The Vampire King
It was dusk as they drove outside of town toward the graveyard. Bronte had been elected navigator, but she had a hard time concentrating on the map in front of her. She looked out across a field of oak trees that marked the correct direction in which they were to take. The day seemed colorless, and the oak trees were shades of gray that led into black recesses as you tried to look down darkened paths between the rows. The next landmark would be the graveyard itself. Bronte hated graveyards. It wasn't that they scared her, but they reminded her of parts of her life that held her apart from the mortal world, yet still embraced the idea of her own mortality.
One day she would have such a home amongst the dead. It should have made her feel less alone, there were many dead, many to join her, but it did not. She knew that when she finally took her last breath in this world that she would be alone with her death. Her parents, her family, were immortal, and she was not. As they passed the graveyard with its splashes of color from plastic flowers beside weathered gravestones she saw only loneliness and despair there. The loneliness she felt in life would follow her to her grave.
"Where next?" Carol asked, and it brought Bronte's attention back to the map.
The map was hand drawn, and poorly done at that. The childlike drawing of a graveyard with spooky ghosts floating above it seemed to speak of Halloween, not college graduation. Bronte looked at the map for the next turn.
"Whippoorwill Road on the right just past the graveyard," she said and then looked up to match the picture on the map to the scene ahead. It had been relatively easy to find the place. Bronte looked to her companion and wondered about her own appearance. She wore a simple black dress with its only defining feature being a low backline. Carol had on a beautiful sparkling blue dress that was as short in the skirt as it was low in the neckline. It was expensive-trashy, but Carol made it work somehow.
"Here we are," Bronte said as she saw the first signs of the party. There were cars parked on either side of the road for almost a quarter mile. She was glad she wore low heels as Carol pulled to the side behind the last car.
The place was secluded amongst the oak and apple trees and was the only house on the entire road. The road was very short and dead ended less than a full mile ahead of them.
It was dark as they stepped out of the car and into the warm night air. Bronte could hear music coming from the direction of the house. The house itself was brightly lit on the second and third floor, but dimly lit on the first floor, where they would be entering. That had to be where all the dancing was going on.
There was a small group of young men standing around a sports car that was parked directly in front of the house. They were smoking and Bronte cringed inwardly knowing there would be smoking in the house. She was trying to be optimistic, but she was sure it wouldn't be long before she had a headache from the smoke, and even less time before she wanted to go home.
The men noticed their approach and began to elbow each other, talking in whispers. Bronte had no question who they were admiring. Carol was stunning in her daring dress and high heels. She had Hollywood looks with a great figure and long blonde hair. Bronte felt like a toad beside her, but who wouldn't? She often wondered if Carol asked her to go out just so she could look better in contrast. Bronte reprimanded herself inwardly at such an uncharitable thought. Carol had seemed very sincere when she asked her to come to the party.
Carol had also acted very surprised when Bronte said yes to the invitation. Carol had been asking Bronte to go out and have some fun for over a year now. They had been roommates the year before and hadn't really gotten to know each other very well by the time Bronte moved out and got her own place. Carol started to drop by. Bronte thought that even the glorious Carol got lonely sometimes and that was what endeared her to Bronte. When Carol felt lonely, they had something in common.
"Hi ya Carol," one of the men called out, and the others began to snicker.
Carol slowed down as she looked at the man and tried to place him. Bronte knew she must have recognized the man because she wrinkled her nose and slowed down.
"I don't want to talk to you," she said haughtily. She picked up her pace once she passed them and Bronte was hard pressed to keep up. Bronte was certain Carol was unhappy about seeing the young man, but that would not stop Carol from having fun tonight.
Looking up at the house one had the feeling of grandeur. It was a three story Victorian with a wrap around porch. Bronte was taking it all in as they walked up the steps toward the open door. The house was large and not well kept. There was no pride in keeping it consistent with its original theme, but it was a great party house. It was big enough to fit their entire graduating class, and it appeared that was exactly what it was doing.
The music got louder and louder as they walked further inside. People were smoking, as Bronte had feared, and it was more than just cigarettes.
"I'll be right back," Carol told her and then was gone.
Bronte was afraid this was how it would be. Carol was a social butterfly loved by all, and Bronte doubted that more than half a dozen people here knew her name. The best she could hope for was to find a nice safe place to sit and watch the festivities unfold. She wasn't a social person, but she liked people and found them interesting. She began to look about the first floor for somewhere to sit.
She noticed him coming in with alone. He was older than most of the people there and she wondered if he were a teacher. Her eyes glanced at him, but he turned away when someone called his attention and she began to look around at the others in the room.
Bronte looked back and caught a glance of Carol who had insisted that she come to this party and she wondered what it was that Carol had said to convince her. Bronte had never been a party person, and she had a lot of work to do.
Carol was already off in another room finding alcohol and a date. She recognized a few faces from around the college. There was one young woman who she thought might have been in her math class from last semester, but she couldn’t recall her name.
Someone bumped into her and she was thrown forward. It had been unexpected and Bronte lost her footing for a split second. She gasped when a strong pair of hands reached out and took her by the shoulders, effectively stopping her from introducing her face to the floor.
In her attempt to right herself and look around to see what jerk ran into her, and who saw her very ungraceful recovery, colors spun in a kaleidoscope about her. It gave her a feeling of dizziness and she shut her eyes against it hoping it would pass quickly. That was when she realized those strong hands were still locked in place at her shoulders. She opened her eyes slowly, looking directly ahead of her and all she saw was the dark softness of a man's silk shirt. It was warm out, but the sleeves were long and she wondered if the man was hot in the shirt. His chest was broad and she realized that he was over six feet tall as her eyes followed up the path of the small black buttons to an open collar. It was the older man she saw walk in just a moment ago.
He was strong. She could feel it in his hands, and she could see it in his muscles even though they were covered by the silk shirt. There was a light breeze coming in from a set of French doors that moved the material across his body, defining it as it caressed his skin. She wondered briefly what the sensation was like; to feel soft silken caresses across bare skin. She gave herself a mental shake and continued her slow perusal of her rescuer.
He was handsome with a strong jaw line and chiseled features. He had an aquiline nose that made her think of the Greeks. His skin was lighter, too light for a Greek, but what really captivated her were his eyes. His eyes seemed to be in contrast to everything else about him. They were the lightest shade of green Bronte had ever seen. She considered that he might be wearing colored contacts to get that shade, but she didn't want to stare at him while she tried to figure it out. His clothes were dark, his hair was black and those eyes stood out like a beacon in the darkness. All in all he was quite breathtaking and Bronte was speechless as they stood there still as statues while the world rushed about them as if they weren't there.
Bronte had the strangest sensation as she stood there. In fact she felt like every sense she had was on fire and alive. Her eyes were locked to his, but she was still keenly aware of the silk that caressed his skin. She could smell cologne that she couldn't recognize, but smelled very nice. Even her own skin, where his hand rested on her shoulders, felt alive in a way she had never experienced before. She could feel the exact size of his hands, they were large and warm and powerful. She could feel the heat coming from him. It felt as though they were caught in some invisible bubble that would not allow anyone or anything to interrupt this moment.
