Loving the Reaper by Alexis Michaud

Valerie Brooks was the shy girl in town. She mostly stayed to herself and kept herself occupied rather than putting herself into all the teenage drama and gossip. Valerie had been the weird girl her whole life and she was okay with that… usually. Her dark hair and fair skin always bothered her. She felt like a freak. Of course no one had ever said anything to her to make her think that way but no one had ever stopped to tell her she was pretty either.
Loving the Reaper
Loving the Reaper by Alexis Michaud
Morning came and just like every other morning she dreaded getting up. slowly stretching in her bed she sighed and decided she had better get up so she wasn’t late for school. Summer has flown by and she was not looking forward to getting back to school. Silently she slipped down stairs and started the coffee and began gathering the school supplies her mother had picked up the day before. Dread filled her as she stared down at the frilly pink pens and pencils. “You have got to be kidding me…” she said as she sighed in defeat. She knew she couldn’t say anything to her mother, it would hurt her feelings. Yet she couldn’t help but be upset, after all these years her mother still didn’t accept that she just was not the pink flowers and feathers type. Not to mention she didn’t like anything that would draw attention to her. Back in her room she shoved the pink contraband as deep in her bag as she could and decided that if she could hurry up and make it out the door she would have time to stop and get new supplies. Her mother would be none the wiser. She quickly picked up a black shirt and some blue jeans, she pulled them on as she looked high and low for her shoes. They caught her eye with the last sweep of the room she did and she felt herself give a sigh of relief. She hurriedly pulled a comb through her hair and threw it in a bun, grabbed her bag and headed for the door. She power walked all the way to the local mart with plenty of time to spare she ran in. Going straight to the aisle she needed she grabbed a normal set of blue and black pens and a pack of number 2 pencils. Last but not least she grabbed her a few notebooks and she was ready to check out. She tapped absentmindedly while waiting in line. Finally, it was her turn. Even though Valerie was socially awkward she gave her biggest smile to Mrs. Keeble the owner of the little market. She had known her since she was a little girl and Mrs. Keeble was always a friendly soul that could put anyone at ease when around her. “Good Morning Valerie!” Mrs. Keeble’s pleasant tone rang out as she began scanning the items. “Good Morning Mrs. Keeble, how is Mr. Keeble doing?” Valerie couldn’t help but notice the twinkle in the old woman’s eyes at the thought of her husband. “He is well my dear. He should be up and out of bed any day now! That horrible cold really did a number on him!” Valerie frowned at the thought of Mr. Keeble being sick. She really did like the old couple. “Well I am sorry to hear he was sick, but I’m glad to hear he’s doing better.” With a warm smile and thanks she gave Valerie her total and sent the girl on her way wishing her to have a wonderful first day. Valerie noticed she still had plenty of time to make it to school so she slowed her pace and enjoyed the sites of the town as she made her way to the school. Valerie had always loved the dynamic of the town and how cozy it was. Everyone knew each other and treated each other like they were family. She had always admired the way people were so embracing of each other. Her mind began to wonder back to when her father had passed away of a massive heart attack. People were so supportive and helpful to her mother and herself. They checked on them frequently bringing by goods and kind words. Even the kids from school had tried to make sure that she was okay and that she was getting through the loss. Valerie shook her head a little to get the memories to stop, she didn’t need to start crying especially since she was so close to the school. The big Victorian building stood in front of her as it always had. She remembered just how intimidating it had been to her, her first year there as a freshman. Now being so close to graduating she laughed a little knowing she had concurred the big scary building. Walking up the steps she prepared herself for all the noise and crazed teenagers that would be right on the other side of the double doors. She really never understood why everyone was so rambunctious, after all it was school. Pushing the heavy metal doors in she quickly scanned the crowd and made her way to the office with no notice from anyone. Mentally she was just thankful she didn’t have to speak to anyone on the way. Pulling the door to the office open she noticed a tall boy in the corner she had never seen before. He looked up at once searching her face for what seemed like eternity. Realizing she had now frozen in the doorway she flushed and continued to the desk. A young blonde woman sat tapping the keys of the computer behind the desk. Miss Hanover was her name; she was friendly enough from what Valerie could remember. “Welcome back are you here for your locker number?” Valerie smiled and nodded in reply. She was still a little shaken by the strange boy and wasn’t sure if she could make her mouth move. After a few seconds of typing Miss Hanover disappeared around the corner. When she came back she had a stack of papers in her hands. “Okay Valerie here is your locker number and your class schedule and also a few forms we need you to have your parents look over. Just get those back to us whenever you have a chance and have a great day!” Valerie nodded to confirm and quickly said thank you and headed for the door. Her mind was racing at this point… “who the hell is he? And why was he staring at me like he had seen a ghost? Oh who knows maybe I’m just being crazy!” Chapter 2 Valerie hurried off to class, she had spent way too much time at her locker trying to organize all of her stuff. Her first class was American history. Easy enough she thought. As she walked into the room she scanned the desks to find a seat. Her jaw almost hit the floor when she realized the only desk open was right next to the mystery boy from the office. Slowly she made her way to the open desk. She concentrated as hard as she could on just making it to the desk without falling over. Finally, she was there, she made it and she quickly sat down just as the teacher made his appearance. With a clearing of his throat the teacher managed to calm the students down and began to speak. “Good morning class, my name is Mr. Gil. I’m sure everyone is very excited to be back in school and to be around their friends but it's time to learn. Also before I forget we have a new student his name is Alistair Knowles.” Everyone turned to look at the no longer mystery boy and he gave a sheepish smile. The rest of the class period went on as normal. Well except for Alistar constantly staring at me with that same look on his face. He watched her like a hawk the whole time. Every twitch she made he noticed. By the time the bell rung Valerie was all but ready to make a run for the door and just be out of there. This guy was really starting to creep her out. Two classes went by and she was just relieved that he was not in either of them. But now it was time for lunch and there was no telling where he would be or what he would do. She hurriedly made her way to the school cafe hoping to not get noticed by him or anyone else for that matter. She grabbed the tray added a few greasy foods and a salad and made her way to the lunch lady that would scan her school I.d. Once she was through the line she made her way over to her favorite little table in the corner of the room. She opened her book and began to enjoy her lunch. Valerie was enjoying herself when out of nowhere the seat beside her was suddenly taken. Looking up she realized it was Alistar… “Hello, do you mind if I sit here? “His voice seemed to have age behind it as if he had seen a hundred years. This struck her as weird but she couldn’t be rude so she just nodded her head and tried to get back to her book. A few uncomfortable moments passed before he cleared his throat and began to speak again. “I apologize for staring earlier, I know it was probably uncomfortable you just really resemble someone I have been in search for…” Valerie looked at him with a perplexed emotion written all over her face. Did he just say he’s been in search for? What the hell is that supposed to mean? At that moment she saw a fleeting look of oh no I said too much and then he went to eating his food. She sat there in the silence her mind racing once again. What did he mean by that? And why is he sitting here of all places! He’s a little different but he’s handsome and seems smart he could go sit with anyone so why here!!!!!? The rest of the school day was a blur to her she couldn’t concentrate no matter how hard she tried she just couldn’t take her mind off of what he had said to her. Sitting in her last class she tried her best to do the work but just like all the other classes she couldn’t bring herself to really pay attention. Finally, the bell rang for the end of school and she decided that was probably for the best she would just have to do better tomorrow. After all, now she had all night to figure out what the hell he meant. As she grabbed her things from her locker she noticed him walk by her she held her breath until he was gone. Thank goodness she thought, he didn’t notice me. Boy was she wrong… As she walked down the front steps a sleek black Aston Martin was waiting front and center. As she got closer the window rolled down and behold the driver was none other than Alistar. Great she thought mentally rolling her eyes. “Hello again, would you like a ride?” he shouted from the driver’s seat. Valerie’s eyes almost popped out of her head! this guy could not be serious!! She took a deep breath and mustered up all the courage she could find. “No Thank you, I’ll walk!” she spun as fast as she could and took off walking as fast as she could. The whole way home she felt like he was following her but when she searched all around her for the car he was nowhere to be seen. Finally, she made it to her front door and she all but fell in she was in such a hurry. She locked the door behind her and sunk to the floor. What a hell of a day! After catching up with her thoughts for a few minutes she decided she had better get upstairs and start on all the work she had neglected in class. Being in the comfort of her room made her feel so much better. She didn’t realize just how much stress the whole day had put on her. She stretched a few times then began working at her desk. About an hour went by when that feeling that someone was watching her crept over her again making the hairs on the back of her neck stand up. She looked out the window trying to make out if she could see anyone but there was no one there. Hmmm weird she thought… She was beginning to think she was losing it. Finishing up she decided to eat and then shower it was going to be a long day tomorrow and she was going to need extra rest. That night was torture to her she tossed and turned all night. Dreams of his face appeared out of nowhere speaking the same words he had told her at lunch. She searched and searched in the dreams for an answer but she just couldn’t figure it out. Who was he searching for? why was he searching for her? and why of all people did she have to be the one to remind him of her? She woke up suddenly to a noise downstairs. She froze not sure what to do. Finally, she made herself get u to check out the noise. She creeped slowly down the hallway and stairs. Just as she rounded the corner a black figure disappeared right before her eyes and the picture album it was holding fell to the ground. Valerie all but fell over. “Mom!!!!!! Get down here!!!” she screamed before even thinking about how she was going to tell her what she had seen. What was she going to say hey mom this crazy black figure decided to check out our family album and when I came in it disappeared into thin air? Yea that would go over great! Shaking her head, she listened to see if her mom had heard her. No sounds came from upstairs so she quietly put the album on the shelf and walked back to her room. She knew there was no way she would be able to go back to sleep after that. She decided to get a head start on her school work since she knew it would be hard to concentrate once again. A couple hours went by and the sun made its appearance and she decided to call it quits and get a cup of coffee. Her body felt so sluggish and she knew there would be hell to pay for not going back to sleep but she couldn’t make herself even if she tried. She sighed knowing her mother would soon question her early start and the bags under her eyes. Just as she finished that thought her mother rounded the corner and jumped back a little startled. “Oh Good morning sweetie, I didn't think you would be up so early.” Valerie smiled a warm smile and said good morning. Her mother’s face changed and Valerie knew her mother was going to begin the questions at any moment. “Honey you look like you haven’t slept a wink! Is there something bothering you? “Valerie shrugged her shoulders and chalked it up to just being restless in the night. Luckily her mother didn’t push the subject anymore. Valerie kissed her mother’s cheek to reassure her and made her way back to her room with coffee in hand. Back in the quietness of her room she decided she might as well start