Raphe's Love Language
The crisp scent of blood mingled with the sweet perfume of her sweat hung in the air. Hues of gold and wheat hair lay upon cobalt silk sheets, strands pressed to her smooth, porcelain skin. The only colors in her cheeks were put there by my hand or flog or teeth. Whoever thought fucking a senator’s daughter would be so accelerating.
“Angela, baby, does your daddy know what you do?” I trailed my nails down the curves of her back, and then, biting my lip, I smacked her ass.
She released a cry of exalted bliss. “If my dad knew what I did he’d send me to a convent.”
“You’ll just have to punish me more.” She got up on all fours, arching her back. Her firm ass begged for more bruising. Where was the fun in that?
My shoulders relaxed. The hum began low in my gut. A tingle, like an appendage trying to wake, spread up and out. It yawned and stretched within me. The shift bent the light, doubling particles, cells, and my very essence. In a blink there were two of me. I stepped back, melding into the world around me as if I were a chameleon. Angela was oblivious. She made due with my doppelganger.
Slipping out of the dungeon, I walked down the hall to the bathroom. It was black marble with white veins. The cool floor was a welcome change from the heat of the sex-filled room. A glass shower with room ran the length of the far wall. There were five rain showerheads that changed colors. I preferred blue. I used the remote control to turn the shower on and set the temperature.
With a hand on the counter, the man in the mirror caught my eye. Lean, pale, and strong, but over the hundreds of years I neglected who I am. Why bother? Not like anyone else gave a shit.
I threw the remote. It smashed to pieces above the toilet.
Anouke rushed in. “Raphe, you okay?” She saw the broken remote. Her brown hair was tied up in pigtails. She had wrapped her kimono loose. She was entertaining the governor.
“Yeah. It slipped.”
“Okay.” Her expression said ‘Slipped my ass’. “If you need anything Stacey is downstairs.”
I closed the distance between us. My ghouls meant the world to me. They were all I had. Placing my hands on either cheek, I tilted down her face. I kissed her forehead. She was mine. I ran my thumb across her bottom lip. “Join me.”
After our shower I was surprised to see my dungeon empty. Angela’s scent clung to the air. She hadn’t left long ago, but she did leave me a letter. I hated letters.
You are cordially invited to the Sunderland Hospital Groundbreaking Ceremony. This is black tie. A limo will pick you up tomorrow night at 7pm.
A woman gracefully tickled the keys of a grand piano. Beside her a man, dressed in a tuxedo, sang Seven Years originally sung by Lukas Graham. From the ceiling hung a giant crystal chandelier. A rainbow of orchids decorated tall centerpieces on white tables. For a groundbreaking ceremony there was not a speck of dirt.
I checked for fly-aways. My long, black hair was pinned at the base of my neck. Then I smoothed my tie, caressing the wolf tiepin.
“You look perfect. Champaign?”
I recognized the woman’s voice from television. A quick pivot revealed Sunderland Hospital CEO, Elizabeth Sunderland. Her crimson hair was tied neatly in a French twist. I don’t believe she wore any other style. Her gown was black. It revealed nothing but curves. A black silk overlay wrapped her neck and criss-crossed her chest only to fall lazily down her frame. Someone needed to show this twenty-something how to unwind. She dressed more like a rich fifity-something.
One thin brow rose without wrinkling her forehead. She offered me the Champaign flute. “Take the campaign. Walk with me, Raphe. It is the least you can do when your hostess compliments you.”
I accepted the glass and walked beside her. “You had Angela pass along the invite?”
“Nothing escapes you.” She escorted me to the last table. With a smooth gesture she insisted I sit. Her cool gray eyes implied the insistence. She sat in the corner. “I believe we have business that can be beneficial to one another.”
“I don’t do hospitals.”
“How about blood banks? Yes, I know what you are. I know about the Cabal and The Order. I also know why you picked Angela to fuck the last few nights and it has nothing to do with her blonde hair or blue eyes.”
I shifted in my seat. “Excuse me.”
“Her name.” She took a sip without taking her eyes off mine.
“What about her name?”
“Are you playing coy with me or yourself?”
I knew what she meant. Veronica’s name was Angela when she human. I read her entire diary. The question is how does Ms. Sunderland know. “What do you want with me, Elizabeth?”
She sat back, shoulders straight, folding her hands in her lap. Elizabeth was still and pristine. “Protection.”
“And in return you’ll provide access to blood banks. What do you need protection from?” I folded my arms across my chest.
One side of her mouth curled. “Lucian. I’ll even sweeten the pot. I’ll hand over the woman who broke you on a silver platter.”
There was a God. “Sweetheart, you’re speaking my love language. Please continue.”