Author: Ardina PM
A good deed. An arranged marriage. The strife of individualism. Call it a prolonged oneshot. Click for full summary...Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Fantasy - Chapters: 11 - Words: 24,893 - Reviews: 23 - Favs: 15 - Follows: 17 - Updated: 03-24-09 - Published: 09-26-07 - id: 3804825
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
10. To All Creatures Great & Small
She was certainly tired as she made her way through the outer circle of traffic and headed out north to the wider roads that would take her back home to the valley. Though Cath may have been six months pregnant with twins the woman showed just as much vitality as when they had been sixteen and trawling through Camden Market. Despite her regular jogs and the obscene amount of swimming Livia had been doing lately, she had been no match for the whirlwind called "Cath". Livia had been in more shops than she cared to count and the literal bags of evidence sprawled out over the back seats of the coupē. It had been a pleasure though…
At four 'o clock the sky had gradually darkened and she was approaching the last leg of the journey as the first droplets of rain hit the windscreen. It was just her luck that it began to pour down heavier as she made her way around the bends and curves that lead towards the valley. The sky had darkened to such an extent that the use of headlights had been called for, but the powerful beams did little to cut through the heavy rain. The road continued to snake and turn for what seemed like an age and she would have second guessed her location if she had not had her GPS system online. A little more than puzzled and more than aware of the time Livia pushed on just below the speed limit of the small road. She had no wish to be late tonight for not only did she aim to, at least try to, appease Marc; she had been promised an outing to the opera.
"Just my luck", she muttered and took her gaze off the road to glance at the GPS map. It was as she looked back at the road that an animal loomed in the lights. Its eyes glowed back and on an automatic impulse she swerved and locked the wheels of the car in the process. The heavy vehicle screeched across the wet surface in protest before coming to a sharp halt on the side of the deserted road. The sudden stop send whiplash ricocheting through the compact vehicle which cause Livia to strike her forehead against the top of the steering wheel. She let out a hiss of protest at the action.
Silence reigned for a moment with only the rain falling on the roof of the stationary vehicle.
"Dammit", she cursed as she switched on the cab light and took a look in her mirror first. Hoping only for a bruise had obviously been too much for the fates. Instead a thin gash, where the impact had split her skin, ran from the corner of her right forehead down to her temple. She had been blessed with a bruise too as the area was tender and she was positive that by tomorrow it would display all the colours of the rainbow. "Well done Livia", she said with a touch of self-depreciation as she switched off the cab light. Her quick mind now turned to her surroundings. Luckily she was still on the road and had merely skidded onto the sidings. At least there are some benefits to be had…She felt exhaustion on the fringes and shook it off faster than she thought possible. The last thing that anyone needed was her brother finding her in this condition. No one would ever hear the end of it.
She immediately was assailed by distress as she thought of the small mammal in the middle of the road. After all this, the last thing Livia wanted to know was that she had killed it.
The sound reverberated through her mind so clearly that she turned quickly (causes a wrenching of her neck) to check that she was alone in the vehicle. She saw nothing but the murky depths beyond the windows of the vehicle. Trying to regulate her breathing she took a swipe at he blood that dripped down into her eye. "Shock. Just shock or at least a concussion. I'm hallucinating", she repeated.
I'm glad that you would think of hallucinating of only me Livia, but be practical and tell me where you are so I can come for you…
There it was again. His voice in her mind. It was as if he was right beside her, but only this time she could feel his emotions as if they shimmered down the invisible line of communication. It was strangely intimate.
Let go of the wheel my dear and take a look around you so I might know where you are…
She could feel him and knew that he saw what she saw at that moment. She could feel his worry and his mounting frustration that was slowly, but surely giving way to black anger. It was at that moment that she realised she was broadcasting emotions to him.
Distress. Confusion. Exhaustion.
"No, I am fine", she said out loud and concentrated on mentally burying her emotions. An exercise she had found successful when they had shared another strange experience that morning by the pool. She released her death grip on the wheel, unlocked her door and took hesitant step forward out into the rain.