getting ready for school. Maybe she would mix it up a little and wear something other than just black. Searching high and low in her closet she found a pair of blue jeans that she had never even worn and threw those on. Now for a shirt she thought. She managed to find a soft white undershirt and a dark blue button up that rolled up to the elbows. Good enough she thought. She then threw on her black sneakers and sat at her desk. Now what she thought. She sighed and put her books and supplies in her bag and headed to the bathroom. She brushed her teeth and for the first time in a while instead of just throwing her hair in a bun she pinned it on the sides and let her long black hair flow down her back. Suddenly she realized she was trying to look pretty. And for what? What in the world was going on with her! A new boy comes to town, creeps her out, and now she decides she’s going to all the sudden try to look pretty. What kind of twisted thought process was going on in her mind she wondered. She giggled a little shook her head and said screw it. He would stalk her either way… If in fact, he was a stalker. Chapter 3 Valerie had spent as much time as she could be keeping herself busy but now it was time for her to face going to school and seeing Alistar. She sighed, yelled a goodbye to her mom, and walked out the door. The sight in front of her almost made her turn around and go back inside. There in her driveway was Alistar leaning up against his car. She felt her jaw drop but she couldn’t help it. She froze studying him for a moment trying to read his serene expression. He gave away nothing. So it was time to get brave she thought. “What the hell are you doing here? And how did you know where I live?” Alistar put up his hands in a motion to show that he didn’t mean any harm. That didn’t convince her at all. “I saw you walk home yesterday and like I said you remind me of someone… I just want to get to know you if you would let me…. I’m not a total creep like you think, it’s just I didn’t really know how to approach you. “Valerie rolled her eyes. “I’m sorry but staring at a person for a whole class period and then giving them cryptic messages is weird enough but then to just show up in their driveway?! In what world is that ok?” she didn’t give him time to respond, she turned on her heel and started her way to school. She knew she heard him getting into the car behind her and then the crunch of the tires on the pavement but she stood tall as she walked and ignored him driving slowly past her. Once he was out of sight she felt like she could breathe again. What is wrong with him she thought who does that just follows people around shows up unannounced. She hoped like hell she had gotten the point across to him. Sitting in her first class she noticed he was in his own world. Better than him staring at her. He was writing on a piece of paper and she realized she was now the one watching him. She quickly looked back to her notes. Just as she was starting to concentrate a note was put on her desk. Not knowing what to do she stared for a moment and finally picked it up. The note read: You said my words were cryptic let me sit with you at lunch and I’ll explain it all to you…. Underneath his writing she wrote back with one simple word. Fine. The classes seemed to go by so slow now that she wanted them to hurry and end. She didn’t know what to expect from him but she needed to know in order to understand his behavior. She tried to go over how the conversation would go in her head but she knew she was probably way off. She tapped her fingers beginning to get frustrated with every slow moment. Finally, the bell rang and it was time for lunch. She didn’t want him to know that he had intrigued her so she slowly made her way through the line and made an even slower decision on what to get. She made her way to the lunch lady. Now there was no other way for her to waste time so she made her way to the table. Alistar was already sat at the table and was absentmindedly poking his food. When she sat across from him he looked up. His black eyes twinkled behind his dark lashes. Huh she hadn’t noticed just how striking yet strange he was. Clearing her throat, she put on her brave face. “Well feel free to explain your freakish behavior at any time.” She wished she could have patted herself on the back for that one. Alistar gave her an ashamed look but all the same slid closer to her. “You have to understand that what I’m going to tell you is going to change your life forever…. And you can think I’m crazy all you want but you may never tell another living soul. Deal?” Valerie was starting to really freak out on the inside now. she took a deep breath trying to calm herself and shook her head in agreement. Alistar seemed to bristle at the fact that she was actually going to listen to him. He quickly recovered and set his gaze on her. He took a moment as if he was getting his thoughts together and then he finally opened his mouth to speak. “I have known of you for a very long time. I have often dreamt of your face, your home, and your family, even of your father.” Valerie went to interrupt him but before she could he held up his hand and told her to let him finish. he began again. “I’m not like you though, I have never been normal… I am in some cultures called the reaper… I was born to rid the world of tired souls and rid the world of the damned. I am the bringer of death. For many years I spent my life doing what I was born to do. Stuck at the same age and stuck in the same body. But then seventeen years ago you came to me in a dream… And I have learned about you ever since from my dreams. I didn’t know why you were so significant to me until just recently… My ancestors explained that you are a match for me. And that I am now at the age to where the match must be made. You were born to fulfil the role of the reaper’s match.” Alistar watched Valerie very closely for her reaction. When she didn’t do anything he told her that was all there was for him to tell. Valerie looked at him as if he were a monster. She slowly got up backed away from the table and walked out of the school. She didn’t know where she was going and she didn’t care just as long as she got far away from him. She found herself on the edge of town at the lake and she slowly sank down to the grass trying to get a grip on reality. She didn’t know what to think. Either he was out of his mind or she was truly the reaper’s match. She didn’t know how to feel about either one of the scenarios. This was crazy! Why would some random guy say something like this to her? And how did he know about her dad? What kind of sick trick was this? Valerie had stayed by the lake until it was almost dark. She knew her mom would be worried about her so she figured she should hurry home. When she walked through the front door there her mother sat in the kitchen with her arms crossed. Shoot was all Valerie had time to think before her mother began. “Do you want to tell me why the school claims you skipped your classes after lunch? And would you like to explain to me where the hell you have been?” Valerie knew she had screwed up badly. But what was she going to tell her? Hey mom calm down I left school because I just found out I’m the reaper’s match… Yea that wouldn’t work! She mustered up her best upset face and lied. “Sometimes people pick on me and usually I can take it mom but today I just couldn’t stand it anymore so I left and just started walking and before I knew it I was at the lake… I sat down and pouted for a bit until I realized how late it was getting and then I came home.” Her mother’s face softened then. “Oh honey, people will always have something to say about you no matter who you are you can’t let it get to you. Next time just please let someone know you're leaving okay?” Valerie nodded her head at her mother and apologized for the mess she had caused. Once their talk was over and she had eaten Valerie told her mom she would be in her room doing her school work. Valerie got comfortable at her desk and began the subjects she had skipped out on. Two hours later she was done with the work she had missed and her homework. She turned on her television but paid it no mind. She lay on her bed wondering what to do about the whole situation. How in the world was she going to just act like the little chat between them had never happened? She knew Alistar would never let her do that, he already wouldn’t leave her alone. She sighed wondering what to do. Finally, she realized that he could either give her some proof or leave her the hell alone. If he couldn’t prove he was telling the truth the she could avoid him like the plague hell if he can prove it she will still avoid him like the plague but he didn’t need to know that. She decided that was her plan and she was sticking to it. Tomorrow if he planned on talking to her she would play it cool and act like she was willing to fulfill this crazy fantasy but only if he would give her proof. She slept like a rock that night. After two days of hell she was exhausted. When she awoke she noticed it was only four thirty. She tried to get back to sleep but once again she felt like she was being watched. She fidgeted underneath the covers until she just couldn’t stand lying there with that feeling anymore. she got up and pretended to not notice a figure at the window. She knew for a fact it was Alistar. What did he want from her? Valerie decided to stay in the kitchen until the sun came up she knew he couldn’t be there anymore because someone would see him. Valerie got to her morning routine and was done getting ready in record time she couldn’t wait to see what kind of proof Alistar would give her. She drank the last bit of her coffee and realized she still had an hour so she decided she would head out and waste some time at the market and get a few more supplies. She was surprised to see Alistar sitting in his car waiting for her once again. Oh what the hell she thought I have to face him at some point. She took a deep breath and without hesitating climbed into his car. “Before you say anything to me I want some kind of proof. If you can’t give me proof, we have nothing else to talk about.” She breathed hard after the words came out in a rush. Putting her hand on the door handle she turned to him waiting for his answer before she climbed back out. Alistar’s eyes glimmered for a moment before he spoke. “I’ll come see you after school once your mom goes to bed.” With that she climbed out of the car not saying another word and strode off to the market. Her thoughts swirled around her she wasn’t sure what to expect. She knew he would come to her window. She knew he had been watching her there in the darkness. Strangely she was no longer scared she had the feeling of being untouchable now that she had given him the ultimatum. Valerie made her way into the market in search of highlighters and more notebooks. With her normal eight classes and her extracurricular she was going through notepads like no tomorrow. She picked out everything she needed and made her way to the checkout noticing Mr. Keeble standing with his wife. He looked good despite the cold he had just gotten over. Valerie gave the biggest grin she could and bid them both hello and good morning. Mrs. Keeble went to scanning the items as they spoke. “My dear, have you met the new boy yet?” Valerie knew she should have expected Mrs. Keeble to ask. Such a small town there's bound to be a little bit of gossip. “Yes mam I have, he’s a little different so it seems but I really don’t know much about him.” Mrs. Keeble gave a grin. “His parents came into the market just yesterday. Have you seen them they are quite striking people!” Just as Valerie was about to reply Mr. Keeble spoke up. “Now now Marge you know it's not polite to gossip. Valerie was relieved she wasn’t sure where this conversation was headed and she really didn't feel like getting any deeper into the conversation. Mrs. Keeble gave a guilty look and giggled a bit. She told Valerie her total and bid her a good day. Sending the girl on her way. Valerie was once again free to be in her own little world as she went on her way to school. She was overly glad that Mr. Keeble had stepped in and quite the conversation. At the same time, she was disappointed that she couldn’t find out more about his parents. She hadn’t seen them in town at all and she hadn’t given it any thought to him having parents. Maybe if he had no evidence she would have to talk to his parents about his irrational thoughts. She wasn’t very fond of that idea but if it got him to leave her alone that's what she would do. Chapter 4 It felt like the day had been over before it had even begun. Valerie felt like she literally walked in just to turn around and walk right back out. She was getting more and more nervous. The sun seemed to set hours earlier than it usually set. Her mother had dinner done in record time or so it seemed… There was nothing left now but to wait until her mother went to bed and then he would be there. An hour passed and she heard her mother turn on the shower Valerie knew this meant she would be going to bed. Her mother always showered then went straight to bed. And her mother being one of the people who was practically asleep before her head even hit the pillow she knew it wouldn’t be much longer. She settled herself in the middle of her bed and opened her book and began to read. Before she knew it he was standing in front of her. “How did you get in here?” He shrugged at her and smiled. “It’s one of the perks.” She sighed she was not in