Estimated reading time: 3 – 4 minutes
Hey Everyone! Miss Krissy needs her DDIII fix so I’m very happy to oblige. It is a rough draft so please excuse the messiness. PS. I really, really want to get this out this year so just know I’m working hard to make that happen.
“How could you be so stupid? You were almost cut in half, you idiot!” Julian hissed in Lily’s ear as he hauled the near-dead girl up to her feet.
Blood seeped poison-thick from her chalky lips. Lily laughed, a terrible gurgle vibrating in her throat as the price for misplaced mirth. “I’m not stupid. Things like this happen.” Lily pitched forward and braced herself to hit the ground. She clenched her fists, keeping the sword handles firmly within her grasp. Julian caught her with his forearm before the gravel could dig into her face.
“Be quiet.” Julian pressed his hand against her back. He felt the hard splint of bone. Spitefulness made him prod the torn muscles longer than needed. Lily didn’t respond. “Did you feel that?”
Draped across his arm, Lily closed her eyes, wanting to give into the pull singing so sweetly from the lake. She imagined the peace to be found settled at the bottom, the living world a dream of filtered light and monotonous current.
Fire speared her, pinning her firmly this side of death.
“Goddamnit!” Lily drove her elbow into Julian’s kidney, taking instinctual care to make it an attention-grabbing move versus a debilitating one. “Did you just poke the back of my lungs?”
“No, but close.” Julian pulled his hand out of her back. Her warm blood painted it like an imperfect crimson glove. “Next time I ask you a question, kindly answer it. Unlike you, I don’t speak just to hear the sound of my voice.”
Lily drove her swords into the ground and used them as leverage to push her body off him. “What are you doing here anyways?”
“Taking you home.”
“No!” Lily yanked her blades out. She suffered every millimeter it took to sheath them. Shallow breaths competed for the dwindling energy to speak. “Go away, Julian. I don’t need you.”
The vampire’s eyes burned red as the fresh blood dripping from her slashed open back. “Lily, your suicidal attempts to try my patience will one night get you exactly what you deserve. Now listen to me carefully, darling. We’re going home before you damage yourself further. Now be a good girl and take my hand.”
“I said no.” Lily tried to wipe the blood off her lips. A thick smear marred her chin and stretched across her unnaturally pale cheek. “I’m not trying to be rude, Julian. I just can’t go home right now.”
“Lily, I’m not asking.”
She jumped back from him, nearly using all of her remaining energy. Staggering against an oak tree, Lily choked down a scream as her raw back made contact with the ridged bark. “My mama…she can’t see me like this…not until…”
“I’m not always a monster, darling.” Julian flashed before her, pinning her against the tree. “All you had to do was explain.”
Lily closed her eyes. His scent brought warmth. “You smell nice.”
“I disagree. I smell rather disgusting. I smell like your death.”
She smiled, daring to lean her head against his chest. “No. You smell wonderful.”
Julian tugged on her ponytail. “It’s rather endearing to hear such pretty words from your mouth for a change.”
“It is, isn’t it?”