Towards the Broken Path
Thankfully, Jesse and Jack were fully recovered by the time I made it to the living room. I thanked Mark for healing Jesse’s injuries and suggested we all sit down for tea. We moved to one of the inner rooms and Riel made the tea. Jesse was still a bit shaken up from his close encounter with Sam. Jack and I sat on either side of him and held him. Ashley sat curled up in a chair, staring morosely into her cup with her hands shaking. “I guess I’ll have to wait to talk with Sam,” she tried to joke. Her voice came out a few pitches too high.
Riel stood behind her chair and placed a hand on her arm. “As soon as he’s recovered he’ll get in touch with you.”
“I’ve never seen anything like it. One moment he was joking and smiling like usual, the next he’d transformed into some beast. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to catch you, Jesse. I was momentarily frozen,” Evin spoke.
“It’s okay. All the shallow scratches have been healed. My arm should be done healing by tomorrow,” Jesse replied, meeting his eye.
“I’m sorry we didn’t catch it in time,” Mark apologized to us. He sat cross-legged on the floor with his head propped up on his hands.
“You caught it soon enough. We’re all safe. That’s what matters,” Cal piped up.
I sipped my tea, loving the warmth of it. Though it was even hotter today, I had been chilled to the bone at seeing Sam turn bloodless. When Jesse and Jack finished their tea, Jack took him to his room to lay down for a nap. Davis kissed my forehead and went to practice his guitar. Mark glanced at me and stood up. He held a hand out to me without meeting my eye. Curious, I took it. He led me to a room with the softest carpet I’d ever felt. I knew because Mark gestured for me to take my shoes off. He walked me to the center of the room, where the sunbeams intersected and formed a golden cage. He faced me and gently laid me down. He lay down and rested his head on my belly, staring up at my face without blinking. I’d only ever seen Aeryn blink, really, but it didn’t bother me that most vampires didn’t. Evin never really blinked, either. I grew calm and still. I focused on the dust dancing in the light. It was so quiet here. After about an hour Mark silently moved up beside me and gently rolled me on my side.
His eyes were like emeralds and his aura was a fluffy cloud around him. He placed a hand on my chest, over my heart. Though he didn’t need to, he breathed deeply. I breathed with him and soon we were breathing as one. Our bodies seemed to resonate and a nearly audible buzzing hum encased us. It was so deep and strong and natural. The longer we breathed together, the deeper into his eyes I could see. The longer I touched him the brighter his soul became. And then I felt something entirely new. His aura was touching mine. Our breathing picked up as I was swept away. His eyes seemed to be telling me to hold on, to ride it out. His fingers trailed up and down my arms as our auras bounced and rolled off of one another. Trust me, he thought to me, knowing I could read his mind and opening it to me. Let go. I kept eye contact and opened my aura to his. We both gasped as energy crackled around and within us. We seemed to vibrate at different levels as one, going through the colors of the rainbow. As one color changed into the next our bodies tightened just a little bit more. But when we broke through into the higher frequencies our bodies relaxed completely as the rush overtook us.
That is to say, we passed out in bliss.
“Aniella,” Mark called me a while later, shaking my shoulder.
I opened my eyes to see he was now siting up next to me, looking quite refreshed. “Mm. Hey. What was that?”
“The deepest meditation I’ve ever done,” he chuckled. “Energy play. You should try that with Evin.”
“I think we have already. Only a little bit. But I’ll definitely add what I’ve learned here. What a rush!”
“You’ve got a lot of power, you know. I bet there were some pretty powerful wizards and witches in your ancestry.”
“Perhaps.” I stood up and stretched.
Mark studied my body and flushed slightly as his desire grew. “That was pretty intimate. I’ve never thought anyone could see or play with my energy but a ragnir or incubus. There aren’t many of them left.” He ran his hand through his hair.
I gaped at him, his reddened face, his muscular body. What was it like to never wear a shirt? When he stared at me blankly I realized I’d asked the question out loud. “Oh, sorry. Er, it’s just that you’re always wearing these vests showing off your chest and abs. How does anyone ever get anything done around you?”
He smirked and climbed to his feet. “It’s always a challenge, for sure.”
I smiled at him and started out of the room. “I wish I had a poster of you to put up on my wall. I’d wake up happy every day,” I mentioned.