the mood to be lighthearted with him. “What is that supposed to mean? Seriously start talking and proving your story or leave.” He gave an irritated sigh. “You don’t have to be rude to get your point across. Anyways my “parents” will be here to explain it all and show you a few things they should be here anytime.” Valerie looked at him in shock his parents?! “What do you mean your parents are coming?” He smiled a little not being able to help himself. “Calm down they aren’t really my parents I don’t have parents they are my ancestors. They are the rulers of the underworld as some would call it.” Just as she began processing all this two forms appeared out of thin air. A man, tall and pale with a beautiful angel like face was standing before her. Beside him was a woman with long black hair the palest skin and beautiful emerald green eyes. Valerie was speechless over their beauty. They looked as if they were from another world. “Hello Valerie it's nice to finally meet you my dear.” The woman’s voice rang like a delicate bell it was as beautiful as she was. Valerie tried to speak but she couldn’t form the words no matter how hard she tried. “Don’t worry she gets that a lot.” said the man as he chuckled. This made Valerie blush. Alistar sat down on the floor and patted the spot next to him for Valerie. “You're going to want to sit down for this.” Valerie hesitated slightly but sat down as did his ancestors. They each put out their hands and grabbed Valerie’s hands. “Close your eyes dear and we will show you the truth to all of this.” As the woman finished her sentence she closed her eyes as did everyone else including Valerie. Visions filled each of their minds. Visions of a beautiful baby born under grave circumstances. Born to worldly parents who met their demise not even days later. The ancestors that were in the room with her now picking up the baby and carrying him away. Disappearing in the night with him. Teaching him of his destiny as the reaper. Worse visions of them setting him out in the world to carry out said destiny. And last the match. The match between reaper and teenage girl. Valerie shook from her head to her toes and she quickly pulled her hands away. “It’s all true? Why me?!” she was practically hyperventilating at this point. Alistar and his ancestors tried to comfort her but she just wanted them gone. She didn’t know what to think anymore. Reality was now mixed with what she had always thought to be fiction. Her world was now upside down and worst of all she is the match to a natural born killer. In a weak voice she asked them to let her process all this and leave her to her thoughts. They respected her wishes but as they went to leave the woman placed a hand on her.” I was a match a long time ago to the reaper the man that is with me tonight I felt the same way at first. I know how hard it is at first but my dear it is now your destiny. You have been destined to this role since the day of your birth. Try not to fight it too long my dear it will always end up happening in the end.” And with those last few words the three of them vanished. Valerie was once again alone. Her head spun she couldn’t get the visions out of her head. She especially couldn’t get the speech that the woman had given her out of her head. She thought and thought and couldn’t figure out what to think. She was destined for the role since she was born. It was going to happen whether she wanted it to or not. Valerie once again had another sleepless night. She knew he was watching her so she got up out of bed and walked to the window. There he sat bathed in the darkness. “What does being a match to you involve exactly?” Alistar smiled as if he was the devil making her a deal. “Well you would become immortal once you accept your destiny and you would follow me to the ends of time basically.” Valerie thought about this for a moment. “So basically I stay frozen at seventeen and go through the motions of life as a normal teenager and then what?” Alistar thought this over for a moment. “We do as my ancestors have done. We get married and when it begins to become suspicious that we haven’t aged we travel somewhere else. I carry out my duties as the reaper and you stick by my side. People will be convinced we are just a normal married couple with normal jobs and a normal life. We act like boyfriend and girlfriend till you graduate then we get married.” Valerie thought about this long and hard before speaking again. “What about my mother?” Alistar understood what she meant. “You will be just as you are now to her when she passes away we move on. No one will ever think anything.” Valerie shuttered at the thought of her mother passing away. “How does the whole immortal thing work?” Alistar smiled warmly. “That’s the easy part. Once you accept your fate we go to my ancestors they will call the spirits to us and perform a ritual of spells and you will be transformed.” Valerie felt as if she might faint so she sat down. “Will it hurt? How long does it take? Will I look different?” Alistar sighed as he tried to explain it all to her. “No it does not hurt and it takes a few hours but you won’t even notice nor will anyone else. You will be just as beautiful as you are now you won’t look any different to the human eye. To our kind you will be of the utmost beauty and you will carry the mark of the reaper on your hands but as I said it will only be visible to our kind. With that she crawled into bed and fell into a dreamless sleep. Chapter 5 Valerie awoke the next morning with a clear head. She knew there was no use in fighting the match. She was destined to be with the reaper and who knew maybe she would grow to love him. She dressed and got ready for school grabbing a cup of coffee to go. She wanted some extra time this morning so that she could talk to Alistar before school. As she walked out the door she noticed Alistar waiting and for the first time since they had met she happily climbed into his car. “I have decided to accept my destiny.” She tried a smile and when that didn’t work she just shrugged and looked out the window. “I’ll let the ancestors know and we will begin the process.” They both sat in silence as they drove to the school. Alistar turned off the ignition and sighed. There are many things you will have to learn such as rules and other things to keep our secret safe. It will take a lot of time to learn everything but we will help you. You have to promise the spirits you will never tell another living soul when the ritual is performed. If you do tell I will be forced to kill you and there will be nothing I can do about that. You have to be very careful to always keep the secret.” Valerie was a little scared by this but she didn’t let it show. She had no reason to tell anyone nor did she have anyone to tell. She would be just like everyone else just with a deeper darker secret. She didn’t know how she would live with herself but she knew there was no way of stopping it. She sighed and told him she would meet him back here after school. They both climbed out of the car and went their separate ways. Valerie decided that if they were going to look like normal teenagers they should start out dating like any other teenage couple. In their first class she passed a note to him purposely getting caught so that the teacher would read it out loud. Sure enough he grabbed the note from Alistar and proceeded to read it aloud. “Let’s go out and see where this goes…” The whole class giggled and I winked at Alistar who had caught on to my plan. He decided to really play it up by saying aloud to the class “well I thought you would never ask!” The whole class began to hoot and holler which made the teacher quite upset. He quickly cleared his throat and got everyone to calm down once again. The next couple classes were filled with whispers and sideways glances from people who just couldn’t believe the new kid and the shy girl were going to go out on a date. Valerie mentally patted herself on the back for a job well done. Lunch came and she found herself actually excited to have Alistar there waiting for her. She pulled out her chair and sat next to him feeling eyes all over them as they talked. Valerie knew they couldn’t say too much right now because there was so much attention on them so instead she decided to ask him about normal teenage things. “So tell me… What do you like to do for fun? And what are you like?” Alistar blushed a little by her questions he wasn’t expecting to get personal so quick. “Well I like to draw and play guitar… I like to work on my car. I listen to a lot of rock and I am a big fan of reading. How about you?” Valerie thought for a moment kind of surprised that the reaper actually had human hobbies. She giggled at the thought which made Alistar scrunch his nose in wonder of what she was thinking. “I like to read mostly but I do love music and I love to paint. My dad liked to paint and of course he taught me everything he knew.” She smiled a bittersweet smile as she remembered him teaching her how to hold the brush and how to use certain paints. Alistar understood she needed a moment so he sat in silence until she was ready to talk again. “where would you like to go for our first date?” he smiled genuinely excited to hear her answer. “Well I thought we could grab a pizza later today.” He beamed at her, he was glad she was being so enthusiastic about the whole situation. “sounds good maybe my parents will stop by.” Valerie nodded knowing exactly what meant. The two enjoyed lunch together making small talk the whole time. And when lunch was over Valerie felt more at ease than she had. She realized that when they talked about everyday normal life it was easy to forget his dark side and her dark future. The bell rang and the students filed out and to their classes. The last ones out were Valerie and Alistar, they walked in silence and as they parted ways said their goodbyes. Valerie sat in her last classes in a peaceful silence she alternated from doing her work to wondering about what her future would be like. Part of her was scared as hell but another part of her was okay knowing that she didn’t have to worry about what her future would hold. It was like it was already planned out for her. She thought about Alistar and in some weird twisted way she felt like she would be safe with him. Funny how just yesterday she was terrified of him stalking her. Now she's promising her unending life to him. Her thought process was beginning to scare her so she decided maybe it was better to go back to her school work. It seemed the more she tried to convince herself that this was just crazy the more she felt that it was the right decision not to fight it. Valerie got most of her school work done and she decided whatever she missed she would finish at home. She knew she now had a so called date with her lifelong partner and his ancestors tonight but she had to at least stop at home to let her mother know and she thought she might be able to get a little work done before he showed up to pick her up. She picked up her books and papers and shoved them in her backpack. She got up and made her way to her lockers to drop off the books she didn’t need and to pick up her free time books to take home with her. She slowly made her way outside and just as she figured there was Alistar’s sleek black car right in front of the steps waiting for her. She rolled her eyes and smiled as she made her way to his car. As she got close to he opened the door for her. His smile took her breath away. Her head spun Whoa! what was happening all these sudden feelings just kept popping up out of nowhere. This was crazy she felt herself falling for him so suddenly. How was this happening so fast? She took a deep breath and sat back as he drove her home. Chapter 6 Alistar told her he would be back in a couple hours. She waved goodbye as she got out of the car and ran inside to try to explain to her mother that she was going on her first date ever and hoped her mother wouldn’t make a big deal about it. She called out for her mother. As soon as her mother came around the corner she had a big smile across her face. “I see you have made a friend! Tell me all the details.” Valerie blushed at the thought and smiled. “I have a date tonight mom and please don’t make a big deal about it!” Her mother laughed and shook her head. “Okay I won’t but you have to tell me all about this boy when you get back!” Valerie hurried upstairs before her mother could ask any more questions. She brushed back her hair and began doing her school work as quickly as she could. An hour flew by and she was finally done with her work. She quickly changed clothes and pulled back her hair. She even put on a little lip gloss. She checked the time one last time before heading downstairs to tell her mother goodbye before she ran out the door. As she walked outside Alistar pulled up. She smiled as she climbed into the car. Alistar drove them to the edge of town and pulled up to a two story Victorian house. The house was beautiful yet simple. Valerie had to admit she was a little nervous. She knew what to expect but she still wasn’t quite prepared for it. The two walked up the steps and into the house. There in the living room sat the ancestors. They both smiled at the pair as they walked in. The woman was the first to speak. “My dear Valerie I’m so glad you took my words to heart. You must know how happy it has made me that you have decided to accept your destiny so willingly. I wish I had had someone to explain things to me. Although I don’t think I would have been as willing as you were