A Forever Love Ch. 02byDaniellekitten©
Across town a lantern was lit, light shining from the small flame. A man sank down into a hard chair, dropping his dark head into unsteady hands. The dream again, the same damned dream that had been haunting him for months. But tonight it had been a bit different. It was more direct, more intense. It seemed to be a warning and he wasn't sure what he was to do about it.
The girl was lovely, long silken hair was piled high on her head. Her skin was soft and smooth, tempting him to touch. She was petite; especially when he stood next to her and his big hands could span the tiny expanse of her waist. She weighed barely enough to notice when he lifted her over the mud that clogged the city's streets. Her voice was soft and decidedly sweet when she spoke her thanks.
His head spun from her scent and his body demanded that he keep her with him, protecting her from the wastrels and lowlifes that haunted the great city of London. He'd been about to ask for her name when disaster hit and she was torn from his arms, carried away by a man who drove a coach and four. He could hear her screaming inside, crying out his name in her terror.
Now he shook his head in consternation. The name she'd called out was his, but it was one that he hadn't used for at least five lifetimes. How could she know his true name? Was she part of them, the ones that wanted his death? He'd been hunted forever and he'd grown used to hiding, to ignoring his own longings for the comfort of a pack and the company of one of his own. He knew he couldn't let down his guard, not for her, not for anyone.
His hands were still shaking as he reached for the bottle that sat in front of him. Pulling the cork, he could instantly smell the almost acrid scent of the whiskey he'd bought that night. Some nights it was the only thing that stopped his mind from spinning through that night so long ago, the night that had made him an enemy to those that his kind served.
It had started out simply, a few words, a kind gesture, things that would have been taken for granted if he'd been anyone but who he was, if she hadn't been the daughter to a lord. But she was, and to his consternation, she wasn't easily forgotten.
He lifted the bottle, feeling the burn of the alcohol as it slid down his throat, the ease it gave as it warmed him from the inside out. It was a warmth he only felt now with the alcohol. It was his drug of choice, one that would let him forget for a while. Enough of the whiskey and he didn't hear her screams or see the contortions of her body as it resisted the change. He couldn't smell her blood or feel the horror of every second that she suffered. He could forget the way it had felt to lift the sword and let it bite through her flesh, or feel the pain as relief from the pain changed the color of her eyes and eased the lines of her beautiful face..
It was his fault, his own bloody repugnant fault and he deserved every ounce of the pain that the memory gave even after so many decades had passed. He hadn't been able to resist the urge to claim her, to mate with her and change her into one of his kind. But the blood passed from him to her had poisoned her; the change had her writhing on the floor, screaming in horror, in agony. She'd begged for death, pleaded with him to end the torture and he'd finally found the strength to lift the sword, and to thrust it into the body of the woman he'd loved more than life itself.
He'd longed for death for himself, but when they'd come for him, when they'd finally found him, he'd been unable to let himself be taken. He'd heard her sweet voice telling him to run, to live for her and he'd complied. Every moment since that horrible instant when he'd plunged his sword into her body was burned into his head. He'd stayed alive for her, but it hadn't been easy.
The coven of vampires that she'd been part of had put a price on his head and it had been doubled and tripled since. It wasn't safe for him to look for a job with another coven. His brand would be seen, the twisted, burned on scar that he'd undergone when he'd been taken in by her coven. They would know him with a simple taste of his blood. They would see into his head and know of the atrocities that he'd committed and the horror of his first crime.
He cursed and lifted the bottle, drinking down more of the acrid brew. It burned now, no longer a pleasant warmth in his gut. It writhed in his stomach like an evil worm and he gagged. But he fought off the reaction. He wanted the paradise of forgetfulness and if it took drinking this horrid brew, then he would do so. Perhaps he'd forget the dream as well, the vision he had of her, the woman that looked so much like his first love, his Caprice.
Even her name was enough to start the memories flooding into his brain. He could see her as she'd been the first day her father had brought him into his Library. She'd been seated in a large, over-stuffed armchair, a book opened in her lap. Her eyes, those beautiful sky blue orbs, had looked at him, not with disgust but with curiosity.
He'd knelt in front of his lord, her father, speaking the words of the oath that every werewolf was forced to take before serving his master. And he'd felt those eyes on him, never looking away. The hair on his neck had risen and he'd had to fight to suppress the shiver that wanted to take his body. But he'd kept his eyes to the floor as Caprice's father spoke to him, describing his duties and the responsibilities that would be his.
It had been days later, as he'd worked in the huge gardens that surrounded the stately manor that he'd seen her again. She'd been alone, a book in her hands and she'd smiled at him. "What's your name?"
Those had been the first words he'd heard her speak and the melodic quality of her voice had sent another maddening little shiver through him. "I am Matthew, m'lady. Do you need anything?"
She'd been lonely. She'd asked him to sit with her, to tell her of himself. He'd never had a woman much less the daughter of a lord vampire take interest in him and it was unnerving. But he'd done as she'd asked, sinking down onto the bench beside her. Time had flown. He'd never known anyone that had as quick a mind as she. He was enchanted by her and he felt his heart thump loudly in his chest when she would throw her head back and laugh at something he'd said. They'd slipped slowly and rather easily from friends to lovers and Matthew had never known a time when he'd felt as happy as he had then.
