Immortal prophecy, p.9
Immortal Prophecy, page 9
Ally couldn’t breathe, couldn’t move. The same feeling she had five years ago, consumed her again. She watched James, unable to take her eyes of him. He was the most captivating man she had ever laid eyes on. As James was leaned on the balcony railing looking out over the garden paradise, Ally admired his chiselled profile. He stiffened, sensing her presence, and slowly turned around to look straight at her. His eyes flared, and he seemed lost in the same vortex that she was.
The room had grown unnaturally quiet, as if eagerly watching the two of them, wanting to be the first to see what would happen between Alessandra and James. Ally was sure her mind was playing tricks, and if she’d been able to look around, she would’ve seen no-one was watching what was going on.
James pushed off the rail with an ease and elegance that didn’t seem human. He walked toward Ally, never taking his eyes off her once. He reminded her of a lion, stalking its prey with a hypnotic, unbreakable determination.
Everything changed into a slow motion scene. She felt her body gravitating towards him, and without conscious thought, she had taken a step. He seemed to be calling to her. She trembled from the anticipation running through her veins. Ally couldn’t form a single coherent thought.
He drew closer.
It was pure magnetism between them, pulling them together by the forces of nature.
He looked at her like a man starving.
She looked at him like a woman drowning.
As he walked towards her, Ally felt something tugging at her consciousness. Before she could react, the world before her was gone, and she was thrown back to last night.
James was staring with deadly intent at another man. She knew him somehow, but her mind was too fuzzy to make out exactly who he was.
Just as quickly as she remembered the image, it was gone, and she was back at the Masquerade Ball with James walking towards her.
What the hell was that?
Ally focused on James, a flicker of concern washed across his handsome features then was gone again.
Ally was convinced she was suffering some sort of mental breakdown. It wasn’t possible. She hadn’t laid eyes on James in five long years.
He continued walking towards her as she tried to get her composure back.
I finally see him again, and I’m having some sort of breakdown, typical! Ally had to fight back a frustrated groan.
James was upon her, there was no more time for internal hysterics. She had to put it aside and deal with it later. He reached down and took her hand bowing ever so slowly. Never breaking eye contact, he bestowed a kiss on her hand, as he had done five years ago.
“Good evening, Alessandra,” he murmured in that familiar warm rich voice that seemed to vibrate through her.
“Good evening, James,” she said still not entirely in control of herself.
“You are breathtaking tonight.” The compliment almost rendered her speechless.
“Thank you.” She paused drinking him in. “You are still looking god-like.” Ally didn’t realize what she had said until he burst into laughter.
“Thank you, Alessandra,” he said still laughing.
Mortified, Ally covered her mouth with her hand. “I can’t believe I just said that,” she mumbled. She always had a way of saying things that were in her head before she gave it much thought. The habit was one that frequently offended others around her, or in this case, embarrassed her. She never meant any harm in what she said, it was simply a case of foot in mouth disease according to Adele. Her grandmother loved Ally’s blunders. She believed it was part of what made Ally so special and endearing. Ally hated it.
Kathryn also seemed to have a special place in her heart for Ally’s honesty. It was one of her best qualities, and everyone needed a friend who would tell you the truth no matter what the circumstances. That was a true friend, according to Kat.
“Would you care to join me for a drink in the garden?” James’ voice interrupted her reverie.
“Yes, that sounds lovely,” Ally said, trying to contain the excitement in her voice.
He took two flutes of champagne from a passing waiter and handed one to her, then extended his arm for her to take. James led her out of the house, to the veranda, and down the three steps into the garden.
“Adele knows how to throw a party, doesn’t she?” he said softly.
“It’s one of her many talents.” Ally smiled. “I haven’t seen you at any of her parties before.”
“No.” A swift sadness swept over his face then was gone just as quickly. “I’m afraid work has kept me far too busy lately and being out of town a lot it tends to impact one's social life.”
She felt his sadness and wanted to soothe his pain. “It sounds like you lead a solitary existence.”
They followed the path lit by torches and Chinese lanterns over to one of the park benches under a big oak tree, which had fairy lights in the branches for an added magical effect.
