New chapter! ^_^
I really had fun writing this one but somehow I'm not quite happy with it. I don't know why but I'm just not. I tried improving it for some time and this is the best I could come up with. Just excuse me this once...I'll give you all a better chapter next time! ^_^
Evan was sitting at a table tapping his fingers. Was he very early? He checked the time. Yeah. Sort of. He figured his tapping was a result of his nerves and not impatience. Wow, it had been a while that he got so nervous over a date. When he was a teenager he always felt very clueless when it came to girls. He would see the other guys dating girls and make it look so easy. He used to feel a tad jealous and hopeless. But fortunately, that criterion changed for him as soon as he hit his twenties. He grew more confident and somehow things got easier for him. He thought it was because his face changed, became more matured. At least he quit looking scrawny. After that it became a hell lot easier for him and he was hardly ever nervous around women.
Except right then as he sat at the table waiting for Jenna, he felt like a teenager again. He desperately hoped that he wouldn't go back to stuttering like he did back when he was sixteen. God, wouldn't that be embarrassing!
He remembered her green eyes. Though they had been red, puffy and filled with tears the last time he had seen them, he couldn't help but notice that despite all that they had been beautiful. And then he remembered their conversation over the phone. She was shy yet very confident about what she wanted. She liked that about her. Everything he found out about her drew him in and he couldn't wait to get to know her a little more.
His eyes flickered over to the restaurant door every time it opened and someone walked in. This was ridiculous, he told himself. It wasn't like him to feel so nervous. This was just a date. He would do just fine, like he always did. Yes, he would be just fine. He shook his head to rid himself of the unwanted nerves.
As soon as he had succeeded in convincing himself that he wasn't nervous, the door opened again and Jenna walked in looking around, her eyes most definitely searching for him. Evan stood up almost at the same time she found him. She smiled. Evan thought he smiled back, but then again he wasn't so sure. He could practically see all the confidence he had been building collapsing around him.
Jenna walked to the table he was standing by and he could comprehend nothing but the fact that she was looking so beautiful and how her eyes sparkled like emeralds in contrast to her black dress.
He just hoped to God he lasted the rest of the date without making a fool of himself.
Alex's mind had lost all its power of coherency. She didn't know what happened. She couldn't understand what had happened. There was a flash of unexpected smoke that had engulfed her, almost like her dream. For a moment she thought he would suffocate but she could breathe just fine.
She remembered the red eyes of the dogs. So many of them. All at once. She remembered being shocked and scared of them. But then suddenly she had felt her heart constrict with that additional fear she couldn't explain. She couldn't move. She almost couldn't breathe. She was only aware of the fact that she was scared and that she couldn't run. And then she felt someone take her hand and then black smoke.
And then what?
Where was she?
She was supposed to be on the road with the yellow streetlamps and the cold autumn breeze. The street that was full of dogs. Those ferocious dogs. She was supposed to be able to hear them growling. Why couldn't she?
She was supposed to have hard ground under her feet. Where had the grass come from? She didn't remember moving. She could see the school building. Yes, that was her school building. And this, this was her school field. She felt her back hit a hard surface as she leaned when her feet had taken enough of her weight. It was a tree, she realized.
It was the same place she sat every lunch hour with her art book. How did she get there?
Alex jerked at the sound of her name. Her eyes focused on the person standing in front of her. Dark blue eyes filled with concern and worry met hers.
'Alex?' he called again, softly this time.
Her mind was a jumble. She remembered that he was with her in the street. They were talking. She had finally gotten him to talk a little about himself. And then he told her to run. She thought she hadn't heard him correctly the first time. And then he told her to run again. She understood him that time but she still stayed where she was. It was all too bizarre for her to comprehend.
It was Nathan who brought her here. It was Nathan who took her hand and pulled her into the smoke. And she had no clue as to what happened after that except that she was no longer in the street surrounded by rabid dogs.