“Is that so? I might hafta make one for ya, then,” he reasoned, pleased. We walked to the entertaining room. Aeryn was doing a little dance while she played the violin for Cal, Ashley, Jesse, and Jack. Mark and I stood to the side to watch. Riel and Davis joined us a short while later. I spied Evin strolling around the garden. Aeryn was quite talented. I couldn’t resist doing a little shimmy of my own. Riel laughed and shoved me forward. So I danced around Aeryn. The others started up a rhythmic clap as she and I jigged. Evin stopped and grinned as he peered in at us. Seems like everyone was feeling better. Which was good because I knew tomorrow I’d have to visit Sam again. Aeryn finished up her song and we all settled down.
“Anyone want to play tennis?” Riel asked.
“That’s a sport I actually like,” Davis enthused.
“Blessed babes, a miracle!” I clapped my hands, delighted. I was so ready to see him in action.
Davis glanced at me, wondering why I was way too excited about it. “This I have to see,” Jesse laughed. We all half-ran down the halls, shoving each other and participating in other tomfoolery. We filed into the gym, whose lights came on as they sensed us. Evin warped all over the enormous room, checking out the equipment. Most of it was familiar but some of it had to be specially made for vamps. I wondered what kinds of super exercises they did. Riel ordered a door open on the far end of the massive room. The walls were a deep thrumming blue until he stepped in, then they lit up bright robin’s egg blue. One net stretched across the room. “Spectators in the room alongside. Players to the floor. Aeryn, rackets, please,” he directed, posting up on the other side of the net. I took my place on his side as Mark and Davis got into position across from us. Evin, Jack, Jesse, Ashley, and Cal seated themselves in the section surrounding the room. The walls cleared and we could see them lounging in ultra-comfy chairs, some of them with drinks. Aeryn came around to hand us players our rackets and then kissed Mark and Riel in turn. Riel started kissing her neck and she giggled and shoved him away. Mark grabbed her ass when she kissed him and she tapped him on the nose before joining the others in the audience. “You two have no idea what you’re getting into. I hope you heal fast,” Riel told Davis and me.
Before I could ask what he meant Mark served the ball. I swear I nearly went deaf as I heard a sonic boom. I hit the wall behind me as the boom crashed over me. Riel had hit the ball back but it was out of bounds. He took a brief break to help me to my feet. “You two might want to test the limits of your powers for this one,” Mark suggested, getting ready to serve another ball.
How could Davis and I move or see fast enough to make the game interesting? At first we mostly ducked, dodged, and blocked as the vampires sped around and sent the ball speeding to and fro. Our friends behind the glass cringed and exclaimed in rapt fascination. Finally, the match was half-over and we took a five minute break. As Davis and I hydrated, I stared at the court. There had to be a way to keep up. Even with my heightened vision and hearing I was much too slow to be effective. Riel and Mark wrestled a little and I turned to Davis. “Say, what does it take to create a realm? We can’t compete fairly here but if we can bend the rules of a different realm and overlay it here we’ll actually stand a chance,” I said in a low voice.
Davis’ dark green eyes lit up with the prospect. “What did you have in mind, sweetie? Let’s build it,” he agreed.
I explained the setup I wanted and he let me know how feasible it was. He taught me the realm creation spell and then squeezed my hand before we took our places on opposite sides of the court. As Riel prepared to serve Davis and I focused our energy and chanted our spell. That hiccup happened and the tennis court was suddenly tinged in soft white highlights. We were now out of sync with time. Riel slammed the ball across the net, still super fast but visible. Mark sent it flying back and I saw the sonic boom that came with it. I called up a barrier to deflect most of the blast and dove over to whack the ball back. Every noise seemed to echo infinitely, though thankfully it grew fainter. Mark’s eyes widened in shock as the ball sped back his way. Davis jumped up and sent the ball back over the net. Riel let out a gleeful laugh. Mark’s face set itself and he grinned slightly. Now it was a game! We all played with a renewed sense of vigor. Monitors slowed down the action for those without special eyes to enjoy. The cheers and hoots were as deafening as the sonic booms. I felt energized at being able to keep up with two highly skilled vampires and a super talented cold. Davis did look damned good, too.
Alas, even though I had given myself an advantage it wasn’t enough to overcome the dynamic duo of Davis and Mark. They beat us in the end but we didn’t mind. We heartily shook their hands and went to hit the showers. Davis and I grounded ourselves (the term we made up for returning to our realm) before heading to the locker rooms. I stripped down and hopped in, quite proud of myself. I had held my own with creatures stronger and faster than me. I had created a unique and purposeful realm all on my own. I felt an enormous sense of accomplishment. That could certainly come in handy in a pinch. I scrubbed the sweat away, wondering what else I was capable of. I had just rinsed away all of the soap from my body when I noticed red in my peripheral. I jumped and turned around to see Mark slowly walking towards me. He hung his vest up and kicked off his boots and socks. His hand rested on the door handle and he met my eye, asking without asking if he could join me. I held out my hand to him. He opened the shower door and stepped in, taking my hand. “That was quite a move you pulled on the court,” he complimented me.
