(Cara’s reaction )
Cara couldn’t believe it. 2000…2100 years old?!? How was that even possible? Damn!
She would have to think about this later when she wasn’t being so closely observed by the vampiress sitting across her kitchen table. So far this evening she’d felt like Isabel was watching her for more than just the sake of conversation, as if she were paying closer attention to her expressions than normal, but wondered if that wasn’t just a vampire thing. Godric had done the exact same thing, only with him she’d kept expecting him to pull out a magnifying glass.
She still held out faint hope that Isabel hadn’t notice her total freak-out, but gave that up when Isabel asked if she was ok.
“Oh, yeah, sorry, I’m fine. It’s just absolutely amazing that someone could live that long. I mean, yeah, I gathered that he’d been around a long time, but I didn’t want to ask him just how old he was. That would have been rude. Can you imagine the history he’s seen? The changes along the way that he, himself, might have caused down through time?”
Making another cup of coffee helped calm her down a bit. 2000+ years old! Maybe…
“He’s certainly witnessed a lot of history, and has many interesting stories to tell. I believe that his exposure to so much change is what has enabled his own transition. Vampires by nature rarely change, and if they do, it’s generally not to improve themselves. If anything, they become even less tolerant and thoughtful. This is one of the many reasons Godric is unique, and much of an enigma. That he has seen so much time pass, and has lived through so much change…I would say it’s certainly one of the many reasons he’s so much more considerate and tolerant of humans than the vast majority of vampires tend to be.” Isabel took a sip of her synthetic blood and bravely suppressed her grimace.
“I was kind of wondering about that. Last night he made a point to tell me how very different from humans vampires are, and how so many of them just plain don’t like humans, yet he didn’t seem mean or vicious or secretive or any of the other negative things he was telling me about.” Isabel wondered about the look that passed briefly over Cara’s face.
“When you’ve had a chance to study other vampires, it’ll be obvious to you how very different Godric really is.”
Cara studiously studied her coffee cup. “How so?”
Isabel struggled to hide her triumphant grin. “He’s incredibly wise, thoughtful, and kind. I could not have asked for a better Maker. His intelligence and self-control are, literally, legendary. Like all males, of course, he can be somewhat clueless and impatient, but in terms of vampires, he’s exceptionally understanding and patient, very considerate and astute. He’s especially observant. Although he only shows it on extremely rare occasions, he also has an incredible sense of humor…” She paused when Cara giggled…and blushed.
“What?” Isabel just had to know.
“Godric is…awful!” Cara laughed out loud. Isabel raised an eyebrow…exactly like Godric did…which made Cara laugh even harder. “You got that from Godric, didn’t you,” she accused the now widely grinning Isabel.
“I got what from my Maker?” Cara’s humor proved contagious.
“That quirky eyebrow! He nailed me with it a couple of times last night while we were joking around.”
Godric was actually “joking around” and allowing emotions to show on his normally impassive face? Isabel was truly surprised.
Noting Isabel’s surprise, Cara explained further. “We talked about a lot of vampire stuff, but, yeah, we laughed and joked around a lot, too. The man has a wicked sense of humor when he gets started.”
Interesting…very, very interesting, thought Isabel. I think I like where this is going.
“But anyway,” Cara attempted to refocus the conversation, “has he always been the way he is now? I mean, he’s so old, he had to have changed some.”
Isabel seriously contemplated her answer for few moments. “No, he hasn’t always been as he is now. From what he’s told me, and from what I’ve gathered from older vampires and legends, he was completely …different… when he was much younger.”
Isabel leaned forward to emphasize her point. “Cara, you must know this. First and foremost, Godric is vampire. His nature has indeed evolved, but…if there is a fight, Godric will win. In his past, he was completely different than he is now. He was…feral. He might not be as tall and as obviously muscular as males generally are in these days, but he is an amazingly strong, frighteningly vicious fighter. Vampire strengths and abilities increase with age, and he is very old. His cunning and courage are renowned.” Isabel paused for a moment, then resolutely continued.
“All the words you would use to describe the negative aspects of a vampire did apply to him: he was vicious, ferocious, cunning, crafty, shrewd, ruthless, extremely…carnal, brutal, devious…and that’s why his evolution is so amazing.” Isabel toyed with the bottle in her hand. “But if these traits were needed this night, he could revert to his old self in the blink of an eye. He chooses to walk a much higher road than his original nature would have suggested, but that doesn’t mean the old Godric is gone. This other part of his personality is just ever so much stronger now.”
Cara nodded. “So, basically, he’s like everyone else.”
Isabel shook her head, clearly not understanding the correlation.
“The way I see it, every day each one of us has a choice. We can either choose to follow a higher, kinder, more considerate path, or we can choose to follow a lower, crass, destructive path. It sounds to me like Godric has made a conscious choice to follow a better, more noble, path rather than allowing his baser instincts to rule.”
Isabel nodded, pleased the human seemed to instinctively grasp these concepts.
