. I was a fighter, and that was something he knew. I could say that I wanted to become a heartless vampire. That I wanted Damien to change me…but that would be unbelievable, also. Maybe I could tell him that I just didn't want his help anymore? Maybe, if I was nasty enough, he would be hurt enough to leave. Hurting someone was always an effective way to get them out of your life. But I didn't want to hurt Aiden, and I would be hurting myself in the process.

Since I'd had time to think about it, I realized that even if I hadn't intended on becoming his friend, I had, and that meant that I didn't want him to suffer. But I would have t be the one to do it, so that ultimately, he would not be murdered. Why were all situations in my life destined to be sadistic, with no way of a possible happy ending?

"Fucking hell," I muttered, shifting my position and regretting it as the world tipped and then righted itself slowly. I needed sleep; if I moved too quickly or though too fast, bad things happened. "What can I do?"

"You can sleep, Braelyn; you're exhausted."

I only had time to register the voice before everything blissfully faded away.

"How was counseling?"

I bolted upright, eyes frantic and bewildered, to be met with Aiden's inquiring face. A pang of pain shot through me. I still hadn't decided how to get rid of him, and now I had limited time to think it through. Life just kept on getting better and better, didn't it? Someone up there really like me.

"She didn't show up," I said, brushing my knotted hair form my face and sitting upright. "I just came home. More importantly, what happened with Damien?"

"He didn't show up either."

I composed my face into a shocked expression. He seemed to buy it; good thing acting was one of my rather prominent skills. "Why wouldn't he show up?"

"That's what I'd like to know."

"Shit," I swore. "Did you go looking for him?"

He nodded. His eyes were green; the fake green, and I knew that the blazing anger behind them was red. "Anything?"

"Absolutely nothing."

I tried to look contemplative. "What the hell could he have been doing?"

"Something sick, like he always is. He's up to something, but I have no idea what it is…"

Bile rose in my throat. This was all too real. I supposed I got a funny look on my face, because Aiden's eyes narrowed and he asked, "Are you okay?"

"Yeah," I sighed. "I was just thinking, before you came. Thanks," I added on a whim, realizing that I was thankful he'd willed me to sleep, and knowing that if this was the last time I'd see him, I should probably convey that. "How long was I asleep for?"

"It's midnight."

Wow. I glanced out the window. Sure enough, it was pitch black outside. Now that I listened for it, I could hear crickets chirping in the distance. I had always thought it to be a calming sound, but now it just made the silence stretch on longer and longer, while I pretended just to be sleepy and disoriented, and not contemplating how to get rid of the only real friend who gave a damn about me. Who I gave a damn about.

"Did something happen, Braelyn?"

Again, the surprised face. This time it wasn't entirely fake. "What do you mean?"

"I mean, you're acting weird, and I want to know why."

"Excuse me for being a bit off. I've had a rough few days," I improvised, sticking as close to the truth as possible. The simpler, the better. "I'm still waking up, give me a minute."

He was scrutinizing me, like he was so close to discerning what was the matter with me. I could feel his mind gently trying to understand mine, when we both knew he couldn't. I wondered if it was habit, for him, or if he was just stubborn like me. Maybe a combination of both?

"I have to pee," I said suddenly, jumping for an excuse to be by myself for even a few moments, to think, without suspicion. I had to end this conversation before it became too personal. "Hold that thought."

He sighed. I knew that had been a very, very bad moment to leave, as it would undoubtedly do what I had been trying to prevent, but…he'd been about to see right through me. I needed time to get a hold of myself. I forced myself to walk causally to the bathroom, locked the door, and slid down the wall. I knew what I had to do. I had to wound him so deeply that he would never come back. I wondered what correlation there was between myself, Damien, and whoever else it had been that Damien had taken from Aiden. She was Everything. He had probably loved her. He didn't love me, but he cared about me, and this would be a disgusting kind of déjà vu for him.

I felt so guilty when I even thought of doing this to Aiden that I wondered how I would do it. The only thing that I could think of was to keep thinking of how it would ultimately benefit him. Maybe, when he saw what I had become…he'd kill me. That would be merciful. Maybe Damien would tell him, clear my name. I doubted it, but it actually helped.

What would I say? That I didn't want his help, that I didn't like him, that he made me sick? What would be the worst kind of betrayal that I could come up with? I realized, and I ducked my head, so ashamed that when I stood, I could not look in the full-length mirror. I never wanted to see my face again.

