“You want to leave Eden with me?” I ask.
“I had to choose between my city and you. I choose you,” Nero responds.
“You plan on leaving this city to Aiden of all people?” I ask.
Nero nods, “They are throwing this guy a parade. Let's be serious. You even said it. Eden loves Aiden. He's the hero that they need. He makes them feel safe. That's why I married him in the first place.”
“You love Eden though. This is your city. This is your right,” I explain.
Nero shakes his
head, “This king stuff is stupid. This should be a democracy
and honestly if Aiden ran for Mayor of Eden he would win. So let him
have it. Why do we need it?”
I think for a minute. I sit down by the fire. Nero comes over to me. He takes off my jacket and lays it on the chair. He wraps his arms around me. The feeling of his warmth around me is what I need. There is love all around this man. It is true love.
“You choose me?” I ask again.
“Yes...the petition for you to leave Eden is right over there. With that petition is also my own self-exile. I also signed over my rights as King to Aiden.”
I look at the papers. These people really wanted me out of their city. It was hilarious. I wasn't surprised at Countess Roxanne. Roxy had been the one to actually put me in the ground in the first place.
“When I came back and saw you married Aiden...I didn't feel...anything. Just darkness,” I explain to him.
that you changed,” Nero explains, “Maybe we can start
over away from here.”
“Grow old together?”
I think about the black roses and the Proven. I think about what Justice showed me. It's probably foul that a memory I shared with Justice is one that is crossing my mind now.
“Let's grow old together...figuratively,” I explain.
Nero smiles, “Maybe
we can dye our hair gray. Paint on fake wrinkles too...
The warm fire licks it's heat up and down our skin. We sit there together with one another and our worlds seem to blend together. My heart is racing.
Nero shakes his
head, “Do you want kids?”
“We can bring Justice with us.”
Nero laughs, “Not funny.”
“Justice thinks he's a man now,” Nero responds, “He gotten way too big for his own good. Besides he's next in line. He won't come.”
“So it'll just be us?”
I'm crying, “God I'm so fucking weak right now...”
Nero leans over. He kisses me gently. He stands up by the fire and takes off his shirt. He throws it in a pile next to him. My heart is racing as I look at this body. It's almost as though this is the first time I've seen him when he drops his pants. He takes off his underwear next.
“I want to
give you all of me. I want to give you...the most fragile parts of
me. Parts of me that I'd never let a human have in 100 years. You
only love once. And the most fragile parts of me I want to leave here
in this room so you never again doubt that I love you. And these
things can break. These things can shatter but I'm giving them to you
and I know you won't hurt me. I know you won't break me. I know I
won't shatter. I love you Santos. Only you forever and
“Forever's a long time.”
He stands in front of me completely naked. He isn't just exposing his body to me. He's exposing his soul. Nero is giving me all of him.
These pieces of himself that he is giving me aren't the Lucky ones. They aren't precious red jewelry past down the Vampire lines. His most precious pieces of him is something I can't see. His vulnerability. He was giving up his pride for me. He was giving up everything he ever held dear for me. He was handing it to me in this moment.
And I took it.
Nero submits himself to me in more than one way.
I watch as he bends over. I've never seen such a beautiful sight in my life. His spin cascades down his brown shoulders into the valley of his narrow hips. His muscular ass springs up like mountains high and full.
I mount over him fully dressed at first kissing the tops of his necks. I kiss his middle back. He moans at that moment. He hadn't let Aiden top him in all these years. He'd never let Aiden near that part of him. As I take off my clothing I find myself more anxious then he is. It isn't until I see the flickering lights that I'm reminded this time Nero isn't going anywhere. This time Nero is here to stay.
I am behind him.
I enter him. I'm slow...eager, but slow as I only use spit to glide myself into Nero. He's tight as fuck. He's all muscle. I use more spit lubing up my dick and trying a second time. I try a third time and a fourth time before he finally eases down my shaft slightly.
“Go----slow----” Nero pants.
