The next few days went by in a blur, and Avery couldn't force herself to follow what day or time it was anymore. Nothing made sense anymore, nothing mattered, and to hell with the world now that Avery had lost her parents.
Avery accepted Becca's parents' offer and agreed to stay in their house. Besides, she didn't want to return to her dorm apartment- it reminded her of the nightmares and the words she never said. That place was a mess of memories and regrets. If only she hadn't ignored those stupid nightmares, she could have done something.
Avery had a chance to save her parents, yet she ignored the signs. She was sure their tragic death was on her; on her and that damn criminal who set their house on fire.
While she lived with Becca, her parents helped Avery organise the funeral arrangements. She couldn't find the words to express her gratitude. It was hard to lose her parents as it was, but to think of how they would send them into the afterworld was something Avey couldn't do. She couldn't accept their death, let alone let them leave her for good.
On the funeral day, they gathered in the Witche's graveyard. It wasn't often when humans entered the sacred grounds; there weren't that many families who kept close ties to supernaturals. But in Avery's case, her parents had been extremely close to Becca and her parents; they were a family, and she needed them there.
As the funeral ceremony started, someone guided Avery towards a chair so she could sit down. And she did as multiple men carried in massive, painfully beautiful coffins, and all Avery could do was stare. Emotionless, unmovable and numb. Some people whispered praises about how good she was holding on, but Avery knew that wasn't her strength. Pure despair and the hole in her heart that made her so cold.
Avery had to admit that the scene didn't feel real. The people, the graveyard and beautiful coffins seemed like details from the movies she watched with Becca, sitting in their dorm apartment and laughing at the screen.
Her eyes never left the scene, but Avery felt no connection to anything happening around her. The voices, the movements and the tears couldn't be real- they weren't real for Avery. For the first time in her life, Avery was grateful for the hole in her heart; she thrived on the numbness coursing through her veins.
She embraced anything and everything that made her feel numb. Avery didn't want to feel as much as sad or happy; all she wanted was to forget.
Avery listened to everyone who stood up and gave speeches, all of them mentioning the kindness and love her parents showed everyone. Though many spoke, Avery caught only bare snippets of those speeches, unable to focus on anything but the two coffins that held what was left of her parents, it was hard for her to fathom that all that remained of the two people that raised her was charred flesh and bone.
Though everyone present expected a speech from Avery, she couldn't bring herself to think of one, so she stayed aside. Yes, she was the only child of her parents, but the loss was too painful to speak about, even if she had nothing but the best things to say she couldn't bring herself to speak about them.
As the silence took over, all eyes were on Avery, and for a moment, she thought she could do it. But once she barely moved her foot, Avery knew there was no way she'd bring herself to stand on the small podium and confess her feelings and love for them.
Her parents knew how much Avery loved them. She did everything to show her love whenever she could. Even if they could reach each other only by phone, she still found a moment to insert that important "I love you" to remind them.
Avery didn't need to prove her love towards her parents to a bunch of strangers, nor did she need their approval to make her feelings real and valid. Besides, even after seeing the coffins and watching everyone speak about her parents, everything still felt like she was wrapped in a never-ending nightmare that Avery had yet to wake up from.
And the worst part was that Avery couldn't control her own emotions. Like when she watched people, some of whom were complete strangers to her, talk about her parents as if they were best friends irritated her. Who were they to bring up the most loving people Avery had ever known and say all those damn nice things even though she was sure they hadn't met her parents more than once. Since when was acting like that, to make themselves feel and look better, was acceptable?
Avery barely recognised half of the people gathering around her and her parents' coffins.
However, she recognised a few people her parents disliked or had fought with in the past, and all of those people acted like they deeply cared for Avery's parents. What a load of bullcrap! Funerals were created to walk one's loved ones to the afterlife, to bid proper goodbyes and often bring the families together during harder times, not to stick around to look better.
Why did those people come? Why did they waste their own time and space in the graveyard if they knew her parents would be against their appearance? They hated her parents when they were alive, so why bother and pretend they missed them after their death?
That had to be a show; Avery was almost certain of that. Those people came to the graveyard to check if her parents really lay in those coffins and show off how there was no one to disrespect them anymore. All that and the last chance to spit in her parent's faces by doing everything Avery's mother and father wouldn't approve of.
Once the ceremony ended, one of them approached Avery. She was one of the Elders from the Coven. Her name was Agatha; she was in her mid-sixties but didn't look a day over forty.
Being a witch had some perks, like ageing slower than any human would while looking as close to a commoner as possible. Agatha's charcoal black hair hung all the way down to her waist, not a single greying strand in between.
She wore a long-sleeve, black lace dress that went to her ankles, perfectly covering the shapes and curves of her body, once again reminding Avery that she was looking at someone who was at the age of a grandmother but looked like a woman in her best years.
