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Fated (Chapter 5)

I was listening to the rumbling thunder as I lay draped across Stefan's hard, muscular chest. His face looked peaceful and innocent as he slept, his long lashes casting shadows under his eyes. I lightly kissed his cheek and rolled out of bed, yawning as I stopped to grab clothes from the closet. My eyes took note of his large duffel bag that was prominently displayed on the chaise lounge in the corner of the room. This was going to be one of those moments where I was going to have to adapt and meet him halfway without panicking. I walked over to his bag and ran my finger across the handle. I just needed to keep reminding myself that he loves me and wants to be with me. That's all that should really matter.

But there was more at stake than just knowing he loved me. He was making me break all of my rules, forcing me to do all of the things I said I'd never do.

Like fall in love.

Sighing deeply, I pulled on a tank and capri yoga pants and walked barefoot into the living room. I decided to take advantage of the quiet and the time alone to meditate and turn off my over-thinking mind for a little while. Unrolling my mat, I stretched briefly and settled down on the floor to clear my thoughts. It took much longer than usual for my mind to settle and relax.

I'd lost track of time when I felt the hum of Stefan's presence in the room. I opened my eyes lazily to look up at him, my heart lurching wildly as my eyes roamed over his body. He was leaning his shoulder against the door frame, his straight blond hair sweeping across his forehead and his arms were crossed against his massive chest. He was completely naked, his blue eyes boring into mine.

My eyes immediately drifted south to focus on his semi-hard cock, a delightful shiver of want running through my body. My mouth went dry and my panties flooded with moisture as I boldly stared at him from my mat.

I could count relaxing any part of my body out of the equation now.

Squeezing my eyes closed, I attempted to slow my breathing down.  It took all of my strength to force myself to stay seated on the mat instead of wrapping myself around him like a human pretzel and having my way with him without any regret or remorse.

"You are meditating?" Stefan questioned, his voice deep and thick with sleep. "I will join you."

"Uh-uh, Romeo. No naked mediation," I whispered, opening my eyes to admire his naked body again. "Put on some clothes and then you can join me. Otherwise we won't be meditating."

"Explain why this would be a problem, Josephine," Stefan said, his eyebrow arching in humor.

"Clothes. Go. Now." I commanded and closed my eyes again.

Stefan muttered under his breath as he stalked away. He was back in less than 30 seconds, loudly clearing his throat to get my attention. I reopened my eyes and he was standing in front of me wearing a pair of tight black boxer briefs. I bit my lip to stop a moan from escaping.

"This is better, yes?"

He was obviously trying to kill me this morning. His choice of 'clothing' really wasn't much better since the snug boxers left little to the imagination.

I could only watch with lustful eyes as he dropped down on the mat to face me and folded his long legs into the half lotus position. His knees were barely touching mine and his eyes slowly closed. He began to inhale and exhale softly, the rhythm of his breathing almost hypnotic. My lids lowered again, instinctively slowing my breath to match his. The energy passing between us was charged and overwhelming in its power.

I'd just started to relax again when I heard Stefan's voice enter my mind, soft and heavily accented. "You are sexy when you meditate. Watching your breasts tighten against your top is making me want to fuck you."

My eyes flew open in surprise at hearing his mental voice. I swallowed the lump in my throat as an irresistibly devastating smile broke over his face. "Ah, you heard me Josephine. Talk to me. Not with your sexy mouth but with your beautiful mind."

I felt by brow furrow as I concentrated on opening my mind to him and decided to tease him about his choice of clothing. "You and your fuckhot boxer briefs. Are you trying to kill me today?"

I heard his audible chuckle, then his quiet, lilting voice entered my mind again. "No, Josephine. I only want to fuck your beautiful pussy and feel your hot little mouth on my body."

The humor and sexiness was even present in his mental voice. Our eyes locked and his blue eyes were piercing as they stared into mine, filled with a mixture of longing and satisfaction. He obviously was trying to kill me with extreme sexiness this morning.

