A Long Walk Home Ch. 10byJazCullen©
"No!" she moaned ripping her fangs from him, catching him as he fell backwards, his face completely ashen. She could hear his heart beating but it was weak, his pulse barely flickering in the side of his neck. Tearing into her wrist she pressed it urgently against his lips, fear rushing through her as she forced her blood into his mouth.
She had taken too much from him and he was already dangerously weak from his injuries. Her heart thudded painfully as he moaned and swallowed, taking more of her blood inside him. His colour improved, enough for the danger to have passed. For the second time in days, Freya picked Dayton up and carried him into her home.
When consciousness returned Dayton found himself lying in a large bed, Freya lying width wise down at the bottom, watching him intently. The first thing he noticed was the red was no longer ringing her irises; the second was the concern on her face mixed with a healthy dose of irritation.
"I thought you were cured of your death wish," she said dryly moving to sit up before she crawled to the top and lay beside him. She rested her head on her bent arm, her green eyes never wavering from his.
"You bit me," he answered slowly turning onto his side to face her. "I'm still alive so I guess that answers how you healed me before." He knew how Weres could become immune to a vampire's venom. She had to have mixed her blood with his to heal him. He was surprised his disgust at the thought didn't surface as it had done earlier.
"I should have killed you," she mused with a frown on her face. "The belief has always been that time is required for your other injuries to heal before it would be safe to bite you. Though I suppose we don't really know of the exact timing required for it to be truly safe. Both Loretta and Ashleigh had more than one potential fatal injury to them. You had only the one. Maybe that's why you're still breathing."
Dayton found himself fascinated with the open expression on her face. There was no sign of the cold, closed off woman he was used to seeing. Oddly enough she looked younger which was ridiculous considering she was over two thousand years old.
"Why would you do such a thing?" she finally asked; her eyes full of curiosity and confusion.
There was something quite endearing about the expression on her face, something so soft and approachable about her, that he found himself reaching out and once more catching a lock of her multi coloured hair. "You do keep telling me I'm a stupid wolf," he remarked lightly, his lips twitching slightly as hers did. "Why did I pass out if it wasn't the venom?"
Another frown crossed her exquisite face, fear clouding her suddenly expressive eyes. "I'm Ancient. We can survive for months without feeding. It had been too long since I'd last fed. I took too much blood and you were already dangerously low from your own injuries. You'll find your strength will take a while to return."
He let out a slow breath. "That explains why I feel so tired. Was it enough for you?"
Freya sat up swinging her legs from the bed. "For now," she answered quietly. "Rest, I'll bring you something to eat and drink. It will help you regain your strength quicker."
She was almost at the door when he stopped her, his gaze intent on her back. "Did I risk my life needlessly, Freya?"
She turned to meet his gaze, feeling so vulnerable with all her barriers down. Only Nors and Ashleigh had ever fought for her before. The wolf before her had not only fought for her he'd been willing to sacrifice himself even if he hadn't realised the foolishness of his actions. There was warmth in his eyes that had never been there before. She could still feel the brand of his lips against hers.
"I will fight," she whispered seeing a strange emotion ripple across his beautiful face. For a moment she thought it was pride but she shook the thought away. Why would Dayton Alexander feel pride in her? Only hours before he had buried a knife in her neck. It would be foolish of her to read anything into his expression just because his caring instincts as a Were Beta were once more coming to the fore.
Dayton lay back against the bed feeling so exhausted that he had to close his eyes. His body felt as if he'd gone ten rounds with every Beta in his Pack, his emotional state was less easy to analyse. He had just run a gauntlet of emotions so intense it was a wonder he'd survived them.
Letting Faith go had been pure agony and yet it had also been a blessed relief too, a fact he still felt a bit of guilt over though he knew it was time. Finally releasing the last of his emotions, acknowledging that she was his past had freed something deep within him, something his wolf had been trying to tell him for years but he'd ruthlessly suppressed the animal.
His wolf's recent activity had oddly been a comfort to him, as if it was lending him the strength to meet his emotional crisis. He'd forgotten what it was like to embrace the animal, to join with it and be one instead of segregating their time into separate entities. He felt tears prick his closed eyelids. He had missed his wolf and was only now just realising how much.
Swallowing against the lump in his throat he forced himself to think about Freya and his reaction to her. The violence of his emotions towards her had been unconscionable. He was not the man who had come looking for her, full of hate and red hot fury. He had never been that man and he couldn't understand why he had felt such a need to protect himself from her.
His need to make amends was what called to him now. She had saved him both physically and emotionally and he needed her forgiveness though he was too much of an emotional wreck at the moment to simply ask for it. All he could do was try to help her as she had helped him. If he could teach her to forgive herself, to take a chance at living a better life, to fight for herself, then he would stay by her side until she believed in herself. Maybe then he could ask her to forgive him too.
