Chapter Thirty Four: Struggle Between Sanity
Ana tilted the glass of vodka down her throat and grimaced, feeling the cold, bitter liquid burn down her throat. She shuddered and touched her lips with a finger.
She thought alcohol could make her forget the situation she was in. She thought that if she got drunk, she will have a break from all the drama confusion, and choices. But, it seemed that she was not the right person for alcohol. Two glasses down and she was already intimidated by the bitter liquid.
Was it because she was an angel?
The kitchen door opened, and Louis walked in. He looked dangerously sexy in his leather jacket and tight jeans. His eyes ran over the bottle of vodka, then at the glass in her hand, then finally at her face.
He must have seen how lost and tired she looked, because he walked over and gently took the glass from her hand.
"You shouldn't drink, Ana. It messes up your mind."
She looked at him, then heaved a sigh.
"I am tired, Louis."
He cupped her face with one hand and set aside the glass with the other. Then he smiled at her.
"I know you are. Come on, let's get you to bed."
Her heart skipped a beat. She stammered.
"After all the things I have done … you still want me in BED?"
He chuckled and grazed her lips with his thumb.
"No matter what you do, I will still care about you. And I don't mean BED as in making love, I mean going to BED to SLEEP."
Her face flushed, and she lowered her eyes. He was laughing at her. Damn it.
He tilted up her face, and suddenly leaned close and pressed a kiss on her lips. It was not urgent, it was as if he didn't want her to get the wrong idea. Her hands slid up his arms to squeeze his shoulders, and she parted her lips to breathe in his scent softly. His hands ran down her back, pushed her hair off her face, and cupped it as he kissed her.
She felt fire bursting into flame inside her and pressed him against her, slowing bending him down onto the table. He fell flat on his back, but she didn't break the kiss. She ran her hands up his chest, and moved her legs on either side of him.
"Ana…" He breathed, looking up at her. Anastasia returned his gaze, and ran a finger down his cheek. His pale skin glowed under the late afternoon sun, and he looked so beautiful, so impossibly sexy, especially when he was cupping her cheek and his lips biting and crushing with hers.
"I love you." He whispered.
The words sent a shudder through her entire body, and she was hit with a thrilling vibration all through her bones. She looked down into his eyes and gently brushed his hair off his face.
"God help me, I love you too."
He sat up and pressed his lips on her neck, causing her to arch back and gave a pleasured sigh.
"Wait, wait." She breathed and twisted her body against his fiery touches. She put her hands on his face and looked down at him.
"Yes?" His voice was rough with desire.
"I … I can't." She whispered desperately.
His hands moved up her body to her shoulders, and he cocked his head to the side.
"Are we moving too fast for you? Ana…" He dragged his lips up to her forehead, "I am sorry."
"You made love to me once, and I fell in love with you all over again then." She closed her eyes, "I would do anything to make love with you again. But-"
"I can't do this if I am not serious about doing it."
He chucked darkly and cupped her neck.
"You are thinking too much, Ana. You want to do this, and I should know, because I can see it in your eyes. Just…" He ran his fingers down her neck to her collarbone. "I will not take advantage of you, Ana. If you are not ready, then I won't push you."
She closed her eyes as his fingers brushed across her breasts, grazing her nipples with the mildest touch possible. Her whole body was alert to the sensations, it made her feel giddy, and she hated herself for wanting something so … so carnal.
She opened her eyes, and traced her finger down the even muscles on his chest and stomach.
He hitched her legs up his thigh and wrapped them around himself. He pressed her against the wall, and held her face in both hands, using his body to keep her pressed against him.
"You shouldn't drink to keep your mind off Giovanni." He whispered into her lips.
Her eyes widened, and she cupped his neck in both hands.
"I am not."
"Please. Don't lie to me. It's bad enough that you are ruining your sanity for another man. Please…" His lips kissed their way down her jaw to the side of her vibrantly pulsing neck. "You need to sleep, Ana. If you don't, you will never think straight."
His hand moved down the wall to her leg, and he traced his finger down her thigh.
She smiled, though her body was reacting very sensitively.
"How can I sleep while you are seducing me?"
"Oh, I am sorry about that." He chuckled and traced his finger back up her leg. "I will keep my hands off you. Promise. Now let's go to bed."
Without her answering, he swept her into his arms, out of the kitchen to the bedroom upstairs.
He laid her on the bed, and moved to lean away from her, but she clung her hand to his neck and shook her head.
"No. Stay with me."
He smiled, and lay down next to her. She curled her legs to her chest, and closed her eyes.
She felt his arms coming around her, holding her close to his chest. He started stroking her hair, humming softly.
"Sleep. Just sleep, sweet Anastasia…"
His stroking became rhythmic, and her eyes shut. In less than a minute, she was asleep.
Dream Sequence: Ana's 21st Century Dream, Icy Midnight.
She whirled around, the people in the noisy ballroom she was standing in, paid no attention, as usual to the dark-hooded man standing behind her. Well, they didn't notice HER, standing in her T-shirt and jeans.
She spun into the stranger's arms, and he tugged her against his chest, looking down at her with unseen eyes.
"I…" She stammered. A shiver ran down her back, and she held a hand out between her and the man's muscular chest.
"What is it?" He asked softly.
"I can't … I am … I am sorry, I…"
"Hmm … you are afraid of me." He said almost humorously, "and why is that?"
"Can you blame me, really?" She shot back, her unknown fear rising and fading at the same time. She didn't know what she was doing. She needed to get a grip on what was happening to her.
"No, I won't blame you." He raised a finger and brushed it down her neck, calling all her senses to action. "Let me see … who would be so powerful to scare you away from me? Oh, must be Archangel Luke, isn't it? Oh no, no, you don't feel enough for him to obey his commands. Then that leaves … Ah, our lover boy Alexander Giovanni."
