A Midnight Rose Ch. 03bymochadesire©
Thank you all again for your comments, I apologise for any mistakes people find, I will do my best to rectify them over the course of the series!
This is a bit of a short chapter I'm afraid but good news: I plan to post Chapter 4 (which will be a big one) on Wednesday so you all get an extra chapter this week (aren't you lucky)!
Enjoy everyone... mochadesire
Silence had reigned in the library for a good five minutes. All that while Luke had stared at Philippe as if he was crazy and Philippe had gazed passively back. The Frenchman even looked somewhat amused. Tanji's eyes were wide as saucers as she observed both of the men.
Luke's trance broke when he became aware of Philippe happily humming under his breath.
"The Harry Potter theme tune? Are you fucking kidding me?" Luke growled, not quite able to understand how his friend could be so nonchalant about it all. Philippe beamed in response and proclaimed innocently: "What? It's a brilliant tune." Tanji immediately collapsed into giggles, shaking hysterically; Luke too felt the corners of his lips tug upwards into a reluctant smile. The ice had been broken.
"You know, sometimes I really loathe the fact that you are impossible to be mad at," he stated resignedly. Whilst he wanted to wipe that smirk off of Philippe's face, he knew that it was not the vampire's fault. He was simply the messenger.
Luke sat heavily on his plush leather sofa, the material creaking gently in protest at his sudden weight. It groaned again softly as Tanji seated herself slowly next to him, worry clearly showing in the lines of her dark face.
"How are you feeling Luka?" she asked gently, her small hand coming up to rest sympathetically across his broad, tense shoulders. Philippe, who had stopped humming, leant forward intently, the smile on his face undermining the puzzlement and anxiety that showed in the depths of his cerulean eyes. Luke shrugged, his face resting in his hands. "I don't know. What would you do if you suddenly found out that a woman you just met is going to be your mate for the rest of your life?" His voice took on a sarcastic tone that he immediately regretted when he noticed Tanji quietly grit her teeth and held back a retort.
"I don't know about you," Philippe proclaimed in a bored tone that belied the severity of the situation, "But I would have had her strapped down to by bed by now." He grinned mischievously and waggled his pale eyebrows suggestively. Luke shot him a withering look.
"Yeah," he said as if stating the obvious, "And how do you think that would have gone down with Rowan?" He shuddered dramatically, imagining the scenario. "The woman would crucify me."
Philippe looked coy. "I thought she said if you called her 'woman' that she would slug you round the face?" he said petulantly. If looks could kill; Philippe would have been dead in that moment.
Luke rose silently from his place by the fire to gaze out of the large bay windows in the library. He rested his forehead against the freezing panes of glass and closed his eyes. He felt the first rays of sunlight stroke his face like a kindly mother and not for the first time in his long life, he felt relieved that the myths about vampires not being able to stand the sun were just that: myths.
He relaxed under the soft caress of the sunrise, the magenta and burnt orange hues suddenly bursting into the gloomy room. Luke pondered on life and how it had boiled down to this moment in time; to that one exquisite woman lying battered and bruised downstairs.
Luke immediately felt all of his one thousand, five hundred years of age. He had been sired all that time ago in rural Italy; blissfully unaware of the world. His Sire had taken him under her wing, she had taught him to control his bloodlust and she had taught him to protect himself. She, like Rowan, had been a fiery, beautiful woman of Egyptian origin. She had an exotic demeanour that caused men to flock to her like sheep. But Luke had come to see that she was far from perfect. Underneath that perfect façade, he learned that she fostered a soul that was pure evil. She took pleasure in the pain of others and was only happy when she was scaring some poor soul to their deaths. Luke remembered the day he left; the burden that felt like it had suddenly been lifted from his shoulders. He had wandered, listless, for a while until he was fortunate enough to work a passage to the New World. He had never looked back.
Aware that Philippe and Tanji had slipped from the room a while ago, Luke's thoughts once again turned to Rowan. He couldn't help himself. It was like every way he turned she was there; just close enough to appear reachable, but just far enough to make him lose hope. Luke whispered his vocabulary of swear words into the panes in every language he knew. Finding resolve in that personal method of blowing off steam, he straightened purposefully.
