Downstairs in the underground chamber, Godric was astonished to find that Eric had actually put himself to sleep in the travel coffin as he was told. He had even gone so far as to shut the lid. Godric fully expected to find his child defiantly sprawled out in some unworkable position in his king size bed. Eric had always been a notorious bed thief and he was blessed with an uncanny ability to hog every square inch available with his long limbs. Instead, not a single pillow or blanket had been pillaged in the service of his comfort. He must be truly feeling repentant. Godric was thankful that he did not have to heave his child into the coffin himself at this late hour. He crawled under the covers and let the pull of the sun wash over him.
The last thing he heard as he was drifting off was the sound of Rosalyn pacing the floor overhead between the master bedroom door and the antechamber door. At first, he thought she must be curious and that perhaps she was going to test whether her palm could open their door. (It could not.) But then he heard her softly counting to herself. One Mississippi. Two Mississippi. Three Mississippi. She was counting how long it took to move between the doors. Clever woman, to plan how much time she might need to trick an invader and trip the alarm. The thought of how seriously she was taking the responsibility of having access to his security system pleased him immensely. He fell into a deep, dreamless sleep with a smile on his face.
When he woke, he could hear the soft thudding of her heartbeat. There was a rustle of a page being turned. Then another. Curious, he pulled on a pair of sweatpants and headed upstairs.
“I missed you rising,” he lamented. She was cross-legged in the bed among a tangle of sheets, hovering over a book. There were several volumes scattered about her. “What are we reading?” he asked, as if he did not already know exactly which books she had pulled from his library.
“Rumi. I had hoped your little bedtime quote was a clue about where I might find your flower.”
“No such luck.”
“Darn,” he said.
“But good fun to thumb through.”
“I see you’ve located the editions in Persian too.”
“Yep. I cheated with Google, but I hope you appreciate how hard it was for me to locate his name in a different script. How many languages do you even speak?”
“I’ve stopped using many more than I actively remember, if that gives you any sense.”
Godric shrugged. “I’ve never really tried very hard with Japanese, since Eric speaks it impeccably. I really should work on it one of these days.”
Rosalyn reached across the bed and lifted a volume. “I also found this.” She passed the book to him. It was his 18th century folio of the Kama Sutra.
“Hmm. Anything strike your fancy?”
“The images are beautiful. Most of those positions would probably snap me, but I figured you might know a few worth trying.”
He raised an eyebrow. “I take it you’re not sore today.”
“Nope,” she said gleefully.
“Well then. Have you eaten? We can go out if you like. I can show you Dallas.”
“I think I’d rather stay in, if you don’t mind. I’m fairly certain I’ve found Dallas’ main attraction. He’s standing right here.” She laid back, her hair cascading all about her, arms spread wide. Rosalyn pulled down one strap of her negligee, then the other, and quirked an eyebrow at him.
“Well alright, mistress. I see how it is,” he said, eyes glinting mischievously.
Godric had Rosalyn balanced in his lap and he worked his hips in small, slow circles. He exhaled as she inhaled. She gasped and he breathed, their chests locked into a tantric rhythm. He groaned out loud when she bit him and he said “Harder, please.” She clenched down on him and dug her blunt teeth into his neck and he moaned when she did as he requested. The scrape of her nails across his back and the pinch in his neck made his nipples tense and his body swell. “More,” he managed to say and she bit with force. He cried out loud and pleasure overtook him. She felt him pulsing between her legs and she bit his throat again where his Adam’s apple bobbed. She thrust against him, hungry for the orgasm that lay at the base of his thick cock. The soft, grunting moans he gave urged her on and she pumped her heat over him again and again, throwing her head back in ecstasy, riding his hard body into oblivion.
