CH 2 – Back to the Real World

After a couple more large glasses of water, followed by a couple more visits to that impressive bathroom - the regular kinds of visits, not the upchuck kind - I felt like myself again. Teren stuck close to my side, his eyes rarely leaving me. The concerned look in his brow never really left him either, even when I sat at the table, making small talk with his father, both of us laughing over one of Teren's childhood tales.

A few minutes later, he excused himself to pack the car. A couple of minutes after that, when he was done, he came back for me, insisting that he should take me home so I could rest. I rolled my eyes and smirked at him, since I felt one hundred percent fine, but grudgingly agreed, since I did have unpacking and washing and mail and bills and phone calls and ugh…maybe I would just lie on the couch.

With swift hugs for Jack, Alanna and Imogen, and apologies that we couldn't stay to say goodbye to a sleeping Halina, we made our way to Teren's Prius and began the bumpy journey down their super long gravel driveway.

It felt odd to be leaving, especially since I hadn't even been in a car in nearly two months. I flashed on the last time I'd been in a car, Teren's car even, but immediately pushed it aside. I didn't want to connect Teren's vehicle to that awful event. I didn't want to be reminded of it every time we went somewhere.

As we pulled onto the highway that led home, I sighed contently and put my hand on Teren's thigh. He placed his hand over mine and laced our fingers together. Even though the move was a tender one, I felt the rigid way he held my hand. If I didn't know any better, I'd say it was almost protective, or possessive.

I brought my other hand over to lay it on top of his, making a Teren hand-sandwich. "You alright?" I asked as I clamped our skin together.

He looked over at me, a tight smile on his lips. "Sure, I'm fine."

As he looked back to the road, I could see the tension in his jaw and neck; whatever he really was, it was not 'fine'. "Teren…"

My tone clearly indicated that I didn't buy his answer and wanted the truth. He sighed and looked over at me again. His eyes watered as he stared at me and I scrunched my brow at seeing his emotion start to bubble up. He shook his head, just a little. "What if something happens to you?"

I scrunched my brow even further, not making the conversational leap with him. Seeing my confusion he explained himself better, his eyes drifting back to the road, still looking sad and worried. "Pregnancy is hard…some women don't make it…"

Understanding, my hand went to his cheek, bringing his eyes back to mine. Knowing his vampiric reflexes could handle driving without both eyes on the road, I made him meet my gaze. "I will be fine. This morning was completely normal." I couldn't help but note the contradiction of me now assuring him that everything was fine, now that we were talking about my safety and not his. Things were different when your concern was for another's life, and not your own.

He nodded, shaking his head free from my grasp and looking away from me again, towards the road that he knew so well, he could probably drive it blindfolded. "I know, Emma. I know today was fine…but what about tomorrow, or the next day?" He shook his head and looked back at me. "There's so much that can go wrong, and I can't… If I lose…" He stopped talking and swallowed painfully, his eyes darting to my stomach and then back up to me.

I swallowed back my own emotion and leaned over to kiss his neck. "I know, Teren. I know." He was terrified of losing any of us. That's the downside of loving someone so much. You throw your heart out there and hope nothing will yank it away and tear it into shreds. He couldn't predict what would happen to me, and he was right, pregnancy wasn't always a cause for celebration…sometimes pregnancies ended badly. But you couldn't go through life waiting for bad things to happen. I'm pretty sure that's how people go mad. I also noted the contradiction in that, and made a mental note to not worry about Teren being exposed so much. Well, I'd try not to.

I rested my head on his shoulder. "Today I'm fine, Teren. Today, we're all fine." I sighed and felt him nod and sigh as well. That's all we had to go on, all any of us had to go on…and it was enough.

Before I knew it, we were back at my adorably cute, slim home. It was a Victorian townhouse. One of those that wedged right up to its neighbor's, so you could easily walk across all the roofs, if you were so inclined. It had been my grandmother's home and she'd left it to my mom when she'd passed away. Mom had kept it, for the investment and the sentiment, and I rented it from her at an outstandingly good rate. It was blue with cute white shutters and a perfectly charming red door. I'd sort of miss it when I eventually moved in with Teren.