But Caprice's father had found her a husband. He'd been lord of another coven, a coven far away from her home and her Matthew. She'd tried talking to her father, she'd tried reasoning with this other lord, but the wedding day was set and no matter what was said, she would be walking down the aisle that day. Caprice had talked him into leaving with her. He'd dreamed about it, stealing away upon a ship bound for the new world. Maybe there, a vampire and a werewolf wouldn't be an unusual a couple as they were here.
They'd made it away, selling off Caprice's jewelry and the money that he'd saved up from the stipend that Caprice's father paid him. On their first night away, Caprice had begged him to mate with her, to make her into what he was so that her father would never want her back. She'd sold him the idea with the ease of a practiced sales person and he'd eagerly taken her, slipping between her slender white thighs, lapping at her pink flesh and that tiny nubbin of nerve endings that had her crying out his name.
He'd made her climax twice before she begged him to take her and he had, rolling her to her belly upon the bed, lifting her to her knees to make her ready for his cock. Sliding into her had been like the sweetest of Nirvanas and she'd barely felt a twinge of pain when he'd breached her innocence. She had pleaded with him to mate with her, to make it so that her father could never force her away from him and his nose had traced the line of her neck, breathing deeply of the scent of her. His teeth had grown in sharp, crowding in his still human mouth. He'd placed them against her nape, the bliss of the mating bite sending his senses reeling.
"Do it," she'd urged him, the sound of her passion thick and rich in her voice.
He had and he'd crowed his victory when she'd leaned down and taken his wrist in her hands, dragging it to her mouth, completing the ritual as she'd drunk in his blood. The horror hadn't started right away, that had been when she'd tried to change, to become wolf and run with him through the moonlight.
Then the pain had hit and she had screamed, the pain turning to howls of agony. He'd killed her that night, killed her with the love he'd felt and the need to make her his own. He'd been on the run since that night, running from her father, from the coven, running from his own agony and guilt. He'd never thought to feel peace ever again until the first dream of her had taken him, weeks before.
Now he was back in London where he was a wanted man. He was hiding out in back alley squatter inns where there were more bedbugs and fleas than people. He'd come back here because he'd felt her here. He needed this girl, needed her more than anyone else ever before, even more than Caprice.
He lifted the bottle, taking another long pull of the whiskey and then pushed himself away from the table and back to the bed. The bottle settled into the crook of his arm and he pushed the coat he was using as a pillow into a more comfortable shape. Even after all these years, he could still see Caprice in his mind's eye when he closed his eyes. She'd been so incredibly beautiful, so gentle and intelligent. He'd never understood why she'd wanted him, wanted him more than those fancy gentlemen who would sashay to her door to rain compliments upon her person. He'd watched them, knowing that truthfully; they had more right to her attentions than he did.
That hadn't stopped the jealousy that ate him up inside. But she'd always seemed more than eager for his company when they were gone, calling him from whatever job her father had given him to do and asking him to take a walk. His Caprice, the woman he'd longed for all these years, now second in his mind since his first dream of her.
He closed his eyes and took another pull on the bottle. Now he could see her, fiery hair like flames around her shoulders, eyes the green of emeralds gracing a lady's neck. Her face was heart shaped, her chin small and pointed, betraying the stubbornness of her nature. Her smile was wide, innocent, her teeth bright white and straight. Her nose was tiny but tipped at the end, giving her the look of impudence. It made him smile.
She had eyes that were wide spread, thick black lashes ringing them, bringing out the green of her irises. Under the sharply slashing brows, her eyes sparkled and danced as she laughed. He was staring down at her and he watched as her hand reached out, touching his chest. But when he looked down, it wasn't him she was touching but another man. A man that made the hair stand up on the back of his neck and he felt his wolf growl for that man was touching her as well.
"No! She's mine!" The words were explosive and he felt the first shifting pain of the change. He fought it, forcing deep breaths until he grew calmer, able to handle the reaction he'd had a bit better. He didn't even know her name or where she lived. He only knew he had to find her, and find her soon.
Matthew forced himself to settle back against his coat once more and he took another sip of the whiskey. It was sliding down easier now and the warmth had settled into a tingling at his knees and a slight buzzing in his ears. He sipped at the bottle until it was empty and he let it roll from his hand, falling to the floor with the thump of heavy glass. The room was spinning just a bit and he smiled, thanking whichever god that was listening for the relief he got from the alcohol.
"Just let me stay sane a little while longer," he slurred, his fingers running through the thick hair on his head. "Just a little longer." His eyes closed and he felt the blackness calling. It was a call he gladly answered and soon his drunken snores were loud in the quiet of the room.
* * * *
Kinlye opened her eyes and for a single moment, she was confused about where she was. This wasn't her little attic room and this bed was way too comfortable to be hers. Then the memory of last night, of Christian and of Daniel came rushing back and she sat up. Her cheeks were already reddening at the memory of Christian's kiss and the emotions he'd dragged out of her with it. She fanned her cheeks, slipping out of the bed and going to the window.
