Home > 'Til Death (Conversion #3)(15)

'Til Death (Conversion #3)(15)
Author: S.C. Stephens

As his fingers slid up my ribs, pushing up my shirt, I closed my eyes. "And no, you are the only woman I've ever penetrated. The only one I ever will penetrate." He huskily said that directly in my ear.

My breath picking up pace, I ran my hands up his back, taking off his shirt. "Did you like her teeth in you?" I asked, equally as huskily, only curious if he enjoyed the sensation as much as I did.

Settling himself on me, his lips started trailing down my body. Peeking down at him as he glanced up at me, I watched the desire building in the pale depth of his eyes. Shaking his head, he whispered, "No, I didn't really care for it...until you. I definitely never asked for it before you."

I groaned and he smiled cockily, his fangs sliding out. Groaning again, I muttered his name. Then I shut the light off and forgot all about our exes, vampiric or otherwise.

The next morning, I kissed Teren goodbye as I left for work. He'd decided to stay home with the kids, just in case Carrie showed up at the house. I hoped for his sake that she arrived later, so Halina could be on hand to instantly wipe her. And, later, so I could be there too. I really didn't relish the idea of him entertaining his ex all day long.

I pushed it out of my head when I got to work though. He would be a perfect gentlemen to Carrie if she did show up before I got home. And I knew without a shadow of a doubt that he would be faithful to me. Unlike with some marriages, the question of either one of us straying wasn't an issue. We were eternal, bonded through blood. No one on this earth could break that connection. But I did want to be there, for support, if nothing else.

Wishing I could make time blur as quickly as I could, I nearly bumped into Tracey. The perky blonde excitedly grabbed my shoulders. "Get a babysitter for Saturday night. Ben and I are taking you out for your birthday."

I contained my groan. "Oh, really, I don't feel like making a fuss over this one. I just want a relaxing weekend with Teren and the kids."

She raised an eyebrow at me, her perfect lips frowning. "That is no way to celebrate turning thirty." She shook her head, crossing her arms over her chest. "Ben and I are taking you to a club and getting you sweaty and drunk." She smiled and tilted her head, a blonde curl swinging over her shoulder. "That is how you ring in a new decade."

I sighed and thought to argue with her, but I could hear my boss mutter something about a report that was missing from a file. Knowing I needed to take care of that, I shrugged at Tracey. "Whatever, Trace. We'll talk about it later, okay?"

She giggled and spun on her heel and I mentally sighed, knowing I was most likely going to a club for my birthday and not leaving that club until I was smashed.

Throughout the day I checked on Teren, texting him right in front of Clarice, since she could no longer bitch about those sorts of things to me. Every time, Teren responded instantly, telling me that she hadn't shown yet. By lunch, he started getting anxious about her safety. I did my best to reassure him that she was fine, but I wasn't really sure of that. We didn't know this vampire that Gabriel had sent to collect her and, trustworthy or not, something easily could have gone wrong.

By the end of my work day, when she still hadn't shown, I imagined that I could sense my husband pacing. I couldn't, the distance between us kept his location to me more generalized. I knew he was over in that direction, but until we reconnected, it wouldn't be distinct enough for me to feel the pacing. And I was pretty sure that's what I would be feeling when I got home - endless pacing.

That was all but confirmed for me when I pulled into the drive. His form blurred from upstairs to downstairs and back again. I frowned that he was using so much of his super-speed around our children. We generally tried to lead them by example. In fact, I could feel them starting and stopping with their own phasing movement as they copied him.

Slamming shut my door, so he'd break out of his cycle and realize that I was home, I muttered, "Stop that...calm down." I felt his presence pause downstairs, two little beings pausing with him.

Over the mutual giggle of our children, who were apparently enjoying their game with Daddy, I heard him sigh and sheepishly mutter, "Sorry...I just needed to burn off some energy."

I smiled as I walked to the front door, inhaling deep as the sense of homecoming I'd started to feel once I began heading in his direction crashed over me. Hoping the euphoria that I was feeling would farther calm my husband, I opened the door. He was standing right there, smiling at me so warmly, that I knew he'd finally let our bond distract him from his worry.

