I thank Michaela but waste no time returning to Avery. I enter my quarters and smile when I find her sitting up in bed with several pillows propped behind her. Her skin is pale, which I’m certain will be the case for a few weeks but her hair is glossy. It’s an indication her health hasn’t been damaged to the severity it was when we found her months ago. The golden brown eyes staring at me are sparkling and her face is beaming with a smile that spreads from one side to the other.
She’s wearing a clean nightgown and the evidence of her recent shower still lingers in the air–the fragrance of her favorite fruity, floral body wash and shampoo. I’m guessing a shower–rather than a complication with her health–was the delay. “Someone looks chipper. And beautiful.”
I cross the room and kiss the top of her hair. I admit the sweet plum and orchid scent is more preferable to the former one. “You smell really good.”
“I’m sure his scent was all over me. Being close had to be nearly intolerable for you.”
“Never.” She scoots over so I’m able to sit on the bed next to her. I cup her hand in mine and bring it to my lips for a kiss. “How do you feel?” She’s no longer blocking me so I feel her happiness and her joy is apparent allover her face. She can’t stop smiling. “Dr. Knight tells me you’re strong and healthy. She expects you to make a full recovery.”
“She says I’m very lucky my heart was strong enough to pump oxygen to my organs after the massive blood loss.” She points to the beside table. “Good thing I can swallow big pills. The vitamins she left for me are enormous.”
Her heart is pounding faster and gaining speed with every beat. “What is it, baby doll?” Her eyes become glassy and I try to sort through her emotions. Happiness. Joy. Fear. They’re all running together and I can’t decipher which is the strongest. “You’re scaring me, Avery. Tell me what’s wrong.”
“Nothing in the world is wrong.” She reaches for my hand and places my palm against her lower belly. “There’s a part of you growing inside me.” She places her hand on top of mine and presses firmly. “Our child is right here beneath your hand.”
I had already convinced myself she was pregnant because I wanted it so badly. I’d believed it in my mind for a couple of weeks now–and even gotten used to the idea–but hearing her confirmation is surreal. The words are almost dream-like. “Dr. Knight confirmed it?”
She’s smiling as she nods. “She wants to see us in her office tomorrow so she can start monitoring the growth. I’m much earlier than Chansey was when she first saw her so she told me to not worry if we can’t see anything with the ultrasound yet.”
There’s no mystery as to when she became pregnant. “It’s pretty easy to figure out how far along you are. Two weeks and two days as of midnight.”
“That’s not how Dr. Knight told me they calculate due dates. It’s counted by the day I started my last period so technically I’m considered four weeks pregnant.”
Already a month? I know it was Marsala’s fault that Chansey delivered the twins early but she wasn’t even three full months pregnant when they were born. They were on the small side but fully developed so they had to be almost full term. “I don’t understand all that so I’m rolling with whatever you and the doc say.”
“We discover we’re soul mates and then get separated for sixteen days. When we reunite, we find out we’re expecting a baby–or maybe even more than one. That’s not the norm on any level. Are you okay with all of this?”
She really has no idea. “I’m so much more than okay with this.”
Avery leans forward and grabs my face, planting a sweet kiss against my lips. Our mouths mold to one another as I move over her, careful to not press too much of my weight against her. I feel her hands pushing at the comforter so I lift my body and together we eliminate the barrier between us.
Our kiss is gentle–yet urgent–as our bodies press harder to one another. Her hands begin at my shoulders and roam until they make their way down my lower back to find the hem of my shirt. “I want this off of you,” she whispers in my ear before pulling it up and over my head.
Her soft voice is a reminder. It’s night and the vampires in this house can hear our every word. And movement. And each sound we make. It’s such an invasion of privacy but I won’t stop. I couldn’t if I tried.
I’m certain Curry has joined Chansey in their quarters behind closed doors so they are shut off from all sound within the house. Oh, how I envy them that luxury.
The rest of my family is respectful so they’ve probably already stepped outside or into my office but I’m still asking for privacy just in case anyone within hearing range remains. “Go find something to do and give me one hour of seclusion with my agápe. That’s all I ask.” I don’t hear movement in the house so it is as I suspected. We’re already alone.
