Chapter 14: Exodus
You learn about love from a young age. Just like you learn how to speak. Just like how you learn how to talk. Love isn't an inherited trait It is a learned behavior. So when you are young you learn how to love from your family. You learn to love from your father. You learn to love from your brother. The more love you receive the more you are likely to love.
"Where would you like me to take you Prince Exodus?" My driver asks.
"I'm no prince," I tell the driver.
"You're the brother of a king."
He's a vampire. They are stuck in their ways. A lot of the vampires seem resistant to Genesis ruling but they don't say it out loud. It makes you wonder if they are plotting but I have no idea if they are. I'd be surprised if there wasn't someone out there wanting to put Armando or even Nero back on the throne.
"I'm no prince. And I'm barely his brother."
I wanted to be though. I desperately wanted to show Genesis love but he wouldn't let me. He wouldn't let anyone nowadays.
"The bond between family is the strongest thing imaginable," my driver tells me, "That love isn't easily broken."
No. It isn't easily broken. It takes years. Years of feeling you aren't loved. Years of forgetting how to love. Genesis had forgotten how to love so long ago and there's nothing I can do about it.
"I don't want to talk about this. I have somewhere to be," I tell my driver, changing the subject. It hurts too much, "Please take me to the Witch district."
I don't want to talk about it but I think about it.
I think about it a lot.
I arrive in the Witch district. You can tell we are here because slowly magic shops are opening up. The Ferris family wasted no time in making money. The revived Ferris were money makes who had little magic shops, grocery stores and witch items sprouting everywhere.
It's only been a month since my brother became king. The first thing he did was separate Eden into three districts: the witch district, the wolf district and the vampire district. The Vampires still outnumbered witches and wolves but Genesis was smart. He made sure to closely monitor the blood supply for the vampires. Not too much that they grow strong and powerful but not too little that they get angry and rebel. That was there weakness. If you controlled their blood they stayed good. At least for now.
The wolves were in his back pocket as far as I was concerned. Genesis had married Walid, the Alpha of Alphas. The wolves seemed to have this sense of loyalty that witches and vampires didn't have. They didn't turn on their Alpha. No matter what. They remained loyal to him. No one had come forward to challenge Walid and Walid was completely devoted to Genesis.
Our main challenge had become the witches. Not all. It wasn't even a majority. Not the ones that Genesis had brought back from death.
There were several, led by Mason. They would be a problem.
"Exodus," Mason says, "I'm glad you could make it."
The table is full of them. Pompous witches who didn't know what it was like to die. Mason, Angelica, Micko, Asa, Whyte and Mickson. Along the walls were remnants of the old coven. Asa's parents Rio and Melody. They stand over their daughter proud and observant of the woman she has become. Then there was Brandon who used to be the lover of Genesis. I wondered where they stood. But I figured I'd soon find out.
"Is there a reason I'm here?" I ask.
"How is Innocent?" Micko asks me.
"He's the same Micko. Unfortunately. We've gotten your letters and Genesis has stated that if anything changes with him we'll let you know."
I had a feeling this would come back to Innocent. I know Micko didn't trust me. I can see it in his eyes. I was telling the truth though. Genesis had tasked his aunt Catalina Bah who returned from the dead to work on finding a way to bring Innocent back. There was no one my brother trusted more than my Aunt Catalina...not even me. He wanted to save Genesis just as much as Micko did. They wouldn't appreciate that though. They thought my brother was pure evil. I can see it in their suspicious little faces.
"Why hasn't Genesis told us in person the status of our son? We haven't seen Genesis since the coronation," Mason explains.
This was done on purpose. Genesis wasn't some well-mannered pushover like King Nero nor was he proud-to-a-fault like Armando. Eden had gone from a gay king to a straight king, back to a gay king but one with the attitude of the most cocky straight man. He has no issues with keeping perceived threats away from him. The coven was a perceived threat whether he liked it or not.
"That is unfortunate," I respond.
I try not to make a face. When I told Genesis that the witches wanted to meet with me a month after he was coronated he seemed to know they were up to something. He told me not to piss them off. I wanted to listen to my father.
