“You!” Godric snapped at Stan. “Secure Ronwe downstairs. Isabelle! Get Caleb in my office. Everyone else – as you were.”
He scooped Rosalyn in his arms and rushed down the hallway. In the donor bathroom, he set her on the vanity counter and Eric crammed in behind his maker to assist the triage, grabbing handfuls of medical supplies off the wall. When Godric touched an antiseptic pad to her scalded wrist, she bit back an anguished cry.
“You’re going to be okay, Ros,” Eric said.
She blew at the wound through shaky lips. The cool air was soothing. “Don’t,” Godric ordered. He worked quickly, daubing at the seeping edges of the burn.
“You’re blowing bacteria in it,” Eric explained for his maker. She laughed nervously. It was easier than giving in to the pain. Godric chucked the gauze into a bin and ripped another open with his teeth.
“Is it bad? It’s bad, isn’t it,” she said.
Godric pressed the bandage into the wound and, knowing what was about to come, pulled her by the back of her head into his chest. She let out a long wailing scream into the flat of his belly, unable to keep the agony inside. Eric passed him another pad and he squeezed it is against her wrist again, soaking up the poisoned fluid. The death grip she had on his bicep tightened. He stroked the crown of her hair while she sobbed in heaving, jagged gasps. His reflection in the mirror was expressionless. Deadly.
Peeling back the white gauze, he inspected state of the burn. The oozing had almost stopped.
“Nearly there, Ros,” Eric told her. “It’s already looking a lot better.” She gave a snotty nod against Godric’s shirt. Swiping another fresh bandage off the counter, he hitched her up around his hips with a single arm and carried her to his bedroom.
The cool of the bedsheets and the down of the comforter were a relief beneath Ros. Godric sat silently beside her while Eric hovered, hands on his hips. They waited for the pain to subside slightly and it did, a little. Or perhaps she was growing used to the ice-hot throbbing inside her wrist bones.
Ros snuffled back the flood in her nose and eyes. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have left Isabelle.” She pulled at his grey button-down shirt, dismayed at the wet smears she had left on it. It looked too expensive to go in the washer. Godric did not so much as blink at her words. The thin, clenched line of his mouth scared her. “Can you heal it? You promised,” she said.
His eyes flicked up to her neck. “It is a demon scald. It will not heal fully from the outside. Even if I did…” His voice trailed off.
“Godric doesn’t want his blood on the scar of another,” Eric said quietly. “It…it is ugly.”
“It is an abomination,” Godric hissed. He let out a deep breath of air and began to unbutton his shirt. “Get out,” he ordered. Eric smiled – an odd reaction, given the circumstances. He coded out of the room without comment. Godric slid to a stand, pulled off his socks, and unfastened his pants. He crawled back into bed nude and searched for the zipper on Ros’ culottes.
“What are you doing?” she said. He dragged them off her, panties and all. “Now? You’re not serious!” He responded by tugging her shirt off and tossing it to the floor. “Godric, I – “
He silenced her with a kiss. “This,” he held up the offending arm. “This is unacceptable.” He shook his head in disgust and inhaled again, trying to calm down. He pressed a kiss into her hand and held the kissed skin against his face. “This should never have happened.”
“Well, it did so…”
“It did and I will right this injustice.” His fingertips ghosted over the large wells of blood he placed in her neck. “You do not understand the promise I made you. The lengths I would go to. What I will do…” His fingers wandered over her heart. He splayed them there where he could feel the rapid beat of her life in his palm. “I love you, Rosalyn.” The heart in his hand skipped a beat, then galloped. “I love you and I have already given you my blood and my oath. You need only accept it.”
Her mouth hung open. There were too many words for her lips and Godric saw each one of them poised there. He nuzzled and licked them away, drawing out a lusty moan instead.
Ros’ eyes found his and searching, she told him. “I love you too. How can I love you so much? So fast?”
Godric smiled. “I’ve wondered the same thing.” He caught the tear in her eye with a thumb.
“I knew from the moment I saw you in the desert, looking up at the rocks and the sky. I saw you. And I knew. There is no point in pretending otherwise.”
“You see through me like no other. I am disarmed and bare before you.”