She’s wearing a mischievous grin. “Only an hour? What I have on my mind might take the rest of the night.”
“I’ve been distracted for a couple of weeks so I haven’t contacted the contractor about the new construction.” I trail kisses across her jaw and down the side of her neck. “I promise to get on that first thing in the morning.”
Her hands are sliding up and down my back. Her gown gathers at her hips as she brings her legs up and around my waist. “Good idea. The sooner the better.”
We were only able to experience this kind of connection once before we were separated but I know this time will be different. I won’t drink from Avery, yet I’ll experience the best of both the human and vampire worlds.
I slide my hands from the back of her knees up her thighs. My palms are inside her panties and I squeeze her bottom as I pull her hard against me. She reaches between us and yanks the button of my jeans open before sliding the zipper down. She pushes them with her hands until they’re low enough for her toes to hook around the waist and take them off. “Whoa, baby doll. That takes talent.”
“That wasn’t a one hit wonder. I can do the same with these.” She hooks her toes around the waistband of my boxers and repeats the process.
I’m bare and I love the way her satin clad body feels against my skin but I want her naked so I gather the bottom of her gown and push it up. She rises from the bed so I’m able to lift it over her head. I toss it over my shoulder and push my fingers in the waistband of her panties and pull them down her legs so I can toss them next to their matching companion on the floor.
She’s lying naked and I have to stop to take in the beauty of my child’s mother. I place my palm on her flat stomach and I’m overwhelmed by the thought of our baby inside her. “I will love this child of ours with all of my heart and I will protect him or her with my life.” I lower my mouth to her abdomen and place a kiss below her belly button.
Her fingers glide through the top of my hair. “I couldn’t be happier. My life feels complete for the first time.”
I kiss my way up from her abdomen until my mouth finds hers again. She relaxes her legs and my body nestles between them. “You’re sure this is safe for the baby?”
“Doctor approved. I asked.”
My elbows are resting on each side of her head and I cradle her face with my hands. “I love you, my agápe.”
I’m pressed against her warm, welcoming body when she shifts slightly for the perfect position. “And I love you as well, my vampire.”
Her hips lift to meet me as I gently push myself inside her. She smiles as I begin to move and meets every one of my thrusts with one of her own. We find our perfect rhythm together and enter that magical place where only the two of us exist.
And this time is different–even more beautiful than I imagined. There are feelings and connections happening that we’ve yet to experience. And the deep affection between us is so strong that it deserves a new name because the word love simply can’t do it justice. But all words are unnecessary when we’re like this.
Avery’s body tenses as she pants through her mouth. I feel her body contract around me–squeezing like a tight glove–and I can’t stop the incomprehensible garble leaving my mouth as I empty myself inside her.
She goes totally limp beneath me. “I second that.”
She giggles as I relax against her and every inch of my body from head to toe is euphoric. “I have no idea what I just said.”
“I don’t either but it made total sense when I heard it come from your mouth.”
“I know, right?”
It’s almost dawn when I hear the family return to the compound. They showed extreme kindness by leaving for the entire night so Avery and I could have privacy. I’m not sure where they went but I’ll need to find a way to thank them.
It’s eight o’clock and Avery is still sleeping. She’s quite the sleepyhead this morning but I suppose that’s to be expected after everything she’s experienced these past two weeks. And since she’s pregnant.
I trail my fingers down her arm and stop when I see a large purple and yellow bruise on the inside of her wrist. I lift her arm–careful to not disturb her sleep–and see bite marks up and down the length of her arm. I shift to inspect the other one and find the same types of crescent shaped contusions.
No vampire will ever drink from my agápe again. Including myself.
I lie next to Avery as she sleeps and I remain perfectly still as only a vampire is capable. I’m not educated on the growth and development of a baby. I think it’s too early for a human embryo’s heart to beat but I listen closely for any evidence of our baby’s existence. I hear nothing so I carefully move closer and place my ear against Avery’s lower abdomen.
The sound is so faint it’s almost nonexistent but I hear it. Lub-dub. Lub-dub. Lub-dub. I’ve never heard anything more astonishing in my entire existence.