Friday, December 30, 2011

We talked till damn near 3 am. Most of it had nothing to do with ghosts or mediumship... What I do is akin to having perfect pitch or a photographic memory; you either have it or you don't, it can't be taught. She asked me a lot about my personal life, pre- and post-curse; about Kathy, and the women since (fewer than you might expect).

In return, I learned some things about her, how she became a masseuse... but not a happy ending masseuse. She had to explain that to me, I'd never heard the expression before. She told me how she ended up working in a high-end whorehouse and some of the people she worked with - but nothing about her clients.

All of this took time, and by the time we were done, the sun was on the horizon.

Which brings us to where we are now.

"Wow... we talked all night...."

"Yeah. We should really get some sleep. I have a spare room you can use, it doesn't see much use, so it's clean... No jammies, though."

"That's okay, I don't need them." She giggles a little when my eyes cross.

After I extract my foot from my mouth - its second home - I show Eira to the spare bedroom. She's already seen the bathroom, so that's not an issue... We say good night and I stagger back to my room, undress, and fall asleep... I think I got into bed first....

It's nearly one in the afternoon when I wake. Something seems weird... then the night's events gradually come back to me and I realize why it's so late.

That doesn't explain, however, why there's an extremely naked Eira in bed with me. She's covered up to the middle of her back, but she's snuggled tight against me, and I don't feel anything but skin. I debate lifting the covers to verify the hypothesis, but my inner nice guy says no. Hmmmm... how do we do this...?

I'm saved having to make a decision when Eira yawns and stretches. One extended hand touches my face, narrowly missing an eye, and she slowly opens her eyes.

"Jack? What am I doing here?"

"I was just going to ask you."

Remembrance begins to swim back into her eyes. "I got up to go to the bathroom... I must've got turned around, came back here instead."

"So what do we do now?"

"Do?" She looks puzzled.

"Well, this wasn't on the menu last night... I can turn my back so you can get back to your room."

"Don't be a poop. It happened, big deal. It's not like we had sex, we just slept together - emphasis on slept."

"We're not sleeping now...."

"That's true... well, I for one like the way this feels, so if you're not afraid I have cooties, I'd like to snuggle a bit more till I wake up. Okay by you?"

"Sure, only..." I hesitate, not sure how to say this - "where do I put my hands?"

She gives me a sleepy grin. "Anywhere you like, big boy...."

Waking up naked with someone seems to expedite the traditional getting-to-know-you process, even when it was unintentional. It definitely wasn't on my to-do list last night, and I don't think it was on Eira's, either. That said, since it did happen, we enjoy it. No sex, just some kissing that turns into necking and the odd straying hand now and then....

I don't turn my back when Eira gets out of bed, and she doesn't run right out, either. I admire the view for a minute (she's doing the same, though I think "admire" might be a bit of an exaggeration in her case), then heads back to her room for a shower. I do the same, then dress and head for the kitchen to start the coffeemaker....

Eira took a deep breath and then knocked loudly on the door of the caretakers house on the edge of Pax Aeternum Cemetery. She had two large insulated bags with her and the aroma was making her stomach growl. Her thoughts slipped back to the other day when she had basically invited herself over to Jacks for Christmas. She really wanted to get to know him better and it didnt have anything to do with the medium thing. At the thought she kept her head lowered, not wanting to see if any spirits were watching her from the shadows of the large tombstones.

Finally Jack opened the door. He smiled and asked her in.

At least he answered the door and asked me in.... and actually smiled... So far so good....

“Whats in the bags? It smells great..” Jack leads the way to the small kitchen. It smelled like lemons, and Eira grinned, knowing he had just cleaned it.

“Well... I didnt know what to make that was traditional for the holidays for just two people. So I made lasagna....”

“Lasagna? Really?” Jack asks, a hint of disbelief in his voice.

“Yeah.... I hope you like Italian. I guess I should have asked.”

“Its fine, great... I love Italian....” Jack helps Eira get the food warmed and the table set. He brings out a bottle of wine and two glasses.

The evening was spent talking, getting to know one another. They polished off their meal and started on a second bottle of wine before Eira asked about the medium thing. Jack was quiet for a few moments and he tried his best to explain everything he knew to her.

“I think it would be best if we called in some extra help with this. Rowan can help you with some centering and Alise can see spirits at times....”

“The healer woman? And the the French lady from the tavern? Why does Alise see things?” Eira asks innocently.

Jack smiles, “I think I have a couple more bottles here somewhere.....this is gonna be a long night...”

I sigh when I see Nick come back down the stairs. Well, no time like the present....

"Hey, Nick, got a minute?"

The vampire's eyes slit, just for a second, but he nods and lets me lead him to a side room.

"What's up, bro?"

"I have something I need to make right." I meet his eyes head-on, just a hint of red in them now. "The time that Raina caught you with Gareth and got upset... you tried to talk to me about it, and I cut you off at the knees. That was wrong of me." The red is fading slowly. "Part of it was because you're a vampire and I didn't trust you; part was because you're bi, and I just can't wrap my mind around the concept of a man having sex with another man." His face is still, betraying none of his feelings. "None of that matters, and it shouldn't have mattered then. You're a good man, Nick. I know now that you'd die to keep Raina from coming to harm, and I know you'd go a long way to keep her from being unhappy. I just wanted to apologize." I hold out a hand. "Friends?"

For a minute, nothing happens; Nick's face is empty as the eyes of a skull; then a slow smile works its way over his face, transforming it. He takes my hand in a surprisingly gentle grip. "Friends."

He steers me back toward the bar. "Seems we have some celebrating to do, not just Christmas. Have a drink on me. Was hael!*"

I order a dark beer, Nick orders beef blood - gag - and we join the party.

Was hael!

"Wassail", Norse for "Good health"

Tannr pulls Tori outside during a quiet moment. Laila had taken the children upstairs to get ready for bed with the promise of Tannr telling them a story if they were good..

He pulls Tori into his arms, holding her close as the snow drifts down lazily from big puffy clouds. He lets his love flow over and around Tori and feels her deep contentment.

“I am sorry about asking you here. I meant to wait until later when we were alone... but I had the ring in my pocket... and well... I just couldnt wait any longer..”

Tori looks up at Tannr and grins. “It was fine, perfect, in fact. I will remember those words the rest of my life... I love you Tannr..”

“And I you... more than I know how to tell you...”

Raina opens the door a crack and pokes her head out. “The kids are ready for their story if you are...”

Grinning Tannr takes Toris hand and leads her into the house.

“You go on up. I want to talk to Chiara about these exquisite scarfs she weaves...” Tori sees the woman sitting next to Star holding Ru.

With a quick kiss on her forehead Tannr heads up the stairs.

Later that night after all good byes were said and the children sound asleep, Alise, Laila and Chiara were cleaning up. Stoney and Ramji were putting away the extra chairs smiling at the camaraderie in the kitchen.

Mon ami, I think they could rule the world... and without us...”

Ramji grins and pulls a flask out of his vest. “Then we need to have a drink I think..” and he pours two shots of Souma.

It was after midnight when Ramji and Laila went up and Chiara shortly after that. Alise was enjoying her company immensely and was glad they had invited her and Ryan through New Years. She had seen Star and her speaking intently and Alise wondered if it was about teaching. She made a mental note to try and bring it up tomorrow. Right now she was exhausted and longed to lay down.

Suddenly Stoney came up behind and lifting her hair he quickly fastened a necklace around her neck. Alises hand went up automatically and she gasped at the size of the stones. Looking in the mirror she sees a strand of amethysts, the purple stones nearly matching her eyes.

“Chiot, it is too much...”

“ deserve much more. But I do want to see you naked. Wearing just this strand...and if you are too tired tonight I understand, but then tomorrow...” Stoney lowers his head to his wifes bare neck and kisses lightly causing a slight shiver.

Alise turns and throws her arms around Stoneys neck. “Now... not tomorrow... now...” she whispers.

With a grin Stoney lifts her and carries her into their bedroom...

I make my way through the crowd - funny, how people just naturally step aside for a vampire - smilng and nodding, my eyes with the empty look of a Hollywood star, revealing nothing. I smile at Alise - just a friendly smile, nothing more. "Where's the wrecking crew?"

"Excusez-moi, Nicholas, the what?"

I grin, a genuine grin this time. "Tomas and Ryan. I have something for them." I reach into my duster pocket and pull out two boxes wrapped in Christmas paper.

"Nicholas, you shouldn't have."

"Nonsense, it's Christmas. If not now, when?" Alise looks flustered, that going-six-ways-at-once look mothers get. "Laila went upstairs to bring them down after that appalling noise. She should " - she points to the stairs - "There they are!"

I sketch a bow. "Much thanks." I walk over to where Laila is bringing a clearly unhappy Tomas downstairs. His eyes light up when he sees me. So not a normal reaction to the vamp in your midst.... "Laila, can I have a minute with your prisoners there?"

She smiles prettily. "Nikolas... every time I see you, I think of you punching out Rath because of me. Of course you can speak with these rascals."

I go to one knee in front of the kids. "I have something for you." I hold out the gifts, but don't quite relinquish them when Tomas makes a grab for his. Ryan, more reserved, just watches Tomas for a hint of what to do. "Now, I'm giving you this on the understanding that you're not going to make things difficult for Laila or your mother, okay?" Tomas nods vigorously; beside him, Ryan imitates the gesture. I let the boxes slip from my grip and pull both boys into a hug, one that Tomas returns enthusiastically. "Merry Christmas, guys." Laila smiles as I stand. "Thank you, Nikolas... the boys can be a handful at times."

