Ravyn's Nights - Book 2

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Chapter 35

~1735~

It had now been forty-five years since Sean’s and Claire’s return to their home country, and those years had been full of much more strife then either of them had ever been prepared for. This was especially true when placed next to their last years in England; running their club and being lovers of the very king of England himself. Oh how much had changed in just under half of a century.

Now twenty years had passed since Erica’s death. Ten years had passed since Claire had been forced back into being an active participant in her own life without the aid of opium to get her through that long decade of dark nights. Of course, that was after she had already put such a wedge between her and her soul mate that he had given into one more transgression that would shatter her so very much if she were ever to learn of it. And of course there was the last five years since the horrible attack on the ship and on Deborah, and the consecutive arrival of the little blonde ‘deceiver.’ And on top of all of that, there was still the very real threat of the serpent and those looming prophecies of impending doom.

In those last five years, Haven had taken to having the docks under constant watch by servants during the day and at least one of his Kindred peers in the evenings. The watchmen were usually volunteers from the various clans under Haven’s jurisdiction, but on occasion one of the Primogen wandered out to those docks for a few hours, just to make sure the serpent’s minions didn’t ever know for sure who they might have to get past if they wanted to perpetrate any more attacks on Haven’s own property.

On this particular spring night, Sean had made his way to the dock to watch for the expected arrival of another ship. He was watching the water in silence when the sound of footsteps behind him caused him to look back to see who approached. He couldn’t help the immediate small smile that played at his lips as he saw Claire approaching him. Though it was a bit odd that he didn’t feel her presence before she appeared, but he wrote that off as a side effect of the constant stress and distraction that surrounded them all with each night that the serpent remained a hidden threat.

“Evening” Claire greeted him as she stepped onto the docks behind him, her eyes moving over Sean on her approach.

“You wanted to try your hand at security too?” he allowed another small smile as he pulled his eyes from her to return to his vigilance of the distant horizon.

“I was a bit lonely” she offered with another smile, which caused a more sincere smile in Sean, though he kept his gaze dutifully fixed on that water. Only, his vigilance did take another slight hit as she moved to a spot directly behind him, wrapping her arms around his narrow waist as she laid her cheek against his back.

“Apparently” he allowed another smile, surprised though it was. Nonetheless, he just barely managed to keep his eyes ahead despite the distraction her touch always caused in him.

After another moment of holding Sean close as he watched the water, she decided to make a further move at distracting him. She pressed her body closer to him as she allowed her fingers to move to the waist of his pants. Then the very tips of her fingers slightly began grazing his skin right behind the waistband of those pants. Sean immediately grew more alert as he felt that light touch upon his skin.

“Something I can help you with, Claire?” he had to ask with a soft chuckle as her fingers began gently moving downwards over the slight trail of hair below his navel.

“I’m sure that’s a very distinct possibility” she whispered against the cloth of the back of his shirt.

“And that possibility didn’t occur to you before I left our bed tonight?” he had to ask, with another smile, distracted though it was.

Only a slight pause before she responded, her fingers still moving against his skin behind the material of the pants “I guess I missed you more after you were gone” she purred.

“Thank you, I think” Sean returned with another soft chuckle, which did catch a bit in his throat as her hand boldly moved downwards still to begin caressing him inside those pants, attempting to coax him into bringing that body of his to life at her touch.

“What? You haven’t missed me?” she returned with feigned hurt as he still had not willed himself into hardening for her just yet.

“Oh believe me, I have more than missed you” he assured as he finally turned to face her, which did cause her to have to stop her caresses however momentarily as he looked down at her, and cupped her chin with his hands “but I was kind of hoping that, if we were to do that again, it maybe wouldn’t be out here on the docks while I’m supposed to be keeping the pier safe” he told her apologetically as he moved to accent his regret at the postponement by covering her mouth with his.

She narrowed her eyes up at him once he ended the brief but gentle kiss “well, I guess there are other things we could do that would possibly take a little less time, and still feel pretty damn good” she offered, attempting to hide any reaction she had to his failure to completely give in to her affections just yet.

