Page 57 of The Demon in Him

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My lip twitched in irritation. I didn’t understand the purpose of his display. I knew of his strength. That’s why he was the only one I thought of calling when I was losing control. His actions seemed an odd display after the events of the past few days, and I wanted to turn and walk away, not in the mood for his games and bullshit. All I wanted to do was get back to work and immerse myself into the life I had created here on Earth after Tate and before I knew what it was like to love again.

“Did you plan on wandering around all day until we found someone? How did you know there was an attack going on?”

Frank scoffed. “At this end of the city? There’salwayssomething going on. I just followed the fear.”

“Why did you bring me here?” I demanded.

“Because humans can be fucked up,” he said as if that answered all my questions.

“I know that, Frank. You think I don’t know that?”

“No,” he said, storming forward and closing the gap between us. He poked a finger into my bare chest over the scars of my removed mark. His eyes flickered to those new scars for a moment, and I know he knew what they were and what I had done. I imagined he’d be furious, but maybe he knew me well enough to understand why I had done what I did.

Because I didn’t want to go back to Hell.

I never wanted to go back.

I’d rather be dead.

“I don’t think youdounderstand, Mike. Because all these years you’ve been blaming yourself for Tate and what hebecameafter the bonding. But that’s allbullshit.You were so caught up in trying to be the perfect human you’ve completely missed the point.”

Anger was bubbling in my stomach, and I gritted my teeth, ignoring the urge to shove his finger away from my chest. “And that is?”

“That you’renothuman, Mike, and you never fucking will be. You shouldn’t even want to be. You’re a fucking demon, for fuck’s sake! Be proud of it. And here’s the thing, no—” he cut me off as I opened my mouth to retaliate. “You don’t get to speak… this is where you listen. I’ve seen some self-destructive bullshit in my time, Mike, but I’ve never seenanyonewho hated themselves as much as you do. I’ve never seen anyone so intent on blaming themselves for other beings’ actions that they locked themselves up tight and refused to truly live.” He sucked in a deep breath with a look that warned me not to interrupt. When he continued, his tone was gentler. “Whatever Tate was after you bonded, that was in himbeforeyou bonded. From our decades in Hell, how did you never learn that people do messed-up shit? That humans can be the worst of the worst, without remorse, without caring for their fellow beings? Tate was a monster long before you got to him.”

My top lip lifted into a scowl because somehow the expression helped me hold back the tears threatening to break free, and there was no fucking way I would cry in front of Frank. As if he didn’t think I was already so much of a fuck-up, I wouldn’t confirm it by completely breaking down at his feet. He’d told me this before, that Tate must have been dark before the bonding, but I could never accept it because there’s one part of that which never made sense to me.

I swallowed and looked away from Frank for long enough to blink away the emotion and then held his eye contact again so I could finally verbalize it. “Why couldn’t I see it?” I whispered.

Frank sighed. “You were young and blinded by fresh feelings in a new world. Earth is a lot to take in, with a fuckton of novel sensations that can be completely intoxicating. You should know that’s something I know better than most.” He threw me a significant look before continuing, the edge gone from his voice. “You were young, Mike, and you didn’t see him for what he truly was. You were too busy hating yourself to know that it was never love with Tate. He was the first human to accept your demon, something evenyoucouldn’t do. You can’t blame yourself for falling for him. Love can blind us.”

“What if I make the same mistake again?”

“You won’t.”

We stared at each other for a long moment. I don’t think I could ever forgive myself for how things turned out with Tate, and although I knew Emrick wanted him dead anyway, it didn’t help my conscience to know I led him right to him. Tate was hurting, but Tate was also vengeful and became consumed by it.

That part wasn’t my fault.

I nodded, acknowledging to Frank that I was at least attempting to absorb his words, and I was trying to believe them. I wanted to believe them. Maybe with time, I would.

“When did you get so damn smart?” I asked, glaring at him.

Frank let out a bark of laughter, clapping me on my shoulder. “Mike, I was always smarter than you. You just never admitted it.”


Life is more precious now.

It was always precious, and I thought I was one of those people who stopped to smell the roses and all that touchy-feely stuff about being in the moment and enjoying the little things. Until my life was almost taken from me, and I was faced with the reality of demons and angels and an entire world of supernatural I didn’t know existed beyond movies and books.

I couldn’t stay in the city where all of that had happened.

Dad tried his best to understand, and it simultaneously broke my heart and made it swell with love to watch him try. He had a future lined up for me, a career, an entire life. But it wasn’t the life I wanted, and I simply couldn’t spend one more day existing in a world I didn’t belong in when nothing was stopping me from taking control of my life.

I moved to San Francisco for one reason that made complete sense from a logical point of view and a second reason that was just for me. One, a friend of mine from my school days whom I had kept in touch with on and off due to our mutual love of classic cars lived there. Apparently, there were several events throughout the year, and he had contacts who could help me get my own garage up and running.

Secondly, because of the famous car chase from the filmBullitt. A 1968 Ford Mustang and a 1968 Dodge Charger screaming through the streets of San Francisco, how could I resist the pull? Somehow, I doubted I could get away with going one hundred and ten miles per hour through the Marina, but it was nice to dream.