I make a face. "I bet. Have a merry Christmas, Laila."

I hear subdued shrieking behind me as the boys shred the wrapping paper. A Batman action figure for Tomas, a Robin figure for Ryan.

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em....

After a holiday meal at the Cottage, and watching the children open gifts, Tannr sits back and watches them. He never realized how much he missed his family, a huge brood of women and children that would shock people today. Tannr had spent so much time alone at the Unformed Plane he had forgotten the joyous chaos surrounding the holidays. Tara climbs right up in his lap and throws her arms around him.

Merci de mon ensemble de thé...

Tannr and Tori had gifted the girls with tea sets for their dolls, each one with a different color of flower for decoration. Alise had scolded him for spoiling them but he only smiled, happy to be able to. Seeing Tara getting all the hugs, Mera, Chloe and Gracie swarm Tannr all wanting to say their thanks.

Alise enters from the dining room, “Where is Tomas?” her question answered by a loud crash, peals of giggles and Tara pointing up the stairs.

Mon Dieu! What am I going to do with him?” Laila was on her way up the stairs already so Alise gathers the girls. “Its almost time for dessert. Can you help me set the table?” The girls eagerly follow Alise, leaving Tannr alone in front of the fireplace, the rest of the family having gathered in the kitchen.

Tori tries to sneak up behind him and wraps her arms around his neck. “Why sitting out here Coppertop? Everyone is getting ready for dessert...”

Standing, Tannr steps around the sofa and takes Tori in his arms. He gazes into the fire and shields his thoughts, as he had been all evening. It was getting hard though and tiring, he didnt have as much practice at it as the gars and their families.

Tori looks worried when she asks, “Is something the matter?”

Tannr smiles, “No. Nothing is wrong.” He takes a deep breath and running the back of his hand over a soft cheek he tells Tori, “I am content... beyond content with whats in my heart, in your heart. I could ask nothing more from life than this love we share. But I want to make all your dreams come true. If you want a wedding, a ceremony, however big or small or nothing at all, its up to you. You are my best friend, my lover, my partner, my equal in all things... and I am doing this all ass backwards arent I?” Tannr tips Toris face up and looks deeply into her green eyes. “Red.. my beautiful Roselin Skye, would you do me the extraordinary honor of becoming my wife?”

Tori looks down as Tannr slips a ring on her finger. At first glance all she sees is the large diamond and four rubies, two on each side. Then she sees the rubies belong to two silver snakes, entwined around her finger and open mouths supporting the diamond.

Her eyes fill with tears. Stunned and unable to speak all she can do is nod and throw her arms around the man she loves.

Star grins as she takes in the scene and turns to Alise. “Do you have any champagne?”

“Why I think so, down in the wine cellar. Why? Is there something we are celebrating?”

Star tips her head towards the couple near the fireplace, “Look at her ring, and its on her left hand...”

“Ohhh....” Stoney, mon amour...can you go to the wine cellar and bring up a couple bottles of champagne?

Stoney sends to his sibs, opening his mind to the whole clan, except the couple in the other room. When he comes back upstairs Stoney hands two bottles to Monty and the Marmurr sets them on the counter. Ike is crying silently, tears slipping down her cheeks as Monty takes her in his arms.

"Shhhhh, *Mi dulce, this saddens you?"

She wipes her eyes staring around at all the confused faces. "No.. no..." Monty brushes her wet cheeks gently. "It's just... it's about time. She's had such bad luck with..." She waves a hand, making people laugh.

Ob's arm snakes around his wife's waist, tugging her and their son close. Teri reaches for his father and Ob tickles the boy, making him laugh. "Su Tia, she is not as loco as she seems." He leans closer to the infant. "I would blame it on her being blonde, but Tia Alise... she would try to take my scales off." He winks at the boy, bringing another peal of giggles.

Ob ducks as a plastic funnel bounces off his head. He glances in Stoney's direction. "Some help here, hermano?"

Stoney chuckles, setting the last two bottles on the counter. "Your on your own, mon frère. I am not getting in the middle of this."

He kisses Alise' cheek. "Just be glad Star didn't throw something. I've seen her with the throwing stars."

Star bats her eyes sweetly, bouncing Ru on her hip. Laughter erupts as the couple enters. Stoney pops a cork on a bottle and starts filling glasses as the family congratulates Tannr and Tori. Moments later, glasses in everyone's hands, Stoney proposes a toast to the couple.

"Tannr, I can't promise you a life of flowers with our sister."

Ob snorts. "Unless you are ready for sharp thorns with the sweet blossoms."

Pandora elbows his ribs to shut him up. Stoney continues as if Ob had never spoken. "I can promise you will never be bored."

Ob rolls his eyes. "Better find your hazard gear..." Pan elbows him again.

"As her brother I need to warn you,"

Ob cuts him off. "She's been known to bite off a head or two, so don't piss her off."

Tori closes her eyes as if struck be a headache and rubs her forehead. She glances up at Tannr and mutters, "I knew that was coming. I told you about the priest...."

Stoney clears his throat. "As her brother, I need to warn you that being married to a Gargoyle is not an easy thing."

Ob opens his mouth and Ike shoves a sugared bun in it, effectively gagging him. He grins and chews the sweet dough. Pandora shakes her head at her husband, trying not to laugh aloud.

"All in all, before Ob can say anything else helpful," Ob bows his head in Stoney's  direction. "Welcome to the family Tannr, and good luck. ^Dieu sait you'll need it with her temper."

Tannr laughs and Tori throws a bun at Stoney who catches it easily. "See, she has great aim."

*My sweet

After everyone says hello and the children have settled down, Rowan and Pandora start the ceremony. Rowan had asked for the children to line up in the front and she grinned from time to time during the ceremony, the childrens impatience obvious.

Towards the end of the ceremony Rowan asks Chiara to pass out candles to all gathered in the Clearing, even the little ones. She then turns to a small brazier containing a small piece of her Yule log. Using this to light her candle she says...

“We have passed through the time of
darkness. The Goddess has carried us gently. I
now welcome the newborn Sun child.
May his birth bring good cheer to all the world!
May this yule log and candles bring him
strength and comfort.
Blessed Be!”

Rowan turns and lights Pandoras candle who in turn lights Traegers and as the light travels through the group Rowan says.

“Blessed be the Great Mother who is at
once Maid, Mother, and Crone. Blessed is she,
Creator of all things Great and small.
Now begins the cycle again.”

Rowan moves to where the children are standing in a row, eyes wide at the sight of all the candles being lit.

“From a single small flame the darkness can be lifted. See how the light grows around us as we share it? So it is with love and caring. One small spark can grow and grow...”

Tannr and Tori exchange a tender look and kiss. Tannr smiles at the children, all their mouths in small 'O's of wonder. As the lit candles come to the row of children Star lights Ru's with hers, who lights Tomas'. Chiara carefully takes Ru's candle and places it in a holder on the table. She kneels near each child as their candle is lit and wishes them Yule blessings and happiness letting them hold the brightly lit candle for a few moments before moving it to a holder. She repeats this with each child until there is a row of lit candles on the table.

As Pandora closes the circle Rowan says to the group of family and friends gathered, “No matter what Higher Power you believe in, take time to see the small miracles in your lives and remember the Divine is in all the those things, great and small, that take your breath away.. Blessed Be....”

And now, amid the biting cold of this longest of nights, comes the sound of bells, the thunder of hoofbeats. The horse seems to scatter the snow before it, as if provided with a wind all its own. The figure that sat it was massive, draped in a deep green mantle or robe bordered with white fur. The face was in shadow, but we knew him by the antlers that sprang from the crown of his head. A wreath of crisp green holly spangled with bright red berries girdled his brow.

"Hail, folk of Exton!" The voice is deep and it echoes throughout the forest, reverberating from every leaf and tree, animal and man and others. "I am the Lord of the Greenwood and the Master of the Hunt. Men have called me the Green Knight, Lord of the Dance, the Holly King and many other names beside. Come, gather round the Yule fire and receive my blessings." We move to obey - some eagerly, some warily - and listen as the Holly King speaks. "In a time so long ago that man lived in rude stone dwellings and the Children of Danu had not been driven Underhill - in such a time, I say, there came a time when the cold winds came and the blossoms withered and the fruits of the earth perished; the nights also were dark and long, and each day was shorter than the day before; and the sons of men feared greatly that the Sun had been dealt a mortal wound and soon would perish utterly. In their desperation the sons of men built great fires to strengthen the Sun, and they decked their dwellings with such plants that still bore up under the Winter's blast, as ivy, holly and mistletoe; for they wished to remind themselves - and perhaps the Sun as well - that life was not utterly extinct, that these things yet endured. And it happened that there came a night longer and darker than all that had come before, and then did the sons of man come together to light their fires and tend them all through the night, and they spoke to the gods, each in his own fashion, and besought them not to let the Sun perish. And it came to pass that the Sun rose again the next morn, and from that day on each day was a little longer, each night a little shorter; and for full twelve days did man make merry, eating and drinking and giving thanks to the gods, and gifts to their fellow men."

Now a light seems to grow among the shadows that shroud the face beneath the antlers, so that his face is visible for the first time. He seems to blur, and for a moment he is gray and grim, with but one eye, the other hidden by a patch, his horse now a tremendous thing with eight legs. I recoil, but recover and quickly count, and this time there can be no mistake. Then he blurs again, and settles again into his previous form. His eye is stern but merry, as though he can barely refrain from laughing; he wears a smile that proves to be contagious, especially among the little ones; and his hair and beard are luxuriant, flowing and pure white.

