[center [pic https://media.giphy.com/media/3o6fJfLoevL1BB4Q7K/giphy.gif]][size11 [font "courier new" [b our] story starts in [I chimayo, new mexico]. we are introduced to [b x] who is the youngest daughter in her family. she lives with her ailing mother and older sister, working at the family restaurant.
[b recently], her sister has become engaged, a bittersweet moment for the young girl. by tradition, she is not allowed to marry as her mother can no longer bear children, she must carry the family name.
[b he] is a man who just escaped prison, landing on the doorstep of her home wounded. many in town are afraid of him, his reputation of bloodshed no secret, yet he manages to convince her to give him shelter.
[b soon] a string of attacks on the citizens begin and she learns of the male’s curse. as love blooms, the two try to hide his secret – can their love trump his curse?
[#693630 ♦] 400 word min.
[center [size11 click [http://rp.eliteskills.com/vc.php?c=411328 here] for my extended rules. PM to join!
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Gemma’s life seemed to be surrounded by chaos and yet so controlled that order seemed rare. He knew that she had to be miserable, not being able to make any choices of her own and being assaulted should she speak up. it didn’t sit well with him. Though with how she described her mother, he wasn’t sure if it was smart to go against her. he did still want to keep a low profile and yet he liked Gemma enough. To break his rule of not getting close to people. In some sense, he felt like they both needed one another and that they had come into each other’s life right on time.
“Well, I guess less competition for me,” Nicholai said under his breath, sure that Gemma hadn’t heard him and yet that didn’t stop him from giving her a small smirk. He had finished his meal by then, washing it down with the Coke he had ordered. He nearly choked on the drink from her question. Had he been that obvious? Quite possibly, there were some things that Nick wasn’t exactly able to be subtle about. There was no need to lie as it seemed she was excited at the thought that someone for once was looking out for her and without any bad intentions.
He leaned back in his seat, his arms raising to place his hands behind his head.
“I guess it’s a habit,” he said with a shrug. Though there was nothing casual about his feelings toward her nor him wanting to protect her. she seemed like she needed protecting. Who was Nicholai kidding though; he was no prince. He tensed his jaw then, his eyes flashing to scattered and static memories of the officer’s wife’s body on the ground, surrounded by a pool of blood.
“There’s a lot of evil out there. You’re much too beautiful to deal with the mess you do.” Nicholai leaned back in, his hand flat on the table. He wanted to hold her hand again. “So yes, I got protective. I hope he saw that same look,” he told her. with their meal wrapping up, he knew she had to get back to the restaurant. “That said, I’m picking you up at your place.” He didn’t want there to be any trouble and he knew that if he was there, he could make sure of that.
[font "times new roman" When Grady finally left, she knew that her mother and sister would soon hear about this. She wanted nothing more than to escape the shadow of her sister, and the life she was living. It was hard living this way, and she didn't like it. Watching as her sister got to be happy, have people doting on her all the time. She wanted someone to look at her the way that Vivian's soon to be husband did. When the waiter came back to the table and took their order's, Gemma looked towards the male once more when he asked her about her dating life.]
[font "times new roman" She shook her head lightly, as a sad look came across her face. [#E59866 "No I don't. My mother pretty much refuses to let me. As far as I know, I don't think anyone would even want to go against my mother anyway. It's like he runs this town, and people fear her for it. She might look like an innocent old lady, but her tongue is sharp, and people sometimes walk on the other side of the street when she's coming"] she said with a small sigh. There had been one point in her life she had fallen for a man, but Vivian and her mother put a stop to that quickly.]
[font "times new roman" A little while later their food was brought to them, and she smiled her thanks and took a bite when they were alone once more. Nicholai then spoke about taking a walk on the lake, and she nodded lightly towards him. [#E59866 "That would be nice honestly. The lake looks beautiful in the moon light"] she breathed it out. It's been a while since she's done something like that, and she couldn't wait to do it. She looked down at the plate before her, and took a couple more bites.]
[font "times new roman" She was slowly mulling a question over in her mind, and was debating on asking the male or not. She looked up towards him and locked her eyes with his. [#E59866 "Did you really get protective over me a little bit ago? You had this look in your eyes that you were about to jump to my aid, if Grady hadn't left"] she said softly. It was kind of an odd question, but the look she had seen in his eyes made her heart skip a beat. No one's ever done that for her, and it melted her heart.]
Nicholai’s first instinct as to give into his frustrations of his time with Gemma being interrupted by this man who didn’t seem to like him. He shared the same feelings and he was annoyed by his presence. Though, he didn’t want to come off as volatile, especially with all he had going on with the officer that had dropped by his room earlier. He knew that fi he got into any trouble, he would be brought in ad they were sure to do their best then to keep him and try to charge him for the murder of that woman. Though, Nick knew he was guilty and he felt sick about it. But, what could he do? The beast needed to feed and he could not go against that feeling no matter how much he tried to. Either way, Nicholai could tell that this [I Grady] guy was getting on Gemma’s nerve and he felt the need to protect her from that.
Had the man not left Nicholai would’ve snapped. He already had his hands balled into fists and he could tell the man took notice.
