Date: Wed Aug 2, 2000 1:27 am
Subject: Hearts Bound
DISCLAIMERS: Welcome to my latest FK story. Nick, Nat and the rest of
the FK universe belong to Sony/TriStar and TPTB, and no copyright
infringement is intended.
Permission granted to archive at NNAdult, and JADFE
WARNING--this is an ADULT story with explicit descriptions of a sexual
nature. If you are not an adult, please go away.
This story is a sequel to Captured Hearts and can be considered to take place
in the third season, after Last Knight. Captured Hearts can be found at
Many thanks to my betas, Heather Ann and Angi.
by Patty <ax1012@a...>
Natalie singled out the house key from the large mass dangling noisily
off her key ring and slid it into the deadbolt lock on her apartment door.
Sydney's welcoming howl brought a soft smile to her lips. He barely gave the
door time to swing fully open before he was twining himself lovingly around
Nat's ankles. She had been at Nick's loft the past few days, and her cat was
obviously feeling lonesome.
"Poor baby." She bent over and scooped him up into her arms. "I didn't
mean to neglect you," she soothed, scratching and rubbing behind his ears.
His purr was gentle, vibrating up through the tips of her fingers rather than
being audible. He bumped his furry head against her hand, demanding more.
In Sydney's estimation, the only thing that came close to surpassing food was
a good scratch behind the ears. On a human scale, Nat mused, the space
between his two delicate, upright ears was practically an erogenous zone.
Her hands were loaded with mail and cat, so she kicked the door shut
behind her and
went over to the dining room table where she set down the stack of mail she
had retrieved on her way in. Having given the envelopes a cursory glance,
she knew there was nothing that couldn't wait. Sydney, on the other hand,
seemed to need a little attention right now.
Natalie's eyes did a quick sweep of the apartment, making sure everything
was in order. It was an almost unconscious safety precaution, acquired from
so many years living on her own. Other than the visible dent in the couch
cushion where Sydney had apparently just been lounging, everything was
exactly as she had left it. Exactly the same, yet, subtly different. The
colors and hues of her furniture were more alive; the fresh scent of clean
rooms, various potpourri jars, and assorted candles seemed somehow brighter.
Similar sensations had barraged her yesterday. Initially, she had passed it
off as the result of her ascent from the deep depression she had fallen into
since Nick disappeared. This afternoon, however, when she stepped outside
and immediately located the songbird, whose tune was lilting across the air a
full 200 feet away, the scientist in her finally recognized that these
changes she had been noticing were physical, not emotional as she had
Since making love with Nick, everything in her world had become
enhanced. In fact, the changes had actually begun soon after she was
released from the hospital. Nick's return had merely intensified what was
already there. Tomorrow, Janette was coming to the loft, as promised.
Natalie hoped she could shed some light on the situation.
Checking Sydney's food and water, she was gratified to see that there was
still plenty of both left. Water she did not worry about, as her resourceful
cat actually seemed to prefer drinking out of the toilet, but this morning
she had begun to worry about poor Syd's food situation. He was smart, but he
had not quite graduated to opening up the pantry and selecting his own
dinner. She didn't bother to refill either dish as they both would be
leaving here this evening and would not be coming back.
Natalie had offered no resistance when Nick suggested that she move in
with him. They had briefly discussed living arrangements, deciding that
since his loft was so much larger, and already outfitted for his lifestyle,
she should move in there. The lease on this apartment was up for renewal
next month, so there was no problem with letting it go. Sydney soon grew
tired of her ministrations and jumped down to the floor, searching out his
food dish. Cats did not live by affection alone, and in his worry over his
mistress' extended absence, he had not eaten nearly enough these past few
Slipping out of the oversize jacket she had borrowed from Nick's
closet, really more of a fashion statement than anything else since he never
really needed the added warmth it provided, she draped it over a nearby
chair. Comfortable in a pair of borrowed sweats, she headed for the hall
closet and retrieved Sydney's travel cage and two suitcases stored on the top
shelf. Nick had suggested she bring Sydney back with her immediately so he
could become accustomed to his new home. Sydney was not an animal who
adapted well to change, and it was bound to take him awhile to adjust to his
new surroundings. Nat already had visions of him hiding out for the first
week or so under Nick's couch. She wasn't too concerned, though; Nick and
Syd basically liked each other. The only problem was that each seemed to
view the other as a rival for Natalie's attention. It was, she surmised, a
man thing. In a week or so Sydney would adapt to his new environment and
come to relish the interesting, new hidey-holes the loft provided, as well as
all that extra room to run around.
Relocating the cat was going to be much simpler than moving herself. She
had several years worth of belongings stored in this apartment, and now,
since Nick already had a fully functioning household, she was going to have
to decide what to keep and what to get rid of. It was going to be a huge job
and not one she was particularly looking forward to.
Tonight, all she had to do was pack a few essentials and wait for Nick to
arrive. She was driving his Caddie because the trunk was so much larger than
hers. He was going to make his own way over here after dark, and they would
return home together. She intended to spend the rest of the evening
unpacking and settling in. The bulk of her belongings would be arriving in a
week, via a team of professional movers hired to finish the job. They had
decided to just move everything to the first floor of the loft, which was
mainly used for the storage of Nick's own things. That way she could take
her time sorting through everything.
Natalie set Sydney's cage down on the floor so he could get used to it
before she had to lock him in for the trip. Sydney never left home except to
go to the vet, and that dreaded excursion was always managed inside this very
cage. He eyed the offending contraption with suspicion. "Don't worry, Syd,"
she spoke soothingly. "It will just be a short drive, and I promise, the
only doctor you will see on the way will be me."
Returning to the closet, she gathered up both suitcases and headed off to
her bedroom to begin the daunting task of deciding what must go now and what
could wait until later. For the time being all she needed was a basic
wardrobe and a few toiletries, only what she would use over the next week
until everything else was delivered.
Time passed quickly, and before she knew it, both suitcases were full.
The smaller of the two was going to require some serious elbow grease to
shut, so she set it on the couch to wait for Nick's help. The mere thought
of him had her glancing anxiously out the window to see if the sun's rays
were fading. Nick had promised to follow her over here as soon as it was
safe. He did not want her alone after dark until they worked out what to do
about LaCroix. She shared his trepidation. In spite of LaCroix's violent
reaction to her blood, Nick's master frightened her. So far, he had been
ominously silent. Even the connection Nick shared with him was gone.
Unfortunately, they knew, silence was no guarantee that LaCroix would leave
them in peace. Janette had also stayed away, ostensibly to give the two of
them some time alone. Finally, last night, she had contacted Nick and
arranged to visit tomorrow, informing them to expect her some time around
Janette--now there was a puzzle. Natalie was very unsure of herself when
it came to the other woman. The last time Nat had seen Janette, before her
timely arrival the other night, was after Robert, her mortal lover, had been
killed. She had still been human then. Now, returned to her vampire state
by Nick, Nat wasn't exactly sure how the she fit into the scheme of things.
