Reese Ch. 07bykalamazoo707©
Elena got into the car wondering what Joy Martinez was like. She practiced in her head what she was going to say to the woman but everything sounded false even to her. She still didn't understand why Cristiano didn't compel the woman into marrying him and asked him again for an explanation.
"You compelled me," she said.
"Yes but you were not my true mate," he replied without looking at her.
"So...oh I see," Elena gloated. "You can't compel her. That explains everything."
Cristiano's silence was her answer. Whether the woman mated with him or not was really in her hands. If she said no, Cristiano was screwed. As far as she knew no mate had ever been denied and if that was the case, he would be the first.
"Tell me about her," Elena said dropping the subject of compulsion. She had her answer. "What are her interests? What is she like? What does she do for a living?"
"Why do you need to know that?" Cristiano asked his voice gruff and filled with impatience. "You aren't going to become her friend."
"No, but do you expect me to just start with why she should mate with you?" Elena asked. "I need to build a rapport with her now tell me about her."
"She is... sweet," Cristiano said as if the word disgusted him.
"Sweet?" Elena asked. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"She is a school teacher," he replied as if that would explain what he meant. "Little ones- what the humans call kindergarten."
"I see," Elena said trying not to laugh. "So she is a nice person unlike us and she wants nothing to do with the likes of you."
Cristiano glared at her and looked out of the window.
"She wants babies and you don't is that it?" Elena asked. "I wonder what color she would paint the crimson room-a nice sunny yellow and she would want to start her own school..."
"Shut the fuck up bitch!" Cristiano snarled.
"Oh my," Elena murmured enjoying herself. "What would your mate think of such language? So tell me sire- what are you going to do with all of your slaves? I'm sure that she won't let you sell them... Oh I know! She's going to make you set them free and give them more money than they'll know what to do with."
Before Elena knew what was happening, Cristiano's hand was around her neck and squeezing it with steadily increasing pressure.
"I am so glad that you find this so amusing," he said. "Let me remove some of your amusement. If she does not at least agree to think about mating with me, your little servant girl will keep some of my guards company and you will join her."
"I can and I will," Cristiano said grimly. "I still own you and her. Now tell me bitch- are you still amused?" he asked as he shoved her back into the seat of the car.
"No," she replied, "but her agreeing to think about it was not a part of the bargain."
"No, but who will believe you?" Cristiano said with a grin. "You have a copy of the agreement. It isn't there and as far as anyone knows you verbally agreed to it. It will be my word against yours and we both know who they will believe."
"Son of a bitch!" Elena cursed under her breath. She turned away from Cristiano and tried to gather her thoughts. He was right. No one would take her word over his if they wanted to live. She ignored Cristiano's chuckle and looked out into the darkness. Suddenly she smiled and turned back to Cristiano. "Please forgive my-impertinence. Tell me about your mate."
By the time he was finished, Elena realized that it would be a cold day in hell before Joy accepted Cristiano as he was. She found herself wishing that she hadn't accepted him either but there was nothing to be done about that. There was no sense in looking back at what she should have done. All she could do was learn from it and as far as she knew, she had learned her lessons well.
"Buy her another home," Elena suggested. "Have the ball somewhere else and it has to be respectable. No wild sex or the buying or selling of slaves. In fact, get rid of the slaves you have before she suggests it. If you don't want to do that then loan them out. Do you understand what I am suggesting?"
"I believe I do," Cristiano said with a smile.
"That means that the ball will have to be postponed for at least a month," Elena said. "And if what I'm suggesting works then Bella and I are no longer part of your stable. We are free to leave without any problems or tricks from you. Are we agreed?"
"You have my word," Cristiano said after a brief hesitation.
Elena felt a small amount of guilt at what she was doing, but the only people that really mattered were her and Bella. Joy would have to learn to live with Cristiano and his lies as she had. She would have to learn how to deal with his cruelty just as she had. A short time later, the car stopped in front of a high class restaurant.
"Take her somewhere else," Elena said as she looked at the building. "I don't know much about her, but she won't feel comfortable here. We need to go someplace low key."
