|Author: Alruna Zelenia||Original Source: Re:Library|
~Chapter 11: …Before The Storm~
“Haydn, would you please put the shades on?” Evelyn asked the Faerie exasperatedly. She really needed to get to work soon before it was too late but Haydn was not cooperating with her. It was amazing that he had been saving her life against his will but if he wanted to join her at work, he had to look the part of a bodyguard. She couldn’t just lug around a man at her workplace for no apparent reason. However, the man was being particularly difficult and he was just blatantly ignoring her.
“Fine, if you won’t do it, stay here while I go to work. Do not follow me.” She decided to put her foot down.
Then, he had the nerve to laugh in her face and sneered, “What makes you think I will listen to you. If I follow you, there’s nothing you can do to stop me, human.”
She knew that Avery was not as strong as he was but she honestly wished that her friend was here right now so that she didn’t have to deal with this annoying Fae-man. The zombie had left to go back home the night before so that she could get what she needed for work, with promises that she would move most of her essentials to the human’s apartment. She decided that she would cancel her lease and stay with the blonde to protect her. Plus, the human had also shared the good news that they would be moving to New Hampshire in three weeks’ time for their new jobs. When the redhead had asked about their new accommodations, the blonde told her that the company would provide them with a shared space. The zombie thought the terms appeared agreeable and nodded her head.
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Now though, the human was fuming at the loathsome man until a light bulb went off in her head – she remembered that the silver-eyed man was technically hired or something.
She smirked winsomely, “Didn’t you mention that you’re supposed to be protecting me for some unknown reasons? I’m sure it has something to do with my claimer and I bet she is very evil. So, what would you think will happen when I tell her that you sucked at your job?” Evelyn watched his expression carefully, wondering if he was going to call her out on her bluff. She didn’t even know who her claimer was; who was to say the demoness would even care for her human concerns?
Haydn’s face hardened into a furious glare and the human felt a blast of power from him – most possibly, it was due to the flaring of his essence that Evelyn hadn’t been given the permission to see. The essence around the blonde reacted to the alleged threat; the entirety of the subconscious essence condensed itself around the human’s chest area in what the blonde presumed was protection. However, she was proven wrong when the powerful black and pink essence surged towards the supposed threat and pounded into the Faerie’s chest. The impact threw him off his feet and smashed into the opposite wall.
Where he laid crumpled on the floor, the black-pink essence engulfed him and vibrated in aggravation. When his eyes finally snapped open, he surveyed the room wide-eyed and for the first time since Evelyn had met him, he looked afraid for a change. Once he was back on his feet, the essence returned to the human as if nothing had happened. After that, the Faerie didn’t speak another word to the human but he put the shades on without any more complaints.
When they walked into the office, all eyes bore into the dreamy-looking Faerie – most in curiosity but a lot of the women also swooned at the sight of him. The first destination in Evelyn’s mind was Cooper’s office – while she despised him, today was different because it’s the day she could finally be free of him. Avery was just leaving Cooper’s office when the pair finally reached their destination. The redhead nodded her head politely at them and muttered, “Good morning Ms. Summer.”
While it was hard to tell what Avery was thinking at work, the blonde could guess that she must have just given Cooper her resignation letter. She couldn’t help but wonder how Cooper had taken it.
Evelyn was then asked to wait until Cooper was ready to receive her. As per usual, he made the blue-eyed blonde wait for a long time before she was allowed in his office. Alexander Cooper was sitting comfortably in his chair with a smug look on his face, ready to spill whatever nonsense he always spilt when he saw her. However, the smile immediately fell off his face when he saw the handsome man, Haydn who was dressed in a black suit jacket, pants and sunglasses behind her.
“Who is that, Princess?” He inquired with his brow raised as his greeting instead of his usual disgusting remarks. Evelyn belatedly noticed that his eyes were a little red and puffy but otherwise, he looked fine.