He helped me bring in all my stuff and even ran a load of laundry for me while I put the clean clothes away. As I smiled, listening to him bustle around downstairs in my laundry room, I thought he was a pretty amazing boyfriend and would surely be an equally amazing husband. Feeling content and happy, and not worried for once, I whispered, "I love you, you know."

Just as I was putting away my last pair of just slightly soiled boots, he breezed into my doorway. His cool arms slipped around my waist and a rough chin lightly scraped against my skin, as he rested his head in the crook of my neck. "I love you too, you know."

I grinned, a small laugh escaping me, and twisted in his arms. Looking over his handsome face, a small frown came to my lips. "I'm going to miss you."

He frowned as well, as he tried to understand what I meant. "Miss me? Am I going somewhere?"

A crooked grin came to my mouth, but then I sighed and ran my hands down his shirt. "Yes, you're going home, to get ready to go back to work."

He tilted his head as he processed that. "Yeah, I suppose I should." He lightly shook his head. "You're not coming with me?"

I bit my lip at seeing the clear disappointment on his face. It was deeply endearing how much he obviously wanted me with him. I sighed though and shook my head. "I can't. I should get ready too…and I've got a lot of stuff around here to catch up on."

He looked around my bedroom, his eyes focused beyond the walls. He was probably thinking about all the things he had to catch up on as well, including picking up his pup from my mom's house. Thinking about that, I put a hand to his cheek, bringing his attention back to me. "I could come with you to pick up Spike though? Divert my mom's attention, in case she wants to hug and kiss you to death." I laughed at my joke and grinned as I thought about seeing my mom and sister again. I'd talked to them often, but hadn't actually seen them in awhile.

He grinned and ran a finger down my cheek. "Actually, I talked with your mom before we left." He lightly chuckled and shook his head. "She asked if she could keep Spike until we all got together for dinner on Tuesday. I think she's fallen for him." He winked at me after he said that.

I laughed and then leaned back in his arms as that sank in. "Dinner? Tuesday?" Mom, my sister Ashley, and I, all got together for weekly dinners at a local café that we really loved. We'd been doing it for years and once Teren and I had started getting serious, he'd joined the party.

He nodded and tilted his head. "Yeah…she assumed the Tuesday night dinners would continue, once you got back." He narrowed his eyes at me, his brow furrowing a bit while he studied my reaction. "I assumed they would too…was I wrong?"

I shook my head, clearing my expression. "No, no of course we'll start doing that again. I just…" I looked up at him. "What are you going to do?"

He looked down to the floor, his arms around my waist tightening slightly while he considered his options. Finally, he lifted his head and sighed. With a shrug he said, "I guess I'll be running late at work, and join you just after dessert."

I stared at his face for a moment, a sudden sadness hitting me that we couldn't have a normal, happy meal with my family, not if he'd just be sitting there and watching everyone else eat. How would we explain that? I brought a hand up to his face and he closed his eyes at the contact, leaning into the warmth of my skin. "That won't work forever, Teren."

He opened his eyes and sighed. "I know."

He both stared at each for a moment longer and then he leaned in to give me a goodbye kiss. I allowed myself to get lost in it, to forget the downside of dating a vampire and remember that there were advantages too. And Teren made forgetting pretty easy – he was an unbelievable kisser. His mouth and tongue could do things that I was beginning to believe were part of his supernatural ability, for no human I'd ever kissed had made me feel it through every cell in my body. As my fingers were sliding through his thick hair and the backs of my legs were bumping up against my bed, he started chuckling. I broke contact with him, a little surprised to find my heart was racing and my breath was noticeably faster. Like I said, great kisser.

His hands came up to cup my cheeks, gently pushing me back from where I'd been attempting to find those lips again. "I should get going." He chuckled again, his eyes sweeping over my room. "Let, you get to work on your affairs."

My body could have cared less about my affairs and I knew he was completely aware of that. I tried to kiss him again, but he held me back, a smug look on his face. I sighed irritably and pulled away. "Fine." Using all my willpower to step away from him, I gave him a scathing glare. "You don't play fair."

