Godric was certain of four things: he did not like being so far removed from Cara; the Were attack had nothing to do with any of the Council members as far as he could discern; when he returned, he was making Cara a cup of coffee, and she was moving in whether she liked it or not.
There were the usual plots running rampant at the state Council headquarters, but none of them seemed to involve the Were pack who had attacked his child. He had no use for many of the Council members, but for the most part they were not any more underhanded than vampires in general, which of course meant they would consider attacking at any sign of weakness. But they were not his concern.
Cara was. The farther away from her he travelled, the less he liked it. He had ensured her safety as much as was possible, but that was not the source of his discomfort, or at least not the complete reason.
It just felt wrong to be so far away from her. His sense of unease grew with every mile between them. He could not explain exactly why he felt such distance between them was wrong; he just knew that it was.
The location of the meeting was a large but purposefully nondescript building just outside of the large city. Although plain to discourage human interest, the interior was quite well-appointed. The building was divided into a vast series of offices and conference rooms geared to handle both state and Council business.
Unfortunately for this night’s agenda, its spacious facilities were fairly teaming with vampires. While the younger members of his group were not affected by the nearness of so many others, Godric hated it.
It wasn’t that he hated people; he just didn’t particularly like being around large groups of them. He much preferred smaller groups, or even being left alone, to having to deal with annoying people in quantity. That was exactly why he did not have live-in help and encouraged only his child to reside with him. Other close members of his retinue maintained emergency quarters at his estate; he just did not invite them to…linger.
As expected, there was a small amount of actual business needing attention during this meeting, but the vast majority of issues could easily have been settled via video conference or even over the telephone. But…some vampires did love their pompous procedures.
He was half-way through the asinine meeting when the partial cure for at least one of his problems dawned on him. It was so simple, so subtle. It made so much sense he could have kicked himself for not having done so before now.
Those who knew him would have been extremely uncomfortable had they seen the devious twisting of his lips.
He was thankful that during his secret observations he had studied the mechanics of her coffee machine because at some point very soon after his return, he would make Cara…a cup of coffee.
The text he received from DesChamps fifteen minutes later proved the validity of this plan, and inspired another.
Isabel immediately noticed the sudden change in her Maker. In a split second his mood had altered from bored and more than a little self-satisfied to murderously furious. His cold steel gaze caused involuntary shivers from those seated closest to him.
Mentally he commanded his child to attend to the meeting as he engaged in a flurry of texts. Soon enough his mood calmed down to simply furious while his retinue quietly traded questioning glances amongst themselves. Gervaise, Godric seethed to note, did not.
“So…you and Godric, huh…” Sarah was helping put away the clean dishes as Cara was wiping every surface in the kitchen.
“Erm, well, I don’t know,” Cara shrugged and tried to pretend she wasn’t blushing furiously. “I mean, we’ve talked a little bit, but, well…” She really wished her friend would change the subject.
Her guards, Mark and Elise, were roaming inside house somewhere, so maybe they wouldn’t over hear this particular conversation. It wasn’t like they’d missed the kiss earlier, but still, it wasn’t like she was used to the whole “kiss and tell” routine.
Sarah just smiled knowingly. “From what I saw, I’d say he knows, even if you don’t. I’ve never seen a kiss like that before,” she laughed. “So, is that the norm?”
Cara blushed redder. “Uh…that was the first time…”
“Well then that was one helluva first kiss, I can tell ya that!” Sarah was opening laughing now.
“Yup.” Cara finally laughed.
“Ok, I have to ask you something, then I’ll shut up…for now…” Sarah waited.
“Ok, one question.” Cara sighed.
“Wasn’t it…cold?” Sarah didn’t want to insult anyone, but she was genuinely curious.
“I mean, their skin is so cold, so I was wondering if he wasn’t cold when he was kissing you like that.”
“Oh. Um, well, no, I don’t think so?” Cara thought for a moment. “If he was, I didn’t notice it. I know that probably doesn’t make any sense, but there it is.”
Sarah finally gave her a break, figuring she’d talk to her about it more the next day. She actually planned on quizzing her new friend as much as she could tomorrow… This was by far the easiest job Sarah had ever had, and she was surprised with how very well she got along with Cara, vampires aside.
Not long afterwards, they had the kitchen spotless and meals planned for the next day. With much prodding from Cara, Sarah reluctantly left to go to a birthday party for one of her friends.
Finally left to her own devices (barring the sudden reappearance of her guards), Cara made a cup of coffee and decided to relax on one of the huge comfy sofas scattered around the den and watch some TV. There was no telling how long it’d be until Godric and the rest of them returned from their meeting. After deciphering the overly-complicated media set-up, she found a showing of her favorite old disaster flick, and settled in with the sofa pillows to watch the world get covered with snow. It felt so nice to kick her shoes off and free her hair from the ponytail.
She never noticed when her guards checked up on her or covered her up with one of the handy new throws.
A few hours later, Godric quietly convened the conference in his study. The hastily gathered vampires and Weres were as quiet as they could be so as not to disturb the sleeping Cara, but their anger was impossible to miss. After compiling reports from all the Weres and vampires on guard duty that night, Godric, a livid Isabel, and a pissed off DesChamps reevaluated and strengthened their plans.
As eager as he was to implement the first part of his plan, he did not wish to disturb her much-needed rest, especially with such unsettling news. He also did not look forward to the impending discussion, especially since he did not know how she would react to the way things would have to be.
She was so lovely curled up asleep on the sofa, one hand between her cheek and the pillow, the other palm up nearby. Her shoes were arranged neatly, side-by-side. Godric smiled at the lovely dark pink color gracing her toe nails. He noticed the elastic holder for her hair lying on the table near her ever-present coffee cup.
