Merry Birthday

Rubbing my hands together against the bitter cold, I quickly unlocked the front door of my lonely apartment and scurried inside. Not that it was much warmer inside - getting a fire started in the grate would be my first task I realised.

Minutes later, a roaring fire was going as I held my hands out to the flames, slowly defrosting my body. Who knew the buses wouldn't be running and the walk home would have frozen me to the very bone? 'You daft woman', I told myself - it's Christmas Day, why on earth would you expect buses to be running? I sighed then as I shrugged off my coat and made my way into the kitchen, thinking about the person who had promised me a lift home and then failed to turn up.

Finally feeling warm with a steaming mug of hot chocolate between my hands, I returned to the lounge and glanced around my tiny, yet neat apartment. The tree lights weren't on - they needed to be on during Christmas day, I thought to myself and moved over to plug them in. Their colourful, twinkling lights cheered up the lonely room, chasing the shadows away and I smiled to myself, deciding to turn the large overhead light off and sit in the dark with only the tree lights and the fire for company.

A sudden movement caught my eye as I turned sharply, expecting to see someone or something. Then decided it must have been a trick of the eye or the lights dancing off the tinsel on the tree when nothing appeared to be there. I rolled my eyes at myself and reached over for the remote to the TV, wondering what utter nonsense they had decided to air today for our apparent entertainment.

And then I saw him, lounging on the rug before the fire. Pale, be-ringed hands casually sketching on a large pad. Wearing black pants and the deep red silk shirt I loved so much, was Henry. He stalled his drawing and looked up at me, a huge, impish grin adorned his face - expecting me instantly to fall for his charms.

"You're late," I grumbled, flicking on the TV and ignoring him.

"I am?" he asked, cocking one perfectly groomed eyebrow.

"Yes," I sighed, "you promised to pick me up from my parents, I had to walk home," I grumbled, kicking my shoes off and tucking my feet underneath myself to keep them warm.

"Sorry," he spoke softly, "I was…catching dinner. Merry Christmas?" he offered, hoping to diffuse my irritation with him.

"I was all alone, it was dark and freezing," I continued to complain.

"It's nice and warm here," he glanced back at the fire I had lit. "Come, join me." He didn't mean the suggestion to come out sounding like a command, but his noble upbringing came out in his voice nonetheless.

Shifting his drawing pad to the side, he held his hand out towards me, a hopeful expression on his handsome face. Relenting, I abandoned my hot chocolate, and grasped his hand. His thumb lightly brushed the vein on the inside of my wrist as he slowly pulled me from the couch and down beside him on the rug. He held me and then kissed my neck softly, causing goose pimples to course down my spine. And not for the first time I found myself musing over the fact of how safe and comfortable I always felt with him - strange when you consider who he was - Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond, 488 year old Royal vampire!

"Forgive me?" he whispered against my ear.

I nodded and turned within his embrace to face him. "Merry Christmas to you too," I smiled.

"I told you, I don't celebrate Christmas, not anymore," he shrugged impassively.

"You can, for me," I brushed a curly lock of hair back from his forehead and tucked it behind his ear.

"I can, for you," he agreed and tugged me closer to place his lips upon mine. The kiss was sweet, soft and fleeting, before he pulled back. "Your birthday however," he began.

"Doesn't start for another…two hours and 22 minutes," I peered at the clock over his shoulder on the mantelpiece.

"Well…nothing like starting the celebrations early," he grinned and leant in for another kiss, this time becoming more passionate and lasting longer.

"Does that mean I get my gift early too?" I asked cheekily, boldly.

"I thought I was your gift?" he frowned.

"Oh, but of course," I flashed him a smile, "what more could a girl ask for? A vampire lover?"

"Ah, and yet my lady does request more, what to do?" he pretended to muse the problem over, tapping his forefinger against his cheek. "Try under the tree," he suggested, whispering against my ear, the rumbling timbre of his voice causing my body to tingle from head to foot.

I frowned at him, "you don't put birthday gifts under the tree."

"I had special permission from Santa," he nodded knowingly.

"Don't tell me…Santa?" I asked incredulously.

"What? You have no problem in believing in vampires, yet you don't believe in Santa?" he asked, a silly smirk on his face and I couldn't tell if he was being serious or not.

"Henry…" I whined at him.

"Look under the tree," he repeated his earlier request. I did as he asked and spied a present laying beneath that definitely hadn't been there before.

"What is…?"

"Told you," he grinned , pleased with himself.

I crawled from his side, grasped the gift and returned to him and the warmth of the fire.

"So…Merry Christmas, and happy early birthday," he kissed me again. "Open it," he then urged.

Feeling exactly as my niece and nephew had done this morning over their Christmas gifts, I tore the expensive glossy paper off with gusto to reveal a silver picture frame. Encased in which was a skilfully hand drawn picture of a male and a female in an embrace. The female bore a striking resemblance to myself, and the male very much like Henry, arms wrapped around each other and lips on the verge of meeting in a kiss. The words 'with love, Henry', written carefully in the bottom right hand corner completed the depiction.