to accept fate.” She smiled as she finished speaking and turned to her match. He smiled at his wife and began to speak. “Hello again Valerie, we are so glad you have decided to embrace your future. Tonight is the night that you will claim your role as the reaper’s match. We will create a circle with our hands once again but this time we will say a few spells and call on the spirits to make you immortal and to give you the mark of the reaper. Valerie took a steadying breath and nodded her head. The man and woman then stood up and prepared to make their way to the living room where this would all take place. They made a circle but before they began holding hands Alistar whispered in Valerie’s ear. “Don’t be afraid you may see spirits but don’t be afraid of them, just remember I’ll be right here with you.” With his final words they all took hands. The ancestors closed their eyes and bowed their heads as did Alistar followed by Valarie. The room became eerily quiet and still. No one said a word but the longer the silence went on the stranger Valerie felt. Then like a light switch being turned on she saw the spirits of the underworld. There beside her stood Alistar and the ancestors. They waited patiently with their hands folded at their waists. Valerie did the same but she searched the never ending abyss wondering what they were waiting for. A few moments passed and the spirits were still swirling like wind around them, finally the male ancestor took a step forward. The spirits seemed to halt immediately as if waiting for him to address them. The ancestor cleared his throat and for a moment spoke in a language Valerie was sure she had never heard before. After a short speech in this language he turned back to where they stood and motioned for them to come stand with him. As Valerie approached him he grabbed her hand Alistar taking her other hand they formed a triangle. “Close your eyes Valerie. The spirits would like to communicate with you through us.” She did as the Ancestor had told her. A voice then came to her as if she was in a dream. “You were destined to be the match do you accept your fate my dear child?” she didn’t know where the voice was coming from but she knew she had better not anger it so she quickly answered. “Yes.” The voice seemed to enjoy her simple answer so he carried on. “Can you keep the secret of the reaper and carry out your duty to stand beside him for the rest of your immortal life?” Once again she took a moment to process the question. “Yes...I do.” The voice seemed amused by her wording. He continued. “And last are you willing to learn of your ancestors and the rules and ways of life of the underworld?” She had already expected this question thanks to Alistar pre warning her. “Yes I am.” The voice was silent a moment. “Then let thy will be done and the match be made.” And with that the voice and the presence of the spirit was gone. The three dropped hands and walked back to where the woman ancestor stood. She smiled warmly. “Now Valerie, we will all place a hand on you and silently chant the spell to begin transforming you. please bow your head.” She did as the woman told her and then she felt their hands touch her shoulders and her head. As they once again went silent she began to feel strange. Not sick or anything just strange kind of like a tingly feeling throughout her whole body. And then suddenly they were done the hands lifted and when her eyes opened they were back in the quaint living room of the Victorian house. Valerie suddenly felt very hungry and exhausted. Her stomach began to rumble and Alistar and his ancestors began to giggle. The woman stopped giggling and put a hand on Valerie. “First trip to the underworld made me pretty hungry too! Come my dear I hear you like pizza! We will talk more once you have some food!” Valerie couldn’t even turn down pizza she was so hungry she felt like she could eat a whole cow. The four of them filed out of the house and climbed into a red Aston Martin. Valerie guessed it was the male ancestor’s car. Alistar and the male ancestor took the front while Valerie and the female ancestor rode in the back. The woman cleared her throat and began to speak. “Now that you are one of us we may tell you our names and our history. My name is Eudora was born in the Victorian Era. I was to be matched to Lucius, at first I did not accept my destiny but Lucius never gave up trying to show me that his world wasn’t all bad. Finally, I gave in and embraced him and my fate.” She smiled a little at the memories coming back to her from so long ago. Valerie waited quietly for her to return from her reverie and begin speaking again. A short moment passed by and Eudora cleared her throat and blushed a little. “Anyways! Lucius is the original reaper. We had no idea that another reaper and match would ever be presented. However, when Alistar was born the spirits called on us and claimed a baby was born unto the world with the mark of the reaper. We were told to take him and raise him as our own and to teach him the life of the underworld and his role as the reaper.” Eudora gave an expectant look to the driver seat where Lucius sat. He quickly began to pick up where she left off. “We knew that one day I would step back from being the reaper once he had perfected his role and fully understood his duties but we never expected a match. Seventeen years ago the spirits began to speak of you. They came to Alistar and often shared bits of information on you. However, they forbade him to step into your life until just a few days ago.” They came to a smooth stop in front of the local pizza joint and all conversation of the underworld ceased. The four walked in and sat down just like any other normal group of people would and carried on a normal conversation. To Valerie’s surprise she really enjoyed their company. They were smart and funny and they told great stories of the travels they had been on. Normal or not the fascinated her. They finished off two pizzas and Valerie decided it be best if she just went home and got some rest and talked more about the history and rules another day. Lucius and Eudora agreed that was best and assured her that once her transformation was done she wouldn’t feel so exhausted. She was glad to hear because she could barely keep her eyes open as they drove her home. She wasn’t sure how she was going to stay up long enough to satisfy her mother with details. The car came to a stop and Valerie awoke realizing she had dozed off in the back seat. They were stopped in front of her house. Alistar climbed out and walked her to the door he quickly kissed her cheek and walked back to the car. They were gone before she even had her front door open. Yawning as she opened the door she kicked her shoes off and made her way to the kitchen where her mother was waiting expectantly. When she rounded the corner her mother was practically bouncing in excitement. “Well how did it go? where did you go? Did you have fun? Are you going to see him again?” Valerie sighed and finally managed to slow her mother down. “It went great mom, I met his parents and we all decided to go out for pizza and yes I will be seeing him again. Don’t worry you will meet him eventually.” Before her mom could protest the eventually part Valerie kissed her mom’s cheek and told her she still had some work to do and hurried upstairs. She knew she wouldn’t be doing any work but she pulled the books onto her bed just in case her mom came up it would look like she fell asleep doing her work. She immediately fell asleep. That night she dreamt of the spirits. They spoke to her as if she wasn’t dreaming. They told her stories of the underworld and the history of Lucius the original reaper. None of this scared her after all it was no longer a nightmare it was now her life. When she awoke she still felt tired but nowhere near how she felt last night. She knew she had to get ready for school but she took five more minutes to just lay in bed. Chapter 7 Valerie finally managed to talk herself out of bed and got dressed she knew without a doubt Alistar would be waiting outside for her. She hurried up and got a cup of coffee yelled goodbye to her mother and ran out the door. Alistar was nowhere to be found but there was a note waiting for her on the porch. She quickly opened it up and began to read. Valerie, I must attend to some business out of town… Things are now set in place and I have some loose ends to tie up. I will be back to you as soon as I can. -Alistar Valerie found herself a bit disappointed that she didn’t know when Alistar would be back. She missed him as much as she didn’t want to admit it she really did. She walked to school her mood was sour. As she arrived she noticed Alistar’s parking space empty and that made her mood even more sour. She pouted all the way to her locker. As she opened the locker she noticed another letter which she quickly grabbed. Valerie, Eudora would like you to come by after school there are some things you yourself need to attend to. She will tell you everything you need to know about being a match. Also I miss you already. Funny how these feelings just came up out of nowhere… But now you know. I will see you soon. -Alistar Valerie couldn’t help but perk up at the last few sentences. So he missed her too! she was glad to know she wasn’t the only one suddenly feeling all of these deep emotions and feelings. She was also glad to have Eudora as her mentor. Eudora had a sweet motherly nature and her graceful demeanor was something Valerie looked up to. Valerie tucked the note back into her locker and made her way to class. Each class seemed to drone on forever. She had to admit she was downright bored. She noticed some of the students looked at her confused when they noticed Alistar was not sat at the table next to her but she paid them no mind. Lunch came and it was just as dreadful as class she made her way to her usual table and sat down. She fiddled with her food and finally decided to just pull out a book. Suddenly a girl’s voice was next her asking her questions. Valerie looked up realizing it was Amanda a sweet girl that was in her first period. They had never chatted much but that was more Valerie’s fault than anyone else's because she was the shy one. Valerie looked up at the girl and asked her to repeat herself. “I know you and Alistar are probably a pair since you two are always together but if by chance you're not a couple could you tell me where I can find him?” Valerie was a little dumbfounded she wasn’t sure how to answer that. Then she remembered the plan. Boyfriend and girlfriend graduate and become husband and wife. Valerie smiled sweetly while blushing. “Well he’s currently out of town to see his grandparents but yes we are a couple.” Valerie waited. Amanda was clearly embarrassed. “It’s ok Amanda you didn’t know!” Amanda looked at the floor and whispered an apology before she practically ran back to her table. Valerie went back to silently reading her book until the lunch period was over. The rest of the day went on normally. And when the last bell of the day rang Valerie couldn’t be out of there soon enough. She was excited to see Eudora especially since Alistar was not around. As she walked down the steps of the school she noticed a white Aston Martin and of course she knew it had to be Eudora, her ‘family’ was the only family in town that owned those kind of cars. She hurriedly walked to it and climbed in. She was greeted by Eudora’s warm smile. “Hello again! How was your day?” Valerie smiled back she didn’t want to tell Eudora just how boring her day was without Alistar. “It was okay same old same.” Eudora gave a knowing grin it was as if she could read Valerie’s mind. “Well I’m sure Alistar will be overly pleased that you missed him! He’s been driving me crazy all day!” Eudora couldn’t help but laugh at the thought and her laughing was contagious the two women began laughing together and they just couldn’t stop. Moments later they were back at the beautiful Victorian house. Valerie was happy to be here this time instead of being nervous like the first time. Eudora climbed out of the car and waved Valerie to the front door inviting her in. Valerie followed behind her and they both sat in the living room. She noticed Lucius was nowhere to be seen. “Is Lucius off today as well?” Valerie figured starting with small talk would be best. Eudora fiddled with her long hair as she spoke. “Yes he has gone with Alistar they had some loose ends to tie up, reaper business is all. Now I asked you here today because we need to go over your duties as a match and of course if you have any questions feel free to ask me.” she looked at Valerie expectantly. “Okay sounds great and thank you for helping me understand and learn all of this.” Eudora waved her hand as if to say no problem. “Well I won’t be able to tell you the history because I do not go as far back as Lucius does but I can tell you what is going to be expected of you. Now as a match your main role is to always stand beside the reaper. You will be his wife eventually and you will make him less suspicious to the humans. You must always follow out on his requests. And in turn he will protect you. You will now be seen as the queen of the underworld and you must act as so. You are royalty now. Lucius and I will be stepping down very soon. And it will be up to you two to rule underworld. We of course will help you but we will not be able to interfere with either of your duties.” Eudora took a moment of silence to think and let Valerie soak up the information. Valerie thought for a moment