"Your mental voice has a heavy accent. Did you know that?" I shoved the thought to him again. I was starting to sweat, not only with the effort it took to communicate telepathically, but from his mental sexy talk. It was causing ripples of warmth to spread through me, the heat deepening to linger between my legs.

He laughed in earnest, deep and melodic. "Obviously my 'dirty talk' is not working if you are focusing on my accent, Josephine."

"Oh, it's working. I'm simply trying to concentrate," I retorted playfully, halfheartedly swatting his leg with my hand. "Now I can hear your sexy voice in my head and with my ears. It's not easy to do, trust me."

Stefan hesitated, obviously choosing his next words carefully. "I told you this would be an asset if we could learn to talk to each other in this manner. With work, it will be effortless."

"I know what you said. It's going to take time to get used to hearing someone talk in my head. That's not something that happens every day," I replied pointedly, raising an eyebrow playfully. "Kind of like running into a vampire on the beach."

Stretching lazily, I languidly stood up. "I'm getting in the shower. You keep working on finding your center, Romeo."

Heading quickly into the bathroom, I turned on the taps and adjusted the water temperature. I undressed and quickly stepped under the hot spray, closing the shower door behind me. I was just reaching for the shampoo when I heard the door open behind me.

Stefan moved to step underneath the water beside of me. It was impossible for me to move my eyes away from his naked body as the water streamed over his lean, muscular form. I wasn't a religious person but I could have sworn I heard angels singing as his hand reached for the bar of soap, slowly rubbing it over his long arms and sculpted chest.

I'd never been so envious of a bar of soap until now.

He lathered the soap in his hands and I stood in reverent silence as he ran his soapy hands down his body, stopping to stroke his generous cock with his soapy hands. He looked up at me mischievously, his eyes like black fire. One side of his lip turned up in a crooked smile as I continued to watch him in awed silence.

Jerking back to reality, my hands fumbled with the shampoo bottle. I tried to focus on opening the lid, my shaking fingers betraying my outward display of calm.

"Allow me." Stefan took the bottle from my fingers, squeezing shampoo in his hand. He motioned for me to turn around and he began gently massaging my scalp with his strong fingers.

My shoulders relaxed as I enjoyed the sensation of the hot water hitting my breasts, the tenderness of his hands in my hair and the feeling of his cool, wet skin pressing against my back. He turned me around slowly to rinse the shampoo out of my hair, his hands going to the bar of soap again. He lathered his hands with it and replaced the bar, looking at my wet skin critically with deeply hooded eyes.

"You are dirty, Josephine. Let me clean you." Stefan leaned to croon into my ear. His soapy hands began to run over my body tenderly and sensuously, his fingers running over my breasts, down the planes of my stomach to brush between my legs. He finally knelt to move his hands down one leg and up the other one. His eyes were glowing as they roamed over my wet skin, his talented fingers lingering to tease my clit, his hand slowly slipping in between my wet folds.

I reached out with both hands to press against each side of the shower wall, bracing myself as his fingers teased and moved eagerly inside of me. Stefan placed my legs over his broad shoulders and lifted me up the shower wall, leaving me spread open and completely at his mercy. He proceeded to bury his face in my wet center, flicking his tongue lightly over my swollen clit. I felt my breath catch and my head fell back against the cold tile.

"Stefan, it's almost too much." My hips unconsciously bucked against his face as his mouth continued to tease me. He moaned against my pussy and the vibration caused me press down harder against his face.

He stopped and looked up at me, a devilish smile on his lips. "Do you want me to stop?"

"No! Don't stop."

He buried his tongue inside of me and I writhed against him. I looked down and my arousal intensified at seeing his eyes intent on my face, dark and lustful. He began to gently tease my clit with his fingers, sending more waves of pleasure rushing through me as I cried out in ecstasy.

My response encouraged Stefan to replace his tongue with his long fingers. I gasped when he sucked my clit into his mouth and his fingers curled against my inner walls. I felt myself contract rhythmically against him and my juices ran down his hand.

Stefan flattened his tongue and licked me a final time. He lovingly kissed the inside of each thigh gently before slowly lowering my legs to the shower floor and rising to his feet. His hands grabbed my waist, roughly pulling me against him and he slipped us under the shower spray.

