It wasn’t too long after ‘Ash’ began his meal that Chantarell moved over to where Claire sat in a guilty silence at the corner of the kitchen, watching as he hungrily began devouring the meal, which was much more substantial than anything he was obviously used to.
“I have to get some sleep before morning.” she told Claire quietly as she cast another glance toward their guest, “But remember, you’re the same as Haven, more or less, you don’t have to be so scared.” another sigh as Claire still didn’t respond to her words, “Don’t worry, don’t be afraid, and don’t feel guilty.” she then had to add, “And you really should eat something, too.” she finally stated pointedly before giving Claire’s arm another gentle squeeze, and bidding good night to both of them with a bow, before heading for she and Haven’s bedroom to get a few hours of sleep before her duties for the new day would begin.
After Claire forced her tongue to remain still while Ash finished the meal, she politely moved to lead him from the kitchen, back toward the living area of their new home, “Do you have a warm place to sleep tonight?” she asked, noting that it was already nearing midnight.
“It is warm wherever you make a fire.” Ash assured her as he looked about the home once more.
“Isn’t it hard to start a fire in the snow?” was the only response she could easily muster as her hunger began making her that much more aware of his heart pumping his blood throughout his beautiful body as they stood there near the sofa in the dimly lit home, alone together.
“You really have gotten very used to the white man’s world, haven’t you?” he scoffed, though with little hostility to it, as he continued to look around the home.
Trying to ignore his words, and the growing hunger at her having donated even more of her already thin supply of blood to the very meal he had eaten that night, Claire forced more words to her lips, “You can sleep here if you’d like. It’s very cold out there tonight.”
Ash then turned his eyes back to her, narrowing them slightly as he took in her appearance once more, “I have no desire to meet the man who claimed you with that shiny piece of metal that they use, or any other white men, other than the one I hunt for.” he told her plainly, his eyes returning to her wedding band briefly, proving that his observations may not be supernatural, as hers were, but they were still quite honed.
Claire’s eyes immediately dropped to the floor at being reminded so plainly of her now strained marriage, but something made her find the strength to continue the conversation, “My husband, and the other man who lives here, they won’t be returning until at least tomorrow night, I’m sure, if then.” she had to add as she moved her eyes back up to him. She then paused a moment, trying to find the words to further convince him to not so hastily leave her presence, “Some of your people may actually know the other man who lives here. He helped them, only a year prior to this night.” she continued, calling on the knowledge Chantarell had supplied earlier.
His eyes narrowed once more as he looked back at her, finally speaking up again, “This other man you speak of, does he look to be merely a fair-haired boy…and call himself Haven?” he asked warily.
“You do know of him?” she asked more hopefully as she let her eyes meet his at last.
Ash took a deep breath as he glanced around the room once more before answering, “I was away from our camp when he came there. But I have heard the stories…all the stories.”
“All of the stories?” she repeated questioningly.
“Stories of how he convinced an entire raiding party of your men, that there was not even one of my people left in these woods, with only his words, and provided no proof of those words, either. Though they believed him, without question, and let my people be.” he told her furtively, “I’ve heard of how the spirits favor him, and do his will…spirits that allowed him to help us: He’s some kind of shaman, is he not?”
“I don’t know if that’s the exact right word.” Claire answered, her voice shaking a bit as she did.
“Or perhaps he is some kind of spirit, himself?” Ash returned as he moved closer to her, looking her over with further curiosity, “You live in his home, and wander the woods alone at night, showing savages kindness rather than the cruelty that is so usual among the less desirable half of your bloodline.” a pause as he moved closer to her, “Perhaps you are a spirit too, just as he seems to be.”
“Yes, Ash, I am like Haven, but we’re…”
Ash then startled her further by taking only a slight step back and bowing his head to her with what almost seemed like a sort of reverence, “If the spirits wish to move in such strange ways to protect my people, at this darkest time, when we need the help of the deities so very badly, then I give you my loyalty. Even if those deities choose to hide themselves behind pale skin, for it is their actions that show their true natures, and their love for my people. It is a clever disguise though: To hide behind the faces of our enemies.” he added with the faintest smile as he reached for her hand and gently kissed it as a sign of even further reverence for the creature he believed her to be, and the intentions he believed her kind to have.
Claire was silenced by not only his words, but his touch, not sure what response to have right then. His understanding of her nature was not exactly accurate, exactly, but his understanding that she and her companions held no ill will towards his people, was indeed true, leaving her at that much more of a loss for a response to his words.
“Do you still wish me to stay here?” he finally spoke again.
“You are welcome to.” she said in a whisper, still not sure how to go about correcting him without losing his trust once more.
“Then I will oblige the spirits, with whatever they have need of me for.” he told her with another slight nod as he moved to find a place on the floor to rest his body for the night, leaving Claire speechless, once more.
It was nearly an hour later when Claire was still unable to stop replaying Ash’s last statement over and over again in her head. She sighed slightly as she left her room and felt her feet carrying her back down to the living area of the home. Once she stepped from the stairs, walking with a stealth that came easily to her, she glanced toward the still lit fire as he laid there near to it, on the hard wooden floor, with only his shirt as his pillow while he slept quietly. Claire managed a few more steps toward him as her eyes moved over the deep tan of his skin which was now exposed to her from the waist up.
She couldn’t help letting her eyes linger there on that smooth, toned skin, as really there was only one man whose body she had ever really had any moments to admire in such a way, in all her nearly thirty-one years. As much lust as she did hold for her husband’s quite beautiful body of his own, she still could not stop herself from finding so much beauty in the one that now lay before her as she slowly moved to her knees next to where he still slept.
