Chapter Thirty-Six: By Any Other Name
Ugh, go away! I groan internally as, yet again, my manager looms over me like some conceited gargoyle.
“I think I got it now, Jim,” I say as nicely as possible. When his brow furrows, I realize I could have sounded a little nicer, “Counting down a till isn’t that hard,” I try again to be both kind and dismissive. His presence makes my skin crawl, but I know Godric is picking me up tonight, so I’m a bit more confident about pushing against his infringement of my personal space.
Jim stands up straight, walks around me, and then leans against the wall of the counting room. I want to roll my eyes when he juts his hips outward in a ‘relaxed stance’ leaning against the wall. Get your dick out of my face! I think irritably while I count as fast as I can, checking my totals against my printout.
Once I’m done, I shove the tray at Jim and cross my arms over my chest petulantly while he takes it to the saferoom. Standing, I stomp back out to the floor to pick up the trash I neglected before closing. I’d been too busy before the doors locked, so I decided to do it while Jim finished with his nightly totals and paperwork.
I hold my hand to my face when I enter the little room with the garbage chute, a handy access panel that lets you throw stuff in the dumpster without having to leave the building. It smells disgusting in here, this sour, rotting stench that curdles in your nose. I’ve only been working here two weeks, but I don’t think I’ll ever get used to this smell.
Opening the hatch to the chute, I throw the bags of trash down the short passageway and snap it shut quickly. When I turn to leave, I let out a little shriek and clutch at my heart. Jim is standing on the other side of the door, staring at me through the little window that keeps employees from smacking each other with the door. Before my heart can calm, Jim flings the swinging door open and stomps into the trash room beside me.
“I-I’m done in here,” I tell him nervously. Why is he in here?
“No, you’ll always belong right here,” Jim laughs at his tasteless joke. Did he just call me white trash? I wonder in confusion. “And if you ever talk to me again like you did earlier, I’ll make sure you spend more time in here,” he says, losing his previous humor.
“Talk like what?” I snap irritably. “If you didn’t stand on top of me, maybe I wouldn’t have to tell you to back off!”
He takes a step closer to me and I take a step back, my shoulders pressing against the wall. Ewww! Garbage juice… On my back!
“Get out of my face,” I tell Jim firmly.
“Or what?” Jim demands, a smug grin on his face.
My entire face tightens into a scowl, “If you touch me, I’ll scream bloody murder, and my boyfriend will rip you apart!”
Jim snorts, reaching for me, “I call your bluff.”
I swear to God, I had no idea I had a horror movie-worthy scream in me. Fortunately, that’s exactly what pierces the air and Jim flinches away at first, probably in surprise. His hesitation only lasts a second though, then he slaps me across the face, silencing me. One of my hands reaches up to hold the stinging part of my face while the other tries to swat at his fingers after he starts grabbing at me. Eventually, I’m fighting with both hands and his grasps become less taunting and more intentional. He’s really trying to put his hands on me now!
“GODRIC!” I yell after one of my hands gets pinned to the disgusting wall. “GODRIC!” I scream again, shutting my eyes in pain once his other hand grips me by the throat to shut me up.
The pain is short-lived, though, and before I fall into full-blown panic, I feel Jim’s hand leave my throat. I blink my eyes open and there’s my Godric, yanking this scumball off me. My hand touches my neck, finding it a little tender while my vampire is throwing Jim out of the disgusting room and stomping after him.
“Place your hands on her again and I will remove them from your wrists!” Godric snarls, “She quits. Fuck off!” I’m still standing in the garbage room like an idiot when Godric comes back to me. He touches my wrist when he comes to stand in front of me and my hand drops to show him whatever damage my body’s sustained. “A few light bruises, but nothing too painful,” he assesses calmly and maybe I’m a little disappointed he’s not angrier. “Come, Camilla,” he takes my hand and leads me out of the store.
I don’t spot any broken windows or doors, then realize he must have picked his way in or something. My heart sinks further. My safety didn’t even warrant a frantic need to come to my aide? I realize miserably. Jim was about to rape me and Godric took the time to pick the lock. He didn’t even do anything more than push Jim away and issue a mild threat.
Godric opens the passenger door for me, although he seems to hesitate before stepping away to let me sit down. Once I’m seated, Godric shuts my door and moves to get behind the wheel.
“Are you all right, Camilla?” Godric asks softly before starting the car.
“Yes,” I whisper. If something like this doesn’t prove I’m anything more than a roommate, nothing ever will! I think in despair and tears start pouring out of my eyes. Dang it! I swipe at them angrily.
“Let me get you home-”
“Will you take me to Sookie’s?” I try to ask steadily, but my voice is breaking. I can’t be near you. It hurts too much!