He laughed and reached out for me. I ignored the gesture. Smirking at me, he shook his head and walked over to give me a platonic kiss on the cheek. In my ear he whispered, "You drive me crazy, every second of every day. You have no idea how much I'll be missing you tonight." He stepped into me, his body pressing against my side. I closed my eyes and held my breath. His breath, cool on my ear and neck, gave me delightful shivers. "If I can make you feel, just once, what I feel constantly…well, I think that's very fair."

His lips had just closed around my ear lobe when I groaned and turned my head to find him. But he wasn't there. Feeling like my head and body were in some weird, semi-drugged state, I blinked and looked around my empty bedroom. Faintly, I could hear laughing coming from downstairs and then my front door opening.

"Jerk!" I yelled through the open door where my honey had just blurred away, leaving me all riled up and alone. Only soft chuckling answered me as my front door closed.

I sighed and shook my head as I heard the electric hum of his car pulling away. Sighing yet again, I decided forgoing all the things on my to-do list and doing the one thing my body really wanted now. I took a bath.

Monday morning began with me fighting the urge to throw my alarm clock across the room. It had been a long time since I'd needed to use one. While Teren's and my time on the ranch wasn't exactly Club Med, it had been a true vacation in the sense that we hadn't needed to be awake at a certain hour. We'd usually woken at breakfast time, so I could partake in Alanna's wonderful cooking, but it had been a leisurely, relaxing wakeup. Not the jarring, forced-from-sleep annoyance that was an alarm going off by my ear.

Grunting some sort of nonverbal objection, I turned it off and stood up to get ready for the day. I dusted off and got into my work clothes, a nice formfitting pantsuit with an adorably fitted jacket, and curled my wavy hair, leaving it loose around my shoulders. With a nice pair of heels and my jacket open, showing off my deep cut, lacy top (which was about as sexy as I could dress at work, without getting a warning from the HR department), I grabbed a quick breakfast and hopped into my cute little yellow VW bug. I smiled as I drove it to work; I'd missed my cheery little car.

I started feeling a little less cheery as I pulled into the parking lot and my stomach started questioning my meal choice. I sat in my car, breathing slowly and carefully through my mouth. I prayed for my stomach to settle down and accept the food I'd given it. Seriously…we needed to work together on this, or this pregnancy was going to be a long one.

Finally, my body agreed with my head and the nausea passed. With one last quick exhale, I slapped on my professional face and headed for the doors. I was assaulted long before I ever got to my cubicle. A striking blonde squealed and wrapped her arms around me. The sudden movement jarred me back a step and my stomach firmly objected the quick shift in direction.

As my face surely went through several shades of green, I hugged the woman hugging me for dear life, praying yet again, not to lose it. The beautiful woman pulled away from me, a happy glow on her pixyish face. "Emma! God, we've missed you. How was your vacation?"

I breathed as nonchalantly as I could through my mouth, as I quickly threw on a bright smile. "It was great, Tracey. How were things here?"

She tossed her hand out in a casual manner. "Oh, the same." We continued down the aisle way to my office, my stomach relaxing into normalcy as we walked and Tracey subtly pointing at various people that we worked with. "Stressed over a bad investment. Wife had a baby last week. Bitchy…just 'cuz. Having an affair…" she pointed at a petite brunette and then looked around until she spotted a middle-aged man near the break room, "with him." She turned back to me and barely contained a giggle. "I totally heard them going at it in the supply closet last week."

I quickly looked away from the woman as she met eyes with me, shaking my head at Tracey and her stream of gossip. As we reached my home away from home, she leaned against my wall. "How is Teren's dad?" Her face turned down into a perfect frown.

I turned into my office here at Sampson, Neilson and Peterson, and opened the bottom drawer of my desk to shove my still pretty full purse in it. I hadn't gotten any better at not carrying my life around with me. I smiled at Tracey's question, as I straightened and turned back to her. Teren's dad falling ill was the excuse we'd given everybody for our extended time away. It had worked pretty well as a reason for Teren to be gone for such a long time. I mean, it wasn't like we could tell everyone that Teren was dying and reanimating, and he'd needed to be away from innocent people when he did it.

