Cherishing Destiny (A Dangerous Destiny) (2 page)

The color, of course, was supposed to represent the favored
choice of the honored guests that circulated among the humans.  It would not be
polite for her to shun the wine that was offered, but she did not wish to have
to purge the liquid later when her body refused to absorb it. It made her feel
uncomfortable and undignified to bring up the contents of her stomach no matter
how lovely the color.  So, she allowed the pretty beverage to wet her perfect
lips and raised her glass to the hostess, giving the woman a measured smile and
a nod of approval. 

This had the desired effect as the hostess, Mrs. Somebody
with money and influence, beamed from across the room and continued to mingle
with her guests.  Aurora was sure that she could produce the name of the woman
if she chose to, but she did not bother herself to try.

Aurora allowed her gaze to sweep over the large company of
influential people, both human and Vampire.  Her sensitive hearing picked up
snippets of conversations about politics, business and world affairs, but she
also heard just as much chatter about weddings, fashion and society events.  Everybody
appeared so polished and mannered.  It was a very proper gathering, and she
almost laughed out loud when she heard the son of the hostess whispering to one
of the caterer’s girls with an invitation to slip away to the tennis courts and
get high.  She knew it was likely that every Vampire in the room heard the
teenager.

Her amusement must have been evident in her face or
manner. 
Had she actually snickered or made another sound?
  She could
not recall, but she noticed that the group of older ladies that she was
standing with had quieted, and a few were looking at her expectantly. 

One such lady, a widow of about seventy five had stopped in
the act of pulling a photograph from an old fashioned drawstring bag that she
wore tied at her wrist.  The silk bag was very small, and the photo looked a
little worse for wear. It had obviously been removed and returned to the bag with
some frequency. 

Aurora quickly sifted her thoughts with perfect recall to find
the topic of conversation.  The lady had been receiving the sympathies and
attentions of the group for her widowed condition that Aurora seemed to
remember had occurred nearly ten years prior.  The widow was speaking of her
“precious baby” a Pomeranian she had acquired to be her solace after the passing
of her husband. She had been about to show everyone the photo of the wonderful
creature. 

Aurora tilted her head to get a quick look at the picture
and said “How lovely.  Please, excuse me.”  She smiled prettily and walked away
from the group, a picture of grace and elegance. 

The ladies gazed after her with something akin to longing
before they came to themselves and continued their chatter as if there had been
no pause. 

Aurora moved through the crowded ballroom toward the rear wall
that was entirely made up of divided glass panes and French doors that led to a
stone terrace. The terrace was enclosed by a low wall, just more than waist
high, that overlooked perfectly landscaped grounds.  Many of the doors were
wide open to the outside.  The mild evening air was welcome in the room full of
guests. 

As she walked, people shifted subtly, moving out of her way
while she cut a swath, as straight as an arrow, toward the terrace.  They were
not even aware that they had done it.  Just a tiny step to the left or right,
forward or back, that left Aurora’s path clear. Then, once she was past, they
moved back to where they had been, just as subtly closing the way behind her. 

She moved out onto the terrace, opening her senses to the
night around her.  There were a handful of couples and small groups of guests
spaced widely across the stones, but the mood was quiet and they spoke softly. 
Their voices did not disturb her, and she did not bother to listen to their
conversations. 

Music drifted out to the patio.  She had scarcely noticed
that there was a string quartet playing in the ballroom.  It was impossible to appreciate
over the din of voices inside.  She saw the musicians situated on a slightly
raised platform just inside of the last set of open doors and the music was easily
heard from any vantage outside on the terrace. She stopped and listened
attentively for a moment to the melody, and a slightly sad smile appeared
briefly on her face as the music painted a picture of a pleasant time, long
gone.  She released the memory and moved to the wide stone wall that served as
a rail around the edge of the terrace. 

She set her glass on the top of the rail, spreading her
hands flat on the cool stone surface and leaning out a little over the edge. 
The terrace was no more than fifteen feet above the ground, and she could see a
wide stair case leading down to the grounds at one end.  

She lifted her gaze to the night sky.  Lights were blazing
all around the home making it difficult to see the stars.  Only her Vampire
eyes allowed her to make out the pinpoints she knew so well after fourteen
centuries. 

Her mind automatically drew the constellations that were
visible as she stared up at the sky.   The night sky seemed to have dimmed
after artificial light was introduced into the world. 

It was a trade off, she thought.  She loved the lamps and
chandeliers, wall sconces and ceiling fixtures that illuminated the world she
lived in.  She spent centuries in the dark with no sunlight, only fire and
candles to push back the darkness. 

Aurora dearly loved the light, and as she gazed up into the
sky on this night, she tried to remember what it had been like to watch the sun
rise in the morning and set in the evening.

Aurora was pulled from her melancholy musings when she saw
a brief flash of light in the sky.  She had only seen it from the corner of her
eye, but was positive it had been a flash. She scanned the nightscape and
turned quickly when she thought she saw it again in her peripheral vision.

She watched for some minutes more without seeing it again
until her husband, Alexander Lake, silently moved up behind her and wrapped his
arms around her waist. 

She was not startled.  He could move silently when he chose
to but, being a Vampire, he could not hide the intoxicating scent of his blood
from another of his kind.   She had loved him for something like twenty
lifetimes, and he would never be concealed from her. 

She forgot all about stargazing when he nuzzled her ear and
invited her to leave the party and return home with him. 

∞∞∞

Alex had sensed the movement of his wife as she headed for
the French doors.  He looked around and saw the ripple of movement she casually
created when she walked through the room.  He smiled and shook his head a
little. 

I’ll bet she doesn’t even know that she did that, he
thought. 

