Raven Walks Ch. 17byStarrLust69©
Chapter Seventeen: Stephen
Raven stood on his terrace, watching how the moonlight glinted off of the pond behind his property. He sipped whiskey on the rocks, something to strong to ease his troubled mind. Inside his home were those he had to protect, and he didn't even know why. For someone who had made it a point not to get close to anyone, he'd let entirely too many people near.
He sighed before he brought the crystal glass up to his lips and let the rest of the amber liquid burn down his throat. It was because of that nearness they were all at risk. There was Abi, a human who teetered between both worlds and Raven now knew neither he nor Constantine had the willpower any longer to resist taking her that final inch over to immortality. A couple of hunters who, a scant hundred years ago, he would have eliminated the moment he realized they posed any threat. And a vampire whom he had regretted turning from almost the moment he had done it, a continual thorn in his side for longer than he cared to remember.
They were all his to protect now.
How did that happen?
"Are you all right?" a female voice asked from behind, and Raven turned to see Ginger standing there, in loose fitting pajama bottoms and an old concert T-shirt that clung to her body like a second skin. "Peachy," he quipped. "For a dead guy." He brushed past her and headed back to the bar to pour himself another drink. "Can I get you something?"
She joined him and pulled another crystal glass from the shelf. "Make it a double."
He smirked as he filled her glass. "No Vampire-be-Gone? Are you sure you can trust me?"
It was stated simply, and Raven glanced up into her endless green eyes. "That's what your sister thought. Now she's upstairs sleeping off four bites on her neck."
He went over to sit on his sofa. Ginger took a sip before she followed. "I'm not my sister."
His eyes bored into hers. "I'm well aware."
His body still tingled at the thought of their kiss; a kiss that was doomed to destroy him had they not broken apart.
Death by a kiss, he thought. What a fitting way to go. If they had sex, he might just explode in more ways than one.
"So what are you doing up, Ginger?" he asked. "I thought you'd be in bed with your husband."
She tucked her foot under her knee as she perched on a nearby chair. "Hunter is not my husband," she admitted. Raven raised his eyebrow in an unspoken question. "He said that hoping it'd keep Abi away from the club and away from the Creature. We have a lot of history," she confided.
"I know," he told her bluntly. "Jealous sister, ditched boyfriend. Classic somebody done somebody wrong song."
She nodded and took another drink.
"So who is Hunter to you now?"
"My partner," she answered almost absently. "When he showed up in Europe, I was ... well I wasn't in the best situation. He got me out of it. He's stayed by my side ever since."
"So you owe him?"
"No," she rejected immediately. "I love Hunter."
She sighed. "I don't know. But nothing, I guess. I just don't think in terms of forever anymore."
He just laughed. "You mortals. As if you could think in terms of forever anyway."
She nodded. That was exactly the point. As vampire hunters they walked the line with life or death constantly, and it wasn't fair to ask someone to risk their hearts in addition to their lives. She glanced at Raven to find him staring at her thoughtfully. "Looks like none of us own forever anymore... vampire or human."
He said nothing as he took another drink, but he never took his eyes from her face. Finally, "So how many vampires have you killed, Ginger?"
She looked away. "It's not important."
"That's a matter of perspective. To a vampire, it's very important."
She looked him in the eye. "I've hunted more than I've killed. Let's just leave it at that."
Raven sat up and placed his glass on the table. "I'm afraid I can't." He came over to stand in front of her. "If you won't tell me where your limits are, I'll be forced to test them." He bent down to eye level. "Is that what you want?"
She didn't bat an eye. "I want you to trust me. I'm no threat to you."
He smirked. "No?" He leaned in, and though she knew she should have moved away she couldn't. His lips touched hers, tentatively at first and then more urgently. His skin burned and electricity hummed between them as his tongue probed between her lips and brushed against her tongue. She heard his skin sizzle but he refused to pull away from her, and instead kissed her harder almost to punish her for the pain.
When he pulled away, bits of his skin had burned away. "You see how dangerous you are to me?" he whispered, and she thought she might very well drown in his eyes.
