Ravyn's Nights - Book 2

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Chapter 18

Not long after Aidan’s arrival, it came time for the next Kindred council meeting to discuss how much progress they had made toward eliminating the threat posed by the serpent and his minions. As Sean prepared to leave for Haven’s home that night, Erica nearly begged to come along once again. The girl claimed that it was out of an interest to see the day’s shipments, but the look that passed between Sean and Claire suggested they had other suspicions of her urge to visit Haven’s home that evening.

Nonetheless, Sean gave in to her request, worried that she’d head there on her own if he declined. And if anything happened to her, neither he nor Claire could have forgiven themselves. When they arrived, Erica looked a bit disappointed as she entered the home and did not immediately find Aidan waiting there in the living room as she had apparently imagined he would be.

“Why the sad face? There are the boxes you wanted to look through, right?” Sean couldn’t help teasing in response to her obvious disappointment.

Offering no answer, she just sighed and moved to attempt to appear interested in those boxes. Though, her dark eyes couldn’t help constantly looking toward the stairs with the hope of seeing Aidan and the dread of seeing Awsha. Sean simply shook his head back at her before allowing a knowing smile and following the Tremere Primogen, Kalen, into their meeting room.

When Aidan did finally make an appearance, he was still rather far up the stairs, speaking quietly and smiling up at whoever was still unseen at the top of the staircase. Erica swallowed slightly at his apparent joviality and familiarity with his unseen companion. Of course, Erica couldn’t help fearing that companion was Awsha, considering that she did indeed also reside in Haven’s home.

“See you later then, love” Aidan was caught saying in the same quiet tone as he finally continued descending the stairs. When he did reach the bottom and noted Erica’s presence, she looked away quickly with obvious nervousness. Her reaction did of course bring a smile to his lips as he stepped off the final stair to greet her “mi pequeña Rosa Español.”

“Sorry?” she nearly choked as she looked back up at him “I didn’t know you knew Spanish” she managed to add.

“Spain is not too terribly far from England” he teased, though his smile did do well to make her barely aware of any of his actual words. Seeing as she was still a bit too flustered to speak, Aidan continued “I wasn’t aware that you were coming to the meeting tonight.”

“Um...no, I just wanted to….look through the boxes” she attempted through slightly shaking voice.

“Well I’m not invited either. The snobs” he teased “you’ll have to tell me if you overhear any scandalous details” he added as he moved to kiss her hand once more before taking a step toward the front door.

“You’re leaving?” she added hoarsely.

“Not going far. Just need to catch up with my beautiful sire now that I don’t have to contend with all of Sean’s scowling” he added with a chuckle “see you again soon, una bonita” and with that he was out the door again.

When Aidan approached the house nearest to Haven’s, Claire opened the door to him moments before he could knock “Didn’t realize you were so eager to see me” he greeted her with that ever-present smile.

Claire just shook her head as she leaned on the doorway “you do know Erica went over there just to see you tonight” she returned flatly.

“The little Spanish rose?” he replied with another smile, repeating his earlier words that he had shared with the girl in question “flattering.”

“And yet you’re here?” Claire stated as she moved to allow him to enter the home.

“Oh you know you had my heart way before she ever… was even born” he added thoughtfully as he moved through the doorway.

“I somehow doubt that’s entirely true” she returned with narrowed eyes as she shut the door behind them while Aidan made his way to the couch.

“Well I definitely gave you the rest of me” Aidan teased as he made himself comfortable.

“Oh good, we’re back to those references again” she mumbled as she warily took a seat a bit farther down the couch from him.

“Can’t help it, that was probably the most memorable decade of my life; at least of my human life” he added thoughtfully “it being the last one and all” he tacked on.

“So you came over here to tell me that?” Claire returned “I’m sure Awsha will be thrilled that you chose my company over hers tonight” she added pointedly.

Aidan couldn’t help a slight smile “honestly I’m surprised you’re not thanking me.”

“Thanking you for what, exactly?” Claire asked as she gave him a skeptical look.

“These past few nights since my arrival, I have been working tirelessly, and I do mean tirelessly, to keep that wicked girl out of your hair” he chuckled.

“Yes, you’ve always been so self-sacrificial” she returned smartly.

“Well thank you for noticing, love” he added as he accented his words by gently placing a hand over her thigh.

Claire simply shook her head again, though did not bother with pulling away from his touch, as she honestly expected it, considering his unrelenting flirtatiousness “so what did you really want tonight, Aidan?”

“Oh now that is a delicious question” he chided, easily taking note of the fact that she hadn’t pulled away yet “what are my choices?” he couldn’t help adding.

“You answer me without me having to force it out of you?” Claire offered, feigning a polite smile.

“Force eh?” he asked with another grin, and then added, “but I thought you were usually the submissive one.”

That was when Claire did show a bit of discomfort as she at last moved to cross her legs, therefore pulling away from his previously placed hand “that’s right, I suppose you were at Midnight that one time” she stated quietly as she reached for the bottle of red on the stand next to her.

“It was as memorable to me as that performance of Sean’s I’d seen a decade and a half earlier, at quite a different venue” he smirked.

“He is quite the showman” she agreed with further discomfort as she took a long sip.

“Admittedly, my eyes were much more fixed on you during that particular performance at Midnight” he added with another smile.