“We’ll see if you have that same energy when you’re back home,” he mumbled as he made his way out. Nicholai didn’t like that statement and he did fear now for Gemma’s wellbeing. He was putting her in danger without even meaning to. Was it such a good idea for the two to spend time together if he knew that it would cause turmoil in her already dysfunctional life? He didn’t want her showing up to work with a black eye or an even worse injury.
Nicholai almost considered cancelling his invitation to spend a night with her. Though it seemed that getting away was something that Gemma much desperately needed. He thought about a little lake he’d passed by when he was coming into the town. Nicholai suspected that it would be nice to sit by the water, maybe even get in if she didn’t mind the cold.
“I was thinking a nice walk by the lake. Only if it’s no trouble, I don’t want to have to come to your place and have a chat with your mother.” Of course, he had no intentions on imparting violence, when human, but he didn’t mind having to make it clear and known that if anyone touched Gemma they would have to deal with him.
Once the food had been ordered and delivered, Nicholai focused on eating though, he found himself distracted and repeatedly looking up at Gemma.
“So you haven’t even dated?” he asked with surprise. She was a beautiful girl and whether to marry or not, he was surprised she had no suitors. Though he’d only been there shortly and figured if there was anyone that had their eye on Gemma, they would make it known to him.
[font "times new roman" The thought of being able to spend more time with the male made her heart skip a beat. Was this really happening though? Could she really let herself get to know someone on a more personal level? As she was about to speak about the plans that night, a male walked up to their table and spoke to her. She rolled her eyes a bit as she leaned back a little, and crossed her arms over her chest. [#E59866 "I was there this morning, it's not like I'm supposed to be there twenty-four seven"] she said lightly.]
[font "times new roman" She wasn't in the mood to deal with anymore issues today, and she sure as hell didn't want other's telling her what to do. [b "Does your mother know you are here with him? Let alone not where you are supposed to be?"] he asked her. Gemma looked up towards Grady and she shook her head. [#E59866 "I don't always have to check in with my mother, and I don't have to always be at the damn restaurant either. There are plenty of people there to help run the place, it's not like they are going to miss me being around for long"] she admitted. She knew she shouldn't have snapped but she had.]
[font "times new roman" This was really turning into a huge hassle, and it was wearing her out to the point, she wanted nothing more than to just leave, and not have anyone find her. Grady shook his head lightly. [b "Hopefully word doesn't get back to your mother about this. If it did she wouldn't be too happy about it"] he said with a small sneer towards Nicholai. Gemma was slowly losing her temper and she didn't like it. [#E59866 "I'm done with people using my mother against me. Go ahead and tell her, she wouldn't give two shits anyway"] she snapped. That seemed to make Grady take a step back.]
[font "times new roman" [#E59866 "My mother doesn't own me, she doesn't tell me what I can and cannot do. No one does. Now leave, before I end up getting you thrown out"] she said her voice shaking a bit. She was worried about what her mother would do, and her sister too for that matter. Things weren't always the best between them, and right now it wasn't getting much better. She had tried to make things better for herself, but instead she always ended up making them worse. This was supposed to be a nice day, and it was turning out to be total shit.]
[font "times new roman" When the other male finally left, she turned her eyes towards Nicholai. [#E59866 "I'm so sorry about that.. As for getting away tonight, what do you have in mind?"] she asked him. She wanted nothing more than to escape, and if she could somehow manage it, she would. She still had that worry in the back of her head though. She knew she would hear about all of this when she returned home.]
Nicholai frowned a bit, a part of him though at least appeased by how she leaned into his touch.
“Not sure I like this family of yours,” he whispered. He knew what it was like to be in fear, of course he had his own family issues that he had tried his hardest to bury and never think of. He had thought that maybe he had offended her, though it was clear that Gemma was enjoying his presence and having someone to confide in. He looked down at their hands. It had been some time himself since he had a gentle sense of physical contact. He wanted to absorb all of it, in fear that maybe it would be the last time that he was able to get a chance at this.
“well, that doesn’t really sound very fair. Though, I have no . . .well I have a brother I guess.” Gemma was opening herself up to him and Nick wanted to very badly, but he knew that his story was much more scarier than depressing. Still, there was some silver lining as it had led him to her.
“You know you don’t have to spoil me so,” he said. He missed the warmth of her touch already, but tried to distract himself by focusing on his menu. He would look up every now and then though, his eyes trapped on Gemma. He watched her more carefully now, knowing she was comfortable around him which allowed him the freedom of not having to be constantly on edge or untrustful of her.
“You know, if you’re in the mood to get out, I can take you out somewhere tonight. My way of giving back.” Nicholai smiled at her. He had turned his attention back to his menu when their table was approached by a male, though he was certainly not the waiter. He also seemed to know Gemma which instantly made Nick protective of her.
“Gemma,” he said. “What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be at the restaurant?” Nicholai met the man’s gaze, a look that showed he clearly was not enjoying being in either of their presence, but more so concerned for Gemma.
