Cara was convinced that the universe hated her.
First of all, her paltry sleep was interrupted with dreams. She’d hesitated to go back to sleep after a particularly scalding one, but soon enough, sleep crept up and found her.
And she dreamed again. At least this time it didn’t feel nearly as sharp or real as the first dream of the night. It was just as pleasant, although in a completely different way. It was much more peaceful and unfocused. In retrospect, it was like she had dreamed of a dream she’d dreamed earlier in the week. Apparently her subconscious really liked the idea of cuddling up with Godric in a warm, soft bed and sleeping the day away all curled up close in his arms.
Then 9:00 am came way too damn early. She reluctantly rose from her disheveled bed to begin her day, but neither her coffee nor her shower seemed to completely shake those two dreams from her mind.
So, with an hour to spare until her guards would arrive to escort her to “the house”, she sat her weary, aching bones down to ponder it all. Then she got right back up to stuff a huge bottle of Advil into her purse. She’d been amazed when Isabel had rounded up three different bottles of pain meds, they were vampires after all, but they’d been small bottles and besides, it’d be rude to down their supply when she had her own.
Then she made another cup of morning salvation and parked herself at the kitchen table across from Godric’s chair. She laughed a hollow laugh as she realized that she’d been automatically considering that chair “his”.
The kiss. There was no escaping the kiss. Even as softly as his lips had touched hers, her lips still tingled. So did other parts of her body she’d rather not notice. She still wasn’t sure how she managed to think coherently for the rest of her shift, much less finish cleaning up. She wasn’t sure she did.
She just knew it couldn’t be allowed to happen again.
No matter how dark and mysterious he tasted or how deliciously that taste lingered on her lips…even after two brushings of her teeth and several cups of coffee.
No matter how his scent lingered in her lungs even hours afterward and through a peach-scented shower.
Thankfully no one else had been around to note her mental wipe-out. The other vampires had finally either gone out on their nightly duties or were in their offices working. The Weres were patrolling except for Elise who was filling out some sort of paperwork in the dining room. Maybe that was why he’d chosen then to kiss her? If that was the case, poor Sarah could never be allowed to leave early again.
Nope. No more kissy-face with the pretty vampire man. The pretty, sexy vampire man. The pretty, sexy, totally fucking fuckable vampire man. Fuck.
She held her head in her hands and groaned.
It wasn’t that she was still upset or angry with him for the bullshittery of the night-before-last although she could definitely hold a big, juicy grudge with the best of them.
Granted, she didn’t trust him nearly as much as she instinctively had at first, but then, she really didn’t trust anyone all that much anyway. Everyone would let you down or betray you at some point.
It wasn’t that he was a vampire. The circumstances of one’s birth (or re-birth) had nothing to do with the individual involved. The concept of them “dying” for the day was kind of unnerving, and she’d thought that their cooler body temperature would be unsettling…until he’d kissed her. Somehow those cool lips had caused a flame of epic proportions right where it counted.
Yeah, she finally and truly admitted to herself, she wanted him. And she wanted to get to know him better. Much, much better. In too many ways he was absofuckinglutely perfect for her. But, in too many ways, she was all wrong for him, or anyone else for that matter.
So no more kissing. No touching. No more dreams if she could help it. She had to figure out how to keep him at arm’s length…whether she really wanted to or not. It’s just how it had to be.
Cara considered her “job”. That whole job situation was pure guilt in motion on Godric’s end. She knew that the “contract” she’d signed wasn’t up to every (probably any) legal standard, just as she knew that the job, considering the premise on which it was offered, couldn’t last all that long anyway. And, come on, he put her on the company insurances? Like any vampire would need health insurance?
At first she’d tried to convince herself that she took the job simply to have something to do, and because she needed the money. Then she decided that she accepted the job simply because he’d seemed so remorseful over his personal ass-showing situation.
Finally she admitted to herself that she really and truly took the job so that she could see him every night. And she needed something to do. And the money was pretty damn good…even if she did plan on giving him back exactly half of it at the end of her job. He might should feel guilty, but not that guilty!
Her ponderings were saved by the bell. She grabbed her purse and keys, took a last slug of her coffee, and went to “the house”.
En route, she recalled Godric mentioning that the vamps were going to a meeting of some sort that night. She hoped this wasn’t some sort of set-up or ambush by the Weres that had attacked Isabel. As serious as he was about security, though, she figured they’d be fine.
The stern part of herself hoped they’d have to leave soon after dark. That would be a good thing – less contact with him would mean…she’d miss him. Shit.
She’d known the man less than a week and was already going to miss him.
At 3:48 pm, Godric activated all appropriate screens from his hidden surveillance center. He was not disappointed.
“I think all history is relevant, even if most of it might seem boring or useless,” Cara stated to Sarah as she went to the stove to stir something in a large pot. They were sitting at the kitchen table obviously taking a break while still keeping an eye on food preparation. “If you know the conditions that people were having to deal with during the times of their lives, then you’ll have a better idea of why they thought the way they did. Their reactions will make better sense if you know what made them perceive things the way they did.”
She ladled a bit of whatever was in that pot into a small bowl and pursed her lips to blow on the contents to cool them off. Godric was glad for high-resolution cameras.
Apparently dissatisfied with the seasoning, she seemingly instinctively shook varying amounts of powders from several bottles into the pot. After she thoroughly stirred the contents for a moment, she inhaled pensively, thought for a second, then added another dash of something. After another stir and sniff, she seemed satisfied with her work and gratefully sat back down.