"He's…as good as new." I shrugged my shoulders as Tracey smiled. "You'd never even know that anything had ever been wrong with him." I started to giggle a little, as I thought of Teren and not his dad. You really wouldn't know he'd passed away, at least, not by looking at him. Tracey cocked her head at my seemingly inappropriate laugh, but didn't say anything. I had a habit of laughing at odd times and my friends were just used to that about me.

"That's great, Emma. Tell Teren I'm glad his dad is alright."

A loud throat clearing behind Tracey shifted both of our attentions that way. Behind her was a large, dowdy looking woman who always reminded me of an unpleasant version of a fifties sitcom wife. She always dressed in long skirts and shapeless blouses and even had a large string of pearls around her plump neck. Her brown hair, that had mostly turned gray ages ago, was always pulled into a tight, unforgiving bun that complimented her general attitude. She tended to have a perpetual scowl, and seemed to look at everyone as if they were doing something inappropriate.

Clarice. She was unfortunately my boss, and was currently looking at Tracey with undisguised malice. She was not Tracey's boss. "Don't you have somewhere to be?" she grumbled to her.

Tracey grinned back at me. "Have fun. Glad your back." She smirked at Clarice and then left me alone with the sour woman.

"So, you remembered where the building was. Kudos." She handed me what had to be a two foot stack of paperwork. As I grabbed it, she pointed to an equally large stack of papers already sitting on my desk. "These are all new clients that came in while you were gone." Her flat lips sort of turned up into a grin. "Familiarize yourself, and get them all entered into the system."

And with that, she turned and left. No, we missed you, welcome back. No, did you have a good time. No, did everything turn out okay? No, did your boyfriend knock you up while you were gone? Nope, nothing but professionalism from Clarice.

I sighed and sat down, adding the large stack to the stack already there. I knew coming back would be a lot of work, but, damn. The accounting firm I worked at was an up and coming one and it seemed like they'd taken off, right as I'd left. As I started sifting through the paperwork, I hoped I'd run into an interesting file – maybe a celebrity or socialite or something.

Just as I was wondering how Teren was fairing at his first day back at the magazine, I heard my phone buzzing in my purse. Clarice tended to frown on cell phones at the desk, but quickly looking into her office directly across from mine and seeing her absent, most likely helping her boss, Mr. Peterson, I took advantage and opened the drawer to rifle through my bag and find it.

Pulling out my cutely pink flip phone, I saw a text from Teren. 'Miss you. How's it going?'

I glanced up at her office again and then quickly typed back a response. 'Miss you too. I'm drowning in paperwork. You?'

My phone buzzed in my hand, a second after I'd hit send. 'Good, just finished my article. No fondling yet.' I smiled and shook my head, both at the fact that he'd already whipped out an article, and that he was still teasing me about my admittedly overcautious fears. Just as I was about to respond, my phone buzzed again. 'Are you coming over tonight? I can't sleep alone again.'

I quietly giggled at that and bit my lip, only responding with, 'Yes.'

His response was again a quick one, and I smiled at the image of him sitting at his desk and speed typing messages to me. 'Good, I missed you…and the kids. Anymore sickness?'

I sighed at his loving concern for me. 'No…almost threw up on Tracey, but luckily didn't. She wishes your dad well.'

I pictured him laughing at my answer as his reply flashed on my phone. 'I would have loved to hear how you'd explain away ralphing on her. I'm glad you're okay. I'll add Tracey's wishes to my coworkers. My dad will get a big head, with how much sympathy he's been receiving today.'

I sighed happily as I thought of my tall, dark and sort of dreamy, undead man. Just as I was going to tell him I should get back to work, the phone buzzed again. 'So…what are you wearing?'

I laughed out loud to that and was startled to almost incontinence when a stack of even more papers slapped down on my desk. Breathing heavier, I raised my eyes to Clarice's narrowed ones. "Since you have free time," she nearly sneered, "here's some reports I need copied…now."

"Sorry, yes, Clarice." I gave her an apologetic smile as she huffily sauntered back to her desk. Typing Teren a quick goodbye and shoving my phone back in my purse, I got back to my expanded work pile.

