11 Chapter 11

Without his knowledge, Blanca was reading his mind as he remembered his past, and what she saw made her gasp in surprise as she held her breath. It was him, the man who saved her five years ago, back in London. How?

How did she manage to forget him? And he to her? Impossible… Now watching his mind like how she watched a movie, Blanca couldn't take away her gaze at his beautiful savior. How did she not remember him?

Yes, she recalled how, that night, she ran so fast when he told her to run for her life and never looked back.


Five years ago.

The small apartment she rented wasn't far from the bus station. It was a stupid idea to take a shortcut, and she knew that. It was just a few long blocks from the station, yet it felt too far away now. Breathing harder than ever, Blanca couldn't take her mind off her hero, but he seemed miles away. She was exhausted from her own ordeal, shaking from the chaos she'd just witnessed in the alley. She was worried about the man too, even though she was certain he didn't need her skepticism. She thought her savior was a member of the nearby local gang. She guessed he could handle himself and, by looking at his clean, swift, but powerful demeanor, he was one of the good guys. Maybe he was the boss? Or something?

Probably the most lethal of them all? She knew from the student rumours and gossip mill that a local gang had been wreaking havoc amongst the students and the general populace, and one of their leaders was so popular and too rich that even the police couldn't touch him. Perhaps it was him? After all, those gangs were the talk of the university students.

Then why did he save her if he was one of them?

Impossible… but if his reputation was anything to go by. He was a killing machine, according to all who knew his name. Well, according to those who played war games rather than studying. But Blanca wasn't even sure if it was him either. Dimitri Norton was one of the university's most celebrities, even though no one had ever seen him and no one knew if he was a student or a professor of any kind. His name was respected and the most prominent in the university area.

But seeing him here in action for herself, Blanca didn't doubt it for a second. And now that she'd been left alone in the university area, she could only hope that the gang would take no interest in what she was doing. After all, she saw their stupid mask. How foolish of them to wear wolf head masks anyway. Not to mention those scary red eyes. It was probably a cheap contact lens, but she knew it was more than cheap if it looked so real. Pathetic really.

Nevertheless, she couldn't allow herself to be pushed back into the gang's radar, not even by a male as fearsome as Dimitri.

Blanca ran the last block to her apartment and raced up the concrete steps. The main door used to be keyed access, but someone broke the lock two weeks ago, and the building super hadn't gotten around to fixing it yet. Blanca pushed the door open and dashed down the first-floor hallway to her unit. She unlocked the deadbolt and slipped inside, immediately flipping on all the lights.

The stereo and television came on next – tuned to nothing in particular, but both playing loudly. Blanca pulled off her music player and set it down on the chipped dark kitchen counter, along with the dead gang's cell phone. She dumped her damaged hoodie on the floor next to her books, her stomach turning as the bare bulb hanging from the combination dining room and living room ceiling washed over the dark red stains from the gang member's blood. It was on her hands too; her fingers were sticky with gore. "Ew, disgusting."

And her head was still pounding, with the usual vicious migraine that comes in the wake of any prolonged period of running. It wasn't as bad right now as it would be soon. She still had time to clean up and try to get herself to bed before the worst of it hit her. Blanca dragged herself into the bathroom and turned on the shower. Her fingers were trembling as she unfastened the leather knife sheath from her thigh and placed it on the sink. The sheath was empty. "Double fuck!"

She'd lost the blade in the snow when the man kicked it out of her grasp. Now she was without her lucky dagger. She hated this new university life. Blanca glanced up into the fogging mirror and met her own haunted gaze in the glass. Blood smeared her cheeks and chin, grime smudged her brow; all of it looked like warpaint. There was a feral glint in the weary eyes staring back at her.

God, she was weak … so exhausted. But so long as she could stand, she could fight this dreadful freshman life. Damn, why does she hate school anyway? She wasn't like that before, but her foster grandmother was telling her she needed it.

