Andre gazed down at his sweet Emma, the harsh planes of his face softened as he feathered his fingers through her dark hair. Her precious face was relaxed from the exhausted sleep that came as a result of the deep satisfaction he had been able to give her…many times.
Both had been more than willing to celebrate the death of their enemy.
Neither had enjoyed their time spent apart and were determined to make up for every miserable second.
As he gazed at her still-flushed cheeks and still-swollen lips, he thought back to how very difficult it had been being away from her for even just a single fucking night.
He’d missed her body, and the warmth and comfort she gave him so freely with it. He’d missed the truly innocent little touches and gestures she made without truly realizing what she was doing. He’d missed her cocky and odd sense of humor, and the way her eyes twinkled when she teased him.
He’d even missed her smile. Hers was the first smile he could remember receiving that was completely honest and open, given because she wanted to, not because she wanted a favor or was trying to be coy. The way her smile brightened her face and made her eyes dance was like sunlight chasing the shadows from an inner sanctum.
Naturally he had made provisions for her security, and for his Queen’s, too, of course, during his absence, but how could he be certain of her safety and comfort when she wasn’t in his direct line of sight?
Even with the preparations he had made with Sigebert in case something went terribly wrong, for perhaps if BeauChamps had more spies in place who could have taken action against her while he was away, it was nowhere near enough. She was too frail, too weak.
She was his, and he could not allow any damage to befall her.
Fuck. I can’t keep her locked in here now that BeauChamps is gone, damn it. Maybe I should provide her with a silver-tipped Taser, a set of stakes, and some silver spray to carry on her person at all times, he pondered. She could carry them about her waist in one of those bags that ladies of old used to use with their estate keys.
He sighed again.
On the one hand, the entire experience had been rather…lowering. Here was this small slip of a girl, no more than a mere babe to his longevity, one he had known less than a minute in his timeline, yet she held in her small, weak hands the entirety of his heart.
It made no sense to him that he had so quickly, if less than willingly, entrusted something so precious to her, yet…
How could he not?
It had simply felt…so right.
Even as he had actively fought it, she and her dimples and her little toes and that light in her eyes that shined only for him had somehow not only slipped past all his well-fortified defenses, but had made themselves entirely at home deep in his chest – so deep he knew he’d never be able to evict them.
Something, everything, about her was absolutely devastating to any sort of defenses he might have even considered.
Regardless, it was too late for him now, and he well knew it. The rest of his nights would now be spent keeping her close, keeping her safe, keeping her happy and comfortable and anything else she would ever need or desire. Whatever it was, it was hers.
She could have him any way she wanted him, and he would happily comply.
He really hoped she never had any idea of just what he would do for her, the lengths to which he would willingly go simply to please her. He rolled his eyes. The extent to which she had captivated him was, indeed, both disgusting and very, very lowering.
But yet she had given him a purpose he had never had before…and a love he had never had before, either. At any time in his history he would have scoffed at the mere idea of anyone truly loving him.
As a boy he had thrived under his Mother’s care and attention, and of course his Maker loved him in her own way…but he sure as hell never thought of himself as being so weak as to even consider, much less desire, that other type of affection.
The light she held in her eyes for him alone was strangely addictive. Now that he had tasted the pleasures of her heart, damn’d if he’d ever let her go.
She had never once tried to change who he was, and he was sure she had to have at least some idea of who and what he was and what his life had been like before her appearance. While he would never, ever, even consider discussing most aspects of his work with her – his horrific talents and tendencies alone would scar her psyche for life – if she were to ask him a direct question, he would answer her truly…if extremely vaguely. He would never want that odd innocence in her eyes and heart to be tainted by such knowledge.
Andre was damn glad a particular former “hobby” of his had been glamoured from the weak brains of that last pack of pathetic females, though. He did not relish having to explain to his Emma that because of an extreme case of soul-numbing boredom, and because he could, he had acquiesced to several requests for him to ‘train’ women in a certain way to become ‘companions’ to arrogant, narcissistic vampires with too much money, too high an opinion of themselves, and what he assumed were tiny penises. Who else would want women in subservient positions?
But because of her, because of her courageous sweetness and innate grace and that attitude, he had realized that just because he was good at subjugating others didn’t mean he had to do it. So, he had very quickly glamoured what would be the last group into not only forgetting their time in his presence, but he had also glamoured them to realize that they deserved respect, freedom, and control over their own lives and choices.
