Chapter Twelve: Lexie
Skylar dropped me back off at home, the house was still empty and it unnerved me greatly. I started the fireplace and made myself tea and sat down in the sitting room on the main floor. I remembered the night Michael and I had fallen asleep watching the flames flicker and feeling our wet hair slowly drying from the heat. But, Michael didn't remember, and I could never tell him.
Suddenly a powerful urge to cry vamped over me and shivers raised every hair on my body. I went unbelievably rigid and for one second, I thought someone was watching me, but it ebbed away and I drank my tea slowly. I was alone in a house I couldn't call home, a place I still felt alien in, and yet I loved it.
The sound of the wind softly rustling the tress, the bright colors of the leaves as they cascaded towards the earth and the low hum of cars on the street outside, it was beginning to feel like less of the unknown.
Maybe I should go out for a walk or something... I finished my tea and cleaned up before I moved to finding a warmer jacket in the hall closet. As I finally found a dull blue pullover, my doorbell rang four consecutive times. Overly annoyed, I pulled myself over to the door and swung it open.
I was in awe the second the autumn air hit me. A woman, most likely in her mid-twenties, stood on my front step. She had corn-silk hair that was wound into a stiff French braid, but from my angle I couldn't tell how long it was. She was wearing sunglasses, even though it was slightly overcast and since it was getting closer to winter the days were getting much shorter. It took all I had not to wish I had her figure, and her model-esque posture.
"Hi. I'm looking for an Olivia Sommerland. Does she reside at this residence?" Immediately I detected an accent and fell into curiosity as my stomach turned uncomfortably.
"No, sorry. She lives down the street, I think. There was a moving van there last weekend, so I don't really know." I lied; I felt it was necessary, nothing about her felt trustworthy.
"Oh, that's too bad. I'm from Baxter Modeling in Ottawa, my name's Anna Ducet. If you see her, could you tell her to get into contact with us as soon as she's able." She was gauging my reaction.
"I suppose. But, like I Said. I really don't know if I will ever see her again." I flinched internally. It was the most honest thing I'd said to her, I was beginning to lose my old self.
"Well, thanks anyway. Bye now." She spun on her toes perfectly, her French braid hung down to the small of her back and something about her walk reminded me of Vivian.
Are all models nymphs? It's so possible. I have to talk to Alex.
Immediately I pulled on my shoes and took off in a dead sprint down the few blocks to Alex's house on Glenwood place. The exterior was still that same dark brick and sent shivers down my spine. Vivian's Ducati was in the garage with the door wide open, it looked so inviting but I resisted and walked up the front steps and rang the doorbell.
"I GOT IT! I GOT IT!"
Kat! I smiled widely; Kat and I were getting along famously. Occasionally she spent the night at my house curled up in cat form on a comforter I hadn't used since I was ten.
The door flung open dramatically and Kat had every muscle in her body flexed as she pounced at me in the purest of joy. "OLLY!" She squealed.
As she wound her arms around my neck I nudged her back laughing. "Hey Kat. Nice to see you too."
"Kat, would you get off of her." I heard Vivian groan from the living room.
"Okay." Kat sulked and hit the floor in the porch in full out cat form.
"Did someone say Olivia was here?" Alex called from a distance. He came around the corner, shirtless and looking like he'd been put through boot camp in half an hour.
"What happened to you?" I blinked.
He shrugged. "Training. We got news from Gabriel and Dad today." Alex ran a hand through his tussled locks.
I knew he would tell me, but I was already bursting with questions. "And...?"
"C'mon. I'll tell you after I shower." Alex signaled for me to follow him upstairs.
I glanced over at Vivian who was dressed down in jeans and a flannel shirt. She seemed to pay less attention to me as the days progressed. I nodded back at Alex and went upstairs with him to his room.
His floor was cluttered with his teaching materials, magazines, newspapers, pictures, texts... anything that could have happened and may still happen. Most of it I could see clearly, like the reduction of taxes or the oil they'd find up north in 2007. but, things like famous relationships were too hazy to keep up with, and frankly I didn't care if Britney Spears and K-Fed ever got divorced.
I sat on his hardwood floor going over some of the newer articles and tried to answer those questions that the journalist posed while Alex showered. I could have answered my own questions, but many weren't really a matter of when, so much as what.
So "emo" will go out of style... cool.
After twenty minutes, Alex joined me on the floor of his bedroom and started flipping through Time Magazine. "So... why are you here?" He looked at me sternly, a multitude of questions in his eyes.
"Well actually, I was curious about a few things. But what did your Father and mine have to say?" I blinked and I crossed my legs and moved closer to him.
"Nothing much really, at least nothing you need to be worried with." Alex shrugged.