"What do you have against him? Against me?"
"Ana, will you please calm down." He took both her shoulders in his hands before she could move and squeezed them. "Think. Why would I have anything against you? Yes, I admit, I have a lot of bad things to say about your lover boy but I am not gonna hurt either of you. Do you know why, because I love you, Anastasia, and I will not hurt anyone you love. There ... is that spelled out clearly enough for you?"
He stunned her into silence, and she took a step back.
"You … you love me?"
"Seriously, Ana? Is that really so surprising? Hey, be careful." He grabbed her arm to keep her from knocking over a table. "Surely you must be used to men saying they are in love with you by now? Alex, your roommate, Luke … is it really so crazy that I should be in your list of admirers?"
She steadied herself with a hand and glanced around the chattering crowd. They all looked like the privileged men in black tux and women in black party dresses. None of them paid any attention to her, or the hooded stranger. She was frustrated. She WANTED them to notice her, so she could be out of here.
She whirled back to the man standing so quiet behind her, and took a deep breath.
"Please. If you don't mean to hurt me, will you please let me go?"
He put a hand on her shoulder, squeezed it once, and slid his hand down her arm to her hand. His fingers twisted with her ice-cold but hot palm, and she felt fire running through her, making her senses alert.
"I bring you here because this is the only place I can have you all to myself. That you are not caught up in your love affairs, that you are not troubled by who to choose. I want to make you feel happy, Anastasia. And if I appear outside your dreams, you would push me away, because you are otherwise occupied. Am I really asking so much, Ana? Am I really unworthy to gain a few minutes of your undivided attention?"
She stared down at their knotted fingers, and then up at the hood. She touched the fabric, finding it smooth as silk, then brushed her finger down.
"I know you don't want me to see who you are. But, can I at least touch your face? I can do it with my eyes closed, I promise you."
His hand came up to her hand and he drew it to his unseen face.
"Close your eyes then."
Her eyes fluttered close, and her fingers landed on a cold cheek. It was smooth, flawless. She slid her fingers down to his chin, and felt his five o'clock shadow. Her other hand enjoyed the smoothness of his other cheek, and she sighed in content. They came together at his jaw, and her thumbs stroke soft, petal like cheeks…
There was heat underneath the cold cheeks, right where she had touched him. And in the back of her mind, she felt that she knew who was underneath that hood. Someone she knew very well.
If she could just peek through her eyelids and push his hood a little backward…
She didn't dare. She was that much of a coward.
She lowered her hands, pulled his hood forward to hide his face, and opened her eyes.
He was looking down at her, and as she lowered her hands, he caught them lightly and tugged her close. She gasped.
"Ssh…" He whispered, "don't be afraid. I want you to be happy."
"I don't deserve to be loved, or happy, or even appreciated."
"You feel slutty?"
"Oh, Anastasia, you are such a sweet little fool." He chuckled darkly and brushed his finger across her forehead. "Do you know how much you are loved by the Archangels, by your lovers, by ME?"
"I slept with Louis, then I almost went over the top with Alexander, and I kissed Luke when I was with him, and now…"
She couldn't go on. Her list of crimes were endless.
He heaved a sigh, and spun her into his arms. He traced his finger across her neckline and rested his chin on her shoulder.
"And now you are burning for me."
"Shut up … please, just stop…" Her body wanted to curl up against his touch.
"Hush … I told you, I am the worse kind of angel, but the fire I feel for you is not purely lust or desire. I am IN LOVE with you. And I don't want to push you feeling that you have to choose against anything."
His fingers brushed across her breasts, and down her flat stomach. His other hand reached down her body to entwine with the one stroking her.
"Can't you just forget everything and … let the angel inside you take over?"
That was enough for her. She turned abruptly in his arms and backed him against the wall, catching him between the wall and her body. She took the back of his head in her hands and pressed his lips to hers. He responded with a slightly shocked kiss, but that was not enough to let out the sudden lust she had inside her. She wrapped her legs on either side of his waist, jerked upward, and crushed her lips against his. Because she was clinging to him, her face was on top of his hood. Closing her eyes, she jerked it backward from his face and moved her hands, feeling her way, over the flawless, ice-cold face. She felt his hands gripping her arse, and he responded with a sudden passion, crushing his lips on hers as much as she did.
"Ana … Ana stop. If you don't want me to lose control, stop right now."
Her eyes were still closed, but she could feel his lust for her rising as high as hers. She felt for his hood, and slipped it back over his head. But she had no intention of ever stopping. Not now. Surely not.
"I won't stop." She opened her eyes and declared firmly to the darkness underneath the hood. "I won't stop unless you really want me to. If I am stopping, it won't be for me. It would be for you."
His hands tightened on her arse, and he gripped her against him.
"Do you feel like I want you to stop?"
"You don't. You know what I would do when you told me to let the angel inside me take over."
She slipped her hands under his robe and clutched at his surprisingly well-muscled body. Again, her hands felt like they knew what she wanted to do. As if the body she was touching was already very familiar to her. But how could that be?
"Shall we change the setting, Ana?"
Without her answering, he was lying beneath her on a bed, and she was still touching him, as if nothing had happened. She didn't care. All she wanted now in this dream, was to have this mysterious, dark angel. Or whoever he was.
She slipped his robe up to his chest, and bent down to kiss his sculpture-like body. His hands moved to her shirt, and he whipped it off her in a silky motion. His hands ran over her back, and he was feeling her, touching her.
"I have wanted to feel you above me for a long time, Ana," he breathed, "and I know, you too..."