Agatha had never liked Avery and her parents, and the witch never bothered to shy away from showing her displeasure about Avery's family.
For as much as Avery could remember, she knew that Agatha was the one person who always either spoke down on her or ignored her existence. So, to say Avery was shocked when Agatha found her was an understatement.
As if on cue, Avery's best friend was there, right next to her. Becca placed her hand on Avery's shoulder and gently squeezed it to remind Avery that she was there if she needed her best friend.
"Hello, Avery," Agatha greeted her, an unusual expression on her face. The worst part was that Avery couldn't make it out. Was it hurt? Regret? Attempt to hide smug happiness?
The old witch cleared her throat and licked her lips, "I'm deeply sorry for your loss. It really is a tragedy. They were prominent people and a tremendous loss to the Coven and witch community." Once she ended her show, Agatha's voice held no emotions, and her facial expression changed to one of exaggerated sadness. Her eyes taunted Avery as if the witch-bitch wanted to see her blow up and create a scene at her parent's funeral as the last nail in their coffins.
Avery sucked in a deep breath and forced down every unwanted emotion surfacing in her. No matter what, she couldn't bring herself to answer, fearing she might say the wrong things and the witches would take Agatha's side. Then, there would be no chance to escape the arguments, and Avery knew her parents didn't deserve that. She was there to honour their life and let them go in peace.
She knew Agatha hated her parents, but she had no idea the witch could stoop as low as to attend their funeral uninvited and taunt their child.
Avery recalled how often she heard her parents argue with Agatha when she was a child. Some of those arguments turned into full-blown fights, and on more than one occasion, they ended with an explosive exchange of curse words. She even had heard Agatha threaten her parents during one of those arguments.
After all that, why would Agatha care about her parents now? She had already threatened them; could it be possible that Agatha wanted revenge, and she was the one who set their house on fire? Should Avery keep an eye on the old witch?
When Agatha finally realised Avery wouldn't answer, she returned to the odd conversation as if it had never stopped. "Avery, did your parents mention anything when they returned from the meeting with the Coven Elders? Did you have a chance to speak to them?" Agatha asked as she leaned closer, a curious glint dancing in her eyes.
"No," Avery lied through gritted teeth. She squinted her eyes as she glared at the old witch. Avery didn't care how people would see her if anyone were watching them. She didn't like Agatha; to hell, she hated the presence of the old witch, and she wasn't scared to show it. "I didn't even know they were back yet," Avery added to make her lies more believable.
Agatha had no business in Avery's family matters, especially her parents, and now she was talking as if they were friends. But why the sudden curiosity?
Even a fool could notice Agatha used a lower, gentler tone of voice because she was looking for information. Perhaps the witch thought she could catch Avery off guard while she was hurt and vulnerable?
Becca arched an eyebrow, eyeing the witch with nothing but suspicion, clearly thinking about the same thing Avery did.
"Well then, not to worry," Agatha waved her hand, a little too stiff to be a natural movement. "I'm sure the police are working day and night into what happened and will find the one behind the terrible accident." The way she said it clearly sounded like Agatha thought Avery's parent's death wasn't a big deal. Though Avery wanted to destroy Agatha, no, her whole bloodline and relatives to follow, she gritted her teeth and kept quiet. "Best to leave it to them to figure out."
Agatha's eyes scanned the crowd as her lips parted as if she had noticed someone she knew and was about to smile. Yeah, as if that were to happen, the old hag didn't understand what smiles were. Her eyes snapped to Avery, "I look forward to seeing you next month for your initiation ceremony. Under better circumstances," Agatha added the last part, nearly throwing Avery over the edge.
How dare she come to her parent's funeral acting like she owned the whole graveyard and torture Avery like that? Something about that woman ground Avery's gears; if only she could figure out what it was.
Clasping her tongue between her teeth with such force it nearly bled, Avery smiled. She had to hold back from screaming at Agatha or shoving her Cover up her sour, old ass.
Since Avery still refused to talk and exchange fake pleasantries with the old hag, Agatha huffed, turned away and stalked off.
Bacca slid her hand down Avery's arm and pulled on it, leading her towards where they had parked the car. "I don't trust that ancient dusty broom, Avery. She was acting so strange, and how she looked at you gave me creeps. I swear, if it were me who had to face her, I would pee myself and probably slap her across the face. And please, don't tell me to be polite because I won't. You don't like her either; I could see that." Becca stated and kept mumbling more, way colourful profanities under her breath.
Avery looked around them before a word escaped her lips. Funeral or not, far too many influential supernaturals surrounded them, and she didn't want to face their wrath if they were to hear her conversation with a human best friend. "Honestly, I don't trust any of the Elders. They are snakes, and now, I know that they know more than they keep claiming," she kept her voice low and emphasised the most important parts of her confession for Becca to understand.