“If that is what you wa-”
“I do,” I say quickly and brush away another annoying tear. When Godric’s hand reaches for mine comfortingly, I act as though I don’t notice and quickly cross my arms over my chest, keeping them out of his reach. His touch feels bitter. All he offers is comfort…
Godric looks hurt after I refuse his comfort, but I just lean my head against the window and stare out at the passing lights. If he knew how much it hurt to know the person you love only sees you as a friend, he might not have offered me his touch at all.
I listen while Godric calls either Eric or Sookie, I’m not sure which. All I know is he is speaking very softly, and he mumbles the word ‘attack’ as if he believes it will trigger something in me. He does remember my first memory is being naked and surrounded by vampires in a warehouse… Right? This experience falls very short of traumatizing for me. Tonight, Godric hurt me more than Jim ever could.
Once we arrive at the Northman Condo, as I call it, Sookie comes bounding out and flings open my door. She’s got her arms wrapped around me like a mama bear protecting her cub and I try to make her aware of my exasperation through my expression. Of course, she’s a telepath, so I guess I don’t need to use any expressions!
Sookie pulls away and gives me an appraising look, “What are-”
“Inside,” I tell her and stalk toward the front door. Eric watches me storm past, his eyebrows raised. He gives Godric a questioning look and the vampire who’s not mine lifts his shoulders, completely clueless.
Safely seated on Sookie’s couch, she brings me a cup of tea I guess she’d started making after Godric called. “What’s goin’ on?” she asks after I take the warm mug.
I capture my lip between my teeth and point to my head pleadingly. Her brow furrows, but she nods in agreement to just listen to my head, rather than make me talk. We do this from time to time, whenever I have something to say or ask and I don’t want the vampires knowing.
After she nods to let me know she is listening, I let her have it, all my worries and concerns, what really hurt me tonight, and why I can’t stay with Godric anymore. By the time she’s absorbed everything I think and feel about the situation, her head is in her hands and she groans.
“What?” I ask.
“Camilla,” she groans again, then reaches for a pad of paper. She jots down her message and turns it toward me.
~ He was going to ask you tonight if you would date him! Probably didn’t want to have the moment ruined- ~
Whatever the rest of her message says, I’ll never know because my heart is galloping in my chest. Godric was going to ask me out? Like out, out!? My lip is quivering, so I stand up and begin pacing. Oh, no! How will I get him to ask me now!?
“Patience,” Sookie whispers just softly enough that Godric and Eric would only hear if they’re paying close attention to our conversation. She points again to her note, so I finish reading it now that my anxiety is less distracting.
~ -by the events of tonight. Give him a few days, act normal, let him be reassured you are all right. After that, he’ll ask you.
As for the whole deal about him being “complacent” during your attack, Eric and Godric need to keep their cool, Cammie. Especially when they’re dealing with humans they can’t, or shouldn’t, kill. It’s very easy for them to accidentally kill humans. I guarantee Godric was reeling inside, but he really needs to keep himself in check. It’s a thing you learn to do after a millennium, I guess. ~
Okay, so Godric does want to date me and he was probably super-upset over what happened with Jim, more than just friend or roommate being upset.
“Think you’re ready to go home now?” Sookie asks me with a smile I think is a bit teasing.
“Yeah, I think I am,” I nod in agreement while mouthing, “Thank you!” She just grins and nods.
Sookie stands and walks me to the door. Godric and Eric are standing on the sidewalk, talking quietly with one another, so I wave goodbye to Sookie and apologize for the interruption.
“You always know where to find me when you need me,” Sookie reminds me sweetly.
She’s such a weird, but good, friend to have. Sookie is the kind of friend who mothers me, makes sure I’m eating, getting enough sleep, and that I’m happy. She’s also the kind of friend who teases me and is goofy and sweet… She’s my best friend in the whole world…
Camilla exits the condo, waving goodbye to Sookie, and looking much happier than when we arrived. “She looks better,” I murmur to Eric.
“Sookie is good for that,” he replies just as quietly, a soft smile on his face.
Before I can say anything else, Camilla is standing next to me, and I am forced to say goodnight to my Child. Unfortunately, I could have used more time with him. After the events of this evening, I do not know how to proceed after my earlier resolve.
Do I wait? How long? I wonder nervously while I hold Camilla’s door open. She smiles at me sweetly, gets in and sits down, folding her hands in her lap as I shut the door. At least Camilla seems in better spirits, even if I am still a blend of impatience and uncertainty. Impatient to claim her and uncertain if it is a poor time for doing so. Would having me make her feel happy? Is she feeling too vulnerable to accept what I would have to offer? Yes, a blend, or what I would deem a farrago.