"Come, children of Exton!" His voice booms across the space between. "Come to me, receive a gift and the blessing of the Holly King."

One by one they come, to sit in his lap and hear his whispered words; and as they return to their parents, they each receive a gaily wrapped gift and a candy cane. Only twice do his words become audible to those around him - once, when Ruarc comes to gaze steadily into his eyes: "So young for so heavy a burden...." - and again, when Kaltero joins him. "The Daemon blood is strong in you, young man. I give you the gift of forbearance." He smiles as Teri looks a question. "Ah, that is a word you do not know. It means to know when your strength should be used - and when it should not - and to use it only when it is truly needed."

Pandora was excited to be amid the other women and away from the tavern... yes; it was home, but seldom did she leave it with all the tasks required to run it. She had several of her mother's old recipes and was busily stirring cookie dough as she talked with Alise and Star.

Teri was busy playing on the floor with Ruarc; the older boy showing Teri the mysteries of stacking blocks... Pandora raised her eyebrows in surprise when Teri mimicked just what Ruarc did and was soon building a mountain of his own. The speed at which he grew and learned was astounding; Obsidian had told her the deamon genes were strong and adaptable... that until he reached an age where he was basically able to be self sufficient in feeding himself and moving about, his growth would be accelerated. He was taking steps on his own now, which kept the crew busy at the tavern... he was not content staying in the nursery, he wanted to be in the thick of things. Pandora mused that it was probably because he learned from watching them all.

The crew had taken many of the Yule decorations to the tavern; and while she helped the women today the fae at the tavern helped Monty,Jeb and Roxi decorate the main rooms with lush greens and boughs of holly. Presents were carefully hidden in one of the basement rooms beyond the childrens reach; and she was as excited as the little ones for all the festivities to start.

Pandora had been thinking about something and decided to broach it with the others. "Star, you said that Chiara had no family other than herself and Ryan... do you think she would consider leaving the Fae world and live among us? I hear that she weaves beautifully...and Tori would love more handcrafted goods to display in the gallery. My father has lots of room in his building and she could eventually have her own shop if she desired it; although I see her as being a little shy of people and content to be near her son.

Alise, you sew; what do you think?..could we convince her to join our extended family? I know Keon would make sure she could travel back to see the fae world when she chose to."

Alise was scrambling to get herself ready and the children for Rowans Yule service in the Clearing. Her thoughts turn to the past few days as she pulls on boots, adds earrings and pulls her hair back, leaving it loose but getting it out of her face.

The food was ready for the party, the family planning on coming back to Stoney and Alises. Pandora and Star had helped with the baking. Ike had helped Alise shop and get a room re-done upstairs for Chiara and Ryan, who would meet them in the clearing. Tomas was bouncing off the walls until Stoney had awakened and pulled the little boy into the shower with him and helped him dress. Star had mentioned that she thought Chiara would be a good teacher for the children. She had already taught them some of Ryans sign language.

Maybe that would be a good idea. Star seems to have a good sense of people. We should ask Inari what she thinks... She just seems to know people....

Stoney sends, We can ask her mon amour...but dont get Tomas' hopes up. He would be crushed if the plans fell through or if she just didnt feel she could do it....

Pandora wants to ask about her weaving, I wonder what she makes....

Stoney smiles, knowing Alise is fascinated with anything to do with fabrics and sewing, I dont know Chaton...we should get going...the family will be waiting....

Approaching the clearing on foot, Alise pauses and takes in the sight of her extended family. Ob holds the newest member and Chloe stands close to her brother and father. Raina leans close to Nick, Ky and Gareth speaking softly. Star holds Ru showing him the frost covered branches on the trees, glowing softly in the moonlight. Tannr keeps Tori close, an arm around her shoulders. She smiles as Laila joins Ramji, who is speaking with Gunnaar and Dimitri, a small-boned blue haired woman standing next to him looking around at those gathered.

Tara had paused with her mother, knowing intuitively what she was looking at and thinking. Family was very important to all of them but maybe most of all to Alise, who had been alone for such a long time. Tara tips her face up, taking her mothers hand, dark hair moving back away from her violet eyes.

I love you maman....

Alise smiles, And I you, ma fille précieuse …

The tender moment is interrupted by a loud Da! And Mera racing for her father, blue black hair and sea blue cape streaming behind her. Then Tomas laughing and taking off behind her, making a beeline for Ryan, who was sliding off his mothers horse.

The next few days seemd to fly by, what with all the Yule preparations - shopping for gifts, wrapping gifts, baking, decorating - and much, much more. Since Yule is a religious festival, celebrating the rebirth of the Sun, there's rather more for us to do than for your average householder.

I leave shopping and wrapping to the women; they know about such things - while I take Star and a small army searching for natural decorations. Given last year's experience on this assignment, it seems only prudent to have guards to protect Star and Ruarc.

Our final group includes Tannr and K'thyri, both sworn to Star; Wish and Pike; Gareth and Nick. We bought a pair of those mini-radio things with headsets. I'm wearing one, and Nick has the other. He's servng as our "eye in the sky", so no one can take us by surprise. Keon couldn't be here, but he loaned us a pair of HellHounds, and they'll make coleslaw of any goblins who show their ugly faces.

We need to find Yule logs, holly, mistletoe, evergreen boughs - all the symbols of Yule. The logs will come from deadfalls, and we'll be careful not to damage the plants when we take what we need. That's Star's department; she has an extraordinary rapport with all living things, maybe even more so than Rowan.

Our little group bristles with weapons - especially K'thyri - and it's partly in relief, partly in disappointment that we turn toward home, laden with enough greenery to deck half of Exton....

While the next days passed quickly for some, to the children it seemed like time had slowed to crawling. Tomas was more excited to see his friend then he was about gifts. He asked at least twice a day how much longer until Ryan was coming. Alise had made a calender and was marking the days off for him. He still asked. He asked everyone. And Ryan was asking his mother. Chiara would smile and explain, then return to her weaving. She was making all the women and girls a gift for Yule and as a thank you for their friendship and hospitality. She was excited too, for the first time in many years to share the holidays with other people.

A few days before Yule Tannr had stopped by the cabin to visit with Erik. His happiness was contagious, he and Tori were closer than ever and his love and devotion to the red headed gargoyle was more than obvious to those that knew him best. Alises girls were at the cabin and Star had them helping to string pine cones and popcorn. To any outsider it would be hard to tell which children belonged to who. The families were close and often the children were at one house and then the other. Gracie loved to come to the cabin. Mera was her best friend and she loved all of Stars animals, often helping her as she could. Her soft brown curls bouncing and eyes bright, she ran to tell Star there were kittens in the barn. So excited she was she could hardly get the words out.

Tannr joined Erik at the rail of the deck. Watching the children return from the barn talking excitedly about the kittens made both men smile. Tannr switched to Norse, since they were speaking of gifts for the children and he didnt want to spoil any surprises.

In Old Norse Erik tells Tannr that Alise has been busy sewing clothes for the dolls that Tannr had given the girls.

“I dont know how she does such fine detailed work. Several of her fingers were broken when that madman held her captive and two them never healed properly. She's making nightgowns and fancy dresses to match the girls Yule outfits...”

Tannr grins, “They do like the dolls. I'm glad I thought of it for them. What are you getting Star for the holiday?”

Before Erik can reply, Gracie looks up and starts to giggle. “Mama making my pretty dress pink...”

She skips away, returning to the popcorn stringing and sits by Mera.

“How did she know what we were talking about? She cant possibly understand our language...” Erik watches the little girl sitting contentedly with her friends and siblings.

Tannr shrugs. “Probably just coincidence. They are all excited for the festivities.”

Erik nods but isnt convinced. He starts to ask again but is interrupted by the arrival of Keon, escorting Pandora and Chloe to the cabin. Chloe joins the children amid much squeals and laughter. Pandora smiles and heads into the cabin, intending to start on some baking as soon as Star can tear herself away from the children.

Keon joins the men on the deck and listens intently as Erik explains the exchange with Gracie. “It would be impossible for her to understand. Its basically a dead language. My brother and sister speak it. Guunnar does, and maybe a few others...”

“I told him it was probably just coincidence. The kids are excited and the older girls have more than likely been talking about their dresses...” Tannr says.

Keon listens and a worried crease appears across his brow. “There are some ways we can test her, but it seems almost like trickery to do to one so young. She canna have learned a language on her own, with no one knowing about it...”

The men watch as Lobo wanders over to the children and sits between Mera and Gracie, causing a peal of giggles and commands of “Move, Lobo, move”. Gracie leans close to Lobo's ears and whispers something. The wolf gets up and moves to her other side and the children continue with making their decorations.

Raina pulls up near Erik and Stars cabin. She can see two little boys, looking glum as can be, sitting on the rail of the deck. She turns to Alise and takes in the concerned expression on her face.

It was hard to believe that this was the same woman she had spent the night with. The hours of heated passion, the playfulness in the shower this morning... So many sides to we ever really know anyone?

Rainas thoughts are interrupted when Alise grabs her arm. “Mon Dieu! They look like lost puppies... surely Star has told them about Yule... it isnt that far away....”

As Raina and Star get out of the car, Tannr steps out of the cabin. “Look Tomas. Your mom is here.”

Two little heads snap up and in one motion they are off the railing and running for Alise. Tomas throws himself at his mother, struggling hard not to cry. Rubbing his back and whispering to him calms him and Alise tells him that Yule will arrive before he knows it.

