Dante awoke remembering yet another dream, he could smell roses and other flowers and pondered for a long moments where the scents were coming from before he climbed out of his luxurious bed. From there it was a short walk over to the en suite bathroom. He discarded his sleepwear and stepped under the hot water of the pulsing shower. Covering the sponge with his favourite shower gel he washed quickly before climbing out of the shower and into the bedroom once more. Discarding the towel he’d wrapped around his body he reached for clothes from his large wardrobe. Jeans, black of course, and a T-shirt, with the little designer logo giving away that it wasn’t just an ordinary top. From there he padded barefoot through the house and down the stairs.
Jarvis, of course was in the kitchen and Dante couldn’t help but notice the other man’s tiredness, and there was something else about him tonight. He reached out psychically into the other man’s mind and felt rebuffed by the imaginary brick wall he encountered there.
“Is there a problem, Sir?”
Although Jarvis’s words were cordial Dante smiled at the polite refrain in his words.
“No, no problem,” Dante said with a small smile.
He stepped silently over to the tall large fridge and took out a bottle of his particular red. Closing his lips over the end of the cork he pulled and removed the cork with a slow pop sound before spitting it out. He caught sight of Jarvis’s expression and chuckled at the disapproval on his face.
“Jarvis, come now, you’ve seen me do worse that drink from a bottle,” he murmured amusement dripping from every word.
“I have Sir, however it is best not to dwell on the past.”
Again Dante felt a rebuke in his friend’s words and nodded once before sitting opposite him and watched the other man polishing one of his silver pieces. Not that he touched the stuff, although Silver couldn’t harm vampires he had no wish to incur Jarvis’s wrath should he mark a carefully polished piece.
“Where is the paper?” He asked changing the subject.
Jarvis looked at him and then with very careful movements he placed down the silver piece he was polishing and eased just at carefully to his feet. Moving across to the sink he washed his hands and dried them before walking to the other side of the room and taking out the Times newspaper and placing it within reach of Dante.
“Will there be anything else, Sir?” He asked.
“Do I detect a hint of reproof in your voice Jarvis?”
“No, Sir, of course not,” Jarvis winced as he heard his own tone of voice and caught Dante looking at him.
“If I were to describe the expression on your face now I would have to go with guilt. Is there something you are feeling guilty about?”
“So there is, out with it Jarvis,” Dante paused and sniffed the air again, “And why am I getting the smell of flowers here? Have you changed something in here?”
Jarvis took a step back, his mouth dropping open.
“You can smell flowers?” he asked forgetting to add his customary ‘Sir’.
“Yes Jarvis, I can, now stop avoiding my questions and just tell me what the hell is going on!”
Jarvis moved unsteadily back to his chair and eased into it. He looked down on the scarred wooden service seeing the half polished silver and slowly sucked in a sustaining breath.
“I may have ordered some flowers,” Jarvis began.
“Because I felt, Sir, that perhaps…”
Dante slammed his hand down flat on the table hard enough for a crack to appear in the aged wood. The sound reverberated around the kitchen like a gunshot and immediately Dante regretted the show of temper. He frowned as he felt the prick of his fangs against his tongue and forced himself to relax, to scale down his feelings.
“I sent them to her,” Jarvis gasped out.
“Wait, what?” Dante stood quickly pushing against the table which moved across the floor. He frowned again noting the descent of his fangs once more and the chair he’d been sitting on balanced on two legs for precious seconds before clattering to the floor. “You did what?” Dante roared.
“How can you smell them?” Jarvis asked in a soft quiet voice.
Dante roared again his fists clenching. His chest heaved as he drew in a sharp breath a part of him urging himself to calm down. As he closed his eyes he was aware of the heavy rose perfume swirling around him and something else, something lighter, mixing with it, like the flowers were being arranged in front of him. Pulling away from Jarvis he strode over to the front door and yanked it open, almost tearing it off its hinges. It slammed back against the plasterwork as he strode out into the dark night.
“But Sir,” Jarvis called out to him, “Your shoes!”
Dante heard the words dropping as he ran along the streets. He knew where he was going and how fast he was running. The scent of flowers was driving him crazy. He had to see them and see her, even though he’d sworn to himself that he wasn’t going to.
He found himself standing outside her house, the upstairs light was on, meaning that she was in bed and he moaned as immediate thoughts about how she’d be dressed, how she’d be lying in a double bed, her head on the pillow and the look in her eyes flashed inside his head. As he lost himself in his tumbling thoughts the door opened and she stood there in front of him. Pacing over the road to her he pulled her across the threshold of the door and into his arms.