He exhales deeply. It's deep exhale as though letting himself go completely. He is struggling with this. For years he's been told how to be a man. For years he's been told how to be a king and how he had to be strong. All that was going out of the window...for love.
He was submitting to me. He was giving himself over to me.
I am thrusting slow as he likes it. He tenses but allows me to do my thing without complaining. I can tell he isn't getting the kind of pleasure I would out of it but he turns to watch me enjoying himself and that seems to give him pleasure. He is watching how excited I am in him and that is causing him to jerk that big dick of his.
“Dammit man,” I explain.
He has no idea how tight he is. He has no idea how good this feels to be inside him. Nero has full control of every muscle in his body. He allows his ass sphincters to close up against my shaft letting in several inches at a time. He exhales and lets me in completely.
I switch positions. I grab his legs pull them over my head and hold them there. I lay him up against his back. Our bodies are being separated between the warm fire and the cold wooden floors. I'm looking in his silver eyes as I am thrusting into Nero. This man has always been a complete Top and he was giving himself to me. The tingling in my dick is enough to send me a separate tingle down my spine.
“You look so sexy right now,” Nero tells me studying my every move as I thrust into him.
He's watching me.
He's enjoying every moment of it.
As I fuck him I notice his fingers grabbing onto my ass cheeks. He gets closer and closer towards the entrance of my ass. He begins to finger me. As soon as I feel the finger in my ass my body starts to shake. He pushes his finger deep into me. Together we both feel something inserted into us. Together we both feel this deep connection.
“Nut inside of me,” he demands.
I never thought of pulling out. The nut enters him. Long flows of semen go deep into Nero and when I pull out I'm still dripping of the stuff. He doesn't seem to mind as puts his legs down, grabs me and pulls me onto his chest as though taking back his dominance between us.
“That was over 100 years of waiting,” I explain.
enjoy yourself was so worth it for me,” he explains, “I
don't think I've ever been so happy in my life.”
I get up off of him.
“Where are you
“We can't leave Eden.”
I grab the papers on the desk. I grab the petition. I grab his own letter of exile. I toss them into the flames.
Nero jumps up completely naked and shocked at that moment.
“WHAT THE FUCK!”
can't leave Eden.”
“What do you need here?”
“You leave Eden and my mother will kill you. Have you forgotten?”
He gets quiet.
“We can find a
“There is no hiding from Lilith. There is no fighting from Lilith. You can only run and what kind of life is running all the time from an ancient vampire? No. You can't leave Eden. That is a dream. It was a beautiful dream---but still a dream. Back to square one. Back to our nightmare.”
“They'll start another petition,” Nero explains.
to need more firewood then.”
It was going to take a lot more then a petition from a bunch of self-serving vampires to get me out of Eden.
“Can I ask you a question?” Nero says.
He walks up to me. We are naked still. We are still warm. His body wraps up around me.
“Are you a threat to Eden?” he asks, “Honestly.”
I look at Nero.
“Yes. I am.”
Nero squints. He looks at the fire. I don't know what he's thinking. He may not agree with my decision but he isn't holding me any less close. He isn't fighting to push me away. He keeps me closer than ever. His hands tighten if anything. He holds me closer.
I do notice his breathing gets heavy. He's still torn. He says he chooses me over Eden but that comes down to us leaving Eden. Now that leaving was off the table that left only one choice.
Something much darker.
“Will that be a problem?” I ask.
Nero is acting dumb. He doesn't want to talk about this. He doesn't want to ruin the moment.
“If I destroy
“How could you destroy the city?”
He isn't answering the question. He is dodging the question.
“If I had a
way. What would you think about me?” I ask, “Would you
still love me forever. Would you still let me have the most precious
parts of you?”
“Santos never mind. Let's just enjoy our moment right now.”
“There's will be tears if the vampires try to make me leave,” I explain in a straight face, “Tears and blood. Lots of it. You can kiss your shortage goodbye.”
“Santos....please,” Nero states.
“And it won't be mine,” I add.
“GODDAM IT SANTOS!” Nero screams at the top of his lungs, “Can't we just...be in love? That's it. I am offering to leave this fucking place with you. I'll risk my life to do it. That's not what you want though is it? You want REVENGE!”