and decided she did have a few questions. “Will you teach me how to be royalty?” Eudora smiled. “Yes of course dear. We will have plenty of time to teach you how to help Alistar rule the underworld. We will you teach you how to be graceful and what is expected of you as queen. And of course being royal has its perks.” Eudora’s eyes glimmered as she looked past Valerie out the window at her car. For the first time Valerie noticed the jewels Eudora wore. They were beautiful. Blood red diamonds set in a gothic style chain hung from her neck. How fitting for the reaper’s match. The two women talked for a while longer and by the time they were done Valerie felt much better about her role as the queen of the underworld. As the sun fell Valerie decided it was time for her to go home and although Eudora offered to drive her she thought it best that she walk so she had some alone time to process all the information. She waved to Eudora as she left the house and began walking home. The thing that was front and center on her mind was how Eudora had told her about all the so called perks. How in the world was she going to explain the perks to her mother? Oh this really expensive car and the jewels are a gift from Alistar yea that would put her mom on freak out level. Valerie knew that when Alistar and Lucius came back it would be time for Alistar and herself to step up and take their reign over the underworld. She was still quite a bit nervous she knew that being a queen meant having to win over your people. She was in no way shape or form sure how to win over spirits. She wondered if she could do this and succeed or if she would fail. In the deepest part of her mind a part she wasn’t even aware of she knew that she somehow loved Alistar already and that he would not let her fail. Wow that was a scary thought… She already loved him. That night was like any other normal night well as normal as her nights have been lately. She and her mother shared a nice quiet dinner together. She could tell her mother had something on her mind but she was a little scared to ask. Her mother was overly observant. Finally, after a few more moments of silence her mother cleared her throat. “A package came to you today… Not thinking I opened it. It contains a very large very expensive looking diamond necklace. The name on the package was Alistar… Care to explain?” Valerie almost choked on her food what the hell was she supposed to say? “Alistar is the boy I have been seeing mother and his family hail great riches. I’m sure it was meant to be a nice gesture. And I’m sure that he being used to receiving expensive gifts and watching his father give his mother very expensive gifts didn’t think about it being over the top…” Valerie didn’t know what else to say. She just hoped her mother would believe her. “Well you should take a look at it but I must urge you to give it back to him its very early to be accepting gifts like that…” Valerie shook her head in agreement and her mother instantly softened back to her normal self. Her mother handed her the package. “By the way there is a note but I did not read it. It’s none of my business.” Valerie was thankful her mother didn’t cross the privacy line any further there was no telling what the note said. Valerie put the box beside her not paying it any mind the whole rest of dinner. When dinner was finished she helped her mother clean up and politely excused herself to her room. She felt like she couldn’t get there fast enough. She all but flew up the stairs and into her room. Once there she closed the door and sat at her desk. She stared at the box for a moment almost not being able to bring herself to look inside. Finally, she opened the box. There in a clear case was a blood red diamond necklace that looked almost exactly like Eudora’s. Why in the world did he think she needed this? She picked it up and set it aside picking up the note under it. The note read: My dearest Valerie, As Eudora said there are perks to being a match. This is your first perk. You may have noticed it resembles Eudora’s however yours is very different. Each match must have one. It signifies your royal ties as does the mark you now carry on your hands. To humans it is seen merely as a red diamond however to the spirits it shows the reaper’s crest and blood. You must always wear this it will keep you safe so that no one from the underworld can harm you. It will also keep you tied to me. I will be able to find you no matter where you may be just as long as you have it on. Please put it on immediately. -Alistar This was her first true test she must always follow the demands of the reaper. Well at least she could hide this perk under her shirt she thought. Doing as she was asked she clasped it around her neck. She sighed the weight was already annoying her why did the damn thing have to be so big? She decided to try and take her mind off of it by doing some work. The hours passed before she realized she had gone well past where she was supposed to stop. She checked the time and it was almost midnight. She had done all homework in all subjects and then finished her lessons for tomorrow in all the subjects without even realizing it. She sighed she knew everything was beginning to take its toll on her mind. She had to sleep but she felt wired once again. She turned the television on and stared at it without seeing. She had no idea how long she sat like that because the next thing she knew it was morning. She headed off to the bathroom still super groggy. She realized she hadn’t bothered looking in the mirror since her transformation. She slowly looked up and behold she was more beautiful than she had ever been as a mortal human. She wondered why only the spirits and people from the underworld could see her like this. Then she remembered her hands. She looked down…Her hands looked normal except for the blood red symbol. The red symbol was two red scythes crossed over an hourglass. She couldn’t help but giggle a little thinking of how she had always thought the scythe of the reaper was just an old wives tail. How very wrong she was. She couldn’t help but wonder what other tall tales of beasts and gods were true. She would have to ask Eudora next time they spoke. She hoped she wouldn’t forget she was very intrigued to see if more of the old wives’ tales were true. She got dressed as she thought about the possibilities of the hidden truths behind stories and by the time she was done getting dressed it was time for her to head out the door. She flew down the stairs grabbing a cup of coffee to go and yelled farewell to her mother. To her surprise Alistar was there waiting. She had the sudden urge to just run to him and embrace him. She blushed at the thought and instead walked up to him and gave him a peck on the cheek before she climbed into his car. She seemed to have caught him by surprise with her gesture which made her giggle a little. He smiled at her as he climbed into the car and he backed out of her driveway and headed to the school. After a few moments he spoke. “I hear you really enjoyed your chat with Eudora. She is very knowledgeable. Any questions you have she can answer. By the way I really missed you. Errr ummm… Where is your necklace?” He seemed to be a bit out of his element and she could tell he was nervous. Valerie smiled. “I missed you too very much. And yes I did enjoy speaking with her she has taught me a lot already. As for the necklace I have it on as you asked but I had to hide it my mother said it was too much and she did not want me to accept it. “As Valerie finished speaking she pulled the heavy diamond out from under her shirt. The square cut diamond hung from the chain catching the rays of sunlight it truly was beautiful. They pulled into the school a few minutes later and Valerie realized that people were really going to notice her with this huge diamond around her neck. Before she climbed out of the car she went to tuck it back into her shirt, but before she could Alistar stopped her. “You are now queen of the underworld you will have to get used to people looking at you no better place to start than here.” she sighed realizing Alistar was right. People were going to scrutinize her here and in the spirit world. She had to learn how to deal. Sure enough as they walked up the front steps of the school people turned and stared. All eyes were on her and as if the necklace wasn’t drawing enough attention on its own Alistar grabbed her hand. Valerie blushed slightly but smiled at Alistar she was glad to know he was by her side through all of this. They walked hand in hand until they arrived at her locker she gave him a quick peck on the cheek and told him she would see him in first period. She quickly turned to her locker to get out her supplies and to drop her bag. As she walked down the hallway to her first class she blushed the whole time feeling eyes all over her. She tried her best to just give a smile and keep walking but all of the staring made her so uncomfortable. Finally, she made it to the classroom door and all but threw herself inside. Go figure she was greeted with more stares. She quickly found her seat next to Alistar who gave her a warm apologetic smile. She rolled her eyes and smiled at him as she sat down. Before she knew it Amanda tapped her on the shoulder. Amanda’s words came out in a rush. “I’m so sorry about the other day I had no idea you guys were THAT serious!” Valerie smiled she knew Amanda was meaning because of the diamond. “It’s okay really no big deal you had no idea!” Valerie gave her a warm smile and turned back to the front of the class. Of course everyone was staring at her neck. They all hurried to turn around like they had just been caught stealing from a grocery store. The day went on like this, people would stare and she would just smile and try to ignore it. She hoped that after today it wouldn’t be so bad. She was glad it was finally lunch time she figured by now people would be way to worried about eating to bother staring at her. She made her way to her usual table but Alistar was not there to her surprise. She sat down hoping he was just stuck in the crowd or got held up in a class but after a few moments everyone was sitting down and he was still nowhere to be found. She was just starting to worry when Eudora strode into the cafe and of course all eyes were on her. She was after all stunning. She smiled when she saw Valerie and came to her table. She sat long enough to say hello and to hand Valerie a package. Valerie smiled and waved goodbye as Eudora left just as quickly as she had come in. God she wished she had the ability to be that fearless and graceful when walking into a room with all eyes on her. She snapped out of her thoughts and grabbed the package. Once again all eyes on her. She was starting to wonder why Alistar loved leaving packages so much. She opened it slowly not knowing what to expect. A letter and a black box were the contents. She decided to read the letter first. My dearest Valerie, I must go and handle one last thing with Lucius I will stop by tonight. Enjoy the perk! -Alistar Valerie was even more worried what perk could he possibly need to give her now? She dreaded the little black box already. She opened it with her eyes closed. When she finally opened her eyes she felt sick. Car keys… And not just any car keys but Aston Martin car keys. Great how was she going to explain a car to her mother?! The whole rest of the day she tried and tried to figure out a way to tell her mother. She knew no matter what she told her she would still flip out. She could picture it now. Her mother was already unsettled enough about the diamond necklace. The last bell rang and Valerie made her way out the front doors and there in the spot next to Alistar’s sat a black and red Aston Martin with a huge red bow on it. Great… Way to keep it low key she thought. She walked to the car and got in. People were stopping to stare at her with their mouths practically on the ground. Carefully she backed out of the space and headed home dreading the storm she knew her mother would bring. She slowed and pulled into the driveway. She sat there for a moment with the car on. God this was going to end so badly. Chapter 8 Valerie turned the car off the purring of the engine dying instantly. She slowly climbed out knowing her mother had to be looking out the window to see who was in the driveway. She tried to avoid looking at the window and acted like this was perfectly normal. She took a steadying breath as she opened the door. Her mother stood directly on the other side of the door, her arms were crossed and her face showed both confusion and a touch of anger. she tapped her fingers waiting for an explanation. Valerie took a deep breath and stood tall. “Before you freak out mother there is nothing I can do I tried to return the necklace but he said it was his mother’s and she would have been offended if I gave it back. And then today his mother personally dropped the car off and told me it was a gift from Alistar. I can’t just throw his gift back in his face especially when he went through asking his mother to personally drop it off to me. What was I supposed to do? I really like your son but no? It would offend them both.” Her mother chewed on the explanation for a moment before speaking. “You are seventeen and have only known this boy a short time yet he thinks it's acceptable to spend all this money on a new car and jewelry? What is really going on between the two of you Valerie?” Valerie wasn’t sure her mother would be so easily convinced that they were just