He sat so close she could feel the heat radiating out of him.
“It is a solitary existence,” he answered, looking like a man starving again. “I hope to rectify the situation soon though.”
“How do you plan on doing that?” she asked innocently.
“Well, I have a plan and all will be revealed soon.”
“That’s very mysterious. I must confess my curiosity has been piqued.” She beamed at him.
“You have to know how to keep the audience interested.” He smiled.
Ally laughed and said, “Consider me interested.”
He chuckled quietly, and she rolled her eyes internally at what she had. Really Ally, she thought, think before you speak.
Sensing her discomfort, James changed the topic. “You have changed a lot since I last saw you.”
“Well, given that I was just sixteen at the time, you would assume that it’s normal to change a lot in five years,” she answered.
“That is obviously a fair point, but I wasn’t just referring to the physical differences, which I very much approve of, by the way. I was referring to more subtle changes. Your eyes, for example.”
“What is wrong with my eyes?”
“Nothing is wrong with them. They just have a depth of knowing that wasn’t there before. And no, that is not an insult before you start to wonder.”
She looked at him shocked. He lifted his hand slowly, extended his index finger and traced her jaw softly, as he said, “They are so beautiful you know.”
She was breathless. “My eyes?”
“Yes,” he replied, still searching them as if he might find the answers to his questions buried deep within. She could barely breathe let alone form a response. This man was potent and lethal. She would never look at another man in the same way after tonight.
His lips lifted slightly as if reading her thoughts.
Somewhere in the back of her mind, she registered that music had started playing.
“I believe I hear music.” As he leaned in closer, she felt his warm breath tickle her neck making her tremble.
He whispered against her ear, “Dance with me, Alessandra.” It wasn’t a question. It was a command, and she immediately obeyed.
James stood with a grace that seemed unnatural, and she was struck again by his magnificence. He extended his hand to her, never breaking eye contact.
She was tempted to pinch herself as she looked down at his hand, just to make sure this wasn’t some cruel dream, but she resisted. If it was a dream, she didn’t want to wake up, and if it was real she didn’t want to ruin this beautiful moment.
She took his hand and rose from the bench with as much grace as he had done moments earlier. He led her down to the white silk tent that was so sheer you could see the stars in the heavens above. Inside the tent, there was a magical charm accentuated by the twinkling lights that had been spread around. It was like something that had been plucked straight from a fairy tale, complete with her Prince Charming.
“It’s the waltz,” he said looking into her eyes. “Do you know it?”
He smiled knowingly and softly said, “Follow my lead, you’ll be fine.”
They moved into the centre of the dance floor. He slid his arm around her waist, took her right hand in his and began twirling her around the room. The world melted away as she looked up into his eyes. There was nothing but the two of them and the music. She felt like she could have stayed there for hours and still wanted more.
Every other couple moved to the side of the dance floor to watch this entrancing pair. They were so graceful and elegant moving in perfect harmony without any effort. They were a sight to behold. He leaned in close and whispered in her ear, “You are amazing, Alessandra.”
If he hadn’t been holding her so securely, she would have melted right on the spot. They danced and twirled moving around the room until the waltz ended. They had stopped dancing with the music, but it took a few moments for them to step back into reality.
It was then that Ally noticed they were the only couple on the floor, and everyone was watching them with keen interest. She blushed slightly.
He laid his hand on the small of her back and gently led her from the floor, sending everyone a warning look, and they quickly moved back to the floor to continue dancing. He refused to have this made into a spectacle. This was a delicate process, and nothing was going to stand between him and taking Ally as his own. She needed to be smoothly transitioned into this existence.
Mortals…they are so easily drawn in, even when we don’t want them to be, James thought as he led her back outside into the winter paradise.
”You are quite the dancer, James.”
“Thank you, Alessandra. I’ve had many years to perfect my skills.”
“I must confess you are a most intimidating man.” She paused looking into his eyes again. “You must have at least one flaw?”
He chuckled. “Yes I have many flaws actually.” He paused as if gathering his thoughts. “Some people might say I’m too ruthless and perhaps pigheaded.”
She laughed. “Good to know but that could describe a lot of men. I want a flaw that is all your own.”