“Yes tears and
blood. That's what I want. They buried me in a hole for 100
Just then there is a knock on the door.
“I just wanted
to have a moment with you. I just wanted to be in love. Just for a
moment,” Nero explains, “Just....us...”
“Well like I said earlier. The dreams over. You should get the door, King Nero. Let the nightmare back in.”
Nero walks over to the door.
The look on Sinclair's face is so crazy that I think he's heard the conversation that Nero and I had. That isn't the case though. Sinclair isn't brave enough to eavesdrop on Nero. Something has happened. It's clear as day that something has happened and by the look on Sinclair's face it's something bad.
“What is it? I said I didn't want to be disturbed today,” Nero explains.
attacked the parade.”
“A thirst attacked the parade. It killed about 15 vampires. It...took Prince Justice.”
“Sir…the elders are waiting for you in the strategy room,” Sinclair states.
The guards at the door. There is chaos at the front steps of the palace when Nero and I approach. Cameras are flashing from every direction. The vampire media seems to be eating it up that I’m arriving with Nero. My face gets red. I can see the headlines now. I’d once thought human mainstream media was bad but these people were worse.
The guards are holding the group of reporters back. They are swarming around the door and only letting certain people into the palace.
“Open the doors and clear out the media,” Nero states.
His voice is deep and hard. He has that king essence about him. Sinclair has always been Nero’s first guy really and I’m not shocked when he gathers the other King’s Guard to do what he says. However as I approach the door Sinclair stops me.
He puts a hand over me.
“King Nero…I don’t think it’s such a good idea,” Sinclair warns him.
“He goes where I go.”
“Sir…the elders are being a little uneasy.”
They don’t like me. I’m not the King’s husband and the king’s son is missing right now. They don’t trust me. It’s clear as ever.
“It’s OK. I’ll wait in the hallway,” I tell Nero.
The palace building is busier than usual. People are running back and forth. I swear I didn’t know how important Justice was until now. To be honest I’m kind of scared as well. I should have been with Justice. I was blaming myself at this moment. I had spent so long with Nero that I’d run out of time. It was the best time I’d had in a long time but I remember Justice’s face when I left him.
The building is cold and dark and the hallway is empty as I wait outside.
Nero goes in the room.
I’m alone…just wondering.
The door opens and Coco walks out. She has her arms crossed.
I’m struggling. Coco and I have never been close by any means but right now she is the only one who was around to possibly give me any answers on what was going on with Justice. My palms are sweating. My mouth is dry. I’m scared. Why the fuck am I so worried about this guy?
Coco’s face is red when she walks out of the room. I know Coco is considered an elder. Most of the people on the Elite team are elder vampires but there are others. There are people I haven’t even gotten the chance to meet.
“Hey…needed some fresh air. It’s kind of getting heated in there,” she responds.
“What’s happening?” I ask.
“Justice was taken. At the parade. He was just…taken. It was almost like the Thirst was going right after him. They are discussing it in there. They won’t let you in?” Coco asks me.
I shrug. I have no doubt that Aiden was pulling something that was keeping me out of the room with the Elders. Whatever they were discussing made it clear that they didn’t trust me.
“What’s happening?” I ask again.
“Aiden’s gathered the elder vampires from all across Eden. There are 30 in there. They are discussing Justice.”
I can’t even say it. I’m chocking on the word. Death is one thing. With vampires death is something different. Humans always expect to die. For some reason I think it’s easier on humans. It’s different for vampires. You expect a vampire to live forever so the thought of death is something completely different. It’s much more shocking. It’s much more unexpected. I can barely even let the words come out of my mouth.
Coco crosses her arms. She’s white as a ghost. She presses herself against the cold walls of the palace of Eden. She’s used to these walls. The walls have been a place she’s dwelled since she was a young noble girl. She seems so much more familiar with them.
“We don’t know if Justice is alive,” Coco tells me, “He was taken…by that beast.”
“How is that possible? They wouldn’t know to steal someone. All Thirsts know how to do is kill,” I state.
