From: CLone Star Software <email@example.com
Date: Mon Dec 13, 1999 12:14 am
Subject: ADULT: The First of Forever
This story grew out of a 'what if' idea concerning Nick's arrest in Killer
Instinct. In this particular timeline, KI never happened. Hope you enjoy.
Thanks to Shelia and Micki for beta and to the IRC N&NUTS for letting me
post parts to see if they worked.
WARNINGS: Explicit Sex (M/F) (Nick/Natalie)
ARCHIVE PERMISSION: Permission to archive to Mel's FKFanfic Archive, the
FKFTP site, Mortal Love Archive, Dark Nick & Nat Archives, and JADFE
Archive IS GRANTED. All others must ask permission.
DISCLAIMERS: The Forever Knight characters belong to Columbia Tri/Star. No
copyright infringement is intended. This story and all other characters
are copyrighted by me.
The First of Forever
"Thanks, Nick. I really appreciate your doing this." Nat said as she sat
next to him in the Caddy. Nick had picked her up at her apartment and was
now taking her to catch a flight at Pearson.
Nick glanced over at her and smiled. "It's my pleasure. There's no reason
that you should have to pay either parking fees or for a cab." He smoothly
turned the Caddy into the short-term lot at Pearson. Finding an open
space, Nick shut off the motor. Getting out he walked back to the trunk
and, opening it, removed Nat's luggage. "Besides," he continued when Nat
joined him, "it's the least I can do for the keynote speaker at the
International Forensic Pathologist's conference. "
Nat grimaced. "Don't remind me! I hate to give speeches, but this really
is an honor." She could still scarcely believe that she had been asked to
give the keynote address. "I keep thinking that when I get there, someone
is going to pull me aside and tell me that they meant to ask some other
doctor named Lambert and got me by mistake."
Nick shook his head. "No, I'm sure they got the correct Doctor Lambert.
You've done some incredible work and it's high time that you were
recognized for it." He casually reached out and stroked her hair as she
gave him a grin of happiness.
"Thanks, again. " Nat said quietly. She reached to take her carry-on bag
from the trunk while Nick hefted her larger bag. Together they headed for
After Nat checked in at the counter and receiving her boarding pass, Nick
accompanied her to the gate. Neither was aware of how others in the
airport paused to smile as the handsome, and obviously very much in love,
couple passed. They reached the gate just as the attendant announced the
first boarding call.
"Have fun at the conference and I'll see you Thursday night." Nick said as
they waited for Nat's row to be called.
"Remember to drink your protein shakes and take your vitamins." Nat
responded with a grin. She chuckled at the face Nick made at the mention
of those items. At last her row was announced and she turned to leave.
She'd only taken a couple of steps when Nick's voice, calling her name,
stopped her. Turning back to him, she was surprise when he suddenly pulled
her into his arms and kissed her softly on the cheek.
"Hurry home, Nat. I miss you already." He whispered into her ear.
Nat felt her heart leap and a wave of pure joy washed over her. "I will.."
she replied giving him a radiant smile. Squeezing his hand one last time,
she walked into the boarding tunnel. The unexpected statement filling her
with more hope for a future with Nick than she'd had for a long time and
she couldn't seem to stop smiling. She took a deep breath, silently
reminding herself that Nick's statement still didn't mean that he
considered her to be anymore than a friend but, somehow, she couldn't quite
make herself believe that.
Nick watched until Nat's plane was airborne before finally returning to the
Caddy. He had to be at work just over an hour and rather than go back to
the loft, Nick decided to drive and do some thinking.
As he drove through the Toronto streets, Nick wondered if Nat realized how
much he loved her. 'And how could she? I'm the one who has always
insisted that we are only good friends.' He mentally chided himself. He'd
adopted that tactic in order to protect her from the vampire. He'd known,
almost from the instant he'd laid eyes on her in the morgue, that she was
different from any of the many women he'd known in his long life. As he'd
grown to know her better, he'd fallen more and more deeply in love with
her. She was the brightness in his dark existence and he'd finally
accepted that he could no more survive without her than he could walk in
the noon sun without harm. "Please let her at least be willing to explore
the possibility of loving me." He prayed softly. Starting the Caddy and
backing out of the space, Nick mentally began to plan just how he would
court Nat. By the time he'd reached the precinct, he was smiling in
anticipation of her reaction to several ideas that had occurred to him.
Nick parked the Caddy and headed inside so preoccupied with thoughts of
Natalie that he never noticed the man watching him from the shadows.
Waiting until the parking area was empty of pedestrian activity, the man
walked over to the Caddy. He carried a small overnight type bag in one
hand. Taking a key from his pocket, the man opened the trunk of Nick's car
and swiftly placed several items from the bag inside it.
Don Schanke looked up from the paper work on his desk and raised an eyebrow
as Nick approached. "Say partner, you look like the cat that swallowed the
canary. What's up?" Schanke's eyes widened as Nick actually smiled at him
"Nothing in particular. I was just thinking about some things I'm planning
to do." Nick responded.
"Uh huh. Must be some really nice things." Schanke said. "They wouldn't
happen to involve a certain coroner, would they?" He knew that both Nick
and Nat were wild about each other, even though both tried to pretend
otherwise. With any luck, his thick skulled partner had finally seen the
light and was planning to change that. Schanke also just knew that these
two people belonged together.
Nick gave Schanke his best 'I don't really have my hand in the cookie jar'
look. "If they do, I promise you'll be the first to know." Nick looked at
Schanke and remembered how, when they'd first met he'd disliked this man
whom he now considered to be a good friend. He also remembered that even
though Schanke might occasionally come across as a bit of a buffoon, there
was a skilled detective beneath the abrasive surface.
Schanke smiled in satisfaction. "I'll hold you to that promise, partner."
"Schanke! My office, now!" Captain Amanda Cohen's voice cut off any
Nick glanced at Schanke wondering if there was some problem he wasn't aware
of, but Schanke just shook his head in bewilderment. Nick watched as
Schanke headed for the office.
Cohen looked up from her desk as Schanke entered. "Close the door,
detective. I don't want what I have to say overheard."
Schanke sat down, a frown on his face. "What's going on, Captain?"
Cohen took a deep breath. "How well do you know Detective Knight?" She
"Why?" Schanke responded. He didn't like the sound of this.
Cohen considered for a moment. "We've received an anonymous tip that
Detective Knight may be involved in the St. James Park killings." She
watched to see what Schanke's reaction would be.
"Uh uh! NO way, Captain!" Schanke exclaimed. "I'll admit that Nick is
kinda closed mouthed about his private life, but there is not a chance that
he'd be capable of doing something like that!" Schanke shuddered as he
thought of the condition of the, thus far six, young women whose bodies had
been found over the past two months. They'd been tortured before being
brutally strangled and mutilated. "Captain, Nick truly tries to make a
difference, for the better, in people's lives." He continued.
"I don't want to believe it either, Schanke," Cohen said, "but since we
don't have any other leads, we're going to have to check this one out."
"This stinks, Captain." Schanke said, miserably.
"I realize that, however," she fixed Schanke with a stare, "I've already
gotten a search warrant for Knight's home." Cohen sighed. "I'm waiting on
word from the team there. Also, another young woman fitting the general
characteristics of the previous victims has been reported missing."
Schanke closed his eyes. "I don't want to hear this." He muttered.
Opening his eyes he looked at Cohen. "How am I supposed to go back out
there and act as if nothing is up?" He asked.
Before she could answer, the phone rang. Picking it up, she listened then
with a, "Thank you, we'll take care of it," replaced the receiver. Looking
down at her desktop, she responded to Schanke's question. "You won't have
to. That was the team at Knight's loft." She stopped, then looked up at
Schanke. "They found the missing girl, dead, at Knight's place."
Schanke shook his head in disbelief. "No, there has to be a mistake."
"We have to arrest Knight on a murder charge, we have no other choice."
Nick sat working steadily on the never-ending mass of paperwork that seemed
to accompany each case. He wondered just what Schanke had done to cause
the captain sound so upset. Even though he could have easily used his
vampire enhanced hearing to listen in on the conversation going on inside
Cohen's office, Nick's sense of decency caused him to deliberately avoid
such an action. Concentrating on the work in front of him, he was only
partly aware of the sound of the office door opening. The sound of
Schanke's heart, beating slightly faster than usual, caused him to raise
his head. 'Must have been really bad,' Nick thought, observing the grim
expression on his partner's face as he approached their desks.
"Nick." Schanke said in a voice laced with misery as he stopped before his
A look of concern crossed Nick's face. "What's wrong, Schanke? Is
something wrong with Myra or Jenny?" Nick couldn't imagine what, other
than some sort of accident involving his family, would have his partner
looking and sounding so distraught.
"Nick, I've...I'm under orders to arrest you." Schanke said.
Nick gave Schanke a look of disbelief. "Arrest me? On what charges?"
Cohen's voice answered his questions. "On the charge of murder. Please,
Knight, don't cause any trouble or make a scene." She said calmly.
Nick noticed that there were several of the department's largest uniformed
officers standing alertly behind her. "Captain, there's been some mistake.
I haven't killed anyone." Nick said, sounding equally calm.
"I'm sorry, Nick, but we got a tip that you were the person responsible for
the St. James Park killings." Cohen began.
"And so you're arresting me on that? Who made the accusation?" Nick could
feel his temper begin to rise.
"A team with a valid search warrant was sent to your loft. They found the
body of a young woman who'd been reported missing early this morning.
She'd been tortured, strangled and mutilated, like the other victims."
Cohen continued. "The tip was anonymous." She noticed the stunned look
briefly visible on Knight's face before his usual unexpressive mien
returned. "Knight, I don't want to believe this either but, given the
evidence, I have no choice but to take you into custody." She added.
"I'll cooperate, Captain, but I'm telling you that someone has set me up."
Nick said as he stood.
Schanke took his arm. "Come on, Nick. Let's get this over." Schanke
said. "Then I can get to work finding out who's behind this."
Nick hesitated as part of him screamed to just dispose of these pesky
mortals and flee, but instead he nodded and walked quietly toward the
booking area with Schanke. His mind was whirling as he tried to figure out
how someone had gained entrance to his loft and why they would want him
charged with such crimes. Looking straight ahead, Nick missed seeing the
looks of disbelief on his fellow officer's faces, and the one of
satisfaction on the face of Detective Phil Banks, a recent transfer from
the 79th precinct. Less than thirty minutes later, Nick found himself
inside the stark walls of a cell.