She wore a silver backless gown that only accentuated her perfect
pale skin.  Her burgundy hair was piled a little recklessly on top of her head
with just a few delicate strands freeing themselves to drape down the beautiful
bare skin of her back, nearly reaching her hips.  He watched those hips that
weren’t too narrow or too wide, moving smoothly underneath her gown that he
suddenly noticed was decidedly slinky.

Her long slender legs looked endless with the heels she
wore.  If he concentrated, he could drown out all of the noise in the room and focus
in on the sound her heels made as she moved across the floor.  She glanced to
her right briefly, and he caught sight of her perfect profile.  She looked
thoughtful and just a little melancholy. 

His brow creased slightly as always when he was concerned
about something.  He only wanted Aurora’s happiness, and he hoped that this
vague sadness that she had been recently displaying was a passing mood.

Alex turned back to the man he had been speaking with,
Samuel Gates.  Gates was a Vampire and an influential member of their council,
just as Alex and Aurora were.  Gates had followed Alex’ gaze during his momentary
distraction, and Alex could see that he was not the only one appreciating his
wife’s fascinating beauty.  He was used to men and even some women, staring
openly at his wife.  There was just something about her that made everyone acutely
aware of her presence.  But, with Vampires, there was no hiding thoughts of lust
and arousal.  The pupils dilated, and a heat rose within, causing a red glow in
the eyes.  The same thing sometimes happened when hunting human prey, at least
it had back in the time when hunting humans was still allowed.

 Gates watched Aurora with a hunger, a red glow deep in his
pupils.  The effect was like telling Alex out load that he intended to take his
wife in every sense.  Alex felt an ache in his upper jaw as his fangs wanted to
descend in response to Gate’s insult. 

Gates snapped his stare back from Aurora when he felt the
anger that shot off of Alex.  He had the sense to lower his gaze.  He suddenly
became exceedingly interested in an invisible spot on his jacket.  He rubbed at
it with his thumb and made fussing noises as if upset that a spot would dare to
appear on his jacket. When he raised his head, his eyes were normal, and he
played it as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. 

Alex was disgusted by the display, but he did not lose his
temper easily.  He felt his fangs receding before they ever fully erupted.  He
politely excused himself and walked away from Gates, following his wife to the
terrace.  It briefly occurred to him what this scene would have been like a
thousand years ago.  In spite of himself, he grinned when he thought of the
blood and gore that would have ensued from such an insult.  This was not then,
and Vampires were different now.  Yes, he thought, Vampires were nothing if not
polite.

 

Three

When they entered their home, a sizable estate by any
standard, Aurora let her wrap slide from her shoulders to be caught in the
waiting arms of a human housekeeper.  She did not even look to see if the woman
was there before she let it fall.  If the woman had not been there, the wrap
would have fallen to the floor in a heap, awaiting someone to retrieve it. 
Aurora was not unkind to her household staff, but she rarely noticed them and
did not choose to remember most of their names. 

She went straight to the cozy den that was her favorite
room in the sixteen thousand square foot house where only she and Alex lived. 
There were half a dozen household staff that resided on the premises as well,
but she never thought of them as actually living in the home.  It seemed more
to her that they were there to be available at all times should they be
needed. 

She took a bottle of blood from a small refrigerator that
was built into the cabinetry and disguised by the matching door panel. 

She placed the bottle in a warmer and sat down on the
comfortably worn, over stuffed, leather chair, kicking off her shoes.  Alex
moved to the matching sofa and pulled at his bow tie until it was hanging loose
around his neck and his collar was unbuttoned. 

Two staff members, a man and a woman came in and moved
about the room silently performing their duties without being asked a thing by
Aurora or Alex.  The man carried in a small armload of wood, pine logs from the
wonderful smell, and set about building a fire in the stone hearth. 

The woman took crystal glasses and a matching decanter from
a cabinet near the refrigerator.  She removed the warmed bottle of blood and
poured the glasses as casually as if it were scotch she was pouring.  If it
bothered her that she was serving human blood, it didn’t show in her actions.
She decanted the rest and brought both the glasses and the decanter on a small
tray to the table nearest the Lakes.  She left the room with the empty bottle
never having said a word. 

The fire began to pop and crackle, and when he seemed
satisfied that it was not going to go out, the man left the room just as silently.  
Alex and Aurora sipped the blood, and it brought a soft, warm glow with it. 
Even their skin tone seemed to warm a little, a touch of pink coming to
Aurora’s smooth white cheeks. 

They did not speak but just looked at each other.  So much
in their lives was unspoken between them after so many centuries together.  Sometimes
it seemed that words were unnecessary. Alex moved to the foot stool in front of
Aurora and lifted her feet into his lap.  He began rubbing them one at a time,
working his thumbs into the muscles.  After a while, he lowered the foot that
he had been massaging, placing it between his legs and on the spot where his
dress pants were beginning to feel a little tight. 

Aurora smiled and wiggled her toes around the outline that
was now showing against the fabric of his pants.  He let out a soft groan, but
dutifully began working on her other foot. 

She basked in his attention, and he rubbed her feet merely
because he loved to touch every part of her.  They both knew that her feet were
not sore or tired.  Had her heels caused her any pain, it would have been gone
seconds after she removed them.  Vampires healed almost instantly.  Vampires,
known for their extreme passion both in love and sex, were truly creatures of touch
and sensations.  Alex and Aurora were no exception.  They loved each other deeply,
and that had not changed in all of the time they had been together. 

Alex watched Aurora’s face as she leaned back in the chair
with her eyes closed.  If someone tried to guess her age, they would not think
she was more than thirty.  She had beautiful, smooth skin.  Her mouth was perfectly
shaped, lips just slightly on the generous side. 

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