“Very bare,” she managed to joke and stroked down his serpentine back to squeeze his bum.
There was so much more to confess. But there would be time for those secrets. For now, they simply kissed in amazement, surprised and relieved to find themselves in love.
“Let me heal you completely,” he said. Rosalyn agreed. “That is my preference, but I will respect your wishes. You still have a choice.”
“A blood bond?” He nodded gravely. “Will you be mine, Godric?” she asked and something dark and forbidden danced in his eyes.
“Yes,” he said forcefully.
Godric bit hard into his own wrist and clenched his fist. Thick rivulets of ancient blood streaked down his forearm. The droplets fell in heavy splashes down his chest and over his hard cock. He guided the spatters in a crimson trail over Ros’ belly, along her breastbone, shepherding them finally into her expectant mouth. Her tongue met the broken skin and when it slid along the punctures, Godric fell into her, pressing his body deep into hers. He toppled headfirst, his canines finding their place in her neck, crushing the blood he stored there straight into her nervous system.
She drank and he sucked and as he sucked he drew his blood through her and back into the hollow of his open, thirsting soul. His wrist healed too quickly and he slashed his tongue to feed her a hasty kiss. Ros found the source and what she tasted of Godric there was the taste of unending time. She writhed and thrusted beneath his attentions, all reason unfixed by the raw bestial power in his veins. The pleasure was nothing short of rapture. He roared and she dug her nails into his flesh and they each begged the other for more.
Rosalyn’s hazel eyes were lost in Godric’s sagebrush blues. They had been staring at each other for well over an hour, speechless. Questions rose and fell in her slow breathing.
“Can you feel me?” she wondered.
“Yes. Here.” He placed a hand over his chest and closed his eyes. He looked impossibly virile and young. His cheeks were flushed and his lips had turned a dusky pink.
“What does it feel like?”
Godric searched for a long minute. “Like you found the brightest star in the sky and hung it inside my heart.”
“Don’t ever let the light out.”
“Never,” he said, caressing her face. Rosalyn was even more radiant, though it seemed impossible somehow. “What is it like for you?”
She laughed. The sensation was so immense. “I couldn’t possibly contain it in words.”
“Try. For me.”
“I suppose that I glimpsed what the immortals know. I heard time, smelled eternity. I felt its vastness expanding outwards from my skin. I saw what it is to be you.”
“All that just from my blood?”
“You didn’t tell me it would taste like ambrosia,” she chastised. “It isn’t really blood, is it.”
He gave a secretive smile. “No.”
Ros remembered the unsealed bite at her neck. She touched a fingertip to it and offered it to her lover. He took the finger and dragged it over the spot where he felt her. He drew out a funny, lopsided ‘R.’ Then he sucked her fingertip with a greedy pop.
“A rune?” she said.
“‘R’ for Rosalyn. I am yours.”
She brushed her hair off her chest. “I want one. I am yours now too.” Godric pricked his own finger on a fang and drew an X over her heart. “‘X’ marks the spot!” she said.
“It’s a G, actually.” An odd thought struck him.
“What?” she said.
“The R-rune stands for a journey or adventure,” he said slowly.
“What does yours mean?”
His brow furrowed and he tried to suppress an embarrassed smile. “The ‘G’ is a gift.”
Ros gave him a knowing look. “Of course it is.”
He rested his head next to hers and stroked the soft skin of her breast. “I have often wondered what I could possibly give you.”
“I wanted all of you. And now you are mine.”
He bit his lip. It felt so good he could burst. “And you are mine.”
“Is this what you meant when you called me your ‘intended’?”
“Actually, I just thought it sounded clever. Better than my ‘significant other’!” She pinched him and they both laughed.
Her hand wandered over the smears of dried blood on him. She had just as many on herself. “We’re filthy. We should shower.”
Godric sat up on a propped elbow and rubbed the flaking bits between his fingers. “We can see this, you know, even after you wash. It wears off much faster than a healed bite, but…we see it. And if we don’t see it, we still smell it.”
“Uh oh. You’ve got that mischievous look in your eye.”
His lips were parted and his pupils had blown wide. The stray thought developed into a plan. “Would you do something for me?”