Cristiano didn't understand. What woman wouldn't want to come to a place like this?
"Stop comparing her to me," Elena said sharply. "That's your first mistake. Not all women want glitz and glamor. She's a school teacher not a high powered executive or a gold digger. The excesses that worked for me won't work for her. Now go in and get her while I think of a place that we can go and Cristiano- you will need to leave us alone."
When Cristiano was gone, Elena asked the driver what other restaurants were around.
"That depends on what you want," the driver replied. "If you want food and coffee, there's a twenty-four hour diner not far from here. If you want to talk..."
"I want privacy," Elena interrupted.
"Then I know the place," the driver replied. "Here they come," he said as he got out of the car.
Elena watched as a nicely, but not extravagantly dressed dark skinned woman walked out of the restaurant holding on to Cristiano's arm. Elena thought her pretty, but not anything special. She could tell by the set of the woman's jaw that she was going to be hard to convince that Cristiano was different than she had perceived. The driver opened the door and Cristiano helped Joy in.
"Joy, this is Elena-my... friend."
"Don't you mean slave?" Joy asked pointedly.
"Yes but no longer," Cristiano replied smiling at her. "In fact, out of deference to you, I have moved all of my slaves."
"Moved?" Joy asked.
"Yes, but please allow me to complete the introductions. Elena, this is my mate Joy. I thought that the two of you could become friends."
Elena smiled at the lie but she liked Joy. She might be sweet with her children, but she was no pushover. She sensed Joy's back bone and didn't feel so bad about throwing her into the lion's den.
"It is a pleasure to meet you," Elena said offering her hand. "I hope that you don't mind that we aren't staying here... it's so stuffy."
"Thank you," Joy replied obviously relieved. "I was never comfortable in places like this."
Elena glanced over at Cristiano and then looked back at Joy. Once again she felt guilty that she was leading the woman to the lion's den. She pushed that guilt aside when she thought of Bella in the hands of the brutes in the cellars and the guards.
Ten minutes later they arrived at a small out of the way coffee shop. Cristiano gave Elena a warning glance as he helped Joy and then her out of the car. It was clear to Elena that he didn't trust her and that he wasn't going to leave them alone- at least not initially.
"So tell me," Joy said when they were sitting with cups of coffee in hand, "has he changed as he tries to convince me he has?"
Elena felt Cristiano tense but ignored him.
"If he says that he has- then he has," Elena lied. "Cristiano is a man of his word- in fact he has freed me and my servant from all obligation to him. We are free to leave at any time. Isn't that so?" Elena asked innocently with a smile on her face.
"Yes, of course," Cristiano agreed with a smile but he was seething. Beneath the anger he felt something for Elena that he had never felt before- a grudging respect. She had learned her lessons well. Some of them he hadn't taught her.
"And that applies even if you don't agree to mate with him, doesn't it?" Elena asked not looking at him.
Joy looked at Cristiano and waited for his answer.
"Yes," he grumbled realizing that he no longer had any leverage over Elena.
"What else have you done?" Joy asked.
Elena listened as Cristiano told Joy the things that they had discussed.
"And no slaves?" Joy asked.
"They are gone," Cristiano replied. "Will you at least reconsider your decision to mate with me?"
Joy didn't answer but asked Elena more questions while she basically ignored Cristiano. By the end of the conversation, the one thing that Cristiano didn't want happened and the one thing that he did want did. The two women had become friends and Joy agreed to at least consider mating with him.
They drove Joy back to the restaurant where she had left her car.
"Take her home," Cristiano said to the driver as he looked at Elena. "I will be there shortly."
On the drive home, the driver spoke to her.
"Well played," he said looking into the rear view mirror. "There aren't many who can beat him at his own game, but a word of warning- be very careful. Our master is very resourceful. He can and will find a way to get back at you."
She didn't need to be told that. Centuries of living with Cristiano and the past several weeks had taught her that. But she also knew that as much as he would want to renege on their agreements- he wouldn't and couldn't. He had given his word with his mate as a witness. Whatever he did, it would have to be done in secret with no trails leading back to him. A little of the vindictive Elena peeked through and made a decision. In spite of the danger, she and Bella would stay with Cristiano until after the ball. She wanted him to remember how she had gotten the better of him every time he saw her. She smiled a small smile and looked out of the window into the darkness. She was finally free.
