**A/N: Obligatory disclaimer in profile Read if you’re bored or legal-minded. Or don’t. It’s boring.**
Godric paced at vamp-speed as he waited for Cara to answer his call. Bah, he groused to himself, damn phones. He’d so much rather see her face to beautiful face, but even he knew it was too early in their infant relationship for him to just show up. Again.
When telephones had first been invented, he hadn’t liked them at all, then, either. While as a vampire he could easily detect the subtle fluctuations in a person’s voice, not being physically near the other person robbed him of his ability to note and decipher the minute changes in the person’s expression, and of course he couldn’t read all the clues betrayed by a person’s body language and posture. It also prevented him from detecting the changes in the person’s scent that might alert him to the other’s fear. He kicked an annoying chair out of his path as he waited.
Finally, after the fourth long ring, he heard a sleepy voice mumble something that sounded vaguely like either “hello” or “go to hell”. With a slight smirk he chose to believe she’d uttered the more conventional greeting. Then he realized that his call had disturbed her slumber.
Fuck…I didn’t mean to awaken her…
“Cara?” It was difficult, but he managed to keep the worry and impatience from his voice. “I am sorry, I did not mean to wake you.”
He heard her clear her throat, then grunt very quietly as she apparently rose from her rest. Each sound of her discomfort increased his own.
“Godric?” The scratchy enthusiasm in her voice as she fumbled with the phone both warmed and tugged at his heart. “I’m sorry; I didn’t know it was you calling. The ID said ‘unknown caller’.” She snorted, then laughed. “You’re lucky I answered at all.”
“Yes, it is I,” he replied gently, thankful she had answered. Although if she hadn’t, then he would have had the perfect excuse to… “Earlier this night I spoke with your friend who said you were not feeling well, and frankly you do not sound very healthy. What ails you, Cara mia?” He hoped to find out quickly what was wrong so that any needed arrangements could be made sooner than later. Waiting, in his opinion, was not only highly overrated, but likely to allow a situation to devolve even more. Plus, this was Cara…
“Yeah,” she agreed wryly, “no yodeling for me for a while, that’s for sure. Damned receptionist,” she said, her voice trailing off with a whispered ‘hang on’ as he heard her place the phone on something hard.
He listened intently while she blew her nose in the distance, then heard water running. After what felt like an eternity, he heard her pick up the phone.
“Sorry about that. No, I’ve just got a cold. One of my co-workers came in sick the other day and I must have caught it from her.” He heard her take a sip of something before she continued.
“This woman came into your workplace knowing she was contagious?” He struggled but could not quite contain his outrage. What the hell was wrong with people? Had that woman no consideration for her co-workers? Humans were germ factories on their best days, but to voluntarily expose his Cara to a known illness? Unforgivable!
“We lower peons don’t get enough paid sick days off, so we’ve all had to go to work miserable and contagious before,” she said succinctly. She had caught the anger in his tone, and while she appreciated his outrage on her behalf, she knew it to be sadly unfounded. She and all her co-workers were guilty of having to work while dreadfully sick at times. Hand sanitizer was used by the gallons at the office, but obviously didn’t help in all cases.
“So, really, I can’t blame her”, she added with a laugh, “but still.. it’s totally her fault.” She sniffed and ‘hrumphed’, then tagged on another short laugh to make sure he knew that she didn’t actually hold the situation against her co-worker.
Even though he could tell she did not in truth blame the other woman, his blood was still boiling. This work situation was not appropriate! She had left her home and gone into this place when she, herself, had been unwell? That situation just would not do, and would be remedied at the earliest possible opportunity.
While he had finally calmed down and remembered that medical knowledge had made tremendous advances since his own human times, his Cara was not allowed to be sick. It just didn’t feel…right. Wrong…just too wrong…she shouldn’t be sick…not right… He shook his head hard and quickly tried to bring himself back to center.
Having felt the first tinges of the switch, a moment later Eric suddenly appeared at the door to check on his Master. He was vastly relieved to see Godric bring himself back under control, but chose to remain nearby just in case. He knew how very quickly his Maker could descend into his previous state, and wanted to take no chances.
The ancient vampire mentally rolled his eyes at his Child’s concern. Of course he was rational. Mostly.
“Godric? Are you still there,” came her scratchy and somewhat plaintive voice.
He signed quietly. Something had to be done. Cara was just too…fragile. While he savored the mental image of swaddling her in the softest of wrappings, he replied to her query.
“Yes, I am, and I am so sorry you feel unwell, Cara,” he said quietly. “Is there anything I can do? Can I bring you a doctor? Do you need me to bring you anything?” The thought of her having even “just a cold” disturbed him in ways he truly did not like, and he would do anything to make her feel better. She might not take this very seriously, he considered as he leaned his shoulder against the wall and bowed his head a little, but he certainly did. Moreover, the thought of her being alone and needing something, anything, but having to do without, caused a peculiar ache in his chest. He didn’t like peculiar aches.
“I’m ok, sweetheart, well, I’ll be ok.” The sad tone that tinged his quietened voice inexplicably made her tear up a bit. “Really, it’s just an annoying cold,” she reassured him softly. “But just to be safe I’m not going in to work tomorrow. I’m sleeping in late and calling it a PJ Day.”
That she was sick yet still trying to comfort him stung his eyes. He blinked rapidly and turned more toward the wall as he asked with forced cheerfulness, “What is a PJ Day?”