“Dammit,” he cursed before his lips descended on to hers.
He heard the blood singing round her body, heard the beat of her heart and instead of the bloodlust that had cursed him for years all he thought of was owning her body, of driving himself inside her over and over until he pleasured both of them.
‘Stop,’ he heard the soft word inside his head and recoiled. “What the hell?”
“Dante,” Beth murmured softly.
“I heard you,” he growled.
“I didn’t say anything.”
“Not even stop?”
Beth moaned and stepped back, as she did so she felt her foot touching the rim of the door behind her and she stumbled feeling his hands reaching out for her immediately. She gasped at the speed of his reflexes.
“I thought it,” she whispered.
Dante looked at her with a strange expression on his face. Now that she wasn’t going to fall he released his hands from her arms and eased away from her.
“Think something else,” he demanded and caught her giving him a haughty look at his imperious tone.
“There did you get it?” She asked him after a moment.
“No,” Dante shook his head, slightly relieved that it hadn’t worked.
“Maybe,” She paused pushing a hand through her hair before leaning forward and placing her lips on to his.
‘we need to be touching’ the words ran through his mind and he gasped and recoiled from them breaking the contact with her.
“How is this possible?” He gasped out.
Beth gave him a puzzled look, her soft blues eyes meeting with his.
“You mean it doesn’t…” she trailed off and gave him another look before smiling softly. “Come in,” she invited.
“I can’t,” Dante shook his head.
“Because if I come in we’ll make love and I can’t risk…”
“Risk?” she whispered.
Dante blew out a breath slowly. Her heart was beating faster; he could hear her blood moving round her body. See the throbbing pulse in her neck. He watched fascinated, seeing her swallow compulsively and then his move crashed on to hers once more. Her hands moved between them before he captured one and pressed it against his chest feeling her flinch at the touch of his cool flesh under his top. She moved her fingers and then gasped against his lips. Tearing her mouth away from his and shaking her head in confusion she finally looked up into his fierce gaze.
“You have no heartbeat!”
“I have no heartbeat,” he told her mirroring her words.
“How,” she gasped again and this time stepped back across the threshold of her doorstep her arms folding around herself. Shaking her head again before she asked, “Why did you come here tonight?”
“I smelt flowers,” Dante said quietly feeling her withdrawal from him like it was a sword blow. Cutting and sharp. He tried not to think of the way her lips felt under his, the way her blood sang to him and the way his body reacted. Not with fangs and blood lust but with kisses and slow building passion. All of this was new, unusual and he couldn’t deal with it. He didn’t know where they were going.
They? He questioned himself. They? There was no ‘they’. Never would be. He should bite her and drain her and that would be the end of it. Except why had she come out to him?
He had no idea he’d spoken the words aloud until she looked at him and gave a small innocent smile.
“I felt you were here,” she explained not understanding any of this.
Dante was lost. He looked into her eyes. Her lips, swollen from his earlier kisses looked inviting again and he couldn’t stop himself from stepping forward and pulling her into his arms. His lips pressed against hers, softer this time, but with the same passion as he plundered her mouth, taking it for his own. The pleasure built and mounted just from the taste of her lips. He moved forward pressing her against the door unable to bring himself to step inside despite her timid invitation. Her body fit his in so many ways, her lips fit his lips, her hands fit inside his hands and as he eased a leg between hers his mind wondered how else they would fit together.
Just as suddenly as he thought that he eased back and released her. There had to be some control, some boundaries between them. Looking down he noticed that he wasn’t wearing shoes and laughed suddenly.
“I should, we er, it’s…” Beth stuttered.
“I need to go, Beth, my Beth,” Dante reached out and traced his thumb against the fullness of the bottom lip. He felt the tremble that wove through her and knew that he could do what he wanted to her. The storm of primitive passion rose within him once more and this time he felt his fangs descend and press against his own bottom lips. The singing of her blood called to him and his nostrils flared as he inhaled her feminine scent. To be this close to her was dangerous and tempting, oh so tempting. “Have dinner with me?” He asked slowly.
“Dinner? You eat?”
He smirked as she blushed at her own question before nodding once.
“I’ll have a car sent for you,” he announced. “Seven o’clock,” he added and then with a final swift kiss on her lips he moved away.
“Why did you send me flowers?” Beth called.
“Ah, ask me tomorrow night!” Dante’s voice reached her even though he’d disappeared from view and she retreated into the safety of her house.