By the end of the day, I couldn't believe how tired I was. I'd nearly forgotten what a full eight hours of work entailed. True, Teren and I had helped out on the ranch, and I'd fallen asleep from exhaustion more than once during our stay there, but there was something different about being outside in the fresh country air, helping to wrangle cattle with an assortment of super speedy, unnaturally strong vampires, than being in a small, fluorescently lit office space with paperwork up to your eyebrows. I knew it would get better as I got more caught up, but at the moment, shoveling cow poop again sounded fabulous.

Tracey popped around to my side of the cubicle, no sign of fatigue on her sprightly face, and asked if I'd be coming back to the gym as well. Tracey and I had been taking kickboxing there a couple times a week for of a couple of years now. While I loved the workout, and the feeling of self-assurance it gave me, I was really too tired to contemplate moving that aggressively right now.

"No, I think I'll pass tonight." I yawned halfway through my sentence and Tracey laughed at me.

"Alright, Ben will be bummed." She winked at me. "He's subbing tonight."

I grinned at the look of love on her face. She had met Ben while he'd been subbing for our regular teacher during a kickboxing class. They'd hit it off right away and, despite a rocky patch, when Tracey had stupidly broken up with him while she needlessly suffered over figuring out what was only too obvious - that she was head over heels for him, they were still together.

I yawned and grabbed my purse. "Tell him I said hi…Teren too." Ben and Teren had hit it off right way too and were friends, I guess. As close as Teren was friends with anyone who didn't know his secret. He had a natural tendency to keep people just slightly away from him. Honestly, he did that with me too sometimes, which had led to some pretty spectacular fights in these last seven months, but I did understand his reluctance to let people in; he never knew for sure who was going to stick around.

Tracey laughed at my yawn again and nodded. "I will. See you tomorrow, Emma."

I watched her leave and another yawn escaped me. Wondering why I was so tired, I looked down at my still flat stomach. "Are you guys making me tired?" I murmured to myself.

A throat clearing made me look up, startled that someone may have heard that. I wasn't prepared to tell the world I was pregnant. I'd sort of like to get through the wedding part first…and I was still a little reluctant to bring that up too. Not that I was embarrassed, no way, but we were getting married fast, and I was only too aware that super fast weddings usually meant one thing, and I was fairly certain that if anyone asked me directly if I were pregnant, I'd blush and giggle and squeal like an imbecile.

Clarice narrowed her eyes at me and shook her head. "You didn't get as much done as I'd hoped…but you did a good job with what you managed to finish, I suppose. Don't be late tomorrow." With that, she waddled down the hall to the exit.

I couldn't help but smile, both that she hadn't heard me talking to the embryos in my belly and that she'd just given me a compliment. True, it was very backhanded, but that's what you got with Clarice – a tiny drop of honey with a huge dollop of vinegar. To keep working here, and remain sane, you learned to grasp that sweetness wherever you found it.

Still smiling at the rare words of approval, I drove myself directly to Teren's place. His car was in his half circle drive when I got there, and I'd no sooner shut off my car than he was standing at my door, opening it for me. I smiled at his super senses and his super sweetness, and let him pull me into a huge hug. I sighed as his arms wrapped around me, glad that our first days back had gone well, and considering that he hadn't been staked at work, I'd say they went very well.

We pulled apart from each other and I let my eyes travel down his well dressed body. It had been awhile since I'd seen him in anything but worn jeans and boots, and while he looked amazing in those clothes, I'd almost forgotten how nicely he cleaned up. His khaki slacks and crisp, light blue dress shirt were distractingly tight on him. He was…yummy.

I bit my lip as I looked over the man who would eternally look…yummy. His hand came up to my cheek as my gaze traveled farther down his body. "You okay?" he whispered. That brought my attention back to his face and I looked up to see him frowning at me, concern in the blue depths. "You look exhausted," he added.

I sighed and smiled, leaning in to give him a quick kiss. "Yeah, I guess I am." My fingers resting along his neck started threading through the short layers of hair in the back. He smiled as he gazed down at me. "I've been on vacation for too long, there was just a lot to take care of today."