I studied the drawing for some time, taking in every crafted line, every pencil stroke on paper, every fine detail so lovingly captured by this incredible creature. And then, placing the picture aside carefully, I turned and flung my arms around him.

"It's beautiful," I sighed, "thank you," and I kissed his neck, emanating from him a soft growl in the back of his throat.

"You like it then?" he asked me, slightly worried about it.

I almost laughed at him. "I love it, it's the most amazing gift I have ever been given." I told him honestly.

"The most amazing?" he questioned doubtfully.

"Yes, it's so personal, and beautiful…and you made it for me. I truly love it," and he received another kiss for his efforts. The kiss became passionate quickly as tongues sort entry and moved against one another and hands roamed bodies. "Wait," I placed a hand on his chest and pushed him away with some effort, "Santa left a gift here for you too," I grinned.

He frowned at me, "I told you, I wasn't celebrating Chris…"

"No, but you said you would, for me," I pouted at him.

"Yes, for you…I said I would," he agreed with a slight sigh.

"It's only a small gift anyway, I mean…it's hard to know what to buy a guy who's almost 500 years old and just happens to be a vampire!" I joked, going to a cupboard in the lounge and pulling out a brightly wrapped gift. "It's not much, but…" I handed it to him, "I couldn't not buy you anything," I smiled, waiting for him to open it.

He sat with it on his lap for a while, frustrating me, just gazing at the gift and then back at me. "No one has given me…"

"Shh, just open it," I smiled, placing a fingertip over his lips, realising that he didn't receive many gifts, probably hadn't for a long time and he didn't expect them. Yet, he was touched.

He dipped his head and kissed the palm of my hand, before pulling off the paper and finding the art supplies I had bought him. He pulled out pencils, ink, a new drawing pad, paint brushes, a fountain pen and other items.

"Are they, okay? I mean…I wasn't sure…"

"They're perfect, everything that I use. You're very observant, thank you for taking the time to notice. Thank you," he placed a short kiss upon my lips, before investigating his gift further.

He seemed impressed, and I didn't want to tell him I'd rummaged around his desk one afternoon whilst he was still sleeping to make sure I had the right things.

"You're very welcome," I smiled, glad that he seemed pleased with it.

After a few moments, he placed them all aside and pulled me back to rest against him, holding me close. I ran my hands up and down his arms, over the soft silk of his shirt as he buried his nose in the nape of my neck and inhaled, sending goosebumps creeping down my spine. His nose began a playful trail around my neck then, brushing my exceptionally long fiery red curls to the side with gentle fingertips and causing me to shiver deliciously. Since he was tickling me, something I hated, , I tapped his arm as I squirmed against him, willing him to stop. He did so, as I tilted my head backwards and gazed up at him and he grinned down. Our eyes met and held, faces aglow from the illumination of the fire. And then he kissed me - long, deeply, with desire and want and I moaned into the kiss.

Cradling my head in his hand, he lowered me down to the floor, amongst the wrapping paper and he crawled over me, his body hovering above mine on outstretched hands. I smiled up at him, before pulling his head down to kiss me once more and he slowly descended himself onto me. I wrapped my arms around his neck and raised my knees against him, opening my legs slightly - allowing his body to nestle comfortably against mine. For awhile, we kissed and nothing else - tongues tasting one another, dipping in and out of each others mouths teasingly, erotically - already causing my heartbeat to race and my breath to escape in short pants.

My hands sliding up and down his cool back over the slippery material of his shirt, trailed lower and lower, until I crept beneath the waistband of his black pants and cupped his backside through his underwear - giving each luscious cheek a playful squeeze. He groaned and wrenched his lips away from mine arching his body and raising himself up on his strong arms once more.

Henry eyed me with tenderness - perhaps even love, as his eyes bore down into mine, all the passion and desire I felt for him reflected in his sea foam orbs. His head hung down, allowing his longish curly hair to tumble forwards, framing his beautiful chiselled face. I reached up and brushed the curls back, holding his face between my hands - just happy to gaze at him, to admire his beauty and be in awe of the power of him. He moved his head and once again kissed each palm slowly, flicking out his tongue to taste my skin. And then the licking continued, following a path along each vein from my wrist and up my arm - the blood pumping beneath my flesh being visible to him - the sight and smell and sound of my heartbeat arousing him further, evident by the growing bulge pressing hard against my hip.

He growled low in his throat as he dropped my hands and sat back on his heals between my legs, his hands running slowly down my voluptuous body. I followed suit and sat up to as he caught the bow holding my top together between his fingers and tugged gently, unfurling the ribbon and revealing my cleavage to his intense gaze. The ribbon was slowly, agonizingly unlaced - his cool, sensual fingertips brushing softly against my skin, leaving my body tingling, causing further goosebumps to erupt and my breathing to increase once again. Finally casting the top aside, I took over, pushing him back onto the rug and crawling over him, straddling his body. Slowly, tantalisingly I began to unbutton his shirt, kissing along his chest as each button was pushed through the loop, caressing the smoothness of his skin which continued to fascinate me - always cool to the touch, unless he had just fed.