Vangie and Donatello landed in Munich and made their way to the hotel. Vangie was overwhelmed by the beauty of the city and wanted to explore, but first things first. They needed to get checked in and check for any updates on the ball. As soon as they were in the suite, Donatello walked through it checking the phones for any listening devices. Vangie watched without comment. The almost excessive behavior had irritated her to some degree but now she was glad for it. That vigilance could save their lives.
"It's fine," he said as he checked the bathroom.
Vangie began to unpack their luggage while Donatello set up their laptops. When that was done, he ran both laptops through the security systems. While he waited, he helped Vangie unpack. Suddenly he stopped what he was doing and looked around. His eyes landed on the king sized bed.
"Vangie," he said softly. "Come here now."
"I'll be right there," Vangie said as she finished hanging one of Donatello's shirts in the closet.
"I said now," Donatello said his voice low and intense.
Vangie immediately stopped what she was doing. She knew that tone. She had disobeyed him. She had been so intent on what she was doing that she had forgotten what room they were in. Even though she was almost sure that she was going to be punished, she felt herself grow wet. As she approached him, the laptops dinged signaling that the security checks had been completed.
"Damn it," Donatello swore. He was tempted to log onto the Borcelli and the ad websites later but knew that neither of them would relax until they knew what was happening. He gave Vangie a regretful look and held out his hand. Play would have to wait.
He led her to the sitting room, sat down in front of his laptop and pulled her into his lap. He moaned softly as Vangie adjusted herself in his lap by squirming this way and that. He wanted her to stop but yet he didn't. He was about to tell her not to stop when she did. Sighing, he reached around her and went to the Borcelli site first. They were speechless as they read the announcement that the ball had been postponed until further notice.
"What do you think happened?" Vangie asked.
"I have no idea," Donatello replied. "But whatever it was, it has helped us. We have more time to find whoever it is that's hunting me. This is good news even though we don't know how much more time it bought us."
"The guest list hasn't changed," Vangie said as she perused the list. "I find that strange- don't you?"
"There could be any number of reasons for that," Donatello replied after a moment. "It's possible that whatever is happening has nothing to do with the guest list. I would love to know what happened but unfortunately I have no contacts."
"I wonder if Emilio knows that the ball is postponed," Vangie said as she reread the announcement.
"Probably not if he is travelling," Donatello replied still not quite believing their good luck. It wasn't luck he reminded himself. He didn't know what it was, but he was sure that luck had nothing to do with it. Donatello shifted Vangie in his lap and entered the web address for the ad site. Halfway down, there was a message from Emilio.
Unfortunately the party has been postponed and I was so looking forward to it. But since I have already made arrangements, why do we not meet anyway? It will be good to see you and to exchange pleasantries. I will arrive to your location in two night's time.
"He knows something," Vangie said as she reread the message. "I can feel it and look at his wording."
Donatello was inclined to agree and he sensed something that in the ad that Vangie hadn't picked up on- anxiety. That made his own anxiety level rise. He began to rethink letting Vangie listen in on the meeting from another room. He didn't want her anywhere near Emilio but knew if he went back on his word she would be very angry. He knew that he could command her to stay put, but he also knew that she would risk punishment and disobey him. The lesser of the two evils was to keep his word. At least that way he knew where she was. But she was going to get the 'you will obey me' speech whether she wanted it or not.
"Vangie, turn around and look at me," he commanded.
When she was turned and facing him, he began his speech.
"I do not want you anywhere near that meeting. But I have given you my word that you could attend and you would disobey me anyway. You are to stay out of sight no matter what you see or hear- is that understood? I don't trust Emilio and I don't want him to know of your existence. I wouldn't put it past him to try and take you."
Vangie started to tell him that she thought that he was overreacting but stopped herself when she saw the expression on his face. She knew what was going through his mind- Elizabeta and his failure to protect her.