Natalie knew that Janette was far more than just a sibling/child to
Nick. She was well aware that they had lived as husband and wife for many
years after Nick was brought across and that he had visited her often during
his relationship with Natalie. The knowledge had caused her more than a
moment's consternation. Natalie had always sensed that Janette disliked her,
despite the fact that she was never anything but cooly polite. Whether it
was jealousy of Nick and Nat's relationship, or disapproval of Natalie's
project to cure Nick, the animosity had been clear. Now, however, something
about Janette was different. Nothing overt--she was still the same person,
but there were subtle changes that Natalie had picked up on the other night.
Having always found the other woman to be somewhat cold, Natalie had been
surprised to see a new softness about the ancient vampiress. There was also
a lurking sadness in her eyes that anyone who knew the old Janette could
never have conceived of.
Nat had often wondered about Janette's true feelings for her mortal
lover. At the time of his death, Janette's grief seemed palpable. Natalie
had always considered herself to be a good judge of people. In her opinion,
Janette felt the loss of Robert every bit as deeply as Natalie herself had
felt Nick's absence. It would be interesting to see if she was correct.
Maybe, Natalie thought, they could become friends. If not, at least they no
longer appeared to be enemies, otherwise, Natalie surmised silently, Janette
would not be as willing to help them as she seemed to be. With luck, she
might even be able to explain LaCroix's extreme reaction to Natalie's blood
and the many other changes taking place.
Nat turned towards the door seconds before she heard the solid rapping
from the other side. She didn't bother to look through the peephole she had
always relied upon in the past. She knew, without a doubt, that Nick was on
the other side. She could feel his presence. As he strode into the small
apartment, Sydney growled with disapproval. He had just gotten his mistress
back and was not at all happy with the idea of sharing her again so soon.
'Poor Sydney,' Nat thought. 'Are you in for a big surprise!'
Her pulse involuntarily skipped as his tall frame filled the small room.
His usually immaculate, wavy, blond hair was in disarray from the windy
conditions outside. Out of habit, she tamped down the urge to reach out and
smooth the silky mass, then realized that she finally had the right to touch
him any way she pleased. Giving in to the desire, she reached out and
ordered the silky locks with a trembling hand. He felt so good...she
breathed him in...smelled so good. God, how she loved this man.
"Just about set?" Nick asked, sweeping her into his embrace as if he
hadn't seen her in weeks. "I missed you."
"I missed you too." She tilted her head back, welcoming the warmth of
his lips against her own, all thoughts of Janette lost the moment he enfolded
her in his arms. It never ceased to amaze her how this one man's presence
could erase all rational thought from her mind. She had never experienced
such a thing before. She saw the wicked glint in his eye as he began slowly
backing her towards the bedroom. Natalie struggled with the placement of her
feet as she walked in reverse. "Nick...if we keep this up...we'll never get
me moved! This is why I came here by myself today." Her protest was
half-hearted and breathless, between lingering kisses.
"The night is young, woman. There is nowhere else we have to be, not a
single thing we have to do." They were both enjoying this time together
before the inevitable happened and they had to go public. Some time
yesterday, in between passionate encounters, they had come to the conclusion
that they would tell everyone Nick had been held captive, tied and
blindfolded, but that he had absolutely no idea who was responsible. It was
pretty lame, but with the help of his hypnotic ability, they should be able
to bring the whole thing off. He was going to explain that three days ago
his captors had loaded him into the back of a panel van, driven to downtown
Toronto, and dumped him out on the street with no explanation. Weak, and
slightly disoriented, he had found his way to Nat's apartment, and she had
been taking care of him since. If necessary, he would make a limited
disclosure of his involvement in the DeBrabant foundation to his superiors,
citing it as a possible cause for his kidnaping.
Nick's lips were traveling down the long column of her neck, nibbling
their way towards the pulse point throbbing invitingly just below her skin.
He loved nuzzling her there, where the siren's song of her blood whispered
evocatively to him from just beneath the surface. Natalie had been surprised
to discover that particular spot was one of her own erogenous zones. The
lightest stroke of his tongue across that sensitive flesh caused her to spin
mindlessly out of control.
More than once, over the past few days, Natalie had actually been amazed
by the force of what they created between them. Long ago, she had come to
the conclusion that passionate interludes, while enjoyable, were either
highly over-rated, or something meant for women other than herself. The
absence of a lover had never had much impact on her. Over the past few
years, since the advent of Nick in to her life, she had pushed away almost
every other man that had attempted to date her, even when she was certain
that the possibility of a relationship with Nick was out of the question.
Now, here she was, unable to go more than a couple of hours before her body
began to physically crave the closeness they shared. It was the most
incredible sensation, almost as if she would die if she did not have him.
She smiled secretly--she was enjoying this immensely.
Since their second, magnificent coupling at the loft, lovemaking had been
much less intense, though no less wonderful. They had discussed what
happened that night, and Nick had warned her that the vampire would always be
there. He could feel it lurking in the background, jealously awaiting its
opportunity. They had spent a long time analyzing Nat's difficulty with such
total surrender and Nick's feelings of guilt after. Nat understood that her
vulnerability heightened Nick's pleasure all of the time, not just when the
vampire was present. He was, after all, a man from a different time who was
raised with very different ideas of what happened between men and women. She
accepted that his somewhat outdated notions bled over into their love life.
She actually found the tender, gentle way he treated her to be very arousing.
Men today often forgot that just because a woman worked and made her own way
in the world, she was still very much a woman.
When the vampire gained control, he could not resist the urge for
complete dominance, and it embarrassed him. It was as though he did not want
to accept that part of himself. Together, they reached the conclusion that
they were just going to have to live with that particular aspect of their
relationship if they were going to move forward. She was just not sure he
believed it. She had reassured him that, while it had been an extremely
difficult thing for her to do, the depth of her love for him was such that
she would do it over and over again. The situation had not yet arisen, and
she knew he was forcibly quelling the need to let that part of himself free.
It was beginning to worry her, but as Nick did not want to discuss it
further, there was little she could do about it.
In the many hours they had spent in each other's arms, the deep intimacy
of that time had not been achieved again, and she found herself privately
looking forward to it. While it had not been easy, the entire experience
had been extremely erotic. It was possibly the most intimate thing they
would ever share together, and though she did not mention it to Nick, she was
anticipating another such interlude with a kind of frightened eagerness that
was enhanced by the awareness that the vampire was gaining strength. She
could feel it growing in power every time they made love. It was simply a
matter of time.