Once they reached the car, Avery was about to get in to drive away from there when she noticed someone. If she hadn't seen a movement from the corner of her eye, she wouldn't notice the figure standing near a tree.
Avery squinted her eyes and looked in to make out the woman from the market, the same woman who gave her the dream catcher the last time Avery had seen her parents.
She furrowed her brows, wondering why the mysterious lady was near the graveyard, but still decided it was better to ask questions than keep guessing. She took the first step toward the woman, adamant about talking to her, but Becca spoke up and pulled Avery out of the strange trance.
"Are you getting in, Ava?" She asked, staring up at Avery from inside the car. She had already taken her seat and pulled the seatbelt down.
"Yeah," Avery whispered, her eyes still darting back to the figure near the tree. "Just give me a minute," she added, briefly glancing at Becca.
However, when she looked back in the direction where she had noticed the lady, the old woman was gone. Avery looked around, assuming she could be waiting for her near, but even though she scanned the area twice, there was no sign of her- she had disappeared.
"What is it, Ava?" Becca's voice grew a little frantic as she let go of the seatbelt, got out of the car, joined Avery, and mimicked her behaviour. The only difference was that Becca had no idea why her friend was acting so strange and what she had noticed.
"No, nothing," Avery lied again. What was with her and lies lately? She hated lies and never told any herself, but as of lately, it seemed like nothing but lies spilt out Avery's mouth. She cleared her throat, "I thought I recognised someone. Come on, let's go." Avery nudged Becca towards the car and then got inside the vehicle herself.
As they drove out of the graveyard parking lot, Avery kept looking around but couldn't notice the woman anywhere. If she had left, at least she would be walking down the road, wouldn't she? The woman was old; she couldn't walk that fast to leave the area before a car caught up with her.
How did she manage to disappear into thin air in a matter of mere seconds? And even if Avery could explain that, she couldn't think of where the woman went. Avery felt like the woman was there for her. Like the old lady was waiting for a moment to approach her. Yet, the moment was gone, and she had to let go of her thoughts before she looked too much into it.
They drove straight back to Becca's house. Avery still didn't want to return to the dorm apartment, even after the worst part of the funeral was over.
However, as she was getting out of the car, Avery couldn't help but glance in the direction of her old family house. It reminded her of a junkyard- a pile of ash, dirt, and rubble. Once so beautiful and inviting, the building now was nothing but a mass of burned wood, and the last thing that remained intact was the porch. Everything else, the whole house, was completely caved in.
As Becca turned to her home and walked in, Avery hesitated, switching her weight from one leg to the other until she made the decision. Then, reluctantly, Avery walked over to what was left of her home and took a seat on the porch steps.
She closed her eyes and tried to envision what it looked like before it was destroyed. Silent tears ran down Avery's cheeks as she took a shaky breath.
Avery missed them; the house used to be her safe space, her home, and her greatest memories with her parents happened in the house. And now, all those beautiful memories turned into ash, crumbling in the destruction that was once her home.
The trees swayed in the breeze, and the sound caught Avery's attention, so she wiped the tears off her cheeks and opened her eyes. Avery turned her gaze to the street.
People walked down the roads with their dogs running in front of them, pulling their owners forward. In general, Avery knew they weren't doing anything wrong; they just casually went about their lives. It was Avery's fault that she felt how the anger bubbled up in her.
While Avery's life was on display behind her, completely destroyed, and left nothing but a void that couldn't be filled, everyone else's life didn't stop.
Since Avery was too lost in her thoughts and pain, she didn't notice anything around her, even the figure nearing her, until the person sat next to her. She tilted her head to meet Aamon's stormy gaze.
Aamon wore a black tuxedo, one someone would wear to a fancy party or funeral. His eyes were clouded by an emotion Avery couldn't understand. Did Aamon go to Avery's parent's funeral? And if he did, why didn't she notice him there? No, why didn't he bother to approach her?
While Avery's mind raced, Aamon just sat next to her and watched her. Even a simple greeting didn't leave his lips.
And now, Avery felt bad as she hadn't realised he was at the funeral and didn't expect him to show up next to what used to be her home. Aamon was the last person Avery expected to see.
Avery noticed some council workers fixing the power lines out the front, so she focused on them. While her eyes were set on her, the men kept glancing toward where she sat on the porch steps.
Everything seemed as normal as it could get on the day of her parent's funeral until Aamon noticed where Avery was looking and glared at the workers. Some men flinched, but all of them instantly looked away.
"You did that," Aamon whispered so softly that Avery nearly missed the words. "They're wary of you; that's why they keep looking over at you. It's a thing of nature- to be obsessed with what terrifies you." Aamon added a little louder.