He cocked his head at me and then swiftly swept me into his arms. I squeaked in surprise and then giggled and hugged him tighter. "Well, let me take care of you now then."

I settled my head into the crook of his neck and sighed contently. "Okay…"

He chuckled and walked with me to his impressive home, not as impressive as his parents' spread, but still, for highly sought after San Francisco real estate, it was a nice place. He effortlessly walked me up to the wrought iron and wood front door of his two-story home and held me with one arm, while opening the door with the other. I laughed that he hadn't had to adjust me at all while he did that. Being around his strength, made me sort of feel like I was weightless, and that was a very good thing for a soon-to-be-mammoth girl to feel.

He kicked the door closed behind us and walked me to the most comfortable couch in the world. He laid me down on the massive, white leather behemoth and wrapped me in a blanket, after kissing my forehead and removing my shoes. I smiled at his sweetness and grabbed his arm as he started to move away. The chill of his skin crept up my fingers, but the thrill of touching him made that chill feel warm as it traveled up my arm.

He smiled as he looked down on me all snuggled on his couch. "I'm just going to make you something to eat," he said softly.

I nodded and tilted my head up and he obligatorily leaned in to kiss me. "What about you," I muttered as his lips pulled away.

"I was hungry after work, so I already ate," he said as he straightened.

I cocked my head, wondering what he'd had for dinner. His family generally seemed to only eat a few pints once a day, but Teren was still pretty new, and needed to eat a couple times throughout the day. It wouldn't hurt him or anything if he didn't, he just got…grumpy, and tired. At the ranch, that wasn't a big deal, there was lots of food, but here? He smiled at my silent concern. "Mom sent me home with a care package. I'm good for awhile."

I smiled and shook my head, realizing that, of course, his mother would take care of him. Actually, it wouldn't surprise me if she came by weekly with a stash for him. She was just a caretaker like that. I instantly stopped worrying about what he'd find to eat. His family would never let him starve. I sighed happily and relaxed back into the couch, closing my eyes and letting that feeling of exhaustion sweep over me.

I was awoken from a particularly steamy dream awhile later, by the smell of pasta directly under my nose. I cracked open my eyes and smiled widely at a plate of something rich, creamy and incredibly fattening piled high in front of my face. Teren gave me a half-smile as he watched me come alive again.

"I was wondering if I should wake you, or join you." His half-grin turned a little devilish. "That sounded like a good dream."

I blushed and took the plate from him, straightening on his couch. Immediately plowing into the food as my stomach rumbled, I smiled around the fork in my mouth. "It was…maybe I'll show you later."

His eyes widened at that and he chuckled before taking a sip from a goblet in his hands. I watched him drink a few sips of what looked like really deep, red wine. I knew it wasn't though, especially with how his teeth had dropped down. He leaned back on the couch, watching me eat as well. I sighed and brought my shoeless feet into his lap. He grinned and rubbed them while sipping his blood.

I pointed to his glass with my fork. "You saved some?"

He shrugged and pointed with his glass to my plate. "I told you once before that we'd still eat together. I meant it." He smiled sweetly and took another small sip.

I shook my head at his cuteness and continued shoveling food into my mouth, conscious of the fact that I wasn't nearly as cute. I didn't care though – I was starving. Before I knew it, the pasta was gone and I was considering licking the sauce from the plate; Teren could cook, even dead he was amazing.

He laughed as he gauged the expression on my face. "I'm glad you liked it." His brows drew together as he took my empty plate from me. "I only hope you can keep it down." He said that with concern in his voice and I grinned at hearing it.

I put a hand on my stomach and smiled. "Yes, I think they're very happy with Daddy." He gave me a breathtaking grin and leaned down to kiss me for a moment. As he pulled away, I was suddenly equally happy with him, but in a very different way.

He cocked his head, taking in my body language, and lightly shook his head as he straightened. "I'm gonna clean up." He pointed at me with his empty glass. "You…rest." He grinned and turned, making his way through the arch in his living room that led to a kitchen most women would die for.

I sat on that couch, snuggled in my blanket, for as long as my body would allow, but he was right when he'd said my dream had been a good one. And he was really right when he'd offered to join me. With my stomach full and content, and my body feeling awake and carefree, I decided I'd rested enough and I wanted to be a little more…active.

