Updated: Apr 10
This short takes place between Killer Heart (book 1) and Demon Heart (book 2)
Why am I nervous?
Oh yeah. My first date with Caleb. The first official date that I could, and would, actually remember.
And boy, did I have a lot to be nervous about.
Not only was I going out with someone who had been with other men before, I was also going out with a lover I didn’t remember. I was competing with my old self, although how much of an old self could the one controlled by Christian be, that was a different question.
I still couldn’t wrap my head around everything that happened on that rooftop and everything that happened before it. But thankfully, Caleb had stuck with me and was willing to show me the ropes.
Don’t ask me what he saw in me. I had no clue.
My phone pinged, and I picked it up to read the message.
8pm. Covent Garden. Dress casual, the message said.
It only served to make me more nervous.
I decided to keep myself busy with getting ready. I showered and shaved and applied copious amounts of deodorant on. Then, I approached my wardrobe, and while I never had any issue with getting dressed and picking outfits, this one proved a challenge too.
For fuck’s sake. What am I going to wear?
There was casual and then there was cuh-sual.
I resorted to a pair of skinny jeans and a leather jacket over a black t-shirt. With wallet and phone in check, and the hilt of my sword tucked in the chest pocket of my jacket, I left the house and walked through Central London all the way to Covent Garden.
I got there at quarter to eight, and he got there at eight on the dot. Always on time. You wouldn’t expect someone like Caleb to be so punctual, but he was, and it made him all the more interesting to me.
He was wearing a pair of extra skinny beige chinos that looked too much like he was naked, which made my own tight jeans even tighter. A flowery top and a long black coat complemented the rest of the outfit and he looked hot as fuck. Business as usual.
It was funny that I thought of it as business as usual considering I’d never been with a man before—memory loss excluded.
Caleb wrapped his hands around my neck and planted a kiss on my lips that scandalized me, whatever that meant. I’d never used that word before for anything, but it seemed fitting around him.
“Hey,” he said when he pulled back, the grey of his eyes catching the glimmer of the streetlights.
“I missed you,” I told him before I could control myself. We’d only been together last night. After two days of learning the ins and outs of his body, I thought it’d be a nice change to learn who he was as a person too.
Caleb smiled despite my cheesiness and laced his fingers with mine, setting off north of Covent Garden.
“Where are we going?” I asked.
“It’s a surprise,” he said and continued his walk.
We made small talk while window-shopping until we got to a big red door with a single bouncer outside. Caleb nodded at him, and he opened the door for us. We walked through a narrow corridor and descended the stairs into a cavern that led us to a dungeon, a soft mellow music breaking through the surrounding speakers.
I looked around at the other patrons and thought I caught sight of some wings and a couple of big dogs, but I shook my head and focused my attention to Caleb, who approached the bar and ordered two cocktails.
“What is this place?” I asked when a big, tall guy squeezed next to us and caught the attention of another bartender.
Caleb paid for the drinks and turned to me with a big smile on his face.
“This is Inferno. Nightcrawlers, witches, and humans that know about us come here to have uninhibited fun, judgement-free. I thought it’d be a nice place to escape to,” he said, then when he looked at me, he rushed to add, “But if you don’t like it, we can go.”
I took another look around. There was a group of witches around one table with smoky cocktails in front of them and right next to them, two very hairy dudes were practically dry-fucking each other. On the other side there was a very pale woman making out with a very not-pale man and in the middle of the room two large ladies with thick muscles, but very beautiful and sparkly dresses sipping on cosmos.
I had no idea what they were—I had a lot of learning to do about all the different Nightcrawler species—but it didn’t look scary. Actually, the fact that they were all relaxed and having a good time was heart-warming.
“No. Let’s stay,” I told him and took one of the cocktails he was holding, a purple mix of smoke, glitter and ice.
Caleb’s smile widened, and he took my hand.
“Follow me,” he said and took me to the side of the bar and up a mezzanine where a line-up of booths were situated, all lit by gaslights.
There was a table set up with wooden cutlery and rustic plates and a small chalkboard that read reserved. Caleb gestured for me to sit, and he took a seat across the table.
My heart pumped faster, and my whole body relaxed. He’d come prepared. Despite everything that had happened, he’d found the perfect place for both of us to hang out.
“Are you hungry? I hope you are. They do the meanest street food in here,” he said.
“A man after my own heart. I love it,” I said and looked at the menu.
“Always,” Caleb said quietly and took hold of his own copy.
I didn’t know what I was worried about. This was easy. Killing and fighting was the hard part. That was how it should be. But having spent almost two decades under Christian’s thumb, could anyone blame me for thinking this was the hard part? Dating, being human, falling in love, eating out…
“So...” I said once a very short waitress took our order.
I was too scared to ask Caleb what creature she was. Tonight was, should be, about us.
“So,” Caleb repeated, boring into me with his beautiful eyes that managed to shine their kindness even in the dim lighting of Inferno.
“You come here often?” I chuckled.
“When I need to escape, yeah. But, I haven’t been here in a while,” Caleb said.
“Do you...need to escape a lot?” I asked him.
I knew he’d been through a shit storm of a life, but I didn’t know all the details.
“It depends. I used to, especially when I was a vampire. But when...Graham...found me, I kept busy with Java Jinx so the cafe was my escape,” he said.
It was strange hearing him talk about his feelings and his life when there were no hunters or witches after our heads. Being out in the open and not on the run from whatever danger.
“What do you think you’re going to do now that you found out the truth about him?”
Caleb looked away from me and took a sip of his drink.
“I really, really, don’t know,” he said. “What about you? Have you thought about life after BLADE?”
Had I ever? It was one of the many things constantly running circles in my head. If it wasn’t thinking about what Christian put me through and how I felt about Caleb, then it was all about life outside the Force.
“I really, really, don’t know,” I said, trying to imitate the same tone he’d used.
Caleb’s gaze returned to me with a discreet frown.
“Do you think you’ll go back to hunting witches then?” he asked trying to sound unaffected by his own words, but I knew better.
I leaned back on the sofa and shook my head.
“No. Of course not,” I said. “I could never. Not after everything that happened. There’s a new head arriving tomorrow. Both Winston and I have to go in and report. He’s hoping we can convince him to change the Force.”
“Change how?” Caleb asked.
“Well, for starters, he’s hoping we can stop everyone from hunting,” I said. The rest, was all unclear.
“Good luck with that,” Caleb snorted.
“Yeah, tell me about it.”
“And if that doesn’t work.” He was hiding behind his glass now.
All I wanted was to take him in my arms and tell him that no matter what happened with the Force, I’d never, ever go back to my old ways, to reassure him that the murderous Wade was done with. And I could. If I touched him, I could tell him everything he needed to know.
But, I was guessing tonight we were doing the talking thing.
“Then I find another job,” I said and Caleb pursed his lips. “No, let me correct that. I find a job. Witch hunting was never a job, was it?”
“I didn’t want to say it,” he chuckled. “But who am I to judge? I was the one that worked for some monstrous people too.”
“We have one thing in common,” I said.
Caleb cocked his head and smiled.
“We have more than one thing in common, baby. Trust me,” he said.
I couldn’t take this any longer. I got up and leaned over the table, clashing our mouths together in a hot and messy kiss. If this was supposed to be normal life with him, I was more than ready for it. If this was what love was, then I was here for all of it. I’d take candlelit dinners in Inferno any day of the week over being mind-manipulated and snorting up spell dust.
“I do. I trust you,” I whispered when I broke our kiss.