Once I take my seat behind the wheel, a sigh of relief comes past my lips when Camilla takes my hand. I chance a glance at her and she smiles apologetically. What a relief for her to seek my touch!
While I drive, she continues holding my hand and I sense nervousness in her touch. Her thumb runs anxiously against the back of my hand, so I look at her worriedly. “Are you all right, Camilla?” I ask gently.
“Um, yeah,” she answers and gives my hand a squeeze as we arrive at the house. I quickly open her door for her and walk her into the house.
“You should go rest,” I tell her.
“Shower first,” she grumbles and goes toward the bathroom.
As soon as the water is running, I take out my phone and hit my third speed dial.
“Not traumatized, just waiting on you, Godric,” Sookie replies in her knowing tone that makes me doubt her inability to hear vampire minds.
“How did you-”
“Eric told me about your concerns after you left,” she replies simply, “Camilla was only distant before ’cause she thought she didn’t mean anythin’ to you. Go prove her wrong.”
“You really are quite meddlesome,” I sigh.
“I only meddle when people are bein’ stupid and you’re bein’ stupid. You deserve her. She wants you. Go get her!” She hangs up on me after that and I cannot help but chuckle.
When is the last time someone hung up on me? I wonder in delight.
It is with that thought I finally have the words I had desperately sought earlier this evening. Without thinking, I storm into the bathroom, making Camilla jump while she dries her hair. A thick, white towel is wrapped around her body and she clutches it modestly while the blowdryer clatters against the counter.
“Knock much?” Camilla snaps, fumbling to turn off the dryer.
“I apologize,” I mumble in embarrassment, “However, I need to speak with you and it is important.”
Camilla puts down the dryer and looks away from the mirror to look at me curiously, “Is something wrong?” she asks.
I shake my head. “No. Something is very right,” I take a step toward her and delight at the little catch in her breath.
“Godric,” Her voice trails off when I stand directly in front of her.
Without hesitating, I cup her heart-shaped face in my palms and look directly into her eyes, “I am the most unworthy creature you will ever meet, Camilla. I have done terrible things and I do not deserve any of the affection you could spare me… But, I beg you for it. I have been an Impervious Immortal for ten months and every day I feel some of the darkness of my past being chipped away by that blessing. Yet, after I met you and began spending time with you, that darkness was stripped from me so completely. Your light and warmth heal me more than the sun ever could. Please,” I whisper, “let me stay in your light.”
Camilla’s hands grip my wrists and I feel my hands being wrenched away from her face. Thankfully, before I can worry about rejection, she is pressing her lips against mine urgently. “Every day,” she murmurs against my mouth and her hands release me to tangle in the short strands of my hair. Frantically, I pull her body flush to mine and capture her in my arms, unwilling to let her go. She responds by wrapping her arms around my neck and braces herself to do the same with her legs around my waist.
“Camilla,” I groan as her mouth trails to the corner of my own and she begins to kiss across my cheek toward my throat.
“I have loved you for months,” she murmurs against my ear, “All I wanted to hear… Thank you, thank you…” She is kissing my ear and tugging the lobe between her teeth. “Take me to bed?”
An actual growl tears through my throat while I carry her out of the bathroom into my former bedroom. Camilla has effectively turned this into her own space, but I find it oddly suitable for me as well. Perhaps because I have loved her just as helplessly, I find everything about her just as lovely, even her taste in décor.
Quickly, I push her towel open and kiss along her bare flesh. My lips warm against the heat of her skin as I suckle and kiss her throat.
“Godric,” Camilla murmurs. “I want your blood. I want you to feel how much I love you,” she tells me pleadingly and I groan at her request. “Please, Godric,” she arches beneath me and I feel my fangs descend.
Eagerly, I slice my tongue on a pointed incisor and plunge it into Camilla’s mouth. Her ecstatic moan as she tastes my blood resounds in my heart when I feel her emotions bloom inside me. It is healing and beautiful to have her enveloping my soul and that is why I do not notice when she cuts her tongue against my fang.
When I taste her blood, I pull away, feeling her presence within me lock itself into the beginnings of our ritual, “Camilla, did you…”
“Every day,” she reminds me of her promise, “if you want me.”
I kiss her…hard. My body is moving against hers with a desperate necessity at her resolve. My hands are tracing all her curves, earning small gasps and moans as they impatiently explore her flesh.
“Ah, slow,” Camilla gasps, taking hold of my hands and easing my eagerness. She brings my hands to her lips, kissing my palms. “Slow,” she urges gently and I take a deep, calming breath. I remind myself that though her body may or may not be virginal, her mind is another matter. She has no memories of being bedded and I will be the only one to make love with Camilla.
