"Zoey..." I heard him whisper in my ear; I mean, I had been married to him for just over a decade, but thinking about him sleeping next to me still had me shiver.
"Yes Stark?" I mumbled, turning to face him and opening my eyes.
"We need to get up unless you tend on staying in bed all night; in which case, I will be staying here with you." A cocky grin spread across his face and my heart melted.
"Hmmm... I do believe they can last a few more hours without me." I replied and pulled myself closer to him and kissed him squarely on the lips. He had just rolled on top of me when someone banged on the door and came running in.
"APHRODITE! What's wrong and have you ever heard of knocking?!" I screeched, pushing Stark to a side and sitting up, clutching the quilt to me.
"Well Zoey, I do believe you are the High Priestess and you would like to know that we have a new red fledgling in some serious need of blood and is sort of trying to bite me?! Yeah, get out of bed; put some clothes on and Help Me!" She screeched in a high pitch voice.
"Where is the red fledgling?" I said in a tone only a High Priestess could use, authority magnifying my voice.
"Stevie Rae is holding him in the infirmary. But you had better hurry up because if it bites me I am going to kill you!"
"Why can't Darius help you?" I whined. Yes I may be 31, but I'm still in the physical shape of a 19 year old, so I can get away with things like this.
"Because Darius is out. Now get up, I'm going to wait in the hall, you have TWO minutes!" She said, marching out of the room.
Sighing, I quickly got up and changed. Stark did the same, almost mirroring my movements and I was walking out the door just as he had finished tying his shoes. He grabbed my hand just as I unlocked the door and dragged me to him. I was used to this and knew what was happening next to I turned and kissed him solidly back with as much enthusiasm as he was kissing me. His lips made their way across my jaw to my ear. His teeth grazed my ear as he went to speak and I let out a moan of pure happiness just as Aphrodite banged on the door again.
"Z, I know I have ruined the 'happy' mood but if you don't hurry up I'm dragging you out of there half dressed," she warned sarcastically, but the threat was still there. I quickly kissed Stark on the lips after shouting back through the door that I was coming.
"She is so impatient," I heard Stark mumble to himself, but his voice showed something else. Annoyance? Anger? Or was he just upset that I was going to 'give blood' to another red fledgling? I ignored what he said and carried on walking to the door and flung it open to see Aphrodite lying on the floor, feigning sleep. I gently kicked her and laughed at her as she glared at me, while trying to stand up.
Aphrodite filled me in on what was happening as we walked to the infirmary and as we reached the door I heard Stevie Rae's voice drift up from under the crack of the door. She was comforting him. She would have made an excellent High Priestess and her Earth element was definitely well suited. I pushed the doors wide to see a boy hunched up in a corner, Stevie Rae crouching next to him. Stevie Rae caught sight of Aphrodite standing next to me and made gestures for her to leave, which she surprisingly did, but glared at her all the way out.
"Connor," I said. His head turned quickly in my direction, his eyes flashed with desire as soon as he saw me. It seems Stevie Rae had filled him in on what I was about to do. Stark walked up behind me, put one arm around my waist, his hand lying against my hip, and handed a knife to me with the other hand.
"Zoey, you know you don't have to do this again. Someone else could do it, it doesn't need to be you," he said in my ear.
I turned to face him and putting my hands on either side of his face, making sure the knife was pointing away from his face. "Stark, I have to do this, I'm sorry. You can leave if you want..." My voice was filled with pain as I offered him a way out and his eyes softened and he kissed me lightly on the lips. "Since when did I ever turn my back on you?" He asked.
Someone cleared their throat behind us. Stevie Rae. I quickly turned and kneeled next to Connor. "Do you know what's going to happen?" I asked him.
"I filled him in after Aphrodite ran to find you," Stevie Rae told me and I nodded. Stevie Rae squeezed Connor's hand one last time before standing up. On her way to the door, she laid a hand on my shoulder and nodded to me; then disappeared out the door.