“Really?” Sean chuckled down at her “and what pray tell did you have in mind instead?” he smirked.

That was when she smiled up at him and pointedly moved her long locks back over her shoulder, tilting her head up at him to offer her neck. That gesture did catch Sean more than a little off guard as he attempted to find some response. However, before he did, they were both distracted by the sound of a window in the upstairs of Haven’s nearby home being opened. That was when Awsha poked her head out, looking a little distraught. Not that that would be an odd reaction to her seeing Sean and Claire being intimate again.

“So, are you both guarding the docks tonight?” Awsha called down to them, eyes narrowed with continued discontent.

“Well if you’re so interested in watching us, you can always come down here and help, for once” Sean called back up to her, his annoyance at her interruption obvious.

“Real tempting Sean” Awsha returned “And uh, Claire” Awsha said the name with an odd force behind it “Haven said there was some crates in here from earlier that have some material or some other crap that you wanted” Awsha added the best excuse she could think of, while continuing to glare down at them from above.

“Rain check I guess” she sighed back at Sean as she grudgingly moved to head back into Haven’s home leaving Sean behind with a shake of his head in continued annoyance at his little sister.

Once she stepped into the house and closed the door tightly behind her, Claire then was no longer Claire at all; but actually the little blonde Ravnos who turned her blue eyes toward where Awsha was now coming down the stairs with obvious annoyance.

“What was that about?” Taylor asked innocently now that she was once again herself, having let her latest illusion dissipate once out of Sean’s sight.

“I think that’s my question” Awsha returned with a scowl.

“What? You weren’t taking me up on the offer to make Sean think you were his dear wife. So I figured I’d show you exactly how fun the ruse could be” Taylor smiled again. She then took on a more serious expression “’til you rudely interrupted, anyway.”

Awsha just scoffed, “you were trying to get him to bite you?”

“One of the many endlessly amusing opportunities my gift could provide” Taylor returned simply.

Awsha just shook her head at that “you never let me in on any desire to try and trick Sean into getting bound to you” she told her furtively.

“Well, he is older and more powerful than you are. And the heir” Taylor added that extra jab “honestly surprised the thought hadn’t already occurred to you once you knew I could give you the means to do just that.”

Awsha narrowed her eyes again “Yes, I suppose there would be lots of reasons to try and bind Sean to me” she stated as she thoughtfully looked back at the door “but you were trying to get him to drink your blood; not mine” she reiterated.

“Well you were taking forever to finally decide to move this little game with Sean to a whole new level” Taylor replied “what can I say? I got impatient… and bored” she added.

Awsha shook her head as she moved to follow Taylor as she started back up the stairs behind her “you don’t understand” Awsha attempted.

Taylor just scoffed as she reached the top of the steps and started moving toward Awsha’s room “what don’t I understand?” she had to know what Awsha’s answer would be to that.

“If I toy with Sean too badly… if I mess up things with Claire…” she shook her head again.

“Isn’t that the whole fucking point?” Taylor returned as they entered Awsha’s room.

“But he’s said...things…” Awsha attempted.

“What are you even talking about, Awsha?” Taylor shook her head, that impatience of hers obvious.

Awsha sighed again before allowing an answer “Sean once told me that it would destroy him if he lost Claire. Like he was literally saying that he’d most likely go take a nap outside in the sun if he didn’t have her anymore” she added sadly “as much as I want Claire gone… I don’t want Sean gone too” she added sadly.

Taylor let out a loud laugh, which did throw Awsha a bit as she quickly moved her eyes back to the blonde woman “are you even listening to what you just said?” she scoffed.

“Glad you find the death of the man I love so amusing” Awsha replied with a bit of hurt.

Taylor just shook her head “don’t be such a child and think, Awsha” Taylor told her bluntly, ignoring the fire that began to rise in Awsha’s eyes at that comment “the reason he feels that way is because he’s bound to her. Hello? Of course he’d rather die than be without her. That’s the point of making him bound to you instead” she informed firmly “do I have to do all the thinking around here?” she added in a mumble as she moved toward the door of the room once more.