Nat spend several minutes packing her suitcases in preparation for her
departure that afternoon. Her speech had been well received, she'd
attended numerous interesting panels, and she'd made the acquaintance of a
number of fellow forensic pathologists whose work she'd long admired. In
short her trip had been both successful and pleasant, yet she found that
she was eager to return to Toronto. In fact the only part of her trip that
had proved disappointing had been not hearing from Nick during it. After
what he'd said to her at the airport, she'd half expected him to call her
at least once during the convention. Her attempts to reach him had been
futile, only connecting with his answering machine. "Let's be honest,
Lambert," she murmured with a grin, "it's Nick you can't wait to get back
to." She was still smiling as she carried her bags down to the lobby to
leave at the front desk until her departure time.
Shortly before 8:30pm, her flight landed at Pearson. Grabbing her carry-on
bag, Nat made her way out of the plane. Approaching the waiting area she
scanned the room for Nick, a small pang of disappointment filling her as
she failed to see his familiar face. That feeling was replaced by one of
apprehension as her eyes lighted on another familiar face, Don Schanke's.
Nat instantly noted that the usually cheerful Schanke looked like hell.
His hair was mussed and there were dark crescents of exhaustion beneath his
eyes. Unconsciously, Nat stopped in her tracks, her heart pounding ever
faster as Schanke neared her. "Schanke, what are you doing here? I was
expecting Nick to meet me." Nat said, in a voice that trembled slightly.
Schanke reached out and took her by the arm. "I'll explain everything,
Nat, but not here. Let's get your bags and go to my car." He pulled
gently on her arm to start her walking.
The wait for her luggage, though less than ten minutes, felt like hours to
Nat. The more she observed Schanke, his exhaustion, his dourness, and his
overall air of distress the more nervous and convinced that something
terrible had happened to Nick. As soon as she bags were stowed in the
trunk of his car and Schanke had gotten behind the wheel she turned to him.
"Tell me what's going on, Schanke. Where's Nick and why didn't he meet me
like we'd planned?"
Schanke looked at the lovely woman next to him, her hands clinched together
so tightly the knuckles were white, and wished he were anywhere but here at
this moment. He reached out and gently laid a hand over hers. "He's in
jail, Nat. He's under arrest for the St. James Park murders." He said
quietly. He saw the look of total disbelieve his words produced. "Look,
you and I both know that Nick isn't capable of something like that, but we
got an anonymous tip that he was the killer and," Schanke hesitated, "we
found a young woman at the loft. She matched the profile and had been
killed in the same way as the previous victims. Rope, a knife and the
victim's purse were in the trunk of Nick's car."
Nat felt as if she might be sick. She knew that Nick wasn't the killer and
that someone had to have set him up. She also knew that unless that could
be proven, he might be forced to move on. Taking a deep breath to try and
control the nausea that swept over her, she was unable to speak for several
minutes. Schanke had started the car and they were already out of the
parking area before she had herself under enough control to speak. "How is
he? When did this happen?" The words tumbled out as Nat felt tears
"He's not saying much, Nat, except that he's innocent." Schanke responded.
"I'm worried about him. He's been in lockup since Sunday night and,
according to the uniforms, he's not eating. There was talk of having to
force feed him if he continues that."
Nat eyes widened. "Schanke, I have to see him, tonight." She knew that
Nick must be in agony having not been able to feed in at least four days.
Her mind racing, a plan began for form. "But I'm going to need about an
hour, alone, before I go to see him. You know about his allergies, I need
to fix him something that he can eat." Nat continued. She looked
beseechingly at Schanke. "Is there anyway that you could drop me off at my
place, then pick me up about an hour later and take me to see Nick?"
"Sure, Nat. You know I'll do anything I can to help him out of this mess."
Schanke replied, earnestly.
Nat thanked him then lapsed into silence for the remainder of the ride to
her apartment. She mentally considered her options. The easiest thing
would be to get supplies for Nick from his loft, but the discovery of a
body there had turned it into a crime scene and Nat knew that she would be
unable to remove anything from it. The Raven and Janette was a second
option, but Nat was unsure how much persuasion it might take to get Janette
to provide her with some of that establishment's 'special' stock and she
knew that Nick needed to have some nourishment as soon as possible. That
left her with only one other option. Her thoughts were broken as Schanke
parked the car in front of her building. He swiftly got her bags and
accompanied her to her door. "I'm going to go grab some souvlaki," he told
her. "See you in about an hour."
Nat closed the door and began to put her plan into effect. An hour later,
when Schanke knocked at her door, she was ready. Carrying her medical bag
and a brown bag that held a large thermos, with a sip spout, Nat headed to
the precinct and Nick.
Nick lay on his back staring at the dull greenish-gray ceiling above. His
hunger, always present, had slowly grown into a constant ache that required
more and more effort on his part to control. Being surrounded, as he was,
by the sound of mortal heartbeats and the varied, unique scents of mortals
only acted to accentuate the intensity of his need to feed. In an effort
to slow his hunger, he'd even tried to eat real food, only to have his body
swiftly and painfully reject it. Thus far he'd been able to keep the
vampire quiescent, but Nick knew that his control over the beast was
The daily visits from Detective Banks weren't helping things either. He
and Nick had taken instant dislike to one another the first time their
paths had crossed. Banks fancied himself a lady's man and had, at one
time, attempted to force his attentions on Nat. Nick and Schanke had
walked in on that attempt and only Schanke's presence had prevented Nick
from doing violence to the other detective. In addition, Banks was sloppy
in his work and chose to blame anyone but himself for his poor solve
percentage. Now, with Nick incarcerated, he made a point of coming by to
taunt him. Normally, Nick would have ignored the man, but his hunger had
put all of his nerves on edge.
Nick took some small comfort in the knowledge that Nat would be back in
Toronto tonight indeed, if her plane had been on time she was already back.
Hopefully she could manage to get him something he could keep down. Right
now, even one of her protein shakes would be a blessing. He refused to
acknowledge the small, worrisome thought that she might believe the charges
against him. Sighing, Nick closed his eyes and focused his mind on her.
Nat. Thinking of her, remembering the sweet scent of her and how she felt
in his arms had been Nick's main solace in the past four days since his
arrest. Even now, with hunger gnawing at him these thoughts still were
comforting. Silently, he mouthed her name, starting slightly as her voice
spoke his. Sitting up, Nick looked over to the cell door a rush of relief
running through him as he beheld Nat standing there, looking at him with
anxious eyes, waiting for the door to be unlocked. He met her eyes and, as
soon as the locked clicked open, she stepped without hesitation into the
Nat wanted nothing more than to run over and wrap her arms around Nick, but
the presence of the guard held her back. She wasn't about to give anyone
some tidbit to gossip about. She could see the strain in Nick's face and
she marveled at his strength. "Hi, Nick. I came as soon as I could." She
said quietly, sitting her medical bag on the bunk as she looked around at
the stark surroundings. "Why didn't you have Schanke call me? I'd have
come back immediately." She added.
Nick reached out and took her free hand. The sweet scent of her filled his
head and he could feel some of the tension in him ease. "I didn't think
I'd be in here this long. I didn't want to make you miss giving your
speech." He felt her squeeze his hand and saw the concern in her face.
"You are far more important than any speech." Nat said, softly. In a
slightly louder voice she added, "I've brought you something to eat.
According to Schanke you haven't been eating very much."
"You know my allergies, Nat." Nick replied. "I did try to eat some of the
jail food, but I just couldn't tolerate it."
Nat nodded. "Well, I know that you can tolerate what I've brought." She
handed him the paper bag. "They're only allowing me about three minutes
here tonight, but I will be back first thing in the morning. I'll bring
you breakfast when I come."
Nick tightened his grip on her hand slightly. "I understand. I guess I'm
lucky that they let you in at all tonight." He nodded toward the bag in
his hand. "Thanks for this, it's very welcome." He ached to hold her but
the watchful eye of the guard was not going to provide any opportunity to
"Are you all right otherwise?" Nat asked.
"Yes, except for being bored out of my mind." Nick said, trying to lighten
the mood. He sighed. "I've wracked by brains trying to figure out who is
Outside the cell the guard cleared his throat. As the glanced at him he
indicated that Nat had to leave.
"I'll be back as soon as they'll let me in the morning." She repeated, as
she picked up her medical bag. "Be sure to drink that, I think it'll
help." She nodded at the bag.
"I will and I'll be waiting for you." Nick replied. He watched as she
stepped through the cell door, the sound of it closing, and the lock
clicking into place behind her filling his ears. When she turned to give
him a final goodbye look he spoke. "Nat? You didn't ask me if I'd killed
that woman they found in the loft."
Nat looked him in the eye. "I don't need to ask a question I already know
the answer to, Nick. I KNOW that you didn't kill her or anyone else."
Nick closed his eyes. "Thank you for believing in me, Nat."
"I've always believed in you, Nick, and I always will." Nat said quietly.
Giving him a last soft smile, she turned and headed for the door at the far
end of the hall.
Nick stood silently watching her as she walked out of the holding cell area
and the overhead lights were dimmed, leaving him in a semidarkness lighted
only by small nightlights.
Going back to the bunk, he removed the thermos, lifted the sip spout, and
raised it to his lips. Bracing himself for the bland, unsatisfying taste
of one of the protein shakes, Nick was unprepared for the nectar that
filled his mouth. A shiver of pure pleasure went through him as the
vampire rejoiced in the taste of warm, fresh, human blood; Nat's blood.
Clamping his eyes shut, knowing that they were glowing golden; Nick
swallowed. Instantly, he felt warmth course through him. Taking another
small mouthful, Nick focused on the emotions that flowed into him from the
blood, emotions that both awed and humble him, and that left him feeling
more peaceful in his soul than he'd felt in centuries.
The overwhelming emotion was one of love; a love that was like a blazing
firebrand in the inky blackness of night. Knowing, without any doubt, that
Nat's feelings toward him matched his for her only reinforced Nick's
determination to not be driven from this life. Coupled with this love was
Nat's desire to be with him, to love him fully regardless of what the
consequences to her might be. Her lack of fear about becoming what he was
and her willingness to risk everything to fulfill the sensuous need she had
for him caused Nick's body to respond in kind. Nick sat the thermos down,
slid off his shoes, and undid his jeans before pulling the rough jail sheet
over him. As Nat's love flowed through him, he began to slowly stroke his
engorged member, Picking up the thermos he continued to drink, and to
absorb the emotions the blood contained.