Stark stood in a far corner and watched as I sliced my forearm. Connor looked ravenous but seemed reluctant to feed from me. "There you go Connor," I coaxed and put my arm in front of his face. That was all it took. His mouth latched on my arm and he drank from me. I sat silently as he drank and watched Stark. He twitched and fidgeted as he felt everything I felt, but then he mouthed the word 'later' and I knew what he meant. He was telling me that he was going to make me feel these things himself and I felt a blush spread across my face. A slow smile spread across Stark's face.
I communicated with him silently until I remembered the boy latched to my arm. Stark realised that I was ready to leave so strolled over to where I was. I slowly took my arm back from Connor, who seemed very happy and pleased with himself, and gave my arm to Stark who quickly ran his tongue along the scarlet line, letting the wound close over.
"Connor, I must state now to you, that you may not feed from anyone in the House of Night. Blood will be given to you during meals so you will not need to feed anyway. But now, I need to go. Professor Johnson will now be your mentor. Be well, my son." I said, and touched his new red tattoo before leaving.
"Stevie Rae," I said while leaving the room, "Look after him, if there are any problems, please come to me."
"Z, don't worry so much! Everything will be fine. I promise." She made what she said an Oath, and then bowed to me showing me her respect. I dragged her back to a standing position and gave her a hug.
"Stevie Rae, thank you so much for everything." I whispered in her ear before letting her go to tend to her new charge. Starks' arms found their way around my waist and he whispered something I couldn't quite understand but I untangled myself from his arms quickly and told him to follow me to my office. I suppose I would be in a 'meeting' for a little while.
I had only made it half way through the door before Stark pushed me against the wall, kicked the door closed and was kissing me roughly. I pulled back from him. His expression worried; and he was right to be worried. One of my friends were sending me a message which only happened when something was going wrong. I wrenched the door open and sprinted down a long corridor, only alight with flickering oil lamps. As I ran I felt Stark's presence next to me. I quickly called the elements and commanded them to teleport both me and Stark to where I was needed.
The elements came to me instantly and obeyed my orders but something happened; rather than take me to the problem, they pushed me backwards so me and Stark fell back to the floor and a ball of fire flew down the corridor.
"ZOEY! I'm so sorry! I didn't know it was you!" I heard Shaunee screech as she came running towards me and Stark. "A fledgling told me. That you. Oh my goddess!"
"Shaunee! What is it?!" I said trying to snap her out of her trance.
"WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR HAIR?!" she shouted, her voice seriously high pitched.
"Oh you, Shaunee Cole, are so shallow! It probably happened when the elements threw me backwards after you threw fire at me and Stark!" I snapped back at her while getting to my feet and stomping in the opposite direction.
"Z! I'M SORRY!" I heard her shout to me but I kept on walking. Something felt wrong. I felt... bloated? And I also felt dizzy and ill; so ill. The next thing I knew, the floor was getting closer, the world was spinning and then my sight went and I hit the floor with a small thud.
I woke up to hear my name being repeated hundreds of times. Stark, I thought and with that thought I felt a pair of familiar lips press against mine. My eyes fluttered open instantly to see Stark standing above me, surrounded by Aphrodite, Damien, Jack, Erin and Shaunee, worry plastered on all of their faces.
"Stark..." The word was hoarse and croaky but all of my friend's faces seemed to relax at the sound. "Stark, I need to speak to you. Alone." My friends quickly evacuated the room leaving me and Stark lying next to each other on the bed. He took my hand and raised it to his mouth and kissed it.
"Zoey, what is it? You can tell me; you can tell me anything." He whispered.
"Stark... I think... No, wait, I know" I stopped to correct myself and turned on my side to face him. "I'm pregnant." And then as if on cue, the baby kicked inside of me and Stark put his hands around my waist and laid his mouth against the smooth bump were the baby was and gently kissed it, with tears of joy running down his face.