Nat felt the mattress bump the back of her legs, then Nick was lowering
her gently down. He came over her, straddling her, while his hands busily
divested her of her clothing. She reached up to unbutton his shirt, needing
to touch tensile male flesh. She could feel the heat radiating from him as
his arousal increased. Nat had noticed that, while in all other
circumstances, Nick's body temperature remained markedly lower than normal,
lovemaking drove his temperature almost as high as her own. He had no
explanation for the phenomenon. Before Natalie, he had not had intercourse,
in the mortal sense, in over 700 years without killing his partner, and he
could not recall any other vampire commenting on the phenomenon.
The sharp tug of his teeth at her nipple had her abandoning her train of
thought and focusing all her attention on the man above her. She felt the
rapid buildup of sexual tension until she was aroused to such a fever pitch
that she forcibly dragged him down, flipped him over, and mounted him.
Knees set firmly in the mattress on either side of his hips, she impaled
herself deeply, then began a provocative game of advance and retreat until
they were both panting with the need for completion. She drove him to the
edge of orgasm, then slowed her pace, gently bringing him down a little
before beginning again. Natalie found that she enjoyed being the aggressor.
He, too, seemed delighted when she took charge occasionally. Nick allowed
her complete freedom to set the pace to the point where he could stand no
more. His hands locked around her hips, directing her movements, drawing her
down heavily on him until finally, they climaxed in unison. She collapsed,
unable to support her own weight any longer, and pleasantly exhausted, they
both drifted off into contented sleep, innocently unaware that their privacy
was about to be breached.
Grace had been trying to contact Dr. Lambert for two days. She had left
numerous messages on her answering machine and had paged repeatedly, to no
avail. Finally, worried sick, she had contacted Joe Reese. With the key
Grace kept for emergencies, they let themselves inside, fearing the worst.
Neither had mentioned the word suicide on the short drive over here, but the
idea hung ominously unspoken between them. Everyone knew how depressed
Natalie had been, and no one seemed capable of drawing her back to a life
without Nick in it. They entered the apartment, immediately noticing the
suitcases laid out in the living room. Joe's questioning look was answered
by Grace's confused shrug.
Grace called out, "Dr. Lambert?...Natalie, are you here?" When she
received no response, she moved through the living room into the kitchen.
Nothing. Joe was right on her heels when she pushed open the door to
Natalie's darkened bedroom. Reaching in, she flipped on the overhead light,
and both she and Joe stood agog, flabbergasted by the sight before them. Not
sure whether to be embarrassed, shocked, or relieved, neither was capable of
any immediate movement. They simply stood there, wide-eyed, taking in the
A man lay spread-eagled beneath Natalie. His head was turned away,
concealing his facial features. Nat was sprawled easily on top of him, her
own head nestled beneath his chin, her thick, auburn hair sweeping across his
face as if he had buried himself in its silky veil, inhaling her scent as he
nodded off to sleep. A soft down comforter was draped casually across her
slim hips as if the need for warmth had been merely an afterthought. It was
glaringly obvious that what had recently taken place in that bed had
generated a considerable amount of heat. Respect for Natalie's privacy
demanded that they turn away, but there was something about the couple that
held them transfixed. Perhaps it was the tender manner in which the man's
strong arms wrapped protectively around the woman, sheltering her even in
sleep. Or possibly the completely relaxed sprawl of the woman, as if this
man was a comfortable, long-time lover who had her absolute trust. It was
actually a beautiful sight, two halves of a whole locked together in a
Grace sniffed. No matter how well paired Natalie and this unknown male
seemed, she was genuinely shocked. The last time she had spoken to Dr.
Lambert, her grief over Nick's disappearance had been consuming her. She
wasn't eating or sleeping properly, and she certainly was not socializing at
all. She knew Natalie better than anyone got to know the reserved coroner,
and the prospect of Natalie in bed with any other man was one she would not
have entertained for even a moment if she was not witnessing it for herself.
Natalie never even dated! Grace couldn't help the bitter disappointment she
felt at Natalie's sudden betrayal of Nick's memory. She had always held to
the romantic fantasy that the two would somehow wind up together. After all,
no one even knew for sure that Nick was dead. Grace had expected Natalie to
at least wait for the outcome of that investigation before moving on with her
life. In spite of the fact that she had advised the fragile coroner to do
exactly that less than a week ago, she had never expected Natalie to take her
words to heart in quite this manner.
Joe cleared his throat loudly a few times, causing the couple to stir.
The man tightened his hold on Natalie before he turned towards them, and they
received the second shock in as many minutes. Time was momentarily suspended
as two pairs of sleepy blue eyes slowly opened. It took a few seconds before
they simultaneously widened in surprise as realization of their predicament
"NICK?" Joe's voice belied his amazement. "Ummm...I'm sorry...excuse
us...!" He retreated swiftly, dragging Grace, whose mouth was now actually
gaping, out of the room.
"Joe, wait..." Nick pulled the blanket up over Natalie's bare back to
her shoulders as she turned her face into his neck, completely mortified.
"Will you both please wait in the other room? I will be out in a minute. We
need to talk." With stunned nods, Joe and Grace removed themselves as
quickly as their feet would take them.
Nick groaned, "I'm sorry, Nat. I was so sound asleep I didn't hear them
come in." Nat was shuddering, and at first Nick thought she was crying, then
as she pulled away, he saw the sparkle of mischief lighting her eyes. She
rolled off him onto her side, her hand pressed over her mouth to muffle her
"Oh God, Nick...did you see the looks on their faces? Grace is usually
so unflappable. I wish I had a camera to capture the moment!" She dissolved
into a heap, clutching her stomach. "It was priceless." Nick joined her,
his own chuckles a combination of humor and relief that Natalie was taking
this so well. She had always been such a private person he wasn't sure of
her reaction to being discovered naked, still intimately joined, in bed with
him. He was gratified to know that she was comfortable with the fact that
other people knew they were now lovers. "We...we have to go out there and
face them..." She stuttered the words out before dissolving once again into
gales of merriment, while Nick untangled himself from the bedclothes and
began hurriedly tossing his clothes on.
"You stay here. I'll send Grace in while I deal with Joe." He was
still buttoning his shirt as he turned to leave the room. "We have a lot of
explaining to do here, Nat." She waved him away, still snickering softly.
Nat did feel bad that she had forgotten to call anyone and let them know she
was all right, but she knew that once things were explained, Grace would
understand. She was a good friend, and besides, no one wanted to see Nick
and Nat together more than Grace!
Natalie was belting her pink bathrobe closed when she heard a light tap
on her bedroom door. "Come in, Grace," she called out. The door swung
inward, and Natalie's dearest friend stepped in the room. There were tears
in her eyes, no anger. Happy tears that spilled over when she took in
Natalie's radiant expression.
"Oh, Nat, I am so happy for you!" Grace opened her arms for a hug, and
Natalie stepped into the warm circle of her friend's embrace.
