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Things Change | Things Change for Shang Da and Jamil as Well
Disclaimer: I own nothing all characters contained herein and in following chapters are the property of Laurell K. Hamilton. I only worship at the shrine of her genius. Any rights I am entitled to I freely give back to the copyrighted owner.
I pulled into the driveway and shut off the jeep. Resting my head on the steering wheel I tried to forget the sight of Richard and his new girlfriend. How could he do this to me? To come to the Circus of the Damned and flaunt the little twit in front of me after I had tried so hard to accept the ending of the relationship knowing that it wouldn't work and trying to stop caring were two completely different things. I think that I could have coped a little better if it hadn't been so obviously malicious and done to hurt me. Richard was becoming someone I didn't know and didn't want to know. The look in his eyes as he introduced her enjoying the pain he caused. He couldn't have picked a woman any more my opposite unless he ordered her from a catalog. She was tall, blonde, and if she had more than a dozen functioning brain cells it would be a miracle.
I walked to the front door trying to get my emotions under control before the pard caught on. As usual Nathaniel was at the door opening it before I reached it. Walking into the house the other members of the pard came to greet me. Cherry and Zane took turns rubbing their faces against my left hand in the ritual greeting. Nathaniel took their place greeting me with the face rub and a quick lick of his tongue across the back of my hand. Shooting a quick glance at my face as I frowned as him he lowered his eyes and rose to his feet.
Nathaniel was anyone's meat when I met him a submissive that had no stopping place, no sense of self-preservation. I had encouraged him to assert himself and try new things. His favorite was to flirt and push the rules a bit. I didn't want to discourage him but I had a sneaking suspicion he was doing on purpose.
I frowned at him again and said, “I think you are spending too much time with Jason I think he is starting rub off on you.”
Cherry giggled from her seat on the couch that she had returned to after the greeting. Zane coughed suspiciously trying hide his own laugh. Even Gil, the were fox, that had ended up as a permanent addition to my growing menagerie smiled.
Springing to his feet with the feline grace that seemed to be inherent in the members of the pard, Nathaniel tossed the braid that contained his knee length hair over his shoulder. “You could always tell me to stop.” He said
I sighed; Nathaniel had set his mind on my being his top or dominant and was being surprisingly stubborn about it. Especially considering how submissive a bottom he was.
“I'm going to bed its been a long night. Don't stay up too late. I said walking down the hall to my bedroom. Removing the Browning from the shoulder holster it occupied when I left the house I transferred it to the holster I had added to the headboard of my bed. I put the Firestar that I carried in the inner pants holster of my black jeans under my pillow.
I changed into a knee length sleep shirt and picked up Sigmund my stuffed penguin from the couch in my room where I kept the rest of my collection of penguins. “Hey siggy” I said, “sometimes I wish I was stuffed with cotton too it would sure make life a lot less painful.”
Nathaniel opened the door and came in dressed in the silky boxers that I insisted upon if he was going to sleep with me. He had unbraided his hair for bed and was looking at me as if he was unsure of his welcome.
“Get the lights Nathaniel.” I said crawling under the covers and making room for him. He walked to the bed laying down with his back to me in his favorite sleeping position with me spooned behind him. I felt his body relax even further as he snuggled with me and quickly fell into sleep.
Staring in the darkness long after Nathaniel had fallen asleep I kept turning it over in my mind. Richard had wanted me to be able to accept his beast and when I finally could he couldn't accept that with the ardeur I now had a beast of my own. I had thought that our problems were finally over as a couple that we finally had a chance with the marriage of the marks bringing all three of us closer. That he had come to an acceptance of the fact that I loved both him and Jean-Claude. Instead when we are forced into meeting because of the committee to help all Lycanthropes work together he seemed to become crueler every time we met.
My chest felt tight as I struggled not to cry. I loved Richard as I had never loved my former fiancée and sometimes it was just so hard to be strong for everybody and not wear my heart on my sleeve. The blank cold stare of the psychopath that I had cultivated to hide my emotions was eroding under the strain and so was my self-control. I wanted to scream at him, to rage at fate. If it would do a damned bit of good I would have but it wouldn't and I couldn't do it. I couldn't give him the satisfaction.
Nathaniel stirred and I hastily wiped away the tears on my face knowing it wouldn't keep him from scenting them, but trying to hide it anyway. He turned to face me.
“Anita” he asked hesitantly, “What's wrong?
“Nothing.” I answered roughly. “Go back to sleep.”
Nathaniel moved with the lightning speed and grace that all members of the pard are capable of, to pin my hands to the bed and straddle my body. “No I won't listen to you cry so quietly while I pretend to sleep. I love You. Not just as my Nimir-Ra, or as a dominant to my submissive, but as a person that is every bit as beautiful on the inside as you are on the outside.” He said raggedly, breathing heavily. The pain and sincerity in his voice evident even if I hadn't known that he wouldn't lie to me.
He continued while I lay speechless unable to comprehend that Nathaniel the weakest and most submissive of the pard was insistent on anything. “You protect everyone. You try to help everyone and take responsibility for everyone who is weaker than you, strengthening them. Even when you are bleeding inside you never lean on anyone. Lean on me for once and let me return the favor, it won't kill you to have a moment of weakness.
“Get off of me,” I said through gritted teeth, my shock subsiding and anger pushing away my grief.
“No, I won't not this time.” He whispered urgently. “I won't let you intimidate me or let you use anger to push away the pain. You need to let it out before it kills you. Or makes you cold and heartless to keep from hurting again.” He shook me gently. “Anita please.” He begged.
“I can't,” I returned, my voice shaking. “If I start I may never stop.”
“Would that be so bad?” he questioned. “To start to depend on your friends as they depend on you? Where did you get the idea that you are God and that you must take care of everyone and need no one to take care of you?”
As seemed to happen anytime my emotions overwhelmed my good sense I felt the ardeur spring to life stronger than normal. I took a deep breath enjoying the feel of Nathaniel against my body.
“I know that you can look into my heart when the ardeur takes you. Jean-Claude explained it to me. Look now and see the truth of what I have told you. If you still want me to leave you be I will.”
I took him at his word and using the power of the ardeur I read his heart. I found with him a love and caring as pure as the lust that I had felt in Jason. A need for a home and belonging that I had seen as well as a need to comfort me and be a person to count on and to depend on.
