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

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

Nika peeked up at him lovingly. "What happened next, Daddy?"

Teren smiled down at her and kissed her head. "You've heard this story so many times, you probably know it better than I do. What do you think happened?"

Nika sat up straight and clasped her hands together, holding them to her chest. "You kissed Mommy!" she exclaimed merrily, sighing a little. I couldn't help but laugh and shake my head at her. Just a few months shy of being four, and she was already a romantic.

Teren laughed too and was about to comment, but Julian across from her piped up. "No, Mommy ran away." Julian smiled, looking happy that he'd remembered the story correctly.

I raised my eyebrows at Teren, who laughed at my face. "Well, I wouldn't say she ran away, but, yes, she left in a hurry."

I shook my head and looked at the floor, remembering that day. So much had changed after that afternoon. I learned that vampires were real. I fell in love with one and decided to stay with him, regardless of the drawbacks, because he was worth every single one of them. I decided to try and have his children, before it was too late for him to create them. I stayed by his side as he prepared to changeover from a living vampire to a dead one. I even killed for him, to help him complete his conversion and to save us both.

Then things had settled. We'd had a dreamlike few months, where nearly everything was perfect. We discovered I was pregnant, with twins no less. We got married in an ideal ceremony at his parents' place, a ranch where the vampires could leave in peace, without fear of being discovered. Teren and I had anxiously been awaiting our new arrivals, when quite unexpectedly - as most tragedies are - I was attacked by that jerk vampire who'd felt slighted. He'd bitten me for no better reason than to hurt Teren, because he'd felt Teren had been inhospitable to him, by not allowing him to "hunt" wherever he wanted.

That vampire had changed my happy family irrevocably. But I suppose, in a way, since everything had worked out, that strange man had completed our family too, giving us the chance to spend the rest of our unnaturally long lives...together.

Nika, remembering how the story went now, looked over at me reminiscing by the door and clapped her hands. "Mommy had a magic card for Daddy."

I smiled at my daughter's fanciful imagination and Teren laughed and grinned. "I suppose it was magic, because when I called her, and asked her if I could get her another treat, do you know what she said?"

Julian piped up, raising his hand in the air, and looking over at me, his pale eyes joyous that he knew the answer. Much like his father, Julian always liked to have the answer. "Yes!" he pronounced.

Nika giggled. "And, I love you."

Teren laughed again and rustled her hair. "No, not yet, sweetheart."

Leaning into her, he peeked up at me, his eyes overflowing with warmth and love. "The most beautiful woman I'd ever seen, agreed to meet with me, agreed to have dinner with me, and over time, agreed to marry me." He smiled widely as he whispered that.

Nika and Julian, both recognizing the end of Teren's story, clapped their hands and squealed. "Again, Daddy!" they said at the same time.

Teren laughed and began shifting children off his lap. "I've told you that story at least ten times this week. Aren't you sick of it?"

As he set Nika on the floor, she grabbed his hand, shaking her head. "Again, Daddy."

Setting Julian beside her, Teren stood up. Julian grabbed his other hand. "Daddy, again!"

Teren looked up at me. Smiling at him, I walked into the room and placed a loving kiss upon each tiny head. Standing in front of Teren, who now had a child attached to each leg, I whispered, "Go ahead. I'll just be waiting for you...in bed...minus these." I pulled at my clothes suggestively.

Teren groaned and eyed me up and down in a way that made my still beating heart race. He groaned again, hearing it. Shifting his attention to the miniature beings attached to his body, he lightly patted their backs. "Okay, one more and then it's bedtime."

He looked up at me while they squealed and dashed to their side-by-side beds. "Mommy and Daddy need to snuggle."

I chuckled at him and gave him a teasingly light kiss. He closed his eyes and his breath was faster when I pulled away. Smiling to myself, I turned my back on him, tucked my pajama-clad children into their covers, washing them in kisses that had them squealing in delight, and then left him to his repeat story telling. I was fairly certain that this time he'd breeze through the story without letting them participate.