"Much better." His hand cupped the circle of my left breast as he lowered his mouth to let his tongue gently caress my nipple before sinking his fangs into my soft flesh. His cock twitched against my stomach as he drank from me, a guttural growl vibrating his chest.

He withdrew his fangs from my breast and he pushed me back against the shower wall again, the expression on his face wild and primal. He quickly spread my legs and lifted me, plunging his cock into my wet pussy relentlessly. I clung to him, crying out in response to each of his powerful thrusts.

"Do you like it when I fuck you like this, Josephine?" His mental voice questioned as he slid his cock deeper inside of me, his wet body slipping against mine like satin-covered steel.

I opened my mouth to talk but his lips covered mine hungrily, silencing me. His tongue pressed into my mouth and I could taste myself on his lips, salty and coppery. Desire surged through me as my tongue battled against his for dominance, the kiss almost violent in its fierceness.

"Answer me with your mind, vackra. I want to know if you like how I fuck your tight little pussy. Tell me." He continued to slide deep inside of me, my hips rolling to meet each thrust, his mental dirty talk my undoing.

I knew I wasn't going to last much longer. "Oh god, yes. Fuck, Stefan!"

Without thinking, my teeth sunk into the skin over Stefan's collarbone. His blood rushed into my mouth, thick and tasting like bittersweet chocolate. My bite caused his speed to increase and I felt myself clenching around his cock, my body trembling against him as I shuddered to orgasm.

His blond head fell back and a roar escaped from his mouth as he came, pulsing deep inside of me. The hot water was barely warm as he carried me out of the shower, my spent body wrapped limply around his.

He placed me on the edge of the vanity, rubbing a soft towel over me. When he was satisfied I was dry, he began rubbing it over himself. My eyes traced over the contours of his body, watching the muscles ripple with his quick movements.

He moved to stand between my legs, his mouth curving upward tenderly. He lowered his face to nuzzle his nose against my cheek, his lips showering kisses over my face until he finally reached my mouth. His strong hands moved to cradle each side of my face, reverently kissing my lips.

"Josephine, I am eternally yours." His mental voice was quiet, sincere and heavy with emotion.

I wrapped my arms around his neck tightly, pressing myself against him. Fat tears slid down my cheeks before I realized I'd even shed them. I struggled to find the right words to express how I felt, but there was nothing that could describe the combination of love, desire and happiness he managed to make me finally feel.

"I, I…" The words choked in my throat, my voice refusing to cooperate. I was frustrated why I found it so difficult to express to him the multitude of emotions I was feeling. My tears increased as I struggled with my stubborn mind, trying to get it to cooperate with my aching heart.

His strong arms moved to tighten around me and my heart thumped against the coolness of his solid chest. His entire being was practically humming with happiness as I pressed my lips against his neck.

"You will say it when you are ready, Josephine. I love you, vackra."

***

The days passed by in a blur for us as we wrapped ourselves in a bubble of contentment and solitude. The rainy season had rolled into Canggu, so we were either confined to the villa or forced to go out in the torrential downpour, which neither of us had any desire to do. We spent the time blissfully alone, making love and talking late into the night. Stefan told me what little he could recall from his human life in Sweden and enthralled me with tales from his long vampire life as he traveled from country to country.

I let myself begin to open up to Stefan and shared my own stories with him. I told him about my ongoing search to find my birth parents, my substantial trust fund and even shared my numerous insecurities with him. We both began to relax and enjoy the unconventional relationship we were starting to carve out for ourselves. Our days and nights were Lukas, Georgia and Anna-free for the moment and when we weren't in bed, we were sprawled on the couch, content in just being together. It was just us. No alarm clocks, no nosy friends and to quote Stefan, no "vampire bullshit."

To describe it in a few words, it was heaven.

On the morning of the fifth day, I was greeted with warm sunshine streaming in through the window. I groggily glanced at the bedside clock. 11:25am. Lazily, I stretched and rolled over to Stefan's side of the bed and was surprised to find it empty.