"Gracie, I'm sorry I forgot to call you. I worried you needlessly, but
everything happened so fast...and I just didn't stop to think of anything but
Nick." Grace hugged her tightly, letting her know without words that she was
"It's ok, Natalie. Believe me, I completely understand...but what
Natalie explained things to Grace exactly how she and Nick had rehearsed.
By the time she finished, both women were sitting on the side of the bed.
Grace still had one arm around Nat's shoulder, clasping her hand in the
"What are your plans now?" Grace asked.
"For the time being, I think we need to take things slowly...one day at a
time." Natalie sighed. "First, we need some time together to straighten out
things between us. Nick has only been back a few days, and we haven't spent
much time talking." Nat blushed slightly, before going on. "Then we have to
worry about letting everyone know Nick is back. After that is all settled,
we can think about returning to work."
"Well, you know you can count on me for any help you need. I noticed
suitcases in the other room. Are you moving in with Nick?" Grace inquired
with an approving grin.
"Yeah...it seems silly, me keeping this place, when I'm going to be over
at his loft most of the time anyway. The only reason we were here today is
that I came to pick up a few things, and he came later to pick me up. I
don't seem to accomplish very much when Nick is around." Nat flushed again
and the older woman beamed her approval.
"It's about time, if you ask me!" Grace endorsed the decision. "Well, I
think we had better be going and leave the two of you on your own." Grace
hugged Natalie tightly once more, before standing up to go. Turning, she met
Nat's eyes. "I'm truly happy for you, Natalie. You guys waited long enough
to find each other. Don't waste a single moment from now on."
"We won't, Grace. I can promise you that I will never take another
moment with Nick for granted." The last part was said more to herself than
Grace as she exited the room, closing the door quietly behind her.
Natalie sat on the edge of the bed, staring off into space, for quite a
while, her mind going over and over the events of the last few days. She was
glad that others knew that Nick was back because it was one hurdle behind
them. Yet, there was a part of her that resented the intrusion. Both of
them had demanding lives, and while Natalie knew she wouldn't last long
without the outlet working provided, she also hated the fact that soon this
precious time alone with Nick was going to end and real life would intrude
with all its problems.
The door opened and Nick returned, finding her staring off into the
distance, a faraway expression on her face. He sat down beside her, the dip
of the mattress startling her out of her reverie. "Penny for your thoughts?"
"I was just wishing that the outside world could stay away a little while
Nick wrapped her tightly in his arms, just holding her and rocking
slightly to and fro. "We can keep it at bay for as long as we want, Nat. I
know I have a lot of vacation time that I have never used. I am sure you
have just as much, since I have never known you to take time off. We can use
it to spend some time together."
"I know, but there is a selfish part of me that wants to keep you all to
myself forever!" Nat hugged him fiercely.
"I will always be yours, Nat. No matter what life brings, we will come
home to each other from now on...but for the moment, you do have me
completely to yourself. What are you going to do about it?" he teased.
With a wicked grin, Natalie drew him with her onto the soft bed, her
fingers already working on the buttons of his shirt. "Oh, I'm sure I can
come up with something."
It was several hours later before they got around to closing the overstuffed
suitcase on her couch and set out for home. Her purse over one shoulder, and
a disgruntled Sydney in the opposite hand, Natalie turned for one final look
at the place that had been her refuge for so many years. She expected to
feel at least a little bit sad about leaving. Nothing, not even a twinge.
While this was a great apartment, home was with Nick now, and she knew she
could never again be happy any place else. She pulled the door firmly shut
behind her and turned towards the man waiting halfway down the stairs. Her
lover. Her soul mate. He reached out for her free hand, and twining her
fingers with his, she took the first step towards their new life together.
Back at the loft, having consumed a healthy portion of the Chinese
take-out they picked up on the way, Nat went about settling in. After
telling her to 'make herself at home,' Nick had disappeared downstairs,
leaving her with the bedroom to herself. It felt so right, placing her
toothbrush next to his, hanging her clothes alongside his own in the roomy
closet, yet, she couldn't help but wonder if he was having second thoughts.
Nick's mood had shifted in the car, and she wasn't sure what the cause
was. The carefree happiness of the past few days had dissolved into a
distracted melancholy reminiscent of the Nick she had first met. It was
possible that he, too, was resenting the intrusion of reality into the
passion-soaked days and nights they had been sharing, but Natalie didn't
think so. She sensed him studying her intently, but she wasn't sure just
what he was searching for. By the time they arrived back at the loft, he had
become distant, preoccupied, participating in the conversation only when
necessary. While she washed up her dinner dishes, she had actually felt his
penetrating gaze boring twin holes into her back, yet when she turned, his
attention was elsewhere. It was not uncommon for Nick to drift off into
memories of the past, but this was something different, Nat was sure of it.
Was he rethinking his decision to have her move in with him? Nick had, after
all, been on his own for centuries.
The chore of unpacking completed, Natalie took a quick shower, then
pulled on one of her own night shirts for the first time in days. It felt
strange. They had spent most of their time together gloriously naked, and
when she had been presented with a reason to cover herself, she had favored
wearing one of his silky pajama tops and nothing else. Tonight, there was a
new distance between them, and she felt compelled to wear her own totally
unsexy sleep wear. Feeling hurt and raw, she decided to go down and face
him, rather than heading for bed, depressed and alone. She was hoping to
discover that she was totally wrong in the direction her thoughts were taking.
Descending the stairs, she found the loft in near total darkness. The
only illumination was from a fire crackling and spitting in the grate.
Straining her eyes in the gloominess, she located Nick. He was sprawled
comfortably in a plush armchair, his gaze riveted on the deep crimson liquid
he was swirling absently in a wineglass before him.
She padded silently across the room on bare feet, but she knew he was
aware of her presence. He just made no move to acknowledge it. He simply
sat there, lost in the spinning vortex of the blood wine mixture. She was
standing next to him before she finally spoke, unable to keep the shaky,
emotional hitch out of her voice. He always greeted her with such eagerness
when she entered a room, reaching out for her as if he needed physical
contact to reassure him that this was all not just a dream. Now he was
ignoring her arrival.
"Nick...what's the matter?" she queried hesitantly.
He turned towards the sound of her voice, but didn't reply. He simply
studied her, his penetrating gaze making her want to run for the nearest
cover. It was almost impersonal, the way he took in her casual pajamas. He
spoke not a word for many minutes, but she could read his disapproval in his
scowl. 'What the hell is going on here?' she thought.
