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~Anticipating, Chapter 34~
(A different kind of night, aka: Ponder, Plan, Plot, and Pray – Part 1)
Just before Beck answered his phone, Godric changed his mind. Flowers were fine, but he did not want Cara to begin associating them with apologies. He felt shame when he realized he had missed several perfect opportunities to not only give her flowers, but gifts of much more worth, in the last week, and resolved to do better.
After giving his list to the day man, he sent a text to Isabel notifying her that she was in charge, that he was taking the night off and was not to be disturbed for any reason other than a true death emergency.
He used the time left before sundown to ponder the situation with Cara. He paced more than he plotted.
Godric appeared in the kitchen exactly one minute after the sun set. Cara and Sarah were busy preparing the guards’ evening meal, and Elise was staying out of the way in the den.
No one noticed his arrival until Cara suddenly found herself tossed gently but firmly over his shoulder.
“Cara will not return this night. Proceed without her.” Godric nodded, and, resolutely ignoring Cara’s loudly indignant protests, sped to his quarters.
When he arrived at his door, he nicked his finger for the drop of blood required to release the locks, and grabbed the huge picnic basket sitting beside the door. Once inside his living area, he set the basket down, reengaged the door locks, and carefully lowered Cara to her feet.
She was pissed, and quite frankly he was glad. Perhaps her ire would loosen her tongue and she would let slip the true cause of her anger. From his observations, this conversation was not going to be quick or easy.
“Godric? What the hell? I was in the middle of fixing supper!” Cara could not believe what he’d just done. He’d thrown her over his shoulder like…like…like he had the right to! Geez! What was she, a sack of damn potatoes? What the fuck was going on?!
She stomped most of the way across the room before remembering that he could vamp over to wherever she went in the blink of an eye. Confusingly, however, only his intense blue gaze followed her as he leaned back against the door with his arms folded across over his chest.
Godric was alarmed that the bond was silent even when they were in such close proximity. What could have bothered her to the point that she could, much less would, block him? As much as he regretted her anger, he needed to know what was truly bothering her, and she certainly did not seem in the mood to simply talk. Hell, as it was she would not even look directly at him.
“We need to talk.” His voice was smooth and even.
Cara snorted, and turned her back completely to him. Yeah, now he wants to talk.
“There is obviously some sort of problem brewing between us, ma chere. If you will tell me what it is, perhaps I can fix it.”
Externally, he was as calm, cool, and collected as ever. Internally, he cursed. This was not good. Not only would she not look at him, she would not even speak with him. Her back was stiff, her shoulders were tense…this did not bode well. How could they solve whatever the problem was if she would not open up to him? What the hell had he done?
“Cara, I do not like this distance between us. Forgive me if I missed something, but everything seemed fine last night. What changed?”
Godric would never admit just how desperate he was to know what was going on. The silence of the slight bond was screaming in his head, and his hands tightened, more than ready to squeeze the life from whoever had caused this situation. If she would just give him some sort of idea, any inkling at all of what was wrong, he would gladly move heaven and earth to fix the problem, to clear the air between them. He could not, would not, lose his Cara.
However, her safety must come first, regardless of any problems between them.
“It seems we are at an impasse, then,” he stated authoritatively. “Until I know the true extent of the dangers posed by the Weres, and by whoever is behind their actions, I cannot allow you to permanently leave the safety of this estate. Your life is not a risk I am willing to take.”
“What?” Cara was immediately even more outraged. How dare he! Who the fuck did he think…how’n the hell did he know…?
“Hey, how’n the hell did you know I’m planning on leaving,” she demanded with narrowed eyes. He received the full effect of her glare when she faced him.
Finally, she faced him. Godric wanted nothing more in that moment than to take her in his arms and kiss her senseless. She was incredibly beautiful in her temper, her cheeks flushed, her eyes sparkling, her breath coming in short pants. Fuck. They still had too much to discuss before he could fuck her through the mattress.
Suddenly he realized what part of the problem might be. Taking then expelling an unneeded breath in a useless attempt at calming his screaming libido, he continued.
Although not in the manner he had wished, now was perhaps the time to show her a few of his secrets, and then maybe they could move toward solving the problems.
“When this house was constructed, I had certain security measures installed. All public areas have direct audio and visual feeds to the control center here in my private quarters.”
“So what you’re saying is that the house is bugged.”
He grinned slightly before he could stop himself. “Indeed.” Trust his Cara to distill the facts down to basics.