"Stefan?" I sat up in bed and waited for him to answer or for him to come into the room. I tilted my head to the side, listening and trying to ignore the pounding of my heart.

Something wasn't right, I could feel it in my bones.

The house was eerily silent. I glanced at Stefan's pillow, expecting to see his standard note. The pillow was empty, still slightly indented from the weight of his head. My breathing increased as I swallowed back the fear that began twisting my stomach in knots. I gave myself a mental pep talk, telling myself that there had to be a note somewhere. I just needed to find it.

Rolling out of bed, I grabbed my robe that Stefan had tossed on the chaise lounge the previous night. I paused when I noticed that Stefan's duffel bag was missing from the chair. My heart dropped as I tied the belt around my waist tightly and made my way into the kitchen.

My eyes scanned the counter top for a note. Again, I came up empty. I picked up my cell phone and checked for a message. I swallowed back the lump in my throat when I realized I had no missed calls or messages.

Wanting to keep myself occupied, I went back to the kitchen and busied myself with making coffee. I tapped my nails impatiently on the counter while I waited for the coffee to brew. I methodically reached for my coffee mug, scooping sugar into it and then poured the steaming coffee in the mug.

Taking a tiny sip, I padded quietly back into the living room to sit back down on the couch and tucked my legs underneath me. I absently reached to move a pillow and noticed one of Stefan's t-shirts peeking out from behind it. Clutching the material in my hands, I fought the urge to hug against my chest.

I was unsuccessfully trying to convince myself that I was overreacting. I knew I needed to take it down a notch before I let paranoia completely take over my already panicked mind.

Three cups of coffee later and the clock nearing four o'clock, there was still no sign of Stefan. I picked up my phone again, this time dialing his cell number. My hands began to tremble when it switched to voice mail after a single ring.

"You have reached Stefan Lifsten. Leave a message after the tone."

"Stefan, it's Josie. I'm wondering where you are. Call me back." I quickly pressed 'end' on the phone. My voice sounded much calmer than I felt inside. I couldn't lose the nagging feeling that something was wrong. This wasn't like Stefan. He was like an open book, sharing anything and everything with me. His silence and disappearing act were out of character for him.

My hands ran through my hair and tried to focus on seeing anything in the future, knowing it was futile at best. I couldn't see vampires. I barked out a bitter laugh at the irony of the situation. The one time I wanted to see a vision, I could see nothing at all.

I was ready to toss the phone on the couch beside of me when it rang, causing my heart to jump in anticipation. My mind flickered and I didn't need to look at the phone to know who was calling me. It was Georgia.

Holding the phone in my hand, I considered ignoring her. If I didn't answer, she'd just keep calling. Gritting my teeth, I answered the phone.

"Hello?" I mumbled flatly. I wasn't in the mood for small talk or to hear a lecture from her on how to handle men.

"Well hello, sunshine. Who pissed in your Wheaties?" Georgia asked, her voice sounding concerned.

"No one did, Georgia. I'm just in a crappy mood. Am I allowed to be in a crappy mood?"

There was silence on the line for a moment. "Hunky's not around, huh? Want some company?"

"Yes, I mean no. Georgia, I don't know what I want right now," I whined, cringing at hearing Stefan referred to as 'Hunky' or even being mentioned. I hated that I was whining about anything, let alone over a man.

"I'm coming over." Georgia hung up before I could respond. My eyes closed and I felt tears fill my eyes. Preparing myself for her arrival, I inhaled a shaky breath. I didn't want to cry in front of Georgia. I refused to let myself to break down in front of her.

A few minutes later I heard the door open and my mind was immediately flooded with Georgia's emotions. She was hesitant, angry and worried. I quickly slammed my shield down so I didn't have to deal with her emotions on top of my own.

Glancing down at my hands, I noticed I was still clutching Stefan's t-shirt. I quickly shoved it behind the pillow beside of me and hoped that her observant eyes hadn't zeroed in on it.

"Hun, what's going on?" Georgia walked over to sit down on the couch next to me, putting her hand on my knee. I raised my head to look at Georgia with tired eyes, not trusting myself to speak.