“It was the only way I could keep up. You inspired me to level the playing field,” I replied.
“Quite literally, at that,” he chuckled, stroking my brown hair (my natural color finally).
“Did you really have to tell me how much I impressed you right this moment?” I asked in a teasing tone.
“It’s the perfect moment. In the glow of accomplishment and possibilities,” he responded quietly.
“Possibilities…” I murmured, lifting my hand to his chest. With my pinky I began to draw shapes, pictures, and words. His body tightened and his eyes flashed as his romantic pull kicked in. Every scaroth had it. They could tell exactly what you wanted from your smell alone. And if they wanted you in return they were compelled to follow through. Few of them could resist a pinky on the chest or a nice, hot shower, either. They were as big of tactile junkies as I was. Mark let me finish my requests, taking note of everything I wanted before taking hold of my wrists and swinging me around. He laid kisses on the back of my neck, drinking some of the water from my skin. He held both wrists in one hand and parted my legs from behind. He started nibbling on my shoulders as he stroked my back, sides, and legs to sensitize me. He stepped back slightly to give me a few good whacks with his palm. I tried not to moan. But when he hit me harder a pleased gasp slipped out of me.
He tutted and slid me up the wall, lifting me off of my feet. He pinched me between the legs in various spots. He pinched my thighs and my nub. I squirmed and he pinched harder. I tried to plant my feet on the wall and he growled in disapproval. He flicked my nub super hard and I saw stars as the pain shot up my nerves. His fingers moved to my back, where he pressed on another nerve. My body went a bit rubbery after that and he let me fall to the floor. He dropped to his knees behind my head and unzipped his pants. I tilted my head back eagerly to taste him. It was an interesting experience to not have the use of my hands. I wanted to run my hands over him and feel his muscles and beauty and I couldn’t. It prompted me to put all of my passion into my lips. Mark smoothed his fingers down my throat as I swallowed him whole. He cocked his head and peered down into my eyes. His fingers stroked my throat, asking if I wanted to go through with it, asking if I trusted him. I deliberately, slowly, blinked my eyes three times. He pushed in a bit further and wrapped one hand around my neck. Careful not to crush my throat, he squeezed and cut off my oxygen flow.
I waited until my lungs were screaming, until my extremities went numb, until my jaw went slack and met his eyes. Instantly, he released me and pulled out of my mouth. In a flash he had moved between my legs and lifted them over his shoulders to devour me. On the verge of passing out, I took in great breaths that turned into a bit of a scream when he pushed me up and over the drop. I fell hard, nearly blacking out completely on my rush to the bottom. He gently set my legs and bottom down and rolled me on my left side so my blood would flow better. I breathed deeply, recovering from the faintness. Caressing my face, Mark spoke in my ear, “Ready?”
“Ready, Mark. Be inside me. Here,” I told him, leading his hand over my hip and over my core. I pushed back on him as he pushed in. Lovely, lovely feeling. I turned my head so that we could kiss. His tongue rolled over mine and he grabbed my breast as he danced into me. After a while I asked to be on top so I could touch him with my hands. He obliged me and I happily ran my hands over him. He massaged my back as we kissed again and again. My mind exploded with colors as we crested together. “Oh, I wish I could keep you under my bed,” I breathed, kissing his cheeks and forehead.
He laughed at me. “I think Aeryn would definitely kill me. But I can hide under your bed when I come for our little hunt.”
“That’s perfectly fine. Mm.” I stretched my limbs. “How did the water stay warm this long?”
“Riel has amazing water heaters. I know because I installed them,” he revealed.
“You made them?”
“I kind of don’t want to move,” I admitted.
“You know it’s a miracle no one else has come back here already. I don’t know how much longer they can hold back.”
I sighed. “Alright. Let’s get out of here.” I reluctantly climbed off of him and held out a hand. As I helped him up, he said, “One of these days I’d like to break you.”
I snorted. “I don’t think so. You want someone that needs and wants breaking you can try Davis. Matter of fact I’d love to see you broken.”
His eyes glinted as we dressed. “Maybe you will.”