“My new bodyguard, Haydn. Haydn, my boss, Mr. Alexander Cooper.” Although Evelyn couldn’t care too much about introducing the men, she still had to show her boss a certain degree of respect in the workplace. However, neither of them said anything to the other, not even a polite shake of hands. The rude Faerie merely stood stoically with his hands behind his back while Cooper turned his incredulous look at the blonde.
“Is that really necessary, Princess? You have to hire a personal bodyguard at work now?” Judging from his miffed look, he probably thought that the blonde had hired the bodyguard to protect herself against the likes of him. The blonde barely managed to restrain herself from scoffing at how laughable the idea was.
“You wished, Mr. Cooper. I’ve hired him for other reasons. Now, I did not come here just to introduce my new bodyguard to you.” She slid the resignation letter across his desk and crossed her arms. He eyed the letter dubiously with no intention of picking it up.
Out of the corner of her eyes, Evelyn could see a ripped piece of paper in the trash can. While she didn’t know what it was, she just knew that it had to be her best friend’s letter. However, it truly didn’t matter if he would not approve of their resignation letters, they had only done this as a formality. Their contracts stated that they needed to provide two weeks’ notice in advance before resigning. Thus, they had already sent digital copies of their letters to the other senior managers during the weekend, for fear that Cooper might not inform them of their intent to leave.
“This is my resignation letter, Mr. Cooper. I will be gone in two weeks’ time.” He had already suspected it when he saw the letter in the blonde’s hands but he had tried his best not to believe it. Now that it had been confirmed, he was absolutely furious, he could feel the heat rise up in his face. With how red his face had gotten, it wouldn’t be far off to see steam blowing out of his ears. With her piece said and done, the blonde spun around to take her leave. Just as her hand was reaching for the doorknob, his voice boomed loud behind her.
“It’s your doing, isn’t it? Avery just did the same thing this morning.” His decibel was so high that even the redhead could hear him from her desk outside. She winced in sympathy, knowing how it had hurt him.
He continued roaring in anger, “I heard all of them talking, you know? How you are the ꜰᴜᴄᴋɪɴɢ next best thing to happen to this company and about to take over my job and now, you’re just going to leave?”
“I really don’t care about having your job, Cooper.” Without even looking back at him, she left his office with the Faerie following close behind. The man trashed his office in anger as they were leaving, and before the door was fully closed, he threw a random object on his desk at the leaving blonde. However, the blue-haired guardian grabbed the object right out of the air with his back turned and dropped it onto the floor.
Even with the closed door, all of them could hear his muffled scream clearly, “You think you can just take my woman and almost take my job without a care in the world and just leave?! You ꜰᴜᴄᴋɪɴɢ ᴡʜᴏʀᴇ!”
Evelyn stole a glance back at her friend whose face was adorned with an obvious wince. The rumour in the office regarding the two was that the redhead had slept with Cooper before but when the blonde had asked, she had denied that rumour vehemently, stating that it was disgusting just to think about it. While Evelyn had complete trust in her friend, the things Cooper had just shouted out loud at her and the face adorning her friend told her that she probably did not know the full story behind the two.
Just then, she finally linked a small part of the story – Cooper’s red and puffy eyes were telltale signs that he had cried after Avery had given him her resignation letter and left his office. The time he had made her wait outside his office was not because of one of his power trips, it was because he had needed that time to straighten himself up before he could face her and the rest of the world again. Then, the blonde began to wonder if she had pinned him wrong all these times, that maybe all of those times she had spent waiting before her meetings with him were not actually power trips. But then when she thought further back, even if the wait today was not a power trip, all of her past pre-meeting waits were definitely power trips.
The rest of the day was uneventful and the blonde didn’t see a wink of Cooper at all, which she counted as a blessing. As promised, Avery moved into the blonde’s apartment later that day. The whole time, the zombie did not mention their mutual boss at all so the blonde just let it go. They had another minor supernatural break-in from imps that night which was easily taken care of.