“Public areas…so the bedrooms and bathrooms are safe, right?” Her glare said they’d better be.
“Yes, the private areas are safe.” He did not see the need to announce the fact that even those areas could be “accessed” should the need ever arise.
She nodded her head. “So, what’s going on exactly?”
“We are discussing what has upset you so badly that you are willing to risk your life to move from here, and then we are coming to an agreement.”
Although he was more than half-way across the room, Cara could feel the power emanating from his deceptively relaxed body, and he was so thoroughly focused on her, and only her, that it made her nervous.
So she started pacing.
Godric watched in satisfaction as her cold demeanor melted into movement. It was not much of an improvement, but he would take what he could get.
Cara “hrumphed”, then added, “So, the Weres are still a problem even though you guys have captured the last two.” Before he could speak, she continued, “What did you find out from them last night? Oh, wait, I guess if you’d wanted me to know anything you’d have told me before now, huh.”
And…he got a clear view of her back again.
What? He shook his head, confused. Then he remembered. Last night she had wanted to talk…and he had not let her speak. Fuck. His reasons for enjoying the silence were valid, but he certainly should have asked her to wait until later, and perhaps even scheduled time for a…much needed conversation between them.
Come to think of it, he suddenly realized, he had not had a real conversation with her in…damn. He could well imagine how intolerable such a thing would be for a woman as curious and intelligent as his Cara.
He vamped over to her, but when he placed a hand on her shoulder, she shrugged it off and looked away from him. Godric then realized that what he had thought to be anger was actually hurt. He had hurt his Cara. Remorse seized his ancient heart.
He took her chin and gently turned her face up to his.
“Ahh, Cara mia, I am so sorry,” he quietly apologized as he lowered his forehead to meet hers for a long, quiet moment.
“I have been busy, but that is no excuse. I have been meaning to make time to have a rather important discussion with you, but…I have failed, and I apologize.” He kissed her forehead, then added, “I have truly missed talking with you.”
He rested her head on his shoulder and very slowly drew her into his arms. As he rubbed his cheek against hers, he caught a faint whiff of something different about her chemistry. While he was certain their fight was far from over, he did breathe a sigh of relief now that he knew the cause of at least some of her tension. He allowed himself to relax a small bit when she tentatively placed her hands on his waist.
“I may be over 2100 years old, my dear, and I have experienced a great many things, but I have never tried to be in what you would call a relationship before.”
Cara placed a quick kiss on his neck, then removed herself from his embrace. She might be crazy about him, but she was still pissed. She took a few steps away and folded her arms over her chest.
She stared at her toes for a long moment. “You’re right. Part of the problem is that you don’t even talk to me anymore. I’m apparently good enough for you to fuck and feed off of, but you can’t even be bothered to talk to me? No more notes? No more flowers? Hell, you’ve never even…” She broke off her tirade before she revealed anything even more personal.
WHAT THE FUCK? Godric felt his jaw drop. How…? Why…?
“Cara, you will never refer to yourself in such terms again, do you understand me?” Godric was livid. In all his 2100 years, he could not ever remember a time when he was so suddenly furious…and blind-sided.
His eyes were blazing with fury, his face was stern and hard…and she’d never heard him use THAT tone of voice before.
“You will tell me at once what I have done to give you this impression so that I may correct my actions immediately.”
Cara gritted her teeth. Fuck he was hot as all hell when he was pissed…kind of scary…but fuck-hot. She dug her nails into her arms to keep from reaching out to him.
The instant he realized that she wasn’t going to speak, he appeared right in her face.
“Tell me, woman. Tell me what the fuck I have done to make you believe I think of you in such a way. TELL ME!”
He gripped her shoulders firmly to keep her from backing away from him.
“Remove. Your. Hands,” Cara ground out as she glared directly into his eyes. Damn if she was going to let him manhandle her like that. She knew he was about to cross a line neither one of them would want crossed.
Godric instantly released her, but he didn’t otherwise move.
Godric could not help it…it seemed he had to be touching her in some way, so he automatically placed his hands lightly on her waist instead. After a very hard swallow, he demanded much more softly, “Cara, tell me – what have I done to make you make you think this of me?”
Cara gazed into his still-blazing eyes, surprised to see the pain burning behind the anger. She bit her bottom lip as, fully aware of her tendency to swat a fly with two tons of explosives when she was angry, she fought to choose her words carefully.
