Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Suddenly she's in my arms and if my unliving heart could beat, it would be thundering in my chest.
"Raina... oh gods, Raina, I love you so much, I never, never thought I could feel this way...." I crush her tight to my body. It's a good thing she's more durable than the average woman....
Those who say that vampires have no souls are wrong. If I have no soul, what is it that dances with joy at the feel of her next to my heart? What is this fire that warms my cold flesh?
I abruptly take her by the arms, hold her at arms' length. "We need to talk." She nods, her eyes wide, and then I draw her close, tight, reveling in her nearness.
I lift her, take her to the bed and lie down with her next to me. We hold each other close, no words, for something like half an hour. Then she takes a deep breath, or maybe a sigh, and says "okay."
"Yeah." She gives me that smile and say, "Let's talk now."
I hitch in a breath, mostly from force of habit, and I tell her about that night with Gareth.
When I'm done, she says, "I'm sorry."
"Because I assumed that things were the way they looked, and I never gave you a chance to explain."
"I can't blame you, it did look bad."
"Don't you understand, Nick? I could have lost you - we could have lost each other - because I didn't give you a chance to explain yourself. And it wasn't the way it looked."
"No, you're right there. But - " I stop, uncertain.
I let out the breath I'm holding slowly. "But it might have been true if the circumstances had been different."
Her face goes very still. "What are you saying, Nick?"
I stand up. "He was really drunk that night, and he was hurting. I can't imagine how it must have felt to have been told his lover was dead, and that he'd been killed because of him."
I start to pace, slowly, moving from the head of the bed to the foot and back again. "If he'd been sober, and not an emotional train wreck - well, it might have been tempting."
I stop pacing to look directly at her. "But, Raina - I'll never do something like that without telling you. Never, under any circumstances that I can imagine."
"That's all I ask, Nick - just simple honesty." She faces me straight on. "Look... neither of us is much on monogamy. It just doesn't fit us somehow."
I nod, my eyes steady on hers.
"But we have to be honest with each other. If you want time with someone else, without me, just say so. It might hurt a bit, I guess... it's hard to know how you'll feel about something - anything - before it actually happens.
But it'll hurt less if you're honest with me than if you sneak around behind my back and I find out. I'll be honest - I could forgive you being with someone else." She gives me a crooked grin. "Hell, it might even be fun to talk about it later. But to sneak around with someone else, to lie about it - I don't think I can forgive that."
"You'll never have to."
My knees suddenly feel weak, so I sit back down on the bed. "Whoo. That went better than I expected. Guess Blue Babe was right."
"The blue girl that helped Erik get you to bed that night. I don't know her name."
"Cassie. Her name's Cassie." She looks at me impishly. "Noticed she was a babe, did you?"
"The way she dresses, it's hard to miss." I grin right back. "She said we should set some ground rules if we were going to have an open relationship. Honesty sounds like a good start, for both of us. What else?"
She scrunches up her face. "Okay, if we invite other people to bed - like that night with Guunnar - we both have to agree about inviting them. You can do it with Gareth by yourself if you like, but if you want him to play with both of us, you have to get my okay, and vice versa."
"I can deal with that."
"Let's see… if we plan to play with someone else, without the other being invited, it needs to be set up in advance. No springing it at the last minute. That way, if you decide you want to spend the night with Gareth, for instance, and just Gareth, I can make arrangements so I'm not alone - if I want to."
I nod. "Makes sense."
"And if we ever move into a place of our own, our bedroom - the one we share - is just for us, no one else." She smiles wickedly. "Maybe - if it happens - we could turn one of the bigger rooms into a playroom - but that's getting way ahead of things."
Is it? I wonder….