"I got sick before Erik did," Ilya said. "Our father had been a vampire for several years. He was waiting until we each turned 25 to turn us. I made it to 25 before I got sick. He turned me without a second thought. Erik made it to 24."
"I was out when I fell," Erik picked up, brushing hair from my face. "None of my family could find me. When I got the plague, my scent changed for it tainted my blood. It made it sour. They never found me. That is when Benjamin did."
"It took nearly 50 years but I finally found him," Ilya said. "Richard the Fairy was the one who helped me. He knew I was looking for him when I stopped at that inn. I wrote a letter, explaining everything to Erik. We were due to meet at the barn when you went to London. Again, it was Richard who told me where to go. After that, you know the rest."
"Is your father still alive?" I asked and he sighed.
"No. He was murdered."
"I am sorry," I said, reaching out and holding Erik's hand.
"He was a good man," Erik said. "I will miss him."
"Where do you live?" I asked Ilya.
He shrugged. "Nowhere now. The minute I step foot in London, they will kill me."
"Stay with us," I offered. "We have plenty of room, even with Kendra."
Ilya smiled. "You are very kind, Camille. I cannot stay here, though."
"Benjamin," Erik said sadly. "He and my father were rivals. Benjamin's blood is in me and I will eventually attack Ilya. That or Ilya will attack me."
I cried for them. "I am so very sorry."
"I am not," Ilya said. "I have found my little brother after all these years. I am glad to see he has a good home with a beautiful wife. We will keep in contact, of course."
I smiled. "You are always welcome to visit."
"You are very kind," he repeated. "I must go now, though. Already I feel the urge to strike."
He kissed more forehead then embraced Erik tightly. I smiled and waved as he left. Erik let out a long sigh and got in bed beside me. With some pain, I turned to face him.
"I am sorry I was not truthful with you about my family," he muttered. "I should have told you the truth. I just am so afraid. I fear you will leave once I tell you everything; just as Benjamin did me."
I touched his cheek. "Erik, I have to tell you something."
"What?" he asked, looking a little tired and wary about my response.
I bit my lip. "I love you."
His eyes widened and he sat up.
"What?" he breathed.
I managed a smile. "I love you."
"But-But I thought-"
I reached up and put my hand on the back of his neck, pulling his face to mine. He kissed me back, burying his hand in my hair.
"When I was in the cell," I whispered, "all I could think about was you. I saw two visions of you and Ilya looking for me. Then they tossed poor Kendra in there with me and I thought of how badly I wanted a family with you." I sighed. "I am not sure when it happened, but I am in love with you."
He kissed me again. I moved so that I could put both of my arms around him. He ran his hands up my sides and I moaned gently. I put my hand in his hair and he sighed through his nose. I licked his lower lip and he immediately accepted. I pulled him on top of me.
"I am ready," I said and he stared.
"You just went through a lot of pain," he panted, his eyes on fire. "Are you positive?"
I nodded and pulled his shirt off, blushing. "How does it work?"
He kissed me. "We feed," he said and slowly lifted my dress off of me. "It is different, though. Instead of using two teeth, we use all four. Since we live among humans, I want the marks to be discreet. Unlike when you are turned, your lover's mark never disappears."
I ran my hand over his chest then stopped just above his rib cage.
"Here?" I whispered and he nodded.
His eyes roamed my naked body and I blushed more.
"Here," he stated, putting his hand just under my right breast.
I nodded and he kissed me. He kissed down to the spot. I closed my eyes and gasped as he bit into me with all four teeth. I wrapped my arms around his back and moaned as he drank, arching my back to get my skin as close to his soft lips as I could. It felt different this time. Instead of the draining feeling, warmth spread through me. Warmth and desire.
When he stopped, I rolled him over, all thoughts of my pain gone. I licked the spot and bit into him. He groaned, pulling on my hair a little. His blood tasted sweeter than usual and I drank deeply. When I stopped, he kissed me passionately, our joined blood mixing into the sweetest nectar.
It didn't take long for the two of us to be under the covers.
I woke up to someone stroking my face. I opened my eyes and Erik smiled at me. He was watching me sleep and I smiled back.
"How do you feel?" he whispered.
"It hurts," I said honestly, touching where he marked me.
He nodded. "Yes, it hurts for me as well."
"Will the pain pass?" I asked.
"Of course," he said. "The pain lingers because we drank longer from each other than normal."
"Your blood tasted so much better," I said with a blissful sigh.
He chuckled. "As did yours. It is because we have sealed our union." He kissed my fingers. "I am yours and you are mine." He hesitated. "Do you really love me, Camille?"
I smiled. "Yes, Erik, I really love you."
He bit his lip then rolled onto his back. He opened his nightstand. While he dug through it, I looked at where I marked him and touched it. He jumped a little at my light touch but didn't respond otherwise.
"I had this made for you," he explained, rolling back over.
He slid a golden ring on my left ring finger and I gasped. It was a beautiful wedding band. His name was etched on mine and he showed me a similar ring with my name etched on.
"I hoped, one day, you would fall in love with me, too," he said. "That is when I will officially ask you to be my wife."
I smiled and took his ring. I slid it onto his finger. "And that is when I will officially tell you yes."
He chuckled and kissed me. Someone knocked.
"It is Johanna and Kendra," I said and sat up.
He smirked at my exposed body and I blushed. I grabbed a robe and wrapped it around my body, tying it. Erik got dressed and opened the door. Johanna had her arm around Kendra's shoulders. Kendra had a snoozing orange kitten in her hands and she was beaming at it.
"This is Cami," she proclaimed.
"She is adorable," I said, scratching the kitten under the chin. It kicked its foot in its sleep and I giggled. "Look, Erik."
He forced a laugh. "Very adorable."
"Would you like to see your room?" I asked Kendra and she nodded. "Thank you, Johanna. We will take it from here."
I put my arm around Kendra and led her to one of the guest rooms. Erik opened the door and Kendra gasped.
"Oh, it's beautiful!" she said, walking in.
It had a queen sized bed with white silk sheets and purple blankets. It looked much like my room with Erik except for our main color was red.
"It's mine?" she asked, her eyes wide.
I smiled. "It is yours."
"Thank you!" she said and hugged us both, startling Erik.
I laughed. "You are welcome." I yawned a little. "I need to go rest more."
"Can Cami sleep in here with me?" Kendra asked.
"Definitely," Erik said and I laughed again.
We went back to our room and slid under the covers.
"You do not like cats?" I asked and he shook his head.
"No, not at all," he said. "She can keep it, though. She seems to adore it."
I nodded and moved closer to him.
"What are we going to do now?" I asked.
"What do you mean?"
"The fairy. He said other people are going to be looking for us."
"Do not worry so much about the future," he said. "Think now of the present only."
I yawned once again. "I do apologize for London," I murmured. "I should not have asked to go there."
He wrapped his arms around me. "It was not your fault, Camille. It was your father's." Tears filled my eyes. "I know you are going to ask: he is still alive."
I sighed. "Can we please put London behind us?"
"Yes, of course we can. Rest well."
"And you, too," I whispered, kissing his neck once then putting my forehead on his chest.