༺✿*This is an extra and not originally in WHITE RAVEN. Enjoy <3
(¸.•´ (¸.•` ★•**•.ZANE
There wasn’t a damn thing to do on this island. TV bores me. Nothing good was ever on. When your real life was like a marathon of American Horror Story, everything else paled in comparison. I was restless. Hell, I was more than just antsy. I was going out of my mind. How could I not be? All my life I had looked forward to the day I would break out on my own, leave this island.
Being a reaper in Raven Hallow was precisely my dream job—not that I had a choice. I was good at it. Too good.
So what happened? Why was I still here?
Not just any girl.
The White Raven.
What was it about Piper? I don’t even like her.
And that was a bull-faced lie.
My feelings for Piper were…complex. There was something about her that intrigued me, but maybe it was more that I couldn’t figure her out, and I was exceptionally good at reading people—kind of went with the job.
Or it could have been who she was to me. As much as I wanted to deny what I felt, what my soul instantly recognized, it was impossible. She pulled me two steps closer for every one I tried to put between us without even realizing it. That was the kicker. Piper was completely clueless as to who she was or what she was to me. It was baffling.
Being the one to tell her what I was had only complicated matters more. Well, for me. I hadn’t expected to feel so damn protective or so connected.
I couldn’t remember the last time I felt this restless. And it was entirely her fault.
My gaze followed the long strokes of paint on the piece of art hanging over our fireplace. Up close it looked like nothing but blobs of paint, but from a distance the beauty of Ireland’s lush hills came into focus. It was one of Piper’s fathers.
Her presence was suddenly everywhere.
I should have left when I had the chance. There was no future for me here. Not with Piper. Staying in Raven Hallow would bring me nothing but heartache and misery. What kind of life could I have knowing that she was promised to my brother? What could I possibly offer her?
This whole thing was a clusterfuck.
Sitting up, I swung my legs over the side of the bed and stood, throwing on a hoodie. Why was it that I couldn’t even look at a sweatshirt without thinking about her and her middle finger?
My train of thought was derailing.
Night had fallen, and an itch started deep under my skin, stirring a need inside me. “Christ,” I muttered, letting the darkness surround me. Sleep was so not happening. I stretched my tight muscles and glanced around the room. I had to get out of here.
Exiting my domain, I rushed down the stairs and out the front door. As I stepped outside, there was only one place I wanted to be. And I doubted her highness would appreciate me sneaking around in her granddaughter’s bedroom, but that was exactly what I wanted to do. Been there. Done that.
Instead, I steered toward the docks. A gentle breeze blew over my face as I wove in and out of the wooden posts. Moonlight was generous over the island, shining down on the midnight waters. I thought about going hunting, and I didn’t mean for deer or bunnies, but for the scorned afterlife. As appealing as seeking out a Hallow and strapping on my kick ass boots was, I just couldn’t muster the energy.
Sighing, I walked along the waterfront, shrouded in shadows and starlight. Under absolutely no circumstances was I going to end up at Raven Manor like some pathetic peeping tom.
God, what was wrong with me?
I rubbed my hands over my face. Obviously, my brain was not working right now. It stopped functioning the moment Piper stepped off the ferry.
Consciously I was headed nowhere, but subconsciously I was pulled to her. I peered up and it shouldn’t have been a surprise that I was standing outside the gates of Raven Manor. Dammit. Unable to stop, my eyes immediately went to the light in the east window. It was hers. Every fiber in my soul knew it. And this wasn’t the first time I’d been senseless enough gaze upon her window.
I couldn’t help but wonder what she would do if I did sneak into her room?
Hit me? Kiss me?
Both would be my guess.
A strand of tingles broke out on the nape of my neck, spreading down my back. Was I dreaming? Because Piper suddenly appeared on the other side of the glass doors, her blonde hair draped to one side, and she was only wearing a loose white t-shirt. God help me. I was captivated. She had a light about her. So brilliant it was hard to look at her sometimes.
Leaning forward, her name tumbled from my lips. It was only a whisper, but she tilted her head to the side and I held my breath.
I hadn’t meant to say anything, let alone her name.
And worse, she heard me. Not with her ears, but with her soul, she just didn’t understand the difference.
Holy crap—those legs.
I slunk further into the shadows as Piper stuck her nose to the glass, scouring the beach. Great, this was not how I envisioned my night, doing exactly what I said I wasn’t going to do. Stalk the girl who would never be mine.
