Welcome to Me Me Monday! A day to promote, strut, and celebrate your Me-ness!
Duessa Ashelocke is certainly about to do so with the help of her Valentines, much to Christopher’s dismay in the next part of Be My Valentine…Snack…
I could still hear her, though.
“Alas for you, Peter is still under the spell of my venom. Hidden in this room is a cure.”
Some of the Valentines stirred.
One of them rose from the ground, standing on thin legs covered with rags, which might once have been leggings. He wobbled, but braced himself with angry energy coming.
I felt myself clenching my teeth, almost vibrating with an anger that wasn’t my own.
“Christopher!” Peter shook me, holding onto my arm, bracing both of us. “What’s wrong?”
“Sharing my strength has consequences.” I dug my fingers into his arm, feeling waves of concern centering me. They were coming from Peter. “I’m not sure where you’re getting yours.”
“Neither am I.” Duessa’s voice tickled in my ear, close, too close. “I must say I’m impressed, Peter. Where do you get such stamina?”
“Do you really need to ask me that question?” Peter muttered, cheeks turning crimson.
Other young man were getting to their feet, limbs jerking in an almost puppet like fashion. Yes, there were delicate strands, still connecting them to the ceiling, thin as gossamer, almost invisible.
I hadn’t freed Duessa’s Valentines. I’d only awakened them.
I shuddered with another wave of rage which sent cramps through my thighs and calves.
The young man I’d first awakened gazed at me through shaggy tresses of gray hair. He bared his teeth at Peter. They were way too sharp.
“Perhaps not, tidbit. If you’re to recover from my bite completely, you’ll to deal with my former Valentines, you and Christopher.” Duessa’s voice floated around the air, like smoke.
The former Valentines all sighed as one at the sound. Peter sighed, too, almost swooning, knocking me off my feet when he did.
Valentine, the first Valentine stood up a little straighter. The others grinned at Peter and I, exposing teeth just as sharp.
“One of my sweetmeats here has the cure.” Duessa chuckled, a low, throaty sound which made the hairs of the back of neck tingle. “Can you guess what your second challenge is, my dear Christopher?”
“Which valentine has it?” I steadied Peter, planting my own feet, willing my legs to stay steady. “I suppose I need to figure out what the cure is, as well.”
“I can see why my nephew, not to mention this one is fond of you.” Duessa’s playful tone developed an edge. “You just keep getting more interesting, don’t you, tidbit?”
Peter swayed, but kept his balance. He narrowed his eyes in the direction of the approaching valentines, breathing against my neck.
“Stay calm,” I murmured. “She likes games, according to Damian. Nor does she lie, although there may very well be a trick or a trap in her words.”
“You like being a hero, don’t you?” Peter muttered. “Is this what it takes to catch your eye?”
“You have got to be joking,” I looked at the most aggressive Valentine, pulsing with anger. A faint, greenish nimbus surrounded him. Valentine was giving off energy.
Every thin, wasted youth in the room pulsed with same energy, mine and Valentine’s. His rage. My strength.
I took a deep breath, feeling the vibration connecting us. I tugged at it, trying to withdraw some of that power back into myself.
Only to be yanked off my feet. I stumbled, resisting the pull toward Valentine.
Peter caught me before I could fall. “Are you all right?” Peter gripped my arm, quivering with tension himself.
“No.” For the first time, I had no urge to brush his hand away. Touching me was making Peter stronger. “I drew energy from one of Duessa’s Valentines, by sharing mine with him. He seems to be the one in control of the energy.”
“That’s right, pretty.” Valentine grinned at me. “I’m quite grateful for your kind foolishness.” He took another step towards me, pulsing with power. The power was a sickly, yellowish green. “Thanks to you, I now have the strength to make certain I don’t have to share my lady’s affections with any other Valentine.”
Wonderful. I’d awakened his jealousy and I attached myself to it. Stupid, stupid Christopher.