“That’s what people are trying to figure out, “ Coco explains, “Thirsts never acted like that before. They never took someone before. Something weird is going on.”
She crosses her arms.
“And you guys are talking. We should be out there…looking for him.”
“That’s what I said,” Coco agrees, “It’s all politics in there though. Aiden called a meeting. He has 30 elders in there and they are discussing who could be responsible for it. Elders are kind of like the Vampire Senate Santos. Aiden is attempting to strong arm his husband by using the Elders. They want him to act. They are throwing stones.”
Stones. I notice Coco’s eyes. Her dark vampire eyes peer at me. It doesn’t take much for me to realize what she is getting at. Aiden calling a meeting immediately after Justice was kidnapped is strange. Coco’s never been the type to beat around the bush.
“They are blaming me?” I ask.
Coco doesn’t respond.
With her lack of response she is louder than ever.
These fucking people were crossing a line. They were crossing a line that I didn’t understand.
“Wait. Wait. Wait. They think I had something to do with this?” I ask.
I’m breathing heavy when I ask again. Coco takes a minute to respond but this time she stares at me hard, “You are the prime suspect. You were…missing.”
“I was with Nero.”
“Which is odd as well to them.”
I laugh. This is ridiculous. I get up at that moment. I’m pacing back and forth. It was so EASY for them. It was so easy for them to treat me like shit. After 100 years ago for punishing me for something I didn’t do they were still attempting to punish me for something I didn’t do.
My heart is racing. I’m so mad that I’m tearing up a little bit. I’m so fucking pissed.
“I actually LIKE Justice. Out of everyone in this god forsaken city I actually liked Justice. Why the fuck would I kidnap him? How the fuck would I have a THIRST kidnap him?”
“They are scared of you. It’s easy to point fingers. They are demanding that you be jailed until Justice is found.”
“Nero wouldn’t agree to that.”
“Do they have the power to do that?”
“No they don’t. But the crazy thing is…that isn’t stopping them from trying,” she explains, “Santos. The elders are attempting to put you back in the ground. Santos---SANTOS!”
I’ve heard enough.
I don’t know what gets over me but I start towards the door. The guards are standing there. Sinclair says something. I am sure he’s trying to stop me but I don’t let him say a word. He reaches his hand out again to stop me from entering the room and I toss him. I throw him so hard that he clears across the room.
The room I walk into is full of vampires. The King’s guard follow behind me. They surround me. I count 30 soldiers. These are soldiers who could be out looking for Justice but instead they were worried about me.
“Get out,” King Aiden states.
I’m making the Elders uncomfortable. They are standing there. The only way you know they are Elders is how they are dressed. They are all men like Lucca and Camilla. They are the most important vampires in Eden. They have on their expensive jewels. They have on their expensive clothing from the human world. They look wealthy. They look important. They look immortal and they are looking at me like I’m not one of them.
I am the other.
I’m not welcome in this little meeting of the minds and if the guards aren’t indicative of that then their stares are.
“Santos I thought you were waiting outside,” Nero states.
“That’s until I found out I was being blamed for Justice,” I respond.
The room is full of vampires. All these people staring at me. All these people were judging me. I never in my life felt so out of place. When I was a human I was picked on but even then it wasn’t like this. Right now they are all looking at me like I’m nothing.
It’s Countess Roxanne who crosses her arms, “King Nero…you should teach your friend some manners. He needs to learn more about how we do things around here.”
“Remove him,” King Aiden says.
A chorus of distaste forms around the elders when Aiden tells them to remove me. The soldiers are making their way towards me. I don’t move… I don’t take a step anywhere. Aiden just thinks he’s so powerful. He just thinks that he’s the shit with all of these people around him. All of these people would listen to whatever he said.
If Aiden told them to jump…they’d ask how high. Right now was more of the same. I was tired of it. I was tired of Aiden throwing around his weight.
“Nero is that what you want?” I ask.
Nero doesn’t respond.