"I know," Avery muttered and turned her gaze back to the familiar orbs of grey. "I didn't expect to cut off the power for the entire street. I wasn't even aware I had so much power," she admitted, silently wondering where the strength had come from and if the sudden outburst was a one-time thing connected to the agony she felt once she saw her mother's lifeless body.
Aamon raised his eyebrow and hummed. "Maybe you didn't know because of those pills you're taking?" He asked, and Avery just nodded. They didn't need to sink into detail from her past. Especially not when her mind was in the wrong space.
"You know, sometimes emotions are stronger and overpower everything," Aamon offers an explanation as if Avery hadn't thought of it already.
However, no matter what he said or did, Avery remained silent. She didn't want to keep up with the conversation, fearing the possibility of reliving the night of her parent's death.
"There you are! I've been looking for you all over the house!" Becca shouted from her front yard as she made her way towards Avery and Aamon.
She eyes Aamon, as suspiciously as she did the witch at the funeral, huffs and turns to Avery. "I need you to come home. There is a man who wants to speak with you. It seems important," Becca announces without giving out more details.
With a heavy sigh, Avery got up from the porch step and followed Becca back to her house. In the dazed state, she didn't even think of the man she had left behind as her best friend led her into the kitchen.
A visibly tall and built man sat on a stool at the kitchen counter. Once Avery entered, he jumped to his feet.
The stranger walked closer, grabbed Avery's hand, shook it and introduced himself: "Hi, you must be Avery Richardson; I'm Grant, your parent's lawyer. I handle all their financial affairs." He sounded a little robotic, but that had to be a lawyer thing. Avery was sure this Grant guy had tens of meetings like such every day, and he was all too used to the short speech he gave each person he met.
Avery pulled out a stool and sat beside Grant. "I'm here to discuss your parent's will. They gave me instructions, and I just need you to sign a few documents," he explained.
Grant sorted out the papers and slid a few in front of Avery, offering her a pen. "This one is to release their bank accounts over to you. This one is for your father's practice, and the other one is the deed to your mother's shop. Oh, and the last one here just needs your bank account details so I can organise your parent's life insurance to be paid directly into your account," Grant spoke as he pointed at each piece of paper until he piled up a neat stack of documents and placed them before Avery.
"Life insurance?" Avery asked, furrowing her brows. Since when her parents had it, and why would they deem the thing to be necessary? And why did they hide it from Avery? They had always been open about everything they did so Avery wouldn't have to question their decisions or actions.
"Ah, they have had it since you were a baby, Avery. They had to make sure they could support you well after they were gone. I don't know the exact numbers, but I know it's six figures; between that and the amounts in your parents' account, you will be quite comfortable." The lawyer beamed as if he had broken the best news Avery could receive.
What Grant didn't know was that Avery didn't want to be comfortable. She wanted her parents back, safe and sound, as close to her as possible. Avery wanted to watch them grow old and hold the possible grandchildren. She wanted back her family, not money.
Quickly, she scribbled her signature on each document Grant handed her and got up to leave when the lawyer spoke up again, "Avery, I'm sorry to hold you back any longer, but I still need a few more signatures. I know the house no longer stands, but the land is still yours, so I need you to sign the deed transfer. Then, I have something your parents asked me to give you if they meet an untimely death."
Grant looked at Avery apologetically while a shiver ran down her spine. The last words struck her, and the worst part was that she didn't understand what to make out of what the lawyer had said.
Avery sat back down, well aware that either way, she would eventually have to deal with the block. There was no point in drawing out the inevitable, so it would be better if she got it over with in one sitting.
"Fine," Avery muttered. "I don't want the house block." She announced, catching the lawyer off guard. Before Grant started questioning her, Avery added, "Can I sign it over to George and Audrey? It joins onto their block anyway; they should have it. Audrey loved my mother's gardens. I know she will look after and maintain them."
Though she spoke nothing but the truth, saying those words still hurt. Avery's mother loved those gardens; she loved the land and the home sitting on it. Her parents worked hard to build and maintain the fundament of their family, and though it might have sounded selfish if Avery said the words aloud- she couldn't look at those elements of their fundamentals without thinking about her parent's death. Without thinking about how it was her fault that they died.
Audrey frantically shook her head, obviously ready to argue with Avery, but before she could utter a word, Avery raised her hand and stopped her.
"Please. I don't want it, and I know you will do something good with it. You will create a little piece of heaven there, just like my mother did. Besides, I don't want it to turn into an overgrown jungle because I wouldn't have time to keep it kept. University takes a lot of time, and my parents wanted me to graduate, so that's my primary concern now. Also, just like I said, you loved her gardens; I know you will look after them." Avery explained as tears blurred her vision.
Audrey didn't say a word; she just nodded as tears rolled down her cheeks, leaving long marks across her skin.