Mason smiles, "We thought that when Genesis became king the vampire council will be replaced with a Witch Senate. It's only right."
I expect to hear this from MIcko but he is oddly...quiet and passive. Micko was famous for opposing Genesis. He has been for quite some time. Genesis thinks that it's because he's given up on opposing him.
"There will be no council. There will be no senate," I state before forcing a smile, taking a pause, remembering I had to be nice to these people and adding, "Unfortunately."
"Doesn't seem so unfortunate to you," Angelica responds annoyed, "You have a position. What is it? General Exodus. Why do you get a position and the rest of us don't? We took over this city together."
From what I remember Mason and his coven were hiding out in a cottage at the edge of town during the entire fight like Sleeping Beauty or some shit. They hadn't cast a single spell against the vampires.
"Whyte was the one who had the power to bring the witches back," Angelica argues, "Whyte is the reason that Genesis is king."
I look over at Whyte, "Are you?"
He hasn't spoken since he came into this room. I wonder if they knew what my brother told me. Do they know why Whyte went behind their backs to help Genesis? He was obsessed with Genesis. He was beyond in love with him. The way Mickson is sitting close to Whyte at this moment makes me think that Mickson has no idea. Maybe that is why Whyte is acting like wallpaper right now. He doesn't want me to break out his secret. One thing I couldn't stand was a liar and a cheat. Whyte was both.
Whyte's voice is so low, "Genesis had the plan."
"Say it a little louder Whyte," I ask him, "I don't think the coven quite heard what you had to say."
I wanted to make it clear to these fuckers the next time they took credit for something my brother did. If it was up to them they'd be rolling around in cottages still begging the vampires for scraps. The new Witch district is far from a cottage. The witches lived in mansions now. This place was huge and beautiful. We owned the best properties in Eden now. No humans threatened us. No one would burn us at the stake. A witch was in charge. Genesis did that. You would think they would be grateful."
"Genesis had the plan," Whyte admits to the other witches, "The magic was his. He set up the sacrifice. He just used my ability to contact multiple spirits at once."
Mickson looks over at his boyfriend, "You said it was all you Whyte."
No doubt he said it when he found out Genesis had married Walid instead of him. Whyte was bitter but at the same time I don't think he was completely hopeless.
"I lied," Whyte responds.
"That's all I needed to hear," Rio says, "We're leaving."
"You said you would have my back," Mason says.
Mason was Rio's brother. It kind of hurts me to see Rio turn his back on Mason even though I don't agree with Mason. I'm just thinking of my own strained relationship with Genesis. I would never turn my back on Genesis. Not now, but truth is Mason and Rio probably still had a better relationship than Genesis and I. At least somewhere deep inside they loved each other. Even if Rio was pulling away from Mason's little plan.
Rio explains himself very thoroughly, "Genesis gave me a second shot at seeing my daughter. We are living in a fucking mansion on a hill. Me, Melody and Asa can be a family right now. Family is what matters. If you think for one moment I have a problem with Genesis---you're wrong. Come on. We're leaving."
Family. The idea hit a chord with me.
"Dad..." Asa starts, seeming resistant.
Rio, his wife Melody and his daughter Asa get up from the table. It has to be a big smack in the face to whatever Mason was trying to accomplish here. When the door slams behind them I can't help but to smile. Not everyone was so upset with Genesis. Not everyone was here to try their best and get a little come up from my brother's coronation.
I smile, "Well there you have it. I don't think we have much else to discuss here. My brother has your best interests in mind. I can promise you that. As far as some council or senate or some check and balance for my brother. That won't be necessary. This isn't a presidency. Genesis is king."
I want to throw in for them to get used to it, but I promised Genesis I'd be pleasant. I had watched from the graves how many times they turned their backs on Genesis. I had watched how they initially refused to help him.
I get up. I've had enough of these witches for one day.
"Sit your ass down."
I stop in my tracks. I turn. At first I think it's Mason who is speaking to me like that. He seems to be the head witch doctor in this little group aside from Angelica. I'm wrong. It's not Mason. It's not Angelica. The person who is speaking to me is none other than Brandon.