Time seemed to slow of its own accord and Bronte could no longer see anyone else but him. They were in their own private world, intimate and sensuous. Bronte watched as though she were apart from it all, as her right hand came up and rested on his left bicep. She could feel the muscles bunch beneath her touch, the soft silk cool then warm as her hand rested there. He was solid underneath those clothes and she knew it. She wasn't sure where that thought came from, or why it had invaded her mind with such clarity, but she knew it was so. The soft silk and the knowledge of all that hardness caused her body to tingle.
As she stared into his fathomless eyes her mind slipped into a fantasy she couldn't control, didn't want to control.
The silk was blood red sheets on a large feather bed and the warmth and hardness was him. In her mind it was all vivid and detailed beyond what her limited experience could have given her. She felt him as though it were real. She knew that only the silken sheets kept him from her own innocent body. He lay with his upper torso over her bosom and his eyes, those incredible eyes, hovered above her, holding her there, willing her to remain there with him.
He never spoke, but her eyes were drawn to his lips in the fantasy. She had always wanted to feel passion; to feel the heat of someone longing for her, and she longing for him until it was nearly unbearable. She had never been kissed in such a fashion, but she knew instinctively that he could kiss her like that. It made her want him. She wanted the promise those lips held for her. They could offer her things she had never thought possible. Things she had never known before
It was a feeling of losing control that brought her out of the fantasy and back to the reality of him. There wasn't much difference between the two, except for location and a total lack of privacy. He was still looking at her, touching her, and she still thought of his lips pressed against her own as though she had already felt them, and knew them to be passionate.
"I'm sorry," she offered as she let her hand fall away from his arm. "Someone ran into me." She felt more confusion as he remained silent.
When he continued to look at her without saying a word she became uncomfortable and stepped away from him. He allowed her to go without any protest and his hands released her shoulders.
As soon as they were no longer touching, Bronte felt more like herself. People were bustling about finding food, alcohol and companionship. No one seemed to take notice of them although they were in the center of all the commotion. Someone had changed the music and they were now trapped there by the dancers. The music turned to something soft and slow and Bronte watched some of the people leave the area, and others pair up and grow close to one another as they began to dance. It was still difficult to move around, even with all the comings and goings of those on the makeshift dance floor. Bronte turned to find a path away from the others just to be met with a wall of bodies. It was then that she realized how many of the couples were kissing and rubbing against one another. The lights dimmed as she watched the other couples and she looked around the room again to find an opening. When she turned to look in the opposite direction from where she started she found herself facing him again.
He had not moved, and she was only inches from him. He was still looking at her and in her confusion she could only look back. He moved and she felt his hand rest at her bare back, and the other took her hand in his. Without a word between them they began to dance in the slow flowing rhythm of the music.
Her hand went to his shoulder and her eyes remained fixed on his. She felt his thumb begin to caress her soft bare skin at her lower back and the feeling was so intense that she gasped in a sigh. He smiled then. Her surprise at the feeling of skin on skin was charming to him. He suspected she was innocent. That appealed to him and he thought he would not allow another to touch her.
She felt his hand begin to move in a caress and she was unsure as to the propriety of it. It was only a dance. It was only a touch. But, he was a stranger, and she was inexperienced with men. She knew she was flushed and wished to look away from those powerful eyes that seemed to bore into her very soul, but something held her and she could only look at him.
The feel of his hand on her skin brought the thought of bodies entwined to come yet again unbidden. She fought her own emotions that vacillated between uncertainty and titillation. As he let his hand slide down her back and then up again she felt her eyes close and her body melt into his. The feeling was exquisite. She had never had anyone touch her like that, not with the effect this was having on her delicate and sensitive back. When she opened her eyes she watched him with curiosity. Who was he? She wanted to ask, but the words would not come. She didn’t want to break the spell of their intimacy. Instead she allowed him to pull her even closer to him, until it was too difficult to continue looking up at him, because he was so much taller than she. There was no where to rest her head but on his broad chest and she lay her cheek to his heart and upon the soft silk she had admired just moments ago.
The feel of it was just as she imagined it would be. He was warm and hard, and the silk was smooth and soft against her skin. Without thought she moved her cheek against the soft cloth in a sensuous caress. That was when she heard his heartbeat. What startled her was not the sound of his heart, but the fact that until that moment she had not heard a heartbeat at all. The thought sifted through her mind and she pulled away from him. He continued to look at her as though nothing were wrong, and perhaps there was nothing wrong. Still, Bronte felt that something was not entirely right either. It could be her inexperience bringing fear to the surface of her mind, or the new feelings he invoked in her with his caress and his nearness. Either way, she felt the need to leave him. She needed to clear her head. She stepped away without a word, and without a word he let her go.
The music stopped as though it had been waiting for them to finish their dance. When it did the spell was effectively broken and Bronte turned and pushed her way through the crowd to find Carol. The smoke was too much for her, the drinking had begun to make the party-goers loud and obnoxious. It was time to go home. She looked at her watch and wondered how mad Carol was going to be when she asked to leave so soon. She was shocked to see that two hours had passed. It had felt like ten minutes. That couldn’t be right she thought. She shook her head and decided that she didn’t care about the time, only about getting out of this place. There were too many people, too much sexual energy in the place and it was affecting her in a way she did not care for. She hated not to be in control of her own senses, and here she was not.
Bronte spent the next fifteen minutes searching the house on all floors for Carol. She was hoping that Carol hadn’t left her there without a ride home. Carol had not done that before, but then again Bronte had not agreed to go out to a party with her before. She wasn’t really sure what Carol might do.
It was then that Bronte made her way to the last hallway on the third floor and heard noises coming from the last room on the left. There was a crash and a sound that was very much like a stifled scream. She knocked on the door and heard more motion within. There were sounds of shushing and it made Bronte think of the young men who had been outside when they walked up. That thought caused her heart to race in fear for her friend.
She knocked again, only this time she put some muscle into it. She was petite, but the sound was not. When no one answered she began to throw her body into the door. There wasn’t much chance she could knock the door down, but she could make enough noise to get them to open the door. And that was exactly what happened.
The door opened and Bronte fell inside. She actually hit the floor. She was right. She stood and the young man who had spoken to Carol stood directly in front of her looking at first very angry and then very pleased as he recognized her as Carol’s friend.
“Look what we have here,” he said as he reached down and pulled Bronte up by the front of her dress. He looked over his shoulder and that was when Bronte saw that the rest of the young men were there too, and Carol was being held down on the bed by one of them. There was no mistaking what their intent was for Carol, and now for her.
The young man held Bronte in place then looked over her shoulder and down the hallway. He saw no one and he yanked her inside and slammed the door shut. As soon as the door closed he turned Bronte around and pulled her back to his chest and lifted her off the ground. She immediately began to kick and thrash about, but he shook her hard and squeezed her so tight the breath was pushed out of her and she struggled to breathe.