My heart drops. At that moment I remember what Justice said. History repeats itself. 100 years ago Nero fought against me being buried alive by these same vampires. His own father was the one who made the order and Eden backed him completely.
History was repeating itself. Nero isn’t strong enough to stop this injustice. He isn’t strong enough to protect me.
The difference now is I’m protecting myself.
“Santos wait outside,” Nero tells me.
“No. FUCK THAT!” I respond.
The guards surround me. Shit is hitting the fan. I’m not moving. One of the guards attemps to come at me from behind. I feel his hand brush up against me and I bare my fangs. He jumps back, clutching at his stake from his belt. The other King’s Guard are looking at me with this strong look of resentment. These people aren’t just scared of me. These people hate me
“He should be placed in jail,” Countess Roxanne states, “He’s must control the beasts somehow. He must be the reason Justice is gone.”
Ridiculous. How could I control a Thirst? What did these people think I was?
“He’s not trustworthy. We’ve made an attempt to forgive him and this is how he repays us…by kidnapping the prince.”
They’d made an attempt to forgive me? What did I need forgiveness for?
More vampires surround me. One attempts to hold me from the back but I grab him by his throat. I hold him high above. The other vampires are screaming. Chaos is breaking out!
Everyone is tripping when I clutch my hands around the soldier’s throat.
Everyone is afraid. They are all questioning why Nero is acting.
Nero is just standing there…completely silent…thinking.
“King Aiden,” one of the Elders said, “We need more guards. Look at him. LOOK AT HIS EYES!”
There is shouting going on. I don’t know what they are seeing but they aren’t even looking at me as if I’m human. I clutch my wrists around the guards wrists. Another runs forward attempting to stop me. I kick him directly in his chest and stomp him to the ground. I pin him to the ground with a foot. He struggles to move but this power isn’t letting him get anywhere.
“Are you afraid?” I ask them.
Aiden screams out, “GUARDS!”
They aren’t calling for King Nero. They are asking King Aiden. They are looking at their savior. They are looking at this man to protect them from the beast. Except the beast isn’t the Thirst that kidnapped Justice. The beast they are needing protecting from is me.
“Are you terrified?” I ask them.
Who knows what causes the lights to blink? More guards are coming in the room. 10 more…20 more…30 more…50. They line up the sides of the room. They separate the elders from me as though keeping them safe. Strange. The elders were the supposed to be the strongest in Eden. Why did they need protection from one person. Maybe they didn’t want to dirty their fine cuticles with me.
“Santos enough,” Nero finally states.
No. No it wasn’t enough.
“I’ll give you a reason to be really afraid.”
The guard in my hands is struggling for his life. His choking. The one underneath my heel squirms in pain as I dig into his chest. The other guards are circle me. Their weapons are out. Some have guns with silver bullets. Others have stakes. Some have knives. They are ready to take me down. They are ready to kill me.
And for a minute I think I’m ready to die.
These people hated me so much I guess I was going to become that monster.
“This is what you wanted?” I hear Aiden tell Nero, “I told you didn’t I? I told you he was dangerous. Look at him. This is proof of that. His own father agrees with me Nero.”
Nero looks at me, “Santos…don’t calm down. Let them go. Santos…”
“He doesn’t give a shit about you. He doesn’t care about what you have to say,” Countess Roxanne adds in.
Countess Livia crosses her arm, “We need action. We need him DEAD!”
The crowd is shouting at me. They want to rip my head off. They want to blame me for Justice but I wouldn’t hurt him. I would NEVER hurt Justice…not after he was the only fucking person who stood by me while the rest of them hated me.
“I didn’t hurt Justice Nero,” I respond.
“Attack him!” Aiden tells the other guards.
The guards are hesitant. They look at Nero. Nero holds out his hands to stop them, “NO!”
“Are you JOKING!” Aiden screams at Nero.
I’ve never heard anyone scream at Nero’s father before him. Nero was becoming the king that the people hated and it was because of me. I could tell he was caught in the middle attempting to protect me and attempting to appease his people. His people wanted me dead.
They wanted a fight.
So be it.
“Let them come,” I invite them.