The ardeur was making it hard for me to concentrate on anything other that the feel of his silky boxers against my stomach where my nightshirt had ridden up, the feel of his long hair caressing my face and neck. “I didn't know you felt this way.” I said, “I was under the impression that you needed me to be your rock. To be the person that you depended on for stability.” My mind was reeling from the change in Nathaniel. The idea that he had come so far from the cringing helpless 19 year old that I had first met just astonished me and left me feeling as if the earth had dropped out from under my feet.
He released my wrists and slid to the side holding his arms out wordlessly. I hesitated momentarily then wrapped my arms around him letting someone hold me and comfort me for the first time since my mother died when I was eight and my world had fallen apart. I hadn't felt this safe, this loved for forever. I could feel the grief and sadness that seeing Richard in the arms of his new girlfriend drain out of me and become a distant thing, the pain no longer so raw and terrible.
He put his lips close to my ear and whispered, “See its not so bad is it?”
As I felt the brush of his breath across my ear and neck the ardeur sprang back to life with renewed intensity, electrifying my body. “Nathaniel,” I breathed into his vanilla scented hair. “I need you to be more than my friend tonight. I have used you as my pomme de sang when the ardeur has forced the issue and merely dominated you. Tonight listening to you I know that you are no child in need of protection from my beast and me. Tonight I would like to be your lover as an equal.”
“Oh god,” I could feel his body tremble as he spoke. “I have waited for this for so long and needed it so bad. I don't want you to be embarrassed or to feel as if you have taken advantage of me in the morning when the ardeur is gone. Are you completely sure that this is what you want?” He questioned urgently.
“Yes.” I said, and figuring that actions always spoke louder than words. I grasped his head and pulled his lips down to mine, kissing him with almost bruising force letting him know without words the urgency of my desire. He wrapped his arms even tighter around my waist pulling me closer and letting me know that he was very happy to be in my arms. I could feel him hard and urgent against my stomach.
As his hands slid under my nightshirt dragging against my skin I let myself feel the desire I had always felt for him and always denied and reveled in the feeling of freedom this gave me.
“I know that you can't love me like Richard or Jean-Claude, but let me love you.” He whispered.
I pulled away to look into his eyes. “I do love you Nathaniel,” I said, “not like anyone else. I love you because I know you will never lie to me. Because you know when not push and because you give of yourself unselfishly. You have no idea how rare that is or how much I need it.”
His voice was hoarse with emotion as he replied. “I could die happy just hearing that you love me. That my feelings are returned and not just because of the way I look or because I submit to you.”
I had to blink back tears at his words. They were so obviously heartfelt and sincere. Jean-Claude had once said to me that I might be surprised one day at the depths to Nathaniel and I finally knew what he meant. That this man in my arms was incapable of treachery or deceit. That he was someone that could be trusted implicitly. My heart melted anew and the fire pulsing through my veins from the ardeur flared to unimaginable heights as I let down my guard totally in a way that was impossible with Jean-Claude or ever had been with Richard even at his best.
While I was thinking he had kissed his way down my neck to my shoulder and gently sucked then bit down sharply emptying my mind of rational thought. I clenched my hands in his hair as a thrill shot down my spine causing my body to arch into his. He pulled back momentarily to pull my nightshirt over my head to toss it to the floor. His hand rose to cup my breast and lowered his head to lick and bite at the nipple. His other hand was drawing my panties off my hips and down my legs.
My nails scored his back causing him to bite sharply at breast as I pushed my hands under the waistband of his boxers. I filled my hands with his tautly muscled buttocks that I had admired so many times in the skintight pants he favored. I flexed my fingers digging the nails in. I knew he enjoyed the slight pain as I felt him throb against my abdomen and felt his erection seem to grow even larger and harder.
He rolled me to my back as he drew my legs around his waist brushing his throbbing manhood against the welcoming wetness between my legs. I felt him hesitate momentarily before thrusting into me up to the hilt. I felt him hit the spot on my cervix that hovers between pleasure and pain as my back arched in pleasure.
“Anita,” he said, “there was another reason why Gabriel pimped me out and why Raina wanted me in her movies. I am not an alpha anything but I have always been able to control one part of my body.”
As he said this I felt his swelling inside me, impossibly large filling me to overflowing, growing to almost the point of pain. “Let me know if it is too much.” He whispered against my lips as I moaned out loud.
He slowly drew back and slid forward exciting and thrilling me even further taking great care, that he didn't need to, not to harm me.
“Harder, “ I urged lifting my hips to his. I felt him draw back and he slammed forward using every bit of his preternatural strength. I cried out incoherently as electricity rippled throughout my body. The ardeur was growing and growing as pleasure filled my body spasmed and he continued to drive into me his hips moving like a pile driver. I felt all control slip away from me as a wave of continuous orgasm swept my body. I could hear a voice crying out moaning and screaming in pleasure and recognized it as my own. I heard his voice join mine, as he seemed to redouble his speed as his body convulsed and the ardeur roared over us both.
I came back to myself Nathaniel's face buried in my neck and both of us breathing as if we had run a four-minute mile. He lifted his and raised a hand to smooth my hair off of my brow.
“I know that I can't replace Richard, but I hope you will give us a chance to be together.” He said.
I had to laugh, “Richard who?”
Chapter Two As we slid into sleep I felt Nathaniel tuck me in close. My last thought before sleep claimed me was that my life was about to undergo another major change.
For once the phone didn't wake me up and I wasn't short on sleep. I woke up savoring the feeling of being held in strong arms. I opened my eyes slowly to gaze into a pair of lavender eyes that never failed to amaze me with their beauty. “How do you feel this morning?” I questioned Nathaniel.
A big silly looking grin spread across his face. I'd never before seen an ear-to-ear grin before and had to smile back.
“I am wonderful.” He purred stretching his body like the cat he was. “I haven't felt this good in... Forever.” His lids drooped giving him a satiated, satisfied look.
I felt the heat rush to my face as look he gave me ignited memories of how we had spent the night. I frowned at him and decided to give some of his teasing back to him. “You know its not considered to be a wise thing to do to embarrass your Nimir-Ra.”
“My Nimir-Ra can do anything to me that her heart desires and I would love every minute of it.” He returned.
I felt my blush redouble at the suggestive comment. “I was right last night you have been spending entirely too much time around Jason.” I was completely flustered and yet completely at ease with it. I had spent too much time around men who wanted more than just me. They wanted me as way to secure their power base. Knowing that Nathaniel had no ulterior motives was allowing me to relax my guard in a way that Jean-Claude or Richard had always denied me.