Once she caught her breath she began to scream. She let out one single scream that was cut short by a hand over her mouth. She tried to bite him, and got a small piece of flesh. The man yelled out in pain and moved his hand. She had not broken the skin, but it hurt like hell. He threw her hard against the wall as he examined his injured part. She hit her head hard and slid down to the floor.
Her heart was racing and her head was throbbing. She lay there with her cheek on the carpet and watched his feet come closer to her. He was wearing cheap loafers and mismatched socks and as he brought his foot back to kick her she reached out and grabbed his foot and pulled up. He was caught in total surprise and thrown off balance. He fell to the floor and Bronte was up.
She had taken some self-defense lessons by some pretty experienced fighters, and even though she was frightened, she was not going to go down without a fight.
There were three other men besides the one on the floor. They were only a few feet away surrounding the bed where Carol lay helpless with one of them on top of her holding her down. Bronte looked first to the man that was down. He was the easiest target and she needed to even the odds a little more in her favor, so she walked two steps toward him and did what she knew would keep him down; one kick to the groin and the other to the head. One down, three to go.
“Shit!” she heard one of the men say as he watched what she did to the first man. He was standing closest to her and he came toward her as though he would run her over.
He was running with the intention of taking her down to the floor so she used his momentum when she crouched down and stuck her leg out to let him trip on it. He flew forward into the wall and she heard something snap. She looked and saw that he was not moving. There was no time to worry about whether or not he was okay, the other man moved from the far side of the bed and cautiously came toward her.
“Watch out man,” the man on the bed warned his friend.
There was no acknowledgement from the other man, he must have planned on being very cautious all along. Bronte watched him pull out a small wooden club from behind his back. It was only six inches long, but it could do some damage if he made contact.
Bronte kept her eyes on the approaching figure as her peripheral vision searched out a weapon in the room. It was a small room with little for decoration. The only thing she could see in the immediate vicinity was a picture of a sad clown hanging on the wall, and the small lamp by the bedside. She would never be able to get to the lamp, but the picture had a wooden frame to it, cheap, but handy and she lunged for it before the man could make his move.
He hadn’t expected her to move toward the wall and he only stood there watching her as though she were crazy. She lifted the picture off the wall and held it in her hands.
“You have got to be kidding?” He asked her with sarcasm. He laughed then, but as he looked to the two wounded men the laugh stopped and he realized she was not kidding.
He moved toward her and lifted the club. As it came down she held up the picture as though it were a shield and she felt the weight of the hit as it came down. There was the sound of breaking glass and she moved backward trying to absorb some of the impact without feeling the hit itself. The cheap wood broke in four pieces at the seam in the frame. She dropped all but one of the pieces. It was sharp on two ends and she used it like a knife, bringing it down into the man’s shoulder. He screamed and dropped the club. He looked at the protruding wooden stake in astonishment and horror.
Bronte immediately picked up another piece of wood and approached him. He saw her coming and he backed up. He fell over his companion on the floor and then began to propel himself backward using his legs, trying to move away from her.
Bronte watched as that man backed up to the far wall and stared at her as though she had grown horns or become possessed. The wood was embedded deeply and had totally immobilized his dominant arm.
Her attention was then drawn to the man holding Carol to the bed. Carol was looking up at her, but said nothing even though her mouth was no longer covered. Her mascara had run and she looked like she would have a bruise on her cheek. Her lip was cracked and bleeding, but she still had all her clothes on.
The man at the bed leaped off it and ran toward the door. When he threw it open he found his path blocked by a man dressed in dark clothes and looking more menacing than the dangerous woman inside. For a moment the young man felt as though he would laugh, and that thought made him wonder if he was going to go mad. The thought was interrupted when the tall man grabbed him by the throat and threw him back inside.
It was the man that Bronte had danced with. She watched as he walked in the room, not bothering to close the door behind him. The sounds of the party filtered in. Bronte looked at the darkly clad man and then at the young man he had thrown inside. That one was up against the wall where the man with the stake in his shoulder sat.
Bronte shook her head to clear it and looked back at Carol. She ran to the bed and helped her friend to sit up.
“Are you going to be okay?” She asked Carol.
Carol was in shock. She could only look around the room at the bodies. Finally Bronte gave her a gentle shake and that brought Carol’s attention back to her.
“Do I need to take you to the hospital?” Bronte asked then.
Carol stared at her for a long moment and Bronte wondered if she would have to shake her again, but then Carol began to shake her head.
“No,” she said as her paralysis broke. “No, I just want to get out of here.”
Bronte looked about the room then. This was a mess. She didn’t think the men would want to involve the police. They had tried to rape Carol and someone would have to tell the cops. The thought of involving the police made Bronte glance over at the man who had hit his head hard against the wall. He lay there motionless with his neck at an awkward angle. Bronte got up off the bed and began to walk slowly toward that man. She felt fear as she wondered if he had broken his neck. Before she could reach him though the man in black appeared in front of her. He stood there like a wall, keeping her away from the ugly truth she knew would be there at that body.
She looked up at him and wondered what to do next.
“Go,” he said. There was something in the way he said it, his look or his stance that made her stop. She felt confused at first. She tried to look past him at the body, but he would not allow it. His eyes bore into her and she felt panic.
She turned to Carol who was also staring at the man. There was no need to tell Carol to go a second time, she was straightening her dress and pushing her hair around to bring some semblance of order to it as she walked toward the open door.
She stopped at the doorway and turned around to look at Bronte.
“Come on!” she said. She was looking at Bronte as though she could see nothing else.
Bronte looked around the room once more and knew she should not go. She knew she should call the police and report this, even if she had accidentally killed one of the men. She looked back in that direction, but could still see only the man standing there, forbidding her to move anyway but out. Her eyes found his again and although he said nothing she knew he wanted her to leave.
She said nothing to him. No “thank you”, no “I can’t go”, nothing. She turned and followed Carol out into the hall.
They were silent as they made their way out of the house. No one seemed to notice them at all. It was as though everyone in the house was making a path for them to leave, but didn’t see them walking. Bronte’s heart began to race once they got to the car. Carol was going to drive, but Bronte insisted on driving and Carol complied.
With a final backward look at the house Bronte’s eyes found the room she knew the young men were in. Standing in the window was a dark figure looking out. She wasn’t sure if she was grateful, or fearful, but she was glad she was leaving.
* * *
That night Carol stayed at Bronte’s apartment. Bronte let her sleep in her bed and gave her some pajamas to wear. Carol had cried most of the way home and now she just wanted to sleep.
She did not want to call the police and when Bronte asked her why she refused to say. Bronte knew that Carol had a history with one of the young men, but she didn’t know what the details were. It was all over now, and Bronte didn’t pressure Carol for answers to questions that weren’t needed anymore. The time to have known about the possible danger with the young man would have been before they got into trouble. Now it was over and Bronte wanted to let it go.
