The leaden fog of the sun slowly retreated from Eric’s mind, silently releasing him from its grip. He had returned from his brief mission to Montreal in the nick of time, narrowly winning the race against the first rays of dawn. Safely inside Godric’s Shreveport home, he’d found his maker and their human already curled together in a fast sleep. Making a space for himself, he wound his massive frame around them like a protective shell. Now, as he woke, Eric instantly sensed Lillian was upstairs. Godric, he could tell, was awake but lay unmoving, his back turned against him.
Eric tentatively felt out his end of the bond. He did so with the utmost care, slowly trickling open the connection with loyalty and concern. He didn’t push; he’d learned very quickly in the early years never to mentally jab at him. Prodding at Godric was akin to poking a bear with a stick; one never quite knew what might set off the feral creature in him. Tonight, however, the Celt remained utterly silent. Eric feared the worst.
He dared to nuzzle his nose further into his maker’s hair and softly inhaled. Godric smelled of blood and sex and time. (And grass and tears and jasmine tea, he noted, though these were seemingly incidental.) This scent was Eric’s anchor. It bound his universe together; it flowed through his very veins. Yet it told him nothing about what emotional turmoil might be taking place underneath it. Unable to see Godric’s face and truly afraid that his eyes might once again be haunted with the look of desolation, Eric tightened his hold on him. If only he could guard his creator from the world’s cruelties. The impassive, taut body did not even so much as twitch a muscle in response.
“Maker…” Eric appealed in an almost inaudible voice. Godric’s fingers closed over his child’s. In sheer relief at the acknowledgment, Eric broke down into an impassioned plea in Old Norse. The words flowed melodically out of him until a terse little laugh erupted from the smaller vampire.
“Já” agreed Godric.
“Yes? You see, then? How much you are needed? We are yours, maker. Only yours,” Eric rasped.
Godric let out a sigh and closed his eyes. He threaded an arm around his nervous wreck of a progeny. “I know, my child. Calm down. All is well.”
Eric’s embrace only tightened. Godric twisted easily from his iron grip and slid out of bed. Spotting an unfamiliar red satin robe on the armoire, he slipped into it and turned to model the number.
“Surely this isn’t for me…” he said, a sly smile turning up the corners of his mouth.
Eric was so dumbfounded by his easygoing manner that he couldn’t quite put words to use.
“How?” he managed to say.
Godric understood the question well enough. How was it that for once in their long history, revisiting the horrors of Godric’s past hadn’t sent him spiraling into a dark undertow of despair? When this last happened, he’d grown so depressed that he had stopped feeding and grown frighteningly self-destructive. How was he evidently not teetering on the brink of a breakdown now?
“How?” Eric demanded again.
Godric sucked at his teeth and shrugged. “The little minx sassed me and then sexed me up.”
Eric sat up sharply.
“Come again?” His maker must be confusing colloquialisms. Godric rarely made mistakes in English, but every so often…
“You heard me correctly. She listened silently to the entire gory lot of it and then she told me with the utmost respect to quote ‘get the fuck over it,’ after which she had her way with me.” He rudely jerked one hand in the air with a tongue in his cheek and held up two fingers. “She’s quite the naughty little thing.”
Eric’s mouth fell open. “You…you allowed this?”
Godric gave another enigmatic shrug. “Lily has a refreshing take on things. Maybe we’ve grown stuck in our ways.”
Eric gaped stupidly, searching for some better explanation.
“Stop looking so shocked and go apologize to her.”
“Apologize to our bonded for threatening her life or I will teach you a lesson you will not soon forget, Eiríkr.” His soft tone barely raised, but there was no mistaking his seriousness.
Eric sneered in a lame attempt to hide behind arrogance. “I feel nostalgic, Godric. I’m almost tempted to go with Option B…”
Godric’s eyes darkened and he let out a low, menacing growl. It was all it took to get Eric scrambling out of the covers and speeding out of the bedroom.
In the kitchen, Lillian poured over her laptop. Her fingers flew over the keys as she researched yet more of the strange images she had seen in her dreams. She crunched messily at a piece of toast, sending crumbs scattering across the granite countertop. When she saw Eric in the doorway, she nearly choked. His hair was a tangled mess and his eyelids were rimmed in a darker pink than usual. He looked exhausted – and decidedly not human.
Wordlessly he flashed to her side, his face strained. He was virtually incapable of apologizing, but he did his best.
“Forgive me.” He bowed his head. Little flecks in his hair caught the overhead lighting.
“Is that glass?!” she shrieked, pulling him closer. She hadn’t noticed it when she’d risen this evening. She was surprised enough to find him in bed. “What happened to you!?”
“Oh, that? I took a shortcut through a skylight. It is of no importance. What matters is that Maker is well and for that I must thank you.”
Lillian’s mind instantly recalled the profound pain in Godric’s eyes as he divulged the deepest secrets of his past. It sent a shiver down her spine and simultaneously activated the nuanced compulsion Godric had placed on her. The strangest sense of duplicity spread through her, warm and pleasant. Not even her facial muscles could betray that she understood Eric’s reference. She simply stared blankly at Eric. It was utterly bizarre to be conscious of Godric’s revelations and yet unable to acknowledge them in any way. He had warned that it would feel odd for a human. Only a handful of vampires could produce such a powerful, subtle glamour as he had.
“I cannot say I understand your tactics, but I approve,” Eric admitted.