His shirt completely unfastened, I pulled it from his pants and pushed it off his shoulders, as I crawled back up his body, licking along his chest, my tongue following the groove down the centre of his being, dipping momentarily into the belly button, before upwards, searching out his nipples. His eyes were closed, his teeth biting his bottom lip as I laved over each nipple, toying with him, teasing him. Scooping my hair together into a ponytail, he lifted it up and away, now watching me and as I glanced upwards I realised his eyes had darkened to deepest black in complete desire.

Holding his gaze, I grinned wickedly, my hand delving lower, fumbling with his belt buckle and the button on his pants and then I bit his nipple. He hissed, his back arched against me and then with a deep growl, in the blink of an eye he grabbed me, flipping us over so as I was once again beneath him and my bra was removed. My hot flesh searing against his cool skin, the necklaces he wore trailing over me, between my breasts, dragging over my body sensually. His mouth began to relinquish sweet torture upon my body. His hands and mouth seemed to be every where all at once - my mouth, my neck, my throat, my breasts, my belly as I writhed under him, gasping his name, emitting soft moans and sighs.

I closed my eyes, my hands buried within his soft curls as his hand delved lower and his fingertips crept inside my panties, touching me, parting my moist folds and delving inside me. My body jerked beneath him, I drew in a sharp breath and clenched my eyes shut, focusing solely on his fingers and what he was doing to me. A light breeze brushed against my bare skin and it was moments later, as Henry knelt between my open legs when I realised he'd disrobed us both completely with his vampire agility, that I lay before him as naked as a newborn child. He gazed down upon me, the lights from the tree twinkling upon our naked skin.

For some time he simply knelt before me, admiring me and causing me to blush under his scrutiny. He smiled at me. "Don't be shy," he whispered, "you're beautiful," he added, lowering his head and kissing his way back up my body, until he captured my lips with his and kissed me hungrily, his hand cradling my head, my hands grasping his strong shoulders, returning his kiss with just as much enthusiasm, almost drowning within his kiss, pulling his body, his soul into mine and pouring mine back into his, becoming one.

I felt him, his hard length nudging against my opening, "Henry, please…" I gasped, opening my legs, raising my hips, urging him to enter me, wanting, no, needing all of him. "please, Henry, now…" I begged, reaching down between us, guiding him to where I needed him. He pulled back then, a light kiss to the lips, before he flexed his hips and entered me and I groaned, tossing my head back in wanton desire.

Henry easily found a smooth rhythm, gliding in and out, up and down effortlessly - hitting all the right spots - places I was sure most people weren't even aware existed, sending my body into delicious overdrive. He held my hands in his, raining short, sharp kisses down upon my lips as I tilted my hips towards him and wrapped my legs around him, holding him close to me, making him all mine.

Already I was being rushed towards satisfying climax - his touch alone having the power to do that to me, his natural charm working wonders on me. His vampire powers of persuasion were never needed on me and the somewhat cocky prince knew it.

I gasped loudly, my fingers clenching his tighter as I bucked beneath him and a warm tingle spread throughout my body. I moaned deeply, burying my head within his neck as I allowed the feelings to totally engulf me. And still he moved on me and in me.

Slowly raising my head, my eyes met with Henry's - the usual sea green shade having transformed to fathomless black. The light from the fire seemed to catch the glint of the tips of his fangs as he traced a finger down my neck, his eyes fixed upon the spot where my blood pulsed powerfully beneath. I kissed him, running my tongue over his sharp pointed teeth, before I tilted my head to the side, baring my neck for him, offering up my blood to him.

He lowered his head, licked my neck and then bit down forcefully, piercing my skin. There was that slight momentary flash of pain and then intense pleasure as he drank from me, opening up the intoxicating, emotional connection between us as he fed on my blood. He sucked, his hips bucked and I reached orgasm once more, moaning against his ear, my hips and thighs rolling beneath him as he too reached his own peak deep within me.

Healing the wound with his saliva, he raised his head, catching a droplet of blood on his lips, eyeing me questioningly to make sure I was alright. In answer, I pulled his head down and kissed him with new enraged vigour, which he returned just as profoundly.

Rolling from atop of me, he lay on his back, on the rug before the dying embers of the fire. He pulled me into his arms as I lay my head upon his now slightly warmed chest, basking in the afterglow of making love.

"I love you," I whispered.

He kissed the top of my head and increased his hold on me as the clock in the lounge chimed midnight.

"Happy Birthday my love," he whispered against my ear as I closed my eyes and dozed right there in my vampire lovers arms.

The End ?

Claire Stead

December 29th 2007