(…the night after the fight…)
Not having a job was seriously skrewing with more than just finances, Cara whined to herself, and having a natural propensity toward being a night-owl wasn’t helping, either.
After being safely delivered to her home by the insultingly silent Gervaise the night before, she’d taken a very long shower, tossed her blood-stained clothing into the washing machine to soak, and then sat at her computer nursing numerous cups of coffee for hours. She’d meant to search for a job. She’d even unfolded the newspaper to the “help wanted” section. But…
“Who’da thunk it?” she wondered aloud to her inconveniently empty coffee cup. After spending hours researching vampires instead of jobs, she still wasn’t sure she actually knew anything relevant.
Sure, press about their Great Reveal, reported habits, and all the other tidbits she’d read about were interesting, but all that rather vague information didn’t tell her much about the vampire, erm, vampires she’d just met. Unsatisfied and still a bit upset over the whole Were business, she’d finally given up, activated the washing machine, and crawled into bed long after sunrise the next morning.
Her dreams reacted accordingly. Weres, vampires, fangs, snarling dog-men, silver pens, a certain vampire, stunning blue eyes, a sliver of lightening grazing along her cheek…
In a wise but failing attempt to stop remembering the seductive images from her dreams, Cara finally cursed, gave up, and got up. She made a cup of coffee and glared at the vacuum cleaner.
Godric said he’d be visiting at “first dark”, whenever that was, and considering she’d slept the greater part of the day, she figured she didn’t have a lot of time to tidy up her already-clean small apartment.
Once she ate a small meal, she dashed off to the store to buy the possibly-visiting vampire something to drink. Then she gave into the need for sweeping, dusting, vacuuming, showering… and then finally started thinking about what she’d wear that evening.
After bemoaning the limited options in her closet, she finally chose a dark red knit top low-cut enough to be interesting but not slutty, and a pair of khaki jeans. ..and then decided her nails needed a coat of polish. Naturally her toe-nails needed some sprucing up, too, right? Frustrated with her own nervousness, she ditched the polish and…made another cup of coffee.
Then she waited. Paced. Looked up sunset times online. Practiced her patience. Tried reading a book she eventually noticed she was holding upside-down.
Just as she realized that it was full dark outside, someone knocked on her door.
Heart thudding, hands suddenly shaking, she blew out a breath she didn’t know she was holding, and bravely opened the door.
The impact of Godric was even more forceful than she remembered.
He still seemed a bit boyish, but somehow different under the porch light. His off-white shirt and khaki cargo pants were fitted just enough to hint at impressive strength, and his shirt was opened to allow a brief glimpse of some sort of tattoo, but his eyes were what fascinated her. Realizing that she had gotten lost in the depths of his deep, beautiful gaze, Cara blushed, grinned, and then invited him in with a small flourish.
“Godric, it’s so nice to see you. Please, come in.” She cringed at how mundane she sounded.
Godric smiled at her blushing invitation and entered quickly. His senses were immediately flooded with the intriguing aromas of her home: coffee, vanilla, tobacco smoke, lily of the valley, clay, pillows, cotton, oranges, bananas, apples, old paper, and her own beguiling, feminine scent. Jasmine? Honey? Pears, maybe? He was suddenly impatient to solve this mystery, yet curiously loathe to rush the experience.
“You don’t know much about vampires, do you, Cara,” he responded with a small quirk of his eyebrow.
Godric believed that knowledge is power, and he wanted to share what information he could with this intriguing woman who haunted his thoughts so incessantly.
During the hours of the night and well past the sun’s rising, he had pondered. Planned. Rifled through his wardrobe. Paced and evaluated. Quizzed a non-communicative Gervaise. Tried and failed to understand the insanity that had driven him to verbally claim this woman. Tried and failed to understand why such a thing had felt – still felt – so incredibly right. Tried not to remember so intently the smallest details of her face, her person, her voice…and failed miserably.
Finally, though, he arrived at several conclusions.
The Were attack was planned.
There was a spy in their midst.
He would, indeed, make Cara his own.
Toward those ends, he had charged Scott with further investigating the Were situation. He had discussed the possibility of a spy with Isabel, who would soon begin her own investigations. And he had decided to slowly, carefully, gently draw Cara into his world.
In all fairness, though, she would need to know much more about vampires and their tendencies. His world could be a harsh, cold, cruel place, but from what he already knew of her bravery he chanced that she would not run, especially if he helped prepare and guide her. He would shelter her as he could from the worst aspects of vampire nature, but knowledge was, indeed, power.
Cara shook her head. “No, I really don’t know much of anything about vampires. I know you guys are supposed to be able to drink blood substitutes like True Blood, though. Would you care for one? I wasn’t sure which kind to get so I opted for O positive.” she offered as she led the ancient vampire into her small den.
“Thank you.” He smiled as he inclined his head in gratitude for the offer. He was pleased that she had made the effort. Odd that she would choose that particular type. It was his favorite, well, his favorite in a human. Nothing synthetic tasted better than rot, but he would not insult her hospitality with that information just yet.
“Here, have a seat and I’ll go heat it up.” Her sweeping gesture indicated his choice of either the sofa or the arm chairs angled closely toward each other in the small room.
As she left for the kitchen, Godric took a moment to quickly survey his surroundings. The small, plain room was very tidy, and held few personal artifacts showing the personality of the woman who lived there. There were no pictures or personal decorative objects anywhere.
A small desk in the back of the room was rather utilitarian, with a computer and other hardware, a folded newspaper, a small older telephone, and a few pens and note pads scattered about. Potted green vines grew abundantly from several shelves spaced along the walls. Thick, plain, white curtains hung across the windows. An adequate television hung on the wall across from the sofa.
