The ride that felt like forever was silent. No one spoke a word. Dawn stayed glued to Ivan as if she would never leave his lap. Ivan kept a tight hold around her middle. Shayne stared at nothing with a blank face, but I could see in his eyes that he was crushed. And Desmond…I didn't know Desmond anymore. He was like a ghost, sitting on the opposite side of Shayne. I couldn't look at him. He was no longer Desmond to me. I was motionless beside Cain, barely blinking while I stared out the window. Cain had asked Shayne if he had wanted to bring any of his pack. Shayne replied with silence.
Rain had started pouring from the black sky by the time lights started to appear. We were far away from the Beverly Hills looking city. Now we were driving down a paved road with no houses, but plenty of street lights leading our way. Another car followed behind us, one probably full of more monsters.
I felt Cain put his arms around my shoulders again. I had shrugged them off earlier, showing him my obvious dislike of the gesture.
"Grace," he started in a low voice, "I can see your anger radiating off of you. If you continue my father will be amused, which means you will have to endure his company longer than if you pretend to be happy."
I sent him a look from my peripherals. "How do I pretend to be happy when I am obviously not? Whether I pretend or not, I will still be angry on the inside," I said with no emotion. My eyes turned back to the window, disregarding the devil's son completely.
"You can control your aura, Grace," he explained. I continued to ignore him. I knew what irritated him. As unwise as it was, I was going to show him how displeased I was. He continued. "You have the power to control your aura, Grace. You have the gift of taking other's auras and using them. You don't understand what kind of ability that is, Grace. Do not abuse it or ignore it. It will save you much trouble if you use it to your benefit." He then released his arm from around my shoulders. I went back to staring at nothing.
The door of the limousine opened on my side, and a cool wind flushed against my cheeks. Another young looking male vampire or demon with red eyes held out his hand to help me out. I ignored him and got out within a flash, and the red eyed young man didn't seem to care. I had to look up to stare at the sight before me. If I had thought the castle where Desmond had had his birthday was large, this one was huge. In comparison, it was at least twice as large. I looked behind me and saw that black gates surrounded the perimeter, though the perimeter was rather large. In the middle of the circling driveway was a large fountain. It looked just like the old fashion way when people would bring their horse carriages to the front of steps, to drop people off.
"Do you like it?" Cain's voice came from beside. The rain was starting to fall harder and faster, and I had to blink away the water from my eyes while I tried to see the top of the castle. I couldn't. My hair and clothes were soaked by the time I gave up and moved towards the opened, large wooden doors. Two maids held the doors, and their red eyes pierced me with menace. I was pretty popular already, and I had only just entered the castle. By the time I made it inside Shayne and Desmond were making their way up the stairs, both looking like they were dragging their feet the whole time. I looked around me, taking in all of the fancy statues and art that looked centuries old.
Cain appeared beside me again, and he looked just as drenched as I did. I stared at him from the side of my eyes, and I felt a shiver of panic run down my spine. He looked so attractive drenched, water dripping from the ends of his golden locks, and I hated him for it. His eyes turned to me, and mine quickly moved elsewhere.
"Your temperature has risen," he commented. My muscles tensed for half a second, but relaxed just as quickly. "You're not angry, not completely. Your aura is indecisive, as if it can't make up which emotion it should give off." He sounded confused, like he couldn't figure me out entirely.
"Are you talking to inform me of my own emotions, or are you just speaking aloud to annoy me?" I said, and it showed that I wasn't happy.
"Is there a difference between the two?"
"No," I said without a beat. "They both mean the same thing to me."
He smirked. "I thought so." He released a loud breath of air, like he was holding back a laugh. Another maid appeared out of nowhere and bowed to Cain. She was beautiful, just like the rest of the women I had seen in this world. Her brown hair was pinned up, looking elegant. "Eva," he said. "Take Grace and get her prepared for dinner."
I turned my head toward him for the first time and glared. "I can prepare myself," I growled.
"You might have to tie her down," he said with a smirk to Eva. I started walking off and up the large staircase to stop myself from trying to slap him. "She's a bit temperamental, but I am sure you can handle it. Be wary; she is more than what meets the eye," I heard Cain say before I made it to the top of the stairs. Before I took the last step of the stairs, Eva appeared right in front of me. I stopped before I was able to run into her. Her eyes looked up and down me, mentally measuring me. I could tell she didn't approve. I walked around her and continued on my way, though I didn't really know where I was going. I knew from the outside that I could easily get lost in this castle.
"Are you going to pick your own room?" Eva asked, appearing right beside me like magic again.
"Yes. Which room is the furthest from Cain's?" I asked as politely as possible.
"Last door, on the right," she said, bowing slightly.
I shook my head and lifted my hand. "Please, don't bow to me."