"I promise to do as you say," Vangie promised as she wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him.
"Swear it," he whispered against her lips. "Swear that you will obey me in this."
"I swear that I will obey you." Vangie replied hoping that she would be able to keep her promise.
Donatello relaxed and then tensed.
"I mean it Vangie. You are to stay out of sight and do as you are told. If you don't think that you can keep your word I will renege on my agreement. So tell me now... will you keep your word?"
"I promise to try to keep my word," Vangie replied.
"That isn't good enough," Donatello replied.
"Well it's going to have to do," Vangie replied hotly. "I refuse to sit back and not help you if the need arises. If you ..."
"Then I renege on my promise that you can attend the meeting." Donatello interrupted. "You will stay here under watch until I return. I will wear the hearing apparatus and you will have to make do with that. Do. Not. Argue. With. Me."
Vangie knew that she had just burned her bridge but tried to rebuild it anyway. No amount of crying, pleading or begging changed his mind. If anything, it only made him dig his heels in deeper. Finally Vangie stopped trying. The meeting wasn't for two days and maybe he would change his mind of his own volition.
Donatello felt badly, but her failure to keep her promise gave him what he needed in order to go back on his word. Held her to his chest and kissed her. His heart hurt for her, but it couldn't be helped. Her safety was everything. She was everything to him.
"Cara- sweetheart, listen to me," Donatello murmured in her ear. "I understand that this is hard for you but you are not able to promise to keep your word to stay out of harm's way. You already knew that I had reservations about you being at that meeting. Your failure to swear to keep your word verifies my feelings."
"How much does Elizabeta have to do with this?" Vangie asked quietly. "If she hadn't died would we be having this discussion? You keep telling me that we're mates but then you selectively shut me out. You were the one that told me that mates are responsible for each other's safety so tell me how locking me up does that? Who will have your back when you meet with Emilio who by the way probably already knows about me? You asked me to make a promise that I don't know that I can keep. I didn't lie to you by swearing to keep my word but then not only do you deny me my rights as a mate; you punish me for being honest. So explain why am I being punished for wanting to so what a mate should and is supposed to be doing?"
Her argument was compelling and also true. Had Elizabeta not died, he wouldn't be denying Vangie her rights as his mate. They wouldn't be having this discussion. They would be making plans on how to keep each other safe and for their getaway. He was realizing just how much Elizabeta's death had colored everything.
"You are right," he said after a few minutes. "I have only just realized that I allowed what happened to Elizabeth color everything. I thought that I had gotten over it but this proves that I haven't. Forgive me for trying to keep you from your rightful place at my side."
"You are more than forgiven!" Vangie exclaimed shocked and relieved that Donatello had actually changed his mind. "I know and understand what you were thinking, but I am not Elizabeta. I am capable of defending myself. I will kill the first thing that touches either of us and you need to trust me on that."
"I do," Donatello replied, "but it isn't you that I don't trust. I know the cruelty that Emilio is capable of and because you are vampire he will show no restraint."
"I promise not to do anything to put myself in his clutches, but we have to find out what he knows," Vangie replied kissing him.
"I agree," Donatello replied as he ground against her. He stood up still holding her against him and walked into the bedroom where he playfully dumped her onto the bed. "Tell me what you want," he said looking down at her. "Your wish is my command, so tell me my mistress; what is your heart's desire?"
Vangie's heart skipped a beat. This was as unexpected as Donatello changing his mind about her participating in the meeting with Emilio. She really wanted to do a repeat of being tied down, but agreed with Donatello- because of the intensity of the sensations and orgasms, it was something that should only be done on rare occasions.
"I want you deep inside of me," she said. "That's it... no more no less."
It was Donatello's turn to be surprised. Normally she would have given him a list.
"That's it?" he asked.
"That's all that I need and want," Vangie replied as she scooted back on the bed and opened her legs.
Donatello hesitated only for a moment not quite understanding what was happening with her. He climbed onto the bed, lay on top of her and slid into her. It was then that he realized that as brave and determined as she was, she was afraid. She simply needed him without all the fluff as she sometimes called it. Once inside of her he stilled.