I squeeze the man’s neck so hard blood is dripping. I can smell it. I use my other hand to get a swab of it. Vampire’s blood was a little more bitter than human but it was still tasty. I’d eat them all alive if I had to…or I’d die trying.
“King NERO this is ridiculous!”
Nero ignores them. He walks forward, “Santos. Look at yourself. Take a long hard look. This isn’t what you want. He’s trying to do this to you. You can’t let Aiden under your skin. No one is going to attack you. I promise. Just let the soldiers go.”
I’m tearing up. It isn’t some weakness that is making me cry.
I’m so upset. I’m so pissed off. They’ve blamed me for years for being my mother’s son. That was fine. Now they were blaming me for hurting someone I actually cared about. I wouldn’t let that shit go down. Not like this.
“I didn’t hurt Justice,” I say in between sobs.
“I know. Justice knows…wherever he is. He wouldn’t want this,” Nero assures me.
And at that moment Nero walks up to me despite guards trying to hold him back from me…the monster. He walks up to me and he puts his hand on my shoulders.
His touch is so warm and soft that I let him go. I release the guards. They scurry away to join the others. When I release him Nero puts his arms around me. He secures me at that moment and then I realize things do change in Eden.
Nero isn’t letting them take me…not this time.
This time he’s protecting me with everything he has.
“No one’s going to touch you. I promise,” Nero tells me, “As long as I’m here. I promise.”
The crowd soars with boos. You would think Nero is a judge who just let a proven killer off. They don’t care if he’s a king by their actions. I look over at Aiden. This is exactly what he wants. He wants to turn people against Nero and it’s working.
“You choose him over your city?” Aiden asks.
He’s questioning Nero in front of everyone. He’s grown some balls and he’s grown them because he has the backing of everyone. Everyone is on Aiden’s side and right now the only person people seem to hate as much as me is Nero.
“Yes…” Nero responds, “He’s not going anywhere.”
“We’ll see about that,” Aiden replies, “I know you never cared about Justice but the rest of us actually do.”
“How DARE YOU say I don’t care about my son?” Nero barks.
‘It’s the truth. And as long as I wear the Lucky One I’ll make sure that the City comes before your little extramarital infatuation with that …thing…”
That’s what he calls me. I’m not even a person anymore. I’m not even a vampire. I’m worst than a Thirst to these people. I’m just a thing.
And I can rip him apart right there if it isn’t for Nero. I could rip them all apart.
“Then maybe you should take it off,” Santos states.
The room gasps…almost all at once. It’s like this immediate disgust. Not a single person in the room seems to be OK with this. Starting from high up like Roxanne and Livia to the lower level guards who were about to attack me a few minutes ago. All of them are gasping. They are all shocked at what Nero just stated.
His top advisor Roxanne crosses her arms, “Nero…you need to be very careful about what you say next. I know you are upset but don’t do anything crazy.”
For the first time in a long time I agree with Roxanne.
Nero might be the King but he was just one man. Aiden was the sweetheart of Eden. The entire city would go CRAZY if Nero was doing what I thought he was doing.
He’s have a revolution on his hands.
“Nero don’t…” I say.
Nero shakes his head, “No. Fuck it. Aiden’s done enough. He’s gone too far this time.”
Aiden looks over at Nero and he laughs, “You wouldn’t…you’re not fucking crazy. We all know who the real King of Eden is Nero. You wouldn’t be that stupid.”
This seems to take Nero over the edge.
“Take off the ring,” Nero tells Aiden.
“No,” Aiden defiantly says.
He’s so cocky. He’s so confident and he has the backing of the entire city. Everyone is on his side. Nero has made himself enemy number 1.
Nero grabs onto my hand and leads me out of the door, “I’m going to draft papers to officially divorce you Aiden. Either you are going to take off the Lucky One willingly or I’m going to have it ripped off your dead body.”
Nero drags me out of the room. It doesn’t matter that the media doesn’t has been locked out of the room.
Shoots have been fired.
It’s a threat heard across Eden.
To read the next chapter in advance go to www.crushedcrown.com