"Then save yourself," she managed to eke out. "Stay away from me."
He chuckled as his eyes scanned her face, the curve of her jaw, the fullness of her lips, the brightness of her eyes rimmed with dark lashes. "If only I could," he whispered back. He leaned in again but this time she sprung from the chair sprinted from the room before he could kiss her again.
She didn't stop running until she reached the suite she now called home. Full of purple velvet, black satin and lace, it felt like movie set more than a bedroom. And with Hunter sprawled naked across the bed, an adult movie at that.
She embraced herself as she stared down at him. She wasn't lying to Raven when she said she loved Hunter. She had, in some way or another, since she was fifteen years old. And had it not been for Hunter, she'd be dead by now.
Only not dead in a grave, dead... dead like Raven, dead.
A tear rolled down her face as her thoughts returned to a time she had fought like hell to forget.
But that was impossible to do. Her sister would soon learn that very painful lesson herself.
Once you fall in love with a vampire, you never get over it.
She sighed as she slipped into bed with Hunter, and he stirred and turned away. That suited her just fine. If Hunter knew how her thoughts betrayed her she'd never be able to forgive herself. He had saved her from an eternity of the undead – he could never, ever know how much she still thought about what might have been.
She closed her eyes and she could see the glistening water that surrounded the Azores Islands of Portugal. She'd gone there right after the debacle with Abi and Hunter, seemingly a great place to escape from her troubles. A place to forget, and to be forgotten.
So when the striking, older man with long black hair down to his waist passed her on the beach one moonless night, she had no idea her life was about to be irrevocably changed.
His eyes were green like hers, and deep as the deepest sea. When he looked at her she felt like he could see every place she'd ever been or every thing she'd ever seen. Never had she felt the way she felt just by looking into his eyes.
It was like coming home.
He'd spoken to her in Portuguese at first, and when she shook her head with an embarrassed smile he finally said, "I said your hair is lovely," in perfect English with nary an accent.
"Thank you," she said, a blush creeping up her neck. He turned away then, and she felt like an awkward teenager. She turned away but he touched her arm, and she felt every nerve ending come alive at his fingertips.
"May I buy you a drink?" he asked with a warm smile.
She mumbled something that passed for an acceptance and then followed him along the cool sand toward an outdoor cafe. The maitre d had an instant smile for the unusual man and seated them immediately ahead of the line formed at the bar.
She sat across from him at the candlelit table and he gave her a big smile. "Thank you for joining me. I always hate to drink alone." He snapped his finger and a waiter immediately brought him a bottle of red wine.
"Thank you," she offered shyly, still feeling completely out of his league. This was a man with worldly sophistication and of obvious wealth. What on earth did he want with her?
"My name is Stephen," he offered.
"Ginger," she supplied and he had to chuckle.
"Of course. Like your hair."
She nodded, blushed and looked away. What was this power his eyes had over her? She felt naked before him, and it wasn't exactly unpleasant, though it should have been.
"America," he deduced. "The south, specifically."
"You're good," she told him.
"I spent some time in the States. I always had a weakness for the Southern accent. Even one as subtle as yours."
She took a sip of the blood red wine, suddenly needing the liquid courage.
He took charge of the conversation, and they talked until the restaurant closed. Reluctant to leave each other's company, they walked the length of the beach and back. He spoke about his mother, and how she inspired his love of music before her untimely death. And she found herself admitting to him what had happened with Hunter and Abi.
They sat next to each other in the sand, and he took her hand in his. "He's a fool," he told her softly.
A lone tear raced down her cheek as her sad eyes met his. "I'm the fool."
He brushed her hair from her face, and the loving gesture was all it took to burst through the dam she'd built to keep all those emotions in check. She openly sobbed and he rocked her as she wept, his lips against her hair, murmuring soothing words and stroking her back.
When she glanced up, she lost herself in those bright green eyes that didn't judge her, that looked at her like she was the only person on Earth. Her chin tipped up and he responded by leaning the rest of the way for her kiss. His full, soft lips opened over hers, and her hand slipped up into the silky length of his hair. He groaned against her mouth which prompted her to deepen the kiss. She opened her mouth to him and his tongue blended with hers as she pulled him down with her into the sand.