Finally when he did speak, the words sliced sharply through the tense,
overlong silence. "Take that off, Natalie." His voice resonated as if it
came from a cavern deep underground. It didn't sound like Nick at all, and
while part of her wanted to reach out and soothe away whatever was bothering
him, another bigger part of her was put off by his tone. She backed up a
step in retreat and was turning away when her wrist was captured in his
"I said, take that off." He sounded almost angry. She shivered, chilled to
the bone by this aspect of Nick. It was then that she saw his eyes: two
bright, ruby points gleaming in the darkness. The way they reflected the
flames gave them a surreal, frightening quality she hadn't noticed before
because of the low lighting. Natalie's breathing intensified, and her body
reacted instantaneously to the sexual message they were transmitting. Her
nipples immediately tightened into rigid points in instinctive response,
their outline clearly visible against the worn cotton of her night-shirt.
The moment she had feared and anticipated was at hand, and she wasn't
sure how to proceed. The modern woman that was Natalie Lambert resented the
way he was treating her. The sensuous creature that he had awakened within
her hungered for his magical touch. It had been so easy to talk about this
situation in an analytical sense, but now that it was here, she found the
prospect of what was to come more frightening than she cared to admit.
Jerking free, she swept her arms up, hugging them tightly, protectively over
her swollen breasts. His eyebrow rose slightly, mockingly implying that he
was fully aware of her body's primitive response.
This was a test. Nat was sure of it. Nick had warned her that the time
would come when the vampire would rear its ugly head and once again demand
its due. Memories of the last time barraged her; a relentless series of
vivid, still pictures flashed through her brain like an erotic, high-speed
slide show, causing her body to flush with a combination of sexual
anticipation edged with terror. In retrospect, it had been an experience
beyond anything she had ever imagined lovemaking could be. It had been so
painfully, frighteningly intimate that she truly feared repeating the
experience. At the same time, a portion of her had secretly craved this
moment for days. The muscles of her abdomen quivered, and the tell-tale rush
of moisture between her legs signaled her body's eager willingness to accept
what lay ahead. She faced the fact that, in spite of everything, her entire
being was inflamed by the prospect of repeating that night.
Natalie considered her options. She could refuse him, but then, that was
really out of the question. She loved Nick, and to turn the vampire away
would be to inflict pain on the man, and she was incapable of that.
For the first time ever, Natalie recognized that she was treating the
vampire as if it were a separate entity from Nick, when that was not at all
the case. It was simply another dimension of the complex, many-faceted man
she had fallen head over heels in love with. Reality was that it was not
Nick she feared, but the possibility of being violated, humiliated. It
wasn't surprising, really, since Nick himself was the one who treated the
entire episode as if it had been something awful for her to endure. She had
allowed his prejudices to color her perspective. Again she replayed the
events of that night in her mind. It had not been a violation in any sense
of the word. What it had been was the total communion of two souls. Two
separate people, joined body, heart and mind. It was delivery on the promise
that was always there between them in lesser degrees every time they made
love. The best of the limited link that flared up when they were joined and
he tasted her blood. Yes, it had been difficult to completely surrender
herself, but the union achieved with her total capitulation had been more
than worth the effort.
It helped to know that it was grueling for him, as well. Nick had spent
so long hating that part of himself that was vampire that he had tremendous
difficulty relinquishing control to it. He went through such great pains to
conceal his dark traits from her that allowing her to witness him consumed by
the savage side of his dual nature was almost impossible. Knowing that the
surrender was mutual made her decision a simple one. There was no part of
Nick that she did not want, and there was no portion of herself that she
wasn't willing to yield to him.
She relaxed her arms, grasping the oversized shirt by its frayed hem, and
pulled it off, tossing it carelessly aside. She stood before him, naked and
proud, her pale skin glistening in the unsteady light of the fire, all
woman...his woman. He simply sat there, immobile, taking her in, too
astonished by her easy surrender to do anything more for the moment. He was
humbled. Nat made no move to cover herself--she knew full well the effect
her naked body had on him, vampire or not--and actually felt the surge of
possessive desire leap electrically through him via the tiny link that
existed between them always. She revelled in her feminine power. She met
his gaze evenly, challenging him with a slight Mona Lisa smile, daring him to
He collected himself, then set his glass down on the mahogany table next
to his chair. Reaching forward with both hands, he massaged her breasts,
squeezing gently, teasing the pointed tips with his thumbs. His touch felt
like coming home. This was her Nick, her vampire. He loved her and would
never do anything to harm her. Tonight they would be united again as no
other two people on Earth could be. The sexual conflagration that they
created would bind her more deeply to this part of him he tried so hard to
shield her from.
Smiling, he relaxed down into the chair, simultaneously reaching for her
hand and drawing her astride his knees. She moved to sit, but he silently
indicated that she should remain standing. Leaning sideways, he picked up
his glass of blood wine and sipped, needing the fortification it provided.
If this was going to last more than a moment, he would have to exert
tremendous control over both the man and the beast. Already, he could hear
the darker side of himself keening wildly for the sweet taste of Natalie's
precious blood. His eyes, burning only slightly golden now, journeyed over
the feast she had laid bare before him, savoring it. The beast inside him
surged once, coveting total possession, heart, soul and body, but was hastily
checked by the man.
Setting the drink down once more, he reached up and cupped her shoulders
with his palms, giving them a gentle, reassuring squeeze, then eased down her
arms to where her hands had unconsciously fisted. He drew them to his lips,
alternately dropping kisses on the knuckles of each until she relaxed. He
drew her right hand to his mouth and traced a wet, lingering path across its
center, then repeated the gesture on her left. He was going slowly, gentling
her. Nick was in control, whether he realized it or not. Dropping her
hands, he began a lazy exploration of her body. He ran palms down her legs
then back up; he rubbed her belly gently then reached behind her to cup her
firm, rounded buttocks. He was a tall man, and easily managed the stretch
without having to relinquish his position on the chair.
Gently, he feathered his fingertips up her back to her shoulder blades,
aware of the extreme sensitivity she developed there when aroused. Despite
the heat roaring from the fire, she shivered. He explored every inch of her,
carefully avoiding only those places that were clamoring for attention. Her
breathing became ragged and torn, and her heart pounded with a fierce, uneven
rhythm. Then, abruptly, his hands were withdrawn, leaving her bereft body
arching vainly into empty space, demanding more. Before she could react, a
glass of her favorite red wine was pressed gently against her lips. She
took a sip, then at his silent urging, a deep swallow. She was surprised by
his choice of refreshment for her. Wine relaxed her, but it also tended to
make her drowsy. He smiled, as if reading her thoughts. "You won't fall
asleep, Nat. I'll see to it." She did not doubt that he could be counted on
to keep his word.
Removing the glass, he set it down beside his own. In the muted light it was
impossible to differentiate one from the other. He resumed his exploration
of the planes and valleys of her flesh, circling closer and closer to the
places that yearned for contact, then retreating in a sensual tease that was
maddening...waiting, wanting and hoping he would take this one step further.