“Is it more kinky vampire stuff?”
“It is definitely more kinky vampire stuff.”
She raised an eyebrow. “Do tell.”
“Come on.” He grabbed her hand and led her to the bathroom.
“Shower?” she said.
“No, my Rosalyn. Not a shower. You are not nearly filthy enough,” he said. The glass stall door shut with a foreboding thud. He stalked towards her until the tile slapped cold against her back. “Are you mine?” he asked, his voice thick with desire.
“Yes.” She gasped at the impossibly strong arms that pinned her in place.
“I am yours?” he said.
“All mine.” She growled into his mouth and the possessive sound went straight to his groin.
“Let us show everyone what I am willing to do for you. Let us make them tremble at the power of our love.” Rosalyn was already trembling at the skillful fingers between her legs.
When he was done, Godric stepped back to admire his craftwork. He could barely stand his state of arousal. Rosalyn was saturated with his scent and flushed with the pleasure he had given her. “You are, without a doubt, the sexiest woman I have ever seen,” he gasped. He had to brace himself against the wall to remain upright, so disoriented was he by his own lust and how her own heat echoed back at him through their bond.
He had painted her, head to toe, in his own magic blood. Rosalyn had been so spun up by his nipping teeth and talented tongue that she had not been aware of what he was doing with his roving hands until he was halfway finished. If she worried at first that it might harm him, she saw now it had had quite the opposite effect. “You alright there?”
“No.” He swallowed. “I’ll never be right again.…I…Can I take your picture? No, I’m sorry, of course not. That’s – ”
“Really? It is?” His eyes lit up.
He was gone and back in a flash and was still apologizing, even as he photographed her nude body. Ros posed for him against the tile. She felt beautiful, like a phoenix rising from the ashes. “Oh, my muse – truly – thank you. You have no idea how much you please me.”
He turned the spigott of the large showerhead on and they took turns bathing each other, delighting in the feel of their soapy bellies rubbing together and the tickling drip of suds down their backs.
Only at dusk the next night did Eric dare to knock lightly on the bedroom door.
“What, child?” Godric griped from underneath the covers.
“Your chief of security has been in the dog house for more than twelve hours.”
Godric groaned. “Then he ought to have had adequate time to think.”
“Do you want me to take him out for a walk or what?” Eric said
Ros stirred at his side and squeaked sleepily. Godric kissed the top of her head and she opened her eyes. “Duty calls, my heart.”
“You slept with me,” she realized.
“I couldn’t leave you up here by yourself. Who would keep me warm?” he chuckled.
Begrudgingly, they rolled out of bed to get dressed. Ros hunted down the crumpled clothes she had worn the night before. Her hair was beyond hope, so she twisted it into a pile on her head. Godric was much faster and waited for her to finish. He used the free moment to review the photographs on his digital camera. They were exquisite, including the ones she took of him. The last picture they had taken together was what she had called ‘a selfie’ shot. They were a beautiful couple.
The beauty, however, lacked something. The image was static. Flat. It was already a memory, lost to time. The longer he admired it, the more unsettled he felt. He put the camera back in the nightstand. He needed to be absolutely focused for what awaited him on the other side of the bedroom door.
“Ready?” she said.
Godric closed his eyes and took a deep breath. When he reopened them, he was the Sheriff of Area Nine. And the Sheriff was not a happy camper.
Eric was waiting for them at the end of the hallway. When his eyes landed on Rosalyn he gasped and dropped to one knee. Every inch of her exposed skin glowed with the ephemeral sheen of his maker’s ancient blood. The urge to submit before it was beyond his control.
“At ease, Blondie.” She patted him on the shoulder and he dropped his head further in submission.
“Stay with Eric, love.” Godric kissed her knuckles and strutted into his office, slamming the double doors behind him. Replacements for the doors he had smashed through the night before had already been hung. The wood was mismatched and raw, not yet stained to match the frame.
“What’s going to happen to Caleb?” she asked Eric. He shrugged, uninterested in Caleb Cash’s fate. Whatever Godric decided, it would be getting off lightly. The werewolves could not be held responsible for night time security. Few creatures were immune to a vampire’s glamour. They were going to need to reconsider their options very carefully.