Amidst their fevered coupling, the antechamber deadbolts slid open and a mussy haired Eric walked out. Rosalyn squealed in surprise and covered her breasts, having completely forgotten that Eric was asleep downstairs. He lumbered by them towards the bathroom, then stopped, and walked back to the bed. “You’re doing that wrong. Sit on your heels, Godric.” Eric reached behind his maker and twisted the ankle he had folded underneath him so that he was perched on the ball of his foot and resting on his heel. Eric leaned over to check the angle where their bodies meet.
“For Christ’s sake, Eric!” She covered her crotch. While Rosalyn was perfectly comfortable with her body and happy in the nude, it did not mean she wanted to give Eric a show.
“Leave the young god out of this,” he said. “Roll your hips forward a little, Ros?” She was frozen stock still. “Seriously. Tilt your hips forward but keep your back straight, as it is. You’ll see.” He tapped the book beside them to punctuate his point and wandered off into the bathroom, shut the door, and turned on the shower.
Godric gave her an encouraging look and Rosalyn did as Eric suggested. She audibly gasped at the result. Godric pulled out of her slowly and thrust and they both cried out. Within a few minutes, they were making a full-on racket composed mostly of “yes!” and “oh god!” Eric was chuckling at the two until they exploded in pleasure, at which point Godric unleashed the full force of his maker’s bond at him. There was a loud clanging crash from the bathroom. Eric had collapsed against the glass shower enclosure, dropping yet again from the crippling wave of power that his maker had directed at him.
“Dammit Godric!” he yelled from the tile floor where he was incapacitated. Ros was far too lost to even notice.
When Eric emerged from the bathroom, he found the two lovers cuddled underneath the covers, whispering. He slipped out silently, letting them be. The sound of Godric’s soft laughter ringing through the halls of the home was music to his ears, a melody he had missed for far too long. Being stuck on watchdog duty without a donor to help soothe his aching fangs and body completely sucked, but it was an inconsequential price to pay for Godric’s happiness. Eric was more than willing to endure it as the trifling cost of his meddling.
In the study, Eric first contacted Isabelle to touch base. All seemed quiet in the city. She forwarded a few more hearings that would have to be scheduled when the nest reopened and she went over the basic details so Godric could be adequately updated.
Eric then called Pamela and learned that Amleth had taken a shining to his little faeling charge. The Stackhouse woman was apparently giving him the run around. Sookie refused to admit Amleth into her home, yet she answered the door each night in heels and pearls and push-up bras. Eric conceded that perhaps his maker was correct in warning him off of her. He was glad it was not him being toyed with and rebuffed. Amleth might be entertained by it for a little while, but personally Eric never found such feigned affectations of coyness attractive in women. He liked his women smart, frank, and full of fight. Ergo, Pamela.
Pam also confessed that she and Amleth had already managed to plow through all the Royalty Blended in the house. “No, Pam, you may not order another case. Drink the True Blood that’s down in storage or eat a customer.” Pamela protested. “Either way, you’re not spending another dime until I can fix our liquid asset situation! Did you miss the part where your grandsire told you to keep your head down and do your work? If he even gets wind that you two are messing around he’s going to bury you alive and I’m going to let him. Capiche?”
“Fine,” she grumbled.
Eric hung up and turned to the pile of paperwork on Godric’s desk. He would distract himself with busy work since he had been asked not to leave the estate. Godric needed him here so that he could let his guard completely down.
Godric rested his head on Rosalyn’s chest, letting the thrum of her heartbeat wash through him. She combed her fingers through his hair in rhythmic circles and he purred in tune with her breathing. Their fingers were twined together, as were their legs – a braid of flesh, at once cool and warm. “I am left-handed,” he said out of the blue.
“Oh. I’m right-handed.”
Godric snuffed a laugh into her collarbone, amused by his own secret. “It is a very rare trait in a vampire. Back in those days, young children were killed for such a thing or else quickly learned to adapt with their right. Almost certainly no maker would have turned someone with what was then seen to be such a defect.”
“The ‘sinister’ hand?” she guessed.