[font "times new roman" Was she really nervous about being seen in public with the male? A part of her was, but another part of her wanted everyone to see that her sister wasn't the only one who could catch a man's attention. She shook her head lightly as her eyes locked on his. [#E59866 "People tend to talk in a small town, and if you knew my family... you would fully understand why I'm slightly nervous"] she admitted. She didn't want word getting back to her mother and sister about any of this. She knew it would sooner or later, but right now she wanted to enjoy the man's company, and she was bound to do just that.]
[font "times new roman" That's when he asked about her cheek, and when she felt his fingers brush gently against the slightly swollen mark, her heart soared a bit. Should she lie to the male, and tell him that she had run into something? That wouldn't fly well with her at all. She took a breath as she leaned into his touch slightly. A touch she wanted to feel more often. She took a breath and let her eyes close, as she began to speak. [#E59866 "My sister was the one who had done this. It's nothing new, I'm used to it.. Honestly if her or my mother saw me right now, they would be enraged.."]]
[font "times new roman" [#E59866 "My mother never bore a son, and with Vivian getting married, and taking on a different family name, I guess I'm the only one left to carry the Conrad name to the grave"] she spoke softly. She slowly opened her eyes and they locked on his. A small, sad smile passed over her lips. [#E59866 "I'm sorry to ruin such a good mood right now, but I can't lie to you. I wanted to say something really stupid and blame it on something different, but then I would feel really guilty about it later on"] she admitted. She gently leaned back from his touch, and took his hand in her own.]
[font "times new roman" She slowly traced his palm with her fingertip, and then up along his fingers slowly. The silence was all she wished for right now. She then turned her eyes back to the menu in front of her. [#E59866 "Please, get whatever you want. It's my treat"] she said with a warm smile. A smile that was almost close to her real one. She let the male's hand go and picked up her own menu slowly scanning it. She was going to try something new, but then again wanted nothing more than to stick with what she knew. She let the silence wash over them, as she looked the menu over.]
Nicholai’s eyes met those of the women, his hands now awkward being absent of the menu it had previously been holding. It was odd for him to have someone so openly friendly with him and yet he knew it would be just as weird if he didn’t reciprocate the same behavior.[I If] he could. He still wanted to be cautious. There was something unpredictable about the Beast, but what Nick was coming to learn was that it smelled that presence of innocence in one and sometimes latched onto those it just had a taste for; sometimes it was the eyes, or the way someone’s voice seemed to resonate like a chilling song calling for the monster. Most of the times it was scent and it had been the first thing Dante noticed about Gemma when he entered the restaurant and came across her. It lingered on his clothes, on the bed and the space around him. How soon before it became too intoxicating and she another victim?
That officer’s wife had just been a poor casualty, someone he had seen walking when he entered the town. It was her smile, the dimple pressed into her left cheek and it made him thing how such flesh would feel between his teeth. Nicholai had pondered in the absence of Gemma why he hadn’t gone for her, but figured maybe the Beast was saving the best for last.
“A date,” he said with a chuckle as he came to a stand. It was a bit of an odd scene he would imagine, which warranted the looks of confusion, as the docile woman was able to control such a [I rough] man with just a few words. He noted again the feeling of her hands, soft, which reminded him of how they cautiously and briefly grazed his skin when addressing his wound. Still, his hand remained in her own and he hadn’t thought twice as he tightened the grip just slightly, the thought of intertwining his fingers with hers appealing and yet he held back. It’d been odd for him when he felt their hands finally detach as they took their seats in a booth of the small Italian restaurant. it still had the rustic feel which he knew meant it had to be family owned.
“You’re worried about being seen with me, but for my own good?” he’d asked, his eyes glazing over the menu. Though he knew he wasn’t picky and besides he was much more interested in the woman before him than satisfying a temporary hunger. “What happened to your cheek?” He asked as he gently brought the menu down, his eyes meeting hers, though brushing over the lightly swollen mark. “I don’t want to have to worry about [I trouble].” He said, as if he wasn’t already in a big mess, though that was a different story. [I This], knowing that there was someone who had hurt her, enraged him on a different level.
[font "times new roman" Gemma hadn't meant to get wrapped up with work. She had been waiting for the male to come downstairs then she would leave. There was somewhat of a busy time, and she helped Tony out. As she turned around with a couple of plates in hand, she caught Nicholai's eyes on her. A small blush creeped up into her cheeks, as their eyes caught and he was the first to look away. Had he been watching her? Or was she just hoping he was? Whatever the reason, it was strange to have a man's eyes on her for a change.]
[font "times new roman" She moved over to a table, and set the plates down. [#E59866 "I hope you enjoy the meal, and please if you need anything call for Tony, or Andrea"] she said with a warm smile. The couple nodded and picked up their forks and began to eat. Gemma excused herself and made her way to the counter. She slipped the apron off and hung it on the hook behind the counter. That's when Tony stopped her. [b "Are you really planning on leaving with him? I don't trust him"] he breathed out. The woman shook her head, and patted his hand lightly.]