She lay there in the darkness and wondered about the young man who she was so sure was dead. She wondered if there would be an investigation. She wondered about the man she had met and if he would have called the police. Just thinking of him caused her to ask more questions that could not be answered. She needed to try and put it out of her mind. There was nothing to be done now. She wished she had called the police, but she didn’t, and she would wait to see what happened next.
She closed her eyes just as dawn peered in through the half-open curtains. The blinds were partially open and a crisscross of light and shadow fell across the carpet. Bronte stared at it as though it were hypnotizing her. She was not aware of falling to sleep, she was only aware of her mind drifting off to imagine green eyes and black hair.
* * *
It had been three weeks since the incident at the party and Bronte had graduated with honors. She now held a degree in anthropology that she had no idea what to do with.
She had spent the last week visiting with her parents who had come to see her at graduation and then came back for a short visit.
She did not tell her parents about the incident at the party. Her father would have never allowed her to move so far away if he even thought she couldn’t handle herself.
They had discovered when she was a small infant that she was not immortal and her father became very cautious with her. He treated her as though she were the most fragile creature on earth. There was a lot he would not allow her to do. Her mother always had to coax him when there was something she wanted to do. Her mother had never been very social either and it did not help Bronte learn to fit in. Her father wanted her kept away from preternatural creatures except for his most trusted friends, and her mother didn’t know many humans well enough to socialize with them.
Bronte was afraid her father would object to her moving far away. She had never fought her father over such things, mostly because she adored him beyond reason, but she needed to be on her own. She needed to learn to care for herself.
Bronte had been contacted by a museum in Minneapolis and both she and Carol had been offered summer jobs there. She wanted to get away. She wanted to escape the images of the party. She wanted to escape her uncertain future. She wanted to escape the vivid fantasies that raced through her dreams each night of red silk sheets and light green eyes.
* * *
Bronte looked around her new apartment and was satisfied. She was glad that she had decided to get her own place instead of sharing a place with Carol. It wasn’t that she didn’t like Carol’s company, but she had grown used to having her privacy and was reluctant to give that up. Carol was very understanding and had found an apartment of her own around the same time. They were able to help one another move in, with the help of Bronte’s father who paid for movers for both girls.
Bronte’s parents approved of the location and offered to help her financially, but Bronte declined. She appreciated the offer, but wanted to try to make it on her own this summer. She needed to do this by herself. Her parents not only understood and respected her decision, but were proud of her as well.
Bronte had put every little item in place except for those things too heavy to move, and the movers put those items where she had directed them. Bronte loved flowers and antiques, and she had both by way of furniture and decoration about the rooms. The antiques were gifts from her parents; a benefit to having an immortal family. She had more books than space and after filling a large bookshelf in the living room and another in the bedroom she left the rest unpacked in a closet, awaiting another time and place in which they too would be displayed and read.
The phone rang and Bronte knew it was Carol. She had called three times already today to ask for help with this or that, and to share in her own excitement about the move and the new job. Carol hadn’t unpacked yet. She had, however, found the most interesting club near her place and had already gone out twice since they had arrived. Bronte was just waiting for Carol to ask her to come over and help her unpack, it was inevitable.
“Hello,” Bronte said as she picked up the cordless phone and walked over to the couch to sit and take a break.
“Bronte?” It was Carol. She didn’t wait for an acknowledgment before she went on. “I met the most incredible man last night!” She was so excited that Bronte smiled to herself. It wasn’t surprising that Carol had already met someone, but her constant enthusiasm about any new beau was amusing to Bronte. Bronte was just glad that the incident at the party back at college hadn’t left any permanent damage on Carol’s social skills. She found that she was happy for Carol.
“Really?” Bronte said to encourage her to share. Not that Carol needed the extra encouragement.
“His name is Seth and he is gorgeous!” she went on. “He’s older than anyone I have ever dated before, maybe late thirties to mid forties. Still, he has a great body and lots of money. And, I brought him home last night.” She shared the last as though it might be shocking to Bronte. It wasn’t.
“Are you sure that’s safe Carol?” Bronte asked, knowing Carol would think her naïve.
“Bronte, you need to live a little.” Was all she said in reply to Bronte’s question. “He wants us to go out with him tonight. I told him all about you and he wants to meet you. Please say you’ll come,” she begged.
Bronte thought of the last time Carol had begged her to come to a party. It had not ended well and it made her reluctant to go. She looked about the apartment again and tried to think of a good excuse and found that she didn’t really have one. She had told her parents that she wanted to have her own life, and it was going to be hard to have one if she never did anything. It was the weekend and their new jobs wouldn’t start until Monday. Everything was unpacked. Bronte was nodding her head and then realized she needed to answer.
“Okay,” she said in defeat into the phone.
“Well, try not to sound so excited Bronte,” Carol whined and then realized she had gotten her way and cheered up immediately. “Wear something great. Be daring. We’ll pick you up at ten tonight.” That was it. There was a click and then silence on the other end.
Bronte thought that ten was a little late to be getting started, but she had agreed and she would go. Now that she had committed to it she felt a little excited about the prospect. It was only 5 o’clock now, but she thought she had better find something “great” right away or she would have to run to the mall and buy something. She got up and went into her small bedroom to look through the closet and find something daring.
By 9 o’clock she was ready and pensive. She was excited, but nervous. She didn’t go out much and she didn’t dress up much so she really felt out of her element. She was used to wearing baggy comfortable overalls, or big sweaters and jeans, comfort was always more appealing than fashion for Bronte. She looked at herself again in the mirror looking for flaws she might have missed the last dozen times she looked. As she appraised her appearance she almost decided not to go.
She looked at her reflection and scrunched her nose at herself. She didn’t think she was unattractive. She looked like her mother, with dark blue eyes and black hair, petite, but strong. Still, she was plain in a way Carol could never fathom. She would never be one of those glamour girl model types. It wasn’t her style. Dressing up as though it were was just making her uncomfortable. She looked at the amount of skin showing and wondered if she should get a sweater to cover up with in case it got cold. She had large breasts and on a petite woman that was just asking for notice. Then add a low cut top to the mix and you did not want to go out in the cold on top of that. Bronte decided she would still go, but she was taking a sweater. She was in Minnesota now, and it was likely it was going to get cold tonight.
By ten minutes to ten Bronte was pacing the living room with her purse in her hands. She needed to go as soon as they got there, or she was not going to go at all. As she had that thought someone knocked on the door and it startled her into a small cry. She laughed at herself, picked up her sweater and went to the door.
Carol stood there in all her grandeur. She wore a white dress so sheer Bronte wondered if Carol realized it was see through. Knowing Carol, she knew, so Bronte only smiled. Behind Carol was a strikingly handsome older man. Bronte put him at forty years old, but his eyes spoke of more experience than that. He had salt-and-pepper hair that as still mostly dark, and brown eyes. His eyebrows were thick, but not bushy and his face was square and well proportioned. His build did look great from what Bronte could see. He was wearing a very expensive suit that just screamed of money. Bronte was willing to bet he was wearing a Rolex and that he had a limo waiting for them.