His wolf liked the sound of that, rumbling contentedly deep within him. His animal's agreement soothed him, told him he was on the right path. The sound of the bedroom opening a moment later had him wearily opening his eyes to look up into the exquisite face of the most beautiful woman he could ever remember seeing.
"A light soup you can drink," Freya said softly, cupping the back of his head and pressing the warm liquid to his lips. He drank slowly his eyes intent on the softness of her lips, the warmth of her eyes as she patiently fed him the liquid food. She replaced it with some cold water, smiling when he shot her a questioning look.
"No drugs this time," she smiled. "You don't need them."
She was right because no sooner had she rested his head back against the pillow than his eyes were closing and he was slipping into a deep dreamless sleep.
Freya watched him sleep, a deep aching tenderness filling her soul as she reached out and traced his jaw lightly. He was so beautiful, so proud and strong. He probably viewed his breakdown as a weakness but she viewed it as a strength. He could only heal by confronting his emotions. He had done so and now he was mending at an almost phenomenal rate. She was certain that the worst was over for him.
Soon her wolf would be ready to leave and she would have to make a decision on what she was going to do with her life. She had promised him she would try. She just wasn't sure if she had his strength. But she would try because he asked it of her, because he was willing to fight for her even if he didn't feel for her what she felt for him.
Silently she left the room and picked up her cell phone, hitting the speed dial.
"Freya?" Nors' voice was thick with emotion; fear and concern the predominant ones.
"Hello, Nors," she whispered, fighting back tears at just the sound of his voice.
"Are you alright? Where are you? I'll come and get you. We've been worried out of our minds, Freya. Liam wouldn't stop crying. Ash thinks we're never going to see you again. Just tell me where you are."
Sweet Nors, so demanding and so protective. Her brother never ceased to amaze her. Despite the displeasure creeping under the relief at hearing from her, she knew it was just his concern for her.
"I need some time," she said quietly. "I just wanted you to know that I'm okay. I have a...friend staying with me at the moment. I'm not alone."
His voice was gruff when he next spoke, his emotions close to the surface. "I didn't mean what I said before. You know that, don't you? I love you, Freya. We love you and you'll always have a place in our family."
Her tears overflowed, his love shining through with every word. "I know," she whispered tremulously. "I love you too so very much. Tell Ash and Liam that too. I'll be home as soon as I can."
"Freya, are you sure you're okay?" he asked gently. "This friend you're with, is it anyone I know? I can still come and get you if you change your mind."
Wiping at her tears she sat straighter and took a deep breath. "You've picked me up too many times, Nors. You have your family now and it's time I learned to deal with my own mess and work it out on my own. I'll call again soon and I'm fine, really I am. Don't worry about me so much. It's time you lived your own life."
There was silence on the other end of the phone for a long moment and then Ashleigh's voice. "Freya? What did you just say to Nors? He's laughing and crying at the same time."
"He's just learned his sister has finally decided to grow up," she said with a small smile on her face. "He's probably in shock. I have to go now. Kiss Liam for me, Ash, and don't let Nors worry too much. I'll be in contact again soon."
She hung up before any more could be said and finished wiping her cheeks dry. Then she headed back into Dayton's room and lay down beside him. She felt emotionally drained, tired on a level she'd never felt tired before. Caring was an exhausting experience and she was yet to see the benefits of it. Watching Nors and Ashleigh together showed her that it was worth it. Now it was her turn to find out if it really was.
She closed her eyes and let sleep claim her, all the while conscious of the wolf at her side.
Dayton rolled over and wrapped his arm around the soft, tantalising woman sleeping beside him pulling her tightly against his chest. Sleepily he breathed against the side of her neck, his lips brushing the soft skin lightly so as not to wake her. His wolf rumbled its pleasure, his body reacting instinctively to her closeness.
His tired mind began to climb out of the thick fog of sleep and he knew it wasn't Faith in his arms. The thought didn't trouble him as it once had. Faith was gone and there would always be a special place in his heart for her. He would always love her and miss her but it was time to move on, time to start living again.
He knew who he was holding so tightly. There was no mistaking that wonderful scent of cherry blossom that teased him. Her scent had always teased him, right from the very first moment he had seen her. It was what had thrown his barriers up even tighter than they had been before. Clinging onto his memories of Faith had demanded it of him which was why he had reacted so negatively to her.
He slowly opened his eyes, shifting slightly so he could prop his head on his hand and gently brush Freya's hair from her face. She truly was exquisite to look at, so soft and vulnerable in her sleep. He smiled slowly catching a lock of her hair and letting it fall through his fingers.
He knew she would hate being considered vulnerable. She viewed herself as a monster and maybe a part of her truly was just as all vampires were capable of being. The past couldn't be changed but the future could. All she needed was the right trigger, the right incentive to want to be different. Finding Freya's trigger was what was important and he was committed to helping her do that.
His fingers trailed lightly across her jaw, her skin like silk against his fingertips. It felt strange touching a woman's skin after denying himself so long, strange and intoxicating at the same time. His wolf was certainly enjoying this closeness to her, as was the man.