Raina grabs Ryan and tosses him over her shoulder. She smiles at the breathless way he giggles, so much like Stars laugh, it was hard to connect the sound with happiness if you couldnt see their faces. She looks to Tannr who joins the group in front of the cabin.

“I guess I dont need to ask how your night went...” Raina reaches out and grabs her brothers arm. The love and happiness, a feeling of almost relief and belonging, the feelings all sweep over her. “Gods... Tannr...” she whispers and pulls him close for a hug.

Tannr grabs Ryan, then Tomas, tossing both boys over his shoulders. He turns to Alise, “Go on in... I think they are waiting for you so they can make final plans for Yule...”

An hour later the women are visiting like they have all been friends for ages. Plans are made for Keon to bring Chiara and Ryan to Alise and Stoneys a couple of days before Yule. They plan to stay for New Years celebrations and will return home sometime after that. When Tannr brings the boys in and the plan explained to them Tomas whoops for joy and Ryan joins him silently. They quiet when Keon enters.

“We should go. Tis best to get past the borders before full dark...”

Goodbyes are said and assurances to the children that its only ten days before they return and the small group mounts their horses. Alise notices Tomas and Ryan using their hands to speak. The children stand at the railing waving good by. Chiara turns once and her smile is bright, happy that her son has been found and has made friends with people that accept him as he is, like she does.

Tomas is the last one to climb down from the rail and Tannr scoops him up. “Hows my little man? I bet we can keep so busy that ten days will fly past.”

He heads towards the stables with Tomas perched up on his broad shoulders, “Lets feed and water Tante Stars horses for her. She has her hands full with everyone in the cabin.”

Alise watches from the deck with the girls and smiles as she sends to Stoney. Tannr is watching out for him and keeping him busy until you get here....

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tori stretches. Tannr's hand teases along her ribs, stroking ever so lightly. She sighs and Tannr kisses her temple.

"What's wrong, Red?"

She shakes her head. "Wrong isn't the word, just.... strange." She shifts, lifting her head from his shoulder. She leans across his chest, nails tracing circles around his nipple. "I feel... content."

Tannr laughs. Tori places her hand flat, feeling his heart beat against her palm. "I'm serious Tannr. This is more than being complacent with life. It's like finding a part that was missing, feeling whole."

The rumble in his chest sends vibrations up her arm. He slides his large hand over hers, holding her hand in place. His free hand reaches up to cup her cheek. Tori leans her head into his palm and Tannr traces her lower lip with the side of his thumb.

"Content... That's a good word for it. I know what you mean. After a while you get dissatisfied with everything, start going through the motions." At her nod, he continues, picking his words carefully. "Then something changes.... It's not obvious at first, you can even lose it if you don't recognize the signs."

Tannr pulls her down for a kiss. It is tender, gentle and searching. "I'm glad we found each other."

The time passes too quickly for Tori's taste. She sighs again, moving to sit up. "Dawn is close."

Tannr helps her settle on the pedestal. He kisses her again. "I am going to go out to Erik and Star's for the day. I don't have a patrol until later in the evening. I will let you sleep."

Tori laughs. "It's not sleeping. I will look for you. Have fun."

Tannr kisses her again murmuring, "Without you, what fun is there?"

She swats him playfully. "Go play with your brother. I'll miss you."

Tori moans softly as Tannr kisses her cheek. "I'll be counting the hours until you wake."

The sun breaks over the rooftops, bathing the patio in sunlight. Tori feels the stone seeping through her bones. Tannr stays until her form is full gargoyle, then runs a hand over her form.

"I love you, Red. More than I ever thought possible."

A voice whispers in his mind... "mated..."

The lower level of the Tavern is a wide space which was renovated into rooms for those who prefer to sleep underground, and the "playground." The Playground takes up the majority of the floorspace, broken down into theme rooms. Each room is completely stocked with anything relevant to the theme. Anything else could be requested from the Dominatrix and her pet who policed the rooms.

Ob leads Pandora downstairs, saying little. He can feel his wife probing at the wall between their thoughts. Flashing his charming smile, he kisses her hand. "Mi Bruha... You have been trying to get through that bit of wall since I put it up half an hour ago. I promise... you won't be disappointed."

Instead of heading down the corridor to the patron rooms, Ob pushes through the door to the Playrooms. He lays a finger to Pandora's lips. "Password, mi Mujer. We need to decide on a password before we sign a contract."

Pandora smiles. "Sushi."

Ob grins. Sushi is the one food that Chloe feeds to Absynthe without keeping a portion for herself. Ob opens the walking closet and orders Pandora to strip. She raises an eyebrow, opening her mouth to speak. He presses a finger to her lips.

"Shhhhh... You wanted to explore this side of my hungers. With the wards loosening inhibitions, I thought tonight would be best." He opens a locker. "Now. Undress. fold your clothes and put them in the locker. I will be right back."

Ob steps out of the closet, pushing the door slightly closed behind him.

Unwritten rule: Closet door ajar means closet in use. Wait your turn.

Ob returns moments later with a lock, key, and leash. No longer is he dressed in jeans and leather vest. His robes are the flowing ones of his Tribe. Pandora's breath hitches. She moistens her lips. Without speaking, On takes a collection of masks from a shelf. He holds them out to her. "Chose one mi amor. You will be walking through the halls naked. I would have your face hidden from others."

She chooses a three quarter mask. The leather has been molded into the shape of a cat, leaving her lower cheeks and jaw exposed. When she holds it to her face, Ob ties the strings to hold it in place. He also fastens a ring adorned collar around her throat. Lastly he snaps the leash in place. Turning his back on Pandora, he places their clothing in the locker and and twists the key. Taking up the chain lead, Ob leaves the closet, a naked "pet" following docilely.

A quick stop to sign a contract and Ob leads Pandora past the first rooms. There are muted screams of pleasure, sounds of pleading, and the occasional wicked laughter. The Gargoyle slips his mind through his wife's, feeling an echo of her arousal. He can feel the burning ache to try something  taboo, the hunger to feel what others find so enticing, what HE finds so attractive in the kiss of leather, the sound of someone's moans as their skin reddens under a skilled touch.

The room he chooses is several away from any others. The light switch is ignored, Ob trusting his own superior night vision. Pandora can see nothing, and Ob keeps his wall up on her ability to see through his senses.

"Stand here."

Ob slides his hands up one arm, moving it slowly above her head. She feels something close about her wrist. She tugs, preoccupied until she realizes that Ob has captured her other wrist in a similar manner. Her fingers explore upwards, finding chain.

Secured from above, Pandora feels Ob's mouth licking and kissing across her belly. His teeth nip at the thin strip of hair on her mound. He tugs sharply, bringing a yelp. His hands grips her thighs, pulling them slightly apart as his tongue laps across her wet slit. Willingly, Pandora slides her legs further apart, and Ob presses three fingers up her hot channel.

"This is exciting you..."

He explores her, licking and biting, fingers plunging deep to make her moan. Pandora bucks, rocking herself on his hand. The Gargoyle kneeling between her legs chuckles. He places his mouth over her sex and laughs again as he holds her clit between his teeth. Pandora moans, and shudders.

Before she can recoup, Ob spreads her legs wide and snaps the cuffs around her ankles. He rises before her and walks away. Pandora can hear his soft steps as he walks around the room. Small glimmers of light flare as he moves. He sets a candle on a small table nearby.

"This is soy wax, mi amor. Something to play with... later. For now, I have a bit of jewelry for you."

The chain jingles as he lets the one end falls from his hand. The lower end of the Y has bells fastened to its length. Leaning forward, Ob cups one of her breasts and scrapes his teeth over a distended nipple. Pandora yelps and Ob raises his gaze to hers.

"Teri has been cutting  teeth."

Ob licks lightly over the sensitive flesh, making her shudder. When his teeth scrape again, Pandora writhes in her bindings. There is a sharp pinch and Pandora utters a small scream. He licks around the clamp, teasing the unfettered nipple with small pinches and tugs, When Pandora sighs with pleasure, Ob snaps the other clamp in place. Pandora screams again and Ob chuckles.

Letting the remaining end of the chain swing free, Ob cups Pandora's face and kisses her gently. His tongue explores her mouth, sharing the taste of her excitement. She moans and Ob strokes fingers down her belly. The bells ring softly as she moves under his attentions. His dexterous fingers play with her sex. He smiles, fire flickering in the reflections of her eyes. His fingers shove deep. Her head snaps back and a loud moan escapes as her muscles clamp tight around his invading digits.

When she is shuddering, so close to peaking, Ob snaps the clamp on her clit. The stinging pain sends her senses flying and her inner muscles snap tight. Her body strains against the chains, every movements making the little bells ring. Ob pulls his fingers out, bringing a whimper from Pandora. He pats her mound, making sure to slap over the clamp and make her pussy spasm in reaction.

He walks away from her, disappearing behind her chained form. Pandora tries to stretch out with her senses, seeking some sign. She jerks when something slaps across her shoulder unexpectedly.

"Did that hurt?"

Pandora shakes her head, moaning softly. Ob chuckles and steps before her. He flicks his wrist, snapping the suede falls of a flogger against his palm.

"I thought we would start with something... light."

Her gaze follows the thin strips of suede as they slap against his palm. Her hips rolls, and Ob smiles. A wicked gleam ignites the depths of his pale eyes. He flicks his wrist again, the suede hitting his palm with a slap. Pandora licks her lips. The next flick lays the length of the suede falls along Pandora's left breast. The bells chime and she jerks, but instead of a scream, his wife moans.

