The atrium, enclosed by the “business and pleasure” complex, was crowded with people milling about in their rush to get somewhere just so they could be in another rush to go somewhere else. Cara was just trying to get from one end of the complex to the other, but wasn’t having much success. She figured it’d help a lot if she actually knew where she was supposed to be going.
Earlier that day a really nice but crazily-dressed girl with amazingly multi-colored hair had handed her a package, spouted off something way too fast about how Cara needed to go see some lawyer with an unpronounceable last name about something in the thick envelope, then she immediately zipped off on what she guessed was another manic errand. She had glanced down at the stuffed manila envelope in her hand as if it knew where she was supposed to be going. She’d naturally tried to open the damn thing after the fast-talking lady had disappeared, but it was sealed up tight. There was no phone number anywhere, either, but it had an address all right – for one of the offices on the second floor of the complex.
Hell, she hadn’t even located a set of stairs or an elevator to get up to the second floor yet.
Suddenly she was jostled by some jerk passing by at the speed of light into a…no, he wasn’t a boy but he sort of looked like one…who caught her just before she would have either bowled him over or landed on her ass.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” she exclaimed as she braced her hands on his hard chest, her words dying off as she met his strangely beautiful eyes….his strangely beautiful blue-grey vampire eyes that looked far too old for his youthful face.
“And this collision, it was your fault,” he asked, his soothing voice deceptively placid, one brow quirked high. The teasing light dancing in his eyes spoke to her without words even as he tightened his hold about her waist.
“”Well,” she began, mischief bright in her eyes, “if I had been made of magic, then I could have moved myself out of your way very quickly but then, it’s not my fault that I’m not made of magic, so, no I don’t guess it is my fault, ” she ended with a laugh…and didn’t step back away from him. He might be a complete stranger, but being near him felt incredibly…right.
His infinite gaze, startling in its intensity, bore down into her own smiling mahogany brown eyes as a grin teased his firm lips.
“So, if you are not at fault, then perhaps I am at fault for standing here,” he teased as he subtly drew the beautifully mischievous lady closer into his arms. She had obviously been attempting to corral her luscious dark brown hair with some sort of cloth thing, but thankfully it wasn’t working too well as his eyes followed a couple of escaped tresses flowing over her shoulders.
“Now,” she began with appropriate seriousness,” I guess it technically could be your fault for standing here being all gorgeous and…” her voice dwindled off as she realized what she was saying. With an embarrassed giggle and a blush, she continued, “But, since you had no way of knowing just how rude that person was going to be, then I don’t guess it was your fault, either,” she allowed magnanimously.
“Humm,” he pretended to consider, his eyes sparkling with shared mischief, “well, then, if you are not at fault, and if I am not at fault, whom shall we blame,” he asked with a raised brow and a slight smile.
“I say let’s blame the universe,” she replied quite seriously, the twinkle in her eyes quickly beguiling the vampire holding her so closely to his body. Her fresh, clean scent, free of obvious toxins and overblown perfumes, beckoned him closer and made his mouth water while the warmth of her body called to his own.
“Ah, yes, the old ‘blame the universe’ option. I understand it comes highly recommended,” he quipped lightly, freely inhaling her luscious scent while unable to tear his gaze from hers.
“Oh, definitely” she replied with enthusiasm. “People have been doing so quite successfully for millennia, you know. The universe is large; it can handle the guilt.” She punctuated her assurance with a firm nod of her head, and accidentally loosened another dark tress.
His eyes following the falling hair as it slid around her neck, he responded, “People have well done so, but vampires are somewhat less inclined.”
“That doesn’t make a lot of sense, ya know.” She angled her head a bit sideways in contemplation, and he took the opportunity to move her hair away from her neck. Although he moved at vampire speed, his senses were still so heightened that he was well able to appreciate silken texture of both her hair and her skin even when so briefly touched.
“How so?” He was a bit taken aback – at his age, his words generally went unchallenged.
“Because vampires are people, too,” she stated quite confidently.
“And how do you figure this, Oh Knowledgeable One?” Ah, the thought processes of the young …
To his eternal delight, the beautiful lady in his arms huffed at him…actually huffed!
As a total package, she was adorable! Long dark hair with a tendency to curl at the ends, deep cheerful mahogany eyes, pink cheeks that blush with ease, and she came to just past his chin…he could already feel what it might be like to tuck her face into his neck…
“We’re all people,” she stated firmly as if she’d expected him to already know such a thing. “Humans are people, vampires are people; people are people,” she enunciated clearly even as she lightly poked him in the chest. “So there,” she had the audacity to proclaim. Her bright grin showed her pride in her assertions, and the look in her flashing brown eyes gave proof of her convictions.