I got up stealthily and crept into the kitchen, hoping to catch him by surprise. Although that was pretty improbable, he didn't react to my entrance and continued absentmindedly rinsing some dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. Thinking I'd actually done it, I tiptoed across the tile floor and was just preparing to throw my arms around his waist, when he spoke.

"Aren't you supposed to be resting?" His lips twisted into an amused smile at my attempt to sneak up on him and I sighed irritably and casually slung my arms around his waist, my element of surprise gone. Darn super ears.

"You're no fun," I muttered into the back of his shirt and felt him laugh softly.

Suddenly, he twisted in my arms and wrapped his around my waist. "I'm plenty fun." He raised an eyebrow at me. "You're just noisy."

I smirked at that, but then his lips lowered to mine and I remembered what I'd come in here for in the first place. Groaning a little, I leaned into his embrace and deepened our kiss. His hands around my waist tightened as mine snuck up to run through his hair. He angled his mouth, sweeping more of that marvelous tongue along mine and another groan left me, as my body started to heat.

His hands reached down to cup my backside and a low rumble sounded in his chest. Loving what that noise did to my already aroused body, I pressed my hips flush to his, finding him equally aroused by me. Our lips never stopping, my hands slid down to his shirt, casually popping open the buttons. When I had the last one free, I slid the fabric over his cool shoulders. His hands came up to help me, his fingers pulling the shirt free from his slacks.

We pulled apart and I took the opportunity to take in the muscled perfection of his chest. My fingertips lightly traced across the tan skin and while nothing physically happened, by the quick intake of breath, I was sure he'd have goose bumps if his skin were normal.

As his lips lowered to my neck, his hands pulled off my jacket. I sighed at his caress and tilted my head, giving him all the access he needed to explore the surging vein he loved so much. He growled again as his tongue flicked over the surface, stoking the already nearly unbearable ache building in me.

My hands ran up his back as his ran over my lacy camisole, feeling my breasts through that seductive fabric. Suddenly, he pushed me back into the island counter behind me. I gasped as the hardness of him roughly pressed up against me, trapping me against the hardness behind. I brought my leg up his thigh, wanting him inside of me already. He pulled back to look at me, passion clouding the perfect paleness of his eyes. He took a split second to tear off my shirt and then a slow smile lit his lips as he stared unabashedly at the black, lacy bra I was wearing.

Watching his eyes drink me in, I calmly reached around and unclasped the bra, letting it spring free and drop to the floor. His smile dropped and his face looked a little wondrous. I smiled at his reaction, even after all this time, and urged his face down to me, to feel what was his. He went freely, his lips closing over a nipple and gently sucking. My leg clasped him tighter as his name fell off my tongue. My hand in his hair tightened as he switched sides, his hand pulling my hips firmly into him. I swear he was even harder, as hard as the granite counter pressing against my ass.

Oh hell…

As I closed my eyes and let my head fall back, I was vaguely aware of him lifting me up and my legs automatically encircling his waist. Then I felt air rapidly rushing past me. By the time I opened my eyes, we were in his bedroom, and he was pulling back his covers and lying me down on his silky sheets. A slight shiver went through me as the cool fabric hit my back, while his cool skin rested on my stomach. I ignored being enveloped by the chill and pulled him tighter to me, eagerly finding his mouth again.

His hands worked at my pants, undoing and removing them in a matter of seconds. Mine worked on his more clumsily. He pulled away from my body for a fraction of a second and when he returned, I could feel the cool, naked length of him pressed against the warm length of me. Desire and a surging anticipatory energy shot through me at what I knew was coming. My breath came faster, my lips on his more insistent, as my fingers tugged at the last barrier between us, the tiny scrap around my hips that was passing for underwear.

He looked down my body and groaned, his fingers joining mine as he tugged the material off. In our eagerness, the delicate fabric ripped and I cringed at the slightly painful sensation, and then groaned at the hotness of him destroying my underwear. He chuckled and tossed the ruined pieces aside. "Sorry," he muttered, before his lips lowered back to my breast.

