Fire Ch. 03byEnithermon©
Hi all! Thanks for waiting, I tried to be extra careful with the editing, so it took a little longer. I hope you enjoy it either way, and if you'd like to hear more let me know, the next chapter is already in the works.
Jairus nodded to Timothy as he entered, tossing him a purse of coins. Timothy caught it and nodded back. He was grateful that he did not try to stop him to talk. He wasn't sure he could right now. He was also grateful that May and Berin didn't see him pass the kitchen as he slipped by heading for his room. He closed his door behind him, locked it and then firmly slammed his skull into it.
It made him feel a tiny bit better, but hardly enough to stop the low growl that had begun emanating from his chest. He wanted to break something, smash something against a wall.
He looked around, but there was nothing that he felt he would take any satisfaction in ruining. He settled for pacing, tearing his jerkin off and flinging it in frustration at the far wall.
What a fool he had been. A weak fool. Why could he have not just listened to reason, his own reason! And left well enough alone. God, eight times...it had been more than that, many more, but he hadn't the heart to admit just how long he'd been haunting her. He was to the point where he'd been there once a month for the last three months. It was insane. He'd known it then, and yet he did it anyway. If he'd just left her alone, just ignored the persistent gnawing hunger in him that drove him mad every time he thought about her, then she may yet have been his, delivered up to him by some bizarre stroke of luck.
He ran a hand through his hair in a helpless gesture of despair. Why? Why had he done this to himself, to her, and broken every rule he lived by. He stopped, breathing hard and stared at nothing in particular.
He knew why. Every time she looked at him, opened her mouth, smiled, he knew why. For god's sake he'd caught sight of her on her knees scrubbing floors, her skirt tied up between her legs, and had been so mesmerized by the slow rhythmic movement of her body, and so moved by the silly sentimental song she'd been singing that he didn't even know he was being watched until May had cleared her throat loudly beside him with a knowing glare. Swear to god he almost blushed.
Him! He who had watched countless magnates tremble on their knees, and beg for mercy, who fed on blood, and made a career of spreading dread and terror like death on the wind. Blushing like a boy with an infatuation. It was madness.
He sat on the bed with his head in his hands. The whole reason he'd even found her that night was because he was going to her, again. Each time he swore would be the last, until she'd woken up that one night and he knew that it was a promise he could make no one, lest of all himself. From then on he swore each time he'd go to her as himself. Knock on her door, like a man, not a wraith in the night, and each time she'd open the door and he'd lose himself and think it's too soon, I'll do it next time.
He was painfully aware now that every time he'd actually just lost his nerve. He knew that if she knew of him, as anything more than a figure in her nightmares, then he could never come back when she rejected him. He'd spent long nights wondering how it was that he'd come to be so fixated on her, and had never come up with a reasonable conclusion. Apparently reason had never had anything to do with it.
He'd accepted, after a long debate with himself that sometimes these things just happened. She was lovely, but he was not so star struck to think that there were not more beautiful women in the world he could have. But one night of lust was one thing, this was something else. He wanted to be her friend, and to have her as his. He sighed heavily and groaned into his hands.
And now she was going to leave. The fact that she had remained at all had shocked him, and he knew that their relationship, as it was, was strained at best. It didn't help that every time he fed from her, her blood sang through his veins and screamed 'more'. He'd kept tight control over himself, especially after he'd pushed her too far that first night.
He'd been so delirious with pleasure that she would actually offer herself willingly to him that he'd forgotten himself completely and lost himself in her incredible warmth, and the erotic sensuality that came over her in his arms. Just as he'd lost himself each time before in the storm of emotion and desire that were her eyes.
He could feel his blood flow hotly at the thought of her, his cock and fangs responding almost in concert. He shuddered as he tried to rein himself in, battling the twin hungers that had become his constant companions these last weeks. The pain of having her, just a little bit, everyday was like a delicious torture. He wished so badly he could take more, pull more deeply from her and feel her blood wash satisfyingly down his throat, but he knew she couldn't hold herself back when he did that, and so he was trapped. Pinned between his need to take her completely, and make her his, and his need to keep her, not to frighten her away so soon after he'd gained her.