“You know that I am vampire,” he stated for clarification purposes.
“Of course,” she replied immediately.
“I am curious – how did you know that I am vampire, and why do you not seem to care about such things?”
“I could just tell. Something about your eyes, I guess? And the hardness of your chest,” she elaborated as she gently poked his chest again. “Your scent, too, maybe?” She leaned forward to trail her nose along the upper part of his chest, invoking the traditional fanged reaction.
She glanced up through her lashes at the sound of his fangs erupting, and stared for a long moment, and he was surprised to note neither fear nor undue arousal from her. He could scent her interest, of course, but was surprisingly thankful that she didn’t appear to be one of those desperate, pathetic creatures willing to sell themselves for naught but a pittance from a vampire.
“That, and your temperature is slightly cooler than my own,” she added as she continued peeping up at him.
Slightly? He mused to himself about that oddity.
“And, to answer your second question, why would I care? We’re all people.” Her bright laughter, and her obvious acceptance of his eternal status, warmed forgotten areas of his heart, and he laughed aloud in spite of himself.
Cara allowed herself the luxury of loosing herself in the warmth of the vampire’s darkening gaze for a long moment before suddenly realizing that she was being held almost indecently close to the firm, and firming, body of a breathtakingly handsome stranger in the middle of a very public place. Resolutely she softly pushed her hand resting against his hard chest and took a small step back for propriety’s sake…as well as the sake of her increasing heartbeat.
“I’m sorry, I don’t mean to hold you up,” she excused herself, looking pointedly at the plain packet he held in the hand no longer holding her. Her own had fallen near his feet.
“I assure you, it is no problem,” he state quite strongly. “And why would you assume that you are delaying me?”
“Because I’m spectacularly good at assuming things,” she said cheekily. “Besides, you’re standing here holding a packet in your hand, and that generally signifies that you’re in the process of going somewhere or doing something, neither of which involves the likes of me.”
“The likes of you?” The thought of this woman leaving, of no longer holding her in his arms – even as lightly as he now was – struck a strange terror into his non-beating heart. Granted now that he knew her scent he would be able to locate her, eventually, but…
“Yes, a stranger like me, even if I would love to get to know you better so that we’re not strangers any longer.” The most delicious blush spread over her cheeks.
She couldn’t believe how forward she was being…not that she saw anything wrong with it, but it wasn’t her normal m.o. But…she didn’t even know his name…and she didn’t like that one little bit.
“Ah, yes – I approve of this concept…and I believe the first step in getting to know someone is to ask their name,” he grinned devilishly. “So, Oh Knowledgeable One, strange woman in the night, what is your name?”
“Cara,” she replied simply. “And you? Who might you be?”
“Cara,” he repeated, her name rolling off his tongue in an evocatively ancient cadence.
“Oh, she exclaimed quietly, trapped in his warming gaze, “I love the way my name sounds on your tongue. It calls to mind ancient times and ways.”
After a quick swallow, the male answered in a deeper tone, “Well, that makes since as I am an old vampire, a very old vampire.”
Cara simply nodded.
“This does not surprise you?”
“Oh no,” she assured with a sweet smile as her eyes roamed the timeless contours of his ancient face. “I can tell by your beautiful eyes that you’ve been on this earth quite a long while. I can also tell,” she quipped, “that you have yet to answer my question.”
“Godric,” he said softly. “Just Godric.” He fell into temptation and slowly smoothed the backs of his fingers over the silky soft curve of her cheek, and purred as Cara closed her eyes and sighed.
From the balcony of the second floor above, the demon lawyer and his colorful niece observed the happenings below with a deep sense of satisfaction.
The packages, containing nothing more than a very full definition of the word “fate” and all that it implies, had served the purpose given them by the Ancient Pythoness.
Earlier that morning The Seer’s lovely messenger had descended upon his legal office and charged him with ensuring the proper delivery of two packages, packages whose spelled seals could not be opened until both intended parties met in his office. A call soon followed from The Oracle herself whereupon she explained rather bluntly that she was quite tired of waiting for her grand-progeny to meet his true mate, and had tasked the trusted demon lawyer to make it happen.
Uncle and niece watched with approval as the ancient vampire, known the world round for his enormous power, vast knowledge, and timeless wisdom, and the vivacious young woman, relatively untried yet possessing an innate character and demeanor belying her few summers, fell in love as only a fated pair could.
**Good? Bad? Ugly? Loves me some reviews I does!**