You don't know what is out there
"I saw something and I'm not leaving it to die", she replied quietly as she felt the cold rain snake down her back. She felt his disapproval strongly, but was grateful that he chose not to force his will upon her. Something she was not entirely sure that he was unable to do.
"I guessed as much", she muttered and increased her unsteady steps towards where she had last seen the animal. "Tell me where it is please-"
What makes you think that I would know where it is?
Livia stood where she had last seen the animal in the centre of the wet road and replied, "Because you gave yourself away in coming to my aid tonight. This…" She concentrated on the sensation of his presence in her mind in the hope he would feel it too. "That was what I could feel when I was in the pool, when I woke last night, when I was in Bucharest, but I could only feel traces, like you where glancing in on me, but I was never able to tie down the sensation. Now you have come to me direct. Now I know so tell me where it is"
You know nothing, but I am pleased you show such an aptitude
"I know that you can tell me where the little chap is, so tell me Vladislaus", she said. There was a silence as if he was deliberating her new found talent rather than focusing on her request. It annoyed her, but her next action was to plead, "Please take pity on a woman out alone, the sooner I can find him, the sooner I can come home to you". She surfaced her distress and let it freely broadcast to him. It was not long before she received a response.
You will find a small lynx, juvenile, to the far left of where you are standing. He has been in a fight with something much larger than him – most likely a wolf, but I will not know until I have seen him. He is overtired and was merely frightened by you tonight. Beware they can deliver a nasty bite…
Before he finished she was off at his instruction, showing absolute trust in his word, and she tread carefully through the brush of brambles before she spotted her quarry. In the rain huddled on his side was exactly what the dark stranger had promised Livia. His coat was matted with rain and mud. Although the light was poor she could tell that his paw was the cause of his apparent ailment. To Livia, she looked at him and all her problems melted in comparison. She hunkered down to his level well aware that she was well within pouncing distance. The only reaction was his ears pressing more firmly to his skull and low hiss that escaped over his canines. Livia still felt the connection between her and Vladislaus, but instead of feeling intruded upon she welcomed the strange comfort it gave it as she began to gently hum to the injured creature. The hissing ceased and his ears perked up in her direction to listen better. She continued and moved closer whilst slowly removing her jacket. Within minutes Livia had made it to the creature's side and gently lifted him with the aid of her jacket back to the parked vehicle.
Now where did you learn that?
She heard the curious question, but did not answer immediately as she gently lay the sleeping animal on the reclined passenger's seat. "I found I liked animals when I worked with a wildlife society one summer", she replied quietly as she shifted the car into gear. "Now if you don't mind I will speak with you later as I need to concentrate a little harder than usual", she said and then used her little trick, as he had once put it, to severe the connection. Livia grimaced slightly as she felt his cold disproval as if she had slammed a door in his face before the invisible line vanished.
She would have to learn more about psychic etiquette.
The grounds appeared before her within the next forty minutes and the rain had become blessedly lighter in that space of time. Unfortunately darkness had now completely descended limiting her visibility. Livia manoeuvred the vehicle at a snail's pace onto the path that led to the ground's stables; it would do not good to spook anything else. It also might draw less attention to her later than planned arrival. Satisfied she was close enough to make a safe dash for her bedroom patio doors the engine was cut and she manoeuvred the little beast into her arms; humming a little as he stirred. Preoccupied with her task she ignored the packages in the car and nearly collided with the dark figure stalking the entrance to her room.
"Vladislaus", she stated with a surprised look on her face. With a hasty step back she added, "I can feel your anger so I suppose silence will do. So, so could you at least look at his paw before you rip out my throat?"
The command sizzled along the dead line and she gasped as it hit home; right where she had hit her head on the steering wheel, but she did not argue. Carrying her charge securely she entered her dry room and placed him on the end of her bed. She immediately turned for the bedside lamp, but he snapped at her, "Leave it. I do not need it to see". Rather than recoil from his tone she sat near the sleep lynx and watched in growing fascination. She watched him mentally assess the animal as it lay perfectly still under his blue gaze. He stripped a leather glove off his right hand and had it hover above the injured paw. Both man and beast held the fresco in silence for so long she felt herself becoming sleepy, but she fought the impulse and merely shifted closer to watch. All at once he removed his hand from the creature and it raised its head to look him in the eye. I must be tired, but I could swear they're talking to one another, she mused in her mind as she watched.