'Alex, are you okay?' Nathan asked. Even as he said it he realized that it was a pretty pointless question.
'What-,' Alex started to ask but she couldn't find the next words.
Everything she had seen was screaming at her that it had been Nathan's doing. He had made the smoke appear and he had brought her here.
But her mind refused to believe it. It wasn't something humanly possible to do.
'I can explain,' Nathan said his tone wary.
'What just happened?' she finally put her words together. Instinctively she took a few steps back from Nathan. 'Where are the dogs?'
'The dogs aren't here,' Nathan said. He stood where he was and didn't make an attempt to move closer to Alex when she stepped back. 'It's safe here.' He couldn't feel the dogs anymore which meant that they weren't anywhere around for miles.
'How did we get here?' she asked. 'What happened?'
Nathan would have answered her. Hell, he had to answer her. But he could see that she was still afraid, confused and near hysterics and he knew telling her the truth in the state she was in wasn't going to bode well.
'Alex, you need to calm down first,' Nathan requested. 'And then I'm going to tell you everything.'
The word calm sounded alien to Alex. How was she supposed to calm down when she was near enough being attacked by red eyed dogs and then maybe somehow teleported to the school field?
'J-just tell me w-what happened,' Alex said. 'I was there, in the street. And now I'm here! How did I get here?'
Nathan shook his head and let out a resigned sigh. He could pretty much predict that this wasn't going to end well for him. Alex didn't look like she was in any state to be able to handle the truth. And then there was a matter of mortals not knowing about any of this. He didn't know what kind of trouble he'd gotten himself into by using his powers in her presence. He was pretty sure his father wouldn't be too happy about it. There were ways to make her forget but for some reason or the other, Nathan felt it would be hypocritical of him to do that.
'I brought you here,' Nathan replied slowly.
'Just like you saw,' Nathan replied shortly.
Alex swallowed and shook her head like she was trying to rid herself of the memory. 'No,' she said. 'Tell the truth. Because what I saw didn't make sense.'
Nathan didn't reply. He gave her a rueful look. It was enough to let her know that he had nothing to change about his previous statement.
'Alex, if you don't calm down, it's going to be harder for me to tell you this,' Nathan pleaded.
Alex didn't know what she wanted to do. She was torn between the desire to curl up in a ball in a corner and try to forget what she saw and the desire to punch Nathan in the face for being so bizarre and making no sense.
Instead she took a deep breath and put a hand on the tree trunk to steady herself and then looked at Nathan silently indicating him to continue. She didn't know for much longer she would be able to maintain the calm composure.
But when Nathan didn't speak, she asked the question.
'Where are the dogs?' she asked, knowing rabid dogs were least of her worries. But she couldn't put into words the question the answer to which she really wanted to know.
'Nowhere near,' Nathan said. Then he hesitated for a second before saying, 'Those weren't exactly dogs, Alex.'
Alex glared at him as though daring him to say something out of the world. And he did just that.
'Hellhounds,' he said. 'Those were hellhounds.'
'W-what?' she choked back on her own words. It would have been more believable to her if Nathan had said that those dogs had escaped from an evil science lab where they were being tested upon in an attempt to produce combatant weapons.
'I'm sorry, Alex, I had to get you out of there,' Nathan said. 'There was no other way.'
For a moment, it looked like Alex was going to scream. But then what said came out almost in a whisper. 'Hellhounds?'
'There's a reason I don't talk about myself, Alex,' Nathan said. 'Because talking about myself meant that I had to lie to you and I didn't want to do that.'
Alex still kept looking at him waiting for him to continue, confusion, anger and fear in her eyes.
'That's why I intentionally didn't answer some of those questions you asked me,' Nathan continued.
'Who are you?' Alex formed into words the question she most wanted answered. She had almost asked him, "what are you" but her mind had switched the words in the last second.
Nathan's hand went to his hair in a nervous gesture. The question was direct and this was his chance to get it all out in the open.