“Hey,” Nathaniel was starting to look worried. “I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable. I was just teasing.”
“Its okay.” I reassured him. “I am just enjoying the moment. I am not angry or upset with you.”
Just then I heard a noise in the hall and heard the door start to open. I automatically went for the Browning and leveled it at the door. I was ready for anything.
Zane and Cherry bounced into the room, closely followed by Gil, and came to a screeching halt at the sight of the gun pointed at them. “Damn it I have told you guys that you are gonna get shot one of these days bursting into my room that way.” I said lowering the Browning and clicking on the safety. I noticed the three of them looking at me strangely. “What?” I said impatiently.
Cherry spoke up. “Uh…Anita…um look down.”
I looked down and I was kneeling on the bed stark naked. Eeek. I quickly pulled the sheet over me and looked all over the room avoiding their eyes. It was now my turn to babble incoherently “Well you see…um…we …uh Nathaniel and I...”
“Oh we know all about that. “ Cherry said dismissively. “We heard and smelled everything last night. We just wanted to know what you wanted to eat now that you are finally awake. Its after five”
“Coffee, I want Coffee.” I mumbled. I had forgotten all about the consequences of living with Lycanthropes. No privacy. I felt Nathaniel leave the bed and my robe was handed to me. He knew my two top priorities get armed and get dressed and since I was armed he took care of the dressed part.
“Thanks Nathaniel.” I said. “The rest of you, OUT. They fairly stampeded out the door. “I didn't think I was that scary.” I grumbled.
I heard a suspicious cough and turned to glare at Nathaniel. At my look he dissolved in outright laughter and rolled on the bed giggling hysterically.
In between gasps for air and continuing laughter he commented. “You should have seen your face. You looked like somebody hit you in the back of the head with a board. I have never seen anyone look that stunned as when Cherry told you to look down.”
“I am glad that you think this is amusing.” I grumped. As I imagined what my face had looked like an unwilling grin tugged at the corners of my mouth.
“I saw that.” He said. “Admit it, its pretty funny.”
“Okay, I admit it. It must have been fairly amusing.” I admitted falling back to the pillows and covering my face as another thought occurred to me. “I am never gonna live this down.” I groaned. “This is gonna haunt me worse than throwing up on the corpse at a homicide investigation did. Some submissive you are,” I teased, “making fun of your Nimir-Ra.”
I felt Nathaniel move closer and he tugged my hands away from my face. He looked down at me with a worried look on his face. “I am not making fun of you. I would never do anything to hurt you.”
“I know.” I said pulling him closer to give him a gentle kiss. “I am just embarrassed and I don't deal well with embarrassment.”
Steeling myself to face the smirks and knowing grins that I would find in the kitchen I took a deep breath and walked in. Lined up on one side of the table with Cheshire grins on their faces Zane, Cherry, and Gil didn't say a word just poured the coffee in a new mug of mine that said “Pour the coffee and nobody has to die.” I don't know where Gil had found it but it was now my favorite next to the cup with the baby penguins.
The three of them for once waited until I had my first cup of coffee in me before pouncing.
Zane as usual, was their spokesman. He blurted out in his normal fashion. “We are so happy that you and Nathaniel have finally gotten together. You have both wanted it for so long.”
“What do you mean by that?” I snapped back at him. “This just happened. Nothing was planned or anything else.”
“Anita,” Zane looked down as if frightened. “We know you didn't plan this, but we are Lycanthropes, we could smell your desire and his. It was almost overpowering at times. We just want you to be happy and we think Nathaniel can do that.”
I sighed. “Zane, I'm not angry at you. I'm just not up to discussing my sex life. I glanced out the window and noticed that it was full dark. Time to call Jean-Claude and let him know what had gone on at the meeting last night since he had to take care of some problems at Guilty Pleasures and hadn't been able to attend. Just the thought of last night brought a frown to my face. Richard was becoming a real problem and I didn't know what I or even if I was going to be able to keep the peace and since I was the only person that all the various lycanthropes could agree on I was still needed in the meetings.
I cradled my second cup of coffee in my hands savoring the taste of real cream and sugar as I walked to the phone. I called Guilty Pleasures and Willy answered the phone. “Willy, its Anita I need to talk to Jean-Claude.”
“I'll put you right through, hang on a second while I transfer the call.” Willy was still the only person I had known both before and after he'd become a vampire.
“Ma petite,” Jean-Claude's voice still gave me shivers every time I heard it. “I have been expecting your call. I felt something extraordinary through the marks last night. I understand that Nathaniel has become your pomme de sang in truth at last.”
Trust Jean-Claude to bring up sex before business. “Jean-Claude I called you tell you about what you missed at the meeting last night, not to have this discussion.”
“Anita a certain werewolf friend of ours felt it as well and he is at the club right now, pacing and acting very disturbed.”
I knew that something was wrong now. He never called me by my name unless we were about to be ass deep in alligators. “What's going on? What do you mean `disturbed'?”
“We can discuss it when Richard and I arrive at your house. I don't believe he is willing to wait until you can come in to see us.” Jean-Claude returned. “We will be there in about twenty minutes.” And with that he hung up the phone.
I stood there holding the phone until it started to beep and I finally hung it up. “Shit.” I said
I felt Cherry come close. “What's wrong?” she said suddenly worried.
“Richard and Jean-Claude are both coming over and according to Jean-Claude Richard is upset to put it mildly.” I answered. “They'll be here shortly. So maybe you guys might want to make yourselves scarce.”
Gil spoke up. “We won't run and hide if you need us and maybe our presence will help keep the peace.” I was startled; this from the man who had come to me scared of his own shadow.
“If things get out of hand I don't want you guys to get hurt.” I said wanting to protect them.
“We know that Anita” he said and taking a deep breath he continued. “You've done so much for us that we want to help if we can.” Zane, Cherry and Nathaniel came into the room and had their stubborn looks on their faces and nodded their agreement to what Gil had said.
I sighed caught between pride and worry for them they had come so far from the broken people I had first met. I didn't want to ruin their self-confidence, but I also didn't want them to be hurt. “Okay you can stay, but I want you to understand that this is my problem and I want you to stay quiet and let me take care of it.”
The four of them eyes shining like they had won a major battle nodded grins breaking out on all their faces.