She became more alert when the creature lifted himself onto his front paws without hesitation and then his hind legs as he bounced off the bed towards the door. Before the creature took the final steps it turned in an unhurried gait towards Livia and it rubbed its head beneath her out stretched hand. With a last look at the man near her it wandered out the door.
"Just like that?" She turned to look at the muddied duvet and prints that trailed her cream carpet. "Messy thing", she said cheerfully and proceeded to remove the offending cover from her bed well aware of the brooding gaze attempting to ensnare her. Tired of the building tension as her headache began in earnest she said, "I am sorry I cut you off like that". She sighed with the bundle of laundry in her arms, "But I didn't want to hit a tree the second time". He continued to stand there and she gave up dumping the soiled cover to one side and flicking on her beside lamp. At once the room was flooded with gentle golden light and threw his expression into better view. "I have apologised and the only other thing I have left to say is that I am exceedingly grateful for whatever you did that helped my little accomplice. I'm grateful and I'm sure he's grateful too", she gave another sigh and felt the congealing blood at her forehead. It was as she was walking past him to the bathroom that his hands roughly reached out to pull her closer. The light from the lamp flickered once and puttered out, the patio doors threw themselves open wider as a gust of wind tormented the long drapes. His blue eyes bored into her and she could feel his seething just below the surface. Was it her shutting him out? Her drive to the city? Had it angered him in the same way it had angered Marc? His measured tones soon broke into her mental rambling. "Your friend, Michael, he was right about women and so was the literature he read", he told her and with each word he betrayed his anger with the guttural pronunciations. "You are all stupid creatures. The things you think".
"Now you hang on one minute mate", she said in turn. "You are the one with the odd communications and healing a lynx! But I am the one with stupid thoughts?" She flared at him with her body unconsciously pressed against his solid frame.
"I thought you were hallucinating", he dripped sarcasm.
"Don't you use that tone with me or you can go with your ego tonight!"
"So you do remember that I exist and was patiently waiting for you?"
"Why do you think I was rushing home in bad weather-, oh forget it", she stopped in mid sentence angry that she was giving so much away. "Not that it matters keeping it to myself, you're probably in my head anyway!"
"Pardon?" He genuinely looked at her in puzzlement.
"Nothing", she said in defeat.
"I was not trying to get into your thoughts Livia", he said and brushed he hair gently away from her own injury. "I was thinking that my waiting has been worth while and I am grateful that you have taught me patience", he said and kissed her forehead. A cooling sensation emanated from that one spot and eased her painful headache.
If it was possible she relaxed further into his arms and asked, "What makes that all possible for you?"
"You are not frightened?"
"Should I be?"
"I should say yes, but I do not want you to fear me now that we have begun"
"You promised to tell me tonight Vladislaus-"
"So I did, but I really would not be part of the secular noble groups if I did not take advantage, yes?"
"It is rude to eavesdrop on every one of my thoughts!"
"It is rude to think that-"
She stopped him from going any further by boldly kissing him with one hand sliding up his broad chest to rest above his heart and the other curl at the nape of his neck. For once her damp clothes did not let her feel the cold as she burned beneath his wandering hands. She could not think coherent thoughts as she stood there with his hand cupping a full breast and teasing the tight peak through the damp cotton of her top. He smelled of the forest just before the rains and she was happily drowning in it as she was caught up on a wave of lust. It was good to indulge.
"I think I have told you before that you are going to be the death of all my good intentions", he murmured throatily between her sweet kisses. She breathed a contented sigh and decided to trail her kisses down his throat since he was so persistent in speaking. "Livia my dear you've been out in the rain-"
"I have you to warm me Vladislaus", she purred as she nipped playfully at his jaw.