[font "times new roman" [#E59866 "I know you are looking out for my well being, and that's why I love having you around. I'm a grown woman though. I can look out for myself. Just because this nightmare is happening, doesn't mean I have to hide under a rock"] she said lightly. The male shrugged a bit and looked up when Andrea walked in. [b "Looks like you are off the hook. What if your mother or sister come looking for you?"] he asked her. She stopped and looked up at him. She didn't want to drag the male into it, and she sighed having a small war inside her head.]
[font "times new roman" [#E59866 "If you feel the need to tell them where I am then please do. I would like it if you wouldn't. I want this one thing to be something my mother and sister aren't apart of"] she admitted. It was like she had her own little secret. She kissed the male's cheek and he nodded. [b "Be careful please.."] he whispered into her ear. She promised she would. She then made her way to the other's table. She gently took the menu out of his hands a smile on her lips, her eyes glinting a bit. [#E59866 "You and I have a date, and it's not here"] she said lightly. She then took his hand in her's and gently pulled him to his feet.]
[font "times new roman" She then turned and headed to the door. Once outside, she made sure to keep her fingers wrapped around his in a gentle hold. It was strange touching another person's skin. It sent a shiver down her spine, but she quite enjoyed that. There was another small diner in town that she adored, and wanted to take him too. It wasn't ideal, but it was perfect. It was quiet there too. She looked over her shoulder at him [#E59866 "I hope you like Italian food. I have a friend in town that owns a small diner as well as my family, and she makes some of the best pasta"] she said with an excited tone in her voice.]
[font "times new roman" She could feel people watching them, but she didn't care. Once across town she opened the door and slipped inside. The smell of freshly baked bread hit her nose, and Amara looked up just then. [b "Well hello there. Welcome to Rossi's"] she said with a warm smile. Gemma didn't need to say anything as Amara picked up a couple menus and took them to a private booth. [b "Take your time, and I'll be back in a little while to take your orders"] she said placing them down. Gemma finally let the male's hand go, and slid into the booth.]
[font "times new roman" [#E59866 "Yes it's smaller than before, but it's more silent and there won't be any judgmental eyes on either one of us either"] she breathed out. She picked up her own menu hiding her eyes from the male, hoping with everything in her being that this was a good choice she had made.]
Nicholai knew of course that it would be smart for him to just keep his head down until he was able to get out of the town. Though, he suspected that the officer was not going to cut him any slack. He didn’t trust Nicholai and the man knew he had the right gut instinct. Though it hadn’t been a pleasure to kill that woman. He didn’t even eel like it was him; the beast would consume him and not even give Nick a chance to go against it. He couldn’t challenge it. Instead, he knew that he was forced to live with this curse for the rest of his life. He worried though for Gemma’s safety. He hoped that the beast wouldn’t choose her as his next victim. After he finished getting ready and cleaned up, he began out of the room and down the stairs. It was a bit livelier, though he watched as other’s eyes took him in. it seemed that very shortly his presence had become a hot topic, and more than likely out of fear from speculations and gossip. He was no stranger to that.
Nicholai noticed that Gemma was working on serving others. He figured they’d spend her break together, though he overheard that her parents had owned the restaurant so he was fairly sure there was some leniency when it came to her. he took a seat at an unoccupied table, looking through the menu. He felt bad that he hadn’t the money, hoping that Gemma didn’t think that he was trying to freeload off of her. her patience and generosity was greatly appreciated however. He found himself watching her then, her curls bobbing about as she would whip around to attend to someone who called her name. He was interested in her smile as well, not forced or awkward – a genuine smile. He hadn’t realized he had been staring for so long until their eyes met. He quickly turned his gaze back to the menu, pretending he cared really what he would eat. He knew it would only sustain him until the night came either way. Though Nick had to keep that balance or else the beast would completely take over his life.
He didn’t want that of course. he so desperately wished to be human again, to have that feeling he had when he hugged his mother close. Though, as time wore on Nicholai was losing hope that he would ever have that feeling for keeps.
[font "times new roman" The whole thing was unfolding differently. Gemma couldn't believe that the officer was pretty much blaming Nicholai. He hadn't done anything wrong. At least that she knew of. Then again he was still a total stranger to her. She didn't know anything about him, and he barely knew anything about her. She would pretty much lay her whole life out on the table for the stranger. Something she never would have done. She finished putting the new bandage on the male's wound, and then cleaned up.]
[font "times new roman" She watched as the officer walked out of the room, and they were alone. She didn't realize she was really paying attention until Nicholai asked a question. It slowly dawned on her, that he was still asking if she'd still get breakfast with him. The ordeal wasn't really that important anyway. She smiled lightly, and nodded. [#E59866 "I would be more than happy to still get breakfast with you. If you want to get cleaned up, you are more than welcome too. Just come downstairs when you are ready"] she said as she gathered everything up in her arms.]
[font "times new roman" [#E59866 "Also, I wouldn't get on that man's bad side either.. I would just do whatever he asks of you just to make sure you don't look like the bad guy. Whatever happened to that woman was horrible, but they shouldn't blame a total stranger either.. I'm sorry that you ended up in a really shitty town"] she breathed out. She wouldn't blame him if he left after this whole nightmare was over and done with. She wanted nothing more than to leave this town as well, but couldn't.]
