The house is quiet, the dusk settling over the whole island like a warm, velvet blanket. I can hear Sophie in the nursery, softly babbling to herself as she plays in her crib, the other children out at an event at Addie’s school. I have just poured myself an espresso and, inhaling deeply, I waft the fragrance under my nose as I settle onto a stool at the kitchen table. The lights are out, save the fan above my head and the night-light in the hall, so the candle-lanterns in the garden cast a soft glow into the kitchen from outside.
How far my life is today from just a few short years ago.
I close my eyes, and I watch the images that float through my mind as I recall my learning-growing-sowing…My wild years, as I’ve come to refer to them. Wild is such a tame term, comparatively.
One image, particularly vivid, catches my attention and I grab it back, my eyelids fluttering as the image starts to shift, and the movie begins…
A new kind of misery:
“If I weren’t already engaged and madly in love….”
I whip my head around and look at the man who’s yelled the words at my back: there is Ruv, grinning at me wickedly. I lower my head with an embarrassed chuckle and go back to what I’m doing.
I am on a small stage, dancing (badly, I might add) in the club Eclipse. It’s a sultry night in September and my ulfric Kraven’s band is playing for a club full of rowdy weres and the more subtle, but ever sensual, vampires.
I am still new to Kraven’s pack, but I have found a home. It had become too difficult to keep myself out of trouble. I have a weakness for vampires and the pack offers me a protection I’ve not had since my Turning many years ago. I am still finding my place among the members of the pack, which is largely pups at this point, but slowly I find I can’t imagine life without this family.
As I look around at the group of girls on the stage, I shake my head with a chuckle of amusement. I can’t believe I am up here bumping and grinding with these younger, nubile things. Aerlinniel, Kraven’s mate, seemed so excited with the prospect of having all of Kraven’s “bitches” up on stage supporting him that I just couldn’t refuse her.
I turn so my body, clad in my customary black leather and boots, faces the crowd at a less direct angle. Having acute peripheral vision pays off as I am able to watch Ruv at the drum kit behind me. His rhythm is impeccable and I can see the music burning a fire in his eyes, and I find myself pondering briefly what else might cause those eyes to flame hotly.
I can feel myself flush from my navel to my hairline the second Ruv catches me watching him, and I turn my back to him again. The vision of him chuckling at me before I’ve turned away makes the blush grow.
“What the hell is wrong with you? Dork!”, I mutter to myself. And onstage in front of a crowd of people, nonetheless.
The set winds down, and as fast as my boots will carry me, I hop down off the stage, grab my gigbag and take off at a near lope toward the door. I briefly wave my goodbyes, nuzzling my packmates as they laugh and dance with one another, and I kiss the cheeks of my lovely vamp family as I weave toward the exit.
As I push the door, I am met by Anwen, Ruv’s lovely Bride-to-be, and suddenly I am shamefaced again. I mutter a greeting, and brush past her out the door. The warm night-breeze cools my cheeks and I feel foolish. Gathering a deep breath and releasing it in a heaving sigh, I head for home.