"Pff. Ya right, but whatever. Okay, my question. How many nymphs are in the modeling business?"
"Not many. Maybe 20. It's too stressful, they prefer being outside, having freedom." Alex mimicked my posture. "Where did this come from?"
"Well, before I came here, this woman from a modeling agency came to my house looking for me. I got this really bad feeling about her and lied, but her walk and aura matched Vivian's something fierce."
"Hm. Odd. Why did you feel such an urge to lie to her?" Alex seemed to be curious now.
"I just got a bad vibe from her. Untrustworthy, type feeling." I shrugged and grabbed "The Star" magazine from a newer pile.
"Did she have a name? What did she look like?" Alex was edging closer to me, his energy setting my internal alarm of.
"Why? Is something wrong?" I blinked.
"Just answer the question Olivia." He snarled.
"Anna something from Baxter Modeling. She was about 5'9", very model-esque figure. Blonde hair, longs legs, but she was wearing sunglasses."
"Crap. And she knew your name?" Alex snapped and now I was worried. He had gone from ‘no big deal' to total flip out. "Vivian! Find out what you can about Baxter Modeling." He called down the stairs, she must've replied because he came back to me shortly.
"Alex," I grabbed his shirt in my first and stopped him from walking past me, "tell me what's going on."
He rolled his eyes and slipped from my grip almost instantly and effortlessly. "Alright. Lucien has plenty of henchmen, but only one henchwoman. Her name is Lexie Barlan, she's a seductress, a vixen, a demon and she's good at what she does. Lucien holds her higher than his own daughter. She's Italian, so I'm assuming you detected an accent of a sort."
I nodded in reply.
"Her eyes are red Olivia, dark, blood red. Her intentions are nothing but that of death and if she knows where you live, we have bigger problems than an uprising of trolls in the Andes."
I scrunched up my nose, realizing now that this had obviously been the news he'd received from his Father.
Well that's - uh - interesting.
"Will she do anything in public?" I blinked, my mind deserted by all thoughts.
"Probably. She's good at cleaning up after herself."
"Uh..." Not good.
Vivian came into his room then and handed Alex a single piece of printer paper. He glanced at the small amount of information and then looked back at me before assuming I wanted to see.
The paper was printed from the Internet, it had a search and below it had one match.
Baxter Modeling Agency
Founded by Alexandra Barlan: building was demolished in 1991 after the death of its founder.
Alexandra - Lexie? Uh no. She knew I was lying. Dammit. I could feel the color of my face drain almost instantly and my stomach knotted.
"So Lexie found her?" Vivian scoffed. "Lucky girl, you've got it coming from all sides now."
Alex glared up at her and ruffled his dark hair he'd yet to brush. "Don't Vivian. This isn't a joke."
"Lighten up Alex, she's Gabriel's daughter. She'll be perfectly fine." Vivian placed her hands on her hips and angled her body in the doorway. "But I call Lexie if we meet her face to face."
I glanced at Alex to gauge his reaction. He was stiff and motionless in his many features. I was staring, but he hadn't noticed until Vivian cleared her throat and he glanced sideways.
"You can have her." Alex snorted and stood up against the closet doors.
I felt so tiny sitting on the hardwood floor with my legs tucked beneath me, though I was too nervous to move in the tight tension that lingered above me. Alex's roan colored hair dried while we sat there contemplating the potential danger I was in.
The room wavered and I prepared myself for an unforced vision and as it came; Alex was by my side holding me upright.
The images came quickly. Michael and Sarah were fighting in my presence as I watched from a secluded booth at a restaurant with ... I turned to see who I was dining with but found only fear. The creature across from me grimaced, white fangs and red eyes clearly marking her for what she was: VAMPIRE.
It wasn't Skylar, her face was too pale to belong to my ‘vegan' friend, nor was it A.J.'s, but Emé's flawless skin didn't match the translucent light on this one's skin. I watched in horror and curiosity, her features became mesmerizing.
‘You won't escape... Olivia.'
I came back to Alex's room with a start, half expecting the creature to be there, lurking overhead.
"Are you alright?" Alex asked patiently.
"I'm fine. I'm used to them, but not what was in it. Some sort of vampire." I shook my head to free the horrific images. "Red eyes, fangs, translucent skin, female."
"That's not a vampire. That's a demon." Alex cursed.
"Oh." I blushed.
"It's alright. Knowing will help us find her before she gets you." Alex ran a hand through his hair and it shivered in his palm.
"Are you scared?" I asked, hoping my voice would prove me not.
"A little. Lexie's dangerous; she took out Viv's parents. They were both very strong nymphs." Alex bent over me wearily.
I put a hand on his, but he pulled away as if my touch burned his perfectly tanned skin. I recoiled and crawled from him to a couch and pulled myself onto the leather cushion.
