Ravyn's Nights - Book 2

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Chapter 33

It took more than a few minutes for Sean to get Devon safely back to the servants’ quarters. The task was made that much more difficult by the fact that the young man was continuously drifting in and out of consciousness as Sean attempted to get him to his bed. When he finally had managed to drop the young man into that bed, Sean muttered in annoyance as he exited the room. Only, upon stepping through the doorway he found Awsha leaning against the wall watching him with a smirk.

“I think you need to get your little friend under control, Awsha” Sean told her, obviously perturbed. As Awsha said nothing but continued to smirk at him “she almost killed Devon. She needs to be reined in. Unless, of course you think that letting her kill Haven’s servants will somehow help any of us to trust her, or you” he added pointedly. Yet Awsha still said nothing in response, which only caused Sean to shake his head impatiently “speechless are you?” still silence “real mature, Awsha” he added in a mumble

In response to her continued silence, Sean simply turned away from her to pull the still open door to the servants’ quarters shut with a bit of a slam. It was obvious that Taylor and Awsha, as well as a few other factors were fraying his nerves at that point.

“God, what did the door do to you?” Awsha responded, causing Sean to turn back, only to now find his little sister poking her head out of her own bedroom, several feet down the hall from where she had been standing in obstinate silence a mere second before.

Sean just shook his head at that question, and her new location. He knew they had superhuman speed, but something about the whole situation still didn’t sit well with him “I guess you’re now pretending you didn’t hear any of the last three minutes of our conversation now?” he then added “not that you contributed much to that conversation, anyway” he had to add at a lower volume.

“What are you talking about, Sean? I haven’t spoken to you in days, maybe weeks” Awsha denied as her eyes moved over him skeptically.

“Oh except for when I was just speaking to you a second ago?” Sean scoffed with another shake of his head, not having any clue what new game she was playing now.

“I’ve been in my room all night. This is the first time I’ve seen you, at all” Awsha shook her head “are you hallucinating me now?” she had to add “or did Claire start getting cozy with the opium again and you forgot and bit her?” she couldn’t help adding.

Sean glared at that “comments like that are not going to help me like you any better, Awsha” he told her coolly as he moved back toward the stairs, having had enough of her games and her pointed comments for the night.

Only when Sean started down the staircase again, he halted a moment as he saw Taylor leaning back against the wall next to the steps while wearing a more than amused grin. She continued wearing that mischievous look as she smiled up at his approach “so, you’re Sean?” she had to ask as her eyes moved over him pointedly.

“Your point?” he responded in the same cool tone as he started down the stairs.

“Maybe you are imagining her when she isn’t even there” Taylor offered, proving she had easily overheard their previous exchange “that seems rather odd, doesn’t it? I wonder what that could mean” she couldn’t help adding with another smile.

“Considering that I just found you nearly killing one of your new Prince’s servants; I’d be very careful about making any kind of assumptions about me at all” he told her with a clear warning “have a nice night” and with that, he moved down the stairs with another shake of his head.

When Sean arrived back at his home and made his way downstairs, he found Claire sitting atop the bed reading over some songs he had been working on in the time since she ‘went away,’ so to speak “they’re not finished” he greeted her quietly as he approached the bed.

“They’re really dark, Sean” she then quickly added “good, but dark” she clarified before looking down again.

“It was a dark time” he sighed as he moved to the mattress next to her “is a dark time” he corrected more quietly.

“Is?” she asked with worry as she set the pages aside on the stand near their bed.

Before responding with words, Sean moved across the bed to take a seat directly behind her, his legs on either side of her, his body pressed close against her, his arms wrapping around her chest. Trying to ignore that tension that took up residence in her tiny frame every time he touched her in recent nights, Sean finally spoke “I’d say ‘is’ is pretty accurate. The serpent is having his minions kill and rape people a hundred feet from Haven’s house. And inside Haven’s house, we got the ‘deceiver’ becoming the best of friends with Awsha; when she’s not busy nearly killing Haven’s servants, anyway” he sighed again as he gently rested his chin upon her black locks.

“I feel I’ve missed some of this story” Claire returned worriedly, though now her tension seemed to be more in reaction to Sean’s words than his touch, which was somehow an improvement.

“And I think I’m losing my mind. There’s that” he added with defeat.

“Pardon?” Claire asked with even more worry as she turned slightly to look up at him at last.

“Seeing shit. Great timing on that, I must say” he mumbled, more to himself.

“Seeing shit?” Claire asked in an even more fearful tone.

“It’s stupid. I just…” he then shook his head “I just don’t know how we’re gonna deal with any of this. And I can’t even imagine what’ll happen if I actually do become the one person who actually has to deal with all of it” he sighed shakily “I am so not prepared for that, Claire” he admitted in a near whisper as his voice broke with the hopelessness of their current circumstances.

Seeing Sean so emotionally distraught, Claire couldn’t help feeling her heart ache for him as she had no idea how to help calm his worries either. She allowed her own soft sigh as she turned in his arms to face him. As Sean swallowed slightly and looked down at her questioningly, Claire couldn’t help moving to gently cover his lips with her own.

So grateful for even that small affection, Sean’s lips automatically moved against hers as well, pulling her even closer as the kiss became more passionate with each moment that passed. Letting himself get caught up in that passion he had missed for so long, Sean easily coaxed her down to the mattress with him, moving to lay above her as their kisses continued. As she had yet to pull away, Sean let himself feel more hope at last, as well as desire. Acting on that impulse, he moved his hand gently to her breast, caressing her softly through the material of her dress as their lips continued moving against one another.

Just as Sean had moved his fingers to the laces that held her corset tightly over her breasts, he was caught by the sound of quick footsteps moving past the bedroom “aren’t the servants asleep?” he asked Claire hoarsely.

“What?” she asked, seeming more than a little thrown by his question amidst the most intimate encounter they had finally allowed themselves to even begin for the first time in years.

That was when Sean caught sight of a shadow moving quickly past their still open door “Ok, seriously?” he complained as he pushed himself up off his very confused looking wife and moved from the bed to poke his head out the doorway of the bedroom.

“I didn’t hear or see anything, Sean” Claire assured him warily as she pushed herself up to her elbows, more than a little disoriented by him so quickly moving from her.

Sean just shook his head as he looked around the dim cellar again. Not seeing anyone immediately, he moved past that support beam that had been the scene of many of he and Claire’s sadomasochistic encounters in the last few years, and quietly pushed open the door to their servants’ room. Inside, both of their new servants were contently asleep in each other’s arms. Sean sighed again as he closed their door and cast one more look around the dark cellar.

It was then that he caught sight of yet another shadow in a dark corner of the room and moved closer, focusing his vision to make out whom exactly was in their home that night. Claire had since moved to the door of their room watching him with furrowed brow.

“You saw that, right?” Sean asked her as he continued to try and find that shadow again. As gifted as their kind were with heightened senses, he was finding it just a little beyond strange that he was having trouble locating and identifying the unwanted guest.

“I didn’t see anything, Sean” Claire returned slowly, her mind returning to another part of their conversation prior to their unfinished encounter.

Sean just scoffed as he heard more footsteps that sounded as though someone were running up the cellar stairs. Though, he saw no one despite his eyes having been focused there “and you didn’t hear that either?” he added as he looked back at her.

“No, I didn’t, Sean” Claire responded, becoming honestly concerned now.

Sean let out another sound of frustration as he tossed one more glance around the cellar, using every bit of his senses to try and locate any intruder of any kind “You know, Dahlia can make herself invisible, I heard. Kind of useful when you look like their clan” he added more quietly.

“Dahlia?” Claire repeated, and then added “and why would the Nosferatu Primogen be sneaking around our house? Isn’t she supposed to be out killing serpent minions tonight, anyway?” she added as she recalled the reason for Sean’s meeting earlier that evening.

“You seriously didn’t see or hear any of the shadows or footsteps?” Sean asked her once more.

“Why would I lie if I had, Sean?” she told him sympathetically. She then paused another moment before adding “what were you saying earlier about seeing things?” she had to ask.

Sean sighed heavily again “so, now I am losing my mind?” he shook his head “guess I should consider moving in with Minna, huh?” he added in a sad mumble.

“You were pretty stressed earlier” Claire told him in an apologetic tone.

“I’m a vampire. I shouldn’t get stressed” he complained, though insincerely.

“I think we both know better than that” Claire told him with another soft sigh as she moved across the floor to lay her head against his arm, her fingers curling gently around his wrist. And as upset as Sean was about the entire evening, feeling her touch did at least give him some tiny peace of mind. Though he still couldn’t help tossing yet another glance around the room once more.

“You’re welcome” was Taylor’s greeting to Awsha as she entered her bedroom shortly before dawn.

Awsha couldn’t help a smirk as she noted Taylor slowly and deliberately closing the bedroom door behind her “and what am I thanking you for?” Awsha had to ask as Taylor crawled onto the bed with her.

“Keeping your unrequited love frustrated, so to speak” Taylor giggled as she lay back on the bed.

“Pardon?” Awsha asked skeptically.

“I finally met Sean tonight” Taylor began.

“So now you understand my torch-holding?” Awsha scoffed.

“He very rudely interrupted my meal tonight” Taylor returned, feigning hurt.

“Yeah, his manners do tend to be lacking from time to time. Though I thought that was only with me” Awsha added with a slight bitterness.

“Well, since he has been a thorn in your side as well; I decided to make him my project for the night” Taylor adopted that mischievous grin again.

“Care to explain?” Awsha asked warily.

“I followed him home tonight. And then I made sure that he and his lovely wife had a little trouble connecting, if you know what I mean” Taylor replied, amused at her own accomplishment.

“No, I really don’t know what you mean” Awsha narrowed her eyes down at the other girl.

Taylor chuckled again “as soon as he and the Mrs. started getting friendly, I made sure he was a bit distracted” she added with another small laugh.

Her expression only darkening slightly at the mention of Sean and Claire being intimate with each other, Awsha’s curiosity still needed to know more “distracted how?”

“Well, your dear object of lust either thinks he’s losing his mind, or that his house is haunted. Needless to say, it kept his mind off of his pretty little wife for at least one night” Taylor smirked.

“What did you do?” Awsha pressed, though her own smile played at her lips.

“Shadows and footsteps is all it takes and people think all sorts of crazy things. It’s highly amusing. And amusement is something we desperately need as long as we’re going to be alive” she added with another smirk.

Awsha watched the girl closely as she thought on her words “and you did this just because he interrupted your meal?” she had to know.

“You can’t tell me you’re upset that I kept him from a moment of matrimonial bliss” Taylor replied as she watched for Awsha’s reaction.

“I…” but Awsha only shook her head as she looked down “he’s not really going to think he’s losing his mind, is he?” she had to ask.

“Oh doesn’t he deserve a little torment? I mean you said he did try to kill you. And, gorgeousness aside, I think that still deserves some sort of punishment. Don’t you?” Taylor asked with the same innocence.

Awsha continued looking downwards “whether I think he deserves it or not, isn’t really consequential. I have to tell you not to mess with him again” she managed, though quietly.

“What on earth is that supposed to mean?” Taylor furrowed her brow.

“Haven wouldn’t like you messing with Sean” Awsha returned, though her words seemed forced.

“Haven? The sire that you have all kinds of issues with already? You’re defending his interests, instead of your own?” Taylor replied pointedly.

“I kind of have to” Awsha returned in a whisper.

“Please. Just because some other vampire in some other place decided that your sire should be the one to be Prince here; it doesn’t mean that you actually have to pretend you owe him some sort of reverence. I mean, to his face, sure. But it’s just us here now. You don’t have to play the part of the dutiful childe when it’s just you and me” Taylor told her pointedly.

“Actually, I do” Awsha admitted, though her words were barely audible.

“How do you figure?” Taylor returned with a scoff.

“Because” Awsha braced herself “I really do have no choice but to tell you what Haven would want me to” another pause “I’m bound to him” she added in that same whisper again.

Taylor seemed thrown by that for more than a moment, processing this new information “How the hell did that happen?”

“It was either that or banishment” Awsha sighed.

“So, it wasn’t your choice?” Taylor reiterated.

“Of course not. Sean and Claire are the only Kindred stupid enough to get bound to each other on purpose” Awsha added with obvious bitterness, not immediately noting Taylor’s thoughtful look upon hearing that snippet of information.

“Well, I’m guessing you would like to end that bond, huh?” Taylor added as she looked over Awsha thoughtfully.

“Wouldn’t that be sort of obvious?” Awsha scoffed again “not that I have a choice though. So…” she simply shrugged as her voice trailed off.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say that” Taylor told her with yet another scheming smile.

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