After leaving Elsbeth in my quarters, I found Dad doing exactly what I expected—sulking in his chambers. Yeah, there were times when my parent acted like an overgrown kid. I was a little surprised that he hadn’t set fire to my room.
As a teen, Dad had torched it on numerous occasions whenever I had said or done something that didn’t meet his approval. Where other demon parents punished their progeny, Dad just burned shit down. Hell, he still resorted to the practice although it had been a few centuries since I was a child. My place burned for hours when he learned I had hooked up with Hecate.
“Dad, we have to talk,” I said cautiously. With Elsbeth nearby, I didn’t want to risk a flaming response.
He sneered at me with a menacing look before launching into his tirade. “Out of all the goddamned females in that fucking town, you couldn’t find someone other than Elsbeth?”
“No, I couldn’t. Frankly, I didn’t want to either.” I met his glare with one of my own as I took a seat at the table. The days of him intimidating me were far behind me. “Same question, Dad. There are more than one or two willing females down here. Take your pick. How about a few of the ones who were here the other night?”
Averting his eyes, he said solemnly, “They are for entertainment purposes. I enjoy the Red Witch’s company. She’s nothing like any of my other wives. I can talk to her. Share things…feelings…”
A sudden coldness hit my core. Dad wasn’t a demon who participated in idle chit-chat. He sure as fuck didn’t discuss emotions with anyone. I seriously doubted he chose to do so with Elsbeth.
Still… If he did, it implied that what he shared with her was more than casual.
Ordinarily, I was the only one who indulged in random dialogue. It started with Hecate. She listened. She understood. But she didn’t tell me about herself. That was one of the differences between her and Elsbeth. The former satisfied my need for companionship—and sex. The latter fulfilled a desire for a partner. Someone who knew me better than I did myself. Elsbeth made me want to be more than just the son of Ashmedai. Why would I give any of that up even for my father?
But the scenario wasn’t about what either of us wanted. I was fairly certain I knew what Elsbeth would say, but I asked my father anyway. “Does Elsbeth want to come to Hell? Is she willing to spend the rest of her eternity in this realm?”
His shoulders slumped—a sign of resignation, or was he just tired? “Doesn’t matter. I’d gladly come to her.”
“Really, Dad?” I folded my arms and leaned back in my seat. “She needs someone by her side all the time. She’s fucking lonely. I get that. Do you?”
He pursed his lips. “I could.”
Not good enough. Elsbeth fulfilled his needs. He didn’t give a flying fuck about hers.
My father quirked up an eyebrow. “Do you care for her?”
“Yeah, I do,” I blurted without an ounce of hesitation.
I had no issues with Elsbeth. Where others saw flaws and discontent, I simply saw a female who had spent a lifetime being misunderstood by everyone. What did my father see in her?
“Same question for you, Dad.”
Dad, tilting his head to the side, stroked his beard. “What if I—”
“What if you what, Dad?” Moths took off in my gut. It was unseemly for me to battle with him over Elsbeth.
His mouth hung open, and then he slammed it shut. “Never mind.” He gave a deep, satisfying sigh without elaborating. “You do know that we…”
“Please, don’t remind me.” I wasn’t going to discuss the acts of perversion between Elsbeth and my father. Even demons had their limits. “Listen, I know she’s not a saint. Hell, I might be the biggest sinner to walk the Earth. Kind of makes us perfect for each other, don’t you think?”
He nodded and then said sternly, “Just don’t hurt her, or you’ll answer to me. And, what I’ll do will be a lot worse than the virtual prison Tiberius stuck your ass in.”
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish