Ravyn's Nights - Book 2

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Chapter 20

When Erica returned to the house, it was well past midnight, and her chaperone home through the dark was Aidan rather than Sean. Though Aidan was two vampiric generations below Sean, and therefore not nearly as powerful as his grandsire, he was still much more equipped to deal with any bands of roving Caitiff than Erica ever would have been.

Claire was a bit surprised by Aidan being the one to return Erica safely to their home. But she was more concerned with the fact that, upon entering the home and closing the door behind them, Erica got on her toes to better reach where he stood a little over five inches taller than her, and placed an adoring kiss upon his cheek before heading toward her own room with a wordless grin.

“So, you’re courting my almost-daughter now? Is that it?” Claire turned her emerald eyes to Aidan’s smiling face as he made his way to the couch she sat upon for the second time that evening.

“Everybody’s so eager to tell me who I’m courting tonight. You are aware that I actually already had one wife, right?” he teased as he took a seat.

“Walking her home, letting her kiss your cheek like that. What would you call it?” she replied with narrowed eyes.

“Young love?” he offered with another smile.

“One of you is not that young” Claire reminded once again.

“Come now Claire. Creatures like us are eternally young” he offered with another smile.

“Key word: eternally” she returned wryly “and when you say ‘love’ I assume you’re referring to what Erica thinks she feels” she pressed, watching him closely for his reaction.

“Well the girl is rather smitten with me” Aidan admitted.

“How rather?” she pressed further, the dress she had been working on all but forgotten.

“At least to the point of wanting me to give her her first kiss, smitten” he admitted with another soft smile.

“Kiss or Kiss?” Claire had to ask.

“I’m assuming you mean the vampiric version of that word, rather than some other euphemism you’re somehow too shy to state?” he asked for clarification.

“Yes the vampiric word…and there better not be any other euphemisms you’re thinking of” she added as she narrowed her eyes again.

Aidan couldn’t help a slight chuckle “and yes I was referring to the mouth to mouth version of a kiss” he assured her with another smile.

“So, you kissed my fifteen year old sort-of daughter?” she repeated, forcing a monotone.

“Very technically speaking, she kissed me. But I’m sure she would be thoroughly embarrassed to have you know that information” he added in a furtive whisper.

Claire just shook her head “you do know that she’s most likely just reacting to that… allure we have” she decided on.

“Oh you mean she only wants me because I’m Kindred?” Aidan returned with a raise of his brow.

“It’s quite possible” Claire returned, trying to convince herself as well as Aidan.

Aidan couldn’t help another chuckle “I seem to recall you letting me do plenty more than just kiss you, back when I had no such supernatural allure” he couldn’t resist reminding her.

“And I was a thirty-five year old vampire at the time…not quite the same as a fifteen year old mortal” she then had to add “and you definitely weren’t my first lover, either. Let’s not forget that fact” she further reminded, though at a quieter volume.

“Yes, I believe you mentioned that that was Sean. And it was when you were what? Three years older than Erica?” he pointed out.

“And Sean was a twenty-two year old mortal then, too! And my husband. Not even remotely the same, Aidan” she added, though her conviction did appear to be wavering slightly.

“Are you saying you’d like me to marry Erica before I even dare to think of deflowering her? When did you become so conservative? Was it before or after you agreed to be my mistress? Or was it later than that, after you would get onstage and let Sean lick away your blood from all those pretty wounds he’d inflicted on you for the pleasure of the masses?” Aidan asked, before he could curb his words.

“Is this meant to be an argument to convince me to be ok with you deflowering her at all?” she shook her head “Erica and I are two completely different creatures, and equating my past encounters to that of a fifteen year old mortal virgin, is just a bit ridiculous” she told him with a dark look.

“I’m not suggesting that Erica engage in any of those sorts of exploits, I promise” he attempted to assure “but the mere fact of letting her experience intimacy at all is not truly that terribly far-fetched, now is it?” he added with a more serious tone.

“Are you seriously asking me to be all right with you doing that with her?” Claire asked with a shake of her head.

Aidan simply sighed “If it’s not me, it will be someone else. It’s inevitable. I just thought that maybe you would feel slightly better about it at all if it was with someone whom you already trusted to be a kind and gentle lover to you, yourself. I’m sure you know that there are plenty of men out there who could be described in no such way” he added softly before heading back outside to leave her with those words.

When Sean did return home, the hour was nearing three a.m. On his approach to the house, Sean looked more than a bit surprised to find Aidan sitting outside the home staring up at the stars once more “isn’t there somewhere else you’re expected tonight?” Sean greeted him warily.

“Where would that be?” Aidan responded, forcing a smile.

“The same place you’ve spent all your nights since arriving? I imagine Awsha is getting quite lonely by now” Sean stated in the same wary tone as he finally came to stand near where Aidan still had yet to rise from his seat on the ground.

“Well, after having quite a long chat with your…ward” Aidan settled on “I seem to be slightly less interested in keeping Awsha company” he admitted, to which Sean simply raised a brow.

“So, after forty years, you’ve finally realized she’s a little less angelic than you thought?” Sear returned slightly.

“Oh believe me, I never thought she was angelic” Aidan assured “I thought she had a few other desirable…qualities. But even those seem to be losing a bit of shine these days” he added more quietly.

“Well, as impressed as I am that you’ve finally seen the light, so to speak. I’m still not sure what you’re doing here at this particular moment” Sean returned as he leaned back against the outer wall of the house awaiting Aidan’s response.

“You do realize that this is the most you’ve said to me in 107 years?” Aidan couldn’t help pointing out as he allowed another faint smile.

“Was that your answer?” Sean returned, feigning confusion.