Amid the joint shouts of, "Mommy!" he walked over to me, exhaling with relief as his arms wrapped around me. As a twin each grabbed a leg, I wrapped my arms around him, my sigh equally content. Into my hair he muttered, "I love it when you come home."

Pulling back to look at him, I was glad that I could give him such comfort, just by approaching him. Cupping his cheek, I stroked the coarseness of his jaw with my thumb. "And I love coming home to you." I took about five more seconds to relish the completion of the bond with my husband, then my children pretty much demanded my attention.

Laughing as I scooped up the tiny beings trying to literally crawl up my legs, I heard Teren start to close the door behind me, then pause. The breathing that he mimicked so seamlessly that it almost made you forget that he didn't have to do it anymore, completely stopped. Hugging and kissing my children, I twisted to look at him. He was frozen at the door, staring outside, one hand still on the frame, like he'd been struck immobile halfway through the process of shutting it.

"Teren, you okay?" I asked, concerned. Then I heard the sound that was disturbing him and my breath stopped. Walking over to the door, I watched a yellow and black checked taxi cab approach our house. Even though it wasn't, the car seemed to be driving in slow motion.

Forcing an exhale from my body, I set down our kids and told them they could watch a movie in Mommy and Daddy's room. They gleefully took off to go jump on our bed with Spike. Turning back to Teren, still watching the painstakingly slow cab, I put a hand on his back. He jumped a little bit, then finally looked over at me. "You okay?" I asked quietly.

Swallowing, he nodded. Watching his wider-than-normal eyes, I again imagined his silent heart would be beating much faster if it still worked. Lacing our hands together as I stood in the door with him, I felt mine increasing. There was just a lot of tension in the air.

Looking back to the driveway, we both watched the cab crunch to a stop behind my cheery, yellow car. The brakes squealed and I flinched at the loud sound in my sensitive ears. Teren didn't move a muscle and I began to wonder if he'd even be able to do this. I squeezed his hand tighter in encouragement as the sound of a Disney movie started trickling down to me from upstairs.

We heard a woman's voice thank the gruff taxi driver, then the back door creaked open. A light, flower scent caught the air just as an averagely pretty woman stepped out of the cab. She looked over to us immediately and I felt myself tighten and my eyes narrow. I couldn't tell if she was still under the vampire's compulsion or not. When she smiled at us, I wondered if she even knew what she was doing here.

Teren let out a long, low exhale as he raised his hand from the door and waved at her. She merrily waved back, her girl-next-door face happier than I remembered seeing it the last time. Of course, the last time I'd seen her, she'd been crying...over Teren, over the loss they'd shared together.

My enhanced sight could pick out the slight moisture in her blue-gray eyes, and the perfect straightness of her slim-curved body; while filled with life once, I was certain that those trim h*ps had never swelled out with a child. Remembering why she was here, remembering the grief that I'd seen in her eyes before, compassion filled me for her. A child was something that she'd seemed to want. Maybe her fear of losing that one, had made her too scared to try again? Yet another reason Teren should finally clear her.

I released my husband, so he could go and be the gentleman that I knew he was itching to be. Glancing at me briefly, he started walking towards her. I leaned against the doorframe as I watched them meet in the drive. With mixed feelings, I heard him greet her and heard her reply that he looked just the same. They hugged, very briefly, then Teren grabbed her bags out of the back of the cab. I smiled that the vamp had indeed let her pack some bags. I'd feel really horrible if all she had were the clothes on her back.

Teren indicated the front door to her and Carrie looked up at me, her bright eyes beaming. As the floral scent wafting from her strengthened with her approach, I fortified my stomach. I had nothing to fear from this woman.

She stepped up to me, her hand outstretched. Being so tall, I had to look up to meet her eye. "It was Emma, right?"

I nodded, then smiled genuinely. "Carrie. It's good to see you again." Curious, I couldn't help but add, "And a little surprising too. What are you doing in our neck of the woods?"

Teren gave me a warning glance, since we really didn't know what she'd been told, and I bit my lip. Well, really, did it matter if I spoiled the story, since we were just wiping her mind anyway? If I knew it, I could probably tell her who really shot JFK and it wouldn't matter.