Not letting Taylor’s words slide just yet, Awsha moved to grab Taylor’s arm before she could reach the doorknob “why are you so intent on getting Sean bound to me? I know I would have my reasons. But what are yours?” she had to ask, wishing like hell that she could read the girl’s aura after all.

Taylor turned back with a wry smile “Sean is the heir. If you make him yours, you make the throne yours” Taylor stated simply. She then couldn’t help adding “and if you were to make Sean get bound to you, then you wouldn’t even have to be the one to get rid of Claire. Sean would pretty much do that himself then, just to please you. He’d do anything to please you if he were bound to you. He could even give you the throne yourself” Taylor had to add.

Awsha swallowed a bit at Taylor’s observations which were most likely all true, if only Awsha did go through with the plan. Then after another moment’s thought “all that aside, Haven’s still Prince. Sean’s still only the heir. Shouldn’t Haven be the one I’m trying to get bound to me?”

“That won’t work, dear girl” Taylor informed.

“How do you mean?” Awsha asked, narrowing her eyes.

“Is there any Kindred on the planet that Haven would willingly drink from?” Taylor pointed out “however, we both know that there is one that Sean will” she added with another wry smile.

“But, you could make me look like one of Haven’s servants, couldn’t you? Then he could just feed on me that way” Awsha argued, though kept her volume even lower.

“Yes, I could do that. But their blood doesn’t quite have the same effect as Kindred blood. I’m sure you know how you felt after drinking Haven’s. Have you ever felt that after drinking a mortal’s blood? He’d know right away that you were Kindred underneath that illusion. And I think we know how that would turn out” Taylor told her knowingly.

“Wait. How would you even…? What Kindred have you ever fed on; I mean, since your embrace?” Awsha had to ask, catching that little detail.

Taylor was a little caught by Awsha easily latching onto that slight detail from her words. She thought a moment as she seemed to be bracing herself for her next statement, but then decided that maybe it was indeed time to move this game into the next round. On that decision she spoke “would you like to meet him?”

“Him?” Awsha asked, a little thrown.

“The one Kindred whose blood I may have tasted at some point in the last twelve years” Taylor added more quietly, watching Awsha for any reaction.

“You’re bound to someone?” Awsha asked with shock.

“I never said that darling” Taylor quickly answered “it does take more than one drink for that after all” she reminded.

“But you still drank his blood at least once?”

“The Kiss is still the Kiss. And even we non-Toreadors do really enjoy that. And it’s even more enjoyable when it’s a Kindred who you share that Kiss with. If only it wasn’t for all those pesky side effects if you want to do it more than once” she had to add with a wrinkle of her nose.

Awsha continued to watch her, trying in vain to read her aura once more “so, who is this Kindred who you shared at least one Kiss with?” Awsha asked again.

That’s when Taylor looked down with a smile before answering “Haven was right about me having a tendency to lie from time to time” she began.

“From time to time?” Awsha smirked, more than aware of Taylor’s intimate relationship with deception.

“I know I’m not some orphan, in the Kindred sense anyway” she scoffed “but I was raised by the gypsies” she added, actually using the more derogatory term that she had corrected when Haven had used the same “my sire was one of them actually” she admitted.

“So you are Ravnos?” Awsha easily followed her line of conversation.

“Yes I am” she admitted with another smile “which is why someone found me so much more valuable than his little army of orphans.”

“The serpent?” Awsha asked with a raised brow.

Taylor just allowed a small smile “you know he’s been here way longer than your little sire. I’m not sure if he’s actually older. He doesn’t spread that information around. But the fact remains that he was here before our new Prince” she added.

“You’re telling me this, even though you know I’m Camarilla?” Awsha stated warily.

“Are you, really? Or is that just what your sire expects you to be? You know, when he’s not forcing you to sleep in a coffin for a decade, or drink his blood, or punishing you in some other way for falling for his other childe? Is that really who you want to spend eternity bowing to, Awsha? Really?” Taylor repeated with another pointed look.

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