Over the next few weeks, Claire did everything in her power to avoid spending much time with Sean at all, outside of the moments before and after they slept. However, now Claire’s 134th birthday was almost upon them, and Sean decided that he had taken about all of her avoidance that he could. As Claire moved to get up from their bed, Sean’s hand moved to grasp her wrist.
“Going to leave before I even get to tell you happy birthday?” he questioned gently.
“It’s not technically my birthday for another five hours or so” was her only response, as she did allow him to stop her departure, but did not turn to look back at his words.
“Maybe I want to get a head start on celebrating” he told her with a pointed slant to his tone.
“Sean” though before Claire could say much more, his other hand was already beneath the cover and her nightgown, slowly moving up her thigh.
“It’s been way too long” he whispered, now having moved to speak through the kisses he was delivering to her neck as his other hand found its destination.
Swallowing hard at the feel of his hand moving against her, trying to coax her into bringing her body to life for him, Claire just managed her own whisper “It’s only seven p.m. Erica could come in at any moment” she argued, though weakly.
“That’s why I locked the door before we fell asleep this morning” he assured her, finally feeling her own flesh start to warm as his already had. He smiled as she let her own long-neglected desires take over and make her body ready for his touch, his fingers easily sliding inside her as she allowed the slightest moan at the touch she hadn’t felt in so long.
It was only a few more moments before he was above her and inside her, their lack of intimacy of late fueling both their movements that evening. When their lovemaking had brought them all the pleasure it could bring them in the mortal sense, Sean finally thrust into her one last time as he simultaneously sunk his fangs into her neck below him, drowning both of them in the pleasure no mere mortal intimacy could ever really provide in comparison.
When they each finally stopped shuddering, Sean collapsed above her, holding her tightly below him, as he delivered a few more light kisses to the place where his fangs had pierced her pale flesh only moments earlier “Can we please never wait that long again?” he whispered against her through those kisses.
“We should get up… before she does come looking for us” Claire weakly suggested, though she still could not bring herself to actually break off from the feel of their bodies still pressed so tightly together, Sean still inside her as she whispered the words.
“Can’t I just stay inside you for a few more…. Nights?” Sean whispered back, also seeming in no hurry to release her from their passionate encounter.
Claire couldn’t quite force back the tiniest smile at his plea, “you just ate. I might get fairly hungry before then though” she attempted what logic she could manage in such a state of afterglow.
“I’m right here” he smiled down at her as he gently moved her head so that her lips just barely touched his neck.
Still too overwhelmed by the pleasure he had just given her, Claire could not refuse to give and receive even more as she paused only a moment before sinking her fangs into his neck as well, all of that pleasure drowning them yet again that night.
After several more long moments of recovering from multiple waves of afterglow, the dreaded knock at the bedroom door did finally come. Sean just buried his face in Claire’s hair beneath him, allowing the quietest chuckle, as he still had not moved from his place above and inside her.
“Are you two ever getting up?” Erica’s voice called from outside that thankfully locked door.
“I believe I’ve already done that” Sean whispered wryly against Claire’s ear.
“Told you our time was running out” Claire retorted in the same whisper.
“Never” he whispered back as he finally forced himself to move from her body and roll away onto his back to refasten his trousers as Claire pulled her nightgown back down around her legs “We’ll be out in a couple minutes, honey” he called through the door as he finished his task and sat up with a shake of his head.
“Well we could always do this again after she grows up and gets married, maybe” Claire returned with a bit of mischief coloring her tone.
“I’m already short on blood and now you’re gonna make me cry” he teased her as he finally pushed his body up off their bed. Though Claire’s only response was another small smile as he moved to exit the room and attend to their much less carnal duties of the night.
That night it was Sean who put the little one to bed, slightly before midnight. Afterwards, he returned to the living room to find Claire distractedly sorting through a new pile of dress patterns that had arrived with that day’s ships. He took a step into the room from the hall that led to the bedrooms, his eyes moving over Claire for a moment before stepping closer.
“Not going to run out of the room again?” he asked with a wary tone as he neared the couch.
“Pardon?” she returned, though did not look up just yet.
“Like you’ve been doing for weeks now” he added, though Claire simply looked down as she attempted to find some response to being so easily called on her recent behavior “wow, you must have really liked what I did to you earlier” he couldn’t help a slight smirk as he took a seat near her.
Claire tried in vain to bite back a smile at the reminder of the extremely intense encounter they had shared hours before “have I ever not liked that?”
Sean allowed his own smile, “Practice does lead to perfection I guess.”
“No, you were pretty perfect that first time too” she allowed herself to admit with another small smile, though she did continue to feign interest in the patterns on the cushion at her other side.
Sean allowed his own chuckle “you know flattery just may lead to us getting even hungrier again, right here on this couch” he teased.
“I’m sure we’ve both had a chance to eat since earlier. The servants did look rather pale when I last saw them” she stated, still wearing the smile while not looking back his way.
“And hey, now it actually is almost your 134th. Whatsoever shall we do?” he continued in his teasing tone as he reached up to caress her long locks once more, moving them gently off of her pale neck.
