To Fear the Dawn: Chapter 12
When the sun set, Reginald arose automatically from his coffin.
He felt the necessity to feed, but strangely, not the desire. What he wanted most of all was to spend time with his future bride, and that surprised him.
He had known she was the one from the moment he saw her. He had not hesitated, but had taken her swiftly, and brought her back here through his own very special means of transport. He had spent the first several hours just watching her sleep, not feeling the desire for her blood whatsoever, but wanting instead to have a conversation with her, to listen to the sound of her voice, to feel the softness of her skin...
He was half in love with her already, and he barely knew her.
Reginald approached her bedroom cautiously and found her asleep, curled on her side, her face giving the impression she was having troubled dreams.
She’ll soon wake, he thought. I will leave to feed, then return quickly to be with her.
He gazed down at her with a look of longing and ran a finger lightly across her lips, trailing it down her neck. Oh yes, he could see the pulse of her heartbeat there, and it did inflame him with a raging desire, but not to tear through to the blood beneath. No, this feeling was unfamiliar to him, yet he knew how to act upon it all the same. It wasn’t as sanguinary as what he was accustomed to, but perhaps just as carnal.
His breath caught roughly as she stirred, ready to awaken. He quickly transformed into a bat and flew to find his prey for the night.
The sooner he fed, the sooner he could return to her.
Charity was awake and sitting on the veranda when the vampire returned from the hunt. She was incredibly beautiful, with the moonlight shining on her and the soft breeze in her hair. Reginald stood for a long moment just looking at her.
Finally she felt his presence and turned to face him. “I didn’t expect to see you so soon,” she said feebly, not knowing what else to say.
“I do not usually return this early,” Reginald admitted. “It is different having someone here to return to. Miss... uh...” He stopped, flustered, realizing he didn’t know her name.
“Charity,” Reginald repeated in a soft voice. “It suits you.”
"You’ve been out there killing people tonight, haven’t you?” Charity asked him, accusation heavy in her tone.
Reginald sat on the bench across from her and sighed wearily. “I do what I must do to survive,” he said. “As do we all. That does not make us evil.”
Charity thought about that and did not answer. With Reginald so close to her, she found it difficult to think of anything save his nearness. Her mind whirling, she stood and crossed to the railing of the veranda, leaning against it and looking out at the water. The moonlight was reflected in her eyes and some loose tendrils of her hair blew in the soft air. Reginald had to fight back a wild inclination to kiss her, and he wondered if she would let him if he tried.
“I hope you do not think I am evil,” he said, his tone so intense that Charity chanced a look into his eyes and was shaken by the wanton desire she saw there. He rose to stand beside her and gently reached out to touch her face. She pressed his hand to her cheek for a moment.
“Reginald, when we’re here like this – when you’re here with me and I'm talking with you and we’re just together as we are now, it is difficult for me to think that way about you.” She shook her head to clear it and began to pace. “But then I remember what you are. I remember that you kidnaped me and brought me here without my consent, and I remember you are responsible for countless deaths!” She broke off and buried her face in her hands, weeping forlornly.
Reginald was taken aback and overcome by a feeling he could not name. He could not explain it. Was he feeling remorse?
He walked to where Charity was standing and tentatively put an arm around her, shocked when she didn’t pull away. He bit his lip and boldly drew her closer to him, letting her sob on his chest. Charity was surprised to feel the steady thumping of a heartbeat under her cheek, and she lay her palm against it, looking up at Reginald with tears still shining in her eyes.
“You have a heart,” she said in wonder.
He smiled. “Yes, very much so.”
They were standing very close, his arms still wrapped around her and her face was tipped up to his. He wanted to kiss her so badly, but instead drew her head back down onto his chest.
“I don't understand,” Charity murmured. “How can you be so gentle with me yet so heartless out in the world? When I think of all you have done... ” she sniffed and wiped her eyes. “... like those boys... those three boys who you left fatherless. How could you do such a thing?”
Reginald’s voice was full of regret. “I did not know, Charity.” he said. “If I had, I perhaps would have acted differently.”
He wanted to believe that. Truly he hadn’t realized General Grunt was a single father and he hoped he would have chosen a different victim had he known. He had read about it in the paper the following evening, and had honestly been very upset with himself. However, what was done was done, and since the oldest brother was very near to being of age, the courts had decided to allow the three brothers to remain living in their original home with occasional visits from a social worker.
“I just wish I could do something for them.” Charity said helplessly, sighing. “Adopt them or something. I know it’s silly, they’re practically grown, but they need a family.”
Reginald soothed her. “It’s not silly,” he murmured. “And I agree...they do need a family, but it would be impossible for you to adopt them. The courts have deemed them capable of looking after themselves.”
Charity sighed and lay her cheek back on Reginald’s chest. It was comforting, and she needed the comfort. She had all but convinced herself the Curious brothers didn’t care about her any longer, and Reginald was here, and her mind was clouded and spinning and full of nothing else...
“There is one way you could become a mother to those boys, if you wished,” Reginald murmured into her hair.
“How?” Charity asked, her voice muffled. “You just said that the courts are not placing them for adoption.“
“Oh Charity,” Reginald breathed. “There is so much I can show you.” He raked his fingers through her hair caressingly, “ so much we can be and do together, if you would only believe... ”
He was so mesmerizing and so excitingly dangerous that Charity felt quite lost. A shiver ran over her and she turned her lips up to his.
She had one fleeting thought of Vidcund before she allowed the vampire to kiss her, then she wrapped her arms around Reginald and thought of nothing more.
To Be Continued...