It was only a few minutes later that the doorbell rang and I went to answer it checking the peephole to make sure who it was. I opened the door and let the two of them in. Immediately I could feel the anger, almost rage coming off of Richard. It was enough to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up; it was like standing next to a high voltage power line.
I followed them into the living room and figuring the best defense is a good offense. I lead off. “Jean-Claude said you wanted to talk to me and you were upset about something Richard. What do you want to know?”
Richard swung around his face like a thundercloud. “What I want to know is who are you fucking now? I felt you last night and it wasn't Jean-Claude or Micah.” He stated glaring at me.
I was immediately pissed. “Look,” I said. “I don't ask you who you are sleeping with. You broke off our relationship, not me, its none of your business anymore and how the hell do you know who it is or isn't?” I shot back at him.
“None of my business.” He shouted stepping closer and pointing his finger at me. “Its my business when every time you sleep with someone I can feel everything you feel. When it wakes me out of a sound sleep and I can almost taste you and I reach out to touch you and you're not there.”
I was shaken. I had never seen Richard this close to the edge before. I could feel his rage pressing against the marks. I could feel how fragile his control was and how very close he was to losing his control entirely. “Richard I had no idea. You have closed the marks off from me entirely. I thought that you had learned to block out the involuntary sharing of our feelings. Why didn't you say something?”
He closed his hands around my upper arms so hard I knew I would have bruises tomorrow unless my accelerated healing took care of them first. “Do you think I wanted to let you know that I was experiencing the ardeur whether or not I wanted to?"
Jean-Claude came up behind me and laid his hands over Richard's. Mon ami, you should have said something we could have helped.”
I was tired of being manhandled. I raised my hand to brush away theirs and when touched them energy exploded through the three of us like when we married the marks only stronger. I screamed as I felt us merge I was feeling Richard's rage like it was my own I could feel jean-Claude's ardeur spring to life and sparking mine to flow between the three of us and grow stronger.
I jerked away from the two of them and fell to my knees next to them. it made no difference that we were no longer touching. Gil and the leopards came running at the same time Jason came through the front door. They all rushed to help and as they touched us the power engulfed them as well.
I could feel the power flowing through all of us like an electric circuit and growing stronger. “Jean-Claude what's happening to us?” I managed to gasp out.
“I do not know ma petite. I fear that Richard's loss of control and the length of time since the three of us have used the power of the triumvirate has combined some how.” He forced out between gritted teeth. “The hunger of ardeur has never been this strong before and I believe we have passed it to the others.” He said pointing to were Zane and Cherry were rolling on the floor with Gil.
“Oh god.” I said aghast. “What are we going to do?”
“I fear that there is very little we can do. The ardeur must run its course. the longer we fight it the worse it will get and I have no idea of the consequences with it this strong.” Jean-Claude crawled towards me along with Richard.
“No!” I ground out. “I won't do this. Not here.” Coming to my feet I backed away from them and stumbled as I bumped into a hard male body. Turning around I faced Nathaniel and as the ardeur blazed out of control I felt Jean-Claude and Richard come up from behind. I ran for my room desperate for a place to hide. I could face down rampaging Lycanthropes. I could stand up to a million year old vampire and stare death in the face. Not this. I couldn't fight both the ardeur and my feelings.
I paced over to the window leaning my head against the cold glass. I was feeling the ardeur and the power of the triumvirate pounding through my veins and pulses of electricity tracing my nerves. My whole body was shaking I was trying to ride the power instead of it riding me and I was losing.
I was so lost in the struggle that I had no idea that anyone else was in the room until I heard Jean-Claude speak from right behind me. I whirled around and he was so close that my body slid against his as I turned.
“Ma petite, you cannot deny yourself. I warned you when you felt the ardeur the first time that if you did not give in to it you would deny yourself the choice of who and where.”
“I will not be controlled by the ardeur.” I screamed as the power flooded my body extinguishing rational thought and what few scruples I had managed to retain after the ardeur had become a part of my life.
Leaning into jean-Claude's body I shuddered at the sensations that small movement produced. I kissed running my tongue over his teeth not caring if I was cut on his razor sharp fangs. When I felt the sharp pin prick on the end of my tongue and tasted the blood the power rose to an even higher level I could not see. Only feel and I could feel Richard coming closer and closer then I could feel him at my side.
“Richard.” I gasped breaking the kiss with jean-Claude. I feared the earlier rage I had felt in him would boil over and he would shift and attack us. In the state we were in there was no way we could fight him off. Then he locked his arms around us both and I felt his willingness to accept whatever love I or to be more accurate we could offer him. I felt the effects of the ardeur in him and finally his acceptance of jean-Claude's place in our lives and beds.
We fell on to the king size bed in my room I am not sure how we ended up there instead of the floor one of the boys must have been thinking clearer than I was. Our hands started tearing at clothes and seeming no time at all the only thing I could feel against my body was bare skin. Everywhere. I was surrounded by bare flesh. The scary part was that I was reveling in it. I had no shame no doubts nothing. Just pure enjoyment of the feel of Richard's electric warmth and jean-Claude's cool power.
I couldn't catch my breath. I felt jean-Claude scrape his teeth against the back of my neck as my tongue dueled with Richard's. I felt the moment that all barriers came down between Richard and jean-Claude and they kissed. Earlier today it would have grossed me out and been the end of any thought of a relationship with either of them. Now it just seemed exciting and erotic. I watched as they leaned over my prone body to touch and caress each other. As I watched I could feel exactly what they felt. Jean-Claude's admiration of the same body I had lusted after for so long. I felt Richard's unwilling attraction to jean-Claude. I knew the true secret of Richard's dislike of him at last. The subconscious desire he had felt and had never consciously even acknowledged. Feelings he had suppressed even harder than he had denied his beast.
The same feelings that had overwhelmed me at the marriage of the marks overwhelmed me again. The feeling that all things were possible swept over me again. I ran my hands up my lovers' sides pulling them to me. Startling them out of their fascination with each other.
Jean-Claude fell to my side pulling me to face him. As I stared into his drowning blue eyes, the pupil completely eclipsed by the iris, I felt Richard spoon in behind me. I could feel him pressing into the cleft of my buttocks. At the same time I felt Jean-Claude probe between my legs, his hand drawing my thigh over his hip. I could feel the shudder that shook them as they both tried to enter me and collided with each other. I was shivering as well as I felt them slide against me.
