|Home > Mari Mancusi > Blood Coven Series > Blood Forever (Page 36)|
|Blood Forever(Blood Coven Vampire,book 8) by Mari Mancusi|
“Not exactly.” Jareth says dryly, kicking Charlie’s corpse with his boot. “And as you can see, even two zombies can cause a ton of damage when let loose. With Lucifent’s help, Pyrus will be able to raise an entire army. He’ll defeat Slayer Inc. and then move on to take over the world.” Jareth’s face twists in disgust. “He’ll treat humans as glorified cattle, enslaving them and draining them for their blood and then dumping them in mass graves when they’re bled dry.”
“Which gives Hades’s rival, Satan, a bunch of extra souls,” I realize aloud. “So he can win their little Hell population competition.” So that’s why the Lord of the Underworld cares about any of this. He’s a competitive bastard, to say the least.
Jareth nods. “You can see the problem here.”
I let out a frustrated breath. “God, we were so stupid. We thought we’d try to make things better. And instead we’ve screwed everything up.”
Jareth pats me on the knee. “I’m sure you had the best of intentions,” he assures me. “But yeah. You kind of did.”
I frown. “Well, it’s sort of your fault, too, no offense,” I remind him. “You’re the one who’s setting up the whole Project Z thing to begin with, by hooking up with Tacky Queen of the Zombies.”
Now it’s Jareth’s turn to blush. “You’re right,” he says, after a pause. “At the time I was so full of hate. All I wanted was revenge against those who stole my family away. I didn’t care what it took—I wanted to destroy Slayer Inc.” He squeezes his hands into fists. “But Rayne, you have to believe me—I had no idea of Pyrus’s plans to turn against the human race. I trusted him, like everyone did back then. I thought he’d just use the zombies to take out the vampire slayers, then put them back to rest.”
“But instead he decides to launch a vampire apocalypse,” I say with a sigh.
“He always was a bit of an overachiever.”
“So what are we supposed to do?” I ask. “I mean, are we too late to change things?”
Jareth shrugs. “I don’t really know,” he says. “Project Z was abandoned the first time around, after Slayer Inc. killed Lucifent. Magnus came to me and told me he didn’t feel it was right to take on Slayer Inc., even after what they did to his Master. Especially not with zombies, which could so quickly spiral out of control.” He rakes a hand through his hair. “At first I was not pleased by the turn of events. After all, I’d put a lot of work into charming the zombie queen and getting her on our side to make this whole thing happen.”
“Yeah, well, she does seem pretty hooked on you,” I agree, not able to hide the bitterness in my voice. “It must have been really tough pretending to be infatuated with someone so tacky.”
Jareth raises an eyebrow. “Do I detect a note of jealousy in your voice, Miss McDonald?”
I groan. “I know it’s stupid,” I admit. “But at the same time, I’m pretty much at my wit’s end. I’ve tried everything to win back your love. Instead I’ve only succeeded in scoring your utter annoyance.”
He looks surprised. “Are you saying the past me hasn’t succumbed to your Raynie Day charms?”
“That’s putting it mildly.”
“Well, then the past me is clearly insane,” my boyfriend declares. He grabs me and kisses me soundly on the lips. When I open my eyes, we’re no longer in the dark alleyway, but in a luxurious hotel suite. Nice. Jareth leads me over to the bed and pulls me close. I relax in his arms, breathing in his warm scent.
“If only this weren’t a dream,” I moan after a moment, squirming out of his arms. It only reminds me too much of what I left behind. What I’ll probably never be able to regain. “I can’t even tell you how hard it’s been. To see your face, but not your smile. To know that all we shared—all those memories I have of you—don’t exist in your mind. And I feel like I’ll never get them back.”
Jareth reaches out, tracing my now zombie-brain-free cheek with a gentle finger. “I love you, Rayne,” he says softly, gazing upon me with adoration. “And I’m sure the past me will someday love you, too.” He smiles. “Just keep putting yourself in his path. I’m sure you’ll grow on him, just like you grew on me.”
“Yeah, like a freaking fungus.”
“Oh, Raynie,” Jareth says, laughing. “You have to trust me on this. The past me might appear, on the surface, to be a cold, hard barnacle. But remember, I’m just protecting the squishiness inside. The part of me I’m desperately afraid of getting hurt.” He smiles down on me. “Get past that wall I’ve erected like you did the first time around. Show me you’re worth trusting. And I promise you, the past me won’t be able to help but fall in love with you, all over again.”
“I hope you’re right,” I mutter, crawling back into his arms. I might as well enjoy the dream romance while it lasts. “Because it’s hard enough to go around saving the world, without having to worry about saving my boyfriend as well.”
“But I’m worth it, right?” Jareth teases, kissing me playfully on the nose. “No matter what the effort?”
I can’t help but grin. “I suppose so.”
“Rayne, Rayne! Wake up! Wake up!”
I groan in annoyance as rough arms shake me awake. “No!” I cry as I feel the dream slipping away and reality rearing its ugly head. I try desperately to chase the sleep—to find Jareth again for one more kiss. One more caress. One more sweet whisper in my ear.