A dead witch from the past. Brandon Ferris had been returned to life like the rest of us. He wouldn't even be breathing if it wasn't for Genesis. Just like me. Just like a bunch of other witches outside of this room who were grateful that Genesis gave them a second shot at life to correct all the things they did wrong.
"Brandon Ferris. Didn't you lead the coven at one time? Are you taking over the coven again?"
It didn't matter if Brandon was taking over the coven again. Mason could lead the coven, Angelica could lead the coven or even Brandon. It didn't matter. Genesis was king of everything in Eden including the coven. The fact that Brandon is speaking out now is interesting.
"I don't even know why we are talking to the less famous, less important brother," Brandon states, "Tell Genesis we demand to see him."
"Yes. We demand a seat at the table."
I'm shocked. I'm not the only one. I didn't know Brandon. Brandon Ferris didn't know me. But the thing about witches is that even after death we speak to the living all the time. Genesis would commune with my spirit often when he and Brandon were together. Brandon was a sweetheart. Not a firecracker. When he died the ancestral spirits had sworn the coven lost the last decent witch doctor. The coffee trees in Moreen Island wailed the day that Brandon Ferris died. What happened to Brandon---the gentleman? Now he was back and there was a spark I had never seen before. Death must have been hard on him.
"Let me warn you about something,Brandon Ferris. You don't want to be at my brother's table. Ever since we were young my brother preferred to eat alone. If you are at his table that would mean you are on the menu."
It's a threat. I want to let Brandon know it's a threat. I walk forward. I don't give a shit that I'm surrounded by people who doubted my brother. I would stick up for him every single time. I'd sacrifice myself a million times over for him. I couldn't fuck Genesis Bah but I loved him more than all the million men obsessed with him.
"Everyone lets calm down," Mason states looking over at Brandon and me, "We are all witches here..."
"Someone should have told Genesis that before he married a werewolf."
That's what this was about.
Genesis married a werewolf. He hadn't gotten with Mason, which probably relieved Micko. He hadn't gotten with Whyte, even though that's what Whyte wanted. He hadn't gotten back with Brandon. The person who finally was able to tame the great Genesis just so happened to be a werewolf. At least that's what they thought. That was what was getting under Brandon's skin.
"Fine. I'll send your messages back to my brother. I guarantee you though. You won't like the reply."
I turn and start to leave. Silence fills the room. They may be scared. They may be thinking of a way to get rid of Genesis before he got rid of them. Either way I wasn't hesitating. I would protect Genesis no matter what. I knew what Genesis had done for this coven more than anyone else. If they couldn't see how he dragged their mediocre magic and created greatness from it then they would never understand.
I start heading back to my carriage. I still have to get used to living in Eden. Back in the real world I didn't drive anything less than a BMW. I hated horses. If Genesis was going to make any changes it would be to modernize the so-called Eternal city. This shit was annoying as fuck. As I approach the carriage I realize that I'm being followed.
"Who is it?" I ask.
A part of me thinks its Brandon back to settle some shit. I got the wrong Ferris man though. It's Whyte. They both have that handsome Ferris face and that Ferris build. The kind of guys that just charmed others easily. The only rivals that I had noticed was the vampire royal family. All those men looked handsome too. Whyte approaches me wearing his red sports jacket and a white t-shirt underneath some jeans. He has on some Oxford shoes too. Ferris guys always dressed like they were going to some casual brunch at Nordstrom or something.
"I want to see Genesis," Whyte says.
Here we go again.
"Unless you hadn't noticed there's a line of people that want to see him. Take a number."
"This is different and you know it," Whyte explains to me, "Listen I don't know you, Exodus, but you must know me. I love Genesis."
I start breaking out into laughter. I can't! I can't fucking do this with this guy right now.
"Is that so funny?" Whyte asks.
"Listen Whyte. I know you probably had a good moment or two with my brother. If you made it to three you should probably have a lot to congratulate yourself on. That ended a long time ago though. I'm sure he cares about you. Honestly, he cares about all witches."
"Don't fucking patronize me. What me and Genesis has is different."
He's dead serious.