Teren's deep voice filled the room as I left it, and looking back at the trio, I smiled at Nika and Julian holding hands across the short distance between their beds. It wasn't unusual for them to fall asleep that way and on occasion, they were still like that when they woke up.

After giving myself my daily shot, a sting that I was completely used to now, I got ready for bed. Sliding under our cool covers, I kept my seductive promise and didn't bother with any pajamas. Teren and I didn't get to have "snuggle" time as often as I'd have preferred, but we tried to make it work. Having children with super hearing could put a damper on your love life. Now that they were more aware, we generally avoided doing anything while they were awake.

Especially after a particularly embarrassing time when they had heard us...

They had been about two and a half, and we hadn't thought much about plopping in a movie for them and disappearing into for bedroom for a little...reconnecting. We thought about it after the movie though, when Nika and Julian both had concerned and slightly scared looks on their faces. They'd run up to me after I'd gone in to check on them, and wouldn't let me go. It had taken some deciphering of their disjointed language, but I'd finally understood that they'd heard everything, and they'd thought I was in pain.

Yeah, that sort of killed the mood for me for a long time. Of course, Teren thought it was hilarious, and didn't see a problem with just explaining to them what we'd been doing. I...just could not do that yet.

We eventually came up with the compromise to at least hold off on being intimate until they were sleeping. And really, since their language skills had improved dramatically in the year since that encounter, I really didn't need them telling any of our family members that Mommy made funny noises in the bedroom with Daddy. Just the thought of them saying that to Halina made my cheeks heat.

A cool body blurred into bed with me, chilly arms wrapping around my waist as a stubbled jaw nestled in my throat. I sighed contently, twisting my legs up with his; he was just as bare as I was. Knowing where this was going, the anticipation of it started surging through me, but the two toddlers talking through the walls helped to contain my fire.

Teren's cool palms slid over my skin, sending a trail of goose bumps across my flesh. "We could try being quiet," he murmured in my ear, his voice low and husky.

I knew by "we," he meant me. I bit my lip and considered it. Silent lovemaking wasn't impossible, just really, really difficult, especially when the object of your affection was a super hot vampire. There was just something about that combination that evaporated any thought of holding back. Plus, I had my own vampiric impulses to consider. I didn't think I could keep a low growl from rumbling up my chest, and who knows what the kids would think about that.

Sighing, I pushed him back. "They'll fall asleep soon," I whispered, my hand cupping his cheek.

He grinned at me crookedly and shook his head. "While I wish we had more time together like this...I do love that you know you'll be uncontainable." He raised his eyebrows. "Knowing that makes the wait worthwhile."

I giggled and squeezed him tight, pressing my lips softly to his...softly and carefully. The boy was a fabulous kisser and I didn't want to get carried away with that just yet. "Well, I'll try not to fall asleep before they do," I murmured against his lips.

He chuckled in his throat, his hands running over my hips, teasingly refraining from pulling us together.

Sighing as his chest against mine started to warm, I pulled back to gaze at him. "Do you have to keep telling them that story?"

He smiled and relaxed back on the pillows. "It's a good story, they love it."

I rolled my eyes. "It's embarrassing."

He twisted back to me, a finger running through a long strand of my dark hair. "Nothing about you is embarrassing." His eyes flicked down the silhouette of my body under the sheets, the phosphorescent glow of the whites of his eyes highlighting every contour of my body. It made my heart beat faster, made my skin ignite.

Hearing me, he brought those glowing orbs back to mine. He'd told me once that the vampiric glowing eyes were to help subdue prey, as if they needed the extra help, but staring into his, there was a calming, almost hypnotic aspect to them. Watching his face being highlighted by the glow of my own eyes, I wondered if he felt that too.

I'd been worried at first about the glow. It's not something you can shut off, and I'd inherited it along with my teeth, hearing and speed. But it was only evident in perfectly dark places, like our bedroom. In the outside world, it was masked by the light pollution in the sky. It was the only time, I'm sure, that pollution of any kind came in handy.