The sense of her rage toward whoever had caused his incarceration shimmered
like a pool of quicksilver. Beneath that, Nick could feel her fear that he
would leave and her uncertainty about his feelings toward her. As he
slowly brought himself to climax, Nick swore that no matter what happened,
he would not leave Nat. He would see to it that she never again have
reason to doubt his love for her. He would love her as he'd dreamt of doing
since they'd first met. As the first true sleep he'd had since his arrest
claimed him, Nick prayed that he'd be able to fulfill those promises.
For the second time that night, Nat thanked Schanke for taking her home.
Once she was sure that he'd gone, she picked up the phone and ordered a
taxi. Having just 'donate' a unit of blood for Nick's dinner, Nat knew
that she had no business trying to drive but she had to get to The Raven.
Nat drank a large glass of orange juice and ate several cookies, finishing
just as the chiming of her doorbell announced the taxi's arrival. She went
back downstairs and twenty minutes later walked through The Raven's doors.
Natalie had only been in the club for a few moments when a dark haired
vampire suddenly appeared at her side. Nat recognized him as the
bartender, Miklos, Nick had called him. "I need to see Janette." She told
him. "It's urgent and it involves Nick." Nat could feel the adrenaline
rush that had seen her through the night starting to fade. "Please,
Miklos, tell me where she is." She added.
Miklos gave Nat a searching look before nodded. "Come, she's in her
office. I will take you there." He turned began to work his way across
the crowded floor, Nat following closely behind him. He led her down a
hallway stopping at a closed door. Knocking, he waited until Janette's
unmistakable voice bade him to enter. Opening the door, Miklos stepped
aside and indicated Nat should enter. He gave her a pleasant, even friendly
smile, as she did so.
Janette looked up as Nat entered. "To what do I owe this visit, Doctor?"
She inquired. "If you're looking for Nicola, I haven't seen him in over a
"No, I know where Nick is, Janette. He's in jail, charged with murder."
Nat replied. "I'm here because I need to get 'supplies' for him."
Janette raised an eyebrow. "Murder, you say? Nicola must have gotten
sloppy." She purred.
Nat glared at her. "He didn't kill anyone. He's been accused of being the
St. James Park killer."
Janette snorted. "I must agree with you, those murders were not the work
of one of us, and most especially not Nicola." Picking up the glass of
blood wine on her desk, she continued. "I'll have Miklos take a case of
Nick's preferred vintage out to your car."
"Um, that's going to be a problem. I took a taxi here." Nat said. "I've
been out of town since Sunday. I didn't know that Nick had been arrested
until I got back tonight. He hadn't had anything to 'eat' in four days, so
I took him a unit of my blood tonight." Nat shrugged. "I figured it might
not be a good idea to try and drive."
"Ah, well perhaps Miklos can be persuaded to drive you home, Doctor."
Janette replied. "Of course if Nicola would just use his abilities, none
of this would be necessary." She added.
Nat held her temper. "You know that Nick tries to not use his
'abilities'." She shook her head. "Listen, I don't want to argue with you
about this. I think that we both care about Nick even if we don't agree
with each other about the path he is pursuing." Nat could feel fatigue
starting to overwhelm her.
Janette gave her an intent look; then seeing the pallor and exhaustion on
the mortal woman's face, her own expression softened. "No, let's not
argue." She picked up the phone on her desk. "Miklos, please get a case
of Nick's preferred vintage and come to my office." She said after a
moment. A few minutes later, Miklos appeared carrying a large crate.
"Miklos, would you be so kind as to drive Dr. Lambert back to her home? It
seems that Nicola has, once again, managed to get himself into a situation
while playing at being mortal and she is attempting to help him." Janette
Miklos nodded. "Certainly." He turned to Nat. "Doctor?"
Nat rose. "Thank you, Janette." She said, preparing to leave. As she
reached the door, Janette spoke.
"You are correct. We do both care about Nicola's well being. I wish you
luck." As Nat turned back to her, their eyes met and both women knew that
they had take the first small step toward understanding one another.
For the third time that night, Nat closed and locked the door to her
apartment. Miklos had carried the remainder of the case of blood wine
upstairs and it now sat in the middle of Nat's kitchen table. Even though
she was bone weary, Nat took the time to find another large thermos. In
the morning, she'd fill it with the contents of one of the bottles and put
a few more in the trunk of her car. At last she'd done all she could for
Getting into bed, Nat felt the tears she'd been fighting all night start to
burn behind her eyelids. She knew that unless they found who had framed
Nick, it was very likely that he'd have to leave Toronto. The thought of
never seeing him again, or feeling his arms around her was unbearable. She
gave in and sobbed into her pillow until the sleep of total exhaustion
The insistent buzzing of the alarm awoke her several hours later.
Surprisingly, she'd slept deeply and felt rested. Turning off the alarm,
she headed for the shower. After filling the thermos, she decided that it
might be a better idea to put the rest of the case in her trunk. She
wasn't sure just how much blood it would take to reverse the effects of
four days without food. Shortly before 7:30 am, Nat was in her car headed
for the precinct.
Nick was roused from the first deep sleep he'd had in days by Banks' voice.
"Rise and shine, golden boy. You're being transferred."
Nick sat up quickly. He could sense that the sun was already well above
the horizon. "Transferred? I have a documented allergy to the sun. I
can't go anywhere until after dark." Nick said as calmly as he could manage.
"Too bad. You're being shipped over to the main jail. I guess someone's
had enough of everyone coddling you." Banks said, his enjoyment of Nick's
discomfort clear by his tone of voice. "Now you can make this easy for
everyone, or you can do it the hard way." Bank's approached the cell door
accompanied by three other officers that Nick didn't recognize.
"I'm telling you I cannot be taken out in the sun." Nick said. "Listen,
Dr. Lambert is due to come here this morning. Wait until she arrives,
she'll tell you that you can't move me now." Even with the nourishment
he'd gotten from Nat's blood, Nick knew that he was severely weakened. He
doubted he would be able to withstand the combined efforts of the four
mortal men. But if he didn't and they took him outside, the consequences
might well prove deadly to him.
"Oh, good. You're going to do it the hard way." Banks sneered, as he
unlocked the cell door.
As soon as the door opened, Nick rushed forward, hoping to evade the men.
Banks, however, had anticipated such a reaction. Stepping to one side, he
allowed Nick to pass by him and then brought a heavy, wooden, police baton
down on the back of Nick's head.
Nick felt a stabbing pain lance through his skull as the baton connected
with his skull. Agony washed over him and he swayed, nearly loosing
consciousness. Immediately, the other's seized his arms and handcuffed
him. With Nick still groggy from the blow and unable to effectively
resist, they half drug him toward the outside door. The first rays of the
sun on him felt like a thousand knives. Nick moaned in pain and sought to
protect his face and eyes. He felt himself being shoved into the back of a
paddy wagon. Collapsing on the floor, he felt the vampire, emerge.
Nat had just pulled into the parking lot behind the precinct when she saw
Banks and several others dragging Nick outside. Her heart leapt in fear as
she noted the faint wisps of smoke wherever the sunlight found Nick's
exposed skin. Before she could get out of her car the paddy wagon, with
Banks at the wheel, pulled away. Nat barely hesitated before she pulled
out behind it. She'd been following it for about five minutes when she saw
the rear door suddenly open and Nick fall out onto the pavement. Wrenching
the wheel to one side and slamming on her brakes, Nat managed to stop her
car beside him as he lay on the ground. The wisps of smoke were fast
becoming thicker and she knew she had to get him inside her car and find
something to cover him with to protect him from the sunlight. Getting out
of the car she opened the back door. "Nick! Get inside!" She pleaded as
she ran to the trunk. Opening it she grabbed two body bags as well as two
bottles of blood wine. To her relief, Nick was pulling himself into the
back seat. Shaking open one of the body bags, she tossed it in on top of him.
The vampire in control, Nick managed to snap the chain holding the
handcuffs. With a snarl of rage, he attacked the double doors at the rear
of the paddy wagon hitting them with enough force to snap the locks.
Tumbling out into the burning sunlight, he rolled to his stomach. The
sound of car brakes and the scent of exhaust fumes next to him caused him
to snarl silently. At the sound of a car door opening he prepared to
attack. The vampire screaming for the rich taste of blood. Nick inhaled
and the scent that reached his nostrils called to the man, more than the
beast. Nat's scent followed an instant later by the sound of her voice
worriedly calling his name. Gathering his strength, Nick pulled himself
into the car. His pain abated slightly as car roof and body provided some
protection from the sun. It eased more when Nat tossed the opaque body bag
to him. Huddling beneath it, he slowly started to relax.
Nat got back behind the wheel and threw the car into gear. "There's blood
wine in the thermos on the floor Nick and I've got two more bottles up here
with me and the rest of a case in the trunk." Nat said as she drove down a
small side street. Her mind was racing trying to think of where to go. It
stood to reason that the loft, her apartment, The Raven, and anywhere Nick
or she was known to frequent would be among the first places checked.
Nick grabbed the thermos and quickly emptied it. The cow's blood was flat
and bland, especially after the ambrosia he'd had last night, but his body
gratefully accepted the healing strength it provided. "Nat, you said you
had some other bottles?" He asked. A moment later, he took the bottle Nat
held back to him. After drinking it, Nick began to feel better. "Where
are we and where are we going?" He inquired.
"We're heading northeast, out of the city. Unless you can think of
somewhere that will be safe for the day, I'm going to try and get up to my
cottage." Nat relied.
"I didn't know you had a cottage." Nick said.
"I've never used it very much. It should be safe. I don't think that
anyone realizes that I have it. Richard and I inherited it from our
parents. He and Sarah used to go there frequently, but since he died, I
haven't been there much." Nat said, quietly. She still missed her brother
and still carried some guilt over the disaster of his brief existence as a
vampire. Mentally shaking herself she added. "I will warn you that it's
not very fancy, but there is a fireplace and plenty of wood as well as some
canned and dried foods for me. With the extra supplies for you that are in
my trunk, we should have a couple of days at the least before anyone thinks
to check the property records and finds the deed. Hopefully, we can figure
out who's framing you and why before then." Reaching into the seat beside
her she picked up the second bottle of blood wine. "Nick, if you need it,
I've got another bottle up here."