I wasn't sure I could do this right now.

We sat in silence for a long time, neither of us saying a word. Georgia said nothing, only occasionally reaching over to rub my knee or pat my arm sympathetically. I glanced at the time on my phone again. It was almost six o'clock. I wondered if this day was ever going to end, or if it was going to be a never-ending nightmare of waiting for the phone to ring or for him to return.

"You gotta tell me something, Josie. Did you and Stefan have a fight?" Georgia asked. She rubbed my arm softly, sighing heavily. She was obviously at a loss as to what to do or say and I wasn't giving her much to work with.

Shaking my head, my voice sounded monotone when I spoke. "A fight," I snorted, running my fingers through my tangled hair for what had to be the 50th time of the day. "No, I don't know what the hell is going on, Georgia. Normally if he goes somewhere, he leaves me a note. There's no note. He's gone," I paused for a moment as the realization of my own words sunk in. My voice cracked when I was finally able to speak again. "He's gone."

"Honey, he could be at the store. Or home. Maybe he's running errands or doing something besides being up your ass." Georgia waved her hand in dismissal. "Men are a dime a dozen. There's a hundred of him out there, Josie. You shouldn't be tied down anyway. You're young and…"

"I don't want a hundred other men," I snapped, my eyes stinging with tears. "I want him. I finally find him and now he's gone."

"Holy fucking hell. You love him?" Georgia asked, her voice incredulous and raising in volume. "You love him?! Josie, what the fuck?"

I went silent again. He'd left me, just like everyone else. I should have known it would happen. I shouldn't have trusted my foolish heart that he wouldn't leave me. My head fell back against the back of the couch, feeling weariness and the bitterness of betrayal wash over me.

Georgia finally rose to her feet and disappeared into the kitchen. I vaguely heard her talking on her phone to someone, her voice was barely above a whisper. She was probably tired of the silent treatment I was dishing out. To be honest, I really didn't care if I talked to anyone again. I closed my eyes and my mind went numb, losing track of reality and time.

Hearing a knock on the door, I jumped to my feet and nearly ripped the door off its hinges in my haste to open it. I was expecting to see Stefan on the other side of the door and I felt my face break into a smile. It quickly faded when I saw it was Anna on the porch, her face pensive as she stared back at me. I simply turned around and left Anna standing in the doorway to flop back down on the couch, cradling my head in my hands.

Their conversation as it went on around me and I made no effort to contribute. I sat sullenly on the couch in my bathrobe, my insides feeling like they were being tortuously ripped apart.

"How long has she been like this?" I heard Anna ask in a hushed tone.

"Hours. She won't tell me anything except she thinks he's gone," Georgia answered, her voice quiet.

"He left her? Without saying goodbye? I don't believe it. I saw the way he looked at her," Anna paused for a moment. "There has to be an explanation  Lukas said-"

I'd finally heard enough of their speculating and whispering. "He fucking left me. What's so fucking hard to understand? Everyone leaves me eventually," I yelled out in a harsh shriek. I took a deep breath, my voice breaking miserably. "I know you're trying to help but what I really need is to be alone. Please."

Georgia and Anna looked at each other, their eyes wide and confused. This was a side of me that they'd never seen, the desperately scared woman that feared being left behind. Neither knew what to do or say.

"Please. I need to be alone. I just need quiet," I begged hoarsely.

They both tried to hug me goodbye but I'd pulled my knees up on the couch to rest under my chin, refusing to let them touch me. I waited until I heard the door close before I reached to pull Stefan's t-shirt from behind the pillow and hugged it against my chest. I curled into a ball on the couch with my face pressed into the soft fabric, the smell of him on the shirt pushing me over the edge I'd teetered on all day.

I sobbed into the shirt, soaking it with my tears. I berated myself as I cried, angry that I'd let him in and furious that I hadn't had the nerve to tell him how I felt. I'd turned into the person I said I'd never be, the pathetic woman that cried over a man. Inhaling a shaky breath, I closed my eyes against the flood of tears that were spilling from my eyes.