When his fingertips finally brushed lightly against rock-hard nipples, she
whimpered. Prolonged anticipation heightened the sensation to such a degree,
it made his touch almost, but not quite, painful.
"You like that!" It was a statement, not a question. Abandoning her
burgeoning breasts, his fingers danced down the length of her arms. He
grasped her wrists firmly and lifted, splaying her fingers. He used her
hands, guided by his own, to resume the caress. She stiffened slightly,
uncomfortable with this alteration in foreplay. He kept at it until she
calmed, her eyes drifted shut and her head dropped back in ecstasy. She
grew bolder, pulling at her nipples, then pressing, repeating the moves he so
often used to arouse her, until she realized she was no longer being
assisted. Chagrined, she self-consciously let her hands drop, shocked by
her own behavior.
He chuckled, "Later, my sweet Natalie, you will touch yourself willingly
for me, wherever I ask." She shuddered and blushed . The prospect of
pleasuring herself while he looked on was an exciting fantasy, but she
doubted she could ever allow anyone that particular intimacy, not even Nick.
Finally, he combed his fingers lightly through the damp, curly mat of
hair nestled at the vee of her thighs. Straddling him, as she was, left her
open and vulnerable, his knees preventing her from drawing her thighs
together. Slipping lower, he separated the plump folds of her womanhood,
revealing the hidden heart of her pleasure. The air of the room was itself
a soft, hot caress against the throbbing button of flesh that was the key to
her release. He studied her intently, hunching forward to get a better look.
She was stunned. In all her life, no one had ever taken such a liberty as
this! Well, maybe her gynaecologist, but he didn't look quite so...hard.
She could actually feel his probing eyes on her sensitized flesh. It was
more personal than if he had actually touched her, and it was sexy as hell,
as if he were committing to memory every curve and line. Still, she could
have curled up and died of humiliation when her hips thrust forward of their
own volition, demanding a more substantial contact.
"Don't be ashamed, Nat" he soothed, once again reading her thoughts.
"Your response is beautiful. Everything about you is beautiful...especially
here." He shifted his thumbs, opening her further, exposing the core of her
need completely. Leaning forward, he drew his tongue, stiffly pointed,
slowly across the tingling throbbing center of sensual delight he had bared.
Just once. She came. Not an explosive, all-encompassing orgasm as she had
become accustomed to experiencing with him. This was an easy release of
pressure she had not even been aware was building. A wave of pleasure that
originated at that sensitive point between her legs surged gently outward,
enveloping her entire body. Her knees buckled, and he had to support her,
cupping her hips, or she would have collapsed forward.
"Oh God, Nick!" she moaned, struggling for breath, while her hands
fluttered restlessly before settling on his broad shoulders, clenching and
unclenching spasmodically in time with the final tremors of her receding
orgasm. He felt the sting of her nails as they dug into his skin, branding
him with little crescent moons.
"You are so incredibly responsive, Nat." The deep, gravelly
rumble of his voice betrayed how much he was affected by what had happened.
He glanced up at her face which hid nothing. "Don't be shy, love!" He
smiled, showing glints of pearly, white fang beneath his upper lip.
She couldn't help herself. She hadn't even realized she was close!
"Have you any idea what an extraordinary gift you give when you allow me
to witness that?" he queried softly. She shook her head negatively, still
incapable of speech. He rested his head against her stomach. She felt the
vibration of his words against her. "No woman, in all my centuries, has ever
given herself so freely. I cherish it, and prize it above any possession I
own." His breath was cool against her heated flesh. Pressing inward, he
explored the shallow dent of her navel with his tongue.
Repositioning her, sitting astride his legs, his hands resumed their lazy
exploration, first soothing then reigniting the smoldering flame of passion
within her. Pushing his thighs apart, he spread her wide. Bringing his lips
into play, he began kissing a trail around her body. Every time Natalie
moved to touch him, he stopped her. This was to be his show, and he wanted
no interference. It went on and on, until she was writhing against him in
wanton desperation, her surging hips striving for that part of him that would
come inside her and fill the emptiness. She ground herself against his
denim-clad thigh, leaving a trace of wetness there, mute testimony to her
renewed state of readiness. She urged him on, not just with her body, but
with whispered words of encouragement. When that didn't work, she shifted
tactics and turned to erotic invitation, language meant to push him over the
edge, words she could hardly believe she was using, had never spoken to
another man but meant with all her heart.
Smiling, she saw that her bawdy, sensual talk was producing the desired
effect. His hooded eyes were burning, liquid crimson. His fangs were fully
extended. Beads of perspiration broke on his forehead and upper lip,
mingling with the sheen of sweat layering her body, shimmering in the
firelight. Still, he held back. Finally, in desperation, she switched to
words of love. Not love for Nick, but for the beast. She spoke to the
vampire from her heart, told him how much she had secretly desired his
re-emergence. She whispered of the depth of her desire for this part of him,
so often kept concealed, her willingness to give him anything, everything.
Her promises stilled him. He drew back and met her eyes with his own
questioning, ruby gaze.
"Anything, Natalie? You would do anything I ask of you?" She nodded her
agreement eagerly, unconcerned with anything but the need to fill the empty
void inside her.
He reached between them, and with trembling hands, clumsily undid the fly
of his trousers, releasing that part of him she longed for above all else.
Despite the blood roaring in her ears, she didn't miss his relieved sigh as
he set his straining penis free. He nudged his hips forward slightly until
the tip was nestled against her womanly opening, the slight contact sending a
shockwave of ecstacy rippling through her. He slipped inside, just a little,
maintaining a firm hold on her hips, preventing her from deepening the
penetration. With a mighty shudder, Natalie begged "Please..."
He withdrew, teasingly. "Anything I ask?"
"God... yes," she ground out the words, her voice little more than a
husky rasp in the darkness.
He captured her hands and brought them against the wet, hot place where
they were joined, just barely.
"Touch yourself," he commanded.
Natalie gasped, dismayed. She should have expected this. Her hands
"You said anything, Natalie. This is what I want. Make yourself fly for
me." His own voice was little more than a strangled rasp.
Her head fell forward; he felt the moisture of her hot tears against his
shoulder. Without warning, he thrust deep, filling her completely with his
masculine length. Helplessly she cried out, her spine arched, and her head
catapulted back, throwing her hair out in a wild auburn mane. Then, just as
quickly, he withdrew, leaving her empty. The expression on her face shifted
from ecstasy to agony in a single instant. With a tearful sigh, Natalie drew
her hands up to her heaving breasts, woodenly repeating the motion his own
fingers had taught her only minutes before. He stilled them.
"Not there, Natalie." Once again he drew her hands downward to the humid
dampness between their legs. "Here."