If only he didn't have to choose, if he could have both. The fantasy overtook him, and he allowed it to. It was what he clung to, what had kept him sane while he'd held her tightly to him listening to her low sexy moans. He lay back onto the bed closing his eyes. Wishing had never made anything so.
Thea moved in a haze, nodding briefly to timothy who watched her from the entrance of the study. She made her way slowly up the stairs, her body like lead. She dropped her book on the bed and sank onto the floor in front of the fire. Her mind reeled still from her realization. How she felt about it, wasn't yet clear.
Part of her felt hurt, but mostly she was confused. She wasn't even sure what she was hurt most by; The fact that he'd been stealing into her home and seducing her, or that he'd never properly introduced himself. She choked out a laugh at that image. 'how do you do, I'm the vampire who's been drinking your blood.' Perhaps she might not be able to hold that against him after all. She wondered if he'd even thought about trying to talk to her.
She shook her head. Why would he. She was food. But, then she thought again...he'd returned. He said he liked her...what did that mean? That he was attracted to her? Perhaps talking wasn't high on his list of things to do when it came to her she thought sardonically. Part of her was also strangely flattered, though the idea of being singled out, even for somewhat 'positive' reasons, didn't sit well with her.
Stop, she admonished herself, I have to get this straight in my mind, because I'm just going around in circles.
"Forget him Thea, what do you want?" she asked out loud. That was a good question. She didn't really have an answer. "Okay, what don't you want?"
To be alone. She definitely didn't want that. She could be, she'd done it long enough, but she was so tired of it, and this small taste, this vague sense of being welcome, and occasionally even useful would make it that much harder to go back. She also didn't want to go back to the village. That wasn't even possible. But she didn't want any other village either, and she honestly couldn't imagine what a city might hold for her. She'd end up on the streets trying to feed herself with all the rest of the world's hopeless people. So then she'd like to stay right?
'But only if he wants me to,' she qualified silently. She didn't want to be a burden. He only needed her blood because he now had too many to look after, it wasn't as if she were necessary...convenient at best.
Alright, she decided, she'd ask him, honestly, if he wanted her to stay, and if he did, then she would. She nodded satisfied. One problem down, one hundred more to go.
There was still the issue of feeding, she reminded herself. She wasn't going to hold out much longer, especially now that she had these new memories to cope with, and the knowledge that what might be already was. Every time he'd feed she'd see the images of her dreams, it was already difficult to fight the memory of that first night. She squeezed her eyes shut and suppressed a sudden tingling of arousal.
"Point in case" she muttered miserably and scrunched her hair up on her head in frustration. But damn it all what was her problem? Was it so bad that she wanted him? Certainly he was a vampire, but he had been kind, gentle, and she'd be a lying fool to say he wasn't terribly handsome. Was she so intent on dying a virgin? Otherwise what was she waiting for, a proposal?
She frowned at that thought...she wasn't actually hoping for that was she? There was a strange feeling in her stomach that gave her pause. She'd long ago given up on marriage. This wasn't about that, this was about something else, something more important.
It was about love. She physically recoiled at the thought.
"Idiot" she whispered harshly. She stood, suddenly too full of nervous energy, her limbs felt like they might fly off at any second. Had she somehow fallen in love with him?
"Why?" she asked desperately. "Just because he looked at you? Because he smiled? Because he touched you and said he wanted you?"
Yes. Yes, yes and yes, the desperate little voice inside her whispered softly and sadly in the face of her anger. She buried her tearful face in her hands and let out an anguished cry that tore from her heart. Damn her, and damn him, and damn this whole sorry pitiful existence. Without thinking she reached out and grabbed the nearest thing that wasn't nailed down and hurled it pathetically against the wall behind her bed.
It was her little box. It flung open, scattering coins and trinkets across the bed and the floor. The tinkle of falling coins called her back and she looked miserably down at the mess she'd made. Something rolled to her and hit her foot spinning in place.