She gave a lost look. "But you are the future queen," she said.
"Not willingly. I don't want to be queen. In fact, I don't even want to be in this world," I explained, though I was sure I didn't sound sane.
"So, it is true…," she said more to herself than me. "Desmond did take on the job." I started walking again before I could hear another word. Eva appeared at the door I had chosen and opened it for me before I had gotten there. I walked into the room and immediately wanted to change my mind about my choice. Everything was black and red. The bed was red with a black canopy. Carpets all over the floor were red and black. I could see that even the bathtub in the bathroom was black. Even the closet was black.
"Now," Eva said as she closed the door. Panic struck when I heard her lock the door. "I already know what to do with you." She appeared in front of me, and I took a step back on reflex. An evil glint appeared in her eyes, and before I knew it, I was being forced down in a chair, followed by rope surrounding my entire body. She had literally tied me to the chair.
"Are you serious? Don't you think this is a bit much?" I asked with a bored tone. I knew she wasn't going to release me at this point.
She shrugged her shoulders while she laid her utensils on the counter of the bathroom. "Cain told me to not underestimate you. I just took his advice," she replied and got right to work. This truly was hell.
One Hour and a Half Later
"I am going to tip over from the amount of makeup you have put on my face. The amount of mousse you put in my hair doesn't help either," I complained from my place on the chair I was still tied to.
Eva smiled. "Sorry, but your hair was impossible to curl. If it is going to stay that way, you need a lot of mousse in your hair." Amazingly, Eva was very kind. The first hour I thought she was going to stab me with an eyeliner pencil, but as she continued to tell me about her life in the castle, I felt less and less worried. She had struggled through most of her life. Her parents had neglected her at an early age, and by the time she had turned 16, she had become a thief, stealing things from rare rubies to cheap cars. When she had finally been caught, she was to be sent to life in servitude in the castle, but Cain had convinced his father to reduce the sentence. I had asked what she had to do to payback the kind gesture from Cain, and she had said nothing but to be his maid.
"And now comes the very beautiful dress," she said, walking into the other room to get the dress.
"Don't you think you could untie me, now that we've gotten to know each other over this past hour or so?" I shouted before she walked out of the giant bathroom. She laughed as soon as she walked out the door. She entered again before three seconds had passed. She held up the dress, and I sighed. "I am surprised it's not something more…revealing," I said, inspecting the dress. Eva walked over, and with a simple tug, the ropes loosened and dropped. I stood and stretched.
"Cain has good taste in dresses. He's been helping Desmond's fiancée more than Desmond has." My lips fell into a frown. My eyes dropped to the floor, and suddenly it was hard to breathe. "Grace?" Eva quietly said my name, bending down a bit to get in my eyesight. A cold hand rested on my chest, and it took me a moment to realize it was mine. I had thought I could handle the thought of Desmond already belonging to someone else, but it suddenly hit me harder than ever before. My legs became weak, and I was suddenly kneeling on the cold bathroom floor.
Eva spoke in a fierce voice. "Don't fall apart on me now, Grace. You have earned my respect these past couple of hours; don't break and lose that respect. Pull yourself together." I looked up at the demon I had gotten to know over the past few hours. One hand was placed on her hip, a look of defiance on her face. I looked up at her in admiration. Though I hardly knew this person/ demon, I had bonded with her in a way I had with Dawn. And even Dawn hadn't ever told me to pull myself together. Dawn hadn't gone through what Eva had.
"You're right," I said, my voice cracking once. I took a deep breath and pulled myself to my feet. "I am going to get through this on my own."
She smiled. "I might help here and there. So far I helped making you the prettiest female in the castle. Well, one of the prettiest," she said, flicking her hair and flashing her eyes. I couldn't help but laugh. "Now, put on the dress and let's get down to dinner. We don't want Mr. Grumpy to get mad." I laughed again. I wasn't sure which male she was speaking of, but it didn't matter.
"I must say, I am good," Eva said, inspecting her work.
I twirled around, grabbing the side of the black dress and flipping it with me. "I am not going to lie, I do like this dress."
"Good. Let's get going." Eva had changed within minutes, putting on an elegant and long burgundy dress. She grabbed my hand and led me out the door. I wasn't used to high heels, so she was practically dragging me down the hall. She released my hand when we reached the top of the stairs, disappearing and reappearing at the bottom. "It's nice to be supernatural," she said with an evil smirk, and walked off. I sighed and started making my way down the stairs, using the elegant wood railing to make sure I didn't slip.
A quick intake of breath reverberated through the large castle entranceway. My eyes lifted from the stairs to look at the source of the noise. Cain stood with folded hands in his tuxedo. My breath caught in my throat, but it wasn't because of him; it was because of the vampire standing next to him. Desmond had on an identical tuxedo, only he looked more like a model than Cain.