I could feel them in my mind as we came to an unspoken agreement. Jean-Claude slid into me as he pulled me to lie on top of him and Richard came to his knees between our spread thighs. I felt him press against me from behind in a way that had never before occurred to me and I would have thought disgusting even a few minutes ago.
It was both painful and strangely exciting and I could feel the two of them enjoying the dual sensations I felt as Richard seated himself to the hilt in my body. I was shaking and a cold sweat had broken out all over my body, as we lay motionless as my body adjusted to the new sensations.
I was the first to move as I adjusted my body and delightful chills swept down my spine. As if of the same mind they both began to move in unison slowly pistoning in and out of my body gently at first and then with increasing urgency as we strove to relieve the ardeur and reach the pinnacle of fulfillment. I was incoherently moaning and shaking with desire and pleasure as we moved together in perfect synchronicity. I could feel the skin on my scalp tighten as my body tensed and then convulsed with each stroke. I could feel same sensation ricocheting between us as they too convulsed in ecstasy. I collapsed against jean-Claude momentarily blacking out.
I could feel when Richard's weight came to rest on us both. We were all shuddering in aftermath and Richard rolled off to jean-Claude's right and I rolled to the left. Reality was starting to filter back in when the power of the ardeur backlashed into us from what felt like a thousand people.
Immediately it was if we had never fed the ardeur and I started to turn back to the boys when a hand touched me from the side of the bed. I whipped my head to the side to see Jason and Nathaniel crawling on the mattress both of them looking somewhat worse for wear. Their hair was in a complete rat's nest and their lips looked thoroughly kissed. As I stared into their shining eyes a deep moan distracted me.
I turned to see Richard and jean-Claude embracing running their hands over each other's bodies. I watched as they touched and licked and sucked. Loving each other in a way that should have shocked and repulsed me but only intensified my desire.
I guess they took my silence as consent for as I watched jean-Claude and Richard enjoying each other. Nathaniel and Jason took matters in to their own hands. They began by rubbing their bodies against me in a wholly submissive manner, but we soon became a tangled knot of hands, arms and other loving body parts.
The next few hours blurred together I never could untangle it, but I clearly remember what came after. It had been early evening when we all lost control a noise woke me up and a quick glance at the clock showed me it was now four in the morning.
I frantically searched for a weapon as Asher stalked through the door as I relaxed I realized I was lying in a bed with four men and Cherry, Gil and Zane were lying on the floor next to the bed. We were tangled together in a knot of arms and legs and I had only been able to free one arm.
I reached for the sheet and yanked it up to cover me, flipping Jason out onto the floor. “Asher. What are you doing here?” I asked a little frantically shoving at the bodies lying around me that showed few signs of waking up.
“What am I doing?” he said disgusted. “What the devil have you been doing? The entire city is going crazy. Every vampire and nearly every lycanthrope felt it and were compelled to join you.”
I sat stunned my brain straining to comprehend the impossible. “Oh dear lord. Please don't tell me that…they didn't.” I stuttered completely bewildered by the information.
“Mon chardonneret,” jean-Claude was the first to make a coherent answer. “How bad is it truly.”
“How bad you ask…how bad. It is like driving through a city-sized orgy. Not only lycanthropes and vampires were affected we are the only ones that had any control at all.” He raged at us. “Every ordinary human over the again of thirteen or fourteen has been in a sexual frenzy until just a couple of hours ago. The three of you are positively seething with power. More than anyone has ever seen or used in time uncounted.”
Richard leapt out of the bed totally oblivious to his nudity. “This will trigger a back lash against magical and preternatural creatures that will make the Inferno look like nothing.” He shouted. “What are we going to do?”
Jean-Claude spoke in totally calm voice instantly focusing all attention on him. “Isn't it obvious we will use the power we have inadvertently raised to cloud the minds of the entire city. It will be as if it never happened. We will change their memories of this time to some mundane, yet unusual happening such as a power outage. I know a witch that will help us with the casting of the spell and a spell it must be.”
And that's exactly what we did. Jean-Claude made a phone call and sent his limo to pick up the oldest human being I have ever seen. She was even shorter than I am and wizened, dried up like a raisin, but the air vibrated with the power that she carried with her.
He introduced her as Emily an old friend. And within a couple more hours with her assistance the minds of the city had been clouded. Ordinary humans, even those with a touch of power have no idea what truly went on. They even sent a spell specific to the workers at an electrical substation that had them damage and repair the electric system to back up the spell with concrete evidence.
We watched the morning news and no mention was made of what had really happened they even joked about the population explosion that would probably follow in nine months. They had no idea.
With that crisis out of the way we sat at the kitchen table staring at each other and contemplated the personal crisis that was about to erupt.
Here we sat staring across the kitchen table at each other. Emily had left with Jean-Claude's limo and Asher had stayed behind. The effects of the spells that Emily had directed us in had left me feeling exhilarated rather than tired.
Nobody could quite meet anybody else's eyes. Even Jean-Claude who was normally comfortable in any situation didn't say a word. I guess it was up to me to break the ice.
“So does anybody feel like talking about it?” I questioned flippantly.
Jean-Claude sighed and took a deep breath. “Ma petite you have such a way of getting straight to the point. At least we know now what happened. Emily explained to us that we can no longer afford to avoid the members of our triumvirate for any reason and that we need to regularly work with the power or risk another `explosion' like this.”
Richard ran his hands through his hair and spoke up. “Anita I don't like the idea of being fed on at all, but if I am going to continue to experience the ardeur second hand there isn't a lot of point in pretending that I don't care.”
“Don't do me any favors Richard.” I bit out my temper beginning to boil. “If you don't like spending time with me then don't
“Damn it, Anita you know that's not what I mean. I love you. I will love you `til the day I die. This is more than I ever dreamed I would have to deal with. Your needs and my jealousy don't make it any easier.”
Jean-Claude stood up. “We must deal with the situation that exists. Instead of getting angry at each let us try to put that aside.” Turning to face Richard he asked. “I assume that your jealousy does not extend to me.
I watched in awe as Richard's dark complexion assumed all the colors of the sunset. “Fuck you Jean-Claude.” Richard exploded.
“I have already had the pleasure Richard and so have you.” He answered as he ran his eyes over Richard's luscious form.
“Knock it off Jean-Claude.” I shouted coming to my feet. I pulled the Browning out its holster and set it on the table. “The next one of you that starts trouble is gonna get shot. Now act like grownups.” I sat down glaring at them both.
