Light Up the Night
Drew woke up growling. Heather squeaked in surprise as he grabbed her, his hands closing hard on her shoulders.
“Hey, it’s okay,” she said quickly, soothingly. “It’s me.” She placed a gentle hand against his chest as he held her away from him, staring blankly at her face. Beneath her fingers, his heart thundered. She could scent his arousal wafting from his skin. But she could also see the emergent vampire in the flash of hematite that had overtaken his normally dark gray eyes, and it made her wary. “It’s just me.”
After a moment, those gleaming eyes shuttered. A shiver ran through him. His throat worked as he fought for control. At last, he sighed and shook his head. And when he opened his eyes again, fixing her with a pained, unhappy look, she could tell he was back to normal—or mostly, anyway. “Heather. Ye gods.” Sighing heavily, he let her go—thrusting her away, probably a little harder than he realized. “I’m so sorry,” he groaned as he sat up and swung his feet to the floor. “That was…unplanned. I didn’t expect to sleep so late. I thought I’d be out of bed before you woke up.”
“It’s okay,” she said, propping herself up on one elbow. It had been oddly hot seeing him get worked up like that, even hotter watching him fight his demon for control—and win. “I’m glad you were here.”
There was so much she still needed to learn about being a vampire. So much that she could learn from him, perhaps, if he were willing to teach her. But, right now, she wished he’d lie back down beside her. He seemed so far away! She wished her leg wasn’t splinted and she could maneuver with ease. She wished for a lot of things.
“It was nice waking up with you,” she told him. And it was—aside from the initial terror. “If I’d been alone, and not able to get up, I might have freaked out.”
Of course, waking up to a good morning kiss would have been even better. Could she still call it that? Even if it wasn’t actually morning? And, speaking of kissing, was it too late to ask for one? Or was that totally out of the question? Judging by the rigid set of his shoulders, it probably was.
“Yes, well.” Drew sighed again and shook his head. “That’s as may be. It was still unwise. But never mind that; how are you? Are you feeling any better? I didn’t hurt you, did I?”
“I’m fine. A little better, I think. And no; of course, you didn’t hurt me.”
He frowned at that. “Heather, there’s no ‘of course’ about it. You need to understand this. You startled me. I wasn’t expecting it and could very easily have hurt you.”
“I know you could have. But we both know you wouldn’t. And I could’ve hurt you too, come to that. But it didn’t happen, so what are we even arguing about?”
“Not arguing,” he said sounding unexpectedly grumpy, as he bent to pick his shirt off the floor. “But no, ‘we’ do not know that. And I, for one, am not willing to risk it.”
Heather smiled. “Whatever you say.” He clearly believed that. While she…did not.
“Just be careful,” Drew continued, gazing at her with a sad sort of smile as he shrugged into the garment. “All right? For my sake, if not your own.”
Heather’s lips quirked. “Now, what’s that supposed to mean?”
“It means that I couldn’t bear to see you hurt again—that’s what. And if something were to happen to you at my hands? I…” He paused and shook his head. “No. Just, no. I’m begging you; don’t let that happen. Please.”
“Got it,” she said, hoping to lighten the mood. “Note to self: next time you’re in Drew’s bed be sure you wake him up sloooowly.”
“What?” He paused in the act of getting out of bed to stare openmouthed at her. He looked horrified at the thought. “No! That’s not even a remote possibility. That’s not at all what I meant!”
Heather rolled her eyes, doing her best to hide her disappointment—but that look on his face hurt, damn it. “It was a joke,” she informed him loftily—which was at least partially true.
“Oh? I mean, yes. Of course, it was,” Drew said, not meeting her eyes. He seemed to be focusing very hard on buttoning his shirt. “How else could you have meant it? Sorry. I don’t know where my head’s at this evening.”
Neither do I, Heather thought as she eyed him critically. “Dude. What are you doing? Take that off. That shirt’s had it.” Which was putting it nicely. It was a full-on disaster—wrinkled and bloodstained. Stained with her blood, she realized, which made her feel oddly queasy. Some vampire you’re turning out to be, she scolded herself as she lay back down, shielding her eyes with an arm across her face. I’m not cut out for this bloodsucking life. I’m really not. “I’m serious, you can’t wear that. You’re creeping me out. Will you please put something else on?”