Seth jerked his hand back and lowered his leg so fast, I almost did fall right over. “Are you okay, Josie?”
I laughed. What a weird question. “I don’t think I can feel my legs.”
Seth drew back, cupping my cheek. He held me close as he lifted my head. “What?”
His eyes were doing the glow-bug thing. They were a luminous tawny color, and his glyphs were out, racing across his skin wicked fast, as if he were in the presence of a god. “Your eyes are glowing.”
Seth’s lashes lowered, but there was no shielding those babies. “You sure you’re okay?”
“Yeah.” I squeezed his shoulder, confused by his concern. “You gave me an orgasm, Seth. Not a punch to the vagina.”
I grinned. “I’m completely fine. Except now I feel like I need a nap. And maybe some fries. Okay. Definitely some fries.”
“Okay,” he said after a moment, stepping back but still keeping his arm around me. “Let’s go—”
“Back to the room so I can repay the favor?” I asked, touching his chest. Under my palm, his heart pounded fast. “How about that?”
Seth laughed, but the sound was off. Strained. “How about we get those fries first and then see where we’re at?”
I opened my mouth to protest, but a very loud and very obnoxious yawn broke free, right in Seth’s face.
“Yeah,” he murmured, turning me around. “Let’s get some food in you.”
Josie passed out halfway through eating her French fries, and by some miracle she didn’t end up face-first in the greasy basket. She was curled on her side, hands limp and open just below her chest.
I’d pulled her sneakers off for her and draped a thin blanket over her legs. A herd of Minotaurs could’ve performed a flash mob in the center of the room and she would’ve slept right through it.
Sitting on the edge of the couch, I watched her sleep like a total creeper, but I watched to make sure she was okay. That she was breathing normally. Paranoia was hitting me hard, because I knew she was okay. Tired and weak? Yes. It would pass. Maybe it wasn’t paranoia. Maybe it was guilt.
It was definitely guilt.
Because I, on the other hand, was wired, chock-full of energy. Buzzed like I got after a good fight, a good fuck. Buzzed like I was every time I touched Josie.
I was wired, and I was fucking sick.
Every part of me was fucking sick, because the power lighting me up and that fucking “touch the gods-damn sky” high was borrowed. It was stolen. Fuck, it was the worst kind of thing.
I’d caved to that thing inside me.
When she tapped into akasha, it had woken up and it started paying attention. It needed and demanded, whispered to me, telling me what I could do. It remembered that I could feed off Josie without really hurting her. And I’d listened. Gods, I’d listened to it.
What the hell was wrong with me?
And it was all me. There wasn’t something or someone else living inside me that I could blame.
Pushing off the couch, I stalked to the window in the bedroom and drew back the blinds. Nothing but darkness greeted me.
What in the fuck had I done?
Oh gods, I knew exactly what I’d done. I thrust my fingers through my hair. The weeks of working on the elements had been chipping away at my restraint. Fuck. And today? When she’d tapped into the akasha, the lick of power that washed over me had dug in deep with razor-sharp claws, opening up a need I did not want.
But could not ignore.
I knew I should’ve walked away. I should’ve ended training the first second I felt her aether calling out to me. Fuck. I should’ve ended these trainings the first time I found myself wanting what I should never ever want from her. There was a lot of shit I should’ve done, but I didn’t listen.
“Fuck,” I grunted, turning around as I stepped to the side. I leaned against the wall, tipping my head back. “Fuck.”
I’d lost control today.
When she’d gotten angry and used the air element, it hit me right in the gut. It had also turned me on, because whenever Josie got pissed, I couldn’t help but find it hot. But when she tapped into akasha, the rush of power that permeated the air had dragged me under.
There had been no room for warnings or thoughts or seconds to consider what I was doing. I’d become a ball of action, of a thousand different things, and somewhere lust and need and want got all mixed up.
I’d wanted to give her pleasure.
I’d wanted to get in her.
I’d wanted what was in her.
Gods. It all got mixed up. No excuse. None whatsoever. I didn’t even realize what I was doing until it was too late, until I felt the ebb and flow of aether, moving from her to me.
I’d fed off her.
Gut twisting, I closed my hands into fists. I’d fed off Josie, off someone who trusted me irrevocably. It was the worst kind of betrayal, and she didn’t even know. She had no idea why she’d been so tired afterward. No clue to the cause behind the fact she couldn’t even finish eating a basket of fries.
I’d done it, and even though I hadn’t been thinking and I wasn’t even sure if that was the main reason why I’d gone after her today, I still knew what had happened to her. The daimons had fed on her before we reached her grandparents’ house. Hyperion had gotten her outside of their house, and even though she wouldn’t talk about what had gone down when he had her, I knew he would’ve fed on her. After all, that was why the Titans were after the demigods in the first place. For Hyperion it was also personal. And I’d done to Josie the same thing he had.