Aidan couldn’t help a slight chuckle before offering a response “Isn’t the whole point of each of the clans having their own havens, so that when visiting clan members come calling, they’d have a place to stay among their own kind?” Aidan returned.

“Was that your eloquent way of asking to stay in my home instead of Haven’s now?” Sean narrowed his eyes at that.

“Well, you are my clan Primogen, are you not?” Aidan replied, finally pushing himself up off the ground, where Sean still stood at five inches or so taller than his own height of 5’11”.

“As true as that is” Sean began “you’ve already slept with my wife; and my daughter, of sorts, definitely seems interested in becoming another conquest of yours” only a slight pause as Aidan looked down with an awkward smile “it could be a rather tense visit” Sean added plainly.

“As opposed to how relaxing it would be for me to stay in the same home as Awsha, especially after hearing the much more detailed version of the things she’s done in nights of late?” Though Sean simply shook his head “So, was that a yes or a no?” Aidan questioned again, feigning his own innocence

Sean shook his head once more before moving to enter the home. Though he left the door open behind him, which did do well to cause another smile from Aidan as he took the unspoken invitation and followed him inside.

After Sean had shown Aidan to the guest bedroom and returned to his own, he found Claire sitting atop the bed, looking more than a little discontent. As she did not look up at him right away, Sean cast a wary look before closing the door behind him.

“How is it that you look more upset than me by the presence of your former lover?” he had to ask as he took a seat on the bed to remove his boots.

“It’s not just Erica being smitten with him. Aidan as much as admitted that he would be more than willing to take her to bed with him” Claire replied with a heavy sigh.

The words did manage to slow Sean’s movements for a moment as he found words “I can’t imagine the rest of that conversation.”

“Would you like to hear what argument he made in favor of… that suggestion?” she decided on.

“Can’t wait” Sean returned as he completed his task and slid back against the headboard next to where she sat.

“He said that we can’t stop it from eventually happening anyway, so wouldn’t it be better if it was with someone who…” she just shook her head.

“Who you already know what to expect from, as a lover?” Sean suggested, though fairly quietly.

“So you can read thoughts now?” Claire asked with a moment of panic.

“I just imagined that would be the most likely way that sentence could end” Sean shrugged, though looked away briefly.

“I mean what kind of absurd logic is that?” she complained, though Sean merely raised a brow. Claire then shook her head again “and you know, the more this subject comes up, I don’t think it’s so much the idea of him taking her maidenhead, as it is the worry about what happens after that” she admitted as she looked down.

“You mean directly after, or…?” Sean had to interject.

“That is not funny, Sean” she scowled back at him “I mean, she’s a teenage girl, and a virgin, and he’s already miles ahead of any mortal man when it comes to how drawn she is to him. You know she’s going to fall so madly in love with him…” another shake of her head “and I think we can just imagine how that’ll turn out.”

Sean sighed as he laid his head back to look for some answer in the pattern of the wood above them “I mean I doubt if he’d deliberately hurt her, but…” Sean simply swallowed again.

“But he’s not going to fall in love with her. And Erica will be devastated, for who knows how long” she sighed with defeat “we promised to protect her Sean. And if we try to force her not to give herself to him, she’ll resent us and just run to his bed that much more quickly. But if we let it happen… she’s gonna have her heart broken into a million pieces. What kind of option do we really have here?” she added, voice shaking.

Sean was quiet a long moment before speaking “I think we can now officially call ourselves parents” he added quietly “lucky us, huh?” Though Claire’s only response was curling into his arms and holding him tightly as they both tried to mentally prepare themselves for what lie ahead for their little girl, who was no longer just a little girl after all.

In another home, further down the beach, Haven too was preparing for that deathlike slumber brought on by the morning sun as the hour grew late. He had just removed his own shoes, coat and shirt and was reaching for the bedspread when he turned to the bedroom door.

A moment later, Awsha pushed open the door with her usually sullen expression “what did you tell him?” she asked, though her voice was small.

Haven sighed as he continued to pull the corner of the bedspread loose “what did I tell who, dear?”

“Aidan” she added with only slightly more volume.

Haven narrowed his eyes as he gave her the shortest glance “I haven’t spoken with Aidan since last evening. I was in a meeting for the entirety of this evening if you recall” he reminded her, trying not to place too much force into his tone, though it was always difficult with her.

“He said he’d be back, and it’s almost five” she needlessly reminded.

“I suppose his plans changed” Haven added disinterestedly.

“To what?”

“Are you honestly expecting me to provide that answer?” Haven returned as he offered her another questioning glance.

“He’s been with me every night since coming here, and now he suddenly just loses interest?” she pressed as she leaned upon his doorway awaiting his reply.

“Again, you’re expecting me to provide that answer” Haven stated with more volume.

That was when she sighed to hide more emotion “he was the only thing that was keeping me from completely losing my mind due to this new hell. And now I can’t even have him?”

That was when Haven allowed his own impatient sigh “Darling, I don’t know what you want me to say. Would you like me to go find and drag him back here against his will?” he asked more loudly, to which she only scoffed.

“You could” she added with a sad shrug.

Then Haven couldn’t help adding “Aren’t you tired of this, Awsha?”

“Tired of what?” she asked, looking up, a bit thrown.

“Tired of trying to force people to love you. It can’t possibly be remotely fulfilling. And it’s gotten you exactly the opposite sentiment every time you’ve tried it. Aren’t you eager to know what it’s like to actually receive love without forcing it out of someone?”

A long moment as she bit back more emotions “And when have you ever had real love?” she turned the question on him “or would you rather feed me more of your blood before you answer?” she willed herself to add.

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