“How silly.” She lifted the offending hand to her mouth and nuzzled it, placing a string of kisses down the backside of his fingers and palm.
“Perhaps it is silly. I’ve found it very useful.”
Godric looked up at her. “I heard you practicing how to move between the two security doors.”
Ros bit her lip. “It seemed like the right thing to do.”
“But you didn’t try to unlock the antechamber door. You didn’t even touch the panel.”
“No,” she said. “Why would I?”
“Because it’s a perfectly normal, human thing to do. Yet you trusted me when I told you it wouldn’t work and you took what responsibility I gave you very seriously.”
“Then it is important that you know I’m left-handed. I’ve hidden this minor preference for my left hand for centuries. Eric knows. Pam knows. Now you know.”
“Alright. Thank you for telling me.” She pressed a kiss into his mouth.
An impish smile spread across his features. There was something positively delicious about telling this woman his secrets. “Oh my Rosalyn, what is it about you? You are so intriguing.” She laughed, not sure what had inspired his whimsy. Godric reflected for a long moment. “You are thoroughly uninterested in status, power, money. Men like Eric and Amleth, for all their impossible beauty and wealth, will never deceive you with their charm or their flash. There’s nothing about my age or position that even remotely attracts you, is there? You didn’t even blink when I spoke of it. Instead you pitied me, seeing it for the burden it is.” She shrugged. He was not wrong. “Why did you speak with me that night in the desert? Why did you choose me?”
“I don’t know. Because I saw you and I knew we weren’t seeing the same thing. I thought it was a beautiful event. All those people from different places and times, human and non-human, everyone dancing and celebrating life. I wanted to celebrate it with you. I didn’t know why you were missing out.”
“And we did celebrate life, didn’t we? In our own way.”
“It was far better than the party.”
“Yes. Far, far better.” Godric sighed contentedly.
“That night – I thought maybe I only would get to have that moment once in a lifetime and I didn’t want to ruin it by forcing something more. I wanted to be content with what it was.”
“And I thought I didn’t deserve it. Not one second of it.”
“Oh but you do!” She rolled on top of him, caging him in with her elbows. “You deserve so much.”
“What about you? You want for nothing, yet you have some of the most powerful creatures on the planet ready to give you the moon upon a stick if you so demanded it. That is a unique quality indeed. No wonder Eric couldn’t figure you out. I show you some of the rarest supernatural abilities on the planet and you dismiss them as parlor tricks. Not even your thirst for knowledge makes you hungry; you’d never even consider ripping the wings from a butterfly to better know its nature. You are happy to let it flutter past you and ponder its mystery. Your awe, your fascination…it is so pure. You give and give with no expectation for anything in return. I just gave you the key to my kingdom and you replied with a kiss.”
She frowned. “I’m not sure I follow, sweetheart.”
Godric chuckled at the moniker. He was fairly certain no one had ever thought his heart was ‘sweet’. He held up his hand. “It’s the key to unlocking the security system – to many of my security systems, in fact. If the alarm is tripped, I scan my left hand.”
“Huh. That’s so…simple.”
“Exactly. Plus, it is fast. The long keycode I entered before was just for show. Complexity doesn’t necessarily mean greater difficulty. In crisis, the first thing that people overlook is the most obvious.”
She smiled and released her light hold on him. “You’re wrong that I don’t have wants and desires.”
“Ah, sure. Perhaps I spoke too hastily. I am becoming acquainted with your desires, lover, rather intimately, I should say.” He reached down and gave her rounded backside a firm squeeze and pulled her even closer against him. “As for your wants, they are grand indeed – nothing short of peace and acceptance world-round. It is a beautiful vision and I will help you to the best of my ability. I hope for it as well.”
“Thank you.” Her hazel gaze pierced him with its palimpsest of color. Godric tensed, sensing she wanted to say something more. “You forgot the most important thing.”
“I want you.”