The sun lit the angular planes of his cheeks, making his golden tan appear to glow. As he strode intently from the empty room, no one would have been able to mistake the look in his eyes; he was going to seduce his woman, no matter how hard she resisted.
Rowan shot up out of bed with a cry. Her gaze was wild, her bouncing curls in complete disarray. Momentarily disorientated, she failed to recognise the room she was in. Trying desperately to reign in her rapid breathing she recalled the nightmare that jolted her back to reality. She had been back in the warehouse, slumped against the wall, the dismembered head of Remy lolling besides her. Four indescribable shadows were advancing on her, menace beating off of them in dark waves.
She had scrambled frantically; her hands and feet were bound. The beasts continued to creep forward as she felt her fear threaten to paralyse her. She knew that Luke would come for her before she was overcome; she just knew it. Slowly but surely, the shadows moved closer and closer. Rowan had felt a scream building in her throat.
As the pain began, she jolted awake, screaming for Luke.
Rowan was thoroughly shaken. Her breathing was fast and ragged and her hands trembled ferociously. As the memories of the previous night flooded back to her, she began to sluggishly recall her surroundings: the kindly doctor who had fussed over her, the pain of her wounds being swabbed, the intense stare Luke had fixed her with before he left the room.
She hung her head, the tip of her chin just coming to rest against the soft mounds of her chest. Never had she felt so completely drained. Although her body had stopped screaming at her for the abuse it had received the night previously, her mind seriously ached from questions going over and over in her mind. Most of them, she found, involved Luke.
She jumped wildly as the door banged open, showing her the tall Frenchman who was, true to form, grinning inanely.
"Bonjour!" he boomed flinging his arms wide as if he were going to suddenly run up to her and embrace her. Rowan smiled wanly back at him, slightly overwhelmed by the man's overbearing personality. "You know, you have caused quite a stir my dear. If I needed sleep, I would certainly be feeling the affects of an all-nighter now," he beamed, not looking for a moment like he had been awake all night. The benefits of being undead, Rowan thought bitingly. She quietly preened knowing that Luke had been up all night worried about her but then mentally slapped herself for indulging him.
Philippe appeared to be looking for something. He was rifling through drawers looking puzzled and put out. Rowan's curiosity got the better of her.
"What are you doing?" she asked, not quite sure what to make of the affable vampire. Philippe looked up at her, startled, as if he had only just remembered she was there.
"Oh, I'm looking for Jack," he mused, opening another cupboard. Rowan was dumbfounded. Her jaw was slack as she watched the man move around the room in a flurry of activity until he had exhausted every option to him. With a greatly dramatised sigh, he sat heavily in the chair and perused her with pensive eyes. "Tanji has hidden her bottle well," he said as if on an after thought.
Rowan was still staring at him blankly from the hospital gurney. Then the penny dropped.
"You mean Jack Daniels!" she exclaimed, wondering for the life of her what the Frenchman would need with a bottle of Jack Daniels early in the morning. Philippe looked at her curiously as if it had been obvious all along.
"Yes of course," he stated matter-of-factly, "Greatest thing the Americans created in my eyes; I don't go without it for breakfast. It sets me up just right for the day." He said it with such normalcy that Rowan spluttered with mirth. There was something about the man that just seemed so pleasant that she could not help but relax around him.
Philippe was glad that he had managed to put the startled girl at ease. She looked a lot more beautiful when she was laughing, he noticed. Her eyes lit up, her skin glowed and suddenly she didn't look so cold and distant. Although to both Rowan and Luke he seemed aloof and extremely relaxed about the situation the two had found themselves in, Philippe was secretly very worried. So he had employed a defence mechanism so old that even Luke hadn't seen through it: he simply pretended the problem wasn't there.
"So my dear, what is on the agenda for today?" he asked, trying to keep spirits up and minds off of current pressing issues. Rowan's face darkened briefly as she pondered his question.
"I would like to go home," she said firmly, "if Tanji says that I am fit to, of course," she added as an after thought. Philippe bit his tongue and tried not to let on how much he thought that was a bad idea.
"Rowan," he sighed, "you know it will be difficult for you to return home; at least for a while that is?" She looked shocked and suddenly very angry.