It was clear that Becca's mother was trying to hide how deeply hurt and upset she was. Audrey was her best friend's mother, and in a sense, she was Avery's too. And that was the reason why Avery knew she had made the right decision. Even in the darkest of times, she could give some ray of hope to others. Perhaps Avery was lost, and there was no chance to save her anymore, but she wouldn't allow the same thing to happen to the people she still had.
Grant nodded wordlessly and handed Avery another document. Avery quickly left her signature on the paper and handed it to Audrey so she could sign her name on it, giving her complete ownership over the land. Over what was left of her house and the block it stood on.
Then, Grant handed her a small key. Avery arched an eyebrow, looking between the key and the lawyer.
"The key is for your parent's safety deposit box at Avalon Banking Society," Grant explains, handing Avery the information about the deposit box. He went into details, but she was sure she missed some of them as she couldn't tear her gaze away from the delicate-looking metal object in her hand. How come she had never seen it before?
However, the following words catch her off guard, "It's already in your name, so all you have to do is walk in with your ID in hand and give them the form." Grant adds.
Avery nods and slides the key into her pocket. She thanked the lawyer for his time and did her best to act as polite and patient as possible as he repeated his condolences over and over again.
Then, Avery walked out the back and sat under the enormous oak tree in Becca's parent's backyard. A few minutes later, Becca came out and lay next to Avery, placing her head in her best friend's lap.
The picture was familiar, but it still felt a little strange. Maybe it was because they were close to the memories and pain, or perhaps it was Avery and her emotions to blame. After a moment of silence, Avery brought her hand to Becca's blonde hair and gently stroked it to comfort herself and her best friend. Her eyes fell shut as she leaned her head against the tree.
"You're going to be okay, babe. I know it hurts, but you'll get through this," Becca whispered. And maybe Avery would, but it felt unfair of her friend to say. She knew Becca didn't mean to hurt or offend her, but Avery still felt the stinging pain in her best. Led by the best intentions, Becca still didn't know Avery's pain- her parents were alive.
As the thought crossed Avery's mind, she instantly felt intense guilt. Why would she ever think of such horrific things? Avery wouldn't wish her pain on her greatest enemies and definitely not on her best friend.
Another two days passed until Avery built up the courage to leave Becca's parents' house and return to the dorm apartment.
She desperately needed the distraction of some normalcy and routine back in her life. Avery threw everything she had into studying and trying to remain numb to everything. Avery didn't want to feel, she didn't want to think either.
If she wasn't in classes or burying her head in books and notes, Avery was running and when that didn't work, she found that numbness in the bottom of a bottle. She had a chance to remember how she used to love track- when Avery was in high school, it was fun, but these days, it had a different meaning for her. The track was her new escape as if Avery was running away from everything and everyone until she had to stop.
Avery became obsessed with packing her days as full as possible, anything to provide distractions. Anything so she wouldn't have to remember.
Avery made sure she didn't have to think about anything but what she was doing at that moment so, by bedtime, she would sleep dreamlessly, and on the harder nights, when fear kept her awake she would sneak out.
She sought oblivion at parties. Some would think it was normal behaviour for a woman her age to drink and have fun, but Avery didn't drink to enjoy herself. No, she drank herself into oblivion until she felt nothing.
The first few nights after the funeral, she relived the same nightmare that had haunted her so many nights. Avery felt everything her mother felt; the only thing that helped her get rid of the nightmare was complete, inhuman exhaustion or intoxication.
She knew her best friend was worried about her; Becca had been following Avery everywhere, even waiting for her outside her classes, trying to get her to slow down, but Avery had to keep moving. Then, some nights she would wait for Becca to fall asleep and sneak out to chase away the nightmares before they came for her.
Even her best friend didn't understand how desperately Avery needed it. Nothing else could take her mind off everything that happened. And if people around Avery thought what she did was unhealthy, so be it.
They didn't walk a mile in Avery's shoes, and she hoped they never would. Everyone dealt with their pain as they knew to, and this was Avery's escape; no one could take it away from her.
And that one night was no different from the previous ones. Avery checked every possible social media platform and snuck out of her dorm to join a party happening a floor down.
She slipped into the party without being noticed and went straight to the tables with a sea of alcohol bottles before she sought out a quiet spot to drink. Avery knew Becca would never agree to her drinking, especially if she saw the copious amounts it took for her to find peace.
As soon as her eyes stopped on half a bottle of tequila, Avery snagged it and headed for the balcony. The dorm floor was nice, better than Avery expected. Leaning on the balcony railing, Avery opened the bottle and sipped the drink straight from it.
Cigarette smoke wafted in her face as a man came to lean on the railing beside her. Then, as the smoke faded, Avery picked up on the scent of weed, and the man beside her spoke.