She wanted to scream in frustration, rail against this unfair demand he
was making of her, but knew it would be useless. She might have refused his
request had she not chosen this exact moment to open her eyes. What she saw
in his face splintered her heart and crushed her resistance. He had the
expectant look of a child at Christmas, but the innocence that should have
been there was marred by the sad, cynical knowledge that the prize was beyond
his grasp, and would always remain so. He didn't believe she would do this
for him! It struck her that it wasn't her surrender he was seeking, but her
trust. This was not about sex, not about the vampire's need to dominate her.
It was about his belief that she could never fully trust him. She could see
it written plainly on his face. Did he realize, she wondered, that he was
deliberately setting the stakes so high as to make it easy for her to refuse?
He was asking the impossible.
Or was he? She had promised him anything. Sworn that she could handle
this no matter what it entailed. Would it really be so difficult? All he
was asking was for her to trust him with herself. Never mind that it was
with something so personal that it would never have been shared with another
human being. The reward for such trust would be that moment of union with
Nick that was so intense it was beyond the realm of the physical.
With a groan of defeat, she capitulated, closed her eyes, and stroked
herself, lubricating the tip of her finger with the liquid heat she found in
abundance at the juncture of her thighs. His fingers held her apart, her
swollen clitoris thrust outward in a silent plea for attention. Gently, then
more firmly, she drew her finger over that responsive bundle of nerve endings
until her embarrassment was swept away by the rising tide of passion. Her
body bucked in response to her own knowledgeable touch, inadvertently
partially swallowing his cock inside her. He pushed deeper, rewarding her
obedience by giving her his full length. Before long, Natalie was no longer
aware of the source of her pleasure, she just went with the powerful
sensations that were sizzling through her.
"See me, Nat." Her eyes were open, but her gaze was unfocused and
distant, as if she were seeing a place that existed beyond the scope of this
"Natalie." He took hold of her jaw, trying to bring her back to him.
Her pupils narrowed, and she focused on the man before her. "That's it, my
love. Let go for me once again." She knew what he wanted. He wanted to
watch her come apart in his arms and know it was only and always for him.
Matching his rhythm to her own, he inched her closer and closer to her
He was having difficulty holding himself in check. He was filled with
lust and need for this magnificent creature atop him. In all his years of
existence, he had never experienced anything like it. She was truly a fit
mate for a vampire. She possessed such a pure, unrestrained love for the
demon that he couldn't block an answering emotion within himself. It
coalesced into a painful knot in his chest, reviving a heart long thought
dead. It beat once, twice...a third time.
A storm of desire broke within him and caused his body to shudder
helplessly with its force. His hips were now surging relentlessly against
her, burying him as deeply as possible in her welcoming warmth, then
withdrawing almost all the way but not quite far enough to break contact.
"Fly for me," he pleaded, sensing that she was teetering on the brink. Once
again, she gave herself to him, and he was overwhelmed with pride that he was
the only one allowed to watch it happen for her. He knew through their blood
bond that she had done this for no other man, that she had loved no other
enough to place herself wholly into their care. He watched as her eyes went
wide, then blind while he felt her orgasm consume her from the inside out.
She was speaking, but the unfamiliar rush of his own blood pumping through
his veins overpowered the words. They would have eluded him completely but
she kept repeating the same thing over and over like a mantra, so he was able
to read the words on her full, passion-bruised lips: "I love you...I love
He wanted to pound himself against her until he achieved his own release,
but he held off, squeezed back the gnawing hunger for her blood so he could
witness this marvel that was Natalie. Any last lingering vestiges of shyness
had abandoned her. When he removed the fingers that were separating her so
that he could support her back, she immediately replaced them with her own,
lifting her swollen clitoris up so it could receive direct stimulation from
the shaft of his penis as he rocked against her. She was high on the crest
of the wave, shaking and trembling against him, around him, and it was
Finally, when he could endure the waiting no longer, he pierced the flesh
of her shoulder with razor-sharp fangs, propelling her into another climax
along with him. He was no longer conscious of anything but the wild emotions
coursing through him as his seed spurted deep in her slick warmth, bathing
her womb with his essence. He did not feel it when her hands left her own
flesh and tangled into his hair, drawing him closer, tighter in her desire to
deepen the mental link that flared up between them. Her orgasm intertwined
with his, and he could no longer differentiate the boundaries of their
separate bodies and feelings. The merging of their souls raised them up to
unimaginable heights of pleasure, intensifying the experience for both of
them. They flew together to that magical place that they created, where no
one and nothing else mattered except the two becoming one.
He saw himself through her eyes, and the vision made his heart clutch.
She accepted him, without fear or hesitation. She wanted him and needed him
with her, in her body and in her heart. Not only the crusader, or the
detective, not just the man. She desired communion with the beast. The
knowledge shattered him, consumed him, gave him power. He did not want to
lose it when he felt the tug of the man trying to push him back into that
dark realm where he existed in eternal loneliness. He fought it, hated it,
refused to succumb to it. Only the woman could send him back there. He
drank deeply of her, savoring her flavor, unwilling to give up the rare
delicacy that was her trust.
It was her sobbing cries that finally made him withdraw, gently licking
the wounds closed, reveling in those last few drops of the precious liquid
that was her soul. The beast under some degree of control once again, Nick
tried to speak but found himself incapable. He wanted to tell her that it
was over, that he would cause her no more pain this night. The sound of her
cries cut a painful swath through his gut. He was devoured by shame. His
hands rubbed her back again, this time comforting and soothing until he was
finally able to push his voice past the lump in his throat.
"I'm sorry, Nat. God, I'm so sorry." There were tears in his own
voice along with overwhelming self-loathing.
She was burrowing hard against him, pushing her body into his as if she
were trying to crawl inside him, away from what was happening. He could feel
her shivering uncontrollably. He hated that more than anything. He knew how
important control was to Natalie, in all things, and he had forced her to
surrender it a second time.
Finally, he had to draw her away by fisting a hand in her hair and
pulling gently back. What he saw in her face jolted him into stillness.
This was not a woman crying with shame or sorrow. This was a vibrant,
passionate woman still swept up in the throes of their powerful, mutual
orgasm. He had totally misread her reaction. She was still lost in her
pleasure, completely unaware of him as she rode the wave. The shock of it
made his entire body jerk, pushing his softening manhood deep inside her once
again. The movement sent her spiraling further up, an agonized groan torn
from deep within her breast. Her hips began thrusting urgently against him
once more, as she refilled herself with his growing maleness. He was
overtaken with wonder as his body hardened again in response to the renewed
In a swift, smooth motion, he rolled them both to the floor without
breaking their tight embrace. Natalie's arms fell limply up and outward, her
hips rode up high off the carpet, her back arching completely off the floor.