The next few days were rather dull and they almost felt like a cycle – Cooper no longer showed up unannounced to sexually harass the blonde, everyone thought the two best friends were finally eloping to a new place, and they had weak supernatural visits every single night that were easily taken care of by the blonde’s guardians. The pair was getting a lot better at working together; they were now able to pick up signals from the other’s eyes and movements. The highlight of the blonde’s days came every day after work when she could finally send flirty texts back and forth to Perse. They would talk about their days and everything and nothing in particular. This had the blonde even more attracted to the tanned woman.
That was… until Friday came along. Cooper suddenly asked the blue-eyed woman to meet him in his office without her male guardian. While the blonde didn’t trust the man at all, she wasn’t afraid of a mere human man anymore. It took her some time to convince Haydn to let her go alone, which he finally relented when she told him that she could protect herself against a dumb human man and that they had never had a supernatural attack in the morning anyway.
This time, Evelyn was not made to wait at all when she went to Cooper’s office – Avery just told her to go in and that he was waiting for her. Cooper did not look as he usually had, in other words, he looked like a real mess. His hair was not gelled back and it was dishevelled like he had run his hands in his hair way too many times. His eyes were bloodshot with dark circles under his eyes and he appeared hungover. The smell of alcohol hung densely in the air, it was nearly cloying. His suit and tie, for once, looked a little wrinkled. After assessing his ruffled look, the blonde actually felt bad for him but she wasn’t going to turn down a good job offer for him and it may be selfish but she would really prefer to have her friend with her when they moved to a new city. Plus, she was nearly certain that Avery did not love him back. If she was, she’d never have agreed to move across the country with the blonde.
“Cooper…” she called out pitifully, he raised his hand to stop her and gestured for her to sit. Once she had taken her seat, he started politely. “Ms. Summer, I apologize for all the hard times I have given you in the past. I have thought about it very hard over the past few days but I just can’t apologize enough about my foul behaviour over the years. Please know that I’m usually not that kind of guy. Plus, now that you are leaving, with the woman I love more than life itself, I hope you can make her happy. Words are cheap, Ms. Summer, I would like to make it up to you, if you’d accept.”
Evelyn was about to decline but there was a pleading look in his eyes, “Please let me make it up to you, Ms. Summer. It might not be much but let me show you my sincerity.”
She thought that she was probably going to regret this but she had been taught to give second chances to those who had wronged her. She sighed loudly, defeated, she would give him this one chance to redeem himself. “Alright, Mr. Cooper, but please know that it will not change my mind about leaving.”
He copied her sigh and with the most defeated voice she had ever heard him use, he muttered, “I know.”
“I will buy you dinner at St. La Vida and we’ll have some of those posh expensive drinks. I don’t think I can afford to pay for more than two persons’ share, so if you wouldn’t mind coming alone?” His first smile today was still sad but looked genuine. Her gut was telling her that she should not go out alone tonight and that it was dangerous without her guardians. Moreover, the essence around her pulsed strangely but she ignored all of those signs and agreed. She knew that the attacks usually happened at night but if Haydn and Avery were eating at a place close by, everything should be fine and dandy.
However, when the blonde told her guardians about Cooper’s offer, both of them went off their heads at her. In Haydn’s words, she was the dumbest person ever and in Avery’s, she was way too reckless. Even when she told them that they could stay watch close by, they were still not thrilled about the idea but they went along with it because as Haydn said, if she wanted to play with her life then she could go ahead but if she was to die, he would personally go find her soul and torture her.
The human had also sent a text message to Perse but she did not mention about her farewell slash ‘I’m sorry’ dinner with Cooper, she was sure that would cause another bout of aggressive jealousy from the other woman. Especially since she had found out the hard way the Perse did not like the idea of her possibly being in a romantic relationship with another person. In other words, the dark-haired woman was territorial and possessive, and although the blonde liked that she could make her feel that way, that didn’t mean that she would want to cause her distress over someone as silly as Cooper. It was, after all, the last dinner she would ever have with the man. Instead, the text message mentioned that she would be going to a farewell party for both Avery and her, organized by their colleagues.