She stooped and picked up the little pearl. She saw Jairus smiling as he placed it in her hand. Then she saw the look in his eyes when he'd asked her if she wanted him to leave not an hour ago. She looked down at the little pearl. He cared. He cared enough to rescue her, heal her, and bring her home to safety. What more did she want from him? What more could she want? If he'd fed from her in the past, well he was a vampire, it was what he did. And the rest? Well, she thought morosely, at least someone had wanted her.
She sighed and shook her head at her foolishness.
The box wasn't broken, nor any of its contents damaged, though she knew she'd be finding coins for the next week in all sorts of odd places. She refilled her box and slid it under her bed out of habit, then thought better of it and placed it on her little table by the bed instead. She had no one to hide it from anymore.
He probably heard the commotion...they all probably did. She sighed and sat quietly on the bed looking at the unlit fire place.
She suddenly wanted to talk to him, but resisted, knowing she was a mess, and probably looked like a fool. No. She stated firmly, she would go. That was what she wanted, that is what she'd do. She set her shoulders, determined not to let her embarrassment cow her, and left her room before she could change her mind.
To her horror both Barin and May were standing right there looking at her with surprise. She nodded politely to each of them, well aware that her face was still stained and red from crying, and turned on her heel walking with conviction to the end of the hall and raised her hand to knock on his door.
She never did. The moment she raised her hand the door swung quickly open and Jairus nearly ran her down. He stopped himself at the last second and looked down at her with an open expression of surprise.
She stood hand still raised, and just stared. He looked like hell itself. His jerkin was off, and shirt rumpled, and his hair was in wild disarray like he'd just woken up. It would have been funny if it wasn't so disturbing.
Jairus stared back at the woman staring at him. Her eyes were glassy and still a little red from crying and her hair was slightly mussed. He'd heard her cry out and smash something against a wall, and had been inwardly pleased that at least one of them got to break something. But then it had become silent. Very silent. Usually with his heightened hearing he could listen and hear something, crying, moving about, her muttering to herself. But there was nothing. He'd become concerned and had gotten up to check, not bothering to clean himself up, figuring he'd smooth out his hair and shirt on the way, but he'd swung open the door and halted as she raised her fist to knock.
He was vaguely aware that people were standing at the end of the hall, and he glanced and saw May and Berin staring in utter disbelief. He opened the door wider and stepped back letting her enter. He noticed her starting to glance over her shoulder, then thinking better of it.
"Yes, they're still there." She heard him whisper under his breath as she walked past him to stand in the middle of the room, her hands folded in front of her.
She watched as he shut the door and walked over to one of the chairs by the fire and slouched into one, stretching his long legs out before him, and running his hands perfunctorily through his hair. She wasn't sure what to do with this version of him. She'd never seen him so...human looking, almost vulnerable. His normally stony face looked instead tired and anxious. He glanced at her and held a hand out to the other chair.
He watched her move slowly forward and sit on the edge of the chair. She looked like she wanted to escape. He leaned back in his chair and prepared himself.
She sat for a long time, looking down at the floor. He watched her out of the corner of his eye, waiting.
"Jairus?" here it comes he thought.
He thought he saw a hint of a smile on her face.
"The night you found me, were you coming to see me?"
"Yes." His gut twisted a little, but he fought to keep his face stoic.
"Were you ever planning on actually talking to me?" She caught him off guard and he let out a short laugh. "Why is that funny?"
He shook his head. "It's not really. Sad more like it." He looked at her fully and she looked confused. "I'd been planning to for some time...but I lost my nerve."
She blinked and looked surprised, then turned her gaze to her hands. He noticed that she avoided his gaze often and wondered why. He wished she wouldn't it made it difficult to know what she was thinking.
"It was more than eight times, wasn't it?"
He didn't look at her but nodded. Please don't ask how many he begged silently.
"Do you want me to stay?" he did look back at her then. Her eyes held nothing but the question, though he thought he might have seen a flash of fear as well.
He frowned at her, wasn't that obvious? "Why would I not?"