“Hmm…” He stopped and leaned against a tree thinking. “A flaw that is all my own.”
“Yes, it would make you less intimidating.”
His face suddenly lit up. “I don’t like getting up early,” he said as his mouth curved up on one side while his eyes sparkled.
“Well that makes two of us then. I hate early mornings, which makes my job perfect for me.”
“What do you do for work?” he asked.
His full attention was focused on her. She loved it but feared it at the same time. Was he this intense with everyone or just me? She wondered.
“I’m a private investigator.”
He smirked at her. “So you spy on people.”
“Well yes, that is essentially the job description.”
“What is the allure that drew you to that particular profession?”
“A thirst for the truth,” she stated without hesitation.
He looked nervous for the first-time tonight. “So the truth is important to you?”
“Yes it’s very important.” She paused for a moment. “I think it’s important to a lot of people.”
“Oh Alessandra,” he sighed. “You would be surprised. Most people like to hide from the truth.”
“And how would you know that for sure?” she asked with a challenge in her voice.
“Let’s just say I’ve been observing people for quite some time, and they don’t like the truth at all. They prefer illusions and smoke screens.”
“They?” she enquired. “You refer to us human beings as if you’re not one of them.”
“No, I’m just speaking from an observant point of view,” he replied, hoping he had made a smooth recovery.
She studied him for a minute. The way she looked at him, as though she was not entirely convinced made him squirm. She must have been satisfied though, because she said, “So you’re an observer.”
“I like to think I am, yes.”
“And what is your chosen profession?”
Nothing about it is ‘chosen’.
“I’m in the security business,” he answered.
“Security business? That is very broad. You could be a bodyguard, a seedy underworld character or even a security guard at the shopping centre.”
He couldn’t help but laugh. “Well I’m definitely not a seedy underworld character, and I don’t work at the local shopping plaza or bank.”
She smiled. “So that leaves bodyguard then.”
“Maybe I am, then again, maybe I’m not.”
She laughed at his manner. He was being intentionally mysterious, baiting her in a search to uncover to the truth. It was a gesture that showed he was listening to every word she said. It touched her.
“That’s a rather non-committal answer,” she said. “That leads me to assume you are a bodyguard, either with highly important clients that require secrecy, or perhaps you aren’t a bodyguard at all…”
He angled his body towards her. “You love to uncover the truth, so I’m handing you a puzzle to solve…” leaning even further, he whispering in her ear. “What am I, Alessandra?”
At his words, she felt the world tilt on it axis. Apprehension and wonder ran through her body quick as lightning, then it was gone. Ally was left feeling unnerved and speechless.
She felt certain there was nothing simple about the question or the answer. However, Ally was sure about one thing, and that was he knew something about her secret, and she intended to find out what it was. Slowly, she turned her head to look at him, searching his eyes, trying to find the answers to her questions buried deep within their emerald depths. Instead of finding the knowledge she craved, she found herself lost and drowning in the emotion reflecting back at her.
Ally was unable to speak. The air around them buzzed with something she couldn’t have described if her very life depended on it. Lost in the moment, she surrendered to her senses and gave herself up to the magic and romance of the night.
James felt the pull between them. It was so much stronger this time than it had been five years ago. He thought he was prepared for it. He had expected something like a punch to the stomach, knocking the air from his lungs, but tonight she hit him with the force of a hurricane. It sent his senses spiralling. He felt, heard and saw nothing but this girl. James was completely taken aback.
Forcing his mind back to the almost impossible puzzle, he had set for her to solve, he decided that he had to keep her interested and give her small clues. If she worked things out herself, she would believe and accept it easier.
However, James had the feeling that he was getting himself and her into trouble by doing this. Ally’s grandmother had likened her to a terrier when it came to solving a mystery. That persistence and thirst for the truth, were what had made her a highly sought-after private investigator. James decided he needed to give her a clue to start her off on the right track.
Alessandra was lost in his eyes. He could feel the exact moment, she surrendered to his will. She was his to command.
Slowly, he brought his hand up to her cheek and traced the line of her jaw, moving his finger little by little over her neck and down over her décolletage.
