The phone is the worst invention created by mankind. It’s a lousy waste of time and space and it won’t fucking stop ringing.
It’s not even in this room.
Tossing the blanket aside, I squint at the red glow of the nearby clock. Three. No. This has to be a joke.
I should pull the blanket back over my head and wait for it to stop. It would teach these fools a lesson about bothering me so early into the day. It’s not even early. The day hasn’t had a chance to begin and whoever it is thinks they have the right to bother me with their mortal concerns.
Three a.m. is an ungodly hour. I suppose it makes sense. I’m about as far from holy as one can get.
Stepping out of bed, I grab my emerald robe from the back of the door and then stagger out into the hallway. I have to make it all the way to the living room. Why did I put the goddamn phone so far from me?
Because I’m a fool who thought people would be decent enough to use the phone at normal times in the day.
This had better be important. I swear to whatever larger force gathers in the air above Manhattan that I will smite whoever disturbed me if there isn’t a good reason. Perhaps I’ll liberate their heart from their chest while it still beats.
Deep breath. I didn’t go to the last three years of mandated therapy just to lose my cool over a phone call. It’s not a good time to get careless. There’s still some people I need to impress before I can move on with my life.
Robe tied tight around my hips, I tread down the stairs, leaving behind plush carpets for the icy feel of the laminate flooring that came with this rental. Supposedly it’s good for the environment. I miss the feel of real wood under my bare feet, though. Wood and stone and less of this nonsensical alternative crap.
The phone blares again. It’s louder than all of the traffic on a busy Friday afternoon. The single, shrill scream rips through the still air of the house. It must be the seventh time that thing has rattled and demanded my attention. Whoever is calling is adamant that they need me.
I pluck the red phone from its stand and press it to my ear. “Do you own a clock?”
“Clocks are for those already running out of time,” is the hissed reply from the other side.
Az. If I had a heart, it would beat harder for that damn voice. I take another deep breath. I don’t have a heart. It was surgically removed after the trouble he got me into last time. I’ve moved on. I don’t need my heart or any soft feelings and I certainly don’t need to worry myself with the adolescent musings of the male on the other end of this line.
“You can’t truly want to sleep in when there’s adventures to be had, Sera?”
There he is. Waltzing back into my life after years and expecting nothing to change. Well, this time things are different.
“Lose this number,” I snarl into the phone.
“Wait. Wait. I’m sorry. Wait.”
The apology catches my attention more than his whining. Azazel isn’t the kind of creature to offer his condolences, not now and certainly not when something is actually his fault. He needs something and he’s willing to play nice.
I don’t slam the phone down even though the muscles have tightened in my hand and that’s all I want to do. “What could you possibly need from me?”
“Remember the night we got engaged?”
He sounds out of breath. This can’t be a good conversation. I shouldn’t have answered the phone.
“Humans get engaged. We made a blood pact that you weaseled your way out of.”
“Sera…” he trails off.
This is an old argument. He doesn’t want to hear about it, but I don’t care. I got left behind. I’ve paid the ultimate price for the trouble he caused. My life has been altered. If he thinks for one minute that he’s going to get anything from me without having to politely listen to my every rancid thought on this particular subject, then he is supremely in the wrong.
“I gave you a necklace,” he continues before I can compile my thoughts into a starting statement with the way I hate his guts and every piece of connective tissue holding him together.
I’m aware. The red oval with a single, gold wave cut through the center of it is currently dangling from my neck. I stole it back from the surgeons the last time I was at the hospital. There’s nothing quite like a man trying to steal your memories while you rob his office.
“You can’t have it,” I bite into the receiver.
He blows out a sigh. “I need you to hear me out.”
I laugh. No, I throw my head back and cackle like the madwoman I’ve become since the last time I laid eyes on Master Azazel Aticulen. It seems the man has left me to go work on his sense of humor.
“I owe you absolutely nothing.”
Dammit. He’s done it again. I should throw this phone across the room. I should rip the cord out of the wall and smash the rest of it to pieces. I don’t. Az has never agreed with me before in his long, miserable life.
“I’ll break you out, but I need that necklace and I need you.”
He needs me. I’m not some whimpering waif in need of his approval. That being said, that’s exactly who I was the last time this demon tempted me away from my path in life.