"Different from what?" I ask, "Listen, Genesis isn't like that. Love doesn't work like that with him. Not yet at least. You want some advice? Be like Mason. Go back to the Boss boys. Which one were you with? Oh right. Mickson. Go back to Mickson Boss. That boy loves you. He can give you things that my brother just...can't..."
"You think so low of your own brother," Whyte responds.
I shake my head, "I know my brother. He doesn't...love like normal people do. You think he loves that werewolf sitting next to him on the throne? No."
"Please..." Whyte says, "I can't just let it go. I can't stop thinking about him..."
He was persistent. He was persistent as fuck.
"Listen I'll talk to my brother for you if you do something for me," I state, "I need you to keep an eye on Brandon Ferris and the other witches. I don't trust them. I need to know if they are going to plan something against Genesis. I know you and Brandon are from the same family and that---"
"I'll do it."
He is really quick to answer. A little too quick for my liking.
"I can't promise anything but I'll talk to him."
"I know. He's Genesis. You can never promise anything."
I wasn't so sure what Genesis did to these boys. They forgot their homes and lives for him. Maybe it was the hard to get thing that worked for him. I wasn't sure. I would feel bad for Whyte but he was doing this to himself at this point.
The palace guards were once all vampires. Genesis retired them for the wolves. I walk past the wolf guards and I realize they aren't nearly as classy and disciplined as the vampires guards of Eden. A few of the guards at the front of the palace are drunk. Others have abandoned their stations completely. It would be nice if Genesis could trust vampire protection but I knew my brother. He wouldn't. The wolves were loyal to a fault even if they weren't ideal. None of them would turn on Genesis as long as he was married to Walid.
"I just met with the witches Genesis," I state.
He's sitting in his throne room. There are two werewolves outside his door. He is redecorating the Blood castle. He's raised the taxes on Eden for a small time to do it. It didn't go over well with the vampires but no one had made an official complaint. He says it needs a witch's touch. Even now the gold colors on the Blood palace walls were all being replace with red curtains. Even now I can already smell the scent of strong incense and spices filling up the walls. He did that to get the good spirits. With so many witches returned from the dead we would need to work harder to draw our magic from even older spirits that weren't brought back. We didn't know these spirits as well as the spirits of the Moreen Coven. We'd have to make them feel welcome. Incense was a good way of doing that.
"I know," he states turning to Vivienne, "She told me about the meeting. She saw it."
Genesis could see 30 minutes into the future with Vivienne. She had inherited all the power of her sisters. She no longer needed them. She stands next to Genesis. She never leaves his side anymore. She whispers things in his ears telling him what he needed to hear. Her sister had sacrificed for us in a way that no one had ever really sacrificed. Because of that Vivienne had become the King's top advisor.
He shakes his head, "Did Vivienne also tell you that they are pissed and may try to turn on you?"
"What else is new?" Genesis asks before talking to his assistants, "A little to the right. There you go. Perfect. What do you think Exodus?"
"You replaced the golden throne with a wicker throne?" I ask.
"Yes. It is more witchy. Don't you think?" he asks.
I could care less.
"Genesis. I'm serious about this witch senate thing. We have to do something about it," I state.
"Like what? Kill them?"
I hadn't thought about it that far. Truth is though these witches didn't know what was good for them. They were selfish, emotional people who never looked at the bigger picture. With Mason in charge the coven had gone to shit. It took Genesis to change things for us.
"Put them in jail."
"There are too many people in jail already."
"Our enemies are in jail," I respond to him.
"I've released the royal family," Genesis states.
"You did what?"
"I released them. All of them. Nero, Justice, Santos, Armando, Aiden and even Promise. They didn't break a law so I released them."
He hadn't talked to me about this. The vampires were a huge threat. Nero had the most right to the throne and Justice was his heir. Armando was respected by the vampire people.
"What if they try something? What if the witches try something?" I ask him.
"They'll fail. With Vivienne by my side I'll see them coming and they'll fail. They always do. They always will. My enemies have become quite good at it. So let them go. Let them plan. They'll fail and sooner or later they'll realize that Genesis is king. They'll accept it. They'll move on with their little lives. That's what's going to happen. Look at Micko, for instance."
Micko had once hated Genesis. Now he writes him every day begging for assistance and updates with Innocent.