Asher stepped up to the table from where he had leaned against the wall watching. “If I may make a suggestion as I have no part in the events that took place last night. I can act as a moderator.”
I didn't want to talk about it with anybody not intimately involved my first reaction was a resounding no. Since for once I thought before I spoke I could see that it could be a good idea. Reluctantly I spoke out. “Asher, I think that rather we want you to help or not we really need an unbiased voice of reason.”
Richard opened his mouth to object, I think, and then closed it nodding instead.
“I have no objections either.” Said Jean-Claude.
I was shocked this was the first time we had agreed on anything in a long time without blood being spilled first. “Okay,” I said taking my courage in both hands. “There is no way of getting around the facts. First we all participated in the…” words failed me.
“Orgy, ma petite.” Suggested Jean-Claude.
“Orgy.” I repeated swallowing convulsively. “I know that for me and Richard at least it was a first in more ways than one. I am not real proud of my actions. This is more than I have ever expected to experience and I am having real trouble accepting my part and my actions in it.” I looked around the table forcing myself to meet the eyes of not only Richard and Jean Claude, but the Pard and Gil and Jason as well. I would have rather gone up against Mr. Oliver again than have this discussion.
“The question remains though what is going to be done.” Asher looked at each of us. “Anita has at least spoken up. Richard what goes on from here on out depends a lot on you.”
“Christ.” Richard swore covering his face with his hands. “I can accept that I lost control and that what happened was really none of our choosing, but to be honest.” He said looking at jean-Claude. “I really can't continue in any kind of sexual relationship with you. I have accepted that a small part of me is attracted to you, but I am just not capable of it as more than a one time event.”
“Mon ami,” Jean-Claude spoke to Richard. “I have no problem with that what happened between us removed a barrier between us, but I no objection to that being the end of it. Ma petite could not accept us as lovers and I like you, but I don't love you.”
Some dark secret part of me mourned their decision. The rest of me though was very relieved. I had had a typical Midwest upbringing and a true ménage a trois was beyond my ability to live with.
Richard turned to me and spoke with heartfelt emotion. “Anita, I have never stopped loving you. I know that I can't have you exclusively. If there is anyway you could accept me back into your life and give me another chance. Please let me try again.
As I stared into his eyes I remembered all the reasons I loved this man. The caving, watching movies together and so much more, I also remembered the jealousy and the refusal to accept things that had ended up getting people hurt and killed. “Richard I am not going to say yes, but I am also not saying no either. I won't go back to the way things were and I have other people in my life. I can't live with your jealousy. If you can bring yourself to accept that I am willing to try. If you can't say so now.”
“Anita,” he spoke seriously. “When the ardeur overtook us all our sharing it gave me a chance to look in your heart. I can't say that I will never feel jealousy or that I won't make decisions that you disagree with, but I can say that having felt your thoughts and emotions I understand you and your motivation a lot better. I also believe that I can accept you as you are.”
I let out a deep breath I didn't know I was holding. “I have to be honest with you. Nathaniel is now a much closer part of my life and I am not willing to give him up. I love him too. In a way different than you or jean-Claude, but in no way less.” I held my hand out to him and Nathaniel came to me eagerly from where he had been leaning against the kitchen cupboards to kneel beside me.
“I can accept that, but what about Micah? Richard asked.
“Micah is not really an issue we haven't slept together in the last month and he no longer lives with me. The decision was mutual and we know that we are attracted together for the pard. Not for any other reason, we have nothing in common and I can't trust him enough to go any further with what little we did have.” I answered.
I looked over at Asher and surprised a look of pain and hunger in his eyes as he looked at us. I asked him, “is there anything else you think we need to talk about?”
He attempted to smile and failed miserably. He swung his hair to cover his face and hide behind. “I think that about covers it.” He stood and turned to walk away.
I shared a moment of wordless communication with Richard I already knew Jean-Claude's answer. “Asher stop.” I followed and placed my hand on his shoulder feeling him tense as I did so. “We can't be your friend and close you out. You know Jean-Claude loves you and so do I. I don't know if it can be more than that, but we are all willing to invite you in to our lives. To be a part of the family so to speak.” He stood there silent and not moving and I walked around him to see his face and was surprised to see tears running down his face. “Oh Asher please don't cry.” I said taking his face in my hands the scarred side of his face contrasting with the unmarked side.
“Anita.” He whispered brokenly. “Mon Cherie Tu me fais craquer, you shatter my heart, again. To have again a chance to bask in the purity of a soul like yours is beyond anything I expected to ever experience.” He pulled me into his embrace resting his head on my shoulder and threatening to break my ribs with his unwitting strength.
I said a little breathlessly. “I take that this means you accept our offer?”
He lifted his head and looked at me fiercely, his voice teasing. “Mon cher so tough and hard on the outside, but like fluff in your heart.” He released me turning to face the men at the table. “Don't you ever mistreat her or you will answer to me.”
Turning back to face me Asher said. “It is very close to dawn. May I make use of your basement to take my rest?” he asked.
“Of course, you know that you are always welcome. Take jean-Claude with you and he will show you where everything is.” I said.
Jean-Claude rose from the table and walked over to join Asher. Pausing next to me bent and placed a soft kiss on my lips. Before walking down to the basement.
I turned back to the group gathered in my kitchen staring at me. “What?” I asked irritated that they were watching me like I had grown another head. “Don't you have anything better to do than watch me?”
Nathaniel spoke up a little hesitantly. “We have never seen you so accepting of shows of affection. We wonder what it means for us.”
I sighed I hated discussing things like this. “After last night my objecting to a public kiss is rather ridiculous. Considering that I acted like the original slut girl it would be rather hypocritical.” As usual Jason had to test my patience.
“Does that mean I get a kiss too?” he asked walking over wrap his arms around me.
“No it means that if you don't let me go it won't be fatal when I shoot you, but it will still hurt a lot.” I told him shoving him away as he grinned widely and batted his eyelashes at me. “Jason are you sure you don't have a death wish.” I complained trying not to grin at his antics.
Richard stood up saying. “Much as I would rather stay I need to check on the pack members and see if they need any help. Jason, you can come with me and quit pestering Anita. He came to me and gave me a kiss that took my breath away. “I'll stop by after school tonight if that's all right with you?”
I nodded a little breathless and watched him walk out the front door dragging Jason along with him.