[font "times new roman" She made sure she had everything, before she made her way out of the room and shut the door behind her. She made her way back down the stairs, and to the kitchen. Business was slowly picking up for the morning, and Tony cornered her. [b "What in the hell happened up there?"] he asked. Gemma just shook her head, and looked towards him. [#E59866 "It's nothing you need to worry about. I know news will reach your ears soon enough, just don't turn a blind eye and believe everyone else"] she hissed.]
[font "times new roman" She wasn't going to be choosing sides, but deep down she would do anything to protect the stranger upstairs. She had a really good feeling about him, and she wanted to believe that he wouldn't hurt anyone. She sighed inwardly as she washed out the rags, and the bowl. She put the rags up to dry, put the bowl in the drainer and slipped out behind the counter, to help with the morning line while she waited for Nicholai to join her.]
He’d noticed the bruise cheek and it did make him curious for someone who was so caring with nearly everyone she met, he wouldn’t surprise if such a tender spirit was being abused at home. By who was the question and Nicholai wasn’t sure why that made him so angry. Maybe it had to do with how nice she had been to him.
“It’s alright,” he said with a crooked smile. He hadn’t meant to snap at her, mistakes were made and even Nick wasn’t sure what he had said as he was still in a delirious state. She was flustered which Nicholai found to be cute. Surely, she had seen a naked man before. Or did it have to do with the fact that he was a complete stranger to her. He could tell she was trying not to show how embarrassed or nervous he was, cheeks still red and her eyes dancing from his to his tattoos and ultimately back down to her hands where the bloody sheets were bundled into a ball, now tight against her chest.
Nick had chance to answer her questions as soon she was exiting the room with a promise to come back with fresh sheets. Breakfast did sound good. He figured when she returned he would give her an answer about the ink. While she was out getting clean sheets, he decided to try to clean himself up as best as possible. Fortunately she hadn’t been close enough to see the blood that still stained the palms of his hands. Nicholai walked over to the bathroom where he grabbed a bar of soap; it smelled like lavender. He sighed at the memory, scrubbing profusely with the water hot enough to steam the mirrors just a bit. By the end his hands were clean, but the blood still stained his memory. He was just pulling his pants on when there was a knock.
Gemma had entered then with a gentleman who was introduced as Officer Brady. He tensed up immediately. Him and cops of course didn’t get along well. What was he here for? Did they know he was a runaway? Or was this about what happened last night? Hell, he was sure it was both. Though Nicholai had become quite good at having. A poker face.
“Sure. Why not?” Nick didn’t feel like he had much of a choice honestly and if he declined it would make him come off as guilty. The best thing to do was to cooperate and let the officer know as little as possible.
“Ask away,” he said, his eyes looking briefly to Gemma’s working hands. They were lithe, delicate looking, and soft he imagined despite how much cleaning she did. He could already smell the scent of her shampoo.
“I understand you just got into town yesterday afternoon?” The officer’s question was jarring to his mild daydream, Nicholai then turning his intense gaze from Gemma and toward the officer. He was a tall man, with wide shoulders, the sign of a man who probably once played football. He had hick black hair, with grey crowding its way in from the corners. He’d removed hi sunglasses by that point, leaving Nicholai to stare into dark brown eyes, shadowed by thick brows. Officer Brady had taken a seat at what was a two person dining table.
“That’s right.” Nicholai said.
“Where you coming from?”
“North. Just a bit of travelling,” Nichola responded. Quick and brief, he wanted this discussion over with. Officer Brady could tell he was making him uncomfortable, but he didn’t want to press too much and scare Nicholai off. His gut was telling him the young man had something to do with Layla Thompson’s death, but he just didn’t know why and he intended on finding out and bringing justice to his friend’s deceased wife.
“Is that how you encountered the bullet wound?”
“I got into a bit of a disagreement with some people at a bar,” he lied smoothly. “Flesh wound, I’ll be alright.” Officer Brady noted these things down in his small notebook.
“You got any identification on you?”
“Am I a suspect or something?” Nicholai asked the, body tensing more, his muscles flexing as he tried to restrain his frustration from growing into something bigger.
“Look, you’re new in town and I just need to cover all my bases.” Smart answer. But Nicholai was smarter.
“That disagreement so happened to be a mugging,” he said, resisting the urge to smirk. “Look I don’t plan to stay long. As soon as I’m up to it, I am out of here. You don’t have to worry about me.” Hearing that the man might leave worried Officer Brady, but he couldn’t show it. He came to a stand then.
“Well, before you skirt off, I’d like for you to drop by the station. I just want to get some more information.”
‘Don’t see how I’d be much of help, but sure why not.” Though of course he had no intention and Officer Brady knew that just as much as Nick. He knew he had to be quick if he was going to keep him here while he investigated the crime. He didn’t trust Nicholai of course, a man like that with that many tattoos and an ice so cold it made the Icelandic waters seem like a hot tub, was no stranger to trouble.
Officer Brady turned to Gemma then who had just finished with patching him up. Nicholai had stood to his full height then, which did make Officer Brady seem a bit intimidated for a second.