boyfriend and girlfriend. “Mom he is my boyfriend that is it. He doesn’t understand that his gifts are over the top because money is not a problem for him that's the only reason he would give me such expensive gifts. Now I have done nothing wrong so can I please go upstairs and do my work?” Her mother looked away defeated. “Fine but you will bring this overly generous boy over for dinner this weekend. Understand?” Valerie couldn’t believe she had won the fight so easily. “Sure mom I’ll let him know. That night she finished her work in record time. She just wanted to be done with it so she could finally relax. As she laid across her bed she noticed Alistar’s dark figure appear right before her. She knew her mother was in bed and if she did come in he could easily disappear. She sighed relieved he was back. “How do you like your car?” Valerie chuckled. “I thought my mom was going to explode but I just told her that you wouldn’t take it back even if I tried and it would just offend you so she gave up. By the way you are coming to dinner this weekend to meet her. per her order.” Alistar grinned “Ahhh… I must meet my mother in law already… should be interesting!” He began to grin again which made Valerie giggle. She wasn’t sure what is was about him but she was drawn to him. Alistar slowly put his hand on her cheek. “You are beautiful… You know that right?” Valerie blushed but relished in the warmth of his touch. “Thank you and you know that I’m glad you're here with me right?” They both smiled. She suddenly felt exhausted. She told Alistar she was ready to call it a night. He let her lay down and covered her while kissing her cheek and then he vanished. Valerie fell into a dreamless sleep. The sun peeked out behind the clouds and woke Valerie. She knew it was Saturday and she had no intention of getting up. However just as she rolled over there was a knock at her bedroom door. she sighed. “Come in mom.” Her mother opened the door and sat on the bed with a box in her hand. Valerie almost shot upright in her bed. Oh no not another gift. She looked at her mother with a questioning look. Her mother smiled and handed it to her. “I know with all the extravagant gifts you have received lately this won’t seem like much but I would feel much better if you had it so go on and open it up.” Valerie smiled at her mom before tearing the package open. Inside was a pink iPhone. “Thank you so much mom! I love it!” Valerie hugged her mom and looked back at her new phone. She was so excited. Valerie laid in bed setting up her new phone, she put her mother in her contacts of course but she then realized she had no one else to put on her list. She wasn’t sure if Alistar even had a phone now that she thought about it she had never even seen him use one or carry one around before. She would have to ask him about that later when she saw him. After lying in bed a while longer she decided to get dressed and go to the market and pick up what she needed for dinner tonight. As she walked outside she realized she didn’t have to walk, after all she had a car now. She smiled a little at the thought of it being hers as she climbed in and started the engine. The sleek car came to life purring underneath her, she decided she could get used to this. As she drove to the market she thought about Alistar she was really beginning to fall for him and she didn’t understand how these feelings were manifesting so quickly. She still had some much to learn about him as a person and as the reaper. She had never been in a relationship before and she really didn’t know how to go about showing her feelings or how a couple was supposed to be. She knew in many aspects it would be much different for the two of them but she still hoped that their love would grow and flourish like any other couples. She was so in her head she almost missed the market completely and at the last minute she screeched to a stop. The tires screeched and the car came to an immediate stop right in front of the market. She blushed behind the windshield as people on the sidewalks turned to see what the commotion was all about. She tried her best to ignore them as she parked and hurried into the market. Valerie grabbed everything she thought she would need for tonight and hurried to the register where Mrs. Keeble stood with a smile on her face. “Hello Valerie... New car?” Valerie blushed. Oh great now she was going to have to try to explain the car to Mrs. Keeble. “Yes, still trying to get used to it!” Mrs. Keeble smiled but said no more except to tell Valerie her total and wish her a good day. She knew it seemed a little off for her not to talk more but she didn’t over think it too much and went on her way. Chapter 9 Valerie spent most of the day preparing for Alistar to come over. She was a ball of nerves since she woke up. She didn’t know how her mother was going to act and what kind of ludicrous questions she would ask. She knew her mother was very skeptical already thanks to the expensive “gifts” that had been given to her. She tried to push the bad out of her mind as she set to preparing the meal. She wanted this dinner to be good especially since it would be the first time Alistar had eaten her food. She found herself getting excited about this. She knew she was a good cook and she knew he would enjoy dinner. Underworld queen or not she would still like to be able to cook for her man. Her mother had always joked saying food was the way to win a man’s heart and she was sure that if that was true she had already won. Time trickled by rather quickly as she cooked, her mother arrived home and greeted her and went to change for dinner. Surprisingly her mother seemed a little excited about the dinner herself. Alistar was very punctual, he arrived at exactly six o'clock on the dot. Valerie had all but raced to the door when she heard the knock that announced his arrival. She swung the door open smiled and gave him a kiss on the cheek and welcomed him in. Valerie led him hand in hand to the living room where her mother was sat with a book. Mrs. Brooks set the book aside standing up thrust out her hand. “Hello Alistar, I’m Mrs. Brooks welcome to our home, please take a seat. Alistar took her hand in both of his and gave her his most genuine smile. “Thank you Mrs. Brooks it's very nice to meet you, you have a very lovely home. The three took to their seats and an awkward silence crept through the room. Valerie not being able to stand it finally spoke up. “So mom what would you like to know about Alistar?” Mrs. Brooks blushed at being put on the spot by her daughter. “Well I guess I will just ask and get it out of the way...What are your intentions with my daughter?” Valerie rolled her eyes… Her mother sure knew how to play mom and dad. Alistar didn’t miss a beat. “Well Mrs. Brooks I do like your daughter very much, my intentions are to court her as a gentleman should and see where it goes.” He smiled as he took Valerie’s hand in his. Valerie looked from him to her mother and she couldn’t help but notice her mother soften at his words. Damn he was good. “Well I can say I am happy that you have values and morals bestowed to you, your parents must be very proud.” Alistar gave a smile to Mrs. Brooks and graciously thanked her for her kind words as they all filed into the dining room to eat. Dinner was pleasant, Valerie’s homemade pot pie was a hit and her mother seemed to like Alistar very much. She finally felt like she could breathe again. They all finished up their dinner and Valerie and Alistar began to clear the plates, her mother decided it was best to take her leave and let the two of them have a moment. She was fully decided by the end of the meal that Valerie had picked a good hearted boy who seemed to have a good head on his shoulders, even if he did give out gifts that were a bit over the top. She could hear the two kids laughing in the kitchen as she made it to the living room and she couldn’t resist the smile that played on her lips. Alistar splashed the bubbles in the sink at Valerie and she couldn’t help but giggle, she liked this side of him. He actually seemed like any other normal guy for the moment. Valerie playfully splashed him back and to her surprise he grabbed her at the same time and pulled her close. He searched her eyes for a moment and it seemed he had lost himself in them, he swiftly shook his head smiling and kissed her deeply. The two of them were lost in each other. They were both going through so many emotions that when they finally parted they both just stood there staring at each other. Valerie blushed and turned back to the task of washing the dishes. Alistar cleared his throat then whispered. “I know what you feel, I’m feeling it too.” She couldn’t help but be startled by this. How could love happen so fast? She still had so much to learn about him. Valerie smiled sweetly and asked that he take his leave so she could think all of these new emotions over. Before he left she remembered to ask him if he had a phone. Alistar smiled and took his phone out of his pocket. They exchanged numbers and said their goodbyes. Valerie caught him right before he got into the car and ask that he pass her number along to Eudora which he happily agreed to and then he got in his car and he was gone. Valerie sat staring for a moment after he was gone. She knew love was spontaneous but was this really love or just because she was his match? She wasn’t sure but she fully intended to ask Eudora. She sighed and decided to go inside, she hoped her mother wouldn’t notice her retiring to her room so quickly she just wanted to be alone. Valerie slipped in the door and up to her room without a word from her mother, she must have been really into her book. Valerie laid across the bed alternating from elated to upset. She couldn’t help but over analyze the situation she hated the way her mind worked sometimes. Suddenly her phone buzzed and she had a text message. *Hello my dear Alistar passed your number along* Valerie smiled she knew if anyone could explain it would be Eudora. *Hello Eudora… Can I ask you a question? * Seconds felt like hours but finally her phone buzzed. *Of course my dear, ask away. * Valerie’s fingers tapped at the phone as if her life depended on it. *Are my feelings for Alistar my own or because I am his match?” Valerie kept her fingers crossed the whole time she waited. *They are your own my dear love cannot be manipulated not even for the reaper himself* Valerie could have jumped for joy. Real love. She was so happy she squealed. *Thank you Thank You Thank you!!!* Valerie couldn’t wait to see Alistar again now that she knew these feelings were all her own. She knew now that she could handle whatever the underworld had in store for her just as long as he was the one by her side. She would have life no other way. Valerie texted Alistar saying she would meet him tomorrow at the lake to which he was more than happy about. He had admitted that she had him a little worried when she sent him off so quickly after their first kiss. She knew it had bothered him she could tell when he left but she couldn’t help the way she felt. She had never felt any emotions like this before and quite frankly it scared the hell out of her. Once the plans were made she crawled into bed, exhausted from cooking and worrying all day she was more than ready to sleep. Sleep found her easily but with the sleep came many dreams. She dreamt of her school and how Alistar and herself would walk hand in hand everywhere they were the talk of the school. Then the dream shifted they were standing together at an altar she was fully dressed in white and then just as quickly as her dream had begun it seemed it was over. Morning came quicker than she had thought possible she still felt exhausted. The only thing that got her out of bed was the thought of Alistar and the smell of coffee. Valerie decided that she would take a drive before meeting with Alistar, she was reeling from the reality of her dream and she knew being alone would help. Her mother still wasn’t happy about the expensive gifts but she did admit that she was glad Valerie now had a car so that she could have some freedom. Valerie climbed out of bed excited to get behind the wheel of her car and see where it took her. She had never been able to have this type of freedom before; she was stuck in her room if she wanted some alone time in her head. Sometimes her room just seemed way to crowded to think. She ran downstairs grabbing some coffee and going back to her room to get ready. In her room, she began the task of finding something to wear, she was just pulling out her brown boots to go with her white tee and her blue jeans when she heard her phone go off. Alistar had sent a sweet good morning text that had her smiling like a total goof. She realized how ridiculous she probably looked and shook the smile of her face. The two texted back and forth for a moment before she decided to tell him she was going to go for a quiet drive. Surprisingly he seemed disappointed but she assured him that she would be back in time to meet him at the lake. With the last overly cute text message they said goodbye and she was off to her car. Once behind the wheel she ran her hands over the cool leather steering wheel smiling to herself a little. She was really starting to love this car. She was off and down the road in no time at all she knew people were starting to stare now that they realized it was her driving. She didn’t care the least little bit. The car took her cares away leaving them like dust on the black top. The car was soon gliding across the