So I totally dropped the ball yesterday. I really didn’t intend to skip out on my daily write but it’s been a hectic type of weekend, so yeah. Even though I took yesterday off from work, I don’t feel very rested. It was one of those days off. Anyway, in order to remedy the situation, today’s post will be a bit longer than usual.
This post will go without a prompt. Instead it’s a scene that popped into my head during one of my long drives over the past few days. Lucky for me the scene applies to A Vampire’s Bride.
CW: Suggestive language/situations/themes ahead!
Maybe it was the training sessions with the other villagers, or maybe my mind is finally cracking under the pressure. Whatever the reason, I’ve started dreaming of Niklaus. Constantly. That’s not to say I’ve never dreamt of him before but these are different. Where once the dreams consisted of fearing for his life, seeing him bloodied and beaten, these are…different. Not entirely unpleasant, at least not during the dream. It’s when I’m awake that I’m uncomfortable. I wonder if he can tell.
Our latest training session ended on a high note. The others have taken to Nadya and Niklaus almost as quickly as I did. Layla especially seems to have formed a bond with Nadya – both their faces light up whenever they meet. Everyone else is much more comfortable around them, too. No one fears for their lives during sessions anymore, and if they do they hide it well. Thanks to the smooth progress we’ve been making, Niklaus has been considerably less moody. He’s still cautious – especially around me – but there’s a visible ease on his face now.
“I’ll go ahead.” Nadya loads up her horse with supplies. “You can walk Ariella back to her house.” The three of us usually linger back once everyone’s gone to discuss the progress and what we’ll be teaching the following night. Normally they would both escort me back. Niklaus gives his sister a look, and she simply smirks. “What? I thought you’d appreciate some time alone.”
She shrugs before riding off. My face heats up, and I look away to avoid eye contact with Niklaus, silently cursing Nadya. She knows about the dreams – I’ve confided in her about them – and there’s no denying she’s left us alone because of them.
If he knows I’m uncomfortable, he doesn’t say anything. Instead, he offers me his horse so I don’t have to walk back. We’ve gone farther out into the woods for our sessions, as far from prying eyes as is safe for the others. Though I’m squirming in my seat, the silence between us is comfortable, familiar. It’s not until now that I realize we haven’t had time alone in weeks. That we haven’t touched outside of sparring in just as long. Maybe that’s why I’ve been having those dreams.
“You’re quiet tonight. Is everything okay?” He looks up at me, and for a split second his eyes reflect that reluctance to get close. His constant worry that I’m afraid.
“Just a lot on my mind.” I try to smile. Try not to think about the dreams.
When we finally reach my house, he stops to tie the horse to a tree before helping me down. His hands linger on my waist, and I’m trapped between him and the horse. When I look up, his face is inches away, a curious look in his eyes. “What?”
“I miss moments like these.” His knuckles brush my jaw, careful as if the slightest touch could break me.
“Me too.” The words come out breathless, nearly catch in my throat. I let him pull me in, his grip on my chin the ghost of a touch. When he kisses me, it’s like the first time all over again. My mind flashes back to one of my most recent dreams – back in the castle, every touch in the dark, his teeth grazing my neck – I pull back as the blush rises on my face.
“N-Nothing.” But I find it hard to breathe. I already know sleep won’t come easy. “Will you stay? For a little while? I’ve been having trouble sleeping…” I look away, afraid he’ll see it on my face.
He agrees and I lead us to my room. I know full well his presence won’t actually solve my problem – it’ll make it worse – but I don’t care. It’s been weeks since he’s held me as I sleep. I change into my sleeping clothes, and he enters the room shortly after. There’s a tension in the air, but I wonder if it’s just me and he doesn’t notice it. In bed, he pulls me close, my back warm against his bare chest as he curls around me.
“So what’s keeping you awake?” His voice catches me off-guard. I want to lie, to keep that particular secret from him a little while longer. But I can’t, too relaxed in his embrace to really care.
“Thoughts…about you…us. I think I just miss this. Miss being with you this way.” I turn to face him before shifting closer, tucking my head under his chin.
“I’m sorry.” His hand moves to caress my hair, following the locks down my back and along my spine. I shiver and move closer. “I miss this too.” There’s a strain in his voice, the hints of something unsaid. I find myself bringing my lips to his neck, placing a lingering kiss where it meets his chest as one of my hands trails down to his abdomen. Just like my dream. He shivers before catching my hand by the wrist, stopping me. “What are you doing?”
When our eyes meet again, there’s desire in his, mingled with something else. They’ve darkened, the sight familiar and something I didn’t realize until now I missed. “Kiss me?”
He looks like he’ll refuse. Like he’s struggling with the decision to pull away or pull me in. “Ariella…this is-”
“Dangerous. I know.” I’ve seen what can go wrong in my dreams. But that doesn’t stop me – they’re just dreams. I regain control of my hand, but instead of continuing to touch him I lead his hand to my hip, pulling my sleeping gown up far enough that he’s touching skin. He tenses on contact, freezing in place. “But I trust you.”
“You don’t-don’t know what you’re doing.” Niklaus’ voice strains again, this time with the effort of keeping still.
“Yes. I do.” My hand returns to his abdomen, tracing the muscles there as I place another kiss, this one on his jaw. “Kiss me.”
This time, he inches forward, his hand still unmoving, and brushes his lips softly against mine before pulling away. I kiss him back, my hands on his neck now to pull me closer. His hand on my hip tightens, and he suddenly pulls me into him, my body flush against his. Before I can react, he grabs my hands and pins them to the pillow on either side of my head, moving to hover over me as he pins me down. We’re both breathless when he breaks the kiss, resting his forehead on mine, eyes closed and brow furrowed in an effort to hold back. “I should go. Before I do something we’ll both regret.”
“Don’t. Please. I’m sorry, I crossed a line.” I sigh, a smile playing on my lips. “Can’t say I regret it, though.” He releases my hands and sits back. Sitting up, I reach over to him, letting my hand rest on his chest. “Someday, you won’t have to stop.”
He looks away, and my heart stutters. “Ariella…”
“When this is all over, and we don’t have to hide. We’ll be together, right?” I move to kneel in front of him, forcing him to look at me. “Niklaus.”
“You have no idea how much I want that to be true.” He takes my hands in both of his, bringing them to his lips. “But nothing is going to change how dangerous I am, how easily I could hurt you.”
“Then we’ll make it happen. You can…can turn…” I don’t even finish the suggestion. The look he gives me is one of utter horror and refusal. The thought had only ever crossed my mind once or twice, but it’s been popping up more and more with the recurrence of those dreams.
“Never. I will never do that to you. And I’ll kill anyone who tries.” The fury in his voice makes it clear he’ll keep his word.
“Then how? How are we…after everything is said and done – what will happen to us?” I can hear the cracks in my heart forming one by one. No matter what I do, I’m going to lose Niklaus. One way or another.
He doesn’t look me in the eye. “I don’t know.”
Well that ended up being much sadder than I anticipated.
As always, think happy thoughts!