“Gemma, if you need anything you let me know. Try not to stay out late, get a [I friend] or someone to walk you home. Whoever harmed Layla is still out there.” He gave Nicholai a last look before finally leaving the room. Nicholai sighed out, reaching for his shirt and shrugging it on. He knew he couldn’t stick around, but he didn’t have much energy and he had no clue where he was running to. He needed some time to figure things out, get a set plan and just stay out of trouble’s way if he could at all.
He looked to Gemma then. “You still on for that breakfast?” He asked. He’d hoped that conversation hadn’t changed her thoughts of him.
[font "times new roman" [#E59866 "I am so sorry, I thought I heard you say to come in. I should have waited a moment longer. God... I'm so sorry"] she said again. She knew she had messed up. She thought she had heard his voice, but it could have been in her mind after all. When he said it was safe to turn around she did so. He was in a pair of shorts now, and she felt slightly better. She was still red as could be, but that was to be expected. She never meant to walk in on someone while they were nude, it was terribly rude of her.]
[font "times new roman" [#E59866 "I was just coming to check on you this morning, and see how you were doing. See if you'd like to join me for breakfast"] she said lightly looking at the sheets, and then back up at him. She saw that his wound had opened back up, and she nodded towards it. [#E59866 "I can tell you need new bandages already, if you'd like I can clean it again, and add the bandages or let you do it. I'll also get you some clean sheets, and get these ones home to wash before they fully stain"] she breathed out.]
[font "times new roman" Her heart was still hammering against her chest as she walked over and picked up the sheets off the floor. She wrapped her arms around them, and looked up at the male. [#E59866 "I meant to ask yesterday. The tattoo's. Do they all have meanings behind them, or were you just a rebellious child?"] she asked with a small smile. That's when she heard her name being called and she looked over her shoulder. She excused herself, and went back down to the main floor, sheets in hand. [b "Gemma, it's good to see you"] said Officer Brady. She cocked her head lightly confused as to why he's here.]
[font "times new roman" [#E59866 "Good morning to you as well Officer Brady. What do I owe to this visit?"] she asked him. She could feel the male looking her up and down, and then noticed the sheets in hand. [b "Well, I'm just here to talk to the stranger that I heard took room here yesterday. I'm sure you've heard, but Layla was found murdered in her home this morning by Thompson. He'd been working late, and came home to find her in the kitchen, with her throat ripped out. I was wanting to speak to the male here. Just to check some things out. What happened to those sheets?"] he asked her, crossing his arms.]
[font "times new roman" That's when he saw the bruise on her cheek as well. [b "Did he touch you Gemma?"] he asked pointing it out. She hurried and shook her head. [#E59866 "No sir, he didn't touch me. Yes he's upstairs in the room here, he has a pretty nasty bullet wound, I was about to throw the sheets in to be taken home to get cleaned. He said he had a pretty rough night, and his bandages came undone, and his wound reopened"] she said lightly. The male nodded lightly, as he eyed the bruise on her cheek. [b "Do you mind taking me up there?"] he asked her. She couldn't really tell him no.]
[font "times new roman" [#E59866 "Let me get the bandages and everything and then I will"] she said. The male nodded as he looked at the time. Tony would be there soon to open up. When Gemma came back she led him up the stairs. [b "I know it's rude of me to ask, but what happened to your cheek child?"] he asked her. Gemma's heart skipped a beat, she didn't want to tell him that her own sister slapped her. [#E59866 "Just lost a small battle with things at home last night"] she lied. The male nodded and dropped it. He then followed Gemma up the stairs, and to the bedroom. Gemma went in first.]
[font "times new roman" [#E59866 "Nicholai, Officer Brady's here to talk to you. If you don't mind me being in here Officer, I need to get his wound tended too"] she said lightly as she set her things down. The officer nodded. [b "I won't stop you child"] he said. He watched as the woman went about her work. That's when he turned to the tattooed male. [b "As Gemma said, I'm officer Brady, and I have a couple questions for you"] he said. Gemma sat on the edge of the bed, and started cleaning the male's wound. As she was, she noticed it looked a lot better than yesterday. That's strange.]
[font "times new roman" She shook her curls out of her eyes, and tended to the wound letting the two men talk.]
Officer Brady knew the address of Officer Thompson by heart. He had been there plenty of times for Christmas, birthdays and barbecues. His wife was friends with his own wife Marie. Seeing Layla laid out the way she was, was enough to turn his stomach and even Thompson looked like he could barely keep down the black coffee he more than likely had been guzzling the whole night in an attempt t stay up for his round. It was almost like some kind of wild animal had broken in, but the front door and back door had been locked and while they did occasionally get a cayote spotting, it was unusual for them to come into suburban areas much like the residence of Thompson’s home was in. Officer Brady bent down, blue eyes peering at the wounds on Mrs. Thompson’s blood-soaked neck. Her blonde curls were caked to her neck as well with blood, quickly drying. Some of it had already started to flake toward the floor. There were pictures being taken of everything, fingerprints as well but all they had to go on were what could’ve been footprints, smeared in blood. But what kind of killer walked around barefoot
Officer Brady walked over to his longtime friend.