“Are you approaching a point?” Claire asked in the same quiet tone.

“Can’t help being curious about the years since you made me. I don’t really recall many instances of our own lovemaking that ever involved leather straps restraining you and blades cutting into your pretty pale skin” he had to call her on it, his curiosity about it having built exponentially over the last twenty years.

Claire swallowed another sip, her green eyes glued to the wall of the home rather than him “Probably because Sean is the only person I’d ever trust to do something like that to me” she managed.

“I figured after the debacle with Awsha, you’d be the one trying to slice up his pretty pale skin” Aidan couldn’t help suggesting.

“It wasn’t about that” was her only explanation.

“Then what was it about?” he asked, seeming more serious than flirtatious for once.

“Is that really what you came here to talk to me about?” she asked impatiently.

“You’re the one who brought up force. Can’t help it that that’s exactly where my mind went” he replied with the slightest shrug.

“Could you please cut all the flirting and references to exploits past and just tell me what it is that you honestly want, Aidan?” she asked forcefully.

“I’m sensing that this is a touchy subject for you” he couldn’t help replying.

“Aidan” she told him coolly.

“Ok, all right” Aidan gave into her obviously reaching the end of her patience “honestly; I’ve been quite adrift since leaving court. And I can’t help feeling that I missed out on a lot of the things that you wanted to teach me or show me after making me, but were not allowed time to. So, I came here to see if we could possibly make up that lost time, and you could teach me the things I should know. As sire and childe” he added quietly.

“You’re being serious now? No more of your games?” Claire added as she turned her eyes back to him, keeping her voice even.

“Yes, I’m being serious now. Try not to be too shocked, would you?” he couldn’t help adding.

“I’m not sure what all I could really teach you after nearly a hundred years on your own” she added thoughtfully.

“I’m sure there’s plenty” he then quickly added “and for once I wasn’t referring to your skills in the bedroom” he had to interject.

Claire just shook her head and bit back a smile “plus, I don’t know how much time it’ll take. I do have a child now; an actual child” she warned.

“The little Spanish rose?” Aidan returned “she’s hardly a child, Claire” he added with another smile.

“She’s fifteen” she repeated.

“As you’ve said” another smile “which, by the way, makes her almost a woman grown” he informed.

Almost” Claire stressed.

“Is this the maternal attention I’ve missed all these years?” he chuckled “will you be tucking me in at night to make sure no one’s crawled under the covers with me?” he smirked.

“I probably should” she shot back, hiding another tiny smile.

“And you know that if you crawled under the covers with me, I wouldn’t let you leave that easily” he teased as he leaned forward to place a soft kiss over her lips.

Once the kiss ended, Claire closed her eyes for another moment to regain her composure “behavior like that is not going to be likely to help you concentrate on the things you want me to teach you” she attempted to sound scolding, though did not quite succeed.

“I guess I’m a slow learner. You may be stuck with me for quite a while” he chuckled again.

Back at Haven’s home, Erica took a disappointed seat on the couch, the boxes all but forgotten once Aidan departed. Her discontent was so much so that she didn’t even look up when Awsha made her way down the stairs, confirming her fears of who Aidan had been speaking with moments before coming down the stairs himself.

“Is this going to be a regular thing? You spend every meeting here in my house?” Awsha asked flatly as she stepped into the room.

“Pretty sure it’s Haven’s house” Erica mumbled, not looking up at her.

“You were more pleasant when you couldn’t talk back” Awsha added, referring to the fact that she was quite capable of transmitting her own thoughts to Erica, while the mortal girl had no such skill of her own.

“You could always crawl back into your coffin again then” Erica replied in the same mumble.

“You really are depending on this bond never to wear off, aren’t you?” Awsha returned coolly as she moved to pour herself a glass of red.

“Who cares?” Erica offered in an even quieter mumble as she leaned her head back against the couch with a loud sigh.

Then Awsha couldn’t help a loud laugh “is this you being depressed?” she asked with mild amusement. Though Erica’s only response was a shake of her head, not once looking directly back at Awsha “I’d like to know how on earth your pathetic little fifteen years of mortal life could be more depressing than the current hell that I may have to endure for fucking centuries” Awsha retorted as she took a seat on the chair with her drink.

“You could always kill yourself. Doubt anyone would miss you” Erica mumbled again.

That was when Awsha narrowed her eyes and looked at the girl more closely. A moment later another grin touched Awsha’s lips “or maybe the problem is that you’re worried that a particular someone will miss me” Awsha returned with further amusement “your aura is so green, and it’s really not a flattering color with your skin tone” Awsha chuckled as she took another sip.

That was when Erica glared back at where Awsha still smiled above her glass “Is there any male here that you haven’t slept with?”

“Are we counting the other Kindred that aren’t directly related to me? Because even I have standards” Awsha added with a smirk.

“So, you’ve slept with Sean, obviously, and I’m assuming Haven, and now Aidan too I guess?” Erica returned, trying to force back the emotion in her tone.

“They do like their pretty things” Awsha smiled again as she took another sip.

“So, you’re proud of being a whore, then?” Erica shot back, then added, “oh wait, they don’t even pay you do they? My mistake” she added coldly before angrily leaving the house and Awsha behind before the thoroughly deplorable woman could see her tears.

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