Zade knew what he was doing, and he wasn’t saving Vesta. She had tried to hurt Annabelle, and in turn, Annabelle was forced to do something she wouldn’t have done if the situation had been different. Zade didn’t want Annabelle to suffer with the thought that she murdered a living being, even if it was in self-defense. He didn’t want to let her know that Vesta was teetering on the edge of death, but he promised her the truth from then on and only the truth; nothing more and nothing less than that.
As the witch lay still and unmoving in his arms, he almost felt a pang of sorrow for her. If she hadn’t been so obsessed with the thought that Zade would join her ‘side’, he thought they might’ve been good friends in time. But she was a witch, a conniving, cruel creature. Witches didn’t have acquaintances, and for good reason. Anger a witch and one might find themselves with a tail and fleas. Sadden a witch and one might find themselves endlessly cursed until the end of eternity. No witch understood how to be content, happy, or joyous—not unless their potions worked or their revenge was achieved.
Zade brought her out of town, lingering stealthily in the shadows of buildings and dark alleys to avoid being seen. He wandered deep into the woods, where he crept out once or twice to transform on full moon nights. With one look at Vesta’s face, he dropped her on the ground. In his pants pocket were some gauze bandages and medical tape, which he regretfully removed and tended to Vesta’s wound. And in his other pocket was a small notepad and a pen, which he had snuck into his possession as he left the condo. He took these out as well and began to write on the small lined paper.
If by some cruel twist of fate you wake up and read this, be assured that if I ever see you again, I won’t hesitate to kill you right then and there, wherever that may be.
I’m never joining your side—especially not in a war that doesn’t even exist.
His script stained the paper and he casually ripped it from the notepad, taping it to her chest. Zade paused for a moment, and thinking of all of the vile things she had done to him and Annabelle, he spat on her body. His saliva sizzled against her skin, a strange reaction he could only assume was a result of a protective enchantment of some kind. Zade began to walk away, meandering through the trees. It wasn’t too long before he heard Vesta’s heart sputter and fail, stopping into a silence that left the only noise in the forest the sound of his light footsteps against the ground.
Annabelle was waiting for him. She had dropped the dagger and it sat there on the floor, dripping tiny drops of witch blood. Zade had told her not to touch the blood or the dagger; he told her he would take care of it. So there she stood, quietly awaiting his return. She was strangely calm for someone whose life was in danger only about an hour ago, and for someone who had intentionally stabbed another being due to aforementioned danger. So when Zade walked inside, a look of pure disgust on his face as he regarded the mess on the floor, she exhaled sharply in relief. Annabelle felt safe when he was there in her sight. She looked at his messy black hair and the smooth planes of his face, his amber eyes, and truly believed that she was lucky to have him by her side. She’d stabbed Vesta, not in fear for her own life, but in fear for his safety. She would do anything to keep him safe, just like he would for her. Annabelle knew he was very well capable of protecting himself, but she wasn’t going to let him fight these battles for her all the time; she was just as capable of protecting herself, as was proven when she plunged that dagger into Vesta’s body.
Zade wordlessly began cleaning the blood from the tile flooring, wiping it clean with a rag and bleach. When he was finished, and had removed the dagger and all traces of the witch’s blood from the room, he burned the rag and destroyed the dagger without a second thought.
“Annabelle,” he breathed quietly, glancing up to meet her eyes. “Are you all right?”
“I’m perfectly fine,” she responded honestly. “I did what I had to.”
“I’m glad you did.”
She smiled. “Let us forget the horror of this evening. Please.”
Zade reached for her hand. She twined her hand with his and then he looked at her with the sweetest look on his face. “Come to bed, Annabelle.”
She smiled again, loving the thought that she would hear that phrase for years to come.