“How you holding up?” he asked him as he led him outside. They were getting ready to take the body which he knew would be a media circus considering half the neighborhood was trying their hardest to breach the caution tape to get a look at the body of Layla.
“I just – I can believe it Dan. Who would do something like this?” Greg shook his head, still in disbelief. Layla was a schoolteacher, the kindest woman you could ever meet. Why would anyone hurt her? or try to hurt him in the process? They weren’t working anything extremely big at the moment, and the town for the most part had always been quiet when it came to crime; small time stuff, nothing like this. It was [I strange].
“I have no clue but believe me, I’ll find out.” Officer Brady then noticed some whisperings by a couple of men and he walked over, something about a new guy in town. After chatting with them for a bit he was informed on a [I gentleman] who had come into town yesterday, a bit of a shady character and definitely a stranger. It was a stretch, but Officer Brady figured it wouldn’t hurt to check out. He made sure Thompson was taken care of by his in-laws and the crime scene was secure before he got into his cruiser and began his way to the best restaurant in town and apparently where this stranger was staying.
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Blonde hair, he remembered blonde hair. He could smell the scent of beef, about an hour old. His ears had pricked at the sound of the humming coming from the kitchen, the soft laugh from the woman as she looked at her phone. Layla had been preparing dinner for her husband. She knew he was often starving by the time he got back from alate shift. She hadn’t been paying attention really, too focused on a group chat with a couple of her friends. Nicholai had slipped in through the window he had opened to access the living room. He hid in the shadows, his nails clacking against the hardwood floors and that had been what made her turn. He hid in the shadows of the hallway, watching as she tried to recall if it had been her to leave the window open. Just as she was preparing to walk over and close it, Nicholai had charged, his teeth sinking into her jugular before she had a chance to scream.
Nicholai was barely getting out of bed when he heard a knock and while he thought he said come in, maybe the words had tumbled in as an invitation. He was still a bit disoriented, but when he saw the look on Gemma’s face, he sobered up quick and realized what was going on.
“Shit! Don’t you –” His growl of rage had stopped as he grabbed the blood-stained sheets to wrap around him. He pushed his hair back from his face then, wincing slightly as he moved much too quickly, agitating his wound. He located his shorts and shrugged them on. “It’s safe to turn around,” he mumbled. Nicholai bundled u the sheets and tossed them don’t eh ground, sitting on the bare mattress then. His wound wasn’t too bad, if she paid close attention, she would notice he was healing quite quickly actually. But last night’s activities had caused it to open up again and start bleeding a bit.
“Nothing happened,” he said a bit too quickly. “I’m fine, just a rough night’s sleep.” He excused himself. “Do you usually just let yourself in?” He asked her, a slight chuckle coming out as he did find her expression quite funny. Nicholai wasn’t necessarily shy about his body, but it had been a while since he’d been seen naked in front of a woman. He too was just a tad bit embarrassed.
[font "times new roman" Gemma didn't want to leave the male alone, but she knew he needed the space, and time to heal from the wound. She was curious about the tattoo's, and made a mental note to ask about it the next time she saw him. She made her way down the stairs and was stopped before she got too far. [b "How's the stranger? Is he all settled in for the night?"] Tony asked. Gemma nodded lightly as she took the items into the kitchen. [#E59866 "He is, and all bandaged up as well. I'm going to wash these and then going to head home for the night"] she told the other male. He nodded and went back to work.]
[font "times new roman" She made her way into the kitchen, cleaned the bowl, and the rags she had used. Her eyes wandered to the ceiling above her, and wondered if he would be okay for the night. She couldn't be like this right now. She couldn't suffocate the male. If he had needed anything else he would have said something. She shook her head lightly as she finished getting everything cleaned, put away and then she was heading out for the night. Something she didn't want to do.]
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[font "times new roman" As soon as she was through the door was when her mother cornered her. [b "Where have you been all day?"] she snapped. Gemma sighed lightly as she walked into the living room, seeing her mother and sister sitting there. Neither of them looked too happy. [#E59866 "I ended up going to the restaurant for awhile, and I knew you both had the planning underway, so I didn't want to be under your feet for too long"] she admitted. She wanted nothing more than to crawl into a hole and vanish just then. Vivian stood and walked over to her sister, drew her arm back and slapped her across the face.]
[font "times new roman" Gemma's hands flew to her face as tears stung her eyes. [#E59866 "What the bloody hell was that for?"] she hissed. Vivian glared at her as she crossed her arms over her chest. [#DDA0DD "You needed to be here today. Your dress is in you room, so make sure it fits, otherwise you won't be apart of the wedding anymore"] she snapped back. That's all it took and Gemma lowered her eyes, made her way to her room, and slammed the door closed. Sure enough to peach colored bridesmaid dress was hanging on the back of her door.]
[font "times new roman" She took the dress down, ran her fingers over the fabric and she let the tears slowly fall down her cheeks. She really hated it here, hated the way her mother let Vivian do whatever she bloody wanted too. She shook her head as she pulled off the clothes she had been wearing, and slipped into the dress. She then made her way to the living room, and stood on a stool letting her mother make the adjustments she needed, not knowing that something horrible was happening right in there little town.]