"It isn't Micko. It's Brandon."
Genesis stops. He turns at that moment. The thought of Brandon seems to bring Genesis to a full stop. I look at my brother's expression. I hadn't seen him look like that in a long time.
"He really is back from the dead. And he hasn't come to see me."
"He wants to see you. He speaks on behalf of the usual suspects. Brandon is demanding some senate or some shit. I don't know..."
"Brandon said that?"
He's shocked. Just like the rest of us were.
"You still love him Genesis?" I ask.
Genesis gives me the hardest look at that moment, "Why the fuck would you say that?"
"Because I know you. Whyte is begging for a moment of time with you but I know you won't give it to him. You could care less Micko is back with Mason. You didn't love those people. You can fool the rest of these people but I know you are capable of love. And it's OK. It's not too late. If you want we can get rid of Walid. We don't need the wolves to rule Eden. We can unite the witches if you marry Brandon instead."
The look Genesis gives me says it all.
"Don't be ridiculous. I couldn't possibly marry someone I love."
"What's wrong with love?"
"Everything," he responds, "Love is weakness. Ask Micko who is crippled into insanity and was prone to posession because of Mason. Ask Santos who lost his throne because of his emotions towards his family. Ask Yaser. The love of his life eats my ass every night..."
"Is that all he does?"
Genesis winces, "Of course I gave Walid back his dick. If he was going to be my husband he'd need it..."
I roll my eyes. I'm sure Walid was a very happy man now.
"Genesis you aren't in love with Walid. Please just leave him. Please. Just get rid of him."
"Why do you care?"
"Because I love you."
Genesis gives me a hard look, "Save it. Brother. If that means anything. "
"How can you say that to me? I died sacrificing myself for you."
Years ago the coven was attacked and I sacrificed myself to help him. It hadn't been the first time I had sacrificed myself for Genesis either. I always just wanted my brother to be strong. I didn't regret it either. I'd do it again if necessary. I'd do anything I needed for Genesis.
"And I appreciated it. But you did it for the coven, not for me. Let's not pretend like we are some brothers who have loved each other forever."
"I always loved you."
"Even when you watched him?" Genesis asks.
I know what is he is referring to. I remembered the days that Genesis wouldn't let go.
"Our father would beat me," I state, "He would beat me until I bled all over. For no reason. Maybe I had looked at a boy. Maybe I had not been the perfect son for him. He'd beat me until I had open wounds. Then he would grab pepper, the hottest peppers on Moreen Island, and he would smash them into my sores. Then he would leave me out in the sun tied to a post."
"Did you love me then? When you would walk outside and see me tied to those posts for hours. You wouldn't even offer me water. You'd just stand there and laugh at my pain. You would just pretend to be the perfect son. Did you love me brother? No. All I had to speak to were the spirits..."
There is a silence that fills the room. I was a kid. I hadn't known what I was doing back then. I laughed because a part of me was always intimidated by Genesis. A part of me always knew he was destined for greatness. I thought the punishments would make me feel better. I thought by laughing at him I would stop his destiny somehow.
I was so fucking wrong.
"I'm sorry ,Genesis. I swear to God..."
"There is no God here in Eden. He abandoned this place long ago. I stopped knowing who he was long ago. I stopped knowing God . I stopped knowing what love was. When the two men who were supposed to love me the most in my life hurt me...how could I ever trust another man again? No. I don't have love. Not for my father. Not for Walid. Not for Brandon. Not for any man. Ever. Not even for you..."
The admission is painful. He was right. My father and I should have protected Genesis. We should have been there for him. I had sacrificed so much for Genesis thinking that it would make us even. I was wrong. I could never make things even with him.
"Don't lose yourself because of the mistakes that I made. And don't drag other people into this because you have issues with Dad and I. Men are not tools to be used."
"I'm not weak like Yaser, Micko, Mickson, Santos and the countless other lovers out there. Genesis isn't the same boy with the open wounds, crying from peppers in the sun. I am the pepper."
There is so much pain there. So much fucking pain.
"Yaser isn't weak because of the decision that Walid made. Walid is the weak one..."