Nick heard the sadness in Nat's voice. The tragedy with Richard was only
one of many regrets he had. He also knew, from her blood, that Nat did not
blame him for that tragedy. That knowledge was comforting. "Yes, I'll
take the bottle, thanks." He said respecting her tacit wish to not discuss
Richard. He took the proffered bottle from her, being careful to keep his
hand sheltered from the sunlight.
"Nick, did Banks say where he was taking you?" Nat asked a few minutes
"He said I was being transferred to the central jail." Nick replied.
"That doesn't make sense," Nat said. "Banks was heading away from central
holding, not toward it. Besides, I can't picture Cohen quietly allowing
you to be transferred."
"Maybe he had to pickup another prisoner from one of the other precincts."
Nat could hear the tiredness in Nick's voice. "We'll figure it out after
you've had some rest." She said. "I know it's not the most comfortable of
places to sleep, but why don't you try to get some sleep?" She added.
She'd seen the unmistakable signs of exhaustion during her visit to Nick
last night and knew that vampire stamina or not he needed rest.
"Yeah, probably a good idea." Nick agreed quietly. Finishing the second
bottle of blood wine, he closed his eyes and fell into a fitful sleep.
The petite, blonde woman bowed before her master. "Here is the special
souvlaki you wished," she said handing him a plate. He gazed at her
smiling and reached for the plate. "Thanks, Jeannie." She smiled back,
"My pleasure, Don." Just as he prepared to eat, the room started to shake
"WAKE UP DON!" Myra Schanke's voice cut through the remaining vestiges of
Schanke's dream. Opening his eyes he muttered, "What?"
"Captain Cohen's on the phone. She said that it's urgent that she speak
with you." Myra said as Schanke groaned and sat up in bed. "I told her
you were asleep, but she said it had to do with Nick." Myra added. She
watched as he reached for the bedside phone.
"Yes, Captain?" Schanke said. He listened for a moment his expression
changing from concern to alarm. "I'll be there in about twenty minutes."
He said then hung up. Turning to Myra he explained. "Nick's vanished. The
guard was out of the area for about ten minutes and when he came back
Nick's cell was empty." Schanke got out of bed and headed for the closet.
"Got any coffee made?" He asked hopefully. Myra nodded and left.
Dressing quickly, Schanke was out the door and on his way back to the
precinct, a cup of hot coffee in one hand, in only a few minutes. On the
drive over he tried to make sense of what Cohen had told him. 'Doesn't
make sense, but then Nick being in jail in the first place doesn't make
sense either!' He thought to himself.
At the precinct, Schanke found Cohen in the holding area. "Any more
information, Captain?" He asked as he joined her.
Cohen shook her head. "Not really." She looked at Schanke. "Did he say
anything that might have indicated that he was going to try and escape?"
"No, Captain, he didn't." Schanke said. He noticed a young, blond female
detective standing to one side looking nervous.
"Alright," Cohen said, "I want everyone that was on duty anywhere in this
area interviewed. Someone had to have seen or heard something." She shook
her head. "Knight's not a fool. He would know that trying to escape would
only make things worse for him." She glanced at the young officer who had
approached. "Yes, Vetter?"
"Are you talking about the man that was in this cell?" Detective Tracy
Vetter asked. When Cohen nodded she continued. "I don't think he escaped."
"Why?" Schanke asked.
"Well, I was over in the file room," Tracy indicated a door just off to the
left, "and I heard what sounded like people arguing out here. The man in
the cell was saying that he couldn't be transferred in the daylight or
something. I peeked out and saw a man, who I think is a detective here and
three uniformed officers I didn't recognize scuffling with the man in that
cell. The uniformed officers were trying to handcuff him and he was
resisting. Then the one I think is the detective hit the prisoner on the
back of the head with a nightstick. They were able to cuff him then and
they sort of dragged him out of the cell."
"There was no order to transfer Knight." Cohen said. "We were waiting on
the results of the DNA tests on the tissue found under the latest victim's
"If I showed you a picture, do you think you could say if it was the man
you think is a detective?" Schanke asked.
"I, I think so." Tracy replied.
Asking Tracy to wait where she was, Cohen motioned for Schanke to follow
her. Moving out of earshot, Cohen asked. "You think you might know who it
"Maybe." Schanke replied. "I know that Banks has been here daily taunting
Nick. If we could show her his picture, and some of the other detectives
that work here, we might learn something."
"Sounds like a good plan. I'll get the photos, you can take Detective
Vetter to Interrogation Room A and wait for me." Cohen said.
Schanke rejoined Tracy. "Come on, the Captain's going to bring you some
pictures to look at." He led her to the interrogation room. A few minutes
later, Cohen returned carrying a dozen or so photos. It took Tracy only a
moment to pick out one as the man she'd seen, Detective Phil Banks.
Nat drove carefully, not wanting to attack undue attention to her car. She
had a moment of near panic at one point when a patrol car appeared behind
her. She was on the verge of awakening Nick when the car changed lanes and
then exited the freeway. Taking a deep breath to calm her nerves, Nat said
a quick prayer of thanks. Finally she reached the small dirt path that
lead to the cottage. It was somewhat overgrown due to lack of use and Nat
grimaced slightly at the faint sounds of branches scraping against the
sides of her car. 'Nick's worth more than any paint job.' She reminded
herself. As the cottage came into view, she called his name. "Nick? Wake
up. We're here."
Nick opened his eyes at the sound of Nat's voice. He had to admit to being
thankful they'd arrived; the back seat of her car was a bit cramped for
him. He realized that he was no longer feeling the heat of the sun's rays
on him. "Nat, how shady is it here?" He inquired.
"Very. Sarah always said that the cottage was always hard to keep warm
because so little sun filtered through the trees." Nat answered.
Nick cautiously eased the body bag from his head. Although there was still
enough light to make him squint, the dense trees combined with the car roof
offered enough protection to enable him to sit up. "If you can pull up as
close to the door as possible, I should be able to get inside with out any
harm." He told Nat.
"Let me get the door opened first, then you won't have to wait out in the
open while I unlock it." Nat suggested as she maneuvered the car to within
10 feet of the front door. She was unable to get any closer because of the
two large pine trees that flanked the front of the cottage. Turning off
the motor she got out and quickly unlocked the cottage door. She headed
for the car trunk as Nick dashed from the back seat into the cottage.
Getting the box containing the blood wine out she closed the trunk and
Nick stood just inside the doorway. As soon as Nat stepped in, he took the
heavy box from her. The interior of the cottage was in deep shadow thanks
not only to the trees shading it, but also to heavy drapes at the three
windows. Nick's vision enabled him to see clearly in the subdued light.
Putting the box on a sturdy wooden table he looked around.
The cottage was basically one large room. A slightly raised platform, near
the fireplace, held an old fashioned brass bed. To the other side of the
fireplace several comfortable looking overstuffed chairs were arranged.
The other half of the room contained the table he now stood beside as well
as the sink, stove and small refrigerator, which along with built in
cabinets, made up the kitchen and eating area. Nick noticed there were
numerous oil lamps placed in strategic locations thought the room. A door
on one side presumably led to the bathroom.
"The stove, hot water heater and fridge use propane, and I know that there
is plenty of oil for the lamps. Nat said. " She shivered slightly, the
room was quite chilly. "Why don't you get a fire started while I see what
there is for me to eat around here?"
Nick moved over to the fireplace and soon had a roaring blaze going in it.
Nat had lit several of the lamps and he drank in the sight of her hair
shining in the soft glow that now filled the room. She came closer,
standing before the fire, warming her hands. Nick could sense that she was
tense. 'And why shouldn't she be? By helping me she's put her whole
career on the line.' He thought. "Nat, come sit down. We need to talk."
Nat sat, twisting her hands in her lap. "I know." She looked at Nick with
sadness in her eyes. "I realize that unless something happens to find the
real killer, you may.." Nat paused and suddenly stood and walked back over
to the fireplace before finishing softly. "You will have to move on."
Nick had seen the flood of pain in Nat's face and he heard it in her voice.
Standing he walked over to her. Gently, he put his hands on her
shoulders. He could feel her trembling slightly and it tore at his heart.
He could see in her eyes the uncertainty she still felt. He released her
face and took her left hand in his. As she watched, a puzzled expression
on her face, Nick carefully pushed up the sleeve of the sweater she wore.
Nick easily spotted the small wound nestled in the crook of her elbow that
the needle she'd used to draw the blood she'd brought him last night. He
kissed the wound then raised his head to look at her. "When a vampire
drinks human blood, we don't just get nourishment from it." Nick said
quietly. "We also get the emotions and thoughts of the donor. We feel
what they feel and know their deepest secrets and hopes." Nick paused to
let Nat absorb what he was telling her.
Nat felt a blush rise to her cheeks as she realized what Nick was saying.
"Nick, I...I didn't realize...I mean," She stuttered, her emotions
whirling. She looked down, avoiding his eyes. "I knew that you had to be
in need of blood and it was the quickest way I could think of to get some
for you." She prayed that he would understand that she couldn't help her
feelings for him. She also prayed that knowing how she felt about him
wouldn't drive him away. If all he wanted was friendship then, somehow,
she'd learn to accept that. She cursed silently as she felt tears form in
her eyes a few leaking down her cheeks.
Nick reached out and stroked her hair before tenderly pulling her toward
him and enveloping her in an embrace. Holding her tightly, he laid his
face against her hair. "Shh, it's going to be okay." He murmured to her.
Nat squeezed her eyes shut trying, and failing, to contain the emotions
that had burned just beneath the surface since she'd returned to Toronto.
"Nick, I can't help how I feel for you. I think I've loved you from the
first time we met. I understand if you don't feel the same way, but I
don't want to lose your friendship." She took a shaky breath. "Oh Nick, if
you have to move on, I can't bear the thought of never seeing you again."
She sobbed as her tears began to flow in earnest. She cried softly as Nick
held her, trying to memorize every nuance of his embrace should he be
forced to leave. She felt the soft pressure of his lips against her hair.
"Natalie, look at me." Nick said, very softly. His use of her full name
made Nat raise tear-reddened eyes to his. He released her to cup her face
in his hands. "I swear to you, I will not leave you." He softy kissed
away the tears from her cheeks. "I could more easily walk down Yonge
Street at midday than leave you."