"That's it mi Bruha...."

The flogger flicks against her right breast, making the bells ring again. Her moan brings a tightening to his already erect manhood. Ob snaps the flogger against her sides, over her hips, then back up to make her breasts bounce and the bells ring. Pandora's eyes have closed, her head lolling back. Sweat glistens on her body. He snaps the flogger up between her legs, making her scream as the flogger's strands sting the wetness of her slit. Her eyes snap open as she screams.

Ob watches her writhe and adjusts his sawars. Pandora's gaze follows the movement of his hand, so he draws the movements out. She licks her lips, making Ob smile.

"You look good, my sweet. Just a little more."

The words are a soft rumble, sending a shiver up Pandora's spine. Ob steps behind her, making sure he is out of her sight. The soft falls of the flogger tease over her ass, tickling lightly. Pandora squirms. Ob tickles the suede strips along the cleft of her ass. When she squirms again, he flicks the flogger, making her yelp. The yelp turns into a moan and Ob begins to ply the flogger harder. Pandora moans, bucking at each stinging slap.

She begins to lean backwards, moving into the strikes in anticipation. Ob groans at the sight. The sound seems to spur her on. Pandora braces her legs, leaning as much as she can to offer him her ass. The flogger lands once, twice, bringing sensual sounds from his wife's throat. Wetness seems to paint the insides of her splayed thighs, glistening in the candle light. Ob slides his fingers through the wetness, raising it to his nose. With a smile he licks his fingers clean.

"Bruha... If you keep offering me your ass like that, I am going to  fuck it."

Pandora starts to say something, but Ob cuts her off. "No. Don't say anything, and don't try probing my mind, Mujer. Disobedience brings punishments. I am being gentle right now," His fingers stroke through her wetness, parting the dripping lips. "but there are other types of floggers and whips I can use." Her hips writhe and Ob slides a finger in, just barely. When Pandora grinds, trying for more, he removes his fingers and slaps her ass, hard.

She jerks, yelping loudly. The chains keep her in place and Ob slaps his palm down again, raising a red mark. A groan mixes with the next yelp, and Ob adds another, and another, until Pandora is panting, a hunger mixing with sharp sting. His sawars drop easily to his ankles. As Pandora swings back in place, Ob grips her hips. He rubs his length over her slick slit, bumping the clamp with the head of his cock. Pandora moans, squirming. Next swing back and Ob shoves his cock deep in her wetness, making her scream in reaction.

She is muttering over and over. Ob smiles, gripping her hips even tighter.

"What, mi amor?"

She speaks louder, begging over and over. "Please... oh gods, please... more,,, fuck me harder..."

His hand cracks across her ass as he pulls back. Pandora yelps, jerking and clamping around the thick length of his cock. "That sounded like an order, mi amor. I give the orders here."

Pandora grinds back. She is even wetter. Ob smiles. His woman is surprising him in a delightful way. Her next words make his cock jump, twitching in her depths, making her moan.

"Fuck me... you said if I kept offering my ass you' were going to fuck me."

Ob runs a hand around her waist, strumming the chain lightly, The bells jingle as the clamp tugs on her clit. Ob laughs wickedly. "No, mi Bruha. I said I was going to fuck it."

She moans again as Ob tugs on the chain. He laughs at the whimper as he draws himself out of her dripping pussy. He leaves her there, soft sounds of need sweet music to his ears. She spreads her legs wider as Ob presses something thick and hard against her slick opening, He works it in, fucking her with it on every stroke. Once inside her, Ob reaches around and fastens a strap around her waist, Pandora moans, stuffed full. Ob does something and the object hums, vibrating inside her. It begins to pulse, the tip rotating against her sweet spot, over and over.

When Pandora's hips begin to grind, her sounds becoming more and more uncontrolled, Ob rubs the thick length of his cock between the still sore globes of her ass. His hands grips tight, making her whimper. His cock head presses, spreading her tight taboo. Ob stops as Pandora cries out.

"Does it hurt, mi Mujer?"

She nods, whimpers punctuating the panting of her breath.

"Do you want me to stop? You need only say the word. You can even whisper it,,, Sushi..."

Pandora's head is forward, her hands gripping tight on the chains holding her upright. Her body shudders, bells chiming. Pandora moans, rolling her hips.


She breathes, rocking slowly, Each rock back an effort to impale herself. Ob reads the desire in her mind. He grips her hips hard, and slams deep. Pandora SCREAMS. She rocks back hard and Ob can feel her muscles milking him as if she were trying to suck his balls dry. He groans at the tight grip, feeling his balls tighten, drawing up in response. He wraps one arm around her waist , The fingers of his other hand begin to strum the chain between her breasts and clit.

Pandora writhes, going wild as she explodes around the twisting dildo in her cunt and the pounding cock in her ass. The sensations are almost too much, not only does she feel each impalement, she feels him rubbing the sensitive wall between them. Her feet are lifted from the floor as Ob stands. The chains are pulled taut. One more thrust and Ob roars. His cock erupts flooding her ass with hot jets of his seed. With a scream, Pandora cums again, body twitching and jerking in his arms as she screams.

She is still shuddering as Ob slowly pulls from her ass. Pandora moans at the sudden loss. Ob kisses her neck, licking up bit of salt from her skin. His breath tickles her ear and she sighs.

"Damn... I haven't been... Goddess, Mujer...My sexy Bruha...Think you can take more?"

She presses her ass back against him, grinding. Ob chuckles, the sound making her shudder. With a groan Pandora turns her head for a kiss.

"My Deamon..." She licks his lips, nipping sharply. "Do it again... only harder."

Ob laughs... and turns the dildo up another notch.

Jeb was watching the door when the wave of emotion hit from Tori and Tannr; and glancing to his side Roxi felt it too. It was only natural that both being weres they would pick up the emotional wave and the wards reactions to it. Jeb wanted to grab Roxi and ravish her right there; but held himself back.He flipped open his phone and hit Ob's number. Obsidian glanced up from across the room and could sense Jeb's emotional state and told him it was okay to split. Anyone left in the tavern now were either close regulars... or victims of the wave that were now caught up in emotions that had nothing to do with fighting. Jeb slipped an arm around Roxi and brought his mouth down hard on hers... his tongue ravished her mouth and she responded with like emotion; catching his tongue with her teeth as she moaned. Jeb looked down into her eyes."Lets go get some air; we've never taken that run in the woods together."

Jeb made it around the corner to the alley where his car was parked, before he drew Roxi to him again and bending to her chest he slipped her top down to where he could capture her nipple in his mouth. Roxi moaned and wound her hands in his hair as he suckled at her breast... his other hand working itself beneath her skirt and pulling her panties aside as he slid his hand between her legs. Roxi was panting slightly and she spread her legs wider,opening herself to his touch... his fingers explored her slit, finally slipping two fingers into her moist cunt as she moved against him. Jeb's thumb pressed on her clit and Roxi thrust against his hand... her own hand gripping the bulge beneath his pants. Jeb pulled away from her breast and caught Roxi up in his arms, carrying her to the car. He opened the passenger car door and set her against the car... his hands fumbled with his jeans until he was able to free his cock and slid his pants down, and he sat in the seat... drawing Roxi to him... pulling her panties off with a jerk , he picked her up and sat her down on his lap; his cock was lifting in anticipation and Roxi was so wet that she slid right down his rod with a passionate groan. The two kissed, a kiss full of passion and fire... Jeb lifting her up and down with his grip on her hips... not wanting to wait for her to come down again on her own... Roxi's eyes were intense as they both approached orgasm, and the color and appearance of their gazes became more feral... more animal... and when Roxi came the cry that left her lips was more the howl of something wild. Jeb felt the rush of cum as she cried out and he let loose with a howl that was pure werewolf.

The two lay collapsed in each others arms for minutes that felt like an eternity of longing had been released. Jeb finally helped Roxi adjust her clothes;and gently set her on the seat as he went round to start the car.

The night was clear, and they were out of town and in the country in short order... Jeb letting loose with his wolf howl as they entered the wooded area he had come to see as his personal hunting grounds... his wild place. Roxi was enthralled  with the beauty of the pristine wood; and for a long moment they just stood together listening to the sounds of the other night creatures as they moved about. "Well, we can't hunt with these clothes on... so lets get naked and hunt"... Jeb was grinning at Roxi as he said the words... already slipping his jeans to the ground; stepping out of them to move to Roxi and help her unbutton her top; Roxi reached out and helped him slip his t-shirt off,and soon they were both naked under the moon as it rose over the tree tops. Jeb was gripped by his desire to change; and Roxi had dropped to the ground already ... the change beginning in her,even as she was watching Jeb with the lust still in her eyes. Jeb returned her gaze... watching her transformation as she watched his; until they stood together in the clearing... werewolf and fox. Jeb's figure large and menacing; Roxi a petite fox with a coat of fur that glistened a rich red in the moonlight. Jeb approached her, sniffing in wolf fashion... and Roxi rolled over on her back... submissive to his imposing form; but sprang back up... lifting her tail to the side and posturing up against him as he sniffed at her female odor. Jeb let loose with another howl of domination; and mounted the were fox beneath him, pushing his cock into her until she clenched tightly round him and they stood panting together; locked in a sexual embrace that was as old as time itself.