I’m not Miss Sera Phim, an innocent soul captured in a never aging body. I’m just Sera. Crotchety and bitchy and tragically unimportant Sera.
“I don’t need you,” I grumble into the phone.
It topples from my hand. The stupid thing clatters as it lands. I don’t bother picking it off of the floor and putting it back in its stand. I have no intention of answering it again tonight or any other night.
I shouldn’t have gotten out of bed. Three o’clock is for demons and devilry. It’s the hour of mischief away from the omniscient view of well-minded beings. I stumble up the first few steps as my throat tightens. It’s the hour of hope and I cannot, I will not, allow myself to hope that Az is going to keep his word after all these years.
He probably tried to get this necklace from the hospital just after I retrieved it. It’s the only reason he called. Likely, it’s more than a relic containing our blood and resolution to stay with each other. It’s probably a key for some hidden treasure he located.
Too bad. He’ll have to find a spare or give up on his incessant need to uncover the Earth’s secrets.
I’m at the top of the stairs before I realize my bedroom door is closed.
The phone is downstairs. I could walk back down there and call for help.
I didn’t shut that door.
There’s only one pesky man with enough magic to get past the wards surrounding this estate.
As if entranced by his presence, my feet move forward against my will. I cross the landing and press my fingertips into the painted white wood of the door. Az is hunched over the dresser in the corner, his hands very much in my underwear drawer.
“Looking for this, then?” I snarl, pulling the amulet out of my nightgown to flash it between us.
He straightens immediately, letting his phone fall from his ear and bounce across the floor as he looks at me. There’s no words to be had. He looks the same and I…well, time has been unkind. Time and the torture. Both are quite stressful on the stained soul.
Az looks like he always does, though. Broad shoulders and black hair that frames his piercing eyes. He still has that obnoxious lip ring.
“I really do want you to come, too.”
“And if I refuse?”
He shrugs, his beautiful figure stuffed into a suit jacket that has to be a size too small. Stolen. He probably needed something with a specific scent to get by the bloodhounds stationed on the lawn. “I’m not against playing the villain, Sera.”
“I think we both know you don’t just play the villain, Azazel.”
He winces. I don’t usually call him by his full name. Today, things feel a bit different. It seems like the kind of day I stand my ground and fight back against the man who ruined my life.
“Please,” he extends one hand towards me, each of his fingers ringed by silver jewelry, “I’ll make everything up to you. Give me a week, Sera. To use the necklace. You can keep it when we’re done and I’ll even hide you on a personal island if that’s what you want. You can’t possibly want to live out this morbid attempt at banality. White was never your color,” he murmurs as his eyes touch the blank walls.
I should say no. Just to be stubborn.
He’s right, though. No promise in the world could convince me to stay here for any longer than necessary.
“Five days and I pick the island.”
His lips twitch upwards. “Six days and I’ll throw in the cat.”
“You still have Nyx?”
He nods. “Couldn’t let the bugger go. He reminds me of you.”
If I had a heart…
His words make me feel warm, but I brush that aside.
“Deal. Now, get me out of here.”
Thanks for reading this week’s prompt about a call at three a.m. This was a tough one! New characters, new tension, and new dilemmas. Let me know in the comments below what you liked and if you want to see more of this story!
Please make time to read Bridgette’s story here: https://bridgettetales.com/
As always, check out Lore here: Lore by Angelica Reece
We’ll see you next week!
3 thoughts on “Caller Chaos”
Another fantastic short story! I love how cranky Sera is throughout the entire thing. Her voice is super clear and I get a really good sense of the relationship she had with Az. “Perhaps I’ll liberate their heart from their chest while it still beats. “—loved this line so much!
I’m very intrigued about these characters and hope you’ll write more. I want to know what he’s going to use the necklace for, if he will actually follow through with sending Sera to an island (somehow I doubt it), and more about the cat. Please say these characters fit into your other stories so I’ll be able to read more of them.
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I loved that line too!!!
Thank you so much. Sera and Az are definitely their own stories separate from my trove of vampire, but I liked them so much I think I’ll start tinkering with a larger story for them ❤️
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Maybe another Vella story! They have some great chemistry.
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