My love, it is not good to have…
"What, tell me what?" Her words breathed across his cool skin as her hands found an opening in his shirt. He was momentarily speechless as her hands wandered across the plains of his back. However when the calling he felt began to seep along the connection they shared enough was enough.
Blood cara. It is not good to have to have such a blatant temptation
Again she did not question how she came to hear him, but she did and she felt the simmering of emotions that accompanied the disguised request. Livia sensed his worry that he would harm her and it was all centred around the cut on her forehead. "Why?"
"It is another attribute of mine", he replied cryptically.
She felt the tension radiating from him and she couldn't be sure whether it was because of the blood or because he was unsure of her reaction to the news he was keeping from her. "Tell me and if I don't like the news I can blame it on the concussion"
I have a particular desire for your blood my dear
"To kill me?" She did not move from his hold, but looked at him with enquiry.
"Why ask such a thing when you know it is not true?"
Ignoring the admonishing tone in his voice she continued, "Then why?"
"To taste you", he murmured and proceeded to kiss her slowly giving her the freedom to back away if she chose. She did nothing of the sort, but let him lead her on an erotic dance with his lips.
"Go on and tell me what I am thinking is true. I can feel you watching my thoughts even as you guard your own". She looked at him in a curious fashion.
I am a Vampyre Livia
"Well, the blood thing gave that away Vladislaus in all honesty, but it is nice for you to confirm my suspicions – I was more asking why you need or want blood? Do you need it or do you want it?"
A strange feeling assailed him. He had fully anticipated a fight or at the very least he had anticipated the need for a compulsion binding, but she did nothing except ask exasperating questions. He pulled her head to the crook of his shoulder and his fingers delved deeper into her rich hair, she did not protest as she heard him say, "You were truly meant for me Livia"
She pushed against his hold which eventually gave, looked into his blue eyes which seemed to glow in the dim light before she said, "Are you going to tell me?"
"Later my dear, but for now we'll be late if you do not hurry and change for the evening"
"Give me twenty minutes", she said as she pushed away from him and moved towards the bathroom. She got as far as the oak dresser before the room started to spin and immediately he was at her side as if he pre-empted her need. "It's terribly unnatural that you are able to move that fast", she said as he laid a cool hand to her forehead.
I forget that you do not heal as quickly…
"…As a man I suppose?" She felt the same cooling sensation spreading across her skin, but still felt the need to express, "You could try and be a little less chauvinistic"
He did not correct her, but merely uttered a non-committal response.
Livia brought his hands down from her forehead and blinked as the earlier spinning seemed nothing more than a memory. "You will have to teach me these tricks of yours", was all she said before she gently nudged him in the direction of the door. She did not wait for him to leave as she began to undress heading once more for the bathroom. First she lifted the top she wore over her head and tossed it in the general direction of the spoiled bed linen to reveal a simple lace bra. In the dim light her skin took on the palest hue and with her hair hanging in a dark mass she looked like a troublesome sprite once more. He stood transfixed as he watched her shed her clothing before his eyes. He could still feel her soft hair under his fingertips and standing a few feet from her he was able to inhale her scent. A strangely hedonistic mixture of blood and lust. His shoulder tensed for an instant as he felt the calling once more. He resisted the animalistic urge as he knew that she would be his soon enough. His eyes travelled her form as she was distracted at her dressing table searching for a brush. From the top of her head down to her fully breasts to slight curve of her hip where her delicious skin faded from his sight and into her blue jeans. Without thinking he broadcast his will for them to be gone. Where before he had found her abilities intriguing he would soon find them trying as she was an exceptional learner. In an instant she turned to face him with something like womanly wrath in her eyes. It was entirely obvious to him that she had felt his compulsion and it had had not effect whatsoever.
I'm sure the fates find it funny to have sent a woman immune to me
"I don't really think that I need to elaborate further", she said and turned back to brushing strokes into her hair. He caught the distinct muttering of "compulsion…nonsense". He stood for a while unwilling to leave her presence, but it was not long before she turned, "Well go and stop gawking at me", she threw over her shoulder as she closed the bathroom door behind her.