"I'm Blake," he muttered, offering her the blunt.
Avery shrugged and reached for it, aware she needed something stronger to chase her away from the mindset she was stuck in.
She brought the blunt to her lips and sucked in the smoke, and soon after, a cough escaped her, making Blake chuckle.
"Avery," she offered her name as he nodded, and his eyes ran over the length of her barely dressed body.
She was wearing only shorts and a cami. Avery couldn't care less how she looked, even though the reaction from the stranger was a clear sign Blake appreciated what he saw.
She handed the blunt back to him, and Blake sucked in drag before turning it in his fingers and pressing it back to her lips.
Avery raised an eyebrow at him but accepted his offering, letting her lips part to suck in more smoke. However, when she tried to breathe, Blake's lips covered her, sucking the smoke out from her mouth and pressing his warm body against hers.
A giggle escaped Avery's lips as the weed and alcohol rushed to her head, and pulled away from Blake as his hand fell on her hip.
"I've seen you at a few parties, especially recently, yet you're always alone," Blake stated. Sure, he was right, but it wasn't like Avery had to explain herself to a stranger.
Besides, she had an objective when she went to those parties; she wasn't there to mingle or make friends. Without paying much attention to Blake's wandering eyes, Avery brought the bottle to her lips and chugged back on the throat-burning liquid.
About an hour later, the bottle in her hand was nearly empty, and Avery started feeling light-headed. Her surroundings spun, and she knew it was about time for her to return home and fall into her bed.
However, Blake still pawed at her; his hands roamed her body until Blake pulled another of his joints out of his pocket, lit it and handed it to Avery. She gladly took it. Avery liked the fogginess it put her in. Her mind went blank until Blake suddenly kissed her.
That seemed to stoke a fire in her, awakening the hunger Avery didn't realise she was craving until she kissed him back. She wrapped her arms around Blake's neck and groaned when he pressed her against the guardrail.
Little did she know that when she went about her midnight escapades, she also had a follower. One who was possessive of her, and his evident obsession with Avery was nothing short of psychotic.
Before they could go any further, Aamon appeared literally out of thin air and gripped Blake's shirt, ripping him away from Avery. Drunk out of her mind, Avery chuckled as Aamon shoved Blake over the balcony with a snarl.
"What the fuck do you think you're doing?" Aamon snarled, grabbing her upper arm and jerking her closer.
He snatched the nearly empty bottle from her and tossed it off the balcony, where he had just shoved Blake, who could be heard groaning from the fall. Though the fall wasn't that high, he would still feel it tomorrow.
"Here I was, thinking it was pretty self-explanatory, Aamon. I was drinking. What are you doing?" Avery asked, pressing her body closer to his as the desire for Blake still writhed through her.
"Making sure you get home before I see you throwing yourself at him," Aamon snarled.
He hated the idea of anyone touching Avery. Anyone who wasn't him. Aamon already thought of her as his, and in his eyes, Avery had his property sign flashing across her forehead. It was only that she didn't know it yet.
"Jealous, Aamon?" Avery slurred, gripping his button-down shirt.
She tugged at the buttons; her fingers fumbled as she tried to remove his shirt. Aamon sighed, shook his head and grabbed hold of her wrists. "Yes, I am jealous, and stop; you are drunk," Aamon spat out the confession, both disappointed in Avery and angry at her.
Avery laughed at his face. "I was drunk last time we fucked," she retorted, ignoring his words as she fumbled for his shirt.
Her out-of-character behaviour did nothing but anger Aamon. A deep, feral growl left his lips as he pulled Avery closer to his body, "Yes, but back then, you weren't drunk because you were grieving! This is different; for fuck's sake, listen to me, Ava."
Her eyes stung with tears. Why did he have to remind her about her parent's death? Led by anger, Avery shoved him away, and Aamon staggered back a step before she pushed past him, intent on replacing the bottle Aamon had tossed over the balcony railing.
Avery stumbled, nearly tripping over her feet as she found the small bar area set up in the corner of the room. Only when she reached for a bottle; it was taken away from her just as quickly as she tried to grab it. Aamon gripped her arm and pulled Avery close to his chest.
"You've had enough," Aamon growled. His voice dripped in anger, but Avery could hear the gentle undertone and concern.
Aamon didn't like seeing Avery in this state. He had been watching her, keeping track of what she did while remaining at a safe distance. Aamon hoped she would pull herself out of the slump she was stuck in, but after tonight, he knew there was no stopping her unless he stepped in. He wouldn't allow her to stay on the path of self-destruction.
Especially if she kept getting so intoxicated that she threw herself at random men. Aamon believed he was the only man she should be throwing herself at, but he wouldn't stoop as low as to use her body just because Avery was vulnerable and desperate for distraction.