A soft smile touches my lips and I lean down to kiss her gently. “Yes,” I agree, sliding my hands up her body to cradle her head. I kiss her again and again until her limbs wrap tightly around me once more.
I begin kissing down the length of her body. At each landmark, I pay great attention. Her clavicles, breasts, navel, and hover only briefly at her sex before pushing her legs wide open. I glance up to find her watching me intently with her dilated eyes. Her mouth is parted slightly, panting softly as I stare up at her. As my tongue reaches out to lick at her folds, I see her hold her breath, and it makes me smile.
She is already so wet, coating my tongue with her arousal. I prod with my tongue and fingers, suckling, nibbling, and stroking her until her body arches like a harp. My fingers are gliding effortlessly in and out of her opening. Her legs are shaking, and her chest is falling and rising rapidly.
“Do I excite you this much, Camilla?” I tease between caresses of my tongue.
“Yes,” she whines as my fingers flex inside of her.
I could give her this sweet torture until daybreak and still not be satisfied. Luckily for her, I am just as excited and impatient to unite our bodies. That is why I end my mouth’s efforts and begin kissing my way up to meet her lips.
“Now, Camilla?” I ask, my lips moving against hers with my words. I let my fingers graze tauntingly against her carotid.
“YES!” she shouts, and I smile as my hand trails from her throat, down her abdomen and finally between her legs once more. This time, however, I take my own sex into my hand and rub it tauntingly against her wetness. “Ah,” Her hands tighten in my hair and I feel her walls barring me from entering. I lick her throat briefly and she relaxes enough that I may start feeling her heat surrounding me. Her body resists again, and I feel her hold her breath.
I chuckle against her ear, “You are being stubborn, Mila…” She whimpers at my new pet name for her, but I nibble my way from her throat to her shoulder to earn more of those sweet noises. My hand pinches and plucks at her nipple until Camilla’s legs wrap about my hips and pull me inside. “Thank you,” I whisper against her ear while her heat envelopes me.
“I’m s-sorry,” she is staring into my eyes, and I feel a strange surge of disappointment from her.
“Why are you sorry?” I ask of her. “You are amazing!”
“I-I,” she whispers, but is still holding me as if scared. I see the conflict in her eyes and wonder about her regrets I sense.
“Why are you upset, Mila?” I murmur soothingly in her ear.
Her lip quivers while she meekly replies, “It didn’t hurt.”
“I am glad,” I smile.
“You’re not the first one in here,” she tells me, “That makes me sad.”
I capture her lips with mine, drawing her into a slow, comforting kiss, “As far as either of us knows, I am, and always will be, the only one who has had my Camilla.”
Camilla’s arms and legs tighten around me and she draws my head to rest against her shoulder. I kiss there, gently rocking the both of us until her hold loosens, and I can move unobstructed.
“Go-God!” Her fists clench in the bedding while I move inside of her. Her spine arches, so her hips meet mine at a heavenly angle that brings a sob to her lips.
“Camilla meum,” I groan against her shoulder, kissing and licking while her body tightens around mine. “Mea, mea!” My voice is coming in sharp pants against her ear as my mind is lost within my heart. My Camilla. Mine, mine! “In perpetuum!” Forever!
Her inner walls flex around me as Camilla cries out, then her entire body jerks in an abrupt orgasm, telling me it is time to lose myself in her, at last. Clutching her tightly against my body, my hips press upward to fill her. My erection throbs pleasurably, emptying my gratification inside her ravenous channel.
She stares up at me, catching her breath, the towel she had been wearing still beneath her. “Whoa,” she finally utters when she has the breath to do so.
I smile, lean in, and kiss the corner of her mouth. “Yes. Whoa,” is my agreement.
Her mouth seeks out mine, kissing me slowly as her eyes gloss over. She stares at me while we kiss and I stare right back until she moans and begins to shift away. Camilla turns her back to me, wrapping my arms around her as if I am her blanket. My member folds neatly between the crease of her buttocks and I quickly appreciate the position.
“Tell me something?” Camilla asks me. “Anything from your past I should know,” she requests.
One of my hands begins to palm her breast while I consider her demand. There are many things from my past she should know and will know… Yet, in this moment, I want to bask in the glow of our lovemaking, not ruin it with my darkness. As my mind gropes for one beautiful memory, I feel Camilla’s body go boneless within my arms, and she is quickly asleep.
Grateful for my reprieve, I plant a gentle kiss against her shoulder, and pull her a little tighter to myself. I have no words at this moment other than ones of love. I do not want to visit my darkness, nor tour her through that gloom. For now, all I want is to hold this sunlight in my arms through the night and pretend for only a moment that I did something to deserve her. Thankfully her repose has given me just that and I kiss her one more time in gratitude.