It was at that precise moment that I realized how much I loved him and I'd let him slip through my fingers without ever telling him. I'd been too scared and I had to live with my regret now.

The hours dragged by and I eventually cried myself out, my eyes swollen and my mouth was dry. I staggered to the bathroom, still clutching his shirt. I grabbed a sleeping pill from the bottle in the medicine cabinet and swallowed it with a handful of water from the sink.

Stumbling into the bedroom, I collapsed in a heap on the bed. I'd assumed I was too exhausted to cry again until I found myself laying on the pillow Stefan had slept on. It smelled like him; sandalwood, the salty ocean and something that was just uniquely him. Tears choked me and sobs shook my shoulders. Crying was the last thing I remembered doing until I fell into a dreamless sleep, my fingers still holding on to his shirt.

***

Blinking against the sun streaming across the bed the next morning, my eyes were swollen and puffy from a night's worth of crying. I was considering staying in bed with the covers over my head for the day. I'd clung to the dwindling hope that he'd contact me but he'd disappeared as if he was a figment of my imagination.

I finally forced myself to get up out of the bed and quickly stripped the sheets from the bed. Walking to the small washer in the utility closet between the bathroom and the kitchen, I shoved the sheets into the washer. I added detergent and started the machine, slamming the door closed on the washer. I couldn't endure smelling him in my bed anymore. The best thing I could do was to wipe him from my memory, as if he didn't exist.

Just the thought of him not existing was like a knife twisting in my heart. I just didn't want to feel anymore, it simply hurt too much.

I went into the bathroom, untying the robe and letting it drop to the floor. I turned on the shower, adjusting the temperature and almost sobbed when the memory of him being in the shower with me flashed through my mind. I could almost feel his hands on my skin, his mouth on my lips and breasts.

I felt a tear escape and run down my cheek as I stepped into the shower and began washing myself automatically and as quickly as possible. I didn't want to spend any more time in the shower than necessary. The memories of being pressed against the wall and the way he felt inside of me was too strong and too powerful to think about right now.

Turning off the water, I rubbed the towel over my skin and I walked naked into the bedroom. I went to the closet, pulling on jeans and a blue fitted t-shirt over my head. Grabbing a large duffel bag, I started throwing a few changes of clothes inside. I zipped it partially closed, picking it up and heading to the living room. I unplugged my cell phone charger from the wall, tucking it inside the bag. I had my phone in my hand, dialing Anna's number.

She answered on the second ring. "Josie?"

"Anna, I need somewhere to stay. Can I stay with you? I can't be here. It's too hard."

"Absolutely. Do you need me to pick you up?" Anna asked quietly.

"Yeah. Don't tell Georgia. Please."

"I'll be right there," Anna replied and I hung up the phone, shoving it into my pocket. Before gathering my things, I put the bedding into the dryer and walked back to grab my bag and my purse. With a heavy sigh, I took one last glance around the room and closed the door behind me.

I sat down on the step to wait for Anna and lowered my shields to see her reaction. She was going to try to convince me that I'd be back to normal in no time.

What if trying to be normal wasn't what I wanted anymore? I'd had a taste of stepping outside my comfort zone with Stefan and now going back to pretending didn't have any allure for me.

My eyes were downcast as I heard Anna's car pull up. I was at the passenger side of the car before she had completely stopped, yanking the door open and plopping down inside the car and hugging my bag against my chest.

"Sweetie, are you ok?" Anna bit her lip as she looked at me, her brown eyes worried.

"No. But I will be," I said quietly, my eyes focused on the dashboard in front me. I couldn't look at Anna. I didn't want her to see how weak I was, to see the pain that was probably etched on my face.

"Let's get you to my house and get some food and maybe a drink or two in you. You'll feel better in no time." Anna was trying her best to sound optimistic although she was failing miserably.

"Sounds great. I'll be better in no time." My voice sounded hollow, even to myself.

If I kept lying, maybe I'd start to believe it. I was silent as Anna drove down the driveway, pulling out onto the main road towards her house. I didn't look back once.

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