They stood there looking at each other at first saying nothing. Then Carol smiled and introduced the man behind her.
“Bronte, this is Seth.” She stepped aside so Seth could extend his hand. Curiously he only extended it about halfway. Bronte had to take a step outside the apartment to take his hand and shake it.
“It is so nice to meet you. Carol speaks very highly of you.” His voice was incredible. It was the deepest, softest tone Bronte had ever heard. “No wonder Carol brought him home”, Bronte thought to herself, “I’d do it just to hear him talk all night.”
“Nice to meet you,” Bronte replied.
Seth held her hand a moment longer, just to the point of it being odd, then he let it go. He looked behind her and inside the apartment. He couldn’t see much from where he stood and he looked at Bronte as if to ask if they could come in.
“I’d invite you in, but I’m a bit nervous about going out and if we go back in I may not go out at all.” Bronte was trying to be honest. She thought it best.
“There is nothing to be nervous about I assure you,” Seth offered.
Bronte looked to Carol who didn’t say a word. She looked ready to go as well so Bronte turned and closed the door then locked it behind her.
They made their way down to the car and Bronte felt a humorous satisfaction as she saw it was a long black limousine. She had been right about the limo. It wasn’t that it really mattered all that much, but she felt that she knew people pretty well and Seth seemed like someone who wanted everyone to know he had money.
Inside the limo Seth sat beside Carol, and across from Bronte. The car was big enough that there should have been a lot of room to move around, but Seth was so close that his knees continually brushed up against Bronte’s. She looked at him to see if he noticed, but he was speaking amiably to them both as though there was nothing amiss. Bronte let it drop thinking that it was all just her nervousness and lack of social experience that made her think that Seth might be trying to brush up against her on purpose. It was a ridiculous idea. Carol was stunning; Seth had no reason to seek anyone else, let alone Carol’s socially inept friend.
They arrived at the club and Bronte immediately thought it was a mistake. The area of town it was in was terrible and frightening. There were hookers on the street, and drug dealers on the corners. The club was in the middle of a row of hock shops and liquor stores. The sign said “Bloody Moon” with a big neon sign showing a werewolf and a big busted woman in an embrace that was both sexual and horrific. Surprisingly there was a long line at the door and a large burly bouncer checking names. The line went all the way around the corner and disappeared beyond. There were people dressed in suits, jeans, silks, leather and next to nothing. The diversity was impressive and it piqued Bronte’s curiosity. She was a people-watcher. She found them interesting. She thought as she was getting out of the limo that it might be a fun night after all.
Bronte was mildly impressed to find that they did not have to wait in line to go in. The bouncer seemed to recognize Seth immediately and made way for them all to go inside.
The thought of a fun night was short-lived as she was ushered inside. The club appeared to be like any other club. There was loud music and lots of people drinking and looking for a good time. But, there was something else. She couldn’t put her finger on it exactly, but there was a feeling that surrounded her as she walked further within. It was a feeling of tension and fear that was also sexual. It was stifling and thick and it drowned out everything else about the place.
Bronte was following Seth and Carol, but as she looked about the place trying to find the cause of her discomfort or identify the source of the tension, she momentarily lost sight of them. When she realized her dilemma she was near the bar. She looked beyond the dancers and to the booths trying to find her friend. As her eyes scanned the area she saw things that were out of place. The bartender handed someone a syringe. The syringe wasn’t like one you’d see a junkie use; it was bigger, maybe 10cc. It was also empty. It was done in open sight as though it were as natural as serving up a beer. Then the bartender saw her staring and his look caused her breath to catch in her throat. She quickly turned away and that brought her attention to a woman who stood in the center of the dance floor. She just stood there, unmoving. Her head appeared to be resting to the side on her shoulder and she looked disheveled and odd. Then Bronte saw her move and that was what frightened her. The woman moved in jerky movements, but so quickly that it had the look of a video skipping in parts, but still moving forward. Her head remained at her shoulder as though it were broken at the neck. The woman’s eyes were fixed and staring, but there was no emotion there. Those empty eyes turned as they felt the weight of Bronte’s stare and they found her. Bronte stepped back as though one more step would make her feel safer, but it didn’t. Then she let out a cry as someone stepped directly in front of her.
It was Seth. Bronte’s eyes snapped up to him full of fear. It took her a moment to realize who was standing there and once she did she found she was very glad to see him.
“There’s something not right here,” she said quietly and then realized he wouldn’t be able to hear her over the loud music.
“You’re just not used to being out,” he said and she was amazed that he had heard her. His eyes bore into hers and she began to feel lost. The feeling was overpowering. “I will take care of you,” he said it using that melodious tone she had heard before. He seemed to be able to use it at will and it had a calming effect on her.
She found herself nodding and taking his extended arm. She never looked back at the dance floor or the bar. Her eyes remained on him as he led her to a corner booth away from all the confusion.
Carol was waiting for them and said something as Seth guided Bronte into the seat across from her. Carol’s voice shattered the spell Bronte found herself under and she was finally able to turn away from Seth with his dark eyes and sultry tone.
“What happened to you?” Carol was asking for a second time before Bronte was really able to give her friend her full attention.
Bronte looked at Carol and deciphered her words. The words made her glance about the room again feeling some of the fright seep back into her heart. The bartender was serving beer, not syringes, and he was giving most of his attention to a blonde at the far end, and not paying any attention to her. She was too afraid to look back out at the dance floor. She averted her eyes and looked around her immediate area then.
Seth sat himself beside Carol, but his eyes were intently on her. She didn’t want to look at him. Nothing felt right about this. She had not answered Carol, so Seth answered for her.
“She got lost, that’s all,” he said to both women. “She is not used to so much,” he looked at Bronte and she felt compelled to seek his face, “life,” he finished.
Bronte said nothing. She forced her eyes away from Seth’s and turned to Carol. She wanted to tell Carol to take her home. She didn’t care that they had just arrived. She didn’t feel safe here. If they wouldn’t give her a ride home she would call a cab. But, when she looked at Carol she could see something about the woman had changed. It was as though they had stepped into another universe, and here in this club people were not normal. Perhaps they were when they came in, but once inside something happened to them. Maybe she was immune because her genetics were not entirely human. She wasn’t sure. What she was sure of was that Carol would not be leaving. Her eyes were glazed over and she appeared to be drunk or drugged.
Bronte tried to act as though everything was fine. The problem with that is that you immediately begin to question what normal is like when you’re trying to act it. If Carol was doing drugs that was Carol’s business, but if it was something else, Bronte thought that would be her business. She thought again of the syringe she saw at the bar. Could Carol have shot something up in the short time she was away from her? It was possible. Bronte knew Carol took some recreational drugs occasionally, but she tried not to judge her. She never knew of Carol shooting anything up and as Bronte thought about it her eyes fell to Carol’s arms. Would she have shot up there? Carol was wearing such flimsy material Bronte felt she surely would have seen evidence of the marks had Carol shot up recently. There would have been blood or a bandage, but she saw nothing there.
