A few nights later, Claire returned home early from another evening of looking after the theatre. As she stepped down out of the carriage, she couldn’t help giving a curious look to the two royal guards stationed outside her home. Claire simply nodded politely to the guards upon her approach, while Isabelle and Jonathan stayed outside to unhitch the horses and then get them settled into the barn.
As she entered the house, she caught the unmistakable smell of Sean’s blood as well as another’s. Trying not to think the worst immediately, she slowly moved from the foyer to peer into the adjoining living room.
There on the floor in front of the roaring fire were her husband and their royal visitor. Both men were clad in nothing more than their semi-fastened trousers, a near empty bottle of wine on the floor next to them. But most surprising of all was that Sean was leaning back on his elbows as James lay half across him, a small bloody blade in his hand as he licked a trail of Sean’s blood from his pale chest.
“Claire, my love” Sean greeted her with a rather content smile as he tilted his head backwards and stretched an arm behind him to reach for her, despite her still being a good ten or so feet from he and James’ places on the floor. Once becoming aware of her presence, James also looked up at her with a smile as he licked a bit more of Sean’s blood from his lips.
Many emotions crossed Claire’s face right then, but the most prevalent of which was definitely confusion “Are you….drunk?” she managed to ask as she only took another small step into the room.
“Yes” both men answered simultaneously as each allowed a slight laugh.
“Um… ok” she responded, her confusion not lessening any as she slowly made her way toward the nearby couch, sidestepping another wine bottle as it rolled across the floor.
“I’ve been getting so very, very bored here all by myself every night” Sean began, his tone reflecting his inebriation, which was a state she had rarely if ever seen him in, even when he had been alive “and James has been kind enough to keep me company” he smiled again, as James nipped at his skin lightly.
“And the knife… and such” she decided on, just staring blankly at the two men as she felt the need to take a seat as she spoke.
“Why was that again?” Sean asked as he looked down at the man still lying across him, looking up at him longingly, then he managed to remember “oh yes, he came to get his monthly tithing of your beautiful blood, my love, but you were regrettably missing, so I had to offer my own… in trade” Sean explained with another small laugh.
“And now?” she narrowed her eyes again.
“He’s terribly fascinated by the way we heal, and what am I if not an entertainer?” Sean smiled again.
“And that led to the drunkenness, how again?” Claire asked.
“I had a wee bit to drink tonight” James finally contributed to the conversation “and then Sean got thirsty after giving me his blood… and here we are” he added in a near growl as he looked back up into Sean’s face again, “I never even knew your kind could get drunk from our blood. You’re both so endlessly intriguing” he added, moving his eyes over Claire then as well.
“Ok, still not quite sure how that all led to the loss of clothing, though” she said as she shook her head down at both of them warily.
“He bit me” James offered with another grin back at Sean “I got a bit overheated after that.”
“I’m sure you did” she said softly as her eyes moved back to Sean, who still wore his own smile in silence.
James finally managed to push himself up off of Sean to sit upright as he turned his attention back to Claire “I’m sure you two have bit each other many, many times, haven’t you?” he said, obvious desire still apparent in his tone as he spoke, moving his eyes down over Claire’s body once more.
“That sort of thing does tend to happen when two vampires share a home for seventy-five years” she confessed, as her emerald eyes seemed glued to Sean right then as well, her own desire threatening to reveal itself in her tone.
“It’s been a little while since the last time though” Sean admitted, his own eyes locked on hers then, his tone reflecting that same need hers seemed to.
“Yeah, a while” Claire said absently, as she began removing her long petticoat, as she and Sean’s gazes remained locked on one another.
That was when James couldn’t help his own smile between the two of them as Claire stood to drop the petticoat to the floor, which Sean now pushed himself up off of, his sobriety seeming to return in an instant.
Only a moment later, Sean was at her side, covering her mouth with his and proving how badly he had been starved for her touch for so very long. Only another moment passed as their mouths continued moving against one another with a century’s worth of passion as he ripped away her dress and pushed her back down to the couch, his body following, neither of them breaking that kiss once as they took that new position with both their intentions and desires clear and in sync at last.
Over an hour passed before their lovemaking finally came to a contented end followed by several more minutes of equally contented afterglow before Sean finally pulled himself out of her and pushed his nude body up from the couch. As he stood, he moved to reach down for his previously discarded trousers, his eyes catching James, who was still sitting in a chair at the other side of the room, looking almost as flustered as the two lovers. As Sean bent down to retrieve the clothing, he offered James a satisfied grin “pardon me” he nearly purred as his fingers brushed against James as he picked up the rumpled clothing.
