Chapter Twelve

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I didn't know where I was headed to nor what I was going to do. For the first time in what seems like forever, I have allowed my footsteps to be guided by my heart.

I wandered aimlessly - with no direction in my conscious mind - but somehow I was positive I was headed the right way. Because why else would my heart thrum faster and my stomach's knot tighten with every step I took?

My forehead muscles were growing sore from being too constricted; I forced the frown off my face and relaxed my expression, not wanting to appear angry in front of the passerby's - or worse - in front of my... date.

It felt very odd saying it, even if it was just in my mind. The word brought back so many memories I would have rather left in my unconscious mind.

Earlier this afternoon, Ariel had styled my hair to cascade down my back in natural waves. I had put on my outfit in no time - so eager for lunchtime - and as I stalked out of my bedroom with a newfound confidence, I noticed Noah was busy speaking on the phone.

"No, you need to get your ass here right now. I'm in desperate need of a shower." He was demanding to the other person across the line. His back was towards the hall as he faced my living room's balcony. I ignored my conscience as it pressured me to stay moral and inform him - the person who spent days in my apartment guarding my friend and I from danger - of where I was headed to. I bit my lip and continued straight towards my front door, my movements so light it almost looked like I was floating across the tiles.

"No, it's not okay!" Noah suddenly yelled, and as soon as I recovered from my flinch I hurried to lower the doorknob, hoping the slight creak would be balanced by the echo of Noah's voice. "You know damn well how serious this situation is. Don't you dare tell me to calm down." I heard his volume decrease as I stepped further away from the door.

The adrenaline pump rushing through my veins as I tried so sneakily not to get caught distracted my mind from fully registering his words. It wasn't until I reached down the hall and stopped at the elevator that I realized just what I was getting into.

Could Xavier truly be just as dangerous as Vincent?

My strong sixth sense that often distinguished between the good and the bad people wasn't going off in my head. From the moment I met Xavier, it had felt like I'd known him for years. Like we were long lost souls finally coming together after an anguishing millennia.

"Nora?"

The sudden call startled me and I jumped a step forward. The elevator door dinged, indicating it had reached my floor. As the doors began spreading open, I turned around to find Noah's head peeking from my apartment's door.

His eyes trailed over my appearance - the styled hair and the fancier-than-usual attire - and they settled back on my face. He stepped through the door and stood fully in the middle of the hallway, his eyebrows lifting in amusement and a slight grin coming to view.

"Where are you headed to looking all dolled up?" He teased.

I opened my mouth to reply, but hesitated as I pondered over lying. An inner voice reprimanded me, reminding me that Noah didn't deserve to be lied to - especially not by me.

"I have a date." I blurted out.

In a speed quicker than I anticipated, the grin that had appeared so easily vanished from his face as it crumpled into a frown. "A... date?" He pronounced the word like it felt so foreign leaving his mouth. "With who?"

"You don't know him." I rushed. Reaching out, I hit the elevator button to stop the doors from closing. "Actually, Noah, I'm already late and-" the second I turned around to say goodbye, I found myself facing a broad chest. I stepped back and looked up into Noah's questioning stare, his frown now deepened as he glared me down. I felt so small standing below him, but I held my ground.

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