A brief respite and the two wild animals loped into the woods..heading for the meadow where Jeb often chanced upon deer. Tonight was a good night to hunt; the moon shone bright and Jeb spied a deer at the edge of the field... he took off after the doe, the fox fast on his heels; at one point she tore a small hole in the deers side with her sharp teeth... but by sheer size he soon outdistanced her, falling upon the deer and bringing it down. Jeb had the deer's throat torn out and the creature was dead before Roxi reached them. When she approached he tore a large hole in the deers side, exposing a large portion of flesh for her to feed upon. He stood aside, watchful, as she feasted on the venison... finally taking time when he felt safe to join her; tearing chunks of the venison off and eating with gusto. When they were both sated they took off at a slow trot back through the woods toward the car... Jeb taking his time now and waiting for the small fox to catch up... pacing himself to her gait as they moved together, at home in these woods together in a way many human couples never share.

Jeb helped Roxi dress and they were quiet as they rode back to town; relishing the feeling of release that came with running in their wild forms. When they reached the tavern they could feel the wards still holding some of that sensual abandon; and Jeb took Roxi up to his room in the tavern... undressing her slowly and making love to her again... the feelings drifting round them like fumes drifting in the air.

Finally they were both exhausted and fell asleep with Jeb cradling her protectively in his arms.

Breaking the passionate kiss she was sharing with Treager, Rowans smile is bright as she says, “The energy is crazy tonight. Its a wonder we dont have a full blown orgy going on in here...”

Traeger grins, and doesnt let go, enjoying the feel of her warm body against his.

Rowan eyes wander throughout the crowd. Couples necking in dark corners and booths, dancing, or rather, trying to dance. Her eyes fall on Jack and Eira and the haunted, almost frightened look on Eiras face.

“Excuse me for a minute? Something seems amiss with Eira...”

Traeger nods. “I'll be here...” and releases his hold around her waist.

Approaching the booth, Rowan pauses and smiles at the couple, although Eira never really looks up. “Eira, whats wrong?” She asks. “You like you have seen a ghost..”

Jack starts to laugh and tries hard to silence himself when Rowan glares at him. “You better sit down for this one Red... grab a drink and maybe that man of yours... this might take awhile..”

It takes a while for Eira to comprehend exactly what's going on, but with me and Kathy taking turns explaining, she begins to come around. She has another almost-meltdown when we describe the nature of some of our regulars... Nick, for instance, and Jeb.... We get that all thrashed out and sit back and let Eira absorb it.

Whose bright idea was it to make me the go-between here? I have problems enough being what I am, without trying to help a newbie try to understand a whole new world....

Fortunately, about that time Rowan wanders by. I'm more than happy to relinquish the reins to her... Yoda I'm not, nor even Ben Kenobi, and we all know how that worked out.

It turns into an hour-long sit-down discussion, and when all is said and done, Rowan has thrown a quick shield over Eira - thereby keeping her from seeing anything she doesn't want to see, kind of like using an answering machine to screen out telemarketers. Her next step will be to contact Mortuis, who in turn will contact Sibyl St. John, the blind psychic, who will help get Eira grounded in her new reality.

I'm not off the hook, though. Sibyl is the expert, I'm the guy who lives on-site, who's been doing this for years. The only real consolation is that Rowan will be involved, too, so I shouldn't have all that much to do.

...I hope.

One hot shower later....

Something has Ky really revved up tonight - not that I'm complaining, mind you. She goes ballistic - sexually speaking - every time Gareth and I get it on. I don't understand why, but this seems like a real bad time to be analyzing things. Later, maybe, when things calm down....

For now we're all slumped in a pile, trading long lazy kisses, basking in the warmth of our shared passions... There will be more erotic play, but there doesn't seem to be any rush to begin... or perhaps it's more accurate to say that it's equally as important to just feel what we feel, that the sex is kind of empty without the warmth of spirit that suffuses us now. No words are spoken; none are necessary. Each look that passes between us, each lingering caress and kiss speaks volumes.

Right now Gareth is on my right, K'thyri on my left. They both seem to enjoy snuggling with me after we get hot and sweaty. Come to that, so does Raina. It probably has something to do with my extra-low body temperature - they can dump heat really fast if their skin is touching mine and I'll never get warmer than room temperature.

Kisses go deeper, caresses linger longer. Ky and Gareth take turns sucking my cock, slow, teasing licks - not foreplay so much as pleasure for the sake of pleasure. Usually when someone says that they like giving pleasure better than getting pleasure, they're full of shit; but our foursome is rapidly approaching that point where giving pleasure is equally as important as getting pleasure, and the reason is as simple as it's trite.

We love each other. Giving each other pleasure is a way to express that love. It's far from the only way, but it just happens that this is something we're really good at - and no, we're not modest about it, in any sense of the word.

Ky watches, eyes shining, when I start licking Gareth's balls. His fingers tighten in my hair, but I refuse to be hurried. Only when his balls are thoroughly wet do I turn my attention to his cock, licking it slowly and thoroughly, then taking him fully into my mouth, down my throat. He begins to thrust and I let him find his own rhythm, content to let him fuck my mouth at his own pace.

Meanwhile, Ky has moved to lie with her head between my legs. She engulfs my cock in her warm mouth, sucking lovingly; her fingers move between her legs and she strokes her pussy and clit with slow, lazy caresses. I groan with Gareth's thick shaft deep in my throat, his balls up against my lips and then Ky eases a finger into my ass. She rotates it carefully, stretching me, her mouth never missing a beat; then she adds another finger. My eyes close involuntarily, focusing on the intimate impalement, but I never stop pleasuring Gareth.

The elf is groaning loudly, his hips jerking, fucking my mouth as I fuck K'thyri's. Then the positions change again; Gareth lies down on his side so he can lick Ky's pussy. She continues to stroke her clit while simultaneously finger-fucking my ass and sucking my cock; and I shift position to take Gareth in my mouth again.

For perhaps ten minutes all is quiet save the muted cries of passion. Then Ky pulls away from my cock - "On your knees, Nick." I assume the position and Ky waves Gareth over. I smile as I feel the head of his cock against my ass. Ky moves in front of me and goes to her knees. Her arms encircle me, her hard little nipples pricking my chest. She nods once and kisses me fiercely as Gareth surges forward, shoving his cock deep. My tongue is busy with Ky's as Gareth fucks me and Ky's fingers are busy in her pussy as she watches, her eyes fever-bright. "Gods, that's so fucking sexy... Raina said it would be, but she didn't say how sexy. Gods... feel how wet I am." She guides my fingers to her pussy and I probe... She's soaked. I finger her, kiss her deeply as Gareth splits my ass wide and fucks me hard. My cock is hard as stone against her soft belly and her mouth is soft and warm and wet, promising more and greater pleasure to come. Her eyes are alight with love as I lean down to take a nipple between my teeth. I lick it till she sighs, then pull back, tugging at the sensitive flesh... She gasps and then whimpers as pleasure begins to cross the border into discomfort and then pain; but she never tells me to stop. Suddenly a soft cry comes from her throat and I stop tugging, licking tenderly now. Gareth is fully inside me, driving deep, hard, intent on his pleasure. I take the other nipple between my teeth and give it the same treatment. Ky finger-fucks her dripping pussy, clearly getting off on the rough treatment as well as on watching Gareth fuck my ass. Her fingers curl around my cock, jerking it slowly. Her fingers move faster, more vigorously as she approaches her pleasure/pain threshold, plunging deep into her clutching pussy. She yelps again, unable to remain silent any longer, then screams and cums hard, three fingers shoved deep in her saturated pussy. I lap at her nipple, keeping the orgasm going; then Gareth yells and fills my ass with his scalding cum.

Ky is floating in a happy post-orgasmic haze. Living in the Unformed Plane, she's never been overly concerned with modesty or propriety, but she's never felt so open, so free as she does in this place, with these people. For the first time she allows herself to consider what it might be like to make a life outside the Unformed Plane. Certainly there's no shortage of excitement in Exton....

She smiles, looking at the naked hunks on either side of her. Hotter than hell, she thinks dreamily, and they're all mine.

Okay, that's not quite accurate; she does share them with Raina - but Raina doesn't mind sharing... not even herself. She wonders how Raina's night is going....

She stretches like a great cat, then reaches down to strum her clit. Gareth props one eye open. "Gods," he groans, "you're insatiable."

"Is that a complaint?," she asks with an impish grin.

"Never." Ky turns on her side and her mouth finds his. The kiss is slow, thorough and intense - until a cool hand reaches out and squeezes her ass. "That looks like fun," Nick says casually. "When you're done, can I try?"

For answer, Ky rolls on top of him and kisses him tenderly. Nick's hands come up to squeeze her ass, one finger probing between her buttocks, teasing her asshole. Gareth moves closer and a finger strokes lightly between her swollen lips, bringing a moan from her lips. "Mmmmm... feels so good...." She loses herself in the decadent feel of hands touching every intimate place on her body. Her nipples are hard, her pussy wet and her heart swells with happiness and love.

Suddenly she can feel Gareth's hot breath on her labia. "Hey, Nick," he says casually, "I think we ought to try a taste-test here... what do you think?"

"Sounds good to me," Nick says. "Why don't you start and I'll pick up where you leave off?"

"That'll work," Gareth agrees. In a moment, he spreads Ky's lips wide apart with his fingers and his tongue is licking them up and down, slowly and thoroughly. Already wet, her pussy floods with her fragrant juices, juices that Gareth devours like whipped cream - and comes back, ravenous for more. Ky's mouth is busy with Nick's, tongues swirling and wrestling, Nick's finger probing her ass gently while Gareth's insatiable mouth whips her pussy into a frenzy. "Ohhhhh, GODS, you're so good!" she cries when she can hold back no longer. "Oh gods, baby, yes, yes, eat that pussy!" Her hips are jerking, but the vampire holds her steady. Fuck, who knew Gareth  had a tongue like a fucking lizard? She swears it's going all the way to her cervix.... Nick's finger goes deep suddenly and she gives a short scream of pleasure as he works her tight ass. Gareth is attacking her clit now, lashing it mercilessly back and forth, up and down, circling it, then pouncing on it and sucking... she screams again, her juices running down her widespread thighs.