Not bothered at all by my question, she walked into our home when I moved aside to let her pass. "Oh, it's just the oddest thing." Her gray eyes swept our home, brightening when she saw the piano in the adjoining room; a piano our kids loved to bang on ceaselessly. Meeting my eye as Teren set her bags down and closed the door, she explained further. "I was just getting into town for my two week vacation, when my phone rang."

She glanced over at Teren, who had an expertly warm smile on his face. To the human eye, that was. I could see the slight frown line in his forehead as he listened to what she'd been forced to believe. Smiling, she indicated him with her hand. "Teren calls out of the blue to invite me over the next time I was in town." She shook her head, like she was amazed by life's little coincidences. "I told him I just got in," she shrugged, "so he invited me over for dinner, and here I am!" She laughed on the end and shook her head again.

I laughed too and shook my head. Discretely watching Teren, I saw him glance at me and shake his head a little. He hadn't called her. I doubt he even knew her number. Slapping a warm smile on my face, even as a ball of ice formed in my stomach, I gave her a friendly hug. "Well, we're glad you're here."

A vampire had commanded her to find us, making her believe that she was on a previously planned vacation and Teren had just happened to call her when her plane landed. And she completely believed it. I was fairly certain that in her mind, the memory of every piece of that story was there. It was overwhelming, the power purebloods had. It was how they'd stayed hidden from the world for thousands of years. They controlled human beings like we were puppets on strings. I was immensely grateful that my children and I had vampire juice in us, and could never be controlled like that, and a little terrified for all of the people I knew that did not have that sort of protection.

Pulling apart from her, I kept all of those fears from my face. I had to keep in mind that being a vampire did not make you evil. There was no inherent gene in the blood that instantly turned a person into a murdering, soulless beast. That was still a personal choice that all vampires made on a one-on-one basis. And from what I'd seen, most were content to merely...nibble from humans.

Absentmindedly, I fixed the hair covering my scar. Most vampires...not all.

As I began showing Carrie our home, Teren quietly excused himself to make a phone call. I knew he'd spoken with his family last night and probably several times today. Halina had even wanted to stay here the night before, but Teren didn't have a lightproof enough area for her to hide in and she hated sleeping in the ground. He'd promised her that he'd call when Carrie showed up. As the sun was still out, I figured we had a few hours with Carrie until Halina whooshed in to swipe her mind.

When he was back a few moments later, we all headed upstairs. Visiting our bedroom last, I stood with Carrie in the doorway as she looked in on Teren's children. A light smile was on her lips as her hand drifted to her stomach. I watched the emotion fill her eyes as she stared at the miniature version of a man she'd once been very close to.

Stepping into the room, my kids tore their eyes from the TV to look up at me, then Carrie. Lying on their bellies, their feet clicking together in the air and their heads resting in their hands, they were the image of innocence. Spike lifted his head and barked once, finally noticing a stranger in the house. Guard dog, he was not.

The kids giggled and sat up as Carrie stepped up to the bed. Teren came up and put a cool arm around my waist. Grinning widely at his children, he extended a hand to them. "Carrie, these are our children, Nika and Julian. Kids, this is a...friend of Daddy's."

"Hi," they said at the same time. Nika blew a stray light brown lock from her face, then smiled cheesily, like she was posing for a camera. Julian scratched his dark head, trying to watch the movie and look at the new person simultaneously.

Carrie laughed at them, her eyes filling immeasurably. "Well, hello there. You are both very lucky to have such wonderful parents." She looked back at me, her eyes sad and happy at the same time. It made me want to hug her again.

Nika immediately nodded. "I know! Daddy's magic."

I froze, knowing what Nika really meant. Carrie only thought she was being cute though. Laughing, she twisted to Teren, her finger swiping under her eye. "I'm sure he is."

Teren locked eyes with her for a moment, squeezing me tighter. Nodding and exhaling, he motioned back downstairs. "Shall I make us something to eat?" Leaning into his side, I looked up at my husband, just as my stomach stubbornly growled.

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