"Rumor has it that you have a thing for pretty boys, brother. I'd advise you not to defend Yaser."
Micki Boss. She was a girl from my past. We dated for some time but I would consider it more messing around. I had cheated on her with a pretty boy.
"Micki has a big mouth."
"She's let me know a few of your secrets. You should have shared it brother..."
"I would have told you about my sexuality it's just...I never really acted on it..."
I can tell Genesis is disappointed. We were never really close growing up. Not as close as I wanted to be. Genesis always felt like he was the black sheep of my family. He felt my parents liked me more. It was just because I was that ideal son. Genesis was the gay boy who went around sleeping with multiple men and abusing his magic. I can tell he's disappointed when I speak to him about this. I wish our parents could have returned. Whyte wasn't as strong enough as we all thought. Not all the witches from our coven returned. Maybe if they had returned we could have worked out our differences like Rio and Melody had done with Asa. Maybe we could have been a family again.
"I'm alone at the end of the day. It doesn't matter..."
"We're family Genesis..."
Genesis didn't understand family. He never did. Sometimes I blame myself for the reason he looks at love the way he does. If my family had shown him love when we were younger than maybe he would have been more open to it when he got it.
"Are we?" he asks, "I have to hear from Micki that my brother likes gay boys. And now you're turning on me to defend some werewolf?"
"I just feel bad for Yaser. That's all. I don't think he's weak. I just think it's unfortunate..."
Why do I keep using that word?
"Go outside that corridor Exodus. Turn to the right. Keep going. You'll see weakness and you'll know exactly why I can't be with Brandon," Genesis explains.
"Oh Exodus? Before you leave I always wondered something..."
I have a feeling I know what the question is going to be. He was going to ask me the thing that he never asked anyone.
"Did Dad ever touch you too, Exodus?"
I take a deep breath.
"I didn't think so."
I shake my head. I have to get out of this room. I couldn't deal with the past.
I want my brother to be happy. He had gotten everything he wanted. He had a throne. He had a kingdom. He had a safe haven for the witches where we wouldn't be persecuted by humans. He had done more for the coven then any other witch doctor in our history. He would go down as a legend, but at the end of the day I wondered if that was all that would make him happy. Wouldn't Genesis need something else? Wouldn't he need true love at some point?
I have to find out what Genesis is referring to. I do what he says taking the corridor out of the throne room that he tells me to take. I keep walking for almost 10 minutes thinking that I won't see anything at all but just when I am about to give up and turn back I hear voices. I hear screaming. The person being screamed at is Fang. He's a werewolf that Genesis has put in charge of the palace security. He also happens to be Walid's brother and someone who is blindly loyal to Walid to the point that he doesn't even disagree with anything Walid says.
"He needs to see me...HE NEEDS TO SEE ME!"
"Yaser. I'm sorry, Walid doesn't want to see you."
I'm at the front entrance to the Blood Palace when I see Yaser. Sure enough he is trying to come through. Fang isn't alone. There are several werewolves with Fang. Yaser is embarrassing himself attempting to get into the palace. Tears are rolling down his eyes. He reminds me a little of Whyte. He's so desperate to see Walid.
"I will see him," Yaser states.
"Yas...I don't want a fight but I can't let you pass..."
"You won't win if you fight me Fang. I have too much respect for you."
"I have respect for you too but all the packs have been assigned to protect the Blood Palace and the two kings. You can't beat us all Yaser."
"You want to bet?" Yaser states.
I don't know him but there is a wildness in his eyes. He's pretty, really pretty. I've always dated girls even though I'd had a few relationships with guys in the past. Yaser seems somewhere in the middle. He's androgynous. I probably wouldn't date a masculine man but a guy like Yaser was...well...perfect. There is a beauty about it that I hadn't noticed before. His long hair, beautiful skin tone and feminine look seems to contrast with a deep, commanding, aggressive tone. I can't help but to stare at this boy from the corridor.
"Stop," I state,walking forward.
He's looking at me as though I'm Genesis. Some people know the difference between us immediately. Other people have some trouble. Right now it is clear that he thinks I'm Genesis.
"I'm Exodus," I tell him.