Watching him breathe so peacefully while also being keenly aware of his heart beating inside that perfectly muscled chest, Claire finally allowed herself to give in to the one need that she had been trying so hard to fight for three long months now and leaned closer to him. She ever so gently moved those long black locks that so resembled her own, away from his neck as he stirred only slightly, though did not yet fully awaken.
Another moment to steel herself as she moved even closer, hoping upon hope that the times she had fed on her own sister-in-law in previous months had finally taught her well enough to not truly harm the man who now lay before her, with no one else there to pull her back if she were to just take one drop too much, once again.
Claire sighed once more and finally leaned down to make that final move, quickly sinking those fangs into his neck after all. Ash started a bit at the feel of the two tiny daggers sinking into his neck. Though in his half-awake state, the next feeling, the stronger one, was what his brain truly registered. He moaned in pleasure as she took what she needed from him, his arms moving to automatically wrap around her waist, pulling her close against him, making it obvious what reaction the rest of his body was easily having to the pleasure her Kiss produced, clouding his mind against any further feeling right at that particular moment.
Feeling him immediately pulling her close as well as hardening against her at the contact, Claire allowed herself to only take a bit more from him before finally pulling her fangs from his neck, her own body having the usual response to the act of feeding, as it always did. She forced herself to remember one other lesson and moved to lick the two tiny wounds shut, sure that that action too, had to have the effect of furthering his obvious arousal as well.
“Is this what the spirits such as you desire from me?” he whispered against her hair, speaking hoarsely, and barely lessening the hold he still had around her waist, her hips still pressed close to his.
Claire tightly closed her eyes against his words before forcing her own now heated and flushed body to move slightly back from the only barely loosened grip he still had on her. She then pulled her eyes back to look into his as they still lay there upon the floor, in each other’s arms.
Still looking deeply at where his gaze boldly, lustfully greeted hers, she forced words, “Remember this part of our night together as only a dream, and sleep, once more.” she told him in a raspy whisper while still holding that gaze of his.
Only a moment after seeing the briefest ripple of confusion pass thru his eyes, she felt his arms limply slide from the grip he had on her as his eyes softly fluttered shut once more, returning him, wordlessly, to his previous slumber, just as she had directed him.
Claire gasped slightly at her own abilities as she awkwardly moved to back away from where he now slept soundly, once more. Or at least she told herself that that was the only reason for her body‘s trembling, before she moved quickly back up the stairs and away from him, at last.
When Sean awoke at the next evening’s sunset, it was to the feel of fingers moving gently over the pale skin of his flat stomach between the two portions of his now unbuttoned shirt. Of course, his thoughts at first moved to those of his wife, only to quickly remember his current location and just as quickly open those pools of blue. He sighed as he noted that it was actually Baila’s fingers who gently caressed his skin, while she was still clothed in barely any of the layers of clothing she had started the previous night in, and still laying just as close to him as she had been during his last conscious memory of the morning spent in their new Prince’s home.
“Baila.” he spoke quietly.
“Evening Sean.” she told him, smiling against his shoulder as she didn’t really stop the motions of her fingers either.
“What are you doing?” he asked, though still spoke softly and still didn’t move to sit up despite the long hours he had already been forced to stay in that bed due to the sun’s waiting rays outside of the home.
“Enjoying the feel of your skin. It’s so cool next to mine. So different than the other men. Not including Marcus, of course.” she added with another small smile.
“Baila, listen, I want you to know that about last night…I didn’t want you to think…”
“It’s all right, Sean. More men than you think like to watch first, to see how much they will enjoy it, before actually deciding a fitting price. Of course, you know you would never have to pay.” she added with another small smile.
“Baila, it wasn’t about that.” Sean denied as he did finally slowly sit up, though, he himself still was not quite totally sure what all it had been meant to be ‘about’ at all, either.
“I’m just so very glad you enjoyed the show.” she said with yet another content smile as she also sat up, though still did not move back from him before quickly continuing, “But not as glad as I am that Miss Claire has finally come around.”
“What?” he asked, shocked even further that that was how she had somehow decided to take the evening, while he himself, still hadn’t fully decided how to take it. Especially when taking into account that he hadn’t even been a willing participant, if being an audience member truly didn’t count as participating, after all, which was another thing he wasn’t sure about. All his confusion also easily continued to deepen due to the fact of her entire night’s behavior, as well as the way she was now obviously taking the whole of the events, herself.
“I’m especially glad that she has decided to give us her blessing to also be alone together, for at least the first time, and that she now understands that I mean no harm to her, myself.” she continued just as happily.
“Who told you all of this, Baila?” Sean finally asked after being able to do nothing at first but shake his head in relation to the beliefs she now seemed to hold to be true.
“Isn’t that the point of sending us away together, to this place, with these people? She knew what would happen. And she’s finally ‘ok’ with it.” she had to smile again, repeating his own words as her final way of showing exactly the way that addiction she had to his blood, and to Sean, himself, easily twisted all of her views to suit her own overwhelming desires, despite the truth to any of them. Not that Sean was even remotely sure about any of that truth himself, anymore, after all.
Sean sighed again as he turned his eyes to meet those that were nearly the same shade as his, once more, before finally speaking, “You will always feel this way about me, this strongly, won’t you?” he asked, though his voice still managed to hide any emotions the words, which he did know to be true, may have actually caused in him.
“As long as I am yours, you will always be the one thing I want, above all.” she assured him as she finally leaned in to place a long soft kiss over his lips, every fiber of her being telling her that that is what she honestly, truly believed about her own feelings and desires, and always would, for as long as his blood remained in her veins, giving her the strength to provide both of them with the protection they needed just as badly as she believed she needed Sean, himself.