Avery tried to reach for another bottle, but once again, Aamon took it and wrapped his arm around her waist. Slowly, he forced Avery out of the dorm while she stumbled forward once he let her go.
"I said enough, Avery. You can't stand straight. You've reached your limit," he hissed, hoping she would at least try to listen to his words.
However, he didn't understand that Avery was desperate for anything that made her forget; she needed it, and his behaviour made her boil in anger.
"You don't get to tell me what to do!" Avery nearly fell as she tried to poke him in his chest. "You shouldn't even be anywhere near me! You're the bloody AR; mind your own damn business," she slurred in anger. But even those painful words didn't stop the rage that kept only growing in her, so Avery started calling Aamon names and stopped only when his hands clamped over her mouth.
"Avery!" Aamon forced her name through gritted teeth, warning her about the possible scene she might create.
She glared up at Aamon as he realised his best option was to get her away from those prying eyes and walls that might have ears.
Instead of losing more energy or risking blowing up in front of an audience, Aamon created a mist, which Avery didn't seem to notice as they teleported from one place to another. She blinked around at the scenery, confused beyond limits.
Yet, once her eyes fell back on Aamon, that same strange hunger returned, and she pounced on him. Desire coursed through her like wildfire, igniting a blaze so hot all she could think about was getting her hands on him.
Aamon groaned, trying his best to restrain from giving in. It was hardly an appropriate place, given that she was in his dorm. Students were forbidden to enter the particular floor, let alone the dorms of someone on the staff.
Avery didn't seem to care, and since Aamon knew he wouldn't get her to understand anything in this state, he gave in. He gave her what she wanted when Avery started ripping at his buttons, kissing and licking his neck.
He tugged her closer with a tired sigh and walked Avery backwards until the back of her knees hit the bed, and she fell on it. The moment her back collided with the mattress, her hands shot to his belt and tugged on it. Avery felt like someone else had possessed her as she pulled on his clothes.
When Aamon gripped her wrists, he pressed his knee between her thighs as Avery gazed at him with a lust-filled gleam in her eyes.
Aamon yanked her shorts down Avery's legs and tossed them aside. Then, his hands slid to her inner thighs and spread her legs. A whimper left her lips when Aamon lowered himself and kissed his way down her body. Once his head was nearly in between Avery's legs, Aamon slipped a finger under her panties and pulled them aside, groaning as his eyes met her dripping pussy.
She knew she wanted the man more than she should. There was something so dark and dangerous coming off of him that she couldn't understand how to process everything she felt.
Until his tongue ran over her clit. Avery lost every sense of reality she had ever had. Aamon tortured her, dragged out her pleasure and played with her senses as he forced her towards the end of the cliff and pulled away every time she was ready to ride out her orgasm against his face.
After countless pleas and cries, Aamon finally stopped his torture and brought Avery over the edge. The orgasm hit her so hard that Avery was sure she didn't only see stars but also taste them. The bliss captured her in a state of exhaustion, and she didn't fight it, closing her eyes and enjoying a night without nightmares.
The next day, however, she was sure she had dreamt of the experience, for she woke in her own dorm bedroom with no sign of Aamon. Avery knew she had to get rid of the taunting thoughts and weird obsession she was developing with that man.
After another two weeks of constant studying, classes, running, and partying around, Avery was exhausted, and Becca finally stepped forward to speak to her best friend. Avery had just returned home from her usual run and walked in the door, dropping her keys in the hall. She could see Becca sitting on the sofa, but she didn't hold a book or watch TV, which was odd, but Avery shrugged it off. As much as she deserved privacy and peace, so did Becca. Once Avery barely stepped into the living area, Becca pounced at her the moment she came into Becca's line of vision. It was clear that her best friend had no intention of letting Avery slip into her bedroom in peace. This was the day Becca lost every bit of her patience and decided to take action before losing her best friend for good. All Avery wanted was the escape of peace and quiet she could find in her bedroom. At least until nighttime caught up on her fears. "Ava, please," Becca pleaded, grabbed her wrist and tried to pull her tow
Avery's heart rate slowed down, and she instantly felt a strange sense of calmness settle over her as the last bits of fear left her. Aamon smirked, stepping back from her just as the elevator door opened. He grabbed Avery's hand and led her out of the elevator. Together, they stepped into what Avery thought had to be a penthouse apartment. The first thing Avery noticed was the floor-to-ceiling windows, which provided a stunning view of the city. Avery stopped breathing as her eyes took in the dim lights that lit up the city surrounding the place. The longer she stared out, the more greedy she felt for more. Avery had never seen something like that. Sure, her parents didn't struggle financially, and Avery never lacked anything, but the family preferred leading a more simple life. She never thought luxury might be her thing until Aamon took her to his place. Then, she tilted her head to take in the rest of her surroundings. While one whole side of the living room was all windows, t