Meanwhile, a few blocks from her apartment, Dimitri sighed as he began to wipe his bleeding sword on the dead rogue's sleeve and casually watched the last body in the alley disintegrate. Dimitri's silver weaponry provided the postmortem cleanup, a silver metal that functioned as a deadly acid to the impaired cellular makeup of the feral rogue werewolf. The three bodies deteriorated in the sleet, converting flesh, bone, and clothing into dark ash stains against the spotless white. Dimitri cursed, his senses still throbbing from the heat of battle. His battle-sharpened eyes focused on the blade the woman lost in her fight with the rogue who'd attacked her. Dimitri approached and took the blade. "Hell…" he knew this sword, it was one of his, "Unbelievable!" He grumbled as he grabbed the blade from the snow. He had previously given this to Barbara. Months before their death. He needed to know how the woman got this dagger, as he stood, so he traced her scent.

A few minutes later.

Blanca gave a small scream as she was jerked into the dark living room and the door slammed behind her.

"Do you seek something, woman?" A soft voice drifted into the night air. An accented voice sent a strange shiver over her skin. "Or is it someone?"

"You?" Blanca was beyond shocked.

"Yes, it is I,"

"How did you…" She swallowed a lump, "t-the door is locked?" Blanca asked, knowing that this man was a stranger yet she was not panicking. Not because he looked attractive and he smelled amazing yet she stumbled back into the wall, cursing her dang luck. How did this beautiful man manage to muck up something so simple as keeping track of her? She was cautious, and no one knew where she lived, not even some of her university friends.

Not only did he know where she had gone, but he had managed to get caught of her, and she was not happy at all, after all, he was the one man who disturbed her dreams in a manner she could not entirely comprehend. Yes, she dreams of him since God knows when.

"I used the door, of course," the beautiful man replied. "Next time, buy a safety lock."

"I- I will… um-are you Dimitri Norton?"

He nodded.

"You frightened me. I did not realize anyone was here with me. Are you Ok?" She asked.

"Yes, why would I not?" He took off his head-covering hoodie, revealing the dark, impossibly handsome gentleman as he moved to stand directly before her.

"Um-well, thanks for saving me back there."

"No worries."

"Then you did not deliberately follow me here from the alley?" she asked as a flush stained her cheeks, as much from his proximity as from embarrassment. Despite nearing her eighteenth birthday, she had yet to have a guy pay her attention. And certainly none in such proximity.

It was…

Terrifyingly incredible.

She sternly shook her thoughts away from such dangerous matters. "Are you hurt?" The man asked. She shook her head.

Dimitri watched her so closely. The woman smelled so pure and so fresh, and something else he couldn't put a finger on.

"Are you?" She countered.

"Nope! But woman. I think you are not telling me something." He tsked.

"What?" Blanca asked, clearly confused.

"So you are a liar as well as a sneak. I know you are hurt somewhere." Without warning he planted his hands on the wall, one on each side of her head, effectively trapping her. "Lying is bad, little girl. Those aren't exactly attractive qualities in a young lady. It's no wonder you find yourself alone in dark corners while the other ladies have their pleasure in the arms of handsome suitors."

What the hell was he talking about? And he talked about it like it was some sort of 18th-century theater play? Jesus! So weird yet, she sucked in a sharp breath, wishing she had not when her senses became clouded by his sandalwood scent.

"How dare you?"

He chuckled softly and then brazenly eased his head to brush his cheek over hers. "Quite easily."

Dear Heaven above. Blanca shivered as her whole body reacted to his touch. What was happening to her? Why did her lower stomach feel as if it were filled with butterflies? And why was her heart wobbling against her ribs as if it wanted to leave her chest completely?

"I am no liar."

His lips touched a place just below her ear. "So you aren't hurt here?" He touched her forearms.

She gasped at the cold of her hands.

Something that might have been a moan fled her lips before she huddled what remained of her shattered confidence.

"I'm fine."

He proceeded to nuzzle her throat, almost as if he was tasting her.

"You're not fine, girl… your mind said so."

Blanca battled to think straight. Her lids slid downward as he discovered a particularly sensitive spot. Then, realizing his hands had left the wall to tug at the ribbons on the back of her robe, she forced herself to stiffen in protest.

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