"Sorry." He murmured.
It's alright. I couldn't say it. Some how I felt that I needed him to hold me, even if I knew it wouldn't do me any good. My body shivered and it longed for him, our plot had gotten too thick to walk in any longer. "We should ‘break-up' at the dance." I said flatly.
"What does that have to do with Lexie?" Alex glared.
"She must know what the mortals all know, correct?"
"Yes." Vivian answered, her tone interested.
"Then, if they all think we're going out then Lexie can put us together, but it we break-up, then Lexie may think that you haven't really found me, or at the very least that I don't know anything."
Vivian smiled. "I like how you think. You'd have to make it pretty spectacular for her to believe it though. Tears, pain... screaming." I knew that Vivian was enjoying herself and she really didn't like me, but her taste for dramatics seemed dull in a way.
"Do you really think it'll work?" I blinked.
"It'll work, even if I have to get involved." Vivian grimaced. "What's the name of that blonde kid you used to like?"
"Michael? I didn't like him - oh... I see. I'm leaving Alex because I'm in-love with another man." It seemed so stupid and childish. I like it. No more fake dating.
"I don't know." Alex reentered the conversation.
"What?" Vivian glared.
"If Lexie already knows that you really are who you are, then if we 'break-up' she'll see that as you being unprotected and she'll be waiting for you."
"So, we'll be waiting for Lexie." Vivian crossed her legs.
"Ya Alex. I mean, we can't pretend to date forever y'know." I giggled trying to lighten the mood.
"I know." Alex's face was distraught and I knew that our plan wasn't going to work.
"Vivian, can I talk to you alone?" I asked. She glanced from Alex to me and ushered me out of the room.
"Alex isn't going to go through with it, is he?" Vivian's tone was soft.
"No. He's going to back out and make a huge scene. But after that I still end up alone."
"That little brat." Vivian growled. "I thought it was going to be you to mess things up, but I'm sorry I thought that."
"Don't apologize. I need you to help me."
"How?" Vivian looked at me skeptically.
"I need you to get him to fall in love with someone."
"No." Vivian snapped. "I'm not messing with that boy's heart. I've seen it..." Vivian trailed and then looked at me sadly. "He loves you."
"What?" I blinked
"That's why he doesn't want to break-up. He loves you."
"Don't joke Vivian." I glared. "Alex still loves Melissa, he told me himself."
"That doesn't count, he must really love you to want to keep you this badly." Vivian winked.
It took a while for what she was saying to click, but when it did I felt my stomach tighten. "You want me to really break-up with him?"
"You are a lot smarter than you look. Do you think you can manage?"
I stood there silently for what felt like hours, contemplating the thought of potentially hurting Alex more than any demon could. "I guess I can, this is just going to have to work."
"Awesome. I'll back you up. I know how to keep him level headed." Vivian winked and went back to talk to Alex.
I stood in the hallway listening to the murmur of Vivian and Alex's soft voices conversing over a new plan. Nervously I removed myself from the hallway and re-entered the room to catch up on the conversation.
"Okay, so at the dance we'll put our plan into action." Alex nodded, though his face was void of all emotion.
"Sounds great." I gave a shrug. "But I'm gonna head home, don't worry. I'll keep an eye out for tall blondes." I gave a wave good-bye and let myself out, Kat watched me leave and I found myself wandering without a destination in mind.
I kept walking, right past my house when I felt like I was being followed. I stopped and turned around to find the perpetrator, but there was nothing and no one behind me. Shaking it off, I kept walking and found myself on a street I didn't recognize. To my left was a field and on my right was a street of houses, all their lights were off and shrouded in shadows.
An uneasy feeling began to overwhelm me and I wrung my hands together and then decided to turn around and go back home. I quickened my pace but the feeling just wouldn't go away.
Slipping through my front door, I felt the fear consume me and the emptiness of the house added to it. To ease my worry, I flicked on every single light I could find and then went to my room.
Opening my door, a pair of glowing eyes met me, but I was put at ease when my lamp clicked on and Kat sat on my bed smiling back at me.
"Man kid, you scared me."
"Sorry." Kat smirked.
"How'd you get in here?" I pulled off my shoes and my sweatshirt.
"You know, I can get in and out of any building no problem." She winked at me.
"Okay then. You wouldn't happen to know if someone was following me would you?"
Kat looked at me curiously. "No. I've been here waiting for you for a while. Why?"
"On my way home I felt like someone was walking behind me, but there was no one there."
"Creepy." Kat shivered. "You should probably call Alex and tell him, especially since Lexie is so close."
"You don't think it was her, do you?" I chewed on my bottom lip as every single nerve tingled.
"I don't know." Kat shrugged and her body shivered and a cat took her spot.