The following day, when Avery woke up, she instantly rolled over, intent on stretching out her sore limbs, but stopped once she found a cold sheet next to her. Aamon's side of the bed was empty and felt ice-cold to her touch as if he hadn't spent the night next to her. It was clear he had left the bed a while ago, so following his example, Avery got out of the bed. Her eyes scanned the room, finding it more breathtaking in the daylight than it appeared late last evening. Avery's gaze stopped on the end of the bed, where she found a pile of nearly folded clothes and reached for them. A pair of blue denim jeans, a shirt, a leather jacket and a pair of impressive high heel boots. At the bottom of the pile, she found a lace bra and thong. Now, she wouldn't keep wondering how on earth Aamon knew her clothing size. Besides, where did he get the clothes? It was light outside; clearly, a new day had begun, but it seemed too early for any shops to be open. Avery's eyes scanned the tags, a
As Avery read the letter, tears ran down her cheeks, a few drops landing on the paper as her eyes kept going over the beautiful handwriting over and over again. Her entire life had been nothing but a lie, a damn illusion, a spectacle someone played, claiming it was for her own good. People who Avery thought were her parents lived with a secret to protect her, but from what, who and why? Why couldn't they leave hints about this danger in the letter instead of leaving her hanging? After reading the letter again, Avery had far too many questions running through her mind, which only doubled with every time her eyes scanned the piece of paper. Her eyes focused on the box that contained parts of her past, which undoubtedly was dark and dangerous. The past Avery didn't have any idea she had. Against her better judgement, she felt angry and betrayed. Not by them, not by the amazing people who raised her, loved her, and reminded Avery of their undying love every day. Avery was furious at
Today was the day; the big day Avery had been waiting for, feeling both excited and terrified the closer it came. September 9th: her twenty-first birthday and the day Avery was supposed to be initiated into her late mother's Coven- the Faewood Coven. Or should she address it as her aunt's Coven? But how could she? Because the woman that raised her was the only mother Avery had known. And though she wanted to be angry, Avery wanted to hate where life had thrown her- she couldn't. Biological parents or not, they were the best parents a child could wish for. Besides, now that she knew that her biological mother had given up on her life to save Avery, no matter how hurt she was, Avery just couldn't feel any anger towards the mother she never got to know and the mother who never told her the truth. It had already been two days since her last dream revelation, two whole days since an unconscious state of Avery's mind had given her the chance to watch everything happen with her own eyes
Avery wiped the tears from her cheeks as she tried to take in Meredith's words. It felt weird how much the woman's explanation sounded like a confession as if she didn't want anyone to find out or swore to take the secret to her grave. "When I found Ellie in that village, she was sure you died with your mother and had no idea you survived. She hadn't spoken to the Coven since she left, so we came up with a plan. I couldn't keep running with you; that wasn't a life your mother wanted you to have, so Ellie and Jon adopted you before moving back to Avalon. We decided it would be easier to hide you from them right under their noses. Besides, since your mother and Ellie were twins, no one questioned Ellie and assumed you were her biological daughter because you took after your mother. The Coven thought you were Ellie's and Jon's biological child. They had no reason to dig into it as they believed I was still on the run with you, and they knew Ellie was pregnant when she left the city."Av
Once they reached the university campus, Avery walked Becca to their dorm apartment with Aamon close on her heels. He didn't back away from Avery even when she grabbed a few things she would need while she spent time in Aamon's home. Then, once Avery and Becca shed a few tears and hugged out another goodbye, they promised each other that they wouldn't stay apart for long this time. Aamon never tried to rush Avery or act as if the girls didn't need their shared moment. About ten minutes after they had arrived, Aamon walked out of the university dorms with Avery, following close by. They got in their cars and drove back to the North side of the city. Parking in front of Aamon's apartment building, Avery noticed the valet she had met a couple of times; she handed her car keys to the valet, the same as Aamon did and nodded before the guy sat in her car and drove away. She hadn't noticed when Aamon took her bag from the car, and honestly, she was more than grateful that he did because A
TWO WEEKS LATER…Avery had spent most of her time with Meredith, training and learning how to control both of her sides. She was eager to learn more about her full potential, but she knew it would take longer than the week and some days they had spent together. Meredith had been showing Avery different ways to use her powers and strengthen them, along with how to protect herself and those she loves if needed. During this time, the Coven witches had been randomly showing up at Avery's university, looking for her, and trying their best to get Avery to join them so she could merge her power with the Faewood Coven. Avery knew that Agatha and the rest of the Elders had nothing but selfish reasons when they kept asking for her to join them- the more powerful witches they had, the more powerful and influential the Coven would become. Who knew, the Coven Elders could go as far as to attack other Covens if they became stronger than they already were. Becca held her promise and called Avery