To Fear the Dawn: Chapter 16
So began the most romantic times Charity had ever known.
No one she had ever known had made her feel the way Reginald did. True, she had not had much experience in that realm, but the vampire’s embraces made what little she had shared with Pascal seem crude by comparison.
Reginald was always considerate to her feelings, having a nightly glass of wine after returning from the hunt. She usually shared it with him, and that, in turn, would be the beginning of an amorous evening together. Their nights were filled with conversation, dancing by candlelight, and many, many kisses, which were more passionate than anything Charity had ever experienced.
Reginald was skilled in much more than just the dance, and even though Charity hadn’t felt ready to progress to the next level of intimancy as of yet, she had no doubt it would be a momentous event. Even the thought of it would make her heart beat faster and bring a tremor to her body.
However, during the day after she would awaken and Reginald still slept, Charity found herself thinking wistfully about her time with the Curious brothers... about Pascal and Vidcund and all the missed signals and misunderstandings. She also, with a heart full of sorrow, thought about the twins and little Orion. How she missed them!
Surely they must think her long gone by now. She hated the thought that she had left so angry, and she was convinced the Curious brothers must think it had been her choice to not return. That thought upset her, because it was something she would never do, no matter how angry she was.
She missed them all so very much. Gentle, playful Lazlo, who was truly her best friend, ardent Pascal, who made no secret how he felt about her, and shy, unassuming Vidcund...
Oh, Vidcund! Why didn't things turn out differently?
Yet she was here with Reginald now, and although she had been brought by force, in her clouded and isolated state of mind, she was beginning to think it was one of the best things that had ever happened to her. On some level, she realized that since Reginald was her only companion, she would of course be drawn to him. They resided in this house alone, with no outside contacts, and lonely hearts would cleave unto one another, or so the old saying went. Charity knew this, but it still didn’t stop her deepening feelings for the vampire, and one day she realized she loved him.
It had been such a gradual thing, that she hadn’t realized how strong her feelings for Reginald were becoming. However, the previous night had been one of the most passionate she had shared with him yet, and just when she was finally ready to take the next step... just when she was ready to allow him to make love to her, the dawn had come.
Much as he had wanted to stay with her, he could not.
He left her, barely making it to his sanctuary in time, and Charity lay alone in the bed cursing the sunrise. Then, later that afternoon, when Charity had awakened in that same bed cursing the time left until sunset as it meant time away from him, it hit her like a thunderclap.
She loved Reginald.
“I love him.” she said out loud to the room at large, and hearing it spoken made it all the more true to her. “I love him,” she repeated, “and I don’t care that he’s a vampire. He can’t help what he is, and I love him just the same... I love him, I do!”
She smiled to herself and danced around the room like a teenage girl.
She’d wanted to fall in love for so long, and now that she finally had, she could think of nothing other than getting engaged and married. So what if she would be married to a vampire? Surely her life would not be much changed than the way it was now... would it?
She could hardly wait to tell Reginald, and thought about actually going to his coffin and seeing if he would awaken so she could talk to him that very moment, but decided against it.
Instead, she went to the easel and occupied herself with mindless painting until sunset.
“Charity, will you marry me?” Reginald asked her breathlessly later that evening, holding out the most beautiful and exquisite diamond ring Charity had ever seen.
She had been waiting for him to awaken in his chamber, and as soon as he had, she had leapt into his arms, crying and laughing, words tumbling over one another in her excitement. He hadn’t been able to discern everything she was saying, but he had been able to understand that she was telling him she loved him.
She loved him!
What he had wanted more than anything had finally come to pass! He could scarcely believe it, but it was true. What was this he was feeling? Was it happiness? Joy? He could not explain it, he only knew that it was the most wondrous, most phenomenal thing he had ever felt.
“Oh, Reginald. Yes, yes! Of course I will!” Charity cried, falling into his arms. He held her close for a moment then set her gently back down on the ground.
“Then we shall be as one, my love,” he told her, and kissed her gently. “I shall call forth my offspring to attend our wedding.”
“When will we have the ceremony?” Charity asked, full of excitement. She was sure it would have to be after dark, but she didn’t mind. She just wanted to get married to Reginald, that was the most important thing.
“If it pleases you, we can be wed this very evening.” Reginald said. “My children can be here faster than you can possibly imagine.”
“Unless you would rather wait,” the vampire murmured softly, drifting kisses up her arm and over her shoulder, nibbling her neck gently with his long teeth, “but I, for one, would rather not.”
Charity shivered. No, she didn’t want to wait, either. “Tonight would be... perfect... ” she said with a tremor in her voice.
Reginald smiled. “Then I will notify my family immediately.“
To Be Continued. . .