"Alright, I get it. I'll call Alex." Rolling my eyes I picked up my phone and dialed their home number. Alex answered, his tone light and natural.
"Olivia, I'll be over in a second, just stay put."
"No, Alex. Kat's here with me, I'm fine."
"Kat's not as in tune with her surroundings, and she can't protect you like I can."
"Alex... I'm fine." If he really is 'in love' with me, this can't be a good thing.
"Ollie, just let Alex come over." Kat interrupted. "He can probably help you better if he's actually here."
"Fine. Knock first though." I grumbled and then hung up the receiver. I turned to Kat who was pawing he tassels on my blanket. "He's not going to knock, is he?" But I didn't get a reply.
I was watching TV when I heard his car pull up, I met him at the door and lead him to my room where Kat was sleeping.
"Okay. So describe this feeling again." Alex sat in my office chair.
"I was sort of in a daze, like someone was telling me where to go, even though I didn't want to, and I knew that they were there but I couldn't see them. I was freaked out so I came home."
"Odd. Lexie would have taken you out, not just followed you. She must have someone helping her." Alex shifted his weight and the chair spun in a circle and slowly came to a stop to face me again. "That's not a good thing." Now he was standing and pacing the empty space between us. The hair on the back of my neck prickled and the eerie sensation of deja vu hit me.
"Alex...wait." It was barely a whisper but he heard me clearly.
He stopped and looked at me, his blazing green eyes were worried and confused, but his face gave way to no emotion.
"Olivia?" Alex came to my side and sat next to me on my bed. "What's wrong?"
"How so? What's supposed to happen?" Strong, tanned arms wrapped slowly around my mid-section; pulling me as close to him as possible. I squirmed ever so slightly but he didn't seem to notice.
Shaking my head, I looked up at him more confused that I had been in a while. "I can't say."
"Concentrate. It'll come back to you."
I closed my eyes and tried to pull back all my visions that I'd been having lately, at least the ones that involved Alex. Only one came to mind, the dance, but this situation didn't exactly fit the criteria.
The doorbell rang and I was pulled from my files of memories.
"Were you expecting someone?" Alex looked at me skeptically.
"No. And Marley and Sabrine would just let themselves in." At that, the front door opened as if I'd commanded it to.
"Ollie? You home?"
"Michael?" I stood up and walked to the doorway of my bedroom. Now I remember.
"Ollie." He saw me and came flying down the stairs, only to find Alex sitting on my bed. There he stood, frozen in my doorway before me.
"What are you doing here, Michael?" I gasped.
"I have to talk to you." His expression was grave.
"Can't it wait, we're busy?" I nodded to Alex, and as if commanded he stood up and wrapped his arms around my waist and kissed my neck. It was the closest he'd ever been to me and I was feeling more pressure to scream.
Michael straightened out in an attempt to appear taller than Alex. "No. It can't. It's about Sara and our friendship."
Alex's arms tightened around me, but not affectionately. Now I was scared, Michael was standing in firing range. I felt tears coming forward, but I was trying to be a good little actress. "I don't care about Sara, Michael. She's a nuisance."
"Olivia, tell Michael to leave."
"Alex, don't tell her what to do."
Oh god! It's happening. What do I do? I have to say something before my best friend gets kicked out by my fake boyfriend. OLLIE THINK!!!
"Olivia, dear." Alex whispered in my ear, then his voice lowered. "We're being watched."
"Michael, please leave." I choked on my tears and lowered my head.
"What? You're going to pick this jackass over... No, this is better. Sara told me that I couldn't be friends with you anymore and with this, I think I agree with her. If you would pick him over a friend, then I can pick her over you. Good bye Olivia."
Michael NO!!! Please no! Please Michael, DON'T LEAVE! I was crying freely now and Alex lifted me onto my bed and cradled me against his chest, kissing my forehead.
"It's okay Ollie, it'll be okay. I promise." Alex's body shuddered and I knew that he was feeding off of my pain.
Kat sprang up onto my bed and quickly changed forms. "Whatever it was, it's gone now." Kat nodded and touched my arm gently.
"Thank-you Kat." Alex sighed. "Did you get a visual?"
"Bird-like, but that's pretty much it."
"Good job Kat." He patted her head and went back to quieting my sobs.
Michael just 'broke-up' with me! But... I'm angry, not sad. Why is Alex so warm?
"Olivia? Are you alright?" Alex's voice was soft.
I gave a pathetic nod. "I'm okay, I was just feeling some sort of pressure."
"I felt like I should have been screaming or running away."
The muscled grip around me loosened and I felt my stomach gurgle, so I wrapped my arms around his. I needed his touch no matter how difficult to explain, I needed it.
I can't hurt him, I just can't.