“Can I just say…..? Fucking bravo” James gave his review of the night’s show as he nodded his head enthusiastically and even offered a bit of quiet applause as he looked up at Sean.
“Quiet you” Sean returned, though with a smile as he excused himself from the room for the moment, anyway.
That was when James turned his eyes back to Claire at the sound of her own giggle as she curled herself around the thoroughly disarrayed cushions to make some attempt at hiding her nakedness, though there was none of that modesty when Sean had made love to her right before the other man’s eyes only moments before.
James just shook his head as he looked across the candle lit room at where she cradled the cushions as though she were still holding Sean against her body, “I’ve gotta know.”
“Know what?” she replied with another small laugh.
“How many times can that man do that in one night?” he exclaimed with more than a bit of admiration and honest curiosity.
That was when Claire couldn’t help covering her face with her hands in embarrassment, though continued laughing, “Like he said, quiet you” she laughed again.
“Now I know why you so hated being at that place where I found you. Who’d wanna be there with those men, when you have this one waiting here for you?”
Claire’s smile faltered a bit then “It wasn’t a pleasant time” she admitted softly, finally moving to retrieve a cover from the other end of the couch to wrap around her.
“Wow, didn’t mean to bring down the mood” James said apologetically, trying to cover his disappointment at seeing her hide her beautiful body from his eyes once more “we could talk some more about how good Sean is at fucking.”
That did do well to produce another small laugh from her. But she then paused a moment as she looked back at James as he moved to join her on the couch, now that she was safely wrapped in that cover.
“So, you and he…?” she left her sentence at that.
“I think Sean and I have both been dreadfully lonely lately” he admitted quietly, then looked back up at her with a bit of worry, “I mean, I hope that it’s ok, I just sort of assumed that since you didn’t rip my throat out when you got home…”
“No it’s not that…” she rethought her answer “Sean and I have had other lovers, you’re just the first…” her voice trailed off again.
“Future king?” he offered an ending for her sentence.
She smiled and nodded, “yes you are definitely the first one of those too” she allowed “I just never thought that he would try… that” she then quickly added, “and I don’t mean that in a bad way, I mean I’ve been with girls before myself” she then shook her head, “you know, I think I’ll just stop talking now.”
“God please don’t” he offered breathily in response to her last statement.
“I repeat, quiet you!” She laughed again.
“Never” James teased, “I think I’m thoroughly smitten with you both” he told her with a seriousness behind the otherwise teasing tone.
“That’s most likely our blood talking” Claire assured.
“I don’t think so” he smiled again as he moved to place a soft kiss on her lips, before finally then moving to retrieve the rest of his own clothing.
It wasn’t too much later that James decided he should at least put in an appearance at the palace that week. Plus, his guards had to be getting just a tad chilly out there on that late October night. Once she heard James and his guards galloping off into the night, Claire took a moment before rising and dropping the cover around her feet then heading off to find out where Sean had wandered off to after the first time the two of them had made love again in over a year. She shook her head at the memories of the pleasure he had given her that night, and questioned how she had indeed survived for so long without it herself.
She found him sitting on his studio floor with quill to paper, still only having pulled his trousers up around his hips haphazardly, without bothering fastening them again “Inspiration has struck?” she greeted him from where she now stood in the doorway, not having bothered with putting her own clothing back on.
“Something like that” he returned, his eyes moving slowly and appreciatively over her body, “I take it that was James and his men riding away?” he managed, though his eyes still did not move from her pale skin as she glided towards him in the candle light.
“Guess you’ll just have to make due with me for the rest of the night” she teased as she moved to take a seat on the floor next to him, gently reaching up to run her fingers through his long disheveled golden locks.
“I think I’ll be able to cope with that” he agreed with his own smile back at her. But his expression turned more serious as she continued caressing his hair and laid her head upon his shoulder “Is it safe for me to think we’re ok now?” he dared to bring up the fact of their semi-estrangement that had lasted ever since that fateful night onstage with Awsha.
Claire steeled herself as she attempted to find the most truthful response she could “I was angry at you, for a really long time. But then, eventually, staying angry at you started to hurt me more than it helped me. I just didn’t wanna feel empty anymore, when I had you there to make me feel so much better than I was letting myself” she managed, “I’ll probably always hate Awsha, and never ever trust her again, but I think, now I’d rather just let myself be happy that I still have you, and she doesn’t.”
Sean moved to gently kiss her forehead, “I just want you to know that no matter what ever happens anytime from now to eternity, the choice I’ll always make in the end is the one that includes having you” he promised in a whisper as Claire moved to take his lips with hers once again.