The door to the balcony opened and out walked Piper. She rubbed her hands up and down her arms, chasing the evening chill. “Zane,” she called, from perfect heart-shaped lips.
My pulse sped, and I became as still as the waters behind me. Shock and yearning mixed inside me. I was wading in uncharted territories, and there was nothing I could do about it.
I didn’t want to care about her, about what happened to her, yet at every turn I found myself interfering, concerned about her safety. It was hardwired inside of me. Damn souls.
I narrowed my eyes. There was a heat between us and even with the distance I felt it. A Raven? Go figure.
The wind blew her hair, carrying her scent, a mixture of coconut and suntan lotion. She smelled like the beach on a hot summer day. I swore the fates brought her into my life just to torment me.
“I know you’re out there.” She leaned her elbows on the balcony ledge. “You might be able to cloak yourself, but you can’t disguise this—this weird feeling I get whenever you’re around.”
I shook my head and stepped forward, letting the moonlight hit part of my face. “What are you doing?”
She stared down at me too long, her gaze making my stomach flip-flop. “Wondering why are you lurking outside my bedroom?”
How could she make me want to throttle her and kiss her at the same time? “I wasn’t lurking,” I insisted, loitering at the bottom of the stairs.
Her lips curled. “Uh-huh. If you say so.”
I should have walked away, but my feet had a mind of their own, climbing the steps. I joined her on the balcony, elbows leaning on the railing as we overlooked the gardens and water lapping gently in the background. “I just wanted to make sure you were okay.”
She angled her head. “Why?”
“After everything that has happened, do you have to ask?” Not that long ago, we’d been in her room disposing of a dead reaper. Why wouldn’t I been worried? It wasn’t going to be the last attempt on her life. She just didn’t know that.
Piper let out a short laugh. “It has been unreal.”
“You can say that again,” I muttered, ignoring this urge to back her into the bedroom and do things that would make her blush. “Isn’t it kind of late for you to still be up?”
Her shoulder brushed up against mine, and I tried not to be affected by the zing that moved in me. “This place gives me insomnia.”
“You’re homesick,” I stated. I could feel the sadness and loneliness that plagued her. It knitted inside me, wrapping around my soul. She wasn’t the only one getting used to new things. The merging of our souls was not exactly a walk in the park for me, and I wasn’t sure how I felt about it.
“Yeah, I guess,” she said. Her gaze moved from over my shoulder to my face. “What’s your excuse?”
I couldn’t tell her the truth. That she was the reason I couldn’t sleep at night. So I gave her an answer with a portion of the truth. “I don’t need to sleep. Well, not like humans. My body needs rest, but not nearly as much. I could probably go days without zonking out. And night is when I feel alive.”
She blinked, crazy-long lashes fanning over the apples of her cheeks. “Strange. Me too. I’ve always been a night owl. I think my body must be on reaper schedule.”
Not going there tonight.
My eyes traveled down the length of her. “Cute pajamas.”
She playfully pushed me. “Shut up.” The corners of her lips lifted. “Is this going to become a habit? You sneaking into my room? Just so I know. I don’t want to accidentally shank you or something.”
I smirked, unable to keep my gaze from her mouth. “Please tell me you don’t have a homemade knife under your pillow?”
“And if I did?” she challenged, a glint sparkling in the greenest eyes I’d ever seen.
My brow shot up. I really wanted to kiss her. “I would tell you that it is useless. No human weapon is going to kill a Hallow.”
“What about a reaper?” she asked.
I had to admit it was nice just talking for once. Not having to worry about what danger she might get herself into, or constantly snapping at each other. If I wasn’t careful, this casualness between us could become a different kind of danger. “Are you thinking about one in particular?”
“Someone comes to mind.”
“I bet. You don’t really have a blade under your pillow, do you? Because now I’m worried about you accidently stabbing yourself.”
“Whatever. I think if I have any more surprise visitors, I’ll probably die of a heart attack.”
I leaned forward, closing the distance between us. Lifting my hand, I brushed an out of place hair off her cheek. Pressure clamped down on my chest at the thought of her being hurt. “I won’t let anything happen to you.”
Her heart quickened and her veins began to shimmer. She was breathtaking.
I never admitted my sheer desire to keep her safe before. Not out loud. Not to myself. I think the startled expression on her face was a mirror of mine. Saying it made these feelings I was having for her very real.
I was in serious-holy-shit trouble.