Limo Ride….

Lucky had no idea how the driver had been notified, but by the time they got to the entrance of Siren, the limo was waiting for them. She clutched Josef's jacket around her ruined dress, and kept her eyes fixed on his broad back ahead of her. She should be enjoying watching the muscles move smoothly under his purple silk shirt and black suspenders as he carried Eris, but all she could think of was that she'd embarrassed herself, and him as well. That stupid, stupid dress. She swore to herself it was going straight into the trash as soon as they got home.

She sighed, and as she inhaled, she caught a whiff from the jacket of Josef's distinctive scent, a spicy, masculine muskiness that she loved. As much as he was aware of how his freshies smelled, she wondered if he knew the street ran both ways. She turned her head to put her nose closer to the collar, and inhaled deeply. It almost made her head spin, and distracted her from her distress.

Josef turned back to her as he reached the door the limo driver held open. "Wait just a moment, babe," he said, and she was relieved to hear that his voice sounded warm. He was such a stickler for propriety, in public, and there had been some unfortunate lapses this evening. Not all on her part, certainly, but she knew she might be a convenient target if he was feeling frustrated.

Josef stepped into the limo, carrying Eris easily, in one of those displays of controlled power Lucky found so fascinating. He deposited the nearly unconscious freshie across the bench seat behind the driver's compartment, and stepped back out. Smiling mischievously at Lucky, he said, "Maybe I should require my jacket back before I let you in the car."

Lucky looked him straight in the eye, and decided to call the vampire's bluff. "If that's what you want, Josef," she replied, and flashed open the jacket. She wasn't sure he'd realized that the architecture of her dress, a sexy black number basically open all the way down one side except for a few strategically-placed clasps—all of which had disastrously given way at once—had required her not only to eschew panties, but a bra as well. With the clasps non-functional, the dress was essentially hanging from one shoulder, and gave the term half-naked a whole new dimension.

Josef's eyes widened, although whether in shock or appreciation Lucky wasn't sure. Both, she hoped. He blurred forward, pulling the lapels of the jacket together.

"Change your mind, Josef?" Lucky purred.

"Never knew you had exhibitionist tendencies, doll," he replied with a tight smile. "On the other hand, I do believe you've established your status as a natural red-head beyond any doubt."

"Wow. Vampire visual comprehension really is off the charts." She paused, and gave him a sly grin. "And you know you only ever had to ask."

"Maybe guessing was more fun." Josef moved to help her into the limo. "Now, unless you're planning any more impromptu public strip teases…"

"It was kind of your idea, Josef."

"Thank you for reminding me that not every idea I have is necessarily a good thing."

Lucky laughed as she clambered toward the back of the spacious passenger compartment. While she had to let the jacket gape, this time she tried to keep at least minimally covered. Although—Lucky looked at Eris. Her sister freshie seemed to be sleeping soundly. As Josef entered the limo, Lucky took a very deep breath, and shrugged out of the jacket. "I believe you wanted this back?"

"Put the jacket on, Lucky."

She was having a hard time interpreting his look. It was somewhere between exasperation and arousal. "Don't you like what you see?"

Josef allowed his eyes to travel down the length of creamy skin exposed to his view, the firm breast, the sweet curve of a hip, the long leg. He ran his tongue over his lower lip, his avidity growing. "You know I do," he said, sitting beside her, the unbroken line of the warmth of her skin searing through his clothes. He wrapped the jacket around her again, and instructed the driver to move off through the late night streets of the city. "Take the coast highway, Watson," he directed through the intercom. "I'll let you know when to turn back."

Meanwhile, Lucky twisted gently in his arms, turning so that her knees were pulled up onto the seat, and she gazed into his face. The jacket around her shoulders seemed to create a private space for just the two of them. She put her hand to his chest, and loosened his tie, then unbuttoned a button or two of his shirt. When he made no move to stop her, only smiling down gently in her direction, she smiled back, and started to run her hand lightly over his chest, feeling the firmness of the muscles beneath the silk. She wasn't sure what it was that had made her so bold tonight…the mishap with her dress, the quiet intimacy the two of them shared, simply a feeling that there was an unfamiliar recklessness in the very air.

She bent her head and kissed the base of his throat, pulling a fold of skin into her mouth, and biting at it very lightly. Josef gasped. "Damn, Lucky," he growled softly. "What are you trying to start, here?" As if I didn't know, he thought.

"You said we had unfinished business, Josef," she replied. "And why does that scare you?" She laid her head against his silent chest, making sure that he would feel the warmth of her breath against his skin.

She could feel him turn his head away, staring out the window into the night. "Have you forgotten Eris, over there?" he asked. "Because even with my age and experience, there is always that chance—I could go too far. I could lose control. And don't tell me it can't happen, that you trust me. I've seen it happen—it already happened once tonight."

"But I do trust you. And maybe you need to trust yourself. Eris is okay. She'll be fine. And you'll be fine, and I'll be fine. I think…" And Lucky darted her tongue out, and licked his skin again, following it with another kiss. "…that you're thinking too much. Go with your feelings, Josef. What is it that you'd like to do, right now?"