She needed to feel loved, to feel chosen, and this enigmatic man was fulfilling both of those things. His fingers traced her face as he alternated between soft sweet kisses and deep, passionate ones. His hair spilled over his shoulder and tickled her cheek and neck, and her hands explored the muscles of his back while they simply savored each other's kisses. He never tried to take advantage of her emotional state, even though she could feel his desire as he pressed against her body. When he pulled away, she almost whimpered in disappointment.
"I must go," he whispered. "The sun will be up soon."
"I could go with you," she offered bravely, but he shook his head.
"Not tonight," he said and the look on his face left no room for argument. He stood up, then offered her a hand to pull her to her feet.
He spied her slight pout and gave her a brilliant smile. "Don't be sad, little one," he whispered with one last, brief but sweet, kiss on her mouth. "Meet me tomorrow. As soon as the sun sets."
And so they met like that every night. They talked about everything and nothing, and ended every night wrapped in each other's arms on that sandy beach. They kissed, they talked, and sometimes they just held each other and said nothing at all. In his arms she felt needed and valued – and it was exactly what she needed.
Finally, six weeks into their love affair, she told him she wanted to be with him in every way. A tear hovered in his eye when told her simply, "No", and left her way before the sun was due to rise.
For at least two weeks she waited for him each and every night, and each and every night he didn't show up. She walked the beach until she'd collapse onto the sand in complete exhaustion. Finally, two weeks and two days from the moment he had rejected her, he appeared on the beach like a mirage. She wanted to run to him but stopped herself. She couldn't stand the humiliation if he were to reject her again.
Lightning lit up the sky from an approaching storm, but nothing matched the storm inside when she looked into those eyes once more. He said nothing as he turned and walked away, and despite her initial reluctance she decided to follow him anyway.
She followed him all the way up the hill to an old villa overlooking the ocean, turbulent now from the incoming storm. She shut the door behind her and entered the darkened room, stopping only when she saw his darkened silhouette facing the big window that faced the sea.
"You shouldn't be here," he told her quietly without turning around.
"Then why did you bring me?" she challenged.
"There's a storm," he said in a flat tone. "And I knew you would not leave that beach until morning."
She came up behind him and realized that the window overlooked the very beach where she had fallen in love with this strange, unavailable man. "You've been watching me?"
"How could I not?" he answered, emotion choked in his voice.
She touched his arm and he turned to face her, his eyes bright with tears.
It was all she needed to pull him into her arms for a sweet, overdue kiss. Gone were the tentative, exploratory kisses. Both of them were driven by a need so primal that their hands and lips and tongues were savage in their possession. Without breaking their embrace he led her over to the sofa, where they sunk together. His hands tore away her shirt while her hands slid up his bare back under his clothes.
Thunder underscored their hearts beating hard against their chests, and lightning lit up the darkened room to illuminate their flesh as eager hands tore away restrictive clothing. His mouth planted hot, open mouthed kisses across her chest until he could push away her bra and capture her hard nipple into his mouth.
She gasped out loud and grasped his hair in her hand while she wrapped one leg around his waist. "Stephen," she murmured as she ground against him, blinded with her need to be possessed by him. "Love me," she begged.
He reached up to kiss her. "I do," he said against her lips.
That was all she needed. She tore open his shirt and fumbled with his pants. Impatient, he helped her unfasten the button and push the fabric down over his hips. She gasped when she saw his erect member for the first time. She needed him more than she had ever needed anyone, so she pulled him back on top of her.
The rain pounded against the window as thunder rattled the walls, but all that mattered was that he was naked in her arms, about to make love to her the way she had hoped he would for weeks. She kicked her own pants free and shrugged from her shirt until she was naked under him.
He positioned himself between her legs and she felt the head of his cock enter her slowly. Her legs scissored behind him to press him in, but he savored every inch. His eyes locked her in his gaze as he opened her up to him, so slowly and so tantalizingly. Her eyes widened as he reached deep inside of her, almost where no one had been before.