road at over ninety miles per hour before she even realized it. She almost had a heart attack when she noticed and quickly slowed down. A few moments later she was back down to the posted speed limit. Suddenly she began laughing harder than she had ever laughed before. She was immortal and yet she was worried about her speed! She knew she could tell no one not even Eudora; she would never live that one down. The miles slipped away under her tires she didn’t stop until the gas light came on. She finally pulled over at a little hole in the wall gas station and went inside to pay. As she walked up to the counter she noticed the strange look the man behind the counter was giving her. She had just chalked it up to the fact that she was very young to be driving a car that expensive when the man asked to look at her hands. Not thinking anything of it she put her hand out after all humans couldn’t see the mark. The man jumped back mumbling to himself. She didn’t understand until she heard the man finally say “You're the match!” Valerie was starting to get frightened… How in the world did he see the mark?! Valerie shook her hands as if to say she was harmless and pleaded that the man just take the money so she could be on her way. The man finally starting to calm did as she wished and apologized to her more than a handful of times. She thanked him and hurried outside, she was really starting to freak. She pumped her gas just as fast as it would go and she hopped back into the car and sped off. The more distance she put between herself and the strange man the better she felt. She knew she would have to tell Alistar about the encounter. As she neared the town line she felt herself finally relax, she knew Alistar would be able to give her an explanation and ease her mind. She sped past the town and made her way to the lake. She hoped like hell Alistar would already be there. As she pulled into the recreational parking lot she noticed his car was nowhere to be seen. She sighed and parked, just as she was pulling her cell out he materialized in the passenger seat scaring the living crap out of her. “Jesus! You could have given me a heart attack! Where's your car?” Alistar chuckled at her reaction. “Sorry. Really, you're going to have to get used to that! And it's at home I don’t use it unless I really have to...You know for appearances.” He was right she had to get used to all this. Valerie smiled but he could tell something was really bothering her. He looked at her inquisitively and she decided she should just go on and tell him. “Alistar, something very strange happened while I was out on my drive…” Alistar was immediately alert, his razor sharp jaw set in concentration. “I stopped to get gas at some random little store in the middle of nowhere and the cashier saw the mark…. He began freaking out saying you're the match you're the match. I thought humans couldn’t see the mark?” Alistar looked away for a moment as if he was searching for an answer. finally, he looked to her. “Take me there. Now. I will get to the bottom of this. “She knew there was no use in trying to reason with him the authority in his voice was strong even overwhelming to her. She shook her head and reversed back the way she had come. She once again sped past the little town and within moments she was speeding down the empty road again. They drove for what seemed like forever, funny it had only seemed like a few minutes to her earlier. Alistar watched her closely as she drove the look on his face stone like. He was watching her as if he looked away she may disappear. She shifted slightly uncomfortable at all the attention and luckily he sensed it and decided just putting his hand on her leg would suffice. The two stayed silent for another hour. Finally, the building came up on the horizon and she looked over at him. He nodded. “I want you to walk in as you did earlier and get something to drink while I speak with the cashier and find out who he is.” She nodded knowing once again there was no use putting up a fuss. She pulled into the little station as she had done before and realized once again she needed gas. Hopefully Alistar didn’t terrify the man so much that he refused them service. They both looked at each other, nodded, and climbed out of the car. Valerie had to admit Alistar looked pretty hot when he was so serious. He was a man on a mission. The two walked into the store and Valerie split up from him, she briefly looked at the cashier and noticed the fear in his eyes. She quickly looked away and went on her way to grab some sodas and snacks. She couldn’t make out what the man or Alistar were saying but she could guess the man had plenty of explaining to do. A moment later Alistar called Valerie to the counter. Without a word he took the snacks from her the cashier obviously shaken by the conversation scanned and wrung them out. Alistar quickly grabbed everything and Valerie at once and pulled her back outside. He didn’t say a word as he opened the passenger door for her and then handed her the snacks and closed the door. He quickly pumped the gas and climbed in the car. Once again they were off speeding back to town. Valerie couldn’t take it anymore when he stayed quiet. “Well? Who is he? How can he see it?” Alistar shifted uneasily. “He is human but not like normal humans… He sees because he believes. He sees because he has made a deal with Lucius. He is in no way a threat but still a very annoying loose end.” The two sat in silence once again. Alistar took her hand and kissed the top of it. Valerie could feel the heat rush to her cheeks. She still didn’t understand how all this work and she wanted to know more. Alistar seemed to be lost deep in his thoughts the whole way home. When they finally got back into town he decided it would be best if he stopped at his house and let her drive home from there. He had to talk to Lucius about this man. If he was taking the underworld he needed to know just what he was getting into. More or less who was off limits. He promised he would call as soon as he knew more, after all this was her life now too. She kissed him deeply before she got in and drove home. It seemed like hours had passed since she had gotten home. She laid in bed wondering how long she was going to have to wait. Suddenly he was next to her in bed. She jumped a bit but she was finally starting to get used to his Houdini act. She snuggled into him like it was routine and found she fit perfectly against his warm body. She felt so safe and comfortable with him. He ran his fingers slowly down her cheek. He seemed to study her eyes as if he was looking into her soul. Valerie felt the sudden desire to kiss him. Passionately. She grabbed his head pulling his lips to hers. Their eyes closed as they shared a moment of red hot passion. The seconds turned to minutes which turned into an hour. The two finally pried themselves apart so that they could catch their breath. Valerie couldn’t help but blush, she had no idea what had come over her. The smoldering look in Alistar’s eyes was driving her crazy. She knew that if he kept that up she would never be able to stop kissing him. She sighed suddenly exhausted. Soon came the yawn. Valerie frowned knowing that meant Alistar would soon be leaving so that she could rest. She tried to hide her displeasure, but Alistar noticed everything. In one swift move he held her chin pulling her attention to him. “Don’t fret my love, I’ll stay until you fall asleep. He smiled sweetly and nodded, motioning her to lay her head down. She did as he said and laid back as he wrapped his arms around her, she instantly felt herself relax. Soon she was drifting off to sleep. The sound of his heartbeat beneath her head like a lullaby coaxing her into a deeper sleep. She dreamt that night of the underworld. She had only seen a glimpse at her initiation and she wasn’t sure if it was any different than what she had seen. In the dream she looked out from a dark stone castle she saw far and wide. Homes and places she wasn’t quite sure what they were loomed in the distance. All was dark and gloomy. The skies seemed a smoky gray as did much of everything else in the setting. The spirits being the only bright light. No people no creatures just the spirits. She looked all around her before she turned back into the castle. There she stood in a bedroom. Like the rest of the setting the bedroom had a dark look to it. Everything was black grey or red. Somehow she felt comfortable in the room though. The dream then took a turn. She was faced with the spirits once again. They spoke to her as their ruler. She was of the highest authority to them besides Alistar himself. She began to notice Alistar was nowhere in the dreams though. She began to freak out a little. She had no idea how to be a ruler to the underworld that was supposed to be Alistar’s job. What in the hell was she supposed to do? Soon she was in an all-out panic which resulted in her jolting upright in her bed. Beads of sweat covered her brow. She quickly searched the bed but Alistar was gone just as he said he would be. Sighing she got out of bed and decided to shower the cold sweat off of her and then she would try to go back to bed. She thought about her dream as she got into the shower. The dream was right she had no idea how to be a ruler and she knew that she had to learn because there would be times Alistar would be taking care of other things and she would be the next in command. She realized she was starting to wig out a little again and had to take a couple deep breaths to calm herself back down. She decided it was best not to think about the dream anymore so instead she thought about talking to Eudora more and learning more about her duties. She knew Eudora would be the best person to talk to. She decided she would get in touch with her in the morning to see if she would began teaching her. And soon. Valerie had finally managed to go back to sleep around two in the morning. She dreamt anymore thankfully. However, her alarm began to buzz way to early. She felt as if she had about thirty minutes of sleep. She sighed heavily as she drug herself out from under her warm covers. She began her morning routine of having some coffee and getting ready for school. After about forty-five minutes she was ready and walking out the door. This morning Alistar was nowhere to be found. She kind of wished she didn’t have the car she liked riding with him to school. Chapter 10 Valerie pulled into the school and she just happened to be in luck the parking space next to Alistar’s was open. She quickly pulled in. If that didn’t draw attention to them being a couple she didn’t know what would. She quickly grabbed her back and got out as she walked around the back end of the car. She just happened to look down and noticed the license plate read “hers”, wow she had never even noticed that before. She chuckled and walked to Alistar’s car and sure enough upon her inspection the license plate said “his”. She couldn’t help but laugh. Alistar had just came to her side when she had started laughing and gave her a concerned and confused look. She quickly reeled herself in and cleared her throat. “Little cheesy for the reaper don’t you think?” she began to chuckle again and winked at him. He began laughing to. “Well I have to look as normal as possible!” The two finished laughing and she quickly grabbed his hand pulling him forward to the school. “Come on Mr. Romantic!” The two happily walked hand in hand into the school. Heads began to turn as soon as they walked through the heavy metal doors. Some people smiled and some looked in shock. Others, the girls mostly looked onward at the two with a jealous glare. Valerie couldn’t help but blush, she was never much for attention. Alistar led her past the gawking crowd and to her locker. She paused for a second wondering what would happen next. Before she could think too much about it he swiftly kissed her lips and then her hand. “I’ll see you in class beautiful.” And without another word he walked off leaving her in a jumbled mess of butterflies and happiness. God he sure knew how to turn her to mush. Valerie finally got ahold of herself and grabbed what she needed in her locker and made her way to class. She noticed everyone still staring and whispering. She hated this most about attention, good or bad people would whisper. She tried not to think about it and instead thought happy things like how she would be right next to Alistar again in just moments. She began to wonder how he had become such an anchor for her. His presence alone seemed to calm all of her worries all of the emotions she had running through her head seemed to calm down. She walked into the class, once again she was center of attention. She quickly went to take her normal seat but of course they staring eyes followed. She sat uneasily and looked at Alistar. As if he could sense her discomfort he turned to look at each and every person. Clearly they were a bit embarrassed and some even seemed quite rattled by the look. Valerie wasn’t sure what exactly they saw but she was sure it probably showed the pits of hell. She didn’t care she was just glad they had stopped. The class went on as normal and she was just as at ease as she had always been. Lunch finally came and Valerie couldn’t wait to see Alistar. She hurried and got her tray filled and made her way to the table. As she passed through a crowd she noticed the table was empty. She knew this meant he had other matters to attend to. She sat down sighing to herself. What a great lunch. Just as she began to eat something