His face softens but he is still suspicious. He has every reason to be. I can tell he was on the verge of changing into his other form before I interrupt.
"We'll deal with this," Fang tells me, "Sorry for the interruption sir."
I wasn't used to be called "sir" especially by a werewolf. None-the-less I realize that I'm a brother to the King of Eden now. People were going to show me respect.
"No one's dealing with me," Yas states.
Yas is so upset that he's shaking. He's tearing up a little bit. I feel...bad for him. For some reason he looks like someone you would want to protect.
"Where do you live?" I ask.
Yas shakes his head, "In the tents in the forest."
The tents in the forests were the Werewolf district. Genesis had offered them houses but the wolves preferred to stay in the forests. Each day the guards who worked in the palace traveled to the Blood palace to serve. Yas wasn't one of those guards...clearly since the love of his life was married to Genesis.
"Come with me..." I state, "I'll take you home."
"I'm not going anywhere."
"I'm trying to help you."
"I don't need your charity."
"I'm not trying to treat you like charity," I respond to him, "I'm trying to treat you like treasure."
I don't know why I say it to Yaser. I'm not even sure why I care to take him home. I just know that he isn't going to get far with Walid.
Yaser stares at me more like a scared injured animal than an attractive young man.
I smile at him even though he still seems hesitant. It must be weird for him. Every time he looks at me he sees Genesis. I was different from Genesis. Genesis was smarter than I was, I'd admit that. Sometimes I was jealous at how clever he could be. Other times it scared me how far Genesis would go to get things done. I think it scared other people too. Other people like Yaser. There were other times that Genesis and I had a lot more in common though. We were both ambitious. We both were very decisive as well. We knew what we wanted almost immediately.
Right now I look at Yaser and all I can think is how beautiful he is.
All I can think about is how well I would treat him if I had the chance. We take my carriage. Yaser is leaning up against the leather as my driver leads the horses down the stone street.
"Are you doing OK?" I ask him.
"I have some blood. I heard you were a hybrid. I'm not sure if you wanted..."
"I don't require blood," he checks me shaking his head.
"Did you want to talk about it? Walid, that is..."
"Stop what you're doing," Yaser says.
"Stop trying to make up for your brother," he tells me bluntly, "You can never make up for all the things he's done."
He had the wrong idea. Even being a little negative I can't help but be attracted to him.
"I'm not embarrassed of what Genesis has done. I'm proud of him."
"Really? Proud you are related to a monster?" Yaser asks.
"Genesis took the throne. It's no different from what Armando did. And let's not pretend like Walid wasn't always planning on doing it. Genesis was just a lot better at it," I explain to Yas, "You lost a man that never really cared about you and..."
"Say that one more time."
Yaser has his hand at my throat. He squeezes my Adam's apple. His grip is tight. The boy is definitely strong. I had heard rumors about him. The fact that he was a hybrid made him one of the strongest people in Eden. I was aware of that.
"I wouldn't do that," I tell Yas.
"Give me one reason why. Genesis took Walid from me. Maybe I should take away someone he loves."
"That's the thing. Genesis doesn't love me. If he needs me though, he'll just bring me back again."
"I'm not an idiot. I know he can't. He can't repeat that sacrifice."
He was right. Someone had told him about the sacrifice of the Divine 9. No werewolf or vampire would have figured that out alone.
"How do you know that?"
"A witch told me. The same witch who told me you had a thing for pretty boys."
All of a sudden the driver stops the carriage. I'm a little confused.
"Driver... what's going on?"
"It's time we had a little talk," Yas states.
Had he known that I had a thing for pretty boys? Was Yas using me? All of a sudden it makes perfect sense why he had been at the palace the whole day causing a scene. He knew that Fang wasn't going to let him in. He wasn't waiting for Fang. He was waiting for me.
Yas gets out of the carriage. I realize that we are just out in the garden of Eden. We are at a spring of water.
I'm surprised that Yas is not alone when I get out of the carriage.
Micko is there. That would explain how Yas knew about my sexuality and what I was attracted to. Micki was Micko's dead sister. I had no doubt she would have told him.