"Why must I be cooped up here?" she retorted, "I'm a grown woman. I can more than take care of myself, so if you think that I'm going to cower here just because some vampires wanted some pay-back, you are severely delusional!"
Philippe shifted uncomfortably in his seat, suddenly very aware of the fact that he really didn't want this woman mad at him. The look in her eyes made it very clear that anyone who pissed her off would be in for a hell of a lot of grief.
It was ironic then, that the next person through the door was a very determined looking Luke. The vampire looked like he was on a mission but stopped abruptly sensing the unease in the air.
What happened? Luke thought to Philippe. The other man looked uneasy. She wants to go home came the whispered reply.
Rowan watched the silent exchange, her anger only slightly dissipating. As soon as Luke had walked through that door her heart had started to pound; she was 99% sure that Luke knew it too. Unlike Philippe, whose energy seemed to know no bounds, Luke did look like he was feeling the effects of a long night. Despite not actually needing sleep to function, the vampire looked very weary, darkened circles showing under his eyes. How is it possible for him to still look sexy, Rowan thought desperately. His tanned skin glowed under the harsh strip lights of the room, his bulging shoulders and arms straining from the tight, crumpled shirt he was wearing. She had to bite her lip to keep from moaning out loud. What was it about this man that had her acting like a love-struck, horny teenager?
Luke was similarly struggling with his feelings. The huge doe-eyed stare she had given him when he had stridden into the room was enough to undo any man. She was still wearing that same clothes as last night; her thin chiffon black shirt showing glimpses of a lacy bra underneath. Her chest was heaving slightly, as if she had been startled, making her firm, luscious globes rise and fall delicately. Her soft, rosy, parted lips just screamed to be abused with his kisses and half of him wanted to run to her and do just that.
Rowan shivered lightly as his heated gaze swept over her body. His eyes felt like they were leaving a line of fire across her skin; she tried not to like it too much. The change in his gaze was instantaneous as it fell on her neck. She saw it shift from blazing heat to smouldering anger in a split second; he was emitting thunderous growls to accompany it. Philippe, too, looked uncharacteristically concerned.
"What the hell is that?" Luke spat, trying hard not to hit something very hard. The harsh light of the room had revelled all of the soft nooks and crannies of Rowan body and with it, a harsh, jagged scar that spanned the golden skin of her throat.
"What's it to you?" she asked, similarly hostile. The scar was old; a burden she had borne since she was nine years old. It was a permanent reminder of a past life; a life that she would rather forget.
Luke saw old pain resurface in her expressive eyes and instantly regretted his harsh words. He cursed inwardly. He was trying to make her more comfortable in his presence, not to hate him more! But the scar on her neck had made him see red; it went against everything he believed that someone would and could hurt her like that. He moved hesitantly forward, as if seeking her permission. She didn't flinch or look like she was going to hit him, so he took that as a good sign. Her eyelids fluttered lightly as he traced the knotted skin with the pad of his thumb. "Oh Rowan," he sighed.
Rowan was torn. Her heart told her that she loved the feel of his fingers against the sensitive skin at her throat, but her head sparred with it, shouting loudly that her past was none of Luke's business. She clenched her fists tightly as Luke retreated, a sorrowful look on his face.
Philippe cocked his head and decided that it would be a good idea to slip out. The intimacy of Luke's actions had screamed for privacy and so he felt obliged to give it. He sped out of the room to find Tanji; the doctor was going to teach him some more Xhosa, a language from her home country. At the last moment, his head whipped around once more to gaze open the scene unfolding in the medical room. No words had been uttered but Rowan didn't look as if she was going to cause Luke any damage any time soon so Philippe felt reassured that it was safe to leave them.
Luke said nothing. He just stood, looking at Rowan, as her mind clearly fought over whether to let him in on her past or not. She looked extremely dejected and Luke once again struggled not to ask who did this to her so that he could hunt them down and rip their worthless heads off.
"He's already dead Luke," Rowan said quietly. The vampire looked surprised that she had read him so easily. She wanted to smile, if there was one emotion that Luke couldn't hide very well, it was anger.
She sighed deeply and closed her eyes. She felt him shift slightly and so was not unsurprised when the bed sank perceptively with his weight.
