I asked fans on Facebook to pick what I posted this week. They unanimously decided on an interview… with Aksel. May the gods help me.
He wanted to meet in a bar. Of course he did. And in typical Aksel fashion, the bar sat smack dab in the worst part of the city. Not even cockroaches showed their faces after dark in that stretch of gang-ruled territory. No place was off limits to the demon. I, however, stuck out like a hot pink evening gown in a funeral parlor.
I sat at a table in the back of the bar hugging my purse to my chest. Even though I dreaded it, I wished Aksel would hurry up. At least then I could pretend there was someone strong and fearless to keep me safe. A pair of thugs walked by, their hands occupied; one hand on a beer, the other keeping their sagging pants from bunching around their ankles.
A warm breeze hit the back of my neck. A hand bearing a large ring with a red stone slid onto the table. Another hand joined in, trapping me between the table and his body.
“What’s a pretty girl like you doing in a shithole like this?”
That voice, gods… I couldn’t stop the shudder. “You invited me here, Aksel.”
He leaned down and sniffed my hair. “Only because you asked so nicely to do this interview.”
Aksel backed off and took his seat. Before his ass even took the shape of the chair, a waitress brought him a glass of whiskey, straight up. She left the bottle. He looked across at me and raised a brow. Moments later the waitress returned with another glass filled with ice. Aksel poured my drink.
“Can we just get this over with?”
He chuckled. “Ask away, sweet thing. I want to hear what my adoring fans are curious about.”
“First off, what is your full name?”
I gave him a look. “Okay… How old are you?”
“Old enough to date your mother.”
“Yes, that is my name.” He took a drink. “I’ve been around since mankind came into existence.”
I blinked at him. “That’s a damn long time. Do you have any family?”
A look crossed his face and he finished off the whiskey in his glass. “No.”
“Did they die?”
“Yes, and I’ve got the teeth for proof. Next question.”
Hoping he couldn’t see the list of questions I’d jotted down, I crossed out the remaining family-oriented questions… and finished my drink. He poured us both another.
“What is the biggest misconception about you?”
“People think I’m nice.” Aksel flashed he trademark smirk. “They should know evil comes in sexy packages.”
“I’ve tried warning them.” I shrugged. “Do you have a secret? Something you’ve never told to anyone, not even those you trust?”
A tick started in his jaw. He scrubbed at a day’s worth of beard and frowned down into his glass. “I might, but I’m not telling you jack shit.”
“Why, don’t trust me?”
His hand came down on the table hard enough to make the bottle of whiskey jump. Aksel leaned across, within kissing distance.
“I trust no one.”
Just as quickly he sat back and waved at the notepad clutched to my chest. I looked at the next question and winced. Damn his fans…
“Rachael wants to know: Were you to be in our world, I’m curious what you would most like to do with R.C.? I’m thinking ala ‘My Dinner with Andre’, do tell us if you had her for the evening how it would go?”
A grin split his face from ear to ear. “You slipped that question in yourself, didn’t you?”
“No. Just answer the fucking question.” Not that I wanted to hear his answer. I knew better than most what his idea of a night out meant.
“I’d take you on a hunt with me, like we used to do. Just you, me, and whatever chick happened to be at the end of my blade.”
The salad I ate for dinner threatened to make a reappearance. “This is why I don’t let you out to hunt any more, Aksel.”
“No, you don’t let me out because you’re afraid you’ll grow to enjoy it.”
I stood. “We’re done with the interview.”
In a blur he pinned me against the table again. “You’re lying. I saw one more question on your little list.”
I knew better than to struggle. He liked it way too much and I wasn’t about to excite him before asking the question I truly dreaded.
“Say it, Renee.” The scrape of metal against leather was unmistakable. Aksel pressed his knife against my back. “I’m asking nicely.”
“Alli wanted to know more about your sex life.” My heart tried to beat its way out of my chest.
A surprised laugh sounded over the rap music playing in the bar. Aksel sheathed his knife and stepped back. Smug satisfaction twisted his darkly handsome face.
“She’s read the story. What more could she want to know?”
“Why you do it that way, I guess?” Gods, I did not want to be having this discussion with him. Aksel’s sex life is my worst nightmare.
“It’s the hunt, babe. The power I have over them. They think they’re getting the ride of their life, but it’s on my terms and the biggest ride of all is the slippery one leading to ones demise. I’m just the catalyst giving them that one last thrill.”
“They get absolutely no satisfaction out of dying, Aksel.” I couldn’t keep the outrage out of my voice.
He shrugged and tossed back a double shot of whiskey. “Who’s to say what the dying feel right before they go?”
“Killing isn’t right.” For once I didn’t feel like an idiot standing on moral high ground during a debate.
“Maybe they want to die.” Aksel pulled a wad of bills out of his wallet and dumped them on the table. “We’re done. Don’t call again unless we’re going on a hunt.”
Shaking, I watched him stroll out of the bar. In that moment I didn’t care how bad that side of town was, how I’d get home, or much of anything else, really. I grabbed the bottle of whiskey and poured myself another drink.
Aksel would be the end of me one day.