I felt Nathaniel come up behind me and wrap his arms around me and nuzzle my neck. He mumbled something into my neck that I didn't understand and I had to ask what he said.
He repeated for me more clearly this time. “Do you feel as tired as I do?”
Up until that moment I would have said no, but realizing that the temporary burst of energy that had sustained me was gone I answered in the positive. “I think Nat has the right idea everybody. Let's get some sleep since it's the weekend and we'll talk more later.” They all seem to think the same as they began to wander off to their own rooms. I noticed that Gil, Zane and Cherry all went together and I wondered if it would be permanent.
I walked down the hall to my room with Nathaniel following me and I opened the door and took a look at the scene of the disaster. I groaned when I realized I would have to put clean sheets on the bed before I could sleep in it Nathaniel and I somehow managed to get that done and collapsed into bed half asleep before I ever hit the pillow.
The next thing I knew was dreaming I thought, of someone kissing his or her way across my stomach and lower. I squirmed and realized that it was no dream. I opened my eyes to see Nathaniel between my thighs and to feel my body half way to orgasm. I opened my mouth to protest and the words died unspoken as he lifted himself on his arms too slid into my wet warmth. Before my brain quit functioning altogether I thought that I could get used to waking up this way.
As the five of us sat in my living room talking about every subject under the sun in an effort to add a sense of balance and sanity to our topsy-turvy relationships a thought occurred to me. I had to ask “I wonder about how well we are all accepting this, I mean if anyone had suggest two days ago that I would be involved with four men I would have been pissed. Now it seems almost comfortable, relaxed even.”
“Ma petite has brought up a very good point.” Jean-Claude stated. “I have wondered that considering the pressure we were under when we married the marks at Narcissus in Chains, if we truly completed the process. For example if we had not needed to rescue the leopards if the feelings that we experienced would have led to something not unlike what happened yesterday.” He added hastily. “ Not involving the whole city but our acceptance of each other and the falling away of the barriers between us.”
I nodded considering his words they made more sense than anything else that came to mind. Especially the odd unity of Jean-Claude and Richard's actions in the club that day drew an odd kind of parallel to the events of this weekend. “I wonder if that's why all of us have been more accepting of things that had previously only led to conflict. In fact I wonder if somehow parts of us that love others has been shared.” I mused aloud my mind racing.
Richard shot to his feet as if he had been stung. “That's got to be it,” he enthused, “It's the only thing that explains the weird impulses and feelings I have been experiencing.”
I was completely entranced by the change from the whiney, angsty Richard that annoyed me so badly; back to the confident and enthusiastic man I had fallen in love with. I'd thought I would never see that man again.
Jean-Claude being the troublemaker that he is piped up and asked, “Tell us more of these feelings of yours.”
Richard started stuttering and blushing again. “Th…th…that's none of your business,” he said.
“Calm down Richard,” I said, attempting to soothe him. “I know that Jean-Claude likes to tease, but this could be important.
He sat back down on the hiding his face in his hands and groaned. “I should have kept my mouth shut. Okay here it is listen close because I am not going to repeat it.”
“I keep having these weird impulses to kiss Jean-Claude's burn scar, to stroke Nathaniel's hair and wrap my arms around Asher and kiss his neck, to see if Nathaniel's skin is as soft and touchable as it looks. Also I keep wanting Anita to dominate me.” I thought I was going crazy.
Asher was the first to voice an opinion. “Richard I don't believe that you are the on one experiencing these things. I must admit that have an odd urge to giggle whenever I see your muscles move under your skin.”
My face burned, I knew who that had come from. If I had to share my feelings why did it have to be that feeling? I spoke up. “I guess I haven't really noticed anything different myself.”
“Mon Cher,” Asher began a little hesitantly, “I believe that may be due to the fact that you already cared for all of us.”
I considered that and had to admit that he was correct. “You're right Asher, I have loved you all for sometime. The only thing that has really changed for me is that all the anxiety and second-guessing I have experienced in the past seems to have been eliminated. I feel no shame or disgust at myself for the uh… situation.”
Jean-Claude laughed proving that he still had the ability to send chills down my spine with his voice. “It is not really all that amazing when you realize that ma petite is the linch pin that we all revolve around.”
I looked around, as the boys all seemed to agree with that. “So where do we go from here?”
“I propose that we see how far these new limits can be pushed.” Jean-Claude spoke up letting his eyes linger on each of us. I could tell by the glint in his eyes that the new feelings we had discussed included him as well.
“Before anything goes any further I think we need to get Nathaniel into this discussion.” I looked down to where he leaned against my leg just letting us talk around him. “Nathaniel this concerns you too. We need to know if you are comfortable with this or if you have any questions.”
He lifted smoldering eyes to me and spoke with assurance. “Oh yes, it would be like a dream come true.” I guess that said it all.
I was a little uncomfortable with the idea of just jumping in feet first. As if he had read my mind Jean-Claude made a suggestion. “Why don't we let fate take a hand here? I have heard of an interesting game that children sometimes play in this country called rotate the bottle.”
Richard corrected him. “That's spin the bottle and its not a bad idea.” I had the feeling that Richard had been every bit as uncomfortable as I had been.
“I have never heard of this game. You will have to instruct me.” Asher said. I gave him the basic idea while jean-Claude went to get a bottle.
“Its very simple Asher. You spin the bottle in a circle and whomever it points to you kiss.” I explained.
Fifteen minutes later we sat on the floor in a circle we had flipped a coin to decide who went first and Asher spun the bottle. It pointed to me and we leaned forward touching our lips together softly a gentle exploratory kind of kiss that I enjoyed very much. From there it went to the right and it was Richard's turn. He hesitantly kissed Nathaniel with an odd look on his face.
This went on for sometime I lost track of how many times the bottle had been spun. Hesitant unsure kisses became passionate and now included lingering touches. I almost cried when I saw Jean-Claude and Asher kiss for the first time in what had to be at least two hundred years. The boys had removed their shirts and I discarded the shoulder holster unbuttoning the top three button of my shirt. The longer we played the warmer it seemed to grow. Was it just me? I don't think so judging by the looks on the others faces.
It was amazing to me how truly comfortable this felt. It just felt right somehow. I couldn't explain it. I really didn't understand how I could abandon the attitudes and morals I had lived by all my life with so little regret. The here and now was much more important to me.