"You're working with wolves now?" I ask, "I should have known you would never give up trying to take Genesis down Micko. When will you know that you have been beaten."
Micko and Yas stand together. The driver is slumped over on the ground. He's been knocked out!
It's an odd pair. I wonder who approached who first. I wonder also if the other witches know that Micko is doing this. They probably do. That's probably what this whole meeting was about earlier. What now? Were they going to kidnap me? Were they going to torture me until I agreed to give them some sort of power.
"We demand Genesis create a senate," Micko states, "Every government should have one."
"This isn't a government. This is a kingdom. Genesis rules. Period."
What part of that didn't they get through their fucking heads?
"We will accept Genesis being king but not without our own voice," Yas states.
I shake my head laughing. I'm a little surprised by Yas. I'm pleasantly surprised. Genesis was wrong about him. He wasn't weak. Sure he was out there crying about Walid but that was only to lure me out of the palace and bring me into these woods.
I smile at Yas. I have to admit I have a thing for him and he's turning me on coming over here demanding things. I bite my lip a little bit.
"Genesis thinks the coven is weak," I state, "He won't listen to a thing the coven says."
"I know," Micko responds.
"So why are you here?"
"We don't want a witch senate. We want a senate with representatives from the witch, wolf and vampire worlds."
Interesting. Maybe the coven didn't know what Micko was actually doing here after all. No wonder he was so passive in the meeting while the other witches were so aggressive. He had his own plan brewing. Micko had his own idea of putting Genesis in check.
"What makes you think you'll have better luck than Mason and Brandon earlier?" I ask Micko.
"This will avoid war. The witches will be fine if they are represented even by one witch."
"Let me guess. You?" I ask.
Yas walks over to me, "And me representing the wolves."
Yas was a hybrid. He wasn't even one of the alphas at that. Still. I had seen how strong Yas was. Rumors had spread in the city about him fighting off other witches. If there was anything wolves, witches and vampires respected that was strength.
I find myself walking over to Yas, "What do I get for convincing my brother to be advised by the two of you?"
Both Micko and Yas had reasons to hate my brother. He had fucked both of the people they loved dearly at one point in their lives. My brother hated surrounding himself with his enemies.
Yas comes close. He puts his hand on my neck. I shiver. I'm turned on immediately as he leans forward. Damn. He's sexy. For a minute I forget he is that victim. For a minute I'm the one being seduced. My heart is racing and all I can think about now was how attracted I was to him.
"I'll give you whatever you want," Yas states.
I'm tempted. Way too tempted. I push away from him.
"My relationship with my brother is already strained from the past," I state, "As tempting as that might sound I don't know if I can risk the little bit of love I have with my brother. Family is everything."
A voice echoes what I say from thick eternal trees in the eternal garden.
"Family is everything."
Someone appears out of the shadow. It's Santos.
"The vampires need a representative as well."
"And you would do that?" I ask.
"I never wanted to be king anyway. Like you said family is everything and the throne has caused a rift in my family. A rift I need to fix," Santos explains.
"It doesn't change anything."
"Yes it does. Let us council Genesis. This city is divided. We can bring it together," Santos explains, "Convince Genesis to help him rule Eden. The three of us can help him."
Santos, Micko and Yas stare at me. It's so tempting. They had a point. Eden was so threatened by the different races. Wolves, vampires and witches. If we had someone that everyone respected from each group then maybe Genesis would be able to rule in peace. Maybe people might even look at my brother as being a fair king. Maybe it would quell the tension.
Maybe there would be peace in Eden...
A peace that we all needed.
"I get it. It'd help but there are so many issues with Genesis that you guys don't know. He doesn't trust people like that..."
It's all because of me. And I could do nothing to fix it. He'd already lost his trust in me. Family or not.
"I know. The rift. We can heal that."
"How can you heal the rift between my family? You don't know how scarred Genesis is from my father and me."
"I found out some information," Santos explains, "My husband told me something that might be able to heal that rift."
"The man you thought was your father isn't."
I look hard at Santos.
"What are you talking about?"
"No. I told you that I need to fix the rift in my family. That extends to you. That extends to Genesis," Santos explains.
"Because you are both are my brothers..."
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