After her text asking for an appointment with the good doctor, I wrote an email to the woman asking if she’d kindly pencil us in at her earliest convenience. I then ordered three hundred African daisies from a nearby florist, and instructed that fifty of them be delivered every hour for six hours the next day. Sookie may have restricted me to a peasant’s flower, but she’d neglected to specify what kind. Or how many. Or how often. I time-delayed both messages. They wouldn’t be sent until dark. Sookie was right. I needed to keep my day walking a tightly-guarded secret. One small slip, something as innocent as sending an email at noon, and people would start asking questions. Of course, vampires were capable of staying awake during the day and taking care of business via the internet was a common use of that time, but it was one tiny clue amongst hundreds that would stack up if I wasn’t careful.
After shutting the machine down, I decided to take my lover’s advice and sleep. I needed it. And as agitated as I felt by her absence, her presence was even more distracting. I might as well spend the time without her in the ether. If she met danger, I would feel her fear and awaken. Even something as minor as a squirrel darting in front of the car, I would know it. Then, I would simply need to stop myself from darting to her side and beheading that squirrel for startling her. Sookie would kill me if I did.
As I began walking up the stairs, she sent another text.
Decided to swing by Bon Temps. Need 2 talk 2 Sam, Lafayette & Jason. Love you. -S
I smiled at the last words, then wrote back. Don’t text me. Call me. I want your voice. Why Sam? Yours. -E
I removed my clothes and settled into my bed, growing more annoyed at the fact that she wasn’t with me. Another ping. Another message.
Is your throat broken? YOU can call ME. Need 2 talk about future at Merlotte’s.
Damn right you’re mine. -S
I chaffed at her bold certainty, but she wasn’t wrong. Even now, my blood sought me from her position miles away. And her Light? I arched my back, looking to relieve the pressure in my chest as the little orb steadily increased her choke on me. Where did it sit in my chest, exactly? Just next to my heart? Completely inside of it? Or did it encase the organ, holding it hostage in its sunny grip? I could only imagine what an x-ray would show. I arched again and gasped softly. She’d only been gone for ninety minutes. How suffocating would it become if she left my side for an entire day? A week? A month?
Claudine’s face simmered in my mind and I growled at it. Sookie had been taken to the Fae world for a very short period of time, she’d told me. No more than twenty minutes. Yet here in this world, she’d been gone for months. If Claudine reported Sookie’s condition back to the Mab queen and they attempted to take her again, I couldn’t be held accountable for my actions. I would not survive for months without her, and that was here in this realm. If she disappeared into
another world without me, I would have to torture and burn and shred everything that obstructed me from her. People or gods or interdimensional doors. It wouldn’t matter. The distance between us had to be removed or it would kill us both.
Looking at my phone, I ignored her comment about the shifter’s bar. I would interrogate her on that when she returned. For now, I simply wanted her. She wouldn’t hustle if I became indignant over her visiting friends. Instead, I chose a more direct method.
Without a thought towards modesty, I used my phone to photograph my naked, pounding erection and sent it to her. This is yours as well. You’re neglecting it.
Four seconds. Then a spike of surprise rippled from her. I could almost feel her blush, even in the cool dark of my room. Thirty-seven more seconds. Another ping.
Damn you. I want 2 yell at you, but I can’t. All I can think about is every place I want it.
Another ping followed as I finished. I opened it.
I can think of at least 3.
My fangs clicked.
Don’t tease or I’ll rip through the car roof and fuck you through to the asphalt.
Her excitement increased. Another ping. This was was slightly different. It meant a file was attached. I opened it.
Rip out the steering column, and you just might be able to. The photo she’d sent was of her lap. Her toned, tanned, bare lap. Her loose skirt had been pulled up to her inner thighs. She’d spread them slightly, giving me a hint of what lay two inches further. The steering wheel was protruding at the top, blocking her knees from view.
A final ping. Shouldn’t you be resting?