I spun the bottle and it came to rest pointing at Nathaniel. He came eagerly to my embrace, his body trembling with desire. He kissed me like he wanted to devour me and I could feel how very happy he was to be there. His hands started moving restlessly up and down my spine causing me to shudder as well.
Jean-Claude's voice broke into the haze I had fallen into. “Ma petite perhaps we should move this to the bedroom.”
I looked up and caught the eyes of the others love and desire plain to see on their faces. The decision had been left to me and taking my courage in both hands I stood up. They quickly followed as I led the way to my bedroom. I found it a lot harder to make a decision with eyes wide open than with the fog of the ardeur clouding my senses.
I was feeling just a little bit outnumbered. I had four wonderful mean that I loved dearly staring at me with desire. I had made the decision to move to the bedroom of my own free will, but I was feeling a little intimidated. I took a step back, only to abruptly sit down as I backed into the bed. Jean-Claude and Richard took that as a signal to step forward with Asher and Nathaniel not far behind.
Once again with that odd unity that they seem to have lately, Richard and Jean-Claude each touched a hand to my face in a reassuring gesture. Moving together like they had practiced for this moment they ran their hands down my arms to take hold of my hands and pull me back to my feet. They offered their free hands to Asher and Nathaniel. As we joined together it was like completing a circuit. A jolt of fire seemed to wash through our bodies. I was once again experiencing the feelings and emotions of the others as if they were my own.
It wasn't the ardeur that feels different, but it definitely felt like magic to me. I gasped pulling my hands away the energy didn't diminish. It wasn't like the other night my will was not torn from me I was fully aware, almost too aware of what I was doing. My body was vibrating with the desire to share my feelings and myself with these men I cared about. I could tell they felt the same. I don't know who moved first and I don't suppose it really matters.
I can't really explain it; it was like the best of all possible worlds. Like being young and innocent with your first love, but having no barriers and no fear. Each of us seemed to have our own flavor for lack of a better word. Richard was hot and spicy, Jean-Claude a cool, but sweet desert, Asher was a strong cup of coffee warm, but bracing and Nathaniel was like home made bread fresh out of the oven, delicious.
I was passed from one to another each set of arm and lips a sensual feast. I lowered my head to gently kiss the chest and stomach of Richard's that I admired so. I felt eager hands removing my clothes as I immersed my senses in the taste and touch of his skin. I unsnapped his jeans and pushed them off his hips as I felt the touch of Jean-Claude lips and the slight scrape of his fangs across my bare nape. I arched my back at the exquisite pleasure that gave.
As I moved my head I caught sight of Asher to one side hesitant, but yearning as I concentrated on him, his feelings came in to sharper focus for me. His longing and his fear had an equal hold on him. I reached out a hand beckoning him and he eagerly came to my side as I turned to press the length of my body against his. I rubbed against him enjoying the unique sensation as his scars proved to have a highly pleasurable friction when rubbed against bare skin. As I explored Asher the others were not idle. Jean-Claude experienced the same sensation as he stroked his body along Asher's back.
Richard and Nathaniel were experiencing a flip side of their usual roles with Richard playing submissive to Nathaniel's dominance. He had pinned Richard against the wall his hands held over his head while he nipped and licked his skin causing goose bumps to break out visibly on his skin.
Meanwhile I had progressed to kissing each scar of Asher's better I had worked my way down his side to his belt line and had removed his leather pants. I could feel his thighs tremble under my caresses and giving into my desire to taste him further I took him fully into my mouth. His hands clenched in my hair as he rocked his hips faster against me. Jean-Claude was as committed to pleasuring Asher as I was. He was kissing him like he couldn't get enough. Asher pulled away drawing me to my feet and embracing me while he trembled.
I took his hands in mine and led him to the bed. I had wanted him for so long. I reclined urging him to cover my body with his. He pressed his groin into the juncture of my thighs he lifted his chest in a push up motion staring in my eyes with his icy blue gaze I felt him nudge my thighs wider and penetrate me oh so slowly. Both of us shuddered as the sensation. I felt my body stretch to accommodate his thick, heavy maleness. Every move he made was measured and deliberate. I had no idea that Jean-Claude, Richard and Nathaniel had joined us until I felt two warm pairs of lips capture my breasts. Then I saw Asher throw back his head as Jean-Claude entered him from behind and brought back feelings that had been missing for centuries.
As we all touched I could feel what the others were experiencing. It was a heady delight to dazzle the most jaded senses. Skin against skin, friction, pleasure and pain, but only a good pain. Asher had paused momentarily and renewed his strokes with a new urgency sending me into raptures of desire as he slammed into me harder and quicker. I felt my self slipping over the edge as I felt not only my own orgasm, but also those of everyone on the bed. Each of us was being pushed into a higher level of sensation by the feelings experienced by others. We collapsed in a sweaty heap and I think I lost consciousness for a few moments I was certainly in a daze.
Lying in amidst the warmth of my lovers I felt safer than I had ever felt since my mother died. A gentle hand stroked my cheek and I turned towards it. I looked deep into Asher's light blue eyes as he spoke, his voice husky. “Mon Cher, it is impossible for me to ever repay the gift you have given me.”
“Asher,” I said leaning to place a gentle kiss on his lips. “It was not a gift and you owe me nothing. I have wanted to be with you for a very long time.” I reassured him.
Richard lifted himself to one elbow behind Asher and laying his face along his scarred cheek he added his own confirmation. “She is not lying Asher she would not be able to do that. We can all feel the truth in what happened. I should be horrified,” he continued. “The only feeling that I can seem to conjure up right now is relief and a little sadness that it took so long to bring us together.”
A hand reached over my waist to run down Asher's side as Jean-Claude joined the conversation. “Mon chardonneret it is a dream come for all of us.”
Pale blood tinged tears started to slowly slide down his face as he began to accept that we all loved and adored him. Nathaniel crawled up from the foot of the bed and began to gently lick the tears from his face. Asher wrapped his arms tightly around Nathaniel as he continued to cry from a combination of love, relief and just plain happiness. I watched as strong arms and long auburn hair twined around the two of them binding them together.
I couldn't help myself I just had to join them and I wasn't alone as Richard and Jean-Claude joined me in stroking and whispering words of love and care to the vampire who was in his own way even more broken and damaged than Nathaniel had ever been.
I could feel us being bound together ever closer with every sharing of our bodies and feelings. I didn't know were it would go from here, but I couldn't wait to find out.