I smiled as I let his peace absorb into me. Hearing the children repeat Teren's tale with the own twists to the story, mainly a dog that could fly and a mailbox that talked, I considered the fact that their eyes hadn't shown any trace of a glow yet.

We'd tested them nearly instantly, walking them into the darkest room in the house. I'd felt like I was nine again, testing out my glow-in-the-dark t-shirt, but as we'd stared down at them with our own headlights, nothing had shown back. The women all assured me that Teren's was instant, and that the trait must not have carried over to them. They were all extremely excited to see an aspect of the vampirism fade in the lineage. It was what they were striving for - full humans. We knew that was a goal that would probably take several generations, but just the fact that my children's eyes were perfectly normal, made it seem like an obtainable one. But really, as a mother, I was just grateful that they had one less thing to worry about in their lives.

Cocking his head at me, Teren leaned in to restart the soft kissing. "You're beautiful, Emma. I want our kids to know how I see you." His speech against my lips vibrated into my sensitive skin. I nearly tasted the words.

Running my hands through his hair, the sound of the sliding strands apparent, even under our quickening breaths, I murmured, "You amaze me, how you see me."

Into my ear he breathed, "And I see better than almost everyone, Emma."

I bit my lip as I contained a groan. Pushing him back so I could stare at his calm-inducing eyes again, I listened for the telltale sounds of sleep from down the hall - all I heard was a chorus of ABCs. Sighing, I ran my finger across his lips. "Well, I at least appreciate how romantic you make the story." I smiled and shook my head. "It's not nearly that romantic in my memory."

He sat back on his elbow, smiling over at me. "Nearly every memory I have of you is romantic, in some way."

I laughed lightly, sitting back as well. "Even when I'm chucking things at you?"

He grinned and leaned in to kiss my collar bone. "Especially when you're chucking things at me." He raised an eyebrow before trailing his lips up my neck. "You're hot when you're feisty."

I exhaled in a way I shouldn't as his cool breath washed along the vein in my throat. "You make me feel like the most beautiful woman on earth," I whispered.

He stopped sucking on my earlobe to look at me. "Good, because you are." I leaned over to kiss him, nearly not caring that my kids had moved on to practicing their numbers, but he spoke before I could make the connection. "Well, almost."

I pulled back and cocked an eyebrow at him. He laughed at the look on my face and then shook his head. "I think our daughter may surpass even you one day." He smiled warmly at the thought, a look of pride on his face.

A sudden rush of emotion hit me and I felt my eyes sting. "Not surprising...since she's half you."

I swallowed back the sudden lump in my throat while he cupped my cheek. "I love you, Emma...for always."

I could only nod and find his mouth, needing that connection to temper the overwhelming love that I felt for him. Some couples claimed that having children dampened the love they felt for their spouse, but it had had the opposite effect for Teren and I. If possible, I loved him even more now. So much so, that I couldn't believe I'd ever been okay with his one day living without me. Maybe it was selfish of me, but I didn't ever want him to be without me.

As I melted into his arms, I finally heard loud yawns coming from the twins' room. I smiled into Teren's skin, his body nearly lukewarm from so much exposure to mine. Yawning was the precursor to sleep for our children. And their sleep was the precursor to our awakening.

As Teren rolled me to my back, propping himself on top of me, I heard a sound that I heard every night. And every night, it made my heart expand in a way that seemed physically impossible, like surely that frail organ should have busted wide open from the level of warmth and tenderness that rushed into it on a daily basis.

From across the hall, my vampiric ears clearly heard my children saying goodbye to the day, saying goodbye to each other. As always, it brought tears to my eyes.

"Night, Nick, love you."

"Night, Julie, love you too."

Chapter 2 Supernaturally Normal

I dreamt of my children as I slept, of what their future might be like. I imagined the partners that they'd meet and fall in love with. I imagined Gabriel supplying them with as much life-suspending juice as was necessary for them to live as mostly humans for as long as they wanted. Unlike us, our children could take their time having their own kids. It delighted me endlessly that there were no biological alarm clocks hovering over their heads. They could have children whenever they wanted, or never at all. I was fine with that too. Just so long as they were happy...and safe.

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