“Well, we did already celebrate my birthday. We could wait ‘til your 138th?” She suggested with another air of mischief.
“Which isn’t for another three months” he needlessly reminded her.
“I’m aware” she allowed another slight chuckle.
“Why do you torture me so?” he teased back as he turned towards her to wrap his arms around her waist and deliver a few light kisses to the back of her now exposed neck.
“I thought you liked it when I tortured you” Claire couldn’t resist calling him on the fact that their other most recent encounters did include more than a bit of sadomasochism, as he had asked of her.
“Completely different kind of torture” he reasoned as he gently nipped at the back of her neck “I can take a hundred blades a night more easily than I can take the idea of not being inside you for that long again” he whispered.
“Careful, you’re starting to sound human” Claire returned, knowing that their sexual desires were not nearly as strong as the desire for the kind of fulfillment the Kiss now gave them.
Sean just smiled at her judgment “and I love you too” he rephrased her statement.
Claire finally turned in his arms and allowed a soft kiss upon his lips before steeling her nerves to broach a different subject, “you never told me what you found out.”
“Pardon?” Sean replied, a little caught by her sudden redirection.
Claire swallowed a bit as she only moved slightly out of his embrace “you said you were going to find out who was poisoning Erica against us” she reminded, though quietly.
“It’s been weeks since we had that… or any… conversation, Claire” he stated warily.
“So, what have you found out during those weeks?” she repeated.
“Well, you made it pretty obvious that you didn’t want me doing that” he replied with the same wariness.
“So, you didn’t actually train yourself to do it then?” Claire asked, looking up at him more quickly.
Sean looked down only a moment before finding an answer “I told Haven to find out what he could.”
“You did?” Claire repeated, trying not to let too much of her relief pour into her voice.
“Like I said, you seemed pretty upset by the idea of me doing it” Sean answered, trying equally hard to keep the suspicion out of his tone.
Claire was silenced for another moment before looking up at him once again “so assuming Haven isn’t keeping anything from us after all, I guess he hasn’t uncovered any enemies within either?”
“Not that he’s mentioned” he replied.
“So, we’re back to not knowing who would be trying to make Erica turn against us?”
“Happy birthday, huh?” Sean returned regretfully as the clock chimed midnight.
“I’m really beginning to wonder if we should stop celebrating them altogether” she admitted quietly.
“Well, I wouldn’t care if we skipped mine, but yours is a little more special” he smiled again.
“How so?” she had to ask.
“It’s the day I met you, isn’t it?” Sean reminded her as he moved to cover her lips in yet another kiss.
As April 1702 drew to a close, Claire found herself out on the beach watching her seven year-old ward play in the sand with a smile. Erica’s eyes grew wide as one of the largest of Haven’s fleet of trade ships began making its way into the port.
“Will I be rich enough to have a big boat like that someday?” she asked Claire in awe.
“You just might be” Claire smiled over at her.
“How do I get that rich?” Erica returned.
“Well, there’s different ways you can get rich. It just depends on what you like doing and how good you get at it” Claire returned. No part of her wished to snuff out that hope in Erica’s eyes by telling her how unlikely it would be for her to attain wealth of her own through any means but marriage. She didn’t want to teach her that harsh truth just yet.
“Do actresses make a lot of money?” Erica asked innocently.
“Well, I suppose they could” Claire returned though quietly “I never heard you say you wanted to be an actress before though” she added.
“Actresses are pretty. And they can make anyone they want like them” Erica told her matter-of-factly.
“I guess some are, yes. But you can do anything else you want too, you know” Claire assured her of what she hoped would be the truth for Erica someday.
“I know” Erica smiled, then eerily added “I should never stop chasing my dreams, because they really can come true” she added plainly.
Claire swallowed a bit at the sound of those strangely familiar words “That’s good advice” she managed “who told you that?” Claire asked with a forced smile.
“Didn’t you say that?” Erica returned.
“Me?” Claire swallowed again “when did I say that?”
“A really long time ago. Before I was born” Erica stated simply, but added no further explanation before running off to watch as the approaching ship docked. Though Claire did not rise to follow her just yet, more than a little shaken by those strange words.
After taking a few more moments to compose herself, Claire finally did begin making her way toward the dock where Erica eagerly bounced up and down as she watched the ship come in. Haven was there to oversee the arrival as well, and Claire slowly moved to stand next to him.
Haven nodded back to her in greeting, then seeming caught by Claire’s obvious discontent “Problem?” he asked her gently.
Claire cast another glance at Erica who was thankfully too far off to catch their words “is Awsha really in torpor?” she asked suddenly.
“Excuse me?” Haven replied, more than a bit caught by such a question.
“She’s really in that coma sort of thing, right? She’s not actually awake, is she?”
“Of course not, Claire” he assured her.
Claire was silent another moment as she attempted to see any trace of deception in his aura, though it was always harder to read one so much more powerful then herself. She let out a sigh as one more thought occurred to her “Could she be dead, then?”
“Dead?” Haven returned, a bit startled by the thought “I doubt that. But even if she did, somehow, give into Final Death; I don’t know why you would look so worried by the idea.”
“Because I think she may be haunting our little girl.”