His mouth clamped down on her breast again as he began to stroke inside of her, slowly at first, taking his time, driving her crazy. She ground against him, her fingers tangled in his hair. He put a hand under each of her knees and pressed her further into the sofa with each deliberate thrust. He knew just where to touch her, just where to kiss, just how to position himself so that he hit that magical spot inside of her more and more until she was screaming under him.
Once her massive orgasm had passed, she glanced up at him. His long, dark hair spilled over his shoulders and down his chest. His eyes were luminous, almost as though they glowed. But it was the look on his face that made her heart skip a beat. It was one of raw hunger, as though he could have consumed her on the spot.
His motions sped up, and his need was driving her back over the edge. "Stephen," she murmured again. "Tell me."
She wasn't sure what she wanted to hear when she asked, but when he leaned down and told her, "I want to taste you," she knew that was exactly the answer she needed to hear.
It was only when he lifted up and lightning glinted off of his protruding fangs that she understood what he meant. She gasped, this time in fear, and attempted to scoot out from under him. "What the hell?"
He shuddered as he was pulled from her body, right on the edge of everything he desired. But he let her move away, let her scramble to the other end of the sofa where she curled up into a ball and stared at him in wide eyed terror.
"Now you know why I had to leave you," he said, his fangs still as prominent as his erection.
"I don't understand."
"Yes, you do," he said sadly.
She embraced herself by pulling herself into a tighter ball. Her body still trembled from the force of her first orgasm, and her entire body felt branded by his touch... a touch she had wanted. "What do you want from me?" she asked, fear laced in her tone.
A tear trailed down his face. "Your love," he answered simply.
And as he said that, she didn't see his fangs. All she saw were his eyes, those luminous, bright green eyes that embraced her soul. Slowly she reached out and captured the tear from his cheek, and it was his turn to sob.
She pulled him into her arms and rocked him as he wept, her lips against his hair and her hand rubbed his back. No words were spoken, they just held each other as the storm raged outside. Nothing matched the storm in her heart, as she wrestled with the idea this man she'd fallen hopelessly in love with wasn't a man at all – but a monster who wanted to kill her.
Yet there was no malice in the hands that touched her body, or the mouth that had kissed her so lovingly from the first night they met. He had loved her enough to leave her, rather than possess her when she had originally asked.
She was so confused.
Then he looked into her eyes. There was nothing there but love, a love so big it chased away all of her fear. And this time when she bent to kiss him she knew exactly what it meant to incite his passion. But she wasn't afraid.
She was in love.
And she wanted to give herself to him without reservation... whatever that meant.
So she pressed him back onto the sofa, straddling his lap and cradling his face in both of her hands. She kissed him softly and thoroughly as she gyrated slowly against his limp penis. It, along with his ardor, began to rise as she pressed her breasts against his chest and trailed her mouth along the line of his neck.
He grabbed her hips with his hands and guided her against his growing erection until he was hard enough to slip back inside of her. His head tipped back against the sofa as he thrust himself against her, rubbing against her swollen clit and driving her crazy with his teasing.
When her teeth nipped at his neck, it was more than he could stand. He drove himself up inside of her, making her cry out with how deep and how hard he was. She rocked against him, reveling in the power of controlling the tempo of their erotic dance. His fingertips bit into the soft skin of her ass as he thrust up inside of her.
Her eyes locked into his. "I love you," she whispered, fucking him harder as she watched his fangs grow. "All of you," she naively promised.
He groaned as he reached up to her neck, and she felt the sharp tips of his fangs scrape gently against her skin. She stiffened as she braced herself, and just as he opened his mouth to bite her he pulled away.
Though his fangs grew and his eyes glowed, he did not indulge his desire for her blood as he fucked her. She rode him harder, wanting to feel him fill her, needing something she couldn't even articulate, and when he shoved himself up inside her that final time to spend his load inside of her, as nice as it felt it wasn't enough. It wasn't what she truly wanted, even though she didn't know that yet.
All these years later as she laid in Raven's guest bedroom, her hand touched her clean neck and she knew exactly what she had wanted....