It was like standing at the edge of the sky, with the stars sprawled at their feet. Everything below them glowed radiantly and so strangely, it wasn’t natural. The lights below were the hideous creation of mankind. The more they looked at it from where they were standing, the less amused they were by this world. The sky overhead was dark, not the faintest trace of stars scratching the dark mantle. Everything was dimmed in comparison to the moving and suspended lights on the ground.
“It would be an interesting experience to ride on one of those moving contraptions with wheels, don’t you think so?” Helena mused.
“I don’t think ride is the appropriate term for those things the otherworlders call cars,” Jayden informed. “I think you drive them. Funny creatures they are.”
“We’re not here to enjoy of their quirks, we’re here to do a job. Everybody has their marks?” Damian asked solemnly, pulling back the sleeve of his robe to display a snaking black mark around his white wrist. It was the charm Agatha had painted on them to evoke on the human families’ memories of their faces during their mission. Jayden and Helena both pulled their sleeves.
“You’ll get to meet her before either of us,” Jayden sneered. “You must be thrilled.” Helena giggled. They both knew that Damian wasn’t very friendly, especially not to witches. The three of them had been selected, from hundreds of warriors, to come to Earth and protect a young witch from the Seer.
Damian grunted. “I don’t care who she is. If the Seer is after her and comes for her, I’ll be ready to slit his throat.” Like he did to my father. Unconsciously, he had clenched his fingers into a tight fist, trembling slightly as he said his words, dangerously. Jayden and Helena were used to his random phrases of vendetta against he who orphaned their short-tempered friend. “Meet you at her school on Monday, and keep your eyes open.”
Jayden and Helena nodded and jumped into the air, disappearing like the thin wind. Damian remained standing in the huge HOLLYWOOD sign on the hills. He looked west, where the mansion and the man that would be his father were waiting for him.
The foyer was nothing like he had seen before. It was grand, like the entrance to a king’s chamber. A series of steps adorned the side of the room, inviting you up into an array of doors flanking the walls of the second floor. There was a plump, glittering chandelier dangling in the middle of the foyer, like crystals suspended in the air. Damian watched all of this perplexed. He had woken up early to explore the mansion he was dwell in for the rest of the month.
“I see you’re awake Damian.”
Damian turned around and knew the charm had its effect on the mortal’s memories. The magic made any human being’s memories bend to their will. In this case, Damian’s appearance and name had substituted the original son of his “father”. A funny thought crossed his mind. What happened to James’s real son and the teenagers Jayden and Helena were replacing?
“Good morning, father.” The words sounded so alien and distant to Damian. This was a phrase he didn’t have the luxury to savor in his lips anymore, and the thought was bitter. “I was just taking in the new house you’ve bought.”
“It’s pretty right?” James Greenwood belonged to the elite families across the US. He had recently bought this house in Beverly Hills to start his new family when his wife passed away few years ago. He thought he would never replace the hollowness in his heart with love, but he was wrong. He had met Isabella Lee, an elegant and very beautiful married woman with an equally beautiful daughter he’d seen in pictures. He was looking forward to the meeting of their two families and the announcement of their marriage.
Damian eyed James with certain loathe. He was the reason the adoptive family of the young witch was divorced. But it served his purpose right; nothing could’ve brought the witch so close to him than to have her as his stepsister. Did she know her parents weren’t really her parents? He didn’t know, but Agatha had made it clear to keep her ignorant of the truth for as long as they could.
“They’re coming today,” James sighed, exhilarated. “New beginnings son, I think you’ll like Isabella as a stepmother very much, and get along with her daughter.”
“What’s the daughter name?”
“Arianna. Very pretty name in my opinion.”
Damian nodded absent-mindedly. He was looking forward to the meeting.
It had rained earlier, but it stopped now. Everything was clearing it. Damian picked up the sound of engines in the driveway of their mansion and quickly sprang to his feet. James came hurrying down the stairs and was at the door. He opened it and welcomed affectionately the two women.
Damian looked at the witch, and snorted. Who wears gowns nowadays? Then strode to greet them.
“Isabella, this is my son, Damian.” James said. “Damian, she is Isabella and her daughter, Arianna.”
Damian took Isabella’s hand. “Nice to meet you Isabella.” Then turned to Arianna and held her intelligent gaze. “Hello, stepsister.”
“We’re not family,” Arianna scowled.
Damian was surprised at the cold tone of her voice, then amused. “If you weren’t to be my stepsister, I would have dated you,” he whispered coolly. “And if I had known how pretty you are, I would’ve told James to move to Beverly Hills quicker.”
Arianna shot him a look of disgust, and Damian shrugged innocently.
“Please, come join us in the deck for tea.” James ushered both women inside and motioned them to the deck at the far side of the mansion, overlooking the lush hills the city was situated on. James and Isabella sat side by side, and Damian took a seat next to Arianna.
“I am very happy to have our families gathered here, in the name of love,” James said, holding on to Isabella’s hand. “I have an announcement to make. Isabella and I are going to get married by the end of this week, but tonight, they will move with us and we’ll start living like a family.”
“Oh honey,” Isabella took James’s face between her hands and kissed him. “You’ve made the happiest woman on Earth.”
Arianna looked doubly disgusted and uncomfortable. There was something else, sadness perhaps. Damian could read her emotions clearly. Her strong gaze was failing, and her green eyes were now lily pads on a pond of sad. He wanted to reach out to console her, but he fought against it. Instead, he said something he would regret.
“How lucky of you, you’ll get to see me every day.”
Arianna glared at him. “Oh, I’m so excited. Can you read the excitement in my face?” Then she turned to her mother. “Excuse me.” She got up and stormed inside the house.
“The restroom is down the hallway on the right.” James called.
Damian chuckled. The little witch really has a temper!
“You should go after her, son, and make sure she finds the restroom.” James suggested.
“Of course,” Damian stood. “I’d like nothing else than to leave you two lovebirds alone. I’ll make sure Arianna finds the restroom.” He began walking inside the house, wondering where Arianna had hid. He knew she wasn’t looking for a restroom, but for a way out of her living hell.