'Remember how I said I went away from here about five years back?' Nathan said, remembering their conversation when he had first walked with her after the football game their school team had lost.
Alex didn't reply neither did she nod. But Nathan could tell from the slight change in the look on her face that she remembered too.
'I went away because my dad came to pick me up so that I could go live with him,' Nathan said. 'My dad,' Nathan paused, his mind racing on how he was about to put this. 'He is Hades, the god of the Underworld.'
Evan didn't know why he was so damn nervous while he was waiting for Jenna to show up because right then as he sat and talked with her, he realized there had been no reason to be nervous at all. Jenna made it so simple. It was so easy to sit and talk to her. Neither of them needed to stop and search for what to talk about next. The conversations just flowed like quicksilver. The more Evan got to know about her, the more he started liking her. In the last hour and a half, he had gotten to know about her occupation as a therapist, about her degree on psychology from her university and a little bit about her previous marriage.
He had in turn told her his last name…Lloyd, the book he was currently working on and a little about his wife. It had been a long time ago that she had died and Evan didn't really have much problem talking about her anymore. He had loved her, he still did, but he just never liked hanging on to the past for too long. The one thing Evan wasn't liking much was that the time seemed to be passing away way too fast.
Once out of the restaurant, Evan asked, 'Do you want me to drop you off?'
Jenna smiled. 'No, that's okay,' she said. 'I have my car. I always do in first dates. Just a back up. You know, in case it goes bad.'
Evan laughed. 'Hopefully I'm not in that category?'
Jenna grinned. 'You can be rest assured that if that were I would never have agreed to meet up again.'
Evan smiled. Truth be told he wanted to have the second date right then and there.
'It's getting pretty late,' Jenna said. 'I should head home. My niece is staying with me. She should be home by now. I shouldn't leave her alone for too long.'
Evan nodded. 'I'll see you soon,' he said.
Jenna smiled and pressed a kiss on his cheek. 'I had a great time, thanks. Though I still have no idea what made you ask me out when the first time you saw me I was drunk and bawling.'
'I happen to have a gift of spotting what's underneath,' Evan said with a wink. 'C'mon, let me walk you to your car at least.'
Alex was swallowing the ridiculous statements that Nathan was throwing her way but she was far from digesting them. Infact, she was sure she was going to throw up all of that if he didn't quit feeding her the outrageous information.
Son of Hades? Is he fucking kidding me?
'I know it's hard to take in but it's true,' Nathan said, seeing the color drain from her face.
Alex knew whatever she saw him do was completely unnatural but the rational part of her mind which wanted to stick to reality was still trying to think up ways in which it could make it look like it had all been a trick. And it was failing miserably. She was finding no explanation for the smoke or the teleportation or the dogs with the glowing eyes and she was refusing to believe the explanation that Nathan was providing her with.
'You're telling me you're a son of a Greek god and you expect me to believe that rubbish?!' Alex said.
'I'm only telling the truth,' Nathan said. 'And I think you've seen enough to make up your mind to believe me or not.'
The image of the smoke and the dogs flashed in her mind again. She didn't want to believe it. She wanted to forget.
'It's some kind of trick,' she whispered. Even she could tell from her voice that she didn't believe what she was saying.
Nathan remained silent.
Alex was angry, hurt and totally confused to think properly anymore. All the things that were happening to her recently sprang in her mind as a reason to call Nathan a liar.
He knows. He found out somehow. That's the only explanation.
'You think this is funny?' Alex demanded, the tears of anger she was holding back finally breaking out. She knew there was no way Nathan could know. She had told no one but Jenna. But not accusing him of this would mean she would have to accept his explanation. And she refused to do that. She was a sane person. And no sane person would believe that he was the son of a mythological god! The god of the underworld, afterworld and death for the matter! 'How did you find out? How did you know? I didn't tell anyone! And now you're joking about this! I thought you were my friend!'
Now it was Nathan's turn to look utterly confused. 'Alex, I have no idea what you're talking about,' he said warily. 'What am I supposed to know?'