“I brought you more food,” Eric said, changing the subject. Rosalyn followed him into the common area. As they rounded the corner in the entryway, they crossed paths with Isabelle.
“Madre de Dios!” she swore in terror when she glanced up at Rosalyn. The files she had been carrying in her arms went flying across the tile. Isabelle apologized profusely and shooed Rosalyn away when she tried to help scoop up the paperwork. Eric steered her toward the kitchen.
“Is it that frightening?” she asked in a blushing whisper.
Eric stared at her, wide-eyed and unblinking. He pulled away the hand she had shaded over half her face. “I do not see it like others will. But then, they do not know what we know about Godric, do they?” He examined her wrist. The silken skin was once again flawless. “Come, little breather, there’s a lot to show you.”
The kitchen counter was full of flower arrangements and packages. The gifts overflowed onto every available surface of the living room and into the den.
“What on earth is this?” she said.
“Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Mexico…”
“I don’t know anyone in any of those places!”
“These are from the vampires of those territories, Ros. Kings and queens and sheriffs. News travels fast. You have a lot of fans in our community. Here, this one is from Pam.” He handed her the most tasteful bouquet in the bunch. Of course it had to be from Pam.
“Where on earth did she get English roses this time of year?”
“Her greenhouse. It’s one of her own varieties. These are from her too. Pam was horrified to learn that you were using supermarket dishes.” He gestured to a stack of art deco bone china and antique crystal glassware. “I am supposed to relay that you are free to break them, but preferably by throwing them at me.”
“Awww. Tell her I’ll only break them if you go full ‘Thane of Misogyny,’” Ros promised. “Is Pam keeping Shreveport in line?”
“You know it.” Eric passed her an envelope. “This is one you should see too.”
She opened the thick, creamy paper and discovered a card with a delightfully demented vintage cartoon in black and white. The image depicted a demon creeping up on a woman in Victorian dress. Someone had drawn a red bullseye in marker over the demon’s face. Inside she found the words: Be well. –A.
A business card slid out and she caught it mid-air. Her reflexes were faster than usual. The card bore no information except an international number embossed in red ink. Rosalyn showed the baffling card to Eric and he smiled. “I believe that you have just been offered the sworn fealty of none other than Amleth of Cumbria, Sheriff of London.”
“Wow. All I had to do was get attacked by a demon.”
“He is probably on his way here to take out Ronwe as we speak.”
Rosalyn fingered the business card. “I’m scared, Eric.” She looked at him with pleading eyes and much to his own annoyance, he found himself giving her a hug. He snuck a whiff of his maker’s scent in her hair. “What are we going to do with all this stuff?”
“You cannot send it back,” he cautioned.
“No, no. I realize that. Let’s take note of who sent what and have the flowers donated to the children’s hospital.”
“And the gifts?”
“Are they as over the top ridiculous as I suspect?”
He eyed the sea of boxes containing precious jewels and watches and other exorbitant tokens. “Probably worse.”
“Can you get rid of these things discretely for me?”
“Sure, as long as nothing is one of a kind.”
“Good,” she said with determination. “Put the money towards your portion of the school fund. Name the library after yourself if you want.”
Eric shook his head with a chuckle. “Clever little human. You’ve done more to advance the Great Reveal in the past few months than we’ve accomplished in years. That’s why they are after you, you know.”
If the compliment was supposed to reassure her, it failed. “When we were at the fundraiser, Godric said something about Ronwe’s master being a member of the High Council.”
“Roman is not just any counselor. He is the High Counselor – the chief executive.”
Ros swallowed. “Please tell me he’s not older than Godric.”
Eric wished he could lie to her. “He is.”
Her heart sunk. “What are we going to do?” Tears welled up in her eyes.
“First, we’re going to get some food in you. Then we’ll deal with these presents. One thing at a time, okay?”
A/N: Happy Valentine’s Day, from Godric and the gang! I did not plan on releasing this today, however it ended up being quite appropriate, no? Hope you enjoyed Godric’s weird vampire possessiveness and Amleth’s creepy version of a vampire “Get Well” card. Big love to you all. Please leave a review if you can spare a moment. I appreciate hearing you from so much!