Nat raised her eyes to his. Her heart was beating quickly and she felt
like she could hardly breathe. The expression on his face, as he looked at
her, was so full of love that she wanted to gaze forever upon it.
"I love you, Nat. When I'm with you I feel whole." Nick continued. "I
didn't dare allow myself to dream that you might love me." His lips found
hers in a tender kiss. "Let me love you, Nat. Let me erase all of your
doubts about my feelings for you." He whispered.
His lips again found hers, but this time there was no mistaking his
passion. Nat moaned softly as her lips parted welcoming Nick's tongue as
it gently explored and caressed her mouth. Nat seemed to melt into Nick's
strong form. Her body seemed to mold itself to his and she felt a tingle
of excitement when the unmistakable evidence of his arousal pressed against
her thigh. Nick deepened the kiss, loosing himself in the taste and scent
of Nat. He yearned for the feel of her skin and eased his hand beneath her
She sighed at the cool touch of his hand as it slid beneath her sweater to
lightly stroke her skin. Her body responded with all of the pent up desire
of the past several years. An aching desire to feel not just Nick's hand
on her bare flesh, but to feel his entire body against hers overwhelmed
her. She broke the kiss and then pulled slightly away from Nick.
Nick felt his heart lurch when Nat moved away from him. 'You fool, you
moved too fast.' He mentally berated himself. As he watched, Nat gave him
a soft smile then with a single, fluid motion pulled the sweater off.
Kicking off her shoes, she then undid her slacks and slid them and the
panty hose she wore beneath down over her hips. She allowed them both to
drop to the floor. She stepped out of them now clad only in a lacy black
bra and matching panties. The soft glow of the lamps and the fire made her
skin glow golden and caused her hair to shine like a reddish halo as it
tumbled down her back. Nick gazed at her, filling his eyes with her beauty.
Nat could feel her heart pounding as she removed her outer clothes. Almost
shyly she looked at Nick. Seeing the expression on his face, she smiled
and stepped closer to him. "I want to feel you against me, Nick." She
said, as she ran her hand down the front of his shirt then began to
"You are the most beautiful creature I've ever seen." Nick said, as he
quickly stepped out of his shoes and undid the waistband of his trousers.
His hardness was aching for release and the sight of Nat, nearly nude
before him only increased his discomfort. As soon as his shirt and trousers
were off, Nick pulled Nat against him.
Both of them gasped at the almost electric feeling that washed through them
as their bodies touched. Nat felt her womb contract in anticipation of
what she'd waited so long to experience. She leaned into Nick as his lips
moved slowly down her neck, causing her knees to feel weak. She, in turn
nibbled at his neck and planted kisses along the planes of his chest.
Nick's hands found the clasp of Nat's bra and he undid it. His longing to
caress, fondle, and suckle her firm breasts would no longer be denied. He
slid the straps from her arms and then traced a trail of kisses to the soft
mounds. He fondled them while kissing and licking them before he took one
nipple in his mouth.
Nat grasped Nick's shoulders as his hands and mouth sent thrills of
pleasure through her. She could feel her juices flowing as her body
demanded fulfillment. Closing her eyes, she let the feelings consume her.
Feeling his hand move to the waistband of her panties and then slip inside
them she moaned his name in gratification as her senses wheeled in ecstasy.
As his fingers encountered the wiry mass of Nat's pubic hair, Nick suckled
rhythmically on one rosy aureole. His manhood was throbbing with his desire
to bury it deep in the warmth of Nat's innermost folds. Hooking his
fingers in the elastic of her panties, he eased them over her hips then let
them drop to the floor at her feet.
He could feel Nat's body trembling as she clutched him for support. The
rapid pulsing of her heart and smell the intoxicating scent of her blood
and her arousal only increased his desires. He released her breast and
kissed his way back up her body before lifting her into his arms. In a few
steps he was beside the bed where he gently laid her before pausing to
remove his boxers.
Nat savored the feel of being in Nick's arms as he carried her to the bed.
She gazed hungrily at his body, delighting in the way the firelight played
on the planes of his muscles. Watching as he removed his silk boxers she
felt her mouth go dry with anticipation as she saw his large, thick, fully
erect shaft. A wave of pure lust spread from her inner core and she ached
to feel him within her.
Nick gazed at Nat his eyes lovingly traveling from her shining auburn curls
down to the sensuous curves of her alluring body. He lay down next to her
on the bed, enveloping her in his embrace. "You are my dearest love. I
can not exist without you, Nat." He told her between kisses. "I want to
make love to you, but I don't want to harm you." He continued. Nick could
feel the vampire struggling to emerge.
Nat looked into Nick's eyes and saw the flecks of gold in their blueness.
"I know that you won't hurt me, Nick. I want you to make love to me and to
trust that our love will keep me safe." She told him as she traced her
finger down his cheek and then down his neck along the large vein there.
Her other hand reached farther down, running lightly along his upper thigh
before gently closing around his granite hard shaft. She smiled as she saw
the look that crossed Nick's face and heard his moan of pleasure. As she
slowly began to stroke him she continued. "I've dreamed of you, naked
beside me, and of us making love for so very long." She breathed as she
saw his fangs descend and his eyes blaze golden. Deliberately, she leaned
into him and kissed him, running her tongue along his sensitive fangs.
Nick responded by claiming her mouth with his returning her kiss with a
passion that all but took her breath away. With a low growl, he covered
her body with his own. He felt Nat spread her legs to allow him total
access to her and the musk like scent of her arousal filled his head.
Moments later, he felt her guiding his manhood to the source of that scent.
Carefully, he slid into the slick heat of her sex.
Nat gasped as Nick's cool hardness slowly entered her. She angled her hips
to allow him enshroud it full and completely in her. His lips were again at
her breasts as he began to move within her and she could feel the growing
tension that filled her as her body climbed toward the release for which
she'd longed. Her hands were in his silky hair and caressing his smooth
skin while her lips and tongue tasted him. As Nick increased both the pace
and the force of his movements, she matched him pressing her mound against
him with each thrust.
Together they moved toward the zenith of their long suppressed needs. As
Nat felt her orgasm began, she cried out Nick's name and pulled his head to
her throat and the pulsing artery just below the surface. She cried out
Nick's name as the first wave washed through her like molten lava. At the
same time, she pulled Nick's head to her slender throat and the pulsing
artery there. The sharp prick of his fangs sinking into her tender flesh
only served to intensify the rapture she was feeling. The mental and
emotional connection that his drinking from her forged enabled her to know
that he truly loved her as deeply as she did him and her soul soared.
Nick's need for release was so great it bordered on pain. Unable to resist
the lure of Nat's blood, he sank his fangs into her seeking and finding
that sweetest ambrosia. Instantly his climax overtook him and with a
shudder he pumped his seed into her. Again he experienced the deep,
unconditional love she had for him, this time untainted with any
uncertainty of his feelings for her. Nick knew the blissful happiness and
sense of peace that Nat's newfound knowledge of his love had given her. He
was able to control the vampire and, after taking only a few small
mouthfuls of her bounteous nectar, withdrew his fangs from her. He kissed
away the last few drops of blood from the small twin wounds on her neck
then looked at her with loving eyes that had regained their clear blue hue.
Nat smiled up into the face of Nick: her lover, her friend, and her soul
mate. "Thank you, I have never felt so cherished in my entire life as I
did just now." She told him.
Nick moved so as to remove his weight from her yet still keep her in his
embrace. "I hope that I can make you feel that way forever, Nat." He told
her as she snuggled against him. Exhaustion, both physical and mental
caused both to quickly drift into deep slumber.
Schanke rubbed his eyes and wished for a giant bottle of aspirin. Lack of
sleep and worry over Nick had combined to give him a pounding headache. A
check of Bank's background records had shown that he'd been on police
forces in three other Canadian cities before coming to Toronto. Schanke
had emailed each of those forces inquiring about any similar murders in
their cities. Now he was impatiently awaiting responses.
Just over an hour ago, a patrol unit had found a van, with false Metro
Toronto markings on it and the rear door locks broken, parked in the lot of
an abandoned manufacturing plant. Repeated phone calls to Bank's home had
produced no results and the patrol unit sent over there reported that no
one appeared to be at the house.
Schanke was also worried about the inability of anyone to reach Natalie
Lambert. He knew that Banks fancied himself a ladies man. He also knew
that several ill advised remarks concerning what Banks would like to do
with Natalie, and one attempt to force his attentions on her, was the main
reason that Nick couldn't stand the man. Schanke hoped that Banks didn't
somehow have both Nick and Natalie.
"Detective Schanke? Any news?" Tracy Vetter asked.
"No. Hopefully soon though." Schanke replied. He'd barely spoken the
words when his email program chimed announcing a new post. "This might be
something." He said to Tracy. The header showed that it was a reply from
the Edmonton City Police. Opening it, Schanke scanned the message then
clicked on the attached file. The morgue photos and case histories of five
murdered women appeared one by one on his screen.
Tracy looked at the screen and felt her stomach churn. Uttering a hasty
"Excuse me!" she fled, nearly running into Cohen, in the direction of the
Cohen glanced at Schanke's computer screen. 'That explains Vetter,' she
"Captain, Edmonton's the first reply I've received," Schanke said glancing
up at her, "and they had a string of murders almost identical to ours about
ten years ago." He consulted a printout of Banks' work history.
"According to this, they started about six months after Banks started there
and stopped the same month he moved to Winnipeg."
Cohen raised an eyebrow. "Interesting, but not enough to get a search
warrant. If any of the other cities he's worked in has similar murders and
there is a time match to his time there, then we might have a chance of
getting one." She turned to return to her office.
"Hang on a minute, Captain. Replies from Winnipeg, Calgary and Thunder Bay
just arrived." Schanke said. He quickly opened the emails and scanned the
information in each comparing it with the print out. "Captain, they all
have similar murders that correspond to the time Banks was known to be in
Cohen gave him a smile. "Good work, Schanke. Write it up into a request
for a warrant for me to sign and get it over to a judge."
"I'm on it, Captain." Schanke said.
Two long hours later, he was in possession of the required warrant.
Accompanied by several uniformed officers Schanke headed for Banks' home.
The residence appeared to be the picture of normalcy, until the officers
opened what they thought was a closet door on the second floor. Instead of
linens, they found a small torture chamber. Schanke immediately ordered
everyone out and called for forensics. He also called Cohen, told her of
the discovery, and requested that the all points bulletin they'd issued
earlier for Banks be updated with the new information.
