When I woke up, I knew I was in Cian's arms. I opened my eyes. My mother and Chester were standing beside the bed, smiling at me.
"Hi," I said weakly.
My mother laughed and kissed my forehead. "Hi. I'd give you a hug but I don't think Lord Cian is going to let you go any time soon."
I looked over my shoulder. "How long has he been asleep?"
"About five hours," Chester answered.
"Okay. Hold on."
Like last time, as soon as I moved, his grip became iron. I started at his fingers and pried them open slowly, trying not to wake him. When his left hand fingers were straight, I shoved with my shoulder to get it wide enough to shimmy out of his arms. Before I put his arm down, though, I slipped a pillow in, hoping he wouldn't wake up like he did last time. He looked like he needed as much rest as I did.
"Let's not leave the room, though," I said. "He'll freak out." I hugged them both and looked down. "Who bathed me?"
"I did," my mother said as we sat by the fire. She looked like she had been crying. "Lord Cian told us everything that happened."
I sighed. "I hope I never have to do anything like that ever again," I muttered. "I think I'll just stay in our kingdom for a while." They laughed. "What did you guys do while we were gone?"
Cian woke six hours later and, as I expected, he panicked.
"Viveka!" he shouted and sat up.
"I'm right here," I said, sitting beside him on the bed.
"Don't do that!" he snapped. "Jesus!"
He sighed and ran a hand through his hair.
"Come on, Chester," my mother said suddenly. "Let's go look at that corn."
"Come see us when you're better," Chester said and I nodded.
They closed the door and Cian grabbed my arm. I gasped in shock as he pulled me close.
"You scared the shit out of me," he snapped.
"Sorry. I woke up and my mother and Chester were here."
He sighed and put his head on the back of my shoulder. I blushed, realizing how close we were to each other. His hand on my arm snaked around my waist.
"I dreamt we were still in that village," he muttered and I felt a pang of sympathy. "We were at that grave only-only you fell in and I couldn't save you."
I blinked. Did he really care that much about me?
"How long was I asleep?" he asked.
"About eleven hours," I answered.
He laughed, his breath warm on the back of my neck. "I haven't slept that long since I was a kid."
"That's another question," I said and faced him. "How old are you? Like, I can tell you were turned in your 20's but-"
"Stop asking questions and kiss me," he snapped.
I tried to think of a witty response but he kissed me before I could. I kissed him back immediately, wrapping and arm around his neck. He ran his hand in my hair and sighed through his nose. He pulled away and rested his forehead to mine.
"I've been wanting to do that for a while," he whispered.
"So have I," I admitted and he chuckled.
"I'm sorry about your hair."
I shrugged. "I can just cut it out even."
"Eh, your mother already did that for you when she bathed you.
"It's just a shame it won't be orange anymore."
"You never know." He looked at my arm where they had fed from me and traced his finger on the bite marks. "Did it hurt? When we fed from you?"
"Not when you did," I answered. "I don't know why. I mean, you fed longer than the others."
He didn't answer for a little bit then looked at my hand. He kissed the scar.
"Why were you waiting until your blood was on the tip of the sword?"
"Since I have the power of a witch in my blood, it gave it more of a boost," I answered. "That's why you can't read my mind by the way."
"But I read it once," he frowned.
"When things started getting more active in the village, the witch in me was... activated or something like that."
"I'm just glad we're out of that village," he said, rubbing his eyes. "Though I lament the deaths of our comrades."
"So do I," I whispered. "Abel's death was...."
"He wasn't thinking straight," he said.
"No, I think he was," I argued. "Those were his thoughts and, when the second of his friends was killed, he snapped."
"Do you think they really wanted just you?"
"No. They really would have killed us all. The reason that one reached out for me is because it recognized the blood in me."
"How do you know all of this?"
I smiled. "You weren't the only one that had a dream about the village."
He chuckled and kissed me again. I closed my eyes slowly as his tongue slipped into my mouth. I gasped when my tongue ran across his fangs.
"Do you want that?" he whispered suddenly and I looked at him.
His red eyes were staring deeply into mine.
"To be a vampire?" I whispered and he nodded.
I bit my lower lip and looked away. "I don't know, Cian. I mean... I want to be with you, but I'm a human."
He shrugged. "You don't have to be a vampire to be with me," he said, brushing my hair out of my face.
He shook his head. "Now, personally, I would turn you right now but that would be because I'm selfish."
He laughed. "For someone so smart, you're a bit slow." He placed a sweet kiss on my lips. "I love you, Viveka."
"You do?" I breathed and he nodded.
"Now lay with me. I'm still tired."
I chuckled. "I don't know. You're being pretty bossy."
He rolled his eyes and pulled on my waist. "Come, my minx."
I laughed and lay beside him. I closed my eyes and wrapped my arms around him. He played with my hair.
"I was 25 when I was turned, by the way," he said.
"How old are you now?"
"I will be turning 130 this winter."
"I'm in bed with an old man!"
He laughed and bit gently on my fingers. I gasped but felt a sense of pleasure.
"That wasn't very polite, Lord Cian."
"You'll get over it," he yawned.