I was about to say 'don't worry about it', when a couple long fingers slid between my thighs. I lost the ability for coherent speech after that. Making vague erotic noises, I closed my eyes and reveled in that wonderfully chilly touch. He eventually warmed to my considerably hotter temperature and those talented fingers began working into a rhythm inside me that was quickly going to bring me to climax. Just as I was panting and clutching at his shoulders, he removed them.

I gasped and sought his lips, needing him now more than ever. He kissed me ferociously, his cool erection digging into my hip. His lips separated from mine and ran down my shoulder. He glanced up at me, an almost feral passion in his eyes, and then he dragged his tongue over the healing wounds in my shoulder. He closed his eyes and shuddered, his teeth dropping to sharp fangs as he remembered drinking from me.

I bit my lip and squirmed as I watched him, wanting him to bite again, but knowing he wouldn't, not so soon after feeding on me. He opened his eyes, his teeth automatically retracting as he did. I grabbed his cheek. "No, leave them out." He cocked his head at me and in a low, breathy voice I added, "It's…hot."

He dropped his mouth open, his fangs following and he crashed his lips back to mine, careful to not hurt me with his sharp canines. I was less careful and nearly attacked him with my need. Then he blurringly fast flipped us over, so I was straddling him. With his superhuman strength, he deadweight lifted my hips and lowered me directly onto him. An animalistic growl escaped him and a loud moan escaped me.

I still wasn't used to the coolness of him filling me. It was such a shockingly erotic experience, that every time it brought me right to the edge of having an orgasm – and on occasion, it did. His body eventually would acclimate to mine, but that first thrust was something so incredible, it shocked me every time. Sometimes I wished his body wouldn't warm with mine. The hot/cold sensation was that remarkable.

He sat up with me as I straddled him, my knees along his hips. He laid his head against my chest as I rocked against him, slow at first and then with a growing urgency. As his body warmed along the outside of me, my body heated to near inferno levels from the inside. His strong hands eventually came down to grasp my hips, pulling me onto his body even farther. He filled me so deeply that I almost couldn't take it. My release came hard and fast, and I clenched around him, inside and outside. The cry escaping my mouth hardly did the explosion within me justice.

Just as I hit the very peak of it, when I was sure I actually would explode, his body stiffened under me and he let out a long, low groan. His head rocked back and forth along my chest as he came inside of me. He was so deep, I couldn't feel it, but I knew he was doing it and I clutched him tighter and kissed his cheek, whispering how much I loved him as I came down off my high.

After my gently rocking hips slowed, we slumped against each other, almost holding the other up. Then he exhaled and lifted his head to look at me, his earlier passion replaced by a calm, deep love, his fangs still extended, either for my benefit, or simply forgotten about at this point. "I love you," he whispered, before kissing me softly.

"I love you too," I whispered back.

He gently pulled me off of him and rolled me to my back. I settled down into his silky sheets and held my arms open for him. He smiled, his fangs retracting, and gently laid his torso on top of me, his legs twining with mine. I cradled his head and pulled him down to my chest. He exhaled a cool breath, making my skin pebble, and nestled his head between my breasts. With an almost contented, purring noise, he wrapped his arms under me, holding me tight.

Just when I felt my heart shifting back to normal, my breath following and sleep beckoning, he popped up on his hands, crouched low over my body. I startled at his sudden movement and furrowed my brow, puzzled. Teren wasn't looking at me though; his head was tilted to the side and he was staring past me, listening. Just as I was going to ask him what was wrong, his eyes shifted focus and stared at mine.

"Did you hear that?" he whispered.

I scrunched my brow almost comically. Aside from my own breath, I heard nothing. "What?" Abruptly he sat up straight, and I shivered as his warm-compared-to-the-air body was ripped away from me. "Teren?"

His head shifted to stare at the door and then back to me. With an intensely serious face he whispered, "Stay here," and then he blurred from the room, grabbing his pants as he streaked away.

I sat up, pulling the sheets around my body, irritated at my post-coital bliss being snatched away from me, and worried about what could have riled him up. "Damn it," I muttered, to no one in particular.