"Aiden," I began when I came out, "I'm going to be blunt here."

He looked relieved that he was finally getting the truth out of me. I wanted to shoot myself. My voice was an emotionless monotone. This would have gone so much better, had he not known that I only used it when I didn't want anything to show thorough my voice.

"I don't want anything to do with you anymore."

"What are you talking about, Braelyn?" He snapped impatiently. "There's no way you can get out of this situation now, so don't be a coward."

Irritation had made him more snappy, and the fact that this genuinely irked me was working to my advantage. "I am not a coward, Aiden, I'm trying to tell you something that you've missed all along, naive and trusting as you are."

"What are you talking about?" He demanded authoratively. Suspicion had finally planted it's first root. His tone rose the hairs on my neck. He may have been playing nice before, but once I finished this...he would definitely not feel the need to do that anymore. I sat down on my bed and stared at him mockingly. He said nothing, but his eyes said it all. He was suspicious, but he was trying to detect any hint of a lie, trying to see if I'd falter. He still trusted me, he still thought of me as his friend. I wondered if he'd just kill me, once he found out the lie that would be his truth. I hoped he would.

"I am not your friend," I continued. "I never was your friend. I'm done playing games, because they bore me, so now I"m telling you the truth." Nonchalance. It always pissed people off when you didn't care, when they so obviously did.

"Well, hurry up and get it off your chest, then," He willed me, his eyes blazing, and focused on me. Without a moments notice, he could kill me and I wouldn't even have time to see it coming. That was the problem. Before he did it, I had to finish...

"At first, I was just normal. You know, going about my monotonous human life, day by day..."

"I thought you weren't a big fan of procrastination," He mocked, quoting somehting I'd told him what seemed to be a lifetime ago. "Are you a hypocrite as well as a liar, Braelyn?"

"I may be a liar, Aiden, but at least I am not the gullible fool you've made yourself out to be. I'd rather be a murderer than be you. Now, let me finish."

"Do not take such a long time," He warned, his voice cool and deadly. He didn't appreciate me patronizing him. "I don't care in the least bit about your life, now that you've proven to be another one of the manipulative beings I have seen far too many of, so if you might cut to the chase, it would save me the trouble of forcing it out of you."

I shook off the fear of the threat and laughed a cruel laugh, testing it out. It sounded surprisingly...real. "Don't threaten me, I've got backup."

He took a step closer and I hid my fear of him. He wasn't my friend anymore, I was turning him against me. "Let me finish before you attempt to snap my neck, allright?" I wasn't bluffing. Once he let me finish, I didn't care if he shot me fifty times and dumped my body in a ditch. I just had to finish this elaborate, necesary lie, or it would be both our downfall.

"You have a limited amount of time, I'm not particularly fond of procrastination myself, Braelyn, despite the lies you might have told."

"In the beginning," I began loudly, clearly. "I thought that it would be amusing to play with you. Pretend that I was on your side, you know?" I smirked a nasty smirk, hating myself. "You know how good of an actress I am, but you never could have fathomed that I could deceive you so well as I have, did you?" He was shock still, his eyes narrowed again, listening to my words and analyzing my tone, my face, probably even my body language, which could be a dead giveaway. I did not stiffen my shoulder, twitch, or fidget, as best I could. "Do you remember that night in the alley, Aiden? When you asked me if I was working with Damien? You took my word for it that he hadn't gotten to me yet, just because I used his name like a curse word and feigned ignorance, am I right?"

I could hear a low growl building in his throat.

"Well, you probably should have done a more in-depth study of that, really, because he'd gotten to me a while before. I'm not the person you think I am, Aiden. I'm really more a coldhearted bitch than you've ever imagined. I like to play with people, as does Damien." With that word, the growl became a very loud snarl. I tried not to flinch. This was what I wanted, what I had to do. Right? "He showed me who he was. He told me that I could become like him, one day," I flashed a cruel, taunting smile. It made me sick to feel it on my face, directed at him. "And all I had to do was to lull you into a false sense of security around me. You know, be the damsel in distress, with the hard-ass attitude?"

"Braelyn…" His tone was demon-like. I raised my chin in insolence, and let my eyes mock him. "Did he put you up to this?"

Yes, he did, I thought, glad that my walls protected me. He did, and I'm only doing this to save you from a sick fate like mine.