Bronte just felt confused then. Was she just over-excited and seeing things? Surely not, but what else could it be? Could there really be drug deals going on all around her? Could there be drugs circulating in the air itself and maybe she was feeling the affects of it?
Bronte looked to Seth then and wondered what kind of a man would bring them to such a club. Who was he? Carol trusted him. She trusted him enough to take him home with her. She needed to get Carol alone and ask her what was going on.
“Could I get a drink?” She asked of Seth. Seth smiled as though he were pleased that he could do something for her.
“Ask for anything,” he told her, and his eyes said far more than his words did. “I’d be only too pleased to give you anything you desire.”
“Oh yeah,” Bronte thought silently to herself, “this is weirdo-land.”
Outwardly she smiled sweetly. “Just a soda with lemon if you don’t mind,” she told him. He stood immediately. At first he appeared to be searching the room and Bronte was afraid he was going to have someone come to take the order, then he seemed to recognize what he was looking for and he excused himself.
As soon as Bronte thought he was out of hearing distance she turned back to Carol.
“Are you okay?” Bronte asked. Carol had a far away look in her eyes now that worried Bronte. Still, she turned her head very slowly and looked at Bronte.
“I feel wonderful,” she said. She was high. Bronte wasn’t sure when she did it, but Carol had taken some drugs. She was worried about her friend, but she was angry too. Carol knew that drugs were not her scene and she had brought her to a club that was so obviously a drug infested meat market.
“I want to go home,” Bronte announced. Carol could stay if she wished. She was an adult and could take care of herself. Seth had already spent the night, so Carol must feel that he was safe. She didn’t need anyone to take her home, she would get a cab.
When Bronte stood to go Carol reacted. Her eyes widened and she stood as well. Her hand fell to Bronte’s shoulder and claimed her attention.
“You can’t go,” she insisted. Carol began to look out into the crowd as though she were searching for someone. Bronte could guess who, but not why. Her fingers dug into Bronte’s shoulder until Bronte shrugged hard enough to break the contact.
“You stay if you want to Carol,” Bronte told her. “I’m going.”
Carol was still searching the crowd and barely noticed when Bronte walked away. She didn’t follow her or try to stop her at all. She seemed to be unable to leave the booth. Bronte cast a last glance at her and then turned to make her way outside.
Once outside the tension lessened. Bronte walked just a few feet away from the front door and inhaled deeply. The air wasn’t as clear as it was back home, but it was fresh and it was cool. She barely noticed the crowd behind her as she began walking away from the club. The further away she walked the better she felt.
Bronte walked a block away before she slowed down to take a look around where she was. It was dark with only a few street lights lit intermittently down the street. She could see cars on an overpass far down the street and thought she might be able to find a taxi if she could get to where the traffic was. She sighed and noticed the white puffs of her breath as she exhaled. She was glad for the sweater she had brought and pulled the front of it more tightly around her for warmth.
She had walked halfway to her destination when she heard something behind her. Her heart raced and she told herself not to look back, because looking back would tell whoever was back there that she knew they were there. She wanted to just keep walking and she picked up her pace. When she heard another noise she finally turned to see who was there and how close they were.
When she turned her face was so close to the woman that their noses almost touched. Bronte immediately stepped back and her heart stopped as she looked into the face of the woman from the dance floor. As recognition set in her heart began to race. She watched in horror as the woman’s head flopped to the side much as it was earlier in the club, as though it were broken. The woman didn’t try to fight it and allowed her head to rest there. It was surreal and horrific and Bronte screamed and started to run.
When she turned back to the street and her destination she could see the figures of two men up ahead. They were directly in the center of the street and remained there as though they were waiting for her. She didn’t care. She wanted to get as far away from the woman as she could. She fought the urge to look back while she continued running, but finally her fear got the better of her and she turned her head as she was running. The woman stood there where she had left her. Then she moved and like on the dance floor it was in sporadic jerky movements that could not have been human. She seemed to move about ten feet forward, and then stopped again.
Her movement propelled Bronte forward at break-neck speed and as she turned to face forward again she almost ran into one of the men in the street. She veered to the right of him, but in her forward momentum she was not able to negotiate such a sharp turn and she let out a cry as she fell forward onto the pavement.
She hit hard on one side and slid a few feet before stopping at the foot of the other figure. She looked up to see the man peering down at her. His expression did not make her feel any better. He was smiling down at her. It was one of those idiot grins, but it didn’t quite reach his eyes. His eyes were glossed over and full of excitement. She pushed herself to her feet and stood facing both men.
Her eyes glanced down the street where the woman was still standing. It was as though the woman was waiting for something. Bronte’s eyes slowly moved back toward the men and she knew she was in danger. Her fear tasted metallic in her mouth and her mouth had gone dry. She was breathing so fast that she was getting dizzy.
“What do you want?” she asked. Her voice trembled and gave her away. She heard one of the men snicker and heard the other sniffing the air. It made her think that they were not human. She had no doubt that the woman was not human. She didn’t know what she was, but she was certainly not human.
There was another sound directly behind her. It was the sound of something hitting the pavement and she turned to see who else had joined them. She wasn’t sure where he had come from, but he was straightening himself up to his full height when she looked at him. He was tall and dressed in dark clothing. His head was still bent and as his body straightened his head came up. She knew him!
It was the man from the party. The one who had danced with her, who told her to leave when they had run into trouble, and the same man she had been fantasizing about for weeks. She blinked hard and refocused, thinking that he might just be a figment of her hysteria. It was him. He stood there looking at her. He didn’t move, he didn’t speak, he only looked at her.
She couldn’t move. She thought that perhaps she was in shock. Then his eyes snapped away from hers and he looked beyond her. His eyes held a menacing stare and she finally looked behind her to see what affect it had on the others. They were gone.
Bronte whirled around to face the man that had saved her. She winced as she realized she had hurt her arm when she fell. The first layer of skin was gone and it was weeping and bleeding in places. He looked to the injured part and she thought she saw concern there. He removed a clean white handkerchief from within his jacket and handed it to her. She placed it on the wound. Then his eyes found hers again.
“Thank you,” she said quietly and it rode out on a puff of white breath. She took one step toward him, and then stopped. “I know you.” She let that hang in the air for a moment to see if he would acknowledge, or remember. She wanted him to remember her. “From the party a few weeks ago,” she offered him.
His eyes gave nothing away, but they looked down at her arm again and he took one step forward. They were now only a foot apart.
“Are you hurt badly?” he asked. His eyes sought hers again.
“It’ll be okay,” she told him. “Are you a cop?” she asked then. It was the most plausible explanation. Those men took one look at him and ran away. He was either a cop or a bigger bad guy than they were. Bronte was really hoping he was a cop.
