Pain and melancholia, unfettered and definitely unintended, flowed briefly through the bond.
Godric could not imagine how the frail, human body of his beloved could so quietly harbor such strong emotions. No, the only indication of such distress was a fleeting grimace on her lovely face, the slight twisting of her lips giving the only visible hint of her state of heart.
He knew her pain was emotional, not physical, but so strong, so deep, he wondered how she could tolerate it, and so quietly at that. His ancient heart twisted in sympathy as he stood silently watching her reflection in the kitchen window from his unnoticed vantage point in the den.
He was thankful that she seemed to like having the curtains opened to look out into the night sky as she puttered around in the kitchen. This was the only time her unguarded expressions were usually available to him.
Until he’d been able to slip a precious few drops of his blood into her ever-present coffee, much of what he knew of Cara he’d learned from silently observing her reflection in that blessed window. After she was hurt when the Weres attacked her apartment, he had been able to heal her with more of his blood, which strengthened his connection.
The expressions on her lovely, soft face were usually politely hidden, gently guarded, purposefully blended into a charming mask meant to hide her deepest emotions. For some reason he could only guess, she strove to deflect any real interest in her. His only reliable glimpses into her heart, her soul even, came via a cold piece of glass and his life-force flowing in her veins.
He knew she was soft, and sweet, very caring and quite capable of throwing herself headlong into danger to save the innocent. He knew her sense of humor definitely exceeded the norm. Her innate understanding and acceptance of human and vampire nature continually astounded him. He would know the sound of her heartbeats and her scent anywhere.
But that pain…damn, who had hurt her? WHAT had hurt her? How could he, one of a handful of the oldest, most powerful vampires in the world, avenge her pain, soothe her hurt, if he couldn’t even ask her what had happened? Alas, that small, all too quick peek into her soul was gone, replaced by her purposeful cheerfulness…or maybe she really WAS able to staunch the flow from her tortured soul that effectively?
Determination. Apparently she was made of starshine, silk, and determination. And music. Her ever-present ear buds once again threatened to fall from her ears as she unconsciously moved to the beat of whatever it was she was listening to. He had to get his 2100-plus year old hands on her iPod and…
“What time are we interrogating those Weres tonight?” Isabel’s angry voice interrupted his musings. He didn’t blame her for her anger; those same Weres had almost killed her. If it hadn’t been for his Cara, his only female child would have died that night almost a week ago.
“We’ll go soon, my child. As soon as Alaric completes his assignment, we’ll be on our way,” he quietly stated as he watched his beloved putting up dishes in the kitchen.
He had plans for those Weres; none would survive the night. They had first attacked his child, and then attacked his mate. Their only option would be the amount of pain they would suffer, which depended entirely on the amount of information they provided.
Isabel smiled indulgently; Godric’s interest in “his” Cara was so obvious. His entire retinue was very aware of his fascination with this woman. He always seemed to know exactly where she was and what she was doing no matter where she was on their estate. His heightened awareness was more than vampire. It was soul-felt.
She knew he was grateful to this human for saving her life. That much was understood: they both owed her a blood-debt for her selfless, courageous acts that horrible night when Cara defied the human norms and came to the aid and defense of an unknown but badly injured vampiress.
Shaking her head and exceedingly glad Godric had finally, if quietly, claimed his Cara, Isabel wandered into the kitchen where the lovely human spent most of her time.
“As soon as we hear from Alaric, we’re going to have a conversation with those Weres. Are you sure you don’t want to come?” She wondered why Cara didn’t seem to have any interest in punishing those animals herself, but figured it was a human thing. Still, she wanted to offer. She didn’t notice Godric’s sudden scowl, but she did hear his low warning growl.
Not giving Cara a chance to answer since she suddenly decided a change in subject was necessary, Isabel asked if she’d still be awake when they returned for the morning.
“Nah, I’ll probably go curl up in that lovely bed. I have some business I need to take care of tomorrow and I need to do that thing where I lay down and fight with my pillow for a few hours.” Cara grinned at her own humor as she folded her arms and leaned back against the sink. With a flick of her eyes she’d automatically located Godric, but she hoped no one noticed her habit…especially Godric, who of course was still watching her from the corner of his own blue eyes.
“What do you have to do tomorrow? Have you notified your guards yet?” Isabel asked, her own anger momentarily eclipsed by amusement and slight exasperation over this timeless dance between her Maker and her newest friend.
Mentally sighing over her friend’s over-protective attitude, Cara shook her head and gave her best lop-sided smile. “Thank you again for your worrying, but I’ve already made arrangements with Elise and Mark for tomorrow’s excursions. I’ve got to go to the library and return some books, and I need to shop for Were food. I need to check on my place, too. There’s no telling what it looks like now.”
She blushed when she felt, actually felt, Godric’s enigmatic gaze settling on her face. She looked down at the floor and steadfastly refused to look back up. Now, if she could just make that little grin leave her face…ugh. Damn blushes and grins. He was just so…
“Ugh, just leave that place behind you. You’re home now,” began Isabel.
“Oh, no, no you don’t – we’ve already had this discussion!” Cara interrupted with a soft, bright laugh. Several vampires automatically turned in her direction, attracted by the beautiful sound coming from the human now so often in their midst.
“Do you not feel, as you humans say, “at home” here?” Isabel inquired with a quirk of her brow, knowing full well that many in their group would go far to ensure this human’s comfort. It wasn’t just a sense of obligation that drove most of them.
This disingenuous, slightly-mouthy, overtly humorous woman had almost immediately and unintentionally wormed her sweet way into not just the heart of one of the oldest, strongest, most powerful vampires living in the North American continent, but into the hearts of most of the members of his powerful retinue as well.
The only hold-outs were Scott and Gervaise, and she highly suspected Scott had a very secret crush on the human. She also suspected that Gervaise would not be long for this world if he didn’t mend his attitude soon.
“Oh, Isabel! You know I feel absolutely comfortable here, so don’t even try reverse psychology on me, missy. I just refuse to outstay my welcome, that’s all. You know that old adage about fish/company/three days?” Cara’s grin widened as she winked outrageously at her permanently cool friend, knowing full well that Isabel wasn’t the only vampire wanting her presence made permanent at the estate.
She just didn’t quite understand, or trust, the “whys” of it all.
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