“But,” continued Cara, “just because we choose to allow the better parts of our nature to show through doesn’t mean we lose touch with our baser instincts. They’re always there, ready to take over if we need them or if we lose touch with the better parts of ourselves. Just because Godric has chosen to live a lighter, cleaner life doesn’t mean that his darker nature suddenly went on a permanent vacation. That part of him, that part of all of us, is always running around in the background. It’s just not loose until or unless we need it.”
Isabel couldn’t wait to report to Godric. This human’s understanding of the world was centuries, not decades, old.
Isabel’s phone rang and surprised everyone. Cara was amazed as she watched Isabel answer her phone before the first ring had barely sounded.
“Absolutely, Master,” were the only words spoken during the brief conversation, and they were spoken with twinkling eyes and a very pleased smile on the vampiress’ face, although apparently vampires didn’t waste time saying “goodbye”. Godric hadn’t covered phone manners during his very brief description of vampire etiquette.
“Cara, what do you have planned for tomorrow evening?”
“Erm, nothing, why?” Cara wondered what was going on – her instincts were screaming that something suspicious was suddenly up…
“Godric has something he wishes to discuss with you, and has extended an invitation for you to spend the evening with us.” Sensing Cara’s reluctance, Isabel quietly explained, “This is indeed an honor, my friend. If Godric is requesting your presence, then you should seriously consider going. He and I will both personally assure your safety and comfort. We also need to know what’s going on with the Were situation.”
For a moment, an unexpectedly serious, focused expression drifted over Cara’s normally sweet, cheerful face. Her eyes seemed to belie her age. But in the same instant, the fleeting change was gone.
“So Godric wants to see me tomorrow night, huh? What time, and do you have any idea what it’s about?”
“He suggested 9:00 pm, so I will come for you at…” Isabel’s voice drifted off as Cara started shaking her head.
“Oh, there’s no need to put yourself out like that. Just leave me the directions and I’ll be fine.” Cara’s voice could sound quite firm when she wanted.
As Isabel started to object, Cara grinned. “Hey, I have a car and I know how to use it! I can drive and chew gum and tie my own shoes and everything! Seriously, it’s no problem,” she laughingly insisted.
Isabel knew that further insistence would not only be rude but perhaps cause the human to change her mind about coming at all, so a strategic retreat was definitely in order.
After writing down directions and chatting casually for another little while, Isabel departed for her car after surreptitiously checking Ryan’s location. She had a great deal of information she was eager to share with her impatient Maker.
Cara realized too late that Isabel had “neglected” to tell her what the first part of the meeting was about.
Isabel quickly located Godric after she arrived home. As usual, he was in his study delving into Council business: rectifying large-scale disputes, studying laws to judge their modernity and rewriting laws as needed, and researching ways to bring vampire society forward. His face immediately shifted from utter boredom to eager interest when he saw her.
“Have you a tale to tell, my child,” he enquired with rapt attention. He certainly hoped she had lots of new information to share regarding Cara.
“Knowledge of your age seemed to draw a particular reaction,” Isabel understated to Godric. “It wasn’t a negative reaction, either. She was very interested in your number of years on this earth.” She hurriedly assured her suddenly pensive Maker. “If anything, this information seemed to please her, but I could find no context for such a reaction.”
Godric subconsciously tilted his head as he pondered this. He was accustomed to receiving respect and awe in regards to his age, but pleasure and interest in the number? He did not understand these reactions. This odd confusion, however, seemed par for the course concerning Cara.
Godric found that Isabel had indeed covered a lot of information in her discussion with Cara, and had represented his interests quite well, but at the end of her report he felt no closer to understanding Cara than he had the previous night. Although he was disappointed that Isabel had not been able to discover much concrete information about the human, he was not surprised, either. Cara was very clever. But, then, he already knew that.
Just as he already knew that his humor pleased her, as he already knew that she was astute, charming, and could turn serious in one of her heartbeats… Her satisfaction regarding his age was indeed puzzling, though.
At least his plan might help solve some of the mysteries surrounding her. The level of his anticipation for the next night surprised even him.
Finally, it was time for the meeting. His underlings knew how he expected them to behave, but he wanted to go over a few matters anyway, and reinforce a few rules.
Trapped in his enigmatic gaze, her heart beating strong and fast, Cara didn’t, couldn’t, move as his face slowly lowered to hers. Mere inches separated them when he stopped, his eyes burning blue, his lips parting to expose his gleaming fangs, his nostrils flaring as he reveled in her scent. Godric’s hands were firm and cool with one cradling her head, the other around her waist in a vice-like grip, as he leaned her back. Slightly off-balance, her hands moved of their own volition, fingers grazing over his taut nipple as she slid one hand up his hard chest, the other hand grasping his upper arm, fingers clawing into his rigid muscles. His gaze seared into hers as his dark scent deliciously warmed all those secret places she’d been trying to forget even existed. Instinctively she knew she should be frightened of those long, sharp fangs, but the sight of them only added to the dark desire flooding her highly-strung system.
This was it, she thought as her breath hitched and her heart sped. The heated look in his eyes told her that this was the only out he was going to give her. After this, she would be his, and she had to choose now. Yes…or no…
Fucking alarm clock.
*I tried to make this chapter a bit longer…hope it read well! Love it? Hate it? Let me know!*