“Tired?” Sarah asked.
“Yeah. I haven’t been sleeping all that well, but that’s actually kind of normal for me.” She shrugged as if it actually were normal for her to not sleep well.
Godric felt a huge stab of guilt. It was his fault she was tired. As much as he thoroughly enjoyed causing her dreams, he knew he must needs wait a while before doing so again. Even though she did not know it yet, she was his to protect…even from himself.
He sighed. He was not accustomed to experiencing guilt, yet with Cara, he kept finding himself in situations where his actions resulted in wishing he had better control of himself. He resolved to better plan his actions…and reactions, he ruefully acknowledged.
“So that’s what’s up with all the coffee,” continued Sarah. Godric’s ears perked.
“Yup,” Cara laughed. “That, and it’s just my go-to drink. I sometimes have a tinge of asthma, and since carbonation seems to irritate it, that kills sodas. I go on a flavored green tea rampage every now and then, and sometimes hot black teas, but only when it’s cold. I hate pure, plain, boring water on principle.”
“What about lemonade or juices?” Sarah didn’t share Cara’s fascination with coffee.
“I don’t really like lemonade, and juices are usually way too sugary.” She patted her hip. “I love juices, but apparently my hips and tummy love them more,” she laughed.
Sarah just shook her head. “Honey, they’re called curves for a reason, and yours are just right. I don’t want to hear that kind of talk out of you,” she laughingly admonished.
Godric fervently agreed with the Were and considered giving her a raise. Cara’s curves were luscious…fascinating…a land begging for his exploration. He truly did not understand the modern obsession with artificially controlling a body’s natural shape. To his vastly experienced eye, natural beauty was immensely preferable. Bigger, smaller, it did not matter, so long as the owner of the body was confident and healthy, the beauty was evident. Cara’s intriguing body was just…infinitely more compelling.
“What about hot chocolate?”
“I’m allergic to chocolate.”
“Wait…you’re allergic to chocolate?!? I’ve never heard of anyone being allergic to chocolate! But…what about…” Sarah exclaimed.
Cara smiled at the expected shock- outrage- sympathy reactions from Sarah.
“Oh, yeah. And, yep, that time of the month sucks donkey butt,” she laughed as she shook her head. “I do love chocolate, and I can nibble just a tiny amount every now and then, but any more than literally just a bite or two and the next day I’ll have a horrible migraine and feel like I’ve been run over by an 18-wheeler. It’s…no fun at all.” She grimaced sadly.
Godric immediately revised the mental list of gifts he had been compiling and thanked the universe for this surveillance. He would have hated to gift her with something she loved but could not enjoy. He was surprised that she could not ingest chocolate, though. He had never heard of anyone being unable to tolerate it.
“Ok, enough about me. Tell me about you now,” Cara invited.
He hrumphed in dissatisfaction. Although he was not surprised at her request since it fit well with her engaging personality, he was not in the least interested in anything to do with the female Were. He wished they would get back to regular conversation. He was vitally interested in Cara’s take on…anything. Everything. He loved how her mind worked. Sometimes her thoughts were shockingly linear; sometimes they were shockingly circuitous; but either way, they were always interesting.
Godric recalled her surprising observation about the Weres’ motives the evening before. He was disappointed in himself for not having thought of it before, but very proud of his Cara for seeing what he himself had missed.
Perhaps she was an intuitive of some sort? Even in close proximity he did not sense any active powers in the human, but there was just a little something different…a little something “other” about her that he simply could not place. The thought that she might be more than she seemed just added to the mystery and attraction that already drew him to her. Her charm, beauty, scent…those soft, sweet lips…
He sternly commanded himself to not think of that kiss. He was not usually so impulsive. He shook his head in amazement…he was actually never so impulsive.
He realized that he should have waited longer to indulge in such things. Although she treated him amicably enough, he could tell that she still had not quite forgiven his verbal attack. He would not expect her to so soon and was eternally grateful that she had agreed to work in his home and even speak with him unnecessarily. A devilish smirk crossed his face. Regardless, he was glad he had kissed her…and would do so again at the earliest opportunity, sanity be damned.
He tuned back into the generic “about Sarah” portion of their conversation, then switched his attention back to the Were problem. Damn Weres. What was their motive? How had they known where Isabel would be, and when? While her destination had not been that grocery store, still, someone had to have known of her business in that general area. Could the attack have been to keep him and his underlings from attending the meeting in Charlotte?
His presence was not required, but as a founding member of the Council, his attendance had been requested as an “honor”. The purpose of this particular meeting escaped him. As far as he knew, not only was there nothing urgent being discussed, but what state business there was could easily have been handled via video conference. He could discern no real reason for a physical meeting. That he did not particularly like most of the attendees might have had something to do with his lack of enthusiasm.
He was certain, however, that he did not feel comfortable leaving Cara unprotected that night. He had called in a reputable vampire from his area to watch over her at night, but still he felt safe knowing that he was at least somewhat close should anything happen.
The actual flight to and from his destination was thankfully short, but even so, he felt a need to remain close to her. If nothing else, she might agree to remain in his home at least until they returned. Maybe he could entice her to wait for him by suggesting that he might notice something of interest regarding the Weres while at the meeting?
He tuned back into the on-going conversation with a slight smile. It certainly could not hurt to ask.
**Am I the only one who dreams of dreams I’ve already dreamed? I hope not – it’s a fantastic, amazing experience! Reviews, please!**