I roared in frustration and threw my phone across the room. It exploded through the drywall. Like I gave a fuck. I wanted to fly to her and make her answer for her taunts. I wanted to jerk off and relieve some of the mindless ache she so effortlessly inflicted upon me. Instead, I threw myself face down and forced my brain into sleep mode.
I was a careful being, never one to fly off the handle and advertize my vulnerabilities. I would not be goaded into doing something stupid.
When I awoke again, it was closer to five o’clock. I’d succeeded in garnering a few hours of rest. Sookie had been right. I’d needed them. Especially if I was going to have to simper to a bunch of AVL blowhards tonight. It took Herculean effort and always left me drained afterwards. I linked in the darkness. I scented the air.
I was alone, but Sookie’s fragrance was with me. She’d been in my bed. Recently. Within the last hour. I inhaled again. She’d hugged Sam. He reeked of standard shifter and substandard alcohol. He must have been working the bar. She’d also hugged Lafayette and her brother. Both reeked of sweat and dried clay. They had been working in the highway crew.
I snorted, clearing my sinuses, and inhaled again. She’d snuggled with me awhile, then wandered away. Not far.
I rose and followed my nose.
The door to the bathroom was ajar. There was a minute amount of steam in the air. She had bathed, but not in the last hour. I reached out and pushed the door open.
She turned away from the mirror, lipstick in hand, and looked at me.
My fangs clicked instantly and my thigh muscles went rigid, preparing to zip across the room and tear the vision before me into screaming little pieces.
My beautiful little mate. She’d spent all day finding just the right dress to accompany me this evening. It was a terrible, terrible shame that neither she, I or the dress would survive the next ten seconds. She was, for lack of a better word, spectacular.
Her gown was nothing more than red paint. It covered all, yet hid nothing. Her neckline plunged into my private territory and gave everyone an eyeful of her delicious cleavage. Not that anyone would be seeing her, since she wasn’t leaving this house, or my bed, ever again. Her high heels put her at a very convenient fucking height, and I considered that I might spare that part of her
ensemble, purely out of utility. Her hair was up in a very proper little twist, leaving her throat bare. I would bite her a dozen times before I tore that prim little hairstyle apart, one bobby pin at a time.
Her makeup was flawless. Her mascara made her doe eyes pop. She’d only have to blink and every vampire in the room would make a damn fool of himself in hopes that she’d simply look their way. She wore no blush. She didn’t need it. But her lips. I inhaled sharply, making her jump at the sudden noise. It was the same lipstick that she’d marked me with on our first night. The same paint she’d used to kiss me 137 times and fellate my cock into a crimson work of art. It remembered perfectly. I’d been hard the moment I woke up and scented her. Now, I was bigger than ever, my dick straining like a chained dog, wildly fighting to get to a bloody steak.
I took one step. That lipstick would paint me once again. That unblemished throat would be riddled with puncture marks. That dress would hang in rags on her luscious body. And those heels would leave stabbing scratches on my ass.
She must have seen every thought in my head flash in my eyes. Her hands shot up.
I’m sorry, I projected. We’re staying home. Fuck the new Magister. I’m riding you until you fall unconscious and I may not stop even then.
Her eyes nearly bugged out in fear. She had no time to shoot me, or Still me. I’d warned her, she’d never stop a vampire if she hesitated.
I was across the room in a flash.
I grabbed her by the hips.
Searing pain erupted in my hands and I roared, jerking them away.
“Shit!” she cried, throwing herself backwards, stumbling on her heels until she hit the far wall. She put her hands up again in a shielding gesture. “Baby, stay back.”
My hands were melted, angry boils flared up across their spans, then calmed and returned to normal. The unmistakable burn of silver echoed in my skin and would continue to do so for the next hour or so. I hissed at my lover, furious and horny and fucking confused.
“Sssssilver,” I growled accusingly at her.
Trembling, she nodded. “Are you okay?”
“You fucking silvered me. Am I supposed to be okay?”