When she arrived at the restaurant, Cooper was already there waiting for her. He already looked marginally better than he did in the morning and she told him so, “You cleaned up well, Mr. Cooper.”
“Thank you, you don’t look too bad yourself, Ms. Summer.” He complimented like a real gentleman. It was so foreign to the blonde that she was beginning to think that Cooper had been abducted by extraterrestrials and replaced by a clone. She had on a conservative black dress that did not show too much skin, it was very classy but suited the dress code of the upscale restaurant.
The restaurant had bright lighting and two small chandeliers hanging above a medium-sized dance floor where two couples were slow dancing on it. At the back of the dance floor, there were two fiddlers, pianist, flutist and other musicians playing their instruments, filling the restaurant with ambient background music. It actually reminded the blonde of a scene from the Beauty and the Beast. The restaurant was mostly painted in gold with bits of silver and red, the tables were arranged so that each of them was out of human hearing range from the other.
The blonde had originally thought that this dinner would be really awkward considering the people involved and the current situation but it was actually very amiable. The conversation flowed easily between them, the food was delicious and the drink was plenty. For once, Cooper actually acted like a decent human being.
After one too many drinks, the blonde was starting to slur her words very badly and she could faintly hear the buzzing of her phone in her clutch purse. Cooper then stood from his seat and asked politely for a dance. In her inebriated mind, she thought that it was the most brilliant idea ever, she took his hand and he led them onto the dance floor for a slow song. She could barely stand on her feet so she was mostly stumbling around while Cooper led them gracefully on the dance floor with her forehead resting on his shoulder for support.
They had only danced for one song and he led them back to the table. Once they were seated, a shadow came closer and loomed over them. When the blonde glanced at the strange man standing beside her, she belatedly realized that he was just the waiter who had been filling her wine glass the whole night. His mouth moved as he said something that she could not register so she just nodded, assuming that he had asked if she wanted her glass filled again. After he proceeded to fill up her glass again, she took another sip from it, enjoying the sweet taste of fermented cherry in the wine.
“Well, Princess, I hope that you have enjoyed your night.” Cooper sat with his fingers interlaced in front of him on the table, hiding the smirk on his face. The blonde nodded and slurred that it had actually been great and he was actually a pretty decent man. As she took another long swallow of her drink, she was somehow able to glimpse the sinister smile now obviously displayed on his face through the red translucent wine.
“That is fabulous, Princess. Then I hope this should be a good last night of your life for you. I hope I never see you again.” He stood up from his seat and turned to walk away from her, but after his first step, he angled his head back around. “Oh, by the way, the wine that you have been drinking the whole night was drugged.”
After he got the last words in, he walked away and whatever the blonde had not swallowed, she spat it out at his retreating figure which never quite reached him. The waiter came back to her side and asked if she was well and only then did the waiter let it show – his essence. A dark looming essence that just literally screamed evil and even with the blonde’s chemically induced mind, she knew that she was in danger. When she surveyed the restaurant, she couldn’t believe that she had not realized it before – the lights in the restaurant had already been dimmed and every other patron and staff were long gone. All that’s left were the evil waiter and the human, the buzzing of her phone in her purse had never seemed as prominent as it was now, it felt like it was trying to form an epicentre of an earthquake as her head swayed in dizziness.
With increasingly drying lips and muddled mind, her hands flew for the purse, however, the man was faster than her. He caught her wrists before she could even reach the clutch. While her wrists were bound by his hands, she could make out the movement of his lips with her darkening vision. She could barely hear the muttered words that she had never heard before but somehow understood, he said something about taking them to where they needed to be.
When darkness finally occluded her vision, she couldn’t tell whether her eyes were shut or open. She could feel the difference in the air temperature, letting her subconscious know that they had moved elsewhere but she could no longer fight off the drug pumping through her system, her mind shut off.