caught her eye. She looked up and sure enough a man was approaching with an over-sized bouquet of roses. She looked down as quickly as she could hoping the man would pass her by so she didn’t have to face more people staring at her. Of course the man stopped right in front of her asked if she was Valerie and quickly handed her the roses and a card, and walked off. She didn’t dare look up so instead she opened the card. The card read: My love, I had to leave to handle a few things. So sorry you had to eat lunch alone! Please forgive me I will be with you again soon. -Alistar She tucked the card back in its envelope carefully and got up to dump her tray. She had decided it was best to leave early, after all she couldn’t carry the roses around with her all day. She plucked them off the table and made her way to the front office to let them know she was leaving. She quickly walked into the office and explained that she needed to get home so that her roses didn’t ruin. They began to tell her that roses were not a reason to leave school but when she showed them just how big the bouquet was they agreed her taking it home was best. They didn’t need them to distract everyone and they definitely screamed distraction. She hurried to the car, the flowers were beginning to get heavy she carefully put them in the back seat before climbing in herself. Once in the car she decided to text Alistar. After a quick thank you she drove home. Once she was home she took to the task of putting the lovely roses in a vase and once that was done she realized she had no idea what to do with herself for the rest of the day. She laid across her bed in a depressed heap. Her mind began to wonder to Alistar she was daydreaming of his strikingly handsome face. She wanted so bad to run her fingers down his jawline. She wanted to touch his lips and run her fingers through his thick black hair. New feelings she had never felt rushed through her as she thought of him. She knew she was lusting for him and although she felt she should be embarrassed she wasn’t. She was lusting after the love of her life and there was no reason to be ashamed of it. She let her mind began to drift again. She wondered what his body looked like. She wanted so bad to be able to picture what was under his shirt. Before she realized she had dozed off lost in thoughts of Alistar. She suddenly awoke to the feeling of a warm hand against her cheek. She opened her eyes blinking a few times and adjusting to the light that shone through the window. It was still day, she wondered how long she had been sleeping. More important she wondered how long he had been here. She looked up at him a slight blush rising to her cheeks. Alistar gave a boyish grin. “Hello my love, might I say you are quite beautiful while sleeping.” Valerie smiled but she was still just as red as could be. “How long have you been here?” Alistar’s eyes twinkled as if he was caught. “Well about an hour I would say… I couldn’t wake you, you looked to peaceful. Valerie stretched and wiggled trying to wake her body up from its cat nap. “What time is it?” She slightly sat up and stretched some more. “It’s about three and your mom will be home any minute so I am going to go but I would like to come over later okay?” Valerie gave a frown; she was disappointed after all he had just gotten here. “Okay. Just call me. And Alistar?” She bit her lip as if preparing herself to make a speech. Alistar looked at her expectantly. “I... I love you.” She had finally got it out and she felt so liberated. Alistar seemed shocked but he quickly recovered.” Well my dear, I love you too.” He kissed her forehead and then her lips before disappearing. Valerie quickly cleaned her room and went down to meet her mother. They decided they would order dinner and the three of them could watch a movie. Valerie couldn’t help but feel free now that her mother knew Alistar and even better she actually like him. She couldn’t have asked for a better turn out. In fact, her mother liked Alistar so well that she often asked when he would be free to have dinner again so when Valerie told her he wanted to come by tonight her mother had all but let her finish before getting giddy and agreeing it was a great idea. The two of them got the living room ready for dinner and a movie by pulling out the coffee table and getting the big floor pillows, then they got out the silverware and plates and napkins. Now they waited for the food and Alistar to show up. Valerie’s mother began to notice just how anxious Valerie was getting. “Honey calm down he will be here any minute and you saw him just a few hours ago. My goodness you would think you hadn’t seen him in years!” Her mother began to giggle and of course Valerie couldn’t help but join in. Just as they stopped laughing there was a knock at the door and Valerie quickly got up to let Alistar in not being able to wait a moment longer. She swung the door open but to her dismay Alistar was not there, it was just the food. She paid the man and shut the door and walked back to the living room setting the food down. Alistar was never late what was going on? Suddenly her phone rang and his name popped up. She motioned to her mother it was him and she would be right back. She quickly answered and stepped into the kitchen. “Hello? Where are you?” Alistar seemed upset. “You know I would never blow you off but I have an issue I have to attend to in the underworld. I cannot ignore this one. I am so sorry please please forgive me!” Valerie cleared her throat being careful of what she said, she knew her mother would be listening. “No it’s ok don’t worry! You have to go and I wouldn’t expect you to not go! Give Eudora my best.” She knew she could chalk it up to Eudora being ill. Alistar must have caught on because he quickly apologized again said I love you and then he was gone. Valerie sighed. She knew this was part of being with him but it didn’t make it suck any less. She squared her shoulders and prepared to go in and tell her mother that he wouldn’t be coming. “He cannot make it tonight mom, he sends his apologies but as I told him there is no need. His mother has come down with something and his father is not home so he was worried about leaving her alone in case she needed help.” Valerie gave a saddened look to really bring the tall tale to life. Valerie’s mother quickly shook her disappointment and patted the cushion next to her. “Well he is a very good son to want to stay and watch over his mother. I do wish he could have come but I am glad he stayed. Now let's not be upset, things happen! Let's just have a girl’s night. What do you say?” Valerie couldn’t help but hug her mom, she always knew how to make her feel better. The two ate and watched the movie then at some more. They were both more than ready for bed by the time the movie was over. They quickly cleaned up and both went to bed for the night. Once again Valerie felt a warm heat next to her in bed and she instantly felt better. She snuggled closer into Alistar feeling his chest move up and down next to her head. She suddenly couldn’t fight the urge to run her fingers up his stomach and chest. As easily as she could she slid her hand up his shirt. His soft skin under her fingers led to soft hair across his chest. His body was hard and muscular. She never had liked the muscular type but Alistar was driving her wild. Her hand rested on his chest, her fingers lightly making circles. He let out a small sigh as if he was enjoying it just as much as she was. Suddenly in the darkness his lips found hers and she was met with a hot passionate kiss. His hand in her messy hair pulling her head in closer to his. Her hand slipping up his shoulder holding onto him as if she needed him for support. The two kissed passionately for what could have been hours. By the time they parted they both had lost their breath. She looked into the darkness wishing she could see his face. “I love you Alistar.” Alistar took a deep breath and in a rugged voice told her he loved her too. The two began to kiss again the kiss more passionate and hot than the one before. They were hungry for each other. As they kissed their hands explored each other’s bodies. His strong hands touched every inch of her soft body. She had never wanted someone in this way but she knew if they didn’t stop soon she would be giving up her virginity and she just wasn’t ready to do that yet. She kissed him a while longer before she finally broke away. She was feeling overly shy about what she was about to tell him but she took a deep breath and decided it was best. “I’m sorry but there's something you need to know… I’m a virgin and yes I love you but I’m just not ready to give that up yet.” She looked away from him quickly, feeling nervous. Alistar rubbed her cheek as he spoke. “My love I am glad you told me and I do not expect you to do so until you are fully ready, don’t be nervous or upset this is your body and your choice. She couldn’t help but smile, she really was lucky to have him. Even if he was the reaper. It was so easy to forget his darkness when he was with her. She snuggled into him taking in his scent. He smelled slightly of cologne but more than anything he had a manly smell. She loved it. With him being so warm against her and the rhythmic breaths he took put her right back to sleep. That night she dreamt of the castle again she was looking over the underworld from her post on the balcony. She couldn’t figure out why she was always here in her dreams she wanted to know what it meant. Valerie sent Eudora a text asking to speak with her later in the day. She pulled into the school parking lot and just as she did every other day made her way to her first class. The day seemed to drone on even though Alistar was there with her, she was just ready to put these dreams into perspective. Alistar could tell there was something on her mind but he knew that if she wanted to discuss it she would on her own time. Instead of prying he tried to just be kind to her needs and sat with her in silence. Even if it did bother him. Valerie knew she wasn’t being very sociable but she just had so much on her mind she couldn’t help but let her mind wonder. She finally managed to pull her mind away from the dream at lunch. She quickly apologized and assured Alistar that it was just a dream that had her so off her hinges. She told him she planned to talk to Eudora about it and that she would explain better once she knew more herself. Once again Alistar was supportive and agreed it was best she talk to Eudora about whatever was eating her. The two parted after lunch and decided they would meet later to talk once she had spoken to Eudora. Before school ended Eudora had sent a message to Valerie letting her know to meet her on the outskirts of town. Valerie shot out of the school like a rocket she stopped long enough to give Alistar a quick kiss before she headed off to meet Eudora. Valerie thought about the dream the whole ride over. She didn’t want to seem silly for asking Eudora about her dreams but she didn’t know who else to ask. After all Eudora is the only other person that has been in her situation. As she got closer to the edge of town she couldn’t shake the feeling that she was being silly and just over reacting. She felt a sinking in her stomach, what would Eudora think of her for asking her all the way out here and all over some dream. She hoped Eudora wouldn’t be upset with her for bringing her all the way out of town. It was too late to turn back so Valerie decided to just suck it up and ask away. Moments after her inner battle was over she had arrived to the edge of town. There Eudora leaned against her sleek car, waiting, Valerie had to admit Eudora’s beauty was almost intimidating. Her long hair and even longer legs were to die for. She was dressed to impress as usual. She wore only the best clothes per her matches request. Valerie pulled off and cut the engine and she quickly climbed out of the car. “I’m sorry to pull you all the way out here on such short notice.” Eudora waved her hand in the air and smiled. “My dear, you can call on me anytime. Now come tell me what is bothering you.” Valerie followed Eudora to the park bench that was nearby. She took a deep breath and calmed her nerves. “I know this may sound silly… I have been having a recurring dream almost every night. I’m standing on a balcony overlooking this dark desolate land. Everything is dark the sky, the town below, even the castle. There no people just spirits in the air. I watch for a while then I walk into the castle and then I wake up…. I guess what I’m asking is… What would that even mean?” Eudora thought for a moment her mind searching. “My dear, the castle you speak of is the castle of the underworld. You dream of it because it is a part of you. It is your home. Although there are many people and creatures in the town. Not only spirits live in the underworld, so that part I’m a bit confused on. However, it may just be the spirits relaying the message to you that this is your home and that they are trying to welcome you with open arms. I had similar dreams when I accepted my fate. Valerie felt unbelievably relieved. She couldn’t help herself. She hugged Eudora and thanked her for listening and meeting with her. She admitted she felt silly but Eudora insisted that she had no reason to feel silly. Eudora confided that she wished she had someone she could have talked to when she first became the queen of the underworld. The two hugged one last time before going their separate ways.


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