'This is sick, okay!' Alex burst out. 'This is a sick joke! Son of Hades, really? I really thought you were better than this!'
'Alex, I really don't know what you're talking about!' Nathan said. 'Whatever I'm telling you is the truth. I'm not playing any sort of joke!'
Nathan made to step towards her but Alex stepped back. 'Don't,' Alex said. 'Just stay away.'
'Alex-,' Nathan said warily. Alex's words cut him deeper than he had expected them to.
Alex didn't know what part of her mind compelled her to accuse of him of knowing. She never wanted to. But the thought of believing him was scaring her enough. She just wanted to go back home. Back to Jenna and away from Nathan. She didn't want to think about anything now. She didn't want to think about the smoke or the dogs. It only made this part of her mind want to accept Nathan's explanation and it terrified her.
'Alex please, believe me,' Nathan said. He could make her forget but that would take a while seeing as he didn't have that particular power himself. That power only belonged to the gods. Plus Nathan could see that Alex wasn't believing him only because she didn't want to. She had seen enough to know he was speaking the truth. Once she cooled down and thought of it again, he knew she would have to believe him. And he couldn't wrap his mind around what exactly Alex was accusing him of knowing and joking about. Even in that situation, his curiosity burned to know.
'I don't want to hear anything!' Alex said. 'I want to go home.'
'Okay,' Nathan said. It was only understandable. All of this was too much for her to take as it would be for anyone. 'I'll take you back.'
'No, I can do it myself thank you very much,' Alex said.
He really didn't want to let her go alone. He thought of the hounds and if they appeared again, she would be in danger. Letting her go alone wasn't going to be wise. He was about to argue on that but the next words Alex spoke left the words lodged in his throat.
'I never want to see you again.'
She hadn't shouted it. Infact she had said it in quite a low voice. But to Nathan it seemed like she had said the words loudly enough for them to reach the Underworld.
Having said that, Alex turned and ran away as fast as her shaking legs could allow it. And Nathan just stood there incapable of speech and feeling like the air had just been knocked out of him. Who knew words could actually hurt people that much physically?
Nathan didn't follow her. Even after he gained his composure which was about several minutes later, he made no attempt to follow her. He would know if the dogs appeared again. He couldn't feel their presence. Alex was safe.
He needed to find out what in the name of Hades was going on! But first he needed to find Cody. He was only one who could help him make head or tail of the situation. He stayed long enough to make sure the hounds didn't appear again. Only after he was sure the dogs were nowhere around, he disappeared to look for Cody with Alex's words still ringing in his ears.
Jenna entered the house feeling happy and excited. She couldn't wait to tell Alex that her date was a one hundred percent success. And that Evan was really, really nice. But the moment she entered the house her heart sank and worry swept over it when she saw Alex sitting on the couch, legs brought up to her chest and face buried in her knees and shoulders visibly shaking.
'Alex! Honey, what's wrong?' Jenna asked, taking a seat beside Alex in a heartbeat.
Alex didn't reply. She didn't exactly know what to tell her. She didn't even know why she was crying like a freaking garden hose. Was it fear, anger, disappointment or just sadness? She couldn't pinpoint what emotion she was feeling right then. It felt like a mixture of all four.
Jenna put her arm around her shaking shoulders. 'Honey, you can tell me what's wrong. Is it-.'
Alex shook her head. No, it definitely wasn't what Jenna thought.
'Then what is it?' Jenna asked.
When Alex didn't reply, Jenna didn't press her anymore. She silently hugged her and let her cry it all out.
'It's okay,' she soothed. 'I'm here. You can tell me anything you want. Anytime you want. Always.'
As Alex hugged her back, her tears slowly drying up, she realized she never loved her aunt more than in that moment.
Oh-kay! So that was it! Next chappie will be up soon hopefully!
Thanks for all the reviews!
I'll be back soon! Cheers! ^_^