Cain spoke when I reached the last stair. "You look beautiful, Grace. Words cannot express the beauty you hold." I wished I had a spoon with which to gag myself.
"Where's Shayne?" I asked, not seeing him anywhere in sight.
"He's already awaiting us at the table, as are the two angels," Cain replied. Before we could begin to make our way to the dining hall, a loud shriek so annoying, I had to cover my ears, echoed through the room. A tall and long figured female demon skipped/ ran across the wood floor, making sure we knew she was entering room. Her long black hair flowed behind her like a floating sea, her red eyes glowing with all their glory.
"Baby!" she shouted, and she threw her arms around Desmond, practically knocking him over. He had no choice but to hold her around the middle to keep them both from falling over because of her force. I cringed on the inside. I turned my eyes away before I could see more. I began walking off.
"Darling, that's the wrong way," Cain said.
I turned quickly and walked the other way. As I passed Cain, I grumbled, "Don't call me 'darling'."
He bowed his head. "As you wish, princess," he said quietly. I held in a scream and stomped my way into the dining hall. "Don't you wish to be introduced to Desmond's fiancée, Grace?" Cain asked without really asking. It was more of a demand. I grumbled slightly and reluctantly turned my body to face Desmond and his fiancée. Her red eyes pierced my grey/ blue eyes with such greed and hate that I felt my heart freeze for a moment. This was a picture of true evil standing before me. She clung to Desmond like a tight blanket. Desmond on the other hand was tense and looking slightly annoyed. That made me happy on the inside.
"Hello," she said is a high pitched tone. Was that really her voice? It made her even more intimidating.
"Hi," I whispered back, "I'm Grace." I said politely.
"I know who you are," she snapped back. Nope, we weren't going to get along alright. "I'm Jezebel, Desmond's fiancée." She ended with her lips against his cheek, lightly kissing it. She held out her left hand to show the giant diamond ring on her finger.
"I had no idea," I said with disdain before turning and continuing on my way to the dining table before she could say anything more. Cain made it to the dining room before me and stood at the end of the table, pulling out a chair, gesturing where I was to sit for the course of the meal. As long as it wasn't next to Jezebel, I would be fine.
Shayne was sitting on the other side of the table, his head hanging down like a puppy that had just been scolded. I wanted to comfort him, but right now wasn't the time for comforting. I sat down in the chair Cain had pulled out for me and he pushed me in close to the table.
Dawn was sitting next to me, Ivan on her other side. They were both darting their eyes around the room, like they were waiting for someone to attack them. Dawn's hair was pinned up nicely, a few ribbons dangling down the back. She wore a sparkling red dressed that fit her perfectly. Ivan and Shayne both had tuxes on like the rest of the men.
Jezebel came trotting in, Desmond being dragged behind her like a reluctant dog. She sat down next to Shayne and it made him flinch. She chuckled at his reaction, and that made him look all the more worried. My fists balled beneath the table.
A hand touched mine beneath the table. Cain had taken the head of the table, next to me. He leaned over and whispered, "Cool it, Grace. Jezebel will also be able to sense your anger, and she will take advantage of it."
"I'm counting on it," and it came out just as I had wanted; a threat. Maids began to pour from the back room, which I assumed was the kitchen. They carried plate upon plate to the table. Apparently tonight was a feast. Or maybe this was how Cain and this household ate, which wouldn't surprise me since he was the prince of the Underworld and his father was the King. As if my thought had called him, a dark, strong power wafted into the room. I almost choked on the intensity of it.
"Good evening," his voice echoed through the large dining room like a mist of power. The entire table except me stood as he entered the room. His eyes landed on me, and his smirk grew. "Grace, my soon-to-be daughter in-law, how good to see you again." His voice sent shivers down my spine.
I gulped and nodded my head. Maybe it wasn't so smart of me that I hadn't stood. But the power passed, and my conscience cleared again. He took a seat at the other end of the table, placing at least four seats between him on either side from anyone else. Everyone else sat as soon as he did. The maids bowed to him and brought him a plate when he motioned his hand in the air.
"I see you've brought more guests than first intended, Cain," he said. It was simply observation.
"Yes, it seems they are attached to Grace." Cain replied, and it was a lie. He hadn't really given any of them a choice.
Lucifer nodded his head as he began to cut his steak. "It's best; Grace is in a new place and needs something familiar. None of you mind," he said. It wasn't a question but more of a demand. No one spoke throughout the entirety of the meal, except for Jezebel who was whispering in Desmond's ear and taking glances over her shoulder to me every time she did. I ignored her and quietly ate my meal.
"Now," Lucifer started, setting his napkin on the table. "Grace, I know that you are curious about some things, such as your powers. I will do my best to explain," the long lecture had begun. This dinner was going to be the longest in my life.