I laughed a wicked laugh. "Do you really think, Aiden, that I would allow someone else to manipulate me that way?" Yes, for your sake, that's exactly what I've done…"I'm just a human. A weak, stupid human, whom you could kill on the spot, right now. But I want to be something more. I will be something more. I want to be like you, without all the morals and the restrictions that you idiotically put on yourself. Damien can give me that. You cannot. I'm through with you, Aiden. It's been fun, in a sense, but I'm bored. I did my part. I gained your trust and broke it. Damien wanted you to know that you can't beat him. He could take everything from you, whether it's me or whoever else that filthy little wench of your used to be—"

In that instant, I could see all of the smoldering rage that had been building up inside him break loose. I felt so terrible, hurting him in that way, bringing up something that so obviously hurt him in such a malicious manner. I knew all too well how painful it was, when someone poked at the not yet healed wounds you were still nursing back to health. So, I did not resent him nor blame him as he pounced like a predator on the hunt. He had a hand around my throat and his lips at my ear.

You, he thought, Are absolutely nothing compared to her. You are the dirt beneath my feet. You will never amount to half of she was, and you do not mean half of what she meant to me. Don't you ever disrespect her like that, ever again. You have no right to talk like that, demeaning my past and speaking of about things which you know nothing about.

The bruises from Damien choking me, earlier that day, had not yet faded, but he could not see them since I'd put on the only ugly turtleneck I could find in the bottom of my drawers, when I'd dragged my feet home. But I gasped in pain from the pressure, which was not even that bad. Even when I lightly brushed my fingers against the dark pruple-ish, finger-shaped bruises, it hurt. And he was pushing against them, flaring the pain to life, like poking into a deep cut. I painstakingly composed my face against the throbbing and stared up at him again, laughing. It was a hysterical laugh, but he probably already thought me insane.

"Kill me," I dared, hoping to God he would do it. A normal, mortal death was better than having Damien take my humanity. This was the only way out, now. If I played my cards right, he would be taking mercy on me. "Kill me Aiden, and Damien will kill you. I'd assume that he's watching right now."

The raw fury in his eyes took my breath away, or maybe that was my increasingly constricted airway as he pressed down further on my throat. "Kill me," I rasped, knowing that I deserved it.

"Braelyn," He seethed. "I know that I should kill you right now. I want to. You have no idea how satisfying it would be to break your neck, or maybe watch you scream for a while."

I was becoming dizzy from oxygen deprivation, and struggled to hear his words. His sharp canine teeth brushed against my neck, just at the vein where, if he bit me, he could drain me dry. I wondered if he could hear the blood pulsing beneath my skin, if he wanted to take my life as much as I was willing him to. Do it, I begged silently, Come on, Aiden, just do it already…

"But I won't."

He opted to speak silently, now, probably due to the fact that he knew how I hated him intruding in my mind.

You, Braelyn, will become more of a heartless thing than you already are. And I look forward to seeing you suffer, because you have no idea what you're getting yourself into. If I killed you now, I would be giving you mercy, and mercy is not something that you deserve.

I shivered at the truth of his words. Somehow, they were more true, more effective, when he pushed them into my head, instead of letting them bounce around the room, a waste of air when he could do it like this. I was trembling, a little, though I tried to hide it.

Scared? He asked in my mind, again. Good. You had your chance, and you betrayed me without a second though, just as you think of your father as betraying you. How fitting.

I didn't curl in on myself or grit my teeth form the pain like I wanted to. I embraced it. He was right. The way Aiden was speaking to me was the way that he had greeted me the first night we'd met. He had thought me to be his enemy then, and he knew I was, now. We'd done a complete 360. It was amazing how he could be such a good person when he needed to protect me, and such a nasty, callous one when he pushed me away. I would have acted similarly in his shoes, however, and I did not hate him for it. He deserved to rag on me. He deserved to beat me down to nothing.

Aiden let go of me, and as I struggled to gasp air into my deprived lungs for the second agonizing time that day, blinking the fog from my vision. I saw him standing in front of my window, ready to take the plunge down from the second floor. The look on his face was one which I would never forget. The raw, untamable hatred in his eyes made me flinch involuntarily, sending shock messages through my system when I realized my mistake.

"Don't go regretting your decision, now," He hissed hatefully at me, seeing the wince at his detestation of me, probably seeing something similar flickering across my face for the fraction of a second. "You, of all people, should know that once you have done something like this, it cane never be taken back. Enjoy your eternal damnation, Braelyn. Someday, you will get what you deserve."