She huffed, standing a bit straighter, checking her gown for charred handprints. “I didn’t mean to, Mr. Pissy. You weren’t supposed to attack me like that. You could have ruined my dress! I’m not like Pam, you know! I don’t have three hundred others on standby.”
Slowly, I rose from my hunch over my hands and began to stalk towards her again, albeit much, much slower.
“You dress like this and expect me to control myself?”
She gave me an exasperated look. “Hell yes, I do! You’re the one who said I needed this thing!” She gestured downwards at her clothes.
I glanced at the counter. A small pharmacy bag sat crumpled, next to some sort of small rectangular box … and an atomizer bottle. I hissed again.
She nodded again as I came to a stop in front of her. I extended a single finger, hovering just over her forehead. “Everywhere?” Meaning the silver.
She bit her lips. Damn my little angel, she was actually trying not to smile. “Not everywhere,” she giggled, and leaned in to kiss me chastely. She held her arms back, her hands gripping the towel rack, keeping her body well away from my nudity. Her lips tasted cheap and sweet. No burn met my kiss as I returned it, albeit begrudgingly.
“You think you know me so well,” I snitted with bad grace against her soft mouth. “This was unnecessary.”
She smiled and continued to press that single inch of safe flesh into me. “Clearly it was, but I gotta confess, the silver isn’t for you.”
“Explain.” Fuck, her mouth tasted so good.
“I figured that since I can’t Smite or Still anybody in a room full of witnesses, this was the only way to make sure no one can grab me again.”
I hated that I admired her idea. “How am I to touch you? Protect you?”
She reeled back a few inches. She looked so fucking pretty that my body was already forgetting the heat of silver on my hands while my mind began working out a way to get at her without pain. She grinned. “I’ll keep my hand in the crook of your arm all night. No one will know about the silver, unless they do something inappropriate.”
She reached out and collected some jewelry from the counter. Slowly, without looking away, she began to put on her earrings, her cuffs, her thick necklace. I smelled their silver composition and snarled softly.
“More? Other vampires will detect it. What am I supposed to say about my bonded wearing our Kryptonite?”
She raised her brows and worried her lip hopefully. “That we’re into kink?”
I barked a laugh and backed off, giving her space to move away from me without risking contact. She smiled apologetically as she moved back to the mirror, preening to one side and the other. Her perfectly high-set ass faced me. The dress did nothing to hide the sexy separation of her cheeks. I detected no panty line. None. Cautiously, I moved toward her again.
“Only your lips?” I asked. I wanted that ass in my hands. Fused against my hips. Slapping against my balls.
She watched me through the mirror, carefully reapplying her lipstick. “Do you mean, did I shower, spray my naked body, then put the dress on and spray every inch of it?”
Growling, I nodded.
She pressed her lips together. A pathetic ruse at evening out the red. She puckered them and sent me a wet smack. “‘Fraid so.”
“You enchanting bitch.”
She set her teeth together and flashed them dramatically at me. “Why, thank you.”
“And your panties?” I stood directly behind her, my head and shoulders clearly visible over her in our reflection.
She shrugged, being careful not to lean backwards. “Eh.”
“Cruel, angelic little bitch.”
“You know, you could look at it as kink. It’s not like I could ever realistically tie you up.” She turned and stared up at me provocatively. “This is kinda the same. No touchy.”
“Not the same. You can’t touch me either.” She was right. I did sound pissy. And while the memory of being restrained in the meadow made me ache painfully with lust, I had to concede this was a million times worse. She looked fuckably, edibly beautiful. She would be on my arm all night in front of hundreds of powerful dignitaries. They would take one look at her and pray for my murder, simply to relieve her of her attachment. She was everything I wanted. She was
everything they wanted.
But she was poison. To all of us.