Nick lifts her bodily - Gareth losing her clit for the moment - and sets her down gently again. He snakes his way down the bed until he's face-to-face with Gareth. She can't see this, of course, lying face down as she is, but the next instant she has the proof of it as Gareth shoves his tongue deep in her pussy and Nick begins to lick her ass.  "Oh my fucking gods!" she screams, feeling two hot tongues working on her... Her pussy and ass clench tight as her lovers pleasure her and she wonders if it's possible to orgasm to death.

What a way to go.... 

Gareth has found that spot, that place that he can drive her to distraction by flicking his tongue back and forth. Nick is alternating between fingering and licking her ass - and then the bastards switch and she goes into fucking orbit, crying with pleasure, unable to move because Nick is holding her still and she's floating away on a cloud of fucking insane fucking bliss and she screams, loud and long and shatters into a million million pieces.

When the room has stopped spinning and she can feel her legs again, she looks up at two smug handsome faces. A wave of love washes over her, loosening something in her chest that she didn't know was tight before.

This is my home, this is my family.  

She can't wait to do this again.

"What time is it?" The words are directed at the vampire, who has an uncanny sense of time.

"About two hours till dawn." He grins with just a hint of fang. "Time enough."

"I love you guys," she says sincerely. "This has been incredible, all of it. But are you trying to fucking kill me?"

Nick grins. "What, we've worn out the Wyldfae?"

Ky bristles at the suggestion. "No, you fucking haven't!" she snaps. "I can take whatever you guys can dish out and come back for more!"

Without hesitation, she shoves Nick down on his back and straddles him - stroking him to hardness within seconds - then impales herself on his dick. The vampire shivers as she envelopes him; then she leads forward and motions to Gareth. "Come on. lover. Fuck my ass while I ride this fat cock."

Gareth is dumbfounded at first, but moves forward. It takes him just a moment to get into position and then he moves forward, sliding deep into his lover's ass.

"Ohfuckohfuckohfuck," she moans. "Oh gods, yes, just like that, it's perfect fuckme!"

The two men begin to move in a rough unison, filling Ky to the hilt with each demanding thrust. She feels full as never before and erotic shocks ripple through her, taking her breath again and again. As soon as she gets used to the rhythm of their thrusting, they change, now moving in counterpoint - Nick filling her pussy as Gareth slides out of her tight ass, then sliding back in as Nick pulls back. It takes her by surprise, but the pleasure doesn't change, only the rhythm of it. "Oh gods. fuck me, lovers, take me, make me cum and cum and cum...." Her ass tightens on a thick cock as the other glides out of her pussy on a sea of wetness. "Gods, fuck me, just fuck me... take me, pull my hair, slap my ass, make me yours...." Now the thrusting changes again, harder, faster, more ruthless. Gareth fists his fingers in her hair, pulls her head back as Nick slaps her ass, driving deep into her clutching cunt... "GodsgodsgodsYES, it's so good so fucking good don't stop don't ever stop.... fuckmefuckmefuckme!" The two cocks pound her hard and fast and deep, splitting her wide, her juices gushing from her pussy. running down her thighs... Nick's face is contorted, close to the edge... Gareth is fucking her ass like he's done it all his life. She's going to be sore as hell tomorrow, and if they offer a rematch, she'll say yes in a heartbeat.

She feels Nick explode in her pussy with a full-throated roar, hot as lava... she's so close, so fucking close... then Gareth shivers and fills her ass with a couple gallons of cum, still driving deep, pumping her ass full of his juices. She screams as the orgasm rips through her, unravels her, spins her down into a web of wave forms and possibilities, then puts her back together. Her heart is pounding like a jackhammer and she’s still cumming, her throat raw from screaming, drenched inside and out... it seems to last for hours or days or years before the pleasure slows and she can take a breath without twitching somewhere.

Gareth eases his cock from her ass and she lifts herself off Nick. They lie down side by side by side, awash in pleasure and passion and love. They need to clean up soon, but right now they don't want to move, just feel....

It takes a while to get the kids settled and ready for bed, but with Chiara's help, we manage. We say our goodnights and we're off to bed.

...but not yet to sleep.

I grab the first shower and then kick back in bed while Star makes use of it. We really need a bigger place... or at least a bigger shower.

Star comes back wrapped in a towel. By some mysterious legerdemain known only to women, she's managed to turn it into a fully serviceable garment. She comes to the bed and sits down, scooting back to rest her back against my chest, her head leaning back against my shoulder. I lean in to kiss her and I feel the tension leaving her as she sighs, stretching... the towel takes the opportunity to come apart and I hitch in a breath. She smiles and opens the towel all the way. I let my eyes glide over her supple curves and stroke the tips of my fingers lightly down her neck and back. It's not really a massage, but I can feel the tension leaving her. She turns slightly and her mouth searches mine. I draw the back of my hand along the line of her throat and she takes my hand, places it on her breast. I stroke my fingers around her nipple, circling, teasing it to hardness... I take it between finger and thumb and tug gently but insistently and she moans into my mouth.

"I love you." I'm not sure she understands the words, but she can feel the intent. Her hand drops to my lap, stroking circles around my cock, tugging... I sigh and the kisses deepen, still slow and tender, but infused with passion as well as love.

Her eyes are shining when she comes up for air. "I want you," she says softly. "Make love to me, Erik...."

I let my fingers move between her legs, stroking lovingly... She sighs and moans and her lips meet mine again. She's thoroughly wet, her lips spread wide as I finger her, slow but deep, spreading my fingers within her to glide across her g-spot, lingering there, teasing.... Her tongue wraps around mine, tugging and sucking. I cup a breast and squeeze, teasing the stiffened nipple. She strokes along the length of my cock with just the tips of her fingers and I groan. My lips move to her throat, kissing and licking as she strokes me... I take her throat between my teeth and bite, ever so gently... she gasps and her fingers grip me convulsively.

"Take me now, Erik... don't make me wait...." She leans back against the headboard and opens her legs....

I am a Knight of the Bright Court. I was trained in chivalry from the moment I could sit a horse and before I could bear arms.


Chivalry be damned. I'm horny.

I pull Ky back to meet me and press my swollen cock tight against her dripping pussy. She moans and I press closer. She opens to me and I push inside her, then thrust hard. She gasps as she splits wide around my hard thick cock. I slam deep inside her, pausing - just for a second - to let her get used to it, then I pull back and slam forward, hard and fast, pounding into her. She wails as I fuck her, her hips driving back to meet me with every thrust. Nick is stroking his cock watching us, almost fully hard again. The sight sends a jolt of lust through me, and I'm sure through Ky as well. Sucking Nick off is nothing new to me, or to Ky; but doing it together...! The thought makes me fuck her harder and the pitch of her wailing goes up a notch.

This isn't just lust, though; that was obvious from the beginning. This is a new beginning in our relationship, a milestone... Before this, Ky just kind of tolerated what was between Nick and me; she was never into it, and perhaps, deep down, she hoped that we'd either break up, or she'd become resigned to it - but this is a tectonic shift of major proportions. Now... now her love for Nick is very real, and obvious to everyone in our family, as well as many people outside it. That's made all the difference. Now she doesn't just accept that Nick and I are lovers - she revels in it. Tonight, watching Nick and I make love, helping us make love - she's high as a kite with happiness, and with lust, and with love... I'm saying it badly, but words are oftentimes inadequate where feelings are concerned, and so it must be this time.

I can't see Ky's face, but I can feel her reaction as she watches Nick. She clamps down tight on my cock, fucks back at me harder and faster; she moans and groans and wails and turns talking dirty into a holy litany. "Oh gods baby, fuck me, fuck me hard... gods, that dick feels so good in my hot little pussy, so hot and hard and thick, fuck, yes! Gods, you guys are so good, so fucking good... gods... so hot watching you suck each other off, and helping... yes, yes, yes, Nick, stroke that big dick for me, baby! gods, you've got me so hot... oh yes, Gareth, just like that! hard, baby, pound that pussy hard, split me open... FUCK, that feels so good!"

She snakes one hand between her legs, strokes her clit while I fuck her dripping pussy. Her words inflame me to new heights of passion; I grip her hips and drive in deep, feeling her tightness split around my engorged shaft.

"Nick, get over here, I want to suck you."

Nick comes over and his cock is right in Ky's face. She gulps him down eagerly, taking him all the way, swallowing his hardness again and again. I ram into her, watching my lovers make love, knowing we have no limits now... it's only a matter of time now before we'll be a true foursome, in and out of bed. Nick fists a hand in Ky's hair and fucks her mouth and I fuck her pussy, feeling her grip, reluctant to relinquish me... her hips pounding back to meet my every thrust.