She snaked sensually beneath him, urging him to join her one more time in
that magical place of light and color that only they could share. Clasping
her hands above her head, he twined their fingers together, supporting
himself on his knees. His hips rocketed back and forth, meeting her stroke
for stroke, giving her all of himself, everything he knew she desired, until
finally she went limp beneath him, sated. One more agonized roll of his hips
and his release was ripped from him with a muffled shout of victory against
the flesh of her throat as he tasted her once more. The power of her love
devastated him, laying waste every preconceived notion he had ever
entertained about what he could expect from a relationship with her. There
were no limits to her feelings, nor to her belief in him, his goodness, his
redemption. She had absolute faith that the two of them together could
accomplish anything. He saw her desire to become as he was, to share
eternity with him. He also saw the hope for children and a life in the sun.
Her conviction was absolute that they could have it all and would, with love,
faith in each other and hope enough to face each new day and what it brought
them together. Exhausted, emotionally drained and spent beyond his limits, he
collapsed on top of her, his chest burning with the tremendous force
necessary just to draw breath as he fought to rein in his rampaging emotions.
It was many minutes before his vision cleared and his breathing eased. It
took his remaining strength to push off of her, afraid he might be crushing
her with his weight. He managed to fall sideways, pulling her with him,
drawing her close, not yet willing to relinquish the warm press of her body
against his own. Her head rested on his shoulder and one thigh was still
thrown across her legs while she lay beside him, recovering. Her breasts
heaved as her lungs worked to draw in oxygen. She had one arm, the one
closest to him, bent over her eyes, her other flung outward, palm upturned.
They lay that way until they both calmed, except for the occasional
shuddering aftershock that still rippled through them.
Nick finally regained his senses and realized that they were lying on the
cold floor, and while he might not notice the discomfort, she was sure to
feel it before too long. He gathered her up gently in his arms as if she
were as fragile as an egg, and, unable to summon the strength necessary for
flight, he staggered up the stairs to their bedroom. Pulling back the
covers, he settled her into the bed, then snuggled up beside her.
"Ok?" he asked quietly.
"Mmmhmm," she mumbled groggily. He couldn't help the purely masculine
pleasure that swept through him when he realized that she was on the verge of
sleep. He remembered a time when Schanke had resorted to reading women's
magazines for new ideas to spice up his and Myra's love life. He recalled a
passage that his partner had read to him indicating that the best of lovers
could put a woman straight to sleep. He smiled, as much at the silly memory
of his lost friend as with the knowledge that Natalie was fighting to stay
"What are you smiling about?" Her voice was slurred with exhaustion.
He flushed. "Come on, tell me," she demanded, now more awake.
He related his memory haltingly, embarrassed by his show of male ego.
Natalie chuckled softly. "Every time we are together is better than the time
before, Nick. You are all I could ask for in a lover."
"In spite of everything, Nat?" His eyes reflected fear.
Natalie sighed deeply, then reached up to smooth a lock of his damp hair
away from his forehead. "In spite of everything, Nick." For days she had
been afraid to tell him what was on her mind. Fearful of his reaction, but
now, seeing how this encounter was making him feel, she knew he needed to
hear it for his peace of mind. She knew him well enough to be sure that
within fifteen minutes he would be feeling guilty about what had taken place
downstairs. "Nick, I want you to listen to me now, because what I am going
to tell you is the absolute truth." She met his eyes and he nodded. "Since
the last time this happened, I have been longing for the part of you that is
vampire to reemerge." She saw his eyebrows shoot up in disbelief. "I swear
to God, Nick, this is the absolute truth. I know you believe that this is
some kind of terrible experience for me that I have resigned myself to
repeating for your sake. That is the only untruth here, Nick. I love all of
you, not just the parts you want me to see. What you try hardest to keep
from me is what I yearn for most of all. The vampire, Nick." Now he was
shaking his head in denial.
"Yes, Nick. I find the vampire to be extremely sexy. I wish you could
find it within yourself to set it free every time we make love. He is not a
separate person from you, Nick, one you keep caged up inside you. He is half
of you, and when you withhold him, you take something away from what we
share. I always feel the connection with you when we make love, but when it
is like tonight, it is so much deeper and stronger. I don't feel as if I am
missing out on something."
"What do you mean, missing out on something?"
"Most times, when we are intimate, I feel like there is something more,
something just beyond my grasp, but I can never reach, it no matter how hard
I try. What is it, Nick?" She pleaded for an answer.
He understood. He just didn't know how to explain to her that he wasn't
sure he could ever give her what she sought.
"Natalie," his voice was hesitant, "I'm not willingly holding anything
back from you. Just now, I gave you everything I could." He struggled for
the right words. He saw the tears fill her eyes and spill over sideways,
pulled by gravity into the wildly tangled mass of her hair.
"What I think you are feeling, that something which is missing, is not
coming from anything I am doing. I think it is coming from you. I felt it,
too, when I tasted your blood."
He went on. "When vampires are together like this, they share blood. I
know you are changing. I can feel it. I see it when some sound or smell
takes you by surprise because it is so much more than before. You are
becoming more vampire every time we make love, and I think you are craving
the blood sharing, and I am not sure I can give you that, Nat. For you to
take my blood would make you a full vampire. I know now that you actually
want that, to take that final step, but for me to bring you across goes
against everything I believe in. Do you understand?"
She saw the despair in him, the hopelessness of the situation from his
point of view. It wounded her, but at the same time she was relieved that he
was not deliberately holding himself back from her. "I'm sorry, Nick. I
thought you were doing it on purpose. I didn't think you trusted my love for
"Natalie, I can feel your love for me every time you look at me, every
time you speak to me or touch me... it makes me whole again. It gives me
peace...something I have not felt in a long, long time."
With a sigh she wrapped her arms around his neck and pushed herself into
him, not knowing what to say. This was an unexpected development that
neither one of them had counted on. His taking of her blood was creating
within her the need to do the same, and that was something he would never
allow. Not now. Natalie considered her own feelings about joining him in
the darkness. Really, it would be the best solution. As things stood, he
would stay forever the same, while she would grow old and die, leaving him
alone again. If he brought her across, time would no longer be the enemy.
They would have eternity to work out the problems.
They needed to discuss this further, but Natalie let it go for the time
being. After what had happened last time, she didn't think she could
convince Nick that trying again to bring her over was the right course of
action. She would need time to work on him. Time to convince him that his
dark existence was not as terrible as he made it out to be. She felt sleep
pulling her exhausted body down into oblivion. With a contented sigh, she
decided that it could wait for another day.
Nick felt her drift into slumber. He sat there, in the dark, holding her
close, tears streaming down his cheeks as he dealt with the ramifications of
what was happening. For the first time in a long time he offered up a
prayer, pleading for a solution that would keep them together. Finally, he,
too, slipped away into unconsciousness, the stains of his tears still marking
his pale flesh.
TO BE CONTINUED...
Feedback welcomed at ax1012@a...