Her cheeks were slightly flushed in her deep sleep, her lips softened, her breaths slow and even. Peaceful in her repose, she appeared much younger than normal. A strange pang crossed his chest as she wished she could always be so obviously free of stress.
He inhaled deeply. The common areas of the mansion were drenched with her scent from her extended presence. He was glad the other vampires had chosen to go on to their own homes. He knew exactly how enticing her scent was.
He strongly debated simply scooping her up into his arms and carrying her down to his quarters…but knew that once he had her safely in his bed, he would never be able to let her go.
As hard as this waiting was, he would willingly endure it. What was worth having was worth achieving in its own time. He would not rush her, he thought, as he so very gently stroked her soft dark hair. Sometimes, the anticipation was indeed half the pleasure, but in this instance… Somehow he knew that the claiming of her would vastly overshadow even the most intoxicating sweetness of this anticipation.
Realizing he was in real danger of simply watching her sleep through the night, he reluctantly rose, and took her empty coffee cup to the kitchen. Sure enough, a few minutes later the sound of the machine finishing the brewing of her coffee gently roused her from her sleep. After adding her fake sweetener and “too much” milk, he sped back to the now-stretching Cara.
“Godric?” Her soft sleepy voice caressed his skin.
“Ah, fair morning ma chere.” He smiled at her half-hearted attempt to sit up as he knelt in front of her.
She gazed at him as she further considered waking up.
“Rising is not so easy, eh?” He gently teased while smoothing her hair back from her face.
She smiled ruefully as she vaguely shook her head. “Takes me forever to find the arms of Morpheus, then takes me forever to escape them,” she mumbled sleepily. Waking up was never the best part of her day…or night.
His Persian blue eyes softened with affection as she yawned into back of her hand then stretched with relish.
She suddenly sat up straight from her prone position. “Ha, I’m up! Sorta…” They both laughed as she scrubbed at her face. “Coffee? You made me a cup of coffee?”
She was shocked, gratified, and reaching for the full cup instantly.
He gave an elegant, determinedly not-smug-at-all shrug as he intently watched her drain half the cup.
“Ummm…perfect,” she approved. He doubted she had any idea at all of how incredibly sexy she sounded.
A moment later she scrunched her face for a second then excused herself for a “human moment”.
Godric meanwhile glanced into her half-full cup and pondered if he should dare. As was becoming the norm concerning Cara, he gave into his temptation.
When Cara came back, she wondered why he was standing near the table giving off such a self-satisfied air, but was more interested in finishing her coffee. For a vampire, Godric somehow made really good coffee.
After she settled herself back on the sofa, Godric sat down next to her. He handed her the coffee cup and turned toward her, his face suddenly very serious.
“The guards reported no incidents here this night,” he stated with emphasis on the word “here”.
Cara started to take another sip then halted the action. “Here?” She immediately sensed bad news coming.
He waited until her gaze met his. “Unfortunately, your home was not so fortunate.”
Cara’s jaw dropped and she immediately stilled in her panic. The fear in her eyes pained Godric to his core.
“Breathe, Cara, you’re safe here. I will not let them touch you. I swear this to you.”
Struggling to compose herself, she took a deep breath, then finished her coffee in one gulp. Godric set the cup on the table then took her hands in his. Looking deep into her eyes, he reluctantly decided to gently glamour her into staying in his home. He would take no chances with her safety.
“You will stay here the rest of this night, and tomorrow evening a group of us will go with you to your apartment so you can check the damage and gather what you will need to stay here until you are safe.”
She blinked then lightly squeezed his hands. “I appreciate the offer, Godric, and I’ll gladly stay here the rest of this night, but…” she shrugged as her words dwindled. She didn’t understand the look on his face. Shock?
Godric was shocked that his extremely powerful glamour did not work on her. “Cara, what do you mean this night?” He quickly gathered his thoughts, then tried again but with full force this time. “I need you to stay here, safe, at least until this threat is over. There is no way you can go back to your apartment now that they know where you live.” All she did was grimace.
His glamour was completely ineffective on her. He had never encountered a human able to withstand his mind control, especially when used at full power. Even most vampires were at least somewhat susceptible.
Cara worried her bottom lip with her blunt teeth as she considered her options. It really made no sense at all to tempt fate by returning to her apartment if her security there was compromised. But…she really didn’t want to risk getting even closer to Godric than she already was by staying there with him either. She decided more coffee was needed.
She squeezed his cool, strong hands again before letting them go. “I need more coffee…this night is getting awfully long,” she said with a strained laugh.
He followed her into the kitchen. He felt an inexplicable urge to keep her within his line of sight if at all possible. “The vampire watching your house reported that a group of six Weres broke down your door and searched out your entire apartment. He said they destroyed many of your possessions before finally leaving.” He hoped this unfortunate report would convince her that her safety was in definite danger.
“Is he alright,” she asked worriedly.
“The vampire watching your home?” Godric was surprised at her concern for a vampire she did know even know, then realized that he really should have expected it. He chuckled in rueful amazement as he slowly, carefully took her in his arms and held her to his chest.
“He is fine, ma chere, he is fine. I had foolishly thought that you might have been upset that he could do nothing to protect your property against six Weres, and I apologize for that assumption.” He instinctively started smoothing his hands in circles over her back to ease her stress.
She knew she should step away from him, or at least not lean so fully into his comforting hold, but…she just felt so damn good in his arms. She slowly circled her arms around his waist and, just for the moment, fully relaxed into his embrace as she buried her face into the safety of his shoulder.
“Say you will stay?” The soft, worried plea in his voice would easily have melted hearts much harder than her own.
She took a deep breath and reveled in his dark, male scent. Her arms automatically tightened around his narrow waist. Fuck.
She nodded, and was immediately assaulted by how very peaceful she was with her insane decision.