He slowly lowered his mouth to hers and brushed his lips against hers. James felt Ally shiver with anticipation. Desire spread through his body like wildfire, she wanted him, and that made him want her all the more.
Ally felt like she was on fire, and it was all because of this man. This incredible, intelligent and mysterious man. The desire and need that he had sparked in her went all the way to her soul. She had a feeling that her life from this moment on was going to be inexplicably and irrevocably changed, again. She hoped with all her heart that it would be changed for the better this time.
In that moment, the world could have ended, and neither would have known.
In the images, James was different somehow, more natural and less composed. The mask he wore had slipped, and she was seeing him as he truly was for the first time.
Most of the images seemed perfectly normal except two. He was dressed in nobleman’s attire from the regency period in England in one memory, and the other one pictured him with a man who looked a lot like Michelangelo during the Renaissance in Italy.
Her brain went into overdrive trying to put the pieces together. Were they memories from a fancy dress party? Something about it seemed too authentic to be a fancy dress party. Could it be real? Her mind was raced with possibilities, one of which, was that she was losing her mind.
She had leaned back from James unconsciously when the first image exploded in her mind.
James was watching with a clear fascination.
His words came back to haunt her. “What am I, Ally?” She remembered the feeling that accompanied the question. Ally was right, there was more to this man, than whether he knew about the secrets being kept from her or not…a lot more if her instincts were correct.
He was still watching her, assessing her reaction when he spoke. “Are you alright, Alessandra?”
She didn’t know exactly what to reveal just yet, and she was still feeling very unnerved and completely thrown.
“Yeah, I…” she trailed off without realizing.
What was that? She’d been experiencing some very unusual events in the last twenty-four hours, so she decided not to dismiss anything out of hand, just in case it was a clue to the mystery that had been haunting her for so long.
“Ally…” James looked hesitant as he touched her arm. “I hope I didn’t overstep my bounds by almost kissing you.”
She smiled at his sudden shyness. How was it that a man, no a god like him, could possibly be shy? “Do you want to know how I felt about it?” she asked with a sudden confidence that she didn’t know she possessed.
His nerves were clearly showing. “Yes I do…I think.”
She leaned in to him. “I have never felt anything like this before…” she whispered in his ear. Then she leaned back and locked eyes with him. “I have been dreaming about you kissing me ever since I met you all those years ago.”
His smile could have lit up the blackest night.
James was relieved to find that she felt that way about him. He was unsure if she pulled back because of the memories, or because she didn’t feel anything for him.
Ally pressed her body closer to his, and her mouth hovered over his lips for a few seconds. They were both lost in the moment, about to seal their attraction with a kiss, when a familiar voice interrupted them both.
“James? Ally?” Adele called out. She hated to interrupt them, but this was literally a matter of life and death.
James and Ally shared a look of mutual irritation and mortification at being disturbed during such an intimate moment.
Composing herself, Ally called out to her grandmother, “Over here Gran!”
Following the voice, Adele turned into their hidden alcove and was upon them in a moment. Seeing how close they were and realizing that things had been going well, she felt another wave of guilt wash over for interrupting, but she was also overjoyed that the couple had been connecting.
“There you are.” Adele smiled.
Ally grinned despite her annoyance at being interrupted. She knew that something important must have come up for her gran to bother them.
“Is everything alright?” Ally asked.
Adele shifted uncomfortably, trying to decide the best way of extracting James from the situation without raising any alarm bells with Ally. Her granddaughter was extremely clued into everything that went on around her. There wasn’t much that escaped her notice. Adele loved that about her granddaughter, but at this very moment it was proving to be a disadvantage. Adele putting on her best disarming smile said, “Everything is fine but there’s something I think James will want to deal with.”
James had been watching Ally, not taking much notice of Adele’s interruption, but once she mentioned it was something to do with him, he started to pay attention. He looked at Adele noticing her body was rigid with tension, and her eyes held a fear that made him very nervous.
“What’s going on?” he asked intently.
Still attempting to appear relaxed. “It’s about that guy you met last night...” Adele didn’t want to say his name because Ally had uttered it this morning. Being the natural detective that she was, Adele knew that she would start putting the pieces together.