He’d felt peculiarly light-hearted that night.
But there was so much she still needed to know and learn about the vampire world in general, and he would have to ensure that she knew all which could be taught to her about those other aspects. She would be his queen in fact and in deed, and to that end she needed to know what her rights and privileges would be, and how to be on her guard and…
He would give no one any reason to look down upon his Mate. It was his duty and joy to protect her, and in this case knowledge would truly be power – an armament she would need when dealing with his kind. He didn’t want to sully her mind with more information about the tendencies and practices of the worst members of his species, but how could she protect herself from them if she didn’t know they existed? BeauChamps was a good introduction to the more depraved amongst them, but he was by far not the worst.
Emma stirred a bit in her sleep and snuggled closer into his body, and he pulled her onto his broad chest as he lay back against the pillows. Dawn had crested half an hour ago, but his mind worked feverishly as he considered everything from their potential housing in Arkansas to the gowns she would need for his Coronation…and their Pledging.
Oh, he thought, maybe I should talk to her about that, too.
He also thought about their next and final Bonding, knowing that he could not endure another separation without the comfort of being able to truly feel her despite distance.
Fuck! For two écu d’or I should have “slipped” and Bonded with her an hour ago, he groused to himself.
He had by the sheer force of his considerable willpower managed to refrain from even biting her this night. Not only did he not want to risk drinking far too deeply from her in the remains of his bloodlust, but he also didn’t wish to accidentally form that final Bond – despite how very much he wanted to do that exact thing. Such a monumental event deserved a bit of ceremony, and certainly she deserved to know what she was getting into before it happened.
Speaking of which…he needed to have ‘the talk’ with her…something he was not looking forward to having.
How could he explain that he was so weak that his life would be meaningless without her, and that there was absolutely no way he could simply sit by and watch her decay into death?
His eyes popped open in the softly muted light of his chamber. That could not, would not, happen. It would not be allowed. No.
What if she didn’t want him to be her Maker? A blazing knife stabbed at his heart as he instinctively shied away from that possibility, but it was a valid concern. The basic inequality between a Maker and their child sounded a certain death knell to a romantic relationship, and the thought of her resenting the control he would have over her as her Maker made him feel as if his heart were crumbling. But the mere idea of Sigebert being her Maker filled him with a violent surge of jealous, protective anger…
The possibility that she might not want to be Turned at all tried to whisper in the back of his mind, but he would not allow that horror to exit.
At least the subject would not have to be seriously visited for some time yet. He needed to have his kingdom secured and settled well before turning his attention to the Turning and raising of a baby vampire. Lord knew they took so much time and attention.
Somehow he had the idea that she would be a natural, that she would take to her undeath with determination, class, and ease, rather like Aillard had been. Briefly he once again considered calling in his own child to help with the kingdom and her eventual Turning, then reconsidered once again. The farther apart they were, the better they got along.
He knew he should probably tell Emma about the child he had impulsively, if not inadvertently, Turned, but he dreaded having to reveal the cause for the need.
After torturing the surprisingly tough human male for several nights, when he was almost dead it had come to light that he was actually innocent, and in an odd moment of guilt and remorse, Andre had opened a vein to try and heal the courageous, stubborn young man. Three nights later, he had a child. Sadly, the farther apart they were, the better they got along.
Aillard had not wished to be Turned, and Andre had not wished to become a Maker, but without other options, both had stepped up and taken charge of their new roles. Aillard had overcome the dangers and lack of self control common in new vampires with extreme haste in his desire to remove himself from his Maker’s care as quickly as possible, which Andre had definitely understood.
Who wanted their torturer for a Maker?
As time passed, the child did develop a grudging respect for the Maker, and the Maker did fully discharge his obligations as teacher and mentor for the child, and while there was no lingering hatred or distrust, no true amity ever formed either.
Andre raked a hand over his face then resettled the covers over his Emma. He needed to tell her about his child, and he needed to have “the talk” with her…the talk about that final Bonding and about being Turned.
The devious little voice in the back of his mind reminded him that if he never discussed it with her, then she could never say no, especially in an emergency situation. But…he knew she had the right to decide for herself.
Weary from the emotional turmoil of the past few nights, he gladly allowed the sun to lull him into his day rest with his last thought being that for the first time in either of his lives, he was truly loved as a woman loves her man, and that it felt so damn good.
**A/N: So…what’d ja think?**