The sun was barely up but she could see servants coming and going through the gardens. She wasn't used to lazing away the day in bed and she spun in a tight circle, smiling when she saw her skirt and blouse as well as her shift neatly folded and sitting upon the bench of the dressing table. She hurried to them, glad to see them clean and almost looking as good as new.
Even her old pink shawl seemed to have a second life and she twirled it around her shoulders, dancing around the room. A cheery tune came to her lips and she sang as she danced, bending and dipping, swaying to the beat in her head. There was a knock upon the door and she stopped, calling for them to enter.
Christian opened the door, poking his head in. "I thought I heard some stirrings in here. Did you sleep all right?"
"Oh yes." She hurried to the door, wrapping the shawl over the top of her nightgown. Taking his hand, she pulled him into the room. "Yes, I slept very well, Christian, thank you for asking."
"Your comfort is important to me, Kinlye." He lifted his hand and touched her cheek, taking in her bright eyes and the flush that colored her cheeks. "I want you to be comfortable here with me."
Her cheeks grew even rosier and she dropped her eyes. "I am. Except for when you say things like that."
"I'm sorry. You just blush so sweetly."
Kinlye dropped her eyes even more. She glanced up when she heard him laugh. "I'm glad that I can amuse you," she said with a shrug and turned her back to him.
"Don't be mad, Kinlye. I'll stop teasing you."
"I'm not mad, Christian. You've been so wonderful to me. It would be pretty ungrateful of me to get angry." She smiled when his hand went back to her cheek and she pressed her hand over his, holding it there.
* * * *
Christian stared down into the bright green of her eyes. He felt that same pull he'd felt yesterday when he saw her for the first time, when she was being dragged down the street by her brother. It had been hard for him not to kill the man when he saw her being abused by Daniel. Even now, he could still feel the rage and the need to go and teach the man a lesson. "I'd love to give you a tour of the house."
"I'd love to see it." Kinlye smiled. Her smile seemed to reach out and gather him in, to make him feel a warmth that once only blood had given him.
"I can't help myself Kinlye. Your blush pleases me." Christian let his fingers rest on her cheek, feeling the rosy heat of her blush. "It's somewhat...fascinating to me."
"Fascinating?" She dipped her head, unable to meet his dancing blue eyes.
Christian took a step closer and breathed in her scent, feeling the hidden evil of the beast within him hum in pleasure. He twined his fingers in the hair at the side of her face, lifting so that he could see her eyes. "I find many things fascinating about you, Kinlye. Your smile, the way your brow furls when you think too hard, the softness of your lips against mine, the intriguing ideas and thoughts that run through your mind. I didn't sleep last night, thinking about you."
Kinlye gasped as he stepped even closer, the tips of her breasts pressing intimately into his chest. She watched his face come closer and she sighed, closing her eyes, seemingly eager herself to feel the maddening demand of his kiss. When it didn't come, her eyes flew open and she saw the smile that hovered on his lips and that dancing demon of blue once more in his eyes. "Y...you don't want to..." Her voice dropped a level. "to...to kiss me?"
"With every bone in my body. I'd give up my life to spend the next ten minutes kissing you, Kinlye. Never ever think that I don't want you. I do, probably more than is good for either of us."
Kinlye stared at him for a moment. Then the expression on her face fell. "Because of who I am, the way I was raised, I'm not good enough for you."
"What are you talking about, Kinlye? You think I won't kiss you because...what...I'm a snob? I'm too good for you? Is that what you think?" Christian's hands were on her arms, shaking her.
"Oh...ow. It's true, Christian. You saw what I came from." She sighed in relief when his arms loosened and he quit shaking her. "You've seen my brother and...and this." She held her arms out, showing him the shawl that hung off of them. "I'm not good enough for you, not even close."
"Kinlye if you were any more good for me, we'd be in that bed right now. I want you, much more than is good for either of us." He forced himself to turn away from the sight of her, the pleading in her beautiful green eyes, the soft trembling of her lips, the way her hands shook as she held them out to him, all were a danger he had to control. "You should get dressed," he said after a moment. "I should wait for your downstairs."
Kinlye watched him walk toward the door and her thoughts spun in confusion. It was too much of a choice. She wasn't the type to sit back and let a man decide. His name was on her lips as she rushed after him, her hand touching his shoulder to stop his retreat. "One kiss, Christian. Please? I'll beg if you wish."
"You don't know what you're asking for, Kinlye. He refused to turn to face her, his hand still on the doorknob, the metal shaking just a bit as his hand shook.
"I do. I want you to kiss me. I want to know if the way I felt last night from your kiss was only in my mind. I need to know, Christian. Please."
He closed his eyes, fighting the snarl of the beast within. "I might not be able to stop with one kiss, Kinlye." He let his forehead press against the heavy wood of the door, his fingers mangling the metal of the doorknob. He could hear her heart, hear the way it sped up when he spoke. He wanted nothing more than to throw caution aside and lose himself inside of her, take her over and over until she knew she belonged to him. A heavy moan left his throat. Then he felt her warm little fingers touch his face.
"Kiss me," she whispered. "Let me know how it feels to be wanted, Christian. Please?"