The forensic team arrived and started processing the small room. They were
followed by Internal Affairs since Banks was a member of the Metro Toronto
police. Knowing that forensics would take several hours to do their job
and with I.A. making it quite clear that THEY were now in charge of the
investigation, Schanke decided to take a break and to try and get some
sleep. It was already late afternoon, the setting sun was casting long
shadows on the ground, and he was feeling the strain of being up so long.
Shivering slightly in the cold air, Schanke hurried to his car. The sun
had already set. The streetlight nearest Schanke's car was out forcing
Schanke to unlock the door more by feel and habit than by being able to see
it. His exhaustion caused him to only vaguely notice that the car's
interior light failed to come on when he opened the door. Sliding inside,
he started the motor and pulled away from the curb. As he turned the
corner, Schanke heard a sound from the back seat. Before he could turn his
head to try and see what it was Schanke felt the cold metal barrel of a gun
pressed against the back of his neck.
It was shortly after 4:00pm when Nat awakened. She smiled as she found
herself looking into Nick's soft blue eyes. "It wasn't a dream." She said
Nick tightened his arms around her. "No, my love, it wasn't a dream." He
could feel her contentment through the still weak bond that drinking from
her had forged between them and the sense of happiness he felt from Nat
removed any lingering doubts of the rightness of their being together. He
kissed her gently.
"Did you get any rest?" Nat asked. She knew that the past several days
had taken their toll, even with Nick's vampiric stamina.
Nick smiled and nodded. "Yes, I've only been awake for a few minutes. I
feel very rested, in fact, I can't recall when I've felt as good as I do
"Good," Nat said, pulling her self to a seated position, "because I'm
about to be the voice of reality. Nick, who could be trying to frame you
for these murders?"
Nick sighed, then he too sat up, leaning back against the headboard. He
knew that Nat was right, unless they could figure out who was behind the
murders his life, in Toronto, was over. "I honestly don't know, Nat."
Nick ran a hand through his hair. "I would think that it was LaCroix's
doing, but it just doesn't feel like him. On the other hand, I can't think
of any reason for some other vampire to do this to me."
"Are you certain that it's a vampire doing it?" Nat asked. "What about
Banks? Is there any chance that he could be behind all this?"
"Nat, you know what my security system is like. It would take a vampire to
get into the loft undetected and even they wouldn't have an easy time doing
so." Nick responded.
"Unless it was a mortal that knew your alarm codes and somehow had keys to
the Caddy." Nat countered, reminding him that part of the evidence against
him had been found in the car trunk. "So who, mortal or vampire, would
Nick shook his head. "None of the vampires I know have keys to the Caddy
or for that matter know my alarm codes. The only mortals that both know
the codes and have keys to the car are you and Schanke." Nick said,
troubled. "I only give the code to people I trust."
"You gave Schanke keys to the Caddy? AFTER that time he crashed it? You
must trust him!" Nat said, with a bit of a laugh.
Nick chuckled. "He has a spare set that he keeps in his desk. You know,
even vampires can lose their keys on occasion."
Nat sat up, interested. "Does anyone else know that Don has those keys?"
Nick looked at her. "Well, actually about half the precinct. I couldn't
find my set about two weeks ago and had to use the ones he had. Turned out
that I'd somehow laid them under some papers. I found them later on. But
Schanke had a great time ribbing me about it."
"So even if Banks weren't on duty that night, he may well have heard about
it from someone else. What about the alarm codes. Are you certain that no
one else knows them?" Nat inquired remembering when Alyce Hunter had
gained entry to the loft.
"No one," Nick said. "Except for the person from the cleaning service."
Nat gave him a bemused look. "No, I guess I can't quite picture you
mopping the floor." She teased. "You wouldn't know exactly who cleans
your place, would you?" She asked in a more serious tone.
"No, I don't see them. I just pay the bill once a month." Nick said
shaking his head.
"Well, I suggest that as soon as it's dark enough, we find out who and see
if they have any connection to someone in the precinct." Nat said.
Nick could feel the sun's rays fading from the sky. "It's nearly dark
enough now, by the time we get ready to leave here, it will be." He told
Nat. "I have to say that I'm still inclined to think this is the work of
some vampire. IF it's Banks, like you seem to think it might be, that
"That he murdered that woman they found in your loft." Nat finished,
"Yes." Nick said quietly. "Her name was Juanita Montoyez. Schanke said
she was only twenty-three years old." He added.
Nat leaned over and rested her head on Nick's shoulder. "Her death is NOT
your fault, Nick. If I'm right, then Banks has killed before." She told
him. She felt Nick's muscles relax slightly and knew that he'd accepted
the truth of her statement.
They lingered for several more minutes before finally rising from the bed.
Less than forty-five minutes later, they were headed back to Toronto.
Despite the chilly air, Schanke felt himself break out in a sweat.
"Just keep driving, nice and calmly, Don." Bank's voice spoke from behind
"Where are we going?" Schanke asked.
"We're going to take a little drive." Banks said. "You should have stayed
out of this, Don. I didn't have any problems with you, just that partner
"Yeah? What about the women you killed in Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Thunder
Bay? Were they because you wanted to frame someone, too?" Schanke shot
"No, they were just fun." Banks said.
Schanke felt a chill down his spine at the calm, matter of fact tone the
other man used. The chill deepened as he felt the muzzle of the gun press
harder against his skin. Schanke scanned the area, hoping for a patrol
car, but seeing nothing. After a few minutes, turning as directed by
Banks, Schanke realized they were heading for a waterfront park.
As they neared the park, Schanke felt his cell phone vibrate. Carefully,
to not attract attention to his actions, he let one hand drop down, into
his coat pocket. Praying that whoever it was would be able to hear and
have sense enough to not say anything, Schanke thumbed the button to accept
"Are you planning to go for a beachfront stroll, Banks?" Schanke inquired.
"I've always like coming to Ashbridge's Bay."
"Good," Banks replied in a voice full of menace, "Because you're going to
be staying here."
After directing Schanke to park in a wooded area near the entrance to the
park, Banks ordered him out of the car. Banks kept the gun pointed at
Schanke the entire time. Schanke knew that he would only have one chance
if he were going to escape. Pretending to stumble as they moved away from
the car, Schanke reached for his gun. As his fingers touched the butt of
it, he felt a stabbing pain in his side and heard the sound of the gunshot
that had hit him. He fell to the ground moaning in pain.
Banks walked over to where Schanke lay. "Just so you know, I used Knight's
gun. Now he'll have one more thing to try and explain away." He started
to take aim again, but the sound of an approaching car stopped him.
Cursing softly, Banks backed off behind a clump of bushes.
Nick parked Nat's car outside the offices that housed the cleaning service
he used. Together they got out and headed toward the building. On the
trip back to Toronto, they'd decided that finding out the name of the
person who'd done the work at Nick's would be a start on trying to figure
out if Banks was indeed behind the past week's events. Nick had tried to
convince Nat to wait in the car, not wanting to involve her in any more
illegal activity than she was already a part of by helping him. Nat had
flatly refused to stay in the car. It took Nick only a moment to force the
lock on the office door. Once inside, they quickly found the file showing
who had worked at Nick's.
Leaning against him, Nat felt Nick stiffen when he read the name of the
last person assigned to his loft. "What is it, Nick?" She asked, concerned.
Nick pointed to the name in the ledger, Juanita Montoyez. "That's the
woman they found dead in the loft." He said.
Nat saw the pain in Nick's eyes. "Nick, her death is NOT your fault." She
"Isn't it?" Nick replied in a strained voice. "She was working at the loft
the night she disappeared. If she hadn't been there the odds are high she
wouldn't be lying on a slab in the morgue now."
Nat shook her head. "Listen to me, Nick. The only person to blame for
Juanita Montoyez's death is the person that killed her. If it is Banks,
then yes, he may have chosen her in order to gain access to the loft, but
HE is to blame for her death, not you."
Nick looked into Nat's eyes. He wanted to believe what she was saying; the
guilt of yet another innocent because of him was unbearable. "So what do I
do, Nat? Just shrug her death off as 'bad luck'?"
Nat reached out and laid her hand against his cheek. "No. You bring the
person who did this to justice. You had no way to prevent her death, but
you can see to it that Banks, or whoever did this to her, pays for their
Nick covered Nat's hand with his. "You're right." He kissed her palm.
"Do you have your cell phone with you?" He asked.
"Yes, it's in my purse." Nat said.
"I think it's time we let someone know where I am." Nick said. He saw
Nat's questioning look. "I'm going to call Schanke. I can trust him."
Nat smiled and handed Nick the phone.
Nick dialed Schanke's cell phone number and listened as the other phone
rang. He heard the faint click as the call was answered and started to
speak. His words froze in his throat as he heard Schanke's voice talking
to Banks and Bank's response. Ending the call Nick grabbed Nat's arm
hurrying her to the door. "Banks has Schanke. They're at Ashbridge's Bay
Park." Nick said as they exited the building." Call the precinct and tell
them to get someone over there now! Then wait for me at the precinct."
Giving her arm a final squeeze, Nick took to the air.
Nat quickly dialed the precinct. As soon as she identified herself she was
immediately put through to Amanda Cohen. Nat quickly relayed the
information to the Captain.
"I've got three units heading there now and I'm leaving to go there as soon
as we hang up, Dr. Lambert." Cohen told her. "We know that Banks is the
one that killing these women, so Knight is in the clear."
Nat felt relief wash over her. "I'm going to head over to the park, too,
Captain." She told Cohen, hanging up before the other woman could raise any
objections. Getting in her car she muttered, "Sorry, Nick, but I just
don't take being ordered to do something very well." Throwing the car into
gear, Nat headed in the direction of the park. She was grateful that the
park was only a few blocks away.
Nick pushed for every bit of speed he could manage, but he was still
several blocks away when his keen hearing detected the sound of a gunshot.
'Please, don't let me be too late.' He prayed to whatever deity might
listen. As he landed, he also heard the distant sound of sirens. Moving
faster than any mortal, Nick raced toward Schanke's car, visible in the
distance. Off to the left of the car, Nick saw Schanke lying prone on the
ground. Only the still strong sound of his partner's heartbeat enabled
Nick to keep his beast controlled as rage toward Banks filled him. Nick
knelt beside Schanke, noting the pooled blood beneath the unconscious man.