"Maybe you're right." Josef put a hand under her chin, and lifted her face. "First," he said, "I think I want to taste your mouth." While he was still speaking, Lucky moved, taking his lower lip captive between her own. Again she teased at him with her teeth, licking the bit of flesh she had taken, then releasing it to explore his mouth with her tongue, gently stroking the fangs as they lengthened.

His tongue met hers, dancing across her lips. His arms around her tightened, one cool hand sliding down to her hip, past the hem of the jacket to find the bare skin below. He pulled his mouth away from her, and she opened her eyes to see his, narrowed to silver slits, almost glowing in the gloom of the limo's interior. He made a small noise, sounding curiously helpless, his mouth curving into a smile. "Your skin is so warm," he said quietly.

"It gets even warmer, here and there," she breathed in response.

"I don't know what's gotten into you tonight."

"Me either, but I think I like it," Lucky said, bending her head to kiss his neck again. "How about you?"

"I'm sorry, do I look like I'm complaining?" Josef asked with some difficulty.

The soft sound of her lips and tongue at his throat was the only answer. He leaned his head back, reveling in the sensation, as under the cover of the sheltering jacket, his hand strayed further up the line of her side, finally covering her breast, his fingertips caressing the fine texture of her skin. After so long together, so much denial, his hand seemed to rest there naturally, as though it belonged there.

The gentle purr of the engine, the steady surge of her blood, and the rapid beat of her heart…these sounds filled his ears, just as the passing lights from the city covered them in shifting bars of gold. There had been many nights, many women, in his long centuries, and he thought with a faint sadness that in time, this memory, like so many others, would fade into the blur of the past. But for now, he could hold this moment, this freshie, and simply encompass the present, take it into his senses as completely as he could. He had to have her blood in his mouth, to make her once again a part of his being.

"Lucky?" he asked, "I need—I need to drink you in."

She reached up to caress the side of his face. "Of course, Josef. Of course." She turned her head away from him, stretching her neck for his fangs, but when he bent his head to her throat, he only licked it lightly, inhaling her scent.

"Put your arm around my neck," he commanded, his voice low and urgent. Lucky complied at once. Usually, if he wanted to bite her wrist, he would start scenting her at the bend of her elbow, moving along her forearm. This time, he put his mouth to the tender skin at the joint, and kissed along her arm towards her body. The jacket fell away from her shoulders, leaving her raised arm bare and glimmering palely in the dim light. "You say you trust me, Luck'," Josef muttered against her flesh. "Are you ready to prove it?" He moved his hand away from her breast with some regret, bracing her shoulders even as he used his other hand to position her arm. He noted that she was completely relaxed under his hands, pliant and accepting.

"In the time I have known you, Josef, you have never once given me reason not to trust you wholly," she whispered. "If for nothing else, you're too damn practical to ruin a perfectly good freshie." She paused. "Just out of idle curiosity, though, what are you planning?"

He bit softly at the flesh of her upper arm, not breaking the skin. "Brachial artery, babe. It's almost as much of a rush as the femoral. And just as dangerous, if I'm not careful."

There was silence for a long moment. "Josef?"


"I'm so sorry."

"Sorry about what, babe?" His shoulders tensed slightly, bracing for rejection. He might have known it was too far, that this woman, so eagerly provocative tonight, would find the limits of her trust in his ability to contain his desire safely sooner rather than later. But her words surprised him.

"I'm sorry that you have to be so careful with us stupid, fragile humans."

Josef gave a rueful, and somewhat relieved, chuckle. "I'm not," he replied. "I found out a long time ago that control is the key to pleasure. For both of us." And putting his mouth on her arm as close to her body as possible, he bit, his fangs slipping through the delicate skin almost painlessly, stopping at the barest nick of the artery. Somehow the rush of blood seemed hotter, sweeter here, even as her essential scent in his nostrils was stronger, richer, more intense. He put one large cool hand on her back, warming it against the velvet skin, caressing up and down the rounded ridge of her spine, finding the delicious curve almost at the base of her spine. He had put his hand at the small of her back before, in backless gowns, but tonight, this ruined dress, this dangerously semi-naked body in his arms lent an entirely new context to the texture of her skin.

A few long pulls, and he heard her shuddering intake of breath, her softly moaned exhalations. She clutched at him, nails of one hand digging into his back, sliding on the dark silk of his shirt, the other buried in his hair. She twisted to put her mouth against his neck, feeling the movements of his muscles as he drank her blood.

Not too much, not too deeply. It was hard, so hard to stop, but he did, with a last cleansing stroke of his tongue across the tiny wounds. As Lucky settled against him, passion spent, he retrieved the fallen jacket and tucked it around her shoulders once more.

"Now why is it again you think I shouldn't trust in your skills?" she smiled drowsily.

Josef licked the last of the blood from his lips and smiled down at her. "Lucky…sometimes I wonder about you," he said affectionately. Even as she giggled at him, her eyes drifted closed, and he listened as her body quieted into slumber. After a few minutes, and careful not to disturb the freshie as she lay so quietly against his shoulder, he reached over to touch the intercom. "Watson," he said softly, "it's time to head for home."