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[font "times new roman" When she finally awoke then next morning her cheek was still stinging, and when she took a look at herself in the mirror it was badly bruised. She wanted nothing more than to treat her sister the way she treated her. She knew better though. She wasn't going to stoop as low as her sister. The night had been long, with her mother poking and prodding her as she made the right adjustments to the dress. She had heard her mother and sister leave earlier that morning, but she didn't bother to see where they were going. She would hear about it later on anyway.]
[font "times new roman" She finally slipped out of bed, got showered and dressed. She then made herself some toast, and drank some juice before she gathered up her things, and made her way into town. The morning sun was beating down on her, and she could tell it was going to be a really warm day out. As she was walking down the dirt road, she saw the cops outside of Officer Thompson's home. That's when she heard a couple of people talking about what was going on. She walked up beside Mrs. Walter's and spoke softly. [#E59866 "What's going on here?"] she asked the older woman.]
[font "times new roman" Mrs. Walters looked towards her and shook her head sadly. [b "Officer Thompson came home this morning and found his wife's dead body. We don't know what happened for sure. It's such a tragedy to be honest"] she said clicking her tongue. Gemma didn't know if she wanted to stay any longer. She heard what she needed. She hurried and made her way to the building and went inside. She heard the whispers from the customer's inside. She shook her head, and made her way up the steep stairs. She stopped outside the door, and knocked lightly.]
[font "times new roman" When she got the okay to come in, she opened the door and the sight before her made her stomach drop. [#E59866 "I was going to ask how you were feeling this morning, but I don't know if I should.. Is everything okay? What happened?"] she asked him. She spotted the blood on the sheets, and then realized the male was nude. She turned red and hurried to turn her back towards her. She had forgotten completely about the bruise on her cheek, as she waited for the male to get dressed.]
“People you’re not used to? Well I’m glad I haven’t become someone you can have some compassion for.” Nicholai asked with a raised brown. He couldn’t believe that considering how nice of a demeanor Gemma seemed to have. She wasn’t wrong about the alcohol stinging, but true he had felt worse wounds before. He closed his eyes at the feeling before opening them to watch Gemma work, noting how her eyes had scanned over his chest. Undoubtedly, he suspected she questioned his tattoos.
[center [size30 _]]
[font “times” [I When he was first imprisoned he had only gotten one, despite the hatred his mother had for him, he had her name tattooed after he went back home. Shortly after he had run away there was something in him that drew him to check in on his mother. He was surprised to find that she had remarried and was with child. As if sensing his presence, she had noticed him peeking through the window. While her husband sat in the chair watching as she had stepped out the back door. He saw her o through the difficult triad of emotions: relief he was alive, sadness at knowing why he had left, and ultimately fear at knowing what he was.
Still, she had drawn him into her arms and kissed his cheek, her swollen belly pressed against his stomach. He wrapped his arms around her and closed his eyes inhaled the scent of her; she smelled like spices, thinking she was making her famous meatloaf. He hadn’t really had much of a normal life and most of his food came from his hunting at night. He missed being human and somehow with ne touch, she had reminded Nicholai that there was the chance that there was something human within him. Though that was short lived as he could see through the small window on the door that her husband was getting up, more than likely in search of her. Nicholai couldn’t stay, he knew that. She sent him off with two hundred dollars and it was the last time he saw her.]]
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Nicholai looked down at the bandages. She had done well enough for an amateur.
“Thank you,” he’d said under his breath. He watched as she grabbed the materials and left. It had been a while since he had the luxuries of a nice bed and a private room. He was almost afraid to fully relax, unsure if there was the possibility of the cops coming for him. He had soon retired to the bed, looking up at the ceiling and before king sleep overtook him.
Not for long of course, in the middle of the night Nicholai felt that familiar twitch, that burning heat that rose within him. He’d felt the bed shaking then, as he lifted, crawling out and finding himself now on the floor. It was always hard to resist, even despite the pain from the bullet wound seemed to be intensified. Though that was nowhere close to the pain of the change. His bones had broken, reforming at the same time the hair had begun to sprout from his body. Soon enough in the dark stood him, his six foot frame slightly hunched over, eyes a lit and staring out the window. With a powerful thrust he had pushed it open, jumping out and scaling the walls then of the restaurant.
When morning came, Nicholai found himself in the room, nude and sprawled on the bed, sheets speckled with blood. His head was pounding and he was slow to sit up, looking down to see the gauze removed from the wound. At least he had an excuse. Like always, he didn’t right away recall the night before, just bits and pieces. Though, soon it would become clear who his victim had been.
Officer Brady had been called to the Thompson residence when his partner, Officer Thompson, had returned from a twelve hour shift to find the lifeless body of his wife in their bedroom. What he saw was like a scene out of a movie, shredded clothing and blood strewn everywhere. It’d taken him some time to come out of shock and call it in. Come morning, the news was already making rounds through the town, onlookers standing outside the house and trying to get a clue as to [I who] could do such a thing and why.
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