“It’s a day you spend in your pajamas or whatever you sleep in. You just lie around the house and relax, and usually eat too much.” Cara could sense that his mood hadn’t really changed but played along with the ruse. Maybe she could help him fake it until he felt it? Ugh, she mentally whimpered. She felt awful, and left the kitchen to stumble toward the couch in the living room. She didn’t dare go back to bed or she’d fall back to sleep for sure.
As she arranged the pillows on the couch to her satisfaction, she barely heard him ask, “And if you feel no improvement after tomorrow?”
Not recognizing the steely tone underlying his innocent question, Cara answered honestly. “I’ll have to go back to work the day after regardless. I can’t afford to miss too much time. I won’t be paid for missing tomorrow as it is, but I really don’t want to be fired for too many absences.”
There was no mistaking the deep growl erupting from deep within the pissed off vampire. The hair on the back of Eric’s neck rose – that was the sound that had started a couple of wars in the past.
“Cara, if you are ever released from your employment I can so very easily care for you,” he stated strongly, then realizing how he might sound to his Mate who had yet to realize how very dear she is to him, he belatedly added, “or provide for you until you find a better place of employment.” The reluctance in his ending words was appallingly obvious, but it was the best he could do under the circumstances. Apparently he couldn’t even lie well to his Cara.
He felt rather than saw Eric’s smirk.
Shocked, Cara took a second to close her mouth from where it had fallen open with the force and intent of his first statement. And she had known the instant he said it that he had added the last part halfheartedly.
The sentiment behind his first words was beautifully clear, and the sweetness and care brought tears to her weary eyes and a warmth to her chest that she didn’t really want to examine too closely. She sniffed, then cleared her throat. “Aww, thank you, Godric, but no. That’s incredibly sweet of you, but…no.” She hoped her voice didn’t sound as shaky as it felt.
He didn’t understand her reluctance to accept his help. His financial resources were almost limitless. Not only was he fully capable of purchasing the company she worked for many, many times over, there weren’t even any strings attached to his offer.
“But why? I can so very easily afford to,” he stopped himself from saying what he wanted, replacing his desired words with, “give you a couple thousand dollars to,” he began before she interrupted him.
“That’s very kind of you, Godric, really, it is, and I very much appreciate the sentiment behind your offer,” she said sincerely, wanting him to know that she’d caught his true intention, then in an effort to avoid drama, she quipped, “but neither lender nor borrower be, said the man.”
With a chuckle Godric pretended to drop the subject. “I met ‘the man’ himself during one of his many visits to France. He was shrewdly observant, and realized very quickly that I was not quite human. He never mentioned it, but let slip enough clues to indicate both his knowledge and his discretion.” He adored his Mate’s love of history and found himself most willing to indulge her with his knowledge.
“Yeah,” Cara asked with a smile in her raspy voice as she encouraged him to continue. She did so love to hear him speak. Even over the phone the timber of his voice could send warm shivers down her spine.
“Yes,” he replied, his voice silky as a plan formed instantly in his mind. “I will be glad to discuss this further with you under one of two conditions. It is your choice, of course.”
Cara shivered again. That tone…silky, caressing…evocative of a drop of amber honey slowly…. Wow, she thought, I have got to pull my head out of his loins!
“Alright, old man, what are my options?” Just because she was sick as a dog didn’t mean she couldn’t volley back a little.
Enjoying his first true laugh of the night, Godric answered, “Either you give me a list of things you need so that I can provide for you this night, or you agree to remain at home a second day. Regardless, you will be visited by a doctor tomorrow morning. This is non-negotiable.” His firm tone indeed brook no argument.
He nodded toward Eric who immediately whipped out his own phone and began dialing.
“What? But it’s just a…” Cara started, slightly affronted. Why didn’t he believe her? Seriously, it’s just a damn cold, she groused to herself. Wait…
“A doctor… coming here? What strange magic is this?” She’d heard that long ago doctors would make house calls, but…huh?
Just before Godric could reply, she heard Eric begin speaking in the background. Both held silent by unspoken agreement until that conversation ended, then Cara listened as Eric relayed to Godric that a Dr. Ludwig had said that since she was leaving on vacation tomorrow, she would only agree to see the patient if she could do so within the hour.
“Did you hear that, Cara mia? Dr. Ludwig and I will be at your home soon. Now, is there anything I may bring you?” Godric’s suddenly businesslike voice startled her. Not one hint of his exultant gloating bled through his vocal facade.
Although his tone was carefully crafted, his inner beast was roaring with triumphant self-satisfaction. Not only was he now be able to be with his Cara, but on this very night he was also able to provide her with the proper medical attention she needed!
Cara glanced at the clock – it was already after nine! So, not only did Godric know a doctor who made house calls, but who made them well after normal hours? What kind of doctor was this?
“Um,” began her intelligent answer. “Well, if you really don’t mind, I’d love some grape juice, and maybe a gallon of milk for my coffee? I don’t want to impose,” her voice trailed off with a sniff.
“Caring for you will never be an imposition,” was his enigmatic reply. “I will locate food for you as well,” he promised just before disconnecting the call.
On a primal level, Godric’s beast rejoiced in being able to provide both aid and sustenance for his Mate, and his hands automatically clenched.
He glanced down at the shards of what used to be his phone, and with a shrug accepted the new one Eric silently placed into his hand a moment later. Such incidents were not uncommon.
**A/N: Not a note so much as a huge THANK YOU for reading and reviewing – both make my day!**