His eyes zeroed in on her lips and he fought hard to restrain his powerful natural urges. Every time he was within scenting distance of the living embodiment of seduction that was his human, his most basic instincts surfaced. Ahh – no wonder talking was so low on his list of priorities when he was around her…and she felt slighted because he…
He once again very gently drew her into his arms, and whispered in her ear, “I think I have identified one of our, well, my issues. Cara, in my entire existence, I have never desired anyone as often and as intensely as I desire you. I am afraid that my natural inclinations toward you do not often involve…talking, and for that, I do apologize.”
Although she kept her arms crossed, Cara did lean into the comfort of his embrace, and felt a wee bit better for his unexpected realization. At least he was honest about himself and aware of that…tendency.
Even as angry as she still was with him, she didn’t like thinking he was hurting, too…which kind of irritated her in a way. How the hell was she supposed to stay mad at him when she didn’t want to hurt his feelings?
“Godric…” she started, then faltered. After taking a deep breath, and inadvertently calmed by his dark, male scent, she tried again. “Godric, I feel like I should warn you about something.” She paused when she felt him stiffen in response, and leaned back a bit to look up at him.
“I…well, when I get mad or upset, I tend to go overboard. It usually takes a lot to set me off, but when I do, I basically explode and end up saying things that I don’t mean, or things that I really do mean at the time but regret later. That’s why I don’t like arguing when I’m so pissed off. I tend to escalate things rather quickly.”
He started to speak, but she hurriedly unfolded her arms to place a finger over his lips, and shook her head.
“Let me finish.” She removed her finger when he nodded.
“I just want to state for the record,” and she smiled slightly at her wording, “that I care about you. A lot. And I don’t want to hurt your feelings or make you mad. But, honey, I’m so not a happy camper right now, and it’s really hard for me to talk about things like this. Always has been. So, you’re gonna have to grow some patience, ok?”
Godric stared down into the glistening brown eyes gazing back up at him, and knew he would give her the world. Of course, though, his Cara would ask for the one thing he had in shortest supply: patience. How in the hell was he supposed to maintain any sort of patience when the mere thought of losing her made him want to destroy small countries by hand?
If he had the bond…
“Can I ask you a question?”
Cara thought it highly unfair of him to stroke his finger down her cheek to her chin, but nodded anyway.
“Why did you block our bond?” Godric stood before her, hands lightly clasping her waist, his body seemingly relaxed. His face was carefully neutral but his eyes were focused and intense.
Despite his calming voice and demeanor, Cara could tell that Godric was anything but. Maybe she really did mean more to him than she’d thought? He seemed to be taking all this very seriously. But…
“Wait, what? What do you mean?” Curiosity and confusion muted the rest of her anger. She could block him? This was news to her.
“I cannot feel you. Unblock the bond now, please.” His polite insistence puzzled Cara.
“I…huh? Godric, I don’t know what you’re talking about. The bond can be blocked? How?”
He stared at her for a very long minute, and realized that she truly had no idea that she was blocking the bond…which meant that she would not know how to unblock it, either. Damn.
“Somehow you have blocked the tie between us and unfortunately I can no longer sense your feelings. I only sense that you live.”
Cara was surprised: not only that had she blocked the bond, but that he was obviously not happy about it.
“You…you like sensing me?”
Godric was shocked at Cara’s surprise. He thought he had erased her doubts, but apparently, he had not.
He took her hand in his, and looked at it. Her hand was small and frail, decidedly dainty compared to his larger, stronger hand. It looked too fragile to hold the weight of his heart, but it did. He just needed to make her understand it.
“Cara,” he started, then waited for her to meet his eyes again. “I believe I have done us both a disservice.” Godric paused, unaccountably unsure how to proceed. Her scent and the sound of her heartbeat were playing havoc with his senses, which didn’t help.
“I like knowing what you feel, Cara mia. It pleases me greatly being close to you in that way. You have no idea how important you are to me, and it is my fault entirely for not making you more fully aware of it.”
He kissed the back of her hand then released it to draw her more firmly into his arms. He found that he craved her closeness, which didn’t surprise him as much as he thought it should. Somehow he felt that his next words to her would be easier to say if he were not looking directly at her.
“I have wanted to speak with you about our relationship, and while I admit that finding time has been an issue, it was not the only problem.” He took a long, unnecessary breath. With a self-depreciative smile, he confessed, “As old as I am, and even with as many things as I have experienced, I am afraid that falling in love is new to me.”
** UGH!!! This fight scene has been SO hard to write!!! I hate when my people aren’t happy. Thank goodness I/they had the end of Chapter 32 to fall back on! How do y’all think this argument is going??**