"I was nine," she whispered, her eyes still shut, "my mother had died of cancer three years earlier. My father had become a raging alcoholic, consumed by grief." Luke remained silent and unmoving. "One night he came home, even more drunk than usual," her voice dragged, as if she was reluctant to recount the story, "He was completely delusional, hallucinating. He saw me and mistook me for my mother." Luke felt cold, leaning forward unconsciously. "He firmly believed that I was her ghost, come back from the dead to haunt him. He lost it completely. He came at me with a broken bottle and slashed at me, screaming for me to be gone." Her words had become barely audible and Luke noticed how hard Rowan was trying to keep from letting tears fall. "I managed to avoid most of his swipes," she continued, "but obviously I wasn't fast enough." She gestured to her throat and sighed.
Luke just looked at her. He had no words that were sufficient enough for what she had survived so he didn't bother to say anything at all. He softly picked up her limp hand and brushed the pad of his thumb over her knuckles absent-mindedly.
Rowan felt her breathing hitch and hoped to hell that he hadn't heard. His delicate strokes were more than enough to make all of her carefully constructed barriers come tumbling down. Her mind was a warzone of lust and denial.
He looked straight into her eyes with his piercing green stare that spoke volumes. She saw desire there, but she also saw sorrow and sympathy. The air crackled with heat between them. She could hear his breathing now; it was just as ragged as hers.
Luke decided to risk it. He trailed his hand up her toned arm, slowing grasping her neck lightly to pull her head towards his. Sparks flew as their lips touched for the second time.
This kiss was as tender as the first had been demanding. His lips brushed against hers, his tongue flicked out to swipe tenderly at her slit, seeking entrance.
As Rowan moaned seductively, her lips parted, his probing tongue dipped into her moist recesses. Before she could think to stop it, her tongue responded, duelling with his intricately. Her body was on fire when he sucked gently on the tip of her tongue, sending little shoots of electricity straight to her core. She absent-mindedly groaned in pleasure as she thought of how she could get used to all the sensations Luke was bombarding her body with.
Rowan's brain suddenly kicked into gear. Her lips slammed shut and her body went immediately rigid. She pulled away harshly from Luke, who looked utterly bewildered at her change of heart. He was frowning, puzzled, as she leapt of the bed and turned on him all at once.
"Do you make a habit of seducing vulnerable woman?" she snapped, ignoring the twinge in her heart as hurt crossed his masculine features. He crossed his arms protectively in front of his chest, causing his biceps to bulge just that little bit more. "You didn't seem to be objecting too much my dear," he said tersely.
"Just because I didn't instantly object does not mean you have the right to just maul me whenever you want." Luke raised an eyebrow. He stood suddenly, his enormous presence filling the room.
"I will wait," he whispered almost menacingly, "I will wait for whenever you get over this silly state of denial you are in right now. I will wait until you come to me," he advanced slowly, "yes, when you come to me." He had stopped toe-to-toe with her, staring deep into her eyes with a fire that belied his cool exterior.
A harsh crack echoed through the silent room. Rowan stared in horror at the red mark that had started to form across Luke's cheek where she had slapped him. He looked just as shocked as she did. But his surprise faded quickly and Rowan found herself scrabbling against the concrete walls as he continued to advance on her until she was pressed up against the wall.
Luke could hear Rowan's heart beat going out of control as he trapped her against the wall. His cheek still smarting from her slap, he captured her parted, rosy lips before she could protest. Sucking gently on them, he memorised that taste of vanilla that was oh so Rowan and then he spun out of the room, leaving her gasping for air.
Rowan's head was reeling. The searing kiss Luke had given her had taken her breath away before he had disappeared completely without so much of a backwards glance. She grabbed the pillow from the hospital bed and screamed into it before slamming his fists into it one after the other. Her anger just kept boiling over and she suddenly felt extremely claustrophobic in this stripped room. She threw the pillow at the wall, ignoring all that aches of her body, and slammed the door open. She was gone in an instant.
Fuck this house is huge, Rowan thought as she sped along the corridors of the medical centre. It had been five minutes since leaving the small room she had been in over night and she was already lost. There were no windows in the utilitarian corridors and each one looked exactly the same. As she was about to give up, she came across a huge, heavy-duty metal door. It looked locked.