Nick pulls abruptly out of her mouth, moves to stand by me. I open my mouth and take him in, licking up and down his pulsing meat before I suck and swallow. He grips my hair and thrusts deep and I take it all, loving the feel, the taste of him in my mouth... loving him, loving Ky, loving Raina.... The love feeds and enhances the lust without limiting any of us... such a pity more people don't see it that way. I can hear Nick's voice coming as from a great distance, yet strong and clear. "I'm going to fuck you, Gareth." Ky wails at the words and then Nick eases out of my mouth and walks behind me. He spreads my cheeks apart; his cock, still wet from my mouth, presses tight against my ass. He begins to rock against me as I thrust into Ky's pussy, each backward thrust taking him a bit deeper. My ass gives way suddenly and I groan at the feel of his thickness inside me. We synchronize our movements, Nick fucking me fucking Ky...

K'thyri screams suddenly and her hips are in frenetic motion, fucking herself hard on my cock, while I can barely breathe, caught between her and Nick, pleasured at both sides... I can feel her cum moments before she shakes and trembles and shrieks and I thank the gods, not for the first time, that there are no neighbors within earshot.... She slithers off my cock and comes back to watch Nick fuck me, her fingers back in her pussy, stroking herself so we can both watch....

"Oh gods, lovers, that's so fucking sexy, see how hot you've made me? Gods, I wish Raina was here, I'd eat that sweet little cunt till she passed out! Mmmmm... yeah, take it, lover, take it up your tight ass! I want to watch you cum together, and I want to watch you switch places and fuck some more... gods, I can't believe how much this turns me on, I love you both so fucking much.... Yeah, Nick, fuck that tight ass, make him cum!" She strokes her hands over both of us, touching and teasing, kissing anywhere her lips can reach, caught up in the eroticism of the moment, drunk with pleasure... She slips her mouth over my cock and I gasp; Nick roars and blasts my ass full of hot cum; I hover on the peak for one eternal second, then it slams through me and I cum and cum and cum. It's too much for Ky's mouth to hold; she pulls back and the remainder catches her face and tits. She gives a long shivery moan and her eyes roll backward in her head... then she throws herself on top of us, one big pile of naked limbs and kisses us indiscriminately... sated.

But only for the moment.....

Ramji and Laila are back on the dance floor, leaving Pandora and Ob alone at their table. The Gargoyle licks slowly along Pandora's neck as she looks around the room. Ike and Monty are back behind the bar, flushed from the encounter that she didn't quite hide from the Kin. Then again, he doubts anyone is paying attention. Afterall, they all are a little... busy.

Mi amor... you like when I am a *bárbaro in the bedroom, si? She shivers and turns her face up for a kiss. He chuckles, the rumble coming from deep, making her shift into his lap. I take that as a si. His tail slides around her ankle, the tip tickling its way upward until she feels the unseen appendage pressing against her panties. She spreads her legs slightly in response. Si... that is mi Mujer. You are my slut, aren't you? Pandora doesn't answer. She doesn't have too. There is a surge of lust mixed with love that infuses his mind. Stroking a large hand along her stomach, he fills her with the image of his tail pressing in, filling her like a second cock as she rolls her hips to grind on his lap. Mi Bruha... no bedroom tonight. Tonight... He thrusts the image of his tail slowly, fucking her mind as he would later fuck her body. He brushes his lips along her ear, switching from private channel to verbal, knowing she would know anyone with good hearing would pick up what he was going to say next.

His words are soft, a mere growl in her ear. "Tonight you are going to find yourself chained to a wall downstairs in a playroom, spread open to my mercies. Trust me, Bruha, my mercies will not be all that tender. I am looking forward to hearing you scream for me."

From his mind she picks the image of herself bound to a wall, clips on her nipples and clit. Ob stands before her in his tribal robes, a soft flanged flogger held loosely in his hand. With a moan Pandora nods as her body shudders through an orgasm from his mental toying.


Ky is totally blown away by what just happened. Over the past couple of months, she's gotten used to making love with Nick and Gareth and Raina - but this is her first threesome with both guys, and so far it's amazing.

Truthfully, when she watched the guys make love - about a year ago - she was underwhelmed. It didn't repulse her, but it didn't turn her on either. But now - now that she's discovered that she loves them both, watching them get it on has made her soooo fucking wet.... And the emotion that welled up in her just now, watching them... it sweeps her away on a tidal wave of love that she never thought herself capable of experiencing.

K'thyri is an instinctive creature, not given to long bouts of introspection. She tends to act on impulse, which has occasionally gotten her into trouble, and - until now, anyway - her relationships have been mostly short-lived and sporadic, more about lust than love. But now, for maybe the first time, she feels a part of something larger than herself, something akin to the camaraderie she experienced being part of the Wyldfae "army", but more inclusive.

 It feels like she's come home.

She wants both of them with a fervor that surprises her. It's not that she never considered a threesome with them before now - she has, many times - but the reality of it far surpasses anything she's ever fantasized. Watching Nick suck Gareth off with such unmistakable love... Sure, passion and lust are a part of it, that was clear, too; she could tell by the looks on their faces, in their eyes - and it was the same look they had when they looked at her, or at Raina. Ky is a good judge of character; she couldn't have survived so long if she wasn't - and what she sees in them is love, pure and simple and potent as hell.

And sexy as hell.

She's always thought of herself as a cynic when it came to love. She's seen way too many times when "I love you" translated to "I want to fuck you" and nothing more. Not that she repudiated the existence of love, exactly - but she always felt that for most people it was a form of self-deception, a way to pretty up some basic needs and drives. She took pride in the fact that she didn't buy into the self-deception... when she was horny, she found someone to fuck, and she enjoyed it, and she moved on without trying to make more of it than a night's fun. But this... this is different. She accepted that awhile ago after she and Nick finally made love; but even now, it surprises her with its intensity. What used to be just sex, just a way to scratch an itch, has become something deeper, more profound... a giving of her whole self, not just her body....

As before, it begins with kisses.

Ky has wondered what it is about Nick... despite the rage she senses within him, he has a way of kissing her that is so gentle that it practically lifts her right out of her body, makes her feel both intensely horny, yet content to wait for the next kiss... and the next... and the next. It's not vampire wiles, it's something more integral to the man himself. It's one of the reasons she now spends at least one night a week with Nick; those kisses are downright addictive - slow and tender, passionate and intense, they make her feel cherished even while they make her heart race.

His lips are cold fire, just the lightest brush at first... then, as if his hunger for her overwhelms him, the kisses become more intense, more demanding. His fingers curl into her hair to pull her tighter, his lips coming down hard on hers, taking her breath. She writhes against him, her skin hot against the coolness of his flesh. His tongue plunders her mouth fiercely, his free hand caressing her nakedness, making her even wetter. She moans into his mouth as he plucks her nipples lightly... She grinds against the thickness of his cock; from the corner of her eye she can see Gareth sitting in an armchair, stroking his cock as he watches them, a half-smile on his face. The sight inflames her further and Nick's lips move to her throat. She holds her breath, dreading yet craving the danger one moment of weakness could bring.

Her knees give way suddenly, only Nick's grip holding her upright. Sensing the change, he slackens his hold and she slowly kisses her way down his body, using her teeth to draw soft cries from him. Nick's not afraid of pain - giving or receiving - so long as it adds up to greater pleasure in the end. She opens her mouth as she comes level with his shaft, taking the head between her wet lips and licking; he stiffens and his fingers curl into her hair again. She sucks slowly, lovingly, taking more and more with each downward thrust. His cock fills her mouth and overflows into her throat; she continues sucking, undeterred. She motions with one hand to where Gareth is watching and she hears the chair creak as he leaves it, moves over to kneel beside her. She places a hand at the back of his neck, bringing him closer... He smiles as he sense her intent and as she pulls away he moves in to capture Nick's hardness. Ky goes lower, to lick and suck Nick's balls. Gareth moves slowly, but with surety, taking Nick deep into his mouth, stroking his tongue along the length of him... moving to take him all in, then backing up with equal slowness till only the head remains between his lips. Ky watches, her fingers busy between her legs, afire with love and lust and she knows not what else.... She aches to have them both. She's had other threesomes with other men, and she's spoken to Raina about her threesomes with Nick and Gareth, and she knows she won't be disappointed; but she doesn't want to rush straight to the end. As Gareth rises, she takes Nick in her mouth again. The vampire stands steady as a rock, but he moans and groans as she works his cock. Her blood is on fire with desire and she wonders why she waited so long to do this. Gareth cups her breasts from behind, pinches and twists her nipples and she moans with Nick deep in her throat. Her juices are running down her thighs now... no, not yet. She wants to taste Nick's cum again, this time with Gareth to share it with her. Seeing her men together has given her a powerful jolt of whatever it is that fuels lust and she's like a thing crazed, wanting to suck and fuck till the dawn puts an end to their play.

Gareth takes the cock that she so reluctantly relinquishes and she watches again, her fingers and nails running over Nick's body, stroking at random. He writhes under her touch and Gareth's mouth and she can sense that it won't be long now. She moves in close, not wanting to miss the moment that he cums, wanting to share all of the intimacy of this moment....

Gareth pulls back, giving her room, and now the two of them lick together at Nick's pulsing shaft. His hands grip their hair, holding them in place, and she feels his whole body tense suddenly, a growl building in his chest... It slams through him suddenly and he roars as he cums. His juices are hot as lava as they spatter her cheek and Gareth's lips; she moves in closer, wanting more and is rewarded with a jet of cum right in her mouth, another dripping down her chin. Gareth moves in again and his face is painted with the last spurts as the vampire finally relaxes; then the elf's mouth is fierce on hers as he kisses her, tasting Nick's cum in her mouth. It races through her veins like lightning and their kisses become hotter, more frenzied, hands groping frantically. Nick joins them and the kissing extends to him, too.

"Will one of you please fuck me?" The cry is torn from her soul.