She shrugged. "I might be a burden...or perhaps my presence is merely indifferent." He thought he recognized a defensiveness in her posture, though she kept her voice from wavering. She was so lovely trying her best to be proper and unemotional despite the fact that she looked like she'd just thrown a temper tantrum. As if she read his mind she smoothed her skirt and tried to tame her hair by pushing it behind her ears. He almost smiled.
"What?' she asked.
She sighed and took a deep breath. "Alright. If you really do want me to stay then I will stay." He looked at her and saw her fighting the conflict inside of her and trying very hard to remain calm.
He sighed. This wouldn't do at all. "You need to do what you want Thea. I want you to stay, very much, but if you can't, if you need to go...then you should. I won't ask you to stay here just for me." He felt a little ill, but he knew what was right, even if he didn't always do it for himself. It was one thing to make himself miserable; he needn't drag this poor creature into the fray as well.
He looked into her eyes again to await her answer and was surprised by the flood of warmth he found. There was an incredible longing there that made his heart stop. She rose suddenly, looking determined, as if she'd come to an important decision, and stood next to his chair. He looked up at her curiously and was completely taken aback when she leaned in and kissed him, her lips pressing softly against his. Her scent filled him and he closed his eyes breathing deeply, only to find her already pulling away.
"What was that for?"
She blushed and shrugged. "I just wanted to." God he wanted her so badly he could taste it. He could taste her.
Thea was beginning to feel foolish again as he stared up at her incredulously, unmoving. Then to her surprise, he stood, almost preternaturally fast and she found herself in his arms, and before she could cry out, startled, his mouth had found hers and pressed full and hard against her.
When her lips did part to cry out belatedly, the tip of his tongue found the opening and flicked lightly across her parted teeth and against the tip of her own tongue. The feel of his tongue against hers made her shiver, and she sought him out almost instantly in order to feel it again. She shyly slipped her tongue against his, following it back to the shelter of his mouth. He coaxed her, playfully and gently with his mouth until she found she'd threaded her fingers in his hair and was angling her mouth against his trying to taste more of him. Her surprise completely forgotten as it metamorphosed into a heated delight.
Her tongue brushed the sharp points of his teeth sending an aroused shudder through her. He must have felt it too because a low growl emanated from deep inside his chest, and he took over the kiss, crushing her mouth with his and sucking at her tongue. The sensation was undeniably erotic and she pressed her body closely to his, her arms tightening around him. He too tightened his arms until she could barely breathe and they cleaved together as though trying to press one into the other.
She was lifted off her feet and soon found herself pressed between the mattress and his unyielding body. He never let up his kiss. He did released her tongue however, and chased it back, invading her mouth with slow deliberate movements. He slid his tongue in and out of her mouth until she captured it with her own, sucking back as he had. He groaned low in his throat, and it was a sound that filled her with satisfaction. She became more bold, wanting more of him, and slid her hands down his neck and across his shoulders, feeling the firm shapes of the muscles there, dipping and rising under her fingers, and pressed her hands between their bodies to feel the hard ridge of his chest and breathed with delight as the muscles flexed under her hands.
He raised himself and broke their kiss. His chest heaved as he looked down at her with blazing eyes. He was straddling her legs, which still dangled off the end of the bed, and his hands were above her shoulders supporting him, but still keeping her pinned below.
"Do you want to stop?" He asked, his jaw set tightly. She could clearly see that he was fighting to restrain himself, and that if she didn't stop now, there would be no more opportunity to do so for either of them, neither would be able to stop.
Jairus clenched his jaw, fighting every instinct and every screaming fiber of his being that declared 'mine' as he gazed down at the creature beneath him. He'd stopped because he felt her hands come between them and remembered her fear the last time he'd had her on a bed. He waited, almost shaking with need for her answer.
She didn't answer but he watched with heart aching relief as her red well-kissed mouth turned up in a slow sensual smile. She gazed up at him through heavily lidded eyes. The feel of her slender hands on the muscles of his stomach made him let out an involuntary groan, and he looked down to find her fingers snaking up his body beneath his loosened shirt.