She saw him smile then. It was short and melted away to that serious expression he had when he arrived. He was a cop.
“Do I get to know your name, Officer…” she wanted to know his name. She wanted to put a name to that face.
She thought that he would not answer her. He continued looking at her, but then looked toward the overpass as a group of cars went over it. He seemed to be considering the cars when he finally spoke.
“Quinn,” he said. He looked back to her. “We need to get you home safely,” he offered.
She was totally in agreement with that. She wanted nothing more than to get home right now. She looked about the street, but did not see a car. He saw her looking and guessed her thoughts.
“I was dropped off,” he offered by way of explanation. She nodded.
“I don’t have a cell phone. Do you?” She was hopeful. She had a cell phone, she just hadn’t thought to bring it. Other than her parents and a very few friends no one ever called her on it.
To her delight he pulled one out of his long jacket and flipped it open. He dialed a number and gave the address to the person on the other end. The cab had to be close by because it took less than five minutes for it to arrive. The entire time they did not speak and it had become uncomfortable.
Bronte was surprised when the man got into the cab with her. She thought he wanted to make sure she was okay and got home safely. She hoped that meant she would get a chance to talk to him, although he didn’t seem to talk much.
She would have liked to talk about the last time they met, but she wasn’t sure she wanted to know what had happened after she and Carol left that room. She wanted to know why he was out there at that time of night, in that exact place.
“How did you know I was in trouble?” she asked. The cab was dark inside and she could only see him when they passed beneath a light. He appeared to be looking at her as he considered his answer. He was thoughtful for some minutes, but finally replied.
“I was investigating something in the area,” he told her. “I heard your cries.”
For the first time Bronte realized that the man had a very deep voice. It was soft though and as melodic as Seth’s had been. There was the slightest hint of an English accent and it intrigued her. An English cop in Minnesota? That had to be an interesting story. The accent was so slight she felt he must have lived in the United States for some years.
She was relieved to hear him say he was investigating something because it proved that he was a police officer instead of a bigger bad guy, which was still on her mind.
The cab pulled over and Bronte looked out the window at her apartment building. She wanted to go inside her apartment and lock the door. She was still pretty shook up over her entire ordeal. She also wasn’t sure she wanted Officer Quinn to leave without finding out more about him. He had haunted her thoughts for weeks, and now he had saved her. She debated for a moment about asking him to come up for coffee. She thought she owed him that.
“Would you care to come up for coffee?” She asked. He had been so elusive she didn’t think he would accept. She was in for a surprise.
“I would like that,” he told her.
His face was in the shadows, but she knew he was looking at her. She nodded and opened the door.
“Oh!” she realized she had to pay the cab driver and stopped with one foot already on the pavement outside. She turned and began to fumble inside her purse for money.
She saw movement and looked up. Officer Quinn was handing the man some cash and she looked toward him and wondered if she should offer to pay half of the fare. She felt momentarily confused about what to do next. She shook her head to clear her thoughts and decided that she would make him coffee and thank him for the ride too before he left.
She got out and Officer Quinn followed her.
Bronte felt nervous now that she was all alone with the man. She reminded herself that he was a police officer as she turned the key and opened her door. She walked in, switching on the lights and removing her sweater. She threw her sweater on a chair next to the sofa before she realized that Officer Quinn had not come in. She turned and saw him standing in the doorway. She gave him a quizzical look and wondered if he had changed his mind.
“May I come in?” he finally asked after a moment of silence.
“Please. Come in.” As she said the words there were bells and whistles going off in her head. She watched him enter the apartment and then felt a rolling surge of energy pass through her. The apartment seemed smaller somehow and it grew cool. She walked over to the thermostat and turned it up.
She couldn’t take her eyes off of him. She knew of preternatural beings. Her parents were of a world full of those beings. Looking at him she thought of how he needed to be invited inside and she worried that perhaps she had invited in something she could not handle; something that could harm her as much as those people in the street outside the club.
It was too late now to take it back. If he was a vampire she had just told him he could be there. What was she going to do now? Ask him if he was a vampire? That would sound crazy. Not everyone believed in such things, and those who did not believe thought those who did needed special medication and treatment.
She considered that he was just being polite. Being a cop he probably didn’t want there to be any misunderstandings with any woman. It would look bad on his record if some woman accused him of attacking her. She stood there looking at him thinking to herself, wondering what she had just got herself into when she realized that she was being rude. Chances were that he was not there to harm her, so she needed to act like a hostess and offer him a seat and some coffee.
“Please, have a seat,” she offered finally. “I’ll make us some coffee.” She watched him walk toward the sofa and he sat down. He was looking around the apartment with much interest.
“Shouldn’t you do something about your arm?” he asked looking at the makeshift bandage.
“Believe me, it will be fine,” she replied and wanted to drop that subject. She healed quickly and if she took off the bandage she might have some explaining to do.
She made a quick exit and went into the kitchen to put on a pot of coffee.
The kitchen light was soft but lit everything up entirely. Bronte looked about it and wondered if she should find a weapon just in case one was needed. As her thoughts took that turn she went through the motions of making coffee. She heard nothing from the living room.
As she poured the dark brew she thought about making an excuse to go into her room and look through her things for her gun, which was in a box with some of the extra books. She hadn’t thought she would need it. Her mother had given it to her along with some silver bullets that had crosses engraved in them. They were special order, and her mother always had them in stock. Bronte knew how to use a gun, but she had never had any call to do so out of self-defense. She had been protected all of her life. Now she wondered at the wisdom of that. Her parents loved her a great deal, but her father was very over protective.
Bronte brought out two coffee cups and then wondered if the officer took anything in his coffee.
“I’m sorry, Officer Quinn,” she said as she sat the cup down on the table in front of the sofa. “Did you want cream or sugar?”
“This is fine,” he told her as he looked at the cup, but made no move to pick it up. His eyes followed her as she sat with her cup in hand in the large overstuffed chair next to the couch. “You may call me Quinn,” he added thoughtfully. Then he went on. “Are you going to be all right? You still seem to be a little shaken.”
Bronte looked at where his eyes fell and saw that her hands were shaking so fiercely that she was in danger of spilling the hot brew in her lap. She immediately sat the cup down on the table and shrugged her shoulders at him.
“I guess I am,” she said.
He stood and Bronte watched him closely as he paced the confines of the small living area. He began to examine the things on her walls, her degree, pictures and then the little knick knacks about her home that had been gifts from dear friends and relatives. He seemed to appreciate the antiques as he examined an oak secretariat that was a particularly fine piece. Bronte thought she would feel insulted by his scrutiny, but she didn’t. He didn’t seem judgmental, he seemed sincerely curious. She said nothing as he continued to walk about the room.
Her bedroom door was slightly ajar and as he passed it he looked inside. He looked to her then and back to the bedroom and something about it caused her blood to warm. It wasn’t a suggestion or invitation, but an acknowledgement that he had just glimpsed into something that held promise and he knew she felt it. She stood then and walked by him to close the door. Something about being near him and close to her bedroom caused erotic images to flash in her mind. The thoughts made her wonder if somehow he had glimpsed her fantasies there in that room and saw himself there. She closed the door quietly and turned to see him standing there watching her.
