Of Blood and Bone (Page 34)

Of Blood and Bone (The Minaldi Legacy #1)(34)
Author: Courtney Cole

Chapter Nineteen

Luca

I wake on my bed, fully clothed.  I don’t remember going to bed at all.  In fact, I remember very little from the time that I finished up a conference call and had a nightcap in my study until now.   My heart beats fast although I’m no stranger to a foggy memory.

I lie still for a bit, trying to clear my thoughts, to let the sleep fall away.  As I do, I catch a whiff of sex.

What the f**k?  I lift my hands to my face and inhale.  Sex.

This jerks me wide awake and I quickly sit up, trying to remember the events from last night.  But my memories are a frustrating fog.

I vaguely remember walking from the study down the hall toward my bedroom, but it’s a blur from there.   When my curse comes, I usually remember everything up until the moment that the darkness overtakes me.  I don’t remember anything of the sort from last night.

Nothing at all.

Something isn’t right.  Am I changing?  Is this what happens as I get older?  The frequency of my episodes becomes higher and I don’t remember anything?

My head drops into my hands.

What did I do last night?  What the f**k did I do?

There’s no way of knowing.  My heart sinks as I come to that realization.  I won’t know unless I’ve done something and gotten caught.  And at this point, being captured would almost be a relief, a welcome end to the constant anxiety and stress that I have been feeling for so long.

For years, my curse has been controlled.  It is only now, this year, that episodes have come on so quickly and without warning that I’m not able to get home in time.  And that is why I have recently made the decision that I simply won’t leave Chessarae.  Not unless it is very, very necessary.  The people in Valletta thought I was a recluse before.  They’ll surely think so now.

I swing my legs out of bed and make my way into the shower, allowing the hot, steamy water to run over me for at least a half hour.  It feels as though I’m washing away the unknown and to be honest, it is a very good feeling.

I convince myself that if I don’t remember anything, then there probably isn’t anything to remember.  I more than likely finished my nightcap and fell immediately to sleep.  I turn off the water and grab a towel, running it over my hair and stepping back into my bedroom.

As I do, I am startled to find that I am not alone.

Evangeline sits on my bed, fully dressed.  She looks pensive, as though she isn’t sure what to think.  And then she turns to meet my gaze.  She doesn’t seem embarrassed at all that to find that I am stark naked.  I quickly wrap the towel around my waist.

“Yes?” I ask her.  I try to appear unnerved, as though it is completely normal to find a beautiful woman in my bedroom.   “Can I help you with something, Evangeline?”

She was expecting me to say something else.  I can tell. Her face is expectant, then it clouds over with my words.  She opens her mouth and then closes it.

“Evangeline?” I prompt. “Do you need something from me?”

I cross the room quickly, pulling out a shirt from my wardrobe. I pull it on over my head and as I do, the towel drops to the ground exposing every bit of my manhood to her. 

“Shit,” I mutter, turning away.  Instead of picking up the towel, I pull on a pair of underwear and then a pair of slacks.  When I am dressed, I turn back to Evangeline and smile.

“Okay.  This should make things more comfortable.”  I sit on the edge of the bed next to her and she almost flinches away. I narrow my eyes.  “Dr. Talbot?”

She looks at me calmly, her gray-green eyes unflinching.

“Yes. To answer your earlier question, yes.  I do need something from you, Luca.  Yesterday, you said that you owed me an explanation. And after last night, I think I deserve one more than ever.”

I am frozen and can barely breathe.

“Last night?” I repeat and then stop, remembering the smell of sex on my hands.  Surely not.  Surely if I’d done something with Eva, I would remember it.

I meet her eyes, though, and I know it is true.  The beautiful, delicate woman sitting before me is calm and quiet and strong.   But I can see it in her eyes.  I assaulted her.   My head drops into my hands.

Chapter Twenty

Eva

“An explanation,” I remind Luca, as calmly as I can.

He seems upset, distraught even.  I am puzzled.  I’m the one who should be distraught.  Whatever is making him so upset?  I ask him that and he looks up at me with tortured eyes, the dark and pained expression that has caused my heart to melt more times than I can count lately.  It’s particularly angst-filled today.

“I’m sorry,” he says, his voice pained.  “For anything that I might have done last night.  I’m very sorry.”

He stares at the floor as if he can’t meet my gaze.

I stare at him.   “You don’t remember it?” I ask, struggling to keep my voice steady.  He doesn’t remember being with me at all? How insulting.  “Were you drunk?”

Luca shakes his head curtly, just one movement.  He stares out his windows, his eyes so distant, as though he is wishing that he were anywhere but here.   I should be furious with him, but I am intrigued instead.  There is something here, something about Luca that I don’t know.  I can feel it.  I have felt it all along and it is time for him to share it.

Right now.

“You had sex with me,” I announce.  “You came into my room and you had sex with me.  It was rough and you didn’t talk to me, either before or after.  After it was over, you left without a word. ”

I wait for a response.

Luca stares at the floor and I notice that his fists are clenched at his sides.  His knuckles are white.

“Luca?”

He doesn’t immediately answer, but after a moment, he raises his head and his dark eyes are tortured.

“Did I hurt you?” he asks.  He sounds like he is forcing the words from his lips, as though they are abrasive and painful in his throat.

“You bruised my arms,” I tell him.  He immediately moves closer to me and picks up an arm to examine it.  I allow him, my heart breaking for the pain I see on his face.  I wish I understood what was going on with him. So I tell him that.

“What is going on?” I ask.  “I know things aren’t what they seem.  Last night you were a different person, someone cold and distant and borderline violent.  But that’s not the person that I know.  That’s not the Luca that I know.”