He did not know how to respond, so he said nothing at all. Instead, he showed her. He showed her how much it meant to be wanted for who he was rather than what he could do, for more than what someone could get out of him. Godric’s hips found their way between Rosalyn’s legs and he made love to her again, this time even more slowly and passionately than before.
Saturday became Sunday and soon Sunday turned into Monday night. They fell into a pattern, pleasuring each other, hunting through the books in his library, and getting into deep discussions sitting around the kitchen island as Rosalyn took her meals. All the while, Eric remained close at hand.
Ros was listening to Godric recount a tale about his first visit to Egypt while she ate a bowl of tofu pad Thai. He was lost in the details and she was enraptured by his vivid storytelling. Eric happened to glance up from the crossword puzzle he had folded in thirds on one knee and was caught off guard. Gone was the pallid ancient who had grown so weary of the world. Instead, he saw once more the animated, pink-cheeked young man that had turned him so long ago. In two nights Rosalyn had accomplished what Eric could not in two centuries. Godric whipped his head around when he felt a sudden rush of joy and love flood across their bond.
“What?” he asked his child. Eric shook his head and penciled in the answer for 41-down.
The couple’s obvious happiness kept Eric silent about the phone call he had received from Amleth. “Have you actually ever been to Bon Temps, mate?” his raven-haired friend asked him the previous night.
“Only a handful of times. Why?”
“The place is crawling with supes. Werewolves have recently passed through the cemetery near Hummingbird Road and Sookie’s place of employment is run by a shifter.”
“I know Merlotte. He’s standoffish, but not a concern.”
“Well, then would you like to explain to me why there is a small but slightly open fairy porthole in the forest behind Sookie’s house? You know I can barely sense these things, but I’m quite certain it’s there.”
“Fuck,” Eric said.
“And do you think Niall could be bothered to respond to my messages?”
“Of course not.”
“I can’t drag this out much longer, Eric. I’ve got to get back to London.”
“Alright, update me as soon as you know more.”
It was a worrisome development. Eric did not share he and Isabelle’s discussions either. They both agreed that Dallas had grown a little too quiet the last few days. When Rosalyn finally suggested they go out, Eric was apprehensive, to say the least.
“I’m craving ice cream and a little fresh air. Can we go into the city?” she said. Godric was quick to agree. She had made so few demands of him since she had arrived that he jumped at the opportunity.
Downtown they found an old-fashioned candy store that sold ice cream cones heaped with every possible flavor. Eric loomed over the couple protectively, hands folded behind his back, scanning for trouble. Rosalyn ordered mint chocolate and splurged with two large scoops. While she waited in line, Godric walked the aisle of the store and examined the rows of acrylic bins offering every sort of candy imaginable.
Out on the street, they went for a stroll. “I sometimes wish I hadn’t missed out on sugar,” he said.
Rosalyn struggled to keep the cone from melting all over her hand. “It’s probably for the best, no? You and Eric have all your teeth.”
Godric laughed and caught a green drip before it oozed down her wrist. He fed it back to his companion. A flash of light suddenly blinded them. Eric was a blur of action and before Ros could react, he had tackled the offender in a single leap and a smash. Spread out into hundreds of shards were the remains of the man’s camera. Even as Eric released the poor fool, he heard the telltale beep of two more cameras taking exposures from across the street. “Fucking paparazzi. Can we please go now? We’re going to be all over Page Six tomorrow,” he said.
They beat a hasty retreat. Eric drove them at extraordinary speeds. At the guard house outside the mansion, Eric had a long conversation with Caleb to confirm nothing seemed out of the ordinary. He had him switch up a few of the planned guard rotations, just to be sure.
In the living room, Godric stopped Eric with a hand on his chest. “Explain.” His child gave him a sharp look. “I know,” Godric said, letting out a tense breath. “I’ll re-open the nest tomorrow.” Eric glanced at Rosalyn. Godric nodded in understanding. “I’ll speak with her too. Can you notify Isabelle? And then let’s go over the schedule.”