Ally felt every muscle in James’ body go rigid. “What happened?” he asked, his voice strained.
Making a valiant attempt to stay calm so Ally wouldn’t catch on, Adele casually replied, “Nothing yet, but he has been hovering around.”
“In the ranges on Mount Dandenong.”
“I don’t understand…” He turned to look at Ally for a moment, before continuing, “After last night he should still be in recovery, not scampering about the ranges.”
Adele looked at her granddaughter with sadness in her eyes. “Recovery or not, he won’t let this business rest until it’s finished.”
James’ intense gaze settled on Alessandra again. Unease slithered through her again, making her shudder involuntarily. What the hell is going on? Ally wondered.
Before she knew what had happened, her mind flashed back to the night of Madame Isabella’s reading. The words came back to haunt her, ‘Vincent wants you dead.’ Could he be the man they are speaking of? And did that mean she really encountered him last night?
Coming back to reality Ally was uncomfortably aware that they were both looking at her. “Why do you both keep looking at me?” Ally asked them both, feeling more than a little self-conscious that they were both staring at her, with matching worried expressions.
James and Adele shared a look that was so quick, she wasn’t even sure if it had happened.
She had the feeling that something was definitely being kept from her. She also had come to the conclusion that her grandmother, did, in fact, know more than she was letting on.
James took Ally’s hand catching her full attention. “I’m looking at you because this business is going to drag me away from your intoxicating company, and I would much prefer to stay here with you,” he said with an sadness in his eyes.
Ally felt a pang in her heart at the thought of him leaving. “Do you have to go?”
James brought her hand up to his lips and kissed it. “I’m sorry but I do have to go Alessandra. Only something this important would drag me away.”
“Ally.” She smiled. “Call me Ally.”
He breathed the word, “Ally…”
James looked to Adele, and she nodded. “I’ll take care of her, James.”
“I can take care of myself,” Ally said indignantly.
Adele smirked. “Of course you can sweetheart.”
James got to his feet in one fluid motion. He turned back to Ally and held his hand out to help her up. She took it, amazed that a man with chivalry still existed in this day and age. That, in itself, was enough to make a girl swoon. Chivalry combined with everything else he was, could become lethal to a girl’s heart.
“Leave it with me Adele. It will be taken care of by the night's end.”
Adele nodded and left them alone to say their goodbyes.
James and Ally turned to each other. He drew her into his arms again, and she felt her knees start to buckle. “I’m so sorry Al
She sighed. “I wish you could too.”
“I’ll make it up to you,” he said, as he tucked a stray piece of hair behind her ear. “I promise.”
She beamed at him. “You want to see me again?”
He chuckled at her innocence. They’d almost shared a kiss. She set his body on fire, and they confessed their mutual attraction. It meant nothing to some people, but as she was about to discover, he was nothing like most people.
“Yes Piccolo, I want to see you again.” He smiled outwardly, but he was seething with rage at Vincent on the inside. Slowly, he looked into her eyes one last time. It was literally painful to drag himself away from her.
“Until we meet again,” he said and turned to leave.
“James,” she called out.
He stopped and turned around.
“What does Piccolo mean?” she asked.
His face softened, and his eyes lit up. “It means ‘little one’ in Italian.”
“Of course he speaks Italian,” she muttered to herself and shook her head in exasperation.
“Good night, Ally,” he said, full of amusement.
“Good night, James,” she said her heart almost bursting with joy.
Tonight had been beyond anything she had ever dreamed of, and there was more to come. She felt like twirling around in a circle just for the fun of it. Her heart and soul felt light once more. The darkness was drained away for a little while at least. A waiter walked by just at that moment and offered her champagne. She took it gladly then decided to sit back down and watch the stars for a while. It had been too long since she had just sat and let her mind wander. James consumed her thoughts.
Ally had been sitting there for what felt like hours, when she decided it was time to go find out how Kat was going with Chase. She felt like she was floating on air as she started back to the house. Nothing could penetrate her bubble of happiness…
Then she heard the twig snap behind her.
by Samantha Adams / Romance / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Young Adult have rating 3 out of 5 / Based on15 votes