Chapter 2 - Aubree (Part 1)
Stone was right. It was a lot harder to say goodbye to everyone than Aubree thought. Especially Gwen, who whimpered and whined like a puppy on the couch.
Stone struggled the most with leaving her side. He held her head in his arms, scratched her behind the ears, and brushed his fingers through her fur. No words were exchanged, but Aubree knew they must have been sharing a private mental conversation with the look on his face, and the way he buried his face in her fur.
Alistair had to tear him away and force him in the car with one hand around Stone’s neck and the other planted firmly against his back and pushing him forward.
Gavin came with them and sat with his father in the backseat while Aubree sat in the front passenger seat and Alistair drove them to the airport.
Aubree hadn’t seen Stone be intimate with Gavin before, and watching him hold his grown son against his shoulder warmed her heart. Gavin’s eyes were closed as he rested next to Stone’s heart, and Stone nuzzled his head, burying his face in his hair every now and then.
Alistair tried to distract her with light conversation, making playful jabs every now and then to get her attention so that Stone and Gavin could have some privacy in the backseat.
Aubree couldn’t help but want to keep looking back at them and seeing them so close. It was adorable.
When they arrived at the airport, Alistair unloaded their luggage from the trunk while Aubree got a chance to say goodbye to Gavin. Alistair stole a quick bear-hug for a minute before letting her go.
“Have fun, babygirl,” Alistair said. “Don’t be gone too long. We’ll get antsy without you.”
She flashed him a smile before she and Stone headed into the building.
Once inside, Stone hesitated, looking back at them through the sliding glass doors as Alistair and Gavin climbed into the car and pulled away.
Aubree tugged on his hand to get him to turn away and move forward.
“Sorry,” he murmured. “It’s been a while since the last time I was separated from my pups and pack. I can’t help but miss them and worry about them.”
“They’ll be fine,” she said, trying to be the strong one, even though she knew exactly how he was feeling. She felt it too but knew it must be even harder on him. “We’ll be back before you know it.”
He wrapped an arm around her lower back and leaned down to press his forehead to hers. Sharing a few deep breaths, he pulled away, evidently stronger and more sure of himself now.
“I know. I’m going to try not to worry about them for the next few days, which will be critical in the hunt. The vampires were hit hard last night and it will take some time for them to regroup and become strong again. Now is the time to continue the attack to ensure they are wiped out for good.”
“Except for Dan,” she added.
He nodded. “Yes, except for him.”
This brought a small smile to her face as she pulled back and entwined their fingers together. “Let’s go check-in now.”
He was silent as he let her lead him through the airport and its various checkpoints.
As they waited in line for their baggage to be checked, he confessed that he’d only been on a plane twice, in 1950 and 2000.
“Guinevere and I had to return to Europe to attend Council meetings. They take place every fifty years in Europe, but they change the location each time. It was Rome in 1950 and London in 2000,” he said. “The advancements in air travel greatly improved during those fifty years.”
Aubree stared at him for a moment. “And I bet they’re even better now, though security is through the roof. Don’t give them a hard time, okay?”
He smirked for the first time since they left the house in the forest. “Don’t worry, Röslein. This is their territory. I’m a guest here, and I’ll be on my best behavior.”
She peaked an eyebrow at him. That was one way of looking at things.
They made it through the metal and body detectors without any issues. With time to kill in the terminal as they waited for their flight, Stone looked surprised by all the shopping available to fliers.
“It’s as though we’ve entered a shopping mall instead of an airport,” he muttered.
“This wasn’t here the last time you flew?”
He rubbed his forehead as his eyes roamed around the space and the dozens of fliers that walked around with their carry-ons. “I don’t recall, but we were running late last time and ran through the place to get to the plane on time. Guinevere insisted the flight was half an hour later than it actually was.”
Aubree shook her head, her lips quirking up a bit.
Stone was still rubbing his face, and she remembered how sensitive his senses were.
“Got your earplugs in?” she asked.
He brushed his hair behind his ear, and she could faintly see them. They were clear, unlike the skin-toned ones he usually wore.
“Are those new ones?”
“Yes and no,” he said. “I got them a few months ago, but this is the first time trying them out. This set is more expensive, but now seemed as good a time as any to use them.”
She nodded as a family of three with a teenage daughter caught her attention and reminded her of the last trip she took with her parents six years ago.
“I called my dad to let him know I was going down to Arizona for a few days. It was good to talk to him,” she said as she watched the family disappear into one of the shops. “He was surprised, but relieved to hear from me.”
Stone’s brows furrowed. “Why was he surprised?”
Heat rushed to her face, making her lower her gaze. “Well, I had to tell him that I was going with you, which led to telling him a bit about you. He was just surprised to hear that I was with someone else so soon.”
And that you were ’the one,′ she added to herself, her face growing even hotter.
“He’d like to meet you someday,” she said. “Mom still needs some time to come around though. I think Dad just wants to make sure you’re worthy of me.”
“Of course,” Stone said, a knowing look in his eyes.
Aubree sighed in exasperation, running her fingers through her hair, and trying to eliminate the embarrassment playing with her heart. “Dad said that my mom is coming around, but she still thinks I’m making a mistake.”
“She’ll come around when we pay them a visit,” he said, rubbing small circles into her lower back with his hand.
She paused and looked up at him. “You sure?”
He bent down and kissed her softly. “Yes, I’m positive.”
Momentarily assured, she tried to push her unease down.
“So, does that mean you want to meet my parents?”
He nodded. “Yes. They are your parents. They are among the most important people in your life. They created you, raised you, and helped you become the amazing person you are now. I must meet them. I owe them your life.”
Her heart fluttered at his words. Reaching up, she wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him down so she could press her forehead to his.
“I love you,” she whispered.
"Ya luta appa ti,” he said. “I love you more.”
She caught his lips briefly as his fingers brushed through her hair around to the nape of her neck.
"Appa means more,” he said before kissing her softly again. ”Appa appa.”
She giggled and pushed against his chest. “Later.”
He grinned at her, making her face heat up again as he laced his fingers between hers. “Promise?”
She poked her tongue out from between her teeth. “How can I say no?”
“I hope you can’t,” he said as he let a ripple of his desire for her twist through her as he caressed her cheek with his knuckles.
Her heart skipped a beat before hammering hard against her ribs. She tried not to remember the way he touched her last night. The way they’d made love over and over again.
Her breathing became labored as her thoughts danced from one delicious memory to the next.
“Later,” she rasped, breaking away from him and adding distance.
He still held her hand in his, his need still burning through her veins as his eyes darkened a shade.
"Appa later,” she said, breaking away from him to go into the women’s washroom and splash some cold water on her face.
She hoped they got this bond thingy sealed soon. This lustful phase was pure torture. Being out in public wasn’t deterring them one bit anymore and that worried her. They had to control their desires. There was no choice in that matter. Yet, every look, every touch, awakened a world of desires within her that was becoming harder and harder to reign in.