"Hang in there, Schanke. Help's on the way." Nick said.
"I don't think they'll be in time for him, or you." Banks' voice spoke
from behind Nick. "Stand up nice and slow." Banks ordered.
Nick complied. Turning he glared at Banks. "Put down the gun, Banks. It's
over." He said in a soft voice.
Banks laughed. "Oh I know they've figured out that you didn't kill those
women, but I'll still have my revenge on you." He aimed the gun at Nick.
"I should be able to elude the cops long enough to pay a visit to your dear
Dr. Lambert, too." He sneered.
Nick felt the beast raging at the thought of this creature, anywhere near
Nat. "If you ever lay a hand on her, I promise you I will kill you." He
"Going to be a bit hard to do if you're dead, Knight." Banks replied
Nick gave the man a cold smile. "Don't count on being able to kill me that
easily." He could hear the sirens drawing closer. His hearing also picked
out the sound of a familiar car motor approaching. 'Nat!' He thought. He
forced himself to not look in the direction of the park entrance. Instead,
Nick suddenly launched himself at Banks.
Banks instinctively fired as Nick crashed into him and Nick felt a brief
wave of agony as the bullet tore through him. As both he and Banks crashed
to the ground, Nick managed to knock the other man's gun away. Nick's
strength, already taxed by the events of the week, was less than normal for
him, allowing Banks to pull loose from Nick's grip.
Scrambling away from Nick, Banks grabbed the first thing that he could use
as a weapon, a good-sized, downed tree branch. He knew that the shot had
hit Knight and couldn't understand why the other man was still on his feet.
Seeing Nick again heading toward him, Banks swung the branch at him,
hitting Nick in the lower leg.
Nick cried out in pain as the wood, always far more dangerous to his kind
than any bullet or knife, slammed into him. Heard the sound of the branch
cracking, and hoped that was the only thing that had broken. His leg gave
out from under him and Nick fell heavily to the ground. He rolled onto his
back to see Banks standing above him, the now stake-like end of the broken
branch aimed at his chest.
Nat pulled her car into the park, in time to see Nick launch himself at
Banks. Getting out, she left the headlights for light on as she hurried to
where Schanke lay. A quick check told her that Schanke was seriously
injured. She pulled out her cell phone and called for an ambulance, then
did what she could to staunch the bleeding. Concerned that Schanke was
going into shock, Nat removed her coat and carefully covered Schanke with
it to provide some extra warmth. Her ministrations were interrupted when
she heard Nick cry out in pain. She looked up in time to see him fall and
to see the deadly stake-like branch in Banks' hands.
Nat reacted without thought. Springing to her feet she raced toward Banks.
She saw him raise the branch as he prepared to plunge it into Nick. Nat
leaped onto Banks' back, clawing at his face with her nails.
Banks smiled smugly; at last he was going to rid himself for good of the
presence of Detective Nick Knight. He'd just lifted the improvised stake
above his head when what seemed to be a wildcat landed on him. Dropping
the branch in order to free his hands to protect his eyes, Banks staggered
as he tried to unseat whoever it was that had attacked him.
Nat clung to Banks' back, fear for Nick's safety and pure rage at the pain
Banks had caused not only them, but the families of all his victims, giving
her strength. Even that was not enough however when, in his determination
to get free, Banks repeatedly slammed her against a tree. Nat's grip
loosened and she fell to the ground moaning slightly, the breath knocked
out of her.
Banks whirled around, finally seeing who had attacked him. His face was
bloody from the deep scratches that had been inflicted on him. As his
vision focused on the source of his pain, a cruel grin formed on his lips.
"Well, this is even better than I'd dared hoped." He said. "Now the only
question is do I kill you first and make Knight watch or kill him and make
you watch?" He eyed Nat. "I think you first." He started to move toward
Nick struggled to his feet, leaning heavily against a tree, but the damage
the wooden weapon had done to his leg had not yet healed enough for him to
be able to walk, much less fight Banks. Nick felt his beast emerging as
his frustration at his helplessness grew. Through the nascent link he now
had with Nat, Nick had felt her rage, her pain when Banks had slammed her
against the trees, and now her terror as she lay, stunned by the battering
she'd received. Desperation made Nick lunge away from the tree despite the
pain that lanced through him in an attempt to reach Nat, to protect her
from Banks. He'd only take two halting steps when a gunshot rang out.
Nat tried to move, to get away from Banks. Her body ached where Banks had
slammed her against the tree and that, combined with her fall to the
ground, had knocked the wind out of her. Her movements were slow and
sluggish; her breath came in ragged gasps. She heard his footsteps drawing
closer to her and when the sound of a gunshot filled the night, she braced
herself for the impact of a bullet. Instead, she heard a strangled cry
from Banks and saw him grab at his chest before collapsing to the ground.
She closed her eyes in relief as she heard footsteps approaching.
Nick could scarcely believe it when Banks suddenly collapsed. Only then
did he become aware that there were other people here. He looked over to
where Schanke lay and saw Amanda Cohen, several uniform officers, and a
young blonde woman rapidly approaching a member of IA who stood somewhat
ahead of the rest of them, still aiming his gun at the now fallen Detective
Banks. Nick also saw that paramedics were busily working on Schanke. Nick
grasped at a nearby tree for support and awaited Cohen's arrival. While he
waited Nick watched as one uniform officer and the blond woman headed to
where Nat and Banks lay. Nick knew that Nat was alive, even with all the
other people present he could clearly pick out her heartbeat. Watching,
Nick saw the uniform officer stop by Banks, leaned over him while feeling
for a pulse, and then straighten up. "Captain, he's dead." The officer
called to Cohen. Nick noticed that the woman was by Nat.
"Dr. Lambert? Are you hurt? Should I call one of the paramedics for you?"
Nat slowly opened her eyes at the sound of the unfamiliar, yet concerned,
voice that was addressing her. She found a young blonde woman leaning down
toward her. "No, I don't need paramedics, but Schanke does." Nat said, as
she tried to catch her breath. "Help me up, I just need to catch my
breath." She added.
"Yes, ma'am they're already working on him, so don't worry." The blonde
replied as she extended her hand to assist Nat up.
Nat stood leaning on the other woman for a moment, then spotting Nick and
Cohen, headed in their direction. "Thanks," Nat paused, "I'm sorry I don't
think I know who you are." She said to the younger woman.
"Detective Tracy Vetter and I'm glad I can be of help." The woman replied,
still keeping a hand on Nat's arm in case she faltered.
Nat gave her a longer look. "Any relation to the police commissioner?"
She asked. She saw the other woman blush slightly and look a bit sheepish.
"He's my father." Came the reply.
"Well, thank you again, Tracy." Nat said with a smile. Nat stopped a few
feet from where Nick and Cohen were talking, not wanting to interrupt but
aching to touch Nick an assure herself that he was all right.
After convincing Cohen that he wasn't seriously injured, claiming that the
blow he'd received from Banks had only temporarily affected a nerve in his
leg as the reason he'd been unable to walk, Nick had listened in relief as
Cohen told him of Schanke's discoveries concerning Banks. He could hear
the satisfaction in her voice as she related that because of what they'd
learned, all charges against Nick had already been dropped. Looking up he
saw Nat standing a few feet from them. He met her eyes. "Excuse me,
Captain." He told Cohen quietly, and then he stepped forward and wrapped
his arms around Nat.
Nat closed her eyes as Nick held her tightly in his embrace. The feel of
his chest beneath her cheek, his scent, and the murmured sound of his voice
saying her name all combined to give her a sense of security and peace.
This was where she belonged; this was where she wanted to stay, forever.
She wrapped her arms around him, returning the embrace.
Tracy watched the pair embrace. The expression intense love on Knight's
face as he held Dr. Lambert made her hope that someday there would be a
person to care that deeply for her. Feeling as if she were eavesdropping,
Tracy looked over at Cohen noting that the captain was smiling slightly as
she, too, watched the couple. Cohen motioned with her head that Tracy
should come to her.
"Why don't you see if either the paramedics or one of the patrol units has
a blanket they can spare? Dr. Lambert seems to be missing her coat and
this wind is bitter." Cohen said, quietly.
"Yes, ma'am." Tracy replied, heading quickly to where the patrol cars were
Heedless of the others surrounding them, Nick continued to hold Nat. He
pressed kisses to her temple, rubbing his cheek against the softness of her
hair. He could feel her shivering, partly from the adrenaline that had
flooded her system and partly because of the coldness of the night.
Finally he reached down and tilted her chin to gaze into her eyes. She met
his gaze and no words were needed. Both knew that they were a part of the
other and that whatever else the future might hold, they would never be
alone. After several long moments, Nick tenderly kissed Nat's brow, and
then they both turned to face Cohen. They walked over to where the she
was, Nick's arm protectively around Nat's shoulders.
Cohen greeted then with a smile. "I just sent Detective Vetter to try and
find a blanket for you." She said to Nat.
"Thanks, I could use one." Nat said.
"When she gets back here, I need both of you to give her a preliminary
statement. The detailed one can wait till tomorrow night, you both look as
if you could stand some rest." Cohen continued. "Knight, you're still
going to be riding a desk for the next couple of days, until I.A. finishes
their report. However," Cohen reached into her jacket pocket, "I can't
tell you how glad I am to be giving this back to you." She handed Nick his
badge and identification card.
"Thank you, Captain. It feels good to have it back." He said. "I think
the blanket is here." He added seeing the young detective returning.
Nat gratefully accepted the blanket and wrapped it tightly around her.
While she was doing this, Cohen instructed Tracy to take a brief statement
from Nat and Nick, then departed to head to the hospital to check on
Nick and Nat gave Tracy their statements, which were interrupted several
times by various other officers stopping to tell Nick how glad they were
that he'd been cleared, and finally were able to leave. They were just
preparing to pull out when the orderlies from the morgue and one of the
junior medical examiners arrived to deal with Banks' body. Nick reached
over and gently squeezed Nat's hand.
After a brief stop to trade the blanket for a spare jacket Nat kept in her
office, instead of heading to either Nat's apartment or the loft, the two
went instead to Sunnybrook Trauma Center, where Schanke had been
transported. They found Myra in the waiting area along with Captain Cohen.