Freya stirred, turning in her sleep, instinctively seeking the warmth of his body. Her hand came up to his chest as she cuddled into him, making his heart start to race and his body tighten with need. He couldn't stop his hand threading into her hair, tilting her face up as he lowered his head and gently brushed his lips against hers.
He had kissed her earlier, used touch as a way to anchor her as she fell apart outside. His kisses then had been way of grounding her, a way to reach inside her and pull her out of her destructive thoughts. His kiss now was the kiss of a man who wanted the woman lying in his arms. It was his first real kiss in over five decades and it felt amazing.
Freya opened her eyes, feeling warm heat beneath her fingertips and hard lips moving sensually over hers, teasing her, enticing a response that she had no hesitation in returning. Her shocked brain tried to assimilate that Dayton was kissing her but her body overrode her surprise to press against him and kiss him back with a need that was almost overwhelming.
His hand tightened in her hair and he rolled her onto her back, his mouth becoming more urgent as her response ignited a fire deep within him which was quickly raging out of control. Her taste was heady, intoxicating and he pressed his erection against her as his tongue swept into her mouth and tangled with hers in a hot, erotic dance.
He'd forgotten how wonderful kissing could be, how hot and sensual it was to taste a woman's mouth so intimately, to press her softness against his aching hardness as he tasted every inch of her. Freya's response was total. There was no hesitation, no uncertainty as her fingers burrowed into his hair and she kissed him back as if starving for the contact.
She was full of hunger, full of need and passion and he realised instantly that he'd found her trigger, what she needed to survive, what everyone needed to survive. Freya Eriksson needed touch. She needed someone to see past the mask she presented to the world and truly see the woman beneath it. It was what she had craved, what she'd been searching for all her life and had never found.
Freya needed someone to love her, despite her past, despite her faults. She was starving for affection, for tenderness, for love.
Dayton pulled his mouth from hers, his wolf growling loudly, demanding to be heard after decades of being silenced. He stared into her beautiful green eyes, shock rippling through him as he finally listened to his animal, finally heard what it had been trying to tell him but he'd been too wrapped up in his misery to hear.
Freya Eriksson had been waiting for him! He was her trigger, he was what she needed. And she had been what he had needed, what he had spent the last fifty years craving.
The woman in his arms, this erratic, volatile vampire was his new mate.
His wolf howled in ecstasy as he stared down at her in stunned shock. He knew it was possible to find a second mate, that there were instances of it happening in the past though they were few and far between. Most wolves went Rogue after losing their mate, unable to bear the loss of half of their souls. Most who didn't; were older when their mates passed so they spent their remaining years alone.
But Faith had been young when she'd died and he had been strong enough to hold onto his sanity, to survive her passing though he'd done a piss poor job of it. He was young enough and had the capacity to love again and he found Freya firmly embedding her way into his heart right beside the spot Faith lived.
It was a different kind of love from what he'd felt for Faith. He could feel the difference. Faith had been his youth, his wild streak; their love almost innocent in its beauty. Freya was his future, his salvation. The love blossoming for her was intense, deep, taking over the bigger part of his heart but that was only right because she was alive, vibrant and beautiful in his arms.
"What?" she whispered concern crossing her face as he stared down at her.
Dayton kissed her softly, resting his forehead against hers as his body hummed with joy and he fought to calm his racing heart. He should have felt terrified at this turn of events, he should have been running a mile from her but he wasn't. His mate was a vampire. She was indestructible. He would never have to suffer her loss as he had suffered Faith's.
But he would have to go carefully with her. Freya may crave to be loved but she wasn't used to accepting it. She was fragile emotionally, still learning who she was deep down inside. He would have to ease her into his life, convince her that she deserved the happiness she wanted so badly.
His wolf didn't even argue with him about it, agreeing with him in an instant. For the first time in such a long time, Dayton had a goal to reach for, someone to live for. It was the most wonderful feeling in the world.
He stole another kiss, a long searing one that turned his blood to fire and brought the sweetest of moans from Freya's lush lips. Then he rolled off her and lay on his back smiling. "Still feeling a bit on the weak side," he belatedly answered her question, feeling her eyes on him the entire time.
It had the desired effect, sending her scooting off the bed like a shot. The truth was he felt more than able to get up and fix himself something to eat, but his vampire had displayed a need to care for him. She said she was no good as a nursemaid but when it came to him she was a natural at it. She was already showing her reaction to the mating pull though she probably had no idea what was happening to her.
Letting Freya experience her softer side was the way to go. Letting her explore her need to comfort, to care for another person was critical to her forgiving herself. He didn't need a woman to wait on him hand and foot but it was about her needs at the moment. Once she was more balanced, once she was accepting him as part of her life, then he would show her just what he needed.
The passionate, fiery love of a vampire. Untamed, wild and so very, very sensual.
To be continued...