Godric chose that moment to wander through the living room, giving the two of them a casual glance before heading upstairs. Lillian had no idea where he’d found the frilly woman’s robe or why he was wearing it.
“I am surprised he let you take such liberties,” Eric continued.
“Well, you said to take care of him,” she shrugged.
“So I did. But it speaks volumes that he actually let you.”
Eric enveloped her in a hug and kissed the top of her head.
“Can we move on to the part where we have passionate make-up sex?”
Lillian couldn’t help but laugh, in spite of the upsetting circumstances.
“Perhaps maker will let us take care of him some more,” Eric suggested impishly.
“You can’t have your dick do all your apologizing, you know.”
“I can try,” he said and gave a megawatt smile. She pushed away from him, slapping her computer shut.
“I shouldn’t have to explain to you why death threats in a relationship are totally, completely unacceptable. I don’t care that he is your maker and it was ‘instinct’. Your instinct was wrong. Even if you think they were merely words. Words cut too.”
Eric nodded solemnly. “I know. I…I am sorry, Lila.”
She swallowed hard, extremely disturbed that she had to have this conversation with her lover.
“Consider this your one and only warning. Do it again and I’m gone.”
“Godric already promised as much.”
“What do you mean?”
Eric chewed the inside of his cheek and stared at the floor. “He would take you from me. Make me suffer from bonding sickness. When possible he prefers to punish by taking away the things one desires most. That’s how Godric rolls.”
“Well, I can’t say I disagree. I’d have him hide me where you’ll never find me if you fuck up again.”
“Understood. Am I forgiven then?”
“No, Eric. That’s not how this works. Apologies are not going to fix this. You broke my trust when you said you would hurt me to just to protect Godric from his own unresolved emotions. Prove to me that you are the honorable, good man I know you to be by never doing this again.”
“So it is time that will make things right?” A little sheepish smile broke out across his face. “I like challenges.”
Lillian took a deep breath to sooth her nerves. “Yeah, I know.”
“Will you at least tell me we can move forward? I know I made a mistake and I will do everything I can to prove myself worthy of you, lover. I swear it.”
“Alright, Viking. I believe we have an understanding.”
“That we do. Now come on, let’s go ambush Godric. I hear him in the shower,” he said with a waggle of his eyebrows.
They found Godric already clean and toweling himself off in the spacious master bathroom. Disappointed at the prospect of showering alone, Eric begrudgingly flipped the spigot back on to rinse out the glass from his hair and remove the flecks of his own dried blood still stuck to his skin. Godric’s eyes darkened as he set his gaze on Lillian. He’d heard every word of her conversation and his lust bloomed at the way she fearlessly handled Eric. He let his towel drop to the floor.
“You and Eric have plans for me. Is that it, Lily?” he asked, stalking toward her. He took her by the arms and playfully walked her backwards into the bedroom, a look of pure mischief written across his features. “No!” she denied, laughing. Halfway across the room, he’d managed to get her naked without ever letting her go. When the edge of the bed hit the back of her knees, he pounced, flattening her out onto the cushioned mattress by pinned wrists. Hard muscled arms with azure ink caged her in on either side. “Perhaps I have designs of my own,” he breathed. Godric hitched her legs around his knees and he widened them slowly, disarming her, exposing her.
His absurdly innocent mouth – those lips drawn in a cupid’s bow that seemed never to utter a foul word – began to whisper the most daring, depraved things.
“How shall I fill you?” he asked into the curve of her ear. “I want you full of my seed,” he declared, just as his thick member slid between her thighs. She pulled him closer and nipped at his throat. He cried out, delving into the soft cleft of her body. Lillian gasped. Godric’s talented mouth and devilish words set her ablaze. He didn’t have to ask when she was going come; he felt her rising heat and heard her erratic heartrate thundering in his ears.
Godric slowed his decadent, leonine motions just long enough to bite into his wrist. “Take me, Lily. Take all of me inside you,” he demanded huskily. Her eyes widened in surprise at his offering. Her lips closed over his lifeblood and he sunk his fangs into her neck. Each pull she drew connected deep within him and he swore he felt it tug at the ancient remnants of his heart. They exploded together in a violent wail, writhing and panting and devouring each other’s bodies. Godric rocked against the aftershocks of their coupling, purring in contentment.
“I missed Round One,” Eric lamented when he stepped out of the bathroom. Godric beckoned him. Eric slid into bed and met his maker with a deep kiss.
Godric rolled so that he was perfectly sandwiched between the Lillian and Eric, his arms possessively around both. “Hnnn. This is more like it. My moonbeam,” he nuzzled Lillian, then gazed up at his progeny. “And my månegata. All together now. How perfect is this?”
“‘Mona-gata’?” Lillian asked dreamily, more than a little high on vampire blood.
Eric covered his eyes, unable to conceal a look of embarrassed pride. In a thousand years, no one had ever heard his maker’s endearment for his beloved, only child. Godric gave a soft laugh.
“There’s no English equivalent,” Eric explained. “When the moon shines on the ocean, it casts a long, pale trail of light on the water. We say this is a månegata. A moon road.”
“Eric is…” Godric paused. “Well, he’s the path that guides me across a sea of darkness.”
“And you are our moonbeam,” Eric added. “The only light vampires live by.”
“Oh,” was all she could say. It was so unbelievably endearing. She twined her hand in Eric’s and they stared at each other across the plain of Godric’s muscular chest. They lay back, content to bask in their tripartite bond, unwilling to let the real world creep in. Not yet, at least.
“Who’s up for Round Two?” Eric asked.