“Have you thought of me?” he asked her and her heart raced frantically as she tried to recall those vivid images and hide them from him.
“What do you mean?” she asked and cast her eyes away. Her blood was hot and she felt confusion, but it wasn’t really that; it was inexperience and the want of what lay beyond. She stood on a bridge between what she wanted and what she must do to have it.
“You remember me. You said so. Are you saying that you have not thought of me since we last met?” he sounded truly curious.
“I have,” she struggled with what to say and how much, “thought of you.” She needed to sit down. She felt flushed and wanted to sit down, but she would have to pass by him, near him, to get back to her chair. She cast her eyes toward her place of refuge and then to the obstacle in her path. She swallowed hard and hoped he didn’t hear the audible click her throat made when she did it. She couldn’t move. Her feet felt as though they were encased in cement. Even when he moved toward her and her heart pounded in her chest she was unable to move.
He stood directly in front of her and looked down to search her upturned face. He thought she was exquisite and he could sense the warmth of her. He took another step and it forced her to back up. He did not touch her, but took yet another step and again she backed up.
He had backed her up to the bedroom door and now Bronte could feel the coolness of the wood pressed against her back. There was no where left to go. She saw his hand move and she quickly placed her own on the doorknob before he could. His hand covered hers then and he looked at her expectantly. She shook her head so slightly that it was barely perceivable. His hand then threaded his fingers into hers as he lifted her hand from the doorknob and brought it to his lips. He kissed them lightly at first and she was mesmerized by the feel of it. Her eyes were caught there and when he noticed them he parted his warm lips and placed a velvet soft kiss there and let his tongue slip through to taste her skin.
He heard he quick intake of breath and watched her shiver. Her body told him “yes”, but the fear and confusion in her eyes told him she was unsure. He realized what he had suspected all along was true. His smile curved into a sexy invitation.
“You are untried?” he asked, but the sound of it was intoxicating. He wanted to hear her say it was so.
She had no doubt as to what he was asking. She was not offended. He needed to know that she had no experience with men. He was obviously very experienced, and she wanted him to understand that she was not. She swallowed again as she nodded her head to answer his question. When she did she could see he was pleased.
He still held her hand in his, but he stepped back and pulled her to him with it. He brought her body in line with his own and he waited to see her reaction to his excitement. He was hard and there was no doubt she could feel it. As he waited to see what she would do he enjoyed the feel of her. She was the softest creature he had ever touched, and he had only touched her but very few times. That was what he had thought about while they were apart. Her skin was intoxicating to him. She felt fragile to him, but he knew she was strong. She had haunted his dreams and he would have her. But, there were rules, and if he were to have all he desired, he would have to follow those rules.
He stole her breath away and she wasn’t sure how to reclaim it. His question told her that he wanted her. She tried to tell herself it was only sex, and she was old enough to know that having sex meant nothing to many people. It meant something to her and she wasn’t going to give in so easily, although now she wondered why it was so important. Who would be harmed by her actions should she give in to him? That thought flitted through her mind unbidden.
He saw her struggling with her decision. He had time and did not want her to regret it when she gave in. His eyes caught her lips and held there as he thought of her softness. A taste would surely not break any rules.
She watched him as he lowered his head. In her highly aroused state she never thought to deny his kiss. “He smells wonderful,” she thought to herself right before his lips touched lightly upon her own. This was where the fantasies always started, with a kiss. His lips caused her own to be more aware, more sensitive. His were full and soft and held the promise of passion and experience. She felt her eyes slip closed as she allowed her senses to fill with him. He pulled her even closer and she could feel the thickness of his arousal against her. His masterful tasting of her kept her mind from finding fear in that knowledge. He was so warm, and his body so hard that she only thought of being closer to him. She sighed and when she did she felt him smile against her mouth.
He pulled away and looked at her to judge his handiwork. Her lashes fluttered and slowly she opened her eyes to stare at him in amazement. He saw the play of emotions cross her lovely face; desire, passion, curiosity, uncertainty. He thought she would pull away from him, fear her new feelings and their closeness, but she did not. Her eyes searched his as though there might be an answer there to a question she would not openly ask. He wished for the gift of seers so that he might know what she thought at that very moment. Her face was awash with emotions that were new to her, that he had instilled there. He marveled at her in wonder as she placed her hand upon his cheek and leaned in to kiss him in return. Perhaps he had underestimated her. She was certainly a virgin, but she was not afraid, and she had been kissed before. That knowledge both excited him and angered him. No one had the right to kiss her, but him. No one would touch her, but him. He made his claim by turning the gentle kiss into such fire that she would never forget him.
It was too much and Bronte had to break away. This could not continue. If it did it could only end one way, and that was at the door behind her, and she was not going to let it get that far.
She turned her head away to break the kiss, but her breath was hard and hurried. He looked down on her with his body still tightly held to hers. She wasn’t ready for more than this and he had time to give her. He stepped away and allowed her some space.
Her head moved and her eyes rose to meet his. Her hand came up and her fingers lightly touched her lips as though she could hold the memory of his kiss there. Her lips were still very sensitive and the brush of her fingers felt erotic and alive.
“You should go,” she whispered as her hand fell away from her lips.
“It is late,” he said, “I should stay.” His voice held that sultry tone and she felt herself give in to him. It was little to ask, and he did not have to sleep in her bed.
“You can sleep on the couch,” she told him. She watched one side of his mouth lift in an arrogant smile of triumph. He would stay. “I’ll go and get some linen for you.” She excused herself then and turned to enter her bedroom. She closed the door quickly behind her and found herself needing more air.
She leaned back against the door to collect her thoughts. Her eyes scanned her room, but they did not see it. They still saw the look on his face after he had kissed her. It was that same look she saw in her fantasies as he prepared to make love to her. She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. As she slowly exhaled she opened her eyes again and found she felt much better. She went to the closet and took out the extra blankets and a pillow. She held them close to her and opened the door to walk out and give him what he would need for the night.
She stopped in the doorway of her bedroom as she saw him standing next to the couch. He had removed his shirt and was folding it neatly to set it on the chair Bronte had been sitting in. He was just standing straight and he faced her as he heard her approach. He looked as she knew he would; finely chiseled and muscular. His chest was bare until just below his navel where a dark dusting of fine hair made a line down into his dark pants and disappeared with only her imagination to fill the picture of what lay beyond. He caught her staring openly at him.
“Have you had a change of heart?” he asked as he undid the first button of his pants. Her eyes followed his movements before she realized what she was doing and then she looked away.
“Here are your blankets,” she said, never answering his question. She sat them on the arm of the chair next to his shirt. She didn’t dare look at him again, she turned and walked into her room and shut the door. She wasn’t going to worry about sleeping alone tonight; she doubted that she would sleep at all.