Greeting both of them, Nick and Nat quickly learned that Schanke was in
surgery. The four found seats and together, waited for word on Schanke's
It was nearly three hours later when the doctor at last appeared with the
good news that the surgery had gone well and that unless some unexpected
development occurred, Schanke should make a complete recovery from his
wounds. Almost miraculously, the bullet had not damaged any major organs,
although it had nicked a number of blood vessels.
Cohen excused herself a few minutes later to return to the precinct. Nick
and Nat stayed with Myra until she'd had the chance to see her husband, who
was still in recovery, just over an hour after the doctor's appearance.
They then drove Myra back to her house.
Returning to the car after having escorted Myra to her front door, Nick
paused before pulling away from the curb. "Nat, come back to the loft with
me and spend the day." He said, reaching over to grasp her hand. "I need
to feel you in my arms, to know that you are safe beside me." He hoped
that she would agree.
Nat leaned toward him. "Yes, I need to be in your arms." The tears that
she'd manage to contain all evening finally began to slip from her eyes.
Her voice breaking slightly she added. "Oh Nick, when I saw Banks standing
over you, I was so frightened." She felt Nick's arm around her, as she
rested her head on his shoulder. "I couldn't bear losing you." She said.
Nick held Nat and soothed her until she was able to regain her composure.
"I couldn't bear losing you, either." He told her, looking lovingly into
her eyes. Kissing her softly on the lips, he brushed away the moisture
from her cheeks. "Do you want to stop at your place for anything?" He
inquired. "I don't think any of the clothes you have at my place are
suitable for wearing to work."
Nat thought for a moment. "No, I'm going to be pretty sore by tomorrow
night. I'll call in sick and you can drop me off at my place your way to
work." She told him. Just knowing that she was going to be with Nick made
Nat feel better.
They rode in companionable silence to the loft. Once there, Nat's car
parked in the space normally occupied by Nick's Caddy, the headed to the
"Any idea when you'll get your car back?" Nat inquired as they rode up in
"I'll find out tomorrow, before we leave here." Nick replied. "Maybe
instead of me dropping you off, you could run me over to impound to pick it
up?" He asked as he pulled her closer to him.
"Hmm," Nat said, snuggling into the comfort of his embrace, "I think that
can be arranged." Nick tightened his hold on her causing Nat to wince
involuntarily as the bruises on her back protested.
"You are hurt." Nick said, concerned.
"Just some bruising, nothing serious." Nat reassured him.
"Well, I think I know how to make you feel a little better." Nick said,
steering her over to the couch. "Sit here and give me about fifteen
Nat sat down, relaxing in the familiar feel of the leather couch beneath
her. She smiled as Nick went up the stairs, wondering just what he was
planning to do. She could hear him moving around upstairs and her
Upstairs, Nick first went into the bathroom and started the water running
in the deep Jacuzzi tub he'd recently installed. Making sure that the
temperature dial was properly set he added some soothing bath salts to the
water. With the tub filling, he lit several scented candles that were
placed throughout the room. He place a couple of large, soft towels near
the tub and then headed to the bedroom In the bedroom, he lit additional
candles letting their flickering light illuminate the chamber. He paused
to fluff the pillows on the bed and to turn down the coverlet. He went to
a small safe that was in the closet, opened it, and took out a small box.
Lifting the lid, Nick looked at the object inside and smiled. He carried
the box over to the bed and slipped it beneath one set of pillows.
Checking on the tub, Nick turned off the water and started the whirlpool
jets. He stripped off the clothes he was wearing, leaving on only his
boxer shorts. Grabbing a black silk robe he slipped it on and then headed
Nat watched Nick descend the stairs. "Umm, I feel better already." She
Nick smiled and reached down to help her to her feet. "Then you're going
to feel wonderful in a little while." He led her up the stairs.
In the bedroom, Nick indicated that Nat should sit on the foot of the bed.
"Let me assist you in preparing for you bath." He said as he knelt and
started removing her shoes and socks. That done, he stood and held his
hand out to her then helped her stand. Leading her into the warmth of the
now steamy bathroom, Nick continued to undress Nat. He undid the
fastenings of her slacks, allowing them to fall to the floor. Next, he
eased the sweater she was wearing off over her head. Moving behind her he
reached to undo the clasps of her bra. A frown furrowed his brow as he saw
the darkening bruises on her back. Nick leaned forward and softly kissed
the bruises before easing the last of Nat's clothing, a pair of silk
panties, down over her hips. While Nat gathered her hair up on top of her
head to keep it from becoming wet, Nick shrugged out of his robe and
boxers. He was already becoming erect, just being near Nat seemed to have
that affect on him.
Nat finished with her hair and turned to face Nick. She saw his arousal
and smiling stepped closer to him. Nick immediately pulled her against
him, his lips seeking hers. Nat sighed with pleasure as their tongues met
in a tender, yet intensely passionate, kiss. She gasped slightly when she
felt him lift her into his arms, then sighed again as Nick carefully
lowered her into the hot, soothing tub. "Oh, this is heavenly." She said,
as the water seemed to leach most of the pain and stiffness from her
muscles. She looked mischievously at Nick. "It's a big tub. Won't you
join me?" She asked.
"I think I will." Nick replied.
Nat slid forward slightly as he got into the tub. Once he was seated, she
leaned back, resting against his firm chest. Nick's arms went around her,
his hands cupping the soft fullness of her breasts while his lips nibbled
the skin of her throat and jaw before again claiming her lips. Nat's hands
lightly massaged the smooth muscles of Nick's thighs, while her need and
desire for Nick grew. After several minutes, of kissing and caressing,
Nick at last released Nat's lips. He stepped from the tub and wrapped one
of the large towels he'd previously placed nearby around his waist. The
other he held open for Nat.
Nat stepped from the tub to find herself wrapped in a soft cocoon of
comfort. Nick's hands were caressing her as he toweled her dry while his
lips played along her skin. His actions fanned the flame of her desire
into a roaring blaze that raced through her body. She pressed against him,
feeling the hardness of his manhood. With a moan that was half pleasure
and half need, Nat ran her hands along the strong muscles of Nick's back
and up into his hair. It took but a small effort to claim his lips with
her hungry mouth.
Nick's head was filled with the richness of Nat's scent. Her arousal was
plain to him and, combined with the heady scent that was uniquely hers,
cause his loins to ache with the need to be one with her. His fingers
found the pins she'd used to keep her hair up and he swiftly removed them,
burying his face in the silky curls that now tumbled freely down her
shoulders. Unable to resist any longer, Nick lifted Nat into his arms and
carried her to the bedroom. Both of the towels were left lying discarded
on the floor. Nick could feel his eyes change as his ardor increased.
Laying Nat on the bed, he paused to gaze at her. The pure joy and
happiness he saw shining in her eyes as she reached for him filled him with
warmth. He saw no fear, no loathing of what he was, only love. As he lay
close to her, covering her body with his, he nuzzled her neck and
whispered, "You complete me, my dearest love. You are a flame of golden
light in my world of darkness."
Nat heard not only his words, but also the emotions behind them. Reaching
for him, she cupped his face in her hands. "I love you, Nick, more than I
ever dreamed was possible. I've never been as happy as I am when I'm with
you." Her hand slipped behind his head and she pulled his lips to hers.
"Make love to me, Nick, now and forever." She murmured as their mouths met.
Nick pulled back from the kiss. "Then tell me that you'll be mine, now and
forever." He said, reaching to remove the box he'd placed beneath the
pillow. He opened it to reveal a large, flawless diamond solitaire.
"Nick?" Nat breathed, afraid that she was dreaming.
"I bought this as an act of hope," Nick told her. "Marry me, Nat. I love
you and I want and need you beside me."
"Yes, Nick. I want and need to be beside you, forever." Nat said as he
slipped the ring on her finger. Smiling, she again reached for him.
Nick needed no encouragement. His need for her was so intense as to be
painful. He plundered her mouth with his, then trailed kisses down the
slender column of her throat and onto the soft, creamy skin of her
shoulders. His hands moved over her body lightly caressing her breasts
before descending the core of her femininity.
Nat moaned with pleasure as Nick seemed find every erotic location on her
body. She could feel small tremors of ecstasy course through her even as
she felt her body rising toward the ultimate culmination of bliss. Her
hands sought and found the throbbing shaft of Nick's manhood. Closing her
fingers around it, she stroked him, feeling the slickness of his
pre-orgasmic emissions as she did so.
Nick's breath was uneven as the sensations Nat's ministrations caused took
him closer to the edge of climax. With a soft growl he slid between her
legs. "Nat, I need to be in you." He panted. When she released him, Nick
lifted Nat's hips from the bed and with a single smooth stroke, buried his
turgid rod fully within her. He paused only a moment before he began to
move, pulling back until only the very tip of his shaft was still inside,
then thrusting its full length back inside her.
Nat gasped as she felt Nick's coolness enter her. As he began to move, she
matched his motions, pressing against his pelvis as she sought feel him
fill her completely. As the tempo of their movements increased, the
rhythmic pressure against her clit built into a tension beyond any she'd
ever known. "Please, Nick, come with me." She cried as she felt her body
nearing the edge of orgasm. Her hands urged his mouth to the pulsating
vein in her throat.
Nick felt his entire world contract until it was centered only on Nat and
the wonderful feelings that raced through him. The need to taste the
sweetness of her blood, and in doing so realize his climax was unendurable.
He offered no resistance as she drew him to the source of that nectar. He
sank his fangs deep into the vein, triggering his release, just as he felt
Nat's body spasm with her own release.
Nat cried out as a powerful orgasm shook her. Her pleasure was only
enhanced by the sharp sting of Nick's fangs, a sting immediately followed
by a sense of closeness and of love that all but overwhelmed her senses.
The intensity of Nick's love for her, that the blood link provided, brought
tears to her eyes. She pushed into the link, letting her love and emotions
flow like a beam of sunlight to Nick.
Nick shuddered as he pumped his seed deep into Nat's womb. The beast
savored the heady wine of her blood and his mind was filled by the pleasure
and joy she felt. His soul basked in the brightness of her love for him
and he was filled with peace. He withdrew his fangs from her and held her
tightly in his arms.
Nat gazed, sated, at Nick's face seeing a calmness there that she'd never
witnessed before. As they both gave into the languor that stole over them,
they snuggled tightly against each other, kissing softly as they relished
the aftermath of their love. Nick roused enough to draw the sheets and
comforter over them, and then they both sank into sleep. That they would
have many decisions to make, they both knew, but for now they slept knowing
that this was but the first night of forever.
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