“I hate your cleverness,” I gruffed, reaching for a towel. Carefully, I draped it over her shoulders and settled my hands over it, kneading her delicate shoulder blades. The material irriated me. I was naked, she was seductively clothed. We should be starting at each other in the mirror as I plowed her from behind. She should be gripping the counter and sobbing. I should be tearing at
seams and molding her bare breasts, using them as leverage to pull her back into me again and again. Instead, I was cursed to pet her innocently through a towel.
Her head smelled heavenly. “Your hair as well?” I asked mournfully. I couldn’t even kiss her crown.
For the first time, she looked regretful. “Yeah. Everything but my lips.” A deep apology rippled into me. “I couldn’t stand not kissing you, even for just one evening.”
I leaned down and placed a kiss on the towel. “You are very wise,” I praised her, placing another kiss closer to her neck. “There will be vampires in attendance who are older than me. Stronger. You have thought of a defense that they cannot breach.”
She smiled faintly. “Unless they bring towels.”
“They must touch you to know they need towels. By then, I will have killed them.” As was my right. Grabbing a bonded companion of another was just as grievously inappropriate as grabbing their crotch. It simply wasn’t done. Not at a white tie affair.
I cast a glance down at the counter again. I had been so shocked by the atomized silver that I hadn’t taken much notice of the opened box next to it. My eyes lifted in surprise at her reflection. “And?”
She followed my gaze and shrugged slightly under my hands. She picked up a small plastic wand next to the sink and held it over her shoulder for me. “See for yourself.”
I looked at the small indicator window on the pregnancy stick. My brow furrowed. I smelled the faint, clean scent of Sookie’s urine. Truly, she was so unlike any other human alive. Even her passings were near odorless. I looked back up at her. “What does white mean?”
She took it from me and flicked it into the sink in frustration. “I don’t know! I thought this would be the perfect way to settle Claudine’s claim, but when I peed on the stick and waited, nothing happened! There’s supposed to be two lines if I’m pregnant and one line if I’m not.” She made dismissive gesture at the sink. “But nothing! Not even the line to prove I peed on it!”
I massaged her consolingly. “Perhaps your body chemistry doesn’t register on human tests.”
“That’s what I figured, but it still doesn’t stop me from being pissed off.” She looked at me plaintively. “Why can’t I get a straight answer about this? Even the people at Clearblue are jerking me around.”
I gazed at her tight, sleek little waist and growled softly. “We will know soon enough, lover.” If she carried my child, or only my blood, I was hungry to reestablish my claim to her. I hadn’t allowed myself to think too much on the idea, but I had to admit, the image of her, swollen and lush with the evidence of our mating, made me consider torturing my body with silver while my cock found paradise in her scorching wet pussy.
But no. I mustn’t.
I lifted the towel and tossed it aside. As I turned towards the door, I added, “You are also healthy for me. Were it not for that silver, we would never have made it out of this house. I would have ignored a summons and incurred the wrath of my superiors. Thank you.”
She made a wistful noise as she followed me. “Sure. Make me watch that perfect ass walk away and tell me how wonderful I am that I cockblocked us.”
I laughed at her pout, pleased that she regretted her own ingenuity. I strode into my closet and chose my black suit. White shirt. Long, white satin tie. Many vampires wore bowties to these gatherings, but I’ve never liked them. Too stiff and studied. I dressed in five seconds.
I stood before my love for her appraisal, hooking my cufflinks into place. “You
She stood silently, gripping her small red clutch. Lust echoed loudly through the bond. My head lowered towards my wrist, I looked up slowly at her, knowing how wolflike I appeared as I stared her down. “Well?”
“If I shower really fast, we could be having sex in ten minutes.”
I tsked her, shaking my head in admonishment (and no small amount of goading). “But angel, we’d be late. You don’t want me to get in trouble, do you?” My voice dripped with faint surprise at her lack of priority.
She huffed and stomped her pretty red heel. “But you’re hot,” she whined prettily.
I scoffed and straighted my arms, my jacket resettling over my sleeves. I bent an elbow to her. “I’m also punctual.”
Muttering a string of very unladylike curses, she took my arm. Time to escort my silver angel to the prom.