But…there were books. There were lots of books neatly arranged on shelves and stacked on the table in the center of the room; there were books under lamps, on the floor beside the shelves, on the floor beside the sofa… There was an open book near an iPod on the table nearest a well-worn chair. A small smile graced his lips as he noted that apparently his Cara held a fondness for reading.
He paused near the other chair, and set the gift he didn’t think she’d even noticed on the small table between them. Her newly-cleaned jacket lay folded atop the gift hidden in the bag. In the early hours of the dawn he had finally settled on a gift he thought might be appropriate, and had instructed his day man to buy it for her.
It was too soon, he knew, to give her the kinds of things he really wanted her to have. He owed her his child’s life, and could think of nothing to give her in repayment for such a priceless gift. Isabel was his only “daughter,” and was very dear to him. He would think of some way to repay Cara for her kindness and bravery, but his mind would not settle to ponder such things during the long hours of the night and early morning.
He hoped this small gift, the first of many if he had his way, would suffice for the nonce, although it was necessarily utilitarian.
Cara’s return seemed to add more light to the small room. Her sweet face held a flush that he could only hope…
“Here, have a seat.” She placed his warmed True Blood and her cup of coffee on the table and indicated the chair he was nearest as she took her own seat. “How is Isabel doing? Is she ok?”
“She is healed, thank you,” he inclined his head in acknowledgement, “and sends you her gratitude.”
Godric stared in fascination as Cara laughed gaily and her nose wrinkled a bit. “Oh, please tell her that I don’t want her gratitude; I really don’t. I just want her to be well and forget that last night ever happened.” Still smiling, she shook her head and looked away.
He stated softly but firmly, “We owe you a blood-debt, Cara. You saved Isabel’s life, so she owes you. She is my child, therefore I owe you as well.” Cara started to speak, but Godric gently placed his cool fingertip on her lips to quieten her. Startled dark brown eyes flew to his. “True vampires take such debts very seriously. A vow from me, or from my child, is for life. And for a vampire, life can be a very long time.” He slowly drew his fingertip from the warmth of her softly parted lips before he gave into the temptation igniting in his core.
His fangs abruptly dropped when she blushed and licked her lips.
Shocked, he could not remember the last time he lost control of his fangs in such a manner. He was well over 2000 years old, yet here he was, reacting instinctively like a newborn just decades from the earth. He needed to regain his control, and fast. Somehow he managed to resheath his fangs.
Thankfully Cara didn’t notice; she had blinked a few times and ducked her head as she reached for her coffee. He tried not to notice her throat as she swallowed. He was a vampire, after all.
“Well then,” she smiled shyly back up at him, “I thank both you and Isabel for your gratitude, but honestly, I don’t expect anything.” She paused briefly, and dipped her gaze. “But…I would like to get to know you guys better, though,” she glanced back up into his eyes, “if you wouldn’t mind?”
“IF HE WOULDN’T MIND!?” Godric never knew how he kept from grabbing her up and crushing her to his chest as he felt the strongest surge of hope and joy in recent memory. Such strong emotions…where did they keep coming from?
His smile rivaled the rising sun as he strongly replied, “I would love to further our acquaintance.”
Cara’s sweet, blushing smile would be the undeath of him. He sipped at the disgusting red beverage and tried to think of it instead of the warmth and pull of the delightful woman sitting so close to him. He had given up hope that the stench of the synthetic blood would mask her luscious scent.
She finally glanced away and tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear. Coffee is salvation, she thought as she took a sip to buy herself a moment to calm down and refocus. Mentally she cursed both her perma-blush and that strange burst of hope in her chest. Hope was for fools.
Her mind raced with questions, though. “I have so many questions that I don’t even know where to start!” she eventually said. “I’ve heard things on tv and read stuff, but I know you can’t believe everything you see and hear from the big media companies.”
“You are wise to question mainstream media outlets,” he agreed with a wry grin. “So, just start asking questions, and I will answer as best I can. I will tell you this, however,” he stated seriously with an apologetic look on his face. “I may not be able to answer some of your questions, and some answers may have to remain incomplete, but I will not lie to you. Ever.”
His words sounded like a promise.
Cara’s suddenly serious, unsmiling stare met his own, trapping him in her mahogany depths for a few very long seconds. He knew something was passing between them, but exactly what it was eluded his mental grasp.
Godric was saddened when she nodded and finally released him from her gaze. He felt the strangest urge to comfort her.
“I can respect that. If, ok, when, I do ask a question that you can’t or don’t want to answer, just tell me. We all have our secrets.” She smiled, wanting him to know that she understood, and that it was ok.
She had been surprised at just how much effort it took to break from his beautiful blue gaze. She glanced down at the cup in her hand. Thankfully, it was empty. She needed a break from whatever it was that just happened.
“I’m going to make another cup of coffee. Would you care for another blood?” she asked as she rose from her seat. Godric rose to follow her.
“I’ve heard all the media crap about how you guys are supposed to love this fake blood,” she continued, unaccountably pleased he was following her into the kitchen,” but even to me, it smells really awful.” She wrinkled her nose and shuddered. “You are under absolutely no obligation to finish that if you don’t want to. I wasn’t sure what to get, but I did want to have something on hand to offer you. Is there something else you’d prefer?” She spun on her heels to face him as she asked.
Her cheek collided with soft cotton as two strong, cool hands grabbed her shoulders to steady her.
He was right behind her.
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