(Cara’s first visit)
Cara learned several new things about Godric that night. His estate really was an estate. He appreciated the finer things in unlife: fine furnishing, textiles and spacious unliving. He had an appreciation for modern electronics. And he was not what she had expected.
His “estate”… really was an estate. It was huge. There was a large, extremely well-stocked library (Godric’s) with separate comfortable reading areas, a large study (also Godric’s) with two small and two large sofas and several chairs and tables, and several offices apparently belonging to his people.
The very formal, richly appointed living room (salon? parlor?) was obviously used only for high-class entertaining and matched well with the also very formal, also richly appointed, dining room (What were vampires going to do with a formal dining room? Cara wasn’t sure she really wanted to know.). The huge “eat in” kitchen, complete with all higher-end appliances, had its own computer/home management desk space, and was connected to an enormous living area complete with chairs, sofas, end tables, two of the largest-screened tv’s she’d ever seen, a pool table, and a small bar area which actually appeared to be stocked with something other than blood.
That was just the downstairs. His estate… mansion… whatever… was huge.
During the tour, Godric casually mentioned that the second floor was all light-tight bedroom suites with a couple of “conversation alcoves” and a smaller kitchen/dining area of its own. Apparently the entire estate was light-tight…which earned Godric a delicate snort when he randomly mentioned the gardens, swimming pool and large hot tub outside.
Naturally he had to quirk that eyebrow at her…which caused a peal of happy laughter. Cara tried to ignore the other vampires monitoring their progress.
“And what, pray tell, do vampires need with a swimming pool and a hot tub?” She gave Godric her cheekiest grin. His sparkling blue eyes retaliated beautifully as they noted every facet of her charming face.
“My dear Cara, as you are fond of pointing out, vampires are people, too. Perhaps we might fancy a midnight swim on occasion?” Hands clasped behind his back, Godric practiced his innocent look. Cara didn’t buy it.
“Or it could be that they, like the kitchens and dining areas, simply came with the house?”
“That’s more like it.” She grinned up at him forgivingly. He elegantly inclined his head in gratitude.
“And now that we have returned to the underused kitchen, would you care for something to drink?”
“I’m fine, but thank you anyway. I came prepared,” she pointed to the drink in her purse. Cara was too nervous to try to drink anything without risking a huge mess, and besides, she didn’t see a coffee maker anywhere. Her handy-dandy, albeit flat, car drink would suffice.
“Then let us adjourn to my study so we can talk.” Godric rested his hand on her waist and gently led the way into his large study. He indicated one of the smaller sofas near the predominant desk before he closed the door.
Cara settled herself onto the soft leather sofa…and wished her feet touched the floor. Rectifying this problem (common for her 5’3.5″ self), she angled herself against the side arm of the sofa and tucked one foot under her leg and swung her other foot nervously. Thankfully she missed the brief grin passing over Godric’s lips before he smoothed his face and sat down beside her.
“We have a problem”
Cara jerked her head up and was instantly serious. “The Weres.”
“Yes. We located their nest, only the next night we discovered they had completely disappeared.”
“That’s not good.” She bit her lip, then asked, “Do you know why they attacked Isabel in the first place?”
“No. But there is someone who might. I have called upon a different pack to assist with these matters. The MoonTracker pack has several experienced trackers, they make excellent guards, and may hear things in the supe community that we do not.”
Cara valiantly almost suppressed a giggle at the name “MoonTracker”. “MoonTracker? Well, I guess they can’t help their name, but I do hope they can locate the disappeared pack. Awfully coincidentally convenient, though, you know? How they magically disappeared the night after they attacked? And I don’t believe in coincidences.” Cara slowly shook her head as she pondered this newest development, then looked back over to Godric.
He held her gaze steadily. “Yes. Very coincidental.” He leaned back into the sofa, and waited. And waited.
Finally, Cara asked “What?”
He held her gaze another long moment, then leaned forward. “There are those in my retinue who wonder at your inexplicably good timing, and at your surprising abilities.”
“My what? My timing? Abilities!?” Godric felt the oddest pain in his chest as wounded confusion briefly fluttered across her lovely face.
She jumped up. “What the fuck are you talking about?” Yes, Cara had a rather quick temper.
In an instant Godric was off the sofa and directly in front of her. “Explain how you managed to be in exactly the right place at exactly the right time to stop four full-grown Weres from killing my child? And explain to me how you, a human female barely over five feet tall and weighing less than 120 pounds, managed to not only stop that attack, but to kill one Were and maim unto death another?”
“What?! Explain? Manage?! Fuck you and the horse you rode in on, Godric. You and Isabel both ought to be fucking GLAD I came out of the grocery store when I did, and you ought to be super fucking glad I stepped in! Do you think I had any fucking choice in the matter? There’s no way in hell I’d CHOOSE to go around attacking men that look like dogs, but did I hesitate? No, I did not! I saw what the hell was going on and had no choice but to try to stop it. Now get the fuck out of my face, asshole. You and your “retinue” can kiss my round, sweet ass!”
Godric was enthralled by the dead-eye stare she was shooting at him. Her cheeks were flushed in righteous fury, her breath gasping and labored, her scent spiced with anger and indignation…she was absolutely glorious. And livid. And stomping out the door.
Fuck. What the hell was happening? That had not gone as intended.
At her shriek, he sped into the foyer and almost ripped Gervaise’s throat from his neck. He was holding Cara, his hands in a vice-like grip on her upper arms. Cara was cursing him for his entire worthless existence as she struggled to free herself. Ryan had a restraining hand on Gervaise’s shoulder and Isabel had grasped one of his arms. They both blurred aside when Godric appeared.
“Remove. Your. Hands.” Godric hissed directly into Gervaise’s ear. The threat was terrifyingly unmistakable as his hand enclosed and tightened around the vampire’s throat.
Gervaise sullenly followed Godric’s command, but not nearly fast enough to suit Godric. In the next instant he flung Gervaise across the foyer into the wood panel. His landing was loud and left a splintered depression in the wood.
Godric gathered Cara gently but fully into his arms and held her stiff body close to his chest. He tucked her head into his shoulder and glared at each of his underlings.
“This human is my respected guest,” he growled fiercely, “and she will be treated as such, regardless of what passes between us. You will not threaten her. You will not mishandle her. You will not feed from her. You will not harass her in any way. Is. This. Clear.” He stroked her back as he stared down the now-standing Gervaise.
Everyone immediately bowed low and acquiesced to his edict. “Yes, Master.”
Instantly the foyer was deserted save for the contrite, regretful male holding and soothing the irate, hurt, confused woman in his arms.
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